Over the recent years, global enterprises have come to realise the critical importance of building stronger, more resilient supply chain networks to ensure business continuity.Businesses are urged to identify strategies and adopt innovative solutions to overcome future supply chain risks quickly, efficiently, and conveniently.The pivotal value of supply chains in driving business operations and meeting customer expectations is now seen as a key indicator to business success. It has demonstrated that businesses must invest in developing their supply chains to become more agile and therefore more capable to weather unprecedented circumstances in the event of a crisis. Within that, the utilisation of digital tools and transformations has emerged as a necessity that can increasingly empower businesses to deal with emergent issues and achieve long-term success.Embracing key digital solutions can crucially help reduce supply chain risks and strengthen the overall supply chain management. Supply chain visibility platforms are easily at the top of these solutions that enable companies to monitor inventory, shipments and demand patterns in real-time, providing end-to-end visibility across the supply chain.Arguably, one of the most transformational technologies of today, artificial intelligence (AI) also offers a number of benefits in this area. Leveraging predictive analytics and AI can help companies forecast demand fluctuations, detect possible supply chain disruptions, and optimise inventory levels. These tools enable companies to analyse vast amounts of data, detect patterns, and provide insights to make informed decisions during a crisis.Other digital solutions such as digital twin and block chain can also greatly contribute to making supply chains more resilient. Essentially, digital twin technology offers a virtual replica of the physical supply chain, giving enterprises a tool to simulate various scenarios and assess the impact of possible interruptions. By experimenting with different strategies in a risk-free environment, they can develop robust contingency plans and improve their responsiveness to emergencies.Conversely, companies can make use of blockchain technology to add greater transparency and traceability within their supply chains. Secure and immutable record-keeping, risk reduction of fraud, counterfeiting, and unauthorised changes, are among some of its immediate benefits. By implementing blockchain, companies can gain greater visibility into the movement of goods, ensuring product authenticity and offsetting possible risks.Additionally, cloud-based collaboration platforms can help businesses maintain seamless communication and collaboration with supply chain partners. These platforms facilitate quick decision-making and effective coordination during a crisis, giving access to teams within supply chains to share real-time data, forecasts, and inventory information.Furthermore, integrating robotic process automation (RPA) or supplier relationship management (SRM) can unlock positive gains for companies in the area of supply chain management. RPA automates repetitive and manual tasks in supply chain operations, reducing errors and improving efficiency. By deploying robots to handle routine tasks,companies can free up resources to focus on critical risk management activities during a crisis. On the other hand, SRM systems provide insights into supplier capabilities, financial health, and risk exposure, assisting companies to maintain supplier relationships. SRM lets companies evaluate risks, diversify their supplier base and move past obstacles.Conclusively, organisations that take advantage of these tools as well as up-and-coming technologies will be better-prepared to thrive in any future crisis. By enhancing visibility, leveraging advanced analytics, and fostering collaboration, they can build resilient and agile supply chains capable of withstanding any disturbances and allowing operations to run smoothly even in challenging times.The writer is Head of Supply Chain Management at Vodafone Qatar
By Takatoshi ItoTokyoFollowing the latest G20 summit, held in New Delhi earlier this month, there is no longer any doubt about India’s central position in global power politics. But questions about the G20 itself are gaining traction.India’s achievement with this G20 is indisputable. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the summit’s host, managed to secure agreement on a joint communiqué not at the eleventh hour, as is so often the case for multilateral summits, but on day one. This is particularly notable given the deep divisions among G20 members over the war in Ukraine. Many wondered whether there would be any final communiqué at all.The fault line is clear to see. The West wants to take a hard line on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, whereas China and other Russia-friendly countries want to avoid any direct condemnations of the Kremlin’s actions. At last year’s G20 summit, the West’s perspective won out: the final declaration deplored “in the strongest terms the aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine,” and demanded Russia’s “complete and unconditional withdrawal” from Ukrainian territory.But this year – despite the absence of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping – the final declaration was much vaguer. “In line with the [United Nations] Charter,” it reads, “all states must refrain from the threat or use of force to seek territorial acquisition against the territorial integrity and sovereignty or political independence of any state. The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible.” Russia is not mentioned explicitly.The G7, the European Union, and their allies claim that they accepted this softer wording – which some have labelled a “climbdown” – in the name of reaching a global consensus and getting Russia to respect international law. But their real motivation was probably to hand Modi a win, so that he could shore up domestic support, just as Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida did after this year’s G7 summit in Hiroshima. Western leaders are doubtless hoping that Modi will use his strengthened position to help tilt the global balance of power in their favour.As matters stand, India has obvious – and, in some ways, deepening – ties to Western rivals. For starters, it is a member of the Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) – which recently decided to admit six new countries (Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates) – and of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which was established by China and Russia in 2001.Moreover, India participated in the Vostok military drills in Russia’s Far East last year. And it has abstained from the UN General Assembly resolutions condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, perhaps owing to its past commitment to Soviet-style socialism and its current reliance on Russian military equipment.But India also espouses Western democratic values. It is a member of the Quad strategic security dialogue – alongside Australia, Japan, and the US – and it has been gradually increasing its purchases of US-made weapons. When Modi visited the US earlier this year, he was welcomed warmly by US President Joe Biden.For now, India is well served by sitting on the fence between the Western-led democratic alliance and the authoritarian camp led by Russia and China. But sooner or later, it will probably have to choose a side. Already, some are calling for India to drop out of the expanded Brics, since that grouping will be increasingly dominated by China and hostile toward the West.In any case, India’s successful G20 presidency does not mean that the G20 itself is still effective. On the contrary, the group appears to have lost its way.The G20 emerged as a crisis-management mechanism. From the start, it stood out for an important feature: members’ influence is far more aligned with their economic weight than is the case at other bodies, such as the International Monetary Fund. While IMF quotas are closely tied to voting shares and based mainly on a member’s GDP, revisions to the weighting always lag behind reality. As a result, high-growth countries, like those in Asia, tend to be under-represented.This was a source of considerable frustration after the Asian financial crisis in 1997-98, when the G20 finance ministers and central-bank governors meeting was created, and it was one reason why the G20 leaders’ meeting – whose participants were selected based on GDP, with small adjustments to improve geographical representation – became the forum to lead the response to the 2008 global financial crisis.In those early meetings, G20 leaders were united by a shared goal. They quickly agreed to strengthen financial co-operation, reject protectionism (for the sake of global growth), and increase the IMF’s financial resources. In 2010, G20 finance ministers and central-bank governors agreed to double IMF quotas, distributing more to emerging-market economies. With that, the G20 became the global economy’s “steering committee.”The sheer size of the G20 – which represents 85% of global GDP – means that, when a consensus can be reached, it is well-equipped to drive change. But since widespread agreement is hard to come by, the meetings can easily become mere photo-ops, with most of the action happening through bilateral meetings on the sidelines.Today, the G20 not only lacks a common vision; it is being undermined by deep divisions, even hostilities, between member states. For example, China has been attempting, unsuccessfully, to challenge the planned US presidency of the G20 in 2026. Add to that the decision by Xi and Putin not to attend this year’s summit, and it seems clear that the G20 is no longer a priority for some key members. Its tenure as the world’s premier crisis-response organisation may well be coming to an end.Following the latest G20 summit, the G7 should be thinking seriously about deepening its own ties with more non-aligned countries. If the Ukraine war drags on, and if China continues to threaten to take Taiwan by force, the G20 will be split between friends of the Brics and friends of the G7. Where will India land when it is finally forced to get off the fence? - Project SyndicateTakatoshi Ito, a former Japanese deputy vice-minister of finance, is a professor at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University and a senior professor at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo.
