Sudan: Woman sentenced to a public lashing for daring to wear trousers



Imperial Matriarch H.I.M Empress Shebah `Ra - Queen Shebah III calls upon all women worldwide to come in action against actions as shown in the below video

This video of young woman being brutally whipped by a police officer in public has inflamed the Sudanese Web since it was posted online last Wednesday. Our Observer says the footage shocked even the most conservative Sudanese people. This isn’t the first time that a woman is submitted to a public flogging for “indecent” behaviour in Sudan (in this case, the young woman was reportedly sentenced for wearing trousers).

A little over a year ago, the case of Lubna Hussein, a Sudanese woman who defied the courts to carry out her public whipping despite the immunity granted by her status as a UN staffer, made international headlines. Under pressure, the Sudanese government eventually pardoned Lubna, but as the recent video shows, other women aren’t so lucky.

WARNING: THE CONTENT OF THIS VIDEO IS VERY DISTURBING.



Read More

Black Women in Europe Power List 2010

Press release December 3rd, 2010

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN

Black Women in Europe™ blog announced its first-ever Black Women in Europe™: Power List that includes 58 women in Europe in six categories. The categories are business, lifestyle, media, politics, social entrepreneurs and NGOs.

This year’s Black Women in Europe™: Power List 2010 were chosen from nominations from the general public and editor Adrianne George and co-editor Mark Derek McCullough based on their achievements and sphere of influence. “When Michelle Obama was named the most powerful woman in the world this year I noticed that of the 6 other black women on the list none of them lived in Europe”, George explains. “I was inspired to create a list of our own”.

Women on the Black Women in Europe™: Power List include seasoned politicians, accomplished performers, and champion athletes as well as social entrepreneurs and rising stars in the business world. “This list will serve as a source of inspiration to black women everywhere”, George says. “In all arenas we are known to excel”. View the complete list: http://bit.ly/bwiepowerlist
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Black Women in Europe™ Blog
Black Women in Europe™ Blog is an award-winning blog founded in 2006 by Adrianne George. It aims to celebrate the lives of the ordinary and extraordinary black women living in Europe. To learn more about the Black Women in Europe™ Blog visit us at: http://blog.blackwomenineurope.com .


3rd Anniversary contest to thank you for supporting the Women of the African Diaspora (WAD) Website


Whether you have been with us for 3 years or are a recent reader, Sandra and I appreciate your support of the Women of the African Diaspora website, Facebook group and Facebook page. WAD was created to inspire black women around the world by highlighting our up and coming writers, artists, entrepreneurs, as well as sharing relevant news.

Our anniversary sponsors have made it possible to reward you for your loyalty delivering the following gifts to you. All of our readers have a chance to win. Where you live will determine your eligibility. Please note geographical delivery restrictions in parenthesis.

| Books: |
Secrets of Kept Women” by Shani Greene-Dowdell (US resident)
Reflections of Light for Daily Living” by Dr. Tiffany Brown (US resident)
Knocked Down by Life, Lifted Up by Faith” by Adrienne Mynatt with companion CD and t-shirt (no geographical limitation)
1 of 5 copies of "This Far By Faith", a faith anthology by Arnita Fields (no geographical limitation)
1 of 2 copies of “When Light Breaks Through” by Melanie Carter (no geographical limitation)
Behind Those Hills” by M.H.A. Menondji (no geographical limitation)

| Smart phone applications: |
Reflections of Light for Daily Living by Dr. Tiffany Brown (no geographical limitation)

| Mug: |
"So Blessed" from Good News Distributors (US resident)

| Food: |
Twee culinaire arrangementen voor twee personen op locatie bij màrshé Breda. De winnaars kunnen kiezen uit de diverse dagschotels from Marshe Breda (the Netherlands)

| Coaching: |
Een gratis coaching sessie voor een twee (startende) onderneemster bij Màrshé Women Business centre from Marshe Breda (the Netherlands)

| Website, domain name and hosting: |
A basic web site (10 pages), a domain name (for example www.yourname.com), but not country domains e.g .nl or.de.; the general names like .com .net) and web hosting for one year from Jumbo Servers (no geographical limitation)

| Hair care: |
72 euro gift package along with an individualized hair plan from Mariposa Imports (anywhere outside North America)

| Radio interview: |
Become a special guest on the Uncaged Birds™ Radio Show! Uncaged Birds™ is a knowledge, confidence, and skill-building personal development radio series created by Trina Roach, especially for women of African descent living and working in Europe. One lucky woman will win an exclusive 60 minute interview in early 2011. Are you a black woman with your own business or product; expat who wants to share your experience living in another country; who is passionate about a cause with special relevance for the black community or black women as a group? You can talk about your personal passion; be it your business or product, your life as an expat or a special cause near and dear to your heart. NOTE: You will need to call into a phone line to conduct the interview from Uncaged Birds™ (must live in Europe).

To enter to win answer the following question: What does WAD mean? Send your response and indicate which prize you would like to Sandra@womenoftheafricandiaspora.com no later than 27 November 2010. Winners will be chosen in the order in which the replies are received, so don’t delay.

Send us your contributions, give us your feedback and get inspired.

Hugs from Rotterdam and Stockholm,
Sandra and Adrianne

21st Century Sisterhood of Greatness Manifesto



© 2010 Blanche Williams, National Black Women’s Town Hall, Inc.

1. Redefine Our Identity

Redefine our identity by consciously rejecting the unhealthy, untrue, and unworthy images that attempt to deny our greatness, extinguish our brilliance, and defeat our spirit. We instead stand firmly in our divine birthright to live a life adorned with grace, excellence, and integrity. We will align ourselves with like minds and assign our goals with like achievers.

2. Reclaim Our Dignity

Reclaim our dignity by walking in the spirit of decency and humility regardless of images that show less than our finest. We will embrace that which pierces our dignity as women, in order to recognize and reshape its effect on our thoughts and expressions. We will no longer allow external forces to dictate the choices we make or the actions we take but will empower our intuitive intelligence to be the force that guides us. We are sisters first, regardless of the diversity of life and styles we encompass.

3. Revolutionize Our Thinking

Revolutionize our thinking by being willing to step outside the box of boundaries and our self-imposed limitations. We will develop a willingness to break down the walls of negativity, doubt, fear, and jealousy and rebuild a mindset strong, positive, and forward thinking. We will shatter our mind’s glass ceiling and learn to soar above the frays of mediocrity. Our evolution, as women ,must be televised in order to demystify those images that have been allowed to run rampant throughout our society.

4. Redesign Our Image

Redesign our image by reshaping and remolding ourselves into who we want to represent instead of what sells. We will learn to take the front seat to frame who we are and not the back seat and take what others want us to emulate. We will learn to take the high road where our ancestors taught us we should be and not the low road where we “dummy down” and accept being marginalized, objectified or hyper sexualized. We will speak out and up for ourselves and our sisters when anyone attempts to disrespect our legacies. We will chart a course that will illuminate our diversity, celebrate our fabulosity, and stimulate our ambitions. We will be the architects of our destiny and builders of our endless possibilities.

5. Rebirth Our Self-Respect

Rebirth our self-respect by understanding and accepting that we are endowed with the right to be respected, revered, honored and adored. As black women, we raise the children of a great race. As black women, we adorn the heavens with the spirits of queens, sojourners, leaders, mothers, daughters and friends. As black women we birth the spirits that knock at our doors of consciousness. As we grow in the ways of sisterhood, we will learn to rebirth a nation that begins within the womb of our feelings, our self-worth, and our self-love. The sisterhood can only give what it possesses, therefore we are committed to nurture, support, and uplift the inner child in us all. We will show loving respect for every sister as we grow to fully and authentically love and respect ourselves.

6. Rebuild Our Relationships

Rebuild our relationships by being accountable for who we are and the role we play in the lives of others. Are our bonds breakable or unshakeable? We will learn to thoughtfully explore the connections we have with other women and how much we honor their presence in our lives. Are there sister relationships that need renovating or do you need a personal overhaul to re-evaluate, re-access or re-focus? Do we treat or speak about our sisters with venom or victory? The sisterhood will not tolerate cheating on the spirit of a sister through jealousy, deceit, or defamation of character. Learn to let people be who they and you must be who you’re destined to become; a sister beyond compare!

7. Restore Our Hope

Restore our hope by each sister living their dreams. We can’t allow anyone’s image or descriptions of us diminish our goal and date with destiny. The best revenge is performance. As we align together in force and focus, we will be the hope and the dream of our ancestors who put the “p” in purpose, pride, and perseverance. We didn’t struggle and stride to now lose our sense of direction. Regardless of what you see, we know better and we must do better to hold each other accountable. Together we can be rock solid in our dedication to uphold the code of the Sisterhood of Greatness.

