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Webinar series on Pope Francis’ Vision of an Inclusive Global Economy: Global Justice as a Framework for Eliminating Poverty

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General Background & objectives

 Pope Francis believes that the human person is not immune to crises but is always impacted by them. Being better or worse after each one, the Pope has often said, is “up to us.” There is a need for all of us to respond to the reality we are living and prepare the future. Preparing the future means to acknowledge that things look grim, but since nothing is permanent, it’s worth looking for economic models that will help humanity out of the current crisis — not by going back to a world of inequalities led by an economy that kills, but by creating a fairer world.

Building on Pope Francis’ Vision of an Inclusive Global Economy and on global justice as a framework for eliminating poverty, the Jesuit Justice and Ecology Network – Africa (JENA) in collaboration with the Yale University Global Justice Program and the Academics Stand Against Poverty (ASAP) has developed a webinar series to identify grave injustices suffered by African populations and to explore realistic ways of overcoming them. Each webinar is focused on one especially important area of injustice – namely global health, climate justice/food security, tax justice, and global peace – and brings together excellent academic subject matter experts with relevant decision-makers and practitioners from politics, civil service, international organizations, and civil society. The central aim of the webinars is to mobilize a thorough understanding of how injustice survives toward designing and implementing a targeted reform program to ensure that it does not.

Session #1 Global Health: Universal Health Coverage in times of COVID-19

Monday 5 October 2020 16:00 – 18: 00 East African Time (EAT)/9:00 – 11:00 EDT

The Global Health Webinar will be devoted to analyzing and mitigating the great health care deficits in Africa. Millions of Africans avoidably suffer and die prematurely each year because they cannot get the health care they urgently need.

Questions the webinar will address

To help alleviate this injustice, this webinar will focus on three key problems faced in African countries:

  1. African populations need minimally adequate universal health coverage
  2. African populations are underserved by the pharmaceuticals industry
  3. African populations need appropriately trained doctors and nurses in sufficient numbers.

 Format

This 1 hour and 50 minutes Webinar will include two keynote addresses and 4 panelists from countries around the world. A moderator will facilitate the discussion between the presenters on the main themes. A Q&A session will follow the discussion.

Agenda

16:00   Welcome and Introductions Charles Chilufya, Director: JENA

16.10   Remarks from ASAP Representation

16:20   Keynote Address: Prof. Jeffrey D. Sachs, Columbia University

16:40   Panelist Presentations

  • Prof Thomas Pogge, Yale University
  • Bona Chitah, University of Zambia
  • Pamela Atieno Juma, Public Health Policy Expert-Nairobi, Kenya
  • Kara Hanson, London School of Hygiene

17:50 Questions and answer session

17:55 Closing

Session #2: The Tax Justice, Corruption and Natural Resource Governance

12th October 2020 16:00 – 17: 30 East African Time/9:00 – 10:30 EDT

This Webinar will address African countries’ economic interactions with the rest of the world, which are often badly skewed to their disadvantage. The Webinar will focus on the analysis of a few central injustices and the exploration of paths for overcoming them. One key injustice is that multinational corporations (MNCs) typically pay little or no taxes on their activities in Africa. One of their favored methods of tax avoidance is profit shifting into tax havens. Profits are shifted through artificial and mispriced transactions between African subsidiaries of an MNC and other subsidiaries of the same MNC located in tax havens. Another common method involves so-called tax expenditures, special tax exemptions or reductions that are justified as necessary inducements to attract foreign investment but often heavily lobbied for by their recipients or even bought through bribes and other favors to officials. A third method involves the provision of digital services that are difficult to track and tax. All these methods of tax avoidance deprive African states of badly needed revenues and also skew the playing field against purely domestic firms who must compete with MNCs without enjoying the same advantages. Often the most damaging injustices occur when MNCs are involved in the exportation of natural resources and other

