organization:world bank

  • 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


  • #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


  • 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


  • 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


    • Second time, farceRulers of the world: read Karl Marx!

      On his bicentenary Marx’s diagnosis of capitalism’s flaws is surprisingly relevant

      May 3rd 2018

      A GOOD subtitle for a biography of Karl Marx would be “a study in failure”. Marx claimed that the point of philosophy was not just to understand the world but to improve it. Yet his philosophy changed it largely for the worst: the 40% of humanity who lived under Marxist regimes for much of the 20th century endured famines, gulags and party dictatorships. Marx thought his new dialectical science would allow him to predict the future as well as understand the present. Yet he failed to anticipate two of the biggest developments of the 20th century—the rise of fascism and the welfare state—and wrongly believed communism would take root in the most advanced economies. Today’s only successful self-styled Marxist regime is an enthusiastic practitioner of capitalism (or “socialism with Chinese characteristics”).

      Yet for all his oversights, Marx remains a monumental figure. At the 200th anniversary of his birth, which falls on May 5th, interest in him is as lively as ever. Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, is visiting Trier, Marx’s birthplace, where a statue of Marx donated by the Chinese government will be unveiled. The British Library, where he did the research for “Das Kapital”, is putting on a series of exhibitions and talks. And publishers are producing a cascade of books on his life and thought, from “Das Kapital”-sized doorstops (Sven-Eric Liedman’s “A World to Win: The Life and Works of Karl Marx”), to Communist Manifesto-slim pamphlets (a second edition of Peter Singer’s “Marx: A Very Short Introduction”).
      None of these bicentennial books is outstanding. The best short introduction is still Isaiah Berlin’s “Karl Marx”, which was published in 1939. But the sheer volume of commentary is evidence of something important. Why does the world remain fixated on the ideas of a man who helped to produce so much suffering?

      The point of madness

      The obvious reason is the sheer power of those ideas. Marx may not have been the scientist that he thought he was. But he was a brilliant thinker: he developed a theory of society driven forward by economic forces—not just by the means of production but by the relationship between owners and workers—and destined to pass through certain developmental stages. He was also a brilliant writer. Who can forget his observation that history repeats itself, “the first time as tragedy, the second as farce”? His ideas were as much religious as scientific—you might even call them religion repackaged for a secular age. He was a latter-day prophet describing the march of God on Earth. The fall from grace is embodied in capitalism; man is redeemed as the proletariat rises up against its exploiters and creates a communist utopia.

      A second reason is the power of his personality. Marx was in many ways an awful human being. He spent his life sponging off Friedrich Engels. He was such an inveterate racist, including about his own group, the Jews, that even in the 1910s, when tolerance for such prejudices was higher, the editors of his letters felt obliged to censor them. He got his maid pregnant and dispatched the child to foster parents. Mikhail Bakunin described him as “ambitious and vain, quarrelsome, intolerant and absolute…vengeful to the point of madness”.

      But combine egomania with genius and you have a formidable force. He believed absolutely that he was right; that he had discovered a key to history that had eluded earlier philosophers. He insisted on promoting his beliefs whatever obstacles fate (or the authorities) put in his way. His notion of happiness was “to fight”; his concept of misery was “to submit”, a trait he shared with Friedrich Nietzsche.
      The third reason is a paradox: the very failure of his ideas to change the world for the better is ensuring them a new lease of life. After Marx’s death in 1883 his followers—particularly Engels—worked hard to turn his theories into a closed system. The pursuit of purity involved vicious factional fights as “real” Marxists drove out renegades, revisionists and heretics. It eventually led to the monstrosity of Marxism-Leninism, with its pretensions to infallibility (“scientific socialism”), its delight in obfuscation (“dialectical materialism”) and its cult of personality (those giant statues of Marx and Lenin).

      The collapse of this petrified orthodoxy has revealed that Marx was a much more interesting man than his interpreters have implied. His grand certainties were a response to grand doubts. His sweeping theories were the result of endless reversals. Toward the end of his life he questioned many of his central convictions. He worried that he might have been wrong about the tendency of the rate of profit to fall. He puzzled over the fact that, far from immiserating the poor, Victorian England was providing them with growing prosperity.

      The chief reason for the continuing interest in Marx, however, is that his ideas are more relevant than they have been for decades. The post-war consensus that shifted power from capital to labour and produced a “great compression” in living standards is fading. Globalisation and the rise of a virtual economy are producing a version of capitalism that once more seems to be out of control. The backwards flow of power from labour to capital is finally beginning to produce a popular—and often populist—reaction. No wonder the most successful economics book of recent years, Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-First Century”, echoes the title of Marx’s most important work and his preoccupation with inequality.

      The prophet of Davos

      Marx argued that capitalism is in essence a system of rent-seeking: rather than creating wealth from nothing, as they like to imagine, capitalists are in the business of expropriating the wealth of others. Marx was wrong about capitalism in the raw: great entrepreneurs do amass fortunes by dreaming up new products or new ways of organising production. But he had a point about capitalism in its bureaucratic form. A depressing number of today’s bosses are corporate bureaucrats rather than wealth-creators, who use convenient formulae to make sure their salaries go ever upwards. They work hand in glove with a growing crowd of other rent-seekers, such as management consultants (who dream up new excuses for rent-seeking), professional board members (who get where they are by not rocking the boat) and retired politicians (who spend their twilight years sponging off firms they once regulated).

      Capitalism, Marx maintained, is by its nature a global system: “It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere.” That is as true today as it was in the Victorian era. The two most striking developments of the past 30 years are the progressive dismantling of barriers to the free movement of the factors of production—goods, capital and to some extent people—and the rise of the emerging world. Global firms plant their flags wherever it is most convenient. Borderless CEOs shuttle from one country to another in pursuit of efficiencies. The World Economic Forum’s annual jamboree in Davos, Switzerland, might well be retitled “Marx was right”.
      He thought capitalism had a tendency towards monopoly, as successful capitalists drive their weaker rivals out of business in a prelude to extracting monopoly rents. Again this seems to be a reasonable description of the commercial world that is being shaped by globalisation and the internet. The world’s biggest companies are not only getting bigger in absolute terms but are also turning huge numbers of smaller companies into mere appendages. New-economy behemoths are exercising a market dominance not seen since America’s robber barons. Facebook and Google suck up two-thirds of America’s online ad revenues. Amazon controls more than 40% of the country’s booming online-shopping market. In some countries Google processes over 90% of web searches. Not only is the medium the message but the platform is also the market.

      In Marx’s view capitalism yielded an army of casual labourers who existed from one job to the other. During the long post-war boom this seemed like a nonsense. Far from having nothing to lose but their chains, the workers of the world—at least the rich world—had secure jobs, houses in the suburbs and a cornucopia of possessions. Marxists such as Herbert Marcuse were forced to denounce capitalism on the grounds that it produced too much wealth for the workers rather than too little.

      Yet once again Marx’s argument is gaining urgency. The gig economy is assembling a reserve force of atomised labourers who wait to be summoned, via electronic foremen, to deliver people’s food, clean their houses or act as their chauffeurs. In Britain house prices are so high that people under 45 have little hope of buying them. Most American workers say they have just a few hundred dollars in the bank. Marx’s proletariat is being reborn as the precariat.
      Still, the rehabilitation ought not to go too far. Marx’s errors far outnumbered his insights. His insistence that capitalism drives workers’ living standards to subsistence level is absurd. The genius of capitalism is that it relentlessly reduces the price of regular consumer items: today’s workers have easy access to goods once considered the luxuries of monarchs. The World Bank calculates that the number of people in “extreme poverty” has declined from 1.85bn in 1990 to 767m in 2013, a figure that puts the regrettable stagnation of living standards for Western workers in perspective. Marx’s vision of a post-capitalist future is both banal and dangerous: banal because it presents a picture of people essentially loafing about (hunting in the morning, fishing in the afternoon, raising cattle in the evening and criticising after dinner); dangerous because it provides a licence for the self-anointed vanguard to impose its vision on the masses.
      Marx’s greatest failure, however, was that he underestimated the power of reform—the ability of people to solve the evident problems of capitalism through rational discussion and compromise. He believed history was a chariot thundering to a predetermined end and that the best that the charioteers can do is hang on. Liberal reformers, including his near contemporary William Gladstone, have repeatedly proved him wrong. They have not only saved capitalism from itself by introducing far-reaching reforms but have done so through the power of persuasion. The “superstructure” has triumphed over the “base”, “parliamentary cretinism” over the “dictatorship of the proletariat”.

      Nothing but their chains

      The great theme of history in the advanced world since Marx’s death has been reform rather than revolution. Enlightened politicians extended the franchise so working-class people had a stake in the political system. They renewed the regulatory system so that great economic concentrations were broken up or regulated. They reformed economic management so economic cycles could be smoothed and panics contained. The only countries where Marx’s ideas took hold were backward autocracies such as Russia and China.

      Today’s great question is whether those achievements can be repeated. The backlash against capitalism is mounting—if more often in the form of populist anger than of proletarian solidarity. So far liberal reformers are proving sadly inferior to their predecessors in terms of both their grasp of the crisis and their ability to generate solutions. They should use the 200th anniversary of Marx’s birth to reacquaint themselves with the great man—not only to understand the serious faults that he brilliantly identified in the system, but to remind themselves of the disaster that awaits if they fail to confront them.

      This article appeared in the Books and arts section of the print edition under the headline “Second time, farce”

    • Merci !

      The gig economy is assembling a reserve force of atomised labourers who wait to be summoned, via electronic foremen, to deliver people’s food, clean their houses or act as their chauffeurs. In Britain house prices are so high that people under 45 have little hope of buying them. Most American workers say they have just a few hundred dollars in the bank. Marx’s proletariat is being reborn as the precariat.


  • World Bank leaves door open to slavery in Paraguay - Confédération Syndicale Internationale
    https://www.ituc-csi.org/world-bank-leaves-door-open-to?lang=fr

    In an exclusive report, investigative journalism platform Reporter Brasil reveals how international investments are generating a severe environmental and human rights crisis in Paraguay. The investigation, supported by the ITUC, highlights a loan of US$ 85 million from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), an arm of the World Bank, to Minerva.

    The vertiginous growth of beef production in the past years has been based on the exploitation of indigenous workers and the destruction of the unique dry forests of the Chaco, in South America. Evidence of these practices in the region was clear in 2013 when the Minerva financing was approved. At the time, the IFC classified the investment in its highest risk category for the “significant potential” of negative environmental and social impacts that are “diverse, irreversible, or unprecedented.”

    Brazilian meat industry encroaches on Paraguayan Chaco
    http://reporterbrasil.org.br/2018/07/brazilian-meat-industry-encroaches-on-paraguayan-chaco
    #Paraguay #viande_indus #déforestation #forêt #développement #droits_humains #esclavage #BM


  • A Day Before Laos Dam Failed, Builders Saw Trouble - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/26/world/asia/laos-dam-collapse.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fworld&action=c

    The day before this week’s catastrophic dam failure in Laos, the companies building the dam knew that it was deteriorating, and one of them saw a potential trouble sign three days in advance. Yet many people living downstream received no warning of the deadly flood that was about to sweep away villages, farms, livestock and people.

    The companies said they had warned Laotian officials of the danger, and some villages were evacuated, but the dam’s collapse killed at least 27 people — many more are still missing — and displaced at least 6,600 others in Laos.

    Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy Power Company, a joint venture of two South Korean firms, one from Thailand and a state-owned Laotian firm, is building the hydroelectric project, which includes several dams.

    #barrage #Laos #rupture_de_barrage

    • #merci @aude_v et @odilon

      Je copie-colle ici le texte intégral pour ne pas le perdre, car je partiellement accès au contenu du NYT (je vais aussi l’ajouter au fil de discussion sur les barrages au Laos :

      The day before this week’s catastrophic dam failure in Laos, the companies building the dam knew that it was deteriorating, and one of them saw a potential trouble sign three days in advance. Yet many people living downstream received no warning of the deadly flood that was about to sweep away villages, farms, livestock and people.

