Archiv der Kategorie ‘Allgemein‘

A Signal for Peace and Reconciliation in the Arab World – the First Arab Forum for Equality in Amman

Article by Alexander Dill, Director of the Basel Institute of Commons and Economics, mail: dill@commons.ch

Inequality is not only an economic challenge but also a social and cultural one. Numerous conflicts result from feelings of inferiority or superiority; conflicts that are contrasted with equality before God in Islam and equality before the law in the legal system.
As many as ten ministers and numerous civil society representatives and policymakers from the 20 Arab countries participated in the First Arab Forum for Equality in Amman, Jordan.

UN Under-Secretary General Dr. Rola Dashti welcomes Alexander Dill in Amman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In her introductory speech, Rola Dashti, Executive Secretary (of what may be easier called the „Arab UN“ in Beirut, Lebanon), the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UNESCWA), Dr. Dashti expressed concern that wealth is increasingly unequally distributed and cited youth unemployment, the highest in the world in the Arab region, as a common challenge. She told the audience how she once played football on the streets as a young girl and founded the first women’s football team in her home country of Kuwait. An example of the tenacity with which young people conquer their place in society.

About half of the participants of the event, organized by the Director for Gender Justice, Population and Inclusive Development, Dr. Mehrinaz El Awady – including the ministers – were women. Disabled people from Libya and Egypt (see image), among others, also made clear how important inclusion is for a harmonious society.

Yemen’s Minister of Social Affairs and Labor, H.E. Dr. Muhammad Saeed Al-Zauri with Alexander Dill

Yemen’s Minister of Social Affairs and Labour, Dr. Muhammad Saeed Al-Zauri, explained the challenge of reaching people in regions that are not within the government’s sphere of influence or are not accessible for social aid due to acts of war.

 

Refugees from Syria described their situation and their desire to return to their Syrian homes such as Da’raa, Homs and Aleppo, which they have already left for over ten years (see picture with Alexander Dill).

Selfie with young Syrian refugees seeking for peaceful future

The Palestinian Minister for Social Development, Dr Ahmed Majdalani, deplored the enormous unemployment rate in the occupied territories, the main cause of which was the limited economic development due to the occupation.

Faiza Shaheen, Co-organizer of the event, the Pathfinders, identified several economies that are in fact based on gifts and donations. Even more, refugees are mostly dependent on foreign help. According to Egypt’s Minister for National Solidarity, Dr. Nevine Kabbaj, Egypt is hosting 5.6 million refugees. Ayman Almuflih, Minister of Social Development in Jordan, declared to host 56 Nationalities, mostly from Syria and Iraq. Such as in Lebanon, almost half of the population has a refugee background.

 

Alexander Dill with participants from Libya and Egypt.

So fighting inequality by reducing the number of refugees in the Arab World would at the same time enhance reconciliation and economic recovery. Most refugees are not allowed to work in their host countries.  In their hometowns, there is a need to rebuild the economy and society. Families and neighbors are separated.

The new indicator of the Arab Social Capital Monitor, the social inclusion of minorities in their local environment, allows reaching even regions of conflict. In the town of Homs, known worldwide for the destruction in the Syrian War, 8 out of 10 points were given for the new indicator. Similar scores are made in Beirut, Amman, and Palestine. A participant from Mosul, Iraq, even gave 9 points for social inclusion while scoring trust with only 3 and the willingness to co-finance public goods by taxes with one point only. In war-torn Aden, Yemen, one participant gave almost the lowest score. But he gave hospitality seven points.

These first results may indicate, that the longing for peace and reconciliation in many Arab regions is a growing mood. Could it be that after two years of Corona, after the dispute over combating climate change, and now also the outbreak of the Ukraine war, it is precisely in the Arab world that the unifying factor is coming to the Arab people?

The First Arab Forum for Equality could pave the way for a lasting solution to the refugee issue – and thus to the tensions in the Middle East.
It is then no longer just about the „right government“ and its legitimacy, but about the future chances of millions of young Arabs who have no future chances without an end to the conflicts.