8. Reconnect With Our Body

Reconnect with the vessel that houses the greatness that lives within by releasing self-judgment, negative and neglectful thoughts. We are charged with reverencing, maintaining and embracing our bodies by integrating positive habits that encourage a healthy life and spirit of wellness. The way we treat and care for ourselves is a direct reflection of how we perceive our self-worth. Our bodies are sacred and hold a divine connection with our inner being and outer humanity.

9. Redeem Our Soulful Spirit

Redeem our soulful spirits by unleashing the false perceptions and conceptions we have about ourselves and our ability to rise above adversity to live in peace and harmony. We are designed to be mindfully innovative, to excel at all things, and to love and be loved in abundance. God’s universe awaits our instruction and bows to our every wish and desire. We must learn to work through our doubts and fears in order to truly reach our highest potential. As African-American women we hold the keys, the map, and the DNA of destiny.

10. Re-Unite Our Sisterhood

Re-unite our sisterhood by coming together and bringing someone else along. We are tied to each other because of the fabric we were created within. Our roles are interchangeable because our maturation is tied to diversity of experience, exposure, and insight. Our power is intergenerational! When we look at the landscape of our lives, there will always be a sister who can help you through any peak or valley because they have already walked that path. We will learn to be each others source and voice. When we apply our understanding and willingness to tap into the wisdom of the sisterhood we will experience a bond that is transformative and exhilarating. We are our sisters.

www.greatnessbydesign.com

The Most Powerful Black Women in Europe List – Call for nominations




The first list of its kind will recognize black women across Europe who are powerful in a variety of ways.

Nov 07,2010 - Stockholm, Sweden - “I was inspired by Forbes' Most Powerful Women 2010 List on which Michelle Obama is named the most powerful woman in the world”, explains Adrianne George, the creator of the Black Women in Europe™ Blog, social network, and social media group. “I decided to compile a list of The Most Powerful Black Women in Europe”.


The Black Women in Europe™ Social Network, and Linkedin Group members have submitted nominees and the general public is invited to do the same. You can suggest a name to be included on the 1st The Most Powerful Black Women in Europe List by commenting on:

http://blog.blackwomenineurope.com/2010/10/29/the-most-powerful-black-women-in-europe-list-call-for-nominations or by emailing contact@blackwomenineurope.com.

Simply include a name of a powerful black women in Europe (or 2 or a dozen), their country, and why they are powerful. If they have a website please include the URL.

The deadline for nominations is 29 November 2010. The list will be published on the award-winning Black Women in Europe Blog™ on 3 December 2010.

“It is time we had a list of our own”, George adds.

Are Caribbean countries facing existential threats?















To all the comments on Norman's inspiring and correct analysis of the current situation I would like to add the following we were discussing just before the hurricane hit the Caribbean. It is about the need for legal options and actions.


The Caribbean countries and their citizens, private sector, civil society, social-economic groups are seriously effected by the impasse in which they ended up after the concluding in December 2007 and signing of the CARIFORUM-EC EPA in October 2008. Now, two years later, October 2010, only a few Caribbean States have ratified the CF-EC EPA. Private sector and other stakeholders in the Caribbean are not interested to implement the Agreement, not able to compete with EU technology, standards, services etc. There is a deadlock and the question is how to find a way out. The EPA will not disappear by ignoring it.

The threat of sanctions by the EU as well as the ongoing negotiations between the EU and Africa, Pacific, Asia, Latin America, Central America, Canada and other regions and countries in the world, questions the way the CF-EC EPA has been negotiated, the concluding was rushed into and signing was done, regardless all the objections from state and non state actors who were not involved and not ready to enter into such a Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement that goes further than the WTO obligations require.

All legal options have to be explored to find solutions.

With regard to the review in 2013 which will give the Caribbean governments the possibility to amend the CF-EC EPA, stakeholders and lawyers should start now to discuss, to draft, to publish and to send their comments to the governments.

Furthermore appeal to the Caribbean Court of Justice should be explored.

Is the CCJ competent with regard to CF-EC EPA issues? What are the legal opinions about the CCJ and who is willing to bring these issues before the CCJ?

About the competency of the Caribbean Court of Justice with regard to CF-EC EPA: "The CCJ is an international court with compulsory and exclusive jurisdiction in respect of the interpretation and application of the Treaty of Chaguaramas, the rights and obligations created by the CSME, relating to the establishment of economic enterprises, the provision of professional services, the movement of capital, the acquisition of land for the operation of businesses etc.. The CCJ is a permanent, central, regional authoritative institution that authoritatively and definitively pronounce on those rights and corresponding obligations."

The CF-EC EPA will have its impact on the establishment of economic enterprises, the provision of professional services, the movement of capital, the acquisition of land for the operation of businesses etc. : issues that belong to the compulsory and exclusive jurisdiction of the CCJ. Which means that the CCJ is competent to judge in cases with regard to the CF-EC EPA.

If the CCJ is not, which Court in the Caribbean is? Is there another international Court in the Caribbean?

Legal actions should start in the Caribbean, where the impact of the CF-EC EPA and its damages are feared.

About the legal grounds: they could be found in the Human Rights, Environmental Rights and Labour Rights, now being discussed in European Parliament with regard to the FTA negotiations with India, ASEAN, Mercosur etc. and the EU-Korea FTA , such as:

1. There is no binding complaint management system for human rights violations in the CF-EC EPA (and other FTAs);

2. There is no Dispute settlement for all chapters, including the sustainable chapter;

3. The CF-EC EPA will not improve the economic development of the Caribbean countries (?) and will not improve human rights, labour rights and conditions, social and environmental rights and situations in the Caribbean. Social, environmental and labour conditions in the Caribbean are threatened by the CF - EC EPA (longer working hours, no job security, no healthy circumstances, no more access to cheap medicines etc.).

4. The obligations of the CF-EC EPA go further than the WTO obligations require and will have a negative impact on the political, social and economic situation in the Caribbean.

Furthermore in the EU some organizations and Universities are doing research to write papers about the role of the EU, the European Commission, negotiators and advisors. Questions such as : “Who exactly is sitting at the negotiation tables? Who is there from the Commission apart DG Trade? Who are the negotiators and advisors? “

Case studies to find out on which issues the EU presses the ACP governments, which issues actually could be beneficial for the ACP countries but are refused by the EU or the ACP governments etc.

That could also be done by University, Research Institutions and Organizations in the Caribbean.


Joyce van Genderen-Naar,
Lawyer
email: vangenderen@unicall.be

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Are Caribbean countries facing existential threats?


Norman Girvan

The hurricanes of the last few weeks in the Caribbean have reinforced in my mind a growing sense that Caribbean states may be more and more facing a challenge of existential threats. (I prefer this idea to the discourse of ‘failed states’, which I find rather obnoxious and patronising; being associated with a political agenda of ‘humanitarian interventionism’ and the contemporary incarnation of the doctrine of imperial responsibility.) By existential threats I mean systemic challenges to the viability of our states as functioning socio-economic-ecological-political systems; due to the intersection of climatic, economic, social and political developments.

On Saturday 30 October the entire banana crop of St Vincent, the main export industry, was wiped out in the space of one afternoon. St Lucia and Barbados also suffered major economic damage. At the time of writing this, the weather system responsible is expected eventually to veer northwards and deal what will be another lethal blow to Haiti, where over one million people are living with only tented shelters to protect them as a result of the January earthquake. Another major human catastrophe may be unfolding before our very eyes, which we seem impotent to prevent. On the other hand, if the weather system stays on a westward course, it will deal further blows to Jamaica, which has not yet recovered from Tropical storm Nicole (J$20 billion damage), and probably Belize, which is still recovering from hurricane Richard.

30 years ago, one expected to deal with major disasters of this kind, say, once every ten years. Nowadays, most islands expect at least one, and possibly two or three, every year. In other words this now has to be seen as a permanent, recurring phenomenon or integral feature of Caribbean development.

When you combine acute climate change-related stress of this kind with (a) the acute economic stress arising out of trade preferences and the failure to develop a new “insertion” into the global economy, (b) fiscal stress due to unsustainable debt burdens and the impact of the global economic crisis; and (c) the seeming incapacity of governments to control the impact of transnational crime; one must wonder if we are not in fact experiencing an overlapping and interconnected series of challenges which in their totality, challenge the assumptions underlying the ‘national statehood’ dispensation of the region. Suppose, in other words, that we are not dealing simply with a series of ‘natural disasters’, but rather with a deeper, more systemic threat to the viability of our societies as functional entities in any meaningful sense of the word?

Most of us are not likely to view our condition in such apocalyptic terms, of course. Governments and opinion-makers tend to see each such phenomena as disconnected events, each requiring its own specialised response by a dedicated agency or stakeholder. Our governments give the appearance of being in permanent crisis mode, like the captain and crew of a ship caught in a perfect storm desperately trying to work out how to survive the next monster wave (even as they assure the passengers that they can cope!). Crisis management is not a condition that lends itself to strategic thinking.

