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Array ( [0] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 678 [post_author] => 38 [post_date] => 2015-12-09 14:23:05 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-12-09 14:23:05 [post_content] => How does private sector development support structural transformation and enhance sustainable development outcomes? This might range from wealth and investment creation to employment-led growth. Private sector development might also drive innovation and technological development to building essential infrastructure. Furthermore, business and enterprise can also support entrepreneurship, help improve the quality of work and provide much needed increases in labour productivity. How can sustainable business support, strengthen and champion its impact on women’s resilience and wellbeing? In addition, how might governments, in partnership with civil society, provide support to facilitate and influence the development impact of business on women? By examining the transformative effect of business on women’s lives, livelihoods and wellbeing, the event series aims to explore a number of key themes including: • Female entrepreneurship, employment and agricultural development: Promoting food and nutritional security by improving support to women producers. • Bridging the gap between science, technology and innovation for development transformation in Africa: Tackling development dilemmas in agriculture (e.g. food and livestock security) and the environment (e.g. biodiversity and forestry). What works, what doesn’t and how can success be appropriately scaled-up and replicated? • Women and environmental resource management: Adapting to a changing environment and balancing conservation and consumption in an age of scarcity and uncertainty. The event series is scheduled to take place across in 2014/15. Following the roundtable discussion series, the FPC will produce a report (to be launched in 2015/16) which will build on the discussions and insights exchanged during the course of the event series. The report will capture the salient issues discussed and key findings identified. This event forms part of a wider Foreign Policy Centre series entitled: Africa Rising? Building Africa’s Productive Capacity for Inclusive Growth. Additional project supporters include Barclays and CDC Group. [post_title] => Summary note 1- Investing in women's economic resilience & social wellbeing [post_excerpt] => Part of the 'Africa Rising? Building Africa’s Productive Capacity for Inclusive Growth' series In a series of Foreign Policy Centre (FPC) roundtable discussions - supported by Nestlé - the FPC seeks to explore how business can play a more constructive role in building resilience to improve women’s economic and social wellbeing across Africa. The proposed series of roundtable discussions come at a time when global development priorities are being reshaped and redefined in the wake of a post-2015 UN Millennium Development Goals’ agenda. In addition, 2015 marks the 15th anniversary of the adoption of Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. This resolution promotes the importance of women in building peace and security in states affected by conflict. All this is coupled with the fact that the global economic recovery remains fragile. Existing inequality and insecurity disproportionately affects women, and has been compounded by the unprecedented global economic crisis, on-going austerity and mounting uncertainty. These conditions present very real challenges for public spending dedicated to development. As such, understanding the development transformation role played by business and enterprise has become increasingly important. This summary note reflects the discussions which took place at the opening session which aimed to explore the opportunities and challenges of private sector development in transforming the lives, livelihoods and enterprise of women across Africa. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => summary-note-1-investing-in-womens-economic-resilience-social-wellbeing [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-28 13:24:25 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-28 13:24:25 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://fpc.clearhonestdesign.com/summary-note-1-investing-in-womens-economic-resilience-social-wellbeing/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 974 [post_author] => 38 [post_date] => 2015-12-09 10:48:29 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-12-09 10:48:29 [post_content] => In this FPC Briefing Research Associate Andrew Southam examines the nationality protection used by a number of countries to prohibit the extradition of alleged criminals to face trial. This contrasts with the practice of a number of countries including the US and UK that do not refuse to return their own citizens to face trial, provided due process has been followed and proper safeguards are in place. This briefing sets out the situation and calls for steps towards removing the nationality bar from extradition practices. Southam argues that such a bar is against the modern trend to streamline extradition procedures, is an unnecessary protection given other safeguards, and is contrary to wider international initiatives to combat crime. The briefing makes suggestions about how this can be achieved and explores the benefits and disadvantages of alternatives, including local prosecutions. [post_title] => FPC Briefing: Extradition- Time to remove the nationality bar [post_excerpt] => In this FPC Briefing Research Associate Andrew Southam examines the nationality protection used by a number of countries to prohibit the extradition of alleged criminals to face trial. This contrasts with the practice of a number of countries including the US and UK that do not refuse to return their own citizens to face trial, provided due process has been followed and proper safeguards are in place. This briefing sets out the situation and calls for steps towards removing the nationality bar from extradition practices. Southam argues that such a bar is against the modern trend to streamline extradition procedures, is an unnecessary protection given other safeguards, and is contrary to wider international initiatives to combat crime. The briefing makes suggestions about how this can be achieved and explores the benefits and disadvantages of alternatives, including local prosecutions. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => fpc-briefing-extradition-time-to-remove-the-nationality-bar [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-27 09:02:10 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-27 09:02:10 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://fpc.clearhonestdesign.com/fpc-briefing-extradition-time-to-remove-the-nationality-bar/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 668 [post_author] => 38 [post_date] => 2015-12-07 14:21:23 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-12-07 14:21:23 [post_content] => Through a series of three roundtable discussions and the publication of a report supported by Barclays, the Foreign Policy Centre seeks to explore how greater financial inclusion has the potential to help drive the development of new businesses and new jobs, thereby igniting development transformation across Africa. Promising African economic outlook 2013 and addressing the financial inclusion-job creation challenge The global financial crisis has led to an economic age of austerity, mounting uncertainty and rising inequality. Yet, according to the 2013 African Economic Outlook, both 2013 and 2014 promise to illustrate Africa’s ability to withstand domestic, regional and international volatility. The continent is projected to grow by 4.8% this year and growth rates are expected to increase further to 5.3% in 2014. Nonetheless, this impressive economic growth and its accompanying resilience have made little impact on soaring unemployment levels, endemic underemployment and escalating income inequality . According to the World Bank’s 2013 World Development Report, 10 million new workers enter the labour market in Sub-Saharan Africa each year . Predictions from the report suggest that by 2035, Africa will collectively boast the world’s largest labour force, exceeding the size of the work force in China and that of India. This increasing demand for employment will be accompanied by rising income levels. Between 2010 and 2020, 40% of the world’s poorest people will experience an almost two-fold increase in their purchasing power. Incomes for this demographic are set to rise from approximately USD $3 billion to USD $5.8 billion . The burning question is therefore, how to accelerate the creation of decent employment for all, particularly young people. In addition, how might improved access to inclusive financial services across a wide range of client groups – with rising disposable incomes – impact on employment expansion? More significantly, can universal financial inclusion be achieved at an affordable cost and will it be economically viable for the private sector to deliver? An enabling policy environment for financial inclusion Alongside a growing economic and social demand for employment-led growth, financial inclusion is also being championed as a critical global public policy priority to help reduce global inequality and poverty. Promoting universal access to financial services and products has enjoyed rising prominence, ranging from recommendations in shaping the post-2015 UN Millennium Development Goals to the G20’s reassertion of the centrality of financial inclusion in its development agenda. In addition, only recently, the World Bank President called for collective action to achieve universal financial access by 2020. Mapping the links between financial inclusion and expanding employment As attempts are made to stimulate the world economy and rebalance economic growth, never before has the need to forge a new global consensus on how to accelerate productive employment creation been such a pressing economic and development priority. Understanding the impact that full financial inclusion plays in accelerating job creation is critical for improving the lives and livelihoods of vulnerable people globally. Arguably, a striking example of the importance of this is that 97% of manufacturing jobs across Ethiopia are in microenterprises. In addition, economies such as Rwanda and Ethiopia have experienced impressive reductions in poverty rates due to modernisation in the agricultural sector. Yet, building such productive capacity is often constrained by a lack of access to finance, financial capability, appropriate skills and training and access to markets, as well as an absence of an enabling business environment, unresponsive infrastructure and a lack of supportive regulation. Under such circumstances, the potential to create employment is increasingly limited . When financial inclusion may not be a sufficient condition for job creation and growth Financial inclusion is by no means a magic bullet. There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that not all small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) may have equal potential for generating jobs and growth. The job creation impact and growth potential of SMEs is determined by a number of factors. Those small business owners who set up enterprises, not through choice, but because they are unable to secure other employment, often develop enterprises which remain small and are concentrated in only a very small number of industries, are focused mainly on sustaining their own livelihoods, are concentrated on the need to manage risks (as opposed to taking risks) and, arguably, have limited future prospects. In contrast, young businesses that are established by those with the energy, drive and capacity to innovate, take risks, build peer networks and identify talent with complementary skills are those more likely to drive economic growth and employment . Taking this into account, how can providers of financial services and products, in partnership with policymakers and policy advocates, ensure that interventions are appropriately targeted to support dynamic enterprise that generates a multiplier effect on wider economic development? [post_title] => Summary note- Enterprising Africa: What role can financial inclusion play in driving employment-led growth?-Roundtable 1 [post_excerpt] => Financial inclusion and jobs: Drivers of development and growth in Africa? How might improving the access, distribution and use of a wide range of affordable and appropriate financial services and products (financial inclusion) facilitate job creation and stimulate balanced economic growth across Africa? In addition, how might the private sector build partnerships to champion strong leadership, sustainable innovation and responsible engagement in order to help develop an enabling environment where universal financial inclusion and employment-led growth can thrive? [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => summary-note-enterprising-africa-what-role-can-financial-inclusion-play-in-driving-employment-led-growth-roundtable-1 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-27 09:02:10 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-27 09:02:10 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://fpc.clearhonestdesign.com/summary-note-enterprising-africa-what-role-can-financial-inclusion-play-in-driving-employment-led-growth-roundtable-1/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 670 [post_author] => 38 [post_date] => 2015-12-07 14:21:08 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-12-07 14:21:08 [post_content] => Through a series of three roundtable discussions and the publication of a report supported by Barclays, the Foreign Policy Centre seeks to explore how greater financial inclusion has the potential to help drive the development of new businesses and new jobs, thereby igniting development transformation across Africa. Promising African economic outlook 2013 and addressing the financial inclusion-job creation challenge The global financial crisis has led to an economic age of austerity, mounting uncertainty and rising inequality. Yet, according to the 2013 African Economic Outlook, both 2013 and 2014 promise to illustrate Africa’s ability to withstand domestic, regional and international volatility. The continent is projected to grow by 4.8% this year and growth rates are expected to increase further to 5.3% in 2014. Nonetheless, this impressive economic growth and its accompanying resilience have made little impact on soaring unemployment levels, endemic underemployment and escalating income inequality . According to the World Bank’s 2013 World Development Report, 10 million new workers enter the labour market in Sub-Saharan Africa each year . Predictions from the report suggest that by 2035, Africa will collectively boast the world’s largest labour force, exceeding the size of the work force in China and that of India. This increasing demand for employment will be accompanied by rising income levels. Between 2010 and 2020, 40% of the world’s poorest people will experience an almost two-fold increase in their purchasing power. Incomes for this demographic are set to rise from approximately USD $3 billion to USD $5.8 billion . The burning question is therefore, how to accelerate the creation of decent employment for all, particularly young people. In addition, how might improved access to inclusive financial services across a wide range of client groups – with rising disposable incomes – impact on employment expansion? More significantly, can universal financial inclusion be achieved at an affordable cost and will it be economically viable for the private sector to deliver? An enabling policy environment for financial inclusion Alongside a growing economic and social demand for employment-led growth, financial inclusion is also being championed as a critical global public policy priority to help reduce global inequality and poverty. Promoting universal access to financial services and products has enjoyed rising prominence, ranging from recommendations in shaping the post-2015 UN Millennium Development Goals to the G20’s reassertion of the centrality of financial inclusion in its development agenda. In addition, only recently, the World Bank President called for collective action to achieve universal financial access by 2020. Mapping the links between financial inclusion and expanding employment As attempts are made to stimulate the world economy and rebalance economic growth, never before has the need to forge a new global consensus on how to accelerate productive employment creation been such a pressing economic and development priority. Understanding the impact that full financial inclusion plays in accelerating job creation is critical for improving the lives and livelihoods of vulnerable people globally. Arguably, a striking example of the importance of this is that 97% of manufacturing jobs across Ethiopia are in microenterprises. In addition, economies such as Rwanda and Ethiopia have experienced impressive reductions in poverty rates due to modernisation in the agricultural sector. Yet, building such productive capacity is often constrained by a lack of access to finance, financial capability, appropriate skills and training and access to markets, as well as an absence of an enabling business environment, unresponsive infrastructure and a lack of supportive regulation. Under such circumstances, the potential to create employment is increasingly limited . When financial inclusion may not be a sufficient condition for job creation and growth Financial inclusion is by no means a magic bullet. There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that not all small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) may have equal potential for generating jobs and growth. The job creation impact and growth potential of SMEs is determined by a number of factors. Those small business owners who set up enterprises, not through choice, but because they are unable to secure other employment, often develop enterprises which remain small and are concentrated in only a very small number of industries, are focused mainly on sustaining their own livelihoods, are concentrated on the need to manage risks (as opposed to taking risks) and, arguably, have limited future prospects. In contrast, young businesses that are established by those with the energy, drive and capacity to innovate, take risks, build peer networks and identify talent with complementary skills are those more likely to drive economic growth and employment . Taking this into account, how can providers of financial services and products, in partnership with policymakers and policy advocates, ensure that interventions are appropriately targeted to support dynamic enterprise that generates a multiplier effect on wider economic development? [post_title] => Summary note- Enterprising Africa: What role can financial inclusion play in driving employment-led growth?-Roundtable 2 [post_excerpt] => Financial inclusion and jobs: Drivers of development and growth in Africa? How might improving the access, distribution and use of a wide range of affordable and appropriate financial services and products (financial inclusion) facilitate job creation and stimulate balanced economic growth across Africa? In addition, how might the private sector build partnerships to champion strong leadership, sustainable innovation and responsible engagement in order to help develop an enabling environment where universal financial inclusion and employment-led growth can thrive? [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => summary-note-enterprising-africa-what-role-can-financial-inclusion-play-in-driving-employment-led-growth-roundtable-2 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-27 09:02:10 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-27 09:02:10 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://fpc.clearhonestdesign.com/summary-note-enterprising-africa-what-role-can-financial-inclusion-play-in-driving-employment-led-growth-roundtable-2/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 669 [post_author] => 38 [post_date] => 2015-12-07 14:20:47 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-12-07 14:20:47 [post_content] => Through a series of three roundtable discussions and the publication of a report supported by Barclays, the Foreign Policy Centre seeks to explore how greater financial inclusion has the potential to help drive the development of new businesses and new jobs, thereby igniting development transformation across Africa. Promising African economic outlook 2013 and addressing the financial inclusion-job creation challenge The global financial crisis has led to an economic age of austerity, mounting uncertainty and rising inequality. Yet, according to the 2013 African Economic Outlook, both 2013 and 2014 promise to illustrate Africa’s ability to withstand domestic, regional and international volatility. The continent is projected to grow by 4.8% this year and growth rates are expected to increase further to 5.3% in 2014. Nonetheless, this impressive economic growth and its accompanying resilience have made little impact on soaring unemployment levels, endemic underemployment and escalating income inequality . According to the World Bank’s 2013 World Development Report, 10 million new workers enter the labour market in Sub-Saharan Africa each year . Predictions from the report suggest that by 2035, Africa will collectively boast the world’s largest labour force, exceeding the size of the work force in China and that of India. This increasing demand for employment will be accompanied by rising income levels. Between 2010 and 2020, 40% of the world’s poorest people will experience an almost two-fold increase in their purchasing power. Incomes for this demographic are set to rise from approximately USD $3 billion to USD $5.8 billion . The burning question is therefore, how to accelerate the creation of decent employment for all, particularly young people. In addition, how might improved access to inclusive financial services across a wide range of client groups – with rising disposable incomes – impact on employment expansion? More significantly, can universal financial inclusion be achieved at an affordable cost and will it be economically viable for the private sector to deliver? An enabling policy environment for financial inclusion Alongside a growing economic and social demand for employment-led growth, financial inclusion is also being championed as a critical global public policy priority to help reduce global inequality and poverty. Promoting universal access to financial services and products has enjoyed rising prominence, ranging from recommendations in shaping the post-2015 UN Millennium Development Goals to the G20’s reassertion of the centrality of financial inclusion in its development agenda. In addition, only recently, the World Bank President called for collective action to achieve universal financial access by 2020. Mapping the links between financial inclusion and expanding employment As attempts are made to stimulate the world economy and rebalance economic growth, never before has the need to forge a new global consensus on how to accelerate productive employment creation been such a pressing economic and development priority. Understanding the impact that full financial inclusion plays in accelerating job creation is critical for improving the lives and livelihoods of vulnerable people globally. Arguably, a striking example of the importance of this is that 97% of manufacturing jobs across Ethiopia are in microenterprises. In addition, economies such as Rwanda and Ethiopia have experienced impressive reductions in poverty rates due to modernisation in the agricultural sector. Yet, building such productive capacity is often constrained by a lack of access to finance, financial capability, appropriate skills and training and access to markets, as well as an absence of an enabling business environment, unresponsive infrastructure and a lack of supportive regulation. Under such circumstances, the potential to create employment is increasingly limited . When financial inclusion may not be a sufficient condition for job creation and growth Financial inclusion is by no means a magic bullet. There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that not all small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) may have equal potential for generating jobs and growth. The job creation impact and growth potential of SMEs is determined by a number of factors. Those small business owners who set up enterprises, not through choice, but because they are unable to secure other employment, often develop enterprises which remain small and are concentrated in only a very small number of industries, are focused mainly on sustaining their own livelihoods, are concentrated on the need to manage risks (as opposed to taking risks) and, arguably, have limited future prospects. In contrast, young businesses that are established by those with the energy, drive and capacity to innovate, take risks, build peer networks and identify talent with complementary skills are those more likely to drive economic growth and employment . Taking this into account, how can providers of financial services and products, in partnership with policymakers and policy advocates, ensure that interventions are appropriately targeted to support dynamic enterprise that generates a multiplier effect on wider economic development? [post_title] => Summary note- Enterprising Africa: What role can financial inclusion play in driving employment-led growth?-Roundtable 3 [post_excerpt] => Financial inclusion and jobs: Drivers of development and growth in Africa? How might improving the access, distribution and use of a wide range of affordable and appropriate financial services and products (financial inclusion) facilitate job creation and stimulate balanced economic growth across Africa? In addition, how might the private sector build partnerships to champion strong leadership, sustainable innovation and responsible engagement in order to help develop an enabling environment where universal financial inclusion and employment-led growth can thrive? [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => summary-note-enterprising-africa-what-role-can-financial-inclusion-play-in-driving-employment-led-growth-roundtable-3 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-27 09:02:11 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-27 09:02:11 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://fpc.clearhonestdesign.com/summary-note-enterprising-africa-what-role-can-financial-inclusion-play-in-driving-employment-led-growth-roundtable-3/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 970 [post_author] => 38 [post_date] => 2015-11-10 10:15:47 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-11-10 10:15:47 [post_content] => In this new FPC Briefing Dr Lee Jones argues that instead of simply asking whether sanctions work, the international community should first ask: ‘how are they supposed to effect the change we seek, and do they actually “work” this way in practice?’ This research looks into how ‘economic pain’ translates – or fails to translate – into ‘political gain’ in target states. The starting point for Jones is that political outcomes in target states are predominantly determined by struggles between ruling and opposition coalitions of social and political forces. Sanctions ‘work’ by manipulating the political economy of targets, with consequences for the composition of forces contesting state power, plus their resources, alliances and strategies. Where sanctions can compel ruling and opposition coalitions to adopt strategic responses that meet the goals of those imposing sanctions, they may be ‘successful’. However, this is generally possible only where opposition groups are already powerful and well organised. In contexts where oppositions are weak and fragmented, sanctions tend to entrench their exclusion from power, even if they also manage to weaken ruling coalitions. Since this is often the case in states where sanctions are used, sanctions are often ineffective. The briefing gives some suggestions for policymakers that include the need for careful planning, including plausibly specifying the mechanisms by which they expect sanctions to operate. If the mechanisms cannot be identified, Dr Jones argues sanctions should not be imposed. [post_title] => FPC Briefing: How Do International Economic Sanctions (Not) Work? [post_excerpt] => In this new FPC Briefing Dr Lee Jones argues that instead of simply asking whether sanctions work, the international community should first ask: ‘how are they supposed to effect the change we seek, and do they actually “work” this way in practice?’ This research looks into how ‘economic pain’ translates – or fails to translate – into ‘political gain’ in target states. The starting point for Jones is that political outcomes in target states are predominantly determined by struggles between ruling and opposition coalitions of social and political forces. Sanctions ‘work’ by manipulating the political economy of targets, with consequences for the composition of forces contesting state power, plus their resources, alliances and strategies. Where sanctions can compel ruling and opposition coalitions to adopt strategic responses that meet the goals of those imposing sanctions, they may be ‘successful’. However, this is generally possible only where opposition groups are already powerful and well organised. In contexts where oppositions are weak and fragmented, sanctions tend to entrench their exclusion from power, even if they also manage to weaken ruling coalitions. Since this is often the case in states where sanctions are used, sanctions are often ineffective. The briefing gives some suggestions for policymakers that include the need for careful planning, including plausibly specifying the mechanisms by which they expect sanctions to operate. If the mechanisms cannot be identified, Dr Jones argues sanctions should not be imposed. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => fpc-briefing-how-do-international-economic-sanctions-not-work [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-27 09:02:11 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-27 09:02:11 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://fpc.clearhonestdesign.com/fpc-briefing-how-do-international-economic-sanctions-not-work/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 962 [post_author] => 38 [post_date] => 2015-06-02 14:16:52 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-06-02 14:16:52 [post_content] => In this new FPC Briefing Dr Matthew Funaiole takes the upcoming 70th anniversary of the Pacific War (World War II) as an opportunity to assess the controversy in Japan about its international posture. Prime Minister Abe has in recent months repeatedly struck the nationalist war drum, leaving leaders in Beijing and Seoul increasingly worried about a resurgent Japan. While Abe's vision for Japan does circumvent the pacifist aspects of the Japanese constitution, greater understanding into Japan's imperial past is needed before evaluating Abe's policies. This briefing explores Japan's complicated relationship with the West to better understand the origins of Japanese imperialism and the lasting impact of Japan's pacifist constitution. [post_title] => FPC Briefing: Separating historical fact from political fiction-reconsidering Japan’s militaristic past [post_excerpt] => In this new FPC Briefing Dr Matthew Funaiole takes the upcoming 70th anniversary of the Pacific War (World War II) as an opportunity to assess the controversy in Japan about its international posture. Prime Minister Abe has in recent months repeatedly struck the nationalist war drum, leaving leaders in Beijing and Seoul increasingly worried about a resurgent Japan. While Abe's vision for Japan does circumvent the pacifist aspects of the Japanese constitution, greater understanding into Japan's imperial past is needed before evaluating Abe's policies. This briefing explores Japan's complicated relationship with the West to better understand the origins of Japanese imperialism and the lasting impact of Japan's pacifist constitution. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => fpc-briefing-separating-historical-fact-from-political-fiction-reconsidering-japans-militaristic-past [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-28 13:35:27 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-28 13:35:27 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://fpc.clearhonestdesign.com/fpc-briefing-separating-historical-fact-from-political-fiction-reconsidering-japans-militaristic-past/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 960 [post_author] => 38 [post_date] => 2015-05-14 14:54:37 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-05-14 14:54:37 [post_content] => In this new Foreign Policy Centre Briefing, Dr Shahar Hameiri and Dr Lee Jones examine international community responses to ‘non-traditional’ security threats (NTS) – transboundary issues such as pandemic diseases, transnational crime, drug smuggling and people trafficking. They argue that the primary focus of the security response involves attempts to change the behaviour of individual states’ domestic institutions and networking them across borders with their counterparts and international agencies. While this approach is seen as a way of avoiding international political conflict, Hameiri and Jones argue that the outcomes of these apparently technocratic interventions are shaped by domestic political struggles in target states. To attain better outcomes, the international community needs to be more aware of the domestic political impact of their interventions and build supportive coalitions with powerful domestic groups. [post_title] => FPC Briefing: Governing Non-Traditional Security Threats by Transforming States- Trends and Challenges [post_excerpt] => In this new Foreign Policy Centre Briefing, Dr Shahar Hameiri and Dr Lee Jones examine international community responses to ‘non-traditional’ security threats (NTS) – transboundary issues such as pandemic diseases, transnational crime, drug smuggling and people trafficking. They argue that the primary focus of the security response involves attempts to change the behaviour of individual states’ domestic institutions and networking them across borders with their counterparts and international agencies. While this approach is seen as a way of avoiding international political conflict, Hameiri and Jones argue that the outcomes of these apparently technocratic interventions are shaped by domestic political struggles in target states. To attain better outcomes, the international community needs to be more aware of the domestic political impact of their interventions and build supportive coalitions with powerful domestic groups. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => fpc-briefing-governing-non-traditional-security-threats-by-transforming-states-trends-and-challenges [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-27 09:02:12 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-27 09:02:12 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://fpc.clearhonestdesign.com/fpc-briefing-governing-non-traditional-security-threats-by-transforming-states-trends-and-challenges/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 680 [post_author] => 38 [post_date] => 2015-03-18 14:01:07 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-03-18 14:01:07 [post_content] => The most public expression of such thinking was recently on display in two speeches delivered by President Obama to and at the closure of a three-day Summit on Countering Violent Extremism, held at the White House in February 2015. Countering Violent Extremism (CVE), as Marc Lynch perceptively , is the contemporary version – with more technocratic and palatable language and less ideological spin – of what Bush-era neoconservatives used to label as winning the ‘war of ideas’. Neoconservatives, despite what their critiques often argued, rarely spoke in terms of a clash of civilizations between the West and Islam. They did however relentlessly contend that an ongoing clash within a civilization, Islam, was taking place pitting on the one hand ‘good’ and ‘moderate’ Muslims, against ‘bad’ and ‘fundamentalist’ ones on the other. Given this religious context, America had an important stake and role to play in influencing this on-going war of ideas within Islam against fundamentalists and extremists. This reasoning and rhetoric was not only confined to of the time, but also made its way into President . Since the early 2000s, starting with the Bush administration and continuing with the Obama one, a range of overt as well as covert policy interventions have taken place worldwide designed to steer, reform, update, influence Islamic education, debates, teachings and practices away from theological interpretations articulated by extremist and jihadist groups and towards more moderate, or pietist, or liberal, or even fundamentalist but non-violent interpretations of Islam. Madrassas are being reformed, preachers trained, Imams, clerics, and Muslim religious and public opinion leaders willing to issue fatwas or speak out against Al Qaeda, ISIS and delegitimizing terrorist tactics more generally, are actively sought and when possible supported – often undercover. These programs are rooted in a thinking that sees ‘Islam as the solution’, to use the famous Muslim Brotherhood slogan, against politically active and especially violently committed Islamist movements and groups. An institutional infrastructure has emerged over the decades to devise, manage and coordinate these initiatives. Rooted in small incremental changes under the Bush administration, bureaucratic developments have consolidated under the Democratic president’s watch. A revamped White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, a legacy of the Bush years, was mandated in 2009 by Obama to think through – among other things – how to improve interfaith cooperation and dialogue with the Muslim world- . America today holds what can be described as two ‘ambassadors’ one to Muslim states and the other to Muslim peoples. These are a , first appointed by Bush in 2008, and a , a position created by the Obama administration in 2009. A Directory for Global Engagement in the National Security Council, created in 2009, and a Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications in the State Department, created in 2011,seek to coordinate Muslim engagement initiatives and CVE programs. This is only the tip of the iceberg, the most public and visible part of what is a developing architecture across the foreign policy apparatus – including the Department of Defence and CIA – designed to intervene in debates within Islam and among Muslims to delegitimize terrorist tactics and jihadists discourses. The underlining principle is to use religious arguments and traditions, mobilizing ‘moderate Muslims’ (whoever these are) to speak out against violence and show that ‘true Islam’ (whatever this may be) is peaceful, and pushing for the articulation of an understanding of Islam and Muslim identity that is compatible with American interests, especially in the Middle East, and Western values (whatever these may be). There has been an important push towards these types of policies also across Europe, for instance, often proposed as palatable alternatives to more militarized and securitized interventions to fight terrorism. An important part of the British response to the recent Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, has involved a controversial by David Cameron’s government asking Imams and Muslim leaders to condemn actively violent attacks, such as those on the French satirical journal, and explain how their religion “can be part of British identity”. Assuming that contemporary violence committed in the name of Islam has something to do with religion, an issue that is anything but settled and vigorously debated by scholars, intellectuals and religious leaders today, few have paused to think about the unintended consequences and possibly pernicious effects these policies may be having. Let us focus on two issues: public calls for so-called ‘moderate Muslims’ to speak out, and often less public and more covert initiatives designed to directly intervene in theological debates and controversies within Islam and among Muslims. Calls for so-called moderate Muslims to speak out, while generally well-meaning, are also highly problematic. These calls, rather than defusing heightened narratives of religious conflict, appear to inadvertently single out a group of people (Muslims) and a religion (Islam) for being especially connected to terrorism. A step forward has been made in using the rhetoric of ‘violent extremism’ rather than ‘Islamic terrorism’ to defuse the idea that there might be a particular link between Islam and violence. While the label violent extremism could be generalized to include members of any religion or secular creed – especially at a time when right-wing, supremacist, domestic extremism is to be on the rise in the US – it is ‘Muslim’ violent extremism that the US government is mostly concerned with. Thus, it is Muslims who are regularly and publicly exhorted by the highest levels of government to demonstrate that theirs is a ‘religion of peace’. The paradox is that the more Western leaders ask moderate Muslims to show that Islam is in fact a ‘religion of peace’, the more they are politicizing religious belonging and belief while also conveying the message that the burden of proof lies mostly with this one particular faith and their adherents. Moreover, the so-called ‘moderate Muslim’ has become one of the most ambiguous and contested categories of our time. It means everything and anything to anyone. Maybe the moderate Muslim is someone of deep faith (why otherwise use a religious identity marker compared to an ethnic, national or regional one?), who disapproves of violence (is this what the ‘moderate’ stands for?). Presumably of all forms of violence, though. This so-called moderate Muslim, hence, may be heard condemning and speaking unequivocally against both warped Islamist violent ideology and acts, but also against rising Islamophobia in the West and America’s wars and policies in the Middle East. Caught in the War on Terror’s logic, which sharply divides the world between us and them, this so-called moderate Muslim often inevitably appears problematically stuck in the middle – in what ISIS’s glossy publication despairingly calls the ‘grayzone’. Moderate Muslims are too lenient towards the West for conservative Islamist standards, while too critical by American standards. Their profound religiosity is seen suspiciously by Westerners, while their non-confrontationalist interpretation of Islam often questioned as unauthentic by extremists. In the processes, the more the moderate Muslim is invoked the more the label becomes a tainted one. Ultimately, the paradoxical result is that an important critical voice in today’s conversation about the role of Islam in world politics, as well as America’s problematic conduct in the Middle East, is effectively undermined. American initiatives designed to intervene and steer Islamic theological controversies worldwide towards the delegitimation of certain religious and political narratives, especially those that advocate violent tactics, raise urgent policy questions. First and foremost, there seems to be very little oversight and scrutiny of such initiatives, especially internationally oriented ones - some reports tracking the effectiveness of domestic CVE programs have been made available by the and the . Who is being funded, which religious leaders, madrassas, Islamic centres are receiving US support and what are they doing with this support? What type of religion and Islam are these groups articulating and advancing? Much of this information, if it is available anywhere, is not easily accessible. If it were, it would likely discredit – in the eyes of many Arabs and Muslims – most of those institutions and figures receiving some sort of American backing. This observation leads to a second, important, point. Critical learning and open debate about Islam in the Middle East has been undermined in recent decades, if not century, not solely because of the emergence of rigid, ultra-conservative and fundamentalist interpretations, but also because of continuous state meddling in religion. Islamic fundamentalism and Islamist ideologies have thrived in part because of a growing legitimacy deficit of official religious institutions and centres of learning in the Middle East. Established Islamic religious institutions and leaders have been perceived, not erroneously, by younger generations to have been co-opted by Arab political leaders and ruling elites over the past century to serve their state building projects, especially creating consent and stifling opposition. This entanglement between official government and official religion has been on display recently in the emblematic case of Egypt’s al-Azhar University, historically one of the most authoritative centers of Sunni Islamic thinking and learning in the region. Since taking power in 2013, General el-Sisi’s Egyptian government has reportedly been sacking thousands of preachers sympathetic or affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist organizations. These have been replaced with al-Azhar graduates who must follow a particular government-approved religious and political script. The case of Egypt and al-Azhar is emblematic, but in the Middle East. Further co-option of religious sites and figures to serve an international and foreign agenda such as the American one is thus likely to further aggravate rather than ameliorate this legitimacy crisis. Hence, CVE policies may inadvertently risk multiplying, rather than restricting, the opportunities for unlearned and unorthodox theological interpretations of Islam to flourish. Precisely like those put forward by Al Qaeda, for instance, whose intellectual cadre and ideologues are medical doctors and engineers and not religious scholars. Moreover, underlining these American policies is also an often implicit belief that Muslims need their own reformation and their own Martin Luther. The assumption is that this process would lead to some kind of accommodation between Islam and democratic liberal values as in the end it occurred within Christianity. But this form of reasoning is problematic, as a recent article in also points out, and it is so for at least three reasons. It is Christian-centric, founded on a particular understanding of the Protestant reformation and its relationship to liberal politics, and based on an unwarranted belief that outsiders can direct the historical course of religious communities and traditions. First, every religion has it own trajectory and its own way of negotiating the relationship between its texts and traditions, and a changing reality. It is an erroneous assumption that all religions should follow the same, Christian, path to modernity. Second, if any parallel can be made between Islam and Christianity, it may be worth remembering that the period of the Protestant reformations was surely not one marked by peace and supposed secular and liberal tolerance. The reformation and the subsequent counter-reformation became deeply entangled with more than a century of war in Europe, Martin Luther was profoundly intolerant of Jews for instance, and Protestants have had a long history of anti-Catholicism. Given this context, further violence and sectarianism spurred by a supposed ‘Muslim reformation’ is surely what the Middle East does not need at the moment. Thirdly, can American foreign policymakers and programs really influence the course of a major world religion from the outside? As even one of advocating for the active reform of Islam humbly acknowledges at some point: “It is no easy matter to transform a major world religion. If ‘nation-building’ is a daunting task, ‘religion-building’ is immeasurably more perilous and complex.” American nation-building in Iraq and Afghanistan have been catastrophic failures and the trail of unsavoury unintended consequences which these projects are leaving behind, think ISIS among many, is surely no cause for celebration. One wonders why and how American policymakers will be any more successful in the “more perilous and complex task”, as the RAND report puts it, “of religion-building”. Overall, CVE activities are based on an idea that there is a religious problem – although not with Islam itself but surely within it – which is in need of a religious solution. As a result of this thinking we have come to live in an age where the most powerful state in the international system is seeking to intervene and mould the future direction of a major world religion according to its values and interests. Few have stopped to question the wisdom of such rational, whether America should politicize religion even further in its War on Terror and what the longer term unintended consequences of such operations might be. Democracy in Iraq was supposed to be the antidote to violent extremism, which instead today appears out of control. What if then the religious cure proves even more dangerous than the disease it seeks to fight? Dr. Gregorio Bettiza is a Lecturer in International Relations and Security in the Department of Politics at the University of Exeter. March 2015. [post_title] => Should the United States attempt to reform Islam? [post_excerpt] => Should American foreign policymakers attempt to reform major world religions? This may sound like a hubristic, at best, if not a potentially dangerous and misguided idea, at worse. Yet, this is what the United States has, in essence, been attempting to do with Islam and Muslims since 9/11. Since that tragic September morning in 2001, many policy analysts in the United States came to understand the attacks and the ensuing War on Terror as part of an ongoing struggle for the future direction of Islam and the hearts and minds of Muslims. In the process, a wide range of domestic and foreign policy initiatives have emerged over the past decades designed to intervene in theological debates within Islam and encourage Muslims to ‘speak out’ against terrorism, while also seeking to defuse clash of civilizations narratives and promote a positive image of America in the so-called Muslim world. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => should-the-united-states-attempt-to-reform-islam [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-27 09:02:12 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-27 09:02:12 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://fpc.clearhonestdesign.com/should-the-united-states-attempt-to-reform-islam/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 677 [post_author] => 38 [post_date] => 2014-12-17 09:24:59 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-12-17 09:24:59 [post_content] => The outcome is well described as a ‘call’ – rather than a protocol, a framework or even a roadmap. It notes ‘with grave concern’ the gap between countries’ greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets and what will be necessary to restrict average temperature increases to two degrees Celsius. But it leaves the content of the planned global climate deal to be negotiated in 2015, setting up a diplomatic sprint to next December’s Paris summit. This was expected. More concerning was that negotiators were unable to agree on a standard for communications of intended national climate actions that would guarantee meaningful scrutiny of the proposed actions. The reason for this was that nations remain far apart in their interpretations of the division of responsibility between developed and developing countries. Firewall between developed and developing countries reasserted The common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) of developed and developing countries is a key principle of the 1992 UN climate convention. Under CBDR, developed but not developing countries were obliged to reduce emissions under the Kyoto Protocol. The concept has become increasingly controversial as the developing country share of global emissions has grown. At Lima, disputes over differentiation characterized negotiations on the content of national commitments, adaptation to climate change and the financial commitments of wealthy nations. The EU’s call for the Paris deal to reflect ‘evolving national responsibilities in the world economy’ was effectively rebuffed by the G77 and China bloc and, especially, the Like-Minded Group of Developing Countries. As the conference ran into extra time the negotiation grew heated, with Malaysia’s lead negotiator using the rhetoric of the anti-colonial movement to reassert the need for differentiation. Alongside the substantive disagreements were suspicions of bad faith. Certain developing country delegations attributed bias against them to the co-chairs of the main negotiation. The Like-Minded Group of Developing Countries also reported concerns that a text that they had rejected could be adopted ‘by acclamation’ in the closing plenary session. The strength of disagreement over CBDR surprised some observers, who had credited last month’s with bridging the developed/developing country divide. In fact, China had made it clear that the joint statement did no such thing. The National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation, within China’s National Development and Reform Commission, went so far as to as ‘a victory for the principle of common but differentiated responsibility’. The Lima session demonstrated that no agreement will be possible without some form of differentiation, but it is also clear that the ongoing impasse over how to apply the CBDR principle is holding the negotiation back. Some creative thinking on how to update differentiation to account for twenty-plus years of economic development and growing emissions in the big emerging markets has not yet been widely adopted. In the October session of the negotiations, Brazil had proposed a ‘concentric differentiation’ approach, under which all parties would move from different starting points towards economy-wide, absolute emissions reduction targets. Brazil in November on the topic and undertook to provide further clarification, but its idea was not reflected in the G77’s positioning on differentiation at Lima. Clarity on national commitments diluted A key task of the Lima meeting was to provide for the content, timing and assessment of the communication of intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs). INDCs are climate actions that nations will commit to under the 2015 climate deal. The CBDR division has rendered ostensibly procedural matters like the information to be contained in INDCs intensely political. Developed countries want INDCs to primarily be mitigation commitments; developing countries want them to include adaptation to climate change and financial support. Developed countries pushed for a centralized assessment process of INDCs applicable to all; developing countries opposed this and called for similar assessment of rich-world financial commitments. At the beginning of the conference, the EU called for all countries’ INDCs to contain information to enable them to be compared, aggregated and assessed against the stated goal of keeping average global temperature increases within two degrees Celsius. In the event, as successive draft texts proved unacceptable to the main bloc of developing nations, rigor was stripped out of these national communications. Some indicative changes: • Whereas the 8 December draft text called on nations to submit their INDCs in the first quarter of 2015, or otherwise by 31 May, the Lima agreement drops the May deadline. • The same draft provided that ‘each Party shall communicate a quantifiable mitigation component’ ‘in the light of evolving national circumstances’ and that ‘Parties with greatest responsibility and those with sufficient capability are expected to take on absolute economy-wide mitigation targets’. The Lima agreement merely notes that each nation’s contribution is to ‘represent a progression beyond the current undertaking of that Party’. • The draft provided that all nations ‘shall’ provide information on ‘the reference point (including as appropriate, a base year), time frames and periods for implementation, scope and coverage, expected level of effort’, etc. The Lima outcome provides that nations ‘may’ include these and other details in their INDCs. • The 8 December draft encouraged nations to question each other on their INDCs and tasked the secretariat with organizing a June dialogue on INDCs and with preparing a paper on the ‘aggregate effect’ of INDCs by the end of June. In the Lima agreement, the dialogue is gone and the ‘aggregate effect’ report is to appear by 1 November – less than a month before the start of the Paris summit. This weakened text will make it harder to assess national commitments against the goal of limiting climate change. Mixed outcomes on elements of the global climate regime With the Paris deadline still a year away, it is unsurprising that the Lima conference left many issues undecided (the draft negotiating text annexed to the Lima Call contains multiple options on many topics). Aside from the pressing question of INDCs, Lima saw some progress on climate finance but also ongoing disagreement over issues that are shaping up as faultlines at Paris and beyond: • Pledges announced during the conference finally saw the Green Climate Fund reach its initial targeted capitalization of $10 billion. The conference tasked the Fund with accelerating both the opening of its mitigation and adaptation funding windows and engagement with the private sector. • The question of compensation for ‘loss and damage’ caused by climate change remained controversial, with disagreement over how to address this issue in the negotiation. • There was no agreement on how to address negative economic and social consequences of response measures to climate change, with the G77 and China, opposed by various developed countries, proposing a new mechanism to deal with the issue. The limits of climate diplomacy Cooperation, as the political scientists Robert Axelrod and Robert Keohane once observed, ‘is not equivalent to harmony’. Each year, the UN climate summit furnishes new evidence for this proposition. This year, the Saturday night scramble for a text all could live with essentially restored the status quo of the process, leaving well-worn negotiating ‘red lines’ intact. Provisions that played down differentiation and were therefore (according to the G77 and China) ‘unbalanced’ were removed, but so was language calling for badly needed transparency on the part of governments. As one negotiator commented on Saturday, ‘every time we do an iteration of this document we get less and less’. Nevertheless, the Lima outcomes were fairly described by parties, presiding officers and the UN secretariat as doing enough to keep a robust Paris deal within reach. Such an outcome will require high-level political compromise of the kind that was never in prospect this year. Rather than simply condemning the Lima outcomes (which a number of civil society groups did before the digital ink on the ‘Lima Call’ was dry), it might be worth reflecting on what this process can deliver and what it cannot. Twenty-plus years of experience suggest that the UN climate negotiations are effective at spurring nations to greater climate action than they would otherwise have undertaken, at creating platforms to mobilize resources (including knowledge) and at bringing together diverse public and private sector actors to work on the common challenge. However, the UN process has been unable to deliver anything approaching a comprehensive global solution. Giving that climate change is a whole-of-world-economy problem aptly described by economist Ross Garnaut as ‘diabolical’, this is unsurprising. Instead of railing against the limits of climate diplomacy, critics should look for opportunities to increase the effectiveness of the process. These include coordinating with other public sector processes, including the Sustainable Development Goals and city-to-city networks, in order to produce complementary, mutually reinforcing outcomes. They also include deeper engagement with the private sector and more experimentation with mobilizing climate finance, recognizing that public sector funding will continue to be insufficient. The Lima outcomes included encouraging language on both of these opportunities. In the early hours of Sunday morning, the incoming conference president, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, noted that many of the negotiators present had spent much of their careers on climate change. 2015 will be a crucial year for translating that commitment into a stronger global response to climate change. December 2014 [post_title] => Lima calling, but UN climate summit leaves massive workload for 2015 [post_excerpt] => After the deadlock between national delegations to this year’s United Nations climate change summit had been broken at half past one on Sunday morning, the president of the conference, Peruvian minister Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, made a request: that the resulting document be known as the ‘Lima Call for Climate Action’. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => lima-calling-but-un-climate-summit-leaves-massive-workload-for-2015 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-27 09:02:13 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-27 09:02:13 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://fpc.clearhonestdesign.com/lima-calling-but-un-climate-summit-leaves-massive-workload-for-2015/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [10] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 676 [post_author] => 38 [post_date] => 2014-11-19 18:48:53 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-11-19 18:48:53 [post_content] => The current Ebola crisis has sparked a fuse and brought attention to what has been the plight of many poor Africans for a generation. The key question is why it has taken African governments, businesses and ordinary people so long to wake up to the fact that inadequate healthcare systems are a ticking time bomb. Thus, this explosive health issue has implications for all Africans and the world at large. As far back as 2006, I raised the issue of human resources for health, and the massive wholesale loss of skilled healthcare professionals from Africa to the west and the Middle East. This is in part due to the poor working conditions in Africa and the rising demand in the west where there are much better working conditions. Africa has two physicians and 11 nurses/midwives per 10,000 of the population. In contrast, there are 14 physicians and 28 nurses/midwives for the same population ratios globally. In Europe, there are 33 physicians and 68 nurses/midwives and in the Americas, there are 23 physicians and 55 nurses/midwives (World Health Organisation for Africa - Atlas of Health Statistics 2011). In the UK, between 2002 and 2008, the Nursing and Midwifery council for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland registered 11,500 qualified medical staff from Africa to practice in the UK. In addition, the General Medical Council has 14,377 registered clinicians from African countries. These numbers do not include Africans who have trained and qualified in the United Kingdom or African trained pharmacists, therapists and other supporting healthcare professionals working outside the continent. The ratio of healthcare workers is similarly high in the USA, Canada, Europe and the Middle East. The growing loss of vast numbers of African healthcare professionals from across the continent generates huge structural deficits with respect to building much needed robust and resilient healthcare systems across African economies. In April 2006, African diaspora organisations organised a high level event with Save the Children UK which explored human resources for health in Africa. The discussion group came up with recommendations for action. The summary report from the event . Since then I have been personally involved in conference after conference and meeting after meeting focused on this pressing issue. I have taken part in numerous surveys and have mapped the skillsets of diaspora healthcare professionals as well as micro-scale healthcare projects. My involvement has always been with the expectation that many of the recommendations for action would lead to the transformation required. Unfortunately, nothing has happened. The current Ebola crisis has exposed to the world what the poor of Africa have been going through for years. The silent cries have increasingly become a loud shout for help NOW! Most of Africa’s ruling elites do not use the national health systems they preside over. They prefer to fly to Europe or the Middle East, where they can access reliable healthcare provision as private patients at great cost to the public purse in their home countries. As such, they fail to give any priority to ensuring that African health systems deliver high quality services for ordinary people. Even the emerging middle class are forced to identify private healthcare providers or deplete meagre savings in order to seek treatment abroad. In addition, one of the main drivers of diaspora remittance transfers to Africa is the constant call for funds to meet family healthcare bills. This poor state of affairs has led to the growth of informal and unregulated healthcare systems commonly used by poor people. These informal systems are compromised by increased risks due to unqualified healthcare workers adopting unsafe healthcare practices. Unfortunately the Ebola crisis must be seen as an opportunity that must be seized upon to turn the tide of healthcare in Africa. African leaders and Africans must stand up to deliver and demand the required change now. There is little need to set up committees or commission reviews. Instead, it is time to implement the various policy recommendations that have gathered dust on various shelves. One example is Africa’s Road Map for Scaling Up the Human Resources for Health for Improved Health Service Delivery in the African Region 2012–2025, produced by the WHO. In summary, across Africa, transformation of healthcare is required at all levels. This includes public health (prevention), treatment (health service delivery) and the various elements required to support quality assured healthcare systems. The priority actions should include: • Aggressive strategies such as those deployed to attract business investment must be used to build healthcare systems in Africa. Presently, African countries, with the exception of just a few, spend less than 15 per cent of government expenditure on health, despite pledges by the African Union in 2001 during the Abuja Summit. It is important that all African governments recognise health as a priority investment. • Robust monitoring of spending and the implementation of regulation for healthcare systems is critical. • Valuing healthcare workers, both medical and non-medical staff, across Africa and beyond by ensuring terms and working conditions are fit for purpose. • Building and sustaining integrated healthcare systems in order to promote both preventive and curative healthcare. • Healthcare research and development which is exclusively Africa focused and Africa centred. • Building healthcare systems which are underpinned by trust. Thus patients must believe that healthcare professionals are not motivated by financial gains but by ethical professional standards. • Eradicating unregulated healthcare provision that compromises public safety. • Educate and inform the wider public about how to hold their elected officials to account on healthcare issues. • Identify ways to engage the expertise and experience of Africa’s broad healthcare diaspora. The current crisis demands that we all change and demand change. Like many African diaspora healthcare professionals, I am willing to support the transformational change required. What we need however is for our various political leaders to lead with humility and do what is right for the wider public rather than serving the interests of a small group of ruling elites. The many lives lost to the current Ebola crisis, to malaria, TB and HIV, among others, demands that we must all make a change NOW. November 2014 [post_title] => The challenge of health and healthcare for Africa [post_excerpt] => In many countries, the health indices and healthcare services can make or break those running for elections. This does not seem to be the case in Africa. According to facts compiled by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for Africa - Atlas of Health Statistics 2011, the life expectancy across the continent stands at 53. This expectancy rate is low compared to other global regions where the average is 68. In addition, 71% of communicable diseases are transmitted in Africa compared to a global average of 39.7%. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => the-challenge-of-health-and-healthcare-for-africa [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-27 09:02:14 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-27 09:02:14 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://fpc.clearhonestdesign.com/the-challenge-of-health-and-healthcare-for-africa/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [11] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 675 [post_author] => 38 [post_date] => 2014-10-14 15:03:17 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-10-14 15:03:17 [post_content] => The facts speak for themselves: nearly 5 million people use illegal drugs in Russia, 1.7 million of whom are opiate users. Almost 60% of officially registered HIV cases in 2013 were also people who use drugs. In some cities, HIV prevalence among people who inject drugs is as high as 74%.The epidemic is on the rise, with 800,000 people officially registered as HIV positive and many others who do not even know their status. Tuberculosis has reached epidemic proportions in Russia, now the primary cause of death among people with HIV, and 78% of men with both TB and HIV are injecting drug users. The total number of people with HCV who also inject drugs is estimated to be over one million. Despite this shocking scenario, the state provides no services to stem drug dependency and its related health and social problems. People who use drugs are depicted by state officials as ‘deviant’ and as criminals, and therefore undeserving of equal access to healthcare. The Russian government refuses to adopt even the most mainstream and well-studied approaches to drug treatment, including OST, which is actually illegal. Instead, antipsychotic drugs that were used against Soviet dissidents are part of the standard regime for treating drug dependency in state facilities, a practise contravening international standards. In the 1990s, health problems related to drug use quickly emerged as major social and health challenges. Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) stepped in to respond to the crisis, providing clean needles and other support to drug users. NGOs and donors expected the Government to take over and expand these services. But soon after Putin’s re-election in 2012, the situation worsened dramatically. Many NGOs become the target of new anti-NGO laws and a climate of fear spread, with mounting stigmatisation against people who did not fit the norm. In today’s Russia, it is still very difficult for NGOs that argue for health policies backed by scientific evidence and human rights to advance their agendas openly. With increasing levels of repression, few organisations are challenging the state. In the area of drug policy and treatment and AIDS, the Andrey Rylkov Foundation for Health and Social Justice (ARF) has been one of the few to take up this challenge. Our approach has been radically different to others, having realised that the Government was ideologically opposed to drug users and was unlikely to shift its entrenched stance towards them. In 2009, we started out as a small but flexible platform, fundraising for and supporting community initiatives and activists, but with no physical infrastructure and therefore low overheads. This allowed us to build dynamic, horizontal projects that were conceptualised, led and managed by community activists, giving us flexibility to respond. Our strategies were designed to minimise risks stemming from any crackdowns by the increasingly heavy-handed authorities. Our approach has evolved and been hugely successful, but we still operate without an office or other facilities. We now have an effective communication infrastructure based on hourly updates via Google listserv enabling us to coordinate and manage cases with other service providers helping people who use drugs in and around Moscow. Last year, we provided health services to some 1600 individuals and, according to drug users’ feedback on overdose prevention that we started to record just recently, each day we save one person’s life from a fatal overdose by giving out Naloxone and overdose prevention counselling to people. A major factor in our success is the use of human rights law to fight Russia’s authorities. We track cases where rights have been violated, do strategic litigation, and take bold campaigns to the public. In 2013 we initiated a street lawyers project using paralegals to provide legal education and basic legal aid to people who are victimised by law enforcement officials or discriminated against by medical facilities. These cases almost always fail in the Russian courts so we take them further. We have taken more than a dozen cases to national and international courts. One of these is Irina Teplinskaya, a drug user who filed a complaint to the UN Special Rapporteur on her right to health in 2011, and in 2012 filed a case in the Russian courts on her inability to access OST. Her case, together with two similar cases, is now under review with the European Court of Human Rights. Above all, our approach of direct, confrontational activism gives a powerful voice to people who take drugs and are living with HIV. More broadly, ours is a fight for the rights and dignity of all people in a context where the state has abrogated its responsibilities to its citizens. October 2014 Anya Sarang is President of the . This article is adapted from from contained within AIDS Today: Tell no lies and claim no easy victories, the first edition of a new biennial publication that presents the state of the civil society response to AIDS, published by the International HIV/AIDS Alliance. This chapter contains the links to the references for the statistics quoted above. [post_title] => Russia’s drug users have a right to needles, methadone and dignity [post_excerpt] => Before Russia wrested control of the Crimean peninsula in March this year, HIV transmission rates were falling in this region, thanks to life-saving schemes offered to drug users including needle syringe programmes and opioid substitution therapies (OST), such as the provision of methadone. But since coming under Russia’s draconian drug laws, these schemes have been closed down, leading to at least 20 deaths already. Russia’s dangerous stance toward drug users is causing untold harm in the fight against AIDS on the streets of our own cities and towns today. A shadowy world of drug-taking and rampant HIV infection pervades some of the most vulnerable groups in our society, who are stigmatised and marginalised by a state that refuses to take responsibility for their plight. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => russias-drug-users-have-a-right-to-needles-methadone-and-dignity [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-27 09:02:14 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-27 09:02:14 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://fpc.clearhonestdesign.com/russias-drug-users-have-a-right-to-needles-methadone-and-dignity/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [12] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 674 [post_author] => 38 [post_date] => 2014-09-02 12:16:55 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-09-02 12:16:55 [post_content] => On those protests, there was no clear agenda or defined objectives. The contradictions were easily identified. The protests were driven essentially by young people from the middle and higher socio-economic classes. What can be extracted from that atypical situation of June 2013, was the great desire for change. This desire change was not embodied by a single person or on a political party but the message was given: we want changes in the way of thinking, in the way of making politics and in the way of constructing Brazil. The model that had been working since the beginning of the Lula government, focusing on consumption, easy access to credit and big construction projects financed by the state, today is being criticized by economists who have previously been allied to the ruling Workers Party (PT) and to former President Lula da Silva. The most interesting factor was that this change did not necessarily needed to be linked to someone new. Research numbers indicated that even though the desire for a change was strong during the second half of 2013 and the beginning of 2014, this change could have been met by President Dilma Rousseff herself. However, in a change from only a few months ago, when the consolidation of President Dilma as favourite for re-election as President seemed clear, today the scenery is unclear and the outlook the worst ever faced by PT since Lula became President of Brazil. A poll on Tuesday 26th August by IBOPE gave Dilma 34%, Marina Silva 29% and Aécio Neves 19%. If we compare this to Datafolhas report from previous week that gave Dilma 36%, Marina 21% and Aecio 20%, we see Marina Silva from the centrist Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) rising fast, the fall of Dilma and stagnation in the position of Aécios Neves. We can also see that finally previously undecided voters, many of whom were on the streets last year, are beginning to come out in support of Marina Silva. Even with all the potential that the former candidate Eduardo Campos was carrying, he wasn't nationally recognized that way he could not be perceived as the representative of such change. Both Dilma and Aécio represent the Brazilian Government from the last 20 years. They may even talk about change, but the society doesn't see it that way. When Marina arose on the scene, even though the policy content of her platform is unknown by a large part of the population, the impact of her name, her face and posture of challenging the ‘old politics’ pleases important parts of the society, mainly those from the middle and upper classes and voters between 16 and 34 years old that are supporting her candidacy. Marina’s candidacy has merged not only the emotional aspect of the tragic death of Eduardo Campos but the idea of change itself, a new era for Brazil. Escaping from all those political stereotypes, Marina presents herself as a typical Brazilian from the northern region of the country, the poorest area of Brazil. However, Marina first reached the hearts and minds of the middle and upper classes in the most developed cities in Brazil. Could it be by the fact that she carried the content that they wanted to consume or could it be because she represents the abolition of old political models seen as saturated by the elites? As opinion creators, those elites are daily trying to legitimate Marina, trying to transform that wave of change that she represents into something solid. While President Dilma and Senator Aécio Neves are trying to attribute the growth in her popularity to the emotive moment (following the death of Campos) and to the fact that she is something new, Marina had already demonstrated to have the power of a competitive candidate. In the 2010 Presidential election she received 20 million votes, as a candidate for the small Green Party, and showed up as a political force that came to stay. However in the following years she failed trying to create her own political party as she didn't manage to obtain the required 500,000 signatures. The explanation to that could be the anti status quo posture of her electorate. Why do you need a party? As she seemed doomed to be a great second rank Brazilian politician, as candidate to be the vice president on Eduardo Campos' political ticket, destiny seems to have put her back on an unexpected track. The tragic change that ended the life of one of the most promising Brazilian politicians in many years was also the change in Marina’s trajectory, that aims to be the change claimed by a society that doesn't know very well what it wants, but knows exactly what it doesn`t want. We should not forget that Marina already had 27% of the vote intentions on a Datafolha research from April. It was one of the tested sceneries, but since Eduardo was the candidate and she was the Vice-Presidential candidate, just a few paid attention to those numbers. Of course there is an emotional wave that benefits her, but this emotional wave had begun during the 2013 protests and has just been accentuated by Eduardo Campos death. The third chapter of this emotional wave that could take over Brazil depends on whether Marina Silva can continue to build her strength until the end of the campaign. September 2014 [post_title] => From the streets to a tragedy: A change in the Brazilian election panorama [post_excerpt] => The Brazilian elections are taking an unexpected path since the protests that happened in June 2013. On that occasion political analysts were asking themselves what could have been the drivers that motivated millions of Brazilians to take the streets protesting not only against the government, but against the political system as a whole. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => from-the-streets-to-a-tragedy-a-change-in-the-brazilian-election-panorama [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-27 09:02:14 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-27 09:02:14 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://fpc.clearhonestdesign.com/from-the-streets-to-a-tragedy-a-change-in-the-brazilian-election-panorama/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [13] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 956 [post_author] => 38 [post_date] => 2014-08-27 14:40:24 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-08-27 14:40:24 [post_content] => In this article, four senior UK and US academics use data gathered in a May 2014 survey they commissioned that focused on British foreign policy attitudes. The researchers asked UK respondents how the British Government should deal with UK nationals travelling abroad to fight against al-Assad in Syria, in Ukraine, and against Boko Haram in Nigeria. They found that pluralities of respondents in all three situations favour stripping such individuals of UK citizenship, and less than 20% of those surveyed believe the Government should allow its citizens to fight in any of these emerging conflicts. They argue that Home Secretary Theresa May would have public support behind her if, as planned, new measures are brought forth to crack down on UK citizens fighting for foreign armies or groups. [post_title] => Britons have already said no to citizens travelling abroad to fight, no matter what the cause [post_excerpt] => In this article, four senior UK and US academics use data gathered in a May 2014 survey they commissioned that focused on British foreign policy attitudes. The researchers asked UK respondents how the British Government should deal with UK nationals travelling abroad to fight against al-Assad in Syria, in Ukraine, and against Boko Haram in Nigeria. They found that pluralities of respondents in all three situations favour stripping such individuals of UK citizenship, and less than 20% of those surveyed believe the Government should allow its citizens to fight in any of these emerging conflicts. They argue that Home Secretary Theresa May would have public support behind her if, as planned, new measures are brought forth to crack down on UK citizens fighting for foreign armies or groups. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => britons-have-already-said-no-to-citizens-travelling-abroad-to-fight-no-matter-what-the-cause [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-27 09:02:15 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-27 09:02:15 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://fpc.clearhonestdesign.com/britons-have-already-said-no-to-citizens-travelling-abroad-to-fight-no-matter-what-the-cause/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [14] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 954 [post_author] => 38 [post_date] => 2014-08-21 13:45:22 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-08-21 13:45:22 [post_content] => This FPC Briefing by Matthew Funaiole examines seven of the key current geopolitical challenges currently facing China. Issues covered include the ambiguous regional order, the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands, the North Korean nuclear weapons program, cross strait relations with Taiwan, energy reserves in the South China Sea, domestic separatist movements in Xinjiang and Tibet, and the challenges of energy security and climate change. [post_title] => FPC Briefing: Seven geo-political challenges facing China [post_excerpt] => This FPC Briefing by Matthew Funaiole examines seven of the key current geopolitical challenges currently facing China. Issues covered include the ambiguous regional order, the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands, the North Korean nuclear weapons program, cross strait relations with Taiwan, energy reserves in the South China Sea, domestic separatist movements in Xinjiang and Tibet, and the challenges of energy security and climate change. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => fpc-briefing-seven-geo-political-challenges-facing-china [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-27 09:02:15 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-27 09:02:15 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://fpc.clearhonestdesign.com/fpc-briefing-seven-geo-political-challenges-facing-china/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [15] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 952 [post_author] => 38 [post_date] => 2014-08-20 10:39:51 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-08-20 10:39:51 [post_content] => In this briefing paper Dr Simon Mabon and Dr Stephen Royle examine the rise of the so-called ‘Islamic State’ or IS group in Syria and Iraq. They explore roots of sovereignty in the region and possible approaches for regional actors and the international community to take in combating the threat posed by IS. [post_title] => FPC Briefing: IS, Regional Security and the End of Sykes-Picot [post_excerpt] => In this briefing paper Dr Simon Mabon and Dr Stephen Royle examine the rise of the so-called ‘Islamic State’ or IS group in Syria and Iraq. They explore roots of sovereignty in the region and possible approaches for regional actors and the international community to take in combating the threat posed by IS. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => fpc-briefing-is-regional-security-and-the-end-of-sykes-picot [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-27 09:02:15 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-27 09:02:15 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://fpc.clearhonestdesign.com/fpc-briefing-is-regional-security-and-the-end-of-sykes-picot/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [16] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 673 [post_author] => 38 [post_date] => 2014-08-19 13:36:04 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-08-19 13:36:04 [post_content] => 1. New BRICS Development Bank and Contingent Reserve Fund. Dramatic shake-up of the global financial system, dominated by Western multinationals since the Second World War After two years of protracted negotiations, the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) signed a treaty to launch a BRICS Development Bank when they met at a BRICS summit in the northern Brazilian city of Fortaleza on 15 July 2014. In documents prepared for the summit, the planned BRICS Development Bank is called the ‘New Development Bank (NDB)’. BRICS countries also set up a $100bn currency reserves pool to help members if they are hit by short-term liquidity crises. The BRICS grouping also signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation among BRICS export credit insurance agencies to boost trade. South African President Jacob Zuma said "We recognised the huge potential for BRICS insurance and reinsurance markets to break new ground and pool our capacities". The BRICS Development Bank will rival the US and European-led World Bank and its private lending affiliate, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), which have dominated development finance since the Second World War. The BRICS Development Bank has been positioned as a bank that will provide developing countries with alternative funding. This development finance comes without the punishing strings attached and particularly reinstating the power of recipient countries to make their own policies. In addition, the BRICS Development Bank also promises to make lending processes faster, simpler and cheaper, as opposed to the current protracted, complicated and expensive processes undertaken by the World Bank. The BRICS Development Bank will have start-up capital of $50bn, which will be built over time to $100bn. As part of this start-up fund, countries will each put in $10bn in cash over seven years and $40bn in guarantees, which will be used to raise capital on international markets. The BRICS Development Bank will start lending in 2016 and membership will be open to other countries, but the capital share of the BRICS will not be allowed to drop below 55 per cent. The BRICS bank will be ratified by the parliaments of the individual BRICS member states. The investment rules, management and leadership will be negotiated after ratification of the treaty establishing the bank. The BRICS account for almost half the world's population and one-fifth of global economic output. The World Bank sits on a fund of $223bn. The World Bank will lend $61bn by the end of 2014. The UN Conference on Trade and Development forecasts that in a decade the BRICS Development Bank could lend $3.4bn. The bank and the contingent reserve fund will be the first visible, real and practical joint programme of the BRICS countries – which have been under pressure to show that they can act in concert as an emerging market grouping, given their diversity of interests, priorities and global locations. 2. New BRICS emergency fund set up to protect members against financial crises One of the potential mutually beneficial policies on the BRICS agenda has been the proposal that members should combine their estimated $240bn in foreign exchange reserves to protect individual members from short-term liquidity volatility. The idea would be that the funds would be accessible to individual members as an emergency fund if they experience balance of payment problems. The BRICS members have set up a $100bn contingency reserves pool (called the Contingent Reserve Arrangement – CRA), denominated in US dollars. This is to help members who face sudden foreign capital flight. China will contribute $41bn to the reserve, Russia, Brazil and India $18bn each and South Africa $5bn. This new contingency reserve fund is also seen as an alternative to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The contingency reserve fund will be based on the Chiang Mai Initiative, the emergency fund established by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in May 2000. The Chiang Mai Initiative is aligned to the IMF and its rules. If a member of the ASEAN countries is in financial difficulty, it must follow IMF reforms if it wants to access more than 40 per cent of its (the member’s) borrowing quota. The BRICS members are yet to decide on the final details of the reserve. BRICS, African and developing countries have failed to get industrial nations to give them a greater voice in decision-making at the World Bank and IMF. These institutions continue to advance punishing and inappropriate structural adjustment programmes on developing countries. Policies which dominant industrial countries themselves would never implement in their own economies in return for funding. The new BRICS contingency reserve fund is also seen as an alternative to the IMF’s much criticised failure to deal with global monetary crises, which have often left developing countries worse off. In January 2014 a mini-financial crisis among many emerging markets saw many experience capital flight, partially following the sudden easing by the United States of its monetary stimulus. The Federal Reserve did this without consulting emerging markets likely to be affected due to the global dominance of the US dollar. On this occasion, the BRICS failed to coordinate their responses to the flight of capital from emerging markets. The BRICS contingency currency pool will be held as part of the reserves of each BRICS country and will be used to support members experiencing balance-of-payments difficulties. If, for example, China is in a financial crisis, it would be eligible to ask for half of its contribution, South Africa for double its contribution – because of its relatively smaller contribution, and Russia, Brazil and India for the amount they originally contributed to the pool. Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff said at the launch: "It will help contain the volatility faced by diverse economies as a result of the tapering of the United States' policy of monetary expansion”. The launch statement declared the Contingency Reserve Arrangement would help BRICS countries to deal with ‘short-term liquidity pressures, promote further BRICS co-operation, strengthen the global financial safety net and complement existing international arrangements’. The BRICS Development Bank and the contingency reserve fund are the first real and practical attempts by developing countries to create an alternative monetary, development finance and trade system. Arguably, this rivals both the Bretton Woods Institutions and ironically the dominance of the US dollar currency – given that the BRICS capital reserves are actually held in US dollars. 3. Differences between members over the BRICS Development Bank has delayed the ratification of the bank and reserve fund until now Given the diversity of interests of BRICS members, it is not surprising that it has not only been very difficult to get the members to agree on priorities, but it is also very difficult to get them to act in concert. The BRICS have been under pressure to show that it is not just a loose grouping or a talk shop – but a real global emerging force to be reckoned with. Finally agreeing on the BRICS Development Bank and the reserve fund give the grouping a cohesive joint programme to formalise the alliance. After a long period of negotiations, the BRICS have only been able to agree to establish the bank, but have disagreed on most of the important details. They could not agree on where the envisaged bank would be located, how it should be capitalised or how its funding model would work. One of the big debates was whether every member will have equitable shareholding, with equal voting rights – in spite of the potential domination of China. The World Bank and IMF do not exercise the principle of equal voting – with Western countries having a bigger say in decisions. Whether other countries should join later was also a thorny issue. India, for example, wanted the founders to allow non-BRICS to join at a later stage. India also wanted to ensure the name of the bank was not exclusionary. Where the bank should be situated has also been a bone of contention. China wanted the BRICS bank to be located in China. However, other BRICS countries, in particular India, feared that if the bank was based in China, it would be dominated by Chinese financial institutions, such as the China Development Bank. India also wanted the bank to be located in India, as a counterweight to possible Chinese domination. South Africa wanted the bank to be based in Africa, as a ‘neutral’ location. South Africa has been lobbying to have the new BRICS Development Bank based in Johannesburg as it would essentially serve as an African infrastructure bank. In 2013, South African President Jacob Zuma told delegates at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town "Africa feels the bank should be established here, particularly because the greater need for the bank is on the continent of Africa". However, South Africa’s argument that a BRICS bank should be an African-based one was simply too narrow. Countries such as China and India see a BRICS bank as a global bank, competing with the World Bank and IMF, rather than a specifically Africa focused. India has argued for a BRICS Development Bank to use budget surpluses from BRICS countries to invest in other developing countries, not necessarily in Africa alone. It was decided that the bank will be based in Shanghai. The bank’s first chair of the board of governors will be from Russia, the chair of the board of directors from Brazil and the president of the bank will be from India. The BRICS development bank’s regional office will be based in South Africa. Having contributed the largest amount, there is a real danger that China, whose foreign exchange reserves are three times larger than those of the four other member states combined, will dominate the BRICS foreign reserves pool. The big question is whether China would have a significant command over the new bank – and its future practices. India in particular, has pushed for equitable shareholding, with equal voting rights for all members, regardless of their economic weight. 4. What could the BRICS bank offer Africa? BRICS countries have proposed setting up a BRICS-Africa Council to accelerate trade and investment between BRICS countries and Africa. Africa desperately needs reliable and cheaper long-term development finance, which is not consistent with the restrictive World Bank and IMF conditions. A typical example has been Joyce Banda, the former Malawian President, who in May this year lost the elections partly because she was forced to introduce ruinous reforms by the IMF, including devaluation of the currency and abolishing subsidies for the vulnerable and help to farmers, in return for development aid. These reforms unleashed widespread popular anger. A BRICS Development Bank may offer new hope to African and developing countries such as Malawi. The bank could also be a source of finance for infrastructure, not only for member states, but also for Africa. It could potentially provide the finance for development and infrastructure Africa so desperately needs. Finance for infrastructure is often difficult to secure for African countries. Given the financial difficulties experienced in the aftermath of the global financial crisis – that many industrial economies in Western Europe and North America still find themselves in – traditional sources of funding may also dry up for Africa. But the BRICS could provide finance to build Africa’s manufacturing sectors – crucial for meeting the expanding demand for jobs and thereby significantly reducing inequality and poverty. The mere presence of a BRICS bank which does not adhere to the World Bank and IMF’s structural adjustment philosophy may strengthen the hands of African governments to develop more independent and relevant national development policies. The BRICS Development Bank may also offer African countries new development aid alternatives which do not come with punishing conditions. For most of the post-war period, African countries were not given the ‘policy space’ to make independent economic or political decisions . Without question, African countries need to grasp the opportunity that the BRICS Development Bank provides for developing quality development policies. The bank could also help Africans secure better investment deals in their negotiations with traditional multilateral banks and the private sector. The establishment of a BRICS Development Bank and the prospect of new competition may also finally bring accountability, responsiveness and inclusivity to the World Bank and IMF – which have long been in short supply. The BRICS Development Bank offers African countries the potential for new ideas on development, sustainable technologies and institutional innovation. The World Bank and IMF not only appear to suffer from a crisis of credibility in the developing world, but also from a poverty of ideas. As a case in point, the two institutions largely failed to resolve or mitigate the effects of the recent global financial crises, whether in individual economies or regionally (e.g. the Eurozone crises). 5. The BRICS bank: No panacea for Africa and developing countries Of course, the very difficult issues of deciding on the investment rules, management and leadership of the new BRICS Development Bank will only be negotiated after the ratification of the treaty establishing the bank. There is no guarantee that a BRICS Development Bank would not attach as onerous a suite of conditions as the World Bank or other development financial institutions. In addition, it might not prioritise the development and infrastructure policies important to African economies. The reality is that only if to ameliorate risks, the BRICS Development Bank is likely to attach conditions to its lending to Africa and developing countries. Most individual current BRICS development banks, such as the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) lend at market rates to African countries. Or, in the case of the China Development Bank, aggressively pursue commercial interests abroad. There is also absolutely no guarantee that the envisaged BRICS inspired development bank would be more development-oriented than the Bretton Woods Institutions or other global or regional development agencies. Of the BRICS countries, only South Africa has foreign investment guidelines – which are rarely enforced – to hold local companies to account, in terms of good governance, respect for human rights and the environment when operating overseas. Although the BRICS development founders have said they will allow African and other developing countries to secure shares in the new bank, it is not yet clear whether the bank would be just another club, not unlike the World Bank is for the rich. The BRICS bank could be merely the preserve of large emerging powers. Africans will have to learn the lessons from their unequal and disadvantageous engagement with traditional development institutions and strike smarter partnerships, through African development banks, state-owned enterprises and the private sector, as well as the BRICS Development Bank. 6. What can BRICS civil society groups do to ensure the BRICS Development Bank provides more accountability than the World Bank and IMF? The jury is still out as to whether the BRICS Development Bank and the contingent reserve fund will be substantially different in their development approaches compared to the World Bank and IMF – which they have so passionately criticised. Furthermore, the big question remains whether the BRICS bank will be based on good corporate governance. BRICS civil society groups, the media and academics will have to work together to ensure the BRICS Development Bank pursues lending that is ecologically sustainable, promotes inclusive economic growth and development and bases its operations on good corporate governance. The very first thing that BRICS civil society groups will have to do is to monitor the investment activities of the BRICS Development Bank and make certain such information is widely available. BRICS civil society groups do not currently have sufficiently broad-based platforms in BRICS institutions to influence decision-making. This is a major shortcoming, which BRICS civil society groups will have to agitate for. August 2014 [post_title] => BRICS Development Bank: Challenges and opportunities for Africa [post_excerpt] => FPC Senior Research Associate William Gumede provides his insight into future challenges and opportunities for Africa following an agreement by the leaders of the BRICS to establish a BRICS Development Bank. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => brics-development-bank-challenges-and-opportunities-for-africa [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-27 09:02:15 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-27 09:02:15 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://fpc.clearhonestdesign.com/brics-development-bank-challenges-and-opportunities-for-africa/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [17] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 672 [post_author] => 38 [post_date] => 2014-08-14 09:48:43 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-08-14 09:48:43 [post_content] => The prime minister’s campaign was conducted at full speed with the full resources of the state at his disposal and the clear support of most of the public and private broadcast media. Meanwhile, Ihsanoglu, a respected but little known academic theologian chosen strategically by the centre-left Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the nationalist, right-wing National Movement Party (MHP) to attract more votes from the conservative, pro-religious base, struggled to find a voice that could resonate beyond those parties’ voters. The combined vote-share of both parties in April’s local elections had been 43%. Erdogan built his campaign on a platform promoting a narrative of steep economic improvements and general prosperity in the country as well as a deeply polarizing rhetoric that sought to shore up the conservative Sunni voting base by emphasising the otherness of his opponents. In doing so, his candidacy also attracted a lot of support from the MHP’s core electoral base in the Anatolian heartland. On the other hand, Demirtas, the long-standing leader of the pro-Kurdish political movement and the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), campaigning on a liberal-left platform, was appealing to many people and proved his mettle as an attractive public figure in the political arena. Gathering almost 10%, more than any party rooted in the Kurdish political movement normally attracts, this holds out the possibility that the HDP could emerge as a new, potent liberal-left force in Turkish politics with Demirtas at its helm. Held in the middle of Turkey’s traditional holiday season, there was an unusually low turnout of only 73% for the elections, leading to speculations that many people had not wanted to sacrifice their vacations to return to vote in their hometowns. It may also be that the certainty of Erdogan’s victory in the election deterred many people from turning up at the ballot box. A second surprise was the very low turnout from Turkish people living abroad. From the approximately 2.8 million strong community of eligible voters, barely 10% decided to vote. This is the 7th election in total that Erdogan has won since the Justice and Development Party (AKP) that he leads was first elected in 2002. In his almost 11 years in power, he has presided over a country that has seen immense economic and infrastructural development and which has become a much more significant actor in international and regional politics. However, the country has also become steadily more authoritarian and deeply polarized, especially in the last 4 years. The widespread Gezi protests in the summer of 2013, which have sporadically re-occurred, attest to this. The last year was especially tumultuous in Turkish politics. Allegations of corruption reaching to the highest level were publicly fielded against the government in December 2013. The terrible mining disaster of Soma in May, killing 301 people, was seen to be handled badly and callously by the government and the situation across the border in Syria’s civil war has significantly deteriorated with a militant religious insurgency now having also swept into Iraq. Importantly, as well, Turkey’s economic growth has declined in recent years due to domestic and international turmoil and may develop more serious problems in the near future. In the aftermath of Turkey’s first ever direct election for the presidency there are many questions circulating as to the future direction of the country’s political system. Firstly, the government has by August 28th to pick a new prime minister, at which time Erdogan will assume his new presidential office. While it is certain that he would favour a candidate that he would be able to control easily, such a choice could also weaken the AKP’s public image in the looming national elections, due to be held in July 2015. A useful comparison can be made here with former Prime Minister Turgut Özal, a titan of Turkish politics in the 1980s and early 1990s, who became president in 1989. In doing so he handpicked a prime minister, Yildirim Akbulut, that he could easily influence. Özal’s choice, however, significantly weakened the Motherland Party (ANAP) and was a factor in it losing the dominance it previously held in Turkish party politics. Secondly, it is certain that one of the big objectives of the next government will be to change the constitution in order to shift Turkey along towards a more fully presidential system. At present, the presidential office is relatively weak vis-à-vis the legislature in terms of its power. It is clear that the current prime minister would want to significantly bolster the office in order to retain his dominant hold over Turkish politics. In order to achieve this within the frame of law, more than 330 of the Turkish parliament’s 550 members would need to vote through a series of constitutional changes. At present the AKP occupies only 313 seats in parliament and it is unlikely that opposition parties would lend their support to legislate these constitutional changes. In that sense, the next general elections will be key to determining what shape Turkey’s political system will acquire. The ill-fated presidential campaign of the conservative Ihsanoglu has aroused deep anger within the MHP and especially the CHP, which sees itself as entrusted with the safekeeping of Turkey’s secularist legacy. There is already a leadership challenge under way in the CHP. Although the AKP government has stated that it would not seek to call early elections, doing so while the opposition parties are experiencing a climate of disarray and disillusionment would clearly benefit it. This is the environment in which Turkish politics will be moving in the next year. It remains to be seen how this shift towards a presidential political system under the rule of Erdogan will affect the crucial issues that the country is currently facing in its domestic and foreign politics. August 2014 [post_title] => The shape of things to come in Turkish politics [post_excerpt] => Turkey’s first ever direct elections for the presidency held on August 10th ended according to general expectations. The country’s current Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan won with almost 52% of the vote, thus securing victory in the first round of balloting. His two challengers, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoðlu and Selahattin Demirtas; only managed to garner 38% and 10% respectively. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => the-shape-of-things-to-come-in-turkish-politics [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-27 09:02:16 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-27 09:02:16 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://fpc.clearhonestdesign.com/the-shape-of-things-to-come-in-turkish-politics/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [18] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 671 [post_author] => 38 [post_date] => 2014-07-03 15:25:15 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-07-03 15:25:15 [post_content] => The law centres on the slippery concept, obshchestvennyi kontrol’, which translates into English as public oversight, public monitoring or public scrutiny. It is used both by the Kremlin and by independent civic groups to refer to ways in which citizens can monitor the activities of local and regional government. Kremlin-founded corporate bodies such as the Federal Public Chamber and the myriad public councils attached to government ministries claim to enact obshchestvennyi kontrol’ by acting as discussion platforms for government-selected ‘civil society leaders’ and officials. The plethora of grassroots collectives that sprang up to monitor the Presidential election in March 2012, widely perceived to be riddled with fraud, also used the concept to refer to their activities. The fact that this form of obshchestvennyi kontrol’ played a key role in drawing citizens to some of the largest protests seen since the collapse of the Soviet Union should not be overlooked as a possible motive for the decision to restrict this concept in law. While the law states that obshchestvennyi kontrol’ may take any form that does not contradict the principles set out in the document, it nonetheless delineates five examples of what such activities should consist of, what their outputs should be and how government departments should respond. First, a public examination (obshchestvennaya ekspertiza) requires ‘public experts’, that is local academics, researchers or NGO leaders, to study draft laws and existing legislation and assess their social impact and whether they comply with the ‘public interest’. Second, public discussions (obshchestvennye obshuzhdeniya) consist of public meetings between public monitory bodies and local government, which aim ‘to include the widest range of views of different social groups’ in the development of legislation. Third, public hearings (obshchestvennye slushaniya) are similar to public discussions, but allow any concerned citizen to take part. Fourth, public monitoring (obshchestvennyi monitoring) is an on-going form of surveillance of local government activities. Fifth, public inspections (obshchestvennie proverki) are auditing processes of government bodies or official perceived to be failing in the work, which involve public monitory bodies collecting information and developing proposals to remedy the situation. Importantly, in order to enact obshchestvennyi kontrol’, interested parties must join the existing network of Kremlin-initiated corporate bodies. Citizens and NGOs cannot take part independently. It thus harks back to the governance practices of the Soviet Union, in which practices of narodnyi kontrol’ (people’s oversight) were co-ordinated through centrally controlled monitory bodies (and frequently resulted in the co-optation of the so-called people’s inspectors into the corrupt system they were supposed to be monitoring). The law is a product of the growing desire to shift the state-dependent Soviet-era mentality still common among the population by fostering active citizens and including them in governance processes, as stipulated in the second wave of government administrative reforms between 2006 and 2010. These reforms were based on the assumption that one of the main problems with the administrative system was its closed nature and the lack of feedback channels between the authorities and the citizens. Information held by the authorities was considered secret and there were no structural opportunities for consultation with civil society groups before decisions were made. Thus, institutional mechanisms were proposed, which would promote more effective engagement between NGOs and the authorities and increase the overall transparency of government activity. In order to do this, a system of ‘public councils’ was mooted, which would bring citizens and authorities together to debate policy areas, conduct scrutiny of government decisions, and include ‘civil society’ in oversight commissions and working groups. This network of public councils and other similar bodies would provide the framework through which NGOs could influence decision-making and work with the state on policy delivery. It is this network that has now been charged with co-ordinating the sum total of civic engagement in Russia. The development of the law has spanned the last two years and has clearly been a pet project of Vladimir Putin, who has championed obshchestvennyi kontrol’ in his own speeches and articles to the nation. For instance, in his February 2012 pre-election article ‘’, Putin made it clear that the extension of obshchestvennyi kontrol’ would be central to developing civic participation in governance in his coming term. ‘Above all,’ he stated, ‘it is a citizens-wide discussion of the draft laws, decisions and programmes adopted at all levels of government, as well as the evaluation of existing laws and their application.’ Similarly, in his , Putin reiterated his desire to see more discussion and collaboration between the authorities and citizens: ‘Modern Russia needs a broad public debate, moreover, with practical results, when public initiatives are part of public policy and society monitors their execution.’ He went on to ask the Public Chamber and the Presidential Human Rights Council to work hard on the preparation of the law. In January 2014, the first draft of the proposals were sent to the Presidential Administration for further development. It was at this point the provisions on who could conduct obshchestvennyi kontrol’ were changed: the original idea was to allow every citizen and NGO to monitor the authorities, now only the existing state-controlled bodies could do so. It also deleted the clause stipulating the creation of a single unified portal through which the results of scrutiny exercises would be published, citing a lack of funding and stating that it would be more efficient to use the Federal Public Chamber website. On 12 March 2014, Putin introduced the law into the Duma. On 25 March 2014, during a Duma debate, it was noted that the passing of the law would require more than 25 changes to existing legislation. However, the Federation Council indicated their support and called for the bill to be passed quickly. In May 2014, the bill received prime airtime on Russian state-controlled TV channels. On 2nd July, it was passed by the Duma. Given the Federation Council’s vocal support, we can expect the bill to become law imminently. Now, the meaning of obshchestvennyi kontrol’ has been fixed as the monitoring of the activities of government departments by state-founded corporate bodies. Its aims include protecting the rights and freedoms of Russian citizens and enabling the consideration of public opinion during government decision-making processes. According to the document, the proposals will help to develop a sense of legal consciousness in citizens, as well as increase the level of trust in the actions of the state, facilitate the realisation of civic projects, and reduce corruption. However, this new law could have at least three serious consequences for state-society relations in Russia. First, the narrow definition of what it means to enact obshchestvennyi kontrol’ will curtail the development of new and imaginative ways in which citizens can engage with authorities – and possibly prevent such activities as independent election monitoring. Second, since all monitoring activities must be conducted through the Kremlin’s existing corporate bodies, the authorities will retain an oblique control over who can take part and will be able to influence the processes and outcomes of the public monitoring exercises. Third, while the law recognises that citizens are an important source of expertise, it nonetheless seeks to control and direct this knowledge. The law promotes a consensual relationship between authorities and citizens and discourages political contestation, the essence of a vibrant public sphere. In sum, it could signal a death knoll for independent civic life in Russia. July 2014 [post_title] => The State Monitors Citizens Monitoring the State: The New Face of Civic Engagement in Russia [post_excerpt] => On 2 July 2014, the Russian State Duma passed the highly controversial ‘On the Foundations of Public Oversight in the Russian Federation’ at its second reading. This law defines the basis on which citizens may interact with authorities and stipulates that such interaction can only be conducted through state-sanctioned bodies. Now in the hands of the Russian parliament’s Upper House, which must give its approval before the draft can become law, the proposals could have profound implications for civic participation in governance and should be of great concern to those who care about civil liberties in Russia. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => the-state-monitors-citizens-monitoring-the-state-the-new-face-of-civic-engagement-in-russia [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-27 09:02:16 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-27 09:02:16 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://fpc.clearhonestdesign.com/the-state-monitors-citizens-monitoring-the-state-the-new-face-of-civic-engagement-in-russia/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [19] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 667 [post_author] => 38 [post_date] => 2014-06-04 13:43:18 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-06-04 13:43:18 [post_content] => William Hague said during a with Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, that bilateral relations aim to improve the ‘prosperity’ of both countries. Hague emphasised a policy that still engages with Pakistan on security but also becomes more developed economically and culturally. The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) recently laid out a new education plan for Pakistan. According to an ‘By 2015 we aim to help put 4 million more children into school; train 90,000 teachers per year and construct more than 20,000 classrooms’. And a new business centre, the first of several, will be to boost UK-Pakistan trade and investment. The UK is right in its more holistic policy approach because Pakistan holds strategic potential for Britain. A new independent and a carefully constructed engagement with Pakistan might bring the credible position of authority it seeks, but is currently lacking, in India and across South Asia. The competition for influence Generally speaking, Britain has kept up appearances in South Asia without needing to ‘shift’, the commonly wheeled out term in the phraseology of foreign policy experts. China has set their sights on the region through the widely touted ‘Maritime Silk Road Venture’, and the United States through their ‘Pivot to Asia’. Britain’s historical attachment gives them little need for a foreign policy facelift. Thankfully no longer a space Britain calls home. They are the region’s consultants, superior in the experience-stakes than other Western states that lack the colonial connection. However perceptions about Britain’s role in South Asia have changed. Britain does not offer the same commercial trappings for other states in South Asia. Indian policy makers hold this point of view. ‘Talk of an especially close bond with Britain does not really ring true in India’, wrote in 2013. David Cameron has called the relationship with India one of the “most important relationships of the 21st century”. But Britain’s overall ability to exert itself has weakened in South Asia because it struggles to compete with more powerful exporting nations such as Germany, France, Korea and Japan. This isn’t to say there are not strong financial and educational linkages in South Asia, rather that Britain does not stand out. It does not have the economic clout to lever independent political influence. To boost Britain’s strategic influence in South Asia is now less tangible. Throwing money or arms at regime change is not sustainable nor a good idea. Startling defence cuts have the ; very real proof of decline. These fears don’t resonate in India and others states because defence cuts aren’t relevant for forward-thinking business-focused South Asian policy makers. Relying on cultural and historical symbolism largely attracts distain from Governments. Policy makers in the UK will have to develop a new diplomatic strategy to win back influence in South Asia. To reverse a trend so countries strategically involved in South Asia rely on Britain. Improve the UK-Pakistan Enhanced Strategic Dialogue Britain’s bold position in Pakistan might be the answer. The early stages of what might be new priorities in South Asian policy were illuminated recently. UK Foreign Secretary William Hague and Pakistan’s National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz met in London to discuss the ‘Enhanced Strategic Dialogue’. The tête–à–tête bolstered the status quo. Britain’s intent to bring the states closer together was publically put up in lights. “This dialogue represents a continuing, long-term commitment by both countries to work together to create the conditions necessary for greater security and prosperity”, said . National Security Advisor Aziz said “We agreed to intensify efforts to achieve meaningful and mutually beneficial progress in a holistic manner under the framework of the Enhanced Strategic Dialogue”. The Foreign Secretary has since set out a Roadmap for Trade and Investment between Pakistan and the UK and a Roadmap for Culture and Education. This represents Britain’s commitment, it appears, to be a more rounded diplomatic partner to Pakistan. Trade and investment is important to accompany the vast sums of aid. Meeting the in May 2014, Hague said “Pakistan and the UK continue to work together to strengthen the security and prosperity of both our countries”. Why the time is right for Britain in Pakistan: US, India and China The two statesmen discussed improving bilateral trade between the two nations, promoting British investment in Pakistan and combatting extremism, militancy and terrorism. There was a lot of familiar jargon, but for Britain there are potential strategic gains to be won from a closer bilateral relationship with Pakistan. The time is now; the trajectory of the political dynamics in South Asia works in Britain’s favour. There is an opportunity for Britain to become Pakistan’s closest diplomatic ally. Ties between the United States and Pakistan have become increasingly complex since the invasion of Afghanistan and encroachment into Pakistan’s territory via its mountainous border region. Relations were effectively broken after the assassination of Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011. Both sides felt that they were kept in the dark. It will take a lot to get away from the ‘sense of distrust’, according to . Since 2011 improving diplomatic relations and regional strategic positions with ‘soft power’ gains, beyond a security perspective, has not been the US’s modus operandi in Pakistan. A rapprochement to mend a seemingly broken relationship has taken the form of bilateral talks. It is too early to assess whether differences will be reconciled. According to "the governments are exchanging positive words and rhetoric, not particularly significant accomplishments". Consequently the two remain suspicious of each other. At the very least Pakistan is still viewed by the United States within the Af-Pak paradigm. The main concern for the US after the withdrawal of troops is still security vis-à-vis Afghanistan. Winning hearts and minds in Pakistan plays second fiddle to this. Senior American figures in foreign policy believe this trend should be addressed. Ambassador Munter, speaking at the , stressed it would be wise for America not to view Pakistan through the prism of security. Until this changes dramatically, it means the role of a new benevolent political ally is ‘open’. History tells us that at the beginning of new Indian Governments, relations with Pakistan have often improved. For example, the BJP Government signed the Lahore Declaration in 1999 shortly after elections. Some in Pakistan are hopeful that the same will occur after BJP’s Narendra Modi victory in the Indian Elections. ‘’, Kishwer Zehra member of National Assembly of Pakistan, told the Economic Times. In terms of foreign policy it is likely that a continued form of arms-length diplomacy will suffice for both India and Pakistan. The withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan will also impact India. Fears of extremism and terrorism are high on the Indo-Pak security agenda. Even if relations improve with the Modi-led Government, foreign policy will still be curtailed by a ubiquitous sense of mutual caution. Again, it leaves room for another state to form closer diplomatic ties with Pakistan. The door is open because no other state has the same regional aspirations and existing connections as Britain. China still has a large financial stake in Pakistan. But Beijing has no desire to mediate in the region to create political influence. Author William Dalrymple even wrote recently that their 50-year alliance “”. Strategic potential as Pakistan’s ‘middle-man’ It will be an asset for the UK to be Pakistan’s sole or closest Western political representative. In this role Britain will have the opportunity to act as problem solver or point of access, if required, between Pakistan, India, the US and the International Community in general. It is likely that there will be issues with the US because of their continued military presence in Afghanistan and if drone strikes continue in Pakistan. For India the threat of terrorism that might warrants the input of a ‘middle-man’. Compared with recent overseas forays, it is in Britain’s interest to maintain the status quo on the ground in Pakistan. Typically for British foreign policy, sometimes pursuing an American aim, regime change has been the objective. In Iraq, Afghanistan and more recently Libya and Syria. Clearly, this is off the agenda if Britain intends to cultivate a reciprocal bilateral relationship with Pakistan. Knowing its own limitations and assets will force Britain to rethink its position in South Asia in the future. William Hague seems to have adopted a very positive stance already with Pakistan. There have been no formal documents stipulating that Pakistan has become the British priority in South Asia. No personalised label for their position in Pakistan. We may not yet have to deal with a new inelegant abbreviation, Pak-UK. To some extent there is now a waiting game to play. A chance to monitor the shift in British strategic interests towards Pakistan through Direct Financial Investment in the private sector, engaging the British Pakistani diaspora, continued aid for development, joint-security ventures, cultural initiatives and more high level diplomatic meetings. Indian foreign policy makers have in the past, according to The Times of India, grown suspicious of Britain’s perceived favouritism toward Pakistan. ‘They seem to be placing Pakistan at the centre of a peace deal’, was apparently India’s view of a between Pakistan and Afghanistan in 2013. ‘India also remains deeply sceptical of British interests and intentions in this region’, the article continued. This article was written within a specific context and related more to a concern about Britain’s inability to create a meaningful agreement between Afghanistan and Pakistan once NATO troops are withdrawn. It invoked memories of the legacy of post-colonial bloodshed in India. If Britain does seek to redefine its position in South Asia, it will have to overcome and accept the suspicions, even the animosity of friendly states such as India and the United States, to reside as an equal constituent part of the South Asian strategic landscape. Still, the objectives behind the ambiguous ‘Enhanced Strategic Dialogue’ can only be guessed at. Lots of relationships are elevated by lofty titles. But whether or not British policy makers are consciously setting their sights on a new bilateral policy with Pakistan, it appears to make sense. A push for trade, investment and education indicates a strategic shift. Varying the language of engagement beyond the security context is good for the relationship. Britain does not intend to shy away from profiting from its unique position in South Asia and it wants to have a role that exerts greater influence than it does at the moment. It has the opportunity to feature prominently in the future trajectory of the region by gaining a significant political foothold in Pakistan with due financial investment and diplomatic collaboration. June 2014 Jack Goodman is former Research Associate at The Regional Centre for Strategic Studies in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Currently working as a freelance writer and researcher on UK foreign policy and South Asian affairs. [post_title] => Why Pakistan is the key to Britain’s South Asian renaissance [post_excerpt] => Pakistan receives more British aid than any other country. The (DfID) estimates that Pakistan will receive £350million annually by 2015. But a relationship underpinned by development aid for security has changed. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => why-pakistan-is-the-key-to-britains-south-asian-renaissance [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-27 09:02:16 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-27 09:02:16 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://fpc.clearhonestdesign.com/why-pakistan-is-the-key-to-britains-south-asian-renaissance/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [20] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 950 [post_author] => 38 [post_date] => 2014-05-30 13:13:38 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-05-30 13:13:38 [post_content] => Refocusing the development agenda The current global financial crisis has led to an economic age of unprecedented austerity, mounting uncertainty and rising inequality. Today, there is a pressing need to forge a new global consensus on how best to build Africa's productive capacity. In essence: supporting the continent to develop and employ its productive resources, harness and grow its entrepreneurial capabilities and build robust and dynamic networks and linkages essential for supporting the production of goods and services to power national and regional economies. In order to move beyond the Millennium Development Goals, no longer can addressing the multiple challenges of how to promote development transformation, cultivate entrepreneurship and drive employment-led growth continue to be considered in isolation. How can the physical, social and human capital needed to expand business and enterprise development in the formal sector be promoted? How might access to, as well as the distribution of appropriate business education, skills and training across Africa be improved, replicated and scaled-up? Mounting global concerns about inclusive growth are illustrated by the World Bank's 2013 World Development Report, focused on jobs and the G20 development agenda's training strategy explored developing employment related skills. Yet, there are a number of issues which need to be considered. How can national development strategies focus on job creation? How best can their impacts be measured and scaled-up? Beyond micro-enterprise, how best can entrepreneurship be developed and fostered within and beyond national borders? Which investment and trade sectors have the greatest development impact potential, particularly with respect to creating professional employment for young people and women? How best can such sectors be developed and supported? What type of investments are required in education, training and skills development to enhance business infrastructure, expand networks and build the innovations required to transform long term employment prospects? [post_title] => Summary note - Employment, enterprise and skills: building business infrastructure for African development- Roundtable 2 [post_excerpt] => Refocusing the development agenda The current global financial crisis has led to an economic age of unprecedented austerity, mounting uncertainty and rising inequality. Today, there is a pressing need to forge a new global consensus on how best to build Africa's productive capacity. In essence: supporting the continent to develop and employ its productive resources, harness and grow its entrepreneurial capabilities and build robust and dynamic networks and linkages essential for supporting the production of goods and services to power national and regional economies. In order to move beyond the Millennium Development Goals, no longer can addressing the multiple challenges of how to promote development transformation, cultivate entrepreneurship and drive employment-led growth continue to be considered in isolation. How can the physical, social and human capital needed to expand business and enterprise development in the formal sector be promoted? How might access to, as well as the distribution of appropriate business education, skills and training across Africa be improved, replicated and scaled-up? Mounting global concerns about inclusive growth are illustrated by the World Bank's 2013 World Development Report, focused on jobs and the G20 development agenda's training strategy explored developing employment related skills. Yet, there are a number of issues which need to be considered. How can national development strategies focus on job creation? How best can their impacts be measured and scaled-up? Beyond micro-enterprise, how best can entrepreneurship be developed and fostered within and beyond national borders? Which investment and trade sectors have the greatest development impact potential, particularly with respect to creating professional employment for young people and women? How best can such sectors be developed and supported? What type of investments are required in education, training and skills development to enhance business infrastructure, expand networks and build the innovations required to transform long term employment prospects? [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => summary-note-employment-enterprise-and-skills-building-business-infrastructure-for-african-development-roundtable-2 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-27 09:02:17 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-27 09:02:17 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://fpc.clearhonestdesign.com/summary-note-employment-enterprise-and-skills-building-business-infrastructure-for-african-development-roundtable-2/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [21] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 940 [post_author] => 38 [post_date] => 2014-05-30 13:06:11 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-05-30 13:06:11 [post_content] => Refocusing the development agenda The current global financial crisis has led to an economic age of unprecedented austerity, mounting uncertainty and rising inequality. Today, there is a pressing need to forge a new global consensus on how best to build Africa's productive capacity. In essence: supporting the continent to develop and employ its productive resources, harness and grow its entrepreneurial capabilities and build robust and dynamic networks and linkages essential for supporting the production of goods and services to power national and regional economies. In order to move beyond the Millennium Development Goals, no longer can addressing the multiple challenges of how to promote development transformation, cultivate entrepreneurship and drive employment-led growth continue to be considered in isolation. How can the physical, social and human capital needed to expand business and enterprise development in the formal sector be promoted? How might access to, as well as the distribution of appropriate business education, skills and training across Africa be improved, replicated and scaled-up? Mounting global concerns about inclusive growth are illustrated by the World Bank's 2013 World Development Report, focused on jobs and the G20 development agenda's training strategy explored developing employment related skills. Yet, there are a number of issues which need to be considered. How can national development strategies focus on job creation? How best can their impacts be measured and scaled-up? Beyond micro-enterprise, how best can entrepreneurship be developed and fostered within and beyond national borders? Which investment and trade sectors have the greatest development impact potential, particularly with respect to creating professional employment for young people and women? How best can such sectors be developed and supported? What type of investments are required in education, training and skills development to enhance business infrastructure, expand networks and build the innovations required to transform long term employment prospects? [post_title] => Summary note - Employment, enterprise and skills: building business infrastructure for African development- Roundtable 1 [post_excerpt] => Refocusing the development agenda The current global financial crisis has led to an economic age of unprecedented austerity, mounting uncertainty and rising inequality. Today, there is a pressing need to forge a new global consensus on how best to build Africa's productive capacity. In essence: supporting the continent to develop and employ its productive resources, harness and grow its entrepreneurial capabilities and build robust and dynamic networks and linkages essential for supporting the production of goods and services to power national and regional economies. In order to move beyond the Millennium Development Goals, no longer can addressing the multiple challenges of how to promote development transformation, cultivate entrepreneurship and drive employment-led growth continue to be considered in isolation. How can the physical, social and human capital needed to expand business and enterprise development in the formal sector be promoted? How might access to, as well as the distribution of appropriate business education, skills and training across Africa be improved, replicated and scaled-up? Mounting global concerns about inclusive growth are illustrated by the World Bank's 2013 World Development Report, focused on jobs and the G20 development agenda's training strategy explored developing employment related skills. Yet, there are a number of issues which need to be considered. How can national development strategies focus on job creation? How best can their impacts be measured and scaled-up? Beyond micro-enterprise, how best can entrepreneurship be developed and fostered within and beyond national borders? Which investment and trade sectors have the greatest development impact potential, particularly with respect to creating professional employment for young people and women? How best can such sectors be developed and supported? What type of investments are required in education, training and skills development to enhance business infrastructure, expand networks and build the innovations required to transform long term employment prospects? [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => summary-note-employment-enterprise-and-skills-building-business-infrastructure-for-african-development-roundtable-1 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-27 09:02:17 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-27 09:02:17 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://fpc.clearhonestdesign.com/summary-note-employment-enterprise-and-skills-building-business-infrastructure-for-african-development-roundtable-1/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [22] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 948 [post_author] => 38 [post_date] => 2014-05-02 18:55:31 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-05-02 18:55:31 [post_content] => Dr Stephen Royle, who has been a consultant to the outgoing Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, gives his views on the progress made over the last year under Hamdallah's leadership. [post_title] => FPC Briefing: Above all, a Prime Minister for Palestinian Unity? [post_excerpt] => Dr Stephen Royle, who has been a consultant to the outgoing Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, gives his views on the progress made over the last year under Hamdallah's leadership. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => fpc-briefing-above-all-a-prime-minister-for-palestinian-unity [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-27 09:02:17 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-27 09:02:17 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://fpc.clearhonestdesign.com/fpc-briefing-above-all-a-prime-minister-for-palestinian-unity/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [23] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 946 [post_author] => 38 [post_date] => 2014-04-09 16:19:21 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-04-09 16:19:21 [post_content] => FPC Research Associate Stephen Minas analyses the growing and dynamic area of climate change cooperation in the Global South. His briefing looks at the role of the BRICS and a growing range of other regional groupings that are sharing policy best practice, creating innovative finance arrangements and developing new institutions to tackle the challenges of climate change. [post_title] => FPC Briefing: Climate change cooperation within the Global South: Finance, policy and institutions [post_excerpt] => FPC Research Associate Stephen Minas analyses the growing and dynamic area of climate change cooperation in the Global South. His briefing looks at the role of the BRICS and a growing range of other regional groupings that are sharing policy best practice, creating innovative finance arrangements and developing new institutions to tackle the challenges of climate change. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => fpc-briefing-climate-change-cooperation-within-the-global-south-finance-policy-and-institutions [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-27 09:02:17 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-27 09:02:17 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://fpc.clearhonestdesign.com/fpc-briefing-climate-change-cooperation-within-the-global-south-finance-policy-and-institutions/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [24] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 944 [post_author] => 38 [post_date] => 2014-04-07 08:47:57 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-04-07 08:47:57 [post_content] => FPC Senior Research Associate Firdevs Robinson gives her analysis of the recent local government elections in Turkey. She examines the pre-election corruption scandals and government pressure on the media and access to YouTube and Twitter. She looks ahead at what the successful result for the ruling AKP means for the August 2014 Presidential elections. [post_title] => FPC Briefing: Turkey’s Year-Long Election Cycle [post_excerpt] => FPC Senior Research Associate Firdevs Robinson gives her analysis of the recent local government elections in Turkey. She examines the pre-election corruption scandals and government pressure on the media and access to YouTube and Twitter. She looks ahead at what the successful result for the ruling AKP means for the August 2014 Presidential elections. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => fpc-briefing-turkeys-year-long-election-cycle [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-28 12:35:31 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-28 12:35:31 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://fpc.clearhonestdesign.com/fpc-briefing-turkeys-year-long-election-cycle/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [25] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 666 [post_author] => 38 [post_date] => 2014-04-02 10:54:48 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-04-02 10:54:48 [post_content] => Arguments towards a way out of the darkness have surrendered to the cold hard geopolitics of a conflict that is layered in both character and complexity. A US military observer described Syria as an arena for three simultaneous conflicts; localised fighting, often between elements of the Opposition, a larger civil war and finally a regional fight with international connections and ramifications. Crucially the conflict’s current equation is balanced enough to fuel continued fighting with no side believing that compromise or serious commitments to peace talks are necessary. A former Syrian minister on a trip to London proposed that a unjust peace is preferable to a just war, but with a cacophony of voices and players involved nobody is clear who is able to spend the political capital needed to change the conflicts dynamics and more importantly why would they do so now. The UN and Arab League Special Envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, is perhaps as good a diplomatic chess player as they come but even he is struggling to keep into the notion of a peace process alive. Geneva 2 with all its hubbub and media attention came and went with little feedback into what was happening on the ground. Rumours abound that Assad will stand for another Presidential term, a nail that would surely close the coffin of a negotiated transition and force the Opposition and their backers to reassess tactics. Against this backdrop of various fronts opening and closing on the ground, with the general narrative one of steady regime gains, the chances for a diplomatic solution have been further battered by the events in Ukraine. The crisis there has not only brought back memories of Cold War tensions but has also blown apart the Moscow-Washington dente that was crucial in securing the Geneva process in the first place. Behind the scenes ‘proximity talks’ between Opposition and Regime figures were quickly shut down when the crisis emerged and the tit for tat unwinding of the meagre progress that had been made continued when the Americans expelled the remaining Syrian Diplomats and closed their Embassy in March. The Ukrainian crisis has relegated Syria’s war to media oblivion and has essentially created another hurdle to the success of diplomacy over the use of force. However it also comes at a fascinating crossroads of US-Saudi relations with Obama’s visit to the Kingdom and the appointment of Prince Nayef to the Syria file suggesting to many observers both a rapprochement between Washington and Riyadh and a change of Saudi tactics towards Syria could be in the offing. The fundamental unknown remains Obama’s decision making horizon and whether he is willing to be influenced by the Editorials of the main US papers which are increasingly critical of his hands off approach to the conflict. Questions over US support, both lethal and non-lethal, continue to pop up but are lost in both the politics of the Beltway and an inability to see clearly how they translate into an outcome inside Syria itself. It is of course a cliché to compare one war to another but it is worth remembering how long the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990) went on for. A deadly equilibrium within a grinding conflict that is seeing the country endure both an exodus and a collapse cannot be in any ones geopolitical interest. However without a significant change to the current equation to the crisis it would appear that Syria has further bloody anniversaries to endure ahead. [post_title] => Syria’s Forever War [post_excerpt] => Last month saw the third anniversary of the conflict in Syria that is traced back to children in Daraa writing graffiti on walls. In the same month Rwanda marked the 20th anniversary of its genocide, although now unlike then we can’t say that we didn’t know what was happening. This year also marks the 100 year anniversary of the start of World War One and the advent of ‘total war’ that in Syria is something more akin to ‘total civil war’. The third anniversary of this bloody denouement of ‘the Arab Spring’ is a moment of reflection towards a crisis in which there is far more availability of information over what is happening than there is of argument about how to stop it. The phrase ‘never again’ has been lost to the screams of the over 10,000 children who have died to date. The fact that the UN has stopped counting the dead only compounds attempts to fully realise the scale, depth and ongoing impact of the crisis. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => syrias-forever-war [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-28 12:20:25 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-28 12:20:25 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://fpc.clearhonestdesign.com/syrias-forever-war/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [26] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 665 [post_author] => 38 [post_date] => 2014-03-20 15:25:34 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-03-20 15:25:34 [post_content] => Today EU leaders are back in Brussels. It is now fourteen days later. Russian forces are not only on the streets but Crimea has also been annexed. But the European Union looks fundamentally unable to carry out its threat. The rhetoric from London, Brussels and Washington may have been of ‘costs’ and ‘consequences’. But the more relevant language may be that coming from Russia ‘laughing’ at the restrictive measures already announced, calling the European Union ‘all bark and no bite’ and even ‘the Wizard of Oz’. Ukraine has labelled our response ‘a mosquito bite’. It is right for the European Union to look beyond the war of words. Each step at a very dangerous moment in European history should be calibrated on the likelihood of it provoking or deterring a further escalation of the crisis. It is possible but impossible to know that the steps taken so far may have contributed to Moscow hesitating to send its troops in to Eastern Ukraine already. It may be that Vladimir Putin's chosen alternative is to foment discontent amongst Russian minorities in the region's other frozen conflict areas. This has already seen Transnistria apply to join the Russian Federation. What started with Crimea may also extend to Russian-occupied Abkhazia and South Ossetia in coming days or weeks. Europe has rightly been cautious in not wanting to portray its Eastern neighbourhood policy to strengthen its relations with former Soviet states as a 'tug of war' with Russia. The problem for Brussels is that it may indeed suit Putin to treat it as such - as his personal popularity soars to record levels at home in a trial of strength he believes he can win. The European Parliament in a resolution I co-sponsored already referred to a Russian ‘invasion’ and not the ‘incursion’ preferred by our Governmental colleagues, and voted in favour of actions against Russian companies and their subsidiaries. The argument for EU economic sanctions is that they could have sufficient impact on Putin's inner circle and on the oligarchs who yield real influence in the Kremlin, to genuinely start to curtail Russia's behaviour. But negotiations before and after Monday's EU Foreign Affairs Council leave no sign that Europe has the political will to take the 'third step' it pronounced. Talk of unity can't disguise Europe's failure to achieve a unified position. Although names of further political and military figures are expected to be added to the list, I do not expect the 'restrictive measures' to be extended to business figures such as the Chief Executive of Gazprom. These were completely excluded by the Foreign Ministers who whittled down a proposed list of 120 names to just 21 earlier this week and the dinner table in Brussels is set to see EU leaders do exactly the same. Nevertheless, at their last meeting the leaders showed a degree more incisiveness than their own Foreign Ministers, and it is possible they will do so again today. So what can they do? First, it is sensible to take further diplomatic moves to indicate Russia is isolating itself, including confirming action to block Russian participation in international institutions such as the OECD, IAEA and the G8. Second, even if there is no stomach for economic sanctions at present, the military situation could quickly alter the balance of argument, and it may be possible for detail on specific trade measures being considered to be specified now which could have a significant deterrent effect. In any case, EU leaders must mandate urgent work if sanctions are to be agreed, on the consequent impact on Europe's trade if reciprocal measures are taken. Fear of the ‘consequences’ not on Russia but on ourselves, symbolised by the embarrassing leak from a Downing Street official, appear to have prevented such work from even beginning in earnest. The results should be used to plan mitigating measures, not to add to the argument against taking the measures in the first place. And I find it very surprising that EU member states at least say they are discussing economic sanctions, but have yet to announce an arms embargo against Moscow. Surely an obvious step is to avoid supplying arms to a country which in short shrift may use them to carry out more aggressive military actions, which we deem to be illegitimate and illegal? However, I do expect today's meeting to be specific on announcing energy diversification measures, to send a long-term message that Europe will not let itself be held hostage by dependence on Russian gas. Informed opinion in Brussels is that alternative sources are and will exist. Europe has used the time since Russia turned off the gas taps in 2009 to build up its reserves, in much the same way that Britain's Thatcher Government did after the first miners' strike all those years ago. The most persuasive argument in favour of Europe's approach is that Putin's grand vision for a Greater Russia may best be challenged by showing Europe's own long-term resolve for a different future. However, in the short-term that is today, the pictures on the TV screens will be of the European leaders signing the association agreement with Ukraine, whose rejection by Yanukovich sparked the crisis in the first place. It is being carefully choreographed to include political not trade elements only, but it is an open question how the same pictures will be greeted in Moscow? It is to be hoped that we are not signing an agreement with a state that very quickly ceases to exist. Richard Howitt MEP is Labour Foreign Affairs Spokesperson in the European Parliament and a member of the Socialist and Democrat Group Ukraine Task Force. March 2014 [post_title] => An Association Agreement with a state that may soon cease to exist? [post_excerpt] => Two weeks ago European leaders threatened 'three step' sanctions if Russian forces were not withdrawn from Ukraine, first stopping negotiations with Russia on bilateral matters, then imposing travel bans and asset freezes on named individuals and finally taking economic sanctions. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => an-association-agreement-with-a-state-that-may-soon-cease-to-exist [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-27 09:02:18 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-27 09:02:18 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://fpc.clearhonestdesign.com/an-association-agreement-with-a-state-that-may-soon-cease-to-exist/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [27] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 936 [post_author] => 38 [post_date] => 2013-12-18 11:22:30 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-12-18 11:22:30 [post_content] => Gilberto Algar-Faria explores the current situation in Northern Kosovo where ethnic Serbs feel excluded from the state. He examines some of the available options to encourage stability and integration. [post_title] => FPC Briefing: The path to inclusivity and stability in Kosovo [post_excerpt] => Gilberto Algar-Faria explores the current situation in Northern Kosovo where ethnic Serbs feel excluded from the state. He examines some of the available options to encourage stability and integration. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => fpc-briefing-the-path-to-inclusivity-and-stability-in-kosovo [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-27 09:02:19 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-27 09:02:19 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://fpc.clearhonestdesign.com/fpc-briefing-the-path-to-inclusivity-and-stability-in-kosovo/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [28] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 663 [post_author] => 38 [post_date] => 2013-12-05 17:24:07 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-12-05 17:24:07 [post_content] => The conference saw significant agreements on a number of fronts. These included a long-awaited deal on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and an agreement to create a new mechanism to address loss and damage suffered by developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to climate change. However, delegations left Warsaw with longstanding divisions unresolved on fundamental questions of finance for climate change mitigation and adaptation and the respective responsibilities of developed and developing countries. On both issues, developed countries such as the United States and major emerging economies including China remained at odds, as governments face a self-imposed 2015 deadline for the agreement of a new global climate deal. On finance, China set the tone in its opening statement by <http://www.iisd.ca/vol12/enb12584e.html calling for> a roadmap to the $100 billion per year by 2020 in climate finance for developing countries first pledged by developed countries at the Copenhagen summit in 2009. China was speaking for the BASIC countries, the negotiating group of Brazil, South Africa, India and China <http://fpc.org.uk/articles/625 that has worked together> since 2009. But a proposal by developing countries for climate funding to reach ‘at least $70 billion’ a year by 2016 was rejected by wealthy nations. Instead, the <http://unfccc.int/files/meetings/warsaw_nov_2013/decisions/application/pdf/cop19_ltf.pdf agreed text> merely ‘urges’ developed countries to provide climate finance out of public funds ‘at increasing levels’ in the run-up to 2020. 