Latest Developments, January 29

In the latest news and analysis…

Sahel drones
The Wall Street Journal reports that the US and Niger have signed a military agreement paving the way for what could be the first of several new American drone bases in the region:

“The U.S. and France are moving to create an intelligence hub in Niger that could include a base, near Mali’s border, for American drones that could monitor al Qaeda-linked militants in Mali’s vast desert north, U.S. officials said.

The signing of the so-called status-of-forces agreement with Niger was a necessary precursor for American military operations there, officials said.

Other countries in the region are also seen by U.S. officials as possible hosts for drone bases.

Current and former officials said the Central Intelligence Agency or the U.S. military may be able to reach a deal in which Algeria provides a drone base in exchange for equipment and training.”

Invisible war
Al Jazeera reports that both journalists and humanitarian workers trying to gain access to the conflict zones in Mali are distraught that they have neither freedom of movement nor access to even the most basic information:

“French officials have organised no press conferences in Bamako. Their press contingent in Bamako consists of a one-man band, whose main function is to refer media queries to Paris.
The Malian army has likewise restricted media access, barring journalists and human rights organisations from areas safely in its hands such as Konna and Sevare for some days. The lack of freedom of movement has also drawn criticism from aid groups, who say people are being blocked from fleeing the conflict.
On top of the roadblocks, communications have been cut wherever operations are underway, making it impossible to independently verify what is taking place.

There are no official death tolls either for civilians or soldiers. No-one interviewed by Al Jazeera could say where prisoners of war were being held or how they were being treated.”

Closer closure
The New York Times reports that the US State Department is reassigning and not replacing the official tasked with closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay:

“The announcement that no senior official in President Obama’s second term will succeed [Daniel] Fried in working primarily on diplomatic issues pertaining to repatriating or resettling detainees appeared to signal that the administration does not currently see the closing of the prison as a realistic priority, despite repeated statements that it still intends to do so.

Mr. Fried’s special envoy post was created in 2009, shortly after Mr. Obama took office and promised to close the prison in his first year. A career diplomat, Mr. Fried traveled the world negotiating the repatriation of some 31 low-level detainees and persuading third-party countries to resettle about 40 who were cleared for release but could not be sent home because of fears of abuse.
But the outward flow of detainees slowed almost to a halt as Congress imposed restrictions on further transfers, leaving Mr. Fried with less to do.”

134 countries
The Center for American Progress’s John Norris argues that the US may be providing “military aid” to too many countries:

“In 2012 the United States delivered bilateral security assistance to 134 countries — meaning that every country on Earth had about a 75 percent chance of receiving U.S. military aid. Once you weed out places like North Korea and Vatican City, you are pretty much assured of receiving military aid no matter how large or small your country, no matter how democratic or despotic your regime, no matter how lofty or minimal your GDP.

Equally troubling, military and economic assistance are treated as quite different creatures. For economic assistance, the United States has increasingly insisted that aid recipients at least demonstrate some marginal commitment to democracy and open markets. Not so on the military side, where concerns about corruption, the rule of law, and human rights are treated as something we are too polite to ask about.”

Right to move
The Raw Story reports that former New Jersey judge turned Fox News analyst Andrew Napolitano believes the US government should not have the right to restrict immigration:

“ ‘This is the natural law, a natural right,’ he added. ‘Rights come from your humanity. It doesn’t matter where your mother was when you were born.’ ”

Worked to death
The Mail and Guardian reports on the state of health of South Africa’s hundreds of thousands of current and former mine workers:

“The department of labour puts the number of former miners in Southern Africa who live with pneumoconiosis, which includes lung diseases such as asbestosis and silicosis, at nearly 500 000.

Health department figures show that the mining sector is responsible for 9 out of every ten cases of reported occupational lung diseases, and the gold mining industry has the fastest-growing TB epidemic in the world.”

Labour pains
The Financial Times reports that American tech giant Apple has found a range of workers’ rights violations, including child labour, in its supply chain:

“The California-based company, which has stepped up its auditing efforts in the past year under chief executive Tim Cook, said it had uncovered 106 ‘active cases’ of children being employed by its suppliers over the course of 2012, and 70 people who had been underage and either left or passed the age of 16 by the time of its audit.
None of those individuals is still employed by the suppliers, after Apple worked with its partners to help them spot fake identification documents or falsified records.

