The most important document I read over the past couple of weeks is Deschamps and al’s “Taking action on sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers”. This is the report of an independent review on sexual exploitation and abuse by international peacekeeping forces in the Central African Republic. The brutal facts: In 2013-14, several children from the M’Poko IDP camp aged 9-13 were sexually abused by peacekeepers in exchange for military food rations and small amounts of money. The report is appalling. It shows how the UN system systematically failed to timely and appropriately protect and care for these children, and to properly investigate, report and follow up on the violations. Many parts of the UN are judged at fault. The report describes a machinery caught up in the implementation of its complex procedures and the fragmentation of its responsibilities where action and accountability are always someone else’s business. It shows how the system ends up not delivering its most fundamental human rights functions. Shockingly, more staff time was devoted to assigning blame for a leaked document than to caring for the abused kids. This should be mandatory reading for every UN staff member.
Davis and al’s “Do socially responsible firms pay more taxes?” looks at the relation between corporate tax payments and corporate social responsibility (CSR). I read it after this Economist article whet my appetite. Using data from a large set of US companies, Davis and al analyze links between tax and CSR behaviors between 2002-11. They show that high CSR firms are avoiding taxes the most and are spending the most on tax lobbying. This indicates that CSR and tax payments are used as substitutes not complements by [US] firms. These findings are important because UN CSR approach and guidelines (including our Children Rights and Business Principles) view corporate tax payments as positive contributions to social welfare. As the authors conclude: “If policy makers are trying to improve social welfare, understanding this trade-off is important in the design of tax laws”.
My visual of the week is Sander and al’s “The global flow of people”. It depicts migration flows within and between regions. It shows that the largest movements happen between South and East Asia, Latin to North America, and within Africa. The authors also have a “Global flow of refugees” version which clearly shows that most movements are regional in nature.
My quote this week is from Lucy Kellaway’s ”Big brother management: Farewell performance review, hello data systems”: “In 2016 the job of management will be taken away from managers. […] The most visible sign of the new world will be the end of the annual career appraisal. […] The end started half way through 2015 when Deloitte and then Accenture announced that they were getting rid of their performance review. Deloitte let slip that it spent an unconscionable 2m hours a year to produce yearly reports for its 65,000 people—making it among the biggest corporate wastes of time ever invented.”