Archive for SSP related News and Videos

Election Times in Nepal

P1010153

The recent holding of the first phase of local elections in Nepal and the imminent holding of the second round on June 14th are a positive sign and an important landmark in the democratic transition of the country. Nearly 50,000 candidates stood for 13,556 positions as mayor, deputy mayor, ward chairman and ward member in 283 local municipalities.

Since the stablishing of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, after the 1996-2006 Maoist insurgency and the overthrow of the Nepalese monarchy, constant issues have happened trying to ensure a peaceful transition that promotes greater inclusion of the country’s different identity groups. In this context, the elections are seen as the engagement between different parties and the electorate.

The frequent changes in government in recent years have been detrimental to the country’s development and economic growth. Political uncertainty has made foreign investors reluctant to get involved in the area, and domestic industries have suffered the consequences of the lack of funds, deteriorating even more the situation of the most disadvantaged people.

Inclusion in the country is strongly linked to social justice and identity, and both issues greatly affect the complex Nepalese ethnic mosaic. On top of it, inclusion is linked to demands for federalism.

Local governments have an important role in the participation of all identity groups and sections of society by creating a sense of belonging. This idea was already highlighted by the Shared Societies Project in its publication on Local Government and Shared Societies.

Although vote counting results are still trickling in, the Kathmandu Post reports that the CPN-UML is leading the nationwide vote count, followed by the Nepali Congress, with the CPN-Maoist Centre in third place. The final results will be revealed in the next few days and the second round of local polls will be held in the four remaining southern provinces on June 14th. The outcome of this election will be crucial in determining the future direction of democratic Nepal.

In this context, the Club de Madrid’s Shared Societies Project (SSP) strives to aid Nepal’s quest for inclusion by engaging with local partners to work towards the incorporation of all voices in the democratic transition of the country.

For a more detailed account of the provisional election results, click here.

Malinas: the epitome of inclusion

Captura de pantalla 2017-06-08 a las 17.52.06

In an article published on May 25th, El País highlights the vast multicultural mosaic of Malinas, a Belgian city situated just 25 kilometres away from Brussels whose citizenry is made up of 128 different nationalities and religions. In times of pressing terrorist threats and constant polarization, the official records show that this particular city has managed to keep its Muslim residents away from joining radicalized ISIS forces in Syria. This relative success can be explained by a “carrot and stick” approach that has focused on providing more resources to the police, more security cameras and, most importantly, comprehensive initiatives of inclusion. These initiatives include after-school centres for vulnerable youth, investments in public spaces and no-segregation policies for the development of living spaces.

The author includes the testimony of Alexander Van Leuven, an anthropologist specialized in anti-radicalization who claims that what makes Malinas different in terms of inclusiveness is the fact that everyone within the community is considered to be a valuable citizen, regardless of his or her background or financial means. The egalitarian strategy of the city ensures that anyone with talent and hard work can have a worthy future. In the words of its Mayor, Bart Somers, the key is to leave behind the clichés of seeing Muslims as either victims or criminals and moving forward with an inclusive vision where everyone has the opportunity of a prosperous life.

The Salaam Mechelen project, an initiative started in 1995, perfectly exemplifies this vision. The gist of the project is to use soccer as a means to unite the community: players of all nationalities and origins who are required to display exemplary academic performances in order to play and get together to enjoy the activity in an atmosphere of respect for the rival.

Malinas, the “city of hope”, demonstrates that having an integrated and cohesive society is not only possible under the right policies of inclusiveness, but also highly desirable.

To see the original article in Spanish, click here.

*Featured image by Demi Alvarez.

Professor Reddy On the True Nature of a Shared Society

Captura de pantalla 2017-02-14 a las 16.31.47

In a blog post written late last week, Professor Sanjay Reddy attempted to address the question, ¨What is a Shared Society?¨ His writing explores the limits of current approaches to human rights and stresses the importance of cultivating pervasive,common humanity in order to make progress in community building.
Attributing the advancement of the Shared Society concept directly to Club de Madrid, Reddy suggests that a Shared Society is composed of three themes: individual dignity, a recognition of social pluralism, and collective responsiblity. Reddy writes:

¨Understood in these terms, the idea, and ideal, of a Shared Society can be applied on any scale.¨

Reddy echoes a core principle of the Shared Societies Project, saying that

any successful initiative ¨must be grounded in an idea of shared responsibility that can motívate the campaigners and society at large.¨

Reddy is an Associate Professor of Economics at the New School for Social Research in New York. He also Works as a research associate for Columbia University´s Initiative for Policy Dialogue. He has worked as a Fellow at Harvard University´s Center for Ethics and Center for Population and Development Studies. Reddy is an independent adviser to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, and is a co-founder of the Global Consumption and Income Project.
His post came just two days after he joined Club de Madrid member Roza Otunbayeva, and others, as part of a high-level UN panel discussion on the role of Shared Societies in the fight against global poverty.
A link to Professor Reddy´s blog post is posted here.