Yet isn’t strategic thinking, that attempts to discern the connections among seemingly unrelated phenomena, not what is required? Indeed is it not a necessity for survival? I would think that the first step of such an exercise is for us to admit to ourselves that the problems we face are too wide in scopes and too vast in scale for any one Caribbean country to cope with by itself; that the thinking, institutions and structures we have no longer serve us well; and that no one—neither government nor opposition; public sector or private; civil society or academia—can singly provide the answers. Can we begin a conversation nationally and regionally—or rather, take existing conversations to a higher plane?

November 1, 2010.

Norman Girvan

UWI Trinidad & Tobago

2nd World Diversity Leadership Summit Europe



WDLS-EU 2011!

24 – 25 of March 2011

WDLS-EU is proud to announce that preparations for the 2. World Diversity Leadership Summit Europe are officially under way.

WDLS-EU WEBSITE & UPDATES!

In preparation for 2011 we are delighted to announce that our website has been renewed and will be continuously refreshed with many updates. Do not hesitate to visit us online. Click on www.wdls.eu to join us on our WDLS-EU Diversity Journey!

WDLS-EU 2011 AGENDA!

Today’s rapidly changing societies and working environments require extremely innovative solutions. Our WDLS-EU 2011 Agenda is carefully designed to offer you the latest innovative solutions for the market and work places. Visit www.wdls.eu/agenda/ and find out what issues WDLS-EU 2011 will be addressing and how these connect directly to you and your working environment.

Our Highlight Panels include:

◦CEO Leadership Strategies: predictions and expectations from the future workforce

◦How are today’s multi-cultural communities impacting tomorrow’s market and work forces?

◦European and Global CEO Roundtable: Understanding and fostering diverse talents and leadership

◦Promoting Diversity to drive profit in multi-national companies and organisations

◦WDLS Awardees Forum: Showcasing WDLS “best in class” leadership strategies for the next generation

◦Beyond Race and Skin Colour: How language drives Diversity and Inclusion in today’s companies and organisations

◦Managing Diversity and Inclusion in legal frameworks and political decision-making processes

◦Facing unconscious bias and mindset in terms of visibility, national and cultural identities and their impact on profit-driven organisations and companies

CALL FOR SPEAKERS!

You are considering speaking at WDLS-EU 2011? We would be most delighted to welcome YOU on board our exclusive and high-profile speakers’ community. Our International Speakers call 2011 is waiting for you online! Visit www.wdls.eu/speakers/ and find out more about your eligibility as speaker!

PARTNERS 2011!

WDLS-EU is constantly looking for new partners and partnerships on its diversity journey. Join our crucial Diversity and Inclusion efforts on European ground by becoming a partner today. Visit www.wdls.eu/sponsoring/: we offer a number of sponsorship packages to fit various needs and budgets. Ask for our extremely attractive Sponsorship Packages!

3rd Anniversary for Women of the African Diaspora Website

WAD header image
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Facebook Fan Page and Group Boasts Over 1,000 Members Around the World.
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Rotterdam, NL/Stockholm, SWE – Women of the African Diaspora (WAD) website (http://www.womenoftheafricandiaspora.com/) turns three on 1 November 2010 and is celebrating with gifts for its readers and members. The website, Facebook Fan page, and Facebook group, which celebrates black women, has visitors and members from across the globe.
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"I always wanted the Women of the African Diaspora website to more than a website, but to also be a community," says Sandra Rafaela, Women of the African Diaspora’s co-founder and co-editor. “Moving our social network to Facebook has increased our reach and keeps us on track in terms of maintaining that goal”.
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Women of the African Diaspora website was also created to share relevant news, event notices and showcase a wide range of talented black women including authors, artists, musicians, entrepreneurs, and others. And with black women living on virtually every continent, it certainly has a large and influential market.
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"Women of the African Diaspora’s website content strives to shine a positive spotlight on black women that main stream media far too often ignores," says Adrianne George, Women of the African Diaspora‘s co-founder and co-editor. "While it is true that main stream media generally reports on high profile black women, for example with Forbes naming Michelle Obama the most powerful woman in the word, WAD also highlights the ordinary and extraordinary lives of black women”, she adds. “We continue to be the perfect choice for advertisers who want to reach the important market of black women consumers."
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The year has been marked with highlights for the Women of the African Diaspora co-editors, with Ms. Rafaela being named H.M. Senior Commissioner EU/ Africa on Women Development and Empowerment within the African Kingdoms Federation (AKF) and Ms. George’s Black Women in Europe blog (http://blog.blackwomenineurope.com/) adding to its list of honors by receiving a Sunshine Award. "I can’t believe it has been three years since we launched WAD," explains George. “We really enjoy meeting accomplished and positive black women while providing them with a unique platform for exposure".
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Anniversary gifts are provided by authors Dr. Tiffany Brown, Shani Greene-Dowdell, and Good News Distributors. Businesses, with products or services for black women can participate in the anniversary celebrations by purchasing an advertising package for the website and social network at a 20% savings. Contact adrianne@agcommunicationsgroup.com for advertising information.
Contact: Sandra Rafaela sandra@womenoftheafricandiaspora.com
Adrianne George mailto:adrianne@agcommunicationsgroup.com

Can Trade Policy Improve Human Rights?


Joyce van Genderen- Naar

On 13 October 2010 the Conference 'Can Trade Policy Improve Human Rights' was organized by the Socialists & Democrats in the European Parliament in Brussels.

Presentations were made by representatives from the WTO, ILO, George Washington University, Avocats sans Frontiéres France.

EU Commissioner De Gucht also adressed the audience, explaining his pro free trade policy.

In his conclusions the President of the S&G Group, Mr. Martin Schultz, said that he is not supporting the opinion of Members in the European Parliament who say 'First Trade and than Human Rights'. He also does not support views that say 'no human rights no trade'. There has to be a balance.

Another concern is that the European Parliament does not have the tools (capacity) yet for its new co-decision competency and responsability with regard to the Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) Negotiations, provided for in the Lisbon Treaty. That is why they are organizing these conferences and hearings, to listen to the opinions of the experts and to learn.

So it is a kind of capacity building of the European Parliament and its members. But will it be efficient to deal with these complex global trade issues?

Now the focus is on human rights and social and environmental rights and standards of the FTAs, but there also other issues to address.

Recommendations were made to establish a binding complaint management system for human rights violations in FTAs. Dispute settlement should be applied to all chapters, also to the sustainable chapter, which is not the case in the FTA Korea (and in the CF-EC-EPA and probably otherll FTAs).

The conclusion is that Trade Policy can improve the economic development of a country, but economic growth does not mean that human rights, labour rights and social and environmental rights are improved. In some countries they are (for example Mauritius), but in many countries in the South social-, environmental and labour conditions are worsened because of FTAs (longer working hours, no job security, no healthy circumstances, no more access to cheap medicines etc.).

That has also been said by Asian and European representatives during the

the 8th ASIA-Europe's People's Forum, organised from 2 - 5 October 2010 in Brussels, parallel to the 8th Asia-Europe ASEM Summit in Brussels.

"Challenging and Eroding Corporate Powers" was the theme of this Forum.

Recommendations has been sent by the Forum to the ASEM8 Summit (the Asian and European Heads of States). See the website http://www.aepf.info/

The recommendations started with the message from Charles Santiago, Member of Parliament of Malaysia, that "Poverty is creatyed by unequal systems- it can be eradicated. Governments need to reassert their control over corporations and be accountable to their citizens. Ultimately it is a question of political choice and priorities".

The Forum debated the way companies and businesses have used their expanded legal rights and exceptional access to decision-makers to aggressively push for policies that open new markets and allows access to raw materials regardless of the social or environmental costs. The Forum concluded that the lack of accountability in transnational corporations operations and weak regulation has resulted in the devastation of the environment and erosion of civil, political and labour rights. Voluntary codes of conduct are not enough, they have not prevented human rights and environmental abuses. More has to be done to make corporations accountable to governments. The Forum called upon Asian and EU governments :

* to work towards the development of an international legally binding code which enforces legal responsibilities and accountability for the consequences of company activities. Increase transparency of corporate accounts by adopting a country-by-country reporting standard for multinational companies. Ensure that corporations annualy disclose their finances, environmental, workers safety, human and labour rights, lobbying and tax records.

* Promote the creation of an International Economic Tribunal than can judge transnational companies, be responsible for the defending the fundamental rights of people affected by companies activities and impose appropriate sanctions.