      The companies said they had warned Laotian officials of the danger, and some villages were evacuated, but the dam’s collapse killed at least 27 people — many more are still missing — and displaced at least 6,600 others in Laos. On Thursday, state media in Cambodia reported that as many as 25,000 more people in that country were being evacuated from the northern border province of Stung Treng, as the flood surge made its way south.

      Now, as rescue workers scramble to find missing villagers and care for others in makeshift shelters, questions are mounting about the speed of the one-party state’s response, the quality of the companies’ work, and whether they could have done more to prevent the accident or alert people to the peril.

      Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy Power Company, a joint venture of two South Korean firms, one from Thailand and a state-owned Laotian firm, is building the hydroelectric project, which includes several dams.

      The state-controlled Lao News Agency initially reported that 5 billion cubic meters of water had spilled over the dam, but later quietly revised that number downward to half a billion cubic meters, or roughly 17.7 billion cubic feet, of water. Even the lower volume would be enough to cover an area the size of Manhattan in water 28 feet deep.

      Accounts given by the two South Korean companies differ in several details, and do not answer the crucial question: When did they know, or should they have known, that the dam might be headed toward collapse?

      On Friday, engineers noticed a depression, or “settlement,” about four inches deep in the center of the dam, Korea Western Power, one of the companies, said in a report to South Korea’s Parliament.

      A company official told lawmakers — one of whom released the report on Thursday — that such sinking was common with the kind of heavy rainfall the region was experiencing, so the engineers decided to monitor it rather than take action.

      On Sunday, engineers found 10 “fractured settlements” on the top of the dam and set out to repair them, but they could not get the necessary repair equipment to the scene until Monday afternoon, when it was too late, the company’s report said.

      SK Engineering & Construction of South Korea, the main builder of the project, said on Thursday that it had discovered at 9 p.m. on Sunday that part of the dam’s top was missing.

      In a statement, the company said it had “immediately” reported the damage to the local authorities and evacuations of the nearest villages began, but it did not alert the provincial government until noon the next day that the dam might deteriorate further.

      By 11 a.m. on Monday, Korea Western Power said, there was a depression more than three feet deep in the top of the dam.

      On Monday, the joint venture sent a written notice to provincial officials, which has been seen by The New York Times, warning that Saddle Dam D was in a “very dangerous condition now due to heavy rainfall,” and that villagers downstream should be told to “evacuate to high level position to avoid unfortunate accident by heavy water flow.”

      By Monday afternoon or early evening, the dam was crumbling further and water was pouring through. SK said it received the first report of a village flooding at 1:30 a.m. Tuesday.

      Both South Korean companies mentioned heavy rains in their descriptions of the disaster. But Ian Baird, a geography professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, who specializes in Laos and has studied the hydropower project, said he believed the problem was either faulty construction or a decision to store too much water in the dam’s reservoir at a time when heavy rain should have been expected.

      “When at the end of July do we not get rain in this part of the world?” he asked.

      The companies are “trying to play this out as a natural disaster that wasn’t their fault,” he said. “I don’t believe that for a second.”

      Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy Power Company could not be reached by telephone on Thursday.

      The United Nations has said that eight villages were affected by the flooding. Experts and displaced villagers said in interviews this week that the number could be 11 or more. Some were probably in an area that is extremely isolated in the rainy season, even without a major flood event, Professor Baird said.

      “I’m sure there are still lots of people who nobody has reached yet,” Professor Baird said. Some people might have scrambled to higher ground, but it would depend on when they were notified of the threat.

      A day after the accident, the United Nations reported that 14 bridges had been damaged in Laos and at least 1,494 people there had been evacuated to emergency shelters. It said helicopters and boats were the only means of transportation in the affected areas of Attapeu Province, where rates of child malnutrition are among the highest in the country.

      On Thursday, a reporter who traveled into the affected area — a three-hour drive on bumpy roads from Attapeu Town — saw military personnel and volunteers from several countries steering boats through the floodwaters in a grim search for bodies. Some people there were beginning to return to villages that had been underwater earlier in the week, only to find that all their possessions had been destroyed.

      Octavian Bivol, the Unicef representative in Laos, said on Thursday that while the agency was providing the Laotian authorities with soap, jerrycans and other supplies to assist the equivalent of 1,500 households, the primary challenge was that so many of the flood victims were so isolated.

      At least some of the affected villages had no warning of the lethal threat racing toward them.

      Silam, a 25-year-old woman from southern Laos with two children, said in an interview that she had escaped the floods on Monday night after receiving a phone call not from the government, but from one of her relatives who was in a nearby rice paddy.

      The relative told her to leave the house and move to higher ground “because the water was coming,” she recalled, speaking in a shelter in the southern town of Paksong on Wednesday evening. “I was so scared.”

      Bruce Shoemaker, an independent expert on hydropower in Laos, said that the dam was already “a slow-moving humanitarian and ecological disaster” even before the accident on Monday, in part because all the water diversion was a severe threat to downstream fisheries, the main source of protein for local people.

      “The big thing is there’s a very poor regulatory environment in Laos,” said Mr. Shoemaker, a co-editor of the book “Dead in the Water: Global Lessons from the World Bank’s Model Hydropower Project in Laos.”

      “Private companies get these concessions and there’s very little oversight of how they’re implementing it,” he added, “and that is pervasive throughout the hydropower sector.”


      https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/26/world/asia/laos-dam-collapse.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fworld&action=c


  • The Rise and Fall of the Latin American Left | The Nation
    https://www.thenation.com/article/the-ebb-and-flow-of-latin-americas-pink-tide

    Conservatives now control Latin America’s leading economies, but the region’s leftists can still look to Uruguay for direction.
    By Omar G. Encarnación, May 9, 2018

    Last December’s election of Sebastián Piñera, of the National Renewal party, to the Chilean presidency was doubly significant for Latin American politics. Coming on the heels of the rise of right-wing governments in Argentina in 2015 and Brazil in 2016, Piñera’s victory signaled an unmistakable right-wing turn for the region. For the first time since the 1980s, when much of South America was governed by military dictatorship, the continent’s three leading economies are in the hands of right-wing leaders.

    Piñera’s election also dealt a blow to the resurrection of the Latin American left in the post–Cold War era. In the mid-2000s, at the peak of the so-called Pink Tide (a phrase meant to suggest the surge of leftist, noncommunist governments), Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Ecuador, and Bolivia, or three-quarters of South America’s population (some 350 million people), were under left-wing rule. By the time the Pink Tide reached the mini-state of Mexico City, in 2006, and Nicaragua, a year later (culminating in the election of Daniel Ortega as president there), it was a region-wide phenomenon.

    It’s no mystery why the Pink Tide ran out of steam; even before the Chilean election, Mexican political scientist Jorge Castañeda had already declared it dead in The New York Times. Left-wing fatigue is an obvious factor. It has been two decades since the late Hugo Chávez launched the Pink Tide by toppling the political establishment in the 1998 Venezuelan presidential election. His Bolivarian revolution lives on in the hands of his handpicked successor, Nicolás Maduro, but few Latin American governments regard Venezuela’s ravaged economy and diminished democratic institutions as an inspiring model. In Brazil, the Workers’ Party, or PT, was in power for 14 years, from 2002 through 2016, first under its founder, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, between 2003 and 2011, and then under his successor and protégée, Dilma Rousseff, from 2011 to 2016. The husband-and-wife team of Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of the Peronist Party governed Argentina from 2003 to 2015. Socialist Michelle Bachelet had two nonconsecutive terms in office in Chile, from 2006 to 2010 and from 2014 to 2018.

    Economic turmoil and discontent is another culprit. As fate would have it, the Pink Tide coincided with one of the biggest economic expansions in Latin American history. Its engine was one of the largest commodities booms in modern times. Once the boom ended, in 2012—largely a consequence of a slowdown in China’s economy—economic growth in Latin America screeched to a halt. According to the International Monetary Fund, since 2012 every major Latin American economy has underperformed relative to the previous 10 years, with some economies, including that of Brazil, the region’s powerhouse, experiencing their worst recession in decades. The downturn reined in public spending and sent the masses into the streets, making it very difficult for governments to hang on to power.

    Meanwhile, as the commodity boom filled states’ coffers, leftist politicians became enmeshed in the same sorts of corrupt practices as their conservative predecessors. In April, Lula began serving a 12-year prison sentence for having accepted bribes in exchange for government contracts while in office. His prosecution, which in principle guarantees that he will not be a candidate in this year’s presidential race, was the high point of Operation Car Wash, the biggest anti-corruption dragnet in Brazilian history. Just after leaving office, in 2015, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was indicted for fraud for conspiring with her former public-works secretary, José López, to steal millions of federal dollars intended for roadwork in Argentina. The “nuns and guns” scandal riveted the country, with the arrest of a gun-toting López as he hurled bags stuffed with millions of dollars over the walls of a Catholic convent in a suburb of Buenos Aires. In Chile, Bachelet left office under a cloud of suspicion. Her family, and by extension Bachelet herself, is accused of illegal real-estate transactions that netted millions of dollars.

    All this said, largely overlooked in obituaries of the Pink Tide is the right-wing backlash that it provoked. This backlash aimed to reverse the shift in power brought on by the Pink Tide—a shift away from the power brokers that have historically controlled Latin America, such as the military, the Catholic Church, and the oligarchy, and toward those sectors of society that have been marginalized: women, the poor, sexual minorities, and indigenous peoples. Rousseff’s impeachment in 2016 perfectly exemplifies the retaliation organized by the country’s traditional elites. Engineered by members of the Brazilian Congress, a body that is only 11 percent female and has deep ties to industrial barons, rural oligarchs, and powerful evangelical pastors, the impeachment process was nothing short of a patriarchal coup.

    In a 2017 interview, Rousseff made note of the “very misogynist element in the coup against me.… They accused me of being overly tough and harsh, while a man would have been considered firm, strong. Or they would say I was too emotional and fragile, when a man would have been considered sensitive.” In support of her case, Rousseff pointed out that previous Brazilian presidents committed the same “crime” she was accused of (fudging the national budget to hide deficits at reelection time), without any political consequence. As if to underscore the misogyny, Rousseff’s successor, Michel Temer, came into office with an all-male cabinet.

    In assessing the impact of the Pink Tide, there is a tendency to bemoan its failure to generate an alternative to neoliberalism. After all, the Pink Tide rose out of the discontent generated by the economic policies championed by the United States and international financial institutions during the 1990s, such as privatizations of state enterprises, austerity measures, and ending economic protectionism. Yet capitalism never retreated in most of Latin America, and US economic influence remains for the most part unabated. The only significant dent on the neoliberal international order made by the Pink Tide came in 2005, when a massive wave of political protests derailed the George W. Bush administration’s plan for a Free Trade Area of the Americas, or FTAA. If enacted, this new trade pact would have extended the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to all countries in the Americas save for Cuba, or 34 nations in total.

    But one shouldn’t look at the legacy of the Pink Tide only through the lens of what might have been with respect to replacing neoliberalism and defeating US imperialism. For one thing, a good share of the Pink Tide was never anti-neoliberal or anti-imperialist. Left-wing rule in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, and Chile (what Castañeda called the “good left”) had more in common with the social-democratic governments of Western Europe, with its blend of free-market economics and commitment to the welfare state, than with Cuba’s Communist regime.

    Indeed, only in the radical fringe of the Pink Tide, especially the triumvirate of Chávez of Venezuela, Evo Morales of Bolivia, and Rafael Correa of Ecuador (the “bad left,” according to Castañeda), was the main thrust of governance anti-neoliberal and anti-imperialist. Taking Cuba as a model, these self-termed revolutionaries nationalized large sectors of the economy, reinvigorated the role of the state in redistributing wealth, promoted social services to the poor, and created interstate institutions, such as the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America, or ALBA, to promote inter-American collaboration and to challenge US hegemony.

    Second, the focus on neoliberalism and US imperialism obscures the Pink Tide’s biggest accomplishments. To be sure, the picture is far from being uniformly pretty, especially when it comes to democracy. The strong strand of populism that runs through the Pink Tide accounts for why some of its leaders have been so willing to break democratic norms. Claiming to be looking after the little guy, the likes of Chávez and Maduro have circumvented term limits and curtailed the independence of the courts and the press. But there is little doubt that the Pink Tide made Latin America more inclusive, equitable, and democratic, by, among other things, ushering in an unprecedented era of social progressivism.

