Friday, 26 October 2012

International Day of Girl Child - 2012 Theme focusing on child marriage

On December 19, 2011, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/170 to declare October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child, to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.

 For its first observance occuring on 2012, the event theme will focus on child marriage, which is a fundamental human rights violation and impacts all aspects of a girl’s life.

Child marriage denies a girl:

  • Childhood, 
  • her Education, 
  • her Opportunities, 
  • Increases her risk to be a victim of violence and abuse, 
  • Jeopardizes her health and 
  • Therefore constitutes an obstacle to the achievement of nearly every Millennium Development Goal (MDG) and the development of healthy communities.

Globally, around one in three young women aged 20-24 years were first married before they reached age 18. One third of them entered into marriage before they turned 15. Child marriage results in early and unwanted pregnancies, posing life-threatening risks for girls. In developing countries, 90 per cent of births to adolescents aged 15-19 are to married girls, and pregnancy-related complications are the leading cause of death for girls in this age group. Girls with low levels of schooling are more likely to be married early, and child marriage has been shown to virtually end a girl’s education. Conversely, girls with secondary schooling are up to six times less likely to marry as children, making education one of the best strategies for protecting girls and combating child marriage.

Some readings:
 Malagasy Women Wounded by Child Marriage and its Aftermath Empowering Girls in Nepal to Say ‘No’ to Child Marriage
"Marrying too young" Report, Exhibit and More

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

USDA Community Food Projects

USDA is currently funding competitive grants for community food projects (CFPs). These grants are administered by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)
The US Department of Agriculture supports the development of CFPs for their capacity to ensure long-term food security solutions in communities by linking local food production and processing to the goals of community development, economic opportunity, and environmental enhancement. 

 NIFA will fund CFPs aiming at
 (1): (A) meet the food needs of low-income people;
 (B) increase the self-reliance of communities in providing for their own food needs; and (C) promote comprehensive responses to local food, farm, and nutrition issues;

and/or (2) meet specific state, local, or neighborhood food and agriculture needs for (A) infrastructure improvement and development; (B) planning for long-term solutions;
or (C) the creation of innovative marketing activities that mutually benefit agricultural producers and low-income consumers.

More information at:
CFPs grants programme on USDA-NIFA website:

types of CFPs are on the Sustainweb site:

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Second Annual Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa - Addis Ababa 19-20 October 2012

CCDA-II Poster
Addis Ababa just hosted the Second Annual Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA-II) . Convened under the theme "Climate and Development in Africa: Advancing knowledge, policy and practice," the conference is expected to provide a platform to: exchange knowledge and ideas to further  the research, policy and practice; determine the strategic direction for the Climate for Devevelopment in Africa* (ClimDev-Africa programme); increase awareness and understanding of the current situation, including the state of policy, research and future needs for climate information; raise awareness on access and development of energy sources and their roles in development and economic transformation in Africa; and strengthen the preparedness of African negotiators ahead of the 18th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 18) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

*The ClimDev-Africa Programme is a joint initiative of the African Union Commission (AUC), the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) established in May 2010 with a fund of €144 million for the 2012-2014 period. This programme was developed to address the lack of appropriate climate information and face the challenges of climate change in Africa. The initiative led to calls by African leaders and development partners to improve the provision and use of appropriate climate information to promote planning for sustainable development in Africa. The Program has been endorsed at regional meetings of African Heads of State and Government and by Africa’s Ministers of Finance, Planning, Economic Development, and the Environment. Its purpose is to explore actions required in overcoming climate information gaps, for analyses leading to adequate policies and decision-making at all levels.  

South South cooperation & the Africities Summit 2012

From December 4th to December 8th, 2012, the Africities 6 Summit will accommodate, in Dakar, nearly 5000 participants. Ministers in charge for the local governments and ministers in charge of sustainable development and of employment;local authorities and elected officials; delegations of local administrators,civil society organizations, scholars, professional associations and trade unions will gather in the capital of Senegal.

A number of sessions, arranged in the spirit of the South-South cooperation, will give the opportunity to local administrative representatives from African countries to discuss and entrench relations with their counterparts in Turkey, China and Brazil.
The theme of this edition is dedicated to the african territories. The slogan "Building Africa starting from its territories” will emphasized the discussion on the rapid urbanization rate, the influence of globalization and democratic reforms in the African continent and the need to ensure the sustainable development of the region.

More information on the upcoming event are available on the official conference website:

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Vienna hosted Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocols thereto(UNTOC)

Vienna hosted the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocols Thereto from 15 to 19 October 201.

Pursuant to article 32 of UNTOC Convention, a Conference of the Parties was established to improve the capacity of States Parties to combat transnational organized crime and to promote and review the implementation of this Convention. The Conference of the Parties is held every two years in the Austrian Capital.

In occasion of the 6th edition, the Conference brought together more than 800 delegates, 107 States Parties and 6 signatories. Progress was made in a number of resolutions including:

  •  the illicit manufacturing and trafficking of firearms; 
  •  the smuggling of migrants over land, sea and air; and 
  •  the provision of technical assistance under UNTOC. 

the full text of the Convention is downloadable from the website of the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime at this address:
The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, adopted by General Assembly resolution 55/25 of 15 November 2000, is the main international instrument in the fight against transnational organized crime. It opened for signature by Member States at a High-level Political Conference convened for that purpose in Palermo, Italy, on 12-15 December 2000 and entered into force on 29 September 2003.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

2nd International conference on Global Land Grabbing

The convergence of global crises in food, energy, finance and the environment has driven a dramatic revaluation of land ownership in the developing world. These processes have given way to global land grabs, or large-scale land acquisitions – either through lease or purchase – by powerful transnational and national economic actors from corporations to national governments and private equity funds.

