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December 9th 2011

Moderating Cologne meetings for Palestine / Israel cooperation

I have just returned from three stretching days’ work in a workshop and conference in Cologne (28th November to 1st December) with 15 Palestinian and 15 Israeli Mayors, where I moderated the discussions (using every technique known to me from the meeting-management handbook!) to negotiate agreement on practical steps for cooperation between them. Okay, it was not exactly negotiating the Oslo Peace Accords, but at times we felt pretty close to how the diplomats must have felt at the time! Continue Reading

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September 26th 2011

Wangari Maathai, 1 April 1940 – 25 September 2011

Wangari

All of the team at Aare deeply saddened to hear of the death of friend, colleague and great leader Wangari Maathai.

Ann Pettifor especially remembered the privilege of working closely with Wangari on the Jubilee 2000 campaign. Earlier today she said:

“Wangaari stands shoulder to shoulder with Nelson Mandela and Julius Nyerere as one of Africa’s – and the world’s – wisest and most effective leaders.

“I was privileged to know her as a friend; and as a colleague. But above all I was privileged to work closely with her during the Jubilee 2000 campaign. Not only was she Jubilee 2000′s representative in Kenya, but she helped lead the Jubilee 2000 Africa campaign. Continue Reading

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August 24th 2011

BBC Radio Scotland – Sunday morning show

BBC Radio Scotland

Last Sunday Ann Pettifor went on the Sunday Morning show with Ricky Ross to talk about Jubilee 2000, the fight to cancel the debt of the world’s poorest countries, and how the campaign on issues of international finance, sovereign debt and social justice continue. Continue Reading

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July 8th 2011

Lords back Ai Director’s critique on Localism Bill

On 28th June, Lords from all political sides joined together to criticize the government’s proposals in Part 2 of the Localism Bill, quoting Ai Director Jeremy Smith’s criticism and critique first made in February 2011, in an article in Municipal Journal, “Fog over Parliament” .

Under the government’s proposals, ministers would decide whether and how much to require local authorities to pay to central government, in the event of a fine from the European Court of Justice, which the minister decides they are responsible for.  In his article, Jeremy had explained (a) how the government had misunderstood the relevant EU Treaty provisions, and (b) in particular, how the proposed clawback proposals were in breach of the principles of natural justice, with ministers being at once prosecutor, judge and co-defendant! Continue Reading

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July 6th 2011

AFFORD – African state building and sound monetary systems

cinq-cent-francs

The African Foundation for Development UK (AFFORD) invited Ann Pettifor to give the keynote speech at its Africa-UK Diplomatic Engagement Evening Monday evening, in the presence of the High Commissioners of Sierra Leone and Cote d’Ivoire.

Speaking on the theme of “Enterprise, Workforce and Institution Building in Post-Conflict States” Ann emphasized the vital importance of post-conflict African states building sound monetary systems. She argued that such systems should be designed to give African politicians the policy autonomy needed to formulate and execute their own monetary policy – and with it the domestic economic policies that will protect the interests of their people, and support their country’s advance. Continue Reading

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June 19th 2011

Ann Pettifor on BBC on Food Security

food security

The BBC Radio 4′s ‘World Tonight’ yesterday devoted the whole of their news programme to the question of global food security, and invited Ann Pettifor to comment throughout. She focussed on Goldman Sachs’s Global Commodity Index – (about which you can read more here in Foreign Policy) not very different from the ‘Collateralised Debt Obligations’ (CDOs) that had been used during the property bubble to ‘slice and dice’ assets, and make them available for speculative purposes.

The programming was in response to a recent statement by President Sarkozy to the World Farmers Union. He was speaking in his role as convenor of the upcoming G20 Summit in Cannes on 3-4 November, 2011, and called for greater regulation of financial markets: Continue Reading

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April 6th 2011

Islamic finance and the Public Good

islamic finance

In March, Ann Pettifor was honoured to be invited by Ms Zarinah Anwar CEO of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Malaysia, and Dr Farhan Nizami of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies to attend a conference at Ditchley Park on “Shariah, Finance and the Public Good”.

But before the hard work of deliberation, delegates attended a splendid dinner at the Banqueting House, Whitehall, where they were welcomed by His Royal Highness, Dr Raja Nazrin Shah, Crown Prince of Perak, Malaysia.

In an opening address HRH asked the group to consider whether transfers of ‘artificial wealth’ served the public good; and whether Islamic finance could be distinguished from conventional finance? Prince Nazrin Shah suggested that trust in financial services has all but evaporated, and that such trust would not be restored until finance could demonstrate its concern with the public good. Continue Reading

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Local partnerships for international development

Jeremy Brussels

Last week Jeremy Smith was in Brussels for the launch of a new publication, “Decentralised development cooperation – European perspectives”, for which he was the main author (read on to download English and French versions of the publication).

It has been produced by Platforma, the Europe-wide network of local and regional governments for international development, to showcase the role, cost-effectiveness and value of partnerships between cities, towns and regions from Europe with their counterparts in lower-income countries across the world.  Jeremy’s warm thanks go to Lucie Guillet and Sandra Ceciarini, of the Platforma and CEMR secretariats, for their very considerable help in this work. Continue Reading

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March 18th 2011

Local governments creating their future together in Sarajevo

Saravejo

On 10th to 11th March 2011, the symbolically-resonant city of Sarajevowas the venue for the biggest-ever gathering of elected mayors, councillors and senior local government officials from across south-east Europe.

Over 1000 people came together for the NEXPO Municipal Fair and conference, organised by NALAS, the network of local government associations of the region.  Ai Director Jeremy Smith worked with NALAS in the organisation of the event, in moderating conference sessions, and in drafting the final conclusions, set out in the Sarajevo Declaration. Continue Reading

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February 28th 2011

A global moment

Gene Sharpe

“This is a global moment unlike any in memory, perhaps in history” writes Tom Engelhardt, author of “The American Way of War”.

There have been global moments before – like the Kennedy assassination, news of which sped around world by radio; the fall of the Berlin Wall and 9/11.

But none of those moments have made me feel quite like I do now: that thanks to global media networks I am an eyewitness, a spectator at a momentous and historic event: the transformation by ordinary Arabs, of their human condition. An uprising, largely peaceful and dignified, that nevertheless deserves to be defined as revolutionary. One bound to impact for generations on individual, personal relationships as well as on wider social, economic and political relationships. One that will likely alter the balance of power in our world. Continue Reading

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