Latest Developments, May 30

In the latest news and analysis…

Beyond MDGs
The Guardian reports that the UN panel tasked with drawing up the post-2015 development agenda has claimed its new report presents “a clear road map for eradicating extreme poverty by 2030”:

“But the proposals do not include a standalone goal on inequality, reflecting [UK prime minister and panel co-chair David] Cameron’s priorities: growth rather than reducing inequality.

‘Nice goals, but the elephant in the post-2015 room is inequality,’ said Andy Sumner, a development economist at King’s College London. ‘We find in our number-crunching that poverty can only be ended if inequality falls so one should ask: where’s the inequality goal? Something resembling that elephant in the room – on data disaggregation – is in annex 1 of the report, but will anyone remember an annex note in 2030?’

The high-level panel proposed 12 measurable goals and 54 targets. Goals include ending extreme poverty for good, making sure everyone has access to food and water, promoting good governance, and boosting jobs and growth. Targets include promoting free speech and the rule of law, ending child marriage, protecting property rights, encouraging entrepreneurship, and educating all children to at least primary school level.”

Pros and cons
The Overseas Development Institute’s Claire Melamed argues that the post-2015 report’s absence of an inequality goal may prove a “wise decision” but calls the treatment of global partnerships a “missed opportunity”:

“An income inequality goal risks focusing campaigners and policymakers on shifts in, say, a country’s Gini coefficient – which is a pretty poor indicator of how people are actually faring, and doesn’t go to the heart of the multiple, intersecting inequalities, and the different dimensions of inequality. If talk of a ‘data revolution’ is carried through, and we know what is happening to the poorest and most remote communities – if their children are going to school, if they have healthcare, if they are at risk of violence – that is much more useful information than a shift in the Gini coefficient.

The panel has ducked some hard choices [on global partnerships] – or maybe failed to reach a consensus. There’s great language on the need for all institutions, including the private sector, to be much more transparent and accountable. The report goes beyond MDG eight by suggesting a target on keeping global warming within 2C. But there’s little that’s specific – instead of measurable targets, we get vague aspirations to create an ‘open, fair and development-friendly trading system’, or ‘reform the international financial architecture’, or ‘reduce tax evasion’.”

Corporate thinking
The Christian Science Monitor explores the “different paths” that EU and US companies have taken following the garment factory collapse that killed over 1,000 people in Bangladesh last month:

“Clothing firms quickly came under activist and union pressure to sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh: a five-year, legally binding commitment from retailers, whose suppliers will be subject to independent inspections and public reports. A finance mechanism also requires each firm to contribute to safety upgrades, at a maximum of $2.5 million each over the five-year commitment.

US firms, which have cited legal liabilities, have embraced a lawyer-driven dialogue that favors a corporate instead of consumer response, [International Marketing Partners’ Allyson] Stewart-Allen says. North American re-tailers say they are drawing up their own safety plan.”

Radioactive workplace
The Daily Times reports on allegations that a uranium mine run by Australia’s Paladin Energy in Malawi is a “death trap” for local workers:

“Rex Chatambalala, who said he worked as control room operator in the final product area until August 2010, said local workers are exposed to radioactive material, highlighting two worst areas.
‘The first is the pit or mine where workers are exposed to radioactive dust, and the second is the processing line starting from crushers to the final product area,’ said Chatambalala in an exclusive interview.
‘When pipes block, Malawians are the ones unblocking them and they do this manually. Supervisors just instruct from far, telling you even to pick a radioactive stone with hands.
‘The expatriates don’t work where they know it is dangerous. They send locals there while they sit the offices drinking coffee.’ ”

Lily pads
Nikolas Kozloff writes in the Huffington Post about the growing US military presence in and around Africa:

“Reportedly, the Pentagon wants to establish a monitoring station in the Cape Verde islands, while further south in the Gulf of Guinea U.S. ships and personnel are patrolling local waters. Concerned lest it draw too much attention to itself, the Pentagon has avoided constructing large military installations and focused instead on a so-called ‘lily pad’ strategy of smaller bases. In São Tomé and Príncipe, an island chain in the Gulf of Guinea and former Portuguese colony, the Pentagon may install one such ‘under the radar’ base, and U.S. Navy Seabees are already engaged in construction work at the local airport.”