 The II edition of the International conference on Global Land Grabbing held at Cornell University, Ithaca NY, October 17 – 19, 2012 will discuss  key issues pertaining to global land deals, including:

 o The role of land rights, governance and local and national politics;
 o Implications for labor, the environment and historically vulnerable groups;
 o Resistance and the growing struggle for alternatives to land deals; and
 o The potential for land deals to contribute positively to development through increased production and smallholder incorporation.

The contours of agrarian change are critical to an understanding of contemporary land grabs. As such, conference participants will address the following questions:

 o What changes in broad agrarian structures are facilitating land deals?
 o Are land deals “new” or are they indicative of a return to old strategies of accumulation and development?
 o What is the nature and extent of rural social differentiation – in terms of class, gender, ethnicity – following changes in land use and land property relations as well as organizations of production and exchange?

Information excerpt from the conference program

Read more at:

Monday, 15 October 2012

European Barometer and the Nobel Peace Price to the European Union

The Norwegian Nobel Committee composed by Mr. Thorbjørn Jagland, Chairman, Ms Kaci Kullmann Five, Ms Inger-Marie Ytterhorn, Ms Berit Reiss-Andersen and Mr. Gunnar Stålsett assigned the 2012 Nobel Price for Peace to the European Union.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Price to the European Union (EU) for the contributions made for over six decades by the union and its forerunners to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe. 
"The work of the EU represents "fraternity between nations", and amounts to a form of the "peace congresses" to which Alfred Nobel refers as criteria for the Peace Prize in his 1895 will." the Committee said. In the inter-war years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee made several awards to persons who were seeking reconciliation between Germany and France.

Since 1945, that reconciliation has become a reality. The dreadful suffering in World War II demonstrated the need for a new Europe. Over a seventy-year period, Germany and France had fought three wars. Today war between Germany and France is unthinkable. This shows how, through well-aimed efforts and by building up mutual confidence, historical enemies can become close partners.

Signature of the Treaty of Rome establishing the European Economic Community on 25 March 1957

Mr. Thorbjørn Jagland, Chairman of the Committee, former Norwegian Prime Minister and current Secretary General of the Council of Europe was one of the greater supporter for the decision to award the Price to the European Union.

The Price brings renewed faith in the European project in a period where the institution is negatively affected by the heavy economic crisis hitting a number of Member States. A proof of this social and economic distress is stated in the Standard Euro Barometer, a survey established in 1973, published twice a year, consisting of approximately 1000 face-to-face interviews in each member state, which reports Europeans citizens perceptions of the current situation in the EU. 
The economic situation, for instance, is mentioned by 54% of respondents, as the main issue facing the European Union. However, this score is 5 percentage points below the level recorded in autumn 2011. The state of public finances in the Member States, mentioned by more than a third of respondents, still ranks in second place (34%, +3 percentage points). Unemployment, in third place, has recorded the most significant increase since autumn 2011 (+6 to 32%). Inflation completes this leading quartet of important issues facing the European Union (15%, -2). 

Data excerpt from the Standard Eurobarometer - 2012 Spring Edition 

This important price could revitalize the European Union spirit and  reduce the growing  critics arising at national level. The current economic and political situation at global level demand new commitments for the European institutions. The reform of the Stability plan goes in this direction and has the potentials to give more political power to a body mainly driven, so far,  by economic interests.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

China-Africa Think Tanks Forum - Adis Ababa

Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia hosted on 12-13 October 2012 the second edition of the China-Africa Think Tanks Forum(CATTF II). 

Mulugeta Gebrehiwot, the director of the Ethiopian Institute of Peace and Security Studies that organised the forum, told that it should not come as a surprise that China is interested in peace and security on the African continent. 
The economic relations entrenched by China in the last decades with most of the African countries has provided the continent with much needed funding without the strings that some western powers attached to loans, and has resulted in the fast construction of large infrastructure projects. 
In 2011, China-Africa trade amounted to 166 billion dollars, according to statistics from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce. A research article in Standard Bank’s Guide to Transactional Banking in Africa 2012 by Bridgette Liu and Richard Stocken titled “The role of China’s construction industry in Africa’s infrastructure development”, stated that Chinese companies now dominate the African construction sector, with a market share larger than those of France, Italy and the United States combined. 

The article also noted “Chinese state-owned financial institutions such as China Exim Bank and China Development Bank have become large-scale lenders in Africa, rivalling the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in terms of development finance outreach.”

China in order to preserve and increase its economic and political interests could soon expand its involvement in peace and security issues in Africa, according to government officials, 

Mr. Lu Shaye
Chinese officials pointed out that the Asian giant’s non-interference policy should not be interpreted as indifference to the continent’s peace and security. “Our non-interference policy in Africa does not mean we have an indifferent attitude towards African issues. We oppose some countries that in the excuse of care for another, interfere with African internal affairs,” Director-General Lu Shaye from the Department of African Affairs at the Chinese Foreign Ministry. He said that China would not intervene readily in the affairs of another country and their involvement would be to merely support regional organisations and institutions on the continent. “In the past we provided funds to support the African Union (AU), in the future we will strengthen this support. We’ll have cooperation with the AU and other regional organisations to have a better understanding on this issue. And we will accelerate our support to the AU and other regional organisations,” Lu Shaye said. 

