October 7, 2022

Tag: UNbodies

DimitrisAvramopoulos, Immigration, Miscellaneous

Outsourcing asylum

As the EU considers outsourcing asylum screening to North Africa, our Migration Editor looks at what lessons can be learned from Australia’s use of offshore processing for asylum seekers.

Australia’s offshore processing centre for asylum seekers on Manus Island

LONDON, 17 March 2015 (IRIN) – As Europe braces for a summer of record maritime migrant arrivals, the EU has revived plans to establish processing centres beyond the borders of the Union. 

All indications are that the onset of calmer waters on the Mediterranean will lead even more people to attempt the crossing this year than did in 2014, when over 170,000 reached Italy’s shores alone. As conflicts in Syria, Libya and elsewhere rage on, over 8,000 migrants and asylum seekers arrived by sea in the first two months of 2015 compared to 5,500 during the same period last year, according to the International Organisation for Migration.
 
Amid a growing sense of alarm, particularly among EU “frontline” states such as Italy and Greece, which receive the vast majority of sea arrivals, some European officials have renewed their enthusiasm for an old proposal to process migrants and asylum seekers outside the EU.

Germany’s Interior Minister was among the first to dust off the idea of setting up asylum centres in North Africa and Italy took up the proposal at a meeting of EU interior ministers in Brussels last week. The EU’s home affairs commissioner, Dimitris Avramopoulos told reporters afterwards that he would be visiting Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco “in order to create a zone in the area” to counter smuggling and irregular migration. 

“It’s about a humanitarian mission which would allow Europe to do screening and to dismantle a huge human trafficking market,” Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, explained. 

The proposal is being sold as a way to reduce the flow of migrants and asylum seekers embarking on perilous journeys to Europe by offering them legal ways to apply for visas or asylum in transit and origin countries. 

However, there are lessons to be learned here from Australia, where offshore processing began, ostensibly at least, as a way to ensure fair distribution of resettlement places; it has now overtly become a policy aimed at deterring migrants and refugees from ever reaching Australian soil. 

Australia started down the road of offshore processing more than 10 years ago when it began transferring asylum seekers intercepted at sea to detention centres on Nauru and Manus Islands. Measures implemented since then have become increasingly draconian and the evidence of human rights abuses at the offshore processing centres has piled up.

Canberra ignored warnings from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) that it was flouting its obligation as a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention to ensure people can access asylum, and recently wrote those obligations out of its domestic migration laws.  

In late 2013, Australia launched a military-led operation that has intercepted and turned back almost every boat carrying asylum seekers from Indonesia. Those detained on Nauru and Manu who are eventually recognized as refugees, can now only be resettled in Papua New Guinea, Nauru or Cambodia, according to bilateral agreements Australia has made with those countries.

“If you follow the logic of Australia’s policy, then you are going down a slippery slope”

“It’s become an out-of-sight, out-of-mind policy,” said Melissa Phillips, a migration researcher with the University of Melbourne. “If you follow the logic of Australia’s policy, then you are going down a slippery slope.”

There is no indication that Europe intends to follow Australia’s lead and intercept boats and send migrants to third countries for detention or processing of asylum applications. But public pressure on European governments to deter new arrivals is increasing – be it by detaining migrants or tightening borders.

However, different countries have different priorities and agendas when it comes to migration, and a system of processing asylum seekers in non-EU countries would depend on an agreement among member states about how recognized refugees would be distributed across the EU. Considering that a Common European Asylum Policy is still something of a pipedream and even the resettlement of Syrian refugees has been extremely uneven, it seems unlikely that member states will reach a consensus on this particular point.

Migrants detained in Libya, the departure point for most heading to Europe by sea

There are a number of other practical hurdles to setting up offshore reception centres, not least the question of their location. As the majority of boat departures in the past year have been from Libya, locating processing centres there would make sense except that Libya is in the midst of a violent conflict that is unlikely to be resolved anytime soon. Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco are potential candidates, judging by the EU home affairs commissioner’s remarks, but all three have worrying human rights records. How will the EU ensure that whichever country or countries end up hosting the reception centres, it runs them in compliance with international and EU refugee and human rights laws? 

The legitimacy and legality of the policy would depend to a large extent on endorsement and technical assistance from UNHCR. William Spindler, a spokesperson for UNHCR, told IRIN that although the refugee agency has not ruled out third-country processing of asylum claims through multilateral arrangements “in exceptional circumstances” and “subject to appropriate safeguards”, “UNHCR’s position is that asylum seekers should normally be processed in the territory of the State in which they arrive.”