    Because of the Pink Tide, women in power are no longer a novelty in Latin American politics; in 2014, female presidents ruled in Argentina, Brazil, and Chile. Their policies leave little doubt about the transformative nature of their leadership. In 2010, Fernández boldly took on the Argentine Catholic Church (then headed by present-day Pope Francis) to enact Latin America’s first ever same-sex marriage law; this was five years before same-sex marriage became the law of the land in the United States. A gender-identity law, one of the world’s most liberal, followed. It allows individuals to change their sex assigned at birth without permission from either a doctor or a judge. Yet another law banned the use of “conversion therapy” to cure same-sex attraction. Argentina’s gay-rights advances were quickly emulated by neighboring Uruguay and Brazil, kick-starting a “gay-rights revolution” in Latin America.

    Rousseff, who famously referred to herself with the gender-specific title of a presidenta, instead of the gender-neutral “president,” did much to advance the status of women in Brazilian society. She appointed women to the three most powerful cabinet positions, including chief of staff, and named the first female head of Petrobras, Brazil’s largest business corporation; during her tenure in office, a woman became chief justice of the Federal Supreme Court. Brutally tortured by the military during the 1970s, as a university student, Rousseff put human rights at the center of Brazilian politics by enacting a law that created Brazil’s first ever truth commission to investigate the abuses by the military between 1964 and 1985. She also signed laws that opened the Brazilian Army to women and that set into motion the corruption campaign that is currently roiling the Brazilian political class. These laws earned Rousseff the enmity of the military and conservatives.

    Bachelet, the last woman standing, made news when she entered office, in 2006, by naming the same number of men and women to her cabinet. After being term-limited, she became the first head of the newly established UN Women (formally known as the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women), before returning to Chile to win a second term at the presidency in 2014. During her second term, she created the Ministry of Gender Equality to address gender disparities and discrimination, and passed a law that legalized abortion in cases of rape, when there is a threat to the life of the mother, or when the fetus has a terminal condition. Less known is Bachelet’s advocacy for the environment. She weaned Chile off its dependence on hydrocarbons by building a vast network of solar- and wind-powered grids that made electricity cheaper and cleaner. She also created a vast system of national parks to protect much of the country’s forestland and coastline from development.

    Latin America’s socioeconomic transformation under the Pink Tide is no less impressive. Just before the economic downturn of 2012, Latin America came tantalizingly close to becoming a middle-class region. According to the World Bank, from 2002 to 2012, the middle class in Latin America grew every year by at least 1 percent to reach 35 percent of the population by 2013. This means that during that time frame, some 10 million Latin Americans joined the middle class every year. A consequence of this dramatic expansion of the middle class is a significant shrinking of the poor. Between 2000 and 2014, the percentage of Latin Americans living in poverty (under $4 per day) shrank from 45 to 25 percent.

    Economic growth alone does not explain this extraordinary expansion of the Latin American middle class and the massive reduction in poverty: Deliberate efforts by the government to redistribute wealth were also a key factor. Among these, none has garnered more praise than those implemented by the Lula administration, especially Bolsa Família, or Family Purse. The program channeled direct cash payments to poor families, as long as they agreed to keep their children in school and to attend regular health checkups. By 2013, the program had reached some 12 million households (50 million people), helping cut extreme poverty in Brazil from 9.7 to 4.3 percent of the population.

    Last but not least are the political achievements of the Pink Tide. It made Latin America the epicenter of left-wing politics in the Global South; it also did much to normalize democratic politics in the region. With its revolutionary movements crushed by military dictatorship, it is not surprising that the Latin American left was left for dead after the end of the Cold War. But since embracing democracy, the left in Latin America has moderated its tactics and beliefs while remaining committed to the idea that deliberate state action powered by the popular will is critical to correcting injustice and alleviating human suffering. Its achievements are a welcome antidote to the cynicism about democratic politics afflicting the American left.

    How the epoch-making legacy of the Pink Tide will fare in the hands of incoming right-wing governments is an open question. Some of the early signs are not encouraging. The Temer administration in Brazil has shown a decidedly retro-macho attitude, as suggested by its abolishment of the Ministry of Women, Racial Equality, and Human Rights (its functions were collapsed into the Ministry of Justice) and its close ties to a politically powerful evangelical movement with a penchant for homophobia. In Argentina, President Mauricio Macri has launched a “Trumpian” assault on undocumented immigrants from Bolivia, Paraguay, and Peru, blaming them for bringing crime and drugs into the country. Some political observers expect that Piñera will abridge or overturn Chile’s new abortion law.

    But there is reason for optimism. Temer and Macri have been slow to dismantle anti-poverty programs, realizing that doing so would be political suicide. This is hardly surprising, given the success of those programs. Right-wing governments have even seen fit to create anti-poverty programs of their own, such as Mexico’s Prospera. Moreover, unlike with prior ascents by the right in Latin America, the left is not being vanished to the political wilderness. Left-wing parties remain a formidable force in the legislatures of most major Latin American countries. This year alone, voters in Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia will have presidential elections, raising the prospect that a new Pink Tide might be rising. Should this new tide come in, the Latin American left would do well to reform its act and show what it has learned from its mistakes.

    Latin American leftists need not look far to find a model to emulate: Uruguay. It exemplifies the best of the Pink Tide without its excesses. Frente Amplio, or Broad Front, a coalition of left-wing parties in power since 2005, has put the country at the vanguard of social change by legalizing abortion, same-sex marriage, and, most famously, recreational marijuana. For these reasons alone, in 2013 The Economist chose “liberal and fun-loving” Uruguay for its first ever “country of the year” award.

    Less known accomplishments include being one of only two countries in Latin America that enjoy the status of “high income” (alongside Chile), reducing poverty from around 40 percent to less than 12 percent from 2005 to 2014, and steering clear of corruption scandals. According to Transparency International, Uruguay is the least corrupt country in Latin America, and ranks among the world’s 25 least corrupt nations. The country also scored a near perfect 100 in Freedom House’s 2018 ranking of civil and political freedoms, virtually tied with Canada, and far ahead of the United States and neighboring Argentina and Brazil. The payoff for this much virtue is hard to ignore. Among Latin American nations, no other country shows more satisfaction with its democracy.

    Omar G. EncarnaciónOmar G. Encarnación is a professor of political studies at Bard College and author of Out in the Periphery: Latin America’s Gay Rights Revolution.

    #politique #amérique_latine #impérialisme


  • Isn’t It Time for Another Washington Post Article Touting the Growth of Mexico’s Middle Class Under NAFTA? | Beat the Press | CEPR
    http://cepr.net/blogs/beat-the-press/isn-t-it-time-for-another-washington-post-article-touted-the-growth-of-mexico-

    Mexico seems all but certain to elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador, a left-wing candidate, as president this weekend. One of the main factors is the contempt with which the Mexican public regards a political and economic elite that have run the country in a way that has produced few benefits for the bulk of the population. It is striking that this uprising is taking place almost a quarter century into the NAFTA era.

    We were told endlessly by our elites that NAFTA was doing great things for Mexico. The Washington Post stands out as a particular villain in this story. It repeatedly ran fantasy pieces on how NAFTA was creating a thriving middle class in Mexico.

    The Post even went full Trump back in 2007 when it made up the absurd claim that NAFTA had led Mexico’s economy to quadruple between 1998 and 2007. The actual figure was 84.2 percent. Unfortunately, the Washington Post has not been the only institution to make up numbers to promote NAFTA. The World Bank got into the act too.

    A true assessment of the impact of NAFTA on Mexico would require considerable research, but just at the basic level of GDP growth it has been a disaster. Mexico’s per capita GDP has risen at just a 1.2 percent annual rate since 1993. This compares to a 1.5 percent annual rate in the United States. This means that the countries are even further apart economically today than when the agreement took effect in 1994, but don’t hold your breath waiting for the NAFTA proponents to acknowledge that it might not have been a good deal.

    #libre_échange#MSM #mauvaises_saletés #bonnes_saletés


  • State land grabs fuel Sudan’s crisis

    Al-Noor Othman, a farmer in Sudan’s South Kordofan province, was hoping for a good harvest. He had bills to pay.

    His father needed glaucoma surgery on his left eye and he was saving up for his wedding.

    But there would be no harvest that season. “One cloudy morning [in 2008], I saw some people dividing our farm, claiming that we have not paid the fees of the ownership renewal — even though we inherited the land; we used to live in a part of it and farm the other area. But overnight we became homeless,” Othman told Ayin.

    The Othmans were one of 500 families forced to leave their land to make way for the #Habilla_Agricultural_Project, east of #Dilling city. He felt helpless — until he became a rebel.

    Othman joined an armed movement operating from the #South_Kordofan and #Blue_Nile states, to protect his land from further #pillage.

    Sudan is one of the “leading” countries in which authorities confiscate land from citizens, according to the World Bank. Between 2004 and 2013, roughly four million hectares of land was redistributed to local and foreign investors.

    https://mg.co.za/article/2018-05-04-00-state-land-grabs-fuel-sudans-crisis
    #accaparement_de_terres #terres #Soudan #propriété #confiscation #résistance #Sudan_People’s_Liberation_Movement #SPLM

    cc @odilon

    Article traduit en italien par le journal Internazionale (https://www.internazionale.it/sommario), mais pas disponible sur leur site internet.
    Une page a été mise sur twitter par @francofontana43 :


  • Le #Japon : entre #culture et #coutumes ancestrales, #technologie de pointe et #controverse.
    (Japan: between culture and ancestral customs, advanced technology and controversy.)

    Ces dimensions se superposent dans un pays dont 93,93% de la #population est #urbaine (selon la Banque mondiale) et qui possède de nombreuses #contraintes #naturelles desquelles peuvent résulter des #catastrophes à la suite de prises de #risques parfois considérées comme nécessaires pour le développement #économique (comme ce fut le cas de Fukushima en 2011). Le Japon est aussi une île déphasée du reste du monde et dévastée pendant la Seconde Guerre #mondiale, qui a pourtant connu un #développement rapide à la suite de cette destruction. Or, c’est précisément dans cet élan qu’on été emportés culture et #traditions. C’est également ainsi que le pays a su garder l’#insularité qui fait sa spécificité tout en étant en étroite connexion avec le reste du #monde par ses #innovations et son #soft-power. Ce sont tous ces aspects de l’archipel japonais qui donnent lieu à des sujets se prêtant à l’approche #géographique.

    These dimensions superimpose themselves in a country made of 93,93% city-dweller (according to the World Bank) and that possesses many natural constraints from which can result catastrophes after risk taking sometimes considered as necessary for the economic development (as it happened in Fukushima in 2011). Japan is also an island out of sync with the rest of the world and devastated during World War II, that has however acquainted a fast development after that destruction. However, it’s precisely in this rush that have been carried culture and traditions. It is also this way that the country knew how to keep its insularity which made its specificity while being in close connection with the rest of the world through its innovation and soft-power. All of these aspects of the Japanese archipelago permit subjects suitable to a geographic approach.


  • #OGM - Mensonges et vérités

    La #controverse entre pro-OGM (organismes génétiquement modifiés) et anti-OGM rend le débat passionnel et parfois incompréhensible. Ce tour d’horizon mondial démêle le vrai du faux, preuves scientifiques à l’appui.

