DGI Brief - Oct 3, 2016
COLOMBIA just had a Brexit moment. Over the weekend, voters got to accept or reject the landmark peace agreement between the government & the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), that had the chance to end 52 years of civil war. Both sides vowed to respect the ceasefire & will go back to the drawing board on a new peace deal. Why it matters: Polls showed that Colombians widely supported the deal despite concerns about some of its provisions & deep-rooted mistrust of FARC. The expectation, just like with Brexit, was that people would choose the best option for the country – peace & reconciliation. But only 37% of eligible voters took part in the referendum & 50.2% voted against the peace deal & its terms. It was a difference of 61,000 votes! These are lessons with a very steep price – WE ALL MUST VOTE & not sit things out thinking that all is good, others got us with their votes. Because they don’t. Please take heed, USA! www.rockthevote.com
USA decided to formally suspend talks with RUSSIA on finding solutions for the protracted brutal war because of Russia’s role in the Syrian regime’s military assault on Aleppo’s civilians. Over the weekend, another of the few remaining hospitals was bombed again. Why it matters: the worsening of bilateral relations between two world powers is bad news for all. Syrians desperately need a lasting ceasefire & humanitarian aid delivery, but without talks, very little can be achieved. In fact, another crack in the bilateral ties was delivered by Russia who suspended a deal with the US on the disposal of surplus weapons-grade plutonium today. The web of sticks & carrots is growing ever more complex. These are some scary propositions.
Tens of thousands of women across POLAND went on strike today against a highly controversial new proposed law that would entail a near-total ban on abortion & some disturbing elements including 5 years of prison for women who received & doctors who performed the procedure, as well as potential investigation & jail time for women who suffered miscarriages, limits on in-vitro fertilization (IVF) & more. Why it matters: If you don’t intuitively know why laws like this are wrong & dangerous, very little can be said to you. If even half the time spent on trying to take away women’s rights was spent on regulating how businesses treat the environment, we may not have global warming. #Blackprotest
How did a New Zealand-made aircraft turn up at NORTH KOREA’s military air show? There are tough international sanctions on the sale/export of almost everything, including aircraft & military equipment, to the rogue state. Why it matters: Economic sanctions are often difficult to enforce, in particular when some nations allow trade with their sanctioned neighbor. Like China. In this case it appears that a Chinese buyer took the plane to North Korea, same way raw materials, all kinds of products, even luxury items make it to North Korea. The blatant display of sanctions violations during the North Korean airshow will hopefully bring about actions from China to crack down on the violators within its borders, because the stakes are high – if North Korea continues to be able to obtain what it needs, we all will suffer.
AFRICA: Annually, the Ibrahim Index of African Governance, published by Mo Ibrahim Foundation, measures 95 indicators from 34 independent sources for each of Africa’s 54 countries since 2006. Individually, many countries did well, but the continent-wide score saw only one point increase on a 100-point scale, highlighting the widespread deterioration in safety & the rule of law. Highest score went to Mauritius, followed by Botswana, Cape Verde, the Seychelles, Namibia & South Africa. Dead last is Somalia, surrounded by South Sudan, Sudan, Central African Republic & Libya. Why it matters: The report is a key source for information about the positive & negative development trends across the continent. http://mo.ibrahim.foundation/iiag/downloads/