Conflict catalysts
Peru-based filmmaker/journalist Stephanie Boyd argues that reporters who accompanied Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper on his recent trip to Latin America should have focused less on scandals back home and more on the human rights records of Canadian mining companies in the region:

“There are currently 229 social conflicts in Peru and over half of these are related to mining, oil and gas projects, according to Peru’s government Ombudsman’s office.

‘Many of Peru’s historic and current mining conflicts are related to Canadian companies,’ says Jose de Echave, who served as vice-minister of the Environment during President Humala’s first cabinet.
One of the most recent involves Vancouver-based Candente Copper, which hopes to build a copper mine in one of northern Peru’s fragile tropical forests. Leaders from the nearby indigenous community of Cañaris say the proposed mine would destroy their source of water and livelihood. Last year the community held a referendum in which 95 per cent voted against the mine, but the company has ignored the results and is pushing ahead with the project.”

Racist violence
Despite recognizing “legitimate concerns about the overbroad scope of some provisions,” Human Rights Watch pushes for parliamentary debate on a Greek bill aimed at protecting immigrants from the country’s growing number of racially motivated hate crimes:

“A version of the draft law seen by Human Rights Watch would protect migrants who are victims of, or substantive witnesses to crime from deportation, as well as their families, while the alleged attackers are prosecuted. Human Rights Watch research indicates that fear of deportation deters undocumented migrants from reporting attacks to the police.”

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Latest Developments, April 10

In the latest news and analysis…

Mine on hold
The Globe and Mail reports that a Chilean court has ordered Canadian mining giant Barrick Gold to suspend construction on its “massive” Pascua-Lama project:

“Barrick stock fell 8.6 per cent to a new 52-week low of $24.81 per share on Wednesday after the appeals court said Pascua-Lama should be halted as it reviewed complaints by local communities that the project is polluting groundwater and rivers in the Atacama desert region, one of the driest areas on earth.

A court source in Chile told Reuters that the appeal could take several months, and the dispute will probably end up in the Chilean Supreme Court.

Set at about 5,500 metres above sea level, the project is being built at the peak of the Andes mountain range between Chile and Argentina and is at once lauded as an engineering feat and decried as an environmental scar on ancient and pristine glaciers.”

War without borders
Radio France Internationale reports that France’s three-month old military operations in Mali could spill over into other African countries:

“ ‘We can’t think “Mali.” We have to think “Sahel” and beyond,’ said a French general. ‘Armed groups are going to operate from other countries in the region. In Libya alone, there are nearly 300 katibas. We made the jihadis’ GPS boxes talk and found frequent return trips between the Adrar des Ifoghas and southwestern Libya via the Salvador Pass in northern Niger. What’s more, we overheard conversations at the start of our operation in which al-Shabaab in Somalia offered to help al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.’ ” [Translated from the French.]

Pakistan’s 99 percent
Foreign Policy’s John Hudson expresses concern over the recent revelation that 98.8 percent of people killed by US drones in Pakistan during the 12-month period ending in September 2011 were not senior al-Qaeda leaders:

“Some advocates of the drone program trust the administration’s judgment, and feel that the White House deeming targets dangerous — even if they had no association with al Qaeda — is sufficient. But for others, the McClatchy report may only confirm allegations that terror suspects are killed with an insufficient degree of background information and oversight.”

A lesser form of justice
The Washington Post reports that senior commanders in the US military could soon lose their “virtually unlimited authority to reduce or overturn” court-martial verdicts:

“Anu Bhagwati, executive director of the Service Women’s Action Network, commended [Defense Secretary Chuck] Hagel but said the Pentagon needed to further reduce the power of senior commanders over the military justice system and give more authority to prosecutors and judges.
‘Unless pretrial decision making around investigation and prosecution of offenses is also removed from the hands of commanders and given to impartial prosecutors, military criminal justice will remain a lesser form of justice,’ she said.”

Who’s Dramane?
MaliWeb reports that Mali’s largest political party has picked Dramane Dembélé, a man who has worked for a number of foreign mining companies, as its presidential candidate in the national election scheduled for July:

“A mining consultant, he was national director of Geology and Mines from 2005 to 2010, head of a Mali-European Investment Bank mining project in 2004, and exploration geologist for private companies, such as CMCX, Barrick Gold and Pangea Goldfield.” [Translated from the French.]