    Depuis plus de vingt ans, les OGM (organismes génétiquement modifiés), en particulier les plantes, ne cessent de s’étendre sur la planète, dans le but d’améliorer les rendements de soja, maïs, coton, colza, riz, etc. Dix pays, sur les vingt-huit qui en cultivent, représentent, à eux seuls, 98 % de la superficie mondiale des cultures transgéniques – soit 11 % des terres cultivées –, essentiellement sur le continent américain, le sous-continent indien et en Chine. Aux États-Unis, où les premières plantations de soja transgénique ont été introduites en 1996, les OGM représentent environ 90 % des cultures de soja, de maïs et de coton. Selon leurs défenseurs, ils sont indispensables pour répondre aux besoins d’une population en forte croissance. C’est l’argument du géant du secteur, le semencier américain Monsanto, qui produit aussi le célèbre Roundup, un herbicide total dont la substance active, le glyphosate, épargne les plantes OGM.


    https://www.arte.tv/fr/videos/057483-000-A/ogm-mensonges-et-verites

    #film #documentaire #reportage #vidéo
    #BT #maïs_BT #rentabilité #TH #soja #Roundup #USA #Etats-Unis #monoculture #agriculture #élevage #Argentine #Monsanto #pommes_De_terre #risques #génie_génétique #toxine_BT #pesticides #industrie_agro-alimentaire #glyphosate #herbicide #super_mauvaises_herbes #darwinisme #soja_roundup_ready #atrazin #business #santé #cancer #Mexique #propriété_intellectuelle #brevets #Percy_Schmeiser #sécurité_alimentaire #Ghana #malformation_congénitale #justice #biodiversité

    #USAID (qui lie #aide_au_développement et utilisation de OGM dans le pays qui va recevoir l’aide)

    #Gates_Foundation (qui finance des tests de plantes OGM au Ghana)

    #biotechnologie_agricole #coton #Bukina_Faso #coton_BT #Sofitex #rendements #Geocoton #Roundup_Ready_Flex_Cotton #néo-colonialisme

    #MON810 #maïs_MON810 #riz_doré #riz #Philippines #golden_rice #Syngenta #technologie #dengue #oxitec #moustiques_transgéniques #AGM #animaux_génétiquement_modifiés

    • Une ONG présentée dans le film, au Ghana :
      #Food_sovereignty_ghana

      Food Sovereignty Ghana is a grass-roots movement of Ghanaians, home and abroad, dedicated to the promotion of food sovereignty in Ghana. Our group believes in the collective control over our collective resources, rather than the control of our resources by multinational corporations and other foreign entities. This movement is a product of Special Brainstorming Session meeting on the 21st of March, 2013, at the Accra Freedom Centre. The meeting was in response to several calls by individuals who have been discussing, writing, or tweeting, about the increasing phenomenon of land grabs, the right to water and sanitation as a fundamental human right, water privatization issues, deforestation, climate change, carbon trading and Africa’s atmospheric space, and in particular, the urgent issue of the introduction of GM food technology into our agriculture, particularly, its implications on food sovereignty, sustainable development, biodiversity, and the integrity of our food and water resources, human and animal health, and our very existence as a politically independent people. These calls insisted that these issues need to be comprehensively addressed in a systematic and an organized manner.

      Foremost in these calls was the need for a comprehensive agricultural policy that respects the multi-functional roles played by agriculture in our daily lives, and resists the avaricious calculations behind the proposition that food is just another commodity or component for international agribusiness. The trade in futures or speculation involving food have pushed food prices beyond the reach of almost a billion of people in the world who go to bed, each day, hungry. Even though we have have doubled the amount of food to feed everybody in the world today, people still don’t have access to food. The primary cause of this is the neo-liberal agenda of the imperialists, such as the SAP, EPA, AGOA, TRIPS, AoA, AFSNA, AGRA, which have the focus on marginalising the small family farm agriculture that continues to feed over 80% of Africa and replacing them with governance structures, agreements and practices that depend on and promote unsustainable and inequitable international trade and give power to remote and unaccountable corporations.

      We came together in order to help turn a new leaf. We see a concerted effort, over the years, to distort our agriculture to such an extent that today, our very survival as a free and independent people crucially depend on how fast we are able to apply the breaks, and to rather urgently promote policies that focus on food for people, and value our local food providers, the arduous role of the resilient small family farm for thousands of years. We need to resist imperialist policies such as the Structural Adjustment Programmes of the World Bank and the IMF which rolled away 30 years of gains towards food sovereignty in the 1970s and 80s. Those African countries that graduated from the SAP were subsequently slammed with HIPIC. In all these years, the imperialist countries fortified their agricultural production with heavy government subsidies, as Africa saw the imposition of stringent conditionality removing all government subsidies on our own agriculture. The effect has been a destruction of our local food production capacity and a dependence on corporations for our daily food needs. This has had a devastating effect on Africa’s agriculture, and our ability to feed ourselves.

      We believe that a proper analysis of the food crisis is a matter that cannot be left with trade negotiators, investment experts, or agricultural engineers. It is essentially a matter of political economy. As Jean Ziegler succinctly puts it, “Every child who dies of hunger in today’s world has been murdered.” Our Food Under Our Control! is determined to make sure that such a crime becomes impossible in Ghana. Our number one mission is to switch the language from food security to food sovereignty as the goal, to repeat the words food sovereignty at every opportunity and say we don’t want food security, that can still be dependence, we want food sovereignty, we need food sovereignty. This is not the same as “food security”. A country can have food security through food imports. Dependence on food imports is precarious and prone to multiple risks — from price risks, to supply risks, to conditionality risks (policy conditions that come with food imports). Food sovereignty, on the other hand, implies ensuring domestic production and supply of food. It means that the nationals of the country (or at the very least nationals within the region) must primarily be responsible for ensuring that the nation and the region are first and foremost dependent on their own efforts and resources to grow their basic foods.

      Aims and objectives:

      1. To help promote the people’s right to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and to generally ensure the priority of domestic food crops produced by small farms over export crops.

      2. To help create mass awareness about the political, economic, health and environmental impacts of genetically modified food technology and defend the right of the people to define their own food and agricultural systems.

      3. To help ensure small farms are sustained by state provision and facilitation of necessary infrastructure: Security of land tenure, Water, Financial credit, Energy, Fertilizers, Transport, Storage, Extension service, Marketing, Technology and Equipment for production, harvesting, storage and transport, and Insurance against crop failures due to climate changes, or other unforeseen circumstances.

      4. To help resist the theft, destruction, and loss of the Commons, our natural and indigenous resources, by means of laws, commercial contracts and intellectual property rights regimes, and to generally serve as the watch-dog over all aspects of agricultural sustainability in Ghana.

      5. To help protect and preserve public access to and ownership of the Commons: Water, Land, Air, Seeds, Energy, Plants, Animals, and work closely with like-minded local, national, and international organisations in the realization of the foregoing objectives.


      http://foodsovereigntyghana.org

    • Un chercheur, #Damián_Verzeñassi de l’#université_de_Rosario, mentionné il y a une année dans un article de Mediapart :

      Argentine : soja transgénique voisine avec maladies

      Avia Terai, ville de 10 000 habitants, est exposée aux pulvérisations incessantes sur ses champs de soja et de coton de glyphosate, le composant de base de l’herbicide de Monsanto. Un pesticide que l’Organisation mondiale pour la santé a étiqueté cancérogène en 2015. Ici, des enfants naissent avec des malformations, des troubles neurologiques sévères et le taux de cancer est trois fois plus élevé que la moyenne nationale, selon l’étude du docteur argentin Damián Verzeñassi de l’université de Rosario. De son côté, Monsanto nie catégoriquement l’authenticité de ces études et considère que la #toxicité de son produit phare Roundup n’a pas encore été prouvée.

      https://www.mediapart.fr/studio/portfolios/argentine-soja-transgenique-voisine-avec-maladies

      Le chercheur a fait une étude dans laquelle il montrait un lien entre le glyphosate et le développement de cancer :
      “Hay una incidencia del glifosato en los nuevos casos de cáncer”

      Desde 2010 se hicieron relevamientos en 32 localidades de la región pampeana y se relevaron más de 110 mil personas. Según Verzeñassi, si se encontró en estas localidades, donde se aplicó el modelo productivo con transgénicos a base de agrotóxicos, un pico muy importante de casos de cáncer, hipotiroidismo y abortos espontáneos.


      https://rosarionuestro.com/hemos-encontrado-un-incremento-en-la-incidencia-del-glifosato-en-los

    • #Red_de_Médicos_de_Pueblos_Fumigados (Argentine)

      La Red Universitaria de Ambiente y Salud (REDUAS) es una coordinación entre profesionales universitarios, académicos, científicos, miembros de equipos de salud humana en sus distintos niveles y demás estudiosos, preocupados por los efectos deletéreos de la salud humana que genera el ambiente degradado a consecuencias de la actividad productiva humana, especialmente cuando esta se da a gran escala y sustentada en una visión extractivista.

      La REDUAS surge como una de las decisiones tomadas en el 1º Encuentro de Médicos de Pueblos Fumigados, realizado en la Facultad de Ciencias Médicas de la Universidad Nacional de Córdoba y organizado por el Modulo de Determinantes Sociales de la Salud de la Cátedra de Pediatría y por la Cátedra de Medicina I de dicha Facultad; concretado el 26 y 27 de agosto de 2010

      La REDUAS se construye para unir, coordinar y potenciar el trabajo de investigación científica, asistencia sanitaria, análisis epidemiológico y divulgación ,difusión y defensa del derecho a la salud colectiva, que realizan equipos que desarrollan este tipo de actividades en 10 provincias distintas de la Republica Argentina y que se encuentran activados por el problema del daño a la salud que ocasiona la fumigación o aspersión, sistemática de más de 300 millones de litros de plaguicidas sobre casi 12 millones de personas que conviven con los sembradíos de cultivos agroindustriales.

      Para avanzar en ese sentido se propone aportar al debate público por la necesidad de construir prácticas productivas que permitan una supervivencia feliz de la especie humana en la superficie terrestre y de la responsabilidad publica, privada, colectiva e individual en el resguardo de esas condiciones ecológicas.

      Considerando al derecho a la salud, como uno de los valores sociales que debemos tratar de privilegiar en el análisis de las decisiones políticas y económicas que se toman en nuestra sociedad, creemos necesario ampliar la difusión del conocimiento de los datos científicos que se dispone, y que muchas veces se invisibilizan; aportar a la generación de nuevos datos e informaciones experimentales y observacionales – poblacionales; y potenciar la voz de los equipos de salud, investigadores y pobladores en general afectados en sus derechos por agresiones ambiéntales generadas por practicas productivas ecológicamente agresivas.


      http://reduas.com.ar
      #résistance

    • #Madres_de_Ituzaingo_Anexo-Cordoba
      http://madresdeituzaingoanexo.blogspot.fr

      Madres de #Ituzaingó: 15 años de pelea por el ambiente

      En marzo de 2002 salieron a la calle por primera vez para reclamar atención sanitaria ante la cantidad de enfermos en el barrio.Lograron mejorar la zona y alejar las fumigaciones, nuevas normas ambientales y un juicio inédito. Dicen que la lucha continúa. Un juicio histórico


      http://www.lavoz.com.ar/ciudadanos/madres-de-ituzaingo-15-anos-de-pelea-por-el-ambiente
      #Sofia_Gatica

    • Transgenic DNA introgressed into traditional maize landraces in #Oaxaca, Mexico

      Concerns have been raised about the potential effects of transgenic introductions on the genetic diversity of crop landraces and wild relatives in areas of crop origin and diversification, as this diversity is considered essential for global food security. Direct effects on non-target species1,2, and the possibility of unintentionally transferring traits of ecological relevance onto landraces and wild relatives have also been sources of concern3,4. The degree of genetic connectivity between industrial crops and their progenitors in landraces and wild relatives is a principal determinant of the evolutionary history of crops and agroecosystems throughout the world5,6. Recent introductions of transgenic DNA constructs into agricultural fields provide unique markers to measure such connectivity. For these reasons, the detection of transgenic DNA in crop landraces is of critical importance. Here we report the presence of introgressed transgenic DNA constructs in native maize landraces grown in remote mountains in Oaxaca, Mexico, part of the Mesoamerican centre of origin and diversification of this crop7,8,9.

      https://www.nature.com/articles/35107068

    • #Gilles-Éric_Séralini

      Gilles-Éric Séralini, né le 23 août 1960 à Bône en Algérie1, est un biologiste français, professeur de biologie moléculaire à l’université de Caen2. Il est cofondateur, administrateur et membre du conseil scientifique du CRIIGEN3, parrain de l’association Générations Cobayes4 et lanceur d’alerte5. Il est aussi membre du conseil scientifique de The Organic Center6, une association dépendant de l’Organic Trade Association (en)7, « le principal porte-parole du business bio aux États-Unis »8, et parrain de la Fondation d’entreprise Ekibio9.