* End corporate lobbying privileges and secrecy by introducing a high-quality, mandatory lobbying transparency register, to end the excessive political influence of corporate lobby groups. Implement effective conflicts of interest rules for Commissioners, Commission officials and Commission Special Advisors and institute enforceable ethiocs rules for corporate and business lobyists.

* Put an hold all EU member states' Bilateral Investment Treaties negotiations, while the new EU investment policy framework is being defined.

* Undertake a full assessment of EU investment policy and ensure policy coherence with excisting policies on sustainable develoment, poverty reduction and women's rights.

* Replace the investor-to-state dispute settlement mechanism, embedded in international treaties, with a state-to-state mechanism.

* Close down tax havens under the jurisdiction of any EU member state and Asian countries.

Joyce van Genderen-NAAR, Lawyer
http://www.mdg-globalwatch.org/

Advisor MDG Global Watch :

Advisor ACP Civil Society Forum:

http://acpcsforum.igloocommunities.com/

email: vangenderen@unicall.be

African, Caribbean, Latin American and Pacific states rejected the granting of additional rights in the UN to the EU



A UN General Assembly resolution proposed by the EU that would have seen the bloc gain special status on a par with member states has been narrowly defeated, with a majority of nations voting to delay the motion. European Council President Herman Van Rompuy will now not be permitted to address the UN chamber in New York this week as the EU had hoped.

The defeat was brought about by African, Caribbean, Latin American and Pacific states who rejected the granting of additional rights in the UN to the EU but not to other regional groupings such as the Caribbean Community, the African Union, or the South American Union.

They appeared to resent the EU requesting special observer status and argued that other groups should be given similar rights.

Suriname's ambassador, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community, said that the Community could “conceivably” request a similar status. “A resolution of such importance ought to be adopted by consensus” following an “in-depth exchange of views”, he said.

Lesotho's UN ambassador, speaking on behalf of the African group, said that the draft resolution tabled by the EU was a “very important matter” that would set a “precedent in the UN system” and that a vote should therefore be deferred to allow for more debate.

Nauru's UN ambassador said during the debate, “we already struggle to make our voice heard”.

* European Voice
* EUobserver

6th edition of the Women’s Forum Global Meeting 14 - 16 October 2010







PRESS RELEASE

6th edition of the Women’s Forum Global Meeting
« Change: Make it happen »
14 - 16 October 2010
Deauville, France


Paris, 25 May 2010– The Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society will hold its 6th annual Global Meeting on October 14-16, 2010 in Deauville, France under the theme “Change: Make it happen”.

“At a time when economies and models of society are questioned by an uncertain and fragile global situation, only diversity, confidence and solidarity between women, in an exchange with men, can make change happen to restore hope in a disrupted world”, declared Women’s Forum CEO and Founder, Aude de Thuin. “The Women’s Forum annual Global Meeting is a major event of expression and mobilization of women in order to spark audacious and innovative policies of change.”

The Women’s Forum Global Meeting will focus on new forms of actions and on actors of needed change. It will immerse about 1,200 participants from over 80 countries in a powerful and interactive experience with CEOs, business leaders, entrepreneurs, scientists, thinkers, artists, politicians, and policymakers, all of them opinion leaders and influential in their areas of expertise. Among them, many women from emerging countries invited to join the Forum’s network will give a testimony of their exemplary actions to develop their countries.

These major issues will be debated through five “pillars of change”:
- Change in politics: How to think and act collectively in a world of mistrust?
- Change in the economy: What do we need now for true innovation?
- Change in the environment: How to make the green economy a killer app for business and a reality for all?
- Change in global health: How to build a healthier and more equitable food chain for the planet?
- Change through the woman factor: Pushing the boundaries, yet how far?

This year, among many international delegations, the Forum will host a delegation of men and women from Nordic countries where voluntary measures, as in Sweden, or political ones, as in Norway, allowed them to attain the highest rates of parity in the world. Other countries such as South Africa, United States and Russia will be largely represented.

To the plenary sessions will be added the Discovery Program, a unique place in the Forum for its design, its interactive format to facilitate exchanges, conviviality and many innovative experiences this year around three main axes:
§ Performance with corners like the Diversity Club, Women on Boards, Women’s Network,
§ Commitment with corners of NGOs, the Sustainability in Action Club, and “Women For Education” and “Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards”.
§ Discovery with the “Rising Talents” project, the Writer’s Corner and the Health and Nutrition Corner.

About the Women’s Forum
Founded in 2005 by Aude Zieseniss de Thuin, the Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society is an independent global forum of feminine inspiration, recognized among the top 5 global forums worldwide, dedicated to building and implementing a more balanced world for all.
The Forum is a platform of debate, sharing, brainstorming and action where women are given pride of place for speaking out on all major societal issues that count today and will count tomorrow.
2010 will be a year of a reinforced international visibility, a program anchored in major issues that cannot be ignored, fed by a global vision and messages that will be addressed at the Forum’s closing, on October 16th.

In September 2009, Publicis Groupe acquired a majority stake in the Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society.


Press Contacts

Women’s Forum
Claudine Ripert-Landler
+33 (0)6 73 45 18 43
claudine.ripert@womens-forum.com

Joanna Spiette
+33(0)1 58 18 62 09
joanna.spiette@womens-forum.com

Publicis Consultants
Vilizara Lazarova
+33 (0)1 57 32 86 46
vilizara.lazarova@consultants.publicis.fr

Isabelle Rivière
+33 (0)1 57 32 86 99
isabelle.riviere@consultants.publicis.fr

The ACP Observatory on Migration


by Joyce van Genderen-Naar

On Monday 2 August 2010 a press conference and prelaunch of the ACP Observatory on Migration took place in the ACP House in Brussels, with statements from the ACP Assistant Secretary General, Ms. Michèle Dominique Raymond; Head of Governance and Operational Support Section EuropeAid Cooperation Office (AIDCO) European Commission, Ms. Kirsi Pekuri; and Director of the ACP Observatory on Migration, Mr. Laurent de Boeck.

The objective of the Observatory is to produce data on South-South ACP migration flows. There are 12 pilot ACP countries selected, but the research will concern all ACP countries and all ACP regions. The Observatory cooperates with universities in Africa, Caribbean, Pacific and EU. One of the main pillars of the Observatory’s activities is Capacity Building for civil society. They wish to integrate civil society actors in the dialogue concerning policy-making on migration, and give NGO’s, local organizations and individual actors from civil society their say in the process of improving migration policies in ACP countries. Furthermore, these contacts will help to increase the visibility of the Observatory amongst civil-society based organizations.

The Observatory is an institution designed to produce data on South-South ACP migration flows for migrants, civil society and policy-makers and enhance research capacities in ACP countries for the improvement of the migrants’ situation and the strengthening of the migration-development nexus. The total budget for the project is 9 404 776 €. The European Union contributes with 7 994 060 € .

The Observatory will create a network of research centres and private researchers to provide policy-makers, the civil society and the public at large with reliable and harmonized data on ACP migration. It will focus its attention on the migrants’ situation and will foster the inclusion of migration into pilot countries’ development strategies. The Observatory will be officially launched in October 2010. While currently based in Brussels (Belgium), the Observatory will move to one of the 79 ACP countries.

The Observatory is open to the participation of Universities, research centres, government agencies, consultants, experts and general public interested in producing or using comprehensive data on ACP migration. Joining institutions will be part of a high-level research network including research facilities from around the world focusing on migration data and migration management policies. The Observatory will function as an exchange platform for migration research papers and expertise. Through its website, the Observatory will publish research studies and papers which will contribute to a better understanding of ACP migration flows and migration and development issues for policy-makers, government officials and general public.

The ACP observatory works with :

- A Research Consortium with 15 partners, among which National University of Lesotho, Roma, Lesotho, University of Cape Town (UCT) , Cape Town, South Africa, Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar (UCAD), Dakar, Senegal; Université Gaston Berger, Saint-Louis, Senegal; Organisation for Social Science Research in Eastern and Southern Africa (OSSREA), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; MOI University, Eldoret, Kenya; Centre for the Study of Forced Migration of the University ofDar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Université de Goma, Goma, DRC; University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji; University of the West Indies, Bridgetown, Barbados.

Associated Partners are: The International Migration Institute, Oxford, United Kingdom; The Commonwealth Secretariat, London, United Kingdom; Université de Yaoundé II, Yaoundé, Cameroon; The Economic and Social Research Foundation, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

The 12 Pilot Countries are: in West Africa: Senegal and Nigeria; in East Africa: Kenya and Tanzania; in Central Africa: Cameroon and DRC; Southern Africa: Lesotho and Angola; Caribbean: Haiti and Trinidad&Tobago; Pacific: Timor-Leste and Papua-New-Guinea.

