The Belgian Government took action on 1st July 2015 has to prevent creditors from exploiting the poorest countries in the world through the Belgian courts. Supporters of international financial regulation have welcomed the country’s pioneering move to pass a law reinforcing Belgian tribunals’ legal framework to tackle so-called “vulture funds”.
The legislation will now cut the wind out of creditors’ sails from using Belgian courts to extract harsh and inequitable payments from poor countries for debts that the investment companies or funds have bought for a fraction of the cost. Belgian tribunals will now be equipped with more effective tools to implement a more stringent regulation against such speculative behaviour and will therefore ensure developing countries are protected from companies’ exploitative practices which hinder their economic growth and development.
For more information, you can read a blog on this issue by Eurodad and consult an article (in French) by Belgian NGO CNCD-11.11.11 which has been actively advocating for years for this legislation to come to fruition.
A new IMF publication takes stock of poverty reduction strategies implemented in Sub-Saharan Africa, in the context of Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSP). This paper finds that there is no conclusive evidence that its implementation has played a role in reducing poverty and increasing the income share of the poor. In fact, the research reveals that despite PRSP countries’ post-crisis economic resilience, the poverty headcount has not reduced and growth has more than proportionately benefited the top quintile during PRSP implementation.
Read this new blog by GSW on the lessons we can learn from the MDGs’ gaps and shortfalls in key sectors to help inform the current debate on financing the SDGs.
The 2015 installment of the Africa Progress Panel Report entitled “People, Power and Planet - Seizing Africa’s energy and climate opportunities” focuses its attention on climate change and the energy challenges faced by Africa today.
Launched at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town, South Africa, the publication highlights the need for Africa to accelerate development and adapt to global warming, whilst also addressing the region’s urgent energy crisis. According to the research, two in three Africans have no access to electricity at all, 600,000 deaths a year are being caused by household air pollution, and on current trends, it would take Africa until 2080 to achieve universal electricity access.
To counteract this, the Panel stresses that there is an opportunity for Africa to bypass fossil fuels and move straight to low-carbon sources of power if aid is combined with higher taxes, an elimination of subsidies and a crackdown on illicit transfers to tax havens.
As we approach the MDG deadline and the world prepares for the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), GSW is focusing its attention on the health sector in Africa. Using GSW’s latest 2014 data, this briefing takes stock of current progress on spending targets in Africa in the health sector and asks: is Africa ready for the spending needed to meet the health SDGs?
In a context of fragile economic recovery and possible future debt crises, UNCTAD has published The Roadmap and Guide for Sovereign Debt Workouts which gives recommendations to improve the coherence, fairness and efficiency of current sovereign debt restructuring processes. Aiming principally to guide countries through steps they can take before and during debt restructuring, this document hinges around five principles for sovereign debt workouts: legitimacy, impartiality, transparency, good faith and sustainability. An analysis of this Roadmap by Eurodad can be accessed here.
Researchers from Cambridge University held a seminar at the New Rules offices in Washington to launch a new database on IMF conditionality, the first since 1990. The database, very easily accessible and searchable, covers all IMF programmes, uses IMF classifications as well as additional breakdowns of use to independent researchers. The tool will be available online shortly.
DFI was invited by the OECD to participate in an OECD expert group meeting on the proposed new measure of “Total Official Support for Sustainable Development (TOSSD)”, and to mobilise developing country officials to attend. The meeting reaffirmed that TOSSD should focus on tracking official non-ODA financial flows which aim to catalyse private external financing, and NOT for the time being the private flows which are catalysed, because there are very complex issues to resolve about whether the funds are additional.Read more...
DFI participated in a symposium organised by the Friends of the Global Fund, to examine the best ways to fund the SDGs for health, making a presentation on the key potential role of a partnership for tax revenue. Other sessions examined the need for a Global Fund for Health Systems, lessons from Rwanda and from the Ebola crisis, and use of technology to track implementation of health plans. The seminar was attended by 40 parliamentarians, officials and civil society organisations. During the visit DFI also held meetings with the German Development Ministry and Oxfam Germany about FfD and global tax reform issues.
DRI took part in a World Bank mission aimed at developing a reform plan debt management. The recommendations were structured around three areas: strategy medium-term debt, Back Office, and developing the domestic market. The mission prepared a project that will be submitted for peer review and then to the Kyrgyz authorities for comment. It is anticipated that the final report be completed by June/July 2015.
DFI attended the EURODAD/IBIS conference in Copenhagen to help facilitate a workshop on why aid must use country systems, and to liaise with European CSOs on advocacy around tax, debt and private flows for development. At the conference, the Danish Minister for Development indicated that future global tax governance structures must give equal decision-making power to developing countries. DFI also took advantage of the visit to hold meetings with the Danish Foreign Ministry on FfD and global tax reform issues.