He added that UNHCR is advocating for offering other legal avenues for those seeking international protection in the EU such as humanitarian visa schemes, extended family reunification and increased resettlement places more evenly distributed across member states. 

Migration researcher Nando Sigona who is based at the University of Birmingham, noted in a recent blog that “proposals like this are easier to write on paper than implement in practice and would require a significant devolvement of financial and human resources”. 

“It is over ten years that similar proposals championing externalisation of asylum processing are on the table but they never fully reach implementation stage,” he added. 

The current sense of urgency driving EU migration policy may be enough to get the current proposal off the drawing board. If so, will Europe avoid Australia’s “slippery slope”?

ks/am

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Miscellaneous

New report touts agrocorridors as economic driver

Photo: ©FAO/J. M. Micaud

Farmers dry rice on the road to Hon Don in Vietnam.

11 March, 2015, Rome – Economic “agrocorridors” can be a strategic tool to draw private capital and large-scale investment to projects that benefit smallholder farmers and boost food security in lower-income countries, according to a new FAO report that provides guidance on how development planners can avoid pitfalls.

These corridors, according to the report, are development programmes that foster promising economic sectors – notably agriculture in developing countries – in a territory connected by lines of transportation like highwaysrailroads, port or canals.

The strength of this approach is its integration of investments, policy frameworks and local institutions.

“The key idea is not just to make transportation or irrigation infrastructure improvements but to provide a platform that enables and empowers authorities at local, national and regional levels to make more informed decisions about what they want to achieve,” says FAO agribusiness economist Eva Gálvez Nogales, author of “Making economic corridors work for the agricultural sector.”

The 200-page tome reviews in detail six case studies, including three well-advanced corridor programmes in Central Asia, the Greater Mekong Subregion in Southeast Asia and Peru; and three new projects still largely in the early implementation phase, in Indonesia, Mozambique and Tanzania.

So-called economic corridors are hardly new – an archetype is the Silk Road – but their potential as engines of broad-based sustainable development has been largely untapped.

Traditionally, they have been used to bolster physical connectivity to improve the functioning of markets, or with a narrow focus, such as linking mines to ports. But corridors can be harnessed to smarter planning initiatives, aimed at enhancing agricultural opportunities, achieving explicit targets such as creating rural jobs, environmental goals and catalyzing improved governance along value chains, all of which the report notes are needed “to spur inclusive and sustainable growth in the developing world.

They also offer an important opportunity to engage the private sector’s capital and trading skills to foster adequate investment in agriculture and respond to the challenge of hunger,” says Gálvez Nogales.

Artichokes and bridges

Effective corridors need to be geared to the competitive advantages of a territory rather than conceived as a miracle method to make a desert bloom.

They “should be developed in areas where there is already economic density and untapped growth potential that can be maximized,” she says.

One of the corridor projects that catalyzed new thinking by development experts was the Poverty Reduction and Alleviation Project in Peru, which began in 1998 and focused on the role of intermediate cities rather than rural areas in alleviating poverty. It also adopted a novel pro-business approach relying on “star connector firms” able to quickly expand commercial networks along 13 corridors in the Peruvian jungle and highlands.

This led to the flowering of overlooked market opportunities. For example, Peru is now the world’s third-largest exporter of artichokes, which are produced through outgrower contracts and processed in several corridors.

 Gálvez Nogales emphasizes that corridor schemes can have even stronger impacts when they cross national borders, especially if developed under the auspices of regional trade agreements.  That deepens potential market opportunities, making it possible to forge multi-stakeholder alliances and keep private-sector players engaged in the development process.

One such corridor is known as the Greater Mekong Subregion corridor programme, spanning Cambodia, Viet Nam, Thailand, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar and some Chinese provinces. One can already see improved bridges and customs procedures at border towns and even contract farming that spans national frontiers.

The three C’s: connectivity, competitiveness and the sense of community

Gálvez Nogales defines the “three Cs” of a successful corridor as: connectivity, competitiveness and the sense of community.
Multiple stakeholders – businesses and farmers, but also different levels of regional government – must from the outset be brought together in the identification of “soft” targets and harmonized environmental, social and food security safeguards  in order to avoid disputes that emerge in the wake of “hard” infrastructure investments.

Decisive clarification of land tenure issues – ideally with the help of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land is essential, not least as biofuel projects, which can alter land use patterns, often feature in corridor plans.

While specific policies vary broadly between corridors, the adoption of inclusive business models is a shared imperative. It is also useful that policies be “designed for scaling up to a transformative level,” which can best be done by mobilizing the right “change agent,” which could depending on the context be a company or a farmer association or government extension agents, or also in the food processing and trade areas.

Governance is key

Properly-designed corridors are also a tool favoring natural resource governance.

“Corridors can in fact allow for better management of environment risks and practices such as unsuitable monocropping,” said Eugenia Serova, director of FAO’s Rural Infrastructure and Agro-Industries Division and also coordinator for FAO’s SO4, the strategic objective linked to enabling inclusive and efficient agricultural and food systems.
 “The key is for inclusive coordination of stakeholder interests both in the planning and execution phase,” Serova said.

While high-profile transportation infrastructure consumes the bulk of monetary resources, relatively intangible public goods and services such as standard contracts, legal advice, extension services, land banks and innovative financing mechanisms are just as important. Coordinated public-private partnerships which link local and central governments can improve the efficiency of local bureaucracies, turning the corridor into the catalyst of better governance of the needed investments.

Glossary

An agro-based cluster is the geographic concentration of interconnected producers, agribusinesses and institutions that are engaged in the same agricultural or agro-industrial subsector, and interconnect and build value networks when addressing common challenges and pursuing common opportunities.
An agro-industrial park is a centrally-managed platform that offers high-quality infrastructure, logistics and specialized facilities and services to a community of tenants, formed by agro-industries, related agribusiness firms, service providers and knowledge institutions.
An agro-based special economic zone is a demarcated geographic area where firms engaged in agribusiness and agro-industrial activities benefit from a more favourable regulatory, business and fiscal environment than those in the rest of the country.
An agribusiness incubator is an entrepreneurial development model that provides a common environment (either physical or virtual) to nascent agro-based companies, where they have access to shared infrastructure, and networking, coaching, business and financial services.
An agricultural value chain is defined as the full range of farms and firms and their successive coordinated value-adding activities that produce particular raw agricultural materials and transform them into particular agricultural and food products that are sold to consumers and disposed of after use.

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ECHA, Immigration, Miscellaneous

IOM calls for the inclusion of migrants in TB prevention and treatment strategies

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Geneva — In today’s increasingly mobile and interconnected world, migration has become an integral part of the lives of about 215 million international and 740 million internal migrants. It also profoundly affects the lives of their families back home, as well as people in communities of migrant origin, transit and destination world-wide.

“On World TB Day, we note that despite well-established diagnosis and treatment regimens, TB remains a public health burden in many parts of the world, disproportionately affecting poor and marginalized populations, such as migrants. TB prevention and control efforts often do not address the specific vulnerabilities of migrants and we therefore frequently see delayed diagnosis and/or discontinued treatment of TB,” says IOM Director General William Lacy Swing. “The absence of targeted TB prevention, control and surveillance strategies for migrants is a barrier to reaching global TB elimination targets, including the aspirational goals of Zero TB Deaths, Zero TB Disease and Zero Suffering ,” he adds.

As many studies have shown, migrants and their families have higher levels of TB-related morbidity and mortality, as they generally lack access to routine TB diagnostics and continuity of treatment.

The way in which many migrants travel, live and work can carry risks for their physical and mental well-being.  Many work in dangerous, difficult and demeaning (3D) jobs, and live in isolation and sub-standard housing. Others may be detained in over-crowded detention facilities, or live in camps as refugees or internally displaced persons. Migrants are thus among the vulnerable groups that face a particularly high level of TB risk factors. Consequently, migration can be considered as a social determinant of health.

As part of IOM’s on-going global health assessment programme for refugees and immigrants, IOM conducts screening for TB and provides a range of comprehensive services, including physical exams, radiological interventions, sputum smears and cultures and directly-observed-treatment (DOT), either directly or through a referral system in partnership with national TB programmes.

It has adopted several state-of-the-art TB diagnostic technologies, including digital radiology and drug susceptibility testing (DST.) In 2011 alone, IOM conducted approximately 270,000 health assessment exams in over sixty countries, detecting about 755 TB cases.

In partnership with WHO’s TB REACH programme, IOM is increasing TB case detection and treatment among migrants in Lao PDR, Thailand, Nepal, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Ghana and Myanmar.

