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Widersprüchliche Nachhaltigkeit – UN-Agenda 2030 und SDGs bei uns und in der Welt

Mi, 21. September 2016: 17:30 Uhr

bis

Do, 22.09.16, 17:00 Uhr

Im vergangenen Jahr haben die Vereinten Nationen die universal gültige Agenda 2030 und die Ziele für Nachhaltige Entwicklung (SDGs) beschlossen. Doch was bedeutet Nachhaltigkeit eigentlich für die UN und für uns? Wie können die ambitionierten Ziele umgesetzt werden und welche Zielkonflikte können dabei entstehen? Wie kann es gelingen, Entwicklung und Nachhaltigkeit auf praktischer Ebene miteinander zu verbinden?

Mit der Tagung "Widersprüchliche Nachhaltigkeit – UN-Agenda 2030 und SDGs bei uns und in der Welt" möchte die DGVN Einblicke in die Umsetzung durch verschiedene Politikebenen geben und exemplarisch an verschiedenen Themen mögliche Zielkonflikte, Herausforderungen und Chancen aufzeigen. 

Programm und Anmeldung: http://www.dgvn.de/veranstaltungen/einzelansicht/?tx_mjseventpro_pi1%5BshowUid%5D=626&cHash=4981de1722430cae3059f4212d633f6a

 

SYMPOSIUM "SOCIAL PROTECTION SYSTEMS - TYING THE KNOTS"

The department of Social Security Studies, Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences together with the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation, GIZ, the German Development Institute, and the Maastricht Graduate School of Governance are convening an international symposium

September 5-6, 2016, Bonn, Germany.

https://www.h-brs.de/en/sv/termin/symposium-socialprotection-2016

UN LIBRARY GENEVA
1 September 2016
Wir sind UNO: Deutsche bei den Vereinten Nationen

http://www.unog.ch/unog/website/library.nsf/(httpLibraryTalksByYear_en)/0557E7EB62E28EFEC1258018003BA834?OpenDocument&year=2016&navunid=A3609D61BE9ADE32C125792500519C47

 Speakers:

Gabriele Köhler.

Senior Research Associate, UNRISD, formerly UNCTAD

Gesche Karrenbrock.

Former UNHCR Representative in the Russian Federation

Juliane Drews.

People Development Officer, UNAIDS

Ekkehard Griep.

Editor, Vice Chairman, UN Association of Germany

 

Finally out: 

Assessing the SDGs from the standpoint of eco-social policy: using the SDGs subversively

Journal of International and Compartive Social Policy

July 2016

 To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/21699763.2016.1198715

 

Dimensions of Global Social Policy 

International Conference, Bielefeld, 18-20 July 2016 

Discussions on the notion of social policy, with Alexandra Kaasch, Lutz Leisering, Huck-Ju Kwon, 

Gabriele Koehler, and many others.

 

Lecture series 'Signaturen der Weltgesellschaft'

28 June 2016

Institute for World Society Studies

Bielefeld University

Gabriele Köhler: 70 Jahre Entwicklungspolitik und die 3 UNs

http://www.uni-bielefeld.de/soz/iw/events/lectures.html

Kathmandu 26 May 2016

Himal Innovative Development and Research (HIDR) convened a Policy Dialogue on the SDGs and Challenges  of Inclusive Social Policy in Nepal

Speaker: Gabriele Köhler

Paper http://hidrnepal.com/index.php/activities

Also see an interview with Indu Tuladhar in issue 2/2016 of SÜDASIEN, South Asia journal of the South Asia Office, Cologne

www.suedasien.de

 

UN LIBRARY TALK, GENEVA,

6 APRIL 2016

Gender and the SDGs - are the SDGs good news for women?

Speakers/panellists/chair

  • Valeria Esquivel
  • Gabriele Koehler
  • Taffere Tesfachew
  • Rafael Diez de Medina

Based on issue I/2016 of Gender and Development

www.unrisd.org

www.unog.ch

www.oxfam.org

See the discussion at:

http://www.unrisd.org/80256B3C005BD6AB/(httpEvents)/E3A8A2D31AD277FEC1257F7F004C08EE?OpenDocument

 

Empowerment, die Nachhaltigkeitsagenda und die 60. Sitzung der UN-Frauenrechtskommission

Vom 14.- 24. März tagt in New York die Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). Die Frauenrechtskommission macht sich nicht einfach nur stark für die Rechte der Frau, sondern ihr geht es um Geschlechtergerechtigkeit und um unsere Selbstbestimmung – also um Empowerment.

