Manchester vs Manchester
Today the English soccer Premier League will be decided. Manchester City plays at home in the derby against rivals and defending champions Manchester United.
If Man City wins they are new leaders of the league with 2 games to go. And the City fans are demanding a victory. It has been a strange season. During autumn Man City was way ahead but the last months have been red and Man United has been on a winning path. Just a few weks ago City was 11 points down. Now it is totally open again. And former United striker - and former City captain - Carlos Tevez is back in the manchester City squad to wint he game for his team. It will be a battle.
Join Adam Cayton from U2 in the "Walk in my shoes" campaign
Suicide takes the lives of more young men in Ireland than road accidents. Join Adam Clayton for Walk in My Shoes days on April 26 to 30th and support mental health services for young adults in Ireland and other countries.
Listen about the campaign here
Going for lunch
Love the story where the Swedish Minister for Environment invited a number of former Ministers for lunch but one of the invitations went to a different "Margareta Winberg" - a common retired woman - who decided to go. So she turned up and participated in the lunch for Ministers.
Here she is on the official photo. The first row, at the end (right). In a comment she said, "it was nice food, but my husband was angry that his was not invited...".
Sweden and China top meeting
State of the world economy, Sweden and the EU's bilateral relations with China, sustainable development and innovation, and current domestic and foreign policy issues on the agenda when Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt welcomed Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.
But democracy and human rights were discussed, said Fredrik Reinfeldt at the press conference after the meeting.
Giant Seizures of cocaine in Caribbean
Two motor boats loaded with 2200 kilograms of cocaine was seized in the Caribbean, announced the U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Thursday. Drugs estimated to be worth over $ 362 million, equivalent to 2.43 billion kronor. The two spacecraft were first discovered by a Florida-based reconnaissance plane 20 mil east of Panama's coast in late April.
The TIME 100 Most Influential People in the World
They are the people who inspire us, entertain us, challenge us and change our world. Meet the breakouts, pioneers, moguls, leaders and icons who make up this year's TIME 100.
There are two Swedes on the list this year, Swedish development guru Hans Rosling (a favourite on this webpage) and innovative Internet entrepreur Daniel Ek (Spotify).
Read the list here
The Stockholm Call for Action submitted
At the concluding ceremony of the conference, Stockholm +40 handed Environment Minister Lena Ek and Gunilla Carlsson "the Stockholm Call for Action" to Sha Zukang, the Secretary-General for Rio +20 and Brazil's deputy environment minister Francisco Gaetani.
You can read the outcome action plan from the Stockholm conference here
The best football tournament in the world, ever
So we have a final two in the UEFA Champions League 2011/2012. Bayern Münich vs Chelsea FC. What increadible games we got in the semifinals! Amazing. Barcelona totally outplayed Chelsea at Camp Nou, but Chelsea won after a great goal by Brazilian international Ramirez.
Bayern was the best team of the other semifinal and won the final spot mon own merits, but the game in Madrid was outstanding. Now bayern will play the final at home and they will win. I love the Bayern team and the club. The philosophy and the football.
A Historical verdict
Liberia's former dictator Charles Taylor, on Thursday its judgment in the prosecution of war crimes and crimes against humanity in neighboring Sierra Leone in the 1990s. The trial has been going on since 2007 under the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone. For security reasons, Taylor's case, however, dealt with in the Hague in the Netherlands. The judgment against him will be the first to date against a former head of state in an international court.
New KENT album
My Swedish favourite pop/rock group KENT releases their new album "I am not afraid of the dark" today. For those of you that like Swedish music, you defintely need to check out KENT.
If this group would have been from England they would be world stars. now they are only the biggest group of Scandinavia. This is the first new song from the new album in a live version
Comments on the Internet Forum for global development
Stockholm internet forum which ended yesterday, brought together around 350 participants from NGOs, businesses and governments to discuss how freedom of the network should contribute to democracy and development around the world. Anders Ahnlid, Swedish Ambassador to the OECD, comments the forum on the MinFor blog. These are his words. "Discussions were lively in seven main sessions and tens of side events. Future connectivity, social media, the promotion of freedom on the Internet through corporate responsibility, the relationship between freedom and security are among the topics raised. A recurring theme has been that solutions to problems and sustainable arrangements for freedom on the Internet must be based on participation by all involved parties: governments, businesses and other organizations of various kinds. Processes and solutions must be based on multistakeholderism. The discussion made it clear that the concept holds many challenges. But processes that include all highlighted as necessary for network management is to be kept open in a way that leads to continued rapid technological and social development. It is also through multi-take householder processes that freedom on the net can be defended and expanded, under the necessary and legitimate rules that respect the UN's Human Rights, including Article 19 on freedom of expression. Efforts to free online in the OECD and UNESCO must also be developed by involving all stakeholders. We have important work to do to put the recommendation in the OECD guidelines for multinational enterprises, the companies to work for freedom on the Internet in the markets where they are represented, through concrete action. We also face questions about how we can get more countries to join the OECD Recommendation on principles for Internet policy. The recommendation was developed through a process in which all interested parties could participate. As many NGOs objected to parts of the results this summer were adjusted outcome adopted in December. This allowed almost all the circle of participants endorse the recommendations. After recommendation from spreading, it is important that it is done with a large majority. Through Sweden and Sida's commitment to development, democracy, respect for human rights in North Africa and the Middle East after the "Arab spring" we also have the opportunity to spread the work on transparency in the network to this area, both by OECD and UNESCO.
