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Nieuwsbericht Ontwikkelingshulp Simavi

Simavi naar Stockholm voor water

Leonardo da Vinci wist het zo’n 500 jaar geleden al treffend te brengen: ’Water is the driving force of all nature.’ Steviger gesteld; zonder water is er geen leven. Sterker nog, wij, de mens bestaan voor 90% uit water. Niet zo gek dus dat in augustus jaarlijks alle experts en deskundigen op het gebied van […]

The post Simavi naar Stockholm voor water appeared first on Simavi.nl.

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Maatschappij Nieuwsbericht Zonnebloem

Minister reikt toegankelijkheids-plaquettes uit

Concertgebouw, Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum en Van Gogh Museum ontvangen vandaag uit handen van minister Ingrid van Engelshoven (Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschap) de eerste toegankelijkheidsplaquettes van de Zonnebloem. Deze vrijwilligersorganisatie maakt vóór 2020 ruim 60 vrijetijdslocaties toegankelijker voor mensen met een lichamelijke beperking. Sinds 2017 werken de vier vrijetijdslocaties aan het Museumplein in Amsterdam met de Zonnebloem aan hun toegankelijkheid. Met de plaquettes wil de Zonnebloem locaties aanmoedigen zich voortdurend in te zetten voor hun toegankelijkheid.

Kennis en inzicht

Zo’n 1,4 miljoen Nederlanders hebben een lichamelijke beperking. Het overgrote deel ervan blijft vaker thuis dan hen lief is. Een dagje naar de dierentuin of het museum is voor hen minder vanzelfsprekend. Vaak is de informatie op de website onvolledig. Ook zijn faciliteiten, zoals invalidentoiletten of rolstoelpaden, onvoldoende aanwezig of voldoen ze niet aan de juiste afmetingen. Of de kaartjesautomaten zijn te hoog voor rolstoelgebruikers. De vrijetijdsector wil hier juist graag wat aan doen. Het ontbreekt vooral aan inzicht en kennis.

Onbeperkt Eropuit

De Zonnebloem kreeg van de VriendenLoterij een bijdrage van 574.000 euro om het project ‘Onbeperkt Eropuit’ te realiseren. Met dit project zet de vereniging haar kennis en ervaring in om vóór 2020 ruim 60 attractieparken, bioscopen, concertzalen, dierentuinen, musea en voetbalstadions beter toegankelijk te maken. Inmiddels testte de Zonnebloem al 18 locaties van de meest bezochte Nederlandse vrijetijdslocaties.

Onderzoeken

De Zonnebloem doet bij vrijetijdslocaties locatie-onderzoeken. Er vinden technische keuringen plaats van faciliteiten. Daarnaast testen 750 ‘mystery guests’ (rollator-, rolstoel- en scootmobielgebruikers) en Zonnebloemvrijwilligers de locaties in de praktijk. Op basis van de uitkomsten adviseert de Zonnebloem de vrijetijdslocaties over wat beter kan. Ook biedt de organisatie workshops aan medewerkers met een publieksfunctie. Daarin staan kennis over de doelgroep centraal.

Mystery guests

Tamara van Laarhoven, rolstoelgebruiker en één van de 750 mystery guests is inmiddels zeer betrokken bij ons project. “Hoe meer vrijetijdslocaties zich laten testen door de Zonnebloem, des te beter. Dan wordt eropuit gaan een stuk gemakkelijker én leuker. Vaak zijn kleine aanpassingen al grote verbeteringen, waardoor ik er wél op uit kan.”

Toegankelijkheid een voorwaarde

Marc Damen, directeur Nationale Vereniging de Zonnebloem onderstreept nog eens het belang van een goede toegankelijkheid van vrijetijdslocaties. “Nederland loopt achter op de ons omringende landen waar het gaat over toegankelijkheid. Maar juist de toegankelijkheid is voor iedereen een voorwaarde om er onbezorgd op uit te kunnen gaan. Alle vrijetijdslocaties geven aan dat zij graag voor iedereen toegankelijk willen zijn. Hierdoor kunnen ook mensen met een lichamelijke beperking mee doen aan de maatschappij. Dat is zoals het hoort.”

Categorieën
IDEA Maatschappij en Cultuur Mensenrechten Nieuwsbericht

Joint statement on the European Commission's proposal for the establishment of the 'Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument' of the EU Budget

The Office of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) to the European Union, the European Partnership for Democracy (EPD), and the European Network of Political Foundations (ENoP) welcome the publishing by the European Commission of its detailed proposal for establishing the ‘Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI)’ of the next EU budget, which covers the majority of spending beyond EU borders.

