organization:world bank

  • #Globalisation is dead and we need to invent a new world order - Open Future
    https://www.economist.com/open-future/2019/06/28/globalisation-is-dead-and-we-need-to-invent-a-new-world-order

    The Economist : Describe what comes after globalisation—what does the world you foresee look like?

    Mr O’Sullivan : Globalisation is already behind us. We should say goodbye to it and set our minds on the emerging multipolar world. This will be dominated by at least three large regions: America, the European Union and a China-centric Asia. They will increasingly take very different approaches to economic policy, liberty, warfare, technology and society. Mid-sized countries like Russia, Britain, Australia and Japan will struggle to find their place in the world, while new coalitions will emerge, such as a “Hanseatic League 2.0” of small, advanced states like those of Scandinavia and the Baltics. Institutions of the 20th century—the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organisation—will appear increasingly defunct.

    The Economist : What killed globalisation?

    Michael O’Sullivan : At least two things have put paid to globalisation. First, global economic growth has slowed, and as a result, the growth has become more “financialised”: debt has increased and there has been more “monetary activism”—that is, central banks pumping money into the economy by buying assets, such as bonds and in some cases even equities—to sustain the international expansion. Second, the side effects, or rather the perceived side-effects, of globalisation are more apparent: wealth inequality, the dominance of multinationals and the dispersion of global supply chains, which have all become hot political issues.

    • global economic growth has slowed, and as a result, the growth has become more “financialised”: debt has increased and there has been more “monetary activism”—that is, central banks pumping money into the economy by buying assets, such as bonds and in some cases even equities—to sustain the international expansion.

      #capitalisme_inversé (cf. La Grande Dévalorisation de Trenkle et Lohoff)

  • What is a ‘climate refugee’ and how many are there? | Grist
    https://grist.org/article/climate-refugee-number-definition

    There are pros and cons to calling those forced to move due to climate change “refugees.” On the one hand, it certainly communicates the urgency of the climate situation — ecosystems are changing so quickly and so unprecedentedly that many people don’t recognize the places they once called home. (And not in a “this neighborhood’s been taken over by yuppies!” way; in a, “wow, it’s too hot to breathe” way.) The word “refugee” fits the idea of millions of people being forced to leave their homes due to climate change, and that is certainly a convincing argument that we are facing a dire, global emergency.

    But then there’s the way that the word “refugee” is used to stir up xenophobia. In fact, all you have to do is turn on cable news to hear some politician or pundit avidly fearmongering about Salvadoran or Syrian or Sudanese refugees pounding at the borders of wealthier (read: whiter) nations. Instead of inspiring people to do something proactive about climate change, like vote, or roll your car into a ditch, the idea of so many people displaced by global warming can be weaponized into a rationale for border walls, military action, or other forms of protectionism.

    In other words, we’re at a very, very weird moment in the trajectory of climate change awareness. With many people already suffering from climate consequences and many, many more poised to join them, we must convince those in resource-chugging countries to take action without inflaming their, at times misinformed, sense of self-preservation. The scale of action that must be taken is both overwhelming and overdue, and it requires seeing ourselves as a global community. But it’s an incredibly complicated thing to do, and we must choose our words wisely, as pedantic as that can seem.

    Now to the numbers part of your question: The Institute for Economics and Peace, an Australian think tank, recently estimated that in 2017 alone, 18 million people — 61.5 percent of global displacements — were forced to move due to natural disasters. (Those natural disasters are not universally caused by climate change, but global warming is predicted to cause more frequent and intense disasters.) And while projections vary, sources agree that those numbers are going to get a whole lot higher. That same report noted that nearly 1 billion people currently live in areas of “very high” or “high” climate exposure, which could result in millions of people displaced by climate change in the future. A 2018 World Bank report estimated that by 2050, there would be 143 million climate change-driven migrants from the regions of Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, and southeast Asia alone.

    But, if we’re talking about legally designated “climate refugees,” there’s a much different number being thrown around: zero.

    That’s because “refugee” has a specific legal definition with certain criteria that need to be met to be able to apply for asylum in a new country, including religious and/or social persecution. And most legal scholars and international lawyers will say that most people who move or are forced to move due to climate disasters are not technically refugees because most of those criteria don’t apply to them.

    #terminologie #réfugiés #climat #asile

  • Beyond Borders : A Look at the Venezuelan Exodus (English) | The World Bank
    http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/864341554879205879/Beyond-Borders-A-Look-at-the-Venezuelan-Exodus

    Once the wealthiest country in Latin America, Venezuela is going through one of the region’s worst economic crises in recent history. It is now the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Migration accelerated rapidly in 2018, with some countries reporting twice as many migrants coming in as compared with a year earlier. After Syria the Venezuelan migration is the largest displacement crisis in the world. However, the Venezuelan exodus has mobilized just a fraction of the international support received by countries affected by comparable or even smaller crises. The global concessional financing facility (GCFF) is a financial intermediary fund created by World Bank specifically to help middle income countries impacted by the influx of refugees through the provision of concessional financing and improved coordination for development projects that benefit refugees and host communities. Under this mechanism, countries provide contributions to the GCFF to provide concessionality for projects that have a demonstrated objective of supporting impacted and vulnerable populations allowing benefitting countries to access affordable and more sustainable financing to address refugee crises. Two Latin American countries have approached the GCFF, expressing their interest in joining the facility as benefitting countries given the significant number of migrants and refugees they are hosting.

    http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/864341554879205879/pdf/Beyond-Borders-A-Look-at-the-Venezuelan-Exodus.pdf

  • #Chomsky: Arrest of #Assange Is “Scandalous” and Highlights Shocking Extraterritorial Reach of U.S. | Democracy Now!
    https://www.democracynow.org/2019/4/12/chomsky_arrest_of_assange_is_scandalous

    NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, the Assange arrest is scandalous in several respects. One of them is just the effort of governments—and it’s not just the U.S. government. The British are cooperating. Ecuador, of course, is now cooperating. Sweden, before, had cooperated. The efforts to silence a journalist who was producing materials that people in power didn’t want the rascal multitude to know about—OK?—that’s basically what happened. #WikiLeaks was producing things that people ought to know about those in power. People in power don’t like that, so therefore we have to silence it. OK? This is the kind of thing, the kind of scandal, that takes place, unfortunately, over and over.

    To take another example, right next door to Ecuador, in Brazil, where the developments that have gone on are extremely important. This is the most important country in Latin America, one of the most important in the world. Under the Lula government early in this millennium, Brazil was the most—maybe the most respected country in the world. It was the voice for the Global South under the leadership of Lula da Silva. Notice what happened. There was a coup, soft coup, to eliminate the nefarious effects of the labor party, the Workers’ Party. These are described by the World Bank—not me, the World Bank—as the “golden decade” in Brazil’s history, with radical reduction of poverty, a massive extension of inclusion of marginalized populations, large parts of the population—Afro-Brazilian, indigenous—who were brought into the society, a sense of dignity and hope for the population. That couldn’t be tolerated.

    After Lula’s—after he left office, a kind of a “soft coup” take place—I won’t go through the details, but the last move, last September, was to take Lula da Silva, the leading, the most popular figure in Brazil, who was almost certain to win the forthcoming election, put him in jail, solitary confinement, essentially a death sentence, 25 years in jail, banned from reading press or books, and, crucially, barred from making a public statement—unlike mass murderers on death row.
    This, in order to silence the person who was likely to win the election. He’s the most important political prisoner in the world. Do you hear anything about it?

    Well, Assange is a similar case: We’ve got to silence this voice. You go back to history. Some of you may recall when Mussolini’s fascist government put Antonio Gramsci in jail. The prosecutor said, “We have to silence this voice for 20 years. Can’t let it speak.” That’s Assange. That’s Lula. There are other cases. That’s one scandal.

    The other scandal is just the extraterritorial reach of the United States, which is shocking. I mean, why should the United States—why should any—no other state could possibly do it. But why should the United States have the power to control what others are doing elsewhere in the world? I mean, it’s an outlandish situation. It goes on all the time. We never even notice it. At least there’s no comment on it .

    #extraterritorialité #états-unis

  • Record High #Remittances Sent Globally in #2018

    Remittances to low- and middle-income countries reached a record high in 2018, according to the World Bank’s latest Migration and Development Brief.

    The Bank estimates that officially recorded annual remittance flows to low- and middle-income countries reached $529 billion in 2018, an increase of 9.6 percent over the previous record high of $483 billion in 2017. Global remittances, which include flows to high-income countries, reached $689 billion in 2018, up from $633 billion in 2017.

    Regionally, growth in remittance inflows ranged from almost 7 percent in East Asia and the Pacific to 12 percent in South Asia. The overall increase was driven by a stronger economy and employment situation in the United States and a rebound in outward flows from some Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and the Russian Federation. Excluding China, remittances to low- and middle-income countries ($462 billion) were significantly larger than foreign direct investment flows in 2018 ($344 billion).

    Among countries, the top remittance recipients were India with $79 billion, followed by China ($67 billion), Mexico ($36 billion), the Philippines ($34 billion), and Egypt ($29 billion).

    In 2019, remittance flows to low- and middle-income countries are expected to reach $550 billion, to become their largest source of external financing.

    The global average cost of sending $200 remained high, at around 7 percent in the first quarter of 2019, according to the World Bank’s Remittance Prices Worldwide database. Reducing remittance costs to 3 percent by 2030 is a global target under Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 10.7. Remittance costs across many African corridors and small islands in the Pacific remain above 10 percent.

    Banks were the most expensive remittance channels, charging an average fee of 11 percent in the first quarter of 2019. Post offices were the next most expensive, at over 7 percent. Remittance fees tend to include a premium where national post offices have an exclusive partnership with a money transfer operator. This premium was on average 1.5 percent worldwide and as high as 4 percent in some countries in the last quarter of 2018.

    On ways to lower remittance costs, Dilip Ratha, lead author of the Brief and head of KNOMAD, said, “Remittances are on track to become the largest source of external financing in developing countries. The high costs of money transfers reduce the benefits of migration. Renegotiating exclusive partnerships and letting new players operate through national post offices, banks, and telecommunications companies will increase competition and lower remittance prices.”

    The Brief notes that banks’ ongoing de-risking practices, which have involved the closure of the bank accounts of some remittance service providers, are driving up remittance costs.

    The Brief also reports progress toward the SDG target of reducing the recruitment costs paid by migrant workers, which tend to be high, especially for lower-skilled migrants.

    “Millions of low-skilled migrant workers are vulnerable to recruitment malpractices, including exorbitant recruitment costs. We need to boost efforts to create jobs in developing countries and to monitor and reduce recruitment costs paid by these workers,” said Michal Rutkowski, Senior Director of the Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice at the World Bank. The World Bank and the International Labour Organization are collaborating to develop indicators for worker-paid recruitment costs, to support the SDG of promoting safe, orderly, and regular migration.

    Regional Remittance Trends

    Remittances to the East Asia and Pacific region grew almost 7 percent to $143 billion in 2018, faster than the 5 percent growth in 2017. Remittances to the Philippines rose to $34 billion, but growth in remittances was slower due to a drop in private transfers from the GCC countries. Flows to Indonesia increased by 25 percent in 2018, after a muted performance in 2017.

    After posting 22 percent growth in 2017, remittances to Europe and Central Asia grew an estimated 11 percent to $59 billion in 2018. Continued growth in economic activity increased outbound remittances from Poland, Russia, Spain, and the United States, major sources of remittances to the region. Smaller remittance-dependent countries in the region, such as the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, benefited from the sustained rebound of economic activity in Russia. Ukraine, the region’s largest remittance recipient, received a new record of more than $14 billion in 2018, up about 19 percent over 2017. This surge in Ukraine also reflects a revised methodology for estimating incoming remittances, as well as growth in neighboring countries’ demand for migrant workers.

    Remittances flows into Latin America and the Caribbean grew 10 percent to $88 billion in 2018, supported by the strong U.S. economy. Mexico continued to receive the most remittances in the region, posting about $36 billion in 2018, up 11 percent over the previous year. Colombia and Ecuador, which have migrants in Spain, posted 16 percent and 8 percent growth, respectively. Three other countries in the region posted double-digit growth: Guatemala (13 percent) as well as Dominican Republic and Honduras (both 10 percent), reflecting robust outbound remittances from the United States.

    Remittances to the Middle East and North Africa grew 9 percent to $62 billion in 2018. The growth was driven by Egypt’s rapid remittance growth of around 17 percent. Beyond 2018, the growth of remittances to the region is expected to continue, albeit at a slower pace of around 3 percent in 2019 due to moderating growth in the Euro Area.

    Remittances to South Asia grew 12 percent to $131 billion in 2018, outpacing the 6 percent growth in 2017. The upsurge was driven by stronger economic conditions in the United States and a pick-up in oil prices, which had a positive impact on outward remittances from some GCC countries. Remittances grew by more than 14 percent in India, where a flooding disaster in Kerala likely boosted the financial help that migrants sent to families. In Pakistan, remittance growth was moderate (7 percent), due to significant declines in inflows from Saudi Arabia, its largest remittance source. In Bangladesh, remittances showed a brisk uptick in 2018 (15 percent).

    Remittances to Sub-Saharan Africa grew almost 10 percent to $46 billion in 2018, supported by strong economic conditions in high-income economies. Looking at remittances as a share of GDP, Comoros has the largest share, followed by the Gambia , Lesotho, Cabo Verde, Liberia, Zimbabwe, Senegal, Togo, Ghana, and Nigeria.

    The Migration and Development Brief and the latest migration and remittances data are available at www.knomad.org. Interact with migration experts at http://blogs.worldbank.org/peoplemove

    http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2019/04/08/record-high-remittances-sent-globally-in-2018?cid=ECR_TT_worldbank_EN_EXT
    #remittances #statistiques #chiffres #migrations #diaspora

    #Rapport ici :


    https://www.knomad.org/sites/default/files/2019-04/MigrationandDevelopmentBrief_31_0.pdf

    ping @reka

    • Immigrati, boom di rimesse: più di 6 miliardi all’estero. Lo strano caso dei cinesi «spariti»

      Bangladesh, Romania, Filippine: ecco il podio delle rimesse degli immigrati che vivono e lavorano in Italia. Il trend è in forte aumento: nel 2018 sono stati inviati all’estero 6,2 miliardi di euro, con una crescita annua del 20, 7 per cento.
      A registrarlo è uno studio della Fondazione Leone Moressa su dati Banca d’Italia, dopo il crollo del 2013 e alcuni anni di sostanziale stabilizzazione, oggi il volume di rimesse rappresenta lo 0,35% del Pil.

      Il primato del Bangladesh
      Per la prima volta, nel 2018 il Bangladesh è il primo Paese di destinazione delle rimesse, con oltre 730 milioni di euro complessivi (11,8% delle rimesse totali).
      Il Bangladesh nell’ultimo anno ha registrato un +35,7%, mentre negli ultimi sei anni ha più che triplicato il volume.

      Il secondo Paese di destinazione è la Romania, con un andamento stabile: +0,3% nell’ultimo anno e -14,3% negli ultimi sei.
      Da notare come tra i primi sei Paesi ben quattro siano asiatici: oltre al Bangladesh, anche Filippine, Pakistan e India. Proprio i Paesi dell’Asia meridionale sono quelli che negli ultimi anni hanno registrato il maggiore incremento di rimesse inviate. Il Pakistan ha registrato un aumento del +73,9% nell’ultimo anno. Anche India e Sri Lanka sono in forte espansione.

      Praticamente scomparsa la Cina, che fino a pochi anni fa rappresentava il primo Paese di destinazione e oggi non è nemmeno tra i primi 15 Paesi per destinazione delle rimesse.
      Mediamente, ciascun immigrato in Italia ha inviato in patria poco più di 1.200 euro nel corso del 2018 (circa 100 euro al mese). Valore che scende sotto la media per le due nazionalità più numerose: Romania (50,29 euro mensili) e Marocco (66,14 euro). Tra le comunità più numerose il valore più alto è quello del Bangladesh: ciascun cittadino ha inviato oltre 460 euro al mese. Anche i senegalesi hanno inviato mediamente oltre 300 euro mensili.

      https://www.ilsole24ore.com/art/notizie/2019-04-17/immigrati-boom-rimesse-piu-6-miliardi-all-estero-strano-caso-cinesi-spa
      #Italie #Chine #Bangladesh #Roumanie #Philippines

  • Les #gilets_jaunes vus de New York...

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    Driving was already expensive in France when in January 2018 the government of President Emmanuel Macron imposed a tax that raised the price of diesel fuel by 7.6 centimes per liter and of gasoline by 3.8 centimes (about 9 and 4 cents, respectively); further increases were planned for January 2019. The taxes were an attempt to cut carbon emissions and honor the president’s lofty promise to “Make Our Planet Great Again.”

