What Must COP27 Deliver?

A father and son remove their belongings from their flood-damaged home in Taluka, Pakistan. Credit: Research and Development Foundation (RDF)

By Felix Dodds and Chris Spence
NEW YORK, Sep 13 2022 – Preparations for COP27 in November are proceeding apace and we are now well past the halfway mark between the preparatory meetings in June in Bonn and the start of the summit in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. The agenda for Sharm El-Sheikh is complex and challenging. Furthermore, the meeting is taking place during a time of international turmoil. So, what are the factors influencing whether Sharm El-Sheikh can be a success? And what, exactly, does COP27 need to deliver?

Reasons for Optimism

Those looking for positive signs can name several. For a start, the recent passing of the Inflation Reduction Act in the US dedicated some $369 billion for climate and energy action—the largest investment in US history for tackling climate change.

The major weather events of recent months—from heatwaves across Africa, Asia and Europe to the catastrophic floods in Pakistan of the past few days—are a tragic reminder, if any were still needed, of the urgency of the climate crisis and the need for COP27 to deliver some strong, tangible outcomes

This will give the market more confidence to invest in green technology, whether it is solar, wind, microgrids, carbon capture and hydrogen, to name a few. It also shows commitment from the world’s largest economy and second largest polluter.

Second, the major weather events of recent months—from heatwaves across Africa, Asia and Europe to the catastrophic floods in Pakistan of the past few days—are a tragic reminder, if any were still needed, of the urgency of the climate crisis and the need for COP27 to deliver some strong, tangible outcomes.

A third, quite different factor may be the caliber of the incoming Egyptian presidency. While there has been some criticism of the host country’s human rights record and treatment of local NGOs in the lead up to COP27, some climate insiders have been impressed by the incoming presidency’s team led by Sameh Shoukry, Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs and COP27 president-designate, and Egyptian Minister for the Environment Dr. Yasmine Fouad, the COP Ministerial Coordinator and Envoy. Their quality has spurred hopes the Egyptian hosts could build on what is widely viewed as a fairly successful COP26 in Glasgow last November.


Dark Clouds Loom

Those are certainly reasons for hope. Yet the skeptics arguably have a stronger case. First, while the world’s climate crisis may have affirmed the need for urgency, the geopolitical and economic situation may be pushing in the opposite direction. The war in Ukraine has badly damaged relations between the West and Russia, while tensions over Taiwan have had a similar (if not so extreme) effect with China. These are hardly good conditions for building mutual trust and understanding—usually a prerequisite for a strong outcome in international negotiations.

One major side effect of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the West’s response, has been the energy crisis now engulfing Europe. There is also a predicted food crisis, not just from the war but also the impacts of climate change on harvests. Will this reinvigorate efforts at COP27 to find solutions or distract Western nations beset by inflation and a looming recession?

Closer to home, the latest round of UN climate talks, the Subsidiary Bodies meetings held in Bonn in June, were not wildly productive. A few procedural outcomes could not mask the ongoing disagreements in key areas like loss and damage compensation (including calls for a new fund), as well as slow progress in talks on adaptation and financing.

More recently, a G20 gathering of energy and climate ministers held in late August in Indonesia failed to approve a draft outcome document amid reports of disagreements and a “breakdown” in negotiations. This is a worrying outcome so close to the COP.

Another uncertainty, which may yet prove either negative or positive, is the change in leadership at the UN’s climate secretariat. With Patricia Espinosa stepping down in July, Simon Stiell was named as her successor in August. Mr. Stiell boasts an impressive CV, having held ministerial appointments in his home country of Grenada, as well as executive corporate jobs overseas. An engineer by training, he has been involved in the climate negotiations and knows the characters and issues well. His experience in government at a high level should help him engage with dignitaries and senior officials at COP27 and he will undoubtedly bring energy and vigor to the job at a critical time. Furthermore, coming from a small island developing state should give him greater legitimacy given their vulnerability to sea-level rise, thus ensuring his voice is heard loud and clear.

On the other hand, there is little time for him to get to grips with his new job if he is to have an impact on a COP that starts in early November. The runway for him to achieve liftoff at Sharm El-Sheikh is alarmingly short.


Key Topics for COP27 to Tackle

So what does COP27 need to deliver? The main criterion should be whether it produces concrete climate action. COP27 has been pitched as the “implementation” COP, where the goals of the Paris Agreement, helped by the rulebook adopted in Glasgow, begin to be delivered. What should this implementation look like?

Nationally Determined Contributions: Keeping 1.5 Alive: Revisiting countries’ nationally determined contributions (NDCs)—essentially their pledges and plans—at COP27 is important. Many feel it is imperative to maintain the pressure to improve the many NDCs delivered in time for COP26. However, only a dozen or so countries have submitted new or revised NDCs since Glasgow.

Of these, the new targets by Australia (43% by 2030 from 2005 levels) and India (45% by 2030 on 2005 levels) are noteworthy. But the pre-Glasgow “flood” of ambitious, headline-grabbing NDCs has now reduced to a trickle.