As democracy support actors, we are encouraged by the importance the European Commission attaches to the European Union’s external action. We view the proposed Euro 123 billion for the NDICI, including the increase of funding for the democracy and human rights programme, in a positive light. Based on our previous Joint Statement on, The importance of democracy and democracy support in the EU Multi-annual financial framework (MFF 2021-2027)’’ of 23 May 2018, we acknowledge that the NDICI proposal has certain distinct advantages. However, the proposed regulation in its current version lacks detail in many areas to make a comprehensive analysis of its impact on democracy and democracy support. To this end, and based on available information, we are concerned that the latest proposal could denote, inter alia, the following:

  • The absence of a strategic approach to democracy support, focusing on addressing short- to medium-term priorities, while diminishing the importance of promoting shared interests and values for sustainable democracy and effective democracy support;
  • Lack of clarity and short on specificities in relation to sustainable democracy and effective democracy support, including dedicated and guaranteed ring-fenced funding for democracy support;
  • Reduced participation and inclusion of local authorities as democracy actors;
  • No specific mentioning and hence no guarantee for dialogue with high- and middle income countries to cooperate on democracy support and the implementation of the Agenda 2030;
  • Lack of clarity on NDICI modalities for the promotion of coherence, linkages and improved communication, including the application of a degree of flexibility that the instrument is introducing in funding for external actions; and
  • Reduced oversight from key institutional democracy and development actors, in particular the European Parliament.

We hope that the aforementioned concerns would be addressed and clarified during the ongoing consultative process on the MFF that involves the European Commission, European Council and EU Member States, European Parliament, and all democracy support actors. To further contribute to this consultative process, we would like to make the following recommendations in relation to democracy and democracy support in the next MFF 2021-2027:

  1. Include democracy support as one of the top EU political priorities

Assured EU leadership on democracy, promotion of human rights, rule of law, and inclusive governance is both a reflection of EU values and a critical way of addressing EU priorities. Democracy should be regarded as a long-term and non-linear process that can help to foster long-term stability, security, and peace, as well as complement sustainable development in the EU´s neighbourhood and beyond in accordance with Agenda 2030.

  1. Follow an inclusive approach for the implementation of democracy support programmes

Continue to ensure that all relevant public and private sector non-profit organizations, international organizations, civil society organizations and foundations, including political foundations, national, regional and international parliamentary bodies are consulted as appropriate, and considered as possible implementing partners in democracy support under the NDICI. Such an inclusive approach to democracy support contributes to improved implementation, and the strengthening of EU leadership in democracy and democracy support.

  1. Ensure a clearly defined and comprehensive articulation of the scope of democracy support

Under existing EU financing instruments for external action, the scope of instruments is contained in the main act, whereas the NDICI proposal supports the scope of sectors in various annexes (Annex III for democracy and human rights). These should be more clearly defined, moved to and captured in the main NDICI act in order to reflect their central importance. Further, it is also important to capture and make reference to all relevant and existing EU democracy and democracy support policy documents[1] in the NDICI text. This would allow for greater consistency, transparency and accountability.

  1. Ensure wider consultation and coordination among EU Institutions, EU Member States, and democracy support actors for EU democracy support policy

There is a need for the development and implementation of an overarching and strategic EU democracy support policy that includes EU institutions, EU Member States and democracy support actors. This would provide a clearly defined framework for the implementation of democracy support programmes under the NDICI.

  1. Guarantee full compliance with processes and procedures for the approval and implementation of EU financing instruments under the next MFF

The MFF covers a period of seven years, and it is therefore important to ensure that sufficient time is allocated for dialogue and consultation during the negotiation process. To this end, full compliance with the processes and procedures for the approval of the MFF by the Council of the European Union and European Parliament, should be guaranteed, irrespective of time and other pressures. Further, the governance procedures for the new proposed instruments must be more clearly outlined, including the oversight role of the European Parliament.

The Office of the  International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) to the European Union, the European Partnership for Democracy (EPD), and  the European Network of Political Foundations (ENoP) reiterate our commitment to collaborate with EU Institutions and EU Member States on the Multi-Annual Financial Framework to ensure  strategic, effective and accountable EU democracy and external democracy support. It is our endeavour to remain seized of this important matter, and we will release further joint statements in the future to contribute to the approval of a MFF that promotes the full implementation of Agenda 2030, including support for sustainable democracy globally. 

Brussels, July 2018

 

