Links & Contents I Liked 456

Hi all,

I have to start this week's post similar to last week's one-thanking Monica Mukerjee, Tara Todras-Whitehill & Ben Chesterton for taking the time to talk at our students again, discussing Decolonizing MSF, medical ethics in humanitarian situations & digital storytelling with us! A really interesting, passionate panel + discussion!

We are also looking at Myanmar, the UK, Haiti & Congo as well as multilateralism, hunger, feminism & EU-Global South relations; new research on IOM & colonial continuities & participatory visual methods in Mali wrap up the #globaldev section. Plus, bad academic presentations continue online & offline and mining bitcoins is pretty bad for the environment... 

My quotes of the week
“I do believe we need a new deal on how to articulate international, national, local, in a different way, and that local actors need a bigger say – and need a different say – in articulating what needs are. And what they expect is obvious. The question is, what happens then? Localisation suggests that locals just say what they need and internationals just deliver what locals need. And that's too simplistic.”
(In conversation with Peter Maurer: An exit interview with the ICRC president)

If the EU really wants to get ahead in a complex, complicated and fiercely competitive world, it must move beyond the West-centric transatlantic frame and truly engage with the Global South.
This means sharing Europe's knowledge, experience and wisdom with partners — but not lecturing and hectoring them.'
(EU should admonish less, and listen more, to the Global South)

Be aware of the weirdness of what you’re doing. Most of you are in your twenties and you will arrive in your new country of work in the richest 1% of the population. You may be expected to have ‘staff’. You are primarily in that l be in that position not because of your genius – but because of the good fortune of the family you were born in to and the vast inequalities in our world. You owe it to the citizens you live and work with to always remember just how lucky you are - so be generous in spirit and sensitive to your wealth. (Dear ODI fellows...,)

Development news
Myanmar: Facebook's Systems Promoted Violence Against Rohingya; Meta Owes Reparations
Facebook owner Meta’s dangerous algorithms and reckless pursuit of profit substantially contributed to the atrocities perpetrated by the Myanmar military against the Rohingya people in 2017, Amnesty International said in a new report published today.
The Social Atrocity: Meta and the right to remedy for the Rohingya,details how Meta knew or should have known that Facebook’s algorithmic systems were supercharging the spread of harmful anti-Rohingya content in Myanmar, but the company still failed to act.
“In 2017, the Rohingya were killed, tortured, raped, and displaced in the thousands as part of the Myanmar security forces’ campaign of ethnic cleansing. In the months and years leading up to the atrocities, Facebook’s algorithms were intensifying a storm of hatred against the Rohingya which contributed to real-world violence,” said Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.
Amnesty with a really important new report; the Myanmar Internet Project site also provides some details, timelines & visualizations.
BBC World Service proposes 382 post closures as part of savings
The BBC is proposing to close about 382 posts at the World Service as it tries to make £28.5m in annual savings for its international services.
Radio broadcasts in 10 languages including Arabic, Persian, Chinese and Bengali will cease, the BBC said.
Although no language services will close, many will move online, to "increase impact with audiences".
Helen Bushby for BBC News; bad news for another great 'soft power' tool...radio remains an important medium in many parts of the world, but let's hope the move to online-only will 'increase impact' or whatever economic BS language you want to use...

New foreign secretary James Cleverly must tackle UK aid transparency crisis
the well-meaning language on engagement risks being co-opted or becoming a tick-box exercise, without tangible indicators. The action to adopt a “meaningful, inclusive and deliberative approach to engaging with civil society” is welcome, but there needs to be an engagement strategy that sets out how the FCDO will do this (and it needs to be published) – or it could be perceived as hot air. Similarly, the accompanying milestones of quarterly meetings risks becoming performative “engagement”.  
Rosemary Forest for openDemocracy warns against 'business as usual' when it comes to the rapidly deteriorating UK #globaldev standing.

