European Briefings on Globalisation, North-South Relations and International Ecology

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Issue 5/Dec 2006

Article no: EN20070113-Issue-5-2006

Issue 5/Dec 2006

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As the Finns enter the final stretch of their EU Presidency, a review is in order of the achievements for development during the past six months as well as a look ahead with Germany in the starting blocks for its Presidency beginning in January. By Denise Auclair.

This year?s memorandum of the ?European Economists for an Alternative Economic Policy? presents an assessment of the basic macroeconomic and social situation and recent developments in the EU, followed by a critique of the dominant economic and policy orientations. It points out that there are alternatives which would lead to stronger economic development, tighter regional and social cohesion more welfare for more people within each Member country, and more co-operative relations with the developing world. World Economy & Development In Brief documents the introduction and the main policy proposals.

After a record period of less than nine months, the High-Level Panel on system-wide coherence commissioned by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has just delivered an attention-grabbing report. Its intent is a step-by-step overhaul of UN activities in development, humanitarian assistance and environment. To what extent the panel?s efforts will lead to genuine change, entirely depends on the political will of member states, argues Thomas Fues. Western states need to back up their reform rhetoric by coherence at home and secure funding for the UN. The developing world must move beyond empty calls for UN leadership while clinging to the undesirable status quo.

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Many critics accuse the G-8 of being unrepresentative and lacking in transparency and demand that the group be replaced by a democratically legitimate decision-making body under the United Nations in which countries of the Global South are equally represented. They often overlook the fact that such a decision-making body already exists in the form of the United Nations Economic and Social Council, ECOSOC. The Council, however, has so far been politically insignificant. By Jens Martens.

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It comes as a surprise to most people, but the reservoirs behind the world?s dams are likely a major source of global warming pollution. In the case of big reservoirs in the tropics ? where most new dams are proposed - hydropower can actually emit more greenhouse gases per kilowatt-hour than fossil fuels, including dirty coal. Patrick McCully comments.

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