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This concise overview of the guiding principles, also known as the Ruggie Framework, clearly sets out the responsibilities of businesses to respect human rights. It contains case studies from Oxfam's work and examples of actions companies can take to improve their human rights record. The Briefing will be useful to companies seeking to understand how the guiding principles impact on their business model and for other organisations interested in business and human rights.
The people of Zimbabwe are expected to cast their votes in general elections in 2013. Because of the likelihood of a troubled lead-up to these elections, Zimbabwe’s political parties, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the United Nations (UN) are considering a series of measures aimed at preventing the re-occurrence of the violence and intimidation seen in 2008. This policy brief focuses on the context of these elections and considers a number of possible related trajectories
Within the development field, tax administration reform is an area of relative success. Over the past two decades, the national revenue systems of most countries in anglophone Africa have undergone major reforms. These comprise, in particular, the introduction of Value Added Tax (VAT), the adoption of ‘advanced’ tax administration practices, and the creation of semiautonomous revenue authorities. What do these reforms imply for emerging patterns of politics and governance in anglophone Africa?
Considering this question this paper offers a number of conclusions:
As the Syrian revolution enters its third year, the risks to regional stability are escalating. Violence has spilled over all of Syria's borders. The conflict has elevated sectarian tensions in Lebanon, threatening the 1990 Taif settlement that ended 15 years of civil war. It has sharpened ethnic and sectarian frictions in Iraq and engulfed southern Turkey. It has heightened tensions across the Syrian-Israeli border.
Violence has also spilled into Syria from across the region. Regional involvement in the conflict is deepening. Syrian refugees, now numbering more than a million, are straining the economies and the social fabric of receiving countries. This paper aims to address the implications of the regionalisation of Syria’s conflict and the challenges it presents to the stability of the post-Ottoman state order in the Levant.
This literature review aims to detail interventions that have attempted to increase levels of trust in society. It also looks at what the interventions have tried to do and if they were effective. The focus is on ‘trust’ from the perspective of accountable relationships with government (e.g. over taxes) and general economic relationships - and looking at the social side of state accountability and anti-corruption.
The report highlights a number of key findings:
interventions concerned with transforming state - society relations necessarily involve or require raising trust levels with in society and/or between state - society. However, only a few of these interventions present trust building as a central or explicit objective
It appears some development agencies treat ‘trust’ as a cross - cutting dimension that enters into discussions around related themes such as social cohesion, inclusion, accountability, and resilience
Some interventions do track levels of trust (within society, between state - society), sometimes as a (proxy) indicator of building social cohesion or social capital, but measuring trust levels and trust - building is challenging, and techniques are still nascent
Illustrative cases ofinterventions that have involved building and/or measuring trust levels in society have been found in four areas:
1) Social accountability
2) Community-driven development
3) Tax-related interventions
4) Transformative social protection.
The crisis in the oil-rich Niger Delta in Nigeria is one of the world’s forgotten conflicts in which thousands have been killed and the country’s vital oil industry has suffered. In the past twenty years, environmental destruction, youth unemployment, poverty and organised crime (such as massive oil theft) have persisted or even increased. The federal government’s brutal military intervention, ineffective development initiatives and a strategy of coopting powerful militant group leaders with judicial and economic benefits have failed to address the causes and drivers of conflict.
This paper offers analysis of the continuing crisis in the Niger Delta, and details a number of policy recommendations aimed at mitigating violence and progressing prospects for development. These include:
Strengthening accountability and mechanisms of redress at the local through to the federal levels of government and governance
Building the capacity of Niger Delta civil society as well as community and social organisations and movements to participate in decision-making processes related to local and regional development and oil production
Linking the reintegration into economic and social life of demobilised militants to local development efforts in the Niger Delta, with a particular focus on job creation and vocational training for youth
Strengthening Nigeria’s justice system to reduce judicial impunity, corruption, human rights violations by state security forces and [state-sponsored] criminality, such as massive oil theft and illegal oil lifting.
The High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda's report sets out a universal agenda to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030 through sustainable development. In the report, the Panel calls for the new post-2015 goals to drive five big transformative shifts:
Human rights have played a key role in ending dictatorships in Latin America, inspiring democracy, fostering social justice and generating a more empowered and active citizenship.