Indonesia’s elections next year are likely to spur deforestation as politicians seek campaign funds from businesses in return for easier access to rich natural resources, environmentalists say.The southeast Asian nation, the world’s third-largest democracy, will hold a general election on Feb 14, with regional polls planned for later in 2024.“Next year’s election is pivotal for Indonesia to determine the fate of the richest and most biodiverse forests in the world,” said Annisa Rahmawati, a board member at Indonesian conservation group Satya Bumi.She and other experts fear the soaring costs of campaigns — and little oversight of spending — will undercut rainforest protection.Ward Berenschot, a professor in comparative political anthropology at the University of Amsterdam, said election campaigns in Indonesia are so expensive that politicians from local to national levels have developed “very close ties” with natural resource companies to help finance their ambitions.“Measures to protect forests have been under pressure because helping campaign donors, or sometimes even family companies, to sidestep or circumvent (them) has been a way to fund campaigns,” said Berenschot, who has researched the issue.Nature-rich Indonesia has a third of the world’s rainforests but large areas have been cleared in recent decades due to the expansion of crops like palm oil, as well as mining, pulp and paper expansion, and urbanisation.Trees suck up planet-warming carbon dioxide to grow, but release it when they rot or are burned. Land use change, mainly deforestation, accounts for about 10-20% of global greenhouse gas emissions.Indonesia’s deforestation rates have slowed in recent years — helped by stricter policies and forest fire controls — but the Southeast Asian nation was still ranked fourth globally for primary tropical forest loss in 2022 by the nonprofit World Resources Institute.Vote-buying has become common in Indonesia’s national elections over the last 25 years, despite crackdowns by the state corruption watchdog. A 2017 poll estimated that a third of voters are impacted by the practice.After the presidential election in 2019, runner-up Prabowo Subianto — now the defence minister — initially refused to accept the result, with his party citing fraud that included vote-buying. The Constitutional Court dismissed his objections.With current President Joko Widodo’s second and final term due to end, candidates for next year’s presidential elections include Prabowo, Central Java governor Ganjar Pranowo and former Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan.Key voter issues include jobs, the economy, healthcare access, the cost of living, corruption, pollution and climate change.Conservationists will be hopeful that Widodo’s successor will build on the results his government has achieved in tackling deforestation and restoring mangroves, including making permanent a moratorium on primary forest clearing.With a growing population of 270mn, Indonesia’s elections are becoming increasingly expensive — leading to forests being used as an “ATM” cash dispenser by many parties seeking campaign finance, said Rahmawati of Satya Bumi.This practice should stop “because it humiliates and ruins our progress in democracy... destroying our environment and our economy”, she said, adding that electoral candidates should be forced to publish the source of all their campaign funds.Marcus Colchester, a senior policy advisor at the UK-based Forest Peoples Programme, said Indonesian politicians are often unwilling to regulate corporations because they depend on them for funds.Those links often harm local and Indigenous peoples, whose land is sometimes granted to companies without their consent, he added.“(The) double whammy — impunity and graft — becomes the main obstacle to social justice and environmental prudence,” Colchester said. “Accountability and democracy are undermined, and natural resource governance made impossible.”
The poorest countries are in desperate straits, and the rest of the world is looking the other way. Doing so comes easy, because low-income countries (LICs) matter little to the fate of the world in the near term. At the end of June, the combined GDP of the 28 countries in this group was roughly $500bn – a drop in the $100tn ocean that is the global economy. The world’s poorest countries are also nobody’s ideal export markets: the average annual income is barely $1,000, and conflict and instability are the norm for about half.Nonetheless, 700mn people live in these countries, and about half of them are in extreme poverty. Very poor people have long been accustomed to neglect from their own governments, which often have other priorities. For example, they spend about 50% more on war and defence than they do on health care. Nearly half their budgets go toward public-sector wages and interest payments on debt, while a mere 3% of total government spending across LICs goes to support the most vulnerable citizens. That is one-tenth the average for developing economies more broadly.It therefore should surprise no one that a human tragedy is now unfolding in these countries. Key indicators of human development in today’s LICs are far worse now than they were in the LICs of 2000, before many of the latter had ascended to middle-income status. For example, maternal mortality is 25% higher now, and the share of the population with access to electricity has fallen from 52% to barely 40% across this cohort. Average life expectancy is now just 62 years, among the lowest rates in the world.Making matters worse, the odds of these countries getting help from abroad have declined. Wealthier countries have chosen exactly the wrong moment to become less generous. Even before the pandemic, foreign-aid flows to the poorest countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, were slowing. Today, wealthier countries are redirecting more of their foreign-aid budgets to meet the surge of refugees arriving on their own shores. These developments have left few avenues for economic recovery: by the end of 2024, the average income of people in the poorest countries will still be almost 13% lower than what had been expected before the pandemic.Between 2011 and 2015, grants accounted for about one-third of government revenues in the world’s poorest countries; but that share has since dropped to less than one-fifth. Poor-country governments have made up the difference by going deeper into debt – and at punishing interest rates. Government debt-to-GDP ratios in these economies soared from 36% of GDP in 2011 to 67% last year – the highest level since 2005 (with the exception of 2020). Fourteen LICs are now in debt distress or at high risk of it – more than double the number just eight years ago.As they gather in New York for the United Nations 2023 SDG Summit, global leaders cannot afford to turn a blind eye to these developments. They must not forget the fundamental promise of the Sustainable Development Goals: “to reach the furthest behind first.” Even as they remain generousto arriving refugees, wealthier countries should redouble their efforts to end the misery at the source.That means enlarging the pool of resources available to multilateral development banks, so that they can increase grants and concessional financing for the poorest countries. Greater funding is not just a moral imperative to prevent a disaster in the poorest economies; it is a matter of self-interest for all countries with the means to help. Southern European countries struggling to manage migration flows should know that they will benefit from supporting development in poor countries such as Niger.Wealthier countries, and all international financial institutions, should move decisively on three fronts. First, they must increase concessional financing for the poorest countries, with aid going to addressing emerging challenges such as climate change, economic fragility, and pandemics.Increased aid also will help these countries invest in critical sectors such as health, education, and infrastructure, which will enhance their resilience and growth potential. Aid effectiveness (a major concern for donors) can be improved by strengthening donor coordination and building competent local institutions to select, manage, and monitor projects. International financial institutions, for their part, can help crowd in private finance in sectors that offer the promise of both development and profits.Second, debt restructuring must be accelerated. The Common Framework for Debt Treatment Beyond the DSSI has struggled to deliver relief ever since the G20 announced it nearly three years ago. If finalised, Zambia’s debt-restructuring agreement with its creditors will be a welcome development; but it was concluded three months ago, and the country is still waiting for debt relief.The framework’s glacial pace – and all the uncertainties that come with it – have deterred too many countries from seeking the relief they so urgently need. It is time to pick up the pace. For many lower-income countries, restoring long-term debt sustainability will depend on debt restructuring. Without it, they will remain paralysed, unable to attract the private financing they need to tackle the formidable development challenges of this decade – from creating jobs and improving welfare to making the planet more liveable.Finally, we must double down on the reform agenda by ensuring that global initiatives to bolster the poorest countries are complemented by ambitious domestic measures. International financial institutions can make a difference by helping LICs mobilise domestic revenues and improve spending efficiencies and debt management. They can also support governments’ efforts to improve institutional frameworks, build human capital, ease impediments to private investment, and harness the potential of digital technology, all of which will boost these countries’ long-term growth prospects.Time is running out. The growing hopelessness among citizens of the poorest countries will feed a vicious cycle that is already underway. Desperate to escape misery at home, many will risk everything to find refuge abroad. The suffering of millions of people in faraway lands is not as far away as it may seem. It is contagious, and it is already spilling over national borders, with unpredictable global consequences. — Project SyndicateIndermit Gill is Chief Economist and Senior Vice-President for Development Economics at the World Bank.M Ayhan Kose is Deputy Chief Economist and Director of the Prospects Group at the World Bank.
