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Lorenzo Fioramonti Business Day Column

Charity must begin at home for graft-riddled Department of Home Affairs, Business Day 28.08.2015

South AfricaGovInn Director Lorenzo Fioramonti discusses the shortcomings of the South African Department of Home Affairs, looking at the negative effects of recent travel restrictions for foreign migrants and those travelling with minors.

 

THE Department of Home Affairs has never been particularly efficient. Recent events have confirmed that its traditional weaknesses have not been addressed, while showing that new problems have developed, particularly in relation to how foreigners and, above all, migrants are being treated.
With a view to resolving the impasse, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is now leading an interministerial committee, comprising Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba, his tourism counterpart, Derek Hanekom, and their colleagues from the security cluster. Their responsibility is to “examine and solve the potential and unintended consequences of the new immigration regulations on various sectors, including tourism and investment”.

 

Read the full article on Business Day, 28.08.2015

The South African ‘Ecological Reserve’, A Travelling Concept

PolitikonMagalie Bourblanc has written an article for Politikon: South African Journal of Political Studies (Volume 42, Issue 2, 2015)

Title: The South African ‘Ecological Reserve’, A Travelling Concept

Abstract: With its ‘ecological reserve’, South African National Water Act of 1998 is perceived as one of the most ambitious Water Acts in the world from an environmental perspective. At first sight, this ‘ecological reserve’ provision could be mistaken for a typical case of North–South policy transfer when actually it was initially engineered by the Department of Water Affairs and its civil engineers in the 1970s–1980s. The paper shows the renewed influence of the scientific community over the definition of the concept during the debate leading to the adoption of the Water Reform Act in the mid-1990s. While investing in the international arena, South African hydro-ecologists managed to reinforce their position in the domestic arena at the same time. Therefore, we demonstrate complex interdependence between domestic and international levels benefiting this travelling concept. Finally, we emphasize that for hydroecologists, the international arena was never a resource already there but an opportunity created.

Read the full article in Politikon

VIDEO: “Why greater equality makes societies stronger” – Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett

Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett keynote address at Governance Innovation Week 2015, University of Pretoria entitled “Why greater equality makes societies stronger”. The address was filmed on 3 June 2015.

External perceptions of the EU research group

Workshop on the external perceptions of the European Union

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GovInn’s director Professor Lorenzo Fioramonti and junior researcher Kirsty Agnew participated in a three day workshop in Brussels as part of an ongoing project on the external perceptions of the European Union (EU). The project is funded by the EU as part of their expanding public diplomacy initiatives. The project is coordinated by the National Centre for Research on Europe (NCRE) at the University of Canterbury, the NFG Research Group from the Freie Universitat Berlin and the Public Policy Management Institute (PPMI) located in Lithuania. Research is also being conducted by nine other research groups located in the EU’s strategic partner nations around the world. Prof. Fioramonti and Kirsty are conducting research into South Africa’s perception of the EU with an aim to provide innovative growth to the relationship between EU governance structures and South Africa. The workshop in Brussels was to present data from the first stage of the research process.

Drop classification of pupils to treat ‘academic autism’ Business Day 23.06.2015

“In June 1976, SA’s youth led one of the most extraordinary protests against a discriminatory approach to education. Their rebellion reverberated across the world to become the symbol of the struggle for freedom in our country. Yet, almost 40 years later, our education system remains exclusionary and fragmented,” writes Lorenzo Fioramonti in his latest column for Business Day.

Drop classification of pupils to treat ‘academic autism’

“Our national debate on education tacitly assumes that SA is divided into a majority of poorly resourced (public) schools and a few, mostly urban, very well-developed (private) schools. This may be true if we limit our observation to the physical infrastructure of the “good” schools. I have indeed never seen as many rugby fields, Olympic pools, beautiful halls and playgrounds as I have in private schools and some of the best-resourced public schools (most of which are public-private hybrids previously known as Model C).

But if we scratch beneath this flashy surface, we find serious problems with the education model there. First, many of them reinforce pre-existing racial and class patterns. This is not only because of high tuition fees but also because of the values they project. It is common for these schools to expect students to wear expensive uniforms, glorify conspicuous consumption (for instance, by allowing companies to advertise to pupils) and teach children that excellence is the result of competition.”

Read the full article “Drop classification of pupils to treat ‘academic autism’” on Business Day 

ZOPACAS at 30: Its formation, potential and limitations

This research project seeks to stimulate the broadening of the scientific-academic debate over the current and potential configuration of the Zone of Peace and Cooperation of the South Atlantic (ZOPACAS), both within the context of Brazilian interests and in the framework of increasing international focus over South Atlantic dynamics. With over 30 years of existence, ZOPACAS accounts today for a singular case of a multilateral platform, transversal to multiple global developments in the last few decades. Its institutional resilience associated to a characteristically legal singularity in terms of other multilateral experiences as well as an express desire to widen its thematic range of action, make this forum a noticeable case study. That relevance, in turn, only increases if we also consider the underlined notion of a supposedly common perception of an oceanic region, as an aggregating element of South American and African countries, as well as its passive contribution – never really challenged or tested – to regional security and stability.