raw materials such as coffee. African producers are vulnerable to being locked into unfavorable export agreements, and African states to being cheated on the taxes due on profits made by MNCs. Such unfair value extraction is often protected by corrupt arrangements where public officials accept private benefits in return for lop-sided contracts or tax arrangements. An additional problem is that importing countries strongly encourage the exportation of raw materials in their rawest form, so as to ensure that the value-adding processing happens in their own countries. One result of this is that, of the sales price of a cup of coffee in Berlin, less than one cent goes to the country of origin, to the people who grew and harvested and shipped the coffee. These enormously harmful injustices are very

difficult to overcome because of the great asymmetry in expertise and power between African state officials and MNCs. Very rarely does an African tax official have the expertise, time, and patience to thoroughly analyze a hugely complex web of interrelated corporations and their internal transactions – and in those few cases, the official is easily induced with a lucrative job offer to switch sides. Similarly, state officials and legislators are easily influenced through campaign contributions, gifts, or bribes to support arrangements that favor the MNC over their own country and its people. Our webinar will thoroughly analyze this nest of problems and develop ideas for reform.

What Question does this webinar propose?

What are the potential reform efforts fall into three distinct but often complementary classes:

  1. How can African states jointly propose changes to unfair international rules and practices, most plausibly perhaps through the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), or the International Commission for the Reform of Corporate Taxation (ICRICT).
  2. How can African states individually take parallel policy action but in a coordinated way in order to reduce the opportunities for outside corporations and governments to play them off against one another (divide et impera).
  3. How can African states act unilaterally to better protect themselves against the predations of MNCs.

Format

This 1 hour 45 -minute Webinar will include a keynote presentation and 4 panelists from countries around the world. A moderator will facilitate the discussion between the presenters on the main themes. A Q&A session will follow the discussion.

Agenda

16:00   Welcome and Introductions

16:10   Keynote Presentation: AMECEA  Representative

16:30   Panelist Presentations

  • Fernando Saldivar, S.J., Justice & Ecology Office-Jesuit Conference of Africa and Madagascar.
  • Bosire Nyamori, University of Nairobi
  • Rachel Etter-Phoya, Tax Justice Network
  • Alexandra Readhead, Natural Resource Governance Institute.

17:30 Questions and answer session

17:45 Closing

Audience

The webinar is primarily directed to relevant decision-makers and practitioners from politics, civil service, international organizations, and civil society, and other interested partners and stakeholders.

Technical platform

The webinar will be held in English, conducted through the Zoom webinar platform.

Session #3 Climate and Environmental Justice

19th October 2020 16:00 – 17: 45 East African Time/9:00 – 10:45 EDT

 The Covid-19 pandemic should be viewed against the background of a much larger, chronic global crisis, which is arguably the “greatest existential threat of our time.” Global climate change is making it impossible and undesirable for societies around the world to continue with their current lifestyles “as normal.” The so-called Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) that are emitted from the combustion of fossil fuels, industrial-scale livestock husbandry, construction, burning of forests, etc., all activities associated with the modern lifestyle, are trapping heat within the earth’s atmosphere and causing a slow but inexorable rise in global surface temperatures. If these activities continue unchecked, the world is set to experience a continued rise in the annual mean global temperature. The World Meteorological Organization is already predicting that “there is a ~20% chance that one of the next 5 years will be at least 1.5ºC warmer than pre-industrial levels.”

Climate change is affecting the poor disproportionately: In Africa, where so many people are directly dependent on nature for their livelihood, the disruption of natural cycles is particularly life-threatening. Large swathes of the continent are becoming hotter and drier, making it more difficult to raise crops and livestock. Specifically, droughts, which have been a historic feature of the climate of parts of the continent, are now more devastating. The African Development Bank observes that: “Africa is … already disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change because of its… dependence on the agricultural sector. African farmlands and rangelands are increasingly degraded, causing farmers to face declining yields.”

It follows then that contrary to much trite rhetoric about how we are all sitting in the same boat without a Planet B, human beings are in fact very differently situated in regard to environmental degradation. Affluent people in temperate zones may be barely affected and can further protect themselves with sophisticated air conditioning in their homes, cars, and offices, and by purchasing organic food, sunscreen, and indoor exercise equipment. Should these remedies still leave discomfort, they have ample relocation options. Many poor people in tropical regions, by contrast, have no way at all to avoid an early death from malaria, malnutrition, cancer, or heat exhaustion.

