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Analysis

Very interesting report on the many ways multinational companies both drive and profit from environmental destruction ... and participate in the climate negotiations.

Given that a call for sharing is already a fundamental (if often unacknowledged) demand of engaged citizens and progressive organisations, there is every reason why we should embrace this common cause that unites us all.

Across the world, millions of campaigners and activists refuse to sit idly by and watch the world’s crises escalate, while our governments fail to provide hope for a more just and sustainable future. The writing is on the wall: climate chaos, escalating conflict over scarce resources, growing impoverishment and marginalisation in the rich world as well as the poor, the looming prospect of another global financial collapse. In the face of what many describe as a planetary emergency, there has never been such a widespread and sustained mobilisation of citizens around efforts to challenge global leaders and address critical social and environmental issues. A worldwide ‘movement of movements’ is on the rise, driven by an awareness that the multiple crises we face are fundamentally caused by an outmoded economic system in need of wholesale reform.

JOIN THE GLOBAL CALL

Trade liberalization policies and the extension of investors’ rights strengthened the international division of production systems, gave predominance to investors’ rights over environmental law and democracy, and ignored climate requirements.

In a recent article on trade liberalisation versus climate justice, both French associations make clear you cannot have both!

It is now more than 25 years ago that the World Bank declared it had a dream: a world free of poverty. And because it was and remains a dream, poverty is still with us.

But the dream had some nasty consequences: it buried all research and all theories on development economics. In its World Development Report of 1990 the WB started to build its new knowledge. The title of the report was ‘Poverty’, but in fact it concerned the new economics, the new state, the new social paradigm.

The World Bank published this week its newest World Development Report: 'Mind, Society and Behaviour'.

In a most cynical way, the World Bank now reduces poverty to a 'cognitive tax' that makes it impossible for poor people to think rationally and take adequate decisions. This report gives a 'theoretical' justification for sanctioning the 'non-deserving' poor and implicitly also for repressing resistance. A must-read.

The latest newsletter of Global Social Justice explains what is happening and how this new reasoning is a logical consequence of the World Bank's earlier thinking on poverty and development.

 

Bond argues that climate change movements, organizations and communities are not yet strong enough to shape climate negotiations. He also suggests that Latin American counterpower is vital to that struggle:

Global pessimism and local optimism: that’s how to quickly explain Climate Justice (CJ) ‘scale politics.’ Or, better: paralysis above, movement below.

The combination is on display again this week, in Lima, Peru, at the twentieth annual United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change ‘Conference of the Parties’, the ‘COP20’ (actually, ‘Conference of the Polluters’ is more accurate). So it is opportune to re-assess global environmental governance as a site of struggle, one that has proven so frustrating over the past two decades.

It is time again to ask, specifically, can hundreds of successful episodes in which communities and workers resist local greenhouse gas generation (‘Blockadia’ is Naomi Klein’s term for the newly liberated spaces) or seed local post-carbon alternatives, now accumulate into a power sufficient to shape climate negotiations?

The international community’s post-2015 development agenda will depend, in key aspects, on whether the delegates of 195 countries meeting now at the climate summit in the Peruvian capital reach an agreement to reduce global warming, since climate change affects all human activity.

Climate change’s effects on agriculture, health, poverty reduction or housing among vulnerable segments of the population mean progress in the search for a solution to global warming will have a major impact on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), said experts consulted by IPS at COP20.

The loss of tax revenues due to international tax evasion and avoidance significantly reduce the funds available to finance policies aimed at fulfilling the human rights of women and girls and gender justice.

Due to the structural nature of gender inequality and its intersection with other categories such as age, race-ethnicity, sexual orientation and income, women in most of societies continue to be overrepresented in the lowest quintiles of the income distribution, continue to be the most responsible  for unpaid and care work, continue to be concentrated in the most precarious and poorly paid jobs, are still a minority in the spaces of representation and leadership in political, labor or territories, still face gender-based violence, human trafficking, and continue to have their sexual and reproductive rights and autonomy limited.

Over the past couple of months, China has played a major role in launching initiatives to increase infrastructure financing for developing countries. In July 2014, China, together with the other BRICS nations - Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa - agreed to create a new development bank (NDB) that would have initial capital of 50 billion USD.

More recently, in October, 21 Asian countries agreed to establish a new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) for which China will provide up to 50 percent of initial capital. The bank's aim is to provide funding for infrastructure projects such as roads in underdeveloped Asian countries. Just last week, at the APEC Leaders Summit in Beijing, President Xi also announced the creation of a new Silk Road Fund to improve connectivity in Asia, for which China will provide USD 40 billion of capital funding.

While the initiatives have been criticized by some as a way for China to simply challenge Western-backed institutions such as the World Bank or International Monetary Fund (IMF) - as a result of Beijing's growing discontent with these bodies - there are others who believe the new development banks might have a positive impact on emerging economies.

Let us assume that you share the global consensus view on what the eurozone should do right now. Specifically, you want to see more public-sector investment and debt restructuring.

Now ask yourself the following question: if you were a citizen of a eurozone country, which political party would you support for that to happen? You may be surprised to see that there is not much choice. In Germany, the only one that comes close to such an agenda is Die Linke, the former Communists. In Greece, it would be Syriza; and in Spain, it would be Podemos, which came out of nowhere and is now leading in the opinion polls.

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