Champions League to be decided
Tonight and tomorrow the second leg of the 2012 UEFA Champions League semifinals will be played. This is by many considered as the best football tournament in the world.
Tonight Bayern Munich will go to Madrid to play Real for the final with a 1-0 lead from the game in Munich. Tomorrow FC Barcelona will try to win over Chelsea that has a 1-0 lead from London. Exiting. I think that it will be a Spanish final, but I do hope for Bayern.
Partnership forum for Sustainable Development
On 23 to April 25, 2012, Swedish government is the host for Stockholm +40 - Partnership Forum for Sustainable Development. The conference is organized to commemorate the UN's first global conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm in 1972.
And as a last informal meeting for the UN Summit, Rio +20 in June. The conference involved besides the Swedish Minister for Environment, Lena Ek and Minister of Development Cooperation Gunilla Carlsson, Minister for Trade Ewa Björling, Minister for Consumer Affairs Birgitta Ohlsson, and IT and Energy Minister Anna-Karin Hatt. The conference will be inaugurated by His Majesty Carl XVI Gustaf. The conference is based on three main themes: sustainable innovation, sustainable production and sustainable lifestyles. The themes will be developed and discussed in open seminars and panel discussions. In addition, some 30 ministers and UN executives will policy makers, industry representatives and researchers to participate in the conference.
Chinese PrimeMinister Wen Jiabao in Sweden this week
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visitz Sweden on 23 - 25 April. Sweden and China today cooperate in many fields and the visit provides an opportunity to dialogue with Premier Wen on political, economic and international issues.
The two countries will discuss a closer cooperation and views on international institutions.The program will also include an audience with King Carl XVI Gustaf and meetings with Speaker Per Westerberg and Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt. Chinese Prime Minister will also attend April 25 at the International Conference Stockholm +40. The visit to Sweden will be launched in Gothenburg.
Borg is in the US for IMF and WB meetings
Anders Borg, Swedish Minister of Finance, particpates in the spring meetings of the IMF and WorldBank in Washington today and this week.
Stockholm Internet Forum for global development
The Stockholm internet forum which ended a few days ago, brought together around 350 participants from NGOs, businesses and governments to discuss how freedom of the network should contribute to democracy and development around the world. Discussions were lively in seven main sessions and tens of side events. Future connectivity, social media, the promotion of freedom on the Internet through corporate responsibility, the relationship between freedom and security are among the topics raised. A recurring theme has been that solutions to problems and sustainable arrangements for freedom on the Internet must be based on participation by all involved parties: governments, businesses and other organizations of various kinds. Processes and solutions must be based on multistakeholderism. The discussion made it clear that the concept holds many challenges. But processes that include all highlighted as necessary for network management is to be kept open in a way that leads to continued rapid technological and social development. It is also through multi-take householder processes that freedom on the net can be defended and expanded, under the necessary and legitimate rules that respect the UN's Human Rights, including Article 19 on freedom of expression. Efforts to free online in the OECD and UNESCO must also be developed by involving all stakeholders. We have important work to do to put the recommendation in the OECD guidelines for multinational enterprises, the companies to work for freedom on the Internet in the markets where they are represented, through concrete action. We also face questions about how we can get more countries to join the OECD Recommendation on principles for Internet policy. The recommendation was developed through a process in which all interested parties could participate. As many NGOs objected to parts of the results this summer were adjusted outcome adopted in December. This allowed almost all the circle of participants endorse the recommendations. After recommendation from spreading, it is important that it is done with a large majority. Through Sweden and Sida's commitment to development, democracy, respect for human rights in North Africa and the Middle East after the "Arab spring" we also have the opportunity to spread the work on transparency in the network to this area, both by OECD and UNESCO. More info on the official website of the forum;
Stockholm Internet Forum
The future of WTO trade facilitation package
New WTO panel will tackle the future of trade writes Joachim Reuter, Swedish Ambassador to the WTO on his blog. reuter says; "Director General Pascal Lamy announced on Friday, April 13 its previously announced high-level panel. The proposal to establish such a panel Lamy launched at the Ministerial Conference in December. The idea is that the panel - headed 'WTO Panel on Defining the Future of Trade "- will look into the future engines of commerce, in tomorrow's trading patterns and the implications for the pursuit of trade liberalization in the WTO. Similar to what was planned, the panel of prominent people mainly from industry, labor unions, NGO community and international organizations, and has broad geographic coverage (the panelists will include from Jordan, USA, Brazil, India, EU / Germany, Botswana, Singapore, Japan, China, etc.). Two former government officials included - the former President of Botswana, Mogae, and the former Foreign Minister of Singapore, Yeo. From the EU side is BUSINESSEUROPE President Jürgen Thumann. The panel will take a report to the beginning of 2013, but it also provides for discussion between the panel and the WTO's member countries in the autumn.