It is my great honour and privilege to extend warm felicitations and hearty congratulations to every member of Nepali community currently residing in Qatar as well as to all Nepali people, both at home and abroad, on the happy occasion of Nepal’s National Day and Ninth Constitution Day.Nepal has been celebrating September 20 as the Constitution Day as National Day since 2016 to mark the historic promulgation of the Constitution of Nepal on September 20, 2015 by directly elected Constituent Assembly. This constitution has adopted a federal republic system that includes three tiers of government and has embraced the values of multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-religious, and multi-cultural society. Essential features of democracy, inclusion and social justice have been enshrined in it. While this constitution has settled various political aspirations of Nepalis ranging from democracy, inclusion and equal participation in the governance of the country, it has paved the way for achieving peace, progress and prosperity for the country.As envisioned in the constitution, the first and second ever elections of the federation, province and the local levels of government were held in 2017 and 2022, respectively.Over these times, Nepal has made tremendous achievements in terms of participation of women, youth, and different disadvantaged groups in politics and other spheres of national life. The government has been focusing for making laws and bi-laws to strengthen the governing system for justice of people as well as development.Nepal is now aiming forward to achieve economic growth and development, a long-cherished aspiration of all the Nepalis. Nepal is scheduled to graduate from the status of Least Developed Country category in 2026 and aspires to become a middle-income country by 2030. Similarly, the country has internalised all sustainable development goals in its national plans and programmes while committing to reach net-zero carbon emission by 2045.Nepal is endowed with rich natural and human resources. Nepal boasts of different flora and fauna as well as varieties of landscapes ranging from fertile plains in the south to the highest mountain of the world in the north. The topography ranging from 60 metres to 8,848.86 metres harbours abundant natural resources. On the occasion, I would like to invite for visiting naturally beautiful country Nepal.This is where the sustainable investment on infrastructure and economic growth becomes critical. Nepal is looking for investment in infrastructure that generates employment to its people, fosters economic growth, and contributes to promoting resilient, inclusive and sustainable economy.Infrastructure development, agriculture, tourism and human resource development are key areas for investments, both domestic and foreign. While the government is promoting domestic investment, there is a huge gap of investment for desired growth. Hence, Nepal looks forward to receiving investment from abroad including from Qatar.Nepal’s rich natural and human resources, its location between two giant economies India and China, a growing domestic consumption market of nearly 30mn people as well as structural and procedural reforms make Nepal a perfect destination for foreign investments. Investment in tourism, infrastructure, health and education could be mutually beneficial to both our countries.Nepal and Qatar have continued to maintain friendly and cordial relations over the past 46 years.A large section of Nepali community residing in Qatar over the years has been a strong linkage between our two countries. We are thankful to the Government of Qatar and relevant agencies for taking care of Nepali migrants during the outbreak of the pandemic by providing necessary treatment measures as well as vaccination. We also appreciate the latest series of labour reforms introduced and implemented by the Government of of Qatar and look forward to collaborate on further measures in this area. We hope that Nepal and Qatar will create and construct a history as development partner in further years. We are looking possibilities for both countries’ need and support to address the global opportunity and challenge.Nepal’s natural beauty and hospitable nature of its society could be a linkage for further promoting two-way people-to-people relations between our two countries. I believe recent visits to Nepal by popular Qatari adventurers, including Sheikha Asma al-Thani and Fahad Bader and their success in scaling world’s top mountains located in Nepal will inspire more Qataris and members of other nationalities to visit Nepal during their holidays.Nepal’s mountainous landscape, snowy mountains, lush green plains, panoramic valleys and gurgling rivers offer various adventurous activities. Mountain climbing, trekking, paragliding, rafting, mountain flights, sky-diving, bungee jumping, canyoning, jungle safari, bird watching comprise some of them. Nepal is only a single flight away from Qatar.Finally, we commend the tremendous progress and prosperity Qatar has been achieving in recent times. Qatar’s role in supporting regional and global issues of humanitarian concern and conflict management has gained appreciation from the wider community of nations.Since my assumption of duties as ambassador of Nepal to Qatar for over one year, I was highly impressed by Qatar’s spectacular hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, a first for the Arab world. I would like to congratulate His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani on the magnificent hosting of the premier global event. On our part, we pride ourselves on having contributed towards its success and thank the Government of Qatar for the opportunity.I would like to conclude by wishing all the Nepalis, at home and abroad, a peaceful, prosperous and progressive year ahead.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had obvious reasons for hosting North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un at Vostochny, Russia’s new spaceport in eastern Siberia, this month. Owing to his illegal war of aggression in Ukraine, Putin is running low on both friends and ammunitionThe Vostochny spaceport has a troubled history. Intended to replace the Baikonur facility in Kazakhstan, its construction was plagued by repeated delays and allegations of corruption and mismanagement. Now, it is rarely used – though it did launch the high-profile Luna-25 mission that crashed into the moon recently.Russian-North Korean relations have a similar backstory. Once upon a time, the bond between the Kremlin and the Kim regime was tight. After all, communist North Korea was essentially a Soviet creation, and it relied heavily on Soviet support for decades. But following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russian leaders saw more to gain by developing relations with booming South Korea. The Kremlin effectively switched sides, joining the (unsuccessful) international effort to prevent the Hermit Kingdom from developing nuclear weapons.Now the situation has changed once again. Putin’s attempt to erase Ukraine from the map of Europe has made Russia an international pariah – just like North Korea. Most of the world’s developed economies have signed on to comprehensive sanctions against Russia, and the United Nations General Assembly has issued several resolutions condemning Putin’s war of aggression. There are very few countries that have sided with Russia: Eritrea, Syria, Nicaragua, Belarus, Mali, and – of course – North Korea.Meanwhile, many countries that have abstained from these UN votes have increasingly made known their objections to Putin’s war. At the recent G20 summit in New Delhi, for example, the final joint declaration included a clear affirmation of the principle of territorial integrity – an obvious reference to Russian aggression and the Kremlin’s misbegotten