Pollution is then not a shared problem, akin to a meteorite about to strike Earth, but a justice problem more akin to slavery. On the one side are those who have been causing the problem or at least benefiting from the activities that cause it, many of whom are content to continue business as usual for a few more decades. On the other side are those for whom pollution is an urgent emergency that undermines their human rights and threatens their very health and survival. While surely not among the evilest human rights violations in history, environmental degradation may well be, or become, the largest in terms of the harms it inflicts.

The Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals are clearly inadequate for addressing environmental degradation at the speed required. They demand far too little from the affluent, and the efforts they do demand are often absurdly inefficient. Thus, the Paris Agreement focuses on each state’s attention on emissions within its own territory.

While it makes sense to give states a primary role and responsibility for avoiding environmental harm, such accounting flaws must evidently be corrected. States must be held accountable for the worldwide impact of what their governments, corporations, financial institutions and citizens do, not merely for what happens within their national borders. Such comprehensive accounting would invite further efficiencies. An industrialized state could have a huge positive impact, for instance, by helping poorer states onto a green path of development. It could make plans with African peers for how they can meet their rapidly growing electricity needs with cutting-edge installations drawing on solar, wind, tidal, geothermal, hydro, and/or wave power. And it could offer such African states to pay the cost difference between such green installations and the tired default of coal-fired power plants. In these ways, industrialized states could avert huge amounts of pollution at very low cost – or even at negative cost, if one also takes into account that, avoiding fuel costs, those green installations are much cheaper to run.

We hope these brief thoughts have triggered your curiosity and creativity, and we hope you will join us in the webinar.

Questions the Webinar will address

  1. What changes in global governance must be instituted in order for the world to address the current climate crisis?
  2. What is the role and responsibility of developed Northern states in helping to find solutions to the climate change crisis and to help Africa build resilience?
  3. “Potential impact of 1.5 C and 2 C global warming on Food Security in Africa: What Should Africa do?”
  4. How can Africa enhance Food Security and develop Agricultural Finance Under Climatic Risk?
  5. How can African countries collaborate to meet Africa’s food and energy needs entirely from renewable sources and to produce renewable energy wherever it can be produced most cost-effectively?

 Format

This 1 hour 45 -minute Webinar will include a keynote presentation and 4 panelists from countries around the world. A moderator will facilitate the discussion between the presenters on the main themes. A Q&A session will follow the discussion.

Agenda

16:00   Welcome and Introductions

16:10   Keynote Presentation: UNEP Representative, Nairobi, Kenya

16:30   Panelist Presentations

  • Nana Ama Browne Klutse, University of Ghana)
  • Oluyede Ajayi, Lead Specialist – Agriculture and Climate Change- CTA
  • Emmanuel Nyadzi, Wageningen University, Netherlands
  • Camillus Kassala, Senior Research Fellow at Eastern Africa Statistical Training Centre, Tanzania

16:30 Questions and answer session

16:45 Closing

Audience

The webinar is primarily directed to relevant decision-makers and practitioners from politics, civil service, international organizations, and civil society, and other interested partners and stakeholders.

Technical platform

The webinar will be held in English, conducted through the Zoom webinar platform.

Session # 4   Peace and Security in Africa: The Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons

26th October 2020 16:00 – 17: 30 East African Time/9:00 – 10:30 EDT

This Webinar will address the issue of peace and security in Africa from a global justice perspective with a focus on the proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW). Even before the pandemic, the proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons was arguably the primary security issue facing Africa; so much so that in 2017 the Assembly of the African Union adopted a strategic document known as the “AU Master Roadmap (AUMR) of Practical Steps to Silencing the Guns in Africa by 2020.” The AUMR specifically recognizes the illicit inflow, proliferation, and circulation of SALW as one of the fundamental challenges to African security, stability, and socio-economic cohesion.

In all of the wars and armed conflicts that have ravaged the Global South, and particularly Africa, since the end of the Cold War, the primary means of destruction have been SALW, which UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2000 referred to as the “the real weapons of mass destruction” on the continent.

