Archive for July 2011

EUROPE’S DILEMMA ON HUMANITARIAN AID & CRISIS FUNDS

July 22, 2011

EUROPE’S DILEMMA ON HUMANITARIAN AID & CRISIS FUNDS

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

The West just may be so immersed in internal crisis and power squabbles that the Europeans seemed to have forgotten the basics in budgetary essentials.

A raging issue within continental institutions is whether to merge humanitarian aid and crisis management budgets. Africa, which comprises the greatest client-states of Europe, is the most direly affected by the debates and dilemmas.

Below is a summary situationer regarding the dilemma.

[Philippines, 06 July 2011]

Source: http://www.devex.com/en/articles/planned-merger-of-eu-humanitarian-crisis-budgets-draws-flak
Planned Merger of EU Humanitarian, Crisis Budgets Draws Flak
By Ma. Rizza Leonzon on 11 February 2011
A refugee camp in Burundi that is supported by the European Commission’s humanitarian aid department. Aid groups and members of the European Parliament fear that the proposed merger of the European Union’s humanitarian aid and crisis management budgets after 2013 would increasingly politicize the bloc’s aid. Photo by: Yves Horent / European Commission / ECHO
Aid groups and members of the European Parliament fear that the proposed merger of the European Union’s humanitarian aid and crisis management budgets after 2013 would increasingly politicize the bloc’s aid.
“There is an idea on the table [to merge the two budgets] which is being considered by some people,” a European Commission official working in the humanitarian aid sector told Euobserver on Feb. 10 on condition of anonymity. “It’s not a formal proposal at the moment and it’s not something we would support.”
The European Commission is expected to propose a blueprint for the EU’s next multiannual budget in June, Euobserver reports.
There have been speculations that the merger of the EU’s humanitarian aid and crisis management budgets will prompt EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton to call the shots in humanitarian aid spending.
“I don’t know where the idea came from or how developed it is. It may be a wrongly interpreted idea of efficiency or part of the inter-institutional power politics currently going on,” Dutch Socialist MEP Thijs Berman told Euobserver.
“If it ends up in the June proposals I will fight it. Humanitarian aid needs to be impartial in order to ensure that all parties in a recipient country accept it as not favouring one side or the other. This is also crucial for the safety of humanitarian aid workers distributing support on the ground,” Berman said.
The EU’s humanitarian aid budget is managed by Bulgarian commissioner Kristalina Georgieva, while crisis management resources are administered by the newly launched European External Action Service, which is led by Ashton.
Read more development aid news.

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HUMAN RIGHTS IN DEVELOPMENT

July 22, 2011

HUMAN RIGHTS IN DEVELOPMENT

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Improving human rights as a sine qua non in socio-economic development is a big challenge to development stakeholders. Human rights the world over is agog in barbarities, as I said in one article writ in December 2010.

Human rights is among the governance prerequisites of welfare goals of equity and redistribution. Political culture factors into the governance equation, and a culture of violence to a large extent contributes to flagrant violations of human rights.

Below is an article that nourishes discourses on human rights and development. The position is taken by a technocrat of the World Bank, which allows you to examine the psyche or mindsets of technocrats of international organizations.

[Philippines, 05 July 2010]

Source: http://www.devex.com/en/blogs/the-development-newswire/what-is-the-role-of-human-rights-in-human-development-outcomes
What is the Role of Human Rights in Human Development Outcomes?
Posted by Ivy Mungcal on 21 June 2011 04:39:31 AM
Is concern for human rights needed in order to achieve human development results, particularly better health and education services? Shanta Devarajan, the World Bank’s chief economist for Africa, says such concern is not necessary nor sufficient.
Devarajan explains that concern for human rights is not necessary because a number of countries that have poor human rights records, such as Cuba and China, score high on various education and health indicators. It is also not sufficient because there are countries like South Africa and India that do well on human rights indicators but have relatively poor human development results, he adds.

The World Bank official says a possible reason for the latter is that making education and health human rights implies that a country’s government should fund and provide education and health services. However, there is evidence that governments of many countries have poor records in delivering such services to their people, Devarajan says.
“In short, achieving human development outcomes requires improving accountability in service delivery, which may or may not be driven by a concern for human rights,” he explains.
Read more development aid news online, and subscribe to The Development Newswire to receive top international development headlines from the world’s leading donors, news sources and opinion leaders – emailed to you FREE every business day.

HUMAN RIGHTS IN DEVELOPMENT

July 22, 2011

HUMAN RIGHTS IN DEVELOPMENT

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Improving human rights as a sine qua non in socio-economic development is a big challenge to development stakeholders. Human rights the world over is agog in barbarities, as I said in one article writ in December 2010.