In Response to Antonio Guterres, Haitian Organizations Point to the Responsibility of the UN in the "Gangsterization of Haiti"
Undoubtedly, this is the reason why, with great lightness, you said, on the French channel France 24, that what is currently happening in Haiti would be a case of gangs having invaded the whole country and that this gang movement would be infiltrated by political sectors and businessmen/ women. You have thus totally distorted the reality on the ground and given an exactly opposite version of what is happening in the reality of the facts. The truth is that the gangs in Haiti, which are the political appendages of the current de facto power, of the Core Group – which operate in peace and under command – have tried to infiltrate the popular protest movement, under the orders of their bosses, to throw confusion, discredit it and thus provide the international and you especially with a pretext to succeed in criminalizing it.
(...)
Moreover, do you have a clear awareness of the pernicious role that the UN has played and still plays in the criminal process of gangsterization of Haiti, calling into question respect for the fundamental rights of the Haitian people?
AlterPresse & Black Agenda Report with an open letter from a range of civil society organizations in Haiti.
Too many cooks? Flurry of world hunger plans risks misfiring
France, Germany, Italy, Norway, the U.S., in addition to international organizations like the U.N. and the G7, have all announced various initiatives, strategies, and ad hoc groups to alleviate food insecurity. Recipients of that aid, many in Africa, worry that the impact of the effort might be diluted.
Speaking at the United Nations' General Assembly in New York this week, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken urged the international community to coordinate its efforts.
(...)
The deluge of well-intentioned hunger plans also risks masking the different development philosophies underpinning them. Traditionally, there has been a distinction between European agricultural development — with a focus on encouraging resilient, green farming practices — and the American approach of prioritizing higher yields through agriculture tech and the use of chemicals.
“We must recognise that some of these different partnership proposals are based on different views of the world, on different paradigms," said Emile Frison, a biodiversity expert on the IPES-Food panel which advocates for a shift toward agroecology.
Eddy Wax for Politico; the pun in the headline pretty much wrote itself, but issues of coordination remain on the global agenda, of course.

Flashes of bold UN talk on feminism, masculinity, patriarchy
At other times, “feminism” — considered an f-word by many for generations — was used proudly.
Liberian President George Weah declared himself “feminist-in-chief.” Andorran Prime Minister Xavier Espot Zamora acknowledged that “feminism is one of the great challenges of the present moment.” Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez trumpeted “the feminist agenda and the struggle for gender equality.”
“We are living in times in which demanding basic rights is still a revolutionary act,” Sánchez said in his U.N. address. “The global threats to women’s sexual and reproductive freedom are yet another example of how painfully slowly the world is moving towards guaranteeing full equality. Worse still, is the fragility of our past social gains, which have fallen victim to backsliding in certain advanced democracies — something quite inexplicable at this stage of the 21st century.”
It was an impassioned jab, apparently directed at the event’s host country, where a recent Supreme Court ruling ended the constitutional right to abortion. In contrast, U.S. President Joe Biden offered only a passing mention of abortion rights — even as the court decision continues to ripple across the nation.
Sally Ho for AP News with a great overview over some UNGA speeches-and interesting that these discussions are featured prominently on one of the leading global news platforms!

EU should admonish less, and listen more, to the Global South
No wonder then that EU policymakers are in a rush to put last week's New York talk fest behind them.
My advice? Don't do it.
If the EU really wants to get ahead in a complex, complicated and fiercely competitive world, it must move beyond the West-centric transatlantic frame and truly engage with the Global South.
This means sharing Europe's knowledge, experience and wisdom with partners — but not lecturing and hectoring them.
Shada Islam for euobserver the view from the Global South on the EU & its performance around UNGA...

Child marriage comes with a heavy cost for young girls in Africa – but there’s one clear way out
One factor stands out across the four countries in our study: education. Women without formal education are more likely to marry early than those who completed secondary or higher education
(...)
There is an urgent need for governments in these countries to introduce programmes that promote delaying the age at which girls first have sex and to equip adolescents with knowledge about responsible and safer sex.
Policymakers should also work to promote prolonged enrolment in school for adolescent girls. And, crucially, laws are needed – and must be enforced – that criminalise child marriages.
Sathiya Susuman Appunni for the Conversation; as important as it is to confirm one's assumptions & biases nothing strikes me as either new or surprising in this research. Given overall welfare losses due to Covid & the current global crisis, calls for 'more education' ring a bit hollow to really end the practice of child marriage.

