Moorhead and Clarke’s “Big NGOs prepared to move South but will it make a difference?” brings exciting news. It shows the growing move of big INGOs’ headquarters and operations to the Southern hemisphere. Oxfam, Amnesty International, ActionAid are relocating their global HQs. This shift accompanies changes in function: from advocating with governments in the “North” to change things worldwide, to encouraging “governments across the world to be answerable to their own people”. And from delivering services to supporting local citizens to advocate for change. I got very interested in the HQ part of the story. Oxfam global HQ are moving from Oxford to Nairobi, getting thinner, and spreading across different hubs (Addis, Bangkok, Washington, and Geneva). Last year, I advocated for the relocation of our headquarters to Asia, with no traction. But looking at the transformation underway in INGO-land, one wonders: is the very concept of headquarters completely outmoded in today’s world? I found the Oxfam model consisting of a series of interconnected hubs with specific functions very appealing. Should the UN rethink its HQ design and location?
It is always good to have a look of the G-20 Leaders Communiqué. Given the timing, terrorism-related issues took over a big part of the agenda. Some highlights include a strong call to fight inequalities that bring “risks to social cohesion and the wellbeing of citizens, [have] negative economic impact and hinder our objective to lift growth”; an agreement to reduce youth unemployment by 15% by 2025 in G20 countries; and the endorsement of a package of measures to reduce tax evasion (blessed by finance ministers last month). It is also important to note the recognition by the G20 of the refugee crisis as a “global concern” with a call to “all states to contribute to responding to this crisis, and share in the burdens associated with it”: a big win for the Turkish host and the EU, most directly affected by the crisis. While terrorism and refugee matters brought members of the group together, climate change was more divisive. A weak reference to the 2°C target was the hard won gain of a late night debate where India and Saudi Arabia strongly opposed referring to any review mechanism: a signal that the upcoming Paris negotiations may be tough. The next G20 Leaders Summit will be held in Hangzhou in September 2016. As China takes over the G20 Presidency, we may want to consider possible entry points in the preparatory process, not least because G20 Leaders agreed to “develop an action plan in 2016 to further align [their] work with the 2030 Agenda”.
My interactive map of the week is from the Global Terrorism Index 2015 just released by the Institute of Economics and Peace. The main facts from the report: 32,658 people were killed by terrorist attacks in 2014, this is 80% more than in 2013. Only 0.6% of terrorist attacks occurred in countries without ongoing conflicts. 78% of attacks happened in just five countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Syria. And half of the 2014 attacks were perpetrated by Boko Haram and ISIS, with the former being the deadliest.
My quote this week is from Marshall McLuhan’s “The medium is the message” : “Our “Age of Anxiety” is, in great part, the result of trying to do today’s job with yesterday’s tools – with yesterday’s concepts”.