Links & Contents I Liked 464
This afternoon I am going to leave the virtual space & join colleagues to explore an exhibition in Malmö on dreams, images & mobile phones. In the meantime, contributions from UN organizations, the Philippines, Pakistan, Syria, Mexico, India, Australia, Somaliland & Sri Lanka will keep you busy. Enjoy!
Instead of quotes of the week
How the culture of fear and abuse of power ruled UNOPS
So, the question that haunts me is: why? Specifically, why did so many senior and respected people of established reputation betray us? Were they greedy? Were they drunk with power? Was it impunity from a sense of over-weening privilege ? Was it arrogance from the perception that they were above the rules? Was it weakness that pushed them to obey their wrong-doing leaders without question? Or was it just contempt for ordinary people like their supposed colleagues, partners, donors, beneficiaries?Mukesh Kapila continues his reflections on the UNOPS scandal.
But answering the basic question of ‘why?” is important because although UNOPS will recover, the nasty taste of betrayed trust will linger for much longer.
One in 23 people will require humanitarian relief in 2023, UN warns
A record 339 million people, an increase of 65 million on last year, will be suffering next year as a result of 2022’s “extreme events” and will be in urgent need of assistance, said Martin Griffiths, the UN’s under secretary general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator.Lizzy Davies for the Guardian; those appeals unfortunately always sound a bit similar, but for more information there is a great website that breaks down OCHA's Global Humanitarian Overview.
The UN and partner agencies are asking donors for $51.5bn to fund the relief effort, another record figure and a 25% increase on the beginning of 2022. They say while most donors have remained relatively generous, the needs have ballooned.
To save lives, UN must deal with oligarchs, terrorists, and extremists
At the same time, he said, “we want policymakers to see the world as it is, and not as they wish it were.”Colum Lynch for DevEx continues one of our favourite discussions around the theme of 'UN...it's complicated' & broader questions around humanitarianism.
There is no generally recognized policy dictating when aid agencies should turn off the tap, and donor countries are often selective in how much latitude they are willing to give humanitarian aid agencies.
The imposition of sanctions on insurgents or terrorists has also hampered countries like Iran from procuring medical assistance during the pandemic, and complicated efforts by aid workers to effectively operate in countries like Somalia and Yemen.
Towards a new development policy
As Foreign Minister Wong has said, “with daunting challenges facing the world, we have much to learn from First Nations peoples – both at home and in international fora”. Elevating First Nations perspectives into how we find solutions to shared problems – including through our development program – has never been more important.DevPolicy Blog documents a speech by Pat Conroy, the Australian minister in charge of #globaldev. It certainly ticks many right boxes, perhaps because he spoke at a conference of #globaldev experts & supporters? But let's hope actions will follow these annoucements!
There are also other elements that I would like to integrate throughout our development program, in particular: gender equality, climate change and disability.
Philippines sees a pandemic boom in child sex abuse
Andrew Mitchell U.K. development minister says U.K. no longer development super power, merger between DFID and foreign office a mistake and the bed and breakfast costs of a failed asylum policy is eating up his aid budget. In short, a disastrous self-inflicted wound. pic.twitter.com/EHcSZaqXKg— Patrick Wintour (@patrickwintour) November 26, 2022
Then came the pandemic. More than two years of lockdowns and some of the world's longest school closures left vulnerable children stuck at home with cash-strapped parents desperate to make money.Laura Bicker for BBC News; as the headline indicates don't click on the link if any of these issues trigger negative thoughts or traumatise you in any way.
A recent study by Unicef and Save the Children estimates that around one in five Filipino children are now at risk of sexual exploitation, putting the grim figure close to two million.
Ms Baldo fears that the abuse is becoming "normalised" in the Philippines and may become endemic in some of the country's poorest neighbourhoods.