In Cambodia, for example, IOM works to detect and treat TB among vulnerable migrants at the Cambodia-Thai border. Many Cambodians cross the border into Thailand to support their families as low-skilled, undocumented migrant workers. But in Thailand their access to health care is limited, and their work and living conditions put them at risk of contracting TB and other health problems. IOM uses community health workers to reach out to these migrants to improve their access to TB diagnosis and treatment.

IOM is also an active member and co-chair of the Scientific Working Group on TB and Migration at the International Union against TB and Lung Disease (IUATLD), which brings together the WHO and other UN partners, governmental and non-governmental partners, and migrant associations to address the challenges of working on TB and migration.

This week, IOM is participating in a high-level event in Swaziland with the South African and Swazi Ministers of Health and UNAIDS’ Executive Director Michel Sidibé. (http://www.stoptb.org/assets/documents/news/Health%20leaders%20launch%201000%20day%20push%20to%20meet%20African%20tuberculosis%20and%20HIV%20targets.pdf)

At the event, “Towards Ending TB and the TB/HIV Co-epidemic in SADC Countries,” IOM will emphasize the cross-border dimensions of TB in light of regional mobility patterns and confirm its on-going commitment to ending TB, especially in the mining sector where many migrants work.

IOM also carries out TB programmes as part of its comprehensive emergency response. In Jordan, for example, IOM is working with the local health authorities on active TB detection, referral and TB awareness-raising services among Syrians refugees and host communities, in close coordination with UNHCR and WHO. From March 2012 to date, 41 TB cases have been detected and referred for treatment from a screened pool of 196,931 refugees, while over 63,000 Syrians have benefitted from TB awareness-raising sessions. 

“IOM’s experience has shown that not addressing the health of migrants has severe consequences for the well-being of millions of migrants and communities of origin, transit and destination. In the case of TB, migrants urgently need to be included in national and global TB prevention and control strategies. For the achievement of global health goals, it is therefore indispensable that migrants’ health is addressed in the post-2015 UN development framework, and the World Health Assembly Resolution 61.17 on the Health of Migrants is implemented in all countries,” says Ambassador Swing.

See for instance: Alimuddin Zumla, M.D., Ph.D., Mario Raviglione, M.D., Richard Hafner, M.D., and C. Fordham von Reyn, M.D. (2013): Current concepts – Tuberculosis; in: The New England Journal of Medecine, 2013;368:745-55. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMra1200894.

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Miscellaneous

Trafficked persons in Malaysia to share their ordeals

23 Feb 2015

Listen /

Maria Grazia Giammarinaro. UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

Victims of human trafficking in Malaysia will be given the opportunity to make their voices heard, according to a UN Special Rapporteur.

Maria Grazia Giammarinaro will start a six-day mission on Monday in Malaysia to assess the trafficking of persons in the country, especially women and children.

She said the government needs to hear first-hand from their experiences.

Stephanie Coutrix reports.

The United Nations says women and girls from Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam are increasingly being found in forced prostitution or domestic servitude in Malaysia.

This week, an independent human rights expert and former Italian judge will travel the country to promote the prevention of trafficking.

She will also encourage measures to prevent forced labour and protect human rights.

Ms Giammarinaro is expected to meet with representatives of various Government agencies, as well as members of civil society working to fight trafficking in Kuala Lumpur, Melaka, Rembau and Kota Kinabalu in Sabah.

She will present a final report on her visit to the UN Human Rights Council next June.

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), 21 million women, men and children are forced to work under inhuman conditions on farms, in sweatshops, in the sex industry or in private homes.

Stephanie Coutrix, United Nations.

Duration: 1’04″

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Miscellaneous

Thailand Migration Report Highlights Social, Economic Challenges of Migration

Thailand – A new report from Thailand’s UN Thematic Working Group on Migration, comprised of UN agencies and chaired by IOM, notes significant achievements in migration management, but warns that key aspects of Thai migration policy still require attention.

Up to four million migrants live in Thailand, the vast majority from the neighbouring countries of Myanmar, Cambodia and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. Some 3.25 million have come to Thailand to work, 127,000 are displaced persons, and the remainder consist largely of students and retirees from other countries.

The Thailand Migration Report 2014 applauds advances such as the provision of free primary education, the enrolment of migrant workers in Thailand’s Social Security Fund and better access to healthcare.

While the report notes that progress has been made, it also highlights that “bilateral agreements and regularization regimes enacted have yet to wholly fulfil their objectives of instituting a safe and lawful labour migration process.”

The report highlights priority areas identified by UN agencies, including the relationships between migration and social protection, reproductive health, HIV, mobility within ASEAN, children and education, the status of domestic workers and complaint mechanisms for migrant workers. The report identifies changing migration patterns and linkages to migration policy.

“Developing a comprehensive policy concerning international migration would help the Royal Thai Government to continue the progress achieved over the past few years, while addressing the drawbacks,” said Jeffrey Labovitz, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Thailand.

The report can be downloaded in English from: http://th.iom.int/images/report/TMR_2014.pdf

For more information please contact

Jeffrey Labovitz
IOM Thailand
Tel: +668 9890 8702
Email: jlabovitz@iom.int

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Miscellaneous

Press Releases: U.S. State Department and USAID Supported Initiatives to Counter Violent Extremism


Countering the violent extremism that is driving today’s terrorist threats and stemming its spread is a generational challenge. Lasting victories over terrorism and the violent extremist ideologies that underpin it are not found on the battlefield, but rather in mindsets, and within communities, schools, and families. The U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) are committed to countering today’s threats, and building capacity and resilience to prevent tomorrow’s challenges. Together with international partners, including governments, the United Nations, regional organizations, civil society, and the private sector, the United States is helping prevent the spread of violent extremist ideologies and networks worldwide.

The U.S. Department of State and USAID are supporting a wide range of programs and other initiatives to advance the themes of the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism (CVE), with particular attention to topics discussed during the February 19 ministerial meeting at the Department of State. The United States will continue to advance ongoing and planned CVE efforts through robust programming and coordinated implementation described herein totaling approximately $188 million.

1) Improving and Sharing Analysis of Violent Extremism

  • In Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia, ongoing programs focus on strengthening understanding of the local drivers of violent extremism. This includes research and trend analysis that focuses on gender and governance through “Regional Violent Risk Assessments” in Cameroon, Chad, Kenya, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, and Uganda. The United States is also supporting civil society practitioners and partner governments to share the latest research on CVE through workshops, online trainings, and in practice.

2) Developing Skills, Expertise, and Strategies to Counter Violent Extremism

  • Efforts in West Africa, working with the Economic Community of West Africa and in the Horn of Africa, working with the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, focus on developing national, multi-stakeholder strategies to address violent extremism. This includes providing and supporting trainings and exchanges of best practices among government practitioners and civil society leaders.
  • New initiatives in North Africa and the Sahel will build capacity among community and government leaders to counter violent extremism locally with a variety of tools, including counter-messaging strategies. These efforts will help partners amplify and build networks of credible, independent, non-violent voices to build resistance to violent extremists’ efforts, challenge the appeal of violent extremist narratives, and to promote tolerance in local communities around the world.

3) Promoting the Role of Civil Society Leaders, Especially Youth and Women, in Countering and Preventing Violent Extremism

  • Assistance for projects that build the resilience of youth susceptible to recruitment and radicalization to violent extremism provide youth a sense of belonging. This includes projects that focus on building technical skills and providing vocational training, as well as offering opportunities for civic engagement and leadership training.
  • Support for activities that build networks of youth, women, civil society, and private sector leaders who can provide counter-narratives and counter-messaging through community-based efforts, the arts and media, sports, and culture.
  • Support for CVE projects for women, including helping women assess signs of recruitment and radicalization to violent extremism in their families and communities, and extending support to women’s organizations that develop prevention strategies and promising CVE activities. Programs seek to create safe spaces for dialogue between women community leaders and law enforcement, promoting community cohesion and community-based solutions to security concerns.
  • In partnership with the Institute for Strategic Dialogue’s Women and Extremism Initiative, convene CVE experts for a high-level “Women and Extremism” event in Washington, D.C., with a follow-on exchange program to build a network of researchers and practitioners that focuses on the role of women in CVE.
  • Organizing a series of educational and cultural exchange projects and alumni projects on CVE-related themes, including interfaith dialogue, tolerance and diversity, minority integration, community service, outreach to at-risk youth, encouraging responsible citizenship and democratic participation, private and charitable sector engagements, and promoting peace and security. These efforts will build a global network of youth who are working in their own community to counter violent extremism to share experiences, good practices, and support each other to expand collective impact against violent extremism.
  • Supporting economic opportunity for women and youth through innovation and entrepreneurship training and mentorship, such as the Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) program. GIST uses startup boot camps, interactive webinars, global competitions, and an online network to deliver programing that includes training, mentorship, peer-to-peer support, and access to financing. In November 2014, GIST launched www.GISTnetwork.org which is an online marketplace that allows technology entrepreneurs from across the globe to find mentors, share information, and solicit investments. GIST Net is a public-private partnership developed by the State Department and actively seeks the participation of women and encourages participants to share knowledge and pay forward success. For example, in Jordan, over half the 30 startup boot camp participants – and the winners – were women innovators.
  • Investments in science, technology, education, and math (STEM) education, through the NeXXt Scholars Program, which provides young women from 47 Muslim-majority countries, alongside their American counterparts, with professional development, leadership and intercultural communication training, and mentoring, while studying STEM at 38 U.S. women’s colleges. Support for STEM education to young women in volatile regions can advance women’s empowerment and boost a country’s enhanced economic development and growth. To date, this initiative has involved 73 NeXXt Scholars from countries including Nigeria, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.

4) Strengthening Community-Police and Community-Security Force Relations as Ingredients for Countering and Preventing the Spread of Violent Extremism

  • Support for community-oriented policing and community engagement projects to counter and prevent recruitment and radicalization in the Balkans, South Asia, the Horn of Africa, and the Sahel offer professional and cultural competency training to local law enforcement, and encourage engagement with vulnerable communities, emphasizing relationship and trust-building activities as well as communal problem solving. These projects support the implementation of the Global Counter Terrorism Forum’s (GCTF) Good Practices on Community Engagement and Community-Oriented Policing as Tools to Counter Violent Extremism.
  • The creation of an expert-led technical working group to study the relationship between security force-community relations and the prevalence of violent extremism will engage civil society, government, and multilateral partners. The group will develop a set of principles and recommendations for practitioners, public officials, and civil society, by examining common practice, empirical research, and case studies.

5) Building Community Resilience to Recruitment and Radicalization to Violent Extremism

  • Ongoing efforts to build community resilience to recruitment and radicalization to violent extremism include projects to promote inclusive peace and reconciliation and encourage tolerance and respect of religious minorities. Continuing activities include dialogue across religious, sectarian, and ethnic lines, conflict resolution training, and working with community leaders and members to peacefully resolve problems together.
  • Projects to build resilience among youth susceptible to recruitment and radicalization to violent extremism include encouraging youth to be catalysts for inter- and intra-faith cooperation in their communities, and enabling youth to become active advocates by providing technical skills and training, as well as offering opportunities for civic education, community service, and empowerment.
  • Provision of support services to low-risk offenders, coupled with the strengthening of public and youth-serving organizations that offer positive alternatives to violence. Services include life skills training, internships, employment placements, and entrepreneurship training to help prevent youth delinquency and reduce recidivism.

6) Promoting Counter-Narratives, including through Strategic Communications

  • Expansion of innovative public diplomacy efforts to support counter-narratives and counter-messaging to mitigate recruitment and radicalization to violent extremism in key countries through social media and other information technologies and platforms.
  • Support for alternative narratives and counter-messaging efforts that include: 1) amplifying the voices of victims/survivors of terrorism and former violent extremists and training them on ways to broadcast their message; 2) emphasizing the negative impact of violent extremism on families and communities; and 3) utilizing widely accessible technologies such as the internet, smartphones, radio, television, and SMS for maximum message dissemination to vulnerable communities.
  • Support for a series of online media training programs and “tech camps.” The U.S., in partnership with governments and private sector organizations, will help mobilize people to actively and vigorously contest ISIL’s online activities. The media/tech camps will provide training and knit together influential community and religious leaders to enhance their use of technology to more effectively counter ISIL’s narrative and propaganda.

7) Elevating the Role of Religious Voices and Promoting Educational Initiatives to Build Resilience against Extremist Recruitment

  • Support to amplify non-violent religious voices will: 1) mobilize religious leaders from conflict areas and encourage them to lead projects emphasizing peace, tolerance and coexistence at the community level; and 2) train religious leaders on conflict resolution and implementation of peace-building initiatives.
  • Coordination of a meeting of religious leaders to positively engage young people and identify ways to empower youth with greater technical skills and training, as well as civic education and community service, and encourage them to become advocates for religious tolerance. Additional projects will support evidence-based critical thinking and values-oriented education interventions among at-risk student populations, including projects designed to support the implementation of the GCTF’s Abu Dhabi Memorandum on Good Practices for Education and Countering Violent Extremism.