Human rights is among the governance prerequisites of welfare goals of equity and redistribution. Political culture factors into the governance equation, and a culture of violence to a large extent contributes to flagrant violations of human rights.

Below is an article that nourishes discourses on human rights and development. The position is taken by a technocrat of the World Bank, which allows you to examine the psyche or mindsets of technocrats of international organizations.

[Philippines, 05 July 2010]

Source: http://www.devex.com/en/blogs/the-development-newswire/what-is-the-role-of-human-rights-in-human-development-outcomes
What is the Role of Human Rights in Human Development Outcomes?
Posted by Ivy Mungcal on 21 June 2011 04:39:31 AM
Is concern for human rights needed in order to achieve human development results, particularly better health and education services? Shanta Devarajan, the World Bank’s chief economist for Africa, says such concern is not necessary nor sufficient.
Devarajan explains that concern for human rights is not necessary because a number of countries that have poor human rights records, such as Cuba and China, score high on various education and health indicators. It is also not sufficient because there are countries like South Africa and India that do well on human rights indicators but have relatively poor human development results, he adds.

The World Bank official says a possible reason for the latter is that making education and health human rights implies that a country’s government should fund and provide education and health services. However, there is evidence that governments of many countries have poor records in delivering such services to their people, Devarajan says.
“In short, achieving human development outcomes requires improving accountability in service delivery, which may or may not be driven by a concern for human rights,” he explains.
Read more development aid news online, and subscribe to The Development Newswire to receive top international development headlines from the world’s leading donors, news sources and opinion leaders – emailed to you FREE every business day.

17 NEGLECTED TROPICAL DISEASES AS GLOBAL KILLERS

July 22, 2011

17 NEGLECTED TROPICAL DISEASES AS GLOBAL KILLERS

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

World population today is nearing the 7 billion mark. 1/6 of our globe’s population, or roughly 1.4 Billion, is afflicted by a relatively short list of ailments known as ‘neglected tropical diseases’.

Let’s get this straight: such ailments afflict the ‘3rd world’ and emerging markets of today. A cursory review of what causes such ailments would reveal the most likely causes.

Below is an update report about the ailments.

[Philippines, 03 July 2011]

ource: http://www.devex.com/en/articles/75149
What Afflicts One-Sixth of the World’s Population?
By Eliza Villarino on 22 June 2011
Dengue, leprosy, rabies – these diseases rarely make international headlines. But they, together with 17 other so-called neglected tropical diseases, are nearly four more times widespread than HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined.
Neglected tropical diseases are said to afflict almost a billion people around the globe – or an astounding one-sixth of the world’s population. That’s exactly 364 percent of the combined number of HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria cases, which were estimated at 274 million people in 2009. Yet, less than 1 percent of newly registered drugs are meant to address these tropical diseases.
Why are they being neglected?
“They are not highly visible,” the World Health Organization has said. “They do not cause explosive outbreaks that attract public and media attention. They do not travel internationally. They cause great and permanent misery, but do not kill large numbers of people or affect wealthy nations.”
Neglected tropical diseases largely prey on people who reside in remote rural areas and sprawling shantytowns, which typically lack safe drinking water and have poor sanitation, substandard housing and weak health care services.
Although many health experts have pointed out the need to address these tropical diseases – and cost-effective ways of doing so in conjunction with anti-malaria initiatives, for instance – donors have been slow to focus on this issue. But funding is available, with two of the world’s largest global health grant-making foundations – the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust – as the campaign’s biggest patrons.

PROF ARGONZA’S TV5 INTERVIEW ON ‘HENPECKED HUSBANDS’

July 22, 2011

PROF ARGONZA’S TV5 INTERVIEW ON ‘HENPECKED HUSBANDS’

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

“Are you an under the saya?” is one querry that can put husband off-guard. It is taboo for henpecked husbands in the Philippines to admit to their being 2nd fiddle to their respective wives, and one should share generous thoughts of accolades of one such husband who would make a disclosure of his subordinate state in a marital equation.

This titillating yet controversial topic was among the latest themes of the Tayuan Mo at Panindigan of TV5, among the rising PH media programs on public service talk shows (news & information category). The program just opened this year 2011, and already its informative yet entertaining format has been attracting viewers from diverse sectors, including the intelligentsia.

I was again invited by the program management to guest in the Tayuan stint. The henpecked husband episode was hosted by Aida Uy, Giselle Sanchez, and Jojo Alajar. The thematic discussion focused on socio-psychological factors, notably personality, causing the henpecked husband phenomenon.

Asked whether personality indeed factors into the asymmetry of marriage, I opined affirmatively that such is the fact. Wives who are Choleric personality in make up—strong personality, leader-organizer, stern, commander—will tend to be on top of the marital chain of command. That is, if the respective husbands turn out to be Phlegmatic personality type—passive, routinary worker, subordinates—who tend to work as clerks, utility workers, or related routinary-patterned circumstance.

