Employment Archive

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Weitzenegger joins SEEDwork Sustainable Economic Development and Employment

Karsten Weitzenegger is an Associate of SEEDwork, the expert association for sustainable economic development and employment. Please visit my profile at http://www.seedwork.net/profile/karsten-weitzenegger SEEDwork is a registered non-profit association composed of professionals with long-standing experience in technical and financial development cooperation. The purpose of the association is the promotion of societal and economic development in developing and threshold countries. SEEDwork focuses on sustainable growth, decent work, and the promotion of international cooperation in this regard. “Growth – Income – Social Inclusion” We promote economic development and employment in a range of different areas. In many cases, reforms in the financial sector are necessary to establish transparency for investors or to provide individuals and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with funding. This may especially apply to micro-credits for the small entities. Therefore, we link existing and would-be entrepreneurs to financing institutions. Regarding sustainable business development we use value chain analyses as […]

seedwork_logo1Karsten Weitzenegger is an Associate of SEEDwork, the expert association for sustainable economic development and employment. Please visit my profile at http://www.seedwork.net/profile/karsten-weitzenegger

SEEDwork is a registered non-profit association composed of professionals with long-standing experience in technical and financial development cooperation. The purpose of the association is the promotion of societal and economic development in developing and threshold countries. SEEDwork focuses on sustainable growth, decent work, and the promotion of international cooperation in this regard.

“Growth – Income – Social Inclusion”

We promote economic development and employment in a range of different areas. In many cases, reforms in the financial sector are necessary to establish transparency for investors or to provide individuals and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with funding. This may especially apply to micro-credits for the small entities. Therefore, we link existing and would-be entrepreneurs to financing institutions.

Regarding sustainable business development we use value chain analyses as a starting point to develop action plans for the MSMEs involved, and we accompany their implementation. With all our activities we particularly cater for the special needs of different target groups like for example the qualification of young people to increase their employability or their chances to become self-employed, e.g. in the green sector.

In addition, we involve members of the Diaspora who wish to contribute to the economic development of their countries of origin be it through own investments or the extension/linkage of their existing businesses in their new home-countries with their country of origin. We incorporate professional bodies like chambers and associations in our work to enable companies to learn from each other and to improve their business performance.

servseed

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Fair Trade = no poverty! WFTO promotes 10 Principles of Fair Trade #FairTradeBreaksPoverty

Culemborg, 26 September 2016 – This year WFTO observes Global Anti-Poverty Week (16-22 October 2016) by promoting the 10 Principles of Fair Trade as means to eradicate poverty as desired by the first goal of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals – NO POVERTY. WFTO believes that the principles of Fair Trade are effective overarching tools to fight poverty. Using the concept of ‘Agent for Change’ (Fair Trade as an agent for change), WFTO’s formula to eradicate poverty: Fair Trade + Economic Opportunities = No Poverty Fair Trade is a tangible contribution to the fight against poverty, climate change and global economic crises. The World Bank reports that more than one billion people still live at or below $1.25 a day.1 The World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) believes that trade must benefit the most vulnerable and deliver sustainable livelihoods by developing opportunities especially for small and disadvantaged producers. Recurring global economic […]

Culemborg, 26 September 2016 – This year WFTO observes Global Anti-Poverty Week (16-22 October 2016) by promoting the 10 Principles of Fair Trade as means to eradicate poverty as desired by the first goal of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals – NO POVERTY.

WFTO believes that the principles of Fair Trade are effective overarching tools to fight poverty.
Using the concept of ‘Agent for Change’ (Fair Trade as an agent for change), WFTO’s formula to eradicate poverty: Fair Trade + Economic Opportunities = No Poverty

Fair Trade is a tangible contribution to the fight against poverty, climate change and global economic crises. The World Bank reports that more than one billion people still live at or below $1.25 a day.1 The World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) believes that trade must benefit the most vulnerable and deliver sustainable livelihoods by developing opportunities especially for small and disadvantaged producers. Recurring global economic crises and persistent poverty in many countries confirm the demand for a fair and sustainable economy locally and globally.

The World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) is a global network of organisations representing the Fair Trade supply chain. Membership in WFTO provides Fair Trade organisations with credibility and identity by way of an international guarantee system, a place of learning where members connect with like-minded people from around the world, tools and training to increase market access, and a common voice that speaks out for Fair Trade and trade justice – and is heard.

WFTO prescribes 10 Principles that Fair Trade Organisations must follow in their day-to-day work and carries out monitoring to ensure these principles are upheld.