This guide highlights the key policies and practices that have made these advances possible. It explores the ways that states have implemented concrete legislative and public policy actions at the national and regional level to meet their obligations to protect and defend human rights. It then goes on to highlight the impact of the activism of a vibrant civil society in using these mechanisms to promote and guarantee the realisation of human rights, and in creating oversight mechanisms to monitor states’ compliance with their human rights obligations.
This paper analyses future trends for intrastate conflict in Africa up to 2050 using the International Futures (IFs) model.
After reviewing the main post-Cold War patterns of conflict and instability on the continent, the paper discusses seven key correlations associated with intrastate conflict in Africa. It then points to a number of reasons for the changing outlook, including the continued salience of various ‘structural’ conditions that drive intrastate violence even during rapid economic growth, recent improvements in human development alongside a strengthened regional and international conflict prevention, conflict resolution and peacebuilding regime.
Finally, the paper explores how multipolarity may impact on stability and forecasts trends for intrastate conflict in West, Southern, Horn/East and Central Africa.
The authors expect large-scale violence to continue its steady decline, although the risk of instability and violence is likely to persist, and even increase in some instances.
The pursuit of a development path primarily driven by abundant, cheap fossil fuels is coming up against diminishing reserves, rising prices and global warming. Managing the growing tensions resulting from this situation requires increased cooperation on the part of industrialised countries, emerging economies and poor countries, with each country haveing different responsibilities, and different financial and technological capacities.
The authors discuss the centrality of fossil fuels in the economic growth of the Western world since the nineteenth century and the key role of oil in the twentieth century and question the future of this development model in the face of geological and climatic constraints. They examine the gaps and misunderstandings that separate social sciences and natural sciences as well as recent attempts to establish interdisciplinary dialogue around ecological economics and industrial ecology. The authors then analyse what is at stake for developing countries, inequalities in access to energy resources, the failure of the global governance system to deal with mounting tensions associated with the depletion of oil and the environmental consequences of an ever increasing consumption of non-renewable resources.
Today a broad recognition exists on the nature and scope of global public risks, and their impact on development. Based on available evidence and recent evaluation work by the World Bank, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) and some bilateral donors, this chapter aims at highlighting the results achieved in the implementation of the ambitious official discourse on global public policies, and at suggesting necessary changes for aid agencies to be more consistent and effective in translating their policy commitments into their work.
While acknowledging some advances in the right direction (broad international recognition and improved costing of the global risks, consensus on the high vulnerability of the low-income countries and the need to act urgently, and substantial financing commitments) the author argues, based on available evidence from evaluations and effectiveness reviews, that only limited progress has been made in the aid delivery model and that the poor have not yet gained much from these undertakings.
The author makes the case that significant institutional, organisational and operational reforms must take place urgently in aid agencies. The international community, moreover, must address the high fragmentation and proliferation of the aid architecture, in order to set the stage for a credible response to the global challenges facing developing countries.
Kenyan democracy was severely tested in the lead-up to, during and after the 4 March 2013 elections. On 9 March, following a tense but relatively peaceful election, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) declared Jubilee Coalition’s Uhuru Kenyatta president-elect. He garnered 50.07 per cent of the vote –
barely passing the threshold for a first round victory. His closest opponent, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, challenged his victory in court, but despite allegations of irregularities and technical failures, the Supreme Court validated the election.
Although Odinga accepted the ruling, his party and several civil society organisations questioned the election’s shortcomings and its impact on democracy. President Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto, will have to restore confidence in the electoral process and show robust commitment to the implementation of the new constitution,
in particular to devolution, land reform, the fight against corruption and national reconciliation. Failure to do so risks further polarising the country and alienating the international community.
This paper offers a number of recommendations including:
Historically, indigenous peoples’ access to health services in Latin America has been limited due to a variety of social, economic and cultural factors. The misunderstanding of indigenous peoples’ world view and their definition of health makes it more difficult to design and implement public policies that reflect their real needs. This Brief presents the progress at the regional and country level, discusses advances in the design and implementation of intercultural health policies in areas with indigenous communities.
This resource is a summary of the talk by Roland Rich, Executive Head, UN Democracy Fund, given at PRIA (Socirty for Participatory Research in Asia), New Delhi on 30 March 2012. The speech titled, 'Deepening Democratic Governance: Relevance of South-South Cooperation' focused on five key, formative aspects of democracy and the role civil society can play in deepening these aspects. These are: