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United States Agency for International Development (USAID);
When LGBT people are denied full participation in society because of their identities, their human rights are violated, and those violations of human rights are likely to have a harmful effect on a country's level of economic development. This study analyzes the impact of the treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people on economic development in 39 emerging economies and other selected countries, and presents findings that demonstrate a link between LGBT rights and economic output. The findings suggest that LGBT equality should be part of economic development programs and policies.
This document presents Vital Voices and its partner associations have mapped the ecosystem of support that is currently available for women-owned businesses from the perspective of businesswomen's associations (BWAs) in 21 countries. Through this process, Vital Voices and BWAs identified strengths, gaps, and opportunities for action to support women business owners that exist at the regional, country, and global levels. Drawing from Vital Voices' partnership with these BWAs in Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa, including an ecosystem mapping exercise and member survey, this report identifies specific areas in which ecosystem actors may support women business owners; provides actionable context and guidance - a roadmap - for organizations that aspire to greater global leadership and impact within the women's economic empowerment space; and encourages ecosystem actors to explore new and innovative partnerships while also considering additional stakeholders to bring to the table and include in strategic investment decisions.
Earth Policy Institute;
Long after the political uprisings in the Middle East have subsided, many underlying challenges that are not now in the news will remain. Prominent among these are rapid population growth, spreading water shortages, and ever growing food insecurity.
In some countries, grain production is now falling as aquifers are depleted. After the Arab oil-export embargo of the 1970s, the Saudis realized that since they were heavily dependent on imported grain, they were vulnerable to a grain counter-embargo. Using oil-drilling technology, they tapped into an aquifer far below the desert to produce irrigated wheat. In a matter of years, Saudi Arabia was self-sufficient in wheat, its principal food staple.
But after more than 20 years of wheat self-sufficiency, the Saudis announced in January 2008 that this aquifer was largely depleted and they would be phasing out wheat production. Between 2007 and 2010, the wheat harvest of nearly 3 million tons dropped by more than two thirds. At this rate the Saudis likely will harvest their last wheat crop in 2012 and then be totally dependent on imported grain to feed their Canada-sized population of nearly 30 million people.
A spreading Islamic insurgency engulfs the amorphous and ungoverned border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. After initial victories by the United States and the Northern Alliance in autumn 2001, hundreds of Taliban and al Qaeda fighters fled Afghanistan to seek refuge across the border in Pakistan's rugged northwest. Since 2007, the number of ambushes, militant offensives, and targeted assassinations has risen sharply across Afghanistan, while suicide bombers and pro-Taliban insurgents sweep through settled areas of Pakistan at an alarming pace. For better and for worse, Pakistan will remain the fulcrum of U.S. policy in the region -- its leaders continue to provide vital counterterrorism cooperation and have received close to $20 billion in assistance from the United States, yet elements associated with its national intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence, covertly assist militant proxy groups destabilizing the region.
Instead of "surging" into this volatile region, the United States must focus on limiting cross-border movement along the Afghanistan-Pakistan frontier and supporting local Pakistani security forces with a small number of U.S. Special Forces personnel. To improve fighting capabilities and enhance cooperation, Washington and Islamabad must increase the number of Pakistani officers trained through the U.S. Department of Defense International Military Education and Training program. In addition, U.S. aid to Pakistan must be monitored more closely to ensure Pakistan's military does not divert U.S. assistance to the purchase of weapons systems that can be used against its chief rival, India. Most important, U.S. policymakers must stop embracing a single Pakistani leader or backing a single political party, as they unwisely did with Pervez Musharraf and the late Benazir Bhutto.
America's actions are not passively accepted by the majority of Pakistan's population, and officials in Islamabad cannot afford to be perceived as putting America's interests above those of their own people. Because the long-term success of this nuclear-armed Muslim-majority country depends on the public's repudiation of extremism, and our continued presence in Afghanistan is adding more fuel to violent religious radicalism, our mission in the region, as well as our tactics, our objectives, and our interests, must all be reexamined.
Women's Refugee Commission (formerly Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children);
Around the world, an estimated 3.5 million displaced people live with disabilities in refugee camps and urban slum settlements. The Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children, with the support of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, undertook a six-month research project to assess the situation of those with disabilities among refugee and conflict-affected populations. Using our field research in five countries, Ecuador, Jordan, Nepal, Thailand and Yemen, the Women's Commission sought to map existing services for displaced persons with disabilities, identify gaps and good practices and make concrete recommendations on how to improve services, protection and participation for displaced persons with disabilities.
- Refugees with disabilities are among the most hidden, neglected and socially excluded of all displaced people in the world.
- They are excluded from or unable to access mainstream assistance programs as a result of attitudinal, physical and social barriers and are forgotten in the establishment of specialized and targeted services.
- Refugees with disabilities are more isolated following their displacement than they were in their home communities and their potential to contribute and participate is seldom recognized.
