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Rebooting Democracy Foreign Policy

“Rebooting Democracy” on Foreign Policy 16.03.2015

This week on Foreign Policy  Lorenzo Fioramonti, John Boik and Gary Milante discuss why our current democratic systems may be failing us and what democracy can look like in the near future:

“If forms of government can be likened to operating systems, current variants of democracy are a bit like early, primitive versions of Windows. They are neither optimally functional nor user-friendly — they are buggy, susceptible to malware, and lack desired features.

While our democratic systems have brought us far, they appear incapable of solving complex modern problems like recurring global financial crises,rising inequality, climate change, and various forms of resource depletion. Even the most established democracies are failing to deliver public goods: the U.S. Society of Civil Engineers recently issued a grade of D+ on the condition of U.S. roads, bridges, water systems, schools, and other infrastructure. Not unexpectedly, the approval rating of the U.S. Congress is at a near-historic low of 20 percent.

The versions of democracy attempted by newly democratizing nations have been even less effective. The democratic system imported by the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq in 2003-4, for example, was really no different from British mandate arrangements tried in the 1920s. The U.S. occupation provided an illusion of democracy, but with little functionality underneath — like a corrupted version of Windows that shows a static desktop but runs no programs. Several years later, in response to the Arab Spring, democracy transfer failed again.

The most powerful pro-democracy wave since the end of the Cold War resulted in precious little new participatory governance.

The failings were not due to a “clash of civilizations,” as Huntington famously argued. There is nothing inherent to democracy that makes it incompatible with the Arab or any other culture. Rather, the failings resulted from promotion of form over substance — replicating an image of democracy rather than a functional, inclusive, accountable decision-making system that is adapted to local needs. If democratic initiatives in the Arab world and elsewhere are to evolve and mature, it will be because expressions of democracy have markedly improved. We are suggesting that democratic systems are due for a major upgrade, and that new, more flexible versions will allow for community programming — refinement of a system by the very people who use it.”

So, what’s next for democracy? Read the full article on Foreign Policy

 

Sara Mercandalli

Senior Research Fellow

Bio

Sara Mercandalli

Sara Mercandalli

Sara is a researcher from CIRAD seconded to GovInn since 2015. She is a development economist, specialized  in agriculture and rural development and holds a PhD in economics from the University Paris XI.

In recent years, her research focused on labor migration and rural households’ livelihoods in sub-Saharan Africa looking in particular at the migration development nexus and policy implication in the context of sub-Saharan demo-economic transition. More recently, she has been expanding her research angle towards issues related to employment and structural change in rural areas, with a public policy analysis focus.

Before joining GovInn, she worked in Latin America and Africa as a project manager in fields such as institutional strengthening of the agricultural sector, agricultural extension and integrated rural development.

Within GovInn, Sara contributes to the axis on the Governance of the Commons and Transboundary Governance.

 

Research interests

  • Labor migration
  • Rural employment
  • Structural transformation
  • Rural development policy in Southern Africa

 

Projects

AFGROLAND Project

Determinants and drivers of migration in Africa (MIGRAFRICA) 

 

Links

You can find a list of her research publications here: https://cirad.academia.edu/SaraMercandalli

 

Contact

Email: sara.mercandalli@cirad.fr or sara.mercandalli@governanceinnovation.org

 

Rediscussing rural change in Sub-Saharan Africa, with Bruno Losch – Rethinking development seminar

Rural diversification in sub-Saharan Africa has been one of the most debated issues over the last 15 years. On 18 March 2015 at the University of Pretoria, Dr Bruno Losch, Political Economist and lead Researcher at CIRAD, will discuss the survey results provided by the World Bank led program RuralStruc.
Rethinking-Development-Seminar-Series-invite-17-March-2015

AFGROLAND team

AFGROLAND

Global Agro-Food-Energy System Changes, Land Use Patterns, Production Models, Natural Resource Management, Food Security through Production and Employment, National/Global Governance (AFGROLAND)

Changes to the global agro-food-energy system (e.g. changing consumption patterns in the North, Europe’s Climate and biofuel policies, etc.) over the past few years have led to a renewed interest in agriculture and a rush to acquire land. The impact of this rush is not always evident as its assessments focus on the short-term and generally remain at a case study level, without considering the broader agrarian and socio-economic transformations it entails. Against this backdrop, the objective of the project is to analyse how global agro-food-energy system changes impact on the countries in the global South, namely in Africa, particularly with regard to sustainable land management, agricultural production and food security, socio-economic outcomes (such as employment and livelihoods), pressure on land and natural resources and, subsequently, the governance of the latter.
Based on extensive empirical research and spatial analysis, and by resituating this research within a multi-dimensional and multi-scale approach, the project will endeavor to

  •  Identify the drivers of change within the global agro-food-energy systems,
  • Better qualify the rush for land, by assessing and defining the different production
  • Quantify and analyze these changes in terms of land and natural resource use
  • Evaluate how such changes impact on food security (with a focus on the land they impact on, and in return are shaped by governance changes at the the regional, national and local levels (WP1)); and land-based investment models being developed (WP2), and governance (land, water and soil) and assess the effects on sustainable soil ecosystem service provision (WP3); enterprises and smallholders) and/or on food access (employment creation, sustainable livelihoods) at the local/national level (WP4)

Partners: The project gathers experts from different disciplines (economists, political scientists, geographers, political analysts, agronomists, environmentalists) from the University of Pretoria (GovInn, School for Agriculture and Rural Development, Department of Agricultural Economics), the Center for Development and Environment (University of Bern) and CIRAD – the French center for Agricultural Research for Development (UMR ART-dev, Tetis and Moisa).