www.dgvn.de

Applying the new universal sustainable development agenda to Germany

The SDGs - as they are abbreviated - apply to Germany to. Civil society, academics and, perhaps most visibly, government ministries are examing sustainability objectives and the measures required to create a socially, economically and politically sustainable society. To discuss cooperation on this between the German UN Association and the many development-oriented institutions in Bonn, board members Matthias Böhning, Patrick Rohde and Gabriele Köhler together with UNA secretary-general Lisa Heemann met with policy makers and experts at the UN Campus, the German Development Institute, the City of Bonn and the Ministry of Development Cooperation. http://www.dgvn.de/ /dgvn-vorstandsmitglieder-auf-antrittsbesuch-in-bonn/

NOW AVAILABLE

http://zedbooks.co.uk/ /poverty-and-the-millennium-development-goals

Poverty and the Millennium Development Goals
A Critical Look Forward
Edited by Alberto Cimadamore, Gabriele Koehler and Thomas Pogge

As the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), pass their 2015 deadline and the international community begins to discuss the future of UN development policy, Poverty and the Millennium Development Goals brings together leading economists from both the Global North and South to provide a much needed critique of the prevailing development agenda. By examining current development efforts, goals and policies, it exposes the structurally flawed and misleading measurements of poverty and hunger on which these efforts have been based, and which have led official sources to routinely underestimate the scale of world poverty even as the global distribution of wealth becomes ever more imbalanced.

Contact Gabriele at gkoehler50@hotmail.com for a review copy. 

Policies to tackle poverty

From the CROP series of interviews on poverty research, see Gabriele Köhler on the causes of poverty and the strategies and policies to eradicate it.
  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJjhqlMJ7co

November 2015

Nepal nach dem Beben
Das Land ist wirtschaftlich am Boden
Marcus Niehaves
Moderator von makro

Studiogast Gabriele Köhler

Nepal ist nicht wirtschaftllch am Ende, das BSP steigt 2015/2016 trotz Erdbeben, Blockade und anderer gravierender Probleme um mindestens 2%. Und - Spenden kommen schon an, entgegen der Meinung vieler Medien. Siehe www.3sat.de und www.3sat.de.

September 2015

A new reader Gender and human security, edited by Zaneta Ozolina of Latvia University, looks at the interdepence of objective factors of human wellbeing and subjective perceptions of insecurity. Gabriele Köhler's chapter in this volume traces the notion of human security in its UN historical context, and combines it with the notion of gender. The outcome is a proposal on a policy matrix spanning from the simple to the ambitious in terms of bringing together social and economic policies. The book is available at http://www.zinatnesgramatas.lv and copies of the chapter available from gkoehler50@hotmail.com

WSSF 2015: Transforming Global Relations for a Just World
13-16 September 2015 / Durban, South Africa

CROP hosted two panels at the World Social Science Forum 2015 in Durban, South Africa (13-16 September 2015).
The first panel,   “Poverty, Social justice and Policy in a Regional Comparative Perspective”,  was chaired by Bob Deacon (Professor Emeritus at Sheffield University, UK), with speakers  Jimi Adesina (Professor at University of South Africa), Jayati Ghosh (Professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, India) and Thomas Pogge (Professor at Yale University, US).The second panel on “Global Justice and Poverty in the Transformation of MDGs into SDGs” was chaired by CROP’s scientific director Alberto D. Cimadamore, with speakers David Hulme (Professor at University of Manchester), Gabriele Koehler (Senior Research Associate with UNRISD, Geneva) and Alberto Minujin (Professor at The New School, New York). See Gabriele's presentation herehttp://www.crop.org and see a recording here

 

JUST OUT:

Development and welfare policy in South Asia now available as a paperback. Order at https://www.routledge.com or contact gkoehler50@hotmail.com for a reduced price.