[1] For example, the 2009 Council Conclusions on ‘Democracy Support in the EU’s External Relations’, 2012 ‘EU Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy’, 2012 Commission Communication on ‘The roots of democracy and sustainable development: Europe’s engagement with Civil Society in external relations’, 2014 Council Conclusions on ‘A rights-based approach to development cooperation, encompassing all human rights’, and following edition of the 2015-2019 ‘Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy’.
International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA)
The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) is an intergovernmental organization with the mission to advance democracy worldwide, as a universal human aspiration and enabler of sustainable development. We do this by supporting the building, strengthening and safeguarding of democratic political institutions and processes at all  levels. Our vision is a world in which democratic processes, actors and institutions are inclusive and accountable and deliver sustainable development to all. 
What do we do?
In our work we focus on three main impact areas: electoral processes; constitution-building processes; and political participation  and representation. The themes of gender and inclusion, conflict sensitivity and sustainable development are mainstreamed across all our areas of work. International IDEA provides analysis of global and regional democratic trends; produces comparative knowledge of  good international democratic practices; offers technical assistance and capacity-building on democratic reform to actors engaged in  democratic processes; and convenes dialogue on issues relevant to the public debate on democracy and democracy building.
Where do we work?
Our headquarters are located in Stockholm, with regional and country offices in Africa, the Asia-Pacific, Europe and Latin America and  the Caribbean. International IDEA is a Permanent Observer to the United Nations and is accredited to European Union institutions. 
https://idea.int
European Partnership for Democracy (EPD)
The European Partnership for Democracy (EPD) is a non-profit organisation supporting democracy and good governance worldwide. The EPD  network brings together 13 organisations from around the European Union (EU) that specialise on different sectors of democracy support, including support for political parties, parliaments, elections, media development, local democracy, human rights, executive leadership and ICT.
The EPD network collaborates on programmes and shares experiences and lessons learned, in order to contribute more effectively to democratisation around the world. In addition, EPD contributes to improving democracy support policies through its advocacy efforts in Brussels.
Our members are: Agence Française de Coopération medias (CFI), Club de Madrid, Eastern European Studies Centre (EESC), Elbarlament, European Association of Local Democracy (ALDA), European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES), Netherlands Helsinki  Committee (NHC), Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD), One World, Oslo Center, People in Need, Political Parties of Finland for Democracy (Demo Finland), Universidade Catolica Portuguesa, and the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD).
www.epd.eu
European Network of Political Foundations (ENoP)
The European Network of Political Foundations (ENoP) consists of 51 member foundations and three affiliated entities, coming from 22 countries within the EU. The members are ideologically close to six party families – ALDE, ECR, EPP, Greens/EFA, GUE/NGL, and S&D -represented in the European Parliament and belonging to the democratic spectrum.
The Network also serves as a platform for political foundations in Europe to exchange with the EU institutions, civil society organisations (CSOs) and research institutes about democracy support, development cooperation and political dialogue.
The activities of political foundations in the fields of democracy support and development cooperation, include civic education, public campaigning and awareness building, advocacy directed towards institutions as well  as decision-makers in their respective home countries. ENoP members work actively in over 100 countries across the world, where they implement projects, aimed at enhancing democratic grassroots structures, strengthening civic participation, consolidating political institutions, and bridge existing gaps between civil society and political actors.
In 2016, ENoP has signed a Framework Partnership Agreement (FPA) with the European Commission, aimed at enhancing the cooperation between the two actors in: 1) promoting enabling environment for political foundations, CSOs and political parties; 2) encouraging  participation in policy-making  through political foundations, their partner-organisations and political parties; and 3) strengthening the capabilities of political foundations in supporting democracy and developing pluralistic societies.
www.enop.eu  
Categorieën
Maatschappij Nieuwsbericht Zonnebloem

Samen met Ada durf ik wel op stap

Na een roerige periode gaat Gebke er voor het eerst weer op uit. Met vrijwilliger Ada. Lekker genieten van een heerlijke ijscoupe op een speciale plek. “Hier heb ik zoveel mooie herinneringen.”

Na het overlijden van haar man Gerard verlangde Gebke terug naar haar thuishonk: Vlaardingen. De plek waar haar kinderen zijn opgegroeid. “Na zo’n heftige tijd wilde ik mijn kinderen en kleinkinderen dichtbij hebben.” Intussen is ze gesetteld op haar nieuwe stek, maar de verhuizing hakte er flink in. “Ik heb MS en heb te veel van mijn lijf gevraagd”, vertelt ze. Veel onderneemt Gebke dus niet. Maar met haar favoriete vrijwilliger Ada kan ze de wereld aan en durft ze wél op stap.

Waardevol bezoekwerk
De dames kennen elkaar al heel lang. Hun speciale band ontstond toen Ada haar om de week bezocht. “Mijn gezondheid ging achteruit en tegelijkertijd had ik de zorg voor mijn zieke man. Als Ada kwam, ging Gerard een boodschap doen. Om mij eventjes tijd voor mezelf te gunnen. Met Ada praten was dan fijn. Ze wilde horen hoe het met mij ging. Ze was er voor mij. En nog steeds. Ze betekent veel voor me.”

Dierbare herinneringen
Op deze zonnige dag zijn de dames te vinden bij de nieuwe hotspot van Vlaardingen: Jofel aan de Plas. Gelegen aan de Krabbeplas, waar Gebke heel wat uurtjes heeft doorgebracht. “We kwamen hier vaak om met de kinderen te surfen. Al die herinneringen komen nu boven.” Gebke geniet en vervolgt: “De laatste tijd was zwaar. Mijn kinderen en Ada zijn mijn steun en toeverlaat.” Ada schuift dichter bij Gebke: “Meid, je doet het zo knap. Een nieuw leven opbouwen, terwijl je rouwt.” Gebke glimlacht. “Even je hart luchten en samen lachen. Dit doet me zó goed!”