PRESS RELEASE: 02/08/2010 - For immediate release


The ACP Observatory on Migration: improving migration research in ACP countries for better policy making
The African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States Observatory on Migration is a new institution created to provide reliable data and information on migration flows in ACP countries. The objective is to design better policies to enhance the migration contribution to development. The Observatory will be officially launched in a ceremony foreseen for 25-27 October 2010 which will gather relevant figures from the political, economic and cultural fields both in the EU and the ACP countries.

The European Commission and the Secretariat of the ACP Group of States have partnered in the establishment of an intra-ACP Migration Facility aimed at fostering institutional capacity in the ACP countries and strengthen the civil society with the ultimate aim to include migration issues into national and regional development policies and strategies.
Available data on ACP migration is scarce and often unreliable.

In many countries, the lack of relevant information has serious political consequences, since migrants’ need cannot be taken into account by policy makers. Migration is widely considered to present one of the factors influencing development but in many cases it has not been included in development strategies because of the lack of reliable data. According to Laurent de Boeck, Director of the ACP Observatory on Migration, “unlike South-North movements, South-South migration flows have received very limited attention in the past years.

Yet contrary to public perceptions, South-South migration is highly important in many regions and often takes place between neighbouring countries and those with small wage differentials. Drive factors include labour migration, family reunification, forced migration, traditional cross border flows and the effects of climate change”.
The ACP Observatory on Migration will tackle existing data and information gaps by improving policy-oriented knowledge on migration flows between ACP countries. Under the Secretariat of ACP States and funded by the EDF and Switzerland, the Observatory will introduce an innovative approach to enhance research capacities in ACP countries and provide policy makers the tools to improve their action.

Information will be provided to general public to improve knowledge on migration issues. Research will focus on the protection of migrants’ rights through several research topics including forced migration, labour migration, migration and health, remittances and migration and climate change. The Observatory will foster networking and cooperation between research institutions, private researchers and government agencies through a website and will conduct research to obtain currently inexistent information. The total budget for the project is 9 404 776 €. The European Union contributes with 7 994 060 €.

An official ceremony will be organized in Brussels on 25-27 October 2010 to launch the Observatory. High representatives from EU and ACP institutions will be present to support the initiative, which strengthens the cooperation between European and ACP countries on migration and development. The launching ceremony will include working session and an artistic event foreseen for the 26th October 2010 where cultural and artistic creations from the ACP countries will be presented to the public.
END

Contact:mrfbrusselsacp@iom.int

An ACP Initiative, Empowered by IOM, Funded by the European Union (European contribution: 7 994 060 €) and with the financial support of Switzerland.

Why “Uncaged Birds”?



FIVE YEARS AGO…

…I traded in my corner office for a room with a view.

In 2005 I left my job as Head of Human Resources Development in a major ad agency to establish my own training and coaching company - Creating Tomorrow: The Leadership Consultancy.

"Creating Tomorrow" - the name itself reflects the enormous Leap of Faith this step represents in my life!

As you can imagine, the road has often been rocky - filled with its fair share of both joy and frustration. To commemorate the challenges I’ve faced on my journey thus far, today - 1 June 2010 - I am launching a project that is very near and dear to my heart: Uncaged Birds™.

Why “Uncaged Birds”?

Inspired by Maya Angelou's seminal autobiography, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Uncaged Birds™ honors the realization that simply opening the door to our proverbial cage isn’t enough. Each of us must make the decision to step through the door take flight. This confidence- and skill-building program is designed to reflect the specific needs, heritage and history of women of African descent living in Europe. It is also a vehicle to foster intensified dialogue between women of African descent in the Americas and in other parts of the world; esp. Europe.

The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.”

Maya Angelou

With Uncaged Birds™ I provide support for women of African descent as they more effectively tap into their innate individual and cultural strength, and utilize that strength as a powerful springboard to personal and professional success – in a safe, stress-free environment that respects our heritage and history.

Let’s be our own rôle models!

Uncaged Birds™ addresses the specific needs of women of African descent committed to succeeding both personally and professionally, despite the added challenge of living and doing business in cultures that are still not used to seeing people of color in a positive, non-stereotypical light. After having lived and worked for more than 30 years in Europe, I designed the program I would have personally wanted and needed for support and motivation as a young expat and woman of color making her way in Europe.

Nothing will work unless you do.”

Maya Angelou

The launch portfolio will expand throughout the year offering a variety of individual and group coaching, training and communications platforms.

Let’s Get Started!

Are you a woman of African descent living in Europe? If so: be a part of TableTalk: The Virtual Round Table!

This Year’s TableTalk will be a 3-part series of 90-minute interviews taking place in July!

“I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.”

Maya Angelou

15 July 2010

The Expat Talks or “What’s a nice (Black) American girl like you doing in a place like this?” – A group of five Black American expats share stories and experiences about living and working in Europe, and tell how leaving America has affected the way they see their country – and themselves.

22 July 2010

Europe in Black, Brown and Beige or “No, where do you really come from?” Five Afro-European women come together to discuss issues of national and cultural identity, and compare and contrast how those issues are viewed differently from country to country.

29 July 2010

What We (All) Know or “The free bird thinks of another breeze.” A mixed group of African-American expats and Afro-European women come together to combine their insights about living, loving and working in Europe.

I will act as moderator/facilitator for this series, motivated by my own personal expat experience after living in Germany for more than 30 years.

What’s Left?

Visit the site and let me know what you think!
  • What do you think of the launch portfolio?
  • Are you interested in being a part of TableTalk?
  • What do you think would be a relevant topic for the upcoming CoachingHives™?
Uncaged Birds™…

…was created to support you when and as you need it, so you can more confidently wing towards – then embrace – your own brand of personal and professional freedom!

ACP exporters and EU importers discuss EU Generalised System of Preferences (GSP)

The Public Consultation on the EU's Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), that started in April 2010, is still open until Next Monday 31st of May 2010 and contributions can be submitted until the end of Monday.


(Joyce van Genderen-Naar)


The EU's Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) is a trade arrangement through which the EU provides preferential access to the EU market to 176 developing countries and territories, in the form of reduced tariffs for their goods when entering the EU market. The GSP scheme is an important element in the EU's active support for the sustainable development of developing countries.

The present GSP Regulation expires on 31 December 2011. The purpose of the present consultation exercise is to seek comments from interested parties as inputs to the Commission's work to prepare a future proposal to the Council and Parliament on a successor Regulation. The consultation is aimed at all parties with an interest in the EU GSP scheme, including stakeholders within the EU and in third countries, including beneficiaries.

The report on the Consultation which will be published by the Commission on the Trade website.

View the consultation document

The Commission also organizes specific meetings with interested parties, such as the DG Trade Civil Society Meeting organised on 26 May 2010 in Brussels to discuss the Public consultation on the next GSP regulation with the participants. EU importers need a simple, stable and predictable GSP regulation, was the message of EuroCommerce (the EU retail, wholesail and international trade representation to the EU). In its position paper EuroCommerce says that the companies attracted by the GSP are importers and retailers in the EU, who operate in a highly competitive business environment and will base their planning on the GSP only if the system meets their specific expectations, i.e. simple rules, one year predictability, legal certainty, significant product coverage, a GSP Plus that acts as a true incentive, proper & early stakeholder consultation, preferential rules of origin that work in practice. See: Click Here

ACP exporters who export their products to the EU market under the GSP and EBA stress that the complexity of the Rules of origin, non trade barriers, non tariff barriers and high EU standards make it difficult to enter the EU Market and are the main problem that preferential trade arrangements did not work and will not work. The Rules of Origin should be made more user friendly and adapt to the needs of the ACP countries.

However the Rules of origin are not addressed by the GSP Public Consultation, because there was already a Public Consultation on the Rules of Origin in 2006 and the reform is on its way according to the EC DG Trade.

What ACP (Africa, Carribean, Pacific) countries really need is the processing and distribution of their commodities and raw materials, product diversification, marketing, efficient distribution networks, transport and infrastructure.

Another concern is the artificial line between LDCs and non-LDCs. The suggestion is to add some of the LDCs to the EBA list and to apply it to custom unions in Africa. There should be one scheme (not GSP, GSP+ and EBA) with graduations according to the economic situation of the countries or objective development criteria such as the GDP per capita should be applied. In case of import share as criterion it should be a high percentage for all products.

CARIS (Centre for the Analysis of Regional Integration, University of Sussex) presented its Mid Term Evaluation of the EU's GSP, a report commissioned and financed by the European Commission. In the executive Summary CARIS says in point 15. that 'there is little evidence that the EU's preference regimes have led to a diversification of exports into new products'. Furthermore in point 26. 'While there are some significant trade and output effects for a sub-set of agricultural commodities and regions (notably fruits and vegetables in Ecuador, Costa Rica and Argentina, sugar products in the Caribbean, North Africa and Sub-Sahara African EBA beneficiaries, oils and fats in North Africa), the substantial expansionary impacts of the EU GSP occur in the textile, apparel and leather goods industries within Southern and Eastern Europe, North Africa, Cambodia and Pakistan.'