8) Preventing Radicalization of Violence in Prisons and Rehabilitation/Reintegration of Violent Extremists

  • Support to the UN Inter-Regional Crime Research Institute (UNICRI) and the GCTF to lead ongoing efforts to build international capacity to address prison deficiencies, the risk of recruitment and radicalization to violent extremism in prison settings, and the danger of recidivism upon release. These projects aim to provide training to detention officials on recognizing and mitigating the signs of radicalization, working with known incarcerated terrorists on disengagement, and implementing prison management practices to separate known terrorists from prison populations.
  • Work with governments to help shape corrections sectors so that a safe, secure, and humane prison system will make inmates more resilient to radicalization to violence.
  • The U.S. is seeking to provide funding for a series of country-specific workshops focusing on rehabilitation and reintegration of foreign terrorist fighters hosted by the International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law.
  • Utilize the International Corrections and Prison Association Annual Conference in October 2015 in Australia, the largest international corrections event of the year with more than 70 countries represented, to organize a workshop on classifying violent extremists, conducting intelligence operations on violent extremist threat groups, and counter-messaging and rehabilitation programs.
  • Organize a regional conference on managing violent extremists, focusing on Central America in Summer 2015 in El Salvador and convene senior-level corrections personnel and experts from Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and Latin America to address trends among violent extremist prison populations and current effective methods for managing extremists in prison.

9) Engaging the Private and Charitable Sectors to Support Community-Led Solutions Globally to Create Opportunity and Address Violent Extremism

  • Support efforts to promote transparency and fight corruption through the Global Enterprise Registration (GER) platform that seeks to stem corruption by making business registration more transparent. This platform is free and publically available, allowing an entrepreneur to access general information worldwide, as well as step-by-step instructions on how to register a business in the 26 countries who have fully registered. Knowledge of processes and requirements can lessen the likelihood of bribery by allowing governments to see global standards for online business registration, and facilitates the adoption of best practices. And in doing so, GER enables a country to simplify its registration process, thereby encouraging more businesses to enter the formal economy and driving economic growth.
  • Support to women to engage in the formal economy in order to create jobs and economic opportunity. The Women’s Entrepreneurial Centers of Resources, Education, Access, and Training for Economic Empowerment (WECREATE) project establishes physical entrepreneurial community centers tailored to a country’s specific economic concerns and built in a safe and centralized location. WECREATE Centers will provide women‎ access to a wide variety of resources, from mentorship and networking opportunities, to sector-specific programming and access to childcare. Importantly, WECREATE will engage men and boys in the process, providing specific education and resources on understanding the value of supporting women and girls and how entrepreneurship can create opportunity for their families and communities. WECREATE opened its first Center in Pakistan in February. Additional efforts in Zambia, Kenya, Cambodia, and Vietnam are currently underway.
  • The Resilient, Entrepreneurial, And Dynamic Youth (READY) Initiative teaches at-risk youth between the ages of 18 to 30 how to code, places them in a pre-arranged online internship with a technology company, and prepares them for online employment upon completion of the program. This low-cost pathway to virtual employment offers vulnerable youth a positive alternative and enables them to become productive members of society. The first six-month pilot program will be funded by the Department of State’s Special Representative for Muslim Communities and reach 25 individuals in Egypt.
  • Following the CVE Summit, the U.S. will continue the dialogue on fostering economic opportunities for vulnerable communities through a series of roundtables working with key partners, including:
    • Entertainment Roundtable: In partnership with the Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands and University of Southern California’s Annenberg School, CVE experts, leaders in the global entertainment and media industry, and content creators and technology experts will meet to explore ways to counter violent ideologies and promote positive narratives.
    • Philanthropic Roundtable: Leading foundations will come together to identify ways to fund community-led initiatives that build resilience, provide opportunities, and counter terrorist narratives.
    • Technology Roundtable: Technology companies and related industry groups will discuss their role in addressing terrorists’ use of digital media and social networking platforms to recruit and radicalize. Leaders will discuss how to (1) help communities better understand and leverage key communication platforms; (2) assist community efforts to develop and distribute counter-narrative content, including short form videos; and (3) strengthen the “terms of use” and treat violent extremist content with the same zero tolerance approach as bullying.
    • Economic Drivers Roundtable: Leading economists, political scientists, think tank experts, and policy analysts will convene to further delineate the economic drivers of extremism, such as lack of access to opportunity, unemployment, income, limited access to finance for entrepreneurs, and skills training. Experts will brainstorm policy tools to address these drivers. Following an initial roundtable, a second roundtable including government officials, donors, industry, chambers of commerce, and leading international and local private sector companies from the Middle East and Africa could determine best practices for addressing job scarcity, financial inclusion, underemployment, and skills training in these regions toward shaping concrete programs.