      Il s’est fait notamment connaître du grand public pour ses études sur les OGM et les pesticides, et en particulier en septembre 2012 pour une étude toxicologique portée par le CRIIGEN mettant en doute l’innocuité du maïs génétiquement modifié NK 603 et du Roundup sur la santé de rats10,11. Cette étude, ainsi que les méthodes utilisées pour la médiatiser, ont été l’objet d’importantes controverses, les auteurs étant accusés d’instrumentaliser de la science, ou même suspectés de fraude scientifique12,13. En réalité, les agences de santé européennes et américaines réagissent sur le tard, indiquant les lacunes et faiblesses méthodologiques rédhibitoires de la publication (notamment un groupe de contrôle comportant un nombre d’individus ridiculement bas). Certains dénoncent aussi un manque de déontologie pour s’assurer d’un « coup de communication ». La revue Food and Chemical Toxicology retire l’étude en novembre 2013.


      https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilles-%C3%89ric_S%C3%A9ralini

      Dans le documentaire on parle notamment d’un article qu’il a publié dans la revue « Food and chemical toxicology », que j’ai cherché sur internet... et... suprise suprise... je l’ai trouvé, mais le site de Elsevier dit... « RETRACTED »
      Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize
      https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691512005637

      Il est par contre dispo sur sci-hub !
      http://sci-hub.tw/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fct.2012.08.005

      voici la conclusion :

      In conclusion, it was previously known that glyphosate con- sumption in water above authorized limits may provoke hepatic and kidney failures ( EPA ). The results of the study presented here clearly demonstrate that lower levels of complete agricultural gly- phosate herbicide formulations, at concentrations well below offi- cially set safety limits, induce severe hormone-dependent mammary, hepatic and kidney disturbances. Similarly, disruption of biosynthetic pathways that may result from overexpression of the EPSPS transgene in the GM NK603 maize can give rise to com- parable pathologies that may be linked to abnormal or unbalanced phenolic acids metabolites, or related compounds. Other muta- genic and metabolic effects of the edible GMO cannot be excluded. This will be the subject of future studies, including transgene and glyphosate presence in rat tissues. Reproductive and multigenera- tional studies will also provide novel insights into these problems. This study represents the first detailed documentation of long- term deleterious effects arising from the consumption of a GM R- tolerant maize and of R, the most used herbicide worldwide. Altogether, the significant biochemical disturbances and physi- ological failures documented in this work confirm the pathological effects of these GMO and R treatments in both sexes, with different amplitudes. We propose that agricultural edible GMOs and formu- lated pesticides must be evaluated very carefully by long term studies to measure their potential toxic effects.

    • #RiskOGM

      RiskOGM constitue depuis 2010 l’action de recherche du ministère en charge de l’Écologie, du Développement durable et de l’Énergie pour soutenir la structuration d’une communauté scientifique et le développement de connaissances, de méthodes et de pratiques scientifiques utiles à la définition et à la mise en œuvre des politiques publiques sur les OGM.

      Le programme s’appuie sur un Conseil Scientifique et sur un Comité d’Orientation qui réunit des parties prenantes.

      Les axes de recherche prioritaires identifiés portent sur les plans de surveillance générale des OGM, la coexistence des cultures, la gouvernance, les aspects économiques, éthiques et sociaux ou encore la démarche globale d’analyse de la sécurité des aliments contenant des produits transgéniques,

      3 projets en cours ont été soutenus après un 1er appel à proposition fin 2010. Fin 2013, suite à un deuxième appel, le projet (#PGM / #GMO90plus) a été sélectionné et soutenu à hauteur de 2,5 M€. Il vise à une meilleure connaissance des effets potentiels sur la santé de la consommation sur une longue durée de produits issus des plantes génétiquement modifiées.

      http://recherche-riskogm.fr/fr
      #programme_de_recherche

      Un projet dont fait partie #Bernard_Salles, rattaché à l’INRA, interviewé dans le documentaire.
      Lui, semble clean, contrairement au personnage que je vais un peu après, Pablo Steinberg

    • Projet #G-Twyst :

      G-TwYST is the acronym for Genetically modified plants Two Year Safety Testing. The project duration is from 21 April 2014 – 20 April 2018.

      The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has developed guidance for the risk assessment of food and feed containing, consisting or produced from genetically modified (GM) plants as well as guidance on conducting repeated-dose 90-day oral toxicity study in rodents on whole food/feed. Nonetheless, the long-term safety assessment of genetically modified (GM) food/feed is a long-standing controversial topic in the European Union. At the present time there are no standardized protocols to study the potential short-, medium- and/or long-term toxicity of GM plants and derived products. Against this backdrop the main objective of the G-TwYST project is to provide guidance on long-term animal feeding studies for GMO risk assessment while at the same time responding to uncertainties raised through the outcomes and reports from recent (long-term) rodent feeding studies with whole GM food/feed.

      In order to achieve this, G-TwYST:

      Performs rat feeding studies for up to two years with GM maize NK603. This includes 90 day studies for subchronic toxicity, 1 year studies for chronic toxicity as well as 2 year studies for carcinogenicity. The studies will be based on OECD Test Guidelines and executed according to EFSA considerations
      Reviews recent and ongoing research relevant to the scope of G-TwYST
      Engages with related research projects such as GRACE and GMO90plus
      Develops criteria to evaluate the scientific quality of long-term feeding studies
      Develops recommendations on the added value of long-term feeding trials in the context of the GMO risk assessment process.
      As a complementary activity - investigates into the broader societal issues linked to the controversy on animal studies in GMO risk assessment.
      Allows for stakeholder engagement in all key steps of the project in an inclusive and responsive manner.
      Provides for utmost transparency of what is done and by whom it is done.

      G-TwYST is a Collaborative Project of the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Community for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration Activities. The proposal for G-TwYST was established in reponse to a call for proposals on a two-year carcinogenicity rat feeding study with maize NK603 that was launched by he European Commission in June 2013 (KBBE.2013.3.5-03).

      https://www.g-twyst.eu

      Attention : ce projet semble être sous forte influence des lobbys de l’OGM...

      Fait partie de ce projet #Pablo_Steinberg, interviewé dans le documentaire.

      Pablo Steinberg est d’origine argentine, il est également le toxicologue du projet « #GRACE : GMO Risk Assessment and communication evidence », financé par l’UE :

      GRACE was a project funded under the EU Framework 7 programme and undertaken by a consortium of EU research institutes from June 2012 - November 2015. The project had two key objectives:

      I) To provide systematic reviews of the evidence on the health, environmental and socio-economic impacts of GM plants – considering both risks and possible benefits. The results are accessible to the public via an open access database and other channels.

      II) GRACE also reconsidered the design, execution and interpretation of results from various types of animal feeding trials and alternative in vitro methods for assessing the safety of GM food and feed.

      The Biosafety Group was involved in the construction of the central portal and database (CADIMA; Central Access Database for Impact Assessment of Crop Genetic Improvement Technologies) that managed the information gathered in the pursuit of the two objectives and in the dissemination of information.

      http://biosafety.icgeb.org/projects/grace

      La conférence finale de présentation du projet GRACE a été organisée à Potsdam... un 9 novembre... date-anniversaire de la chute du mur...
      Voici ce que #Joachim_Schiemann, coordinateur du projet, dit à cette occasion (je transcris les mots prononcés par Schiemann dans le reportage) :

      « Nous aussi, avec nos activités, nous essayons d’abattre certains murs et de faire bouger certaines positions qui sont bloquées. Je trouve que c’est très symbolique d’avoir organisé cette conférence à Potsdam, à proximité de Berlin et des vestiges du mur »

    • Prof. Potrykus on #Golden_Rice

      #Ingo_Potrykus, Professor emeritus at the Institute of Plant Sciences, ETH Zurich, is one of the world’s most renowned personalities in the fields of agricultural, environmental, and industrial biotechnology, and invented Golden Rice with Peter Beyer. In contrast to usual rice, this one has an increased nutritional value by providing provitamin A. According to WHO, 127 millions of pre-school children worldwide suffer from vitamine A deficiency, causing some 500,000 cases of irreversible blindness every year. This deficiency is responsible for 600,000 deaths among children under the age of 5.

      https://blog.psiram.com/2013/09/prof-potrykus-on-golden-rice
      Ce riz, enrichi de #bêtacarotène pour pallier aux carences de #provitamine_A, a valu, à Monsieur #Potrykus, la couverture du Time, une première pour un botaniste :

    • Golden Illusion. The broken promise of GE ’Golden’ rice

      GE ’Golden’ rice is a genetically engineered (GE, also called genetically modified, GM) rice variety developed by the biotech industry to produce pro-vitamin A (beta-carotene). Proponents portray GE ’Golden’ rice as a technical, quick-fix solution to Vitamin A deficiency (VAD), a health problem in many developing countries. However, not only is GE ’Golden’ rice an ineffective tool to combat VAD it is also environmentally irresponsible, poses risks to human health, and compromises food security.

      https://www.greenpeace.org/archive-international/en/publications/Campaign-reports/Genetic-engineering/Golden-Illusion
      #rapport

    • #MASIPAG (#Philippines)

      MASIPAG a constaté que les paysans qui pratiquent la production agricole biologique gagnent en moyenne environ 100 euros par an de plus que les autres paysans, parce qu’ils ne dépensent pas d’argent dans des fertilisants et pesticides chimiques. Dans le contexte local, cela représente une économie importante. En plus, l’agriculture biologique contribue à un milieu plus sain et à une réduction des émissions de gaz à effet de serre. Malgré cela, le gouvernement philippin poursuit une politique ambiguë. En 2010, il a adopté une loi sur la promotion de l’agriculture biologique, mais en même temps il continue à promouvoir les cultures génétiquement modifiées et hybrides nécessitant le recours aux intrants chimiques. La loi actuelle insiste également sur une certification couteuse des produits bio par les tiers, ce qui empêche les #petits_paysans de certifier leurs produits.

      http://astm.lu/projets-de-solidarite/asie/philipinnes/masipag
      #paysannerie #agriculture_biologique

    • #AquAdvantage

      Le saumon AquAdvantage (#AquAdvantage_salmon® pour les anglophones, parfois résumé en « #AA_Salmon » ou « #AAS ») est le nom commercial d’un saumon transgénique et triploïde1.

      Il s’agit d’un saumon atlantique modifié, créé par l’entreprise AquaBounty Technologies (en)2 qui est devenu en mai 2016 le premier poisson génétiquement modifié par transgenèse commercialisé pour des fins alimentaires. Il a obtenu à cette date une autorisation de commercialisation (après son évaluation3) au Canada. En juillet 2017, l’entreprise a annoncé avoir vendu 4,5 tonnes de saumon AquAdvantage à des clients Canadiens qui ont à ce jour gardés leur anonymat4. L’entreprise prévoit de demander des autorisations pour des truites5, des tilapias 5 et de l’omble arctique génétiquement modifiés6.

      Selon les dossiers produits par AquaBounty à la FDA, deux gènes de saumons Chinook et deux séquences provenant d’une autre espèce (loquette d’Amérique) ont été introduits7, (information reprise par un article du New-York Times8 et un article scientifique évoquent aussi un gène provenant d’un autre poisson (loquette d’Amérique9). En 2010, AquaBounty, produirait déjà au Canada sur l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard les œufs de poissons destinés à des élevages en bassins enclavés à terre au Panama10 pour des poissons à exporter (alors que l’étiquetage n’est toujours pas obligatoire aux États-Unis)10.

      Ce poisson est controversé. Des préoccupations scientifiques et environnementalistes portent sur les risques d’impacts environnementaux à moyen et long terme, plus que sur le risque alimentaire. La FDA a considéré que la modification était équivalente à l’utilisation d’un médicament vétérinaire (hormone de croissance et modification transgénique)11 et a donc utilisé son processus (dit « NADA12 ») d’évaluation vétérinaire. Dans ce cadre, la FDA a conclu que ce poisson ne présentait a priori pas de risques pour la santé, et pouvait être cultivé de manière sûre. Mais en 2013, l’opportunité d’élever un tel poisson reste très contestée13 notamment depuis au moins 1986 concernant les risques qu’il pourrait poser à l’égard de l’environnement14, l’autorisation de mise sur le marché pourrait être à nouveau repoussée15.


      https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/AquAdvantage
      #saumon #saumon_transgénique #AquaBounty_Technologies

      Aussi appelé...
      #FrankenFish


  • The answer is in nature | UNDP
    http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/stories/the-answer-is-in-nature

    Decades of poor management, pollution and overconsumption have thrown our water systems out of balance. And climate change is exacerbating the problem. At the current rate of water use, by 2050, more than half of the world’s population will be at risk of water shortages, according to Make Every Drop Count , a 2018 report from the United Nations and the World Bank on the global water crisis.