Depending on whether you just take the commitments by governments into account or include those of other stakeholders, we are currently still looking at a temperature rise of 1.8-2.7oC. Of course, this is much lower than estimates prior to Paris (2015), when some predicted a rise of 4-6oC by the end of the century. Nevertheless, those lower numbers still rely on all stakeholders delivering their promises. And they still take us well beyond 1.5oC.

For these reasons, more ambitious NDCs in the lead-up to, or during, COP27, would help deliver a major boost.

Climate Finance: The commitment made in Copenhagen in 2009 for US$100 billion a year for climate finance by 2020 was not achieved. This is particularly disappointing since the $100 billion was intended as a floor not a ceiling. Furthermore, most of the funding that was delivered came in the form of loans, not grants, which recipients would usually prefer.

It is evident, therefore, that we are locked in the basement when it comes to climate funding, and that major progress is needed for us to climb out of the hole.

The reality is that we need trillions, not billions, to address climate change and that government aid will not be enough. Still, progress by government negotiators on a new collective quantified goal on climate finance is needed. While this goal is not supposed to be agreed until 2024, COP27 will need to show significant progress and demonstrate we are heading firmly in the right direction.

Outside the government negotiations, observers will also be looking for progress by other stakeholders. For instance, the launch in 2021 of the Glasgow Finance Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) as a coalition of the willing will need to play a critical role.

GFANZ represents two-fifths of the world’s financial assets, $130 trillion, under the management of banks, insurers and pension funds that have signed up to 2050 net-zero goals including limiting global warming to 1.5oC. This includes targets for asset managers (halve emissions by 2030), asset owners (by 2030 net zero aligned portfolios covering emissions reductions), banks (net zero emissions from all activities and portfolios by 2050) and insurers (by 2030 net zero aligned investment, insurance and reinsurance underwriting portfolios).

The realignment of the market is critical to achieving our 1.5oC goal. The state of play with GFANZ and what transparency systems have been set up should be critically reviewed by NGOs and other stakeholders at COP27, with clear signs that these goals are real and not just empty promises.

Article 6–the Carbon Market: Another outcome from Glasgow was adoption of the rulebook covering Voluntary Carbon Markets under the Paris Agreement. This should open the door to billions of dollars of investments (in 2021 it was $2 billion). Furthermore, the rules agreed in Glasgow were generally seen as fairly stringent.

This is important because demand is set to grow for carbon offsets (removing/reducing emissions in one place to compensate for emissions elsewhere). Yet if these offsets are of poor quality—as some currently are—then we will not have a chance of staying within our 1.5oC goal.

To be successful, this market will need to improve its approach. For instance, certification should ensure that tree planting and other similar efforts address both climate change and biodiversity as an integrated set of challenges. More broadly, COP27 will provide an opportunity to assess early progress as we move towards implementing Article 6.

Loss and Damage: Given the number of extreme climate events recently, a long-term issue for negotiators—compensation for loss and damage caused by climate change—has developed into a major, pressing challenge for COP27. While developing countries in particular are looking for rapid progress, the Glasgow Loss and Damage Dialogues in Bonn in June did not set a well-defined narrative.

Clear disagreement could be discerned around the use of existing funding arrangements to address the issue versus the creation of a new loss and damage financial facility, which many developing countries favor. Progress on this issue will be important at COP27.

Global Goal on Adaptation: The development of the objectives and modalities for this goal to support the implementation of the Paris Agreement was discussed in Bonn in June. While it is still early days in this discussion, COP27 should recognize the different levels of development countries are in and the challenges they face and how this might inform the Global Stocktaking process in future.

There was also a commitment in Glasgow to double adaptation funding by 2025. This should raise the amount to US$40 billion annually. Again, COP27 provides an opportunity to give some early signals this goal will be achieved.

A Voice for Africa: With Egypt hosting this meeting, COP27 provides an opportunity to amplify regional voices from Africa in the conversation and to highlight issues of global justice and equity. A successful COP would, in our view, show a growing solidarity between the Global North and South on issues such as financing and loss and damage.


Navigating Complexity

Clearly, COP27 faces some significant headwinds given the current geopolitical situation. Nevertheless, we believe the Egyptian presidency has an opportunity to build on a solid COP26 and that its efforts to focus on implementation and secure some tangible outcomes is the right choice.

With the United Arab Emirates set to hold the Presidency for COP28, it will be fascinating to see whether this triad of presidencies—the UK, Egypt, and UAE—can help guide this complex and critical period in the negotiations to some positive conclusions.

Felix Dodds and Chris Spence are co-editors of the new book, Heroes of Environmental Diplomacy: Profiles in Courage (Routledge Press, 2022). It includes chapters on the climate negotiations held in Kyoto (1997), Copenhagen (2009) and Paris (2015).



With less than two months remaining before the next climate summit—COP27—begins in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, Felix Dodds and Chris Spence assess what needs to happen for it to be judged a success.

