Latest Developments, November 30

In the latest news and analysis…

Aid’s latest agenda
The Busan aid effectiveness summit has produced the final version of its outcome document which is chock-full of general promises on the future of “development co-operation.”
“We can and must improve and accelerate our efforts. We commit to modernise, deepen and broaden our co‐operation, involving state and non‐state actors that wish to shape an agenda that has until recently been dominated by a narrower group of development actors. In Busan, we forge a new global development partnership that embraces diversity and recognises the distinct roles that all stakeholders in co‐operation can play to support development.”

Perceived corruption
Transparency International has released the 2011 edition of its Corruption Perceptions Index, a ranking of 183 country/territory public sectors which places New Zealand at the top and Somalia and North Korea tied at the bottom.
“This year we have seen corruption on protestors’ banners be they rich or poor. Whether in a Europe hit by debt crisis or an Arab world starting a new political era, leaders must heed the demands for better government,” according to Transparency International’s Huguette Labelle.

Justice over reconciliation
Al Jazeera reports the International Criminal Court’s planned prosecution of former Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo is doing little to promote reconciliation in the troubled West African nation.
“As both camps [in Cote d’Ivoire’s recent conflict] traded blame, global human rights groups have warned that any prosecution focused solely on Gbagbo and not those of his rival, Ouattara, could threaten national stability.
Francis Dako, the African co-ordinator at the Coalition for the ICC, urged the court to prosecute both.
‘A decision to go after the defeated president alone at this point is likely to be explosive on the ground,’ he said.”

Development priorities
Bloomberg reports that US-based Newmont Mining has halted construction at a Peruvian gold deposit in response to violence between police and farmers worried the project will threaten their water supply.
“‘We can’t allow Peruvians to be taken hostage by groups that just preach violence,’ Pedro Martinez, president of the National Society of Mining, Petroleum & Energy, told reporters in Lima today. ‘Without peace there will be no development.’
Deputy Environment Minister Jose de Echave resigned yesterday to protest the government’s backing for the project, which seeks to produce 680,000 ounces of gold and 235 million pounds of copper annually.”

Bad faith
The Wall Street Journal reports on a UK parliamentary committee’s condemnation of defense contractor BAE Systems for its behaviour following a $400 million settlement reached over foreign bribery charges.
“BAE settled with the [UK’s Serious Fraud Office] in February 2010 over allegations that it concealed bribes paid in connection with a contract for an air-traffic control system in Tanzania. The defense contractor agreed to give GBP29.5 million back to the Tanzanian people as a part of the settlement, but failed to make payments to the country months after the deal was finalized. The delay prompted the hearing.

‘The way that BAE has handled this whole process has been quite shoddy,’ Committee Chairman Malcolm Bruce said in a news release. ‘Dragging it out this way has needlessly created the impression that BAE was acting in bad faith. The company should have paid up much sooner.’”

Inter-generational thinking
Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town Desmond Tutu and former Irish president Mary Robinson call on international leaders to begin negotiating a legal agreement on climate change that would go further than the soon-to-be-expired Kyoto Protocol.
“Climate change is a matter of justice. The richest countries caused the problem, but it is the world’s poorest who are already suffering from its effects. In Durban, the international community must commit to righting that wrong.
Political leaders must think inter-generationally. They need to imagine the world of 2050, with its nine billion people, and take the right decisions now to ensure that our children and grandchildren inherit a liveable world.”

Aid power
The International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development’s Don Marut writes about aid dependence and lists some of the pressures he believes underlie its perpetuation in Southeast Asia’s most populous country.
“Second, foreign aid is a way and tool for the developed countries and international financial institutions to control the recipient countries. The House of Representatives heard that there were 63 laws that had been drafted by foreign consultants.
These works are part of foreign aid in the form of technical cooperation or program support, whether they are in the form of loans or grants.
Indonesia is a country with an abundance of natural resources and has a strategic position in terms of global geopolitics.
Developed countries cannot just allow Indonesia to freely use up its resources. Aid is a soft way of controlling the policies of recipient countries, including Indonesia. The more the aid flows, the greater the control the foreign power has.”

Fighting fair
Embassy magazine’s Scott Taylor argues there is a point at which technological inequality in a military context becomes a question of morality.
“Responding to the question of whether NATO could be implicated for potential war crimes in Libya, [Lt.-Gen. Charles] Bouchard insisted his pilots had taken all possible precautions to avoid hitting civilians.
The example he provided was an incident whereby two NATO warplanes circled a Gaddafi loyalist anti-aircraft site for two hours, waiting for a nearby soccer game to end before they attacked.
If your technological advantage over the enemy allows you to hover for two hours with impunity over an air defence system before destroying it at your leisure, that is not really war, it’s murder. If a world champion boxer climbed into the ring against a blind paraplegic in a wheelchair and proceeded to pound the hapless victim to death, we would not consider it a sport.”

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