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Civil Society Observer: November - December 2007

NGLS Civil Society Observer

Volume 4, Issue 6
November - December 2007

In the Press

Press Freedom: A Cornerstone of Civil Society
Jamaica Gleaner, 12 December 2007, Don Robotham

This article describes the importance of the press in exposing human rights abuses and corruption. According to the author, the press plays a critical role in defending the rights and interests of civil society.
http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20071212/news/news8.html

Western Humanitarianism or Neo-Slavery?
Black Star News, 7 November 2007, Amii Omara Otunnu

In this article, the author first defines what he believes is humanitarianism in the West. He then argues that the majority of humanitarian work in Africa is carried out by Western NGOs and that they need to re-evaluate their work while keeping in mind the rights and aspirations of African people and maintaining transparent operations.
http://blackstarnews.com/?c=135&a=3882

Trends & Debates

Special Issue on Human Rights Protections
International Journal of Civil Society Law, October 2007

This is a special issue of the International Journal of Civil Society Law concerning Human Rights Protections. It includes four articles discussing various aspects of human rights protection.
http://www.iccsl.org/pubs/07-10-IJCSL.pdf

NGO Diplomacy: The Influence of Nongovernmental Organizations in International Environmental Negotiations
Michele Betsill and Elisabeth Corell

This book presents an analytic framework for the study of NGO influence on international environmental negotiations. It also discusses whether and how NGO representatives affect negotiation processes and outcomes, as well as identifies variation in NGO influence through a number of case studies.
http://mitpress.mit.edu/catalog/item/default.asp?ttype=2&tid=11365

Development Dialogue: Global Civil Society-More or Less Democracy?
Dag Hammarskjold Foundation, November 2007

This publication is intended to provide a forum for critical discussion of international development priorities. This issue focuses on two contradictory views on the role civil society plays in the global arena. At the center of the debate is whether or not the emergence of global civil society represents a forceful and promising response to the so-called “democratic deficit” that has been a problem in the globalization process.
http://www.dhf.uu.se/FMPro?-db=pub1.fp5&-format=/publications/dd/apubdddetail.html&-lay=weblayout&-sortfield=pubyear&-sortorder=descend&-sortfield=pubissuewithoutcolon&-sortorder=descend&pubtype=development&-max=2147483647&-recid=67&-find=

CSOs and the Multilateral System

Impacts of Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness on CSO Effectiveness
CIDSE, November 2007

This editorial piece describes the negative impact of the aid effectiveness agenda on narrowly defined sectors such as civil society.
http://www.cidse.org/docs/200711271334448385.pdf?&username=guest@cidse.org&password=9999&workgroup=&pub_niv=&lang=en&username=guest@cidse.org&password=9999

The Fight Against HIV: There Are No Short-Cuts
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, 28 November 2007, Dr. Mukesh Kapila

This article stresses the severity of the HIV/AIDS pandemic and how civil society efforts must be scaled up and combined with those of people living with HIV to demand that governments provide greater and more consistent availability of treatments and other facilities.
http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/fromthefield/218536/119626017712.htm

Reforming Food Aid
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, 5 November 2007, Sophia Murphy

CARE, one the largest development agencies in the world, recently chose to stop accepting U.S. food aid funds because the organization felt that the funds were actually doing its recipients a disservice in the long-run. This piece describes the necessity for the United States, the country that supplies more than half the global total of food aid, to make reforms on its food aid policy.
http://www.iatp.org/iatp/commentaries.cfm?refID=100655

Aid for Trade Global Review: Joint Civil Society Statement Delivered and Financing for Development Resolution Tabled: Some Good News, But Work Still Ahead
Center of Concern, November 2007

The Aid for Trade Global Review is a statement submitted to the World Trade Organization’s first annual Aid for Trade Global event. Signed by many members of civil society, it makes recommendations for current and future Aid for Trade arrangements. The other document makes recommendations to the resolution on the Doha Conference to be held in the later part of 2008.
http://www.realizingrights.org/pdf/Global_Aid_for_Trade_Review_Statement_Nov_07.pdf

Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)14 of the Committee of Ministers to Member States
on the Legal Status of Non-Governmental Organisations in Europe Council of Europe, 10 October 2007

The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted a recommendation to member states on the legal status of non-governmental organizations in Europe (CM/Rec(2007)14), which recognizes the importance of NGOs in modern society and establishes minimum standards for their operation. It recommends standards to shape legislation and practice regarding NGOs, as well as the conduct and activities of the NGOs themselves.
https://wcd.coe.int/ViewDoc.jsp?id=1194609&Site=CM&BackColorInternet=9999CC&BackColorIntranet=FFBB55&BackColorLogged=FFAC75

Accountability in Complex Organizations: World Bank Responses to Civil Society
Harvard Business School Working Knowledge, 14 November 2007, Alnoor Ebrahim and Steve Herz

