Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Global Perspectives on the Middle East Imbroglio

The cover story of the August issue of Global Perspectives gives a rather skeptical prognosis for a new start of the Middle East Peace Process. Although the Obama Administration increased pressure on the Israeli Government, currently there seems to be little hope that it is going to negotiate the high threshold it built in order to accept a Palestinian State.

Also in this issue Thomas Hammarberg (Commissioner for Human Rights at the Council of Europe) writes about the value of budget analysis to assess government’s human rights commitment. In the European context budget analysis was so far successfully used to monitor gender mainstreaming. The key problem in all human rights work is a gap between the promises and the implementation. This gap can only be bridged when budgets themselves reflect the pledges made.

A summary of the UNDP Arab Development Report 2009 discusses a European Neighborhood Region which should be on the European foreign policy agenda. Citizens of the Arab region suffer under a lack of human security caused by regional conflicts, environmental problems, lacking rule of law, crime and health challenges. Further the region which faces rapid population growth has to deal with a high unemployment rate and permanent internal migration. Europe needs to assist the Arab countries in dealing with this enormous amount of problems in order to avoid negative effects like irregular migration and security risks.

Regarding the ongoing Climate Change Negotiations Ramesh Jaura describes the different positions during the latest informal talks from 10-14 August in Bonn. According to diplomat voices there still is too little progress to finally settle a global climate deal in Copenhagen this December.

With the UN Climate Change Summit on September 22 ahead Thalif Deen raises doubts on the usefulness of the UN summit culture. Since the Rio Summit in 1992 there have been dozens of summits and review summits on various themes, at best leading to political declarations which in the end often lacked funding for implementation. The journalist believes that the upcoming summit will also be nothing more than a talk-fest.

Global Perspectives is a bi-lingual (English/German) joint production by IPS Inter Press Service Europe and the Global Cooperation Council, published by Globalom Media. The monthly editions on various themes of international cooperation and development are downloadable for free.

See also the Euforic newsfeeds on IPS Europe and the Middle East.

by Martin Behrens