WASHINGTON DC – Yet another high-level panel has designed yet another “roadmap” to universal prosperity and a hunger-free world – by 2030. A new set of goals is likely to replace the current Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). “Once again, the goalposts of development are being moved instead of the goals being met,” says a jaded observer of international affairs.
The panel was created by UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon. Its co-chairs were Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and British Prime Minister David Cameron.
WASHINGTON DC – “We don’t do dynasties,” a Canadian friend said quite huffily, when asked about the likelihood of Justin Trudeau, the son of the late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, and Margaret Trudeau, being voted into office as the country’s next prime minister.
ROME – Youth At the last summit of European heads of state in Brussels, the main theme was youth unemployment, which has now reached 23% of European youth (although it stands at 41% in Spain). Last year, the International Labour Organization issued a dramatic report on 'Global Employment Trends for Youth 2012' in which it spoke of a “lost generation”.
GENEVA - Leaders of several Latin American countries have set up a new coalition to coordinate actions to face the growing number of international legal suits being taken against governments by transnational companies.
A ministerial meeting of 12 countries held in Guayaquil, Ecuador, decided on several joint actions to counter the threat posed by these law suits, which have claimed millions or even billions of dollars from governments.
“No more should small countries face law suits from big companies by themselves,” said Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino, at a media conference after the meeting which he chaired. “We have now decided to deal with the challenges posed by these transnational companies in a coordinated way.”
BERLIN - When Erik Bettermann, the outgoing director-general of the German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle, launched the Global Media Forum in 2008, he had an ambitious aim: to institute a 'media Davos' on the banks of the river Rhine. The recently concluded sixth Forum has indeed achieved that aim. It imbibed the essential spirit of the World Economic Forum in the Swiss Alps and manifested alternative approaches guiding the World Social Forum.
This is the text of a presentation at a workshop – 'Turning a Crisis into an Opportunity: Humanizing the Economy' – organised on June 18 by IDN partner Pressenza International Press Agency at the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum 2013 in Bonn. It is being reproduced by arrangement with Pressenza.
Gift economies could be very potent and effective organizing tools for creating value. We have many examples of gift economies in our world today, such as community gardens or free/open software, where no money is paid for the creation and maintenance of this resource but instead people contribute time and talent and get recognition and respect as well as shared access to the resources
By Ted Hewitt*
LONDON, ONTARIO - Much of the global media has focused on the protests occurring throughout Brazil. Almost all have drawn their own conclusions as to the cause of the tumult, and almost all in splendid contradiction. Similarly, there has been an enduring preoccupation in most news reports with the violence and looting associated with all such public demonstrations.
In reality, both the causes and the effects of the Brazilian protests are only poorly understood at this point; and for its part, the violence portrayed in the media has primarily been the exception rather than the rule.
MUMBAI - From being an irrigation tract in its early days to being developed by the British to resettle communities – affected by the Great Mumbai Fire that broke in 1803 at the Fort area – and then eventually mushroom into a bustling business district, Bhendi Bazaar in India’s South Mumbai, has come a long way in terms of socio-economic evolution.
The market area derives its name from a plantation of thespesia populnia or bhendi in the north-west of Dongri as mentioned in the Maharashtra State Gazette. Surprisingly, even with its 200-year-history of characteristic entrepreneurial resilience, Bhendi Bazaar gradually sunk in an abyss of civic neglect and infrastructural despair leading it to be seriously challenged in a liberal Indian economy.
WASHINGTON DC - While in Myanmar's Kachin State in May, I visited a number of displacement camps around and I also met with Kachin community-based organizations (CBOs) who deliver aid in both government and non-government controlled areas.
Over 100,000 people have been displaced since conflict between the Myanmar military and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) resumed in June 2011. While about 35,000 of these individuals are living in government-controlled areas, more than half of the displaced are located behind rebel lines, in areas controlled by the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO), the KIA’s political wing.
GENEVA - There is good news from Africa. The continent is witnessing the second fastest economic growth, and according to knowledgeable sources it may grow even faster in 2013. What is more, currently Africa accounts for 14 sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) with a total amount of USD114 billion in 2009, representing 3% of global SWFs, and that share is expected to increase in future with the establishment of new SWFs.
After expanding 5% a year in the past two years, well above the global average, Africa’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is on track to grow by 5.3% this year. This was the upshot od from a televised debate with the presidents of Nigeria and South Africa and business leaders at the 43rd World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland
PARIS - “Despite considerable success on many economic and social policy fronts over the past 19 years, South Africa faces a number of long-standing economic problems that still reflect at least in part the long‑lasting and harmful legacy of apartheid,” according to a new report by the prestigious Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) .
