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World Bank Group;
Water has always been a source of risks and opportunities in the Middle East and North Africa. Yet rapidly changing socioeconomic, political, and environmental conditions make water security a different, and more urgent, challenge than ever before. This report shows that achieving water security means much more than coping with water scarcity. It means managing water resources in a sustainable, efficient, and equitable way. It also involves delivering water services reliably and affordably, to reinforce relationships between service providers and water users and contribute to a renewed social contract. Water security also entails mitigating water-related risks such as floods and droughts. Water security is an urgent target, but it is also a target within reach. A host of potential solutions to the region's water management challenges exist. To make these solutions work, clear incentives are needed to change the way water is managed, conserved, and allocated. To make these solutions work, countries in the region will also need to better engage water users, civil society, and youth. The failure of policies to address water challenges can have severe impacts on people's well-being and political stability. The strategic question for the region is whether countries will act with foresight and resolve to strengthen water security, or whether they will wait to react to the inevitable disruptions of water crises.
This study examines the impact of fragility and conflict on gender justice and women's rights in the MENA, as a part of an Oxfam project entitled 'Promoting the Needs of Women in Conflict in the Middle East and North Africa' funded through the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. It specifically aims to understand how conflict and fragility in four different contexts - Egypt, Iraq, the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Yemen - have impacted the realization of gender equality and gender justice in the past several years of political and social upheaval.
Political upheaval, instability and conflict have been on the rise in the Middle East and North Africa following the uprisings that swept the region in 2011. Women and girls face particular challenges to their basic human rights.
This factsheet gives an overview of the status of women in the region, focusing on two key themes: violence against women and girls in conflict, and women's political participation and leadership. It highlights the different manifestations of gender-based threats and risks that women face, including increased sexual violence, forced and early marriage, and rape in the context of conflict. The factsheet also discusses the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (Women, Peace and Security) and the extent of progress towards its goals in the Middle East and North Africa, looking at the limited number of women in decision making and peace processes.
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF);
Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) is a human rights issue that affects girls and women worldwide. As such, its elimination is a global concern. In 2012, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a milestone resolution calling on the international community to intensify efforts to end the practice. More recently, in September 2015, the global community agreed to a new set of development goals -- the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) -- which includes a target under Goal 5 to eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and FGM/C, by the year 2030. Both the resolution and the SDG framework signify the political will of the international community and national partners to work together to accelerate action towards a total, and final, end to the practice in all continents of the world. More and better data are needed to measure progress towards this common goal.
This evaluation is presented as part of the Effectiveness Review Series 2014/15, selected for review under the women's empowerment thematic area. This report documents the findings of a quasi-experimental impact evaluation carried out in December 2014 that sought to assess the impact of project activities, implemented at individual and community level, on women's empowerment. This project was carried out in three countries: Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq; the evaluation focuses on the project component in Lebanon only. While there is no unique set of women's empowerment characteristics that are applicable to all contexts, this evaluation identified a set of empowerment characteristics which are considered to be important in this particular context, even if not all are necessarily directly linked to the project activities.The main objective of this project was to contribute to improving the status and lives of women and girls in the Middle East and North Africa region by improving the quality of legal services for poor and vulnerable women. Key activities included providing awareness raising sessions for women and community leaders such as political parties, religious leaders and municipal employers; training and engaging women and men for raising awareness; offering free legal consultations to women; and raising awareness around women's rights among lawyers and judges.
For more information, the data for this effectiveness review is available through the UK Data Service. Read more about the Oxfam Effectiveness Reviews.
Uchitel Publishing House;
The formation of the Afroeurasian world-system was one of the crucial points of social evolution, starting from which the social evolution rate and effectiveness increased dramatically. In the present article we analyze processes and scales of global integration in historical perspective, starting with the Agrarian Revolution. We connect the main phases of historical globalization with the processes of the development of the Afroeurasian world-system. In the framework of the Afroeurasian world-system the integration began a few thousand years BCE. In this world-system the continental and supracontinental links became rather developed long before the Great Geographic Discoveries and thus, they could quite be denoted as global (albeit in a somehow limited sense). As some researchers are still inclined to underestimate the scale of those links in the pre-Industrial era, it appears necessary to provide additional empirical support for our statement. It also turns necessary to apply a special methodology (which necessitated the use of the world-system approach). We analyze some versions of periodization of globalization history. We also propose our own periodization of globalization history using as its basis the growing scale of intersocietal links as an indicator of the level of globalization development.
Use our interactive data tool to compare the press freedoms of regions and countries over time.
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.
The U.S. Congress should fully fund the administration's $47.8 billion request for base international affairs for Fiscal Year (FY) 2014. This request represents a 6% reduction from FY 12 funding levels and a 14% reduction from the FY 13 request, reflecting the difficult budget environment that lawmakers currently face. The foreign affairs budget, which represents less than 1% of the annual U.S. budget, provides an invaluable set of tools for advancing U.S. foreign policy interests. The relatively modest investments that fall under the international affairs budget bear great returns, as the American government helps develop stable, democratic partners that cooperate on trade, security, immigration, and economic issues. Amid weariness among the American people with military engagement overseas, diplomacy is an inherently less costly means of advancing interests.
In repressive countries, the smallest amount of U.S. assistance can bring hope and provide a lifeline to those who face imprisonment, torture, or even death for speaking out in support of freedom, while helping to engender the next generation of potential leaders. Recent developments in the Middle East, Russia, Burma and elsewhere show the importance of robust, strategic, and flexible funding for the United States to respond effectively to quickly changing situations on the ground and continue to play a leadership role in the international community.
