Berto Jongman: THREAT is Too Many Humanitarian Crises — Along with Corrupt Governments and Totally Inept International Aid System

Berto Jongman

Berto Jongman

Too many humanitarian crises, not enough global resources

Commentary: An overwhelming number of crises means the international community cannot respond well.

WASHINGTON — Humanitarian crises in the world today — Syria, Iraq, Central African Republic, South Sudan and now Gaza — all demand immediate and massive humanitarian response.

The crises are not only large-scale, affecting millions, but the conflicts also are complex, each with unique political realities and on-the-ground difficulties.

They are not alone among crises competing for our attention. They are simply the biggest, pushing off the front pages other crises where human needs remain urgent: Darfur, Central America, Pakistan, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia.

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Aug 3

Berto Jongman: South Sudan Crisis at Tipping Point — But Donors Still in Grid-Lock with Ancient Protocols

Berto Jongman

Berto Jongman

South Sudan crisis: famine and genocide threaten to engulf nation

Aid agencies say South Sudan at ‘tipping point’ as ethnic violence puts millions of people at risk of starvation and disease

It is happening again. Twenty years after the genocide in Rwanda, 30 years after the famine in Ethiopia, Africa‘s twin scourges are back. This time it is a single country facing a double disaster. South Sudan, the world’s newest nation, not yet three years old, is on the brink of catastrophe.

Here in Melut, on the banks of the Nile, close to the oilfields and the border with Sudan, the signs of impending disaster are impossible to miss. This week the world’s richest nations will have one last chance to make good their promises of help.

Nearly 20,000 people have fled to the refugee camps in Melut since fighting between rival government factions broke out last December. In total, more than a million people have fled from their homes and, with the rainy season starting, more than a third of the population – 3.7 million people – are already facing emergency and crisis levels of hunger.

“There is no food here,” a man tells me as we sit in the dust beneath an acacia tree in one of Melut’s makeshift camps. “No food. We eat leaves from the trees and the women go out to collect firewood. But when the rain comes, it will be still worse. We will starve – and then we will die.”

Relief agencies are fighting a desperate battle to alert the outside world to the scale of the impending disaster. Last week Oxfam warned that the crisis has reached a “now or never moment” to avoid catastrophic levels of hunger and suffering. Chief executive Mark Goldring said: “The crisis is at a tipping point. We either act now or millions will pay the price. We need a massive and rapid global surge in aid … We cannot afford to wait, and we cannot afford to fail.”

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May 18

Berto Jongman: Out of Africa – $2 Trillion Since 1970 — Low Estimate?

Berto Jongman

Berto Jongman

Out of Africa: The great money migration

Almost $2 trillion has left Africa illicitly since 1970, thwarting poverty reduction and economic growth.

This is far more than the external aid the continent received over the same period, and almost five times its current external debt. According to researchers, the continent also loses at least $100bn a year in this financial haemorrhage.

 

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Click on Image to Enlarge

African leaders convened this week in the Ethiopian city of Bahar Dar to discuss illicit financial flows and what can be done to staunch them. A study commissioned by the Tana High Level Forum on African Security, which organised the conference, found that illicit flows from Africa grew at an average rate of 12.1 percent per year since 1970, and that capital flight from West and Central African countries accounted for most of the illicit flows from sub-Saharan Africa.

Illicit financial flows consist of money earned illegally and then transferred for use elsewhere. The money is usually generated from criminal activities, corruption, tax evasion, bribes and smuggling. Yet the numbers tell only part of the story – a story that exposes how these highly complex and deeply entrenched practises have flourished, with a devastating impact on Africans’ efforts to extricate themselves from grinding poverty.

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May 1

Berto Jongman: Time to Reassess Goals of Humanitarian Aid

Berto Jongman

Berto Jongman

It’s time to reassess the goals of humanitarian aid

Those caught in conflict and natural disasters are part of growing trend exemplified by Syria, South Sudan and the Philippines

David Miliband

The Guardian, 28 February 2014

For the first time the UN has declared three simultaneous crises – in South Sudan, Syria and the Philippines – as level 3, the highest band of emergency. So this is a period of intense activity for NGOs such as the International Rescue Committee. But it is also a good time to reflect on the goals and working methods of the humanitarian system.

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Mar 3

Worth a Look: Sir Richard Branson’s Carbon War Room

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Click on Image to Enlarge

MISSION: “We accelerate the adoption of business solution that reduce carbon emissions at gigaton scale and advance the low-carbon economy.”

Carbon War Room

Images

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Feb 19

Berto Jongman: Utility of Informal NGOs (e.g. BRICS)

Berto Jongman

Berto Jongman

The BRICS and the Future of ‘Informal’ IGOs

Are informal intergovernmental organizations such as the BRICS the answer to our future security problems? Felicity Vabulas believes that states are beginning to see their virtues, which include diplomatic flexibility, rapid crisis response, and an unquestioning respect for national interests.