 

 

 

 

 

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admin am 08. Juni 2022 in Allgemein

First Global Live Scoring of Social Goods

At the invitation of Tristan Claridge from New Zealand, who runs the platform Socialcapitalresearch, on April 29th, 2022 the first live scoring of the World Social Capital Monitor took place via Zoom. Participants from 13 countries directly scored their hometowns and discussed the scores. And these are the results:

As we can see, hospitality is the major social good overall, followed by friendliness and helpfulness. It is though hard to understand that governments, NGO and IGO still do not assess the impact of these social assets on Global peaceful development and the common Sustainable Development Goals. Tristan has recorded the discussion that reflects questions about the validity and the trans-cultural interpretation of the indicators.

We plan to have more of these live-scoring sessions in the future that allow to directly interact with the respondents.

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admin am 03. Mai 2022 in Allgemein

How hospitality holds its own in times of Corona

by Dr. Alexander Dill, Basel Institute of Commons and Economics

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hospitality is not only the foundation of every culture and religion but also of every economic exchange. However, the more anonymous international relations become, the less this human quality seems to be honored. Zoom and MS team conferences now often replace face-to-face encounters. In the Corona crisis, not only tourism but also restaurants and business travel have experienced drastic losses. Many companies have slashed their travel budgets, previously the source for many trades. Companies and organizations closed their foreign agencies and branches.

What has not diminished significantly in the Corona crisis, however, is hospitality. In some countries, such as Germany, where it stood at 6.2 points in 2019, it has actually increased to 6.7. France even rose from a meager 5.5 points in 2019 to 6.7 points now.

Nevertheless, the gap between European prosperity states and the Arab and African regions is clear.

The list presented here does not claim to be representative. It shows the results of the World Social Capital Monitor 2019 and 2020 in an overall view. It is striking that the level of hospitality does not correlate with economic strength. Put simply: poverty does not reduce the willingness to invite guests, even strangers.

Each of us will know such examples. If hospitality is to be maintained even in times of crisis and conflict, this will be the basis on which the economy and society can recover.

Together with the other indicators of the World Social Capital Monitor, such as trust and willingness to co-fund public goods and to invest in local businesses, we will therefore continue to have hospitality assessed worldwide.

Let us accelerate this crucial common virtue!

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admin am 18. August 2021 in Allgemein

  How Sustainability got lost in Translation

A new book describes decades of attempts to bring about a change of consciousness
by Alexander Dill

If Immanuel Kant’s (1724-1804) categorical imperative – act as if your own law became law for all – had entered our common sense – we would not have needed the UN Charter in 1945.

Still unknown and not in work: the Charter of the United Nations from 1945

In addition, neither today, we would have to discuss sustainability or public goods that are a logical consequence of self-interest in times of Global interaction. Global warming, loss of biodiversity, wars on commodities and natural capital – the biggest challenges are directly connected with the spirit we use to address them.

Unfortunately, lawmakers and CSR managers do not know Immanuel Kant – and nor do they take their time to assess what buzzwords such as sustainability and public goods are about.

Now Roland Bardy, a retired Manager of BASF, together with three Senior Experts, Arthur Rubens, Raymond Saner and Lichia Yiu, reconstruct decades of approaches on sustainability and public goods in a hardcover print version of 330 pages, available for 67 British Pounds at Cambridge Scholars Publishing, lying in front of me.

In times of spreading information through blogs and PDF, the book reminds us of how education and information once were spread: physically, and after reading proudly presented in the private library.

Between UN Correspondance a rare hardcover book on public goods and sustainable development that I will review here

While public goods and sustainability are concepts driven by experts and scientists including Nobel laureates such as Joseph Stiglitz, the “Contribution of Business” (Title of the book) to these concepts requires translation.

Generations of experts tried to translate sustainability and public goods for the behaviorist brains of lawmakers and businessmen.

This call to the EU Commission went directly in the waste bag

Karl Falkenberg, at the time (2015) Director of the EU Division on Environment, published a  compelling call to his fellow EU bureaucrats. The title “Sustainability Now!” made them throwing the 30-pages-rare-example of a good translation of sustainability in political and economic action immediately in the waste bag. They even removed his paper from the Commission’s website.

On page 74 of our book, the authors admit: “Achieving economic goals is always accompanied by that of social goals.”

Kant would say: “No, economic goals are social goals yet.”

Nevertheless, the divide of ‘economic’ and ‘social’ thinking is a societal reality that drives the discussions on how public goods should deliver to overcome Global crises such as the financial crisis of 2008 or the Corona Pandemia in 2020.