Cellebrite Empowers Lake Jackson Police Department with Agile Digital Intelligence Platform

PETAH TIKVA, Israel and TYSONS CORNER, Va. and LAKE JACKSON, Texas, Sept. 13, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Cellebrite DI Ltd. (Nasdaq: CLBT), a global leader in Digital Intelligence (DI) solutions for the public and private sectors, today announced their collaborative work with the Lake Jackson Police Department.

Big cases solved by large agencies with lots of resources may grab more headlines, but most communities depend on smaller police forces to do the hard work of keeping communities safe with just a handful of officers.

Detective Sergeant (DS) Christopher Collins, of the Lake Jackson Police Department in Lake Jackson, TX, understands what it means to be the only digital examiner in a department. He is literally a one–man band. Not surprisingly, DS Collins faces a number of challenges that those in small departments know all too well: multiple roles, budget constraints, outdated equipment, too many devices, and slow USB speeds.

In the two years he's been in his present position, DS Collins has learned how to use technology as a force multiplier to modernize his workflow and get the information his investigators need to move cases forward as quickly as possible. Right now, he is utilizing Cellebrite UFED 4PC, Cellebrite Physical Analyzer, and Cellebrite UFED Cloud.

DS Collins has high praise for the solutions he is using. "UFED 4PC"makes it extremely easy to run through a phone extraction and capture of evidence. With the on–screen instructions"there's almost no question on what to do because it gives you the steps to follow."

"Running it [data] through Physical Analyzer presents everything that you've captured and parsed through on the screen. It gives you that extraction summary screen, and I love that screen. It shows you what extractions have been completed or included in the report, and it breaks down photos, videos, text messages, instant messages, and device locations".The workflow is a lot easier to work through on that."

"Another thing [I like about] Cellebrite UFED Cloud is the public–facing cloud and social media profiles that Cellebrite UFED Cloud is able to capture. By putting in a URL or a username, it captures the public–facing images. Using Cellebrite UFED Cloud's feature to do that sounds way more forensically sound."

When asked what advice he had for officers, like himself, who are flying solo in their departments on how to use digital technology to better serve their communities and close the public–safety gap, here's what DS Collins had to say.

Train Up: Take up as much free training as you can. Reach out. If your department is part of the ICAC task force, go through ICAC training. They have a ton of resources for training that are free or very low–cost.

Get Cellebrite Trained. As DS Collins explained, "This was one of the best courses I've had. And the person who trained me, my instructor for my CCO and CCPA, actually pushed me to get my CCME because he saw how well I was performing in that class. He was a fantastic instructor."

Find Funding: While there are federal funds available, DS Collins recommends that those seeking funds to transform their department shouldn't focus strictly on federal grants.

Set Standard Operating Procedures: DS Collins is in the process of building a mandatory mobile device evidence collection course for basic–level patrol officers and even detectives because they need to be able to know how to handle devices collected at a crime scene.

When asked what gets him out of bed every morning and do his job, DS Collins paused for a moment then said: "In the simplest terms, it's justice for the victims. And the help that it will give those victims in restoring a normal life is insurmountable. That's the main thing that drives me, is to protect the children."

Zach Cohen, Vice President of State and Local Sales at Cellebrite, commented: "Detective Sergeant Chris Collins is a prime example of how a single, driven individual can introduce new technology to agencies, no matter the size. His efforts to educate other team members and dedication to training demonstrates an attitude that all analysts and investigators should emulate."

About Cellebrite

Cellebrite's (Nasdaq: CLBT) mission is to enable its customers to protect and save lives, accelerate justice, and preserve privacy in communities around the world. We are a global leader in Digital Intelligence solutions for the public and private sectors, empowering organizations in mastering the complexities of legally sanctioned digital investigations by streamlining intelligence processes. Trusted by thousands of leading agencies and companies worldwide, Cellebrite's Digital Intelligence platform and solutions transform how customers collect, review, analyze and manage data in legally sanctioned investigations. To learn more visit us at www.cellebrite.com, https://investors.cellebrite.com, or follow us on Twitter at @Cellebrite.

Cellebrite Media
Victor Cooper
Public Relations and Corporate Communications Director
+1 404.804.5910

Saint Lucia hails the 12th Annual IREX Citizenship and Residency Conclave a success

Castries, Sept. 13, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Citizenship by Investment Programme of Saint Lucia participated in the 12th Edition of the “IREX Citizenship and Residency Conclave” over the past weekend. The two–day event took place in New Delhi, India, from the 9th to 10th September 2022 at the Le Meridian Hotel.

The Saint Lucia Citizenship by Investment Programme was launched in 2016, making it the newest in the Eastern Caribbean region and it also happens to be one of the fastest growing programmes. It was recently recognised as the world's third best programme according to the CBI Index 2022, published by the PWM Magazine of Financial Times. St Lucia received a total of 78 marks ranking it third out of thirteen countries that were evaluated for the 2022 CBI Index

The “IREX Citizenship and Residency Conclave” is hosted annually to promote residency and citizenship programmes offered by various countries from across the globe to High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs). Presentations from several citizenship consultants, real estate developers and investment firms took place throughout the first day.