In any organization, cholerics would tend to be the bosses while the phlegmatics would be better at following commands and helping to put systems to work in a work setting. In marriage, cholerics would be the domineering spouse, while phlegmatics would be subordinate spouse.

Lucky enough for the henpecked husband if his wife happens to be a bit balanced in personality. The wife won’t end up abusing the husband no end. But if the wife is a dysfunctional person, who is sick of antisocial-to-sociopathy syndromes (personality disorder), then expect conflict in the relationship. The 2nd case is what happened to the famed Tiger Woods, who found solace in the company of women he can connect with, as he cannot resonate with his own legal wife—he is henpecked, in other words.

Asked whether ancient Philippine society & culture could also factor into the asymmetry, I likewise answered in the affirmative. It is a consensus among social anthropologists and sociologists that matriarchy preceded matriarchy in cultural evolution.

I recall that in our graduate school class on economic history under the historian Dr. Dery, we did discussed the same phenomenon. Accordingly, before the advent of Western colonialism, women were either co-equal to or superior to men in Philippine society. Patriarchy that was introduced by Western powers didn’t totally erase male subordination to women as a whole, as the subordination appeared in the form of ‘under the saya’.

In the current context of post-modernity, when the vestiges of Victorian Era male-dominated sexism are crumbling by the day, we see more and more of henpecked husbands admitting to the reality. Whether another over-arching historic phase of matriarchy is now confronting us is too contentious an issue, but we must admit at least to the situation where asymmetry co-exists with symmetry in marital equations.

Health-wise, marital asymmetry is 50% healthy and 50% unhealthy. The relationship is like unto a sea-saw, where half the possibility is on one side while the other possibility is on the other side of a tenuous fulcrum. It will be up to the henpecked husband to manage the bond more equitably, to ensure that healthy relation breeds the most optimal growth for both parties.

[Philippines, 12 July 2011]

IN AID OF CITIES: REGIONAL BANK SHOWCASE

July 22, 2011

IN AID OF CITIES: REGIONAL BANK SHOWCASE
Erle Frayne D. Argonza
Tapping Official Development Assistance or ODA by city administrators is no easy task to do. Often than not, a central/national government does the job of assessing local needs and recommending ODA allocations to specific towns and cities.
However, there are showcase cities in Asia that were able to tap World Bank funds directly for their development needs. One of them is Marikina for their infrastructure development. Another one is Quezon City, with a $300 million fund tapped for the development of North Triangle into a commercial hub. The two cities are component cities of the metropolitan Manila which is among the 35 or so ‘global nexus’ cities.
Such showcases of expertise and initiatives coming from the local government units or LGUs is surely a highly appreciable feat of self-reliance and good governance. Below is another showcase city in Asia, that of Tianshui City of China, moving along the same track as the Manila component cities.
[Philippines, 3 July 2011]
Source: http://beta.adb.org/news/adb-100-million-loan-upgrades-urban-services-western-prcs-tianshui-city
ADB $100 Million Loan Upgrades Urban Services in Western PRC’s Tianshui City
Date
30 Jun 2011
Countries
China, People’s Republic of
Subjects
Environment; Urban development; Water supply and sanitation
MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is extending a $100 million loan to upgrade urban services and improve living conditions in Tianshui City in Gansu―one of the poorest and least developed provinces in the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
The ADB Board of Directors yesterday approved the loan for the Gansu Tianshui Urban Infrastructure Project, which will fund new roads and bridges, strengthen flood control facilities, and introduce a new environmentally friendly heating system using recycled wastewater. The project will deliver health and environmental benefits to around 670,000 residents in and around the city and create hundreds of jobs.
Tianshui lies along the ancient Silk Road trading route and has, like many cities in western PRC, lagged eastern and southern counterparts in terms of economic growth, investment, and poverty reduction. The PRC government is moving to redress that imbalance under its current five-year plan through to 2015.
Upgrading the existing district heating network to improve service quality and reduce harmful pollutants from coal-fired boilers and stoves is a key goal of the ADB project. A new transmission network will also be funded to carry recycled wastewater to a combined heat and power plant with the resultant hot water then piped back for heating needs.
“Reusing wastewater for district heating will improve air quality, reduce the need for municipal subsidies and improve affordability for the poor,” said Barry Reid, Senior Finance Specialist in ADB’s East Asia Department.
A flood control embankment more than 10 km long will be built to combat seasonal overflows from the Xi and Wei rivers while the road improvements will help make the city’s transport system safer and more efficient. The project will also support government efforts to turn the Guanzhong-Tianshui Economic Zone into a key area of sustainable growth and investment for the northwest of the country.
Along with ADB, the China Development Bank is extending over $68 million and the Tianshui Municipal Government over $61 million, for a total project cost of nearly $230 million. The Tianshui Municipal Government is the executing agency for the project which is due for completion in December 2016.