The authors feature dozens of approaches to measuring the impact and the value of the commons, of social and public goods ‘beyond GDP’. All these approaches were published in recommended journals as well as by the World Bank, the UN, and other global institutions.

Instead of complying with useless tax rules – what about complying with your fellas Davos Manifesto?

The most recent, the Davos Manifesto (p. 132) of the World Economic Forum from 2020, is part of the book yet. In the conclusion on page 242 the authors even mention the recent COVID-19 crisis, which they see as a catalyst to improve resilience by public goods.

So if such joint intelligence of Nobel laureates, leading scholars, and Global business leaders such as Klaus Schwab, such as the ESG (Environment – Social – Governance) departments of 500 MSCI companies cannot set up a working Global framework for sustainability and public goods in more than three decades – who then?

On page 132 the authors mention the appearance of Greta Thunberg in Davos 2020: “Where in past meetings, anti-capitalists were shunned from the proceedings…at this year’s meeting several of these individuals were welcomed to speak.”
The question asked by the authors is whether this is just one more of the endless accusations of claimants like Greta Thunberg or whether this will have a lasting effect on the  ‘Stop Global Warming!’ commitment that already is part of the voluntary commitments by companies, governments, and IGOs.

In 1945, all countries agreed to fight no more wars. The commitment is still there. And wars still happen.

Better example: the CFC ban in 1987 has been respected by all CFC producing countries and finally led to plugging the ozone hole for a while. To mention: it was a legal ban, not a voluntary commitment.

WEF-Partners such as Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems switch to sustainable arms of mass destruction?

In general, the authors reclaim a mind change in Business towards sustainability and the support of public goods to have happened in Davos 2020. They quote Nobel laureate Milton Friedman in 1970:
“the social responsibility of business is to increase its profits” (p. 136), to demonstrate that the consciousness in Global business finally changed.

The diagram of WEF’s “Circular Economy”, introduced as a disruptive step in the Global business community, describes links to dozens of issues such as ‘the internet of things’ and ‘3D printing’, ‘Aerospace’ and ‘Global Governance’.

One link is missing: the linkage to the taxation needed to finance public goods such as health, social and environmental protection, to finance the courts that decide to which extent private wealth may replace common wealth without damaging the society.

Maybe the WEF experts believe that taxation is part of ‘Global Governance’? Tax justice still remains an entirely National subject.

So, take the Davos Manifesto for true, maybe not the mind-change, the action change is the step to do?

 

Credits:

The UN Charter from 1945

https://treaties.un.org/doc/publication/ctc/uncharter.pdf

Public Goods, Sustainable Development and the Contribution of Business, by Roland Bardy, Arthur Rubens, Raymond Sander and Lichia Yiu, Cambridge Scholars Publishing (Hardcover, 330 pages) , Newcastle upon Tyne, 2021

https://www.cambridgescholars.com/product/978-1-5275-6310-0

Sustainability Now! A European Vision for Sustainability, by Karl Falkenberg, European Commission, European Political Strategy Center, July 2016*

http://commons.ch/wp-content/uploads/Falkenberg_Report_July_2016.pdf

*I swear to have never met any employee of the EU having read this.

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admin am 11. März 2021 in Allgemein

Better Social Climate under Corona – How Social Goods increase in the midst of the Pandemia

Do social goods increase under Corona? As a result of the World Social Capital Monitor 2020, an increase of social goods could be considered in 26 mostly emerging (we stopped to call them developing) countries. While the survey took place from May to September 2020, we are now able to compare the level of eight social goods between 2019 and 2020.
The first question was „Please characterize the Social Climate of your place“ on a ladder between 10 (excellent) and 1 (poor). As you can see from the chart, we considered a significant increase in ten countries. Any increase between 0 and 0.5 is within the random range of deviation and will therefore not be featured as a change.

Another surprise is the low average deviation for these estimates of the social climate: 1.7 in Congo, 1.5 in Croatia, 1.4 in Austria. The deviation for the questions on austerity measures and taxes, in general,  is much higher, mostly more than two points. So why do people agree on their local social climate in such different environments as the Republic of Congo and Austria?

This is the question of the research on social capital, that Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz once called ‚a tacit knowledge‘.

Our survey happens on the surface of this tacit knowledge. Communities and groups build their social climate and share their social goods without planning it. Recently Rudger Bregmann reclaimed the existence of an altruistic Humankind that explains many collective actions. According to Bregmann, helpfulness is as contagious as a virus.