Eerdere ontmoeting

Gebke verhuisde dit jaar in mei weer terug naar Vlaardingen. Ze werd daar bij haar nieuwe appartement verrast door de vrijwilligers van de Zonnebloemafdeling, waaronder Ada. Bekijk de beelden en lees ook dit verhaal

 

 

Categorieën
IDEA Maatschappij en Cultuur Mensenrechten Nieuwsbericht

Out of Country Voting for migrants and refugees: dilemmas and best practices

At present, 151 countries out of 216 countries included in the International IDEA Voting from Abroad database have in place a legal framework for Out-of-Country Voting (OCV), while the remaining 65 countries have no system in place for citizens traveling or living abroad to cast their vote in elections. When the International IDEA Handbook on Out of Country Voting  was published in 2007, there were no existing international standards for OCV, and today, over a decade later, this is still the case. Granting the right to vote from abroad is at the discretion of each state, as international law creates no explicit legal obligations for states to enfranchise their citizens abroad. However, growing mobility of people across national borders continues to make OCV a topical issue around the world and puts pressure on nations that currently do not have an OCV option to put programmes into place.

Why does OCV matter?

On 14 July 2018, International IDEA held a workshop on “Political Representation of Migrants in Peace- and State-Building Processes” during the Annual Meeting of the Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS) which took place in Rome. Speaking on the panel, International IDEA’s Democracy and Diversity Officer, Lina Antara, highlighted that OCV can have a real and substantive value for the political inclusion of diasporas. In particular, when elections are viewed as a peacebuilding tool, OCV can play an important role in post-conflict or transitional elections. By facilitating the engagement of diaspora through OCV, these groups can, potentially, see themselves as stakeholders in the peace- and democracy-building efforts in their home countries. This in turn can enhance democratic legitimacy of any post-conflict political arrangement and contribute to the consolidation of peace and democracy, despite varying political viewpoints that may come from home or abroad. Furthermore, if citizens abroad are not allowed to exercise any political rights, then there is a risk that national policies will not reflect their interests, as politicians are likely to ignore the interests of groups lacking electoral rights.

At the same time, Antara reminded that it is important to keep in mind the diversity of diasporas which may often be divided along ethnic, tribal or religious lines. Building trust and cooperation among diaspora communities is a central part of diaspora engagement as well as an initial step to effective diaspora dialogue. In this regard, OCV can play a positive role in fostering cooperation among the various diaspora communities. In addition, as highlighted in International IDEA’s 2017 report on the Global State of Democracy, origin countries can enjoy a democratic dividend from emigration, as citizens abroad can become agents of democracy and can help diffuse democratic norms in their countries of origin. Citizens abroad also contribute to economic development in their home countries, such as in some countries where remittances make up a considerable share of the national GDP. The possibility to participate in origin country elections through OCV can strengthen their feeling of belonging to the home countries. 

Key considerations in OCV design and implementation

Albania is an example of a country which is exploring options for introducting OCV. As one of five counties in Europe that does not have a way for citizens living abroad to vote on Election Day, Albania’s discussions surrounding potential OCV implementation are of course informed by the aspiration to ensure that all citizens have equal opportunities to participate in democratic elections. Nevertheless, the political and social grievances that might arise from such a decision must also be taken into careful consideration, as out-of-country votes can significantly alter the political landscape. Also, OCV mechanisms can be costly, complex to administer, and, depending on safeguards put in place, can be a point of vulnerability for election authorities. As in all electoral design decisions, there are trade offs  between accessibility and inclusion on the one hand, and security and integrity of the process on the other. 

Recently, an Albanian parliamentary conference dedicated to OCV was held in Tirana and was hosted by Albania’s Ad Hoc Committee on Electoral Reform (AHC) with the support of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Presence in Albania. At the conference, International IDEA’s Sead Alihodzic presented comparative practices as well as examples of OCV experiences and procedures including that of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Alihodzic highlighted the various ways in which OCV is conducted, which can be through postal ballot, online voting, proxy voting or in-person at designated polling stations abroad. He also acknowledged that while there are inherent risks in OCV, “these risks should be weighted against the greater democratic interest and the political will to deal with any potential challenges in good faith.”  Alihodzic outlined four “top tips” for policymakers regarding the design of OCV:

  1. In deciding how to design OCV, the democratic interests and realities of your country should be taken into account.
  2. Leave no gaps when it comes to regulations and operationalization.
  3. Be aware of limitations to control this process since it takes place ‘out-of-country’. Some issues that might arise are addressing the number of polling stations, quality of postal services, election observation, and jurisdiction in resolving disputes.
  4. Mishaps are inevitable. Anticipate risks and manage them actively. Lack of credibility of external voting can undermine the credibility of elections altogether.