PROMOTING SOUTH-SOUTH MUTUAL AID

July 16, 2011

PROMOTING SOUTH-SOUTH MUTUAL AID
Erle Frayne D. Argonza
Good day from the Pearl of the Orient!
South-South mutual aid is increasing in scale intensively and extensively. This phenomenon isn’t exactly new, as it commenced when some former 3rd world economies such as South Korea achieved development maturity despite the shackling policies that Western oligarchs imposed upon the south.
Today the imperialistic shackling by hegemon states and powers is eroding. Emerging markets are rising, thus upping the south-south mutual aid to higher ante. As the emerging markets increase in wealth and influence, the traditional wealthy nations are stagnating and decreasing in their hegemonism.
Below is an instance of two continental development banks closing ranks in advancement of mutual aid and development. This analyst is fully supportive of such efforts.
[Philippines, 03 July 2011]
Source: http://beta.adb.org/news/adb-african-development-bank-cooperate-set-trade-finance-program-africa
ADB, African Development Bank to Cooperate to Set Up Trade Finance Program for Africa
Date
27 Jun 2011
Subjects
Industry and trade
TUNIS, TUNISIA – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) have signed an agreement to help AfDB set up a trade finance program to boost African trade and, more broadly, South-South trade.
AfDB is scaling up its trade finance activities to channel critical trade support to companies across the African continent, much as the ADB’s program has done in developing Asia.
Companies in developing countries have difficulties in getting the trade finance they need from banks in order to buy key components from overseas or to sell their goods to other countries. This prevents them from participating fully in global trade which grew 14.5% in 2010, its fastest annual pace on record.
ADB’s Trade Finance Program provides guarantees and loans in support of trade in developing Asia through over 200 partner banks. Under the just-signed Memorandum of Understanding, ADB will share all legal document templates, operation manuals, information technology, and know-how related to its Trade Finance Program with AfDB.
ADB and AfDB expect cooperation to grow in the future, including sharing access to their programs to link banks in both regions. ADB already has such an agreement with the Inter-American Development Bank.
“Partnerships are key to promoting economic growth, and using the Trade Finance Program framework developed by ADB will help AfDB to achieve in Africa the success ADB has achieved in Asia, but much faster and at a fraction of the start-up cost,” said Philip Erquiaga, Director General of ADB’s Private Sector Operations Department which oversees the Trade Finance Program. “In time, we would expect the relationships between developing Africa and developing Asia to expand, resulting in much greater South-South trade which could help ease global economic imbalances.”
By transferring all tools and knowledge of the Trade Finance Program, the two development banks will reduce duplication of effort and cost and will share best practices, as encouraged under the 2005 Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the framework to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
Speaking at a ceremony in Tunis to mark the handover of documents, Tim Turner, Director, AfDB’s Private Sector Department underscored the importance of trade finance in Africa. “By scaling up its trade finance activities, the African Development Bank is supporting an important growth-enabling activity, which has been affected by the recent global financial crisis,” he said. “By leveraging the experience of strategic partners, such as ADB, AfDB will not only be reducing the financial commitment necessary to ramp up its activities but also facilitate the expansion of African trade with Asia.”
ADB’s Trade Finance Program provided support for $2.8 billion worth of trade in 2010, up from $1.9 billion in 2009. It focuses on countries where trade finance is less readily available. As such, the program does not assume any risk in the People’s Republic of China, India, Republic of Korea, Malaysia or Thailand. The five most active users of the program last year were banks in Bangladesh, Viet Nam, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal. The program also aims to support smaller firms that typically have more trouble accessing trade finance and to promote trade between developing countries. Around 270 of the 783 deals supported by the program last year involved small and medium-sized enterprises, while half were conducted between two developing Asian economies.
In 2009, AfDB’s Board of Directors approved the Bank’s Trade Finance Initiative (TFI) to provide up to $1 billion of support to African commercial banks and other financial institutions to reinvigorate their trade finance operations. Under the TFI, the Bank initially allocated $500 million for short-term trade finance lines of credit (TF LOC) and $500 million for the Global Trade Liquidity Program (GTLP) in cooperation with the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
The overarching objective of the African Development Bank Group is to spur sustainable economic development and social progress in its regional member countries (RMCs), thus contributing to poverty reduction. The Bank Group achieves this objective by: (i) mobilizing and allocating resources for investment in RMCs; and (ii) providing policy advice and technical assistance to support development efforts. http://www.afdb.org