To seeing Kosovo at the top of any chart is exceptional. But helpfulness increased in Kosovo by 1.4 points from 2019 to 2020.

As well Albania, Serbia, and Bosnia noted an increase in helpfulness. The Corona crisis seems to evoke and to accelerate shared social goods and virtues. For decades young people are leaving the Western Balkans. The European Union welcomes their cheap labour. To building up sustainable communities in the Western Balkans requires all social goods in one: interpersonal trust, willingness to co-finance public goods, willingness to invest in local small enterprises and cooperatives, helpfulness, friendliness and hospitality,

The Western Balkans division of the European Union rejected to consider our 2019 report on the six Western Balkan countries.

Now the World Social Capital Monitor 2020 with the great news on increasing social goods is published within the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Partnerships.

You can download the 49 printer-friendly pages as a PDF here.

 

 

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admin am 16. Oktober 2020 in Allgemein

28 new Funds to Financing Development

Since two years, the Basel Institute of Commons and Economics picked up the invitation to contribute to the UN Inter Agency Task Force on Financing for Development (UN IATF on FfD) that is composed by major IGOs and UN units you can assess here.

In 2017 we started our work by making a business case for SDG 16 Peace. In 2018 we published broadly recognized figures on the costs and sources to financing the UN Goals. The tables in our Policy Paper have been quoted in the Wikipedia articles on the Sustainable Development Goals in English and German.
UNESCO, in their Paper on SDG 4 Education,  wrote a paragraph on our comparison of the Global Indices with the result of finding entire redundancy by using GDP related indicators only. You find the UNESCO quote of our study on page 18/19. So the question for our 2020 Policy Paper was: Will we continue to enlighten the UN-IGO-SDG Community by smart questions on measuring and understanding the UN Goals?
The answer was ’no‘.

Instead we took the input we’ve got through the World Social Capital Monitor 2019 and created a set of currently 28 new Funds to Financing Development that expresses an entire paradigm change in Financing Development at a Global level:

  • all 17 UN Goals and their interlinkages are considered together in each of the Funds
  • the Funds do not attend any political change or political obedience from the countries covered
  • the Funds use the Euro as the benchmark currency, not the US Dollar
  • the Funds address Small and Middle Enterprises (SMEs) and cooperatives
  • the Funds expressively enhance the establishment of local cooperative and governmental banking
  • the Funds consider the local specific priorities and needs
  • the Funds invite local administrations and stakeholders to join the Investment Committee

If you’d like to browse the 28 Funds with a total of € 142 billion and covering 150 countries in alphabetic order, you can do that here by download from the IATF on FfD website (3 MB size and 33 pages).
Our thanks go the colleagues from the IATF on FfD for allowing us to share our expertise the third year now!

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admin am 05. Januar 2020 in Allgemein

How to finance the 17 UN Goals

On July 9th 2019 three scientists focussed on the SDGs process, Wolfgang Obenland from the Global Policy Forum, Stefan Brunnhuber from the Initiative Finance for Future and Alexander Dill, expert delivering to the UN Inter Agency Taskforce on Financing for Development (UN IATF on FfD) published their suggestions on how to finance the 17 UN Goals.

The presentation (German) has been broadcasted by the German Television Phoenix including the discussion with the Press. (50 minutes in total)

Let’s try a summary: Wolfgang Obenland („Highjacking the SDGs“), made his focus on lowering the transaction costs – the damage – created e.g. by subsidies for carbon production and non-sustainable agriculture, military and unhealthy behavior. He gave the example that protecting agricultural soils today will be much more economical than recovering them in the future.

Stefan Brunnhuber (‚A mechanism that can change the World, TEDx TALK‘) reclaimed collective repression among decision-makers in the SDGs process, that they feel to being a too-big-challenge. His idea is that the Central Banks may provide the funding of an estimated two to six trillion per year in the remaining time before Climate Change terminates the perspectives to do any better.

Alexander Dill (‚The SDGs are Public Goods‘) addressed the World’s biggest IGO, the European Union and demanded to invest another € 320 bn per year in addition to the current EU budget of € 160 bn annual. To fundraise this enormous amount Dill suggested to dramatically lower the current spendings of € 320 bn on military in the EU and to release a SDG bond through the European Investment Bank EIB. This ‚biggest investment in Europe’s history‘ (Dill) should include as well the neighborhood countries of the EU such as Egypt, Ukraine, Turkey and Iran.