Beyond MDGs
The Guardian reports that a group of European think tanks have said eradicating global poverty will require a broader approach than that of the Millennium Development Goals, which are set to expire in 2015:

“The report called on richer countries to collaborate in areas important to development such as international financial regulation, trade, migration and climate change. In a message to the EU in particular, the report called on member states to live up to the principle of policy coherence on development (PCD).
‘The concept of PCD is central, since it implies that all policies, and not merely development co-operation, should be conducive to development, eg policies in the areas of trade and investment or agriculture and fisheries should promote (or at the very least not thwart) development,’ said the report.”

Majority rules
Drawing on her recent experience of the Arms Trade Treaty talks, Oxfam’s Anna Macdonald argues that requiring consensus for international agreements is a recipe for paralysis:

“The requirement to reach consensus is in principle a means of protecting the rights and voices of even the smallest countries. It’s what can enable small island states and other vulnerable countries to stand their ground in the U.N. climate change negotiations. But too often the consensus rule works to protect the powerful, not the powerless. Big powers love consensus because it gives them veto power.

In a sudden about-face, the United States, the government that had insisted on consensus as the condition for its support throughout the [ATT] negotiating process, switched to calling for a vote as soon a possible.

This may not mean the United States now supports the majority process – but changing horses during the race meant the Americans could use the consensus process to get the text they wanted and then, by supporting the resolution [to take any blocked text to the General Assembly], they could ensure it went to a vote and passed.”

10 minutes
Transparency International drives home just how simple it can be for individuals to set up shell companies “in spite of global regulatory restrictions”:

“In fact, anyone with access to the internet can set up an offshore company. It takes about 10 minutes and consists of little more than a few sheets of paper and a few thousand dollars. This makes it too easy for corrupt individuals to hide their ill-gotten gains.”

Latest Developments, March 13

In the latest news and analysis…

Non-European pontiff
Reuters reports that the Argentine cardinal who has become Francis I, the first ever Latin American pope, faces “sharp questions” about the role he played decades ago in his country’s Dirty War:

“ ‘History condemns him. It shows him to be opposed to all innovation in the Church and above all, during the dictatorship, it shows he was very cozy with the military,’ Fortunato Mallimacci, the former dean of social sciences at the Universidad de Buenos Aires, once said.
His actions during this period strained his relations with many brother Jesuits around the world, who tend to be more politically liberal.
Those who defend [Jorge] Bergoglio say there is no proof behind these claims and, on the contrary, they say the priest helped many dissidents escape during the military junta’s rule.”

Investor bias
Reuters also reports that Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa has proposed a bill to “annul” his country’s investment protection treaty with the US:

“Correa, who won a sweeping re-election victory in mid-February, said over the weekend that the OPEC-member country could go bankrupt because arbitration tribunals always rule that Ecuador should pay damages to foreign investors when there is a dispute.
‘These (investment) treaties favor foreign investors over human beings. Anyone can take us to an arbitration tribunal without first going to a national court,’ he said on Saturday.

Ecuador has signed 23 investment protection treaties, which has allowed foreign companies to file 39 arbitration requests at the World Bank’s International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), state-run media said on Monday.”

Shareholder battle
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Chevron is moving to block activist shareholders that want the US oil giant to settle a multibillion-dollar lawsuit over alleged environmental destruction in Ecuador:

“ ‘I’ve never had a case of a company playing such hardball tactics against its own shareholders this way,’ said Simon Billenness with Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations.

‘The feeling among institutional shareholders is we really have to draw a line in the sand here, because we can’t have companies using these tactics against shareholders in the future,’ he said.”

Changing tactics
The BBC reports that Guatemala is looking for bold new ways to deal with drug trafficking beyond what the country’s interior minister calls a “failed” military campaign:

“This idea, being put forward by Guatemala to decriminalise and regulate the international trade in drugs such as heroin and cocaine, is unequivocally condemned by Britain and other Western governments.

Guatemala is not yet clear on how decriminalisation would work. The idea of legal containers of cocaine being loaded onto ships in port might be far-fetched, but with the drugs trade undermining fragile states such as Afghanistan and Burma, its initiative for change is gaining support.”

Getting worse
Al Jazeera reports on the state of the Guantanamo Bay prison more than four years after US President Barack Obama promised to shut down the controversial facility on his first day in office:

“ ‘I think we need to understand what we mean when we talk about closure, we don’t mean transfer or prosecute which is what many of the critics of Guantanamo would like to see happen. When the US government talks about closing Guantanamo, they talk about moving some set of detainees to some other place where they continue to be detained without charge,’ [according to Georgetown University’s Jennifer Daskal].”