Overall it found that just under a quarter of its suppliers failed to comply with its labour and human rights standards, with other breaches including 11 facilities using bonded labour.”

Licence to drill
The School for International Training’s Christian Parenti argues that pressuring institutions to “divest their portfolios of fossil fuel investments” is not the best way to alter the oil industry’s behaviour:

“Some divesters say they can revoke corporations’ ‘social license to operate,’ a problematic term that emanates from the ‘corporate social responsibility’ scene and basically means ‘corporate reputation.’
Big Carbon has already lost its ‘social license’ and with no apparent effect on its real operations. Every year Gallup asks Americans how they feel about 25 leading industries. Every year oil shows up dead last as the most disliked industry in America. Last year it had a 61 percent disapproval rating.
What we need to revoke is Big Carbon’s actual, legal license to operate. Government grants that right. And the moral crisis generated by protest must crystallize as state action.”

Latest Developments, September 26

In the latest news and analysis…

Alternatives to development
Inter Press Service reports on last week’s third international degrowth conference in Venice:

“Renouncing economic growth in the North, say the proponents, would not only allow humanity to stay within the ecological limits of the planet but also contribute to restoring global social justice.

‘But what degrowth proponents (who reject economic growth) must be aware of,’ [Colombian anthropologist Arturo] Escobar told IPS, ‘is that development is much more than growth. So it might be that the global South needs some growth, in areas such as health, education, employment, decent standards of living, if this is subordinated to the principle of buen vivir and not under the currently predominant vision of development.
‘At the same time, the growth vision cannot be rejected for the North and considered acceptable for the South; the South does not need development, it does not even need sustainable development, it needs alternatives to development.’ ”

Double-tap strikes
The Independent reports on new research that suggests CIA drone tactics in Pakistan are relying increasingly on repeated, staggered attacks that are “killing an even greater number of civilians”:

“As the drone circled it let off the first of its Hellfire missiles, slamming into a small house and reducing it to rubble. When residents rushed to the scene of the attack to see if they could help they were struck again.
According to reports at the time, three local rescuers were killed by a second missile whilst a further strike killed another three people five minutes later. In all, somewhere between 17 and 24 people are thought to have been killed in the attack.”

Production chain problems
Reuters reports that controversial Apple supplier Foxconn had to close one of its Chinese plants for 24 hours following an outbreak of violence that highlighted “regimented dormitory life and thuggish security as major sources of labour tension”:

“[The violence] marked a blow to Apple’s top supplier as it ramps up production to meet orders for the iPhone 5 and seeks to rehabilitate its image after a labour audit this year found flaws.

Some labour groups say ultimate responsibility for strains rests with Apple, which they say puts profit above workers’ welfare despite pledges to cut overtime hours and improve workers’ livelihoods.
‘The whole Apple production chain has problems,’ said Li Qiang, with the New York-based China Labor Watch, that has scrutinized Apple and Foxconn for years.
‘Its sales and marketing strategy involves launching a product suddenly, without maintaining much inventory … so the subsequent product shortages help build demand, but also place extreme pressures on workers.’ ”

Global warming case
The Connecticut Law Tribune reports that a US court has ruled against residents of an Alaskan village seeking damages from major oil companies for allegedly changing the environment through pollution:

“The village, with a population of 400, is composed of 97 percent Inupiat Native Alaskans. The plaintiffs alleged that greenhouse gas emissions caused by the companies’ products had eroded sea ice that hugs the village’s coastline and protects it from powerful winter storms. The plaintiffs claimed that the entire village needed to move, at a cost of up to $400 million, to survive.

Other defendants in the case [besides ExxonMobil, BP America and Chevron] included ConocoPhillips, Royal Dutch Shell, the AES Corp., Duke Energy Corp., and Edison International”

Self-investigating
Wayne State University’s Peter Henning writes that in the US, “much of the effort to police corporate misconduct seems to have been shifted to lawyers retained by the companies under investigation”:

“Companies would prefer not to conduct an investigation at all. But having a law firm they hired overseeing the inquiry means they can maintain control over information, and minimize any surprises.

When lawyers report their conclusions, are they free from bias about the company that is also paying their bills?”

