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This year’s spring meetings will take place in a context of global uncertainty generated by the election of president Trump in the US, the formalisation of Brexit in Europe, and the rise of anti-trade movements across the developed world which once championed it. Making the case for trade as essential to global economic health is likely to be front and centre at the meetings. Meanwhile, civil society will continue to bring to light the persistent disparity between the World Bank and Fund’s rhetoric and the realities of their policies on the ground. Issues such as the negative impact of the IMF’s fiscal policies on women and girls and the Bank’s continued push for privatisation, including the leveraging of private sector investments, will feature prominently at the meetings.

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China, Brazil, India and South Africa urge rich nations to honour their commitments made in Paris in 2015 to provide finance, capacity building and transfer of technology  to developing countries to fight against climate change

Leaders gathered in Paris in December 2015. The historical Paris agreement, adopted by Parties at the Twenty-first meeting of the Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC, reaffirmed the commitment of industrialized nations to fulfil their obligations on finance, capacity building and technology transfer to help developing countries fight climate change challenges.

On the morning of 4 April 2016, exactly one year ago, citizens around the world woke up to yet another shocking tax scandal. The leaking of 11.5 million confidential documents from Mossack Fonseca showed how the Panamanian law firm helped its clients through the use of offshore anonymous company and trust structures to launder money, dodge sanctions and evade taxation.

In the weeks which followed, the Panama Papers put the issue of anonymous company ownership high on the international agenda. The European Commissioner responsible for taxation, Pierre Moscovici, said that the use of offshore companies in order to hide financial assets from tax authorities was “immoral, unethical and, in one word, unacceptable”. He said that the EU had “a duty” to act and put an end to the kind of tax dodging uncovered by the Panama Papers.

2017 could be the year that brings us a binding international treaty on the respect of human rights by transnational corporations and other business enterprises. It would, logically, take priority over other bilateral or multilateral trade agreements because it would set out the minimum conditions to be met.

”It was so odd. I started reading up on the subject and became aware of the extent foreign investors were striking deals all over the country.
Pursuing this land grabbing story took him to a local journalist covering environmental issues at an early stage, who directed his attention to the Gambela National Park. Together they discovered that investors Saudi Star Agricultural Development had begun the development of a rice farm.
In order to make the sale to investors, the Ethiopian government displaced the local population.


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