    Priscillia Ludosky, then a thirty-two-year-old bank employee from the Seine-et-Marne department outside Paris, had no choice but to drive into the city for work every day, and the cost of her commute was mounting. “When you pay regularly for something, it really adds up fast, and the increase was enormous,” she told me recently. “There are lots of things I don’t like. But on that I pushed.” In late May 2018, she created a petition on Change.org entitled Pour une Baisse des Prix du Carburant à la Pompe! (For a reduction of fuel prices at the pump!)

    Over the summer Ludosky’s petition—which acknowledged the “entirely honorable” aim of reducing pollution while offering six alternative policy suggestions, including subsidizing electric cars and encouraging employers to allow remote work—got little attention. In the fall she tried again, convincing a radio host in Seine-et-Marne to interview her if the petition garnered 1,500 signatures. She posted that challenge on her Facebook page, and the signatures arrived in less than twenty-four hours. A local news site then shared the petition on its own Facebook page, and it went viral, eventually being signed by over 1.2 million people.

    Éric Drouet, a thirty-three-year-old truck driver and anti-Macron militant also from Seine-et-Marne, created a Facebook event for a nationwide blockade of roads on November 17 to protest the high fuel prices. Around the same time, a fifty-one-year-old self-employed hypnotherapist named Jacline Mouraud recorded herself addressing Macron for four minutes and thirty-eight seconds and posted the video on Facebook. “You have persecuted drivers since the day you took office,” she said. “This will continue for how long?” Mouraud’s invective was viewed over six million times, and the gilets jaunes—the yellow vests, named for the high-visibility vests that French drivers are required to keep in their cars and to wear in case of emergency—were born.

    Even in a country where protest is a cherished ritual of public life, the violence and vitriol of the gilets jaunes movement have stunned the government. Almost immediately it outgrew the issue of the carbon taxes and the financial burden on car-reliant French people outside major cities. In a series of Saturday demonstrations that began in mid-November and have continued for three months, a previously dormant anger has erupted. Demonstrators have beaten police officers, thrown acid in the faces of journalists, and threatened the lives of government officials. There has been violence on both sides, and the European Parliament has condemned French authorities for using “flash-ball guns” against protesters, maiming and even blinding more than a few in the crowds. But the gilets jaunes have a flair for cinematic destruction. In late November they damaged parts of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris; in early January they commandeered a forklift and rammed through the heavy doors of the ministry of state—the only time in the history of the Fifth Republic that a sitting minister had to be evacuated from a government building.

    The gilets jaunes are more than a protest. This is a modern-day jacquerie, an emotional wildfire stoked in the provinces and directed against Paris and, most of all, the elite. French history since 1789 can be seen as a sequence of anti-elite movements, yet the gilets jaunes have no real precedent. Unlike the Paris Commune of 1871, this is a proletarian struggle devoid of utopian aspirations. Unlike the Poujadist movement of the mid-1950s—a confederation of shopkeepers likewise opposed to the “Americanization” of a “thieving and inhuman” state and similarly attracted to anti-Semitic conspiracy theories—the gilets jaunes include shopkeepers seemingly content to destroy shop windows. There is an aspect of carnival here: a delight in the subversion of norms, a deliberate embrace of the grotesque.

    Many have said that the gilets jaunes are merely another “populist movement,” although the term is now so broad that it is nearly meaningless. Comparisons have been made to the Britain of Brexit, the United States of Donald Trump, and especially the Italy of Cinque Stelle. But the crucial difference is that the gilets jaunes are apolitical, and militantly so. They have no official platform, no leadership hierarchy, and no reliable communications. Everyone can speak for the movement, and yet no one can. When a small faction within it fielded a list of candidates for the upcoming European parliamentary elections in May, their sharpest opposition came from within: to many gilets jaunes, the ten who had put their names forward—among them a nurse, a truck driver, and an accountant—were traitors to the cause, having dared to replicate the elite that the rest of the movement disdains.

    Concessions from the government have had little effect. Under mounting pressure, Macron was forced to abandon the carbon tax planned for 2019 in a solemn televised address in mid-December. He also launched the so-called grand débat, a three-month tour of rural France designed to give him a better grasp of the concerns of ordinary people. In some of these sessions, Macron has endured more than six hours of bitter criticisms from angry provincial mayors. But these gestures have quelled neither the protests nor the anger of those who remain in the movement. Performance is the point. During the early “acts,” as the weekly demonstrations are known, members refused to meet with French prime minister Édouard Philippe, on the grounds that he would not allow the encounter to be televised, and that sentiment has persisted. Perhaps the most telling thing about the gilets jaunes is the vest they wear: a symbol of car ownership, but more fundamentally a material demand to be seen.

    Inequality in France is less extreme than in the United States and Britain, but it is increasing. Among wealthy Western countries, the postwar French state—l’État-providence—is something of a marvel. France’s health and education systems remain almost entirely free while ranking among the best in the world. In 2017 the country’s ratio of tax revenue to gross domestic product was 46.2 percent, according to statistics from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)—the highest redistribution level of any OECD country and a ratio that allows the state to fight poverty through a generous social protection system. Of that 46.2 percent, the French government allocated approximately 28 percent for social services.

    “The French social model is so integrated that it almost seems a natural, preexisting condition,” Alexis Spire, a sociologist of inequality at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, told me recently. A number of the gilets jaunes I met said that despite the taxes they pay, they do not feel they benefit from any social services, since they live far from urban centers. But anyone who has ever received housing assistance, a free prescription, or sixteen weeks of paid maternity leave has benefited from the social protection system. The effect of redistribution is often invisible.

    And yet the rich in France have gotten much richer. Between 1983 and 2015, the vast majority of incomes in France rose by less than one percent per year, while the richest one percent of the population saw their incomes rise by 100 percent after taxes. According to World Bank statistics, the richest 20 percent now earns nearly five times as much as the bottom 20 percent. This represents a stark shift from the Trente Glorieuses, France’s thirty-year economic boom after World War II. As the economist Thomas Piketty has pointed out, between 1950 and 1983, most French incomes rose steadily by approximately 4 percent per year; the nation’s top incomes rose by only one percent.

    What has become painfully visible, however, is the extent of the country’s geographical fractures. Paris has always been the undisputed center of politics, culture, and commerce, but France was once also a country that cherished and protected its vibrant provincial life. This was la France profonde, a clichéd but genuinely existing France of tranquil stone villages and local boulangeries with lines around the block on Sundays. “Douce France, cher pays de mon enfance,” goes the beloved song by the crooner Charles Trenet. “Mon village, au clocher aux maisons sages.” These days, the maisons sages are vacant, and the country boulangeries are closed.

    The story is familiar: the arrival of large multinational megastores on the outskirts of provincial French towns and cities has threatened, and in many cases asphyxiated, local businesses.1 In the once-bustling centers of towns like Avignon, Agen, Calais, and Périgueux, there is now an eerie quiet: windows are often boarded up, and fewer and fewer people are to be found. This is the world evoked with a melancholy beauty in Nicolas Mathieu’s novel Leurs enfants après eux, which won the Prix Goncourt, France’s most prestigious literary prize, in 2018.

    The expansion since the 1980s of France’s high-speed rail network has meant that the country’s major cities are all well connected to Paris. But there are many small towns where the future never arrived, where abandoned nineteenth-century train stations are now merely places for teenagers to make out, monuments of the way things used to be. In these towns, cars are the only way people can get to work. I met a fifty-five-year-old truck and taxi driver named Marco Pavan in the Franche-Comté in late November. What he told me then—about how carbon taxes can seem like sneers from the Parisian elite—has stayed with me. “Ask a Parisian—for him none of this is an issue, because he doesn’t need a car,” Pavan said. “There’s no bus or train to take us anywhere. We have to have a car.” I cited that remark in a Washington Post story I filed from Besançon; in the online comments section, many attacked the movement for what they saw as a backward anti-environmentalism—missing his point.

    Few have written as extensively as the French geographer Christophe Guilluy on la France périphérique, a term he popularized that refers both to the people and the regions left behind by an increasingly globalized economy. Since 2010, when he published Fractures françaises, Guilluy has been investigating the myths and realities of what he calls “the trompe l’oeil of a peaceful, moderate, and consensual society.” He is one of a number of left-wing French intellectuals—among them the novelist Michel Houellebecq, the historian Georges Bensoussan, and the essayist Michel Onfray—who in recent years have argued that their beloved patrie has drifted into inexorable decline, a classic critique of the French right since 1789. But Guilluy’s decline narrative is different: he is not as concerned as the others with Islamist extremism or “decadence” broadly conceived. For him, France’s decline is structural, the result of having become a place where “the social question disappears.”

    Guilluy, born in Montreuil in 1964, is something of a rarity among well-known French intellectuals: he is a product of the Paris suburbs, not of France’s storied grandes écoles. And it is clear that much of his critique is personal. As a child, Guilluy, whose family then lived in the working-class Paris neighborhood of Belleville, was forcibly relocated for a brief period to the heavily immigrant suburb of La Courneuve when their building was slated to be demolished in the midst of Paris’s urban transformation. “I saw gentrification firsthand,” he told Le Figaro in 2017. “For the natives—the natives being just as much the white worker as the young immigrant—what provoked the most problems was not the arrival of Magrebis, but that of the bobos.”

    This has long been Guilluy’s battle cry, and he has focused his intellectual energy on attacking what he sees as the hypocrisy of the bobos, or bourgeois bohemians. His public debut was a short 2001 column in Libération applying that term, coined by the columnist David Brooks, to French social life. What was happening in major urban centers across the country, he wrote then, was a “ghettoization by the top of society” that excluded people like his own family.

    Guilluy crystallized that argument in a 2014 book that won him the ear of the Élysée Palace and regular appearances on French radio. This was La France périphérique: comment on a sacrifié les classes populaires, in which he contended that since the mid-1980s, France’s working classes have been pushed out of the major cities to rural communities—a situation that was a ticking time bomb—partly as a result of rising prices. He advanced that view further in 2016 with La Crépuscule de la France d’en haut—now translated into English as Twilight of the Elites: Prosperity, the Periphery, and the Future of France—a pithy screed against France’s bobo elite and what he sees as its shameless embrace of a “neoliberal,” “Americanized society” and a hollow, feel-good creed of multicultural tolerance. In 2018, one month before the rise of the gilets jaunes, he published No Society, whose title comes from Margaret Thatcher’s 1987 comment that “there is no such thing as society.”

    In Guilluy’s view, an immigrant working class has taken the place of the “native” working class in the banlieues on the outskirts of major cities. This native class, he argues, has been scattered throughout the country and become an “unnoticed presence” that France’s elite has “made to disappear from public consciousness” in order to consolidate its grip on power. Cities are now the exclusive preserve of the elites and their servants, and what Guilluy means by “no society” is that the visible signs of class conflict in urban daily life have vanished. This is his trompe l’oeil: rich, insulated Parisians have convinced themselves that everything is fine, while those who might say otherwise are nowhere near. “The simmering discontent of rural France has never really been taken seriously,” he writes in Twilight of the Elites.

    Since November, much of the French press has declared that Guilluy essentially predicted the rise of the gilets jaunes. They seem, after all, a fulfillment of his prophecy about “the betrayal of the people” by the elites, even if he is always elusive about who exactly “the people” are. While critiques from the movement have remained a confused cloud of social media invective, Guilluy has served as its de facto interpreter.

    No Society puts into words what many in the gilets jaunes have either struggled or refused to articulate. This is the hazy middle ground between warning and threat: “The populist wave coursing through the western world is only the visible part of a soft power emanating from the working classes that will force the elites to rejoin the real movement of society or else to disappear.”

    For now, however, there is just one member of the elite whom the gilets jaunes wish would disappear, and calls for his violent overthrow continue even as the movement’s momentum subsides.

    An intense and deeply personal hatred of Macron is the only unifying cry among the gilets jaunes. Eighteen months before the uprising began, this was the man who captured the world’s imagination and who, after populist victories in Britain and the United States, had promised a French “Third Way.” Yet the Macronian romance is already over, both at home and abroad.

    To some extent, the French always turn against their presidents, but the anger Macron elicits is unique. This is less because of any particular policy than because of his demeanor and, most of all, his language. “Mr. Macron always refused to respond to us,” Muriel Gautherin, fifty-three, a podiatrist who lives in the Paris suburbs, told me at a December march on the Champs-Élysées. “It’s he who insults us, and he who should respond.” When I asked her what she found most distasteful about the French president, her answer was simple: “His words.”

    She has a point. Among Macron’s earliest actions as president was to shave five euros off the monthly stipends of France’s Aide personalisée au logement (APL), the country’s housing assistance program. Around the same time, he slashed France’s wealth tax on those with a net worth of at least €1.3 million—a holdover from the Mitterand era.

    Macron came to office with a record of unrelentingly insulting the poor. In 2014, when he was France’s economic minister, he responded to the firing of nine hundred employees (most of them women) from a Breton slaughterhouse by noting that some were “mostly illiterate.” In 2016 he was caught on camera in a heated dispute with a labor activist in the Hérault. When the activist gestured to Macron’s €1,600 suit as a symbol of his privilege, the minister said, “The best way to afford a suit is to work.” In 2018 he told a young, unemployed gardener that he could find a new job if he merely “crossed the street.”

    Yet nothing quite compares to the statement Macron made in inaugurating Station F, a startup incubator in the thirteenth arrondissement of Paris, housed in a converted rail depot. It is a cavernous consulate for Silicon Valley, a soaring glass campus open to all those with “big ideas” who can also pay €195 a month for a desk and can fill out an application in fluent English. (“We won’t consider any other language,” the organization’s website says.) Google, Amazon, and Microsoft all have offices in it, and in a city of terrible coffee, the espresso is predictably fabulous. In June 2017 Macron delivered a speech there. “A train station,” he said, referring to the structure’s origins, “it’s a place where we encounter those who are succeeding and those who are nothing.”

    This was the moment when a large percentage of the French public learned that in the eyes of their president, they had no value. “Ceux qui ne sont rien” is a phrase that has lingered and festered. To don the yellow vest is thus to declare not only that one has value but also that one exists.

    On the whole, the gilets jaunes are not the poorest members of French society, which is not surprising. As Tocqueville remarked, revolutions are fueled not by those who suffer the most, but by those whose economic status has been improving and who then experience a sudden and unexpected fall. So it seems with the gilets jaunes: most live above the poverty line but come from the precarious ranks of the lower middle class, a group that aspires to middle-class stability and seeks to secure it through palliative consumption: certain clothing brands, the latest iPhone, the newest television.

    In mid-December Le Monde profiled a young couple in the movement from Sens in north-central France, identified only as Arnaud and Jessica. Both twenty-six, they and their four children live in a housing project on the €2,700 per month that Arnaud earns as a truck driver, including more than €1,000 in government assistance. According to statistics from France’s Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques (Insée), this income places them right at the poverty line for a family of this size, and possibly even slightly below it. But the expenses Arnaud and Jessica told Le Monde they struggled to pay included karate lessons for their oldest son and pet supplies for their dog. Jessica, who does not work, told Le Monde, “Children are so mean to each other if they wear lesser brands. I don’t want their friends to make fun of them.” She said she had traveled to Paris for gilet jaune protests on three separate weekends—journeys that presumably cost her money.

    Readers of Le Monde—many of them educated, affluent, and pro-Macron—were quick to attack Arnaud and Jessica. But the sniping missed their point, which was that they felt a seemingly inescapable sense of humiliation, fearing ridicule everywhere from the Élysée Palace to their children’s school. They were explaining something profound about the gilets jaunes: the degree to which the movement is fueled by unfulfilled expectations. For many demonstrators, life is simply not as they believed it would be, or as they feel they deserve. There is an aspect of entitlement to the gilets jaunes, who are also protesting what the French call déclassement, the increasing elusiveness of the middle-class dream in a society in which economic growth has not kept pace with population increase. This entitlement appears to have alienated the gilets jaunes from immigrants and people of color, who are largely absent from their ranks and whose condition is often materially worse.2 “It’s not people who don’t have hope anymore, who don’t have a place to live, or who don’t have a job,” Rokhaya Diallo, a French activist for racial equality, told me recently, describing the movement. “It’s just that status they’re trying to preserve.”

