Stories written by Daan Bauwens

“Refugees Are Nothing but Commodities”

As countless refugees arriving on Italy’s shores report torture, extortion and forced labour in Libyan detention centers, many say they never intended to make the journey to Europe until the chaos in Libya left them no other choice.

Biofuels Get a Dubious Boost

In an unexpected move, European parliamentarians have approved a new biofuel regulation that will take emissions from indirect land use change into account. The new text allows the biofuel sector to expand, sending a clear signal to world food markets and jeopardising food security for the world's poorest.

With Billions of Euros Pledged, Mali Risks Aid Overflow

International donors pledged yesterday to mobilise 3.25 billion Euros to rebuild Mali, a figure that surpassed all expectations. But experts warn that the country does not have the absorption capacity for so much aid, while others say donors should pressure the Malian government to stop ongoing human rights abuses.

Japanese Learn to Mind Their Business for Others

After two decades of economic stagnation and serial natural disasters, a growing number of young Japanese believe social entrepreneurship is the best way to rebuild their society.

Starting Tsunami Reconstruction Now

Funding for reconstruction is beginning to decline after the tsunami almost two years ago - but in large parts of Japan's north-eastern region reconstruction has yet to begin. More and more young Japanese are now moving into this area for reconstruction in a new way.

Japan Values Women Less – As It Needs Them More

Despite anti-discrimination laws and a steadily growing number of employed women, Japan is falling behind the rest of the world on gender equality. Widespread discrimination persists, and has only grown more subtle over the past years.

Europe’s Support Crucial for Ongoing Arab Spring

The Arab Spring is far from over. The protracted conflict in Syria continues to swallow lives while the international community, hamstrung by geopolitics, looks on; riots across the Muslim world following the release of a low-budget American movie that is disrespctful of the Prophet Muhammad resulted in the death of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens in Libya; Tunisia and Egypt continue to struggle with post-revolutionary economies; and a string of democratically elected Islamist governments has taken root in newly-liberated countries throughout the region.

EU Cap ‘Only Boosts Biofuels’

The European Commission has announced it will limit the amount of crop-based biofuels used in transport, but its newly proposed measures are not nearly enough to curb the disastrous impact of the EU's biofuel policy around the world. Its effects will only worsen, activists say.

Carbon Trading Scheme Close to Collapse

By 2020, countries that are signatory to the Kyoto protocol will have accumulated more than 17 billion tonnes of surplus emission reduction permits, a new study shows. This enormous surplus not only drives the carbon price close to zero, but also jeapordises the chances of reaching a new global climate deal.

Norway Counts the Usefulness of Lending

The Norwegian government has announced it would assess the legitimacy of developing countries' debt to Norway. In effect it will investigate whether its loans have been useful enough to warrant repayment.

Poland Clings On to Coal

Coal has brought its own compulsions for Poland, as it has for many other countries in the call to move to more renewable and cleaner sources of energy.

Biofuels and Hunger, Two Sides of the Same Coin

Despite growing evidence that biofuel production is causing food insecurity around the world, the new European Union policy blueprint on renewable energy ignores the social effects of biofuels. Last week, Guatemalan victims of the food crisis came to Brussels to make European policy makers aware of the problem.

Resolution on Arms Trade ‘Bold but Not Bulletproof’

The European Parliament sent a bold message to the world last week with its comprehensive and ambitious resolution to put an end to the illicit global arms trade. But analysts regret the new resolution ignores several key factors, such as the impact of the arms trade on the socio-economic development of recipient countries, and the involvement of civil society in future negotiations.

Billions of Development Dollars in Private Hands

With governments and international institutions focusing increasingly on a stronger role for the private sector in development aid, a new report by the European Network on Debt and Development (Eurodad) released yesterday suggests there is good reason to doubt this approach.

EU Feels Force of Israeli Demolitions

All 27 foreign ministers of the European Union have strongly spoken out against Israeli demolitions in Area C of the West Bank. Since the beginning of 2011 not less than 60 EU-funded projects have been demolished while 110 others are currently at risk. Several analysts claim the Israeli authorities are specifically targeting EU-funded projects.

EU Backs Aid Through Budget Support

In an unprecedented move, all 27 EU development ministers championed budget support Monday as an effective way of reducing poverty in developing countries. At the same time they gave the green light to a new ground-breaking initiative to prevent new humanitarian crises in the Horn of Africa.

Financial Transaction Tax Likely This Year

A recent proposal to introduce a European financial transaction tax was blocked by Britain. But with Germany and France committed to push ahead, many are confident a tax will be implemented before the end of this year.

A protester in Berlin demands restoration of subsidies for solar energy. Credit: Daan Bauwens/IPS.

The Sun Shines Less on Solar Power in Germany

Germany is capable of producing as much solar energy as the rest of the world together. But now the German government is proposing dramatic cuts in subsidies for solar panels. They say consumer demand is so high it can no longer support the technology.

Nadia El Fani. Credit: Daan Bauwens/IPS.

Arab Women Bring Spring to the Screen

Women have been at the forefront of each uprising in the Arab world. Last week, the ‘8 Arab Women Filmmakers’ festival offered a platform to Arab women directors to give their perspectives on the future of the region.

NGOs Urge “Solution from Within” For Somalia

While the international community discusses Somalia's future in London and Brussels, European and Somali non-governmental organisations are calling for a radical shift from a military to a humanitarian approach as the only solution to the country's war-torn condition.

EUROPE: Developing Nations Lose Billions to Multinational Tax Dodging

Not corruption but multinational tax dodging is the main reason why developing nations stay aid-dependent, says a new report. And while new proposals by the European Commission try to tackle the problem, they turn a blind eye towards tax havens.

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