Foreign policy experts and policy analysts are misreading the lessons of Iraq. The emerging conventional wisdom holds that success could have been achieved in Iraq with more troops, more cooperation among U.S. government agencies, and better counterinsurgency doctrine. To analysts who share these views, Iraq is not an example of what not to do but of how not to do it. Their policy proposals aim to reform the national security bureaucracy so that we will get it right the next time. The near-consensus view is wrong and dangerous. What Iraq demonstrates is a need for a new national security strategy, not better tactics and tools to serve the current one. By insisting that Iraq was ours to remake were it not for the Bush administration's mismanagement, we ignore the limits on our power that the war exposes and in the process risk repeating our mistake. The popular contention that the Bush administration's failures and errors in judgment can be attributed to poor planning is also false. There was ample planning for the war, but it conflicted with the Bush administration's expectations. To the extent that planning failed, therefore, the lesson to draw is not that the United States national security establishment needs better planning, but that it needs better leaders. That problem is solved by elections, not bureaucratic tinkering. The military gives us the power to conquer foreign countries, but not the power to run them. Because there are few good reasons to take on missions meant to resuscitate failed governments, terrorism notwithstanding, the most important lesson from the war in Iraq should be a newfound appreciation for the limits of our power.
International Center for Religion and Diplomacy;
Report on Muslim/Christian faith-based reconciliation dialogue in Cyprus - this report includes a description of faith-based reconciliation methodology in relation to The Middle East Justice & Reconciliation Initiative.
Social IMPACT Research Center;
Human trafficking in the form of forced prostitution and labor has long existed in Iraq, as has forced marriage and domestic servitude within the family, tribe and community. Since the 2003 invasion and subsequent civil war, Iraq has increasingly been a source of trafficking victims who are transported to neighboring countries, as well as a destination for foreign workers who are at risk of trafficking and come to Iraq from the Philippines, Nepal, Bangladesh and other countries where poverty is widespread. Furthermore, internal conflict and breakdown in law and order has resulted in a rise in kidnapping and trafficking from one location to another within Iraq.
The Iraqi Constitution prohibits forced labor, kidnapping, slavery, slave trade, trafficking in women or children, and the sex trade, and the Government of Iraq ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women ("CEDAW"). However Iraqi government officials have overwhelmingly failed to act to prevent abuses and to punish offenders. Iraq has not passed anti-trafficking legislation, allowing traffickers to continue to operate with impunity. Research and preliminary investigations leading to the production of this report indicate that Iraqi women and girls are being subjected to the following types of trafficking: 1) exploitation of prostitution or other forms of sexual exploitation; 2) forced labor or services; 3) slavery or practices similar to slavery; and 4) servitude. There are also credible reports of trafficking-related practices such as forced participation in criminal activity. Because of the nature of trafficking, quantitative measurement is inexact even in developed nations with functioning judicial and law enforcement sectors. In Iraq, measuring the scope of trafficking is far more difficult. However, there is ample evidence of established patterns and practices of trafficking, leading to a strong likelihood that hundreds of women have been trafficked over the last five years in the Kurdistan region, and thousands elsewhere in Iraq and in neighboring regions.
In accordance with the Iraqi Constitution as well as international treaty obligations, Iraq must develop an effective national and regional counter-trafficking strategy. A comprehensive approach to combating trafficking must include prevention strategies, protection of trafficking victims, and prosecution of traffickers. This is a difficult time for Iraqis as they struggle with ongoing violence and war, as well as ongoing political restructuring in which many issues have yet to be determined. However it is also an opportune time to address trafficking and other serious human rights violations, as Iraq's national and regional governments work to strengthen the rule of law. Addressing problems of trafficking and other forms of gender-motivated violence is integral to this process of reform.
This peer-reviewed country report includes:
Integrity Indicators Scorecard: Scores, scoring criteria, commentary, references, and peer review perspectives for all 290 Integrity Indicators.
Reporter's Notebook: An on-the-ground look at corruption and integrity from a leading local journalist.
Corruption Timeline: Ten years of political context to today's corruption and integrity issues.
Country Facts: Statistical context for each country.
Search For Common Ground;
The case studies in this book were prepared by members of Search for Common Ground's Middle East Chemical Risks Consortium (CRC)-- a group of Egyptian, Israeli, Jordanian, and Palestinian research centers that agreed to reach across political lines and cooperate to address the problem of chemical risks.
Each research center partcipating in the CRC chose a recent case of a local accident involving toxic chemicals. The cases highlight legal, technical, operational, and human factors contributing to the accident and draw lessons applicable in any country. Unlike the notorious 1984 Bhopal chemical factory accident in India, these incidents received relatively little media coverage and almost no publicly available analysis.
Examines the history of the debate surrounding how population growth affects national economies. Looks at specific regions of the world and how their differing policy environments affect the relationship between population change and economic development.