10 FT Principles

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UNCTAD 14: Policy coherence needed to turn trade into an engine for growth in Africa

Trade and investment can be drivers of inclusive growth for sustainable development in Africa, says the ILO’s Deputy Director-General for Field Operations and Partnerships, Gilbert Houngbo, at UNCTAD 14 in Nairobi but calls for more integrated policies to realize that potential. By Gilbert Houngbo, Deputy Director for Field Operations and Partnerships, the International Labour Organization (ILO). Africa’s rapidly growing workforce needs decent work. Increased trade and investment can help drive inclusive growth for sustainable development but we need more integrated policies to realize that potential. It could prove vital for the creation of decent jobs, especially for millions of young Africans, and this is the message that the ILO is bringing to the 14th United Nations Conference on Trade and Development  (UNCTAD 14) being held from 17 to 22 July in Nairobi, Kenya. How to translate decisions into actions after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development ? That’s […]
Trade and investment can be drivers of inclusive growth for sustainable development in Africa, says the ILO’s Deputy Director-General for Field Operations and Partnerships, Gilbert Houngbo, at UNCTAD 14 in Nairobi but calls for more integrated policies to realize that potential.
By Gilbert Houngbo, Deputy Director for Field Operations and Partnerships, the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Africa’s rapidly growing workforce needs decent work. Increased trade and investment can help drive inclusive growth for sustainable development but we need more integrated policies to realize that potential.

It could prove vital for the creation of decent jobs, especially for millions of young Africans, and this is the message that the ILO is bringing to the 14th United Nations Conference on Trade and Development  (UNCTAD 14) being held from 17 to 22 July in Nairobi, Kenya.

How to translate decisions into actions after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development ? That’s what will be at the heart of the conversation among Heads of State and Government, ministers of economic affairs and trade, accompanied by leaders from international organizations, business, civil society and media.

After decades of assuming that sound economic, trade and investment policies would automatically deliver growth and thereby employment and decent work, the world has come to know better. That is why all Member States explicitly made inclusive growth and decent work for all one of the 17 global sustainable development goals (SDGs).

The 2030 Agenda is an integrated approach to development where economic growth, environmental protection and social justice shall go hand in hand. Full employment and decent work for all is placed together with inclusive economic growth as SDG number 8 , at the very heart of the 2030 Agenda.

Harnessing the potential of trade and investment as an important stimulus for the generation of decent work opportunities and sustainable development is a crucial component of the global partnership for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The ILO and its Decent Work Agenda  brings several interconnected policy tools and supporting evidence-based research to such a new global partnership.

The Decent Work Agenda has four strategic objectives, considered equally important and mutually reinforcing: To set and promote standards and fundamental principles and rights at work; to create increased opportunities for women and men to decent employment and income; to enhance the coverage and effectiveness of social protection for all, and to strengthen tripartism and social dialogue – that is, to strengthen trade unions and employers’ organizations and their capacity for dialogue with each other and with governments.

Working women and men across Africa recognize the need for such policies. The Addis Ababa Declaration at the 13th African Regional Meeting of the ILO  in December last year spells it out: In spite of high and sustained growth over the past decade – in fact six of the top ten fastest growing economies were in Africa – progress has been lacking in diversifying productive capacity, inequality is increasing and poverty remains among the highest in the world.

Lack of employment and decent work for young people is the continent´s most pressing challenge. The ILO´s report on Global Employment Trends for Youth 2015  pinpointed the fact that North Africa has the highest youth unemployment rate in the world, at more than 30 per cent, a majority of them long-term unemployed. While sub-Saharan Africa fares better, at 11.6 per cent youth unemployment – the long-term figure there of 48.1 per cent is also very serious. And this does not count the millions of young people who have given up to look for a job altogether. If they are included, the figures nearly double in low-income countries.

With high unemployment and underemployment depicting a bleak scenario, employers including foreign investors are also concerned that they cannot find the skilled workers they need. This indicates a serious skills gap – which certainly is a barrier for African countries to take successful part in global supply chains, the dominating mode of production, trade and growth in the globalized economy.

The ILO is assisting our member states in addressing this multifaceted challenge by leading the Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth . This is a unique partnership developed by 21 United Nations agencies as a platform to engage all partners investing and supporting youth employment around the world. Better skills development and linkages to global markets and investments are key among the actions to be taken under this initiative.

Meeting the challenge of assuring progress towards decent work throughout global supply chains will require the strengthening of a range of labour market institutions, including the capacity of public authorities and employers’ and workers’ organizations to effectively monitor and enforce compliance with laws and regulations. This was one of the conclusions of the discussions on the ILO´s International Labour Conference , which met in Geneva, Switzerland last month.

These conclusions can instil new life into the trade and investment outlooks of the African continent. They urge governments to adopt a more integrated and coordinated approach to policy-making. It is crucial to ensure that all relevant ministries are involved across their respective portfolios when their policies influence each other – and that is certainly the case for trade, investment and labour policies.

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How to Finance a Sustainable World Economy

Berlin, 07/20/2016 – Banks and insurers can play a crucial part in stabilizing the climate, while at the same time safeguarding their clients’ assets. Leading representatives of finance and climate research will discuss the best strategies for a turnaround in investing this Thursday in Berlin. The event is hosted by the Swiss global bank UBS, the French multinational insurance firm AXA, CDP, the European innovation initiative Climate-KIC, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). Divestment – the diversion of capital from fossil fuel industries to green innovation and sustainable businesses – is a new approach to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, which could turn out to be a global “game changer”.