    The gilets jaunes have no substantive ideas: resentment does not an ideology make. They remain a combustible vacuum, and extremist agitators on the far right and the far left have sought to capitalize on their anger. Both Marine Le Pen of the recently renamed Rassemblement National and Jean-Luc Mélenchon of the left-wing La France Insoumise have tried hard to channel the movement’s grassroots energy into their own political parties, but the gilets jaunes have so far resisted these entreaties. The gilets jaunes also found themselves at the center of a diplomatic spat: in early February Italy’s deputy prime minister, Luigi Di Maio, met with two of their members on the outskirts of Paris in a jab at Macron. Two days later, France withdrew its ambassador to Rome for the first time since 1940, but the gilets jaunes have not attempted to exploit this attention for their own political gain. Instead there was infighting—a Twitter war over who had the right to represent the cause abroad and who did not.

    The intellectual void at the heart of an amorphous movement can easily fill with the hatred of an “other.” That may already be happening to the gilets jaunes. Although a careful analysis by Le Monde concluded that race and immigration were not major concerns in the two hundred most frequently shared messages on gilet jaune Facebook pages between the beginning of the movement and January 22, a number of gilets jaunes have been recorded on camera making anti-Semitic gestures, insulting a Holocaust survivor on the Paris metro, and saying that journalists “work for the Jews.” Importantly, the gilets jaunes have never collectively denounced any of these anti-Semitic incidents—a silence perhaps inevitable for a movement that eschews organization of any kind. Likewise, a thorough study conducted by the Paris-based Fondation Jean Jaurès has shown the extent to which conspiracy theories are popular in the movement: 59 percent of those surveyed who had participated in a gilet jaune demonstration said they believed that France’s political elites were encouraging immigration in order to replace them, and 50 percent said they believed in a global “Zionist” conspiracy.

    Members of the movement are often quick to point out that the gilets jaunes are not motivated by identity politics, and yet anyone who has visited one of their demonstrations is confronted with an undeniable reality. Far too much attention has been paid to the symbolism of the yellow vests and far too little to the fact that the vast majority of those who wear them are lower-middle-class whites. In what is perhaps the most ethnically diverse society in Western Europe, can the gilets jaunes truly be said to represent “the people,” as the members of the movement often claim? Priscillia Ludosky, arguably the first gilet jaune, is a black woman. “It’s complicated, that question,” she told me. “I have no response.”

    The gilets jaunes are also distinctly a minority of the French population: in a country of 67 million, as many as 282,000 have demonstrated on a single day, and that figure has consistently fallen with each passing week, down to 41,500 during “Act 14” of the protest on February 16. On two different weekends in November and December, other marches in Paris—one for women’s rights, the other against climate change—drew far bigger crowds than the gilets jaunes did. But the concerns of this minority are treated as universal by politicians, the press, and even the movement’s sharpest critics. Especially after Trump and Brexit, lower-middle-class and working-class whites command public attention even when they have no clear message.

    French citizens of color have been protesting social inequality for years without receiving any such respect. In 2005 the killing of two minority youths by French police in the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois ignited a string of violent uprisings against police brutality, but the government declared an official state of emergency instead of launching a grand débat. In 2009, the overseas departments of Guadeloupe and Martinique saw a huge strike against the high cost of living—a forty-four-day uprising that also targeted fuel prices and demanded an increase to the minimum wage. In 2017 an almost identical protest occurred in French Guiana, another French overseas department, where residents demonstrated against household goods that were as much as 12 percent more expensive than they were in mainland France, despite a lower minimum wage. The French government was slow to respond in both of these instances, while the concerns of the gilets jaunes have resulted in a personal apology from the president and a slew of concessions.

    Guilluy, whose analysis of la France périphérique ultimately fails to grapple significantly with France’s decidedly peripheral overseas territories, does not shy away from the question of identity. He sees a racial element to the frustrations of la France périphérique, but he does not see this as a problem. Some of the most frustrating moments in his work come when he acknowledges but refuses to interrogate white working-class behavior that seems to be racially motivated. “Public housing in outlying communities is now a last resort for workers hoping to be able to go on living near the major cities,” he writes in Twilight of the Elites, describing the recent astronomic rise in France’s urban real estate prices. “These projects, mostly occupied by immigrant renters, are avoided by white French-born workers. Barring some utterly unforeseeable turn of events, their expulsion from the largest urban centers will be irreversible.” It would not diminish Guilluy’s broader point about la France périphérique if he acknowledged that victims of structural changes can also be intolerant.

    Guilluy also regularly recycles anxieties over immigration, often from controversial theorists such as Michèle Tribalat, who is associated with the idea of le grand remplacement, the alleged “great replacement” of France’s white population by immigrants from North and Sub-Saharan Africa. In making his case about “the demographic revolution in process,” Guilluy has been accused of inflating his statistics. France, he wrote in Fractures françaises, “welcomes a little less than 200,000 legal foreigners every year.” But these claims were attacked by Patrick Weil, a leading French historian of immigration, who noted in his book Le sens de la République (2015) that Guilluy failed to consider that a large number of those 200,000 are temporary workers, students who come and go, and others of “irregular” status. Guilluy has not responded to these criticisms, and in any case his rhetoric has since grown more radical. In No Society he writes, “Multiculturalism is, intrinsically, a feeble ideology that divides and weakens.”

    Whether the gilets jaunes will eventually come to agree with him is a crucial question. Like Guilluy, they are responding to real social conditions. But if, following Guilluy’s lead, they ultimately resort to the language of race and ethnicity to explain their suffering, they will have chosen to become a different movement altogether, one in which addressing inequality was never quite the point. In some ways, they have already crossed that line.

    On the afternoon of Saturday, February 16, the prominent French intellectual Alain Finkielkraut got out of a taxi on the Boulevard Montparnasse. A crowd of gilets jaunes noticed him and began hurling anti-Semitic insults. The scene, recorded on video, was chilling: in the center of Paris, under a cloudless sky, a mob of visibly angry men surrounded a man they knew to be Jewish, called him a “dirty Zionist,” and told him, “go back to Tel Aviv.”

    Finkielkraut’s parents were Polish refugees from the Holocaust. He was born in Paris in 1949 and has become a fixture in French cultural life, a prolific author, a host of a popular weekly broadcast on France Culture, and a member of the Académie Française, the country’s most elite literary institution. In the words of Macron, who immediately responded to the attack, he “is not only an eminent man of letters but the symbol of what the Republic affords us all.” The irony is that Finkielkraut—another former leftist who believes that France has plunged into inexorable decline and ignored the dangers of multiculturalism—was one of the only Parisian intellectuals who had supported the gilets jaunes from the beginning.

    I spoke to Finkielkraut after the attack, and he explained that the gilets jaunes had seemed to him the evidence of something authentic. “I saw an invisible France, neglected and forgotten,” he said. “Wearing fluorescent yellow vests in order to be visible—of being a ‘somewhere’ as opposed to an ‘anywhere,’ as Goodhart has said—seemed to me an absolutely legitimate critique.” The British journalist David Goodhart, popular these days in French right-wing circles, is the author of The Road to Somewhere (2017), which sees populist anger as the inevitable response to the widening gulf between those “rooted” in a particular place and cosmopolitans at home anywhere. “France is not a ‘start-up nation,’” Finkielkraut told me. “It can’t be reduced to that.”

    Finkielkraut said that the attack was a sign that the reasonable critiques orginally made by the gilets jaunes had vanished, and that they had no real future. “I think the movement is in the process of degradation. It’s no longer a social movement but a sect that has closed in on itself, whose discourse is no longer rational.”

    Although the Paris prosecutor has opened an investigation into his attackers, Finkielkraut has not pressed charges. He told me that the episode, as violent as it was, did not necessarily suggest that all those who had worn yellow vests in recent months were anti-Semites or extremists. “Those who insulted me were not the nurses, the shopkeepers, or the small business owners,” he said, noting that he doubted he would have experienced the same prejudice at the roundabouts, the traffic circles across the country where gilets jaunes protesters gathered every Saturday. In a sense, these were the essence of the movement, which was an inchoate mobilization against many things, but perhaps none so much as loneliness. The roundabouts quickly became impromptu piazzas and a means, however small, of reclaiming a spirit of community that disappeared long ago in so many French towns and villages.

    In Paris, where the remaining gilets jaunes have now focused most of their energy, the weekly protests have become little more than a despicable theater filled with scenes like the attack on Finkielkraut. There is no convincing evidence that those still wearing yellow vests are troubled by the presence of bigotry in their ranks. What is more, many gilets jaunes now seem to believe that pointing out such prejudice is somehow to become part of a government-backed conspiracy to turn public opinion against them.

    Consider, for instance, a February 19 communiqué released in response to the attack on Finkielkraut from La France en Colère, one of the movement’s main online bulletins. “For many days, the government and its friends in the national media seem to have found a new technique for destabilizing public opinion and discrediting the Gilets Jaunes movement,” it begins. “We denounce the accusations and the manipulations put in place by this government adept at fake news.” But this is all the communiqué denounces; it does not address the anti-Semitic violence to which Finkielkraut was subjected, nor does it apologize to a national figure who had defended the movement when few others of his prominence dared to do the same.

    A month after our last conversation, I called Priscillia Ludosky back, to see if she had any reaction to the recent turn of events in the movement her petition had launched. She was only interested in discussing what she called the French government’s “systematic abuse to manipulate public opinion.” She also believes that a government-media conspiracy will stop at nothing to smear the cause. “If there was one person who ever said something homophobic, it was on the front page of every newspaper,” she told me.

    In the days after the attack, Finkielkraut lamented not so much the grim details of what had happened but the squandered potential of a moment that has increasingly descended into paranoid feverishness. As he told me: “This was a beautiful opportunity to reflect on who we are that’s been completely ruined.”

    https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2019/03/21/low-visibility-france-gilet-jaunes

  • Global inequality: Do we really live in a one-hump world?

    There is a powerful infographic that has been circulating on social media for a couple of years now. It illustrates a dramatic transformation from a “two hump world” in 1975 to a “one hump world” today. It was created by Hans Rosling and Gapminder, and has been reproduced and circulated by Max Roser and Our World in Data. Take a look:

    It is an astonishing image. In his post on inequality, Roser uses this graph to conclude: “The poorer countries have caught up, and world income inequality has declined.” Hans Rosling went further, saying that thinking about the world in terms of North and South is no longer a useful lens, as the South has caught up to the North. Bill Gates has used the graph to claim that “the world is no longer separated between the West and the Rest.” Steven Pinker leveraged it for the same purpose in his book Enlightenment Now. And Duncan Green recently wrote that income inequality is no longer about a divide between nations or regions of the world, but rather between social groups within the global population as a whole.

    Indeed, the graph gives the impression that all of the world’s people are basically in the same income bubble: whether you’re in Europe, Asia or the Americas, we’re all in the same hump, with a smooth, normal distribution. Clearly globalization has abolished that old colonial divide between North and South, and has worked nicely in favour of the majority of the world’s population. Right?

    Well, not quite. In fact, this impression is exactly the opposite of what is actually happening in the world.

    There are a few things about this graph that we need to keep in mind:

    First of all, the x axis is laid out on a logarithmic scale. This has the effect of cramming the incomes of the rich into the same visual space as the incomes of the poor. If laid out on a linear scale, we would see that in reality the bulk of the world’s population is pressed way over to the left, while a long tail of rich people whips out to the right, with people in the global North capturing virtually all of the income above $30 per day. It’s a very different picture indeed.

    Second, the income figures are adjusted for PPP. Comparing the incomes of rich people and poor people in PPP terms is problematic because PPP is known to overstate the purchasing power of the poor vis-a-vis the rich (basically because the poor consume a range of goods that are under-represented in PPP calculations, as economists like Ha-Joon Chang and Sanjay Reddy have pointed out). This approach may work for measuring something like poverty, or access to consumption, but it doesn’t make sense to use it for assessing the distribution of income generated by the global economy each year. For this, we need to use constant dollars.

    Third, the countries in the graph are grouped by world region: Europe, Asia and the Pacific, North and South America, Africa. The problem with this grouping is that it tells us nothing about “North and South”. Global North countries like Australia, New Zealand and Japan are included in Asia and Pacific, while the Americas include the US and Canada right alongside Haiti and Belize. If we want to know whether the North-South divide still exists, we need a grouping that will actually serve that end.

    So what happens if we look at the data differently? Divide the world’s countries between global South and global North, use constant dollars instead of PPP, and set it out on a linear axis rather than a logarithmic one. Here’s what it looks like. The circle sizes represent population, and the x axis is average income (graphics developed by Huzaifa Zoomkawala; click through for more detail):

    Suddenly the story changes completely. We see that while per capita income has indeed increased in the global South, the global North has captured the vast majority of new income generated by global growth since 1960. As a result, the income gap between the average person in the North and the average person in the South has nearly quadrupled in size, going from $9,000 in 1960 to $35,000 today.

    In other words, there has been no “catch up”, no “convergence”. On the contrary, what’s happening is divergence, big time.

    This is not to say that Rosling and Roser’s hump graphs are wrong. They tell us important things about how world demographics have changed. But they certainly cannot be used to conclude that poor countries have “caught up”, or that the North-South divide no longer exists, or that income inequality between nations doesn’t matter anymore. Indeed, quite the opposite is true.

    Why is this happening? Because, as I explain in The Divide, the global economy has been organized to facilitate the North’s access to cheap labour, raw materials, and captive markets in the South - today just as during the colonial period. Sure, some important things have obviously changed. But the countries of the North still control a vastly disproportionate share of voting power in the World Bank and the IMF, the institutions that control the rules of the global economy. They control a disproportionate share of bargaining power in the World Trade Organization. They wield leverage over the economic policy of poorer countries through debt. They control the majority of the world’s secrecy jurisdictions, which enable multinational companies to extract untaxed profits out of the South. They retain the ability to topple foreign governments whose economic policies they don’t like, and occupy countries they consider to be strategic in terms of resources and geography.

    These geopolitical power imbalances sustain and reproduce a global class divide that has worsened since the end of colonialism. This injustice is conveniently elided by the one-hump graph, which offers a misleadingly rosy narrative about what has happened over the past half century.

    https://www.jasonhickel.org/blog/2019/3/17/two-hump-world

    #inégalités #monde #statistiques #visualisation #chiffres #évolution
    ping @reka

  • #vietnam #fintech in a Flash — Part II : #digital Payment
    https://hackernoon.com/vietnam-fintech-in-a-flash-part-ii-digital-payment-1a49bd155add?source=r

    Vietnam Fintech in a Flash — Part II: Digital PaymentNOTE: If you haven’t read Part I, please read it up here: Part I: Grasping Vietnam’s Financial Technology Landscape.Currently, the level of fintech penetration in daily use remains low. A survey by World Bank reviewed that the number of non-cash transactions over population was merely 4.9%, comparing to 59.7% in Thailand and 89% in Malaysia. Dao Minh Tuan, vice chairman of Vietcombank and Chairman of the Vietnam Bankcard Association, stated that roughly 90% of Vietnamese daily spendings are cash-based. Consequently, the payment landscape in Vietnam attracts a lot of fintechs, with 47% of local fintechs serving this segment, per the EY’s ASEAN Fintech Census 2018.Payment FinTechs density in ASEAN countries as of December 2017. Source: (...)

    #vietnam-fintech #payments

  • Jagal - The Act of Killing
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tILiqotj7Y


    v.o. sans sous-titres

    avec sous-titres
    https://amara.org/en/videos/lCHCQE8uqUJb/en/749348
    à 00:16:00 un gangster parle de sa passion pour le cinémà et comment c’était pratique d’avoir les locaux pour tuer et torturer en face de la salle de projection.

    C’est le film le moins apprécié par l’office de tourisme indonésien car il montre que le pays est gouverné aujourd’hui par les assassins de 1965/66 qui se font un plaisir de se vanter de leurs crimes devant la caméra.

    BACKGROUND | The Act of Killing
    http://theactofkilling.com/background

    CONTEXT, BACKGROUND AND METHOD
    First Encounter with the 1965-66 Massacres – The Globalization Tapes
    In 2001-2002, Christine Cynn and I went to Indonesia for the first time to produce The Globalization Tapes (2003), a participatory documentary project made in collaboration with the Independent Plantation Workers Union of Sumatra. Using their own forbidden history as a case study, these Indonesian filmmakers worked with us to trace the development of contemporary globalization from its roots in colonialism to the present.

    The Globalization Tapes exposes the devastating role of militarism and repression in building the global economy, and explores the relationships between trade, third-world debt, and international institutions like the IMF and the World Trade Organization. Made by some of the poorest workers in the world, the film is a lyrical and incisive account of how our global financial institutions shape and enforce the corporate world order. The film uses chilling first-hand accounts, hilarious improvised interventions, collective debate and archival collage.

    Several scenes in The Globalization Tapes reveal the earliest traces of the methods we refined in the shooting of The Act of Killing: plantation workers stage a satirical commercial for the pesticide that poisons them; worker-filmmakers pose as World Bank agents who offer microfinance to ‘develop’ local businesses – offers that are both brutal and absurd, yet tempting nonetheless.

    While shooting and editing The Globalization Tapes, we discovered that the 1965-66 Indonesian massacres were the dark secret haunting Indonesia’s much-celebrated entrance into the global economy. One of the military’s main objectives in the killings was to destroy the anti-colonial labour movement that had existed until 1965, and to lure foreign investors with the promise of cheap, docile workers and abundant natural resources. The military succeeded (The Globalization Tapes is a testament to the extraordinary courage of the plantation worker-filmmakers as they challenge this decades-long legacy of terror and try to build a new union).

    The killings would come up in discussions, planning sessions, and film shoots nearly every day, but always in whispers. Indeed, many of the plantation workers were themselves survivors of the killings. They would discretely point out the houses of neighbors who had killed their parents, grandparents, aunts, or uncles. The perpetrators were still living in the same village and made up, along with their children and protégés, the local power structure. As outsiders, we could interview these perpetrators – something the plantation workers could not do without fear of violence.

    In conducting these first interviews, we encountered the pride with which perpetrators would boast about the most grisly details of the killings. The Act of Killing was born out of our curiosity about the nature of this pride – its clichéd grammar, its threatening performativity, its frightening banality.

    The Globalization Tapes was a film made collectively by the plantation workers themselves, with us as facilitators and collaborating directors. The Act of Killing was also made by working very closely with its subjects, while in solidarity and collaboration with the survivors’ families. However, unlike The Globalization Tapes, The Act of Killing is an authored work, an expression of my own vision and concerns regarding these issues.

    THE BEGINNING OF THE ACT OF KILLING

    By the time I first met the characters in The Act of Killing (in 2005), I had been making films in Indonesia for three years, and I spoke Indonesian with some degree of fluency. Since making The Globalization Tapes (2003), Christine Cynn, fellow film-maker and longtime collaborator Andrea Zimmerman and I had continued filming with perpetrators and survivors of the massacres in the plantation areas around the city of Medan. In 2003 and 2004, we filmed more interviews and simple re-enactments with Sharman Sinaga, the death squad leader who had appeared in The Globalization Tapes. We also filmed as he introduced us to other killers in the area. And we secretly interviewed survivors of the massacres they committed.

    Moving from perpetrator to perpetrator, and, unbeknownst to them, from one community of survivors to another, we began to map the relationships between different death squads throughout the region, and began to understand the process by which the massacres were perpetrated. In 2004, we began filming Amir Hasan, the death squad leader who had commanded the massacres at the plantation where we made The Globalization Tapes.

    In late 2004, Amir Hasan began to introduce me to killers up the chain of command in Medan. Independently in 2004, we began contacting ‘veterans’ organizations of death squad members and anti-leftist activists in Medan. These two approaches allowed us to piece together a chain of command, and to locate the surviving commanders of the North Sumatran death squads. In early interviews with the veterans of the killings (2004), I learned that the most notorious death squad in North Sumatra was Anwar Congo and Adi Zulkadry’s Frog Squad (Pasukan Kodok).

    During these first meetings with Medan perpetrators (2004 and 2005), I encountered the same disturbing boastfulness about the killings that we had been documenting on the plantations. The difference was that these men were the celebrated and powerful leaders not of a small rural village, but of the third largest city in Indonesia (Greater Medan has a population of over four million people).

    Our starting point for The Act of Killing was thus the question: how had this society developed to the point that its leaders could – and would – speak of their own crimes against humanity with a cheer that was at once celebratory but also intended as a threat?

    OVERVIEW AND CHRONOLOGY OF THE METHODS USED IN THE ACT OF KILLING

    Building on The Globalization Tapes and our film work outside Indonesia, we had developed a method in which we open a space for people to play with their image of themselves, re-creating and re-imagining it on camera, while we document this transformation as it unfolds. In particular, we had refined this method to explore the intersection between imagination and extreme violence.

    In the early days of research (2005), I discovered that the army recruited its killers in Medan from the ranks of movie theatre gangsters (or preman bioskop) who already hated the leftists for their boycott of American movies – the most profitable in the cinema. I was intrigued by this relationship between cinema and killings, although I had no idea it would be so deep. Not only did Anwar and his friends know and love the cinema, but they dreamed of being on the screen themselves, and styled themselves after their favorite characters. They even borrowed their methods of murder from the screen.

    Of course, I began by trying to understand in as much detail as possible Anwar and his friends’ roles in the killings and, afterwards, in the regime they helped to build. Among the first things I did was to bring them to the former newspaper office directly across the road from Anwar’s old cinema, the place where Anwar and his friends killed most of their victims. There, they demonstrated in detail what they had done. Although they were filming documentary re-enactment and interviews, during breaks I noticed that they would muse about how they looked like various movie stars – for instance, Anwar compared his protégé and sidekick, Herman to Fernando Sancho.

    To understand how they felt about the killings, and their unrepentant way of representing them on film, I screened back the unedited footage of these early re-enactments, and filmed their responses. At first, I thought that they would feel the re-enactments made them look bad, and that they might possibly come to a more complex place morally and emotionally.

    I was startled by what actually happened. On the surface at least, Anwar was mostly anxious that he should look young and fashionable. Instead of any explicit moral reflection, the screening led him and Herman spontaneously to suggest a better, and more elaborate, dramatization.

    To explore their love of movies, I screened for them scenes from their favorite films at the time of the killings – Cecil B. DeMille’s Samson and Delilah and, ironically, The Ten Commandments topped the list – recording their commentary and the memories these films elicited. Through this process, I came to realize why Anwar was continually bringing up these old Hollywood films whenever I filmed re-enactments with them: he and his fellow movie theatre thugs were inspired by them at the time of the killings, and had even borrowed their methods of murder from the movies. This was such an outlandish and disturbing idea that I in fact had to hear it several times before I realized quite what Anwar and his friends were saying.

    He described how he got the idea of strangling people with wire from watching gangster movies. In a late-night interview in front of his former cinema, Anwar explained how different film genres would lead him to approach killing in different ways. The most disturbing example was how, after watching a “happy film like an Elvis Presley musical”, Anwar would “kill in a happy way”.

    In 2005, I also discovered that the other paramilitary leaders (not just the former movie theater gangsters) had other personal and deep-seated relationship to movies. Ibrahim Sinik, the newspaper boss who was secretary general of all the anti-communist organizations that participated in the killings, and who directly gave the orders to Anwar’s death squad, turned out to be a feature film producer, screenwriter, and former head of the Indonesian Film Festival.

    In addition to all this, Anwar and his friends’ impulse towards being in a film about the killings was essentially to act in dramatizations of their pasts – both as they remember them, and as they would like to be remembered (the most powerful insights in The Act of Killing probably come in those places where these two agendas radically diverge). As described, the idea of dramatizations came up quite spontaneously, in response to viewing the rushes from Anwar’s first re-enactments of the killings.

    But it would be disingenuous to claim that we facilitated the dramatizations only because that’s what Anwar and his friends wanted to do. Ever since we produced The Globalization Tapes, the thing that most fascinated us about the killings was the way the perpetrators we filmed would recount their stories of those atrocities. One had the feeling that we weren’t simply hearing memories, but something else besides – something intended for a spectator. More precisely, we felt we were receiving performances. And we instinctively understood, I think, that the purpose of these performances was somehow to assert a kind of impunity, to maintain a threatening image, to perpetuate the autocratic regime that had begun with the massacres themselves.

    We sensed that the methods we had developed for incorporating performance into documentary might, in this context, yield powerful insights into the mystery of the killers’ boastfulness, the nature of the regime of which they are a part, and, most importantly, the nature of human ‘evil’ itself.

    So, having learned that even their methods of murder were directly influenced by cinema, we challenged Anwar and his friends to make the sort of scenes they had in mind. We created a space in which they could devise and star in dramatisations based on the killings, using their favorite genres from the medium.

    We hoped to catalyze a process of collective remembrance and imagination. Fiction provided one or two degrees of separation from reality, a canvas on which they could paint their own portrait and stand back and look at it.

    We started to suspect that performance played a similar role during the killings themselves, making it possible for Anwar and his friends to absent themselves from the scene of their crimes, while they were committing them. Thus, performing dramatizations of the killings for our cameras was also a re-living of a mode of performance they had experienced in 1965, when they were killing. This obviously gave the experience of performing for our cameras a deeper resonance for Anwar and his friends than we had anticipated.

    And so, in The Act of Killing, we worked with Anwar and his friends to create such scenes for the insights they would offer, but also for the tensions and debates that arose during the process – including Anwar’s own devastating emotional unravelling.

    This created a safe space, in which all sorts of things could happen that would probably elude a more conventional documentary method. The protagonists could safely explore their deepest memories and feelings (as well as their blackest humor). I could safely challenge them about what they did, without fear of being arrested or beaten up. And they could challenge each other in ways that were otherwise unthinkable, given Sumatra’s political landscape.

    Anwar and his friends could direct their fellow gangsters to play victims, and even play the victims themselves, because the wounds are only make-up, the blood only red paint, applied only for a movie. Feelings far deeper than those that would come up in an interview would surface unexpectedly. One reason the emotional impact was so profound came from the fact that this production method required a lot of time – the filmmaking process came to define a significant period in the participants’ lives. This meant that they went on a deeper journey into their memories and feelings than they would in a film consisting largely of testimony and simple demonstration.

    Different scenes used different methods, but in all of them it was crucial that Anwar and his friends felt a sense of fundamental ownership over the fiction material. The crux of the method is to give performers the maximum amount of freedom to determine as many variables as possible in the production (storyline, casting, costumes, mise-en-scene, improvisation on set). Whenever possible, I let them direct each other, and used my cameras to document their process of creation. My role was primarily that of provocateur, challenging them to remember the events they were performing more deeply, encouraging them to intervene and direct each other when they felt a performance was superficial, and asking questions between takes – both about what actually happened, but also about how they felt at the time, and how they felt as they re-enacted it.

    We shot in long takes, so that situations could evolve organically, and with minimal intervention from ourselves. I felt the most significant event unfolding in front of the cameras was the act of transformation itself, particularly because this transformation was usually plagued by conflict, misgivings, and other imperfections that seemed to reveal more about the nature of power, violence, and fantasy than more conventional documentary or investigative methods. For this same reason, we also filmed the pre-production of fiction scenes, including castings, script meetings, and costume fittings. Make-up sessions too were important spaces of reflection and transformation, moments where the characters slip down the rabbit hole of self-invention.

    In addition, because we never knew when the characters would refuse to take the process further, or when we might get in trouble with the military, we filmed each scene as though it might be the last, and also everything leading up to them (not only for the reasons above), because often we didn’t know if the dramatization itself would actually happen. We also felt that the stories we were hearing – stories of crimes against humanity never before recorded – were of world historical importance. More than anything else, these are two reasons why this method generated so many hours of footage (indeed, we have created a vast audio-visual archive about the Indonesian massacres. This archive has been the basis of a four-year United Kingdom Arts and Humanities Research Council project called Genocide and Genre).

    After almost every dramatization, we would screen the rushes back to them, and record their responses. We wanted to make sure they knew how they appeared on film, and to use the screening to trigger further reflection. Sometimes, screenings provoked feelings of remorse (as when Anwar watches himself play the victim during a film noir scene) but, at other times, as when we screened the re-enactment of the Kampung Kolam massacre to the entire cast, the images were met with terrifying peals of laughter.

    Most interestingly, Anwar and his friends discussed, often insightfully, how other people will view the film, both in Indonesia and internationally. For example, Anwar sometimes commented on how survivors might curse him, but that “luckily” the victims haven’t the power to do anything in today’s Indonesia.

    The gangster scenes were wholly improvised. The scenarios came from the stories Anwar and his friends had told each other during earlier interviews, and during visits to the office where they killed people. The set was modeled on this interior. For maximum flexibility, our cinematographer lit the space so that Anwar and his friends could move about freely, and we filmed them with two cameras so that they could fluidly move from directing each other to improvised re-enactments to quiet, often riveting reflection after the improvisation was finished.

    For instance, Anwar re-enacted how he killed people by placing them on a table and then pulling tight a wire, from underneath the table, to garrote them. The scene exhausted him, physically and emotionally, leaving him full of doubt about the morality of what he did. Immediately after this re-enactment, he launched into a cynical and resigned rant against the growing consensus around human rights violations. Here, reality and its refraction through fiction, Anwar’s memories and his anticipation of their impact internationally, are all overlaid.

    The noir scenes were shot over a week, and culminated in an extraordinary improvisation where Anwar played the victim. Anwar’s performance was effective and, transported by the performance, the viewer empathizes with the victim, only to do a double take as they remember that Anwar is not a victim, but the killer.

    The large-scale re-enactment of the Kampung Kolam massacre was made using a similar improvisational process, with Anwar and his friends undertaking the direction. What we didn’t expect was a scene of such violence and realism; so much so that it proved genuinely frightening to the participants, all of whom were Anwar’s friends from Pancasila Youth, or their wives and children. After the scene, we filmed participants talking amongst themselves about how the location of our re-enactment was just a few hundred meters from one of North Sumatra’s countless mass graves. The woman we see fainting after the scene felt she had been possessed by a victim’s ghost. The paramilitary members (including Anwar) thought so, too. The violence of the re-enactment conjured the spectres of a deeper violence, the terrifying history of which everybody in Indonesia is somehow aware, and upon which the perpetrators have built their rarefied bubble of air conditioned shopping malls, gated communities, and “very, very limited” crystal figurines.

    The process by which we made the musical scenes (the waterfall, the giant concrete goldfish) was slightly different again. But here too Anwar was very much in the driver’s seat: he chose the songs and, along with his friends, devised both scenes. Anwar and his cast were also free to make changes as we went.

    In the end, we worked very carefully with the giant goldfish, presenting motifs from a half-forgotten dream. Anwar’s beautiful nightmare? An allegory for his storytelling confection? For his blindness? For the willful blindness by which almost all history is written, and by which, consequently, we inevitably come to know (and fail to know) ourselves? The fish changes throughout the film, but it is always a world of “eye candy”, emptiness and ghosts. If it could be explained adequately in words, we would not need it in the film.

    For the scenes written by the newspaper boss Ibrahim Sinik and his staff, Sinik enlisted the help of his friends at state television, TVRI. He borrows the TVRI regional drama studios, and recruits a soap opera crew. In these scenes, our role was largely to document Anwar and his friends as they work with the TV crew, and to catalyze and document debates between fiction set-ups. In our edited scenes, we cut from the documentary cameras to TVRI’s fiction cameras, highlighting the gap between fiction and reality – often to comic effect. But above all, we focused our cameras on moments between takes where they debated the meaning of the scene.

    The Televisi Republik Indonesia “Special Dialogue” came into being when the show’s producers realised that feared and respected paramilitary leaders making a film about the genocide was a big story (they came to know about our work because we were using the TVRI studios.) After their grotesque chat show was broadcast, there was no critical response in North Sumatra whatsoever. This is not to say that the show will not be shocking to Indonesians. For reasons discussed in my director’s statement, North Sumatrans are more accustomed than Jakartans, for example, to the boasting of perpetrators (who in Sumatra were recruited from the ranks of gangsters – and the basis of gangsters’ power, after all, lies in being feared).

    Moreover, virtually nobody in Medan dares to criticise Pancasila Youth and men like Anwar Congo and Ibrahim Sinik. Ironically, the only significant reaction to the talk show’s broadcast came from the Indonesian Actors’ Union. According to Anwar, a representative of the union visiting family in Medan came to Anwar’s house to ask him if he would consider being president of the North Sumatra branch of the union. According to Anwar, the union was angry that such a large-scale production had occurred in North Sumatra without their knowing about it. Luckily, Anwar had the humility to tell them that he is not an actor, that he was playing himself in scenes made for a documentary, and therefore would decline the offer.

    Anwar and his friends knew that their fiction scenes were only being made for our documentary, and this will be clear to the audience, too. But at the same time, if these scenes were to offer genuine insights, it was vital that the filmmaking project was one in which they were deeply invested, and one over which they felt ownership.