    Forests are our strongest allies in securing the freshwater resources life depends on. It is common knowledge that tree roots suck water from the soil to survive. But what is less known is the “rainmaker” role that trees play.

    Forty percent of our planet’s annual rainfall come from evapotranspiration, which happens when trees “exhale” moisture through their leaves. The mist this creates can be seen by satellites all the way in outer space.

    #eau #forêt #déforestation #climat #image_satellite


  • Climate change soon to cause movement of 140m people, World Bank warns | Environment | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/mar/19/climate-change-soon-to-cause-mass-movement-world-bank-warns

    Climate change will result in a massive movement of people inside countries and across borders, creating “hotspots” where tens of millions pour into already crowded slums, according to the World Bank.

    More than 140 million people in just three regions of the developing world are likely to migrate within their native countries between now and 2050, the first report on the subject has found.

    #climats #réfugiés #migrants #migrations


  • Groundswell: Preparing for Internal Climate Migration
    http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/infographic/2018/03/19/groundswell---preparing-for-internal-climate-migration?CID=CCG_TT_climate

    Internal climate migrants are rapidly becoming the human face of climate change. According to the new World Bank report “Groundswell - Preparing for Internal Climate Migration”, without urgent global and national climate action, Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America could see more than 140 million people move within their countries’ borders by 2050.


    #climat #migration_climatique #visualisations


  • Debt is creeping back up in sub-Saharan Africa - Daily chart
    https://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2018/03/daily-chart-7

    DURING the 1980s, African economies groaned beneath unpayable sovereign debts. By the mid-1990s much of the continent was frozen out of the global financial system. The solution, reached in 2005, was for rich lenders to forgive the loans that “heavily indebted poor countries”, 30 of which were in Africa, had received from the World Bank, IMF and African Development Bank. With fresh credit and better economic policies, many of these countries turned their fortunes around. By 2012 the median debt level in sub-Saharan Africa (as defined by the IMF) fell to just 30% of GDP.

    Today,however, the median debt-to-GDP ratio in the region is back over 50%. Although that figure may seem low by international standards, African countries collect relatively little tax and tend to pay high interest rates. As a result, they cannot afford to borrow nearly as much as their counterparts elsewhere do.

    Et tu te demandes bien pourquoi la faim sévit dans ces pays. Ah oui, le climat ! Cestes mais pas seulement.
    #dette #Afrique #prédation


  • Je n’en dirai pas plus (sinon, je vais trop m’énerver), juste quelques mots-clé :
    #invasion #préjugés #livre #afflux

    La #ruée vers l’#Europe. La jeune #Afrique en route pour le Vieux Continent de #Stephen_Smith

    Recension dans Le Monde, avec un titre tout aussi problématique... :
    Jusqu’où l’Europe peut-elle accueillir des migrants africains sans perdre son #identité ?

    http://www.lemonde.fr/idees/article/2018/02/28/jusqu-ou-l-europe-peut-elle-accueillir-des-migrants-africains-sans-perdre-so
    #migrations #asile #réfugiés

    • #le_jeune_continent, c’est dingue !
      Quant au spécialiste des chiffres,…

      Celui qui raconte ces grands préparatifs est un amoureux des chiffres, un fin connaisseur de l’Afrique et un globe-trotter qui a lui-même vécu entre Europe, Afrique et Etats-Unis. Aujourd’hui, il enseigne les Affaires africaines à l’université de Duke (Etats-Unis), après avoir été spécialiste du jeune continent pour Libération, de 1988 à 2000, et Le Monde, de 2000 à 2005, et avoir prêté son expertise à des organisations internationales (ONU, International Crisis Group).

      Très documentée, riche en références littéraires, son analyse se nourrit d’abord d’un suivi longitudinal des statistiques africaines, avec, en arrière-plan, le fait que 10 % des terriens se partagent 50 % des richesses, quand la moitié le plus pauvre de l’humanité ne dispose, elle, que de 10 % des biens.

      D’après le Crédit Suisse, en 2014, les chiffres étaient :
      • 1% de la population mondiale possède 48,2% de la richesse totale (46,1% pour l’Afrique)
      • 10% de la population mondiale se partage 87,4% de la richesse (78,3% en Afrique)
      https://publications.credit-suisse.com/tasks/render/file/?fileID=5521F296-D460-2B88-081889DB12817E02
      (à la fin du chapitre 4, p. 124)

      Chiffres repris par Oxfam, et cités par nos amis Décodeurs de Le Monde (article du 19/01/2015)
      (bon, d’accord, tout ça ce sont des estimations…

      La concentration des richesses dans le monde en graphiques
      http://www.lemonde.fr/les-decodeurs/article/2015/01/19/la-concentration-des-richesses-dans-le-monde-en-graphiques_4558914_4355770.h

      Deux jours avant l’ouverture du Forum économique mondial, qui se tient traditionnellement dans la station suisse de Davos, l’ONG Oxfam a publié un rapport accablant sur la concentration des richesses dans le monde. Basé notamment sur des données fournies par un rapport de la banque Crédit suisse, il révèle que 1 % des habitants de la planète possède 48 % du patrimoine, contre « seulement » 44 % en 2009. Le seuil des 50 % devrait être dépassé en 2016.

      Quant au précédent succès de librairie de l’auteur (Négrologie : pourquoi l’Afrique meurt, 2003),…

      Négrologie : pourquoi l’Afrique meurt — Wikipédia
      https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/N%C3%A9grologie_:_pourquoi_l%27Afrique_meurt

      [Stephen Smith] cherche à expliquer cet état de fait en « réhabilitant » l’Afrique comme actrice de sa propre histoire. Selon lui, en effet, la responsabilité historique des pays occidentaux dans le dénuement de l’Afrique serait exagérée et les caractéristiques sociologiques africaines seraient les premières responsables du sous-développement. Il pense que « l’Afrique meurt d’un suicide assisté » et qu’elle serait accompagnée dans sa chute par une forme d’« autisme identitaire » qui l’empêcherait de s’attaquer à ses maux.

    • Dites, ça m’intéresse beaucoup, mais j’ai pas de quoi passer le paywall de LeMonde. Quelqu’une peut-ille mettre le texte intégral pour un jour ou deux ?
      Quitte à modifier le commentaire ensuite, juste entre nous :p
      Merci merci.

    • #Stephen_Smith ravive le mythe des #invasions_barbares, Macron et l’Académie française applaudissent

      Deux universitaires, Julien Brachet, de l’IRD et Judith Scheele, de l’EHESS pointent la #responsabilité des #médias et des institutions influentes qui font la promotion du dernier essai « xénophobe et raciste » de Stephen Smith, « La ruée vers l’Europe. La jeune Afrique en route pour le Vieux Continent ».

      La mécanique semble bien huilée. À la sortie de chacun de ses livres, l’ex-journaliste Stephen Smith reçoit sous les projecteurs les louanges de personnalités politiques et de la grande majorité de la profession journalistique française, avant de s’attirer, plus discrètement, les foudres des universitaires.

      Son dernier ouvrage, « La ruée vers l’Europe. La jeune Afrique en route pour le Vieux Continent » (Grasset, 2018), ne déroge pas à la règle. En l’espace de quelques mois, l’Académie française lui attribue un prix littéraire, le ministre de l’Europe et des affaires étrangères, Jean-Yves Le Drian, lui décerne le prix du livre de géopolitique de l’année, et le président de la république, Emmanuel Macron, salue un homme qui a « formidablement bien décrit » les migrations africaines.

      Pourtant, la thèse de Stephen Smith n’est pas exempte de critiques, loin s’en faut. Cette thèse est simple : selon Smith « 20 à 25 % de la population européenne » sera « d’origine africaine » d’ici trente ans (p. 18) ; « l’Europe va s’africaniser. […] C’est inscrit dans les faits » (S. Smith sur France Culture, 17/03/2018). Une thèse qui joue sur les peurs de populations européennes déjà sensibles aux sirènes xénophobes, tout en assénant des chiffres avec autorité. Or, toutes les études scientifiques montrent que les projections de Smith en matière de flux migratoires sont totalement invraisemblables.

      Il n’y a pas de « ruée » des ressortissants du continent africain vers l’Europe et il n’y en aura pas dans les décennies à venir.

      Les travaux des démographes des universités, de l’INED et de l’ONU sont sans équivoque : le taux d’émigration des populations africaines est comparable à la moyenne mondiale (un peu plus de 3%) ; la grande majorité des migrants africains restent à l’intérieur de leur continent d’origine ; les immigrés originaires d’Afrique représentent 2,3% de la population d’Europe de l’Ouest, et moins de 2% de l’ensemble de la population européenne. Sans même parler de la part des seuls immigrés irréguliers : absolument négligeable d’un point de vue statistique, et sans commune mesure avec l’ampleur des moyens légaux et sécuritaires déployés à l’intérieur du continent africain pour les empêcher de venir en Europe.

      Au regard de la forte croissance démographique de l’Afrique, on peut légitimement supposer que la part des ressortissants d’Afrique subsaharienne dans les pays de l’OCDE va augmenter dans les décennies à venir. Mais dans des proportions nettement plus faibles que celles annoncées par Smith. Les experts du Fond Monétaire International prédisent par exemple qu’en 2050, environ 34 millions de migrants originaires d’Afrique subsaharienne seront installés dans l’ensemble des 36 pays de l’OCDE (dont seulement 26 sont situés en Europe), soit 2,4% de la population totale de l’OCDE. Les démographes des Nations Unies annoncent quant à eux qu’entre 2015 et 2050, le solde migratoire net de l’Europe sera de 32 millions de migrants, toutes nationalités extra-européennes confondues. On est très loin des « 150 millions » d’Africains dont Smith prévoit l’arrivée en Europe « d’ici à 2050 » (p. 178).

      Il ne s’agit pas ici de développer plus avant l’inconsistance scientifique des « prévisions » de Smith, son absence de rigueur méthodologique et la manière fallacieuse dont il utilise les statistiques démographiques, mais bien de souligner ses objectifs politiques.

      À la fin de son essai supposément « guidé par la rationalité des faits » (comme indiqué au dos du livre), l’auteur dévoile clairement sa position. Ainsi, lorsqu’il rappelle une énième fois que selon lui « la migration massive d’Africains vers l’Europe » n’est dans l’intérêt de personne, que les non-Européens noirs et arabes dérangent inévitablement les Européens blancs (p. 182, 212), que dorénavant, les « bons augures » pour l’Afrique seront « de funestes présage pour l’Europe » (p. 225), et après avoir assené pendant 200 pages que la « ruée » de la jeunesse africaine sur l’Europe était « inéluctable », Stephen Smith change de ton. Soudainement, une autre perspective est offerte au lecteur : « l’union forcée entre la jeune Afrique et le Vieux Continent n’est pas encore une fatalité. Il y a de la marge pour des choix politiques » (p. 225).

      De manière à peine voilée, Smith suggère que face à sa prédiction d’une invasion de l’Europe par les « nouveaux barbares », le seul salut possible passe par les bons « choix politiques ». Et Smith de donner un exemple en guise de conclusion : « seule l’entrée très sélective de quelques bras et, surtout, de cerveaux africains apporterait des avantages à l’Europe » (p. 223). Un exemple qui n’est pas sans rappeler le programme de certains partis politiques européens.

      À la lecture de « La Ruée vers l’Europe », il apparaît que Smith compile les souvenirs, les anecdotes de comptoirs et les données chiffrées sans se préoccuper de la plausibilité ni de la cohérence de son argumentation. Tout connaisseur des migrations africaines ne peut que constater que Stephen Smith ne s’embête pas avec une quelconque rigueur scientifique. Il ne cherche ni à étudier ni à comprendre les dynamiques des migrations entre l’Afrique et l’Europe mais vise à asséner un discours principalement idéologique.