Addressing the problem of the proliferation of SALW in Africa involves two separate, yet interrelated problems. First is the question of controlling the conventional arms trade, specifically those SALW that are transferred to African states largely by arms manufacturers in the United States, Western Europe, China, Russia, or Ukraine. Second, and intimately tied to the first, is the illicit trade in arms to non-state actors (NSA) or sanctioned states.

As the demand for SALW correlates directly with the potential for violent conflict arising from high insecurity, as well as the presence of armed groups, the global pandemic has provided the conditions for an explosion of demand across the board for SALW, both by governments and NSA. Given the nexus between the arms trade, corruption, and the potential for diversion of SALW licitly obtained to illicit use, any sizable increase in arms transfer to African states runs the risk of seriously destabilizing the region over the long term.

Moreover, the economic instability generated by the pandemic exponentially increases the potential for violent conflict across the continent. It is estimated that the combination of the pandemic and falling oil prices could result in a $45 billion shortfall in revenues for African governments in 2020. The African Development Bank estimates that real GDP across Africa could contract as much as 3.4% in 2020.  The effects on the poor of shrinking GDPs and shrinking fiscal space will be further aggravated by a rise in inflation that has already been observed. This WFP blog shows that not only will more people who were already living on the margins be pushed into extreme poverty, but those at risk of hunger increases, particularly in urban areas where the combination of COVID-19 and the loss of livelihoods pushes more people into food insecurity.

Everything is related, everything is interconnected. Security and poverty are intertwined. Economic greed results in a conflict that increases the demand for SALW, not only from governments seeking to maintain order but from criminal elements and other NSA seeking to capitalize on the turmoil. COVID-19 has only exacerbated a whole array of underlying social and economic tensions throughout the continent. The post-pandemic challenge will be to address the growing insecurity across Africa and the proliferation of small arms that will come as a result.

What proposals does this webinar make?

What then is the most practical step that various stakeholders and actors can take in the emerging post-COVID 19 worlds to address the proliferation of SALW in Africa and promoted the continent-wide effort that guns be taken out of circulation, banished, or their numbers reduced? In short, it is to increase the visibility of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and to press for accession to the treaty by those major arms manufacturing states that have not ratified the ATT: namely, the United States, Russia, China, Israel, and Ukraine.

The Webinar will focus on looking for practical solutions to the problem of the proliferation of SALW with a focus on the following proposed steps to reduce small arms proliferation in the post-pandemic world:

  1. Voice support for the ATT framework and encourage states to join.
  2. Continue to articulate the nexus between arms proliferation, conflict, and poverty.
  3. Banishing Guns needs to remain on the agenda beyond 2020.
  4. Empowering women as key actors in conflict prevention and mediation.
  5. Advocate for reinforcement of international and continental protocols on SALW.
  6. Encourage states to adopt tougher stands against the arms industry.
  7. Advocate for enhanced training of national border guard agencies and cooperation by these agencies among states.
  8. Encourage active involvement by civil society.
  9. Encourage strategic thinking in regard to SAWL by states.

Format

This 1 hour 45 -minute Webinar will include a keynote presentation and 4 panelists from countries around the world. A moderator will facilitate the discussion between the presenters on the main themes. A Q&A session will follow the discussion.

Agenda

16:00   Welcome and Introductions

16:10   Keynote Presentation: Catholic Church African Bishops’ Conference Representative

16:30   Panelist Presentations

  • Fernando Saldivar, S.J. Jesuit Conference of Africa and Madagascar.
  • Arsene Brice Bado, S.J, Centre for Research and Action for Peace (CERAP), Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
  • Elias Omondi. Hekima Institute for Peace and International Relations, Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Teresa Wamuyu Wachira, IVBM, Pax Christi, Nairobi, Kenya

17:30 Questions and answer session

17:45 Closing

Audience

The webinars are primarily directed to relevant decision-makers and practitioners from politics, civil service, international organizations, and civil society, and other interested partners and stakeholders.

Technical platform

The webinars will be held in English, conducted through the Zoom webinar platform.

Details

Start:
October 5 @ 4:00 pm
End:
October 26 @ 6:00 pm
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