The Great Investment Turnaround: how to finance a sustainable world economy

Already today, investments of billions of Euros are being redirected. Pioneered by students of wealthy US universities, divestment has reached financial big shots like Allianz by now: the financial services company announced its intention to divest from its assets in coal mining. The foundation of the legendary US oil dynasty Rockefeller plans to divest their funds from the fossil fuel industry as well.

“The risks of climate change affect everyone and everything. When the finance sector now divests billions from the fossil business, this does not only reflect a moral responsibility but also makes good business sense,” says PIK director Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, co-initiator of the conference. “While weather extremes increase already, many of the biggest climate impacts, like the consequences of sea-level rise, will become perceptible only after it would be too late to act. Therefore it is important for the finance sector to recognize the warnings of science and to ramp up sustainable investments as soon as possible. The Paris Agreement substantiates that the nations of the world aim at reaching zero emissions by 2050. This means we are now in year one of the Great Transformation. Whoever still invests in coal and oil will not only damage the environment, but eventually also lose a lot of money.”

“Recognize the possible economic and social impacts of climate change”

„As a global bank it is of major importance to recognize the possible economic and social impacts of climate change, in order to better prepare us and our clients,” says Axel Weber, Chairman of the Board of Directors of UBS Group AG. “The financial sector is working hard to lay the foundations for filling gaps in financing climate action and to support nations in delivering on their corresponding commitments. We aim for a sensible long-term allocation of capital that is congruent with a low-carbon economy.”

Christian Thimann, Global Head of Strategy, Sustainability, and Public Affairs at AXA Group and Vice-Chair of the FSB Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure, says: “Finance has an important role in addressing climate change, because it steers long-term investment. Investors need to understand how companies address climate change in their strategies, which goes well beyond the current carbon footprint. Under the mandate of the G20 and the Financial Stability Board, the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure seeks to develop consistent voluntary disclosures by companies and enhance investor understanding of climate-related business risks and opportunities. Such disclosures and better investor understanding will foster implementation of the COP21 agreement.”

„Divestment is one of the most potent signals of investor discontent”

Susan Dreyer, CDP Country Director Germany, Austria, Switzerland adds: „Divestment is one of the most potent signals of investor discontent and can be a valuable method to manage portfolio risk, given climate risks are becoming more urgent every day. Having built a platform for transparent and comparable climate strategies, into which 5600 companies worldwide are voluntary reporting today, CDP knows of the impact investor engagement can unfold. Shareholder resolutions or setting joint reduction targets are good examples. And yet, the clear signal from both civil society and investors that fossil based business models do not have a future in the decarbonized world of 2050, is helpful and needed.”

Among the distinguished speakers are also Rainer Baake, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, Laurence Tubiana, French Ambassador for international climate negotiations at COP 21, Monsignor Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and high-ranking finance representatives, from the major bank HSBC to Union Investment, from the central bank of the Netherlands to the French Ministry of Finance.

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The Sustainable Development Goals as Business Opportunities

OECD Development Co-operation Report 2016 The face of development has changed, with diverse stakeholders involved – and implicated – in what are more and more seen as global and interlinked concerns. At the same time, there is an urgent need to mobilise unprecedented resources to achieve the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The private sector can be a powerful promotor of sustainable development. Companies provide jobs, infrastructure, innovation and social services, among others. Increasingly, investments in developing countries – even in the least developed countries – are seen as business opportunities, despite the risks involved. The public sector can leverage the private sector contribution, helping to manage risk and providing insights into effective policy and practice. Yet in order to set the right incentives, a better understanding is needed of the enabling factors, as well as the constraints, for businesses and investors interested in addressing sustainable development challenges. The Development […]

OECD Development Co-operation Report 2016

The face of development has changed, with diverse stakeholders involved – and implicated – in what are more and more seen as global and interlinked concerns. At the same time, there is an urgent need to mobilise unprecedented resources to achieve the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The private sector can be a powerful promotor of sustainable development. Companies provide jobs, infrastructure, innovation and social services, among others. Increasingly, investments in developing countries – even in the least developed countries – are seen as business opportunities, despite the risks involved. The public sector can leverage the private sector contribution, helping to manage risk and providing insights into effective policy and practice. Yet in order to set the right incentives, a better understanding is needed of the enabling factors, as well as the constraints, for businesses and investors interested in addressing sustainable development challenges.

The Development Co-operation Report 2016 explores the potential and challenges of investing in developing countries, in particular through social impact investment, blended finance and foreign direct investment. The report provides guidance on responsible business conduct and outlines the challenges in mobilising and measuring private finance to achieve the SDGs. Throughout the report, practical examples illustrate how business is already promoting sustainable development and inclusive growth in developing countries. Part II of the report showcases the profiles and performance of development co-operation providers, and presents DAC statistics on official and private resource flows.

