The Record: This Week in Review

Latest from international organizations…

EU Addresses Online Privacy

The EU is considering regulations that would allow citizens of its member states to control how much data companies can collect from their online activities. American tech companies, with the support of the Obama administration, are lobbying against these regulations in the EU. Yet, privacy advocates hope the United States will someday adopt similar regulations.

African Union Will Create An IP Office

The African Union announced that it will set up a pan-African intellectual property office. The goal is to facilitate international investment and trade, but critics question whether subscribing to an IP system in which non-African entities own nearly all the rights is in Africa’s best interest.

EU Acts to Stop Overfishing

The EU has backed a plan to reform fishing in Atlantic and Mediterranean EU waters. The plan would require member states to stop overfishing and work to rebuild fish stocks, and it would cut off aid to states that fail to do so. Environmental groups hailed the plan as a major breakthrough after years of declining fish stocks.

Latest on international human rights…

Calling for Reversal of Rape Conviction

A Somali woman, who alleged that she was raped by government security forces, and the journalist who interviewed her have been convicted on unknown grounds. International human rights advocates are calling for a reversal of the convictions and are concerned about the impact these convictions will have on victims of rape coming forward in the future, as well as the state of freedom of the press in Somalia.

Suicide Bombings in Syria

Suicide bombings targeted at military forces in Syria killed at least 19 and injured many. Meanwhile, the main opposition alliance calls for the government’s release of all female detainees before they will begin talks with the government.

Legalizing Gay Marriage in Great Britain Cut Short

A bill legalizing gay marriage passed easily in Britain’s House of Commons, supported strongly by Prime Minister, David Cameron, but not by the majority of his Conservative Party. The vote in the House of Lords is less certain, but Cameron is committed to enacting the law in Summer 2013.

Human Rights Watch 2013 World Report

In its newly released 2013 World Report which analyzes human rights issues in over 90 countries, the Human Rights Watch stated that Russia’s restriction of political freedom is the worst it has ever been post-Soviet Union.

Latest on international finance…

IMF Reports Spain is On Track for Implementing Financial Reforms.

The IMF recently concluded its second independent monitoring mission of the Spanish financial sector, supervising European financial support used in recapitalization for the Spanish banking sector. The European Stability Mechanism (ESM) provided the Spanish banking sector with close to €39.5 billion in December 2012. Spain was the first country to be provided aid from the ESM since its establishment through the Treaty Establishing the European Stability Mechanism was signed in February 2012. The IMF continues to act in an independent capacity, monitoring the progress of the Spanish Fund for Orderly Bank Restructuring in recapitalizing the Spanish banking sector. The IMF team found that many of the efforts to restructure undercapitalized Spanish banks have reached “an advanced stage” and that many key reforms have been adopted.

World Bank President Calls for Mitigating Corruption Risks in Development Projects.

In his address to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim reiterated the Bank’s “zero tolerance” policy for corruption within its own development projects, but recognized that taking “risks for development results” is a necessary trade-off. In this vein, Kim stressed the importance of the World Bank’s Integrity Vice Presidency in training prosecutors and investigators in anti-corruption techniques. Last September, the Integrity Vice Presidency signed a cooperation agreement with INTERPOL providing for increased cooperation. The World Bank and INTERPOL also cooperate on the Bank’s Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative, working with developing countries to repatriate stolen state funds. Kim emphasized that such cooperation was key in the international context. At the same time, Kim advocated continued funding of development projects, keeping the “big picture” in mind.

Financial Stability Board Established as Swiss Association

During its meeting in Zurich last month, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) established itself as an association under Swiss law. The FSB was first proposed at the 2009 G-20 Summit to coordinate national financial authorities to develop standards for the global financial market. The FSB will continue to be housed at the Bank for International Settlements headquarters in Basel, Switzerland. In the upcoming year, the FSB will coordinate work on resolving failed financial institutions, developing clearinghouses for over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives, and developing regulatory structures for the shadow banking system. The FSB will remain in continuous dialogue with the G-20 to deal with these, and other pressing issues for international financial markets.

In other news…

David B. OppenheimerSheila R. Foster, and Sora Y. Han released a new teacher’s manual on comparative equality and anti-discrimination law, which includes law from the Unites States, Europe, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, India, South Africa and China.

The Record: This Week in Review

U.S. Fight Against World Hunger

Follow David Lane, the U.S. Ambassador to the UN Food and Agriculture Agencies in Rome as he does a media tour for the U.S. mission he leads to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Food Programme (WFP), and the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD).  It provides an insight into the type of work these organizations are doing to help support smallholder and commercial farmers in Africa.  In his second post, Lane highlights some of the collaborative efforts between the government of Tanzania and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and goes on to say that this is the type of collaborative work that is at the heart of the Feed the Future, the U.S. global hunger and food security initiative.

U.S. Recognizes the Government of Somalia

The U.S. Government has officially recognized the Government of Somalia.  Given the instability of the region it will be interesting to see what type of commitment the U.S. makes to the country and region and what effect this will have on the operation of other international organizations in Somalia.