Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Global Perspectives: Focus on Latin America

The May issue of the magazine 'Global Perspectives' focuses on political changes in Latin America and other questions of global development.

The magazine includes an analysis of the left turn in Latin and Central American politics and challenges to the continent, including drugs, crime and the pressing social problems. Short articles deal with the situation in Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras.

In an opinion article Ramesh Jaura (IPS Europe) writes about the international food crisis.

"[H]unger 'revolts' have surprised many. Yet, they are not like a bolt from the blue. They are man made, a consequence, among others, of the neglect and underinvestment that the agricultural and rural sector have suffered over the past 20 years."

Only 4 percent of ODA is committed to agriculture in developing countries despite the fact that 75 percent of the world's poor live in rural areas. The author calls for a long-term strategy to address the crisis, which should include an increase in ecosystems productivity and pro-poor policies of climate change adaption which counts agriculture as a priority.

Inge Kaul (Herti School of Governance) asks why there are no concrete political responses , including practical actions, to deal with challenging issues of climate change and energy supply.

According to her analysis , foreign and security policy was not adapted to globalisation and still reflects the political logic of nation states with relatively closed borders. Kaul demands a paradigm change in international cooperation which accepts the interdependence of the world state system. The G-8 system and its "5 nation outreach programme" is not sufficient to solve pressing problems. Kaul proposes the foundation of a new leadership forum and the development of a new UN 3.0 system which expands the new norm of the 'responsibility to protect' for the environment.

An interview with Ernest Corea, former chair of the Commonwealth Select Committee on Communications and Development, examines the need for a South-South News Agency. Corea complains that Northern Agencies:

"[...] are conflict-oriented. They also neglect trends in developing countries, as opposed to 'breaking news', and they are not committed to enabling Southern countries to understand each other better and learn from each other's experience."

Corea names the IPS as a good example of a South-oriented service which could be further developed into a great South-South project.

Global Perspectives is a bi-lingual (English/German) publication by IPS Europe. It releases monthly editions on various themes of international cooperation and development and is available for free download.

See also Euforic newsfeeds on Latin America and from IPS Europe.

by Martin Behrens