Gorillas over profits
Reuters reports that the UK government has expressed its opposition to a British company exploring for oil in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Virunga National Park:

“ ‘We have informed Soco and urge the government of DR Congo to fully respect the international conventions to which it is signatory,’ a foreign office spokesperson said in a statement seen by Reuters.
‘Foreign investments in sectors such as hydrocarbons … can play a vital role in boosting development of the DRC … Such investment needs to be done responsibly and sustainably, in compliance with local law and conforming to international standards,’ the statement said.”

Disarmament disarmed
Former Australian foreign minister Gareth Evans describes the latest news regarding the global nuclear disarmament process as “bleak”:

“There are those who will say that it is naïve to want a world free of nuclear weapons, much less to think that it can be achieved. But it is not naïve to be concerned about the most indiscriminately inhumane weapons of destruction ever invented – 23,000 of which still exist – with a combined destructive capability of 150,000 Hiroshima bombs. And it is not naïve to believe that non-proliferation and disarmament are inextricably connected: that so long as any state retains nuclear weapons, others will want them.
The genuinely naïve – or ignorant – position is to believe that statesmanship and foolproof controls, rather than sheer dumb luck, have enabled the world to go almost seven decades without a nuclear-weapons catastrophe. It is not naïve to believe that nuclear deterrence is both fragile operationally, and of thoroughly dubious utility in sustaining the peace. Nor is it naïve to believe that even if nuclear weapons cannot be un-invented, they can ultimately be outlawed.”

Measuring poverty
The UN News Centre reports that the President of the Dominican Republic, Danilo Medina Sanchez, has criticized the continued use of  “ ‘one-dimensional measurements’ centred on monetary income” for assessing a country’s development:

“He noted that the ‘optimism’ of international poverty measures does not seem to agree with the perception of many people around the world, who feel that the growth in gross domestic product has done nothing to lessen their sense of despair, nor, in particular, discontent among youth, who are not finding decent jobs.”

Latest Developments, September 12

In the latest news and analysis…

Reforms held up
Inter Press Service reports that the International Monetary Fund has warned of delays in reforming its voting system which is currently weighted heavily in favour of the US and European members:

“According to the IMF, based here in Washington, these reforms are aimed specifically at ‘enhancing the voice and representation of emerging market and developing countries, including the poorest’, and are supposed to be formally agreed upon by January 2013 to be officially integrated the following year.

China, for instance, today the world’s second-largest economy, only has voting rights on par with Italy. Under the new setup, China’s weight within the Fund would effectively double, along with that of several other emerging economies, while the voting rights of several developed countries would be curtailed.”

iPhone problems
The New York Times reports on fresh allegations of labour abuses at Chinese factories of Apple supplier Foxconn just as the world’s richest company is set to unveil its latest phone:

“Foxconn has acknowledged using student ‘interns’ on manufacturing lines, but says they are free to leave at any time. But two worker advocacy groups said Monday that they had spoken with students who said they had been forced by their teachers to assemble iPhones at a Foxconn factory in Zhengzhou, in north-central China.
Additionally, last week Chinese state-run news media reported that several vocational schools in the city of Huai’an, in eastern China, required hundreds of students to work on assembly lines at a Foxconn plant to help ease worker shortages. According to one of the articles, Huai’an students were ordered to manufacture cables for Apple’s new iPhone 5, which is expected to be introduced on Wednesday.”

Egyptian assets
The BBC reports that the British government is offering a lawyer to Egypt to help it recover assets held in the UK by allies of deposed Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak amid allegations London is dragging its feet on the matter:

“In February 2011, [British Foreign Secretary William] Hague told Parliament the UK had agreed to Egyptian government demands to freeze the assets of several former Mubarak officials.
But it took more than a month before Britain and 27 other EU states applied the sanctions. Egypt said the delay allowed the accused officials to move their money elsewhere.
A BBC Arabic and Newsnight investigation found that property and companies linked to key figures in the Mubarak regime have been largely unaffected by the sanctions.

Speaking earlier this month, Assem al-Gohary, head of Egypt’s Illicit Gains Authority, said: ‘The British government is obliged by law to help us. But it doesn’t want to make any effort at all to recover the money. It just says: “Give us evidence”. Is this reasonable?’ ”

Guantanamo death
The Toronto Star reports on the history of Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif, the Yemeni man who has become the ninth detainee to die at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, which US President Barack Obama had promised to close down in 2009:

“According to court records, Pentagon officials first recommended Latif be transferred out of Guantanamo in 2004, when it was determined he was “not known to have participated in combat/terrorist training.” Again in 2006 and 2008, the Bush administration authorized Latif’s transfer home to Yemen, according to his assessment file made public by WikiLeaks.
In 2010, the U.S. District Court in Washington agreed, ruling that the government had failed to prove its case and ordering Latif’s immediate release. But the court’s decision was overturned in appeal, and in June, the Supreme Court refused to hear the case.”

