Echoes in the press

Inquirer Photo / Grig C.
Montegrande

OZAMIZ CITY, Philippines—The proposed Freedom of Information (FOI) law is dead, and President Aquino and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte should share the blame for its fate.

Thus declared a group of advocates who have been pushing Congress for years to enact the measure that would allow greater access to public records and help reduce corruption in government.

“(W)ithout decisive support from the President and the leadership of the House of Representatives, the bill will not pass,” read the statement from the Right to Know, Right Now! Coalition which has been campaigning for the FOI bill for more than 15 years.

Social Watch finds much to criticize in the Czech Republic, sees rising intolerance. Last year, the Czech Republic managed to overcome economic stagnation, but many people in the country are imminently threatened with poverty, according to the annual report that its authors from the Social Watch international network’s Czech branch presented today.

Islam and immigrants became new targets of intolerance, while public expressions of hatred of Romanies were less frequent compared with previous years, the report on the situation in the Czech Republic in 2014 says.

Though the Czech Republic has a new strategy of promoting equal opportunities for women and men, the implementation of particular steps is stagnating, the report adds.

A peace sign formed by people
in Croatia. Credit: Teophil/cc
by 3.0

When Denmark hosted the World Summit on Social Development (WSSD) in March 1995, one of the conclusions of that international gathering in Copenhagen was to create a new social contract with “people at the centre of development.”

But notwithstanding the shortcomings in its implementation over the last 20 years, the United Nations is now pursuing an identical goal with a new political twist: “global citizenship.”

Thida Khus.

How can one push for greater political participation of women in a patriarchal state that believes government is a fraternity?

The Cambodian Committee to Promote Women in Politics faced this exact problem when it first started its work to encourage women to get more politically involved in the early 2000s. Back then, CPWP struggled to convince women to become more “involved in decision-making at the national and local levels” not only because of opposition from men, but also because some of these women didn’t see that as their role in politics.

When the World Economic Forum (WEF) met last January in Switzerland, attended mostly by the rich and the super-rich, the London-based charity Oxfam unveiled a report with an alarming statistic: if current trends continue, the world’s richest one percent would own more than 50 percent of the world’s wealth by 2016.

And just 80 of the world’s richest will control as much wealth as 3.5 billion people: half the world’s population.

The post-2015 development agenda will only succeed if the SDGs include meaningful and time-bound targets and commitments for the rich that trigger the necessary regulatory and fiscal policy changes.

Nigel Martin has spent 45 years trying to turn governments' ears toward civil society voices. In 1998, he founded FIM: the Forum for Democratic Global Governance, an international NGO based in Montreal. FIM both convenes activists from around the world with particular attention to those from the global south and from Muslim sectors, and it has worked to create openings for civil society actors in global governance fora such as the UN, G8, G20, and more recently BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation).

An overwhelming majority of citizens in the 28-member European Union (EU) – which has been hamstrung by a spreading economic recession, a fall in oil prices and a decline of its common currency, the Euro – has expressed strong support for development cooperation and increased aid to developing nations.

A new Eurobarometer survey to mark the beginning of the ‘European Year for Development,’released Monday, shows a significant increase in the number of people in favour of increasing international development aid.

The survey reveals that most Europeans continue to “feel very positively about development and cooperation”.

Additionally, the survey also indicates that 67 percent of respondents across Europe think development aid should be increased – a higher percentage than in recent years, despite the current economic situation in Europe.

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