 

The UN - towards a post-2015 agenda: See the panel summary at
 
Auf dem Weg zu einer Agenda für nachhaltige Entwicklung – Der Synthesebericht von Ban Ki-moon und das Entwicklungsjahr 2015
DGVN-Mittagsgespräch
BERLIN, 3. Februar 2015 
Das Jahr 2015 wird ein entscheidendes für die Internationale Entwicklungspolitik sein. Im Dezember letzten Jahres hat der UN-Generalsekretär Ban Ki-moon deshalb seinen mit Spannung erwarteten Synthesebericht zur Post-2015-Agenda vorgestellt und damit die Basis für die Verhandlungen gelegt, die im Januar beginnen und im kommenden Herbst zu einer sogenannten „Post-2015-Agenda“ führen sollen, die das Label „Nachhaltige Entwicklung“ auch verdient. Wie ist der Bericht zu bewerten und was bedeutet er für die anstehenden Verhandlungen? Wurden die Erwartungen enttäuscht oder bildet er eine gute und hoffnungsvolle Grundlage für das Entwicklungsjahr 2015? Diesen Fragen wollen wir im Rahmen eines Mittagsgesprächs nachgehen und gleichzeitig einen Ausblick auf die wichtigen Gipfel, Konferenzen und Events in diesem Jahr wagen.
Dr. Silke Weinlich, Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)
Günter Mitlacher, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) 
Gabriele Köhler, Visiting Fellow bei UNRISD und Mitglied des DGVN-Vorstandes
 
Development and welfare policy in South Asia
See interview with Deepta Chopra and Gabriele Koehler on the publisher's website under South Asia Development or Development Studies. And a write-up in The Book ReviewVolume XXXVIII No. 12. 2014
 
Is there an Asian welfare state model?
published in Chinese in the journal Social Security Studies, Issue 2/2014, at Zhongguo renmin daxue, Beijing, Dec.2014
 
 
New UNRISD appointment
UNRISD - the UN Research Institute on Social Development - based in Geneva appointed Gabriele as a Senior Research Associate in September 2014. From the announcement: "Gabriele Koehler has collaborated with UNRISD for the project inception workshop for New Directions in Social Policy, 2014, presenting a paper on "New Social Policy Directions? Some Reflections on South Asia". Gabriele also presented a seminar in the UNRISD Seminar Series on Innovation, Human Rights and Feasibility: Development and Welfare Policy in South Asia in May 2014.
For her association with UNRISD, she is interested in three areas of research and policy thinking: the emerging development agenda beyond 2015 and the – neglected – role of the state; the discourse around human security and human rights; and the interface of social protection with broader social and economic policies, notably employment and decent work, international trade and investment policies. Her publications, journalistic articles and advisory work focus on political economy and policy issues. Her regional specialization is Asia, notably South Asia and Southeast Asia.
Gabriele is also a board member of Women in Europe for a Common Future, of the UN Association of Germany, and an elected member of the Advisory Group to the Munich City Council Commission on Municipal Development Cooperation. She is a member of the UNICEF National Committee Germany. As a hobby, she is on the board of the Friends of the Museum of Five Continents, Munich."

 

the concept of development

until recently refered to development processes in low-income countries. However, as discussions evolve on the post-2015 development decade, a consensus has emerged that all countries, regardless of the level of GDP per capita or or their human development index, are in a process of 'development' - in the sense of economic, social, ecological and political evolution. The objective of 'development' everywhere needs to be about structural change, social transformation, human rights, gender justice and child rights, economic equity, and about halting and reversing man-made climate change. These objectives are aspirations for all countries and all peoples. The Sustainable Development Goals, up for adoption in the UN General Assembly this September, will be universal and apply to all countries. Ths will pose many new challenges, such as how to ensure equity in development opportunities among countries, how low-income countries will catch up, and how to adopt sustainable consumption and production patterns in the overcomsuming North while increasing the level of employment and decent, productive, creative work - in all countries.

ideas & commentaries

19. September 2016: UN Flüchtlingsgipfel, New York

Wessen Flüchtlingskrise?

Man redet und schreibt in deutschen Medien viel über die Flüchtlingskrise. Und in der Tat ist es eine Herausforderung, wenn Jobcenter und Behörden, kleinere Kommunen, oder Arztpraxen jetzt mehr Menschen zu betreuen haben als vor zwei Jahren. In der Tat ist es ein Problem, mit Vorstellungen konfrontiert zu werden, nach denen Frauen nicht gleichberechtigt wären, oder die homophob oder antisemitisch sind. In der Tat können sich Menschen, die ökonomisch und sozial prekär leben, weil ihre Jobs oder ihre Rentenansprüche nicht gesichert sind oder sie mit dem Hartz-IV-Minimum auskommen müssen, verunsichert fühlen, wenn jetzt eine neue Gruppe von Menschen in unsicheren Umständen in ihre Umgebung zieht.  Diese nachvollziehbaren Ängste, Vorbehalte, Sorgen müssen offen, mit Empathie, aber unemotional aufgegriffen werden, und mit Fakten diskutiert werden.