With the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the world now has the most ambitious, diverse and universal development roadmap in history. To meet the challenges they represent, the global community needs to move well beyond the approximately USD 135 billion provided annually as official development assistance (ODA). Investment needs for the SDGs in developing countries are estimated to be in the order of USD 3.3 to 4.5 trillion per year. Taking action to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre‑industrial levels will require some USD 100 billion every year until 2020 from developed countries alone. At the same time, the new goals make it clear that the challenges of sustainable development are no longer merely a question of what is happening in poor countries – they are challenges for us all. To tackle these global and interlinked concerns, a diverse array of stakeholders will need to join forces – with the private sector taking a pivotal position.

Investment in sustainable development is smart investment

The business case for the SDGs is strong. This Development Co‑operation Report 2016 makes it clear that investing in sustainable development is smart investment. Companies that introduce sustainability into their business models are profitable and successful, with positive returns on capital in terms of reduced risk, diversification of markets and portfolios, increased revenue, reduced costs and improved value of products. Increasingly, investments in developing countries – and even in the least developed countries – are seen as business opportunities, despite the risks involved. On the other hand, companies provide jobs, infrastructure, innovation and social services, among others. This report explores five pathways for realising the enormous potential of the private sector as a partner for delivering on the SDGs, providing the quantity and quality of investment needed to support sustainable development.

Five pathways to the Sustainable Development Goals

1. Foreign direct investment is by far the greatest source of international capital flows to developing countries and is considered one of the most development‑friendly sources of private investment. It can create jobs, boost productive capacity, enable local firms to access new international markets and bring with it transfers of technology that can have positive long‑term effects. Many are expecting these flows to play a major role in filling the SDG financing gap. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), a concerted effort by the international community could help to quadruple foreign direct investment by 2030, especially in structurally weak countries. There is, however, some cause for concern: global capital flows have started to decelerate, while economic vulnerabilities are growing. Chapter 2 warns that a slowdown, or even reversal, in foreign direct investment could have serious negative ramifications for both developing and international investment markets. Framing development strategies around the complementary and mutually reinforcing qualities of private investment and development co‑operation can help to offset the cyclic, changing nature of foreign direct investment trends.

2. Blended finance – using public funds strategically to provide, for instance, de‑risking instruments for private investors – can dramatically improve the scale of investment in development. Blended finance offers huge, largely untapped potential for public, philanthropic and private actors to work together to dramatically improve the scale of investment in developing countries. Its potential lies in its ability to remove bottlenecks that prevent private investors from targeting sectors and countries that urgently need additional investment. To accelerate social and economic progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, blended finance needs to be scaled up, but in a systematic way that avoids certain risks. Chapter 3 takes a close look at the use of development and philanthropic finance to unlock resources through blending mechanisms that have the potential to transform economies, societies and lives. It notes that while the concept of blending public and private finance in the context of development co‑operation is nothing new, it has played a marginal role so far.

3. Chapter 4 of this report describes work underway to monitor and measure the mobilisation effect of public sector interventions on private investment. This is expected to be an important element of the new “total official support for sustainable development” (TOSSD) framework, which will provide important information about financing strategies and best practices, helping to attract development finance to support the SDGs. A recent OECD survey has confirmed the feasibility of collecting and measuring data on the direct mobilisation effect of guarantees, syndicated loans and shares in collective investment vehicles; work is underway to develop similar methodologies for other financial instruments. Much work still remains to be done, however, in particular to find ways of measuring the indirect – or “catalytic” – effect of public interventions on the achievement of the global goals and in tackling climate change. The OECD is co‑ordinating its efforts with work underway in other fora to ensure coherence.

4. If development is to be truly sustainable and inclusive it must benefit all citizens – in particular the poorest, most marginalised and vulnerable. Social impact investment has evolved over the past decade as an innovative approach to increasing the benefits of business for the world’s poorest and most marginalised populations. Enterprises that generate measurable social as well as financial returns can bring effectiveness, innovation, accountability and scale to development efforts. Public funds can be used to strengthen and promote this type of investment by sharing risks, and also by supporting a sound business environment, particularly in the least developed countries and in countries emerging from conflict. These new business models can complement existing ones, especially in areas not traditionally popular with business – but essential to the poor – such as education, health and social services.

5. For business to do good while doing no harm, the private sector must be held to the same international transparency and accountability standards as all other actors. Chapter 6 looks at the principles and standards of responsible business conduct and how following them can give responsible businesses an advantage that benefits their bottom lines, while at the same time producing positive results for people and the planet. Business and government have complementary roles to play in implementing, promoting and enabling responsible business conduct. The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises help to optimise their contributions, supporting the development of responsible and accountable business practice to ensure that investment quantity is matched by business quality to produce social, economic and environmental benefits.

This report provides examples of how the OECD is stimulating dialogue and creating opportunities for co‑operation among the many stakeholders involved in sustainable development. It also presents practical cases that illustrate how businesses are already working to promote sustainable development and inclusive growth in developing countries. In this era hallmarked by globalisation, rapid technological advancement and competition for precious resources, it is important to remember that business thrives when the world thrives.