In conversation with Peter Maurer: An exit interview with the ICRC president
“The traditional operational model of humanitarianism is some internationally recognised organisation – be it UN, Red Cross, [or] others – collecting money to transform it into services for people somewhere. And I think we have come to an end of that model.”
(...)
“You may have an ability to influence decisions because you create trust with interlocutors who take decisions, but you are not in a position of power in a classic diplomatic sense of the term,” he said.
“The key role of chief diplomat of this organisation is to find access points to influence power. It’s not to exert power.”
He described himself as “more disenchanted” by the political dynamics of the international community, which leave crises that “could so easily be brought to a better place” unresolved.
(...)
“I do believe we need a new deal on how to articulate international, national, local, in a different way, and that local actors need a bigger say – and need a different say – in articulating what needs are. And what they expect is obvious,” Maurer said.
“The question is, what happens then? Localisation suggests that locals just say what they need and internationals just deliver what locals need. And that's too simplistic.”
Heba Aly talks to Peter Maurer for the New Humanitarian's podcast.

Dear ODI fellows...,
First of all - remember - you are a civil servant not a saviour or a super-hero. I am serious – please do not let your own personal ambition lead the work that you do. It is very human to want to make your mark, or to work in areas that are visible to the international agencies who may be your future employer. But your programme of work should be guided by your managers not your ego or desire to land a job with the World Bank.
(...)
Fourth, be aware of the weirdness of what you’re doing. Most of you are in your twenties and you will arrive in your new country of work in the richest 1% of the population. You may be expected to have ‘staff’. You are primarily in that l be in that position not because of your genius – but because of the good fortune of the family you were born in to and the vast inequalities in our world. You owe it to the citizens you live and work with to always remember just how lucky you are - so be generous in spirit and sensitive to your wealth.
Mark Miller from ODI writes an open letter to the incoming cohort of their fellowship program.

Breakfast at Mobutu’s
Ultimately, Mobutu’s proclaiming of Lumumba as a national hero, like other measures suggested by his progressive young advisors, gave him traction with the student left for only a short time. The general enjoyed parading in his Lumumbist attire, but he had no clothes. As the enthusiasm for Mobutu dramatically declined, a new cadre of student activists worked to initiate a confrontation with the regime. Yet, while the president had cajoled before, he would not hesitate to crack down. Like Bongoma, many students endured imprisonment. Some were exiled. Others suffered an even more tragic fate when a student protest in June 1969 turned into the first state massacre in postcolonial Kinshasa.
Pedro Monaville for Africa is a Country with an excerpt from his book on student politics in Mobutu's Congo.

Connected Fates: Solidarity in Global Development
As we continue to see inequality rising, gains lost as a result of the pandemic, the climate crisis and more, I think it’s more important than ever that our sector is aspirational. I know this will be hard work but global development is not the sector for those that want easy. Perhaps this is an opportunity for us to try something new and perhaps that something new starts with focusing on global solidarity in a way we have not before. After all, our fates are connected.
Motunrayo Fagbayi with an important reminder why #globaldev & the things we do still matter.

Reading corner
Colonial continuities and colonial unknowing in international migration management: the International Organization for Migration reconsidered
Drawing on extensive archival research, this article analyses how colonial interests and biases also shaped IOM’s establishment, founding documents, and vacillating positions in decolonisation movements. It examines the organisation’s role in moving colonists out of newly independent states; facilitating settler colonial states’ preference for white migrants; and advancing western interests in having an international migration forum in which opposition to exclusionary policies was virtually non-existent. In particular, it questions the agency’s involvement in supporting white migration to Southern Africa in the apartheid era, and the sanitisation of such work from IOM’s institutional history.
Megan Bradley with a new open access article for Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.