The budget plans produced by the House and Senate for FY 14 differ greatly from one another and from the President's request. The House Republican budget resolution would fund international affairs at $38.7 billion for FY 14, 20% less than the President's request, and a staggering 29% less than the FY 12 actual numbers. Cuts of that magnitude would have a devastating effect on the ability of the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to carry out their diplomatic work and assistance programs. While it is important at present for every federal agency to eliminate redundancies, streamline operations, and reevaluate priorities, such sweeping cuts to an already miniscule budget would do great and needless harm. The Senate budget resolution proposes $45.6 billion in base international affairs funding.
Funding for Democracy and Human Rights represents 9% of the total request for foreign assistance for FY 14, less than 1/10th of 1% of the total U.S. budget. The administration's proposal will support important initiatives that protect and promote democracy, rule of law, and human rights, including:
Flexible funding to support democratic change in the Middle East through a Middle East and North Africa Incentive Fund.
Increased funding for priority regions, including Asia and Africa.
Robust funding for priority countries and territories including Afghanistan, Mexico, South Sudan, the West Bank and Gaza, and Burma.
Increases in some areas are balanced by decreases in others, including:
The elimination of the Assistance for Europe, Eurasia, and Central Asia Account (AEECA) and decreases in the Europe and Eurasia region overall.
Large decreases in democracy funding for Iraq and Pakistan.
Regional and country-level decreases in the Western Hemisphere and in South and Central Asia.
While the administration understandably has had to make difficult tradeoffs to reach budget goals, there are some areas where decreased funding would be harmful to achieving U.S. strategic policy goals and Congress can provide additional support:
Congress should fund the State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) and USAID's Bureau of Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance (DCHA) at the FY 12 levels. These two bureaus provide leadership within their agencies on democracy and human rights policy and require adequate resources to continue doing so.
Congress should allow the administration to meet the United States' assessed obligations to the United Nations for FY14. Moreover, Congress should reinstate funding for the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which supports many cultural, social, and educational programs in line with the U.S.'s own values.
The administration must work with Congress to identify innovative ways to support civil society in countries with difficult operating environments, including Russia, Bolivia, Egypt, and Ethiopia.
Robust funding for international affairs in FY 14 will give America's diplomats the tools they need to advance U.S. interests abroad and maintain the United States' role as a global leader. Such funding alone is not enough, however. The administration must match a strong budget with clear policy decisions and a consistently forceful message, communicated both publicly and privately, that democracy and human rights are of the utmost importance to the United States.
This report summarizes the most notable requests, changes, and new developments within the administration's democracy and human rights budget for FY14. It also offers policy recommendations and suggestions for budget adjustments to better align funding allocations with U.S. interests.
Civil society is increasingly coming under assault around the world, as authoritarian governments grow more bold and sophisticated in stifling independent groups that monitor elections, expose corruption, or otherwise give citizens a voice in how they are governed. In response, senior U.S. officials have reaffirmed their support for universal rights, including freedom of association, while mid-level officials have criticized specific abuses against civil society. However, only modest U.S. government efforts have dealt systematically with the global nature of the crackdown on civil society. This weak U.S. response to the crackdown hurts U.S. interests and undermines U.S. credibility abroad. The U.S. government needs to respond to the threats against civil society more forcefully.
To curb the global crackdown, the United States needs to systematically oppose efforts by authoritarian governments to control civic space, take vigorous political and diplomatic measures to support civil society organizations that come under threat, and get around government restrictions designed to isolate local organizations from the international community. Effective U.S. policy to defend civil society needs to respond comprehensively to the global nature of the crackdown and, at the same time, turn the tide in key countries where repression of civil society has significant regional repercussions. While bipartisan collaboration is critical to make such policy effective, a strong U.S. response to the global crackdown on civil society must begin in the White House.
If there is an event or a series of events that demonstrate the need to protect democracy and reclaim the space for civil society; it is none other than the uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East. These have reaffirmed the crucial point in democratic and transitional studies; that is; that economic development without political and social progress is not sustainable. By all standards and indices, North Africa was always rated highly in terms of economic performance, yet simmering underneath was a revolution as a result of the closure of the public sphere. So when in 2011, popular uprisings spread like bushfire in that region, many in academia, media, civil society and governments were caught unprepared. Change came from unexpected circles, challenging assumed doctrines and theories associated with the functionality of organised formations.
Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School;
Digital communication has become a more perilous activity, particularly for activists, political dissidents, and independent media. The recent surge in digital activism that has helped to shape the Arab spring has been met with stiff resistance by governments in the region intent on reducing the impact of digital organizing and independent media. No longer content with Internet filtering, many governments in the Middle East and around the world are using a variety of technological and offline strategies to go after online media and digital activists. In Tunisia, before and during the January 2011 protest movement that led to a change in government there, Internet service providers were apparently logging usernames and passwords to hack into and dismantle online organizing and information sharing among protesters. In early June 2011, Google reported a phishing attack targeted at military and human rights activists to gain access to their Gmail accounts. In Syria, a well organized effort known as the Syrian Electronic Army has been carrying out attacks to disable and compromise web sites that are critical of the Syrian regime. These stories are only a few selected from the set that have become public, and an unknown number of attacks go unnoticed and unreported. Many of these attacks are impossible to attribute to specific actors and may involve a mix of private sector and governmental actors, blurring the lines between cyber attacks and government surveillance. In such an environment, maintaining online security is a growing challenge.
In this report we describe the results of a survey of 98 bloggers in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) carried out in May 2011 in order to study bloggers' perceptions of online risk and the actions they take to address digital communications security, including both Internet and cell phone use. The survey was implemented in the wake of the Arab spring and documents a proliferation of online security problems among the respondents. In the survey, we address the respondents' perceptions of online risk, their knowledge of digital security practices, and their reported online security practices. The survey results indicate that there is much room for improving online security practices, even among this sample of respondents who are likely to have relatively high technical knowledge and experience.