Read the full book on: 10.1787/dcr-2016-en

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ILO calls for reorientation of Latin American labour market policies

ILO: Labour market policies in Latin America must be reoriented to protect social achievements and address productivity gaps At a time when governments in the region face the dual challenges of creating quality jobs and safeguarding achievements in social inclusion and work quality, an ILO report highlights the need for a new approach based on active labour market policies to address the current economic slowdown. Lima, 21 June 2016 (ILO) – The International Labour Organization (ILO) has urged Latin American countries to carry out a “strategic reorientation” of their labour market policies in order to increase productivity and to address rising unemployment and informality resulting from the economic slowdown. The report in Spanish A report warns that “the achievements made since the 2000s, in terms of social inclusion and work quality have stalled and are even beginning to reverse,” which can lead to a dangerous “structural stagnation” in labour markets […]

ILO: Labour market policies in Latin America must be reoriented to protect social achievements and address productivity gaps

At a time when governments in the region face the dual challenges of creating quality jobs and safeguarding achievements in social inclusion and work quality, an ILO report highlights the need for a new approach based on active labour market policies to address the current economic slowdown.

Lima, 21 June 2016 (ILO) – The International Labour Organization (ILO) has urged Latin American countries to carry out a “strategic reorientation” of their labour market policies in order to increase productivity and to address rising unemployment and informality resulting from the economic slowdown.

The report in Spanish

A report warns that “the achievements made since the 2000s, in terms of social inclusion and work quality have stalled and are even beginning to reverse,” which can lead to a dangerous “structural stagnation” in labour markets that could, in turn, generate an increase in inequality and informality and erosion in the middle class”.

“The alarm bells are ringing, the economic slowdown will impact the region’s labour markets in 2016 and over the next years,” said the ILO’s Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, José Manuel Salazar.

“Now what we are talking about are effective solutions. The so-called active labour market policies represent a policy shift that seeks to improve and update the skills of the labour force, readjust labour supply and demand, and promote productive employment. This integrated approach is what labour markets in the region need,” he added.

The report, “What works: Active labour market policies in Latin American and the Caribbean ”, was developed by the ILO’s Research Department in Geneva.

According to the document, despite some years of solid growth in which social progress and unemployment advanced, those achievements were not consolidated, thus revealing structural deficiencies. The report warns that “even with remarkable progress, the shift to a knowledge driven economy and one based on better quality jobs has not been completed”.

ILO specialist Veronica Escudero, one of the authors of the report, warned that “even if these policies have great potential, we need to highlight that the design, targeting and implementation are essential to guarantee their effectiveness.”

In this sense, it is necessary to “be very clear about the employment barriers that people in a country face, as well as the needs of the local labour market, to ensure the relevance of the policies and to maximize their impact, including the number of beneficiaries,” explained Escudero.

An urgent policy reorientation for Latin America and the Caribbean

To tackle unemployment, informality and low productivity growth, a policy reorientation is needed in Latin America and the Caribbean. ILO economists Clemente Pignatti and Verónica Escudero discuss the potential opportunities that can be leveraged from active labour market policies in the region.

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Cash Transfer Programs Succeed for Zambia’s Poor, Offer Lessons for Battling African Poverty, AIR Finds

African nations increasingly embrace cash transfers to combat the continent’s cycle of poverty WASHINGTON D.C., United States of America, June 8, 2016/ — Programs designed to alleviate hunger and increase food supply through cash transfers to some of Zambia’s poorest families achieved those goals and more, final evaluations conducted by the American Institutes for Research (AIR) (http://www.AIR.org) revealed. Overall, researchers found that a cash-transfer program geared toward families with at least one young child had effects that amounted to a net benefit of 1.5 kwacha—Zambia’s currency— for each kwacha transferred. A second program for households with fewer able-bodied people to farm had effects that amounted to a net benefit of 1.68 kwacha for each kwacha transferred. Besides eating more meals and building more reliable food reserves, families used the money to improve their housing, buy additional necessities for their children, acquire more livestock and reduce debt. The studies, commissioned by […]
African nations increasingly embrace cash transfers to combat the continent’s cycle of poverty
WASHINGTON D.C., United States of America, June 8, 2016/ — Programs designed to alleviate hunger and increase food supply through cash transfers to some of Zambia’s poorest families achieved those goals and more, final evaluations conducted by the American Institutes for Research (AIR) (http://www.AIR.org) revealed.

Overall, researchers found that a cash-transfer program geared toward families with at least one young child had effects that amounted to a net benefit of 1.5 kwacha—Zambia’s currency— for each kwacha transferred. A second program for households with fewer able-bodied people to farm had effects that amounted to a net benefit of 1.68 kwacha for each kwacha transferred.

Besides eating more meals and building more reliable food reserves, families used the money to improve their housing, buy additional necessities for their children, acquire more livestock and reduce debt.