Fracking fight
Waging Nonviolence reports that the South African government’s decision to lift the moratorium on natural gas extraction through hydraulic fracturing is not going unchallenged:

“The industry’s argument that natural gas could diversify their energy supplies while creating jobs, all at a lower carbon cost than oil or coal, are particularly potent in those countries that suffer high unemployment, though African countries may also be especially skeptical due to their history of resource exploitation by outsiders. [Treasure the Karoo Action Group’s Jonathan] Deal noted that Shell’s reputation in Africa in terrible, particularly as a result of accusations of orchestrating the execution of environmental activists in Nigeria. Because of this, he explained, ‘Poor people are not that keen to trust.’ ”

Axing the tax?
Reuters reports that Ghana is reconsidering its proposed windfall tax on mining profits:

“The West African nation, the continent’s second-largest source of gold, proposed the 10 percent windfall tax on mining companies’ profits in its 2012 budget as part of measures to boost income to state coffers.
The government also raised the corporate tax rate on miners from 25 to 35 percent for this year.

The International Monetary Fund last year recommended that Ghana, which is also the world’s number 2 cocoa grower and an oil producer, consider raising taxes or introducing new ones to increase revenues.”

Silicosis suit
The Independent reports that nearly 3,000 South African miners are taking “FTSE 100 giant” Anglo American to court in the UK, claiming that working conditions destroyed their health:

“The latest court filing comes as Anglo is required to disclose information that will effectively decide the jurisdiction of the cases. Anglo argues that any hearings should take place in South Africa, but [British law firm] Leigh Day is examining whether a corporate restructuring in 2009 means that most operational direction now comes from the UK head office.”

Bases, bases everywhere
TomDispatch’s Nick Turse writes about what happens to US military infrastructure when wars end:

“Of those 505 US bases in Iraq, some today have been stripped clean by Iraqis, others have become ghost towns. One former prison base – Camp Bucca – became a hotel, and another former American post is now a base for some members of an Iranian “terrorist” group. It wasn’t supposed to end this way. But while a token number of US troops and a highly militarised State Department contingent remain in Baghdad, the Iraqi government thwarted American dreams of keeping long-term garrisons in the centre of the Middle East’s oil heartlands.
Clearly, US planners are having similar dreams about the long-term garrisoning of Afghanistan. Whether the fate of those Afghan bases will be similar to Iraq’s remains unknown, but with as many as 550 of them still there – and up to 1,500 installations when you count assorted ammunition storage facilities, barracks, equipment depots, checkpoints and training centres – it’s clear that the US military and its partners are continuing to build with an eye to an enduring military presence. ”

Latest Developments, April 30

In the latest news and analysis…

Land grab data
The Guardian reports on a new database of international land deals that indicates the rate at which investors are gobbling up Africa’s agricultural land.
“Researchers say 754 deals have been identified on the continent, covering 56.2m hectares – or roughly the size of Kenya.
Little evidence of job creation or other benefits to local communities could be found among the hundreds of largely export-oriented projects, said the report. In some cases, it adds, investors have secured hundreds of thousands of hectares of prime farmland at little to no cost. One deal in South Sudan, for example, has reportedly granted a Norwegian investor a 99-year lease for 179,000 hectares at an annual cost of just $0.07 a hectare.

But, so far, few large-scale projects have been established on the millions of hectares bought or leased for agricultural activities, according to the report, which says less than 30% of documented deals are thought to be in production. It suggests that some investors may have underestimated the challenges associated with their projects, while other deals are likely to be purely strategic and speculative investments.”

Suicidal tendencies
Reuters reports that workers at a Chinese factory owned by Apple supplier Foxconn have once again threatened mass suicide just weeks after the two companies came up with a “landmark agreement” to improve working conditions.
“The deal was agreed almost two years after a series of worker suicides at Foxconn plants focused attention on conditions at Chinese factories and sparked criticism Apple’s products were built on the backs of mistreated Chinese workers.
On Tuesday, Apple reported that its fiscal second-quarter net income almost doubled after a jump in iPhone sales, blowing past financial market expectations.”