The report titled ‘Economic Survey of South Africa 2013’ finds that unemployment remains excessively high, educational outcomes are poor on average and extremely uneven, which aggravates the excess supply of unskilled labour as well as worsening income inequality. “In addition, the prospects for sustained improvements in well-being are compromised by environmental challenges, notably climate change and water stress.
WASHINGTON - Thanks to the bountiful oil under its desert sands and an equally plentiful supply of foreign labour – skilled and non-skilled – Saudi Arabia has enjoyed a booming economy. Prices of crude oil, nearly $100 a barrel for two years running, have largely spared Saudi Arabia the ill effects of the economic downturn that stalled many nations across the globe.
Thanks to the prosperity, the kingdom has also survived, relatively unscathed, the seismic events of the Arab Spring, spurred in large part by feelings of economic deprivation and political marginalization among Arab youths.
CAIRO - Egypt is once more doing things its own unique way. After millions of people went into the streets and in 18 days that shook the world succeeded in toppling the regime of Hosny Mubarak after 30 years of rule, they came back again in their millions into the streets and squares of Egypt and toppled Mohamed Morsi after one year of rule.
Dr. Mohamed Morsi was Egypt’s first elected civilian president, in free and fair elections organized by the post-Mubarak military rulers after 18 months of transitional governance. The people rejoiced in the election and the handover of power from the military to Dr. Morsi on July 1, 2012. They backed him in his bid to assert civilian leadership over the military.
KANDY - The two-year-old conflict in Syria rages on with the embattled dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad and his Ba’ath Party withstanding the attacks of a motley group of rebels supported by the West and by the money bag monarchies of Saudi Arabia and Qatar with Israel not far behind. Dictatorships - whether unelected, elected or inherited – are of course unacceptable in this day and age when the palpable consent of a sovereign people is paramount for the governance of independent countries. However, no regime change by self-appointed guardians of democracy from abroad can replace a genuine movement for change by the people, of the people and for the people.
Applicable international law, even in the implementation of the controversial 'Responsibility to Protect' doctrine, is very clear on this – only the Security Council can take action in the name of maintaining international peace and security. The tenth anniversary of the infamously illegal invasion of Iraq for the purpose of regime change and on the false pretext of eradicating weapons of mass destruction was recently observed by massive bombings and blood-letting in Iraq with a weak government presiding over a faction-ridden country coping with unbridled violence. Is that the future that awaits Syria?
WASHINGTON - A nuclear-armed Iran would not pose a fundamental threat to the United States and its regional allies like Israel and the Gulf Arab monarchies, according to a new report released here on May 17 by the Rand Corporation.
Entitled “Iran After the Bomb: How Would a Nuclear-Armed Tehran Behave?“, the report asserts that the acquisition by Tehran of nuclear weapons would above all be intended to deter an attack by hostile powers, presumably including Israel and the United States, rather than for aggressive purposes.
UNITED NATIONS - In the late 19th century, Russian playwright Anton Chekhov famously touted one golden rule for dramatic productions: if you show your audience a loaded gun in the first act, that gun must go off by the last.
But Chekhov’s storytelling trope is troubling if applied to the world’s weapons technology today, which include an estimated 17,300 nukes – used primarily by nations as props to leverage international power.
According to the Ploughshares Fund’s World Nuclear Stockpile Report, an estimated 8,500 nukes belong to Russia and 7,700 to the U.S. The seven other nations with a nuclear arsenal trail far behind: they include France (300), China (240), the U.K. (225), Pakistan (90-110), India (60-110), Israel (60-80) and most recently North Korea (10).
- Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is one of the most vociferous advocates of a world free of nuclear weapons. “Nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation are not utopian ideals,” he says. “They are critical to global peace and security.”
CAIRO - Not that nuclear issues are an actual source of concern to Egyptian citizens. They are deeply worried about their present and immediate future now that inter-religious violence is on the rise, triggering a dangerous, growing insecurity amidst an overwhelming popular discontent with President Mohamed Morsi's regime. Simply put, there is too much frustration and deception here to think of nukes.
Nevertheless, it is also a fact that the governments of Arabs countries in general, and in the Gulf region in particular – following reported U.S. political pressures – have lately been expressing increasing fear of Iran's nuclear programme and therefore focusing, again, on nukes.
BERLIN | GENEVA (IDN) - If it were up to the youth, all nuclear weapons in global arsenals would be declared inhumane and a comprehensive treaty banning these would be put in place.
This is the upshot of an international survey released at the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) during a milestone conference. The survey, carried out by youth members of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI), shows that 91.2% of respondents aged between 15 and 45 are of the view that nukes are inhumane and 80.6% favour a comprehensive global treaty banning all these weapons of mass annihilation.