Background note to the Asia Europe People’s Forum 11, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, 4-6 July
‘At the level of people, the system does not work’ (J. Stiglitz)
When I started my research on poverty some twenty years ago, more particularly on the international poverty discourse of international organisations, I soon found out that this new focus in development had nothing to do with poverty, poor people or, for that matter, development. Ten years after the introduction of neoliberal structural adjustment programmes, it was mainly meant as a legitimation of these policies. Indeed, not only were there no worldwide poverty statistics, but the World Bank, who was the main proponent of this poverty approach, did not propose any change in its policies. From that moment onwards, 1990, neoliberalism was ‘sold’ in the name of poverty reduction.
A sign of the time is that Germany is raising a revolt against the President of the European Commission, Jeam-Claude Juncker, whom Chancellor Angela Merkel imposed in 2014 after a strong fight with David Cameron, then a powerful British PM. The group of Visograd, , formed by Poland, Hungary, Slovaquia and the Czech Republic, which resurged from ashes, to become an anti Brussels voice, has requested to bring back the Commission under the authority of the States. When Merkel organized a meeting of the leaders of the six original founders of the EU, in Berlin, she invited Donald Tusk, the President of the Council, but not Jean-Claude Juncker, who is the President of the Commission. And Wolfgang Schauble, the German minister of Finance, has launched an appeal: “it is time to bring back Brussels under the control of the states. “
A Dialogue on South-South Cooperation in the context of the Right to Development discourse and the launch of a new book India's Approach to Development Cooperation were held on the side-lines of the 32nd Session of the Human Rights Council at the UN in Geneva on Monday, 27 June 2016 on the occasion of the commemorations of the 30th Anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration on the Right to Development.
Adopted thirty years ago, on 4 December 1986, the Declaration on the Right to Development recognized development as a comprehensive economic, social, cultural and political process aimed at the constant improvement of the well-being of all individuals and peoples, on the basis of their participation in development and in the fair distribution of its benefits. The declaration calls upon states to implement effective development cooperation and for the removal of barriers to development at national and international levels.
The event was jointly organized by the South Centre, the Permanent Mission of India to the UN in Geneva, the Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) and the Asia Foundation.
Below is a summary of the dialogue.
The Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which was launched last year with the aim of funding projects on a continent with some of the world’s most populous nations, has pledged over $500 million in four concessional loans to Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan and Tajikistan.
All projects, to be funded by the AIIB, will be “lean, green and clean”, according to the bank’s President Jin Liqun.
Tax Justice campaigners today condemned the punishment of Antoine Deltour and Raphaël Halet – two whistleblowers who were instrumental in exposing the infamous ‘Luxleaks’ scandal.
WILMINGTON, Delaware--When passing through the main street of this town of approximately 70,000 people, I arrived at 1209 North Orange Street. The light brown, two-story building is owned by CT Corporation, a registered lobbying group.
According to the state, this one building is the registered address of approximately 315,000 companies.
The British newspaper The Guardian reported that large companies such as Apple and Walmart, as well as companies associated with U.S. presidential front-runners, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and real estate mogul Donald Trump, all have addresses registered here.
Bill Gates announced on 7 June that he is giving 100,000 chickens to the poor because chickens are “easy to take care of” and a woman with just five hens in Africa can make $1000 per year. For Mozambique where we work, this is remarkable – fewer than 2% of Mozambican farmers make $1000/year. What a wonderful idea. Why did no one think of this before?
Actually, they did. For a decade, Mozambique has had its district development loan fund, known locally at the “7 million” because the initial fund was Meticais 7 million per district. Most farm families have chickens running around, and one of the most common requests for loans from the fund is from people who agree with Gates that chickens are “easy” and they want to expand to commercial production. Nearly all fail, and cannot repay their initial loan. Perhaps the problem is not the initial five hens.
The World Bank is having an existential crisis.
For decades, the bank was the premier development finance institution, doling out loans to developing countries without rival.
The World Bank was also a pioneer - though not always willingly - in creating standards to protect people who could be harmed by its investments. In 1980, it became the first development agency to create a resettlement policy, which aims to ensure that communities displaced by bank-funded projects are not left worse off.
Read this new report from UNDP on social protection as a tool for connecting different development goals.
Pambazukahas a special issue on 'financing development in Africa': on the efficiency of aid, on mineral wealth, on health, women and children ... interesting reading.
Europe has been caught off guard by recent asylum-seeker arrivals, prompting what some have called a threat to the survival of the European Union. However, we have shown that Europe has admitted and integrated much larger numbers of refugees in the past. So why have countries been so overwhelmed this time around?
One major hurdle has been assessing the validity of such large numbers of asylum claims. Under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, every individual has the right to seek asylum from persecution. In some situations an individual’s motivations for movement—and their accompanying designation under international refugee law—are relatively evident. This is not the case for many recent arrivals in Europe.
Migration and asylum policies: Where to draw the line