Global Policy Forum's Katarina Wahlberg warns that for the "first time in decades, worldwide scarcity of food is becoming a problem." Increasing demand of cereals for food consumption, cattle feeding and in particular biofuel production, is driving food prices to record levels. Especially the poor, who spend a majority of their income on food, will suffer. To make matters worse, the food price hike is also affecting the amount of food aid available, as governments have not increased funding for [...]

This Global Policy Forum report critically reviews the global food aid system. Author Katarina Wahlberg argues that food aid donors fall short in prioritizing the needs of the poor and hungry. Instead, donor countries use food aid to promote their own national strategic and commercial interests. Such food aid not only fails to reduce hunger, it can also harm long-term food security in recipient countries.

The UN mandate authorizing the Multinational Force in Iraq is up for renewal in late 2007. In this memorandum, Global Policy Forum argues that the Security Council should not renew the mandate. The memo recalls the many ways that the MNF violates international law and human rights. It points out that the political and humanitarian situation in Iraq is worsening and the great majority of Iraqis see the MNF as an occupying force that prevents national reconciliation. The Iraqi parliament [...]

In late 2007, the UN Security Council will consider renewal of the mandate that authorizes the presence of the US-led multinational force (MNF) in Iraq. Global Policy Forum outlines the little-known demands of the Iraqi parliament to ratify any new agreement on the MNF. The Iraqi constitution requires the cabinet to submit such agreement for ratification and the parliament has already passed a law demanding conformity with this provision. A majority of parliamentarians also wrote a letter to Security Council [...]

One day before UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon chaired the second "Global Compact Leaders Summit" in Geneva, a group of NGOs sponsored a hearing to assess the UN corporate initiative. Speakers addressed the failure of the Global Compact to hold its signatories accountable for basic human rights, as well as environmental and labor standards. The speakers also discussed how many translational corporations exploit their Global Compact memberships to advance their public relations, and oppose initiatives calling for binding international regulation [...]

Since the March 2003 invasion, the US-UK occupation of Iraq has utterly failed to bring peace, prosperity and democracy, as originally advertised. This major report assesses conditions in the country and especially the responsibility of the US-led Coalition for violations of international law. In twelve detailed chapters, brimming with information, the authors provide a unique and compelling analysis of the conflict, concluding with recommendations for action. Among the topics covered are: destruction of cultural heritage, killing of civilians, attacks on [...]

Future Models of Multilateralism?

This Global Policy Forum-Friedrich Ebert Foundation joint paper analyzes how UN relations with NGOs as well as the corporate sector affect international policymaking and multilateralism. The author, GPF-Europe's Jens Martens, warns that "despite the image of greater flexibility and efficiency," such partnerships could increase businesses' influence in politics while impeding long-term development strategies. Martens therefore calls for a system to regulate the UN's interaction with corporations, ensuring that profit-driven initiatives do not overshadow public interests.

Tax evasion, capital flight and the misuse of public money in developing countries – and what can be done about it

To decrease their dependency on rich countries and achieve long-term development, poor countries must raise revenue domestically. In this paper, author Jens Martens looks at a range of different obstacles that prevent governments of poor countries from raising sufficient public revenue and spending it on development. For example, governments of rich countries pressure poor countries to liberalize trade, thus reducing customs revenues. Also, ineffective tax systems exempt transnational corporations, landowners and rich individuals from paying taxes to poor countries. ( [...]

Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) have acquired considerable importance at the UN since the beginning of the 1990s. Yet attempts made since the last review of the consultative arrangements between the UN and NGOs, in 1996, to reform NGOs’ formal opportunities for participation, have been unsuccessful. The recommendations made by the Cardoso-Panel on the future of UN-civil society relations played no apparent part in debates on UN reform in 2005. Instead, governments sent out the opposite signal during the Millennium+ 5 Summit [...]

The Human Development Report 2005

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) published the 2005 Human Development Report just a week before the Millenium+5 Summit. The release was intended to influence governments to promote a more incisive approach to development, aid and security policies. This briefing paper analyzes the report and agrees with the UNDP's concern that in the current path towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals, the lack of distribution and social justice policies is leading to a "blind spot." (Global Policy Forum and Friedrich [...]