My new book on AEO is on the way
In 2005 I wrote the first book about Authorised Economic Operators (AEO), the Stairway. The book has been distibuted in almost 10.000 copies around the world and it is still available to be ordered on this website (under "More"). I am now in the process of writing a second and updated version of the book, also showing the developments 2005-2012 and the way to the future. Keep your eyes open for the new version of the book on this website.
Controversial U.S. agreement approved by the EU
The EU parliament approved today the agreement to disclose information about airpassengers to the U.S. It replaces a provisional agreement of 2007, designed to detect and stop terrorism and serious crime. The information on travellers retrieved from airline ticket reservation and check-in system. the data shall be anonymous after six months, but available for five years and then stored in another ten years. Under the agreement, such information may only used when the suspected crime that can give at least three years in prison in the U.S.
The global AEO conference in media
The media showed an enormous interest for the global AEO conference and newspapers and TV had numerous articles and reprts from the event.
Media especially highlighted the Korean Commissioner, Mr. JOO Yungsup comments that the two most important areas of priority for Korea and the world today and for the years to come, are; AEO including Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRA) and Free Trade Agreements (FTA).
The second day is over
We had a very interesting second day of the conference with 50 different workshops displaying the broadness of AEO implementation all over the world. I went to several excellent workshops including the impressive presentation by Sheena Ntege from Uganda Revenue Service who is Regional programme Manager of the WCO-SIDA Trade Faciliation project for regional AEO implemntation in East Africa. This is a very interesting pioneering project that has excellent results. I also visisted seminars about AEO developments in Korea, Guatemala and Mexico as well as to get an update about the latest developments of the US C T-PAT programme.
Excellent first day of the conference
An impressive grand hall with almost 900 people listened to openings speeches of the Korean Deputy Minister of Startegy & Finance, the Commissioner of the Korean Custims Service and the Secretary General of the WCO. I delivered after the opening session a speech about "AEO developments on the Global level".
After that we had a panel on the topic. It was a great honor and pleasure for me to deliver this presentation especially since I have been involved in the AEO developmens and implementation process since the very start. I was responsible for the development of the very first AEO programme in the world, the Swedish Stairway/StairSec programme and has since then particpated in the development of the SAFE Framework of Standards AEO concept, the EU AEO programme and more than 20 national AEO programmes around the world. It is great to see how AEO now has grown to become the preferred globally connected customs system with mutual recognition that we once dreamed of. This conference, and I am convinded that this was the first of a row of annual similar evnets, will be become the starting point of a powrful global Customs reply to a global challange of a lifetime. I am very optimistic about the future in this field and I am personally looking forward to particpating in the progress of the development of AEO programmes around the world, bot on the global, regional and national level.
A historic event
Today the first ever Global AEO conference started in Seoul Korea. It is impressive to see and meet so many colleagues from Government, Customs, Business and Academia from alla round the world.
Everybody is here to talk about Authorised Economic Operators (AEO) and the future of further progress, implementation, development and cooperation of and within this field. This is truly a historic event, the largest WCO conference ever since 1952.
Swedish development assistance and capacity building support highest in the world 2011
Sweden tops the list of world's largest donor in 2011 as a percentage of GNP. Newly released statistics from the OECD's Development Assistance Committee also shows that the economic crisis caused a drop in the global aid volumes 2011th.
"Sweden survived the economic downturn well and could be distinguished from many countries continue to have a high level of aid to poor countries. I will continue to clarify the Swedish support to ensure that our efforts really paying off", says Ms Gunilla Carlsson, Minister for Development Aid and Coooperation (picture above).
WCO Global AEO Conference in Korea
It is great pleasure for me to participate as a speaker on the first ever global AEO conference.
I had the pleasure of leading the work on the frist ever implemented operational AEO programme in the world, when we developed "The Stairway" concept during 1997-1999. The system was ready in teh year 2000 and was launched in 2001. A second updated version, Stairway 2.0 and with its security module StairSec, was launched in 2003. Above you can see a picture of the first Stairway proposal drwan on a whyteboard on a brainstorming session of the first week of the project in 1997. The drawing has a step 5 called "international level for mutual recognition of status and controls". The Stairway was inspiration for the US C-T PAT and the EU AEO model as well as for the WCO SAFE AEO standard. Today there are more than 70 national AEO applications and more than 30 mutual recognition agreemnets globally. What a developmnet from that whyteboard in the conference room. When I in 2000 talked about mutual reconition people said that is is impossible. But nothing is impossible and today we are there. Amazing. So it is great to be in a conference with almost 1000 people to talk about AEO.