      En signant un essai xénophobe et raciste qui ressemble à une vaine tentative de légitimation de la théorie complotiste du « grand remplacement » prêchée par les idéologues d’extrême droite, et en multipliant les références à Maurice Barrès, Jean Raspail, Robert Kaplan ou Samuel Huntington (p. 70, 72, 188, 220), Stephen Smith s’inscrit ouvertement dans une tradition idéologique dont les chantres prédisent depuis des décennies la fin de la « civilisation occidentale » voire du « monde blanc ».

      La question qui se pose alors est de savoir comment un tel ouvrage peut-il être si largement encensé, devenir un succès de librairie, et influencer le débat public ?

      Car Smith n’est pas inquiétant seulement parce qu’il est un fervent promoteur de l’idée selon laquelle les populations africaines seraient un #risque, un #danger ou une #menace pour l’Europe. Il l’est bien plus encore parce que des dizaines de journaux, radios et télévisions, des représentants politiques et des institutions influentes relaient ses idées délétères, et ce faisant les cautionnent. Tout en le présentant sous les traits d’un intellectuel apolitique, ce qu’il n’est pas. En cela, l’ouvrage de Stephen Smith est révélateur de la manière dont les opinions publiques peuvent se forger sur la base d’arguments tronqués, et des difficultés qu’ont les sciences sociales à imposer dans l’arène médiatique et politique des arguments sérieux sur des sujets complexes.

      https://blogs.mediapart.fr/les-invites-de-mediapart/blog/021018/stephen-smith-ravive-le-mythe-des-invasions-barbares-macron-et-l-aca

    • How Oracles Are Forged. The prophecy of an African scramble for Europe

      Alarmist predictions about African migration are all the rage. François Héran shows that they are based less on a demographic approach than on an economic conjecture, and on the fallacy that development in Africa can only be achieved at the expense of Europe.

      On the cover, a satellite image of Africa at night, and a title in yellow letters: “The Scramble for Europe”. A few dim points of light pierce the darkness in Nigeria, South Africa and the Maghreb, while others outline the Nile and its delta. The contrast with the bright splashes of light across the European continent is striking, and the message is clear: how could the populations of dark Africa not be attracted by the radiance of the North?

      Clearly designed to grab our attention, the title “The Scramble for Europe” [1] is not the editor’s choice; the author begins his book with his stark conclusion: “Young Africa will rush to the Old Continent; the writing is on the wall…” (p. 15). He backs his argument with two precedents: the exodus of poor Europeans towards the New World in the late 19th century and the mass migration of Mexicans to the United States since the 1970s. If Africans were to follow the Mexican example between now and 2050, then “in slightly more than 30 years, a fifth to a quarter of the European population would be of African origin (p. 18). In an interview published in the Figaro daily newspaper on 14 September 2018, Stephen Smith expresses surprise that some people—such as myself in a recent analysis— [2]question the validity of such claims. For Smith, challenging his predictions with arguments based on facts and figures is a “castigation” of his book, an attempt to “stifle debate”. My intention, on the contrary, is to reopen it. Given the gravity of the question in hand, it is important to look more closely at the methods, hypotheses and assumptions of a prophecy whose very appeal lies in its desire to shock, but also to convince.

      For the figures announced by Smith have reached their target. In an interview given on 15 April 2018, President Macron justified his immigration policy by evoking the African demographic “timebomb” so “remarkably described” in Smith’s book. In France, a number of intellectuals and politicians, from the centre left to the far right, have raised the spectre of his nightmare scenario to demand that political leaders “assume their responsibilities” in response to migrant inflows.
      An Inevitable Scramble, Provided…

      It is not until pages 139 and 143 of his essay that Stephen Smith makes the sensational announcement that a scramble of sub-Saharan Africans for Europe will only occur on “two key conditions”: that this region of the world escapes from poverty in the space of 30 years, and that its diasporas have already become well-established. We thus discover—and I will return to this point—that the prophecy of an Africanization of Europe is more an economic conjecture than a demographic forecast. Notwithstanding the UN biennial demographic projections that forecast a doubling of the sub-Saharan population before 2050 (from 900 million to 2.2 billion under the median scenario), Smith knows well that this will not be enough to trigger the human tidal wave that he announces. More powerful mechanisms are needed. But to argue his point, Smith presumes the veracity of the result he is seeking to prove. If we imagine that sub-Saharan Africa reaches the same level of development as Mexico within the next 30 years, then its inhabitants will migrate to the same extent as the Mexicans.

      But this overlooks the fact that sub-Saharan Africa is not Mexico—not even the Mexico of 30 years ago—and that Ouagadougou or Niamey have little in common with Mexico City or Guadalajara. If we measure the human development index on a scale of 1 to 10, as I did in the above-mentioned essay, most sub-Saharan countries are at level 1, Mexico at 6, France at 9 and the United States at 10. While from level 6 to level 10 migration is massive (25 million people in the diasporas concerned), from level 1 to level 9 or 10 it is limited (less than 2.3 million). So it is hard to believe that by 2050 development in sub-Saharan Africa will have accelerated to the point where it reaches the current relative position of Mexico.

      One cannot simply apply the hypothesis of a “critical mass” of inhabitants achieving prosperity to give plausibility to the scenario of a general transformation of behaviours in such a short time, especially in a region where the population explosion and the record fertility levels that are of such concern to the author reflect a persistent stagnation of the demographic transition. Pointing up this stagnation does not imply that Africa is doomed to chronic under-development; it simply adds a dose of realism: there is no evidence to suggest that sub-Saharan fertility will decline in spectacular fashion over the next few years, as it did in China, Iran or Algeria.
      Using the Known to Gauge the Unknown

      There is little need to refute the parallel with European migration to the Americas, given the vast differences between the New World pull factors of the 19th century and those of Europe in the 21st. I will examine the parallel with Mexico, however, as it illustrates the author’s method of documentary research and his mode of reasoning. The “Millman 2015” and “Douthat 2015” supporting references that he cites are not scientific studies but, in the first case, a Politico editorial by Noah Millman entitled “Africa will dominate the next century” published in May 2015, and in the second (missing from the bibliography but easily retrievable on the Internet), an opinion piece by Ross Douthat called “Africa’s Scramble for Europe” published in the New York Times in August 2015. If we compare the two texts, we discover that Smith’s long discussion of the Mexican analogy (p. 179) is filled with unacknowledged citations of Millman’s own words. But who is Millman? Head of Politico’s literary pages, he is neither a demographer nor an African specialist, but a former financier who knows how to do everyday arithmetic. His method is simple; it involves convincing the American public with scant knowledge of African realities that the known can be used to gauge the unknown, i.e. that the situation in Africa can be likened to that of Mexico. As for Ross Douthat, a regular author of op-eds on practically all topics, he is cited in turn because he cites none other than… Millman!

      At the end of the book, Smith explains that by continuing the timeworn practices of development aid, European policy “may end up turning the flow of Africans towards Europe into a tidal wave” (p. 225). The reader is puzzled. Does this mean that the demographic determinism proclaimed so loudly at the beginning of the book is not so inescapable after all? But few readers go so far. The message they take away is that of the book cover: there is no escape, Africa is out to conquer Europe.

      At global level it is not the poorest regions that produce the most emigrants, as the author well knows. He also knows that sub-Saharan Africans do not have the resources to emigrate in large numbers. Likewise, he is not unaware that development aid is more likely to stimulate emigration than curb it—to the point where some commentators credit him with this discovery, as if development economists had not already established this fact many years ago. But Smith’s knowledge in this respect is second-hand. He quotes extensively an editorial by Jeremy Harding, a contributing editor of the London Review of Books and author of a book recounting the experiences of migrants at border crossings (pp. 148-149). Smith’s essay thus includes research-based knowledge, but obtained indirectly—mainly from journalists or literary sources. I have no qualms with that; the problem lies in the fact that Smith no longer applies this knowledge when he imagines sub-Saharan Africa’s rapid escape from poverty and the migrant flows that this entails.
      Incomplete Documentation

      For a seasoned specialist of Africa, Smith’s documentation is surprisingly incomplete and obsolete. He claims, for example, that demographers have closed their eyes to the ongoing trends in African fertility. My analysis for “La vie des Idées”, cites numerous demographers (Caldwell, [3] Tabutin, Schoumaker, [4] Leridon, [5] Casterline, [6] and more) who have been signalling the slow pace of demographic transition in Africa and its link with under-development since the 1990s. Are demographers really so blind? It is the author who seems to be wearing blinkers; he cites none of these publications, all of which are easily accessible.

      Smith gives great credence to the findings of surveys of migration intentions compiled by the Gallup Institute in which one-third of sub-Saharans reported wishing to leave their country. He cites the figures from second-hand sources (via an article in a French daily) and without the slightest critical comment. However, we need to look at the actual question that was asked: “ideally, if you had the opportunity, would you like to settle in another country or carry on living here?”. In fact, when asked if they were planning to leave within the next 12 months or, more tellingly, if preparations were under way, the proportion dropped to below 5%. Dreams are one thing; practical realities are another. Italian researchers who retrieved the data from these surveys at the request of the European Commission reach the same conclusion: the Potential Migration Index constructed by Gallup on this basis is of no predictive value. [7]
      The Global Database of Diasporas: Discrediting the Notion of Communicating Vessels

      The most glaring omission in Smith’s essay is the absence of any reference to the Global Bilateral Migration Database, a major source of knowledge on the state of world diasporas developed over the last 15 years by the OECD, the World Bank and the IMF. [8] It served as the basis for my recent analysis in the monthly bulletin Population and Societies, and has been used by countless migration researchers before me. The open access Bilateral Migration Matrix comprises a table of 215 lines and 215 columns giving, for each country, the number of natives living abroad. It counts a total of 266 million migrants out of a world population of 7.7 billion. Information on origin and destination is systematically matched to ensure overall consistency.

      A series of additional indicators can be added to this open-access database to characterize each country, or the differences between countries, such as growth rate by sex and age drawn from the United Nations population projections. While it is more time-consuming to perform such analyses than to read political opinion pieces and literary editorials, they produce conclusions that have long been familiar to economists and demographers alike: the model of communicating vessels is a fallacy. It is wrong to imagine that the most fertile countries migrate to the least fertile ones, the poorest to the richest, the most densely populated to the least densely populated, the tropical to the temperate and, last but not least, the youngest to the oldest, as claimed in the sub-title of Smith’s book. I cannot count the times I have read that “high population pressures” will inevitably escape to fill the areas of “low pressure”! Alas, just because a metaphor is evocative does not mean that it is necessarily true. The image of a bursting pressure cooker is incapable of conveying the complexity of population movements. The largest emigration flows towards rich countries tend to be from middle-sized, middle-income nations such as Mexico and Turkey, or the countries of North Africa, the Balkans or Central Asia. And above all, from countries where fertility is already falling rapidly—which is certainly not the case in sub-Saharan Africa.

      In his interview in the Figaro newspaper, Stephen Smith dismisses the World Migration Database because it does not consider his scenario of rapid African economic growth! He seems to have got his wires crossed. A database which gives the world distribution of migrants at a given moment in time cannot take account of future growth hypotheses. But it forms a vital starting point for those wishing to make such hypotheses. Without this grounding in fact, hypotheses are plucked out of thin air and become unverifiable, at the mercy of all and any analogies, including the most implausible ones.
      An Economic Rather than Demographic Conjecture

      By cross-matching the global migration data and the United Nations projections for 2050 for each birth cohort, we can estimate the weight of the diasporas in receiving countries, on the assumption that current emigration factors remain unchanged. This is what I did in the September 2018 issue of Population and Societies, obtaining a number of sub-Saharan migrants in 2050 around five times lower than the figure advanced by Stephen Smith. What does this difference tell us? Simply that the scenario of a “scramble” of sub-Saharan African migrants to Europe is, for the most part, not built upon demographic determinism, but upon a highly speculative hypothesis about African economic development. The demographic reasoning in the book’s sub-title (“Young Africa on the Way to the Old Continent”) and in the introduction is actually very secondary in the fabrication of Smith’s prophecy. This is hardly surprising, given that he fails to analyse any data. [9]

      My estimates for 2050 are of the same order of magnitude as those obtained by two in-depth analyses based on the same Global Bilateral Migration Database, one by the World Monetary Fund, [10] the other by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission. [11] Smith cites the first, but without mentioning that since the 2000 censuses, the increase in numbers of sub-Saharans leaving the sub-continent primarily reflects population growth. In proportional terms, the share of migrants who remain in the region has changed little since 1990, at around three-quarters (70% today, versus just 15% who head to Europe). Internal migration within sub-Saharan Africa should benefit greatly from the treaty on the free movement of persons signed in March 2018 by 27 African countries.

