Violence and development

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Filed under: Development Disaster response

Are Europe and Central Asia immune from the types of violence that have turned many Latin American cities into veritable war-zones?

The grievances, predicaments and injustices motivating the violence affecting the favellas of Rio are certainly radically different from those impacting Bishkek or Belgrade. Violence must be looked in terms of failing to manage conflict and provide opportunities.

When these failures occur, they tend to do so quickly and dramatically. We see development gains evaporate overnight with the depressingly predictable result of destroyed businesses, broken infrastructure, the disappearance of foreign direct investment, and anemic growth that only benefits the elite.

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If life gives me a lemon, I will learn how to make lemonade

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Filed under: Governance Human rights

Abdulla Abdukhalilov, Uzbekistan
When I entered the room and started my training, people were surprised and confused. A reserved whisper descended through the class and I knew it was because of me. In the first minutes of my training I felt as though I had been thrown in the deep end.

During my years of teaching I have consistently faced similar reactions with every new group attending my classes and trainings. Time and time again I grit my teeth and summon up the courage to start presenting. It usually takes me about five minutes and then the hesitation and confusion melts away. People start listening. At the conclusion of my talk, when it comes time for discussion, we spend hours talking through the issues we addressed.

I have been able to show that a person should be judged based on their competence, rather than a cliché set in society’s mind.

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Silent revolution

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Filed under: Development Gender equality Governance

It’s happening. It took more than 100 years to learn that we can’t move ahead without women. “Unavoidable” says Europe, “Mandatory for sustainable development” says UNDP, “A basic democratic principle,” says the Council of Europe. “It’s fair, just and desperately needed,” says my mom!

Women in politics: Their silence in history is deafening. Still, you probably heard that many years ago the world gave up burning “witches” after the 15th, 16th and 17th century. But it’s past now. Good.  A Dark Age – A closed chapter.

However, maybe it’s not. Do you know there are still women around the world forbidden to have an opinion, demoted from decision-making positions, beaten, stoned to death…?

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You won’t see garbage anymore

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Filed under: Environment Governance

Sorting waste in Tul'chyn, Ukraine

Our project from Tul’chyn region made it to national television. “New ideas for waste” (which aired on ICTV, in Ukrainian) showcased the cooperation between the villages councils in Tul’chyn,  Kynashiv and Suvorovka.

“Tul’chyn nature won’t see any more garbage” is the key message of video story and the primary task of those responsible for the inter-municipal project.

The story highlights the achievements of the project: partners have recently completed an analysis of what the waste is actually composed of (called a “waste morphology composition analysis”).

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The last long night of low expectations

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Filed under: Climate change

Today is the last day of the climate change negotiations here in Durban. We are prepared to spend the day and the night here in the Conference center expected the final outcome. (Negotiations could likely spill over into tomorrow morning as well as was the case in Copenhagen.)

There was not much progress achieved last night, although some of the drafting groups are still working and in parallel the ministers are trying to resolve the crunch issues.

The biggest issue for the ministers is to resolve the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol, in particular its length, legal form and specific numbers for reduction of emissions. Each of these categories has three options to choose from. If this is resolved the rest will follow, as the developing countries made it clear that without Kyoto there is no deal.

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Good news from Durban – a breakthrough on the Green Climate Fund

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Filed under: Climate change

Durban youth activities, climate change negotiations

After a long night, negotiators are getting closer to agreeing on the structure of the Green Climate Fund.

The German Government pledged around $40 million to go to operational costs of the Fund – a sign they are confident that an agreement will be reached here in Durban.

Many are trying to decouple decisions on the Green Climate Fund from all other decisions that still need to be made, to better the chances of reaching an agreement on the Fund.

China wants the Fund set up before it makes its domestic climate change efforts binding under an international agreement. Other developing countries are also pushing for an agreement on the Fund’s design in Durban.

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Do or die: The latest from climate change negotiations in Durban

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Filed under: Climate change

Durban COP17 climate change negotiations, December 2011
Is there still time to produce a climate change agreement for all countries?

Yesterday an amended text – the basis for an agreement – was produced and presented for negotiation under the Convention. Many Parties complained that there are missing positions, and that overall, it is not balanced. There is still a need for the ministers to be involved at this stage to seek their political guidance on many issues.

The Chair provided a list of issues to be forwarded to the high-level delegates, including:

  • A shared vision, including a global goal to limit emissions
  • Climate change mitigation for developed countries, resolution on pledges and levels of ambition, as well as compliance
  • Climate change mitigation for developing countries
  • Cooperative sectoral approaches, and an agreed programme on adaptation
  • Review of emission reduction commitments in order to keep the rise of the global temperature within the margins recommended by the scientific community
  • Agreement on the composition and reporting line of the adaptation committee

Additions to the list were made including response measures and new market based mechanisms.

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Can social media help protect human rights?

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Filed under: Development 2.0 Human rights

One of the issues I often discuss with staff from ombudsman offices and national human rights institutions in Europe and the CIS is how they are addressing the fast development and application of social media and knowledge management 2.0 tools in their daily work. Is it still too early for them? What about for others with similar mandates in other regions?

As the use of social media becomes increasingly mainstream, it is changing the character of rights advocacy and communication around the world, with rights defenders and organizations continuing to refine their online presence and expand their ability to reach a global audience.

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Weather stormy and ever-changing in Durban

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Filed under: Climate change

High level officials at COP17, climate change negotiations in Durban, 2011

The high-level part of the climate negotiations started today, with 12 head of states and 130 ministers. Many events are taking place under the leadership of the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, together with the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Cristiana Figueres, the President of South Africa Jacob Zuma, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark, Sir Nicholas Stern, and many others.

However, there is still no text ready to be presented for political decision-making.

In the meantime, high-level officials began outlining their positions and are talking to each other.

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From idealism to realism: At the half way point in Durban

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Filed under: Climate change Environment

It was a working weekend here at the conference – and, like all the delegates, we’ve been reading through the “amalgamation” text and its addendum, which was shared on Saturday. (“Amalgamation” was supposed to show that the text goes beyond simply compilation, however many did not agree that it succeeded.)

It’s the product of one week of negotiations under the Convention track, and compiles all the issues to create the basis for a comprehensive and balanced outcome to be presented to the Conference of the Parties for adoption. However the text still contains a variety of options, some of which are controversial, and many areas of disagreement. It cannot be presented to the ministers for adoption in its current shape. A lot of work still remains to be done by Wednesday.

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