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Newsletter May 2020

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Flawed but vital, “Planet of the Humans” poses several inconvenient questions

Michael Moore and Jeff Gibbs new movie, Planet of the Humans (POTH) serves to uncomfortably remind viewers that in many ways, despite our increased awareness of the growing biodiversity and climate crises, often our “environmental” and “sustainable” solutions, such as “natural” fossil gas, biomass and biofuels, have proven as bad or worse than the coal and petroleum they were intended to replace.

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Red Alarm: Europe’s Next Drought is Already Upon Us

In much of Europe, this April is proving one of the driest in history. According to climate scientists, this could be the new normal as global warming enhances the frequency of severe droughts. Farmers though could do more to secure stable harvests: by growing more diverse crops.

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How Transparent and Inclusive is the Design Process of the National CAP Strategic Plans?

After the first steps made towards designing the National CAP Strategic Plans, this article analyses transparency and stakeholder inclusivity in six selected Member States: France, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Spain, and Poland. 

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Crisis is gendered. Women in the times of pandemic

The crisis associated with the Covid19 pandemic has a gender, and clearly shows social inequalities of all kinds. It particularly affects women, as well as disadvantaged and variously marginalised groups. There are also attempts to exploit the pandemic for short-term political goals directly targeting women's rights.

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Feminist policy as collateral damage?

The change of government in Austria after the Ibiza affair on the one hand lead to a withdrawal of antifeminist (politically right) populist measures of the prior turquoise-blue government. On the other hand, existing structures of disadvantage and oppression have not been questioned by the successor government.

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The invisible coronavirus makes systemic gender inequalities and injustices visible

COVID-19 uniquely affects women. Here are many of the ways it does.

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La paz avanza con Las mujeres.

GPAZ es un grupo de organizaciones que ha velado porque se incluya y se dé cumplimiento al enfoque de género en el Acuerdo de Paz. Han estado presentes desde el aporte de elementos para las negociaciones en la Habana hasta hacer seguimiento y recomendaciones para su implementación. Este es el resumen de la segunda entrega de su informe de seguimiento que cubre el periodo entre agosto de 2018 y agosto de 2019. 

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One app per province? How Canada’s federalism complicates digital contact tracing

A strong sense of regional sovereignty in the Canadian health care system may lead to different choices for technologies to track and contain the spread of the coronavirus. A multiplicity of non-interoperable apps could put their effectiveness in question and could create inconsistent approaches to privacy.

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We need a democratic debate on tech, privacy and social rights

Tech will not free us from coronavirus, but it can provide us with helpful tools – if we foster an open and democratic debate on how to use it. 

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The bio-surveillance state: an emerging new normal in Asia

The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred the use of digital technologies that are shaping people's lives and interaction with society. The development of apps to monitor the movements and health status of individual citizens will have long-term implications for privacy and safety. Nowhere is this more visible than in Asia.

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Europe's disinformation epidemic: Who's checking the facts?

Disinformation is out of control as malicious actors seek to capitalise on the Covid-19 pandemic. To date, EU schemes to tackle disinformation have focused on self regulation, but there are widespread concerns about how the EU is managing the crisis. 

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Germany’s epic corona-tracing debate: a risky game with public trust

The debate over the data storage model of a coronavirus tracing app shows how the German government’s search for digital infection control tools became caught up between public health officials, privacy experts and the US tech industry. 

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A “Bridge to Health” divides India

The Indian government faces strong pushback from civil society for mandating the use of a privacy-intrusive COVID-19 tracing app. The heated legal debate resembles the previous one over the country’s controversial biometric ID system Aadhaar.

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Transformative Responses for a way out of the crisis

Transformative responses is a transnational network which aims to increase our systems' resilience by addressing the socio-economic and ecological challenges at the intersection of finance, ecology and inequality with concrete actions and policies to mitigate crisis and initiate structural reform.

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The pandemic that exposed British neoliberalism

In its response to coronavirus, Britain has fared substantially worse than most other countries. The roots of this failure are in the neoliberal consensus – a consensus that is now vanishing.