According to statistics from 2017, there were approximately 270,000 HNWIs in India, with these numbers expected to increase to around 950,000 by 2027. India also has the second largest millionaire outflow in the world with numerous individuals and families seeking foreign residency and citizenship.

The Saint Lucia Citizenship by Investment Unit was represented at IREX and gave potential applicants the opportunity to find out more about the Eastern Caribbean island thereby allowing them to explore new investment options.

The CIP of Saint Lucia is an attractive option for applicants seeking alternate citizenship as the minimum investment outlay for a single applicant is USD 100,000.

The geographical location of Saint Lucia makes it an extremely desirable location due to the global mobility that it offers as it is close to many major business hubs in the Americas. The country offers a safe and secure lifestyle in beautiful surroundings, world–class schooling facilities, and a stable currency. The Eastern Caribbean Dollar (XCD) has been pegged at a fixed rate to the US dollar since July 1976.

Saint Lucia is an excellent choice for the investor because business expansion and portfolio diversification is possible as there are many favourable opportunities to plan and spread ones wealth due to the wide range of investment programmes. Backed by a strong due diligence process, the programme is one of the most transparent in the industry as it gives investors and partners access to information on how the funds are used. Investments in countries such as Saint Lucia also tend to offer considerably more stable returns because of reduced political risk from upheavals or conflict.

Saint Lucia also has a large Non–Resident Indian (NRI) community, especially in the business sector. Tourism, real estate, banking and manufacturing are the prominent business sectors in the country, generating almost half of the country's total revenue.

Obtaining alternative citizenship from Saint Lucia comes with many non–economic benefits as well. These include reduced citizenship application timelines without the bureaucracy, extending citizenship to family, a high standard of living and enjoying the general benefits that come with living in modern, diverse countries. Other key benefits include access to modern healthcare facilities and quality education for the children of investors. Small island countries rank high in terms of freedom of expression, civil liberties, and political rights which all contribute to a high standard of living.

Being an island country, it also offers a tranquil environment; it is home to a pair of dramatically tapered mountains on its west coast with beautiful volcanic beaches along the coast. Saint Lucia is home to numerous spectacular reef diving sites that make it perfect for the adventure enthusiast

Saint Lucia's CIP programme is highly acclaimed, well–ranked and well–developed which gives individuals from all over the world the confidence that they would be making the right choice if they opted to take up the offer for alternate citizenship from St Lucia.

The IREX Conclave 2022 was a great success and gave investors from all over the world the opportunity to interact with the Eastern Caribbean country representatives and they got a better understanding on the technicalities of the Citizenship Programme offered by Saint Lucia. Investors attending the conclave in New Delhi were able to explore the wide variety of benefits that the Saint Lucia CIP offers, which include:

  • Lifetime citizenship that can be passed on to future generations
  • Efficient and confidential processing of applications
  • Full resident status, including the right to live and work in Saint Lucia
  • No residency requirements

The Government of St Lucia is meticulous about the use of funds generated through their Citizenship by Investment Programme with funds being utilised in the completion of developmental projects and upliftment of infrastructure, all of which benefit their citizens.

The IREX Citizenship and Residency Conclave was the perfect opportunity for the Citizenship Programme of Saint Lucia to promote itself and for investors from all over the globe to find out about the extensive benefits of investing in their CIP Programme.

World Leaders, Mostly Autocrats, Plan to Skip Upcoming UN Sessions

The UN General Assembly in session. Credit: UN Photo/Manuel Elias

By Thalif Deen
UNITED NATIONS, Sep 13 2022 – When the high-level segment of the UN General Assembly sessions begin September 20, the official list of speakers include 92 heads of state (HS) and 56 heads of government (HG).

But the “usual suspects,” mostly leaders of authoritarian regimes, are missing, including Vladimir Putin of Russia, Xi Jinping of China, Kim Jong-un of North Korea, Bashar al-Assad of Syria, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia and the much-maligned military leaders of Myanmar.

Some of these autocrats stand accused of war crimes, genocide, human rights abuses, persecution of journalists and clamping down on gender empowerment and civil society organizations (CSOs)—all at cross purposes with the UN.

A Western diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, described the absentees as “a veritable political rogues gallery”.

And as world leaders gather, the UN will also go into a lockdown mode next week with movements within the Secretariat severely restricted—and the building a virtual “no-fly zone.”

Thomas G. Weiss, a distinguished scholar of international relations and global governance, with special expertise in the politics of the United Nations, told IPS: “I don’t believe you can read much into their absence as they have held forth in previous sessions.”

“The General Assembly is an equal opportunity forum—thugs and champions have the podium and need not respect time limits”, said Weiss, who has been Presidential Professor at The Graduate Center, City University of New York, and Director Emeritus of the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies.

Other authoritarian leaders, who skipped the UN in a bygone era include Saddam Hussein of Iraq, Hafez al-Assad of Syria and the two Kims from North Korea: Kim Jong-il and Kim Il-Sung.

So did some leaders from the West, including Germany, which for unaccountable reasons skipped he UN sessions and sent in their second-in-command.