10) Strengthening Multilateral Initiatives to Counter Violent Extremism

  • In partnership with the UN and by supporting the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force and the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate projects on CVE, support for counter-radicalization technical assistance efforts focused on identifying particular causes and dynamics of radicalization, as well as specific high risk locations within countries and cities.
  • Support for the GCTF’s CVE Working Group and the Forum’s broader CVE priorities through providing political and financial support to advance the implementation of the relevant GCTF good practices, including those related to addressing violent extremism. Together with relevant GCTF partners, the U.S. will support new CVE Working Group efforts aimed at advancing the issues raised during the CVE Summit. The U.S. will host a GCTF event on February 23-24 on community engagement in the context of the foreign terrorist fighter phenomenon. This practitioner-level workshop will allow for in-depth discussions on a key Summit theme and include officials and experts from the GCTF members as well as select non-members.
  • Support to the UN Counter-Terrorism Centre, which provides assistance for capacity-building efforts with member states and strengthens the UN’s counterterrorism expertise.
  • The U.S. plans to support the secondment of two FBI subject matter experts to INTERPOL headquarters in Lyon, France. The secondees will support the development of INTERPOL’s Foreign Terrorist Fighter Fusion Center in order to address the growing threat posed by individuals traveling to conflict zones to support or directly engage in terrorist activity.
  • Support for the Geneva-based Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund, a public-private fund to support local, community-level initiatives aimed at strengthening resilience in communities at risk of radicalization and recruitment to violence (e.g., women’s engagement and empowerment, youth outreach, media, education programs, and vocational training).
  • Support for Hedayah, the international center of excellence on countering violent extremism in Abu Dhabi, to make training more accessible and enhance collaboration among governmental and civil society leaders on countering violent extremism.
  • Support for the International Institute of Justice and the Rule of Law in Malta, which offers rule of law-based training to lawmakers, police, prosecutors, judges, corrections officials, and other justice sector stakeholders on how to address terrorism and violent extremism within a rule of law framework.
  • Support to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe for tailored CVE programs, training seminars, and regional initiatives in conjunction with other multilateral fora, including the GCTF.

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FoodSecurityFoodAid, Miscellaneous

FAO GIEWS Country Brief on Cambodia (15-January-2015)

Reference Date: 15-January-2015

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. 2014 main season rice production forecast at near-record level

  2. Rice exports forecast to increase in 2015

  3. Rice prices generally declined in December

  4. Overall food security situation satisfactory

2014 main season rice production forecast at near-record level

Harvesting of the 2014 main (wet) season paddy crop, which normally accounts for about 80 percent of annual production, is currently ongoing and will continue until the end of February. FAO’s latest forecast puts the 2014 main season rice output at 7.2 million tonnes, 2 percent below last year’s record level of the same season. The slight decrease is the result of a dry spell in northwestern parts between June and August, coupled with localized floods in August in some areas of the Mekong River Basin, which affected close to 166 000 hectares of agricultural crops, of which some 36 000 hectares were damaged. Assuming an average 2014/15 secondary (dry) season harvest, to be harvested between March and April 2015, FAO’s preliminary forecast for the aggregate 2014/15 rice production stands at 9.3 million tonnes, marginally below last year’s record level.

Harvesting of the 2014 maize was completed in October. FAO’s latest estimate points to a 1 percent decrease to 920 000 tonnes, reflecting a marginal contraction in planted area, after the record production in 2013.

Rice exports forecast to increase in 2015

Cereal exports in the 2015 marketing year (January/ December) are forecast at 1.5 million tonnes, 9 percent higher than last year’s above-average level. Most of this volume is rice, which is anticipated to increase by 15 percent compared to last year’s slightly reduced level.

Rice prices generally declined in December

Wholesale prices of rice declined in most markets in December, reflecting new supplies from the ongoing 2014/15 main season harvest, anticipated at a near-record level. Overall, prices were below their year-earlier levels.

Overall food security situation is satisfactory

Following good supplies from the previous year’s bumper cereal harvests, overall food availability is satisfactory. Access to food has also increased due to lower rice prices and the increase in daily wage rates for unskilled workers engaged mainly in farming and construction.

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