Für diese vielschichtigen Herausforderungen und neuen Aufgaben braucht es Engagement und vielerlei neue Stellen. Sozialausgaben in Bund und in Ländern müssen großzügig aufgestockt werden, was nun sehr zögerlich geschieht. Für ein Land wie Deutschland, das einen Haushaltsüberschuss hat, ist das ökonomisch objektiv überhaupt kein Problem, wenn man es nur subjektiv will, zu Solidarität bereit ist und es schafft, vom fiskalischen Austeritätswahn abzurücken. Auch sozial ist die Aufnahme von Menschen auf der Flucht keine Krise, insofern als es in Deutschland viele gut-ausgebildete Expertinnen und Experten in Bildungs- und Ausbildungsberufen, im Gesundheitswesen, in der Therapie, in den Medien gibt, und zugleich eine lange und bewundernswerte Tradition des Ehrenamts.  Die Flüchtingskrise wird von daher völlig zu Unrecht als eine Krise für Deutschland stilisiert.

Es handelt sich aber natürlich sehr wohl um eine Krise – nämlich für diejenigen Menschen, die keine andere Lösung für sich und ihre Familie sehen, als ihr Heimatland zu verlassen. Das ist, weil sie dort Krieg und bewaffnetem Konflikt, Verfolgung, Folter, Ausgrenzung, ausgeliefert  sind, oder weil Armut und die Folgen des Klimawandels direkt oder indirekt ihre Einkommensmöglichkeiten ausgehebelt haben.

Wir wissen es aus den Medien: 65 Millionen Menschen sind derzeit aus solchen Gründen auf der Flucht. Etwa 40 Millionen Menschen sind Binnenflüchtlinge im eigenen Land. 20 Millionen Menschen sind in Anrainerländer oder auch weiter weg geflohenEtwa die Hälfte sind Kinder, von denen viele noch dazu ohne Eltern oder Verwandte zurechtkommen müssen. Keine und keiner flieht nur so aus Spaß oder Abenteuerlust.

Es handelt sich auch um eine Krise für arme Länder: fast 90 % der Flüchtlinge leben in einkommensschwachen Ländern. Fünf arme Ländern beherbergen große Flüchtlingsgruppen, und das zum Teil seit Jahrzehnten: Pakistan, der Libanon, Iran, Äthiopien, und Jordanien. In Nepal, einem der ärmsten Länder der Welt, leben seit 20 Jahren Flüchtlinge aus Bhutan; Dadaab, eines der größten Flüchtlingslager der Welt, ist in Kenya. In der Türkei leben derzeit 2.5 Millionen Flüchtlinge.

Die Solidarität, die der UN-Generalsekretärskandidat und frühere Flüchtlingshochkommissar Antonio Guterres  seit Jahren anmahnt, muss bei den Flüchtenden sein.

Zum ersten Mal in ihrer Geschichte trifft sich die UN-Generalversammlung  nun zu einem  Gipfel zur Lage von Flüchtenden und Migrantinnen und MigrantenKarl-Heinz Meyer-Braun hat zu recht gewarnt:  es  besteht die Gefahr, dass die Weltgemeinschaft die Lösung der Flüchtlingskrise einfach auf diese – auch nur - eintägige Konferenz in New York abwälzt, um dann den Vereinten Nationen den schwarzen Peter zuzuschieben, wenn weiterhin zu wenig geschieht.

 

Es besteht aber – vielleicht wider besseren Wissens – immer noch die Hoffnung, dass UN-Mitgliedsländer wachgerüttelt werden und sich ihrer Versprechen  erinnern. Dazu gehören das  Recht auf Asyl, das seit der Menschenrechtserklärung von 1948  verpflichtend ist, die Genfer Flüchtlingskonvention, aber auch neuere Vereinbarungen, wie die Kinderrechtskonvention, die ILO-Empfehlung zur universellen sozialen Grundsicherung (R202 von 2012) und die Nachhaltigkeitsagenda, die genau  vor einem Jahr versprach, “to empower refugees and migrants” (Präambel, Para 23).

zuerst erschienen auf dgvn.de.
 

26 June 2016

What does the Brexit mean for us women?

The Brexit is not gender neutral.

What is good about the EU idea for everyone, whether living in Europe or elsewhere in the world, is the notion of open borders and open minds, giving us a pacifist, human rights-based identity – this promise is still there even if it has been fundamentally violated these past years.

What is good for everyone and especially women and for people who are in difficult situations – migrant workers, many of whom are women - and asylum seekers, many of whom are children - are the EU’s core philosophy and values of equality, rights, solidarity, social justice and a (certain degree of) commitment to climate justice.

What is good, especially for young people and children, is the freedom of movement of persons, the coming-together in work and leisure, in culture, sports, in teaching and research. The freedom of movement without visas and work permits could be hollowed out if the British government and the EU do not manage to negotiate an amicable separation.

What is bad about the EU for us women is the EU’s neoliberal economic policy – its penchant for deregulated labour markets and its  fixation on debilitating fiscal austerity. These policies affect women in the workplace and in the care economy, because they undermine decent work and social security, and systematically underfund the necessary investments in education, health services, and social infrastructure – which need to expand massively. Neoliberal policies deprive us of leisure time.  This will not change for people in Britain by leaving the EU – not as long as the UK Conservatives are in power.

There are gender implications also at the global level. The Brexit  is by implication a nationalist choice. We as progressive women have a commitment to multilateralism, where the understanding is that not only all people but also all peoples are equal.  National interests – perceived or real – need to be negotiated with all other countries’ interests to find common, humanist ground. That is why we support entities such as the EU and the UN – with all their faults (which we persistently analyse and patiently work on changing).

So:

                For Europe:

We need to come up with  “purple flags” – a list of those commitments that must be contained in the Brexit separation package – in the interest of women, of gender equality, the interests of youth, and children’s rights in the UK and in the EU.

                Globally:

We need to keep our eye trained on the UN ball. We need to make sure the UK meets its commitments to the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Some of the Conservative and pro-Brexit ideology is not conform with the spirit of the agenda of “transforming our world”.

                And last not least -  but certainly not a footnote:

The selection of the next UN Secretary-General is imminent. The UK is a permanent member of the Security Council and in that capacity will cast their vote for the next S-G.  We need to make sure that Mr Cameron or his successor vote for a gender-empowering person with courage. We need an S-G who will boldly defend human rights and promote economic and social justice, climate justice, and gender equality. Now more than ever.

See http://www.networkideas.org/feathm/jul2016/ft11_Not_Gender_Neutral.htm

http://www.wecf.eu/english/articles/2016/07/Brexit-Koehler.php

January 2016

The Sustainable Development Agenda has been adopted. As of 1 January 2016, governments, civil society, academics, philanthropic societies and even the business community are exploring how best and most effectively to begin its implementation. So, what is in it?

On my optimistic days, I am happy and welcome the Agenda. It has succeeded in combining a concern for the planet with the objective of equitable economic and social development. For decades, these two crucial concerns had been confined in separate silos and the obvious connection was not really made. The new Agenda now clearly states that equity cannot be achieved if large groups of humanity live in poverty and social exclusion, nor if the earth is overexploited and irreversibly damaged. The Agenda also visibly links sustainable development and human rights – and thereby establishes a platform for the disenfranchised to claim their rights. It has many points that speak to the empowerment of women and promises to overcome centuries-old gender oppression. It actually uses the word transformative – creating great expectations for radical change. So, there is a lot to be happy with.

On my cynical days, I totally question the entire exercise on many levels. First of all, the time line is ridiculous and obscene. The SDGs are to be delivered only by 2030. So, until then, one is accepting that millions of children will be stunted by malnutrition, mothers die in childbirth, workers slave in unacceptable forms of work, and the majority of the world’s population live without at least a minimum income, social protection, or property rights. The resources needed to attain sustainable development have not been committed: many governments are in fact cutting their budgets for social expenditures, the rich countries have not agreed to financially support the low-income countries’ public investments. Hardly any country is moving to tax the ultra-rich and make an effort to redistribute incomes and wealth, although income and wealth inequalities are at the highest point in a century. Also, most of the 193 governments that adopted the Agenda and committed to human rights and sustainable development violate many of those very principles. Human rights violations happen on a daily basis, in the openly violent form of political persecution, or in the more hidden forms of denying women and children access to health, education, and care, and exposing children and adults to exploitative forms of work in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, or fishing. Planetary destruction continues, even if the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, adopted in December 2015, promised to move away from harmful forms of energy into renewables.

