Author: Goran Hyden, Kenneth Mease
Size: 37 pages (500 kB)
Access full text: available online
How can governance assessments enhance governance as an analytical tool and a civic activation mechanism? The World Governance Assessment (WGA) is based on principles of national ownership and local consultation, and the need to strengthen monitoring institutions and diagnostic tools. This Overseas Development Institute (ODI) paper publishes findings from the WGA second round, arguing that it is uniquely placed to serve both donor and local interests. The WGA builds capacity of local researchers, provides a sense of ownership, captures local context, and allows for cross-country comparison. Continue reading
source: Reshaping the International Order Part 1
“The establishment of a New International Economic Order entails fundamental changes in political, social, cultural and other aspects of society, changes which would bring about a New International Order.” – RIO: Reshaping the International Order, 1976 (p5)
The Club of Rome is a premiere think tank composed of approximately 100 members including leading scientists, philosophers, political advisors, former politicians and many other influential bureaucrats and technocrats. This series of articles describes the major conclusions of the 1976 book Rio: Reshaping the International Order: A Report to the Club of Rome  coordinated by Nobel Laureate Jan Tinbergen. The RIO report “addresses the following question: what new international order should be recommended to the world’s statesmen and social groups so as to meet, to the extent practically and realistically possible, the urgent needs of today’s population and the probable needs of future generations?” Continue reading
Food Is Different
Globalization has made more food available worldwide to more people at lower prices. But the current crisis demonstrates the limits of globalization and that the market for food may not be the same as for other products.
by Bruce Stokes
Globalization’s Pluses and Minuses
The world has become more dependent on imported grain in the past 40 years, but failing global grain stocks make it harder to ease shortages and high prices.
Robert Zoellick, head of the World Bank, warns that the unfolding food crisis could force 100 million people deeper into destitution and set back efforts to reduce world poverty by seven years.
In the midst of this crisis, the immediate humanitarian challenge is to feed the hungry. But the suddenness and breadth of the emergency has raised fundamental questions about the future of agricultural policy that will drive debates in Washington and other world capitals for years to come. The questions being posed about agricultural policies are complex and hard to answer.
Was it a mistake over the past generation to increasingly trust market forces to feed the world? Or are the problems that bedevil farmers today the residue of continued government interference in agricultural markets? Are current food prices a problem or the ultimate solution to future food needs? Does the world food system suffer from too much globalization or not enough?
In the search for answers to these questions, Washington is a Tower of Babel. Partisans of all stripes have seized on the crisis to justify their long-standing ideological positions on agriculture. Free-market proponents support a swift completion of the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations, which would cut American and European farm subsidies and allow developing countries to increase their food exports to rich countries. “The solution is to break the Doha Development Agenda impasse in 2008,” Zoellick said in April. Continue reading
By ROBERT WEISSMAN
Last week came the news that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is investigating potential manipulation of the oil trading market.
That’s a good thing, though the CFTC is not exactly the most aggressive regulator around. (Says Judy Dugan of Consumer Watchdog: “On its face, the investigation smacks of the fox investigating a hen shortage in the chicken coop.”)
Market manipulation may be contributing to the recent oil price spike — though even in the worst case, it is only part of the story. The most important factor is supply and demand: supply is having trouble keeping up with unabated demand growth.
Are Wall Street firms and hedge funds in fact manipulating the oil market? Perhaps. There are certainly enough conflicts of interest, and unregulation, to make such activity plausible. These aren’t exactly guys with an honorable track record. Continue reading
A great article by Simon Jenkins, published May 30,2008 in the Guardian –
GAZING briefly at the Eurovision song contest this week I could not rid my mind of a quite different image, that of Nato’s multilateral force headquarters in Kabul.
There was the same flag-waving and confusion of purpose, the same small-state rivalry and cynical balancing of interests. There was the same belief that, simply by being international, a so-called community of nations was forged.
Today the word “international” suggests tailored suits, tax-free salaries, white Land Cruisers and Geneva. The Eurovision contest is run by the European Broadcasting Union with 400 staff in Switzerland, with no risk of oversight or reform.
It may seem crude to leap from such mundane activities to world peace, but the ruling assumption is the same, that internationalism legitimises itself. It rises above (never below) the nation state and its rulemakers owe allegiance only to an ideal of global community, which means whatever they choose. The ever-more numerous world bodies to which nations subscribe need never pass the eye of any national audit Office.
It was only when America briefly withdrew from Unesco and capped its contribution to the UN that steps were taken to curb that organisation’s waste and corruption, which culminated in Kofi Annan’s obscene 2000 “poverty summit”. The only good thing to emerge from the warped brain of America’s former UN ambassador, John Bolton, was his reform package, and he blew it. Nor can Europe talk. The EU still cannot get its accounts past any reputable auditor nor control the outrageous expenses of its parliamentarians. Continue reading
Canada has been actively involved in international development at the official level since the government of Louis St. Laurent helped create the Colombo Plan in 1950. Almost 60 years later, foreign aid advocates across the country remain critical of our development and reconstruction efforts.
Successive governments in Ottawa have promised improvements. In the 2005 international policy statement, the Liberals argued that “Canada has the capacity and the history to be among the best in the world in development, and Canadians support this priority.”
In their 2007 budget plan, the Conservatives said: “Canadians take pride in our role in reducing global poverty and contributing to international peace and security. Increasing the amount of resources that we make available for international assistance is a key element of that effort.”
If there is agreement that global poverty is a problem, and if our government is committed to improving the situation, why then do we continue to struggle to be effective? Continue reading
This is the first part of a three-part series of articles found here on the world food crisis.
By Alex Lantier
As the June 3-5 Conference on World Food Security of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) began in Rome, FAO Director Jacques Diouf said of the explosion of food prices: “It is touching every country in the world. We have not only seen riots and people dying, but also a government toppled [in Haiti], and we know that many countries…could tilt to one way or the other depending on the discontent or satisfaction of their population.”
With these words, Diouf expressed the growing concern of governments and ruling elites internationally over the potentially revolutionary implications of the upward spiral of prices for basic food staples, which has already sparked a social and economic crisis of global dimensions. In recent months, strikes and demonstrations against rising food prices have occurred in many parts of the world. These initial struggles have exposed the contradiction between the elementary demand of the world’s masses for affordable food and the workings of the capitalist market.
Diouf called for donations of US$30 billion to be invested in world agriculture. Even were this sum to be allocated, it would not begin to address the sources of the current crisis, which lie in economic and political processes of privatization and price speculation that have unfolded over the past three decades and are bound up with the globalization of capitalist agriculture. Continue reading