But Fidel Castro of Cuba, Muammar el Qaddafi of Libya and Yasir Arafat of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) did address the General Assembly (GA) in the 1960s and 70s.

Samir Sanbar, a former UN Assistant Secretary-General and one-time head of the Department of Public Information told IPS the level of participation and the extent of coverage would reflect a degree of U.N. relevance at these uncertain times of perplexed international disorder.

He said “distinguished speakers would aim to present their national credentials to an international audience and display their international standing to their national audience.

“Despite political rhetoric, even heads of state with public criticism of the United Nations find a personal need to appear there,” he noted.

Sanbar pointed out that former US President Donald Trump, who had persistently attacked the UN, appeared at the main table of the GA opening luncheon.as head of the host country (and later welcomed a number of visiting heads of state at his nearby Trump Tower residence).

President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil would seek to maintain his country’s habitual place as the first speaker. In the past, Libya’s Qaddafi marked his GA attendance by theatrically tearing the UN Charter. But still he sought to keep his delegate Abdel Salam Ali Treki as President of that same GA session.

“Let us hope that the attendance of so many heads of state and governments this session would draw more coverage and public interest than the past two years (when the UN suffered a pandemic lockdown).

“As you would recall, statements by over 90 heads of state at a previous session did not receive a single mention while a number of participant left for a “Global Concert” in Central Park, said Sanbar who had served under five different secretaries-generals during his UN career.

Andreas Bummel, Executive Director, Democracy Without Borders, told IPS it is sad that the UN is a stage for totalitarian autocrats to disseminate their propaganda.

“Whether or not they come to New York to do this each September can depend on many variables. Each case needs to be looked at separately. In general terms, if they stay away, I believe one should not read too much into it,” he noted.

UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told reporters September 9 “the mood within the UN Secretariat is business like and very busy, as we do before any General Assembly. Of course, this is the first General Assembly we’ve had in person since 2019. So, it does create a sense of excitement and a return to in person.”

“I think the message is to look around and look at all the challenges that we face today. Not one of them can be solved unilaterally by one country. Whether you look at climate change, whether you look at conflict, hunger, which are all interlinked, I don’t know what more… what greater definition we can give than multilateral problems that need multilateral solutions,” he argued.

“And we hope that Member States will recommit to finding solutions for future generations and for these generations in an atmosphere of cooperation, even if they continue to disagree on many issues,” declared Dujarric.

Speaking at the closing of the 76th session of the General Assembly, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the current session, like the previous one, was marked by a series of deepening challenges.

“Rising prices, the erosion of purchasing power, growing food insecurity and the gathering shadows of a global recession”, plus a “global pandemic that refused to be defeated — and the emergence of another health emergency in monkeypox”.

And deadly heatwaves, storms, floods and other natural disasters, he added.

But speaking of the coming 77th session, Guterres said it will continue to test the multilateral system like never before.

“And it will continue to test cohesion and trust among Member States. The road ahead will be challenging and unpredictable.”

“But by using the tools of our trade — diplomacy, negotiation and compromise — we can continue supporting people and communities around the world. We can pave the way to a better, more peaceful future for all people”.

“And we can renew faith in the United Nations and the multilateral system, which remain humanity’s best hope,” he declared.

IPS UN Bureau Report


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Africa Struggles with Neo-Colonialism

Elizabeth II dancing with Nkrumah, 1961.

By Anis Chowdhury and Jomo Kwame Sundaram
SYDNEY and KUALA LUMPUR, Sep 13 2022 – After a quarter century of economic stagnation, African economic recovery early in the 21st century was under great pressure even before the pandemic, due to new trade arrangements, falling commodity prices and severe environmental stress.

European scramble for Africa
Africa’s borders were drawn up by European powers, especially following their ‘Scramble for Africa’ from 1881 ending by World War One. Various culturally, linguistically and religiously different ‘ethnic’ groups were forced together into colonies, to later become post-colonial ‘nations’.

Europeans came to Africa seeking slaves and minerals, later building colonial empires. The US attended the 1884 Berlin Congress, dividing Africa among European powers. Colony-less ‘latecomer’ Germany got Southwest Africa and Tanganyika, now Namibia and mainland Tanzania respectively.

Namibia’s Herero and Nama peoples revolted unsuccessfully against German occupation in 1904. General Lothar von Trotha then ordered “every Herero … shot”. Four-fifths of the Herero and half the Nama died!

Communities were surrounded, with many killed. Others were held, with many dying in concentration camps, or driven into the desert to die of starvation. In 1984, the UN Whitaker Report concluded the atrocities were among the worst 20th century genocides.

Asymmetric interdependence?
Europe’s post-Second World War recovery benefited immensely from their primary commodity exporting colonies. After the wartime devastation, European imperial powers relied on colonial currency arrangements for precious foreign exchange.

Imperial power also ensured captive colonial markets for uncompetitive post-war European manufactures. Recovery and competition brought down commodity prices, especially after the Korean War boom. For well over a century, such prices have declined against those for manufactures.