While China is Africa’s biggest trade partner, it already is the largest contributor of peacekeepers to Africa among permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. But the role of China in Africa is often seen as a controversial one. China’s funding of the new AU building headquarters in Addis Ababa has sparked debate among non-African critics about whether the new economic world power was buying its way into the continent. Western countries have warned on frequent occasions that China’s participation in Africa has colonial tendencies. Or that the Asian country supports oppressive regimes and is trying to take advantage of Africa’s natural recourses. United States Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said during her latest Africa trip in August, that the U.S. stands up for human rights and democracy “even when it might be easier or more profitable to look the other way, to keep the resources flowing.” However, Dr. Mehari Taddele Maru, an independent peace and security expert in his conference paper titled “China-Africa Relations: Areas of Reform for a Sustainable Partnership”, disagreed and stated that China’s reputation in Africa is positive as African countries feel that their Asian partners respect other people, cultures and states. (excerpt from IPS article

Picture from the Fifth ministerial conference held in Beijing in 2006

Official Forum website:

Saturday, 13 October 2012

UNDP Bureau for Development Policy

Democratic Governance
 Thematic Trust Fund 
– Annual Report 2010
The Bureau for Development Policy (BDP) The Bureau for Development Policy (BDP) is responsible for articulating UNDP’s global development policy, using evidence gathered through country applications, regional experiences and global interactions. BDP has a key role to play in helping country offices to accelerate human development by supporting the country offices in the design and implementation of programmes and projects that effectively contribute to the national-level policies and results. BDP’s support of UNDP’s strategic plan 2008-2013 is focused in 4 practices and 2 thematic areas:

 • Poverty Reduction and the MDGs,
 • Governance,
 • Environment and Energy,

• Capacity Development and Gender Equality
• Women’s Empowerment

UNDP’s democratic governance (DG) practice focuses on fostering:
1. Inclusive participation,
2. Strengthening responsive governing institutions,
3. Promoting democratic principles.

The DG area is the largest area of investment for UNDP comprising 37% of the total budget for the Programme.
Financial resources are then allocated to the three focus areas as follows:
◗ 17% Inclusive Participation
◗ 74% Responsive Institutions
◗ 9% International Principles

1 - Inclusive participation expands equal opportunities or engagement by the poor, women, youth, indigenous people, and other marginalized groups who are excluded from power. Efforts in this area concentrate on the following initiatives:

 Civic Engagement
 Electoral Systems and Processes
 Parliaments
 E-governance and Access to Information via ICT’s

2 - Strengthening responsive governing institutions entails promoting the core channels of representation and accountability in the state at the national, regional and local levels. The establishment of Responsive institutions mean that the state reflects and serves needs, priorities, and interests of all people, including women, the poor, youth, and minorities. Initiatives in this area deal with:

 Governance and Public Administration
 Decentralization and Local Governance

3 - Supporting national partners to strengthen democratic practices grounded in human rights, anti-corruption and gender equality require UNDP leadership in promoting integration, coordination and information-sharing of policies, practices, and strategies strengthening democratic governance within and outside of the UN family. Initiatives in this area include projects on:

 Local governance for inclusive service delivery and MDG acceleration;
 Local governance for state and peace building;
 Local governance and democratic representation;
 Local governance and environmental sustainability.

Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office - Fund administration in real time

The UN system is concentrating efforts to enhance coherence and efficiency at the country level and to increase joint UN activities. In this context, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office (MPTF Office), provides dedicated fund administration services to the UN system and national governments. UNDP is often called upon to play the role of Administrative Agent (AA) through its MPTF Office for MPTFs and Joint Programmes (JPs) that use the pass-through fund management model. This model was established by the UN system, national authorities and contributors in the context of humanitarian, transition, reconstruction and development programmes.

The increasing use of MPTFs is an application of the Aid Effectiveness Agenda and the UN Reform initiative "Delivering as One". The mechanism also responds to the need to provide flexible, coordinated and predictable funding to support the achievement of national and global priorities such as the MDGs. In their governance structure and operations, MPTFs are consistent with several principles of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the Accra Agenda for Action, including national ownership and alignment with national priorities; harmonization and coordination; effective and inclusive partnerships; and achieving development results and accounting for them. MPTFs and JPs usually use the pass-through fund-management modality. Under this arrangement, Participating UN Organizations or national governments appoint the UNDP MPTF Office as an AA through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) as their administrative interface with partners/contributors.

 It subsequently signs a Standard Administrative Arrangement with contibutors, and receives, administers and transfers contributed funds to Participating Organizations (POs) implementing approved activities in accordance with the MOU and SAA, and consolidates the progress reports of the POs for submission to contributors. POs assume full programmatic and financial accountability for the funds received from the MPTF Office as AA, operating under their own individual financial regulations and rules. UNDP has two distinct roles in UNDP-administered MPTFs and JPs. UNDP serves as an AA, exercising fund-management responsibilities. At the same time, it also acts as a PO, implementing approved activities using MPTF and JP resources in line with its development mandate and practice areas. The Multi-Donor Trust Fund Office (MDTF Office), Bureau of Management, is the central unit in UNDP that provides and oversees fund administration services when UNDP is appointed by the UN system to serve as the Administrative Agent (AA) and as their donor administrative interface. The Office currently provides service and support to UN MDTFs and Joint Programmes in 15 countries. Multi-DonorTrust Funds (MDTFs) and Joint Programmes (JPs) receive voluntary contributions from a wide range of developed and developing countries. These countries support such MPTFs/JPs in the spirit of partnership to national governments and UN organizations. • A MDTF is a multi-agency funding mechanism, which is designed to receive contributions from more than one donor that are held in trust by the appointed Administrative Agent (AA). Donor resources are co-mingled to fund project/programmatic allocations implemented by UN Country Team (UNCT) members in a specific country in support of the achievement of nationally owned and determined priorities.