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Western Balkans Strategy Group

The Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung's offices in Belgrade, Sarajevo and Berlin have estalished a Strategy Group tasked with conceptualizing and presenting to EU decision-makers policy proposals aimed at revitalizing the EU Accession process of the Western Balkan countries in line with progressive, green, and gender-sensitive values. The Group consists of prominent Civil Society representatives from each of the WB countries, and is subdivided into working groups.

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Poland: Freedom of the press in free fall

The direction has been pointing constantly downwards since 2015. In the international ranking on press freedom by "Reporters Without Borders", Poland was 18th at the time, but has now slipped to 62nd place. 44 places in five years. The changes in the media landscape are admittedly occurring more subtly than in Hungary, for example. But restrictions on the work of journalists in the country are becoming increasingly noticeable.

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COVID-19 and its impact on migration: the case of Armenia

In the case of Armenia, as much elsewhere in the world, refugees are amongst the vulnerable populations affected by the pandemic and the economic and social hardships accompanying it.

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From mass protests to the SARS-CoV2 crisis: the public health crisis is worsening the social crisis in Chile

The October uprising has paved the way for new constitution in Chile. However, the virus has forced citizens’ organisations into quarantine and is delaying constitutional change. What happens next?

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A shaky system starts to wobble: Mexico and coronavirus

A fluctuating economy, high unemployment, enormous violence against women and girls – what was already a difficult situation in Mexico has been made far worse by the coronavirus pandemic. Dawid Danilo Bartelt, Head of the Mexico City Office, describes the country’s approach to tackling coronavirus.

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Autocracy in El Salvador? The Historical Challenge in Time of Pandemic

El Salvador, like many other countries in Central America and the world, is in a situation bordering on tragedy, facing a pandemic under the immense structural failures resulting from centuries of environmental and human exploitation. 

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International Relations
“The Pandemic Is Deepening the Divide"

The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the global economy are dramatic. The virus is shaking all major economies simultaneously. At the same time,  the crisis is acting as an accelerator for the developing countries that were already highly in debt. An Interview with Barbara Unmüßig, President of the Heinrich Böll Foundation, on the latest developments.

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Closed Ports, Dubious Partners

This study shows that port closures are governed not only by the law of the sea and human rights law, but also by WHO law and that non-refoulement obligations continue to apply even in emergency situations while a derogation is not permissible under international law.

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Israel and Palestine: annexation in the shadows of SARS-CoV-2?

The world's attention is fully focused on tackling the Covid-19 pandemic. But in the shadows of this crisis, Israel is quietly planning to annex parts of the Westbank.  How likely is annexation and what will its consequences be?

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Migrants and Refugees in a Time of Pandemic: Access to Healthcare Services in Turkey

The Covid-19 pandemic affects different groups of people differently. It is, however, possible to argue that asylum seekers, migrants and refugees scattered across the globe are among the most vulnerable groups to the outbreak. Yet, what are the key challenges facing migrants and refugees in Turkey, particularly challenges in accessing healthcare services during the pandemic?

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India in the times of the COVID-19 pandemic: an image full of contradictions

In its fight against the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, India is facing its greatest social and economic challenge since independence in 1947. Persisting political and social contradictions have become more visible than ever before. Media reports are shifting the focus away from areas that really matter for the preservation of a democratic social fabric. Yet the current situation also leaves a ray of hope. 

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Flying blind: Myanmar in the Covid-19 crisis

With low testing rates, but rising numbers of infections, Myanmar’s government is virtually flying blind trying to get on top of Covid-19 with a lockdown. The collapse of clothing exports to Europe has led to a sharp rise in unemployment, while armed conflicts continue, mostly in Rakhine State, and critical coverage of it has become a criminal offence.

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The Hong Kong way to combat Covid-19: “Take things in our own hands”

Quiet streets and empty malls on Friday nights. In the eyes of overseas visitors, the city might still seem lively, but for Hongkongers like me the vibrant buzz of this city has been replaced by fear, personal isolation, and the smell of rancid surgical masks.

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