Sweden is the number one donor in the world
Preliminary statistics from the OECD / DAC shows that member countries of DAC reduced its aid by about 3 percent in 2011. There is a trend reversal and the first time in 14 years that total aid is declining instead of increasing. Among other things, reduced the bilateral development assistance to least developed countries by about 9 percent, according to the DAC. The decline in aid volumes is explained by the global economic downturn which was more pressure on public budgets of many so-called traditional donors. Of the 23 countries that are members of OECD / DAC reduction of assistance of 16th While labeled consistently increasing assistance from several other countries, including Turkey (which increased its aid by 38 percent), Estonia (21 percent) and Hungary (16 percent). EU countries' aid fell on average by about 3 percent. Sweden's aid in 2011 amounted to approximately SEK 36 billion which represents 1.02 percent of gross national income (GNI). According to the OECD / DAC statistics, the Sweden top the list of the world's largest aid donor, as a percentage of GNP, closely followed by Norway (1.0 percent of GNP) and Luxembourg (0.99 percent of GNP). The countries with the largest aid flows in 2011 were the U.S., Germany and Britain.
Collaborative Border Management: A new approach to an old problem
Is Collaborative Border Management the new approach to an old problem? Yes, it is, at least according to an old friend of mine, Mr. Gerard McLinden of the WorldBank. Border clearance processes are among the most problematic links in the global supply chain and frequently undermine national competitiveness by increasing the cost of exports and reducing reliability of supply. As a result, securing meaningful reform of border management procedures has become an important issue for the development community. However, it remains an area where little effective guidance is available to reformers and development professionals. A recent publication released by the International Trade Department of the World Bank was developed in response to this need. The Border Management Modernization Handbook (World Bank 2011) outlines a new and more comprehensive reform and modernization agenda based on the concept of collaborative border management (CBM). The CBM concept shifts the focus beyond the traditional customs-specific trade facilitation agenda to a new and more comprehensive "whole-of-government" approach to reform that relies less on institution-specific reform and more on a wider trade supply chain–focused approach designed to tackle the major barriers traders face when navigating the frequently complex and opaque regulatory requirements that governments impose on international trade. Read more here
The fight for Internet freedom new frontline - Stockholm Internet Forum on Internet Freedom for Global Development
The April 18 to 19 stages of Foreign Affairs. SE (The Internet Infrastructure Foundation), and Page, an international conference on freedom of the network can contribute to global development. Foreign Minister Carl Bildt says that the major threat to freedom of the Internet are the regimes that want to restrict and censor both on and off the web.
Freedom on the Internet has the potential to serve as a catalyst for human rights, poverty reduction and development, as well as a support for business and an imperative for security. The Stockholm Internet Forum aims to deepen the discussion on how freedom and openness on the Internet promote economic and social development worldwide. What conditions are required for the Internet to promote development? With regard to new developments, such as increased mobility and cloud computing, what are the main issues for freedom and development?
On my way to Seoul
After a few hours to change I am now on my way to Seoul, Korea, for the first ever WCO Global AEO conference on Tuesday-Thursday this week. I am giving a speech on first day about AEO in a global perspective and I will also particpate in one workshop and two panel discussions.
Home from Azerbaijan
We had a fantastic meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan this week.
Impressive developments in Ethiopia
The International Development Association (IDA) is Ethiopia’s largest provider of official development assistance: it has committed over US$7 billion to more than 60 projects in Ethiopia since 1991, most notably for the protection of basic services, productive safety nets, energy and roads projects. IDA has worked to promote economic growth and address systemic poverty challenges across many sectors. Important results include a near two-fold increase in the number of children in primary school between 2001 and 2010, a reduction in child mortality from 204 in 1990 to 109 in 2010, increased rural access to safe water to 65.8 percent in 2010, from only 19 percent in 1990, all the while building local government capacity for service delivery and increased accountability. World Bank reports on impressive developments. Read more at WorldBank.org.
The meetings ends
We have had a good second day of the conference here in Baku. Some very interesting discusions about the future, especially outside the meeting room. I have had great bilaterals. My old and dear friend, Mr. Douglas Tweddle from UK, former Director of HMRC and WCO, did a brilliant presentation of the WCO over 60 years due tot he 60 years celebration this year. Doug has always been a great speaker.
New great numbers for my website
During March 2012, more than 5400 people visited my website/weblog/blog www.larskarlsson.com to read about capacity building, reform & modernization, development, e-Gov, music and sports. This is a very good number of unique visitors and I am extremely happy that so many people shows interest for the topic and what I write. Thanks. And keep reading. Soon there will be new interesting stuff around here.
Good first day
We have had a good first day of the WCO European Heads of Customs meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan. Good representation from the region. Many good interventions. And especially very positive bilateral meetimngs. As always, brilliant organization from the Azerbaijan State Customs Committee. I have a lot of friends here and it has been a delight to be back for the 6th time to this country.
WCO European meeting starts
First half day of the meeting went very well. Good presentations and discusions. Interesting people here. And the organization from Azerbaijan State Customs Committee is superb. Excellent first day.
The meeting is on
Today we start the official WCO Europe group meeting. It is starting meetings tonight and welcome cocktails at the hotel.