 OCV for refugees: issues of concern

In countries where OCV applies to all citizens, irrespective of the circumstances that have led them to move abroad and of their legal status in their host country, it would also apply to refugees who continue to retain the citizenship of their country of origin. However, a recent report by International IDEA on Political Participation of Refugees highlights that refugees may effectively be excluded, symbolically or physically, from participation in electoral processes of their country of origin. Even when they are formally entitled to vote from abroad in elections of their country of origin, they have serious reasons to be reluctant to register with the authorities of a persecutory or unprotective country. Furthermore, through 638 in-depth interviews with refugees from Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, South Sudan and Syria, the report found that refugees may be unwilling to communicate personal information to the authorities of their country of origin for fear of persecution. For the same reasons, participation of refugees in OCV operations can be significantly hindered by the designation of polling stations in embassies or consulates of their home countries. In addition, refugees’ participation in post-conflict elections may be interpreted by their host country as an indication that they have re-availed themselves of the protection of their country of origin. As a result, there is a risk that their refugee status be revoked, thus jeopardizing their right to stay and prompting their repatriation. Last but not least, OCV processes usually require the cooperation of the host country, which may be unwilling to do so for political and domestic security reasons.

Looking ahead

During a “Workshop on SDGs and Migration” co-organized by International IDEA, UNITAR CIFAL Jeju and CIFAL Philippines in South Korea on 26 – 29 June 2018,  Antara pointed to the opportunities for international and multi-stakeholder cooperation on issues related to OCV for migrants. For the first time, the Final Draft of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration introduces a commitment for the signatory parties to “enable political participation and engagement of migrants in their countries of origin, including in peace and reconciliation processes, in elections and political reforms, such as by establishing voting registries for citizens abroad, and by parliamentary representation, in accordance with national legislation”. Although not legally enforceable, this framework is an important starting point to enhance dialogue and collaboration between governments, political parties, civil society and international organizations for the effective design and implementation of OCV mechanisms.

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Natuur, Milieu en Dieren Nieuwsbericht Wakker Dier

Jumbo stopt verkoop levende kreeft

Albert Heijn teruggetrokken

Albert Heijn is eerder al teruggetrokken uit de Liegebeestverkiezing. De supermarkt blufte over de leefomstandigheden van haar ‘Premium eend’. In werkelijkheid zijn het doorgefokte plofeenden uit een dichte schuur zonder zwemwater. Albert Heijn gaat de verpakking aanpassen. Helaas past de keten alleen de tekst aan en niet de leefomstandigheden.

Campina, Rabobank en ECOstyle

Er zijn nog drie kandidaten over: Campina, Rabobank en ECOstyle. Campina zegt dat haar koeien verantwoord oud worden, terwijl ze meestal voor hun zesde verjaardag naar de slacht gaan. Rabobank pretendeert in een ‘verduurzamings’-campagne dat ze de voedingssector wil verduurzamen. In werkelijkheid investeert de bank voor miljarden euro’s in de vee-industrie. Dierenvoeding van het merk ECOstyle is genomineerd vanwege de verwarrende merknaam. De voeding is namelijk niet biologisch, maar gemaakt van onder andere plofkip en industrievarken.

Liegebeestverkiezing

Met de jaarlijkse Liegebeestverkiezing brengt Wakker Dier leugenachtige claims over dierenwelzijn aan het licht. Bedrijven die jokken of misleiden over dierenwelzijn, zetten consumenten namelijk op het verkeerde been. Hierdoor krijgen écht diervriendelijkere producten geen eerlijke kans.

Categorieën
IDEA Maatschappij en Cultuur Mensenrechten Nieuwsbericht

Paraguay: The challenges facing Abdo Benítez

Disclaimer: Views expressed in this commentary are those of the staff member. This commentary is independent of specific national or political interests. Views expressed do not necessarily represent the institutional position of International IDEA, its Board of Advisers or its Council of Member States.

Este artículo se encuentra disponible en Castellano.

Last Wednesday, 15 August 2018, Mario Abdo Benítez (Marito, as his followers call him, to distinguish him from his father, who was dictator Alfredo Stroessner’s private secretary) took office as the ninth president of Paraguay since the return to democratic rule in 1989. He was elected in the general elections last April, when he defeated Liberal Efraín Alegre, by a slim margin of 3.7 per cent.

The Paraguayan political regime is presidential, with a five-year term and no re-election. The electoral system does not include runoff elections, the Congress is bicameral, and its election is concurrent with that of the president.

Democracy in this “island surrounded by land,” as Paraguayan writer Augusto Roa Bastos defined his country, is almost 30 years old. In 2018 the seventh general election was held for national authorities. Since the fall of the Stroessner dictatorship all presidents have held office for just one term, thus breaking with a long history of authoritarian government, such as the one headed up by General Stroessner himself.

Abdo Benítez (46 years old) is the leader of a renovationist sector of the Asociación Nacional Republicana (ANR), better known as the Partido Colorado. The party has maintained its hegemonic domination of Paraguayan for more than 70 years, except during the presidential term of 2008-2013, under the presidencies of Fernando Lugo (Frente Guasú, center-left) and Federico Franco (PLRA).

