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.
For the past several months, numerous high profile and damaging stories have made their way out of World Bank Headquarters and into mainstream popular news. While this has happened before -- and no doubt will happen again -- these stories seem to be especially engaging, focused, researched and damning. From a disastrous coal-fired power plant in India to massive forced resettlement and refugee crises all across the globe, the World Bank seems to be slow marching from one disaster to the next. The question becomes, therefore, how can the bank avoid these public relations fiascos in the future? The easy answer, of course, is to not create 3.4 million new refugees worldwide. Until that is the case, the bank could at least loosen up the press restrictions and preemptively let some sunlight in. Unauthorized disclosures cannot and do not occur within an open, transparent and honest global organization.
With the help of international aid, foreign land grabs in the Gambella region of Ethiopia have resulted in environmental degradation, more severe economic and social inequality, and human rights abuses, according to a new study by the Oakland Institute. We Say The Land Is Not Yours collects testimony from victims of “villagization,” a policy of forced displacement started under the military Derg dictatorship and, according to many, continued to this day under the guise of land investment. The ultimate aim, according to the report, is to resettle up to 1.5 million people.
The European Commission sends a strong message in its 377 page-long report: the Sustainable Development Goals will require substantial additional finance (well beyond ODA), but any additional financing should be coupled with reformed policy frameworks at the local, national and global level to bring about the expected results.
In other words, the achievement of the SDGs needs finance, and finance needs effective policies to deliver on the expectations of the new universal and transformative post 2015 agenda. The Report’s premise is the steady increase of finance accessed by developing countries since the 2002 Monterrey Consensus. For instance, in 2011, developing countries accessed to an additional USD 0.9 trillion in private international financing, USD 3 trillion in private domestic finance and USD 4 trillion in public domestic revenues, while public international finance increased only by USD 0.1 trillion and represents less than 1.5% of the total resources available.
On Wednesday last week (6 May) all major parties represented in the Belgian federal parliament signed a proposal that will curtail the harmful speculation by vulture funds: investment companies that buy up defaulted debts for bargain prices and then sue the country in question for full immediate repayment. Belgian Eurodad members 11.11.11 and CNCD-11.11.11 – together with the Committee for the Abolition of Third World Debt (CADTM) – have long been advocating for more stringent legal measures against vulture funds and welcome this proposal.
'Bread for the World',the German NGO, published a report on the place of social protection in policies of development cooperation:
The fact that social protection now figures prominently in all documents on EU development cooperation must
be welcomed. It is evidence of a greater awareness of the need for human development. The Commission’s Socieux
programme and the strategic partnership with the ILO are extremely important in promoting an agenda for
decent work and social justice. The concept of the social protection floor and the promotion of the 2012 ILO Recommendation
202 could signify enormous progress.
Nevertheless, we have to remain cautious. We cannot ignore that while the EU is promoting social protection in
the South, it is disassembling social protection systems in its own Member States. The EU’s austerity policies have
caused havoc in social policies in many countries