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When there is not love for a child to remember,

Then there is nothing for the child to remember except the hate.?

— Roger Dean Kiser

Violent conflicts have devastating consequences for the entire population.  A change in the characteristics of conflict has made civilians more susceptible to the devastation from conflict. Today, a majority of combat related deaths are civilians. Armed conflict mostly affects women and children; orphans are the most vulnerable.  Young children lack the capability to take care of themselves and depend on external support for survival. A child that lost its parents to conflict and is not enjoying the care of a third person is deemed to die. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), suffering from civil conflict for several decades, has produced multiple generations of orphans. To achieve long lasting and sustainable peace, orphans have to receive the education that enables them to integrate themselves into society, ensures employment, and promotes reconciliation.  The future is going to ask for a next generation of environmental aware leaders that have the skills to address climate change and natural resource management.  Hence, orphans in the DRC have to benefit from a comprehensive approach, combining the provision of basic needs, education, environmental skills development, and peace building. (more…)

“There is a sufficiency in the world for man’s need but not for man’s greed.”

~Mohandas K. Gandhi

Sustainability can be defined as a long-term, cyclic process of a value adding system independent of additional external input, aiming to preserve and conserve our ecosystem, while pursuing intra- and intergenerational parity. The ecosystem includes all aspects of our natural environment and human society, such as cultural heritage, social arrangements, norms and beliefs, resources, biological organisms, security, and psychological and physical health. The definition of sustainability has two key concepts: (1) the cyclic process of a value adding system, and (2) sustainability is long-term. An essential component of a value adding system, a mechanism that drives the development of human society, is a cyclic process that ensures constant progress. Sustainability from a holistic perspective has to include social sustainability, political sustainability, economical sustainability, cultural sustainability, and environmental sustainability. (more…)

Brazil’s economy highlights the interconnectedness of the world we live in today.  In the late 1990s, globalization was already so far advanced that events on the other side of the world have wide-ranging implications for a single country.  In the case of Brazil, it was the Asian financial crisis of 1998 that had a trickle down effect and brought the Brazilian economy into turmoil.  On the other hand, Brazil also benefited from a more globalized world. The creation of the regional trade agreement ‘Mercosur’ granted Brazil greater access to its numerous neighboring countries, and helped the country achieve vast regional economic growth.  Brazil gained from its strong trade ties to the United States, Canada, Europe, Russia and China. Still, Brazil faced trade barriers that were targeting goods where the country had a comparative advantage.  Given that Brazil’s main export has been coffee, it was strongly dependent on global coffee prices and had a limited capacity to cope with an economic shock that was induced by a sudden fall in coffee prices.  One of Brazil biggest obstacles was its gigantic amount of foreign debt, which absorbed a great share of Brazils income.  Brazil’s objective to repay its debts led to policies that were primarily focused on an increase in GDP and disregarded the needs of its large, poor population, and failed to protect the environment and indigenous traditions.  The country’s political environment further hindered economic growth.  Resistance from Congress made necessary reform difficult and resulted in fruitless economic policies and a lacking social security system.  As an outcome of this, Brazil is marked with bad fiscal health. (more…)

The objective of this thesis is to discuss the impact of United States involvement in conflict resolution in Africa. The argument is that countries facing violent conflict benefit from U.S. involvement in conflict resolution. To evaluate this statement, the first section of this thesis examines the U.S. interest in engaging in conflicts in Africa and the significance of focusing on conflict resolution for Africa. Further sections explore different U.S. strategies to resolve conflict, as well as the outcomes of U.S. involvement and the consequences of non- involvement. The author concludes that the U.S. plays a crucial role in the peace building process, however, historical experiences have demonstrated that the United State’s primary strategy ought to be to function as an indirect mediator and facilitator. With the aim of achieving sustainable development the U.S. has to put emphasis on conflict prevention and ensure permanent peace and stability.  Read More

Given Kote-Nikoi’s definition of sustainable development as “ a development process in which the elements of the development vector do not generally worsen over time, in which the natural physical- capital stock that enables the provision of those elements does not get degraded over time, and in which society’s cultural-capital serves to legitimates the non-degradation of the stock of natural physical-capital.”, I strongly doubt that a world system based on the orthodox economic theory can lead to sustainable development. Even so, our world system continues to be based on constant economic growth. Read More

This article is about Obama’s foreign policy strategies and his struggle to keep up in this fast moving and diffuse world. A world where criticism seems to be louder than support, but idealism never vanishes.

The Obama Doctrine announces that the administration is willing to use unilateral force in case of an immediate threat. Conversely, when the threat is minimal and the decision to act is based on a moral ground, as it was the case in Libya, the Obama administration is reluctant to step in. NATO leaders were surprised because they expected the United States to take a lead in addressing this conflict. After the resolution of the Libyan conflict, the international community seems to be frozen in its actions towards Syria. So far the Obama administration resisted in over-selling the Doctrine. Nonetheless, Obama will now have to protect his Doctrine and justify why he does not intervene in Syria. Crucial foreign policy decisions have to be reestablished in every single case. For instance, the decision to intervene in Libya was based on two historic events. First, the horrifying Genocide in Rwanda. In Rwanda, disengagement had devastating consequences and resulted in almost one million deaths in less than 300 days. Second, the military intervention in Afghanistan, where everyone wished the United States never chose to put their boots on the ground. (more…)

In 2009 at the G8 Summit in L’Aquila, leaders from all around the world agreed to “act with the scale and urgency needed to achieve sustainable global food security.”1 As a result of continuing underinvestment in agriculture, the devastating impact of the financial crisis and unevenly favoring of world trade regulations, millions of people suffer severe poverty and hunger. Thus global leaders called for attention and increased investment for food security and agriculture.

‘As part of the G-8’s focus on food security, the Administration announced a “New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition,” which could raise 50 million people out of poverty over the next 10 years. An essential element of the program is collaboration with the private sector, including pledges of roughly $3 Billion in private sector contributions towards food security in Africa. ‘2 (more…)

The benefits and risks of UN integration for humanitarian assistance have been intensely debated for many years. Many humanitarian staff remains skeptical that UN integration can benefit humanitarian action. Others stress the need for enhanced coherence and highlight the positive experiences of UN integration. The United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) is considered to be a success story.  Read More

The judgment has been praised by inter alia the European Union and several NGO-s for representing “a milestone for international criminal justice”, since it “demonstrates that perpetrators cannot act with impunity”.1 Certainly, the importance of this judgment and the work of the ICC should not be underestimated; however, to argue that this one judgment “demonstrates thatperpetrators cannot act with impunity” is not realistic for several reasons. (more…)

On March 4, the fight for children’s rights celebrated a small victory. The conviction of Thomas Lubanga at the International Criminal Court (ICC), has not only been the first successful trial at the ICC, it is also the first time that someone accused of recruiting child soldiers has been convicted.

Thomas Lubanga is a Congolese warlord and the leader of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC). The UPC had a stronghold in the gold-rich Ituri region and were fighting for greater influence in this ethnically divided region. The rebel groups are accused of torture, rape and the abduction of children. Children were not only forced to fight, but especially in the case of young girls they have also been used as sex slaves. In 2005, Lubanga was arrested by Congolese authorities and in 2006 the ICC issued an arrest warrant.i (more…)

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