ZOPACAS flag
On the other hand, the pre-salt discoveries, the resurgence of the Brazilian defense industry, the bet on South-South relations and the political-commercial investments in Africa also incited Brazil to concern itself once again with developments in the South Atlantic. It is therefore understandable why the progressive reinforcement of ZOPACAS is considered relevant to Brazil’s own defense, as mentioned by the Defense White Book, and inter-relates easily with the national foreign policy domain.
In this context, while combining an historical balance (1986-2016) with a structural evaluation of the current limits, capacities and eventual potentialities of ZOPACAS, this project thus seeks to provide a complete and deepened perspective of a regional mechanism, frequently neglected by academic literature and never fully researched in its totality. Moreover, it seeks to answer the increasing demand, both internal and external, for detailed information over ZOPACAS and provide greater substance to the national decision-making process regarding Brazil’s active participation in such a multilateral body.

GovInn researcher: Frank Mattheis

Partner institutions: University of Brasilia (Brazil), Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), University of Lisbon (Portugal), University of Rosario (Argentina)

Funding institutions: Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) and the Brazilian Defence Ministry’s Pandiá Calógeras Institute

Funding period: January 2015 to December 2016

Linking up Africa to European Union

In this article for The New Age political commentator and former SA diplomat Tom Wheeler report on his participation to the launch of ESA-SSA (European Studies Association of Sub-Saharan Africa), during GovInn Week 2015.

“It was pointed out that unlike Europe and America, where there are many university departments of African studies, there are few if any of such institutions for European Studies in Africa. The result is often that Europe is dealt in Africa in terms of political rhetoric”

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Water shortages about to put load-shedding in the dark – Business Day 05.05.2015

Business DayThis week on Business Day, South Africa’s leading business newspaper, GovInn director Lorenzo Fioramonti discusses the upcoming crisis that South Africa needs to address now: water shortage.

“WHILE load-shedding continues, there is an even more worrying prospect ahead: water-shedding. Like the energy crisis, the abysmal state of water in SA is a combination of at least three factors: resource depletion (and contamination), growing demand and inefficient infrastructure.

Rainfall levels are dropping quickly due to climate change. A recent study published by the World Economic Forum says droughts this century will become more recurrent and severe than in the previous millennium. We feel that already. Over the summer holidays, for instance, eThekwini municipality took the unprecedented decision of asking residents and holiday makers to drastically reduce water consumption to avoid systemic cutbacks, given that the Hazelmere Dam had reached dramatically low levels because of prolonged drought.

Besides climate change, we also have a skewed economy that is out of touch with natural equilibrium: it demands more and more water to fuel economic growth, while wasting and contaminating what we have.”

Read the full article on Business Day

South Africa Land Observatory

A platform for supporting evidence-based and participatory decision making on land in South Africa

South Africa agrarian sector is affected by a context of far-reaching and fundamental change, related to the country’s land and agrarian transformations, in a context of overall deregulation of its economy. Moreover, the country is characterised by the lack of publicly available precise data and analyses and the weak involvement by stakeholders in decision-making regarding land and agrarian transformation. On top of that, the increased interconnectivity of the land and agrarian questions in South Africa, Africa and the world, leads to the necessity of apprehending them within today’s global context of agrarian, environmental, and food security questions. These observations call for the establishment and development of a well-coordinated information, data, analysis and evidence-based decision-making support entity, grouping the major academic and analytical players on one hand, and a broader stakeholder panel on the other hand, aiming at producing and making available data, information and analyses, and supporting evidence-based and inclusive decision-making processes with regards land and land-based activities in South Africa.

The SA Observatory’s goal is to promote evidence-based and inclusive decision-making over land resources in South Africa and beyond by generating, analysing and making available land-based information and by widening participation to all stakeholders.

Partners: University of Pretoria – Post-Graduate School of Agriculture and Rural Development, Department of Agricultural Economics; GovInn; in collaboration with the International Land Coalition; in the broader framework of the Land Matrix.

Funding: Flemish Cooperation FICASA Land Observatory Partners

Measuring the Enabling Environment of Civil Society: A Global Capability Index

Voluntas JournalMeasuring the Enabling Environment of Civil Society: A Global Capability Index
VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations
April 2015, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 466-487

  • Lorenzo Fioramonti, Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation, Department of Political Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
  • Olga Kononykhina, Hertie School of Governance, Berlin, Germany

 

Abstract

During the last two decades, there have been various attempts at measuring and assessing the health of civil society. Some have focused almost exclusively on ‘counting’ the nonprofit, while others have assessed the strength of nongovernmental organizations. Yet, these sectors are just a small part of a much larger environment. Moreover, they are the result of Western conceptualizations of civil society, thus not very helpful for one to understand civic participation in non-Western settings. Taking stock of these fundamental issues, this article presents the conceptual framework and methodology of a new global index to measure the ‘enabling environment’ of civil society, rather than its forms and institutional contours.

Given the inherent diversity of civil societies worldwide, which defies any attempt at developing predetermined definitions, understanding the conditions that support civic participation becomes the most important objective for those interested in promoting a strong civil society arena.

The index was launched by CIVICUS in late 2013 with the name of enabling environment index and covers over 200 countries and territories, making it the most ambitious attempt ever made at measuring civil society worldwide.