Funds administered by the Program in beneficiary countries - Click on the picture for a bigger map 
  • less than 4,000,000
  • less than 12,033,935
  • less than 19,577,750
  • less than 42,449,485
  • 42,449,485 and higher

This method has become an important funding mechanism to channel and leverage resources in an effective and coordinated way in support of UN system-wide development efforts. The increasing use of MDTFs is a direct application of the aid effectiveness agenda and UN reform initiatives in support of nationally determined and led development programmes. MDTFs usually have five common structural elements: a Steering Committee, an AA, Participating UN Organizations, Implementing Partners and Donors By channelling donor contributions through one mechanism, MDTFs aim to facilitate and streamline donor contributions and align donor reporting. By improving coordination among all stakeholders, MDTFs can also provide a forum for policy dialogue, and programmatic coordination and harmonization. • A Joint Programme (JP) is a set of activities contained in a common work plan with a related budget implemented and funded by two or more UN Agencies in support of a common result. Joint Project and Joint Programme are used interchangeably. Joint programmes are intended to reduce duplication between UN Agencies, reduce transaction costs and maximize synergies among national partners and the various contributions of UN Agencies. The division of labour among UN Agencies in a joint programme means that attribution issues are similar to those faced in single organization programmes.

Multi-Partner Trust Funds will administer for the 2010 - 2015 period a total budget amount of 2,378,299,441 USD

Friday, 12 October 2012

State Department - Middle East Transitions Office

The Middle East Transition Office is supervised by Ambassador William Taylor, US Special Coordinator of Middle East Transitions Office.

 In order to manage U.S. policy toward countries attempting democratic transitions in the Middle East, the State Department has opened a new office to support and strengthen the development of democratic institutions in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt. The office is meant to be permanent, and would expand its operations to cover countries like Syria and Yemen - if and when those countries attempt a democratic transition. The office operates on a preliminary budget of US $135 million. (video interview)

Established: September 2011

William Taylor, senior vice president for conflict management at the U.S. Institute of Peace, will be leading the new office as Special Coordinator. Taylor was chosen for the job in part because he played a key role in a similar diplomatic effort following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Special Coordinator will report to Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns and Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman. The office will be first in charge to develop support strategies for the three countries that will be then implemented within the State Department, around the inter-agency process, and with the support of international financial institutions, non-governmental organizations, and stakeholders on the ground.

Development Priorities and Strategy In his speech to the State Department, made on May 19, President Barack Obama promised to work on establishing enterprise funds for Egypt and Tunisia, which are accounts meant to support start up programs and activities abroad, and said that U.S. support for democracy “will be based on ensuring financial stability; promoting reform; and integrating competitive markets with each other and the global economy - starting with Tunisia and Egypt."
The Special Coordinator said that the administration was still eager to pursue enterprise funds for these countries, but that legislation would be needed to get it done. The formula of Enterprise Funds (EF) was already operating for programs in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia in 1990 – 2007. The idea is to place U.S. Government funding under the management of qualified and independent boards of directors selected from the private sector. The goal is to encourage the private sector and free market development through loans and investments. In the previous programs EF invested in small and medium-sized enterprises, supported critical sectors, such as finance, telecom and construction, and provided technical assistance. The delegation of public funds to qualified private citizens (public-private partnership) effectively supported private sector development through a combination of investment and development activities, a dual approach that has proven very successful.

 • Support for greater political openness and the democratic transitions:
 “…If the pursuit of regional security and Arab-Israeli peace remain core ingredients in our strategy, the past year has driven home another truth -- that stability is not a static phenomenon, and that support for democratic transitions and economic opportunity are also extraordinarily important ingredients in a successful American strategy. Two years ago, I spoke here at MEI about the “dangerous shortage of economic and political hope” confronting the region. I recall that with an ample dose of humility. It was hardly a novel thought, and anyone who had read the Arab Human Development Reports over the past decade could see the tinder that was accumulating, even if it was very hard to see what exactly would happen when a spark was lit.   

The truth is that this is a moment of enormous promise for people and societies who for far too long have known far too little freedom, far too little opportunity, and far too little dignity. It is a moment of great possibility for American policy … a moment when homegrown, people-driven protests have repudiated al-Qaeda’s false narrative that change can only come through violence and extremism. But it is also a moment of considerable risk, because there is nothing automatic or preordained about the success of such transitions. As much as it is in our interest to support the emergence of more transparent, more accountable, and more responsive governments that will ultimately make stronger and more stable partners, the journey is likely to be very complicated, very uneven, and, at times, very unsettling. We must accept that democratic transitions are often messy and unpredictable.
 We must accept democratic choices and engage with all emerging political forces committed to pluralism and non-violence. And we must reject the old dictators’ conceit, that we really have only two choices -- the autocrats you know or the Islamic extremists you fear. 

Furthermore, we must accept that we are going to have differences with democratic governments -- sometimes significant differences. Governments that are accountable to their populations are going to behave differently than autocratic governments did. It won't always be easy to work with them. We also know from transitions in other regions that there is a danger of authoritarian retrenchment or violent instability, especially if economic stagnation persists and newly-elected leaders don’t produce practical improvements in people’s daily lives. For these reasons, we have a huge stake in the success of post-revolutionary transitions where citizens are seeking inclusive political systems where none existed before. Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya hold the potential to shepherd the Middle East into a new era, one defined by free, fair, and credible elections; vibrant civil societies; and accountable and effective institutions. Tunisia, which lit the spark of the new Arab Awakening, held the first truly democratic elections in its history last month. Whereas a turnout of 70% in the Arab world once signaled a rigged election, today it is a sign of Tunisians’ determination to chart their own future. We too, are invested. 