By Felicity Vabulas for ISN

Around the world, the efficacy, equity, and legitimacy of intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) are increasingly being questioned. As Stewart Patrick of the Council on Foreign Relations notes, “there has been no movement to reform the composition of the UN Security Council to reflect new geopolitical realities. Meanwhile, the World Trade Organization (WTO) is comatose, NATO struggles to find its strategic purpose, and the International Energy Agency courts obsolescence by omitting China and India as members.”

IGOs have never been a “magic bullet” solution for the world’s security challenges. Because they embody path dependence, they always reflect distributions of power that are quickly outpaced by reality. Today, states are increasingly making use of forms of governance outside of traditional institutions such as the European Union or the United Nations. In particular, informal intergovernmental organizations (a term I coined in an article co-authored with Duncan Snidal) are emerging as both substitutes and complements to existing formal IGOs—in areas as diverse as finance and security. The interplay between informal and formal institutions is what is generating the “messy multilateralism” that has characterized the opening decades of the 21st century.

Why informal intergovernmental organizations?

Informal IGOs are defined as an explicit group of associated states having explicitly shared expectations (rather than formalized treaties) that participate in regular meetings but have no independent secretariat, headquarters, or permanent staff. In its initial years, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) was a good example of an informal IGO: states shared a common goal to cooperate on banking supervision, but they did not codify their agreement under international law. Other examples include the G8, the Concert of Europe, the Nuclear Suppliers Group, and the Paris Club.

Typically, states have preferred informal IGOs for five reasons:

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Feb 5

Berto Jongman: Cover-Up on Iraqui Birth Defects Continues — World Health Organization Under Scrutiny

Berto Jongman

Berto Jongman

The WHO must release report on Iraqi birth defects now

The indefinite postponement of the World Health Organisation’s report is alarming scientists and activists

Al Jazeera, 11 Aug 2013 13:28

Mozhgan Savabieasfahani

Dr Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, a native of Iran, is an environmental toxicologist based in Michigan. She is the author of over two dozen peer reviewed articles and the book, Pollution and Reproductive Damage (DVM 2009).

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Click on Image to Enlarge

Large parts of the Middle East are now contaminated with war pollutants.

In Iraq, war debris continues to wear away and erode populated cities. Such debris includes the wreckage of tanks and armoured vehicles, trucks and abandoned military ammunitions, as well as the remains of bombs and bullets. Left unabated, the debris will act as dangerous toxic reservoirs; releasing harmful chemicals into the environment and poisoning people who live nearby.

Today, increasing numbers of birth defects are surfacing in many Iraqi cities, including Mosul, Najaf, Fallujah, Basra, Hawijah, Nineveh, and Baghdad. In some provinces, the rate of cancers is also increasing. Sterility, repeated miscarriages, stillbirths and severe birth defects – some never described in any medical books – are weighing heavily on Iraqi families.

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Aug 12

Anthony Judge: Can NATO Learn to Think for Itself?

Anthony Judge

Anthony Judge

I have been mulling over your post, 2013 Robert Steele Reflections on NATO 4.0 — Key Challenges AND Solutions [Written for NATO ACT Innovation Hub].

My sense, for myself, is that we have moved into a new cognitive space in which issues of comprehensibility, credibility and deliverability become fundamental in a context in which attention time is limited.

I no longer think that rational articulations can be either comprehended or delivered — other than use of missiles, if that is to be framed as rational.

Little attention is given to the decision-making dynamics and what to do with those who disagree — other than to design them out

Also of relevance is how to design in that which others perceive as having been designed out.

I think the scope for dialogue on such matters is now very limited. It is interesting to note the messy range of comments on any proposed scheme in a newspaper article. There is no scope or suggestion to map those in any meaningful way. The assumption is that some are “wrong” and some are “right” — with each variously labeling the other. No use is made of argument mapping techniques. Why is the interesting question.

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Jul 16

Mini-Me: America’s 50 Most Dishonest Charities

Who?  Mini-Me?

Who? Mini-Me?

Huh?

Above the law: America’s worst charities

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • A year-long investigation identified America’s 50 worst charities
  • At the top of the list is Kids Wish Network, which gave nearly $110m to corporate solicitors
  • This charity, like many others on the list, mimic well-known charity names that fool donors
  • The data show the worst charities devote less than 4% of donations to direct cash aid

The 50 worst, ranked by money blown on soliciting costs

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Jun 14

Berto Jongman: Deviant Globalization + Legalized Crime Meta-RECAP

Berto Jongman

Berto Jongman

Not new, but now becoming more transparent to the public.

Book: Deviant Globalization: Black Market Economy in the 21st Century (2011)

Criminals of the World Unite: A smart member of the global warrior elite “discovers” the next big threat

Myths of Terrorism

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Jun 6