    The Act of Killing : don’t give an Oscar to this snuff movie | Nick Fraser | Film | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/feb/23/act-of-killing-dont-give-oscar-snuff-movie-indonesia

    It has won over critics but this tasteless film teaches us nothing and merely indulges the unrepentant butchers of Indonesia

    The Act of Killing won the documentary prize at the Baftas last week and is the favourite to win the much-coveted Oscar. I watch many documentaries on behalf of the BBC each year and I go to festivals. I’m a doc obsessive. By my own, not quite reliable reckoning, I’ve been asked by fans to show The Act of Killing on the BBC at least five times. I’ve never encountered a film greeted by such extreme responses – both those who say it is among the best films and those who tell me how much they hate it. Much about the film puzzles me. I am still surprised by the fact that so many critics listed it among their favourite films of last year.

    For those who haven’t seen the film, it investigates the circumstances in which half-a-million Indonesian leftists were murdered in the 1960s, at the instigation of a government that is still in power. You might think this is a recondite subject, worthy of a late-night screening for insomniacs or atrocity buffs on BBC4, but, no, the film-maker Joshua Oppenheimer has made the subject viewable by enlisting the participation of some of the murderers. He spent some years hanging out with them, to his credit luring them into confessions. But he also, more dubiously, enlisted their help in restaging their killings. Although one of them, the grandfatherly Anwar, shows mild symptoms of distress towards the end of the film, they live in a state of impunity and it is thus, coddled and celebrated in their old age, that we revisit them.

    So let me be as upfront as I can. I dislike the aesthetic or moral premise of The Act of Killing. I find myself deeply opposed to the film. Getting killers to script and restage their murders for the benefit of a cinema or television audience seems a bad idea for a number of reasons. I find the scenes where the killers are encouraged to retell their exploits, often with lip-smacking expressions of satisfaction, upsetting not because they reveal so much, as many allege, but because they tell us so little of importance. Of course murderers, flattered in their impunity, will behave vilely. Of course they will reliably supply enlightened folk with a degraded vision of humanity. But, sorry, I don’t feel we want to be doing this. It feels wrong and it certainly looks wrong to me. Something has gone missing here. How badly do we want to hear from these people, after all? Wouldn’t it be better if we were told something about the individuals whose lives they took?

    I’d feel the same if film-makers had gone to rural Argentina in the 1950s, rounding up a bunch of ageing Nazis and getting them to make a film entitled “We Love Killing Jews”. Think of other half-covered-up atrocities – in Bosnia, Rwanda, South Africa, Israel, any place you like with secrets – and imagine similar films had been made. Consider your response – and now consider whether such goings-on in Indonesia are not acceptable merely because the place is so far away, and so little known or talked about that the cruelty of such an act can pass uncriticised.

    The film does not in any recognisable sense enhance our knowledge of the 1960s Indonesian killings, and its real merits – the curiosity when it comes to uncovering the Indonesian cult of anticommunism capable of masking atrocity, and the good and shocking scenes with characters from the Indonesian elite, still whitewashing the past – are obscured by tasteless devices. At the risk of being labelled a contemporary prude or dismissed as a stuffy upholder of middle-class taste, I feel that no one should be asked to sit through repeated demonstrations of the art of garrotting. Instead of an investigation, or indeed a genuine recreation, we’ve ended somewhere else – in a high-minded snuff movie.

    What I like most about documentary film is that anything can be made to work, given a chance. You can mix up fact and fiction, past and present. You can add to cold objectivity a degree of empathy. You will, of course, lie to reluctant or recalcitrant participants, in particular when they wish not to divulge important pieces of information. And trickery has its place, too. But documentary films have emerged from the not inconsiderable belief that it’s good to be literal as well as truthful. In a makeshift, fallible way, they tell us what the world is really like. Documentaries are the art of the journeyman. They can be undone by too much ambition. Too much ingenious construction and they cease to represent the world, becoming reflected images of their own excessively stated pretensions.

    In his bizarrely eulogistic piece defending The Act of Killing (of which he is an executive producer), Errol Morris, the documentary maker, compares the film to Hamlet’s inspired use of theatre to reveal dirty deeds at the court of Denmark. But Hamlet doesn’t really believe that theatrical gestures can stand in for reality. Nor, we must assume, did his creator. A more apt analogy than Morris’s might come from Shakespeare’s darkest play, Macbeth. What would we think if Macbeth and his scheming wife were written out of the action, replaced by those low-level thugs paid to do bad business on their behalf? We might conclude that putting them centre stage, in the style of The Act of Killing, was indeed perverse and we’d be right.

    There are still half-forgotten, heavily whitewashed atrocities from the last century, such as the Bengali famine allowed to occur during the second world war through the culpably racist inattention of British officials; the never wholly cleared-up question of Franco’s mass killings; or the death of so many millions in the 1950s as a consequence of Mao’s catastrophic utopianism. Those wondering how to record such events will no doubt watch The Act of Killing, but I hope they will also look at less hyped, more modestly conceived depictions of mass murder. In Enemies of the People (2010), the Cambodian journalist Thet Sambath goes after the murderers of the Khmer Rouge. He finds Pol Pot’s sidekick, but it is the earnest, touching quest of Sambath himself that lingers in the mind, rather than the empty encounters with evil-doers. Atrocity is both banal and ultimately impossible to comprehend.

    Writing in 1944, Arthur Koestler was among the first to gain knowledge of the slaughter of eastern European Jews and he estimated that the effect of such revelations was strictly limited, lasting only minutes or days and swiftly overcome by indifference. Koestler suggested that there was only one way we could respond to the double atrocity of mass murder and contemporary indifference and that was by screaming.

    I’m grateful to The Act of Killing not because it’s a good film, or because it deserves to win its Oscar (I don’t think it does), but because it reminds me of the truth of Koestler’s observation. What’s not to scream about?

    Nick Fraser is editor of the BBC’s Storyville documentary series

    #film #documentaire #Indonésie #hécatombe

  • The Highest Bidder Takes It All: The World Bank’s Scheme to Privatize the Commons | The Oakland Institute
    https://www.oaklandinstitute.org/highest-bidder-takes-all-world-banks-scheme-privatize-commons

    The Highest Bidder Takes It All: The World Bank’s Scheme to Privatize the Commons details how the Bank’s prescribes reforms, via a new land indicator in the Enabling the Business of Agriculture (EBA) project, promotes large-scale land acquisitions and the expansion of agribusinesses in the developing world. This new indicator is now a key element of the larger EBA project, which dictates pro-business reforms that governments should conduct in the agricultural sector. Initiated as a pilot in 38 countries in 2017, the land indicator is expected to be expanded to 80 countries in 2019. The project is funded by the US and UK governments and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

    The EBA’s main recommendations to governments include formalizing private property rights, easing the sale and lease of land for commercial use, systematizing the sale of public land by auction to the highest bidder, and improving procedures for expropriation. Countries are scored on how well they implement the Bank’s policy advice. The scores then help determine the volume of aid money and foreign investment they receive.

    Amidst myriad flaws detailed in the report is the Bank’s prescription to developing countries’ governments, particularly in Africa, to transfer public lands with “potential economic value” to private, commercial use, so that the land can be put to its supposed “best use.” Claiming that low-income countries do not manage public land in an effective manner, the Bank pushes for the privatization of public land as the way forward. This ignores the fact that millions of rural poor live and work on these lands, which are essential for their livelihoods while representing ancestral assets with deep social and cultural significance.

    The Highest Bidder Takes It All is released as part of the Our Land Our Business campaign, made up of 280 organizations worldwide, demanding an end to the Enabling Business of Agriculture program.

    merci @fil #terres

  • The Highest Bidder Takes It All: The World Bank’s Scheme to Privatize the Commons

    The Highest Bidder Takes It All: The World Bank’s Scheme to Privatize the Commons details how the Bank’s prescribes reforms, via a new land indicator in the #Enabling_the_Business_of_Agriculture (#EBA) project, promotes large-scale land acquisitions and the expansion of agribusinesses in the developing world. This new indicator is now a key element of the larger EBA project, which dictates pro-business reforms that governments should conduct in the agricultural sector. Initiated as a pilot in 38 countries in 2017, the land indicator is expected to be expanded to 80 countries in 2019. The project is funded by the US and UK governments and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

    The EBA’s main recommendations to governments include formalizing private property rights, easing the sale and lease of land for commercial use, systematizing the sale of public land by auction to the highest bidder, and improving procedures for #expropriation. Countries are scored on how well they implement the Bank’s policy advice. The scores then help determine the volume of aid money and foreign investment they receive.

    Amidst myriad flaws detailed in the report is the Bank’s prescription to developing countries’ governments, particularly in Africa, to transfer public lands with “potential economic value” to private, commercial use, so that the land can be put to its supposed “best use.” Claiming that low-income countries do not manage public land in an effective manner, the Bank pushes for the privatization of public land as the way forward. This ignores the fact that millions of rural poor live and work on these lands, which are essential for their livelihoods while representing ancestral assets with deep social and cultural significance.

    The Highest Bidder Takes It All is released as part of the Our Land Our Business campaign, made up of 280 organizations worldwide, demanding an end to the Enabling Business of Agriculture program.


    https://www.oaklandinstitute.org/highest-bidder-takes-all-world-banks-scheme-privatize-commons
    #Banque_mondiale #privatisation #terres #commons #communs #rapport #agriculture #industrie_agro-alimentaire #agro-business #land_grabbing #accaparement_des_terres #réformes #aide_au_développement #développement #commodification #économie #marchandisation #valeur_économique #néo-libéralisme

    signalé par @fil
    cc @odilon

  • #investment Memo: 8 Reasons 8 Decimal Invested in SendFriend
    https://hackernoon.com/investment-memo-8-reasons-8-decimal-invested-in-sendfriend-781e47cf2406?

    Investment Memo: 8 Reasons We Invested in SendFriendBy: Kadeem Clarke, Investment ManagerTeamSendFriend has a strong team for many reasons. The CEO, David Lighton, has a strong background in the remittance space based on his financial inclusion work for the World Bank in Haiti and #blockchain experience from MIT Media Lab paired with an understanding of the complex legal environment associated with the space. Joel Kosloski, the CTO, has 13 years of experience within the remittance space at multiple companies. Most recently, Joel served as Senior Director, Enterprise Architecture & Chief Enterprise Architect at MoneyGram (the second largest company in the payment remittances space). CRO David Anderson is leading the go-to-market efforts, having originally met David L. in class at (...)

    #payments

  • #bitcoin for the Unbanked: How Mesh and Microfinance Could End Poverty as We Know It
    https://hackernoon.com/bitcoin-for-the-unbanked-how-mesh-and-microfinance-could-end-poverty-as-

    Image courtesy of Barak BruerdNote: I am not receiving any compensation from any of the products listed in this article. Nothing below is investment advice and should be viewed purely as a hypothetical exercise.Over the last 30 years, the amount of people living on less than $1 USD a day has been reduced by more than half. This is an incredible milestone of which many people aren’t aware, but there is still much work to be done — according to the World Bank’s World Development Indicators, the average income of people living in sub-Saharan #africa is still just $1 USD/day.While it is true that African nations are poor, specifically those in the fragile states of sub-Saharan Africa, it is also common nonetheless to see shoeless Africans wielding smartphones. Indeed, according to a study done by (...)

    #mesh-networks #investing #emerging-markets

  • A new hegemon

    The Chinese century is well under way
    Many trends that appear global are in fact mostly Chinese

    Print edition | Graphic detail
    Oct 27th 2018

    Get the data here : https://github.com/TheEconomist/graphic-detail-data/tree/master/data/2018-10-27_chinese-century/README_files/figure-markdown_github

    When scholars of international relations predict that the 2000s will be a “Chinese century”, they are not being premature. Although America remains the lone superpower, China has already replaced it as the driver of global change.

    There is one economic metric on which China already ranks first. Measured at market exchange rates, China’s gdp is still 40% smaller than America’s. However, on a purchasing-power-parity (ppp) basis, which adjusts currencies so that a basket of goods and services is worth the same amount in different countries, the Chinese economy became the world’s largest in 2013. Although China is often grouped with other “emerging markets”, its performance is unique: its gdp per person at ppp has risen tenfold since 1990. In general, poorer economies grow faster than rich ones, because it is easier to “catch up” when starting from a low base. Yet in other countries that were as poor as China was in 1990, purchasing power has merely doubled.

    China’s record has exerted a “gravitational pull” on the world’s economic output. The Economist has calculated a geographic centre of the global economy by taking an average of each country’s latitude and longitude, weighted by their gdp. At the height of America’s dominance, this point sat in the north Atlantic. But China has tugged it so far east that the global centre of economic gravity is now in Siberia.

    Because China is so populous and is developing so quickly, it is responsible for a remarkable share of global change. Since the start of the financial crisis in 2008, for example, China has accounted for 45% of the gain in world gdp. In 1990 some 750m Chinese people lived in extreme poverty; today fewer than 10m do. That represents two-thirds of the world’s decline in poverty during that time. China is also responsible for half of the total increase in patent applications over the same period.

    For all its talk of a “peaceful rise”, China has steadily beefed up its military investment—even as the rest of the world cut back after the end of the cold war. As a result, the People’s Liberation Army accounts for over 60% of the total increase in global defence spending since 1990. And all of this growth has come at a considerable cost to the environment: China is also the source of 55% of the increase in the world’s carbon emissions since 1990.

    Sources: Economist Intelligence Unit; Global Carbon Project; Maddison Project Database; SIPRI; World Bank; World Intellectual Property Organisation; The Economist

    #chine #économie

  • Lebanon on the Brink - رأي اليوم
    By Abdel Bari Atwan - December 24, 2018

    https://www.raialyoum.com/index.php/lebanon-on-the-brink

    (...) The public quarrel over the representation of the bloc of Sunni MPs allied to Hezbollah blew up after prime minister-designate Saad al-Hariri refused to appoint any of its six members to the government. A compromise was agreed under which each of these MPs would nominate another figure and President Michel Aoun would select one of these. But this solution unravelled in turn when the Lebanese president chose Jawad Adra as the prospective minister. The other MPs protested that he did not represent them, and accused Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) of effectively trying to enlarge its own bloc — thereby giving itself 11 out of 30 cabinet posts and effective veto power over government decisions. So things went back to square one.
    The demands for lower taxes and food prices, improved public services and free health-care made by the demonstrators who took to the streets of Beirut largely echo those of the ‘yellow vests’ in France who have shaken up French politics in recent weeks.
    Lebanon’s public debt has reached nearly $100 billion and the World Bank estimates that a third of the country’s inhabitants live below the poverty line. These certainly do not include the members of the political elite who have been fighting over cabinet seats and important state posts.
    Hariri has now decided to go on vacation until the new year, while declaring that he will remain silent about the country’s growing crisis, on the grounds that “sometimes silence is necessary for others to listen.” But we do not think he will find anyone to listen to him. The choice of Hariri to form a government, in this difficult juncture in the history of Lebanon and the region, is one of the main impediments to the country recovering and overcoming its mounting problems.
    Lebanon could be on the brink of an explosion with popular frustration at the status quo reaching unprecedented levels. And if such an explosion were to occur, it would be extremely difficult to control.

    #Liban #MichelAoun #Hezbollah

  • Accelerated remittances growth to low- and middle-income countries in 2018

    Remittances to low- and middle-income countries grew rapidly and are projected to reach a new record in 2018, says the latest edition of the World Bank’s Migration and Development Brief, released today.

    The Bank estimates that officially recorded remittances to developing countries will increase by 10.8 percent to reach $528 billion in 2018. This new record level follows robust growth of 7.8 percent in 2017. Global remittances, which include flows to high-income countries, are projected to grow by 10.3 percent to $689 billion.

    Remittance flows rose in all regions, most notably in Europe and Central Asia (20 percent) and South Asia (13.5 percent), followed by Sub-Saharan Africa (9.8 percent), Latin America and the Caribbean (9.3 percent), the Middle East and North Africa (9.1 percent), and East Asia and the Pacific (6.6 percent). Growth was driven by a stronger economy and employment situation in the United States and a rebound in outward flows from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and the Russian Federation.

    Among major remittance recipients, India retains its top spot, with remittances expected to total $80 billion this year, followed by China ($67 billion), Mexico and the Philippines ($34 billion each), and Egypt ($26 billion).

    As global growth is projected to moderate, future remittances to low- and middle-income countries are expected to grow moderately by 4 percent to reach $549 billion in 2019. Global remittances are expected to grow 3.7 percent to $715 billion in 2019.