Shell games
Amnesty International has slammed oil giant Shell for its response to allegations it has caused serious environmental damage in Nigeria’s Niger Delta.
“Shell says more than 70% of spills in the Niger Delta over the last five years were caused by sabotage or leaks caused by thieves. But such claims by Shell on the proportion of oil spilled as a result of illegal activity are not credible. Based on new evidence, more than half the oil spilled in the Niger Delta during 2008 – and possibly as much as 80 per cent – was due to operational failure, not sabotage.”

Defining crisis
The Globe and Mail’s Doug Saunders writes that “people with decent but ordinary employment” in places like London, Nairobi, Toronto and Mumbai can no longer afford housing.
“ ‘Every time house prices fall, the national newspapers say there is a housing crisis,’ says Alan Gilbert, a housing-policy specialist at the University College of London. ‘I would argue otherwise – the housing situation is better when house prices are stable or falling – because that means that demand is being outstripped by supply.’

If we really wanted housing to be profitable and plentiful, we’d tax owners on the annual rise in value of their property – a Land Value Tax.”

Who’s afraid of UNCTAD?
Jawaharlal Nehru University’s Jayati Ghosh analyzes last week’s contentious UN Conference on Trade and Development in Doha, which suggested the north-south divide is alive and well.
“The governments of the United States and other developed countries are keen to export what they see as democracy to different parts of the world, and to point out (with respect to countries that try to control information and freedom of speech) that it is impossible to control the spread of ideas. Clearly, they need to learn the same messages themselves, especially with respect to ideas and economic analysis.”

Power shift
OpenOil’s Johnny West calls on resource-rich countries to stand up to extractive industry multinationals.
“The IMF makes two surprising observations in its consultation document, albeit in carefully coded language. The first is that oil and mining companies might be ‘under-taxe’ relative to their profits and internal rates of return. The second is that ‘in some cases, governments might benefit from separating exploration from extraction – for example, by auctioning known deposits to the highest bidder’.
Behind these mundane words lies scope for a considerable shift in thinking.”

Post-neoclassical thinking
The Fung Global Institute’s Andrew Sheng argues that “sacrifice in the interest of unity” is the only path to a sustainable global economy.
“Meanwhile, existing political systems promise good jobs, sound governance, a sustainable environment, and social harmony without sacrifice – a paradise of self-interested free riders that can be sustained only by sacrificing the natural environment and the welfare of future generations.
We cannot postpone the pain of adjustment forever by printing money. Sustainability can be achieved only when the haves become willing to sacrifice for the have-nots.”

Economist accountability
Harvard University economist Dani Rodrik suggests his colleagues should take responsibility for the real-world damage their ideas can cause.
“In the aftermath of the financial crisis, it became fashionable for economists to decry the power of big banks. It is because politicians are in the pockets of financial interests, they said, that the regulatory environment allowed those interests to reap huge rewards at great social expense. But this argument conveniently overlooks the legitimizing role played by economists themselves. It was economists and their ideas that made it respectable for policymakers and regulators to believe that what is good for Wall Street is good for Main Street.
Economists love theories that place organized special interests at the root of all political evil. In the real world, they cannot wriggle so easily out of responsibility for the bad ideas that they have so often spawned. With influence must come accountability.”

Latest Developments, April 5

In the latest news and analysis…

Kony 2012, part II
The Guardian reports that the London School of Economics’ Craig Valters believes the newly released sequel to Invisible Children’s mega-viral video fails to address the criticism against its predecessor.
“Again, there is plenty of talk of turning power on its head. A form of ‘revolution’ as Ocampo put it. Firstly, who is harnessing this power? It certainly isn’t local Ugandans, who barely feature in either film, and who (judging from press reports) do not like the film one bit. Secondly, the film makes no mention of the UPDF (who the US has funded and worked with closely) who have committed many human rights violations. Thirdly, the film-makers (given their affiliation with Ocampo) clearly want Kony tried by the ICC. But the ICC is itself highly politicised, and has been criticised for failing to go after more powerful actors who have also committed crimes.”

