Podcast hosts Ken Jaques and Julie Johnson with Abdulwahab Alkebsi (right).
CIPE Regional Director for the Middle East and Africa Abdulwahab Alkebsi’ s passion for democracy work goes back to his childhood in Yemen.
In this podcast, Alkebsi discuses how his childhood in Yemen informs his democracy work today, the success of Arab Americans and Muslim Americans in the United States, in contrast to the situation in Europe, and the need for a reassessment in the Middle East of what Islam is and what it is not.
He also talks about the correlation between the institutions that build the Islamic faith and those that build democracy, what is happening on the ground in the Middle East today that makes him hopeful for the future, and the exciting contribution the private sector is making to building democratic institutions in Africa.
Listen to past episodes of our show here.
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A farmer checks market information on a mobile phone. Photo: United Nations
In the last decade, countless development projects have piloted new tools to reach more beneficiaries or to make current systems more efficient. While the intentions of such initiatives are good, often the results are not stellar.
This is because digital development projects often favor one-off activities, like hackathons. The best solutions are focused on identifying an immediate solution for a particular sector and location. As such, products are developed in silos and many never go beyond the pilot phases.
A good example of this disaster is what happened in Uganda with mHealth initiatives. In 2008 and 2009, Uganda had 23 similar mHealth projects led by different development organizations that failed to scale up and ended shortly after the initial funding. The problem got so bad that Uganda’s Ministry of Health declared a moratorium on pilot mHealth initiatives.
Map of Mhealth Pilots in Uganda. Source: Sean Blaschke, Technology for Development Specialist at UNICEF Uganda
To prevent such failures, leading global development practitioners, including the Gates Foundation and UNDP, have endorsed the Principles for Digital Development. What exactly are the Principles? They’re a community-developed set of guidelines to help the development community integrate best practices into technology or digital-based projects.
Successful implementation of the post-2015 development agenda requires some important behavior changes and a commitment to “do development differently” by the various stakeholders pledging to reach this ambitious set of goals. What does that involve exactly?
In this month’s Economic Reform Feature Service article, James Michel, a renowned expert in international development cooperation and a senior adviser to CSIS, discusses the ambitious post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The article is a continuation of Michel’s earlier work on shaping the new development agenda and it is based on a research paper recently published by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
By Stephanie Bandyk and Laura Van Voorhees
As the U.N. General Assembly delegates return to their countries after setting the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) agenda, members now face the task of making this ambitious set of goals a reality. Despite the rigor put into crafting the goals and indicators, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Therefore for effective implementation that takes into account each country’s respective set of challenges, public and private enterprise, governments, and people and civil society can use KPMG’s 2015 Change Readiness Index (CRI) to advise their implementation strategies.
“Change readiness” is defined by the index as the capability of a country – its government, private and public enterprises, people and wider civil society – to anticipate, prepare for, manage and respond to a wide range of change drivers, proactively cultivating the resulting opportunities, and mitigating potential negative impacts.
The CRI tagline, “no government, business, or society is immune to change,” reflects that siloed improvements — for example, rise in GDP without strong governance and rule of law mechanisms — may merely be temporary developments. In fact, some overall findings of the 2015 CRI show that wealth generation alone is not enough for change readiness. In order for the post-2015 development agenda to indeed be sustainable, it is crucial to build resilience from the community to global levels to both overcome financial and social shocks as well as capitalize on political and economic opportunities such as technology, competition, and transitions in government.
(Photo: Darryl Dyck, The Canadian Press)
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, Okanagan Aboriginal Leader and President of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, was photographed with a broad smile on his face the day of the unanimous Canadian Supreme Court ruling granting the Tsilhqot’in First Nation in Canada title to 1,700-square-kilometer area of their traditional land. To the Grand Chief, the decision enables his community to “participate in the economic future of this province as equal partners.” Chief Roger William of the Xeni Gwet’in, one of the six groups of the Tsilhqot’in, echoed Steward’s enthusiasm, saying “This case is about us regaining our independence to be able to govern our own nation and rely on the natural resources of our land.”
The Canadian Supreme Court gives the Tsilhqot’in full rights to negotiate land use with corporations interested in mining, logging or developing their traditional territory. Although the impetus for the Tsilhqot’in bringing the court case was a logging license issued by the government, the community is amenable to negotiating with business and developing portions of the Tsilhqot’in land. “The goal is to have proponents actually come through the door of the Tsilhqot’in Nation,” Chief Russell Myers-Ross of Yunesit’in said.
The Tsilihgot’in are among the few indigenous peoples that have full control over the use and development of their traditional land. Partially because of the Tsilihgot’in Nation’s unique history of never having signed land treaties with European settlers, two decades of court cases have paved the way for this land entitlement victory.
Although indigenous people around the world are granted rights to occupy land, these rights rarely extend to ability to manage the economic development of their land, which is generally managed by the government. This means that when businesses are interested in developing these territories they are legally obligated to negotiate use of the land with the government and not the local population.
After years of consultation, discussion, and debate, the sustainable development goals (SDGs) that will guide development efforts for the foreseeable future are close to becoming a reality — meaning a global commitment to end poverty in all its forms everywhere and eliminating extreme poverty entirely by 2030. But one crucial question remains: how to pay for it all?
The Financing for Development (FfD) conference met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia earlier this month to try to reach an agreement on the right mix of development aid, taxes, loans, trade, and private investment to pay for the ambitious agenda set out in the SDGs, building on the failures and successes of the previous Monterrey Consensus and Doha Declaration.
Following the FfD conference, the Center for International Private Enterprise’s (CIPE) convened a panel of experts to reflect on the new SDG financing framework and outline important steps leading up to the summit in September where 193 heads of state will converge to ratify the goals.
Hosted by CIPE Executive Director John D. Sullivan, the panel featured Trevor Davies of KPMG, Christopher Jurgens of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Louise Kantrow of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Kamran M. Khan of Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), and Sarah Thorn of Walmart.
On April 25, a devastating earthquake of 7.8 magnitude rocked the central region of Nepal, claiming over 8000 lives, injuring thousands, and leaving another 2.8 million people homeless. The government of Nepal has been posed with one of its biggest disaster-related challenges in recent history. Despite the looming challenges that remain, a window of opportunity has emerged for Nepal to mobilize the energy and enthusiasm of its citizens for a better, more prosperous country. The fabric of Nepali society—which exemplifies cooperation, tolerance, and compassion— has been on clear display in the voluntary efforts of various non-governmental organizations (NGOs), civil society groups, and individuals alike. This energy marks a new beginning for Nepali society and politics.