Civil society organisations have long advocated for greater accountability of the World Bank. This paper discusses a range of accountability mechanisms currently in place at the World Bank and argues that civil society organizations have been influential in pushing for greater accountability at the project and policy levels. However, the paper argues that these reforms have been, at best, cosmetic as the basic structure and policies of the Bank have remained unchanged.
http://www.hbs.edu/research/pdf/08-027.pdf

Address to InterAction by the Deputy Secretary-General
14 December 2007

In this statement, the UN Deputy Secretary-General, Asha Rose-Migiro, recognizes InterAction as an essential partner and ally to the United Nations. She also stresses the importance of building up a global humanitarian response capacity by strengthening coordination with government and civil society members.
http://www.un.org/apps/dsg/dsgstats.asp?nid=79

Research & Analysis

Investing for Life: Meeting Poor People’s Needs for Access to Medicines Through Responsible Business Practices
Oxfam, November 2007

This article discusses the pharmaceutical industry’s current initiatives to improve poor people’s access to medicines. However, there are major shortcomings in these initiatives and Oxfam suggests the industry place access to medicines at the core of its decision-making and practices.
http://www.oxfam.org/en/policy/briefingpapers/bp109_investing_for_life_0711

Lending Policies of the IMF: HIPC and Debt Relief in Africa
African Forum and Network on Debt and Development (AFRODAD), Nancy Dubosse

With emerging donors the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is being repeatedly challenged on its policies and lending practices. This article is a brief analysis of the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) program and the Poverty Reduction and Growth Strategy (PRGF) program based on country examples. It also includes a set of policy recommendations for the IMF.
http://www.afrodad.org/downloads/Lending_Policies_of_the_IMF[1].pdf

Don’t Call Me, I’ll Call You? Challenges and Opportunities to Realizing the Responsibility to Protect in Regional Peacekeeping
One World Trust, 1 November 2007, Maeve Bateman and Michael Hammer

This briefing paper explores the issue of regional peacekeeping and of the governance arrangements that ensure the accountability and effectiveness of regionally led responses to conflict. This paper argues that because regional organizations lack institutional policies with regard to the protection of civilians in their operations, the increasing use of regional response to conflict could weaken the implementation of international human law.
http://www.oneworldtrust.org/documents/071024_Don’t_call_me_-_I’ll_call_you_-_R2P_and_Regional_Peacekeeping_(web).pdf

Special Section on Climate Change/Bali Follow-up

Summary of the Thirteenth Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and Third Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol: 3-15
December 2007 International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), 18 December 2007

This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin is dedicated to the outcomes of the Bali Conference. It includes a brief history of the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol, the events held at the Conference, and an analysis of these events.
http://www.iisd.ca/download/pdf/enb12354e.pdf

NGOs Regroup Around Climate Change After Bali
Inter Press Service News Agency, 3 January 2008, Marwaan Macan-Markar

This article discusses how civil society participation is broadening in the climate change arena. Climate change policies have attracted new faces to join the traditional crowd of environmental organizations as factors such as trade, justice, equity and democracy are now discussed during the climate change negotiations.
http://ipsnews.net/print.asp?idnews=40512

The Bali Agreements
Greenpeace, 17 December 2007

Greenpeace outlines the major outcomes of the Bali Conference and provides a brief analysis of each one.
http://www.greenpeace.org/raw/content/international/press/reports/the-bali-decisions.pdf

New Year, No Resolutions on Climate Change
Yifat Susskind and Diane Duarte, MADRE, 18 December

In this article the authors argue that the Bali Conference failed to come to any kind of real outcome and that the largest obstacle to effectively dealing with climate change is not financial or technical, but political. They also argue that the Bali Conference did little to address the particular vulnerability of poor people to climate change, especially women as they represent 70% of the world’s poor.
http://madre.org/articles/int/noresolutionsoncc.html

Critical List: the 100 Nations Most Vulnerable to Climate Change
International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), December 2007

This article lists the 100 countries most vulnerable to climate change due to factors such as poverty, environmental degradation and natural disasters.
http://www.iied.org/pubs/pdfs/17022IIED.pdf

Bali Launches Climate Negotiations but is Weak on Substance
World Wide Fund for Nature, 15 December 2007

This article discusses the outcomes of the Bali Conference and makes a few suggestions for making up for what the author contends are the Conference’s shortcomings. It also discusses the potential outcomes for the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) initiative.
http://www.panda.org/about_wwf/what_we_do/climate_change/news/index.cfm?uNewsID=120020

UNFCCC Meet Fails to Secure Emission Commitments
Indian Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) Campaign on Global Climate 14 December 2007

This article highlights outcomes of the Bali Conference and emphasizes the weak contributions by developed countries.
http://www.downtoearth.org.in/full6.asp?foldername=20080115&filename=news&sec_id=4&sid=18

Communities Affected by Global Warming Speak Out
Friends of the Earth, 26 November 2007

In the lead-up to the Bali Conference, Friends of the Earth-International launched a report entitled, “Voices from Communities Affected by Climate Change”. This report provides nine testimonies from community members around the globe who have dramatic first-hand experience of the impacts of climate change.
http://action.foe.org/pressRelease.jsp?press_release_KEY=293