On my analytical days, I re-read the Agenda and try to understand its logic. It then becomes clear to me that, in essence, it sounds transformative, but in essence merely reaffirms the prevailing power structures. The Agenda does not attack the logic of capitalism, which ultimately is at the root of poverty, systemic social exclusion, and the overuse of the planet’s resources. It is not really radical, but rather stands in the long line of well-meaning but ultimately inconclusive development decades. I appreciate that the text is as good as it could get, given the current constellation of power. For one, the old-and the newly-rich countries shape the global economy. They drove negotiations for a global agenda and made sure it did not rock the boat. For another, there are the elites in most countries who do not yet fully recognise that the current income inequalities result in political tensions that undermine everyone’s wellbeing. Therefore, it is in their own interest to enable a redistribution of wealth and incomes. They also need to recognise that an unsustainable exploitation of natural resources, of land, oceans, energy, will make the planet uninhabitable for all. The horrifying strife and violence we see in so many “fragile” states are ultimately a result of economic and ecological exploitation. But, given the power divides in the world, this is a text that the negotiations among very unequal powers could work out as a common denominator.

So then, on my activist days, I clearly see an opening:  we must use the SDGs subversively. And this in two ways. Firstly, we need to seize the policy recommendations that can be gleaned from the text and move them forward aggressively. This refers to several important policy references contained in the text. After all, it has a number of references to gender equity  and women’s empowerment. It promotes the social protection floors - which is crucial to universalising the fundamental right to social protection. That in turn would raise everyone’s income on the planet at least above the poverty line and ensure access to health services. It recognises the importance of the care economy and the need to introduce fair pay for care services. Those are big steps.

Secondly, we need to instrumentalise the promise of transformation conveyed by the text. To do that,  we need to fill the policy gaps. The most important one is the missing policy framework for decent work. While decent work gets mention in many place, it is not spelt out how it would be achieved. Here, we therefore need to pull in some work from other parts of the UN system. There are the ILO Conventions on labour standards, and on the Worst forms of child labour (C 182 of 1999), the Convention on homework (C177 of 1996), the Convention on domestic workers (C 189 of 2011), and the most recent Recommendation on formalising the informal economy (R 204 of 2015). There is the analysis the ILO is leading on unacceptable forms of work. This policy work needs to be directly linked up with and integrated into the Sustainable Development Agenda.

Complementing this are the Human Rights Conventions, such as the Convention on the Eradication of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW, 1979), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC, 1989), and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD, 2006). Each of these contain detailed policy prescriptions notably for decent work. There is moreover the path-breaking work of the OCHCR special rapporteurs on poverty, on the right to food, on slavery, on the right to health and the right to water, to name just a few that have direct relevance for the SDGs. The OHCHR processes are establishing soft law that can logically be connected to the new Sustainable Development Agenda. Technically, it is a small step, politically, it won’t be easy, but it can be done.

More difficult, challenging, but not impossible, we need to turn the entire logic of the Agenda on its head. By taking its transformative vocabulary seriously, we can point out that a genuine shift towards economic, social and ecological justice needs to move out of a capitalist logic. That is something that will require a very-broad political and social coalition. It will need to build alliances across interest groups, and use, expand  and reinterpret the Sustainable Development Agenda. Let’s be subversive!

November 2015

Still crying for Nepal – six months later[1]

Six months after the Nepal earthquakes there has been a spike in international media interest in the country. Many programmes and articles have looked into the fate of the survivors. As six months ago, one needs to cry as one watches the footage or reads the reports – cry for those bereaved, those traumatised by the quake and continuing aftershocks, for those whose homes were destroyed and who huddle under tarpaulins and lean-tos. One can but cry for children who are orphaned or lost siblings and friends or are being trafficked; for the pregnant women and young mothers with so safe, clean, warm spaces; for widowed women; for women and girls lacking hygiene kits and privacy during menstruation. One cries for young men who had migrated to the Gulf states for work and cannot return home to help their families because of the cruel, feudal kafala system http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/01/us-nepal-migrants-qatar-idUSKBN0OH2ZM20150601 – akin to bonded labour. One cries for members of the Dalit and Tamang communities who, among the poorest in the country, find themselves pushed even further into income poverty and social exclusion http://idsn.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/UPR-Nepal-2015-Key-recommendations1.pdf.  .

