For decades, development policy was shaped by the notion that the poor countries of the Global South needed money from the wealthy North in order to advance in their development. At the latest since the 2008/09 financial crisis this view of things has, it seems, begun to change. In the current Global Governance Spotlight, Wolfgang Obenland, Program Coordinator of the Global Policy Forum, analyses the negotiations on the outcome document of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, scheduled to take place from 13 to 17 July 2015 in Addis Ababa, and shares his assessment regarding its progressiveness.
In countries with contested elections, there are usually two mainstream parties considered as being somewhere in or near the center of the views of the voters in that country. In the last few years, there have been a relatively large number of elections in which a protest movement has either won the election or at least won enough seats such that their support must be obtained in order that a mainstream party govern.
In September this year, world leaders will meet in New York at the United Nations General Assembly. Top of the agenda will be the passage of a resolution laying out global development goals for the 15 years to 2030, covering progress in areas from poverty reduction to forestry preservation. They will follow on from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which have become a common yardstick of global progress over the past decade and a half.
The MDGs, born out of the Millennium Declaration agreed to at the UN General Assembly in 2000, are widely seen as a considerable success of the international system. And they may well have played a role in speeding global progress toward better health and education outcomes over the last few years. That alone might justify coming up with a new set of global goals for the post-2015 period.
The power of the original MDGs to motivate was in their simplicity and clarity.
nequality and poverty levels remain high in ASEAN, with Gini coefficients ranging from 35.6 to 46.2. In some countries in the region, inequality and poverty levels are escalating despite economic growth. And while in some ASEAN countries a smaller proportion of the workforce is now living in poor households (i.e. living on less than $2 per day), their absolute numbers have risen.
Inequality is eroding the economic gains from market integration and economic progress.“Inequality may lead to the misallocation of capital and hamper poverty reduction and growth, possibly eroding social cohesion, and institutional stability. It also runs counter to the AEC’s [ASEAN Economic Community] overarching goal of equitable growth with reduced development gaps between and within Member States.”
Yet, the commitments of governments of the ASEAN Member States to the social dimension of regional and global integration remain lukewarm. But the people of ASEAN aspire for and demand a Social ASEAN. Therefore, the people of ASEAN and their organizations collectively took the initiative to frame an Agenda for a Social ASEAN.
The Agenda for a Social ASEAN is the condensation of the aspirations and demands of the people of ASEAN for a strong social dimension in the current process of integration in the region.It is an instrument that embodies the necessary components of an alternative regional development paradigm that seeks to construct a truly caring and sharing ASEAN community. The Agenda for a Social ASEAN –
62 workers may lose their lives for each game played during Qatar’s 2022 World Cup, a tournament likely to be sponsored by FIFA partner companies Coke, VISA, McDonald’s, Adidas, Kia and Hyundai. Without sponsorship, this multi-billion dollar tournament couldn’t take place.
Most sponsors commit themselves to respecting the UN Declaration of Human Rights – which guarantees the right to join a union - and have specific policies banning forced labour and slavery in their supply chains. However, none of them seem to have considered that paying FIFA to host a tournament built on slave labour goes against everything they claim to believe in.
As a customer or potential customer of these multinational companies, can you help us pressure them to live up to their own ethical standards in how they spend their sponsorship funding?
We know money talks in FIFA. If one of these sponsors were to speak up it would be hugely influential in guiding FIFA and Qatar into ensuring that labour standards for people preparing the country to host the World Cup meet international standards of safety, decency and human rights.
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The creditor community has another shock and awe moment this week, as more and more influential actors argue that Greece should stop repaying the International Monetary Fund (IMF) loans and rather use scarce public resources to tackle its economic and humanitarian crisis. While Prime Minister Tsipras still tries to ease the creditors, the idea is here to stay. And it is a good one: Greece should not just postpone loan repayments but default on them – stopping payments to the IMF for good. This would help to finally reform the IMF from the political puppet that it is now into a real and effective crisis response instrument.
After a late flurry of additions to the founding membership of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, attention now turns to setting the China-led AIIB’s rules and regulations. But important questions remain – most important, whether the AIIB is a potential rival or a welcome complement to existing multilateral financial institutions like the World Bank.
Since China and 20 mostly Asian countries signed the AIIB’s initial memorandum of understanding last October, 36 other countries – including Australia, Brazil, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Italy, Norway, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United Kingdom – have joined as founding members.
The FfD agenda is an important reference point for discussions on development finance, and serves as a unique space where governments, in particular from the South, are able to debate important issues like trade and foreign direct investment as well as systemic issues like the international financial architecture and financial regulation. These are the global economic issues that were absent in the origin and overall framework of the Millennium Development Goals and remain piecemeal in the proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework.
Many advocates of a basic income – an amount of money paid to all members of society, rich and poor – claim that their idea is neither left nor right. It is not always clear how we have to understand this. Today, there are political movements who do not want to call themselves left or right – the Spanish Podemos for example – though their proposals are clearly leftwing.
And for sure, there is a difference between the right and the left. The idea of a basic income is indeed being promoted by leftwing as well as rightwing forces, though it remains problematic.
In this article I want to argue that in fact, a basic income cannot be a leftwing idea.
“Throughout history, people have migrated from one place to another. People try to reach European shores for different reasons and through different channels. They look for legal pathways, but they also risk their lives, to escape from political oppression, war and poverty, as well as to find family reunification, entrepreneurship, knowledge and education. Every person’s migration tells its own story.”
“an agenda which reflects our common values and provides an answer to our citizens’ worries about unacceptable human suffering.”
Today, it seems the ‘values’ of the European Union refer precisely to this ‘unacceptable human suffering’. A very modest proposal from the European Commission (quotes) is rejected by the meeting of our national governments. Whereas thousands of refugees have drowned in the Mediterranean and thousands are harassed in Libya or on their way through Macedonia. Are these people able to sleep at night? ‘Wir haben es nicht gewusst’?
A new report from OECD: Income inequality has reached record highs in most OECD countries and remains at even higher levels in many emerging economies. The richest 10 per cent of the population in the OECD now earn 9.6 times the income of the poorest 10 per cent, up from 7:1 in the 1980s and 9:1 in the 2000s.