As decolonization became inevitable, French politicians promoted the notion of ‘Eurafrica’, mimicking the US Monroe Doctrine’s claim to Latin America. French elite discourse insisted African independence should be defined by (asymmetric) ‘interdependence’, not ‘sovereignty’.

Although Germany lost its few colonies in Africa after losing the First World War, the influential West German Die Welt wondered wistfully in 1960, “Is Africa getting away from Europe?”

From decolonization to Cold War
The US was the first nation to recognize Belgian King Leopold II’s personal claim to the Congo River basin in 1884. When Leopold’s brutal atrocities and exploitation of his private Congo Free State domain, killing millions, could no longer be denied, other European powers forced Belgium to directly colonize the country!

Since then, the US has shaped the Congo’s destiny. The US has been keenly interested in its massive mineral resources. Congolese uranium, the richest in the world, was used in the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombs. But Washington would not allow Africans control of their own strategic materials.

Patrice Lumumba became the first elected prime minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). An advocate of pan-African economic independence, his wish for genuine independence and sovereign control of DRC resources threatened powerful interests.

Lumumba was brutally humiliated, tortured and murdered in January 1961. The shameful assassination involved both US and Belgian governments which collaborated with Lumumba’s Congolese rivals.

Struggling to stand up
Pan-Africanist leader Kwame Nkrumah wanted independent Ghana to chart an ‘anti-imperialist’ path, staying non-aligned in the Cold War. He wanted hydroelectric dams to power Ghana’s industrial progress, beginning by smelting its bauxite to develop an aluminium value chain.

The US, UK and World Bank agreed to finance the Akosombo Dam, on condition it provided cheap energy to a Kaiser Aluminium subsidiary to process alumina for export to Kaiser. This arrangement was only rescinded decades later, early this century.

Ghana made technical cooperation agreements with the Czechs and Soviets to build two other dams. But both were ended after Nkrumah was overthrown in a military coup abetted by Washington in February 1966. Thus, Nkrumah’s development ambitions for Ghana were killed.

A scaled-down Bui dam was finally built by Chinese contractors decades later. Nkrumah’s 1965 book, Neo-colonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism, was probably the final straw in embarrassing the West.

Elsewhere, Tanzania’s Julius Nyerere’s Ujamaa ‘African socialism’ focused on developing villages and food security. Western antagonism ensured Ujamaa’s failure, while his efforts were harshly condemned to deter other Africans from trying to chart their own paths.

Meanwhile, Nyerere’s pro-Western contemporaries were supported by the West. Such countries, e.g., neighbouring Kenya and Uganda, received much more Western aid although their development records have not been much better.

A luta continua
At independence, Zambia had no universities, with only 0.5% completing primary education. The country’s copper mines were mostly in British hands. Most people survived on limited land for the villagers, without electricity and other amenities.

Hemmed in by Western-supported racist states, President Kenneth Kaunda – a devout Christian – sought foreign help to bypass hostile South Africa and Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) to change the landlocked nation’s fate.

After the US and World Bank refused to help, he reached out to the Soviet bloc and China. China built a $500 million railway linking Zambia to the Indian Ocean through Tanzania.

Côte d’Ivoire has long been a major producer of cocoa and coffee. But three decades of misrule by its pro-Western founding father, Felix Houphouet-Boigny, ensured endemic poverty and stark inequalities, culminating in civil war.

In 2020, almost 40% of its people lived in ‘extreme poverty’. In 2019, the middle-income country’s human development index score was a low 0.538, which dropped to 0.346, when adjusted for inequality.

Both Kaunda and Houphouet-Boigny later abandoned their early, more neo-colonial policies. Zambia nationalized copper mines, hoping to improve living conditions, instead of enriching foreign investors.

Meanwhile, Ivorian cocoa was withheld to secure better prices. But both efforts failed, as copper and cocoa prices collapsed. Thus, both nations were severely punished for trying to better their fates.

Non-alignment best
During the first Cold War, Western hostility to African aspirations forced many to turn to the ‘socialist camp’ to build infrastructure and develop human resources. Washington then was as concerned with economic gain as countering ‘Reds’.

The Kennedy administration had increased foreign aid, urging allies to do likewise. But instead of supporting African aspirations, the West pursued its own economic interests while claiming to support post-colonial aspirations.

Increasing African government indebtedness over the 1970s forced many to accept structural adjustment programme policy conditions imposed by international financial institutions from the 1980s. Of course, developing countries following International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank prescriptions became Western darlings.

Nyerere observed: “The IMF … makes conditions and says, ‘if you follow these examples, your economy will improve’. But where are the examples of economies booming in the Third World because they accepted the conditions of the IMF?”

Cold War considerations have also meant US interest in Africa has waxed and waned. Now, the West warns of imminent Chinese ‘take-overs’ and nefarious Russian designs. China seems more interested in financing and building infrastructure, while Putin promotes Russian exports.

Neglected by the US after the first Cold War until its 21st century African initiatives, including Africom, African nations have increasingly welcomed alternatives to the West, albeit somewhat warily.