' Among the EBA regions in the model, Cambodia and Bangladesh benefit most from the EU scheme, while the EBA Sub-Saharan Africa composite region gains very little overall. ' (point 25).

'The bilateral gravity modeling exercise identified some evidence that preferences arising from the EU's free trade arrangements as well as those applied to the Cotonou countries had a positive impact on trade with the EU, rather than EBA, GSP, or GSP+ arrangements, ' according to CARIS in point 23 of the Executive Summary.

Joyce van Genderen-Naar
Brussels
vangenderen@unicall.be

Caricom should reject the EC proposal for a hurriedmeeting of the Joint Council

Commentary: Timid Leadership setting back Caribbean in the world

Published on Friday, May 14, 2010




By Sir Ronald Sanders

Several commentators have lamented in recent years the seeming timidity of Caribbean leaders in not more aggressively defending and advancing the economic interests of Caribbean countries in the global community.

This apparent timidity has been evident in a number of areas including the surrender to bullying by the European Union (EU) when Caribbean governments signed up to an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) which went beyond the requirements of World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, and in the submission to the dictation of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) over the operations of the financial services sector.

These capitulations will hurt the Caribbean now and haunt the region’s economic future for some time to come. Essentially, the space for making and implementing decisions in the Caribbean’s interest is either being severely restricted or lost altogether.

This malaise is weakening the once vibrant Caribbean Community which was led by courageous men and women who were not averse to standing up to the most powerful countries and agencies in defense of matters of importance to their nations and to the region.

While they sought strategic alliances with other nations and groups of countries, such as the pact with African and Pacific countries in the original negotiations with the EU, the motivation was the furtherance of their domestic and regional interest. They recognized that each of them was stronger for the support of the others, and they made unity not only a virtue but a tool, gathering together their best brains from government, the private sector and academia to map out their strategies and to implement them.

Somewhere along the path in recent years, the region has lost its way. The resolve to act collectively in the common interest of all appears to have been pushed to one side, as governments seek individual salvation. Collective action, long a strength of CARICOM, is paid only lip service. Worse yet, the collective use of the Caribbean’s best brains in government, business, and academia has disappeared.

So, the OECS countries join Japan to vote for commercial whaling even though there is a thriving tourism whale watching industry in the region; some countries have joined the Venezuelan-initiated ALBA – often taking positions within that group before discussing it in CARICOM; and the region remains divided on the issue of diplomatic recognition of China or Taiwan.

But, above all, bold leadership has diminished in the region, and it has reduced among Caribbean people the ambition to reach for the stars; to push the envelope so as to stride out of the shadows and into the global sunlight. The region is weaker for it. And, it will become weaker still unless the leadership of the region returns to the fundamentals of collective thinking and collective action, and asserts the Caribbean’s interest boldly; not surrendering to imposed rules in which they have not had a say; refusing to be bullied; and not allowing their governments to be captured by the inducements of others.

In this connection, a statement made to me by the Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves, is warmly welcomed. The Prime Minister told me on the record that “Venezuela had nothing to do with St Vincent’s decision to offer itself for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2011-2012 term”.

Our discussion followed my commentary: “Serve the Caribbean’s interest, not some other country’s”.

Dr Gonsalves placed his government’s decision in the context of the need for small Caribbean states to be bold in order to reverse the idea that they are “little nothings”, and he was adamant that, should St Vincent and the Grenadines – one of the smallest of the Caribbean nations - succeed in this quest, its seat on the Security Council will be a CARICOM seat dedicated to advancing the region’s interest even as it deliberates, and helps to arbitrate on, global hot-spot issues.

Gonsalves looked forward to St Vincent’s UN mission being strengthened by personnel from other CARICOM countries and benefitting from advice and consultations with experienced present and former diplomats from the region. While he expected support from the ALBA countries, he declared: “We are not an ALBA candidate”. In this, the Prime Minister was prudently distancing his country from the controversial relations between Venezuela and Colombia, since it is Colombia against whom St Vincent will be competing for the single seat available to the Latin American and Caribbean group.

If, indeed, the St Vincent government is pursuing the Security Council non-permanent seat in a spirit of boldness and to assert the right of small countries to be represented and heard at the highest levels of global decision-making, then all Caribbean people should support it. When Guyana ran for - and got – the seat in 1975 as the first CARICOM state to do so, it was because the government at the time also felt that the domination by the larger Latin American states should end and the capacity of small states to contribute to thinking and solutions at the global level should be demonstrated.

None of this ignores the costs that the St Vincent government will face, and in this connection, every CARICOM government should pitch-in with money and qualified people. The quest must be a Caribbean one, for Caribbean purposes, financed by the Caribbean to assert the region’s independence.

And, as part of this resurgence of Caribbean boldness, regional governments should reject the recent offer made by the European Union to pay for Caribbean delegates to attend a Meeting of the CARIFORUM-EU EPA Joint Council, at ministerial level, on 17 May 2010 in Madrid.

This meeting was hastily proposed by the Commission of the European Union to be held on the day of the scheduled CARIFORUM-EU Summit in order “to adopt the two sets of Rules of Procedures” for the Joint Council.

But, CARICOM countries have not collectively addressed these rules. Worse yet, the European Commission (EC) has scheduled only one and a half hours to consider these complex legal rules whose application will have far reaching implications for the work of the Joint Council.

It is obvious that the EC expects the Caribbean to do nothing but rubber stamp the rules. And, it is time that regional governments call a halt to being railroaded.

They should reject the proposal for a hurried meeting of the Joint Council for which they are not prepared, and they should use the Summit to boldly tell the EU leadership of their dissatisfaction with the treatment the Caribbean has received for sugar, bananas and rum.

It is time again for collective and informed Caribbean boldness.

Sir Ronald Sanders is a business executive and former Caribbean diplomat who publishes widely on small states in the global community. Reponses to: http://www.sirronaldsanders.com/

ACP and EU Tired of EPAs



By Joyce van Genderen-Naar

The ACP and EU views expressed April 29, 2010 at the International EPA Seminar in Brussels, "EPAs in (times of) crisis” (state of play of the EPA negotiations and implementation and the EPAs in the light of the global crises), made very clear that :

1. 8 years of EPA negotiations (2002-2010) were a disaster.

2. there is a 'fatigue' in ACP countries and in EU Members States: the majority is tired of or not interested in EPAs.

3. main reason of the failure is that the European Commission has never listened and never taken serious the concerns and needs of ACP countries and has forced the ACP countries and their governments to conclude the EPAs.

4. ACP representatives spoke about unethical and unrespectful negotiations practices of EU representatives in their countries, putting pressure on ACP exporters to influence their governments to conclude the EPAs.

5. the impact of the global crises (food, financial, economic, climat change) on ACP countries makes it necessary and urgent to rethink the EPAs, and in case of the Caribbean to review and not to ratify the CF-EC-EPA.

7. Calls were made to suspend or block the EPA negotiations.

8. The way forward and other issues were discussed at the International EPA Seminar in Brussels.

9. The presentations will be made available at www.epawatch.eu

What I noticed is that ACP state actors (representatives of Governments and embassies) and non state actors (NGOs, civil society) are together opposing the inflexibility, deadlines etc. of these negotiations. Before only NGOs were against EPAs, now ACP state and non state are in this together, trying to safeguard their economies and future.

The regional EPA negotiations were dividing ACP: Africa (4 regions), Caribbean and Pacific. But what brings them together is the need to defend their common interests: poverty eradication, sustainable development and globalisation, which are not guaranteed by the EPA and the negotiations with the EC. Due to the inflexible EPA negotiations the EC is alienating the ACP countries. ACP countries need their experts not only for EPA negotiations with the EC but also for economic cooperation with Asia and America. That was also an important message of the ACP representatives at the International EPA Seminar in Brussels.

Civil organisations contributing to the organisation of the seminar were: ActionAid, African Trade Network, APRODEV, Africa Groups Sweden, Caribbean Policy Development Centre, ENDA, Forum Syd, ICCO, Oxfam International, Pacific Network on Globalisation, Partnership for Change, SOS Faim, Third World Network Africa, Transnational Institute, Traidcraft, and 11.11.11.(Marc Maes).

The Key note address was made by Martin Khor, Director South Centre: EPAs in times of crises

Civil society perspectives on the state of the play by:

* Maureen Penjueli (Pacific Network on Globalisation): Pacific perspectives
* Cheikh Tidiane Dieye (ENDA) : African perspectives
* Shantal Munro (Caribbean Policy Development Centre) : Caribbean perspectives

The global Food crisis and EPAs :

* Jean-Jacques Grodent (SOS Faim) : The global food crisis and the right to food.
* NN, Réseau des organisations paysannes et de producteurs de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (ROPPA): Food crisis, EPAs and

African small holders

* Karin Ulmer (APRODEV) : Can better Safeguards help?