And one is totally distressed by the lack of action by Kathmandu political party bosses, who do not appear much concerned with the plight of these communities. More than six months after the earthquake, the government has failed to establish a reconstruction authority http://thehimalayantimes.com/nepal/pm-oli-seeks-nepali-congress-help-in-reconstruction-authority/ , which would be the conduit for finance towards the reconstruction of housing, schools, clinics, roads and walkways, and other infrastructure. This is all the more infuriating because the Nepal Planning Commission, together with the country’s line ministries and UN experts, had compiled a well-documented inventory of damage, reconstruction requirements, and associated cost for the donor meeting convened in June:  the Post Disaster Needs Assessment http://www.preventionweb.net/english/professional/publications/v.php?id=44973 .  http://icnr2015.mof.gov.np/uploaded//PDNA%20Volume%20A%20Final.pdf ;  http://www.preventionweb.net/files/44973_pdnavolumeb.pdf.

Donors – India, the development banks, China, Japan, and others - pledged US$4 billion towards a reconstruction fund. But with few exceptions, such as the Asian Development Bank, donors are reluctant to disburse funds before the technical and accountability and monitoring mechanisms are in place. Perhaps a lame excuse, perhaps a valid concern. The people affected are those under the tarpaulins, not those in the offices. Among those who could benefit are migrant workers who – for the sad reason of earthquake destruction – would perhaps find employment at home generated by a solid and professionally-coordinated reconstruction effort.

But while no  – or very limited -  reconstruction finance is reaching the country, humanitarian aid efforts do impress. Humanitarian assistance has arrived in many forms. Local youth, often from privileged backgrounds, have been trekking to villages with supplies and donations.  Some NRNs – non-resident Nepalis from the professional and business classes - have returned with capital and skills. Foreigners, from long-time humanitarians to tourists, are supporting villages and communities, hands-on and with donations.

On a more coordinated level, the UN has been able to distribute US$ 25 million in the form of cash benefits and employment schemes http://www.unocha.org/nepal. UNICEF has partnered with the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Government, and the district committees to provide a top up of US$ 30 per person to all current recipients of government assistance – widows, people with disabilities, seniors, children of the Dalit caste. US$ 15 million are available for this, and have so far reached 300 000 people http/::unicef.org.np:uploads:files:699923547224887400-051015-road-to-recovery-project-briefing.pdf. This is in parallel to the massive effort to provide food and tents, led by the World Food Programme https://www.wfp.org/emergencies/nepal/, and the health clinics and vaccination drives, drinking water purification measures, and temporary school spaces that have been set up by several UN agencies.

There are two other key - but literally invisible  - areas of post-earthquake professional aid. One is around psychosocial support to deal with distress and traumata, coming from UNICEF, http://unicef.org.np/media-centre/reports-and-publications/2015/06/10/unicef-child-protection-nepal-earthquake-response-april-may-2015 and from NGOs such as OXFAM https://www.oxfam.org/en/nepal-earthquake-nepal/nepal-earthquake-response-six-months and Don Bosco   http://www.don-bosco-mondo.de/projekte/projektlaender/asien/nepal/erdbeben-in-nepal-don-bosco-einrichtungen-bieten-schutz-und-unterkunft.

Another is around   offering – at least minimal  -  hygiene  and personal safety items to women and girls – sanitary pads, flashlights, whistles. This is a wonderful initiative of UN Women and UNFPA that needs more recognition and support. http://iawg.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/UNFPA_Dignity-Kit-Guidance-note.pdf; http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2015/5/restoring-dignity-women-mobilize-relief-efforts-in-nepal.

But two huge challenges exacerbate the earthquake tragedy. Both stem from the fact that Nepal is riven by massive economic poverty - 8 million people - out of the country's 28 million population - live with less than $1.25 per day. The economic poverty is made worse and intersects with soul-deep gender discriminaton and caste and ethnic divisions.

The upheaval among the Tharu and Madheshi communities in the southern districts of Nepal has resulted in more than 40 deaths. Imports of medicines, foodstuffs, building materials, and fuel have been disrupted since September. The conflict was ignited by the new Constitution, which is seen to systematically under-represent the Terai communities in national decision making bodies. Many Nepali journalists are accusing the government of India of blockading Nepal to pressurise for amendments in the Constitution; Indian commentators describe the fear of Indian transport workers who consider entering Nepal as too risky. In any case, it would be the urgent responsibility of the political leaders and of the intellectual elites of Nepal to press for a peaceful and equitable resolution of this political conflict turned violent.

