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IMAGO / Fotoarena

Sincerity or showmanship

What's behind Lula's efforts to build international alliances to protect rainforests?

With the Amazon Summit, an international summit for the protection of the rainforest took place in August 2023 in Belém, Brazil, with high-ranking participants from the Amazon riparian states. It was agreed to improve cooperation on topics such as water management, infrastructure, health, human rights and biodiversity protection, however, it was not possible to agree on concrete goals. Moreover, a new economic program presented by President Lula shortly after the summit raises the question as to where Brazil's environmental policy is actually heading.

IMAGO / NurPhoto

China's Financial System in Turmoil

What Does This Mean for German Investments?

Since it became known over a year ago that the Chinese real estate developer Evergrande is at risk of collapsing under its immense debt burden, it has become clear that the Chinese financial system has weaknesses. The situation is now escalating dramatically: in the past few days alone, it has been revealed that another real estate group, "Country Garden," is facing payment difficulties; the same goes for the major trust fund "Zhongrong International." The Chinese yuan has fallen so far that Chinese banks intervened in the foreign exchange market to stabilize the exchange rate.

IMAGO / Sabine Gudath

Back on track for success in housing policy

Ways out of the crisis

The promotion of home ownership is and remains an important component of social policy and can make a significant contribution to equality of opportunity and intergenerational justice. More courage is needed to implement urgently needed reforms. This brief asks how housing policy can be put back on the road to success, for example by lowering the cost of property financing.

Adobe Stock / VectorMine

Global Finance Summit

Is there an opportunity for climate finance reform?

On June 22-23, 2023, the summit for a new global finance pact will be held in Paris to kick off a fundamental reform of climate finance.

AdobeStock / William W. Potter

De-Dollarisierung der Weltwirtschaft?

Warum der Renminbi nicht als neue Leitwährung taugt

In jüngster Zeit tauchten vermehrt Meldungen über eine vermeintliche De-Dollarisierung der Weltwirtschaft auf. Die Dominanz des US-Dollars bei der Finanzierung des internationalen Handels sowie seine herausgehobene Rolle als Reservewährung würden demnach durch den Aufstieg des Renminbi und den Aufbau eines BRICS-eigenen Zahlungssystems bedroht.

natalikp / Adobe Stock

"Local for local” is not a solution, but a symptom 

For strategic economic policy to work, it must be economically rewarding for businesses

In early May, for the first time, EU adopted so-called extraterritorial sanctions to prevent the resale of sanctioned goods to Russia by companies in third countries. In October this year, the Carbon Boundary Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) will gradually enter into force with the aim of ensuring that sustainably produced goods from the EU are not displaced by dirtily produced goods from abroad.

Adobe Stock / Emvats

Evaluating the draft legislation on the reform of the Stability and Growth Pact

Better not to reform than to reform wrongly?

The Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) is at the heart of European debt rules. The European Commission has currently presented a draft legislation for a reform of these rules. Indeed, a reform would be necessary: (1) necessary because enforcement of the SGP rules is poor and the current reduction paths are unrealistic. In particular, some member states have significantly exceeded the Maastricht debt ceiling of 60 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP). For example, according to Eurostat data of 2022, Greece reached a debt-to-GDP ratio of about 171 per cent, Italy of about 144 per cent, Spain of about 113 per cent and France of about 112 per cent – debt levels that would be difficult to reduce within 20 years, as required by the rules. (2) Would be because a reform should offer a better and more effectively enforceable set of rules than the existing EU debt rules. Why the current bill is not an improvement on the previous rules will be outlined below.

Adobe Stock / TungCheung

No Women’s Rights without Religious Freedom 

The German government is neglecting religious women

Religious freedom is increasingly under pressure worldwide. Muslim and Christian women and men in Asia are subjected to violent attacks, while atheists are persecuted in many Islamic countries and indigenous religious communities suffer from intimidation in Latin America. Women and girls are particularly affected by these human rights violations. A particularly gruesome example is Maira Shahbaz, who was abducted, tortured, and raped at the age of 14 in Pakistan. With video recordings of the acts, she was forced to give up her faith and to convert. Maira and her family were able to flee and have been in hiding ever since.

Reuters / Tiksa Negeri

Growing tensions in the West African "anchor of stability" Senegal

The campaign for the 2024 presidential election has begun

Senegal still has a reputation as a stable and peaceful democracy. The country is perceived as an anchor of stability in a troubled region, mainly associated with the Sahel crisis. President Macky Sall has been in power since 2012, currently in his second term. According to the constitution, a third is not foreseen. However, there are increasing indications that one cannot be ruled out - Macky Sall himself has not yet clearly stated his intentions in this regard. This is being received negatively by the population and comparisons are being drawn with the situation in 2012: Macky Sall's predecessor, Abdoulaye Wade, harboured similar aspirations then and lost the election campaign. Political opponents like Ousmane Sonko are building their own election campaign in large part on the rejection of such a third term. In this respect, the next elections could be a turning point in the country's longstanding democratic tradition.

Feminism in International Development Policy

Well Intentioned But Not Well Designed

On 1 March, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) presented its strategy for a feminist development policy. Parallel to this, the guidelines for a feminist foreign policy of the Federal Foreign Office (AA) were also presented. But how sensible and feasible are these plans?

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About this series

Concise, reduced to the essentials, but always highly topical. In our series "kurzum", our experts summarise an issue or problem on a maximum of two pages.