This year, America has committed about $60 million, to offer expertise to political parties and poll watchers, strengthen civil society, and promote freedom of expression. The remarkably peaceful and orderly conduct of these elections and the embrace of multiparty democracy, just ten months after Ben Ali fled the country, has set the standard for the rest of the region. We will begin to see a breadth and diversity of political groupings as the people of the region are allowed to give voice to their views. And, as Secretary Clinton said last week in a speech at the National Democratic Institute, we will judge the parties of the region not on what they call themselves, but on what they do. We should be less concerned about which parties win or lose than about whether democracy wins or loses in the process. And democracy means more than elections -- it means the protection of fundamental freedoms and equal rights for all, including women and minorities.

 In Egypt, we must not underestimate the importance and consequence of the transition underway there. Long the cultural and political leader of the Arab world, Egypt can offer another powerful signal when it begins its own elections later this month. But successful parliamentary elections, for all the effort they require, are only a first step. It is important, in Egypt’s own self-interest, to see competitive presidential elections follow soon after; steps to consolidate an elected civilian-led government; and the continued emergence of a strong and independent Egyptian civil society to safeguard the principles of democracy. Libya, too, has won its liberty. This victory over tyranny is a testament not only to the bravery and determination of the Libyan people, but also to the undeniable potential of international partnership and American leadership. But much work remains. 

After contending with Qadhafi himself, Libya must now contend with Qadhafi’s legacy of eviscerating Libyan institutions and civil society. The TNC has made good progress in its brief existence, against overwhelming odds. We look forward to welcoming a new interim government and to close and continued cooperation as they consolidate authority, secure dangerous weapons, and focus attention on the difficult task of building a peaceful, prosperous and democratic future for Libya...” excerpt from MEI Annual Banquet Washington, DC. November 16, 2011

Support for the economic openness and opportunities which are critical to the success of those transitions 
“…A second element of our strategy that I want to highlight this evening -- partnering to create broader economic opportunity -- flows out of our conviction that political transitions can’t succeed without confidence in a better economic future. Revitalized, open, and regionally-integrated economies are key to ensuring the success of democratic transitions. In the short term, we need to be clear-eyed: the unrest and uncertainty that has accompanied the new Arab Awakening has strained already difficult economic circumstances.

To support the democratic transitions underway in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya we’ve created a new office, the Special Coordinator for Middle East Transitions, to organize all the tools at our disposal to help them succeed. And we’re working with Congress to ensure that, even in difficult times at home, we get the resources we need to seize the strategic opportunity the new Arab Awakening represents. The Enterprise Funds we are seeking to establish in Egypt and Tunisia and the ongoing work of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation will help people in the region access capital to start and grow their own businesses, providing hope for a better economic future. In the end, this is about translating the promise of political change into real, palpable hope for a better economic future, and about giving new leaders the tailwind they need to navigate bumpy transitions amid high expectations. Conventional assistance, no matter how generous, will not be enough. Nor will a short-term approach. We must help these countries empower individuals to make their own economic as well as political choices, and grow a real middle class.

The revolutions in countries like Egypt and Tunisia were driven by a firm rejection of a past where prosperity was confined to a narrow segment of society. As we saw in Egypt, economic liberalization that fails to achieve inclusive growth is a false path to prosperity. That is why we are working with Congress to achieve $1 billion in debt swaps so that the Egyptian government can use those resources for the benefit of the Egyptian people, especially the younger generation. This kind of genuine economic reform process will require that leaders have visions compelling enough to drive what will be tough and sometimes unpopular choices. That is why we and our European partners must think, and act, more ambitiously to open up trade and investment across the region. Through the G8’s Deauville Partnership, we are mobilizing the world’s leading economies and international lending institutions to support the transitions in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, as well as the major reforms underway in Jordan and Morocco. As G8 President next year, we will keep high-level attention on these transitions, and the imperative of regional economic integration across the Middle East and North Africa….”

Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is mandated to promote and protect the enjoyment and full realization, by all people, of all rights established in the Charter of the United Nations and in international human rights laws and treaties.
 Established: 1993

The Office's priorities are set out in two key strategic documents:

A - The OHCHR Plan of Action and the Strategic Management Plan, a document released on a 2 year basis at its forth edition. The OHCHR Management Plan (OMP) 2012-2013 articulates OHCHR’s overall direction in implementing the human rights mandate of the United Nations, and in particular, to implement the human rights section of the Secretary-General’s Strategic Framework. In keeping with results-based management, OHCHR has translated its mandate into eleven identifiable changes, broad and not time-bound:
Global Expected Accomplishments:

1. Increased compliance with international human rights standards by all States entities, including national human rights institutions and the judiciary, as well as by domestic laws, policies and programmes.

2. Increased ratification of international and regional human rights instruments and review of reservations of international human rights instruments.

3. Justice and accountability mechanisms established and functioning in compliance with international human rights standards to monitor, investigate and redress civil and political as well as economic, social and cultural human rights violations.

4. Increased number of measures taken to improve access of discriminated groups and particularly women, to justice and basic services.

5. Rights-holders, specially discriminated groups and particularly women, increasingly use existing national protection systems and participate in decision-making processes and the development and monitoring of public policies.

