Global Policy Forum

Global Policy Forum

Looking for Answers After CAR Coup d'Etat

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Picture Credit: flickr.com/hdptcar

The President of Central Africa Republic (CAR) has fled the country after being ousted by armed groups. The Séléka rebels of CAR have taken control of the capital, and issued a statement claiming that they will hold elections early next year. Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon has condemned the coup, and the African Union has suspended CAR’s membership. One of the rebel leaders, Michel Djotodia, has declared himself interim president, but not all Séléka factions endorse that claim. The Séléka argue that their demands under the January peace deal with the government have been ignored. According to the NGO Conciliation Resources in CAR and many other observers, political turmoil was inevitable because the recent peace deal was drafted by an Economic Community of Central African States commission - not by the warring parties. Despite CAR’s history of power sharing agreements and political dialogue, four coups have been launched between 1996 and 2003.

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Canada Spent $10 Million for Security at Afghan Dam Project

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Picture Credit: csmonitor.com

The Canadian International Development Agency is being scrutinized for its involvement with a controversial Afghan private security firm. According to this report, a major Canadian-led infrastructure project in Afghanistan was contracted to a construction firm which in turn spent $10 million on a security contract with Watan Risk Management. The security firm has allegedly been involved in corrupt practices and some of its guards were involved in an armed stand-off with Canadian observers.  This case illustrates the prevailing lack of transparency in the realm of private security contracts and infrastructure development in conflict zones. While western governments often lament corruption as an obstacle to progress in Afghanistan, they must address the possibility that their practices are exacerbating this problem. 

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Tensions Mount on Mali-Burkina Faso Border as Cattle Farmers Vie for Land

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Picture Credit:
UN Photo/Tim McKulka

As Malians take refuge from the violence in bordering Burkina Faso, hundreds of thousands of cattle that accompany them, are threatening the peace. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that at least 47,000 people have entered Burkina Faso, along with 100,00 to 200,000 animals, according to Oxfam. Agriculturalists in Burkina Faso are concerned about depleting food and water sources. Farmers from Niger are also crossing into Burkina Faso in search of pasture and other foods, which they normally source from Gao in Mali. Although the Malian army has secured the North from armed groups, locals have reported that the army is killing civilians, making little effort to distinguish “rebels” from the local population. For fear of attack from their own army, Malians are refusing to return to their homes, adding to the tension in neighboring states. 

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Civil Society Wants Bigger Role in Green Climate Fund Planning

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Picture Credit: iatp.org

Civil society groups are bothered by their limited level of access and participation during discussions concerning the Green Climate Fund (GCF). Created in 2010 under the UNFCCC framework, the GCF has received pledges of $30 billion from developed countries that will be used for aiding developing countries in their adaptation and mitigation efforts against climate change. However, just $7 billion have been contributed to date, partly because of the current economic situation, and discussions are now centered on the potential role of the private sector in donor contributions. Several fear that limiting the role of civil society groups in discussions surrounding matters with a large impact on communities will significantly impact the success of the GCF. Janet Redman from the Institute for Policy Studies suggests that when considering private sector financing it is important to source from local companies that will help build the economy rather than multinationals looking to profit from vulnerable populations. However, the difficulty in channeling private financing to those most in need is a strong case for public funding for the GCF.

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The Battle to Keep Water Out of the Internal Market - a Test Case for Democracy in Europe

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Picture Credit: flickr.com/nico.herzog

A new European Directive is threatening to privatize Europe’s municipal water services by requiring even those municipalities with minimal use of the private sector to offer their contract to EU-wide bidding. This would allow large multinationals like Suez and Veolia to expand their operations. In addition, Troika resolutions on the financial crises in Greece and Portugal have resulted in several public water utilities being put on the market for privatization. Although the European Commission sees privatization as the way forward, the directive has faced much opposition from the public and civil society groups that want water services to be exempted from it. Recently, approximately 1.3 million Europeans petitioned to recognize water as a human right. Privatization would likely contradict this with putting profits back in the hands of companies that own and run water systems, rather than improving services for the people.

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