According to the Democracy Index of the Economist Intelligence Unit, associated with the British publication The Economist, Paraguay scores 6.31 points out of 10, placing it in the group of flawed democracies.

Paraguay has shown slight progress in recent years in its support for democracy; according to Latinobarómetro 2017, from 2016 to 2017 Paraguay saw a 4-point increase in support for democracy, reaching 59 per cent (6 points above the regional average of 53 per cent). And while 76 per cent of the population states that democracy is the best form of government, on a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 describes the perception that one is living under a full democratic regime, the score has been 3, compared to a regional average of 5.4.

Tailwind and challenges

Abdo Benítez’s term is getting off to a start with winds in his favor, but also plagued by obstacles and challenges.

The tailwind is in the economy. This small country with a population of seven million, and the world’s fourth-leading exporter of soybean, has shown solid growth, greater than 5 per cent on average for the last five years – far above the regional average—yet highly dependent on natural resources. Inflation is manageable (4.2 per cent annually), and the fiscal deficit and public debt are low (1.5 per cent and 26 per cent respectively). Fitch’s rating agency recommended that the new president maintain a prudent economic policy, improve governance, and strengthen transparency.

This high economic growth coexists with high poverty (26.4 per cent, more than half of whom live in rural areas) high informality (40 per cent), precarious labor conditions, widespread corruption (ranks 135th on Transparency International’s Global Index), low tax burden (13 per cent of GDP), and marked institutional weakness, above all as regards the lack of independence of the judicial branch.

To respond to these challenges, Abdo Benítez promised to focus his priorities in four main areas: (1) maintain macroeconomic stability, increase the rate of growth, and generate quality employment; (2) improve access to and the quality of education in a country in which 60 per cent of the population is under 30, only 4 in 10 finish the basic cycle, and only 1 in 100 completes a university education; (3) respect the institutional framework and the separation of powers, especially the independence of the judiciary, putting an end to the existence of “a friendly justice system,” so as to tackle head-on corruption and impunity—which he has called the “cancer to beat”; and (4) putting in place effective social policies to promote inclusion and reduce the very heavy social debt.

Yet implementing this ambitious agenda will not be easy for him: without a majority in the legislature and with a Partido Colorado that is divided among his sector, another independent sector, and the third under the influence of former President Horacio Cartes (who according to all indications will be waging a tough opposition), governability is not assured. In effect, of the 45 senators, the Colorados have 17, eight of whom answer to the line of President Abdo Benítez, two of whom are “independent,” and six of whom are faithful to the leadership of former President Cartes. The Liberals have 13 seats, the Frente Guasú has six, the Patria Querida party has three senators, the Partido Democrático Progresista has two, the emerging Partido Hagamos has two, and, finally, the Cruzada Nacional movement has one seat in the Senate. In the Chamber of Deputies (lower house), of a total of 80 seats the Colorados have 42, but they are also divided into several camps.

As we see, the new president’s lack of a political support base, and his minority in the legislature, which is highly fragmented, will force him to negotiate with all the political sectors, both in and out of the Colorado party. To that we should add the tougher stance being adopted by the population (especially urban middle classes and youth) towards corruption, a clientelist political system, and an inefficient state.

Abdo Benítez is proposing a radical change in Paraguay, including a possible reform of the Constitution. His promises are being made at a time when Paraguay is experiencing growing citizen mobilization. If he is to succeed, he must listen to and quickly respond to the cries of a society that is sick and tired of corruption and its leaders’ mistakes. Public opinion and the analysts are divided between the skeptics—who are of the opinion that Abdo Benitez will merely represent continuity of the conservatism of the Colorado party, and those who believe in his promises of change. His inaugural address was solid and well-received. Now it’s time to govern and to follow through on the promises.

Categorieën
IDEA Maatschappij en Cultuur Mensenrechten Nieuwsbericht

Paraguay: Los desafios de Abdo Benítez

Declaración: Las opiniones expresadas en este comentario son las del miembro del personal. Este comentario es independiente de intereses nacionales o políticos específicos. Las opiniones expresadas no representan necesariamente la posición institucional de International IDEA, su Consejo de Asesores o su Consejo de los Estados Miembros.

This article is available in English.

El pasado miércoles 15 de agosto, Mario Abdo Benítez (Marito, como le llaman sus seguidores para diferenciarlo de su padre quien fue secretario privado del dictador Alfredo Stroessner), asumió como el noveno Presidente desde el retorno de Paraguay a la democracia en 1989. Su elección, tuvo lugar durante las elecciones generales del pasado mes de abril, ocasión en la que derrotó al liberal Efraín Alegre, por un escaso margen de 3,7%.

El régimen político paraguayo es presidencial, con un mandato de cinco años y sin reelección. El sistema electoral no regula el ballotage, el Congreso es bicameral y su elección es concurrente con la del presidente.