6. Increased compliance and engagement by States with UN human rights mechanisms and bodies (treaty bodies, special procedures, Human Rights Council/Universal Periodic Review).

7. Increased number and diversity of rights-holders and national human rights institutions and civil society actors acting on their behalf making use of UN and regional human rights mechanisms and bodies.

8. International and regional human rights law and institutions progressively strengthened and/or developed.

9. Enhanced coherence and consistency of UN human rights mechanisms and bodies.

10. International community increasingly responsive to critical human rights situations and issues.

11. Increased integration of human rights standards and principles, including the right to development, into UN system policies and programmes with respect to development, humanitarian action, peace and security and economic and social issues.

B - The Thematic Expected Accomplishments specify the thematic areas in which the Office intends to produce results in a specific planning cycle.

 For the biennium 2012 – 2013 OHCHR sharpened the focus on the following thematic priorities:

 • Countering discrimination, in particular racial discrimination, discrimination on the grounds of sex, religion and against others who are marginalized.
 • Combating impunity, and strengthening accountability, the rule of law, and democratic society.
 • Pursuing economic, social and cultural rights and combating inequalities and poverty, including in the context of the economic, food and climate crises.
 • Protecting human rights in the context of migration.
 • Protecting human rights in situations of conflict, violence and insecurity.
 • Strengthening international human rights mechanisms and the progressive development of international human rights law.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

State Department - Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL)

Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) 

Assistant Secretary: William Brownfield Located within the Under Secretary for Political Affairs for the US Department of State, the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) is charged with combating the worldwide drug trade and other major crimes through programs involving other federal agencies and national governments. Anti-drug operations represent the dominant mission of the bureau. However, its mission has expanded since its founding, encompassing initiatives for strengthening criminal justice systems, rule of law, and justice sector institutional development. 
Established: 1968 

Development Objectives and Goals 

Preventing the Production, Trafficking, and Abuse of Illicit Drugs
 INL programs focus on building interdiction capabilities, eradication, sustainable alternative development, and demand reduction. Further, they include strengthening the ability of law enforcement and judicial authorities in both source and transit countries to investigate and prosecute major drug trafficking organizations and their leaders, and to seize and block their assets. 

Combating Criminal Elements
INL programs focus on the full spectrum of law enforcement, rule of law, and justice sector institutional development. The Bureau leads U.S. delegations that negotiate UN crime-related conventions, works with international organizations to develop international standards to stop terrorist financing and money laundering, and provides technical assistance and training to help key countries implement these standards. INL also provides technical assistance and training to foreign partners in the fight to prevent alien smuggling and enhance border security, while other INL-led initiatives help protect the U.S. and global economies against cybercrime and intellectual property piracy. Regional Programs: • The Central Asia Counternarcotics Initiative (CACI): The Central Asia Counternarcotics Initiative (CACI) is designed to improve the ability of Central Asian countries to disrupt drug trafficking originating from Afghanistan and dismantle related criminal organizations through effective investigation, prosecution and conviction of mid to high level traffickers. CACI will focus on regional cooperation and help establish counter-narcotics task forces that will serve as a preliminary step for further reform, facilitate increased information sharing, and form a foundation for further institutional capacity building. The Department of State has allocated $4.2 million to support counternarcotics agencies in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. 

 • Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP)
This multi-year strategy aims at defeating terrorist organizations by strengthening regional counterterrorism capabilities, enhancing and institutionalizing cooperation among security forces in the region. The program support civilian law enforcement and border security organizations improving their capacity to prevent and to respond to terrorist events through training, technical assistance and equipment support. The program includes also training and technical assistance to build criminal justice system capacity to prosecute and incarcerate terrorists. 

East Asia and Pacific Regional Initiative
The strategy for the region aims at facilitating cooperation among law enforcement agencies in Southeast Asia to help them address cross-border crime, as well as to enhance the security and stability of the ASEAN sub-region and EAP region more broadly. The INL is also involved in initiatives to disrupt and suppress the movement of illicit goods throughout Southeast Asia, including narcotics and other contraband, some of which is ultimately destined for the United States. Funds are also allocated for projects to combat corruption within and among law enforcement agencies.

Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) 
 U.S. partnership developed with Central American countries focus on the effects of gangs, narcotics and arms trafficking, and organized crime on citizen safety. CARSI initiative provides funding in a range of areas, including direct law enforcement cooperation, assistance for capacity, and prevention programs to face the root causes of crime and violence. The program is developed on three phases to address the immediate need to combat the criminal organizations and associated violence; the medium term requirement to augment the capabilities of civilian law enforcement and security entities; and the long-term necessity of strengthening judicial and other state institutions to resist corruption and improve the administration of justice. The Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) The initiative addresses the increasing crime and violence, largely driven by drug and other illicit trafficking, that affects the safety of both U.S. and Caribbean citizens. CBSI supports CARICOM’s “Organized Crime Strategy” through projects to reduce illicit trafficking, advance public safety and security; and promote social justice. 

Main Country Programs:

 • Sudan ($53.9 million): Funding will support implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and assist programs that contribute toward stabilizing Darfur. Funds will provide technical assistance and training for Southern Sudan’s criminal justice sector and law enforcement institutions, as well as contribute toward UN civilian police and formed police units in Southern Sudan and Darfur. 

• Liberia ($17.0 million): Assistance will continue to fund a civilian police contribution to UNMIL and increase support to critical bilateral police and justice reform projects. Advisors and material assistance such as infrastructure support, communications equipment, and legal supplies will be provided to the police, the judiciary, the corrections system, and the justice ministry throughout the country.