New WorldBank strategy for West Bank and Gaza
In an environment of protracted uncertainty which impacts economic growth and the well-being of citizens, the World Bank’s strategy for assistance to West Bank and Gaza for the next two years aims to support private sector led-growth and strengthen public institutions. The World Bank’s Board of Directors today endorsed the Interim Strategy Note for West Bank and Gaza that outlines the direction of assistance from 2012 – 2014. Simultaneously, the Board of Directors agreed to advise the Board of Governors to authorize a replenishment of US$55 million to the Trust Fund for Gaza and the West Bank, from which the Bank’s assistance is provided. Consistent with recent commitments, the Bank’s support will continue to focus on strengthening the institutions of a future Palestinian state to efficiently manage public finances while ensuring services to citizens. To help accelerate much-needed growth, the World Bank group institutions, including also the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) will work closely to help create an enabling environment for private sector-led growth which will remain a central platform of the Bank’s approach. Financial independence, local government empowerment, poverty reduction and economically sustainable infrastructure development are all themes to underpin this strategy and are in line with the Palestinian National Development Plan for 2011-2013. “The Palestinian fiscal situation appears to be worsening despite efforts to reduce expenditures and increase revenues. This is linked to the system of restrictions on access to land, water and export markets which imposes economic costs and constrains private sector growth,” said Mariam Sherman, World Bank Country Director for West Bank and Gaza. “We are supporting the authorities as they build institutions and deliver services to citizens but this must be coupled with measures to develop longer-term opportunities to unleash the vibrant Palestinian entrepreneurial spirit.” The strategy builds on the World Bank’s existing development projects in higher education, energy, land administration, water and sanitation, and solid waste management and adds new ones in response to needs identified with the Palestinians. The Bank will also continue to provide budget support aimed at fiscal strengthening and public financial management. As in the past, Bank support to municipalities and NGOs continues as this has been instrumental in helping these critical organizations that are close to communities strengthen institutionally and improve service delivery. The new strategy promotes a capable workforce and introduces new projects to support the invigoration of the private sector and the school-to-work transition for young Palestinians. The Interim Strategy was prepared jointly with the IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank. In the context of this new strategy it plans a greater role in mobilizing private investments in the West Bank and Gaza, especially from Gulf investors, along with complementary advisory services. In addition to budget support and project investments, the Bank’s knowledge products have helped set the agenda for overall development assistance and brought to the forefront the major challenges confronting Palestinian state-building. An assessment of sources of growth and economic stock-taking will be released soon and an initiative that will scope the prospects of micro work is ongoing and will identify promising digital earning opportunities particularly for women and youth. In similar spirit the new strategy will support knowledge development tailored to Palestinian needs. Bank support to capacity building in leading economic and regulatory institutions such as the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, Palestinian Monetary Authority, Palestinian Pension Authority, and Palestinian Land Authority will continue and it will engage in the reform of national payments systems.
Titanic items for sale
The 5500 objects salvaged from the Titanic to be sold at auction in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the sinking. According to a court decision made last year, the collection could only be sold in its entirety, and the asking price is 1.25 billion. Anyone wants to buy?
On my way to Baku
It is time to travel to Baku in Azerbaijan, a lovely city, for the important annual meeting of Heads of Customs from the World Customs Organization, European region. This week the 51 countries of the WCO Europe region meets to discuss numerous of vital questions for the future, including; Glabally Networked Customs, Capacity Building, WCO elections and cooperation. Also the networking with other countries senior officials and to meet a lot of old friends from the Customs family is of great importance.I am looking forward to this meeting. I also have a number of bilateral meetings scheduled.
I am now in Baku, capitol city of the Republic of Azerbaijan - the tremendous city of the Caspian sea - and the meeting schedule has started. I have already had 3-4 really good bilateral meetings. I enjoy the international environment, having interesting discusions about future cooperation with international colleagues from all around the world.
Smart phones can be used for many things
Americans "spring break" promises to be quieter than the United States are accustomed. This is traditionally the time when young Americans start their party careers.
But there are no police officers, parents, or new laws merit - but a consequence of the smart phone. One does not want to be seen exactly how crazy you want, only because a friend posted a complete film on YouTube, says young New York Times has spoken to. During spring break, spring break from university, college youths go south on gigantic party trips. Spring break is like a ferry to Finland late on a Saturday night, but with more booze and more crazy party kids. It's all about tequila shots, topless dancing and snogging unexpectedly, a phenomenon depicted in the rows of American college films.
Another favourite song from another favourite band
Radical Face is a musical act consisting of Ben Cooper from Jacksonville, Florida, who also makes up one-half of Electric President and Iron Orchestra and one third of Mother's Basement.
The name Radical Face was chosen after seeing it on a flyer. He later found out it was a plastic surgery flyer saying 'Radical Face-Lift' with the word 'lift' ripped off.
Here is Radical Face with Welcome Home. Great song.
Business Reality and Trade Policy – Closing the Gap
The trend towards global value chains in international trade has created a growing gap between business reality and trade policy. While the nature of trade has changed, trade regulation in the EU and other OECD economies has remained largely the same. So far this aspect of the debate has not received the attention it deserves. As a result, the implications for trade policy have not been thoroughly discussed.
Historically, the image of international trade has been that of one firm in one country exporting final goods to the world market. In recent years, this image has become increasingly obsolete. Instead, modern trade is characterized by fragmentation of production into tasks that are carried out in different parts of the world. This phenomenon is referred to as "global value chains." In a new report by the Swedish National Board of Trade, global value chains are analyzed in relation to trade policy. We note, for example, that global value chains have made EU rules of origin increasingly out of touch with the world in which businesses operate. The EU also continues to charge import duties on goods that serve as inputs to the EU's own industry. With such a trade policy the EU shoots itself in the foot by increasing costs and reducing the competitiveness of European manufacturers.
The report also presents ideas on how to close the gap between trade policy and business reality. Removing import tariffs on intermediate goods is an effective way to simulate growth. Such a reform is particularly appropriate to introduce at a time when Europe needs growth stimulating reforms more than anything else. We also propose reforms with the purpose of matching EU rules of origin better with modern trade patterns and of giving greater consideration to the interest of the European user industry in anti-dumping investigations. For more information. Download the report
Southern Africa: Region Rehabilitates Its Roads
A robust road transport is essential to development in southern Africa where access to good and well-serviced roads may be the difference between prosperity and poverty or even between life and death.
Lack of a good road transport network is one of the main impediments to intraregional trade, with members of the same economic bloc often appearing detached from each other due to poor road connectivity. Road transport is the most dominant mode of moving goods in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region and the demand for good service is increasing constantly. Efforts to improve the road infrastructure in line with rising demand have been hampered by inadequate financing in most Member States.
Funds for road maintenance activities generally come from the treasuries of Member States, allocated under normal budgetary systems, and often compete with other priority social sectors such as education and health. Faced with this scenario, most roads in the regions have deteriorated over the past decade as budgetary allocations for road maintenance declined in real terms. Taking cognisance of these factors, SADC Member States have been implementing some institutional reforms in the road sub-sector. Financing of the roads is one of the most critical issues to be addressed with the reforms. With the assistance of the African Development Bank (AfDB), several SADC Member States are undertaking major rehabilitation works of their road networks. Among these are Malawi and the United Republic of Tanzania, which are concluding agreements with the AfDB to improve road infrastructure in the two countries. Under the Road Sector Support Project Phase II programme, Tanzania plans to upgrade 387km of trunk roads, consisting mainly of resurfacing part of the road from the capital Dodoma in the centre of the country, to Babati, and the Tunduru-Mangaka-Mtambaswala road in the south. The project aims to improve road transport infrastructure to reduce road maintenance and travel time between those centres, and provide access to bigger markets and social services for local communities. The 225km road between Dodoma and Babati is part of the Cape-to-Cairo Trans-African Highway and the North-South Corridor, adopted through a tripartite agreement by the East African Community, SADC and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). Dodoma is the political capital of Tanzania and the seat of the country's parliament, the Bunge. The 139km Tunduru-Mangaka road is a section of the Mtwara Corridor running from the Mtwara port to Mbaba Bay on Lake Malawi, while the 800km Mtwara-Mbamba Bay road provides the backbone transport infrastructure with cross-border linkages to northern Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia. The opening up of the road between Mtwara port and Mbamba Bay has great potential to promote the development of natural resources in the Mtwara corridor, as well as connecting northern Mozambique and Malawi to the nearest port of Mtwara. The AfDB is also funding the rehabilitation of the 152km Nsipe-Liwonde-Magochi road under the Nacala Road Corridor Project Phase III being negotiated with Malawi. The project will be implemented in two phases, each consisting of rehabilitation works on 76km length. The project aims to provide Malawi, Zambia and the interior of Mozambique with an improved road transport linkage to the port of Nacala. The same project will see the construction of two border posts between Malawi and Zambia and between Malawi and Mozambique beginning in the second half of 2012.
Mad Men is back!
Mad Men is an amazing TV-show about the 1960s US advertizing world. Great dialogue and amazing scenery. At the come back in US the TV show Mad Men got the highest viewing figures of all time.
The 17-month broadcasting break for "Mad Men" seems to have been pure genius move. Season premiere in the U.S. on Sunday attracted a record audience. For Nöjesbladet talk series creator Matt Weiner for the first time out of the game behind the decision. “I was not happy when it was determined”, he said. It's no wonder. Former long transmission delay has often ended with lost viewers. But after the top reviews in virtually every major American newspapers became resurgence over the past weekend triumphant. The launch took note of 3.5 million viewers, 21 percent more than last season's start. It was also the series' best audience ever. Long rumored that the long break had Weiners contract feud to do. “Most of the reporting has been wrong”, says Weiner when he receives at the Beverly Regent Hotel in Beverly Hills. "I was not happy". He claims that the AMC, which makes "Mad Men", had gained a foothold in the series about the life of an advertising agency in New York in the 1960s. Then came - at a brisk pace - "Breaking bad", "The Kid", "Walking Dead" and "Hell on wheels". “AMC sends only one new series per quarter. It is their programming decisions because that's what they can handle”, he said. With the introductions of "The Kid" and "Hell on wheels" forced upon "Mad Men" take a back seat. “I did not understand it and I was not happy about it”, says Weiner. But in the end it turned out according to Weiner be a good decision. “This meant that "Breaking bad" could be sent during the summer. This gave the series finally the audience it deserves”. “I negotiated the future”. The battle was fierce. ”From the channel side, the plan was that the series would continue, with or without my participation”, says Weiner, who previously worked on "The Sopranos". It is reported that he was fighting for a contract worth over 200 million. “It was not about money. It was so easy that I did not want to change the contents of the series”, he said. “From the canal side there was a desire to capitalize on the program in a way I never felt comfortable with. Eventually we reached an agreement and the series has remained exactly as it was”.
World Bank president candidate with swag
Recently U.S. President Barack Obama nominated the relatively unknown college headmaster Jim Young Kim to the next World Bank chief.
And some peeople, when using google to find out more about the candidate found this video, see below. It was at Dartmouth College's annual Idol contest headmaster unexpectedly showed up wearing a flashing costume singing a remastered version of "Time of My Life". The song originally performed by Jennifer Warnes and the Righteous Brothers' better half William "Bill" Medley became world famous as a leitmotif for the film Dirty Dancing. Although Kim performs the song in a great way, it is still in its efforts to fight diseases in poor countries, he is best known. In the struggle to become a new World Bank chief, he meets stiff resistance, although most signs point that it will be Kim who takes the post after Robert Zoellick. ”He has worked from Asia to Africa to America - from capital cities to small villages. His background highlights the great diversity of our country and the fact that everyone can go as far as he is if they are prepared to work hard”, said President Obama in an interview on Kim, who was born in South Korea. Ever since the World Bank was established after World War II, it has been led by Americans, while the top job at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is important for Europe. But now challenged for the first time in earnest that order. Several African countries have nominated Nigeria's Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. Brazil in turn nominates Jose Antonio Ocampo, former Finance Minister of Colombia.
To see the video with Jim Young Kim, watch here (it will appear a few minutes into the news clip)
Money left when women decide
Ethiopia is one of the countries that Sweden since many years is supporting financially through capaity building and aid. In one of Ethiopia's poorest provinces have active efforts to change attitudes towards women's and men's different roles given clear results. In addition to sharing more equally in the work will give women's increasing influence over the domestic economy more money into the household money. Money invested in the children. In Amharaprovinsen in Ethiopia, women and men started to take joint decisions about family finances. "We see immediately that we get more money" was a reaction from the men in one of the villages. Amhara is one of the country's poorest areas and people who live there are heavily dependent on agriculture for their livelihood. Irregular rainfall and poor irrigation system makes life uncertain for many. Now, intensive work in the province to residents will be able to get better income from their farms and even better support themselves with food. "Concrete can be a matter of learning to grow new crops that produce higher yields, improve irrigation systems and to get started to improve fertilization," says Paulos Berglöf SIDA, who recently visited the area. One of the farmers said that he expects to increase revenue from its agriculture from SEK 800 to over 4500 per year as a result of the start of crops including avocado, mango and apple - fruit that can provide up to three harvests per year in instead of the local crop is sorghum, which only gives a harvest. An important part of the work is about changing attitudes to women's and men's different roles in the home and thus strengthen women's rights and participation. Paulos says the couple with the help of simple exercises themselves evaluate who in the family that puts the most time on housework and who has access to the most resources in the family. Not surprisingly, the women pull the heaviest load of work, while men have the most advantages. "That it looks like probably knew most, but the participants, both men and women, was clearly shocked that the distribution was heavily skewed, says Paulos. A comment I heard from the men was that" we are killing our women! "Gender equality has gave clear results in the two years the program lasted, and several of the men are now taking a much more active part in household chores. Several of them have such begun preparing the traditional dish of injera, baking bread and looking after the children, chores that were previously unthinkable men. "It was clear that both men and women were proud of being able to create a more equal life together," says Paulus. For women, it has meant more influence over decisions on family finances such as whether and when to sell livestock . Several women also have themselves taken the cattle to market to sell, which were previously unthinkable. "We know from experience that when women are given greater influence over family finances so labeled it directly in to see more money invested in the children, for example through school fees and more nutritious food, "concluded Paulos.
Swedish Social Workers without Borders helps Togo
Sweden has a long and well-known tradition of national and international humanitarian work, much dependent upon the country’s neutrality and internal political stability.
Sweden is also known for its vibrant and active voluntary sector with a high number of its inhabitants involved in voluntary work. To be of assistance both through personal efforts materially, with capital and philanthropically, is and has for a long time, been a priority area across all social strata. Now Swedish Social Workers without Borders, that has Doctors without borders as a role model, has started a huge capacity building project in Togo, West Africa. the aim of the project is build sustainable capacity building regarding health care systems for students and pupils.
Sida-supported research institutes get international award
this year's Stockholm Water Prize. The prize goes to the Research Institute International Water Management Institute for their work in the efficient use of water in agriculture around the world. Sida has supported the organization since the 70's. The support has been focused on research into new farming methods, for example on how to effectively clean water, reduce pollution and to develop new farming methods in which you can reuse. "The new knowledge and approaches to sustainable development, research can contribute to food security, reducing hunger and malnutrition, and poverty reduction in much of the world," said David Lymer, research officer at Sida. The prize will be awarded on 30 August during the International Water Week held in Stockholm.