strategic objectivesPutin expected a quick victory when he launched his war in February 2022, but Russian forces have since lost roughly half of what they captured during the initial invasion. After nearly 600 days, they are bogged down and struggling to defend themselves against an independent, democratic Ukrainian polity that is determined to defend its freedom.Under these conditions, where Putin needs every friend he can get, North Korea is suddenly back in the Kremlin’s favour. With its thoroughly militarised society and abundant stocks of old Soviet-standard artillery ammunition, Kim’s regime looks like a lifeline for Russia’s flailing war effort.Putin therefore had little choice but to roll out the red carpet for the North Korean dictator. Though the details of the Vostochny dealmaking will remain undisclosed, it is safe to assume that Russia will get ammunition in exchange for various essentials that North Korea desperately needs, not least food and energy. Beyond that, there has also been talk of Russia assisting North Korea in developing and deploying satellites, an area where it has been singularly unsuccessful.Whatever the details, there can be little doubt that the deal violates the UN Security Council’s sanctions against North Korea, which were originally put in place with Russian support. In claiming that the North Korea sanctions regime is a UN matter, not a Russian one, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is being economical with the truth.We are witnessing the emergence of an axis of outcasts: countries united in their willingness to violate international law by starting wars, developing nuclear weapons, and violating sanctions. This list also includes Iran, where Russia has been acquiring kamikaze drones with which to attack Ukrainian cities and civilians.But make no mistake: reaching out to a country like North Korea is a sign of profound weakness. China and India might not openly condemn Russian aggression, but nor have they endorsed it or done much to help Putin’s war effort (other than purchasing Russian hydrocarbons). And whatever support Belarus, Eritrea, Syria, or Mali are capable of offering, it will not help the Kremlin achieve the aims of its “special military operation” in Ukraine. Nonetheless, these outcasts, driven by desperation, will deepen their co-operation, introducing new risks to regional stability and the global order. For example, if Russia furnishes North Korea with the technologies it needs to advance its missile or nuclear programmes, it is bound to have repercussions for Northeast Asian security.Russia and North Korea may be failing in their space efforts. But their sanctions-busting and rule-breaking here on Earth are sure to have a destabilising effect on the international order.
This year, Mexican people celebrate with joy the 213th anniversary of the beginning of our National Independence Movement. It is an outstanding date for all Mexicans, which evokes the effort and heroism of the women and men who, between 1810 and 1821, fought for the country’s freedom and sovereignty. It was the beginning of the struggle for transforming Mexico into a nation governed by the rule of law and committed to social justice and friendly relations with the international community.Born as the first truly globalised country, in the 16th century Mexico became the axis of connectivity between north, south, east, and west. Making the most of this condition, along with its history, the country has strongly contributed to universal systems of knowledge and its society has participated in a universal dialogue, in which all the peoples are called to learn from each other. Proud of its history and cultural identity, modern Mexico is known as a responsible actor in the world arena, which benefits from its privileged geographical location and competitive logistic infrastructure, its condition as partner in free trade agreements with 50 countries, and its membership in different multilateral organisations. Mexico’s economy is stable and successful, offering the conditions for making the country the number one exporter in Latin America. With 49 customs in borderlines, internals and maritime; 58 ports and terminals in the Pacific Ocean coasts; 59 in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean; and 15 road corridors, industries have access to main trade destinations in a shorter average time and with less interruptions in the value chain.The agreement between the United States of America, the United Mexican States, and Canada (T-MEC), represents modern business and trade opportunities in North America and defines innovative trade rules to face the challenges for the 21st century in terms of environmental protection, labour market regulation, gender equality promotion, among many others. As the 9th foreign direct investment recipient in the world, Mexico presents itself as an attractive partner that is ready to create favourable ecosystems for innovative enterprises.Having in mind the advantages that the country offers as an international partner and as a domestic market with growing purchasing power, there is no doubt that Mexico and Qatar can continue strengthening their bonds and adding value to their exchanges in a variety of domains. Since 1975, when the two nations established diplomatic relations, the agenda has been steadily growing and offers outstanding opportunities to each other. With this in mind, we are working to deepen co-operation in fields of strategic importance. Simultaneously, we are improving the already promising political dialogue and reinforcing our bonds through instruments designed for serving as the best platforms for our exchanges.We are proud of the course events are taking in the relation with Qatar and we will continue working enthusiastically to create the better conditions for closer ties between our peoples and governments. Distant in geography, Mexico and Qatar’s societies are closer every day. Just as an example, the two countries enjoyed the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which offered the opportunity for our nationals to meet and know each other better. This amazing sports event will always be remembered in my country, due to the warm welcome and hospitality accorded to the numerous Mexicans that travelled to Doha to attend the World Cup.During 2023, the embassy fostered different initiatives, among others, we presented important art exhibitions and performances that were enjoyed by the people of Qatar. At the moment, we have several projects in progress in a variety of fields, including cooperation in higher education, trade, investment, and culture. Of special importance is the confirmation of the participation of Mexico in the Expo 2023 Doha, an event that will offer the opportunity to showcase its commitment to sustainability and biodiversity. We are certain that Expo Doha will increase mutual knowledge regarding desertification and other environmental challenges that are already being addressed by their governments, NGOs, scholars, specialists, business people, and opinion leaders, among other actors. Similarly, at this year’s Qatar Travel Mart, Mexico will have the chance to present itself as one of the top tourist destinations, which benefits from world-class infrastructure and readiness to make business with Qatar in the hospitality industry.In an interdependent world, our countries have to face common challenges with a spirit of co-operation, openness, and solidarity. I am convinced that Mexico and Qatar have a promising future. With Qatar, a leading country in the Middle East and the world, Mexico will continue working for building peace, and more stable and resilient economies. On this 213th anniversary of the beginning of its National Independence Movement, the people and government of Mexico are ready to continue embracing Qatar for the betterment of our shared world.