 • Iraq ($314.6 million): The Bureau is supporting the Department of State to assume full responsibility for the Iraqi police development program at the beginning of 2012, currently managed by the Department of Defense. Funds will support start-up requirements such as facilities upgrades, security infrastructure, and procurement of aircraft, as well as costs associated with recruiting; hiring; training; deploying; and supporting key program, support, and security personnel. Funds will also contribute to programs that continue to build the capacity of the criminal justice sector. This critical assistance will continue training, advice, and technical assistance to the Iraqi courts and judiciary; support the development of the Iraqi Corrections Service (ICS) as a professional corrections service; and transition prison operations to full ICS control. Funds will also develop programs designed to reduce the demand for narcotics and other harmful substances in Iraq through targeted, culturally appropriate initiatives. 

• West Bank/Gaza ($150.0 million): Funding will support efforts to reform the security sector by training and equipping Palestinian Authority Security Forces and by providing the Ministry of Interior with technical assistance and program support to improve its ability to manage the security forces. Additional training, equipment, and technical assistance will be provided for the justice and corrections sectors to ensure their development keeps pace with the increased performance of the security forces. 

• Afghanistan ($450.0 million): All funding requested is in direct support of the Administration’s top national security priorities in Afghanistan. Funding will focus on accelerating and expanding efforts in the justice sector by increasing direct assistance to select Afghan ministries; broadening support and engagement at the provincial and district levels to enhance the visibility, effectiveness, and accountability of the institutions; and providing economic opportunities that increase stability while reducing the strength of the insurgency. Justice and rule of law programs will focus on expanding regional efforts to incorporate more trainees and reaching more prosecutors; creating alternative dispute resolution mechanisms; and developing more responsive, visible, and accountable institutions in Kabul and at the provincial, district, and local level. An increase in the number of civilian technical advisers will increase the availability of training in the regional centers and in Kabul, and emphasize Afghan efforts to reduce corruption. Other initiatives will include partnering with the Ministry of Justice and the Attorney General’s Office to raise the profile of justice efforts among the Afghan district and village level constituents, and building and improving corrections institutions, to be supported by a model prisons initiative. Continued focus on counternarcotics efforts will reduce the drug trade by interdicting drug traffickers and disrupting their networks. Programs such as the Good Performers Initiative will complement the agriculture redevelopment strategy to drain the income of the insurgency from the narcotics trade. Drug demand reduction efforts will increase the number of rehabilitation, treatment, and outreach efforts aimed at directly benefitting Afghans; and public information efforts will focus on improving access to mobile phones, radio, and television.

 • Pakistan ($140.0 million): In support of the Administration’s top national security priorities, funding will expand civilian law enforcement assistance throughout Pakistan and support an expanded border security aviation fleet. This critical support will provide training, equipment, infrastructure, and aviation assistance to civilian law enforcement and border security agencies that are responsible for maintaining peace and security following military operations. Funds will also continue current border security, law enforcement, and judicial system reform; and counternarcotics programs.

• Mexico ($292.0 million): In moving beyond the initial Mérida Initiative commitment, the United States and Mexican Governments will focus on four pillars of cooperation: disrupting and dismantling criminal organizations, institutionalizing the rule of law, building a 21st Century border, and building strong and resilient communities. In implementing this new program, support will shift from providing aircraft, equipment, and other high-cost items to institutional development, training, and technical assistance. Federal level programs will support the four pillars by providing assistance to criminal justice sector institutions, including law enforcement, prosecutorial and judicial institutions, and corrections institutions.  

• Colombia ($204.0 million): Funding will continue to improve the interdiction and eradication of illegal drugs before traversing Mexico and Central America and entering the United States in order to assist the Government of Colombia to consolidate and advance the security and counternarcotics progress achieved under Plan Colombia. U.S. assistance in 2011 will help improve Colombia’s judicial institutions, including enhancing the protection of human rights and developing local capacity to address sensitive criminal cases. 

 • Peru ($37.0 million): Funding will be used to support efforts by the Peruvian Government to eliminate the illicit drug industry, which includes extending state presence in the Apurimac and Ene River Valleys in order to oppose drug traffickers aligned with the Shining Path terrorist group. The program will intensify interdiction and eradication operations, increase precursor chemical seizures, improve controls at ports and airports, modernize and refurbish police stations and bases, and maintain and replace communications equipment and vehicles.

 • Bolivia ($20.0 million): To counter increased production of cocaine in Bolivia due to expansion of coca cultivation, funding will shift assistance to interdiction, including training for police, while continuing to support the Bolivian Government’s eradication program to avoid unchecked cultivation. Funding will continue extensive training programs for counternarcotics and other police, and will highlight public diplomacy efforts that focus on the damage caused to Bolivian society by drug trafficking and consumption. 

• Haiti ($19.4 million): On January 12, 2010 an immense earthquake struck Haiti with devastating impact, creating unforeseen program and resource needs. The Administration is evaluating current and future needs in Haiti in the aftermath of this disaster. Prior to the earthquake, funds in the FY 2011 request were intended to support the UN stabilization mission (MINUSTAH) efforts to transform the Haitian National Police (HNP) into a law enforcement institution capable of providing security for Haitians and enforcing the rule of law; rebuild operational capacity of the HNP with infrastructure improvements and specialized equipment and training; and support bilateral counterdrug programs.