    The Brief notes that the global average cost of sending $200 remains high at 6.9 percent in the third quarter of 2018. Reducing remittance costs to 3 percent by 2030 is a global target under #Sustainable_Development_Goals (SDG) 10.7. Increasing the volume of remittances is also a global goal under the proposals for raising financing for the SDGs.

    https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2018/12/08/accelerated-remittances-growth-to-low-and-middle-income-countries-in-2018

    #remittances #migrations #statistiques #chiffres #2018 #coût #SDGs

    • #Rapport : Migration and Remittances

      This Migration and Development Brief reports global trends in migration and remittance flows. It highlights developments connected to migration-related Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicators for which the World Bank is a custodian: increasing the volume of remittances as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) (SDG indicator 17.3.2), reducing remittance costs (SDG indicator 10.c.1), and reducing recruitment costs for migrant workers (SDG indicator 10.7.1). This Brief also presents recent developments on the Global Compact on Migration (GCM) and proposes an implementation and review mechanism.


      https://www.knomad.org/publication/migration-and-development-brief-30

      Pour télécharger le rapport :
      https://www.knomad.org/sites/default/files/2018-12/Migration%20and%20Development%20Brief%2030%20advance%20copy.pdf

    • International Remittances Headline ACP-EU-IOM Discussions in #Ghana

      In Sub-Saharan Africa, the flow of remittances is on the rise, but the cost to transfer these funds is far higher than the global average, making the region the most expensive place in the world to send money.

      The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and partners focused on improving the use of migrant remittances, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa at a three-day regional thematic meeting starting today (19/02) in Accra, Ghana.

      International remittances have been taking on increasing weight in the global policy agenda in recent years according to Jeffrey Labovitz, IOM Regional Director for East and Horn of Africa, who is speaking at the event.

      “This in part reflects the growing understanding that improving and harnessing the flow of remittances can have a substantial impact on development,” he said.

      Remittances to Sub-Saharan Africa grew from USD 34 billion in 2016 to USD 38 billion in 2017, an increase of over 11 per cent. Despite this increase – a trend which is expected to continue through 2019 – Sub-Saharan Africa remains the most expensive place in the world to send money with an average cost of 9.4 per cent of the transfer amount, a figure that was 29 per cent above the world average in 2017. This is far short of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) target 10.C.3 to reduce the transaction costs of migrant remittances to less than 3 per cent by 2030.

      “Almost 75 per cent of remittances are spent on consumption which greatly benefit the receiving households and communities,” said Claudia Natali, Regional Specialist on Labour Mobility and Development at the IOM Regional Office for West and Central Africa.

      “But more could be done to maximize the remaining 25 per cent. Fostering financial inclusion and promoting initiatives that help people manage the funds can go a long way to harness development impacts of remittances,” she added.

      The meeting, which runs through Thursday (21/02), is providing a platform for communication, exchange and learning for 80 participants involved in IOM’s “ACP-EU Migration Action", including migration experts and representatives from African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) governments, regional organizations, the European Union (EU), UN agencies and NGOs working in remittances and diaspora mobilization.

      Given that remittances are at the heart of the joint ACP Group of States and European Union Dialogue’s recommendations on migration, discussions also aim to generate thematic recommendations for the Sub-Saharan region and establish links between the outcomes of the ACP-EU Migration Action programme, and processes relevant to the ACP-EU Dialogue on Migration and Development at the regional and global levels.

      The meeting is organized by IOM’s country office for Ghana and the IOM Regional Office in Brussels in partnership with the African Institute for Remittances (AIR) and Making Finance Work for Africa Partnership (MFW4A).

      IOM’s ACP-EU Migration Action, launched in June 2014, provides tailored technical support on migration to ACP countries and regional organizations. To date it has received 74 technical assistance requests from 67 ACP governments and 7 regional organizations, a third of which directly concern remittances.

      The programme is financed by the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) and supported by the ACP Secretariat and the EU. For more information on the ACP-EU Migration Action, go to: www.acpeumigrationaction.iom.int.

      https://www.iom.int/news/international-remittances-headline-acp-eu-iom-discussions-ghana

    • The cost of cross-border payments needs to drop

      FOR MOST of human history, sending money across borders has cost the earth. Thankfully for globetrotters and e-shoppers in the rich world, that has changed in the past decade. A shift from cash and travellers’ cheques towards digital payments has cut the cost of moving funds around. And a new generation of fintech firms has broken the stranglehold that big banks used to have on money transfers (see article). As a result, fees have fallen. The cost of a transfer between consumers or small firms who are both in G7 countries can now cost 2% or less. This year some $10trn will pass across borders. As prices fall further, the sums will grow.


      https://amp.economist.com/leaders/2019/04/13/the-cost-of-cross-border-payments-needs-to-drop
      #paywall

  • #Madagascar citizens demand transparency in a fishy deal with China · Global Voices
    https://globalvoices.org/2018/10/31/madagascar-citizens-demand-transparency-in-a-fishy-deal-with-china

    n September 2018, Hery Rajaonarimampianina, the incumbent president of Madagascar, announced that a 10-year fishing agreement had been finalized between the Malagasy Agency for Economic Development and Promotion of Enterprises and Taihe Century Investments Developments Corporation, a Chinese business consortium.

    According to sources in Madagascar, the president had negotiated the deal with almost no input from his administration, parliament or civil society. Madagascar’s main development partners, including the World Bank and the European Union were not informed of the deal either.

    #pêchs #chine

  • Income Inequality’s Most Disturbing Side Effect : #Homicide - Scientific American
    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/income-inequalitys-most-disturbing-side-effect-homicide

    Income inequality can cause all kinds of problems across the economic spectrum—but perhaps the most frightening is homicide. Inequality—the gap between a society’s richest and poorest—predicts murder rates better than any other variable, according to Martin Daly, a professor emeritus of psychology at McMaster University in Ontario, who has studied this connection for decades. It is more tightly tied to murder than straightforward poverty, for example, or drug abuse. And research conducted for the World Bank finds that both between and within countries, about half the variance in murder rates can be accounted for by looking at the most common measure of inequality, which is known as the Gini coefficient.

    #inégalité

  • Uganda’s refugee policies: the history, the politics, the way forward

    Uganda’s refugee policy urgently needs an honest discussion, if sustainable solutions for both refugees and host communities are to be found, a new policy paper by International Refugee Rights Initiative (IRRI) reveals.

    The paper, entitled Uganda’s refugee policies: the history, the politics, the way forward puts the “Ugandan model” in its historical and political context, shines a spotlight on its implementation gaps, and proposes recommendations for the way forward.

    Uganda has since 2013 opened its borders to hundreds of thousands of refugees from South Sudan, bringing the total number of refugees to more than one million. It has been praised for its positive steps on freedom of movement and access to work for refugees, going against the global grain. But generations of policy, this paper shows, have only entrenched the sole focus on refugee settlements and on repatriation as the only viable durable solution. Support to urban refugees and local integration have been largely overlooked.

    The Ugandan refugee crisis unfolded at the same time as the UN adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, and states committed to implement a Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF). Uganda immediately seized this opportunity and adopted its own strategy to implement these principles. As the world looks to Uganda for best practices in refugee policy, and rightly so, it is vital to understand the gaps between rhetoric and reality, and the pitfalls of Uganda’s policy. This paper identifies the following challenges:

    There is a danger that the promotion of progressive refugee policies becomes more rhetoric than reality, creating a smoke-screen that squeezes out meaningful discussion about robust alternatives. Policy-making has come at the expense of real qualitative change on the ground.
    Refugees in urban areas continue to be largely excluded from any support due to an ongoing focus on refugee settlements, including through aid provision
    Local integration and access to citizenship have been virtually abandoned, leaving voluntary repatriation as the only solution on the table. Given the protracted crises in South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo, this remains unrealistic.
    Host communities remain unheard, with policy conversations largely taking place in Kampala and Geneva. Many Ugandans and refugees have neither the economic resources nor sufficient political leverage to influence the policies that are meant to benefit them.

    The policy paper proposes a number of recommendations to improve the Ugandan refugee model:

    First, international donors need to deliver on their promise of significant financial support.
    Second, repatriation cannot remain the only serious option on the table. There has to be renewed discussion on local integration with Uganda communities and a dramatic increase in resettlement to wealthier states across the globe.
    Third, local communities hosting refugees must be consulted and their voices incorporated in a more meaningful and systematic way, if tensions within and between communities are to be avoided.
    Fourth, in order to genuinely enhance refugee self-reliance, the myth of the “local settlement” needs to be debunked and recognized for what it is: the ongoing isolation of refugees and the utilization of humanitarian assistance to keep them isolated and dependent on aid.


    http://refugee-rights.org/uganda-refugee-policies-the-history-the-politics-the-way-forward
    #modèle_ougandais #Ouganda #asile #migrations #réfugiés

    Pour télécharger le #rapport:
    http://refugee-rights.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/IRRI-Uganda-policy-paper-October-2018-Paper.pdf

    • A New Deal for Refugees

      Global policies that aim to resettle and integrate displaced populations into local societies is providing a way forward.

      For many years now, groups that work with refugees have fought to put an end to the refugee camp. It’s finally starting to happen.

      Camps are a reasonable solution to temporary dislocation. But refugee crises can go on for decades. Millions of refugees have lived in their country of shelter for more than 30 years. Two-thirds of humanitarian assistance — intended for emergencies — is spent on crises that are more than eight years old.

      Camps are stagnant places. Refugees have access to water and medical care and are fed and educated, but are largely idle. “You keep people for 20 years in camps — don’t expect the next generation to be problem-free,” said Xavier Devictor, who advises the World Bank on refugee issues. “Keeping people in those conditions is not a good idea.” It’s also hard to imagine a better breeding ground for terrorists.

      “As long as the system is ‘we feed you,’ it’s always going to be too expensive for the international community to pay for,” Mr. Devictor said. It’s gotten more and more difficult for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to raise that money; in many crises, the refugee agency can barely keep people from starving. It’s even harder now as nations turn against foreigners — even as the number of people fleeing war and violence has reached a record high.

      At the end of last year, nearly 70 million people were either internally displaced in their own countries, or had crossed a border and become a refugee. That is the largest number of displaced in history — yes, more than at the end of World War II. The vast majority flee to neighboring countries — which can be just as badly off.

      Last year, the United States accepted about 30,000 refugees.

      Uganda, which is a global model for how it treats refugees, has one-seventh of America’s population and a tiny fraction of the wealth. Yet it took in 1,800 refugees per day between mid-2016 and mid-2017 from South Sudan alone. And that’s one of four neighbors whose people take refuge in Uganda.

      Bangladesh, already the world’s most crowded major nation, has accepted more than a million Rohingya fleeing ethnic cleansing in Myanmar. “If we can feed 160 million people, then (feeding) another 500,00-700,000 …. We can do it. We can share our food,” Shiekh Hasina, Bangladesh’s prime minister, said last year.

      Lebanon is host to approximately 1.5 million Syrian refugees, in addition to a half-million Palestinians, some of whom have been there for generations. One in three residents of Lebanon is a refugee.

      The refugee burden falls heavily on a few, poor countries, some of them at risk of destabilization, which can in turn produce more refugees. The rest of the world has been unwilling to share that burden.

      But something happened that could lead to real change: Beginning in 2015, hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees crossed the Mediterranean in small boats and life rafts into Europe.

      Suddenly, wealthy European countries got interested in fixing a broken system: making it more financially viable, more dignified for refugees, and more palatable for host governments and communities.

      In September 2016, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously passed a resolution stating that all countries shared the responsibility of protecting refugees and supporting host countries. It also laid out a plan to move refugees out of camps into normal lives in their host nations.

      Donor countries agreed they would take more refugees and provide more long-term development aid to host countries: schools, hospitals, roads and job-creation measures that can help both refugees and the communities they settle in. “It looked at refugee crises as development opportunities, rather than a humanitarian risk to be managed,” said Marcus Skinner, a policy adviser at the International Rescue Committee.

      The General Assembly will vote on the specifics next month (whatever they come up with won’t be binding). The Trump administration pulled out of the United Nations’ Global Compact on Migration, but so far it has not opposed the refugee agreement.

      There’s a reason refugee camps exist: Host governments like them. Liberating refugees is a hard sell. In camps, refugees are the United Nations’ problem. Out of camps, refugees are the local governments’ problem. And they don’t want to do anything to make refugees comfortable or welcome.

      Bangladesh’s emergency response for the Rohingya has been staggeringly generous. But “emergency” is the key word. The government has resisted granting Rohingya schooling, work permits or free movement. It is telling Rohingya, in effect, “Don’t get any ideas about sticking around.”

      This attitude won’t deter the Rohingya from coming, and it won’t send them home more quickly. People flee across the closest border — often on foot — that allows them to keep their families alive. And they’ll stay until home becomes safe again. “It’s the simple practicality of finding the easiest way to refuge,” said Victor Odero, regional advocacy coordinator for East Africa and the Horn of Africa at the International Rescue Committee. “Any question of policies is a secondary matter.”

      So far, efforts to integrate refugees have had mixed success. The first experiment was a deal for Jordan, which was hosting 650,000 Syrian refugees, virtually none of whom were allowed to work. Jordan agreed to give them work permits. In exchange, it got grants, loans and trade concessions normally available only to the poorest countries.

      However, though the refugees have work permits, Jordan has put only a moderate number of them into jobs.

      Any agreement should include the views of refugees from the start — the Jordan Compact failed to do this. Aid should be conditioned upon the right things. The deal should have measured refugee jobs, instead of work permits. Analysts also said the benefits should have been targeted more precisely, to reach the areas with most refugees.

      To spread this kind of agreement to other nations, the World Bank established a $2 billion fund in July 2017. The money is available to very poor countries that host many refugees, such as Uganda and Bangladesh. In return, they must take steps to integrate refugees into society. The money will come as grants and zero interest loans with a 10-year grace period. Middle-income countries like Lebanon and Colombia would also be eligible for loans at favorable rates under a different fund.

      Over the last 50 years, only one developing country has granted refugees full rights. In Uganda, refugees can live normally. Instead of camps there are settlements, where refugees stay voluntarily because they get a plot of land. Refugees can work, live anywhere, send their children to school and use the local health services. The only thing they can’t do is become Ugandan citizens.

      Given the global hostility to refugees, it is remarkable that Ugandans still approve of these policies. “There have been flashes of social tension or violence between refugees and their hosts, mostly because of a scarcity of resources,” Mr. Odero said. “But they have not become widespread or protracted.”

      This is the model the United Nations wants the world to adopt. But it is imperiled even in Uganda — because it requires money that isn’t there.

      The new residents are mainly staying near the South Sudan border in Uganda’s north — one of the least developed parts of the country. Hospitals, schools, wells and roads were crumbling or nonexistent before, and now they must serve a million more people.

      Joël Boutroue, the head of the United Nations refugee agency in Uganda, said current humanitarian funding covered a quarter of what the crisis required. “At the moment, not even half of refugees go to primary school,” he said. “There are around 100 children per classroom.”

      Refugees are going without food, medical care and water. The plots of land they get have grown smaller and smaller.

      Uganda is doing everything right — except for a corruption scandal. It could really take advantage of the new plan to develop the refugee zone. That would not only help refugees, it would help their host communities. And it would alleviate growing opposition to rights for refugees. “The Ugandan government is under pressure from politicians who see the government giving favored treatment to refugees,” Mr. Boutroue said. “If we want to change the perception of refugees from recipients of aid to economic assets, we have to showcase that refugees bring development.”

      The World Bank has so far approved two projects — one for water and sanitation and one for city services such as roads and trash collection. But they haven’t gotten started yet.

      Mr. Devictor said that tackling long-term development issues was much slower than providing emergency aid. “The reality is that it will be confusing and confused for a little while,” he said. Water, for example, is trucked in to Uganda’s refugee settlements, as part of humanitarian aid. “That’s a huge cost,” he said. “But if we think this crisis is going to last for six more months, it makes sense. If it’s going to last longer, we should think about upgrading the water system.”

      Most refugee crises are not surprises, Mr. Devictor said. “If you look at a map, you can predict five or six crises that are going to produce refugees over the next few years.” It’s often the same places, over and over. That means developmental help could come in advance, minimizing the burden on the host. “Do we have to wait until people cross the border to realize we’re going to have an emergency?” he said.

