Tag Archive for shared societies

Fostering Inclusion and Empowerment: The contribution of Women in Nagaland

Sin título

Promoting equality and social inclusion in Nagaland, India is the goal of Kheshili Chishi of the Indigenous Women´s Forum for North-East India (IWFNEI) who hosted a workshop on the role of women in peace building between tribal groups and the promotion and protection of indigenous rights for women. Speaking fervently about empowerment and the exercising of rights, Chishi focused on peace building not only in times of conflict but at all times, saying, “Simply talking is not enough unless you put yourself into action. Each one of us has to shoulder the responsibility.

Furthermore, the workshop stressed the need for equal access to healthcare and work, emphasizing the importance of women´s political participation. In doing so, the workshop also related heavily to SSP´s commitments on institutional arrangements, service provisions, and inter-community development, and is a practical example of the ideas emerging from the Women and Shared Societies Working Group on the active role women can play in overcoming intergroup conflict, all focused on creating greater social cohesion.

For more information, the full article from the Morung Express News can be found here.

Ethnic diversity as a positive element for the provision of public goods in Zambia

Tribal_Linguistic_map_Zambia

The ‘diversity debit’ hypothesis, developed in a famous article by Easterly and Levine in 1997 argues that ethnic diversity has a negative impact on social, economic, and political outcomes. According to this theory there is a negative relationship between ethnic diversity and public goods provision, due to different aspects related to the heterogeneity of the society such as: variety in ethnic group’s preference; less contribution to public goods; difficulties in solving problems that require collective action; or difficulties in governance when the elites are formed by diverse ethnic groups. The consequences of these negative relationships were in most cases low schooling and insufficient infrastructure, as well as political instability, underdeveloped financial systems, distorted foreign exchange markets, and high government deficits.

The study “Ethnic heterogeneity and public goods provision in Zambia” published by the World Institute for Development Economics Research of the United Nations University (UNU-WIDER)[1], challenges the ‘diversity debit’ hypothesis as it shows that ethnic fractionalization is not clearly associated with the under-provision of public goods. Instead they argued that diversity can have a rather positive relationship with key welfare outcomes. According to the authors, instead of posing the question: ‘Why does ethnic diversity undermine public goods provision,’ we should ask ourselves why does it not?

According to the study, ethnic diversity does not necessarily undermine public goods provision in those cases when ‘diversity’ is not equivalent to ‘division’. They argue that division, rather than diversity per se, is what drives the diversity debit hypothesis. Studies in those places where ethnic identity is comparatively stronger than national identity show that is in those cases when we can clearly see remarkable inequalities in public goods provisions.

Regarding the case of Zambia, in order to understand why and how diversity does not necessarily undermine public good provision is important to look at different factors such as internal migration or the role of political institutions.

The paper shows that internal migration (namely, urbanization) in Zambia is relevant to understand this issue. Between 1964 and 1990, the urban population in the country increased from 10.5 to 39.4 per cent. Those who choose to move around the country instead of staying within an ethnic enclave are likely to me more tolerant and highly educated and thus less reluctant to diversity. As a consequence, internal mobility and urbanization will result in variations of ethnic heterogeneity and in the construction of diverse communities at a sub-national level.

The findings of this study on the case of Zambia, challenging the widely accepted ‘diversity debit’ hypothesis and showing that division rather than diversity undermines the equal access to public goods provision, connects closely with the vision of the Shared Societies Project and the findings of the Working Group on the Economics of Shared Societies[i] together with the work of other researchers [ii]. Thus, the findings of this study, showing that there can be a robust positive association between diversity and key welfare outcomes resonate with the view of the Shared Societies Project: diversity is not an obstacle for justice and fair distribution of opportunities and public services, in the contrary, it can be a strength and can foster the well-being of a society, provided that all sections of the community feel at home and are able to contribute to the society.

This study shows that division, rather than diversity, is what fosters some of the main problems and inequalities in the provision of public goods. Academics and policy-makers should look at this case in order to find yet another example of the importance of inclusion in order to build truly just and shared societies.

 



[1] Rachel M. Gisselquist, Stefan Leiderer and Miguel Niño Zarazúa: Ethnic heterogeneity and public goods provision in Zambia, WIDER Working Paper 2014/162

 



[i] http://www.clubmadrid.org/img/secciones/The_Economics_of_Shared_Societies_Publication.pdf

[ii] Alesina, A. and E. La Ferrara (2005) Ethnic Diversity and Economic Performance, Journal of Economic Literature 43, 3, pp. 762-800

“Birnir, J and D Waguespack “Economic Policy and Relevant Ethnic Groups.” Party Politics. 17(2): 243-260

Hall,R.and C.Jones (1999) Why do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output per Worker than Others?  The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 114, 1,pp.83-86

 

Promoting Shared Spaces in Israel

Akko_Israel

The Club de Madrid has been collaborating with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) within the context of our Shared Societies Project for some years through the work of its New York office on global development issues and with global intergovernmental institutions.  We have collaborated with them at the United Nations and co-hosted meetings at the World Bank and International Monetary Fund from which we developed the Shared Societies Global Agenda to Promote Long-Term Inclusive and Sustainable Growth. So we follow with interest the Stiftung’s work at country level and look forward to opportunities to collaborate.

Using a perspective similar to the Shared Societies Project, FES-Israel is engaged in public information and peace and social dialogue projects that reinforce political, economical, social and cultural ties between Israel and its neighbours and provides platforms for exchange for Jewish-Arab networks. Another common feature with the Share Societies Project lies in the FES-Israel’s effort to strengthen civil society and to promote pluralism and mutual acceptance, by organizing majority-minority dialogue and empowering disadvantaged segments of the Arab community, as well as immigrants from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia, and other groups.