LRA response
A document has appeared online, purporting to be a response by the Lord’s Resistance Army’s “Peace Team” to the Kony 2012 video.
“[Invisible Children’s] continued role is, to help sanitize the murderous regime of the army republic of Uganda – and maximally demonize the armed guerrillas in Uganda including the LRA – by working to pile all that is discreditable on the guerrillas, who are only one of the parties in the wars that the army regime has waged against the people of Uganda – while exculpating the murderous military machine of the regime of the army republic from any and all blame.
The principal endeavor of the masters of the Invisible Children is however to divert the attention of the people of Uganda and world democratic opinion from focusing on the real problems that face our African people under the army republic of Uganda and the search for their necessary resolution.”

Debt suicide
Reuters reports that the suicide of a pensioner outside the Greek parliament has turned into “symbol of the pain of austerity.”
“The 77-year-old retired pharmacist, Dimitris Christoulas, shot himself in the head on Wednesday after saying that financial troubles had pushed him over the edge. A suicide note said he preferred to die than scavenge for food.
The highly public – and symbolic – nature of the suicide prompted an outpouring of sympathy from Greeks, who set up an impromptu shrine where he killed himself with hand-written notes condemning the crisis. Some protested at night, clashing with riot police who sent them home in clouds of tear gas.”

Blaming Apple
In a letter to the New York Times, former UN special representative for business and human rights, John Ruggie, writes that Apple “contributes directly” to the well publicized problems at its Chinese supplier factories.
“Imposing stricter conditions on suppliers alone isn’t going to solve this problem. The brands also have to acknowledge their role and change their own practices accordingly. All major brands that source their products overseas, including Apple, have supplier codes of conduct. The time has come for them also to consider codes of responsible ordering practices.”

Drone HQ
The BBC asks “what it means to wage war from afar” during its visit to a New Mexico base where American and British personnel control drones.
” ‘I think it’s only controversial in terms of the media – they will make it controversial,’ said [Squadron Leader “Dex”].
‘We train to operate a weapon system in exactly the same way we would train in a manned aircraft – and we do the same job.
‘So to us there’s nothing controversial about it. Through our training and our smart decisions we avoid collateral damage as best we can. All of our engagements, all of our missions are legitimate and legal.’ ”

Decolonizing the franc zone
Former African Development Bank executive Sanou Mbaye calls the CFA franc zone “a formula for perpetual mass capital flight” from Africa to France.
“The CFA franc’s fixed exchange rate is pegged to the euro and overvalued in order to shield French companies from euro depreciation. But the currency’s overvaluation also underlies the lack of competitiveness that curbs franc-zone countries’ capacity to diversify their economies, create added value, and develop. Scandalously, they still have to surrender 50% of their foreign-exchange reserves to the French Treasury as a guarantee of the CFA franc’s limited convertibility and free transfer to France.

It is no wonder that the franc-zone countries have been unable to catch up with the performance of neighboring economies, most of which are undergoing the most prosperous period in their history. Since 2000, sub-Saharan African countries’ annual GDP growth has averaged 5-7%, compared to 2.5-3% for the franc zone. This gap should encourage the franc zone’s member countries to reject their relationship with France.”

Vying for influence
The Financial Times’ Alan Beattie writes that the World Bank’s structural inequality runs deeper than the US monopoly over the institution’s presidency.
“Emerging markets also complain that the bank’s lending practices give advanced countries control over the institution’s policy that is disproportionately large given their financial contributions. Much of the surplus from the commercial loans arm, which lends to middle-income countries, is ploughed back into the bank to provide low-cost loans and grants to the poorest nations. But control over those recycled funds rests largely with rich countries, which donate money on top and hold about half the voting power over the entire budget.”

Mismeasuring wealth
The time has come to replace GDP with “new indicators that tell us if we are destroying the productive base that supports our well-being,” according to the University of Cambridge’s Partha Dasgupta and the International Human Dimensions Programme’s Anantha Duraiappah.
“The United Nations University’s International Human Dimensions Program (UNU-IHDP) is already working to find these indicators for its ‘Inclusive Wealth Report’ (IWR), which proposes an approach to sustainability based on natural, manufactured, human, and social capital.

The IWR represents a crucial first step in transforming the global economic paradigm, by ensuring that we have the correct information with which to assess our economic development and well-being – and to reassess our needs and goals. While it is not intended as a universal indicator for sustainability, it does offer a framework for dialogue with multiple constituencies from the environmental, social, and economic fields.”