Climate Justice Finally Arrives Through the New Global Loss and Damage Fund
Since the loss and damage fund has yet to be activated, Pakistan expects that financing for its rehabilitation and reconstruction plan will come from industrial countries and international financial institutions, including the International Monetary Fund and multilateral development banks. Such support could include debt write-offs, swaps and restructuring; new special-drawing right (SDR) allocations or rechanneling of unused SDRs of the developed countries; direct support for reconstruction projects as well as private investment for projects that can be structured (for example, with blended finance, to be commercially viable). We also expect expressions of solidarity from Pakistan’s friends in the Islamic world and the global South.Bilawal Bhutto Zardari for PassBlue; as I already wrote in Tuesday's newsletter, I am a bit surprised by the optimism that some commentators have in the new Loss & Damage fund-especially its capacity to be delivered through the usual suspect institutions and/or financial vehicles...
The European Union in Syria: too complacent?
The delegation’s communication is that of a diplomatic service addressing a European audience that used to observing “suffering at a distance”, to use Hannah Arendt’s phrase. Through its role as mediator, it must inform the citizens of the member countries but also of the whole world and convey its conception of a form of social responsibility. No culprit is named: the delegation does not opt for what the sociologist Luc Bolstanski defines as the “topic of denunciation”, which “turns away from the depressing consideration of the unfortunate and his suffering to look for a persecutor”, only the “topic of feeling”, which directs attention toward a benefactor and the good actions he or she accomplishes.Élise Daniaud & Yahia Hakoum for the Conversation with a great analysis of the EU's 'discourse' (words, images, actions) towards Syria.
The responsibility here is humanitarian: it mobilises the “iconography of help”. Any case of suffering requires a good action, “regardless of what brought the suffering on or what the consequences of assisting might be”.
In the name of poppy: how operations to eradicate illicit crops ended as counterinsurgency actions in Mexico
As in the case of Atoyac de Álvarez, ethnographic evidence shows that the actions of those soldiers were oriented more towards finding members of guerrillas than destroying poppy fields.Irene Álvarez Rodríguez for LSE Latin America on ethnographic research on the impact of the 'war on drugs' on indigenous communities in Mexico.
The data gathered led us to argue that those anti-narcotic operations were, in reality, counterinsurgency actions launched against peasant and indigenous populations in rural zones of southern Mexico. We believe that campaigns to eradicate illicit crops actually functioned as a strategy to control “politically uncomfortable” people.
What’s the point of museums?— Wellcome Collection (@ExploreWellcome) November 25, 2022
Truthfully, we’re asking ourselves the same question.
Delhi’s toxic haze ‘fuelled by political wrangling’
Meanwhile, citizens groups and concerned doctors say they are helpless in holding authorities accountable for the alarming rise levels of toxic pollutants in the air over the national capital and the neighbouring states this year.Ranjit Devraj for SciDev Net with an interesting case study on how poor domestic governance make regional & global problems worse...
“There is very little actually being done on the ground and we can no longer afford to keep shifting the blame because it is damaging our lungs, heart, brain, kidneys, blood and every organ in the body,” says Sanjeev Bagai, a leading city doctor and clean air campaigner.
Bagai believes that without a concerted, collaborative effort by political parties and other stakeholders it is going to be impossible to deal with aerial pollution over Delhi. “We need apolitical decisions right now if we are to save the next generation from disease and disaster.”
Why humanitarians need to talk about Elon Musk’s Twitter
Whether we like it or not, Twitter is changing – and humanitarians must change with it. We have a responsibility to use our voices to push for more sophisticated moderation mechanisms, stringent cybersecurity, and equitable verification processes that support people affected by emergencies.Aanjalie Roane for the New Humanitarian adds more #globaldev thoughts to the ongoing discussions around the future of that social media platform...
The future of Twitter remains unclear, and we can’t afford to have it determined by the whims of one unpredictable billionaire.
Australian public opinion about aid: is it changing, and does it matter?
If you want a simple take-home point from our eight years of work, it’s as follows. Public opinion matters. It influences high-level policy decisions about aid. For a long time many Australians had fairly hostile attitudes to aid. However, attitudes can change. Indeed, in recent years attitudes have changed. Probably because of the pandemic, hostility to aid has been falling.Terence Wood for DevPolicy Blog continues the earlier discussion around the future of #globaldev in Australia.
