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Anaemic economic growth in some regions hampers progress on Global Goals




[yt_dropcap type=”square” font=”” size=”14″ color=”#000″ background=”#fff” ] O [/yt_dropcap]ver the last six months, global economic progress has predictably picked up, but low-level growth in some regions has tempered efforts to meet globally agreed development goals, according to a new United Nations report launched today in New York.

In a statement on themed-2017 UN World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) report, Lenni Montiel, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development in the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, underscored the “need to reinvigorate global commitments to international policy coordination to achieve a balanced and sustained revival of global growth, ensuring that no regions are left behind.”

The WESP report identified revived global trade, citing a tentative recovery in world industrial production driven by rising import demand from East Asia. However, economic recovery in South America is emerging more slowly than anticipated, and gross domestic product (GDP) per capita is declining or stagnant in several parts of Africa.

According to the report, firmer growth in many economies, both developed and in transition, underpin global economic recovery – with East and South Asia remaining the world’s most dynamic regions.

During a press conference at UN Headquarters, Diana Alarcón, Chief of the Global Economic Monitoring Unit told journalists the report “confirms that at the global level, economic growth has strengthened in recent months in line with the forecast presented in January.”

She said “industrial production has picked up, world trade is reviving, and economic sentiment has generally improved. World Gross Product is expected to expand by 2.7 percent in 2017 and 2.9 percent in 2018.”

However, she said, “the modest strengthening of economic activity has not been evenly spread across countries” as “recovery remains insufficient in many regions for rapid progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”

Forecasts for GDP growth in some of the least developed countries (LDCs) have been revised downward since January, with growth in the group as a whole projected to remain well below the SDG target of at least seven per cent. The report notes that under the current growth trajectory and assuming no decline in income inequality, nearly 35 per cent of the population in LDCs may remain in extreme poverty by 2030.

Additional policy efforts are needed to foster an environment that will accelerate medium-term growth and tackle poverty through policies that address inequalities in income and opportunity.

The report points to a combination of short-term policies supporting consumption among the most deprived and longer-term policies, including improved healthcare and education access and rural infrastructure investment.

According to the report, inflation dynamics in developed economies have reached a turning point, largely dissipating risks of prolonged deflation. By contrast, inflationary pressures have eased in many large emerging markets, allowing interest rates to come down.

The report stresses heightened uncertainty over international policy, hindering a global rebound in private investment. In many emerging economies, corporate sectors are vulnerable to sudden changes in financial conditions and destabilizing capital outflows, which could be triggered by faster-than-expected interest rate hikes in the United States.

At the same time, the WESP report highlights positive developments surrounding environmental sustainability. For three consecutive years, global carbon emissions have stalled – positively reflecting renewable power growth, energy efficiency improvements, transitions from coal to natural gas and slower economic growth in some major emitters. But, the report also warns against waning commitments going forward.

Looking ahead, the report advocates for renewed global commitments to deeper international policy coordination in key areas, including aligning the multilateral trading system with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; expanding official development aid; supporting climate finance and clean technology transfer; and addressing the challenges posed by large movements of refugees and migrants.

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9th International Black Sea Symposium: Blue Growth as a driver for regional development




The International Centre for Black Sea Studies (ICBSS) organized successfully the 9th International Black Sea Symposium on Blue Growth as a driver for regional development, in Athens, on 20-21 March 2018.

In its ninth year, the International Black Sea Symposium (IBSS) built on the success and positive impact of its previous eight editions to bring together the next generation of stakeholders with an interest in the Black Sea area, focusing on blue growth, a long term strategy for sustainable development in the marine and maritime sectors.

Opening the Symposium, ICBSS Director General Mr. Georgios Mitrakos, highlighted the importance of coordinated action among all involved stakeholders that will allow for a result-oriented strategy and inclusive blue growth. To this end, as he noted, the aim of the 9th IBSS was to enable constructive dialogue and generate future synergies.

Keynote speech was delivered by the Secretary General of the BSEC Organisation, H.E. Ambassador Michael B. Christides. Opening his speech, Amb. Christides underlined “Growth was, is and will remain the objective of humans”. He continued stressing that, our adaptation to the continuously growing technological impact and innovation demands for joint cooperation and coordination. As he noted,“the BSEC Organisation has invested a lot of efforts in new realities” and will continue to support initiatives that aim to motivate the youth and “bring forward a new generation of stakeholders”.