The Dalit – the Oppressed – caste has traditionally been excluded economically, socially, politically. This syndrome is reproduced painfully in the post-earthquake situation http://idsn.org/urgent-appeal-to-combat-caste-discrimination-in-nepal-earthquake-relief-efforts/. There are numerous reports of Dalit villagers not receiving allocations of food or other aid. In a recent survey, 80% of the Dalits interviewed felt there has been wilful negligence in providing the relief and immediate support. http://idsn.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/REPORT-OF-IMMEDIATE-ASSESSMENT-Relief-for-Dalits-in-NEPAL-2015.pdf.

What can be done? Some issues will take a generation to eliminate – ethnic and caste discrimination may be reinforced or condoned by elites, but the actual transgressions occur at the community level; thus it will require patient behaviour change influence to eradicate these forms of oppression, in addition of course to implementing the existing anti-discrimination legislation. Other issues need to tackled head-on immediately. They include as a matter of urgency the politics and violence surrounding controversial sections of the Constitution, and the institutional vacuum created by the absence of a reconstruction authority.

How much longer does one need to cry for Nepal?

Also see for documentation on the situation and an interview calling for tourism, humanitarian aid, and reconstruction finance as ways to support Nepal http://www.3sat.de/page/?source=/boerse/magazin/183816/index.html .

August 2015

Seven Decades of ‘Development’, and Now What?

Year 2015 is slated as a year of transformation to address unprecedented political, ecological, social, gender and economic inequities. UN negotiations are underway to produce new sustainable development goals (SDGs). The paper argues that ideas matter in the conceptualisation of development agendas, which in turn depend on power constellations within and between the first UN—the member states, the second UN—the UN secretariat and agencies, and the third UN—civil society. The paper tracks past development decades and examines whether the SDGs can and will be as visionary as the UN Charter adopted in 1945, which created moral pressure for institutional and policy change.

Journal of International Development Special Issue: The Post-2015 Moment: Towards Sustainable Development Goals and a New Global Development Paradigm

Volume 27, Issue 6, pages 733–751, August 2015

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jid.3108/full

 

24 June 2015

Siehe auch http://www.weltwirtschaft-und-entwicklung.org/wearchiv/042ae6a4c10fd6b01.php http://menschliche-entwicklung-staerken.dgvn.de/meldung/addis-new-york-worum-geht-es-da-eigentlich/  http://www.wecf.eu/german/presse/2015/SDG-Informationsbrief.php

2015: auf 3 Gipfel zusteuernd

Der G7-Gipfel mit seinen scheinbar progressiven aber letztendlich zaghaften Entscheidungen [1]und der spannende Münchner Alternativgipfel[2] mit der harten Analyse von ungefesselter Globalisierung und Klimazerstörung sind vorbei. Jetzt geht es um globale Gipfel, deren in diesem Jahr drei anstehen.

Zur Erinnerung: 2015 sind es über 40 Jahre, seit die Umwelt das erste Mal in einer umfassenden Konferenz thematisiert wurde.[3] 2015 sind es 20 Jahre seit der Beijinger Weltfrauenkonferenz und dem Weltsozialgipfel von Kopenhagen. Diese Konferenzen waren Meilensteine einer progressiven internationalen Politik. In den 60er Jahren fing man an, sich um die Umwelt zu sorgen, aufgerüttelt durch Umweltstudien wie Rachel Carsons Silent Spring (New York, 1962) und die Warnungen des Club of Rome. Als Antwort auf die Stockholmer Umweltkonferenz wurde 1972 UNEP gegründet. In den 90er Jahren gab es in vielen der politisch-einflussreichen Länder Regierungen, die positiv auf den internationalen sozialpolitischen Diskurs ausstrahlten.[4] Die UNO hatte ihrerseits Auftrieb durch das Ende des kalten Krieges und charismatische Beamte an der Spitze, und machte sich endlich wieder stark für Menschenrechte und soziale Gerechtigkeit.

Die Weltlage ist 2015 nicht so progressiv gestimmt – obwohl UN-Generalsekretär wie Regierungsvertreter gern etwas euphemistisch von einer „transformativen Agenda“ sprechen, die die Milleniumsziele ablösen solle. Der „Norden“ ist konservativ und in grossen Teilen der Austerität verschrieben, und der „Süden“ hat sich entsolidarisiert durch das Heranwachsen von Schwellenländern.

Zur Finanzierung von nachhaltiger Entwicklung


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