Three years ago, when EU naval mission “Sophia” was shut down after rescuing 45,000 migrants in the central Mediterranean, Italian opposition leader Giorgia Meloni was jubilant. Now, as prime minister, she wants to bring it back.But this time she is calling for the European Union ships to focus on blocking migrant departures from North Africa rather than saving lives at sea, something experts on migration and international law say is unfeasible.Meloni’s change of tack comes after seeing her right-wing government’s election promises to stop sea arrivals from North Africa undercut by landings on the island of Lampedusa.Well over 10,000 migrants reached the Italian island — whose permanent population is about 6,000 — last week.Lampedusa sits in the Mediterranean between Tunisia, Malta and the larger Italian island of Sicily and is a first port of call for many migrants seeking to reach the EU. “It (the Sophia mission) is exactly the proposal I intend to bring to the next European Council when we talk about immigration”, Meloni said in a television interview on Sunday, hours after visiting Lampedusa with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.“Sophia”, like previous EU and Italian naval missions, was opposed by Meloni and other right-wing politicians because they said it encouraged migrants to sail to Europe, often on flimsy boats, in the likelihood they would be rescued.Critics say her idea of redeploying the ships to block departures is against the law and impracticable.“Trying to put together a naval blockade would be an illegal, unthinkable act of war ... that would have devastating effects,” said Ferruccio Pastore, head of the International and European Forum for Research on Immigration (Fieri).Pushing back boats would violate international asylum rules and the European Convention on Human Rights, as well as being operationally dangerous, Pastore said, evoking a precedent involving Italy and Albania. In 1997, an Italian navy ship enforcing a naval blockade that Rome and Tirana had agreed on to stem migration across the Adriatic Sea collided with a migrant boat. The shipwreck killed 81 people.Reviving “Sophia” would also raise the issue of where to send rescued migrants. In 2020, it was discontinued as other EU nations balked at Italian requests to have them redistributed around the bloc.“European solidarity meaning ‘let’s share the burden’ is not going to work at least until (May’s) European (Parliament) elections and I think it won’t work even afterwards,” Pastore said, referring to increased partisanship during campaigning. Signs of this have emerged in recent weeks, with France and Austria stepping up border controls to prevent migrants crossing over from Italy.Rome is continuing to violate the Dublin accord stemming from the 1990s intended to ensure asylum seekers do not leave the EU country they first arrive in, a senior German official told Reuters, asking not to be named.Italy says it is so overwhelmed by new arrivals that it is unable to respect the Dublin rules.In Lampedusa, von der Leyen stopped short of endorsing Meloni’s naval blockade plan, saying only that she supported “exploring options to expand existing naval missions in the Mediterranean or to work on new ones.”She presented a “10-point action plan” that mostly consisted of an offer of more help for Italy from existing EU policy tools and a pledge to speed up an EU-Tunisia deal aimed at curbing migration, which is not yet operational.Other EU states have not commented publicly on the idea of a naval blockade, which Italy says would also need the consent of North African states. But Germany is against it, according to diplomatic sources in Brussels.“It seems to me that there are few new ideas, a lot of rhetoric, a lot of anxiety, a lot of dramatisation,” Maurizio Ambrosini, Professor of Sociology of Migration at the University of Milan, said about the latest EU and Italian proposals.Meloni’s cabinet on Monday adopted measures to build more detention centres for migrants with no legal right to remain in Italy and lengthen the maximum time they can be held awaiting repatriation to 18 months, from three months. — Reuters
The devastating Israeli occupation for decades has brought down the Palestinian economy to its knees.Israel controls every access point, which enables it to oversee all imports and exports. It creates bureaucratic hurdles that Palestinians say kill entrepreneurship.Israel’s restrictions and rising fiscal constraints in the Palestinian territories are severely impacting the economic conditions of Palestinians and hindering their access to timely life-saving healthcare, the World Bank said on Monday.Poverty in the Palestinian territories is on the rise, with one out of four Palestinians living below the poverty line.Israel’s restrictions on movement and trade in the occupied West Bank, the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip and the divide between the two Palestinian territories are among several factors that had put the Palestinian economy at high risk, according to the World Bank.The restrictions, including “a lengthy, bureaucratic regime of permits”, often makes it hard to provide timely life-saving healthcare to Palestinians, Stefan Emblad, the World Bank’s director for the West Bank and Gaza, said.Thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip cross annually into Israel for medical treatment unavailable in the impoverished Palestinian territories.Israel’s restrictions stifle much of Palestinian economic life.Palestinian economic growth is expected to soften in 2023, the World Bank said in May.While the economy had continued to rebound at a rate of 4% in 2022, this was driven by the ongoing recovery of private consumption as Covid-19 restrictions eased.However, increased tensions in the Palestinian territories and the spillovers from the Russian invasion of Ukraine continue to pose significant downside risks.“Despite signs of recovery in 2022, growth remains sensitive to the escalation of tensions in the Palestinian territories and the ongoing restrictions on mobility, access and trade. Raising living standards, improving the sustainability of fiscal accounts, and reducing unemployment in a meaningful manner will all require significantly higher growth rates, Emblad said in the May report.While the Palestinian Authority (PA) continues to try to cover the fiscal gap, the large and growing stock of arrears to the private sector, the pension fund, and public employees pose risks to long-term macroeconomic stability.The exposure of the banking sector to the public sector remains high, which requires continued monitoring by the authorities.“The Palestinian Authority should continue to advance priority reforms to increase revenues, strengthen debt management, and improve fiscal sustainability. However, the PA cannot do it alone. Donor support and cooperation by the Government of Israel are vital to achieve fiscal consolidation and put the economy on a more solid footing,” Emblad said.The reform efforts should continue to tackle the size of the wage bill and the generous public pension system, as well as increase the efficiency of public expenditure, notably by better targeting transfers to the poorest and most vulnerable, he added.Israel’s all-encompassing stranglehold over the Palestine territories explains the plight of an estimated 6mn people.The Palestinian economy is dependent on foreign aid and affected by Israel, which, citing security concerns, enforces travel restrictions in the occupied West Bank.Overall, the Palestinian economy has been stagnating for the past five years, Emblad said, adding it was not expected to improve unless policies on the ground change.“Given population growth trends, income per capita is thus expected to stagnate,” the World Bank said.The restrictions in the West Bank and the near-blockade imposed on Gaza remain among the most important obstacles to stability, growth and private sector development in the Palestinian territories as cited by previous World Bank reports.If not eased or lifted, the Palestinian economy is expected to continue operating well below its potential.