“A lack of integration undermines the sense that there is such a thing as “the common life” in our cities”

Khan London

In an age when division and polarization seem to be the norm in globalization, London’s Sadiq Khan is passionately advocating for a more integrated society. Speaking at City Hall on November 14th at the Mayor of London’s Social Integration Conference, Khan commented in front of an audience of mayors from around the globe on the need for integration in society:

A lack of integration undermines the sense that there is such a thing as “the common life” in our cities; It breeds mistrust, it grows anxiety and the fear of crime, and it can fuel the development of division.

He warned his fellow mayors against a lax approach to solving the issues of division in cities, commenting “A hands-off approach to social integration simply doesn´t work.” He elaborated that:

Promoting social integration must mean assuring that people of different faiths, ethnicities, social backgrounds, and generations don’t just tolerate one another or live side by side, but actually meet and mix with one another on a genuine level and connect in meaningful ways. Perhaps as friends and neighbours as well as citizens.

More than just commenting on the moral need for integration within cities, Khan spoke on the tangible benefits of social integration. He commented on this, saying that social integration “can help reduce mental health issues, it can stop the vulnerable from becoming isolated, and it can enable people to contribute fully to their community, increasing social mobility and helping people develop new skills and fulfil their potential.”

As a first step the Mayor of London mentioned “spreading greater understanding of the problem within cities, administrations and communities” adding that “there is no one project that will fix this, it will require work and effort across the board”.
We are pleased to see Mr. Khan’s remarks align closely with those of the Club de Madrid´s Shared Society Project (SSP), which seeks to build an inclusive and safe society that respects diversity and protects human dignity, especially when he makes the important point that it is not enough to tolerate people living side by side.

 

Picture credit: http://www.newstatesman.com/

Aung Sang Suu Kyi Committed to Peace and Inclusiveness

General Assembly Seventy-first session 10th plenary meetingGeneral Debate

Aung Sang Suu Kyi addressed yesterday the United Nations General Assembly for the first time as Myanmar’s leader. Myanmar is currently in a process to achieve peace after more than a decade of conflict, and the Club de Madrid has been involved in this effort supporting effective dialogue in the country, while trying to achieve a Shared Society during this democratic transition.

Aung Sang Suu Kyi key notes were the following:

About the peace process

  •  “Over six decades of internal arm conflict, a complex task to be addressed (..) National reconciliation is a major challenge for my Government”
  • “Union Peace Conference, 21st Centyru Panglong Conference, is based on principles of inclusiveness and Union. The conference is a first step on the journey to national reconciliation”

 

About the Rakhine State

  •  “We do not fear international scrutin”
  • “ We will adopt a sustainable, peaceful and a holistic approach focus on development in Rakhine State”
  • “There has been persistent opposition from some quarters to the establishment of the commission lead by Kofi Annan. However, we are determined to persevere in our endeavor to achieve harmony, peace and prosperity in the Rakhine state.”
  • “I would like to take the opportunity to ask for the understanding and constructive contribution of the international community”
  • “By standing firm against the forces of prejudice and intolerance, we are reaffirming our faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person.”

 

About Migration

  •  “Investigating roots and addressing causes of irregular migration to build peace and respect to human rights”
  • “Migrants contribution to global economy (…) collaboration between host and origin countries”

 

To listen her full speech, click here.

To read more about CdM project, click here.

 

Photo Credit: UN/Cia Pak

 

Is Immigration Represented in your Parliament?

o-EUROPEAN-PARLIAMENT-facebook

In recent years, European countries have grown increasingly diverse and welcomed immigrants from all parts of the world. It goes without saying that successful integration of the recently arrived immigrants is essential to creating an equitable Shared Society and preventing ethnic, racial and demographic tensions.

One way of measuring integration is by assessing the level of political representation of immigrants. Having high level politicians that represent your needs in the legislative or executive branches is a vital part of successful integration. The Pathways Project, a collaborative effort of several European universities, seeks to do just that, by focusing its effort on diversity assessment among several European parliaments. The findings reveal that the Spanish parliament has a long way to go, while 10% of Spanish citizens are immigrants or first generation citizens, they make up only 1% of MPs.[1] In this regard Southern Europe in general is more backwards than Northern Europe, as Italy and Greece have similar statistics. Northern Europe, led by the UK and the Netherlands, has the highest proportion of immigrant MPs at 11 and 13%, respectively. One could offer a historical argument to explain the discrepancies among the countries, by pointing out that the UK and the Netherlands are historically maritime powers that have welcomed immigrants for many decades from their former colonies.

Encouragingly for Spain though, individual attitudes on immigration are much more positive; however, the authors of the report posit that the tide might change if Spanish citizens experience negative consequences of the immigration wave that came at the dawn of 2000s.   Countries of Southern Europe should carefully examine the inclusive policies of the UK and Netherlands in order to either replicate the policies adjusting for their individual countries or create new policies with inclusivity in mind. Increasing the percentage of immigrants and first generations MPs is an effective way of promoting several of the goals of Shared Society, such as Commitment II, creating opportunities for minorities and Commitment VIII, fostering a shared vision of society at the local and national level by increasing visibility and communication between different identity groups.



[1] Criado, Miguel Angel. “El Congreso Español Es El Que Tiene Menos Miembros De Origen Inmigrante.” Elpais.com. El Pais, 15 Feb. 2016. Web. <http://elpais.com/elpais/2016/02/15/ciencia/1455521726_813402.html>.

Follow

Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: