News Selection – Globalisation
Recent news chosen to illustrate and update Tread Softly briefings on Globalisation.
EU-Africa free trade will create more imbalances, say critics
9/8/2018: Germany's development minister has sparked a debate by calling for EU tariffs to be waived on African goods. Critics question whether import duties are really the issue, or are there other barriers to trade? Source: DW
Tread Softly Comment: A rare attempt in international media to discuss the abysmal level of trade between Africa and Europe. The article covers technical issues, not least the unfair scale of subsidies for European farmers. More important, however, is the prompt for the piece, a German minister recognising that the European migration crisis requires a structural solution through the rules of international trade and investment. Relevant Briefing: Global Poverty Solutions
Global Compact and the art of cherry-picking refugees
30/7/2018: When Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was asked about the legality of the UN’s much-ballyhooed Global Compact for Migration, he was initially evasive in his response. Source: Inter Press Service
Tread Softly Comment: This article illustrates how international media continue to confuse migrant workers and refugees. The subject is the Global Compact for Migration, recently agreed by the UN General Assembly. The text of this Compact clearly states that it "refers to migrants" and that "migrants and refugees are distinct groups governed by separate legal frameworks." But the article presents refugee issues as though the Compact for Migration is responsible for them. Quotes by an Amnesty representative sound as though they refer to the separate Global Compact for Refugees, also recently agreed but not mentioned here. The headline editor opts for Refugees. An uncharacteristic wobble by Thalif Deen and IPS News. Relevant Briefing: Compacts for Refugees and Migration
Trade war – developing countries should respond
24/7/2018: The escalating trade war initiated by US President Donald Trump is a major threat to world trade and the global economy. The developing countries will be among those most affected. It is time for them to respond and speak out. Source: Inter Press Service
Tread Softly Comment: Martin Khor is a leading expert on world trade, from the perspective of developing countries. He explains why Trump's trade war with China, in defiance of the rules-based WTO regime, will have negative knock-on effects for countries with which the US has no quarrel. But his analysis considers only those developing countries which are already on the path to modern industrialisation, such as Malaysia and Thailand. A second article, focusing on the repercussions of a trade war for the Least Developed Countries, would be valuable. Relevant Briefing: International Development Model
IOM Director General lauds “historic” Global Compact for Migration
13/7/2018: The UN Migration Agency (IOM) today heralded the completion of the Global Compact for Migration (GCM) as an important milestone that will improve international cooperation on migration. Source: UN Migration Agency
Tread Softly Comment: A real achievement to persuade all countries (except US) to agree to this document which is full of clear wording on rights of migrants. But the Compact will be non-binding and it makes no attempt to modernize the legal distinction between refugees and migrant workers. Failure of politicians and media to understand this caused much of the chaos in Europe in 2016. One of the Compact's objectives is to minimize "factors......that compel people to leave their country of origin." Compulsion sounds perilously close to the language of asylum and needs clarification. Relevant Briefing: Rights of Refugees and Migrant Workers
Illegal production and use of banned CFC-11 in China
8/7/2018: Information obtained by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) demonstrates conclusively that the use of CFC-11 in China is widespread and pervasive, sufficient to explain the emissions threatening the integrity of the Montreal Protocol. Source: Environmental Investigation Agency
Tread Softly Comment: Described by the EIA as an "environmental crime", this threat to the ozone layer posed by China's neglect represents a disturbing failure of international rules-based agreements. If a legally-binding agreement such as the Montreal Protocol can be ignored so fundamentally, what can we expect from the voluntary pledges of the Paris climate agreement? Relevant Briefing: Paris Climate Agreement
Tough task awaits new head of UN migration body
28/6/2018: A new director general of the International Organization for Migration has been elected. A senior development professional in London offers advice for clearing up the political mess of global migration policy. Source: IRIN
Update on the world’s first global migration agreement
12/6/2018: The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration will enter its final round of negotiations in July. An insider to the negotiations expresses confidence that there will be a successful conclusion.
EU Commission proposes major funding increase to resist migration
12/6/2018: For the next long-term EU budget 2021-2027, the Commission proposes to almost triple funding for migration and border management to €34.9 billion. Funds will address unforeseen migratory events and border protection.
Developing countries defend world trade rules against Trump assault
1/6/2018: Trade rules brokered by the World Trade Organization include various concessions to poorer countries. The role of trade as a tool of development has often been forgotten in reaction to the Trump trade war and his demonisation of the WTO.
Fighting Inequality in Asia and the Pacific
15/5/2018: A senior UN official says that the remarkable economic success story of the Asia and Pacific region belies a widening gap between rich and poor. Inequality is preventing progress on almost all the Sustainable Development Goals in the region.