OROLSI - Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions

Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions

 In March 2000, the Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi was requested by the UN Secretary-General to chair a high-level panel to undertake a thorough review of the United Nations peace operations. The report of the panel, the so called Brahimi Report presented a number of recommendations. One of these recommendations was to have an integrated, holistic approach to the rule of law.

In 2007, the Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions (OROLSI) was established by Resolution A/RES/61/279 to provide this holistic approach to re-establishing systems of justice and reinforce security, through disarmament, demobilization and the reintegration of ex-combatants and through helping to deal with mine fields and unexploded ordinance that remain following armed struggles.

Office Organogram
OROLSI at the UN Headquarters brings together the Police Division, the Criminal Law and Judicial Advisory Service (CLJAS), the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS), the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Section (DDR) and the Security Sector Reform Unit. The overarching goal of this Office is to support the work of UN missions to help national authorities consolidate lasting peace by establishing justice and security systems. In countries where United Nations peacekeeping operations are deployed, the United Nations Secretary-General designated DPKO as the primary United Nations counterpart with national authorities.
The Criminal Law and Judicial Advisory Service (CLJAS), created in 2003, became a part of the DPKO Office in 2007. The Service is responsible to support the implementation of rule of law, justice and corrections mandates of United Nations peace operations managed by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO).

The Service is structured into three units:
-      The CLJAS Justice Team advises and supports missions on substantive and operational matters; engages in planning for new and evolving missions; participates in relevant DPKO and interagency coordination groups and meetings; ensures that relevant Security Council resolutions, Secretary-General’s reports and other United Nations official documents reflect the activities, challenges and needs of Justice Components; assists missions in mobilizing resources for their projects and programmes and keeps mission personnel apprised of significant developments at United Nations Headquarters.

-      The CLJAS Corrections Team advises and supports missions on substantive and operational matters and develops policy, guidance and training materials on correction matters.

-      The CLJAS Policy Cell is responsible for undertaking and coordinating the Service’s policy, guidance and training efforts. It also represents DPKO on matters related to rule of law, human rights and good governance.
A policy released in 2009 defined the objectives, principles, functions and areas of intervention of justice components of United Nations peacekeeping operations and special political missions.[1]

Justice components may be engaged in the following substantive areas:
1.          Immediate effectiveness of criminal justice system
2.          Basic justice infrastructure
3.          Legal framework 
4.         Law schools         
5.          Professional training
6.          Judicial independence
7.    Integrity, professionalism, accountability and transparency of          justice actors
8.          Public administration
9.          Court administration and management
10.       Access to justice and victims’ rights
11.       Gender justice
12.       Justice for children
13.       Civil (non-criminal) and administrative law matters
14.       Customary/traditional justice mechanisms.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Bureau of African Affairs (AF) of the US State Department

Bureau of African Affairs (AF) 

Assistant Secretary Johnnie Carson, the bureau advises the Secretary of State and Under Secretary for Political Affairs on issues affecting sub-Saharan Africa and supervises American embassies in African countries. The bureau works in connection with other government agencies to implement projects and Presidential initiatives which consolidate democratic institutions, foster sustainable economic development and growth and stem the spread of HIV and AIDS in the region.
Established: 1958

Development Objectives and Goals: Five pillars serve as the foundation of U.S. policy toward Africa: 1. Strengthening democratic institutions and the rule of law; 2. Encouraging long-term development and growth, including food security, 3. Enhancing access to quality health care and education, 4. Assisting in the prevention, mitigation, and resolution of conflicts; and 5. Working with Africans to address transnational challenges, including terrorism, maritime security, climate change, narcotics trafficking, and trafficking in persons. Furthermore, particular attention is given to three target groups in the region population, namely young people, women, and entrepreneurs.

 Thematic Programs

Feed the Future: The program seeks to unleash the proven potential of small-scale agricultural producers to improve production on a large scale.

 • Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Fora: The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) was signed in 2000, by President Bill Clinton, to offer developing African nations an opportunity to export their products to the United States duty-free. Specifically, AGOA provides trade preferences to countries that are making progress in economic, legal, and human rights reforms. Under AGOA, eligible countries can export products to the United States duty-free – nearly 6,500 products from apparel to automobiles, and footwear to fruit. AGOA also provides a framework for technical assistance to help countries take full advantage of the trade preferences.

 • Women's Justice and Empowerment Initiative The Women Justice and Empowerment Initiative (WJEI) is a three-year, $55 million dollar program to bolster women's justice and empowerment in four African countries: Benin, Kenya, South Africa, and Zambia.

In Benin, WJEI is implemented by USAID, the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Bureau of African Affairs and has three components:
 1. Raising awareness about violence against women,
 2. Strengthening the capacity of national and local structures to meet the needs of victims of violence, and
 3. Strengthening the capacity of legal systems and law enforcement to protect women

President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR/Emergency Plan) was a commitment of $15 billion over five years (2003–2008) to fight the global HIV/AIDS pandemic. The PEPFAR has been renewed, revised and expanded, including malaria and waterborne diseases in 2008 as the "Tom Lantos and Henry J. Hyde United States Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008". The expansion more than triples the initiative's funds, to $48 billion through 2013. On June 23, 2009, Ambasssador Eric Goosby was sworn in as the United States Global AIDS Coordinator. The Bureau of African Affairs is supports the plan implementation in Sub-Saharan countries.

Global Climate Change The United States is taking a leading role in addressing climate change by advancing an ever-expanding suite of measures. The program is based on a number of polices and partnerships that span a wide range of initiatives from reducing domestic emissions at home to developing transformational low-carbon technologies to improving observations systems that will help better understand and address the possible impacts of climate change.