La democracia en esta “isla rodeada de tierra”, como la definió el escritor Augusto Roa Bastos, cuenta con casi 30 años y en 2018 celebró su séptima elección general para renovar autoridades nacionales. Desde la caída de la dictadura, todos los presidentes ejercieron funciones en tan solo un mandato, rompiendo así con una larga historia de gobierno autocrático, como fue el liderado por el general Stroessner.

Abdo Benítez (46 años) lidera un sector renovador de la Asociación Nacional Republicana (ANR), más conocida como Partido Colorado, fuerza que domina la política paraguaya de manera hegemónica desde hace más de siete décadas, salvo durante el quinquenio 2008-2013 que estuvo gobernado por los ex presidentes Fernando Lugo (Frente Guasú de centro izquierda) y Federico Franco (PLRA).

De acuerdo con el Índice de la Democracia de la Unidad de Inteligencia del medio británico The Economist, Paraguay alcanza 6.31 puntos de 10, situándola en el grupo de democracias imperfectas.

Paraguay ha demostrado en los últimos años un leve avance en su apoyo al régimen democrático; según el Latinobarómetro 2017, de 2016 a 2017 el país ha aumentado 4 puntos porcentuales el apoyo a la democracia, alcanzando un 59% (6 puntos por encima del promedio regional situado en el 53%). Y si bien el 76% de la población indica que la democracia es el mejor sistema de gobierno, en una escala del 1 al 10, donde diez es el valor de percepción de estar viviendo bajo un régimen de democracia plena, la puntación ha sido de 3, frente al promedio de la región de 5,4.

Viento de cola y desafíos

El mandato de Abdo Benítez arranca con viento a favor pero también plagado de obstáculos y desafíos.

El viento de cola viene del lado de la economía. Este pequeño país de 7 millones de habitantes y cuarto exportador mundial de soja, registra un sólido crecimiento, superior al 5% promedio en los últimos cinco años -muy por encima de la media regional- pero con fuerte dependencia en los recursos naturales. La inflación es manejable (4,2% anual) y los déficit fiscal y el nivel de deuda pública son bajos (1,5% y 26% respectivamente). La agencia calificadora Fitch recomendó al nuevo mandatario mantener una política económica prudente, mejorar la gobernabilidad y fortalecer la transparencia.

Este alto crecimiento económico convive con elevados niveles de pobreza -26,4%, de los cuales más de la mitad viven en las zonas rurales-, alta informalidad (40%), precariedad laboral, corrupción generalizada (puesto 135 a nivel mundial en el Índice Global de Transparencia Internacional), bajo nivel de presión tributaria (13% del PIB) y marcada debilidad institucional, sobre todo en lo tocante a la falta de independencia del poder judicial.

Para dar respuesta a estos desafíos, Abdo Benítez prometió concentrar sus prioridades en 4 ejes: 1) mantener la estabilidad macroeconómica, aumentar la tasa de crecimiento y generar empleo de calidad; 2) mejorar el acceso y la calidad de la educación en un país en el que el 60% de la población tiene menos de 30 años, solo 4 de 10 terminan el ciclo básico y únicamente 1 de 100 concluye la universidad; 3) respetar la institucionalidad y la división de poderes, sobre todo la independencia del poder judicial, poniendo fin a la existencia de “una justicia amiga”, para luchar frontalmente contra la corrupcion y la impunidad – a la que demonimó como el “cancer a vencer”-; y 4) generar políticas sociales efectivas para promover la inclusión y reducir la abultada deuda social.

Pero la puesta en marcha de esta ambiciosa agenda no le será fácil: sin mayoría en el legislativo y con un Partido Colorado dividido entre su sector, otro independiente y el tercero bajo la influencia del ex presidente Horacio Cartes (quien todo hace prever que hará una oposición férrea) la gobernabilidad no está asegurada. En efecto, de los 45 senadores, los colorados suman 17 legisladores, de los cuales 8 responden a la línea del presidente Abdo Benítez, 2 son “independientes” y 6 se mantienen fieles al liderazgo del ex presidente Cartes. Los liberales suman 13 curules, el Frente Guasu tiene 6 representantes, el Partido Patria Querida 3 legisladores, el Partido Democrático Progresista cuenta con 2 legisladores, el emergente Partido Hagamos, con 2 legisladores, y finalmente, el movimiento Cruzada Nacional, con un curul. Por su parte, en la Cámara de Diputados, de un total de 80 curules, los colorados suman 42 diputados pero también divididos en varios grupos.

Como vemos, la falta de una base de apoyo político propio y el encontrarse en minoría en el legislativo, el cual presenta un alto grado de fragmentacón, obligará al nuevo mandatario a negociar con todos los sectores políticos dentro y fuera del partido colorado. A ello debemos agregar la crispación de la población (sobre todo las clases medias urbanas y los jóvenes) frente a la corrupción, a un sistema político clientelar y a un Estado ineficiente.

