26 June 2009
(GENEVA – NEW YORK) The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Mr. Olivier De Schutter, calls on decision-makers gathering in New York for the UN Conference on World Financial and Economic Crisis not to forget the global food prices crisis. This crisis is continuing in many countries. It is connected not only with the financial and economic crises, but also with the climatic/environmental crisis. Continue reading
Raza Rumi’s oped published in the NEWS (Pakistan)
The not-so-inevitable is about to happen. After weeks of groping in the darkness of global financial mess, the Pakistani government is negotiating with the International Monetary Fund. Admittedly, Pakistan’s options are limited, given its intractable dependence on oil imports for survival. The civilian government moving from one crisis to another has elevated indecision to a policy status. This does not imply that we start echoing the unwise cacophony of impatience with an elected and far more legitimate government than the eight-year-long authoritarian regime. But then who cares: if recent history is a guide, PPP governments come with a brand or at least get branded as incompetent comprising coteries of cronies, as if the rest of the country is a fair, rule-based haven.
The plain truth is that the power-wielders of Pakistan have been following a set of disastrous policies for decades that have now put the survival of the state, or as we knew it, in question. From the great hunts for strategic depth and Jihad, and from nurturing domestic oligarchies and pampering a delinquent industrial sector at the expense of land tillers and equitable irrigation, we are now paying the price for policy making by the elites for the sustenance of the elites. Continue reading
Stumbled on this excellent blog – The blogger Haroon Akram-Lodhi writes:
… global financial crisis of the past 3 weeks has, in my view, fundamentally changed the landscape of global capitalism. A world that was effectively born on 4 November 1980, with the election of Ronald Reagan as U.S. President (I was in San Francisco at the time) has ended, and a period of untrammelled global neoliberalism will have to change if global finance capital is to survive.
How much has the world changed? Consider this. In the United Kingdom, where, of course, London is the second most important financial center in the world, the Royal Bank of Scotland, one of Britain’s most important financial institutions, will soon be 57 per cent owned by the British state. It is also expected that the British state will own up to 40 per cent of the newly merged (and so far unnamed) Lloyds-TSB-Halifx Bank of Scotland combination, which is also one of the largest and most important British financial institutions. Continue reading
The recent upheavals in the world financial markets were quelled by the immediate intervention of both international financial institutions such as the IMF and of domestic ones in the developed countries, such as the Federal Reserve in the USA. The danger seems to have passed, though recent tremors in South Korea, Brazil and Taiwan do not augur well. We may face yet another crisis of the same or a larger magnitude momentarily.
What are the lessons that we can derive from the last crisis to avoid the next? Continue reading
Dr. Christopher Dunford,
As leader of a global organization that strives to eliminate hunger, I want to put the food crisis in perspective and observe how a number of disparate but ultimately interrelated factors combined to create the crisis. Similarly, no single intervention will solve this global dilemma. At Freedom from Hunger, we put tools into the hands of chronically hungry poor people so that they can prevail against such upheavals.
A Growing World Population Demands More
I was an undergraduate at Cornell in 1968 when I first encountered Paul Ehrlich. He had just authored The Population Bomb and was touring campuses to promote his book and his prediction that the 1970s would see hundreds of millions of people die of starvation. Then the Green Revolution started to kick in, and growth of world food supplies soon outstripped population growth and drove down food prices for three decades.
As I was training to be an ecologist, I knew Ehrlich was applying sound principles of population ecology in his doomsday forecast. I was also studying sociology and anthropology and suspected Ehrlich was not appreciating the confounding effects of human adaptability, foresight, and ingenuity. But I took no satisfaction as Ehrlich’s prediction proved wrong. 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