For Jaime Maussan, a Mexican journalist and long-time UFO enthusiast, they are one of the most important discoveries in the history of humankind.But for many scientists these two tiny mummified bodies with elongated heads and three fingers on each hand, images of which were beamed around the world this week when they were presented to Mexico’s Congress, are an already-debunked — perhaps criminal — stunt.At Maussan’s office, in the Mexico City business district of Santa Fe, staff members carefully carry the two closed boxes with glass lids containing the bodies into a green-screened studio, where Reuters had exclusive access on Friday.Everyone huddles around to get a better look. The bodies appear ancient and share characteristics with humans: two eyes, a mouth, two arms, two legs. Maussan claims they were found around 2017 in Peru, near the pre-Columbian Nazca Lines.He says he can prove they are unlike anything known on Earth. On social media and in the hearing, he shared scientific analysis and study results he argues proves the bodies are about 1,000 years old and not related to any known Earthly species.One of them, described by Maussan as a female, was discovered to have eggs inside, he said.“It is the most important thing that has happened to humanity,” Maussan, 70, said of his crusade to bring awareness to the findings, sitting in his office that is heavily decorated with colourful alien-themed artwork and paraphernalia.“I believe that this phenomenon is the only one that gives us the opportunity to unite,” he added.Elsa Tomasto-Cagigao, a respected Peruvian bio-anthropologist, is frustrated such claims are still being given publicity, citing similar alleged finds that were found to be frauds.“What we said before still stands, they are presenting the same rehash as always and if there are people that keep believing that, what can we do?,” she said by phone. “It is so crass and so simple that there is nothing more to add.”Previous such finds have been dismissed by the scientific community as mutilated mummies of pre-Hispanic children, sometimes combined with bits of animal parts.David Spergel, former head of Princeton University’s astrophysics department and chair of a Nasa report into unidentified anomalous phenomena, said on Thursday that such samples should be made available for testing by the world’s scientific community.Testing conundrumMaussan shared on social media and in his presentation the results of DNA and carbon dating tests that he said he commissioned on “the beings.”A Mexican scientist, at the request of Reuters, reviewed the results and concluded they indicated normal life on Earth.Maussan told Reuters on Friday that the test results were not directly related to the two bodies that he showed Congress this week, however. In fact, he said, they were conducted on an entirely different body, known as Victoria, that remains in Peru.“They were found in the same place. They have the same physical appearance, they are the same,” Maussan said of Victoria and the two bodies he presented in Mexico. Testing was not done on those two bodies in order to avoid damaging them, he said.Maussan is no stranger to controversy. He has made claims about other remains in the past that have been widely criticized. He participated in a 2017 TV documentary about other remains found near the Nazca Lines, which experts like Tomasto-Cagigao and palaeontologist Rodolfo Salas-Gismondi have said appeared to feature doctored mummies.Now, he has angered Peruvian officials.Peruvian Culture Minister Leslie Urteaga has questioned how the specimens, which she said were pre-Hispanic objects, left Peru and says a criminal complaint has been filed.“I’m not worried. I have done absolutely nothing illegal,” Maussan said.How the bodies arrived in Mexico is a question he says he cannot answer. Borrowed by Maussan for the hearing, they are in the possession of a Mexican man, who was in Maussan’s office on Friday and who declined to be identified.When asked how the bodies — whom he called Clara and Mauricio — came to be in his possession, the man replied only that he would reveal all “at the appropriate time.”Jose de Jesus Zalce Benitez, Director of the Health Sciences Research Institute of the Secretary of the Navy, participated in the congressional hearing, bolstering Maussan’s claims. Now joining him at his office, he calmly explained his interpretation of the science.“Based on the DNA tests, which were compared with more than one million species ... they are not related to what is known or described up to this moment by science or by human knowledge,” he said.Julieta Fierro, the scientist at Mexico’s National Autonomous University’s (UNAM) Institute of Astronomy who reviewed Maussan’s test results for Reuters, sees far less mystery in the data.She said that the presence of carbon-14 in studies done by UNAM proves that the samples were related to brain and skin tissues from different mummies who died at different times.The proportion of the radioactive carbon-14 isotope that is absorbed by living organisms into their tissue decays over time, which allows scientists to determine the approximate year of death of the specimen.On other planets, the amount of carbon-14 in their atmospheres would not necessarily be the same as on Earth, she said.All in all, the results “do not show anything mysterious that could indicate life compounds that do not exist on Earth,” Fierro said. — Reuters
More than a year after the mass protest movement known as the Aragalaya ousted Sri Lanka’s president Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his brother, prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, Sri Lankans have once again taken to the streets.The impetus for the resurgence of public discontent is the recent bailout agreement between the International Monetary Fund and President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s government. The deal, which aims to address the country’s ongoing balance-of-payments crisis, offers Sri Lanka less than $3bn over four years – a tiny fraction of what the country needs to meet its debt-servicing requirements and just one-sixth of its foreign-exchange earnings, which amounted to roughly $18bn in 2022.In exchange for this emergency loan, the IMF imposed a series of conditions that have significantly exacerbated Sri Lanka’s wage and cost-of-living crises. The mandated shift to market exchange rates, in particular, immediately led to a sharp currency devaluation, causing imported fuel and food prices to skyrocket and contributing to a 165% increase in electricity tariffs between June 2022 and February 2023.As fiscal restraints were imposed, the economy continued to spiral down, with GDP shrinking by 7.8% in 2022 and 11.5% in the first quarter of 2023. This has had an adverse impact on employment, livelihoods, and the viability of small and medium-size enterprises. Consequently, real wages fell by 30-50% in 2022 and have remained stagnant.Despite paying lip service to the importance of combating corruption and curbing illicit financial flows, the IMF plan falls short of tackling these issues effectively. Although it includes a modest increase in corporate income taxes, it neglects the possibility of imposing wealth taxes. Moreover, its focus on highly regressive measures, such as nearly doubling the value-added tax to 15%, means that the bulk of additional revenues will be generated through indirect taxes that disproportionately affect ordinary people.The current wave of protests is partly a reaction to the government’s decision to comply with the IMF’s demand to restructure both external and domestic debt. Instead of focusing on lowering the external debt to a sustainable level, however, the agreement aims to bring down total debt, thereby reducing the haircut imposed on foreign creditors to just 30%.This has exacerbated the crisis and is difficult to justify. In countries that do not issue global reserve currencies, there is a clear distinction between domestic and external debt. Governments can and do service domestic debt using their own currencies, the supply of which is controlled by their central banks. By contrast, foreign currency-denominated debt necessitates either foreign-exchange earnings or new borrowing.Sri Lanka’s crisis is largely the result of the country’s inability to service its external debt due to insufficient foreign-currency reserves. Since 2016, the government has preferred to take on new international loans, primarily from private lenders, to repay its foreign creditors, including bilateral and multilateral lenders. In early 2022, the government chose to default on its foreign loans rather than explore alternative solutions.But restructuring domestic debt in an economy already in decline is both painful and unnecessary. Sri Lanka’s domestic debt is held by various entities, including the central bank, commercial banks, and pension funds. Given that the country’s banking system is already severely weakened, pension funds will almost certainly bear the brunt of the expected adjustment.This will have a significant impact on the retirement savings of workers who have already been hit by massive price increases. By reducing the interest rates on sovereign bonds held by Sri Lanka’s largest pension funds from more than 20% to 12%, and then to 9% from 2025 until maturity, the government aims to reduce its interest burden by 0.5 percentage points of GDP annually.Recent estimates by Ahilan Kadirgamar suggest that this will result in a 30% decline in the value of retirement funds a decade from now. Moreover, these pension funds, often holding the only financial assets of working people, will be subject to a 30% tax on their returns – higher than the tax rate applied to many in the corporate sector.Many workers whose life savings are invested in these retirement funds earn wage incomes well below the minimum taxable rate.These groups have already experienced an alarming decline in living standards. Nearly 56% of Sri Lanka’s 22.2mn people are now grappling with multidimensional vulnerabilities, with women and girls being the hardest hit. Official estimates suggest that roughly 43% of children under the age of five suffer from malnutrition, as do a growing number of pregnant and lactating women.A genuine resolution to Sri Lanka’s prolonged economic crisis would require a dramatic change in strategy.