 

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admin am 11. Juli 2019 in Allgemein

First results from the World Social Capital Monitor 2019

While most of the IGO’s and States still believe that the UN SDGs are nothing but a National audit, the indicators used to track the progress of the SDGs come from the National Statistics Offices. They lay around 15 years behind with their GDP agenda. Therefore we started to assess new indicators within our UN SDGs Partnership Project, the World Social Capital Monitor. Please mail us to get the full Monitor: dill@commons.ch.

See here a first presentation of the Global willingness to co-finance public goods by taxes. Why that? The SDGs have to be financed as well and according to our studies published at the UN IATF on FfD, almost only public budgets are available to cover the costs. And these budgets entirely depend on social goods such as solidarity, trust, helpfulness, and this indicator: ‚How would you estimate the willingness to co-finance public goods at your place?‘ (on a ladder between 10 high and 1 low).

China (collective vote of the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences) 10.0*
Finnland 8.5
Zambia, Cyprus 8.0
Rwanda 7.9
Somalia 7.5
Belgium 7.3
India 7.2
USA 7.1
Slovakia 7.0
United Kingdom 6.8
Rep. Korea, Turkey, Tanzania 6.6
Laos, Namibia 6.5
Germany, Russia 6.4
Cambodia 6.3
Ethiopia 6.0
Central African Republic 5.8
Mali, Kosovo 5.6
Nepal 5.3
Pakistan 5.2
France, Czech Republic 5.1
Italy 5.0

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admin am 04. Juli 2019 in Allgemein

„This is a damned dangerous game!“ – Horst Teltschik on NATO’s threat to Russia

Since Crimea returned to Russia, NATO – driven by the United States – is imposing ongoing threats on Russia. While few European leaders keep good relations with Russia (reducing it on the person of ‚Putin‘) – sanctions and boycotts damage not only Russia but at first Ukraine and neighboring countries such as the Balkans, the Baltic, Bulgaria, Poland, Romania and Greece. The damage of the NATO politics is at around € 400bn per year only in trade. If we include the damage caused by the military expenditures of the NATO countries we may easily reach € 1.5 trillion per year.
This is almost collateral damage in times where countries have to collaborate to address Climate Change and Poverty within the 17 UN Goals.

Horst Teltschik, a former advisor of Germany’s Chancellor Helmut Kohl, advocates the good relations between Germany and Russia that resulted in the German reunification. Teltschik is a Member of Board of the Basel Institute of Commons and Economics since 2015 yet. The Institute is proud that Teltschik’s new book „Russian Roulette“ will appear on March 21st.

Now Germany’s SPIEGEL in the print version published an interview with Mr. Teltschik that we offer for download here.

Unfortunately the interview is not available in public and open access. We hope that SPIEGEL will continue to consider our work nevertheless – and to promoting peace and reconciliation with our honourable neighbor, that suffered so much on the hostility of its neighbors in World War II.

 

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admin am 15. März 2019 in Allgemein

A letter to us from the Kilimanjaro smallhold farmers

On Tuesday, February 19th, in the midst of our Social Capital Monitor in Africa, we received this letter:

„Hello The Social Climate Matters, am Stephano Msuya working in the agricultural sector, experienced in agricultural projects in the Kilimanjaro region. I work at the network of smallholder farmers‘ groups of Tanzania (www.mviwata.org), we are strongly looking for donors who will support us to reduce the challenges which are facing smallholding farmers in Kilimanjaro region. In case your organization has that capacity to finance us or you may connect us with possible funders, it will be a great contribution to our transformational journey in the agricultural sector.“

Stephano is a Field Officer of the National Networks of Farmers Groups in Tanzania for the Kilimanjaro region.

When we checked their website, we saw that it was in Kiswahili and at the same day sent them a blueprint version to create the Kiswahili version of the World Social Capital Monitor. It took Stephano only one day to send us the Kiswahili version. It took us three days to bring it online and here it is. https://trustyourplace.com/?lang=kiswahili
See here a wonderful film on how MVIWATA helps Tanzanian farmers:

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admin am 23. Februar 2019 in Allgemein