      Well, we might. If politicians won’t respond to a crisis, it’s hard to imagine them deciding to plan ahead to avert one. Political commitment, or lack of it, always rules. The world’s new approach to refugees was born out of Europe’s panic about the Syrians on their doorstep. But no European politician is panicking about South Sudanese or Rohingya refugees — or most crises. They’re too far away. The danger is that the new approach will fall victim to the same political neglect that has crippled the old one.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/21/opinion/refugee-camps-integration.html

      #Ouganda #modèle_ougandais #réinstallation #intégration

      avec ce commentaire de #Jeff_Crisp sur twitter :

      “Camps are stagnant places. Refugees have access to water and medical care and are fed and educated, but are largely idle.”
      Has this prizewinning author actually been to a refugee camp?

      https://twitter.com/JFCrisp/status/1031892657117831168

    • Appreciating Uganda’s ‘open door’ policy for refugees

      While the rest of the world is nervous and choosing to take an emotional position on matters of forced migration and refugees, sometimes closing their doors in the face of people who are running from persecution, Uganda’s refugee policy and practice continues to be liberal, with an open door to all asylum seekers, writes Arthur Matsiko

      http://thisisafrica.me/appreciating-ugandas-open-door-policy-refugees

    • Ouganda. La générosité intéressée du pays le plus ouvert du monde aux réfugiés

      L’Ouganda est le pays qui accueille le plus de réfugiés. Un million de Sud-Soudanais fuyant la guerre s’y sont installés. Mais cette noble intention des autorités cache aussi des calculs moins avouables : l’arrivée massive de l’aide internationale encourage l’inaction et la #corruption.

      https://www.courrierinternational.com/article/ouganda-la-generosite-interessee-du-pays-le-plus-ouvert-du-mo

    • Refugees in Uganda to benefit from Dubai-funded schools but issues remain at crowded settlement

      Dubai Cares is building three classrooms in a primary school at Ayilo II but the refugee settlement lacks a steady water supply, food and secondary schools, Roberta Pennington writes from Adjumani


      https://www.thenational.ae/uae/refugees-in-uganda-to-benefit-from-dubai-funded-schools-but-issues-remai

    • FUGA DAL SUD SUDAN. LUIS, L’UGANDA E QUEL PEZZO DI TERRA DONATA AI PROFUGHI

      Luis zappa, prepara dei fori per tirare su una casa in attesa di ritrovare la sua famiglia. Il terreno è una certezza, glielo ha consegnato il Governo ugandese. Il poterci vivere con i suoi cari non ancora. L’ultima volta li ha visti in Sud Sudan. Nel ritornare a casa sua moglie e i suoi otto figli non c’erano più. É sicuro si siano messi in cammino verso l’Uganda, così da quel giorno è iniziata la sua rincorsa. É certo che li ritroverà nella terra che ora lo ha accolto. Quella di Luis è una delle tante storie raccolte nei campi profughi del nord dell’Uganda, in una delle ultime missioni di Amref, in cui era presente anche Giusi Nicolini, già Sindaco di Lampedusa e Premio Unesco per la pace. 



      Modello Uganda? Dell’Uganda il mondo dice «campione di accoglienza». Accoglienza che sta sperimentando da mesi nei confronti dei profughi sud sudanesi, che scappano da uno dei Paesi più drammaticamente in crisi al mondo. Sono 4 milioni le persone che in Sud Sudan hanno dovuto lasciare le proprie case. Chi muovendosi verso altri Paesi e chi in altre regioni sud sudanesi. In questi ultimi tempi arrivano in Uganda anche persone che fuggono dalla Rep. Democratica del Congo.

      https://www.amref.it/2018_02_23_Fuga_dal_Sud_Sudan_Luis_lUganda_e_quel_pezzo_di_terra_donata_ai_pro

    • As Rich Nations Close the Door on Refugees, Uganda Welcomes Them

      President Trump is vowing to send the military to stop migrants trudging from Central America. Europe’s leaders are paying African nations to block migrants from crossing the Mediterranean — and detaining the ones who make it in filthy, overcrowded camps.

      But Solomon Osakan has a very different approach in this era of rising xenophobia. From his uncluttered desk in northwest Uganda, he manages one of the largest concentrations of refugees anywhere in the world: more than 400,000 people scattered across his rural district.

      He explained what he does with them: Refugees are allotted some land — enough to build a little house, do a little farming and “be self-sufficient,” said Mr. Osakan, a Ugandan civil servant. Here, he added, the refugees live in settlements, not camps — with no barbed wire, and no guards in sight.

      “You are free, and you can come and go as you want,” Mr. Osakan added.

      As many nations are securing their borders and turning refugees away, Uganda keeps welcoming them. And they keep coming, fleeing catastrophes from across this part of Africa.

      In all, Uganda has as many as 1.25 million refugees on its soil, perhaps more, making it one of the most welcoming countries in the world, according to the United Nations.

      And while Uganda’s government has made hosting refugees a core national policy, it works only because of the willingness of rural Ugandans to accept an influx of foreigners on their land and shoulder a big part of the burden.

      Uganda is not doing this without help. About $200 million in humanitarian aid to the country this year will largely pay to feed and care for the refugees. But they need places to live and small plots to farm, so villages across the nation’s north have agreed to carve up their communally owned land and share it with the refugees, often for many years at a time.

      “Our population was very few and our community agreed to loan the land,” said Charles Azamuke, 27, of his village’s decision in 2016 to accept refugees from South Sudan, which has been torn apart by civil war. “We are happy to have these people. We call them our brothers.”

      United Nations officials have pointed to Uganda for its “open border” policy. While the United States, a much more populous nation, has admitted more than three million refugees since 1975, the American government settles them in the country after they have first been thoroughly screened overseas.

      By contrast, Uganda has essentially opened its borders to refugees, rarely turning anyone away.

      Some older Ugandans explain that they, too, had been refugees once, forced from their homes during dictatorship and war. And because the government ensures that spending on refugees benefits Ugandans as well, younger residents spoke of how refugees offered them some unexpected opportunities.

      “I was a farmer. I used to dig,” Mr. Azamuke said. But after learning Arabic from refugees from South Sudan, he got a better job — as a translator at a new health clinic that serves the newcomers.

      His town, Ofua, is bisected by a dirt road, with the Ugandans living on the uphill side and the South Sudanese on the downhill side. The grass-thatched homes of the Ugandans look a bit larger and sturdier, but not much.

      As the sun began to set one recent afternoon, a group of men on the Ugandan side began to pass around a large plastic bottle of waragi, a home brew. On the South Sudanese side, the men were sober, gathered around a card game.

      On both sides, the men had nothing but tolerant words for one another. “Actually, we don’t have any problems with these people,” said Martin Okuonzi, a Ugandan farmer cleaning his fingernails with a razor blade.

      As the men lounged, the women and girls were still at work, preparing dinner, tending children, fetching water and gathering firewood. They explained that disputes did arise, especially as the two groups competed for limited resources like firewood.

      “We’ve been chased away,” said Agnes Ajonye, a 27-year-old refugee from South Sudan. “They say we are destroying their forests.”

      And disputes broke out at the well, where Ugandan women insist they should be allowed to skip ahead of refugees.

      “If we hadn’t given you the land you live on, wouldn’t you be dying in Sudan?” said Adili Chandia, a 62-year-old refugee, recounting the lecture she and others got from a frustrated Ugandan woman waiting in line.

      Ugandan officials often talk about the spirit of Pan-Africanism that motivates their approach to refugees. President Yoweri Museveni, an autocratic leader who has been in power for 32 years, says Uganda’s generosity can be traced to the precolonial days of warring kingdoms and succession disputes, when losing factions often fled to a new land.

      This history of flight and resettlement is embedded in some of the names of local groups around western Uganda, like Batagwenda, which means “the ones that could not continue traveling.”

      The government encourages the nation to go along with its policy by directing that 30 percent of foreign aid destined for refugees be spent in ways that benefit Ugandans nearby. So when money for refugees results in new schools, clinics and wells, Ugandans are more likely to welcome than resent them.

      For Mr. Museveni, hosting refugees has given him relevance and political capital abroad at a time when he would otherwise have little.

      A former guerrilla fighter who quickly stabilized much of his country, Mr. Museveni was once hailed as an example of new African leadership. He was relatively quick to confront the AIDS epidemic, and he invited back Ugandans of Indian and Pakistani descent who had been expelled during the brutal reign of Idi Amin in the 1970s.

      But his star has fallen considerably. He has clung to power for decades. His security forces have beaten political opponents. Freedom of assembly and expression are severely curtailed.

      Even so, Uganda’s openness toward refugees makes Mr. Museveni important to European nations, which are uneasy at the prospect of more than a million refugees heading for Europe.

      Other African nations also host a significant number of refugees, but recent polls show that Ugandans are more likely than their neighbors in Kenya or Tanzania to support land assistance or the right to work for refugees.

      Part of the reason is that Ugandans have fled their homes as well, first during the murderous reign of Mr. Amin, then during the period of retribution after his overthrow, and again during the 1990s and 2000s, when Joseph Kony, the guerrilla leader who terrorized northern Uganda, left a trail of kidnapped children and mutilated victims.

      Many Ugandans found refuge in what is today South Sudan. Mark Idraku, 57, was a teenager when he fled with his mother to the area. They received two acres of farmland, which helped support them until they returned home six years later.

      “When we were in exile in Sudan, they also helped us,” Mr. Idraku said. “Nobody ever asked for a single coin.”

      Mr. Idraku has since returned the favor, loaning three acres to a South Sudanese refugee named Queen Chandia, 37. Ms. Chandia said the land — along with additional plots other Ugandans allow her to farm — has made all the difference.

      Her homestead of thatched-roof huts teemed with children tending their chores, grinding nuts into paste and maize into meal. Ms. Chandia is the mother of a girl and two boys. But over the years, as violence hollowed out her home country, Ms. Chandia started taking in the orphaned children of relatives and friends. Now 22 children call her “mom.”

      A refugee for nearly her entire life, Ms. Chandia arrived in Uganda as a young girl nearly 30 years ago. For years, she worried about being expelled.
      Image

      “Maybe these Ugandans will change their minds on us,” she said, describing the thought that plagued her. Then one day the worry stopped.

      But Mr. Osakan, the administrator who oversees refugee affairs in the country’s extreme northwest, is anxious. There is an Ebola outbreak over the border in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mr. Osakan fears what might happen if — or when — a refugee turns up in Uganda with the dreaded illness.

      “It would destroy all the harmony between refugees and host communities,” he said, explaining that it would probably lead to calls to seal the border.

      For now, the border is very much open, although the number of refugees arriving has fallen significantly. In one of the newer settlements, many of the refugees came last year, fleeing an attack in a South Sudanese city. But some complained about receiving too little land, about a quarter acre per family, which is less than previous refugees had received.

      “Even if you have skills — in carpentry — you are not given a chance,” said one refugee, Simon Ludoru. He looked over his shoulder, to where a construction crew was building a nursery school. The schoolhouse would teach both local Ugandan and South Sudanese children together, but the workers were almost entirely Ugandan, he said.

      At the construction site, the general contractor, Sam Omongo, 50, said he had hired refugees for the job. “Oh, yes,” he exclaimed.

      How many?

      “Not a lot, actually,” he acknowledged. “I have about three.” Mr. Omongo called one over.

      “Are you a refugee?” Mr. Omongo asked the slight man.

      “No, I’m from Uganda,” he said softly. His name was Amos Chandiga, 28. He lived nearby and owned six acres of land, though he worked only four of them. He had lent the other two to a pair of refugees.

      “They asked me, and I gave it to them,” Mr. Chandiga explained. He patted his chest. “It comes from here, in my heart.”


      https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/28/world/africa/uganda-refugees.html?smtyp=cur&smid=tw-nytimes

    • Uganda: a role model for refugee integration?

      Uganda hosts the largest refugee population in Africa and is, after Turkey and Pakistan, the third-largest refugee recipient country worldwide. Political and humanitarian actors have widely praised Ugandan refugee policies because of their progressive nature: In Uganda, in contrast to many other refugee-receiving countries, these are de jure allowed to work, to establish businesses, to access public services such as education, to move freely and have access to a plot of land. Moreover, Uganda is a pilot country of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF). In this Working Paper the authors ascertain whether Uganda indeed can be taken as a role model for refugee integration, as largely portrayed in the media and the political discourse. They identify the challenges to livelihoods and integration to assess Uganda’s self-reliance and settlement approach and its aspiration towards providing refugees and Ugandan communities receiving refugees with opportunities for becoming self-reliant. Drawing on three months of field research in northern and southern Uganda from July to September of 2017 with a particular focus on South Sudanese refugees, the authors concentrate on three aspects: Access to land, employment and education, intra- and inter-group relations. The findings show that refugees in Uganda are far from self-reliant and socially integrated. Although in Uganda refugees are provided with land, the quality and size of the allocated plots is so poor that they cannot earn a living from agricultural production, which thus, rather impedes self-reliance. Inadequate infrastructure also hinders access to markets and employment opportunities. Even though most local communities have been welcoming to refugees, the sentiment has shifted recently in some areas, particularly where local communities that are often not better off than refugees feel that they have not benefitted from the presence of refugees....

      https://www.ssoar.info/ssoar/handle/document/62871

  • Indonesia: The World Bank’s Failed East Asian Miracle | The Oakland Institute
    https://www.oaklandinstitute.org/indonesia-world-bank-failed-east-asian-miracle

    Indonesia, host of the 2018 annual meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), for years has been heralded as a major economic success by the Bank and rewarded for its pro-business policy changes through the World Bank’s Doing Business reports. Between 2016 and 2018 alone, Indonesia climbed an astounding 34 positions in the ranks. These reforms, however, have come at a massive cost for both people and the planet.

    Indonesia: The World Bank’s Failed East Asian Miracle details how Bank-backed policy reforms have led to the displacement, criminalization, and even murder of smallholder farmers and indigenous defenders to make way for mega-agricultural projects. While Indonesia’s rapidly expanding palm oil sector has been heralded as a boon for the economy, its price tag includes massive deforestation, widespread loss of indigenous land, rapidly increasing greenhouse gas emissions, and more.

    #Indonésie #Banque_mondiale #industrie_palmiste #terres #assassinats

  • Green Conflict Minerals: Investigating Renewable Energy Supply Chains in Fragile States.
    https://www.newsecuritybeat.org/2018/09/green-conflict-minerals-investigating-renewable-energy-supply-chain

    The shift to a low-carbon economy is not only underway, it is accelerating. Last year, Costa Rica generated more than 99 percent of its electricity using renewable sources; Germany expanded its onshore wind power capacity by 5,300 MW, and in the United States, more than 62 percent of new power plants under construction will produce renewable energy. What does this rapid increase mean for the countries that supply the inputs required to build these new facilities—particularly those countries that are struggling with fragility or corruption?

    The technology and infrastructure for the transition—including wind turbines, solar panels, and electric vehicles—depend on significant supplies of certain metals and minerals. For example, the World Bank estimates that demand for the minerals used in solar panels could increase by 300 percent by 2050, should the international community meet the goals established in the Paris Agreement. A new report by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), analyzes the supply chains for these metals and minerals–from who, where, and how they are obtained and processed—and the impacts on mineral-rich states. Green Conflict Minerals: The fuels of conflict in the transition to a low-carbon economy finds that significant reserves are located in states perceived to be both fragile and corrupt, and that their increased extraction is linked to local grievances, tensions, and—in the worst cases—violence.

    Conflict Mineral Hotspots

  • Joseph Stiglitz on artificial intelligence : ’We’re going towards a more divided society’
    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/sep/08/joseph-stiglitz-on-artificial-intelligence-were-going-towards-a-more-di

    The technology could vastly improve lives, the economist says – but only if the tech titans that control it are properly regulated. ‘What we have now is totally inadequate’ It must be hard for Joseph Stiglitz to remain an optimist in the face of the grim future he fears may be coming. The Nobel laureate and former chief economist at the World Bank has thought carefully about how artificial intelligence will affect our lives. On the back of the technology, we could build ourselves a richer (...)

    #algorithme #solutionnisme #discrimination

    https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/002e96b2303195022c1097058391c279580ed4b2/0_0_7360_4417/master/7360.jpg

  • Threatening wilderness, dams fuel protests in the Balkans

    For almost a year, a clutch of Bosnian women has kept watch over a wooden bridge to disrupt the march of hydropower - part of a Balkan-wide protest against the damming of Europe’s wild rivers.

    From Albania to Slovenia, critics fear the proposed run of dams will destroy their majestic landscape, steal their water and extinguish species unique to the Balkans.

    So the village women stake out the bridge around the clock, listening out for the telltale sounds of diggers on the move.

    “We are always here, during the day, at night, always,” said Hata Hurem, a 31-year-old housewife, in the shadow of the towering mountains that dominate the Balkan landscape.

    Clustered by a creek on the edge of the village of Kruscica, about 40 miles north west of Sarajevo, the local women have taken turns to stand firm, blocking trucks and scrapers from accessing the construction sites of two small plants.

    Investment in renewable energy is growing worldwide as countries rush to meet goals set by the Paris Agreement on climate change. But from China to South America, dams cause controversy for flooding fragile ecosystems and displacing local communities.

    Plans to build almost 3,000 hydropower plants were underway across the Balkans in 2017, about 10 percent of them in Bosnia, according to a study by consultancy Fluvius.