The Symposium was developed in four targeted sessions, focusing on i) interregional cooperation and governance, ii) entrepreneurship and competitiveness, iii) investment in people, skills and services, and iv) knowledge and mitigation measures.

Within two days of interactive discussions, seventy participants, speakers and observers had the opportunity to network, to exchange knowledge and to form ideas for new joint projects related to sustainable blue growth in the wider Black Sea region.

Among the distinguished participants of the 9th IBSS were the Vice-Mayor of the Municipality of Piraeus, Mr. Petros Kokkalis, the Deputy Secretary General of PABSEC, Mr. Miltiadis Makrygiannis, the Honorary Consul of Italy in Piraeus, Capt. Mauro Renaldi, the first Secretary of the Embassy of Italy, Mr. Enrico Barbato, Senior Officials from the Embassies of the BSEC Member States in Athens and the Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Director of the Romanian Diplomatic Academy and Chairman of the ICBSS Board, Mr. Dan Petre, Mr. Leornardo Manzari, Director of the European Institute of EurAsian Dialogue in Italy, as well as policy-makers, academics, journalists, entrepreneurs, civil society representatives and researchers primarily from the countries of the wider Black Sea area and the EU member states.

The results of the 9th IBSS will be published in a collective edition of the ICBSS Xenophon Paper Series, which will include the contributions of speakers and participants to the event.

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Poland must make urgent legislative reforms to combat foreign bribery

MD Staff



Poland must make urgent progress on carrying out key recommendations of the OECD Working Group on Bribery that remain unimplemented, more than four years after its Phase 3 evaluation in June 2013.

Poland still needs to take urgent steps to ensure companies can be held responsible for foreign bribery, even if the persons who perpetrated the offence are not convicted. In addition, Poland must increase the fines for companies in order to ensure foreign bribery is punishable by effective, proportionate, and dissuasive sanctions.

The Working Group is disappointed by Poland’s failure to take measures to ensure that the “impunity” provision in the Penal Code that applies to foreign and domestic bribery cannot be applied to the bribery of foreign public officials. This provision allows perpetrators of bribery to automatically escape punishment by notifying the law enforcement authorities of the offence before the authorities learn about it from other sources.

In the context of ongoing reforms, Poland should also ensure that appropriate measures are in place to protect from retaliatory or disciplinary action private and public sector employees who report suspected acts of foreign bribery in good faith and on reasonable grounds.

The Working Group reviewed a report submitted by Poland on its progress in implementing these outstanding recommendations at its plenary meeting on 13-15 March 2018. The Working Group requested that Poland provide a written report on further progress in addressing these concerns in December 2018, at which time the Group will consider additional measures in the absence of significant progress.

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Solving the e-waste problem in Latin America




The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Ministry of Environment of Ecuador (MAE) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF), have officially presented a project which will provide policy advice to 13 Latin American countries to help them solve the e-waste problem in the region.

The initiative addresses the proper disposal and recycling of electrical and electronic waste by adopting a circular economy approach  in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.

The inauguration was attended by Ecuador’s Minister of Environment, Tarsicio Granizo,  UNIDO’s Director of Environment, Stephan Sicars,   representatives of national authorities, and ambassadors and representatives of the 13 countries participating in the project.

Sicars pointed out that there are still many challenges that remain for e-waste recycling. “The policies have to be, not only suitable for each individual country, but also sufficiently harmonious to prevent unnecessary, as well as ensuring protection of human health in recycling activities and safeguarding the environment from toxic releases

Meanwhile Granizo emphasized the need to reduce the production of waste and added that “it is necessary to promote national and regional policies that allow community work to be able to deal with the adequate management of electrical and electronic waste, which present a challenge that cannot be addressed only from the national level”.

This initiative will start on 5 June 2018 and will last for five years. During its execution, US$$ 9.5m will be invested, assisting the 13 participating countries both technically and financially, and providing advice on policies, business, legislation, technology and awareness-raising.

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