Unintended consequences
Makerere University’s Mahmood Mamdani calls the International Criminal Court “the single factor with the most influence” in Kenya’s recent presidential election:

“Whereas the 2010 referendum had a de-ethnicising effect on Kenyan politics, the involvement of the ICC had the opposite effect, re-ethnicising Kenyan politics, with more and more ethnicities organising politically and centrally. The result is that the country has re-divided into two large ethnic coalitions.

The ICC process has polarised politics in Kenya because the electoral process did not unfold on a level playing field. Led by individuals who stand charged before the ICC, one side in the electoral contest is, and so it can not contemplate defeat. The simple fact is that, if defeated, they would lose all.
Everyone knows that the worst thing to do in a contest is to leave your opponent without an escape route. If you do that, you turn the contest into a life-and-death struggle. You transform adversaries into enemies.”

Reporting differently
Cornell University’s Mukoma Wa Ngugi writes that “Western journalists have been left behind by an Africa moving forward”:

“For western journalism to be taken seriously by Africans and Westerners alike, it needs Africans to vouch for stories rather than satirizing them. I am not saying that journalism needs the subject to agree with the content, but the search for journalistic truth takes place within a broad societal consensus. That is, while one may disagree with particular reportage and the facts, the spirit of the essay should not be in question. But Africans are saying that the journalists are not representing the complex truth of the continent; that Western journalists are not only misrepresenting the truth, but are in spirit working against the continent. The good news is there have been enough people questioning the coverage of Africa over the years that Western journalists have had no choice but to do some soul searching. The bad news is that the answers are variations of the problem.”

Radical shift
The Overseas Development Institute’s Jonathan Glennie argues that the language of development has changed drastically in the last few years:

“Three words: universality, sustainability and equality – like a non-violent French revolution, all are now unshakeably central to the post-2015 agreement. The absurd conceptualisation of countries as either developed or developing; the ruinous failure to integrate the environment into development; the self-serving attempt to relegate the distribution of wealth to an afterthought – all now consigned to the dustbin.
Where the [Millennium Development Goals] narrative implied we were marching boldly towards the ‘end of development’, to paraphrase Francis Fukuyama’s declaration, such a philosophy will be roundly rebuffed by the new [Sustainable Development Goals] narrative, which calls for profound action in countries that were once self-described as ‘developed’ as much as in much poorer countries.”

Latest Developments, December 20

In the latest news and analysis…

New court
The BBC reports that Senegal’s MPs have voted to create a “special African Union tribunal” to try former Chadian president Hissène Habré on the continent, rather than in Europe:

“In July the United Nations’ highest court, the International Court of Justice, passed a binding ruling that Senegal should begin proceedings to try Mr Habre without delay if it did not extradite him to Belgium.
MP Cheikh Seck said he voted for the law because it would show that Africa could hold its own leaders accountable.
‘It’s not up to the West to try Hissene Habre. It’s why I voted in favour of this law,’ he told the Associated Press news agency.

A 1992 Truth Commission in Chad accused Mr Habre of being responsible for widespread torture and the deaths of 40,000 people during his eight-year rule.”

The hardest word
Reuters reports that on his first state visit to Algeria, French President François Hollande said he was “not here to repent or apologize” for his country’s colonial past:

“The trauma of the 1954-1962 Algerian war, in which hundreds of thousands were killed before France’s departure, left deep scars in both countries which still hold back a partnership France believes could help revive the Mediterranean basin.

A formal apology for its colonial past is a sensitive issue. Many French citizens who lived there before independence and who fought in the French army against Algerian insurgents oppose the idea, as do former loyalist Muslim volunteers known as ‘harkis’.”

Idle No More
The Globe and Mail reports that, while First Nations protests are nothing new in Canada, “never in recent years have the protests been so widespread or sustained”:

“They point to the legislation that directly affects their communities, which native leaders, including [National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Shawn] Atleo, say was written without their input. They point to development of natural resources on their traditional lands that offers little sharing of wealth but promises lasting environmental consequences. They point to a federal government that they say has been long on gestures but short on a willingness to listen and negotiate.”