Youth agency in times of crisis: Exploring education and conflict in Mali through participatory visual approaches with youth

More specifically, we use data from six workshops using participatory visual methods (PVMs) to illustrate that young people have something valuable to say about education, agency, and conflict and that PVMs can be an effective way of engaging adolescents in dealing with such topics. Preliminary findings from the research suggest that although participating young people are in an asymmetrical position in relation to power with the adults around them, they nonetheless have a good understanding of their situation and demonstrate agentic behavior that is both adaptative and projective. Girls illustrated how generational order from child to grandmother and gender social norms can constrain agency. At the same time, they used their agency to expose and contest, in the cellphilms they produced, the unfair division of labor in their society. During the workshops, young people were eager to share their stories and wanted their artwork to communicate their concerns to the adults around them.
Claudia Mitchell, Kattie Lussier & Fatoumata Keita with a new open access article for Frontiers in Education.

In other news
Which is worse, bad Zoom or bad In-Real-Life?
Maybe it works on some other level – performative academic, where incentives require you to present in a certain way, even if it turns off the audience?
(...)
is part of the reason for the leaden, top-down formats that organizers want to control the agenda, pump out their own material etc? Does everyone need to be on a platform, with at least 20 minutes to talk about themselves or their interests? If so, very hard to get away from panelism.
Duncan Green for fp2p; the ritualization of preparing & presenting academic output - a paper needs to be between 8 and 10,000 words, a panel consists of 3 presentations times 20 minutes for a 90 minute slot - is a major problem when only quantitative indicators matter for 'success'...

Nearly half of asset managers don't base any sell orders on ESG, survey shows

Forty-three percent of asset managers were unable to provide an example of a sell decision driven by a view on environmental, social and governance issues in the last 12 months, a larger proportion than last year, a survey showed on Tuesday.
Thirty-five percent could not show they'd made a buy decision based on ESG, up from 26% a year ago, according to the survey of 122 asset managers managing $37.7 trillion by investment consultants Redington.
Reuters reports the *shocking* finding that many asset managers could not care less about ESG...

Economic estimation of Bitcoin mining’s climate damages demonstrates closer resemblance to digital crude than digital gold
on average, each $1 in BTC market value created was responsible for $0.35 in global climate damages, which as a share of market value is in the range between beef production and crude oil burned as gasoline, and an order-of-magnitude higher than wind and solar power. Taken together, these results represent a set of sustainability red flags. While proponents have offered BTC as representing “digital gold,” from a climate damages perspective it operates more like “digital crude”.
Benjamin A. Jones, Andrew L. Goodkind & Robert P. Berrens for Nature with a new open access article.

What we were reading 5 years ago

(Link review 246, 18 August 2017)

Tanzania's ghost safari: how western aid contributed to the decline of a wildlife haven
The companies in the valley all worry about this too and have all employed their own techniques to try to stem the losses. The rice plantation has run education courses on modern agricultural techniques in order to help local people grow more rice in a smaller area; the teak plantation, in some places, has alternated teak and miombo to try to give the wildlife some space. The sugar plantation is trying to build up a forest area in one part of in the north of the valley where elephants are still sometimes seen, so that the elephants will continue to pass that way without stumbling into the plantations (a beehive fence to keep them in the forest has been strung along one point). But they agree that the problem is just getting worse.
Bibi van der Zee & Sophie Tremblay for the Guardian with a powerful story about 'modernization' from Tanzania.

Special feature: A history of American public opinion on foreign aid

It is striking that the percentage of Americans thinking the U.S. spend too much on foreign aid hit what was then a post-Vietnam low in 1985, largely in response to President Ronald Reagan’s decision to offer food aid to Ethiopia as its Marxist government struggled with a calamitous and self-inflicted famine. As Reagan declared, “A hungry child knows no politics,” the public responded to a clear and specific use for assistance: feeding starving children. This uptick in popularity for assistance under Reagan is also notable in that it was counterintuitive: Reagan, as a small government conservative, expanded the aid budget and the overall program became more popular.
John Norris for DevEx with an interesting piece that looks beyond the usual 'Americans think their government spends 5/10/20% of the budget on foreign aid' narrative and traces some major developments throughout post-WWII history.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Links & Contents I Liked 463

Links & Contents I Liked 461

Links & Contents I Liked 462

Links & Contents I Liked 464

Dear white middle class British women: Please don't send used bras (or anything, really) to Africa