The studies, commissioned by UNICEF, are likely to be closely watched as African nations increasingly embrace cash transfers to combat the continent’s cycle of poverty. South Africa’s program is the largest, with roughly 16.1 million people—about a third of its population—receiving some kind of social grant.

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Notably, the two Zambian programs were unconditional—providing small, consistent sums of money with no strings attached on how they were spent. The programs bucked general criticisms that cash transfers spark dependency. Rather, the discretionary approach empowered families, who used the grants to improve their living standards in ways that made sense given their individual circumstances. At no point during the multiyear grants did alcohol consumption increase. Nor was there any impact on fertility, according to the evaluations.

“The unconditional approach worked,” said Stanfield Michelo, director of social welfare at Zambia’s Ministry of Community Development and Social Welfare. “And because it did, the region is making positive strides. Without a doubt, the changes would not have been possible without AIR’s rigorous evaluations.”

The evaluation of the Child Grant cash-transfer program (CGP) lasted four years, and the evaluation of the Multiple Category Targeting Grant (MCTG) lasted three years. Begun in 2010 in three of Zambia’s poorest districts, the CGP was open to all households with at least one child under age 4. Half were randomly assigned to receive cash transfers of 60 kwacha ($12) a month, and half to a control group that did not receive funds. The MCTG was aimed at poor households with fewer able-bodied people to farm, due largely to a “missing generation” of parents in their 30s and 40s and disproportionally high numbers of adolescents and orphans cared for by widows and grandparents. As with the CGP, half the MCTG participants received the equivalent of $12 a month and half were in a control group that didn’t.

The studies were notable not only for their duration, but also for their use of randomization and control groups to tease out the program’s true effects.

“Few evaluations of cash transfer programs can make such strong causal claims with as much certainty as these two evaluations,” said David Seidenfeld (http://www.air.org/person/david-seidenfeld), AIR’s senior director of international research and evaluation and lead study author. “The design of the study, which extended over several years, allowed us to see that the beneficiaries do not grow complacent over time, but instead find ways to grow the value of the transfer beyond benefits related to food security and consumption.”

Although the studies revealed persistent successes, they also offered future researchers and policymakers an idea of cash transfers’ limitations. The studies did not show consistent successes in education or child nutrition, possibly due to large-scale infrastructure issues—namely, the supply of social services, access to clean water, and a lack of health care and education facilities.

Among the studies’ principal lessons, researchers found that the degree of positive impact depended largely on the participants’ characteristics. For example, the multiple-category grants had large impacts on schooling because participating households had more school-age children. Overall, school enrollment jumps of 8 percent for children ages 11–14 and 11 percent for children 15–17 were attributed to the program, and these age groups are at the greatest risk of dropping out in Zambia, according to the report. By contrast, four years into the program, the child grants had no enrollment or attendance impacts for children in three groups: ages 4–7, 8–10 and 15–17.

“Another lesson is that the unconditional nature of the grants gave participants the flexibility to use the money to combat principal life challenges,” said UNICEF Zambia Representative Hamid El-Bashir Ibrahim. “For example, the CGP significantly affected many indicators commonly associated with resiliency—the ability to manage and withstand shocks. Households with transfers significantly improved housing quality and tools, livestock procurement, and opportunities to diversify income-generating activities so they could better withstand emergencies.”

“The overall results demonstrate unequivocally that common perceptions about cash transfers—that they are handouts and cause dependency, or lead to alcohol and tobacco consumption, or increases in pregnancy—are not true in Zambia,” Seidenfeld said. “Quite the contrary. Due to the unconditional nature of the grants, households had the flexibility needed to meet their most pressing challenges head on.”

The final reports on the Child Grant cash transfer program (http://bit.ly/25KDdJk) and the Multiple Category Transfer Grant program (http://bit.ly/1Udb21M) can be found on AIR’s website. The site also features a video (http://bit.ly/1TXR5Oe) of David Seidenfeld discussing lessons learned from the multiyear studies.

Source: APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of American Institutes for Research (AIR).

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How to increase the positive impact of trade on rural development

Trade is a means by which poor countries can leverage economic growth, reduce their levels of poverty and even meet the SDGs. For example, SDG 2 on ending hunger and food insecurity points towards correcting and preventing trade restrictions and distortions in world agricultural markets as an indicator towards its achievement. Trade has furthermore emerged as a means to finance development – a position catalyzed by significant reductions in ODA by traditional donors – as it was featured in the FFD3 outcome document.

As part of the Platform’s growing work on trade in agriculture and rural development (ARD), the Annual General Assembly, held on 20th January, posed the following question participants: Are agricultural trade and rural development playing a duet or a solo? This is because the governance issues surrounding agricultural trade lead to a number of debates, particularly surrounding how trade can work better for smallholder farmers and even how trade could help deliver food and nutrition security. Overarching such discussions is one on which instruments and support mechanisms exist and offer practical solutions and opportunities?

