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Money Drain Blocks African Progress

With average economic growth of 5 per cent, Africa makes a lot of profit. The problem: a big chunk of the money doesn’t stay in the continent. Billions of African dollars are illegally transferred into foreign bank accounts every year, and effectively make the continent a net creditor, legal experts say.

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Linking Financial and Monetary Reform to the post-2015 Agenda

There is almost no dispute that the worst performance of all Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) was registered on MDG 8, the Global Partnership for Development. The impending deliberations to shape the post-2015 development agenda offers a high level political opportunity to correct that imbalance.

For that, it is important to avoid treading the same path of the MDG approach. The initial blueprint for the MDGs entirely neglected mention of the means of implementation necessary in the form of international support. Since it was clear that developing countries would never get on board with an agenda that would harshly judge their progress in improving certain quantifiable indicators without correlative commitments of financial support to help achieve them, one more goal was added, and this was Goal 8 on the Global Partnership. Accepting this approach condoned the methodological nonsense of putting means of implementation as a category equivalent to the goals they should serve. It condemned finance for development to the constraints of a format that required simplified, succinct, one-size-fits-all statements that could never capture the breadth, complexity and diversity needed for development finance to work.

 

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Illicit Financial Flows, Poverty and Human Rights

In October 2013, the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) published a new study, Tax Abuses, Poverty and Human Rights. The publication was the result of over a year of research and international consultations by a Task Force on Illicit Financial Flows, Poverty and Human Rights. Although tax abuses have been rising in prominence on the global political agenda in recent years, the issues have rarely been framed in terms of human rights. From the early feedback on the IBAHRI Task Force’s work, an explicit human rights analysis is a welcome contribution to the global debates on tax justice, and further research and discussion is required in order to provide more practical guidance to policy-makers and practitioners.

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In developing world, pollution kills more than disease

Pollution, not disease, is the biggest killer in the developing world, taking the lives of more than 8.4 million people each year, a new analysis shows. That’s almost three times the deaths caused by malaria and fourteen times those caused by HIV/AIDs. However, pollution receives a fraction of the interest from the global community.

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GFI Hails Continued Progress on EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive

Council of the European Union Approves Text and Timetable for Directive, Including Crucial Measures on Beneficial Ownership Transparency

– Global Financial Integrity (GFI) praised the Council of the European Union for continuing today the EU’s movement towards cracking down on anonymous companies, a major conduit for laundering the proceeds of crime, corruption, and tax evasion.

The Council, which is composed of government ministers from each EU member country, agreed on a revised text of changes to the EU’s Anti-Money-Laundering Directive (AMLD), which will now return to the Parliament for a second reading and negotiations with the Council on final wording. The Council text retains the requirement, which the European Parliament overwhelmingly approved in March, that companies and trusts formed in every EU country disclose their “beneficial owners,” or the natural persons who ultimately own or control them, to a central authority.

 

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G77 + China: Towards a New World Order for Living Well

The G77+China Summit, marking the body’s 50th anniversary, ended in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, on Sunday June 15, with the adoption of a Declaration (http://www.alainet.org/active/74644),

containing 242 articles, under the heading: “For a New World Order for Living Well”.

The Declaration addresses, among other things, the three main United Nations priorities for the coming year, which as Ban Ki-moon pointed out in the opening session, include: the fulfillment of the Millennium Goals of Development (and contingency measures for those which may not be fulfilled), progress in the negotiations concerning climate change (whose next world meeting is scheduled for Lima at the end of this year), and the definition of the new development goals for the period after 2015. It also sets out new lines of action for South-South cooperation in the present context of geopolitical shifts, and proposals for strengthening and reorienting the UN, including revitalizing the General Assembly and a comprehensive reform of the Security Council, in accordance with the collective interests of developing countries.

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US Supreme Court 'Validates' Vulture Funds Activities

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to reject an appeal by the Argentine government will embolden aggressive “holdout” creditors, anti-poverty groups say, and make it far more difficult to arrive at debt-relief agreements for poor countries.

The move, announced Monday, is a definitive setback for Argentina, which has been battling two U.S. hedge funds for years to allow a major debt-restructuring agreement to go forward. Yet the court’s decision is also being seen as a significant loss for poor countries looking for debt relief.

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Micro-finance and money-laundering

KARACHI: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has issued revised prudential regulations for microfinance banks (MFBs) to further improve their governance structure, consumer protection practices and anti-money laundering policies.

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New ILO Protocol against Forced Labour

A new global protocol to fight forced labour, adopted this week by the International Labour Organisation, will accelerate action against modern slavery.

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Biomass policies are fuelling land-grabbing in the global South

A new report published today [1] by campaign group Biofuelwatch [2] shows that the growing demand for wood created by UK and EU biomass policies is fuelling land-grabs in Africa and South America. Despite finding that nearly all of the wood imported by the UK and other EU countries for bioenergy comes from North America and elsewhere in Europe, including Russia, the report shows that companies are taking advantage of the expectations raised by bioenergy policies in order to acquire large tracts of land in the global South.

Report author and Biofuelwatch co-Director Almuth Ernsting explained that: “Although there is no evidence for wood being supplied to UK power stations from countries in the global South at present, there is alarming evidence of UK and EU support for biomass electricity being used as an excuse for landgrabbing in Brazil, Ghana and elsewhere.”

Read the report

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Stopping Boko Haram by curtailing illicit finance

Boko Haram developed from social unrest, poverty, and a strong disillusionment with the corruption of the Nigerian government. Today, the same factors make Boko Haram lethal.

Nigeria’s rampant corruption has left the nation unequipped to deal with security concerns, especially along porous borders through which Boko Haram receives immense support. A look at one of their videos reveals an immense amount of weaponry that is not only costly, but very difficult to obtain.

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