If there are activities that characterise Qatar and are projected globally, they are the events that are held with the aim of benefiting the entire international community, such as the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, when the world was brought together to enjoy a sport meeting of global friendship.These meetings that Qatar offers to the world have an admirable continuity over time, with the sole purpose of offering benefits and promoting the development of all countries since they share common objectives.Qatar frequently hosts international exhibitions in Doha, which are organised in different areas of development and culture.One of the upcoming international exhibitions is Expo 2023 Doha, which will take place between October 2, 2023 and March 28, 2024. The theme of the expo is “Green Desert, Better Environment,” and it aims to raise awareness of the importance of preserving our environment through innovations and technologies.The International Horticultural Exhibition Expo 2023 Doha Qatar will be the first international horticultural exhibition to be held in the Middle East and North Africa region. Some 88 countries and international organisations have confirmed their attendance, and they will participate with pavilions that showcase their designs and advances in research and innovation.Heads of Governments, representatives of international organisations, ministers of state, various personalities committed to safeguarding a better world with changes and representatives of the private sector will also attend.We are confident that this event will offer the opportunity to promote diplomatic and business meetings, as well as an attractive hub for the arrival of a large number of tourists, among other benefits.We will surely see, given the theme of the Expo, interesting examples of the innovations that can be applied to combine sand deserts with a diverse flora and make them a place for new life, within the concept of sustainability, understood as the solution to improve life without harming the environment.Expo 2023 Doha will also raise awareness and educate visitors about climate change and the need for a more sustainable lifestyle, and will feature educational programmes, cultural events, and interactive exhibits to engage visitors about the importance of sustainability.It is worth mentioning, Horticulture is a field that has developed significantly in the 20th century, with the introduction of new methods of cultivation, such as hydroponics and aquaponics. These methods allow for more efficient use of water and nutrients, and they can be used to grow crops in harsh environments.We know that these transformative systems can control factors such as water distribution, cultivation periods, product quality, and the use of fertilisers.As for the facilities of Al Bidda Park, where the Qatar Expo 2023 international exhibition will be held, they have already been completed in a very successful way and with the modernity that characterises the projects undertaken by Qatar.Without a doubt, Expo 2023 Doha is sure to be a success, and it will leave many beneficial lessons and the advances that the whole world needs. It will be a showcase for innovative solutions to environmental challenges and help to promote sustainable development.I believe that in the near future, we can see deserts transformed into green landscapes.
Our collective future hinges on a transformative shift in our relationship with the planet. This week, during the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York, negotiations will begin at the ministerial level to plan the Summit of the Future in 2024. Coming together to save our common home must be at the top of the agenda.The triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution has accelerated and intensified in recent years. Moreover, the world is coming perilously close to irreversible tipping points, such as the collapse of the West Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, bleached coral reefs, and a substantial loss of tropical forests. The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shows that global warming is set to reach or exceed the internationally agreed target of 1.5º Celsius in the coming two decades, even in the best-case scenario of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.Despite these risks and challenges, it is still possible to achieve a green and equitable global economy. A good starting point would be for countries and communities that have benefited the most from decades of planetary exploitation to acknowledge that they bear a special responsibility to help alleviate the climate crisis.Rich countries around the world are responsible for around half of historical carbon emissions, which have been essential to their development. The Paris climate agreement thus explicitly emphasises that environmental governance must proceed on the basis of “common but differentiated responsibilities” – a core principle of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change adopted at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.But the onus of committing to a green and just transition rests upon all of us. In wealthy countries, where the rich are responsible for far more emissions than the poor, environmental solutions must differentiate between high and low emitters. And while low- and middle-income countries have an undeniable right to pursue growth, they must develop more sustainably for the benefit of their citizens. Bilateral co-operation, as well as multilateral institutions, should help them align their policies with emissions-reduction targets, biodiversity protection, and a shift toward a circular economy.To generate the necessary political will to commit to a just green transition, countries need a vision of energy abundance, rich biodiversity, and a thriving planet. To this end, as members of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Advisory Board on Effective Multilateralism (HLAB), we propose that a Pact for the Future, which has been proposed as the outcome of the Summit of the Future, include the set of recommendations to rebalance the relationship between people and planet outlined in the report that HLAB submitted to the UN Secretary-General in April.Our proposals recognise that a healthy planet is a global public good that benefits all of humanity. It would align existing treaty commitments, raise collective ambition, and marshal the resources to enable states and non-state actors to build a net-zero future.For developing countries, the green transition offers a chance to join the ranks of the world’s high-income countries. While they lack the financial means to fund ambitious policies like the US Inflation Reduction Act and the European Green Deal, many of these countries have abundant natural resources, such as forests that must be safeguarded to preserve the planet and the critical minerals and rare earths required to achieve the energy transition. Moreover, global power shifts have given them additional leverage to pursue new funding options and fairer agreements to address climate challenges.As active participants in the negotiations for a Pact for the Future, low- and middle-income countries can increase their green ambitions, take a lead in creating a sustainable future, and push back against the old “international division of labour,” in which their natural resources were exploited to create wealth and accelerate decarbonisation in advanced economies. Instead, at the upcoming Summit of the Future, they can propose and negotiate multilateral agreements and financing mechanisms to deliver a just climate transition alongside the Sustainable Development Goals.The foundations of a Pact for the Future that works for people and planet have already been laid. The first step is to reaffirm existing treaty obligations – including the Paris climate agreement, the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, and others – and to accelerate progress with time-bound targets. The pact should also commit to net-zero emissions; the phase-out of fossil fuels; the provision of clean energy to the 800mn people lacking access to electricity; a halt to deforestation (including a new incentive mechanism to protect standing forests); biodiversity targets that respect the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities; the regeneration of natural systems; and a pollution-free planet.The problem is that, without investment, these commitments will remain paper promises. HLAB thus endorses the recommendations of the UN High-Level Expert Group on the Net-Zero Emissions Commitments of Non-State Entities in 2022, which specify the scale of investment required to achieve net-zero emissions and the practical steps that member states and multilateral banks must take to begin meeting these needs.HLAB also emphasises that, in addition to mobilising financial resources, a just green transition requires transfers of knowledge and technology. And it highlights the importance of pricing and regulating carbon emissions, eliminating fossil-fuel subsidies, increasing transparency concerning emissions and carbon capture, and offering incentives to accelerate the shift to clean energy.Contrary to popular belief, tackling climate change is not a zero-sum game. Regaining balance with nature would not only ensure the survival of future generations, but would also generate countless opportunities for current ones. To succeed, however, the pact must include strong commitments and establish clear expectations. With preparations for the Summit of the Future underway, now is the time to start imagining our shared path to a sustainable and equitable transition. — Project SyndicateAnne-Marie Slaughter, a former director of policy planning in the US State Department, is CEO of the think tank New America, Professor Emerita of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University, and the author of Renewal: From Crisis to Transformation in Our Lives, Work, and Politics.Ilona Szabó, Co-Founder and President of the Igarapé Institute, is a member of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Advisory Board on Effective Multilateralism.Jayati Ghosh, Professor of Economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, is a member of the Club of Rome’s Transformational Economics Commission. Poonam Ghimire is a member of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Advisory Board on Effective Multilateralism.