Funding: Belmont Forum

For more information, read this DEF Flyer AfgroLand.  

AFGROLAND team

Front row (Left to right): Bettina Wolfgramm (CDE, University of Bern), Eve Fouilleux (CIRAD), Camilla
Adelle (UP/GovInn), Sandra Eckert (CDE, University of Bern), Sara Mercandalli (CIRAD).
Back row (left to right): Sheryl Hendriks (UP/IFNuW), John Annandale Markus Giger (CDE, University
of Bern), Ward Anseeuw (CIRAD/GovInn), Magalie Bourblanc (CIRAD), Perrine Burnod (CIRAD),
Michael van der Laan (UP/Plant Sciences).
Missing form photo: Lorenzo Fioramonti (UP/GovInn) and Johann Kirsten (UP/Agricultural
Economics, Extension and Rural Development) and local African partners.

Lorenzo at the Global Wellbeing Lab 2.0

Strategies for sustainable wellbeing: Lorenzo Fioramonti at the Global Wellbeing Lab 2.0

The Global Wellbeing Lab 2.0 officially kicked off with a two day workshop in Berlin (Germany) in early February 2015. The Lab aims to shift institutions beyond the pursuit of narrowly measured parameters of economic progress (such as growth) to broader aims that translate into sustainable wellbeing for our societies.

GovInn director Lorenzo Fioramonti  was among the 25 innovators invited to the Lab from all over the world. He had the opportunity to discover new ways of looking at leadership, sustainable development and wellbeing, as he tells us in this interview.

Lorenzo at the Global Wellbeing Lab 2.0

Lorenzo Fioramonti speaking at one of the sessions of the Global Wellbeing Lab 2.0, Berlin 2015

 

What is the Global Wellbeing Lab 2.0?

Lorenzo Fioramonti: These Labs are an initiative of the Global Leadership Academy, a programme funded by the German government to convene “thought leaders” and innovators from all walks of life and from all over the world to discuss, network and share ideas about promoting change at the global scale. In particular, the Wellbeing Lab focuses on new approaches to economic progress and what type of cultural, social and political change we need to build a different economy. It is led by Prof. Otto Scharmer, from the Massachussets Institute of Technology (MIT) and world renowned for his Theory U, and co-hosted by the Presencing Institute in Boston (USA) and the Gross National Happiness Centre in Bhutan.

What happened in Berlin?

The Berlin kick-off event was a very enriching gathering of extremely motivated individuals, from very different backgrounds. There were young innovators from the Silicon Valley, like Nipun Metha, who gave a very inspiring TED Talk on the economy of generosity watched by tens of thousands of viewers. We had the first lady of the State of Oregon, Cylvia Hayes, who is a dedicated environmentalist and has led the introduction of the Genuine Progress Indicator in Oregon.  There was also my friend Katherine Trebeck from Oxfam, who has developed the Humankind Index (another great Ted Talk to watch).
We had managers from the clothing giant Eileen Fisher and Google’s sale manager, Alfred Tolle. We then had representatives of various governments, from Costa Rica to Brazil, USA, Vietnam and the UK. From South Africa, I was joined by Louise Van Rhyn of Symphonia and Mary Jane Morifi from the Nelson Mandela Children Hospital Trust.

We were invited to spend a few days, in almost complete isolation, in the beautiful ecological resort of Landgut A. Borsig, one of the hallmarks of the civil resistance against Hitler. It was a great opportunity to share ideas on how to foster a well-being based economic transition for our countries.

Lorenzo Fioramonti from Presencing Institute on Vimeo.

How does the Lab work?

LF: This first meeting gave us an opportunity to get to know each other better. Indeed, the Lab will continue for 2 years and will become a ‘journey’ taking us to different locations around the world. It’s designed as a space for reflection, but also as an incubator for action. It is based on the Theory U approach, which shows how collective change is ultimately the outcome of a journey. This journey includes personal change as well as continuous interaction with likeminded individuals from different cultural backgrounds. We all share a conviction that the current economic system is not delivering on wellbeing, but the journey will help us identify a common ground on how to make the change happen in practice. Academics, business leaders, government officials and civic activists are all brought together to shape this intellectual and personal journey over the course of the next two years.

What is happening next?

LF: We will start scanning interesting social innovations in South Africa and then bring them back into our global debate. We will also need to identify ideas for change that could become prototypes for action. In May we will then meet again in Bhutan, where we have been officially invited by the government. After that, the journey will take us to other destinations. In the end, the initiative aims to build a strong network of leaders and innovators with a set of shared practical ideas to change the world!