We noticed a recent piece of action research conducted by FES-Israel: “Local Decision Making – Involving Residents in Municipal Affairs in Akko”. It was part of comprehensive research by the Jewish-Arab Center at University of  Haifa entitled “Akko as a Shared Space”, and its main goal was to promote and strengthen the relationship between Jews and Arabs living in the same city. The research’s objectives were to shed light on the impact of residents’ participation in local decision-making processes, to improve the local processes of decision making and, finally, to improve the residents’ quality of life, particularly the relations between Jews and Arabs.

This project is just one example of FES-Israel’s commitment to strengthening German-Israeli relations, remembering the past and promoting global social justice and democracy. It employs dialogue and debate through public events and encounter programs, political and socio-economic research and analysis, civic education and leadership training and political consulting in order to achieve their goals and missions. To this end, FES works closely with local partner organizations to jointly develop projects in the spirit of democracy, gender equality and peaceful co-existence.

Promoting “Shared Spaces” is a timely initiative towards supporting the global efforts to continue to seek the best approaches to building a Shared Society.

Partnership for Change Conference 2014: The World We Want

closing-remarks

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Into the doughnut: a new economic approach

DonutSSP

What would it be like living inside a doughnut? Kate Raworth developed this idea in an economic sense.

As we can see in the diagram above, Kate Raworth offers a brand new view on economics and on sustainable development. In the central hole, we find the cornerstones that are key in achieving what she calls “social foundation”.

Reaching social foundation means ending human deprivation by guaranteeing to the global population the coverage of their basic needs, to create the safe and justice space for humanity in the center of the diagram.

Once the social foundation is attained, the social boundary is created. In this way, people would live in “the safe and just space for humanity”. Nonetheless, living in that space requires the establishment of a new boundary: the planetary one.  It’s necessary to reach social the foundation without breaching the environmental ceiling in order to obtain actual sustainable development without causing environmental degradation.  So, planetary and social boundaries must always be in balance.

This is the challenge that the leaders of the 21st century must face: reaching equity for all whilst avoiding human deprivation with the limited resources that the planet offers and, at the same time, respecting the environment.

As explained by Raworth, the social foundation can be achieved without crossing planetary boundaries. For example, 13% of the global population is suffering from hunger and this situation could end with only 1% of global food supply; 21% of the people live with less than $1.25 per day. To bring this situation to an end, it would require just 0.2% of the global income.

There is a lot of work to do. The social foundation needs a big amount of work to be done on it and the environmental ceiling is being broken by human action, the loss of biodiversity and the use of nitrogen.  Wealthy countries are making an excessive use of the resources that are creating an unsustainable lifestyle that is leading the world towards increasing inequality and rising environmental stress.

Policies carried out until now to eradicate poverty should be reconsidered as the rise of GDP has not affected those living in poverty and this rise has had, as a consequence, the degradation of natural resources.

So, living inside the doughnut requires more efficiency and equity in the distribution both of income and resources. Raworth leaves the following question: is the rise of GDP the tool that will allows us to live within the doughnut or is a new vision on economic development necessary. It should make us think about  what prosperity means and what price do we want to pay for it now and in the next generations.

Kate Raworth has compared this analysis of development and the future of the world alongside the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) proposed by the Open Working Group of the General Assembly.

She states that the Open Working Group’s proposed SDGs include all the items she lists as  required to achieve the social foundation except for the one related to “voice” (understood as democracy) which she considers has been placed on the secondary level of a target. However there are other opinions more optimistic including the one expressed by Clem McCartney of the Shared Societies Project, who commented on Raworth’s post in the Intermon Oxfam blog that “voice” was well-treated in SDGs as long as it was applied clearly and without ambiguities and pointing out that it also mentioned women’s participation, stressing the importance of voice to achieve the social foundation.

So, we have to decide between eating the doughnut or living within it.

Club de Madrid Members José Ramos-Horta and Martti Ahtisaari Talk Shared Societies

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On November 14, 2013, Club de Madrid Members José Ramos-Horta of Timor-Leste and Maarti Ahtisaari of Finland met with various UN delegates and NGO representatives at the 8th UNOG-UNITAR conference in Geneva, Switzerland, speaking about the complexities of peacemaking and need for more inclusive social policy.

Common themes of the symposium included the importance of trust and inclusionary policies for building peaceful societies, topics to which the Club de Madrid gives the highest importance in our work to build Shared Societies upon a foundation of inclusion and respect for diversity. As Ramos-Horta remarked, “In some countries, respecting diversity is perceived as undermining the state when in fact we should look at this as wealth.”

In his speech, Ahtisaari importantly identified the core upon which division and deprivation occurs, noting that “conflicts are rooted in poverty, feelings of insignificance, and the people´s experience of unfairness.” Furthermore, “if we consider conflict resolution and mediation only as a redistribution of political and economic powers…we will never succeed. Sustainable peace is not measured only by the absence of violence and violence structures, but by opportunities and functions available in a society.”

Globally respected for their peacemaking efforts, Ramos-Horta and Ahtisaari greatly embody the efforts of Club de Madrid as we work in spreading the awareness of the Shared Societies Project and its desperate need in our crisis-stricken world today.

 

Sources:

http://www.unitar.org/nobel-prize-winners-martti-ahtisaari-and-jose-ramos-horta-prerequisites-peace

http://webtv.un.org/search/8th-edition-of-the-geneva-lecture-series/2842173045001?term=Martti#full-text

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