Rethinking EPAs:

* Emily Jones (Oxford University): Updating the EPAs in light of the crises
* Sanya Reid-Smith (Third World Network): Services, investments and trade-related issues
* Viviana Munoz (South Centre): Intellectual property rights

Why is there still only one “full” EPA (and should there be more)?

* Debate among representatives of Civil Society, the EU Commission and the ACP

www.epawatch.eu

Netwerkbijeenkomst bij Kraka- e Sewa te Amsterdam Zuid Oost 7 mei 2010


Van idee naar werkelijkheid !


Hoe zorg je ervoor dat het niet blijft bij het verzinnen van ideeën, maar hoe zet je een idee om in resultaat? Dat is de vraag waarop je tijdens deze netwerkbijeenkomst een antwoord kunt verwachten. Je krijgt praktische tips en tools aangereikt waarmee je direct aan de slag kunt. Aan het eind van deze mini workshop kun je een of meerdere belemmeringen benoemen en kun je de focus cirkel toepassen. Om zo ook jouw idee (misschien wel het gat in de markt?!) leven in te blazen.

Ben ik in beeld?

Ben je in staat om in slechts enkele zinnen de ander te vertellen wat je doet? En zo ja, klopt wat je vertelt met dat wat je wilt uitstralen? Komt het over bij de ander? In deze mini workshop verkennen we jouw kernboodschap en zichtbaarheid.

Wij verwelkomen jullie graag om 16.30 uur bij het verzorgingstehuis Krake-e Sewa van Cordaan in Amsterdam Zuid Oost. Om de inwendige mens te verzorgen zal er voor een Maaltijd gezorgd worden. Na afloop bestaat de gelegenheid tot netwerken onder het genot van een borrel. De bijeenkomst is gratis voor leden, voor niet leden zijn de kosten € 20,-

Wij rekenen op een grootse opkomst.


Programma 7 mei 2010:

16.30 uur ontvangst met koffie/thee/frisdrank

17.00 uur opening en welkomstwoord Maritza Russel, voorzitter EZVN

17.15 uur Ben ik in beeld?

Sandra Derksen van Jobpitch, www.jobpitch.nl en Heleen Verweij van Visser en Verweij Communicatie, http://www.visserenverweij.nl/, tevens presentatrice TV Gelderland voor het programma Buitengewoon.

18.15 Van idee naar werkelijkheid

Elsbeth van Lienden van Centipede, www.schrijfjeondernemingsplan.nl,

19.00 uur Buffet, Borrel en netwerken

20.30 uur Afsluiting

In verband met de catering en de beveiliging verzoeken wij u vóór woensdag 5 mei a.s te mailen of je komt onder vermelding van uw naam en contactgegevens naar info@ezvn.nl.

Locatie: Kraka-e-Sewa, Anton de Komplein 60,1102 DR Amsterdam Zuidoost ,Tel 020- 3123960. Bereikbaarheid; Kraka-e-Sewa is met het openbaar vervoer gemakkelijk te bereiken vanaf station Amsterdam-Bijlmer. Bij de halte stadsdeelkantoor/Anton de Komplein of de Dolingadreef/Bijlmermeerdreef stoppen de volgende bussen: 41, 44, 45, 46, 47. Met de auto is de locatie ook prima bereikbaar (A9, afslag S112 Bijlmermeer).

Commentary: After a year of the EPA with Europe: What benefits for the Caribbean?

By Sir Ronald Sanders


The European Commission (EC) will be holding a symposium on April 22 and 23 on the year-old Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the European Union (EU) collectively and 15 Caribbean countries individually.
There is, as yet, no indication that Caribbean governments or the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat will be holding a similar exercise.

It has to be assumed that each of the governments that signed the EPA has long established units both to implement its terms and to monitor its effects on individual economies.

Therefore, relevant authorities in each of the Caribbean states as well as the Secretariat of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) should be able to provide a list of the benefits that have been secured from the EU under the EPA. Our publics had been told that we would benefit not only from the exports of new goods and commodities to the EU but also from the provision of a wide range of services. Additionally, Caribbean companies would have the right of establishment in the EU.

Against this background, it should be fairly easy for the competent authority in each country to provide information related to just a few matters such as: what preparations and actions have been taken by exporters of goods and especially services to access the EU market; what are the investment plans by companies to establish in the EU market; and how easy or difficult are their plans looking for access to Europe.

There is a very important clause in the EPA which allows for a review of it within 5 years of its coming into force. That clause was hard fought for, and came about only because Guyana’s President Bharat Jagdeo had the courage to insist upon it even after other Caribbean governments had agreed to sign the EPA without such a review mechanism.

In defence of several Caribbean heads of government, it should be noted that they were reluctant to sign and many did so only after their crucial exports of bananas and sugar and some manufactured goods (from Trinidad and Tobago for instance) were threatened by the EC with a higher tariff in the EU market.

But, if the EPA is to be properly reviewed – and it should be subject to such a review on an annual basis – it is essential to monitor its implementation and to gather information that will inform an examination

However, informed sources in the region say that some governments have done very little about implementation and others have done nothing at all.

What is known for certain is that even though Caribbean countries and the EU are supposed to be ‘partners’ under the EPA, the EC has denounced the Sugar Protocol causing Caribbean countries to lose their preferential price for sugar; the EC has agreed a new trade regime for bananas with exports from non African, Caribbean and Pacific countries that will decimate what is left of the banana industry in the Caribbean; and come June 20, the EC will renege on an undertaking to the Caribbean rum industry to help finance restructuring and marketing while at the same time reducing tariffs on competing rum from several Latin American countries.

Not surprisingly several Caribbean businesses have lamented the benefits to them of the EPA so far. For example, Ramesh Dookooh, President of the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association, observes that “Guyana earns much of its revenue on traditional exports, including rice and sugar, both of which are not covered by the EPA’s duty- and quota-free. Thus, the private sector in our country has its reservations about the economic opportunities available under the EPA”. Nonetheless, he is hopeful. He says: “Wider consultation with stakeholders and a stronger focus on the developmental dimension of the agreements could make the EPAs even more effective.”

Unfortunately, there has not been much evidence of consultation. The experience of sugar, rum and bananas indicate that the EC now takes the Caribbean for granted. After all, they do already have a signed full EPA from the region, so why concern themselves overly about the Caribbean.

The EC also controls the purse strings. They have knotted those strings on the purse of the 8th European Development Fund (ED) from which money for restructuring and marketing the rum industry should have come, and its daunting bureaucratic procedures halt many Caribbean countries in their tracks from getting money to implement the EPA under the 10th EDF.

An EU fund, managed by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), is reported to be exhausted with no sign of being replenished.

Undoubtedly, the global financial crisis – as well as the failures of regional financial institutions – has battered Caribbean governments. All CARICOM countries have been preoccupied with saving their economies from shocks including worsening terms of trade especially with the EU – even Guyana though it had 3.3 per cent growth in 2009.

But, Caribbean governments cannot afford to let attention to the EPA with the EU slip. The European Commissioner for Trade, Karel De Gucht, recently told German business people: “The economic crisis has temporarily halted the process of globalisation. But let there be no mistake: this process is very likely to pick up again with renewed vigour. The EU must put in place the conditions to benefit from it to the full”. He is looking to a “successful conclusion” of the global negotiations at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) “to boost Europe's GDP by around 45 billion Euros”.

Commissioner De Gucht will measure a “successful conclusion” very differently from the Caribbean, but the region should have its own collective plan of action and its own definition of success on which it should collaborate with like-minded countries.

The implementation of the EPA and the procuring of benefits from it have not been evident so far, and the EC has not been helpful to the Caribbean in the process.

When Caribbean leaders meet their EU counterparts for a Conference on May 17th in Spain, they should be fully briefed and prepared to tell European leaders of their dissatisfaction and propose means of making the EPA deliver on the ‘partnership’ it promised.

Sir Ronald Sanders is a business executive and former Caribbean diplomat who publishes widely on small states in the global community. Reponses to: www.sirronaldsanders.com

South Africa: Race, Liberation and Authentic Citizenship

By Liepollo Lebohang Pheko

Last week on South Africa's ETV an unexpected national moment occurred, a phrase was coined and a YouTube global discourse erupted. A discussion between myself and Andrie Visagie of the AWB (Afrikaner Resistance Movement) brought into sharp focus a whole host of tensions, contradictions and implications of what it means to be a South African in 2010 from two very divergent perspectives.



The last few days have been an opportunity of reflection and stillness through the tumult.