    Authorities and investors say boosting hydropower is key to reducing regional dependency on coal and to falling in line with European Union energy policies as Western Balkan states move toward integration with the bloc.

    Sponsored

    The energy ministry of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, one of Bosnia’s two autonomous regions, where Kruscica is located, did not respond to a request for comment.

    The government of Bosnia’s other region, Republika Srpska, said building dams was easier and cheaper than shifting toward other power sources.

    “The Republic of Srpska has comparative advantages in its unused hydro potential and considers it quite justified to achieve the goals set by the EU by exploiting its unused hydropower,” said energy ministry spokeswoman Zorana Kisic.
    DAMS AND PICKETS

    Yet, critics say the “dam tsunami” - a term coined by anti-hydropower activists - endangers Europe’s last wild rivers, which flow free.

    If rivers stop running freely, they say dozens of species, from the Danube Salmon to the Balkan Lynx, are at risk.

    About a third of the planned dam projects are in protected areas, including some in national parks, according to the 2017 study, commissioned by campaign groups RiverWatch and Euronatur.

    Most plants are small, producing as little as up to 1 MW each - roughly enough to power about 750 homes - but their combined impact is large as activists say they would cut fish migration routes and damage their habitat.

    “Three thousand hydropower plants ... will destroy these rivers,” said Viktor Bjelić, of the Center for Environment (CZZS), a Bosnian environmental group.

    “Many of the species depending on these ecosystem will disappear or will be extremely endangered.”

    Some local communities fear displacement and lost access to water they’ve long used for drinking, fishing and farming.

    In Kruscica, protesters say water would be diverted through pipelines, leaving the creek empty and sinking hopes for a revival of nature tourism that attracted hikers, hunters and fishing enthusiasts before war intervened in the 1990s.

    “(The river) means everything to us, it’s the life of the community,” said Kruscica’s mayor Tahira Tibold, speaking outside the barren wooden hut used as base by demonstrators.

    Locals first heard about the plants when construction workers showed up last year, added the 65-year-old.

    Women have led protests since fronting a picket to shield men during a confrontation with police last year, said Tibold.

    Campaigners have taken their plight to court, alleging irregularities in the approval process, and works have stalled. But demonstrators keep patrolling around the clock, said Bjelić of CZZS, as it is not known when or how the case will end.
    SHADES OF GREEN

    The protest was backed by U.S. clothing company Patagonia as part of a wider campaign to preserve Balkan rivers and dissuade international banks from investing in hydropower.

    Banks and multilateral investors including the European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC), fund hundreds of projects, according to a 2018 study by Bankwatch, a financial watchdog.

    “It’s a waste of money and a moral travesty that some of the world’s largest financial institutions have embraced this out-dated and exploitative technology,” Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard said in a statement in April.

    The World Bank, EBRD and EIB said their investments have to comply with environmental and social standards, which EBRD and EIB said they were strengthening.

    EBRD said it also improved its assessment process and pulled out of some projects near protected areas.

    “Hydropower is an important source of renewable energy for Western Balkans,” said EBRD’s spokeswoman Svitlana Pyrkalo.

    Bosnia gets 40 percent of its electricity from hydropower, the rest from coal-fired power plants. It plans to increase the share of renewables to 43 percent by 2020, under a target agreed with the EU.

    Dams are generally considered more reliable than wind and solar plants as they are less dependent on weather conditions.

    But that could change with global warming if droughts and floods grow more common, said Doug Vine, a senior fellow at the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, a U.S.-based think tank.

    Last year a long drought lowered water levels across the Western Balkans, hitting hydropower output and driving up prices.

    Campaigners say Balkan states should focus on solar and wind power as they involve less building works and cost less.

    “Just because it doesn’t emit CO2 it doesn’t mean it’s good,” said Ulrich Eichelmann, head of RiverWatch.

    “Is like saying (that) … smoking is healthy because it doesn’t affect the liver”.

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-bosnia-environment-dams/threatening-wilderness-dams-fuel-protests-in-the-balkans-idUSKCN1J0007
    #barrages_hydroélectriques #eau #énergie #Balkans #Bosnie #résistance #manifestations #faune #wildlife

    Je commence ici une compilation avec des articles d’archive pour l’instant...
    cc @albertocampiphoto

    • Dans les Balkans, un « tsunami de barrages » déferle sur les écosystèmes

      Portée par une image verte et des financements européens, l’énergie hydroélectrique connaît de multiples projets dans les Balkans. Au grand dam des populations locales concernées et au détriment d’écosystèmes encore préservés.

      « Ne touchez pas à la #Valbona ! » « Laissez les fleuves libres ! » Le soleil automnal à peine levé, les cris et les slogans d’une trentaine de manifestants résonnent jusqu’aux plus hauts sommets des « Alpes albanaises ». Coincée entre les montagnes du #Monténégro et du #Kosovo, la vallée de la Valbona a longtemps été l’une des régions les plus isolées d’Europe. Les eaux cristallines de sa rivière et le fragile écosystème qui l’entoure attirent depuis quelques années des milliers de personnes en quête de nature sauvage.

      « Les barrages vont détruire les rares sources de revenus des habitants. Sans le tourisme, comment peut-on gagner sa vie dans une région si délaissée ? » Après avoir travaillé une quinzaine d’années à l’étranger, Ardian Selimaj est revenu investir dans le pays de ses ancêtres. Ses petits chalets en bois se fondent dans la végétation alpine. Mais, à quelques dizaines de mètres seulement, les bétonnières sont à l’œuvre. Malgré l’opposition bruyante des habitants et des militants écologistes, le lit de la rivière est déjà défiguré. « Si la Valbona est bétonnée, ce ne sera plus un parc national mais une zone industrielle », se désole Ardian Selimaj, la larme à l’œil.

      Les barrages qui se construisent aux confins albanais sont loin d’être des cas uniques. « Les Balkans sont l’un des points chauds de la construction des centrales hydroélectriques. Près de 3.000 y sont prévus ou déjà en construction ! » Militant écologiste viennois, Ulrich Eichelmann se bat depuis près de trente ans pour la protection des rivières d’Europe. Son ONG, RiverWatch, est en première ligne contre les 2.796 centrales qu’elle a recensées dans le sud-est du continent. De la Slovénie à la Grèce, rares sont les rivières épargnées par ce « tsunami de barrages ».
      Un désastre environnemental qui se fait souvent avec le soutien du contribuable européen

      « Les raisons de l’explosion du nombre de ces projets sont multiples, commente Ulrich. La corruption, la mauvaise compréhension des enjeux climatiques, les intérêts financiers qu’y trouvent les banques et les institutions financières, l’extrême faiblesse de l’application des lois... » Dans des sociétés malmenées par la corruption, les investisseurs ont peu de mal à faire valoir leurs intérêts auprès des dirigeants. Ceux-ci s’empressent de leur dérouler le tapis rouge. Et sont peu enclins à appliquer leur propre législation environnementale : 37 % des barrages envisagés le sont au cœur de zones protégées.

      Parc national ou zone Natura 2000, des points chauds de la biodiversité mondiale sont ainsi menacés. Un désastre environnemental qui se fait souvent avec le soutien du contribuable européen. « En 2015, nous avons constaté que la Banque européenne pour la reconstruction et le développement (Berd) avait financé 21 projets dans des zones protégées ou valorisées au niveau international », commente Igor Vejnovic, de l’ONG Bankwatch-CEE. Alors que l’Union européenne (UE) promeut officiellement les normes environnementales dans la région, on retrouve ses deux grandes banques de développement derrière plusieurs constructions de centrales. Igor Vejnovic dénonce « un soutien à des projets qui ne seraient pas autorisés par la législation européenne en vigueur ».

      Un soutien financier qui est d’ailleurs difficile à établir. « Leur nombre est probablement encore plus élevé, assure Igor Vejnovic, car la Banque européenne d’investissement (BEI) et la Berd financent ces centrales par des intermédiaires régionaux et les deux banques refusent systématiquement d’identifier les porteurs des projets en invoquant la confidentialité du client. » Des clients qui font souvent peu de cas des obligations légales. Selon Bankwatch-CEE, de nombreuses études d’impact environnemental ont été bâclées ou falsifiées. Des irrégularités parfois si caricaturales qu’elles ont conduit les deux banques européennes à suspendre, quand même, leurs prêts à d’importants projets dans le parc national de Mavrovo, en Macédoine. Ses forêts abritent l’une des espèces les plus menacées au monde, le lynx des Balkans.

      Grâce à une géographie montagneuse et à une histoire récente relativement épargnée par les phases destructrices de l’industrialisation, les rivières des Balkans offrent encore des paysages spectaculaires et une nature sauvage. Leurs eaux cristallines et préservées abritent près de 69 espèces de poissons endémiques de la région, dont le fameux saumon du Danube, en danger d’extinction. Une expédition de quelques jours sur la Vjosa, le « cœur bleu de l’Europe », a ainsi permis la découverte d’une espèce de plécoptères et d’un poisson encore inconnus de la science. Un trésor biologique méconnu dont les jours sont pourtant comptés. Malgré leurs conséquences catastrophiques, les petits barrages de moins de 1 MW se multiplient : ceux-ci ne nécessitent généralement aucune étude d’impact environnemental.
      La détermination des populations locales a fait reculer plusieurs barrages

      Louée pour son caractère « renouvelable », l’hydraulique représente 10 % du parc électrique français et près de 17 % de l’électricité produite sur la planète. Bénéficiant de la relative conversion du secteur énergétique au développement dit « durable », les barrages sont en pleine expansion à travers le globe. Les industriels de l’eau n’hésitent pas à le répéter : l’énergie hydraulique, « solution d’avenir », n’émet ni gaz à effet de serre ni pollution. Ces affirmations sont pourtant contredites par de récentes études. Peu relayées dans les grands médias, celles-ci démontrent que les pollutions causées par l’énergie hydraulique auraient été largement sous-estimées. Dans certaines régions du monde, les grandes retenues d’eau artificielles généreraient d’importantes productions de méthane (CH4), dont le pouvoir de réchauffement est 25 fois supérieur à celui du dioxyde de carbone (CO2).

      « L’hydroélectricité est l’une des pires formes de production d’énergie pour la nature, s’emporte Ulrich. Ce n’est pas parce qu’il n’émet pas de CO2 que c’est une énergie renouvelable. » Le militant écologiste s’indigne des conséquences de ces constructions qui transforment des fleuves libres en lacs artificiels. « La nature et les espèces détruites ne sont pas renouvelables. Quand une rivière est bétonnée, la qualité de l’eau baisse, le niveau des eaux souterraines en aval du barrage chute alors que la côte, elle, est menacée par l’érosion en raison de la diminution de l’apport en sédiments. »

      Les discours positifs des industriels tombent en tout cas à pic pour les dirigeants des Balkans, qui espèrent ainsi tempérer les oppositions à ces centaines de constructions. La diversification énergétique recherchée a pourtant peu de chances de profiter à des populations locales qui verront leur environnement quotidien transformé à jamais. « Si les promoteurs investissent parfois dans les infrastructures locales, cela a une valeur marginale par rapport aux dommages causés au patrimoine naturel et à la qualité de l’eau, explique Igor Vejnovic. L’hydroélectricité est d’ailleurs vulnérable aux périodes de sécheresse, qui sont de plus en plus fréquentes. » Les centrales dites « au fil de l’eau » prévues dans les Balkans risquent de laisser bien souvent les rivières à sec.

      Malgré les problèmes politiques et sociaux qui frappent les pays de la région, les mobilisations s’amplifient. La détermination des populations locales à défendre leurs rivières a même fait reculer plusieurs barrages. En Bosnie, où les habitants ont occupé le chantier de la Fojnička pendant près de 325 jours, plusieurs constructions ont été arrêtées. À Tirana, le tribunal administratif a donné raison aux militants et interrompu les travaux de l’un des plus importants barrages prévus sur la Vjosa. Après s’être retirée du projet sur la Ombla, en Croatie, la Berd a suspendu le versement des 65 millions d’euros promis pour les gros barrages du parc Mavrovo, en Macédoine, et a récemment commencé à privilégier des projets liés à l’énergie solaire. Cette vague de succès suffira-t-elle à contrer le tsunami annoncé ?


      https://reporterre.net/Dans-les-Balkans-un-tsunami-de-barrages-deferle-sur-les-ecosystemes
      #hydroélectricité #extractivisme

    • Balkan hydropower projects soar by 300% putting wildlife at risk, research shows
      More than a third of about 2,800 planned new dams are in protected areas, threatening rivers and biodiversity.

      Hydropower constructions have rocketed by 300% across the western Balkans in the last two years, according to a new analysis, sparking fears of disappearing mountain rivers and biodiversity loss.

      About 2,800 new dams are now in the pipeline across a zone stretching from Slovenia to Greece, 37% of which are set to be built in protected areas such as national parks or Natura 2000 sites.

      Heavy machinery is already channelling new water flows at 187 construction sites, compared to just 61 in 2015, according to the research by Fluvius, a consultancy for UN and EU-backed projects.

      Ulrich Eichelmann, the director of the RiverWatch NGO, which commissioned the paper, said that the small-scale nature of most projects – often in mountainous terrain – was, counterintuitively, having a disastrous impact on nature.

      “They divert water through pipelines away from the river and leave behind empty channels where rivers had been,” he told the Guardian. “It is a catastrophe for local people and for the environment. For many species of fish and insects like dragonflies and stoneflies, it is the end.”

      One stonefly species, Isoperla vjosae, was only discovered on Albania’s iconic Vjosa river this year, during an expedition by 25 scientists which also found an unnamed fish previously unknown to science. Like the Danube salmon and the Prespa trout, it is already thought to be at risk from what Eichelmann calls “a dam tsunami”.

      The scientists’ report described the Vjosa as a remarkably unique and dynamic eco-haven for scores of aquatic species that have disappeared across Europe. “The majority of these viable communities are expected to irrecoverably go extinct as a result of the projected hydropower dams,” it said.

      However, Damian Gjiknuri, Albania’s energy minister, told the Guardian that two planned megadams on the Vjosa would allow “the passage of fish via fish bypass or fish lanes”.

      “These designs have been based on the best environmental practices that are being applied today for minimising the effects of high dams on the circulation of aquatic faunas,” he said.

      Gjiknuri disputed the new report’s findings on the basis that only two “high dams” were being built in Albania, while most others were “run-of-the-river hydropower”.

      These generate less than 10MW of energy and so require no environmental impact assessments, conservationists say. But their small scale often precludes budgets for mitigation measures and allows arrays of turbines to be placed at intervals along waterways, causing what WWF calls “severe cumulative impacts”.

      Beyond aquatic life, the dam boom may also be threatening humans too.

      Since 2012, property conflicts between big energy companies and small farmers have led to one murder and an attempted murder, according to an EU-funded study. The paper logged three work-related deaths, and dozens of arrests linked to Albania’s wave of hydropower projects.

      Albania is a regional hotspot with 81 dams under construction but Serbia, Macedonia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina are also installing 71 hydro plants, and Serbia has a further 800 projects on the drawing board.

      Gjiknuri said the Albanian government was committed to declaring a national park on a portion of the Vjosa upstream from the planned 50m-high Kalivaçi dam, preventing further hydro construction there.


      https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/nov/27/balkan-hydropower-projects-soar-by-300-putting-wildlife-at-risk-researc
      https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/nov/27/balkan-hydropower-projects-soar-by-300-putting-wildlife-at-risk-researc
      signalé par @odilon il y a quelques temps:
      https://seenthis.net/messages/648548

    • Serbie : mobilisation citoyenne contre les centrales hydroélectriques dans la #Stara_planina

      L’État serbe a donné le feu vert aux investisseurs pour la construction de 58 centrales hydroélectriques sur plusieurs rivières dans la Stara planina. S’étalant à l’est de la Serbie, ce massif montagneux constitue la frontière naturelle entre la Serbie et la Bulgarie et continue jusqu’à la mer Noire. Cette zone protégée est l’une des plus grandes réserves naturelles de Serbie.


      https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/Serbie-mobilisation-citoyenne-contre-les-centrales-hydroelectriqu

    • Le #Monténégro se mobilise contre les mini-centrales hydroélectriques

      Quand les directives européennes sur les énergies renouvelables servent les intérêts des mafieux locaux... Après l’Albanie, la Bosnie-Herzégovine, la Croatie ou la Serbie, c’est maintenant le Monténégro qui entre en résistance contre les constructions de mini-centrales hydroélectriques. 80 projets sont prévus dans le pays, avec de très lourdes conséquences pour l’environnement et les communautés rurales.

      https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/Centrales-hydroelectrique-au-Montenegro