Rio suit
Dow Jones reports that Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro state intends to sue Chevron for damages on top of the $149 million the US oil giant has already offered to settle federal lawsuits resulting from a 2011 offshore spill:

“ ‘There will be a series of demands made by Rio de Janeiro besides the fine’ paid to settle the federal lawsuits, [Rio Environment Secretary Carlos] Minc said. Mr. Minc said he was not authorized to disclose the value of the damages the state was seeking.
Mr. Minc said that the spill, which released an estimated 3,700 barrels of oil into the sea after a drilling accident, ‘obviously’ caused damage to the environment, dismissing claims to the contrary made by Chevron.”

Big fine
Al Jazeera reports that Swiss bank UBS has been ordered to pay $1.5 billion to regulators in the US, UK and Switzerland for its role in the Libor rate-rigging scandal:

“UBS, which is based in Zurich, is the second major bank to be fined over the interbank lending rate scandal after Britain’s Barclays bank was ordered to pay $450m to British and US authorities in the summer for attempted manipulation of interbank rates between 2005 and 2009.
The fine is the second-biggest ever levied on a bank with banking giant HSBC fined $1.9bn recently for money laundering.

Other banks are also reportedly in advanced talks with regulators about settling allegations that they too manipulated their Libor information, including Royal Bank of Scotland and Deutsche Bank.”

Land limits
Inter Press Service reports on Tanzania’s decision to limit the amount of land that investors can “lease” for agricultural purposes:

“According to official documents, seen by IPS, from the Tanzania Investment Centre, a government agency set up to promote and facilitate investment: ‘Even within a seven-year period, an investor would not be able to use more than 10,000 hectares…’
The move will come as a relief to land rights organisations that have continually called for the government to curb the land grabs here.

In Tanzania’s northern Loliondo district, which is known for its wildlife, much of the land has been leased out to international hunting concessions, which has resulted in the large-scale eviction of the local population – although the government refutes this.  A major U.S. energy company, AgriSol Energy, has also been accused of engaging in land grabs in Tanzania that would displace more than 160,000 Burundian refugees, according to a report by the Oakland Institute. The report states that AgriSol is benefiting from the forcible eviction of the refugees, many of whom are subsistence farmers, and leasing the land — as much as 800,000 acres — from the Tanzanian government for 25 cents per acre.
[Land Rights Research and Resources Institute’s Yefred] Myenzi said that of the 1,825 general land disputes reported in 2011, 1,095 involved powerful investors.”

Not on the agenda
Britain’s international development secretary, Justine Greening, has explained to the House of Commons why next year’s UK-chaired G8 summit will not play a role in establishing successors to the Millennium Development Goals:

“The Prime Minister is co-chair of the High Level Panel on the post-2015 development agenda, which will submit independent recommendations to the UN Secretary-General in May 2013. Thereafter, we anticipate that a wide UN-led process will culminate in the agreement of post-2015 development goals in 2015. It is right for this process to be led by the UN and developing countries. The Prime Minister has announced that the G8 summit in 2013 will focus on tax, trade and transparency.”

Friends in high places
The University of Cambridge’s Ha-Joon Chang gives his take on why tax havens, which drain public revenues from governments around the world, continue to prosper:

“Why do tax havens exist? Because rich countries allow them to. If the US came down on tax havens in the same way they come down on countries that trade with Iran and Cuba, we’d have no tax havens in the world.”

Latest Developments, November 23

In the latest news and analysis…

Mining aid
The Globe and Mail reports that Canada’s new international co-operation minister’s promotion of business opportunities abroad, particularly for mining companies, signals “a profound shift” in the Canadian approach to foreign aid:

“[Julian Fantino] said part of [the Canadian International Development Agency’s] work is to help small and medium enterprises in developing countries find their footing. But he also emphasized CIDA’s role in preparing those countries for foreign investment, suggesting the agency’s work can help make countries and people ‘trade and investment ready’ and even dissuade governments from nationalizing extractive industries.
‘CIDA can help develop the capacity to negotiate with other countries, implement international commercial agreements with Canada and other trading partners and help firms benefit from these agreements. We will be doing more of this in the future,’ he said.”

Setting limits
In a draft report on sustainability and the post-2015 development agenda, New York University’s Alex Evans calls for the successors to the Millennium Development Goals to include “explicit recognition of planetary boundaries”:

“Poverty reduction is the first casualty of unsustainability, with poor people disproportionately reliant on natural assets and vulnerable to climate and scarcity risks. At the same time, current models of development are also the main driver of unsustainability – most obviously in ‘developed’ countries, but increasingly also in emerging economies which, though far behind high income countries in per capita impacts, are nonetheless helping push the world towards ecological tipping points.

Environmental summitry has become the world’s principal breeding ground for multilateral zombies (staggering on, moaning piteously, never quite dying) with few if any really significant wins in the 15 years since Kyoto. This should surprise no-one, mirroring as it does the fact that in capitals all over the world, environment ministers lack the clout to make change happen. Sustainability advocates need to stop talking about mainstreaming and get on with it. That means bringing environment to the heart of debates about how we develop – not in some vague, aspirational way, but by starting from quantified estimates of how much environmental space is available for us to share between us.”

Vulture loss
The Guardian reports that politicians in Jersey have voted to prevent so-called vulture funds from using the British island’s courts as a venue to sue poor countries:

Vulture funds, which buy up poor nations’ debts on the cheap before suing them for up to 100 times the original amount, had attempted to take cases to Jersey after British law banned the practice.
In the latest case, multimillionaire speculator Peter Grossman used Jersey’s courts to sue the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for $100m (£64m) over a decades-old debt that started out at $3.3m. Grossman, who runs the FG Hemisphere fund, was able to take the case to Jersey’s courts because the island is a crown dependency not covered by all UK laws.

The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank estimate that vulture funds are seeking total claims of $1.47bn from countries including Cameroon, Ethiopia, Sudan, Uganda, and the DRC.

Vulture win
The Financial Times reports that Argentina’s government has described as “a kind of legal colonialism” a US court ruling that the country should pay $1.3 billion to hedge funds:

“The victory for several hedge funds against Argentina has sparked fears that the country could be plunged into yet another debilitating sovereign default and threatens to make government restructurings more difficult in the future.
In what has been dubbed the ‘trial of the century’ for sovereign debt restructurings, a US District Court judge on Wednesday ordered Argentina to pay the hedge fund creditors – led by Elliott Associates and Aurelius Capital – in mid-December.

Buenos Aires could choose to default rather than repay the hedge funds it considers ‘vultures’, in a case that experts say has far-reaching ramifications for international finance.

The decision still has to be confirmed by the appeals court and could end up before the US Supreme Court. But if upheld, it would open a chink in the armour of sovereign immunity against creditors that countries have largely enjoyed for the past century.”

Unnecessary incentives
TrustMedia reports that the African Tax Administration Forum is calling for a review of tax incentives granted by African governments to multinational corporations:

“[ATAF’s Logan Wort] said most tax incentives agreements were entered into without wide consultations as to how they impact on African countries’ ability to mobilise domestic resources for development.
‘We believe African countries are losing millions of dollars through tax incentives, which are mostly negotiated by the political elite.’

Zambia, for instance, has given specific tax incentives to companies operating in copper mining, the country’s traditional export sector, with conditions varying from one company to another. ATAF thinks this kind of incentive is not necessary.
‘We believe investors will come with or without tax incentives, therefore they are not necessary,’ Thulani Shongwe, a tax expert at the ATAF secretariat, commented. He said the organisation was now on a ‘crusade’ to review the benefits.”

Corn fears
Via Campesina expresses concern that multinational giants Monsanto, Dow and DuPont look likely to get the green light to plant genetically modified maize on 2.4 million hectares of Mexican land, “a surface area equivalent to that of El Salvador”:

The situation is extremely alarming since Mexico is the world’s centre of maize diversity, with thousands of varieties in the fields of peasant and indigenous communities. Maize is currently one of the world’s three main food staples, so the contamination of Mexican maize by dangerous GMOs is a threat to the entire planet.”

Human development
The University of London’s Simon Reid-Henry writes that Nobel prize-winning economist Amartya Sen’s conception of development “requires thinking about poverty not simply as an aberration, as something that we might somehow solve.”

“It involves acknowledging, rather, that ‘our privileges are located on the same map as their suffering’, as Susan Sontag puts it. The problem of development lies as much in what we classify as wealth and how we go about promoting that as it does in poverty.

Accordingly, development becomes not so much about making up for what people lack (modernisation, say) so much as removing the ‘unfreedoms’ that stop them living in a way they might otherwise choose: market inequalities, perhaps, or state violence.”