I am deeply moved by countless messages of support, strength and courage from across the country and beyond. I stand in gratitude to the many people who are lifting up prayers and sending love. As I traversed the digital highway a number of nuances lit my consciousness. The thirty-minute programme comes at a moment when race relations seem to have been exposed in all their fragility. As one of the gracious messages conveyed, 'I am forever changed by what I witnessed'.

It is very difficult to express the moment when Andrie Visagie charged towards me in the studio and then pointed at me saying 'I am not through with you'. It happened fast and quickly entered the popular lexicon of talked about events. This has not afforded me much space to revisit the moment. However watching it again has been alarming, offensive and contemptuous in the extreme. Having seen Mr Visagie's response to the question about whether he cares about farm workers in this country, one wonders at the sort of intimidation they are subjected to in remote parts of this country by people like him. The interviewer rightly stepped between us and responses to this intervention form part of my concern. Having read a sampling of the copious commentaries and blogs that sprung up like mushrooms - most of which express concern and indignation at what I experienced - there are some disturbing tendencies being circulated.

I am amused by some of the comments that note that my well-manicured nails show no evidence of suffering. Other bloggers remarked that if I were their wife, they too would have been angry since I talked until Visagie was backed into a corner of impotent rage. Another said that the manicured nails of this independent, opinionated woman in Visagie's face were nearly enough to provoke a beating. It seems that in some people's minds the brutal verbal onslaught upon an African woman by a thickset white man was not only acceptable but somehow deserved. These men effectively stood back and allowed their sister to be assaulted by white supremacy while they watched in amusement and even sympathy with the very supremacy which has also brutalised them.

This suggests a psychosis of self-hate, coupled with centuries of a mental onslaught which now accepts very bizarre, perverse and brutal behaviour as normative. As Fanon articulates, 'the development of violence among colonised people will be disproportionate to the violence exercised by the threatened colonial regime ... violence is in action all-inclusive and national'. None of us have been spared the repeated citations that natives are untrustworthy, lazy and blood-thirsty. Accusations that black people want handouts, free houses and jobs they do not deserve at the expense of white people are the latest incarnation in what is effectively part of the same narrative. The narrative suggests that Africans do not deserve anything beyond the discretion of white largesse and that those who dare for more self determined lives are 'cheeky kaffirs' who pose a threat to the long-standing status quo.

The blogs by some of the white Visagie sympathisers do not bear repetition but remind us that our national identity is fractured and contested. They help us recall that the phenomenon called liberation is far removed from the miraculous melding of rainbow diversity. Several of these bloggers have been given the entry point to enunciate the sort of rage that Visagie usefully brought into the national domain. We are presented with an interesting collision of race, gender and class prejudices. Of the many calls I have received in recent days, none have been from the Human Rights Commission, the Commission of Gender Equality or the Equality Court. I am not aware of anything that these institutions have said in the media that they may not have had the opportunity to communicate to me.

Perhaps they are also grappling with how to reach out to an African woman who inadvertently found herself in the midst of combustible race and gender hostility on live television. It is admittedly complex to examine the gender, race and class intersections then frame an appropriate or adequate response. Even my multiracial church has not managed to frame a concerted response to what many saw on TV screens. It is profoundly uncomfortable. Where the blood of Jesus should be the lowest common denominator, Kingdom citizenship seems to be obscured by very earthly but pervasive discomforts about race, racism and the ugliest facets of discrimination.

One wonders what the response would have been if an African leader perhaps a Vavi, a Mantashe or Julius had castigated and threatened a white woman panellist in the same manner. I have no doubt that the furore would have gone beyond YouTube amusement and entered the realms of the criminal justice system. One can already imagine the likes of Afri-forum demanding an apology, submitting a complaint to the BCCSA and beating a determined track towards the Equality Court before the weekend was up.

At the time of writing the programme has been removed from broadcast because of complaints from viewers who assert that it has created race tension. I am of the opinion that it has merely reminded us of long standing division thus presents an excellent opportunity to have overdue conversations about things we rarely speak of outside confined spaces.

If this incident had occurred to the sister, mother, daughter, wife or neighbour of any right minded man of any race in this country I would like to believe that the blogs which are absorbed by my glossy finger nails would contain far more thoughtful reflection and appropriate outrage. Questions about what was allegedly said to provoke Visagie's outburst have much in common with the rape survivor being asked what she was wearing at the time of the crime. It is the same rationale that which men use to terrorise their partners within the confines of the home because of spurious infractions. It is also the same rationale that asks women whose toddlers have been raped why they left their diaper-clad children in the care of others.

As a young woman in the 1990s I was concerned that the popular call to arms 'wa thinta bafazi wa thinta mbokodo' would eventually narrow the space for women to express pain. It denies us the right to articulate deep hurt, whether physical, emotional or spiritual, and does not permit African women the inherent right to experience the necessity of vulnerability. It presumes that we are rocks to be raped, assaulted, abused, humiliated by employers, traumatised in the home, objectified in popular culture and held ransom to the grossest abuses in the name of culture - all to be borne with stoic dignity. The alibis under banners like 'so strong, black woman, survivor, resourceful' absolve us all from taking corrective action. It is a perverse logic, which must be questioned and challenged.

We have become so accustomed to centuries of being dehumanised, humiliated and subjected to the most violent assault on our personhood as Africans and women that incidents such as this elicit little more than passing outrage. The assault on our personhood extends to the man who was fed to lions, the person who was shot because a farmer thought they were a baboon, the workers dragged by bakkies, the women who were fed urine-laced food at the University of the Free State and whose humiliation was compounded by the inexplicable invitation that these young men return to complete their studies. Some of these would almost seem like urban legends if they were not such atrocious and absolutely indescribable acts of racially charged aggression and hatred.

Reconciliation sixteen years on has not at all resolved the structural deficits nor begun to address economic sovereignty. I beg to differ with the hypothesis that white minority rule is gone and that it is gone forever. It is pervasive in economic power, corporate capital and visible in the GINI coefficient. South Africa's is the highest in the world along with Brazil, higher than India and China. Allocation of resources and opportunity is still skewed along racial lines. The fault lines are evidenced by the still appalling living conditions of most Africans in this country, and the implicit acceptance of this situation. It is the same deficit of values and appreciation of our personhood that allows this to continue almost unchallenged by the new government. They are in effect gate, keeping and perpetuating the years of social apartheid. Having decreed that we stop talking and forgive without any restorative processes, we are ransomed by silent dismay. By our silence we are mocked and in our darkness we are further tormented.

'We want to be free. We are not interested in being a part of this failure of South Africa,' says Andrie Visagie. And yet statistics show the contrary to be true. They show in fact the African majority has yet to receive the benefits of citizenship sixteen years into the new dispensation, and that in fact Mr Visagie and the majority of white citizens have not experienced any recession of their privileges. They are still the winners.

Several people have asked me if Mr Visagie apologised to me once emotions had subsided, even as a public relations exercise. It occurred to me then that the extent sense of censure was a mooted statement issued by the AWB, which received little media attention. It iterated the constitution's principles of freedom of expression, adding that the secretary general's behaviour on ETV contradicted this. No mention was made about the verbal onslaught and the pending publicly-made threat that Mr Visagie made to me. Nor was he asked to explain his remarks. I am owed at least an apology and that apology is also owed to the millions of people in this country who have been subjected to the brutality, dehumanisation, legislated discrimination and systematic removal of land, resources and collective attack on our self-esteem. It has been an attempt to totally annihilate Africans' sense of being and entitlement to self-determined lives in their own country.

Beyond that sense of shame, a sincere recognition of Africans' humanity would act as a useful platform to acknowledge centuries of white privilege, begin the corrective actions that the government has, in sixteen years, done with little or uneven effect.
No one begrudges the nation some much-needed comic relief during these recessed times. It should however not negate a moment to examine the implications of this action and our attendant inaction. This liberation of ours is hotly contested, differentially experienced and highly compromised; the majority are yet to fully move into an encompassing expression of this citizenship and liberation at all levels and spheres of life.

People like Andre Visagie are merely emblems of deeply rooted resentment, unresolved battles and fraught and fractured national identities. And the matter of white entitlement has never been more clearly elucidated. Centuries of unmerited gain and head starts do not seem to form part of their reflection.

Perhaps this is the beginning a process of reconfiguring an authentic sense of our nation. Claudia Von Werlhof expresses it thus: 'One cannot be with the people who are below, without telling the dominant people very clearly, that they have to come down ... The mighty have to get down from their throne, and the powerless have to raise themselves'. Who then will help the powerless to raise themselves and who will climb down from the throne of social and economic privilege?

Liepollo Lebohang Pheko is policy and advocacy director of The Trade Collective and director responsible for social accounting, institutional transformation, social and development policy, Four Rivers.