Qatar, which is committed to the sustainable development of cleaner energy resources, has crossed another major milestone with Qatargas being renamed ‘QatarEnergy LNG’, emphasising a future vision for the country’s liquefied natural gas industry.With a new name and logo, QatarEnergy LNG has reiterated its commitment to safety, environmental protection, flawless project delivery and the reliability and efficiency of its production facilities.QatarEnergy is already the world leader in LNG, which is a cleaner, more flexible and reliable source of energy and an integral partner in the global energy transition.For QatarEnergy, energy transition means building a better and brighter future by helping meet today’s energy needs, while safeguarding the country’s environment and natural resources for generations to come, bound by the highest standards of sustainable human, socio-economic and environmental development.While announcing the renaming of Qatargas as QatarEnergy LNG, HE the Minister of State for Energy Affairs Saad bin Sherida al-Kaabi, who is also the President and CEO of QatarEnergy, highlighted the importance of this transformation as part of a historic evolution that is reshaping Qatar’s energy industry, particularly through the flagship LNG sector.Minister al-Kaabi also hailed the leading role Qatargas has played over the past four decades and said, “Over the course of 39 years, Qatargas has been a pioneer of the LNG industry helping place the State of Qatar firmly on the global LNG map and enhancing its leading position as a safe, reliable and trustworthy LNG supplier.“Today, QatarEnergy LNG carries this legacy forward well into the 21st century helping meet the world’s growing energy demand, placing LNG at the centre of a realistic energy transition, and playing a critical role in safeguarding energy security and eliminating energy poverty.”Al-Kaabi noted that while Qatar recognised the tremendous value that the Qatargas brand accumulated over time, the country believes that this evolution will further strengthen Qatar’s global position by creating and leveraging a stronger salient link to the QatarEnergy brand to deliver even more value to the State of Qatar, its customers and the broader stakeholders’ ecosystem.In this context, he noted, “We are reaffirming our belief in the future of LNG as a primary source of energy for decades to come and placing greater emphasis on the central position LNG occupies in our strategic priorities, development efforts, and energy investments.”Al-Kaabi said, “We are very proud of Qatargas, its people and its legacy and achievements over the past 39 years and we look forward to a new era under the new name and brand that will herald new achievements and greater gains for the LNG industry and for our stakeholders across the globe.”Established in 1984 as Qatargas, QatarEnergy LNG is a unique global energy operator in terms of size, service and reliability.It currently operates some 14 LNG production trains and is at the centre of QatarEnergy’s efforts to raise Qatar’s LNG production capacity to 126mn tonnes per year through an additional six LNG trains being set up as part of the multi-billion dollar North Field Expansion.The ongoing North Field expansion is the largest LNG development in global history and will generate substantial revenues for Qatar and hugely contribute to the country’s GDP.
A new legal effort to prevent Donald Trump from retaking the presidency next year is afoot. Its backers rely on Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution, which bars from office anyone who has “engaged in insurrection or rebellion ... or given aid or comfort to the enemies” of the US. Numerous lawsuits have been filed arguing that Trump’s participation in an insurrection on January 6, 2021 – either by itself or as part of a larger effort to nullify the 2020 election – disqualifies him. Could a constitutional provision adopted in 1868 really save American democracy in 2024? Section Three has already been used successfully to remove from office a New Mexico county commissioner named Couy Griffin, the organiser of “Cowboys for Trump,” who helped rally members of the mob that breached the Capitol on January 6. But the effort to remove Trump from the ballot has received further support from a recent article by two distinguished constitutional law professors, William Baude of the University of Chicago Law School and Michael Stokes Paulsen of the University of St. Thomas School of Law, who argue that Section Three does indeed apply. Baude and Paulsen contend that January 6 obviously was an insurrection, because many of those involved used organised violence to try to prevent the lawful transfer of power. Trump either directly engaged in it or gave “aid or comfort” to participants by refusing to call in the National Guard to halt the violence despite repeated requests over a period of hours. The article gives special attention to Griffin’s Case, an “appalling opinion” written by Supreme Court chief justice Salmon P Chase in 1869, which will likely play a role in any suit against Trump. Since this was not a Supreme Court opinion, its precedential significance remains unclear. In those days, Supreme Court justices would “sit circuit” and decide certain appeals on their own. Nonetheless, Chase’s opinion matters because he was a Supreme Court justice, a former member of president Abraham Lincoln’s cabinet, and a significant political and legal figure in his own right. It also matters because it tells us how the US once dealt with the problem of wayward government officials. The case involved an appeal of a ruling issued by a Virginia judge who had been a Virginia state legislator (and thus an officeholder in the Confederacy) during the Civil War. The defendant (Griffin), who had been convicted of a crime, argued that the judge was disqualified under Section Three. But Chase found it impossible to believe that Congress had intended to disqualify everyone who had held any official position in the South, let alone that a run-of-the-mill trial should be voided on those grounds. Under such a literal interpretation of the text, Chase wrote: “No sentence, no judgment, no decree, no acknowledgment of a deed, no record of a deed, no sheriff’s or commissioner’s sale – in short no official act – is of the least validity. It is impossible to measure the evils which such a construction would add to the calamities which have already fallen upon the people of these states.” For Chase, it was unfathomable that the South, already reduced to an economic wasteland, would also be deprived of government and reduced to anarchy in the wake of Lincoln’s talk of reconciliation and reconstruction. That outcome would help freedmen no more than the former rebels. Chase accordingly held that Section Three was not “self-executing.” It instead gave Congress the power to enact legislation to implement it. Chase’s judicial statesmanship seems to have worked: Congress duly enacted a statute to purge certain southern officeholders. Under the First Ku Klux Klan Act of 1870, Section Three would be enforced only against officeholders who interfered with Reconstruction, not against every recorder of deeds or dogcatcher. Congress then issued a broad amnesty in 1872. Historians see Section Three as one of many attempts to come to terms with the Civil War. Do we punish the South, reconcile with it, or aim for a little of both? These were hard questions that took decades to resolve – if they were ever resolved at all. Chase saw plainly that, in the immediate aftermath of the war, Congress was in no mood to deliberate carefully, and thus committed the classic blunder of vengeance. As his former boss, Lincoln, understood, reconciliation was a necessary component of reconstruction. Baude and Paulsen, by contrast, condemn Chase of a technical error of judicial interpretation, committing the “classic blunder” of “swapping in original intent for original meaning” when he interpreted the amendment. They think Chase should have enforced the ill-considered impulses of Congress, come what may. And they think today’s secretaries of state should enforce those same ill-considered, vengeful impulses, as embodied in the text and original understanding in 1868. The implication is that they should disregard the utterly different context – the elimination from the ballot of a former president and Republican Party frontrunner – despite the impact of disenfranchising a huge portion of the electorate in its own eyes. It is hard to think of a better way to discredit both democracy and the rule of law in a single blow. It is tempting to summon a deus ex machina to rid the country of a man who has done more to undermine American democracy than any person since Jefferson Davis. But would it revive democracy, or weaken it further, to allow the 2024 election to be decided by the electorate of 1868? - Project Syndicate Eric Posner, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School, is the author of How Antitrust Failed Workers (Oxford University Press, 2021).