The making of a global port, and the unmaking of a people
While the dockworkers have been allowed to continue working at Berbera, their status and future remain uncertain. As has happened in other port cities around the world, the Geelle and their families may have to migrate to find work elsewhere before long. This would not only end centuries of history and change the port’s job markets, but it could transform the whole urban outlook of Berbera.Nasir M. Ali, Jutta Bakonyi & May Darwich for African Arguments on current change & long duree history in Somaliland.
However, the Geelle are not ready to simply disappear just yet. Their labour union has more than 1,000 members and continues to negotiate with the Somaliland Port Authority. In the last few years, dockworkers have organised several protests, claiming that they are losing their jobs and rights, and demanding regular employment in the port. During these protests, the association itself has faced conflicts, as many members feel the organisation has stopped representing their interests.
Gendering the debt crisis: Feminists on Sri Lanka’s financial crisis
Our solidarity with Sri Lankan women workers comes from our acute sense that Sri Lanka is a canary in the coal mine. We can see Pakistan’s vulnerability, as well as that of Bangladesh; we can see the difficulties the RBI is having propping up the value of the rupee; a recent UNPD report puts over 50 developing countries at acute risk of default. We cannot allow another 1980s-style debt crisis to unfold across the developing world, facilitated and enabled once again by the IMF. After all, those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. The fact that this debate about debt restructuring is being rehashed in Sri Lanka for the 17th time defies all reason. It is truly past time that we stopped resurrecting the zombie of austerity and stop creating moral hazard conditions under which private lenders can assume that they are going to be bailed out for their mistakes by working class women and men.Kanchana N. Ruwanpura, Bhumika Muchhala & Smriti Rao for Developing Economics on the debt crisis in Asia & gendered impact in Sri Lanka.
The use of imagery in global health: an analysis of infectious disease documents and a framework to guide practice
The narrative currently depicted in imagery is one of power imbalances, depicting women and children from low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs) with less dignity, respect, and power than those from high-income countries. The absence of any evidence of consent for using intrusive and out-of-context images, particularly of children in LMICs, is concerning. The framework we have developed provides a platform for global health actors to redefine their intentions and recommission appropriate images that are relevant to the topic, respect the integrity of all individuals depicted, are accompanied by evidence of consent, and are equitable in representation.Esmita Charani et al. for Lancet Global Health with a great new open access article.
Questioning justice: A feminist reflection on restorative justice and an embrace of both/and
Through reflecting on my own experience as a victim seeking justice through a RJ process, I hope to trouble and question meanings of justice for survivors of sexual violence and offer a feminist embrace of Patricia Hill Collin’s ‘both/and’ conceptual orientation. In trying to escape easy dualisms which reduce rich complexity to diluted simplicity, I intend to turn toward the messiness of the in-between and what that holds.Jamie Martin for Convivial Thinking with a reflective long-read for your weekend!
What we were reading 5 years ago
(Link review 254, 13 October 2017)
I am the woman in the 'racist Dove ad'. I am not a victim
However, the experience I had with the Dove team was positive. I had an amazing time on set. All of the women in the shoot understood the concept and overarching objective – to use our differences to highlight the fact that all skin deserves gentleness.Lola Ogunyemi for the Guardian with an interesting case study on branding, darker skin tones & corporate responsibilities.
I remember all of us being excited at the idea of wearing nude T-shirts and turning into one another. We weren’t sure how the final edit was going to look, nor which of us would actually be featured in it, but everyone seemed to be in great spirits during filming, including me.
A close-up look at what happens when tourists and Maasai communities meet
The study was part of a year of fieldwork with Maasai engaged in a small, locally owned ecotourism project in Northern Tanzania. The project provides camel safaris for tourists.Vanessa Wijngaarden shares her research from Tanzania at the Conversation.
The mainly European and American tourists also visit a Maasai homestead as part of the safari. Because tourists are scarce in this area and it is difficult to provide advance notice of a visit, local people are normally caught by surprise when a group of visitors walks into their village. The tourists typically stay for 20 minutes to an hour, looking at the cattle corral and at people’s houses.
My research provides a detailed description of “Maasai” and “tourist” views of each other, and how these views are influenced as a result of their encounters. It shows how and why ideas about “the other” persist even if they do not match people’s experiences.