Together, the world can help Africa progress. But if support for the long cruelly exploited continent remains hostage to new Cold War considerations, Africans will choose accordingly. Non-alignment is now the pan-African choice.

IPS UN Bureau


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Building Leadership for Teachers in the Developing World

Credit: UNICEF

By Simone Galimberti
KATHMANDU, Nepal, Sep 13 2022 – If we truly want to re-imagine the role education can play in the decades to come, it is going to be indispensable to take drastic measures to elevate the role of teachers in developing countries.

The upcoming Transforming Education Summit in New York — September 16-19 — has the ambitious task to re-draw the traditional boundaries of learning, helping imagine how children of today can truly become equipped with the best tools to overcome the increasing challenges faced by the world.

It is clear that teachers in developing nations are the key agents for enabling such personal journey of growth and transformation and yet teachers are too often neglected and overlooked.

The issues the planet is facing– from income inequalities to climate change to geopolitical tensions– are all interlinked to each other.

An enhanced learning experience alone especially in the public schools around the developing world is a must, but it is something that has been pursued at best with very mixed results for decades.

Yet, the gap between private education and public school system in many emerging countries is not closing but rather getting bigger and bigger. At the same time, achieving better educational outcomes must be accompanied by a strong drive to embed a sense of civic engagement among the students.

Civic engagement is a sensitive issue that can be misinterpreted and used for the wrong purposes, including in the cases when politics enter in the fold by inculcating the mind of students with elements of hyper nationalism and chauvinism.

Instead of being a tool to allow students to step up for their communities, a tool that acts as civic glue, we can get the opposite results, with the formation of indoctrinated cadres with a closed mindset rather than an open one.

Teachers should be the ones who are able to bring in the tools that allow a student to grow with a positive desire to do better at a personal level but also for the enhancement of the society, creating the conditions for a quality learning that is not self-centered but rather aimed at the public good.

Therefore, all stakeholders involved in the educational sector have to reckon on how it will be possible to raise the profile of local teachers, creating the conditions for them to act as true agents of change.

Let’s not forget that we are talking about individuals who often have no other options in life than starting a teaching career and often do not have neither the qualifications nor enthusiasm nor passion for the job.

It is an enormous challenge for any developing nation, a challenge that it is not extremely costly but also difficult to design especially in terms of career development of the teachers.

If it is simply unrealistic to raise the bar in terms of mandating higher education specialization for all teachers in public schools while at the same time ensuring the inclusion of more strident accountability measures for them.

It is certainly positive that an exponential increase of funding for public education is going to be of the major topics to be discussed at Transforming Education Summit but funding alone won’t suffice.

We need to focus at micro level and imagine new pathways for those public teachers who are really passionate about their jobs, to obtain the indispensable tools they need to step up in their jobs, and help their students to “holistically” and unselfishly succeed at life.

For the many who are hanging around without love nor a commitment for their job, it is inevitable that governments must muster the courage and the resources for them to slowly transition out of their profession, a proposition, that, considering the already high level of unemployment plaguing most of the developing countries, is neither easy nor “politically” convenient.

Yet, if we truly want to rethink the way education work for the most vulnerable children, we really need to sketch out new paths for making teaching one of the most attractive professions in the developing world.

Programs like Teach for America and its affiliates around the world are, with no doubt, doing a great deal of good job by trying to include young graduated recruits in the profession for two years but though admirable, it is not enough.

We need to truly create an enabling framework for young graduates to embrace teaching for the long term, allowing them to make a precise choice in picking a career as a teacher.

That’s why the upcoming Summit should dedicate enough energies to think big about the teaching profession from a perspective of the South where teaching is not held in high esteem.

Why not then provide the resources, especially technical, to create national and local academies for building the teaching profession of tomorrow?

Sooner rather than later, it is going to be indispensable to set higher qualifications in order to teach at school but at the same time, governments could start changing the landscape of the teaching profession by setting up Leadership Academies for the Teaching Profession.

Imagine centers for learning, where the best teachers and the best principals from all public schools, can enhance their skills and knowledge throughout a holistic pathway of professional and personal growth.

Such academies could offer both full time intensive but also executive mode type of courses with the best experts working as faculties.

In the USA, the late billionaire Eli Broad committed a tremendous amount of resources in equipping schools’ executives, including principles through cutting edge capacity building trainings.

His philanthropic work also made it possible the creation of The Broad Center at Yale School of Management, a center Transformative leadership for public education.

This is the vision required to transform the education in the still developing and emerging world. It is not just about the commitment of the international community to fund public schools through multiyear plans.

What is required is tailored made plans to transform the teaching profession locally.

It is paramount we focus on leadership rather than just simply career development of the teachers. Leadership, after all, is what is required, to bring the quality of education to another level while promoting the virtues of civic engagement.

The upcoming Summit should devote tangible time for a conversation on how we can transform the teaching profession.

An inclusive quality education capable of building the skills for the 21st century can be realized only if the international community and developing nations work together to innovate in the field of educational leadership.

They need to find new ways to award the best local teachers and while helping those in the profession but disengaged and disinterested to find their own vocation.