'In the end, what they did is just painting a pie', <http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/indepth/2013-11/24/c_132913490.htm claimed> Chinese delegation head Xie Zhenhua of the outcome. The central question of who will pay for climate mitigation and adaptation has long stoked distrust and <http://thediplomat.com/2009/12/biggest-show-on-earth/ sometimes incendiary> recriminations among national delegations. This year’s meeting heard <http://thediplomat.com/2009/12/biggest-show-on-earth/ developing country complaints> about a lack of funds in the Green Climate Fund that governments had previously agreed to set up to support developing countries and which <http://blogs.ft.com/beyond-brics/2013/12/04/uns-green-climate-fund-much-like-a-pension-fund/ opened its doors in Songdo, South Korea> on Wednesday (4th December 2013). On the respective responsibilities of developed and developing countries, Warsaw proved a reminder that consensus remained elusive despite earlier compromises. The 1992 climate convention includes the principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities’ (CBDR), which places a greater onus on industrialised nations (annex 1) than on developing nations (non-annex 1) to respond to climate change. This division of labour between developed and developing countries has emerged as a ‘red line’ issue in the negotiations to develop a new global deal. China and other developing nations have repeatedly insisted that the 2015 agreement must be faithful to the CBDR principle. The United States, however, has <http://www.state.gov/e/oes/rls/remarks/2013/215720.htm dismissed> as ‘unacceptable’ using ‘fixed, 1992 categories to determine who is expected to do what in a new agreement taking effect nearly 30 years later’. US climate envoy Todd Stern recently stated that the annex 1 and non-annex 1 categories ‘cannot have an operational role of defining obligations and expectations’ in any new deal. At Warsaw, the BASIC group and other developing countries objected to a draft decision which invited ‘all Parties to initiate or intensify domestic preparations for their intended nationally determined commitments’ ahead of 2015. Chinese negotiator Su Wei <http://www.scmp.com/news/world/article/1363893/un-delegates-agree-basis-global-climate-pact asserted> that ‘only developed countries should have commitments’. This prompted Stern <http://www.rtcc.org/2013/11/23/un-climate-talks-head-for-conclusion-amid-bitter-divisions/#sthash.EZkxgvVo.dpuf to complain> that he felt he was ‘going back into a time warp … I think most of us understood we did something quite different when we signed up to the Durban Platform’. Stern went on to remind delegates that the Durban mandate for ‘some kind of legal agreement – an outcome with legal force’ was ‘applicable to all parties’. But the phrase ‘outcome with legal force’ was only added to the 2011 Durban agreement after India baulked at committing to the more precise ‘protocol or legal instrument’. Similarly, at Warsaw ‘commitments’ was dropped in favour of the broader ‘contributions, without prejudice to the legal nature of the contributions’. Where the fault line of CBDR is concerned, the language that all parties can agree to is language that is open to different interpretations, which are then thrashed out in subsequent negotiating rounds. As Xie Zhenhua <http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/indepth/2013-11/24/c_132913490.htmlater told> the Xinhua news agency, the interpretation of ‘contributions’ could itself be expected to become a point for negotiation. According to Xie, ‘contributions’ could refer to either developed country ‘commitments’ or developing country ‘actions’, potentially leaving the distinction between the two intact. He added, referring to the Warsaw agreements on 'contributions', finance and loss and damage: 'On the surface, the three issues are all solved, but in substance, they are not'. The end of the Warsaw meeting came as <http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp/www.wmo.int/html/realfile/www.unmin.org.np/story.asp?NewsID=46602&Cr=Green+Economy&Cr1=#.Up80838aySM a new UN Environment Programme (UNEP) report> provided a snapshot of China's renewables and environmental sectors. The study, co-sponsored by China's Ministry of Environmental Protection, reports 'significant progress' in the development of renewable energy and the 'greening' of industry in China. The paper credits China with a 'strong policy framework to support a green economy transition', citing carbon intensity targeting, feed-in tariffs and stricter environmental regulations. It also acknowledges major Chinese investment in renewables and energy efficiency, including as part of the $570 billion stimulus package in response to the global financial crisis. In 2012, China led the world with an estimated $67.7 billion of investment in renewable energy. However, the report also details the scale of the challenge China faces if it is to further develop its renewables sector. It warns that '[a]cross every sector studied, a technology gap between Chinese firms and their industrialised-world competitors exists'. For example, even though China has rapidly become the world's leading solar PV manufacturer, the report concludes that China is 'a follower, not a leader, in the technology of the solar sector'. The paper calls on the government to further support 'domestic innovation' and investment in R&D, including with tax breaks and stronger intellectual property protections. China is continuing to roll out its domestic climate policies. Last week, pilot carbon trading exchanges opened in Beijing and Shanghai, joining an existing exchange in Shenzhen. Further pilot schemes are set to open in other cities and provinces. Zou Ji, deputy director of China’s National Centre for Climate Change Strategy (and a facilitator of the Warsaw conference’s <http://unfccc.int/meetings/warsaw_nov_2013/workshop/7911.php expert dialogue>) offered an insight into China’s overall approach when he <http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/11/22/a-closer-look-at-chinas-you-first-stance-in-climate-treaty-talks/?_r=1 recently told the New York Times>: ‘we expect more emission reductions from developed countries while we have new innovative development pathways for emerging economies’. China is already the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter. Recently, its per capita emissions equalled those of the EU. Even so, further fault lines lie ahead. 'Our emissions are different from yours’, maintained Xie Zhenhua, referring to developed countries. ‘Ours are produced in the process of industrialization while you are already in the post-industrialization era'. [post_title] => China sticks to ‘red line’ in global climate talks while pursuing green transition at home [post_excerpt] => The recently concluded Warsaw climate talks - the latest annual conference of parties to the UN climate change convention - were in several respects unusual. The meeting was held in Warsaw’s National Stadium, prompting an inevitable flurry of football clichés from participants and reporters (with diplomatic ‘own goals’, activists brandishing red cards and the talks predictably running into ‘extra time’). The Polish government enraged environmental NGOs by an ‘International Coal and Climate Summit’ with the World Coal Association. And as the conference neared its conclusion, the Polish government announced that the conference’s president, Marcin Korolec, would be from his position as Poland’s environment minister (‘I’ll be able to fully concentrate on the process of climate negotiations’, Korolec gamely assured delegates). [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => china-sticks-to-red-line-in-global-climate-talks-while-pursuing-green-transition-at-home [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-28 12:17:20 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-28 12:17:20 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://fpc.clearhonestdesign.com/china-sticks-to-red-line-in-global-climate-talks-while-pursuing-green-transition-at-home/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [29] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 934 [post_author] => 38 [post_date] => 2013-11-05 23:57:09 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-11-05 23:57:09 [post_content] => As final preparations for the 23rd Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) on 15th-17th November 2013 in Colombo, Sri Lanka, this FPC Briefing by Gilberto Algar-Faria examines the challenges Sri Lanka faces dealing with the aftermath of its civil war and recent attempts to facilitate regional autonomy through the Northern Provincial Council (NPC). It explores the tensions faced by the international community in balancing the need for reconciliation and calls for action on human rights issues. [post_title] => FPC Briefing: Sri Lanka’s (geo)political quandary – Government, NPC and international community [post_excerpt] => As final preparations for the 23rd Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) on 15th-17th November 2013 in Colombo, Sri Lanka, this FPC Briefing by Gilberto Algar-Faria examines the challenges Sri Lanka faces dealing with the aftermath of its civil war and recent attempts to facilitate regional autonomy through the Northern Provincial Council (NPC). It explores the tensions faced by the international community in balancing the need for reconciliation and calls for action on human rights issues. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => fpc-briefing-sri-lankas-geopolitical-quandary-government-npc-and-international-community [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-27 09:02:20 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-27 09:02:20 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://fpc.clearhonestdesign.com/fpc-briefing-sri-lankas-geopolitical-quandary-government-npc-and-international-community/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [30] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 932 [post_author] => 38 [post_date] => 2013-10-09 11:03:13 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-10-09 11:03:13 [post_content] => FPC Research Associate Alexander Jackson examines the background of Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili’s proposed resignation and explores what this might mean for the future of politics and civil society in Georgia. [post_title] => FPC Briefing: The Resignation of Bidzina Ivanishvili and the Future of Georgian Politics [post_excerpt] => FPC Research Associate Alexander Jackson examines the background of Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili’s proposed resignation and explores what this might mean for the future of politics and civil society in Georgia. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => fpc-briefing-the-resignation-of-bidzina-ivanishvili-and-the-future-of-georgian-politics [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-27 09:02:20 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-27 09:02:20 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://fpc.clearhonestdesign.com/fpc-briefing-the-resignation-of-bidzina-ivanishvili-and-the-future-of-georgian-politics/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [31] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 660 [post_author] => 38 [post_date] => 2013-10-01 12:21:09 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-10-01 12:21:09 [post_content] => On 23 June a confrontation in a playground in the town’s Maj housing estate turned into an altercation amongst adults. Shortly after the incident a Facebook page protesting against ‘inadaptable citizens’ (a popular media code for the Roma minority) appeared. Maj is the largest housing estate in Ceske Budejovice, home to some 22,000 people, and one of the town’s poorest neighbourhoods. There are some 400 Roma living in Maj, and tensions between the Roma and majority communities have never been as high as in other parts of the country, notably northern Bohemia. So it was all the more surprising when, on Saturday 29 June, a gathering of approximately 500 neo-Nazis assembled in the main square determined to march to the Maj estate. Although major violence was prevented, the marchers did indeed get to Maj, and senior police officers were criticised by the mayor of Ceske Budejovice as well as by civil society groups for their inadequate state of readiness. Specifically they failed to use their legal power to disperse the gathering when the crowd started to chant racist slogans. There were further neo-Nazi gatherings in Ceske Budejovice over the next two weekends, during which the police succeeded in preventing the demonstrators from reaching Maj, and were generally commended for their overall control of the situation. Over the whole course of the protests, dozens of arrests were made though there were relatively few injuries. Ceske Budejovice was only one of several towns to witness racial tension leading to social unrest this summer. The season of anti-Roma marches culminated in simultaneous protests in eight Czech towns on 24 August; according to police estimates some 1500 extremists took part altogether, and there were just over 100 arrests. Twenty one police officers were injured as well as a handful of extremists. The most violent confrontations took place in the large Silesian city of Ostrava, where police prevented neo-Nazis from attempting a pogrom against the local Roma community. Though there were few injuries a number of experienced commentators have warned against complacency in the current climate of high tension, suggesting that a full-scale pogrom might be too close for comfort. For example, in interviews for the ROMEA public affairs NGO, the prominent human rights lawyer and one-time candidate for the Constitutional Court Klara Samkova stated that she expects deaths on either side and the journalist and Roma affairs specialist Sasa Uhlova believes that the heavy police presence has been the only barrier to full-scale pogroms breaking out. And according to a recent report BIS, the Czech internal security service, view growing anti-Roma feelings amongst ordinary people as a greater security threat than the activities of the relatively small and fragmented groups of far-right activists. The latest wave of ethnic tension comes in a climate of economic stagnation, (interestingly the number and intensity of neo-Nazi marches increased markedly after the financial crisis began five years ago) as well as widespread disillusionment with a political elite that increasing numbers of Czechs dismiss as corrupt and out of touch. In recent years the country has seen austerity policies as harsh as anywhere on the continent backfire disastrously, . Under these circumstances it is neither entirely surprising nor without historical precedent that the Roma community should be singled out for scapegoating amongst increasingly frustrated sections of the majority population. The Roma minority in the Czech Republic number between (out of a total population of just over ten million) and have for centuries been a marginalised community, experiencing extreme persecution at various intervals, including during the Nazi Holocaust. To this day the Roma face severe discrimination in the labour market, in the education system and in access to housing . A survey conducted by the Perfect Crowd market research agency for the University of New York in Prague showed that well over 60% of the population harbour negative, or extremely negative, feelings towards the Roma - more than for any other single ethnic group, well above the levels of hostility felt towards Russians, Ukrainians and the Vietnamese minority. There are numerous popular myths about the Roma minority, perhaps the most widespread being that they are workshy, and that they receive preferential treatment in the social security system; in reality benefits are distributed without any reference of recording of the claimants’ ethnicity – the Czech Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs has had to issue multiple press releases explaining this to the public. In an attempt to set the record straight, the Czech President, Milos Zeman, a fierce critic of the far right, in a recent address to the nation drew attention to the corruption of ‘white mafia’ businessmen using political connections in local government to provide housing at exorbitant non-market rates to homeless Roma families, thereby becoming the ultimate beneficiaries of housing benefit payments. In the University of New York in Prague survey, 31.7% of respondents perceived the Roma as being biologically different from the rest of the population; 76.8% perceived the Roma as living a parasitic lifestyle and 92.5% believed the Roma to be abusing the Czech welfare state. Some 47% respondents believed that Roma emigrants, particularly to the UK and Canada, were actively harming the reputation of the country abroad, revealing hints of a conspiracy theory. Moreover negative portrayal of the Roma is prevalent in the Czech media. The most egregious recent example involved a local newspaper in a small town taking a photograph of Chinese football hooligans from an Asian news server and superimposing a Roma face onto one of the offenders. This incident was condemned by the Czech Journalists’ Syndicate as well as the government Commissioner for Human Rights, whose office is investigating the possibility of a criminal prosecution. However, such open displays of racial prejudice in the Czech media are relatively rare (which is sadly not the case for discussion boards in online editions of newspapers, a veritable paradise for racist trolls), where more subtle varieties of hate-speech are the norm. In an upcoming paper Tess Slavickova and Peter Zvagulis have suggest that the concept of new racism would be an appropriate term in explaining media attitudes to the Roma – overtly racist and derogatory language is avoided and lip service is paid to cultural diversity, whilst manifestations of prejudice take more subtle forms: “New racism implicates, and overstates the role of minorities in social ‘deficiencies’, such as welfare dependency, aggressive behaviour, drug and alcohol abuse or failings in education. … the over-representation of heroes and villains, the absence of minority voices in public discourse, and the silencing of counter-hegemonic witnesses to events.” Members of the Roma (and Vietnamese) communities hardly ever appear as newsmakers in the media, except in crime stories, and their views and perspectives are rarely given air space. The term ‘inadaptable’ is frequently used by reporters and politicians as a code for the Roma, indeed it has been used so often that it has taken the form of a crude dog whistle in mainstream political discourse. Despite these discouraging signals from survey data and analysis of media and political discourse, there are also a number of reasons to be hopeful about the future of community relations in the Czech Republic. Whilst anti-Roma sentiment remains prevalent in Czech society, there is little evidence of generally racist attitudes towards other groups except, and to a much lesser degree, the Vietnamese minority. Collective prejudice, disturbing as it is, is not supported by an underlying narrative of imagined injustice, or a sense of historical grievance, as has been the case in many outbreaks of mass violence around the world. Moreover parties of the far right have not had a history of electoral success in the Czech Republic and are not expected to perform well in the general election in October. However, the vast majority of politicians across the political spectrum have preferred to remain silent in the face of the recent rise of aggressive neo-Nazi activities. The police have proved to be robust in their determination to prevent violence from breaking out during neo-Nazi parades. The courts have also shown a willingness to hand down tough sentences in cases of racist violence, notably in the case of an arson attack in 2009 in the town of Vitkov, which left a two-year-old child with life-threatening burns on most of her body. Perhaps most encouraging has been the growing resolve of civil society organisations, which have become increasingly well-coordinated in the past months. Organisations such as Konexe and Blokujeme are determined to monitor and to obstruct neo-Nazis in action, and an umbrella anti-racist movement is emerging. It is becoming increasingly common for far-right marchers to be matched in numbers or outnumbered by anti-racist protesters. Attempts at encouraging dialogue between different communities are also starting to bear fruit. In early July, in the Maj housing estate in Ceske Budejovice, whilst police were busy keeping the far right away, a spontaneous gathering of around 400 inhabitants from both the majority and Roma communities began discussing various local issues and areas of concern. Whilst the debates were frank and sometimes harsh, the atmosphere was non-violent and the meeting helped to reduce tension. Less than a month later a similar gathering accompanied by musical performances took place in the town of Vitkov, the scene of the notorious 2009 arson attack, at the same time as a neo-Nazi march was taking place elsewhere in the town. Perhaps the greatest obstacle to making progress towards both improving the social conditions of the Roma minority and reducing tensions is the current political culture in the Czech Republic, characterised by a lack of willingness on the part of senior politicians to invest political capital in solving problems of ethnic tension and by policy-making processes that remain weak. Genuine progress will require empowering Roma communities on all levels, bringing them into decision-making processes in meaningful ways as well as political will to address the deeper social causes of the tensions which have resurfaced in the past few years. In other words the situation is crying out for joined-up policy-making. October 2013 The author is grateful to ROMEA, an award winning media NGO, funded in part by the Czech government and the European Union, and to Gwendolyn Albert for supplying facts and data related to the recent neo-Nazi marches in the Czech Republic. [post_title] => Ethnic Tension Simmers in the Czech Republic [post_excerpt] => The small town of Ceske Budejovice (Budweis in German) in the south of the Czech Republic is perhaps best known as the home of the Budweiser beer brand, or rather the two rival brands enmeshed in protracted legal disputes in dozens of countries. But this summer it was a series of ugly neo-Nazi parades in Ceske Budejovice that made the domestic news headlines. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => ethnic-tension-simmers-in-the-czech-republic [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-27 09:02:20 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-27 09:02:20 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://fpc.clearhonestdesign.com/ethnic-tension-simmers-in-the-czech-republic/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [32] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 658 [post_author] => 38 [post_date] => 2013-09-27 18:08:26 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-09-27 18:08:26 [post_content] => While there are also many other human rights violations taking place in the country, citizens’ ability to exercise their rights to freedom of expression, assembly, and association have been severely restricted by a regime that has demonstrated a fundamental unwillingness to allow the expression of opinions and ideas that contrast the official position, or access to and exchange of information that could be used to undermine its power. The rights to freedom of expression, assembly, and association are vital components of democratic society. Respect for and protection of these rights takes on even greater importance during election periods, as all candidates must be able to campaign unfettered, to get their messages out to the population, and to engage in robust public debate on matters of policy. Citizens must be able to access a wide and diverse range of information, to be exposed to a variety of political views, and to make informed decisions in electing their representatives. Given the extensive nature of the on-going restriction of these rights in Azerbaijan, there is little hope that the upcoming presidential election will meet international standards for democratic elections. Even if there are technical improvements in election-day conduct, the underlying climate has rendered a fair and free competition virtually impossible. Several of the main human rights concerns in the run-up to Azerbaijan’s presidential election are outlined below. Political prisoners Perhaps the most pressing human rights issue in Azerbaijan at present is the abundance of cases of political prisoners. Less than a month before the election, according to the Baku-based Human Rights Club more than 100 persons remain in detention or prison on politically motivated charges. Among these are journalists, bloggers, human rights defenders, civic and political activists, and religious followers, many arrested in connection with the exercise of their rights to freedom of expression, assembly or association. One political prisoner is would-be Republican Alternative (REAL) movement presidential candidate Ilgar Mammadov, whose registration was , which claimed that 4,982 of the 41,247 signatures in support of his candidacy were invalid (40,000 are required). Mammadov appealed the decision with the Court of Appeals, which rejected the appeal after experts from the Ministry of Justice examined around 4,500 of the signatures in question, and claimed they were indeed invalid. Mammadov, who has been in detention since 4 February, faces up to 12 years in jail on charges of organising violent protests in the city of Ismayilli. Activists believe the charges to be politically motivated and Amnesty International has declared him to be a prisoner of conscience. A group of seven members of the N!DA civic movement remain in detention, along with a member of the Azad Genclik (Free Youth) organisation, Ilkin Rustemzade, on a variety of charges related to drug and weapon possession and hooliganism believed to be politically motivated. The N!DA activists have been in detention since March, and Rustemzade since May. On 13 September, were levied against the eight activists, who are now accused of organising violent protests and face up to 12 years in jail. These activists are also considered by Amnesty International to be . Nine journalists, one blogger, and two human rights defenders are also among Azerbaijan’s political prisoners, in detention or in prison in connection with exercising their right to freedom of expression. Restrictions on freedom of expression Beyond politically motivated arrest, critical individuals and organisations in Azerbaijan are targeted through a range of tactics. Violence against journalists is a serious problem, with more than 200 cases documented by the Baku-based Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS) since the March 2005 murder of editor Elmar Huseynov, including a second murder, of journalist and writer Rafig Tagi in November 2011. that in the first half of 2013 alone, there were 26 cases of violence against journalists. In virtually none of these hundreds of cases have the true perpetrators been