Abdo Benítez propone un cambio de raíz para Paraguay incluida una posible reforma constitucional. Sus promesas tienen lugar en un momento en que Paraguay vive una creciente movilización ciudadana. Para ello deberá oir y dar respuesta rápida a los reclamos de una sociedad que está harta de la corrupción y de los errores de sus dirigentes. La opinión pública y los analistas están divididos entre los escépticos –quienes opinan que Abdo Benitez será un simple continuador del conservadurismo colorado- y los que creen en su promesas de cambio. Su discurso de juramentación fue acertado y bien recibido. Ahora es tiempo de gobernar y cumplir las promesas.

Categorieën
Gezondheid en Handicaps Nieuwsbericht sHeeren Loo

Zorgboerderij Hendrikahoeve naar 's Heeren Loo

We zijn trots om te kunnen laten weten dat zorgboerderij Hendrikahoeve in Haaksbergen vanaf 1 september 2018 onderdeel is van ‘s Heeren Loo. Dinsdag 21 augustus ondertekenden de huidige eigenaren Gea ter Heide en Rint van der Velde met ’s Heeren Loo hiervoor de overeenkomst.

Hendrikahoeve

De Hendrikahoeve is een zorgboerderij in Haaksbergen. Op een mooie plek in het buitengebied staat de boerderij van Gea en Rint. Al ruim 20 jaar heeft Gea hier haar zorgboerderij waar ze dagbesteding, buitenschoolse opvang en logeren aanbied voor kinderen en jongeren met een (licht) verstandelijke beperking of andere problematiek waarvoor professionele zorg nodig is. Omdat Gea over een paar jaar van haar pensioen mag gaan genieten, zocht zij een organisatie die haar boerderij kon overnemen zodat de zorgboerderij ook na haar pensioneren blijft bestaan.

’s Heeren Loo en Hendrikahoeve

Hendrikahoeve en ‘s Heeren Loo zijn geen onbekenden van elkaar. Een aantal cliënten van ’s Heeren Loo in Enschede kwam al bij de Hendrikahoeve. Al snel bleek dat de Hendrikahoeve en ’s Heeren Loo een gedeelde visie op zorg hebben. Beide organisaties stellen de cliënt centraal en organiseren de zorg die gevraagd wordt samen met familie en professionals. Bovendien is Gea zelf ruim 40 jaar geleden begonnen als leerling verpleegkundige bij ‘s Heeren Loo in Ermelo. Daarmee is na tientallen jaren de cirkel rond en is ’s Heeren Loo voor Gea de juiste partner die de Hendrikahoeve voort kan zetten. Hiermee gaat er tegelijk ook een vurige wens van ouders, cliënten en personeel in vervulling: ‘s Heeren Loo is van plan de zorgboerderij te verbouwen, zodat er vanaf januari 2020 ook gewoond kan worden.

De ondertekening van de overeenkomst op 21 augustus. Op de foto (v.l.n.r.): Brechtje Fleur en Cathelijne Haytink van ’s Heeren Loo, Rint van der Velde en Gea ter Heide van zorgboerderij Hendrikahoeve, Robert Collenteur van ’s Heeren Loo. 

Feestelijk moment

Op maandag 3 september is er op de Hendrikahoeve een feestelijk moment waar we stil staan bij de overname. Dit doen we samen met de wethouder, regiodirecteur Brechtje Fleur en natuurlijk de medewerkers van de Hendrikahoeve.

Categorieën
Mensen in nood Nieuwsbericht Ontwikkelingshulp Rode Kruis

Helpen in Myanmar: gebouwen renoveren én praten met gewapende groepen

Het is al langer onrustig in delen van Myanmar. Maar in augustus 2017 wordt vooral deelstaat Rakhine berucht na een reeks gewelddadige incidenten. Bijna 700.000 mensen vluchten naar buurland Bangladesh. Anderen kunnen de grens niet oversteken en zijn binnen hun eigen land op de vlucht. Of ze durven hun dorp niet meer te verlaten en zijn afhankelijk van hulp van buitenaf.

Het Rode Kruis is met hulpverleners als Martine één van de weinige organisaties met mensen in Rakhine. De hulpverleners ondersteunen de achtergebleven bevolking van de deelstaat met voedsel, medische zorg en bouwprojecten. Dat is wel een uitdaging, want door het regenseizoen zijn hele gebieden slecht bereikbaar. Soms moet het voedsel lopend naar de dorpen worden gebracht.

In Rakhine verschuiven Martines werkzaamheden naar haar passie: bouwkunde. Ze werkt mee aan latrines, onderdak en schoon drinkwater voor de bevolking van afgelegen dorpen. Ook maakt ze bouwplannen voor de renovatie van het lokale Rode Kruis-kantoor.

En dat bouwen bevalt haar nog het best. In haar gesprekken met gewapende groepen probeerde ze het respect voor het humanitair oorlogsrecht en de basisrechten van de bevolking te vergroten. “Die gesprekken zijn belangrijk, maar je boekt steeds kleine succesjes die slecht meetbaar zijn. Als je bouwt, zet je iets tastbaars neer en weet je: dit maakt heel praktisch verschil voor de mensen die hier leven.”