2015 Africa Prosperity Summit: “Promoting Wealth and Wellbeing”

Legatum InstituteAn interesting event for those who, like us at GovInn, are researching new economic governance.
The 2015 Africa Prosperity Summit: Promoting Wealth and Wellbeing, promoted by the Legatum Institute with the support of the Ford Foundation, is taking place in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, on 20-21 May 2015.

 

The conference will focus on four key themes:

  • How data can promote shared prosperity
  • Stoking African innovation: ways and means
  • Business values for prosperity
  • Personal safety and national prosperity

Keynote Speakers

  • Zeinab Badawi, Chair of the Royal Africa Society
  • Marieme Jamme, CEO of SpotOne Global Solutions
  • David McGinty, Team Manager of Human Development Innovation Fund

Registration closes on 20 February 2015.
For more information on how to take part in the summit check the Legatum Institute website

About the Legatum Institute

The Legatum Institute is an international think-tank and educational charity. Its aim is to promote prosperity by revitalising capitalism and democracy. The Legatum Prosperity Index, our signature publication, ranks 142 countries in terms of wealth and wellbeing.

Call for applicants BTC

Call for applications: 1-year scholarships in policy analysis, governance and development

Call for applicants BTC
CALL FOR APPLICATIONS

The Belgian Technical Cooperation (BTC), in collaboration with GovInn – The Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation, the Post-Graduate School of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Department of Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural development of the University of Pretoria, is offering one year scholarships in the fields of policy analysis and governance regarding development, for Master’s students engaging in their last/thesis year. The bursaries aim at promoting empirical fieldwork and research at the Master’s level.

Who should/can apply?

  • Students with an educational background in either sociology, political science, public administration, geography, anthropology, political economy, or socio-economy
  • Motivated students, with a well-structured research project, intending to finalize their Master’s thesis within 12 months
  • Master’s students engaging in their last/thesis year
  • Southern African citizens (priority will be given to South African students and South African related topics)

Which fields and topics are focused on?

  • Topics related to the broad field of development policy, in particular related to agriculture, rural development and natural resources governance in rural areas (agricultural and rural development policy, water policy, natural resource management, land reform, food security, etc.)
  • Topics related to public policies and governance – as the main object of research – will be prioritized.

What is included in the scholarship?

  • The scholarship will cover a monthly stipend for 12 months, 1-year registration fees and research costs related to the fieldwork for the Master’s thesis.

How to apply?

Applications should include:

1) A well-structured research project, including title, objectives, hypotheses, initial methodology and literature review, awaited results, preliminary calendar, academic/institutional set-up (discipline and supervisor) (3p. max)

2) Student’s CV

Applications should be send to Dr Ward Anseeuw (ward.anseeuw@up.ac.za) and Dr Magalie Bourblanc (magalie.bourblanc@cirad.fr), with the supervisor in CC.

Application process and calendar:

Deadline for applications: February 28th 2015
Selection outcome announced by University of Pretoria and BTC: April 2015
Starting date bursary: April 2015

For additional information, contact ward.anseeuw@up.ac.za and/or magalie.bourblanc@cirad.fr

Civil Society and World Regions

Civil society and world regions

 

Civil Society and World Regions
How Citizens Are Reshaping Regional Governance in Times of Crisis

Edited by Lorenzo Fioramonti

Contributions by Chukwudi David Anyanwu; Mercedes Botto; Alan Collins; Antonio Fiori; Andréas Godsäter; Okechukwu C. Iheduru; Sunhyuk Kim; Helen E.S. Nesadurai; Marco Pinfari; Jan Aart Scholte and Andy Storey

(Lexington Books, 2015)

Supranational regionalism and regional integration have for a long time been top-down processes, led by the few and imposed on the many. The role of citizens, especially those active in civil society, has been neglected by scholars, students, and commentators of regionalism. In reaction to the prevalence of these top-down models, a “new regionalism” approach has proliferated in the past few years. This book aims to further develop such a research agenda by providing an up-to-date overview of the contribution of civil society to world regionalism, from Europe to Africa, Asia, and the Americas. This is not only relevant as a research topic; it is also of critical importance from a political standpoint. As regions across the world experience prolonged governance crises, it becomes paramount to understand the extent to which these new regional formations actually reflect the interests and needs of their people. While old regionalism was accepted as a de facto elite-driven byproduct of both the Cold War and neoliberal globalization, the twenty-first-century regionalism—if it is to survive—will need to refocus its objectives through new forms of participation and inclusion. Regions without citizens are unlikely to stand the test of time, especially in times of crises.

VIDEO Rising economic inequality casts a shadow on the WEF -SABC

Rising economic inequality continues to cast a shadow over the World Economic Forum, says GovInn director Lorenzo Fioramonti in a live interview on SABC news (22 January 2015).
Oxfam set the tone earlier this week in a report timed to the start of the Davos conference: it estimated that the combined wealth of the world’s richest 1 percent could overtake that of the remaining 99 percent by next year.
Will the WEF do something about it?