identified and prosecuted. Critical journalists also face blackmail and other forms of pressure. Outspoken Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty investigative reporter Khadija Ismayilova has been subjected to a series of particularly nasty personal attacks, having twice had sex videos of her taken by hidden camera posted online – one in August, as well as a fake pornographic video purporting to depict her, and other threats and forms of pressure against her. The existence of criminal defamation provisions has recently re-emerged as a pre-eminent freedom of expression concern. On 30 July, controversial new legislation took effect that to the Internet. As a result, Azerbaijanis could now face up to three years in prison for their online postings. This move is likely to have a serious chilling effect on freedom of expression online, adding to the already widespread practice of self-censorship in the country. Restrictions on freedom of assembly Although the Azerbaijani Constitution and law provide for the right to peaceful freedom of assembly, in practice, this right is severely restricted. While only advance notice of demonstrations is required by law, authorities continue to interpret this as a requirement for groups to obtain permission. Demonstrations are only allowed in approved locations, all of which are distant from the city centre, and many of which are unsuitable for a variety of other reasons, such as being difficult to access or situated in areas under construction. Authorities respond harshly to unsanctioned protests, using violence to disperse protesters and carrying out widespread arrests of protest organisers and participants. At one in response to the deaths of soldiers in non-combat situations, authorities used water cannons, tear gas, and rubber bullets against peaceful protesters, and even brought out – but refrained from using – a Long-Range Acoustic Device (LRAD), a device that has controversially been used for crowd-control purposes, referred to as a “sound cannon”, as it can emit sounds reaching decibels of up to 162. Recent amendments to the law on freedom of assembly the fines for organising or participating in unsanctioned protests, which has already begun to have a chilling effect on freedom of assembly in the country as few individuals and organisations could afford to pay the steep fines. The maximum period of administrative detention has also been increased, meaning that participants in unsanctioned protests could now find themselves in detention for up to 60 days. Restrictions on freedom of association Critical organisations and individuals affiliated with them face a range of pressures in Azerbaijan, particularly opposition political parties, and NGOs working on issues related to human rights or democracy. The registration of NGOs remains politicised, with critical organisations disproportionately being denied registration by the state. A series of pieces of have recently been adopted, restricting the ability of independent NGOs to operate, and making it easier for the authorities to shut down unwelcome organisations. Human rights lawyers have also been subjected to growing pressures, such as disbarment and threats. Opposition candidates and their supporters face difficulties in attempting to conduct even routine party activities in Azerbaijan’s regions. Earlier this year, Musavat Party Chairman Isa Gambar (who is not running as a candidate, but is now supporting the united opposition National Council candidate, Jamil Hasanli), had his convoy when he attempted to travel to the southern region of Lankaran. As a result, nine of the party activists travelling with him were injured. REAL movement leader Ilgar Mammadov after travelling to the Ismayilli region to investigate the causes of the then-on-going protests. The issues described here are only a few examples of the many on-going systematic and widespread human rights violations taking place in Azerbaijan. In the absence of significant international pressure on the Azerbaijani government to cease such violations and take concrete steps to fulfil its international human rights obligations, such violations seem likely to continue, and worsen, in the run-up to the 9 October election and beyond. [post_title] => Fundamental freedoms under attack in the run-up to Azerbaijan’s presidential election [post_excerpt] => In Azerbaijan, the fundamental freedoms of expression, assembly, and association have been under attack for years, . But in the months leading up to the country’s 9th October presidential election, the Azerbaijani authorities have been engaged in a particularly vicious crackdown on citizens’ exercise of these rights, in an apparent campaign to silence all forms of criticism and dissent. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => fundamental-freedoms-under-attack-in-the-run-up-to-azerbaijans-presidential-election [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-27 09:02:21 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-27 09:02:21 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://fpc.clearhonestdesign.com/fundamental-freedoms-under-attack-in-the-run-up-to-azerbaijans-presidential-election/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [33] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 659 [post_author] => 38 [post_date] => 2013-09-12 22:37:07 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-09-12 22:37:07 [post_content] => Thus, in spring 2012 Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan gave a well-publicized interview to Russian daily ‘Kommersant’, in which he stated unequivocally that Armenia is not interested in the Customs Union since it does not have a common border with the members of the block, though he conceded that Armenia might be interested in some kind of a with that organization. This March in a press conference televised by all major channels President Serzh Sargsyan said that no one was expecting Armenia in the Customs Union and dismissed any talk of the Russian pressure as unfounded. Finally, only several days before Sargsyan’s visit to Moscow, in an interview to the ArmNews channel the Armenian Deputy Foreign Minister ruled out Armenia’s joining the Customs Union, adding that there is no precedent of a country joining a customs union with countries that do not share a common border. Moreover, many pro-government media outlets and commentators had been engaged during recent months in a media campaign praising Armenia’s rapprochement with the European Union. However, all these statements seem to have been forgotten as after Sargsyan’s return from Moscow as senior government figures started to praise Armenia’s potential benefits from joining the Customs Union. To make matters worse, some Armenian government figures attempted to spin Sargsyan’s announcement by saying that Armenia will continue to aim for the Association agreement, thus prompting unequivocal denial from the EU side. After a series of statements of varying degrees of clarity from several EU sources, came unusually direct statements, which left little room for doubt. Thus, in apparent response to Armenian officials’ statements, Sweden’s Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said on September 9th that European Union has no plans to finalize an Association Agreement with Armenia at an upcoming EU summit in Lithuania, adding that . EU officials also talked of the Russian pressure on Armenian authorities. Many commentators tend to believe that the security argument was used by Russia, who is Armenia’s main security partner and the leading force in the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), of which Armenia is a member. Armenia is locked in a conflict with neighboring Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, so it is particularly vulnerable to such pressures. However, given the internal political situation in Armenia, there might have been other leverages, which could have been used by Russia to influence Armenian government. The current government is still struggling with the lack of democratic legitimacy, which came as a result of the long history of disputed elections and heavy-handed treatment of protesters. Particularly, the events of March 1st2008, when 10 people were killed as the government cracked down on post-election protests in Yerevan, are still haunting Armenia’s internal politics. The latest presidential election in 2013 did not help to mitigate the lack of legitimacy, and probably even made the matters worse: though Serzh Sargsyan was announced the winner, opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian refused to accept the official results, and started a campaign of protests, which however were smaller in scale than those in 2008 and gradually died out after Sargsyan’s inauguration. Sargsyan’s announcement probably also came as a surprise for Armenian civil society. Numerous Armenian NGOs have been involved in various projects connected with the European integration and the reforms that were expected within its framework. The announcement made in Moscow became a cause for worry since Armenian government commitment to the Association Agreement was perceived as a certain guarantee that the authoritarian tendencies, which already exist in the country would be kept in check. Now, some NGO figures argue, the Armenian government will be judged against the standards that exist in the countries of the Customs Union (Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan) which can be described as anything but democratic. In the days preceding the announcement and immediately after it several attacks took place, aimed at civic activists, who had participated in anti-government protests. . Whether it was a coincidence or not, many in the civil society perceived these attacks as a sign that the Armenian government’s authoritarian tendencies are getting stronger within the new geopolitical context. Against this background, fears that by joining the Customs Union may mean creation of “a new USSR” and will lead to ceding a part of Armenia’s sovereignty became quite visible in Armenia. Some even feared that Armenia, which had acquired independence from Russia only around 22 years ago, might be reduced to a status of a client-state of Russia. Over a hundred activists protested Sargsyan’s announcement September 4th in front of the President’s residence and on September 5th outside of the ruling party headquarters. The scale of the protests however remains relatively small, mostly confined to politically active youth and civil society representatives. As for the main political forces, they seem to be reluctant to spoil relations with Russian authorities by opposing the union too harshly. Thus the opposition Armenian National Congress (ANC/HAK) criticized the government for squandering Armenia’s international credibility as a result of its U-turn, but refrained from commenting on whether Customs Union membership would beneficial for Armenia or not. Moreover, ANC leader Ter-Petrosyan warned his party members against ‘resorting to anti-Russianism’ in the criticism of the government. This careful stance is shared by most other political forces represented in the parliament. As for the larger public, the ‘Russian’ option still remains quite popular among many Armenians, especially among the middle aged and older citizens, who tend to have a nostalgia for the Soviet times, and who do not seem to understand the intricacies of European integration. Mikayel Zolyan is historian and political analyst from Yerevan (Armenia). Currently, he teaches at several universities in Yerevan and works at Yerevan Press Club NGO in Yerevan. September 2013 [post_title] => Is Armenia Turning East? [post_excerpt] => When on September 3rd 2013 Serzh Sargsyan, after meeting Russian president Vladimir Putin in Moscow, announced that Armenia has asked to join the Customs Union with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, this came as a surprise. It came as a surprise for both for Armenian public, and for Armenia’s partners in the West, most of all for EU officials responsible for the block’s eastern policy. The reason: Armenia had already completed the negotiations regarding the Association Agreement with EU (including DCFTA) and was supposed to pre-sign the agreement in November. It has been made clear to Armenian authorities that membership in the Customs Union would be incompatible with the association process and especially with the DCFTA provisions. Armenian authorities seemed to understand that point and continued to claim their willingness to advance relations with Europe. As for the Customs Union, Armenian officials of various levels repeated numerous times that the country had no intention of joining, and moreover, that this was impossible given absence of a common border between Armenia and the countries of the Customs Union. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => is-armenia-turning-east [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-27 09:02:21 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-27 09:02:21 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://fpc.clearhonestdesign.com/is-armenia-turning-east/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [34] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 930 [post_author] => 38 [post_date] => 2013-09-12 20:28:04 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-09-12 20:28:04 [post_content] => In this FPC briefing Gilberto Algar-Faria examines what conditions might lead to effective peace negotiations in Afghanistan. He explores the motivations of different stakeholders, examines the role of ‘spoilers’ and looks at comparisons with the resolution of other armed conflicts. [post_title] => FPC Briefing: Understanding the conditions necessary for fruitful negotiations in Afghanistan [post_excerpt] => In this FPC briefing Gilberto Algar-Faria examines what conditions might lead to effective peace negotiations in Afghanistan. He explores the motivations of different stakeholders, examines the role of ‘spoilers’ and looks at comparisons with the resolution of other armed conflicts. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => fpc-briefing-understanding-the-conditions-necessary-for-fruitful-negotiations-in-afghanistan [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-27 09:02:21 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-27 09:02:21 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://fpc.clearhonestdesign.com/fpc-briefing-understanding-the-conditions-necessary-for-fruitful-negotiations-in-afghanistan/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [35] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 928 [post_author] => 38 [post_date] => 2013-09-10 21:40:45 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-09-10 21:40:45 [post_content] => FPC Research Associate Andrew Southam examines the recent record of Turkey in relation to international judicial cooperation. He looks at the development of domestic legislation and practices and how they impact on working with other nations on issues including extradition, terrorism and money laundering. [post_title] => FPC Briefing: What differences will the Fourth Package of Reforms make for Turkey in international judicial co-operation [post_excerpt] => FPC Research Associate Andrew Southam examines the recent record of Turkey in relation to international judicial cooperation. He looks at the development of domestic legislation and practices and how they impact on working with other nations on issues including extradition, terrorism and money laundering. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => fpc-briefing-what-differences-will-the-fourth-package-of-reforms-make-for-turkey-in-international-judicial-co-operation [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-27 09:02:22 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-27 09:02:22 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://fpc.clearhonestdesign.com/fpc-briefing-what-differences-will-the-fourth-package-of-reforms-make-for-turkey-in-international-judicial-co-operation/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [36] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 926 [post_author] => 38 [post_date] => 2013-09-09 09:54:55 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-09-09 09:54:55 [post_content] => FPC Senior Research Associate Craig Oliphant assesses the key strategic policies, challenges and opportunities for Russia in relation to Central Asia. It explores the development of Russian led regional institutions and Russia’s continuing role as the leading security actor in the region, while assessing the impact of China’s increasing economic engagement in Central Asia. [post_title] => FPC Briefing: Assessing Russia’s role in Central Asia [post_excerpt] => FPC Senior Research Associate Craig Oliphant assesses the key strategic policies, challenges and opportunities for Russia in relation to Central Asia. It explores the development of Russian led regional institutions and Russia’s continuing role as the leading security actor in the region, while assessing the impact of China’s increasing economic engagement in Central Asia. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => fpc-briefing-assessing-russias-role-in-central-asia [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-27 09:02:22 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-27 09:02:22 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://fpc.clearhonestdesign.com/fpc-briefing-assessing-russias-role-in-central-asia/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [37] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 924 [post_author] => 38 [post_date] => 2013-09-03 10:40:08 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-09-03 10:40:08 [post_content] => In this FPC Briefing our Senior Research Associate Prof. Jason Ralph sets out his analysis of the recent House Commons vote against UK participation in Syria. He argues that Labour's insistence that UN processes should play a crucial role in formulating the international response helps UK foreign policy move on from the problems of Iraq. [post_title] => FPC Briefing: The vote was not British isolationism. It was about the legitimacy of international action. [post_excerpt] => In this FPC Briefing our Senior Research Associate Prof. Jason Ralph sets out his analysis of the recent House Commons vote against UK participation in Syria. He argues that Labour's insistence that UN processes should play a crucial role in formulating the international response helps UK foreign policy move on from the problems of Iraq. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => fpc-briefing-the-vote-was-not-british-isolationism-it-was-about-the-legitimacy-of-international-action [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-27 09:02:22 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-27 09:02:22 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://fpc.clearhonestdesign.com/fpc-briefing-the-vote-was-not-british-isolationism-it-was-about-the-legitimacy-of-international-action/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [38] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 656 [post_author] => 38 [post_date] => 2013-08-30 10:30:44 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-08-30 10:30:44 [post_content] => Coup d'état First and foremost, what the army has committed in Egypt is nothing but a "coup". Discharging a president who was democratically elected through fair elections (the first of its kind in decades in Egypt), the suspension of the constitution (voted for by referendum), the resolution of the Shura (legislative) Council and the closure of radio and TV stations in synch with scores of arrests without warrant or court orders are all signs of a coup. Meanwhile, the attempts to draw an analogy between what happened on June 30, 2013 and January 25, 2011 is erroneous. In the revolution of January 25th 2011, the toppled regime did not derive its power from democratic and fair elections and its supporters didn't have any real presence, on the ground, when compared to the rebels. As for what happened on June 30th, removing a president that took power through fair elections and who has evident presence and supporters in every city in Egypt is an entirely different case. Moreover, the allegations the Egyptian army tried to make were marred by a lot of impurities. Talking about siding with the people in the face of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) is erroneous, especially if the classification criterion is the presence in squares and streets. This is because the bias and siding would be to one side's advantage at the others expense. Additionally, saying that the performance of the previous government was one of the weaknesses of the degree that prompted the military action to stop this decline is misleading too. Evaluating the performance of a president or a government cannot be reasonable after less than a year in power, bearing in mind the difficult political, economic and social conditions Egypt suffered before and during this year, plus the continuous instability and demonstrations throughout this year. Egypt 2013 and Chile 1973- Similarities and differences In effect, the toppling of President Mohamed Morsi and the ensuing violence and human rights violations, committed mainly by the army in Egypt, retells the 1973 US-funded coup d'état in Chile. The main difference between the two cases is the role of external and internal factors. For instance, in Chile, the coup was instigated by CIA and the following government was ostensibly supported by the US. In Egypt, poor economic performance, government wrongdoings, the state of polarization and the continuous incitement against Muslim Brotherhood (MB) were the main reasons behind the coup. In the case of Egypt there is no evidence of external involvement prior to the coup and even the welcoming reaction of the some Arab countries who have started to pour money in order to assist the new- de facto government, does not prove any external role either. Despite such differences, overall the Egyptian coup appears as a repeated scenario of the Chilean Coup d'état. First and foremost, the two coups took place within the context of major global and regional events (Cold war, Chile's case & the Arab Spring Egypt's case). Freely elected presidents were civilians (Chile's Salvador Allende was a physician & Egypt's Mohamed Morsi is an engineer- PhD holder) and they came to power with narrow plurality. Both toppled presidents were overthrown by military commanders (Augusto Pinochet in Chile & Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Egypt), who were promoted and assigned as Commanders-in-Chief of the army by Allende and Morsi respectively. Chile and Egypt were living constitutional crises and massive economic and social instability as a prelude to coups. Last but not least, the clash in both cases was between two ideological camps; conservative-dominate Congress of Chile (US supported) versus socialists (USSR supported), while in Egypt the conflict was between MB, as a representative of 'moderate' Islam, against liberals (secular) camp Muslim Brotherhood in Power Throughout one year of their rule, the MB failed to smooth Egyptians' fears, and could not walk the walk of other successful Islamic parties in the region, like Turkey's AKP whose political and economic success was striking and dubbed by many Arabs as a model. Thus, it can be inferred that the sole reason behind this current state of affairs is the lack of political experience of the MB, which was reflected in a number of controversial incidents. The most striking mistake the MB fall in was passing the new constitution, despite opposition from Christians and civil society. This has caused a rift between the MB and the rest of civil and political actors in the Egyptian society. The rift widened after a series of changes brought about by Morsi's government of Prime Minister Hisham Qandil, who appointed new governors and refused a national consensus government. The dismissal of presidential adviser Khaled Alameddine, a member of the senior leadership of the Salafi Nour Party, is a stark example of how the MB began to lose many of their allies. While suspicions mounted, the political exclusion of non-MB actors became evident and new political appointments of MB members and their supporters and allies proved these doubts. Such actions and decisions deepened and increased uncertainty, and their attitude was interpreted as a rejection of any form of political partnership with other segments of the society, especially non-Muslim ones. Furthermore, and following the hasty dismissal of Defense Minister Tantawi and Chief of Staff Sami Anan, discontent among security and military forces became prevalent. This led dozens of officers to support the revolution (June 30th), especially after Morsi's accusations that the security forces where incapable of protecting MB headquarters. Such tense environment came in tandem with poor political performance, the continued economic downturn, declining rates of employment and investment and accusations of marginalizing several segments of the society, all leading to a growing state of polarization. Tension and incitement escalated, fiery speeches, articles and feverish TV shows aimed to attack the other side became common, until the eruption occurred. Prognosis First, it should be underscored that disqualifying the MB, or any other political or social actor, from political life will have momentous repercussions. The longer violence, social hatred and exacerbated cultural polarization lasts, the less likely it is to develop into a sound democratic environment. For that, it is important for newly fledged democracies to understand that tolerance should replace hatred and partnership should overcome disqualification, and that this is the sole path towards more healthy and stable societies. Another conclusion which can be drawn is that the longer coup-makers remain in power, the more likely their rule turns into dictatorship, even if they exercise some sort of democratic practices. The moment such regimes sense a menace to their reigns; they would start gritting teeth to protect and bolster their rule. Simply put, the Egyptian experience was within striking distance to achieve sound democracy, yet this will not now be realized except with a peaceful transfer of power from military to civil institutions, in tandem with better educating people on how they can practice their democratic choice, peacefully, and accepting partnership and living side by side with the others. Fadi Elhussani is a political and media counsellor based in Turkey and served as a Diplomat at the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. [post_title] => Egypt 2013: What can you tell? [post_excerpt] => Genuine democracy requires practice and partnership, and cannot be realized aloof from people. Mobilizing crowds to replace the ballot box is very dangerous as the lust for power and authority can be cast in popular demands, and gain pro forma legitimacy. In order to put forward a truthful analysis, one should call a spade a spade. 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