A panel session during the AGA discussed a number of institutional and legal opportunities to increase the positive impact of trade in ARD. The main messages, according to each panelist, were:

Christophe Bellman (ICTSD) spoke about the critical role trade flows that legally binding trade agreements play in allowing frameworks that make sure trade flows happen easily and remove distortions. We must ask ourselves what trade restrictions are legitimate, as it is not just about liberalization.

Three main priorities for food security are:

  1. Policy instruments to deal with excessive price volatility and make sure your population can access food.
  2. Consciousness about the impact of policies to support national food production. Countries want to ensure productivity, but how does this affect other (poor) countries?
  3. Market access, reducing tariffs and Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary (SPS) measures. There needs to be a realization of which of these measures are legitimate and which may be disguised protectionism.

The topic of Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary (SPS) measures and technical standards was discussed in more depth by COMESA representative Martha Byanyima, because in the majority of COMESA countries, agriculture is still a leading economic activity. Protection of plants and animals from pests and invasive species ensures food and nutrition security and prevents diseases.

SPS regulations on countries have to speak to international trade, but also ensure they serve domestic needs as well. Some overarching debates remain on the harmonization of standards, whether they should be harmonized towards international or regional standards. COMESA believes that there should be direct support to regional SPS and Standards programmes under regional integration. For this, it is essential to enhance the institutional capacities of African institutions charged with CAADP implementation (AUC, NEPAD, RECs). Linking these efforts to country level actions will ensure that trade/customs reforms and investments are directly supporting initiatives to enhance food and nutrition security.

The Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) for Trade-Related Assistance supports the Least Developed Countries supports (LDCs) to better integrate into the global trading system and to make trade a driver for development. EIF representative Ratnakar Adhikari described its functions which include mainstreaming trade into national development strategies, setting up new structures or strengthen existing institutions needed to coordinate the delivery of trade-related technical assistance and building capacity to trade, similar to some of the discussions covered by COMESA and ICTSD.

The EIF is a mix of traditional and emerging donors. It is managed through a trust fund which builds capacity for developing countries to contribute to the multilateral trade agreements. Third parties, such as GIZ, implement the programs.

Philippe Jacques from the European Commission spoke about the Aid for Trade (A4T) initiative, specifying that we may consider five areas as requiring priority attention under the A4T initiative for the agricultural sector:

  • Technology transfer and utilisation – one reason for the lack of agriculture competitiveness in developing countries is the low productivity land and labour, as well as the low adoption of new technologies by the vast majority of small and medium-scale farmers.
  • Rural infrastructures – the ability of the existing value chains to respond to new trade opportunities, as well as for the emergence of new value chains, is highly conditioned by the availability of adequate rural infrastructures.
  • Investment in water Management – in conjunction with the two factors mentioned before, it can offer pay-offs to public and private sector investment in agriculture
  • Technical standards of products – activities in this field are being completed within the framework of the WTO Agreements on SPS measures and Technical Barriers to Trade
  • Capacity for trade negotiations and trade policy Analysis – in addition to multilateral trade negotiations, most countries have engaged or concluded trade negotiations at regional, bilateral and preferential levels. That places a significant burden on the capacity needs to be built in order to implement these agreements, for responding to trade disputes and for adopting and complying with rules and standards.

Source: https://www.donorplatform.org/about/aga/latest/1523-how-to-increase-the-positive-impact-of-trade-on-rural-development

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2015 Human Development Report – Rethinking Work for Human Development

“Address challenges and seize opportunities of the new world of work”, UNDP urges

2 billion people lifted out of low human development, in last 25 years, now focus on work is needed to galvanize progress, alerts the 2015 Human Development Report.

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Addis Ababa, 14 December 2015 (UNDP) — Fast technological progress, deepening globalization, aging societies and environmental challenges are rapidly transforming what work means today and how it is performed. This new world of work presents great opportunities for some, but also profound challenges for others. The 2015 Human Development Report, released today at a ceremony in Ethiopia, urges governments to act now to ensure no one is left behind in the fast-changing world of work.

The report, titled ‘Work for Human Development’, calls for equitable and decent work for all. In doing so, it encourages governments to look beyond jobs to consider the many kinds of work, such as unpaid care, voluntary, or creative work that are important for human development. The report suggests that only by taking such a broad view can the benefits of work be truly harnessed for sustainable development.

Speaking at the launch, Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn of the Federal Democratic
Republic of Ethiopia, said “Employment can be a great driver of progress, but more
people need to be able to benefit from sustainable work that helps them and their families
to thrive.”

The need for more inclusive and sustainable work opportunities was also emphasized by United Nations Development Programme Administrator Helen Clark who said: “Decent work contributes to both the richness of economies and the richness of human lives. All countries need to respond to the challenges in the new world of work and seize opportunities to improve lives and livelihoods.”

With better health and education outcomes and reductions in extreme poverty, 2 billion people have moved out of low human development levels in the last 25 years, the report says. Yet in rder to secure these gains and galvanize progress, a stronger focus on decent work is needed.