      While Stephen Smith knows that extreme poverty is not a factor of migration, he perpetuates the other variants of the “communicating vessels” fallacy, notably when he mentions the inexorable pressure exerted upon ageing societies by surplus masses of young people impatient for emancipation. He even suggests that European societies, incapable of financing their pension systems due to population ageing, will face the dilemma of closing their borders and dying a slow death, or of opening them to keep the system afloat, at the risk of being submerged by a flood of African workers: “to maintain a minimum level of social security coverage, must we accept that a quarter of Europe’s inhabitants in 2050 – more than half of them aged below 30 years – will be ‘Africans’?” (pp. 179-180). The French text (p. 180) even speaks of “more than half of the under-30s” in the European population being “African” by 2050! And Smith inevitably mentions the famous report by the United Nations Population Division on “replacement migration” [12] regularly cited by the proponents of the “great replacement” theory.

      Yet the last scenario of this publication, in which young migrants serve to create a permanent numerical balance between the working-age population (15-64) and older adults (65 and above), was acknowledged to be unrealistic by the United Nations itself, due to the increase in life expectancy which is continuing to age the population. Freezing the ratio of young to old would involve massive inflows of migrants, who would in turn grow older themselves. The United Nations used this absurd fictitious scenario to show that immigration is not a solution to population ageing, including in France, and that measures of a different kind are needed (with respect to employment rates, working hours, retirement age).
      The Social Welfare Pie

      If one is truly convinced by the scenario of a massive and disorderly inflow of migrants from the South, then the only remaining question is whether there is still time to prevent it. With the debate couched in these terms, Smith can allow himself some hesitancy: policy makers still have “room for manoeuvre” but “time is running out”. There is one certainty, however, central to his argument: development prospects are “auspicious” for Africa, but “an ill omen for Europe” (p. 225). As if the two continents can only survive at the expense of each other. According to a Neapolitan custom, one must not wish a Happy New Year to someone without secretly wishing evil upon someone else. This is the linchpin of Smith’s book: not the rigorous analysis of a demographic mechanism, but an economic conjecture whose optimism for Africa (a closing of the development gap within 30 years) is more than counterbalanced by its pessimism for Europe.

      At the end of his essay, Smith reiterates the idea that immigration is fundamentally incompatible with the welfare state, a popular misconception totally disproven by the social history of western Europe since the Second World War. Need we mention the detailed studies on this question by the OECD, [13] extended more recently by d’Albis and his team, [14] which demonstrate that immigration or, more precisely, a sudden influx of migrants or asylum seekers, far from bankrupting the welfare state and raising unemployment, actually increases GDP and employment rates over the long term? D’Albis shows that the positive effect is merely delayed in the case of asylum seekers, and for a simple reason: they are not allowed to work until their asylum request has been granted.

      The error is always the same: forgetting that immigrants are also producers and consumers, tax-payers and pension contributors, imagining that they take from the collective pie rather than adding to it. Of course, they are an expense for society when they are young, an asset in adulthood, and become an expense again in old age but, as clearly shown by the OECD, this life cycle is the same for the rest of the population, with minimal differences linked to age structures. The idea the immigrants “steal” natives’ jobs or take an unfair share of their welfare benefits again harks back to the fallacy of a fixed quantity of resources to be shared, around which the entire final part of Stephen Smith’s essay is constructed. As if realism and respect for political and moral rights were irreconcilable. Until these research findings have been seriously refuted, they are irresistible. But evocative metaphors or implausible analogies are no substitute for scientific argument.

      Likewise, simply pitting the advocates of a fortress Europe against those of an open-door Europe is not enough to claim the title of pragmatist or upholder of the “ethics of responsibility” in opposition to the “ethics of conviction”. While the author regularly contrasts two extreme positions to establish his credentials as a moderate realist, he takes an extremist path himself when he claims that sub-Saharan population projections signal an imminent threat of mass incursion culminating in nothing less than the creation of “Eurafrica” (p. 227)
      Establishing the Facts: Neither Scaremongering nor False Reassurance

      Demography is like music: it attracts many players, but few know how to read the score. In the present case, the very nature of the tune is misunderstood: Smith’s essay is an exercise in economic speculation and sensationalist communication, rather than a demographic demonstration. In response to the fear of mass invasion, a falsely objective variant of the fear of others, it is the duty of demographers to explain the orders of magnitude of population movements. They must also identify the nature of the hypotheses put forward and of the prejudices upon which they are built. Contrary to popular belief, the purpose of demography is not to alarm or reassure but to take stock of the issues by establishing their true proportions. Only in this way can it provide the necessary insights for lucid long-term policy-making. Inflammatory metaphors have a powerful effect on public opinion, yet in these uncertain times, for the press and politicians alike, the true “ethic of responsibility” demands that they turn their back on false prophecies couched in pseudo-scientific language.

      https://booksandideas.net/How-Oracles-Are-Forged.html
      #oracles #prophétie

      #François_Héran

    • L’Europe doit-elle décourager les migrations africaines ?

      Le pacte de Marrakech sur les migrations a été adopté aujourd’hui par plus de 150 pays. En Europe, les arrivées d’exilés, notamment en provenance d’Afrique, devraient se multiplier dans les décennies à venir. Comment s’y préparer ? Quelle politique mettre en place ?

      https://www.franceculture.fr/emissions/du-grain-a-moudre/du-grain-a-moudre-du-lundi-10-decembre-2018
      #François_Gemenne


  • The way the world catches fish defies all economic logic — Quartz
    https://qz.com/1195914/the-way-the-world-catches-fish-defies-all-economic-logic

    The global fishing industry landed $164 billion worth of marine fish in 2014. However, taking into account labor, capital, and fuel costs and subsidies, global fisheries produced a net loss of $44 billion, according to the World Bank.

    By encouraging more fishing than is economical, government subsidies crash the supply of fish all the more, says Glenn-Marie Lange, economist at the World Bank and one of the report’s authors.

    “There are too many vessels out there that are not only financially unprofitable but fishing way beyond what can be regenerated by the natural population,” says Lange.

    #pêche #surpêche #subventions #écologie #mers


  • The World Bank’s investment wing must go
    http://africasacountry.com/2018/01/the-world-banks-investment-wing-must-go

    During a side event of its annual meeting in October last year in Washington DC, the World Bank quietly made an announcement that seemed tacitly to acknowledge that some of its private sector investments have gone awry. It turns out the Bank has been piloting a new Anticipated Impact Measurement and Monitoring (AIMM) system to oversee the activities of…


  • The Ghost of the Mechanical Turk | Jacobin
    https://www.jacobinmag.com/2017/12/middle-east-digital-labor-microwork-gaza-refugees-amazon

    It is significant that the World Bank thinks that Gaza and the West Bank are “particularly relevant” destinations for #microwork. In the global race to the bottom, the “bottom” is an open-air prison and an area under military occupation. According to their 2014 report, these sites pose “limited risks” to employers in terms of having to pay any full-time employment benefits or a minimum wage. Protections may be “risky” for employers. But making someone dependent for their survival on an algorithm with zero accountability is risky. Not paying them an adequate hourly rate to feed themselves or their family is risky. Irregular or excessive working hours resulting in repetitive strain, eye problems, or insomnia are risky.

    One of the big selling points of digital workplaces is also that they are blind to race and gender. But the inherent inequalities of these systems don’t go away just because participants remain anonymous. After Chinese labor camps were exposed for forcing prisoners to play profitable online games, gaming chatrooms began to use “Chinese gold-farmer” as a pejorative for worker-players trying to sell virtual goods. Syrian players in Shatila who viewed their gaming activities as leisure rather than work complained that their broken English or Arab names meant they were viewed by other players as unwanted guest workers or “gold-farmers.” Microworkers have no protection from similar dynamics on digital labor platforms.

    #digital_labor #Proche-Orient via @antoniocasilli


  • World Bank Unfairly Influenced Its Own Competitiveness Rankings - WSJ
    https://www.wsj.com/articles/world-bank-unfairly-influenced-its-own-competitiveness-rankings-1515797620

    The World Bank repeatedly changed the methodology of one of its flagship economic reports over several years in ways it now says were unfair and misleading.

    The World Bank’s chief economist, Paul Romer, told The Wall Street Journal on Friday he would correct and recalculate national rankings of business competitiveness in the report called “#Doing_Business” going back at least four years.

    The revisions could be particularly relevant to Chile, whose standings have been volatile in recent years—and potentially tainted by political motivations of World Bank staff, Mr. Romer said.

    The report is one of the most visible World Bank initiatives, ranking countries around the world by the competitiveness of their business environment. Countries compete against each other to improve their standings, and the report draws extensive international media coverage.
    […]
    I want to make a personal apology to Chile, and to any other country where we conveyed the wrong impression,” Mr. Romer said. The problems with the report, he said, were “my fault because we did not make things clear enough.” Mr. Romer said the World Bank is beginning the process of correcting the past reports and republishing what the rankings would have been without the methodology changes. He said he couldn’t defend “the integrity” of the process that led to the methodology changes.

    Chile’s overall ranking has fluctuated between 25th and 57th since 2006. During that period, the presidency of Chile has alternated between Ms. Bachelet, of Chile’s socialist party, and Sebastián Piñera, a conservative. Under Ms. Bachelet, Chile’s ranking consistently deteriorated, while it consistently climbed under Mr. Piñera.

    Recalculating the numbers could show significant changes to other countries as well.

    • Info arrivée via Sergio Coronado, député des Français d’Amérique latine dans la législature précédente qui possède également la nationalité chilienne…

      Je n’ai plus accès au WSJ (paywall) mais toujours au journal chilien qui reprenait l’info (et qui m’y avait conduit). Mais on a déjà trouvé le lampiste à qui imputer ces magouilles. Parce que les changements de méthodologie, hein, ça reste quand même super-sérieux.

      El Banco Mundial perjudicó los números de Chile durante el Gobierno de Bachelet - Cooperativa.cl
      http://www.cooperativa.cl/noticias/economia/competitividad/imagen-pais/el-banco-mundial-perjudico-los-numeros-de-chile-en-los-gobiernos-de-bachelet/2018-01-13/110242.html

      El Wall Street Journal apuntó a la figura del economista boliviano Augusto López-Claros.

      Augusto López-Claros, de nacionalidad boliviana (La Paz, 1955), es director de Indicadores Globales y Análisis del Banco Mundial, el departamento responsable del informe «Doing Business» y otros estudios internacionales de evaluación comparativa.

      De acuerdo a la biografía de su página web, anteriormente fue economista jefe y director del Programa de Competitividad Global en el Foro Económico Mundial (FMI) en Ginebra (desde el año 2003), donde también fue editor del Global Competitiveness Report (Reporte de Competitivad Global), la publicación principal del fórum, así como otros estudios económicos regionales.

      Como precisa la plataforma Thinking Heads, antes de unirse al Foro, López-Claro trabajó durante varios años en el sector financiero, ejerciendo durante cinco años como director ejecutivo y economista internacional superior en Londres en la firma Lehman Brothers International, cuya quiebra en 2008 incendió los mercados y aceleró la crisis mundial.

      De acuerdo a su página web, López-Claros se desempeñó como profesor de Economía en la Universidad de Chile y recibió un diploma en Estadística Matemática de la Universidad de Cambridge, Reino Unido, y un Doctorado en Economía de la Universidad de Duke, Estados Unidos