Let’s not forget that truly transforming education in the developing world requires big and bold national plans but also a unique focus at micro level, working alongside those teachers who believe in their professions.

Finding novel ways to support their work can be the best legacy of the Transforming Education Summit.

Simone Galimberti is Co-Founder of ENGAGE, a not-for-profit NGO in Nepal. He writes on volunteerism, social inclusion, youth development and regional integration as an engine to improve people’s lives.

IPS UN Bureau


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What Does the African Continental Free Trade Agreement Hold for Women?

The African Continental Free Trade Agreement holds great potential by creating the largest free trade area in the world by number of countries -55 - it connects, bringing together 1.3 billion people and a combined gross domestic product (GDP) valued at US$3.4 trillion

The rate of female entrepreneurship is higher in Africa than in any other region of the world. Credit: Mantoe Phakathi/IPS

By Jemimah Njuki
NAIROBI, Sep 13 2022 – Agnes Opus sells cereals in Busia, the border town between Kenya and Uganda. This is her lifeline through which she caters for her immediate family’s needs from school fees to housing and medical care and support to her extended family. While she dedicates all her energy and time to this work which she loves, she struggles to meet all her needs. She faces many non-tariff barriers including harassment by officials and unclear and ever-changing information on trade requirements.

Agnes’ challenges are not unique to her. They represent the plight of millions of women across the continent engaged in cross-border trade. They have expectations that the Women and Youth in Trade Conference and the adoption of a Women and Youth protocol by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), will make it easy for women to trade.

The continent has the highest rate of female entrepreneurs globally with approximately 26% of female adults involved in entrepreneurial activity contributing between US$250 and US$300 billion to African economic growth in 2016, equivalent to about 13% of the continent’s GDP

The AfCFTA holds great potential by creating the largest free trade area in the world by number of countries -55 – it connects, bringing together 1.3 billion people and a combined gross domestic product (GDP) valued at US$3.4 trillion. The Women and Youth in Trade conference, hosted by H.E Samia Suluhu, the President of Tanzania, and the AfCTA secretariat aims at helping the AfCFTA work better for women and youth.

The conference is expected to come up with practical solutions and legislation that governments and other stakeholders must take to implement the protocol, but more importantly, to ensure women can benefit from the AfCTA. This is mission critical. The continent has the highest rate of female entrepreneurs globally with approximately 26% of female adults involved in entrepreneurial activity contributing between US$250 and US$300 billion to African economic growth in 2016, equivalent to about 13% of the continent’s GDP.

Despite this potential, women earn on average 34% lower profits than men. Structural barriers like the ones faced by Agnes hamper the growth of women-led or owned businesses. These barriers include discriminatory legal and customary frameworks and practices, gendered stereotypes, norms and biases, and an unequal distribution of unpaid care and domestic work. Together, they prevent the full and equal realization of women’s rights and their full, equal and meaningful participation and leadership in the economy.

To see real progress, the protocal should focus on ending these barriers through four strategies.

First, move beyond the mere signing of a protocol to implementable frameworks in each country. As an example, governments should pass legislations on preferential procurement that mandates the selection of services, goods or public works from women-led or owned enterprises and businesses that have gender-just policies and practices for employees and supply chains.

This would be a game changer. Today, only 1% of current public procurement spending of US$286.3 billion (15% of GDP ) in Sub-Saharan Africa goes to women-owned businesses. Evidence shows that if the amount of public procurement spending to women entrepreneurs were doubled, that would be US$5.7 billion while gender parity in public procurement would have women entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan Africa receive over US$143 billion in contracts from governments.

Second, governments need to facilitate trade not only in sectors where women are the majority, but to also support women to enter sectors where they are underrepresented. Sectors such as manufacturing, construction, and IT technology are some of the fastest growing sub sectors in the continent, yet women remain underrepresented.

In Kenya, where the construction sector is fast-growing, only 15.4% of registered contractors are women. Removing the barriers that face women in these sectors, including social acceptance, sexual discrimination, sexual harassment, and labor conditions including unequal pay would be a game changer.

Third, governments need to address the Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs). NTBs are considered neutral measures with gendered impacts. Women face specific constraints that undermine their economic activities, access to technical information and finances, and are often subject to harassment and extortion at borders.

They have less access to key trader networks and information about relevant procedures. Additionally, time-consuming trade measures and documentary requirements impinge more heavily on women. Addressing these should be part of a broader process for gender responsive trade policies.

And finally, there needs to be evidence-driven accountability mechanisms to track progress of the implementation of the new Women in Trade Protocols. Sex disaggregated data of trade volumes, gender indicators that track women’s engagement in Africa as well as a score card that shows how countries are doing is needed.

The CCADP indicator framework and score card that tracks country implementation of the Malabo Commitments is an example of how data can be used to bring accountability to continental commitments while integrating key gender indicators.

The conference is going to be a test of how committed governments are in making trade work for women like Agnes.

Jemimah Njuki is an Aspen New Voices Fellow and writes on issues of gender equality and women’s economic empowerment