830 million people are classified as working poor who live on under $2.00 a day. Over 200 million people, including 74 million youth, are unemployed, while 21 million people are currently in forced labour.

“Human progress will accelerate when everyone who wants to work has the opportunity to do so under decent circumstances. Yet in many countries, people are often excluded from paid work, or are paid less than others for doing work of the same value”, said report lead author Selim Jahan.

Women do three out of every four hours of unpaid work

The report presents a detailed new estimate of the share of all work, not just paid work, between men and women. While women carry out 52 percent of all global work, glaring inequalities in the distribution of work remain.

Women are less likely to be paid for their work than men, with three out of every four hours of unpaid
work carried out by women. In contrast, men account for two of every three hours of paid work. Since
women often carry the burden of providing care services for family members, the report warns that this
disparity is likely to increase as populations age.

When women are paid, they earn globally, on average, 24 percent less than men, and occupy less than a
quarter of senior business positions worldwide.

“To reduce this inequality, societies need new policies, including better access to paid care services.
Ensuring equal pay, providing paid parental leave, and tackling the harassment and the social norms
that exclude so many women from paid work are among the changes needed. That would enable the burden of unpaid care work to be shared more widely, and give women a genuine choice on whether to
enter the labour force”, Helen Clark said.

Globalization and the digital revolution are double-edged swords

Globalization and technological changes are producing an increasingly polarized world of work. “There
has never been a better time to be a highly skilled worker. Conversely, it is not a good time to be unskilled. This is deepening inequalities”, said report author Selim Jahan.

Highly skilled workers and those with access to technology, including to the internet, have new
opportunities in the types of work available and the way that work is done. Today, there are seven billion mobile phone subscriptions, 2.3 billion people with smart phones, and 3.2 billion with internet access. This has brought about many changes in the world of work – for example, the rise of e-commerce and the mass outsourcing of banking, ICT-support, and other services. Despite new opportunities, however, more jobs are now becoming vulnerable and a wide digital divide remains, the report notes.

In 2015, 81 percent of households in developed countries have internet access, but only 34 percent in developing regions and 7 percent in the least developed countries have that access. Many types of outine work, such as clerical jobs, are predicted to disappear or be replaced by computers, or have already disappeared, the report warns, while many more workers face other insecurities. According to the International Labour Organization, 61 percent of employed people in the world work
without a contract, and only 27 percent of the world’s population is covered by comprehensive social
protection. The report calls on governments to formulate national employment strategies that take into account the many challenges emerging in the rapidly changing world of work.

Sustainable work, opportunities both for present and future generations

The report stresses the key roles that work can play in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
“The types of work many of us do will need to change if our economies and societies are to make genuine
progress towards a low emission and climate-resilient future. These changes will influence what the
labour market of tomorrow looks like”, the report states. With green growth, new jobs will be created, the nature of others will be transformed, and others will end altogether. These changes ideally should be supported by systems of social protection and safety nets.

The report argues that work opportunities can be fostered by the global goals. It estimates, for
example, that around 45 million additional health workers will be needed to meet the health objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals. That would see the global health workforce increase in size from 34 million in 2012 to 79 million by 2030.

Setting the new agenda for work

While policy responses to the new world of work will differ across countries, three main clusters of
policies will be critical if governments and societies are to maximize the benefits and minimize the
hardships in the evolving new world of work. Strategies are needed for creating work opportunities and
ensuring workers’ well-being. The report therefore proposes a three-pronged action agenda:

  • A New Social Contract between governments, society, and the private sector, to ensure that
    all members of society, especially those working outside the formal sector, have their needs taken into account in policy formulation.
  • A Global Deal among governments to guarantee workers’ rights and benefits around the world.
  • A Decent Work Agenda, encompassing all workers, that will help promote freedom of association, equity, security, and human dignity in work life.
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Foro Emprendedurismo para jóvenes en desventaja social

Desarrollo de habilidades emprendedoras en la formación profesional de jóvenes en desventaja social El Programa ‘Desarrollo de habilidades en la formación profesional de desventaja social en Centroamérica’ de la GIZ financiado por el Ministerio Federal de Cooperación Económica y Desarrollo de Alemania (BMZ) 2012-2013, esta cerrado. El grupo continua en Facebook: Foro en Facebook Documentación de nuestros Talleres 5 – 16 de Nov., 2012 – en Mannheim, Alemania: Documentación del Taller 1 8- 13 de Abril. 2013 – en Ciudad de Guatemala: Documentación del Taller 2 23- 26 de septiembre de 2013 – en San Salvador, El Salvador: Documentación del Taller 3

Desarrollo de habilidades emprendedoras en la formación profesional de jóvenes en desventaja social

El Programa ‘Desarrollo de habilidades en la formación profesional de desventaja social en Centroamérica’ de la GIZ financiado por el Ministerio Federal de Cooperación Económica y Desarrollo de Alemania (BMZ) 2012-2013, esta cerrado. El grupo continua en Facebook:

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