Capacity building in Cuba
Protecting the land and sea through Integrated Coastal Zone Management. The meeting of land and sea – known as the coastal zone – is where human and marine life intersects. It’s crucial to a large part of the world’s population, key to the global economy, and home to fragile and vulnerable ecosystems like coral reefs. Today it faces a triple threat – human intervention, natural hazards and climate change. The management of this area, known as Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) is one of the most important global challenges we face today, especially in developing nations where there are often limited resources and capacity. “ICZM is a holistic approach to dealing with the relationships between land and sea,” says Aldo Chircop, project director for the Local Integrated Coastal Management Capacity Building in Southeast Cuba. “Human transformation of the global coastal zones has been done in ways that raise questions of sustainability that are going to or already have caused major problems in terms of safety of inhabitants, the ecosystems, and economic viability. In Cuba, Dr. Chircop, along with Drs. Ronald Pelot (Department of Industrial Engineering) and Lucia Fanning (Director, Marine Affairs Program) are collaborating with partners at the University of Havana, the University of Oriente in Santiago de Cuba and the University of Guantanamo. They’re working to build capacity for training and infrastructure in local communities to manage coastal zones. The project is funded in part by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).
A man and his money
Legendary Swedish multi-billionaire Ingvar Kamprad is said to be stingy with himself, but not against others.
Last year the IKEA founder and owner through his institution Ikea foundation, which holds in IKEA's investment in social projects, gave more than 580 million to poor children, including large amounts to the UN refugee agency UNHCR to help 120 000 refugees in the African Horn, writes Swedish newspaper Expressen.
Help us save lives in the Horn of Africa.
The Horn of Africa is suffering a humanitarian emergency that affects more than 13 million people. But with everyone’s help, we can change this reality. With the aim of contributing to alleviating the crisis in Africa, ,”la Caixa” Welfare Projects, in collaboration with the foundations of FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, have set up Life Kits.
Different container boxes of food, water, medicine and other major emergency needs so that UNICEF, UNHCR and FAO share them amongst the most needy.
Choose your kit, make your donation and collaborate with this solidarity cause. Moreover, ”la Caixa” Welfare projects promises to provide €1 for every €10 you donate, up to a maximum of €100,000.
Do it here
Swedish economy on track
Signs of stabilization in the euro zone supports the development of the already well Swedish economy. This was written by Swedish bank SEB in a forecast update on Monday.
Sweden is the European economy that has had the best performance over the last few years. Sweden's GDP is expected to increase 0.7 percent in 2012.
Nigeria: Bank governor adjudged world best
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Lamido Sanusi, has been adjudged the world best by the Banker magazine, a publication of the Financial Times of London.
The magazine noted that Sanusi has performed creditably in the last 18 months in office to salvage the Nigerian economy. The Nigeria Country Representative of The Banker Magazine Kunle Ogedengbe said the magazine noted in its 2011 January Edition, which was also distributed at the World Economic Forum, Davos, Switzerland, that during Sanusi’s tenure he implemented reforms that have put Africa's most promising market back on the map for investors globally.
New BRICS development bank to help emerging nations
The leaders of five of the world's fast-rising powers agreed Thursday to move toward creating a new development bank that would improve access to capital for poor nations. Accusing current international institutions of failing to lift up poor countries, the BRICS group — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — asked their finance ministers to investigate setting up a development bank like the World Bank or Asian Development Bank that they would back.
The also agreed to boost business and trade in their own local currencies. “Institutions of global political and economic governance created more than six decades ago have not kept pace with the changing world,” India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told the gathering. “Developing countries need access to capital.” The five countries represent 45 percent of the world's population, a quarter of its land mass and a quarter of its economy at US$13.5 trillion. World Bank President Robert Zoellick, underscoring the importance of the emerging world's biggest economies with his own trip to India, welcomed the idea of a new development bank. South Africa's President Jacob Zuma said the bank could “help us create good jobs.” The countries will look at the proposal again during next year's summit in South Africa. Experts have questioned whether the bloc represents no more than just promising markets and financial opportunities. They have no common security platform and vast differences in foreign policy. But the leaders insisted on the grouping's importance in shifting the global dialogue on international politics and finance. Within the bloc “we have a place where we feel Africa is treated with respect,” Zuma said. “There's no feeling that people are looking down upon the continent.” Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff said in an opinion piece in the Times of India that it had changed “the axis of international politics.” Their arguments for more inclusive finance policies might be making an impact. U.S. President Barack Obama's nominee for the next World Bank president, Jim Yong Kim, said the bank needs to be “more inclusive” and receptive to hearing poor countries' ideas for solving their own problems. In my view this is a very important step forward in relation to capacity building.
Swedish Customs supports Greece with capacity building
As the result of the crises, the European Union - EU Commission - created a technical assistance and support service for Greece called Task Force for Greece. Swedish Customs, and also the Swedish Tax Administration, participates with capacity building experts in the task force group. One of the participants, Mr. Mats Larsson, is a well known Swedish expert on the international level. Mats is one of the leading AEO experts within the EU, representing Sweden and the EU Commission in several different international networks and working groups, and he is also a WCO accredited diagnostic facilitator that carried out numerous diagnostic missions alla round the world for the WCO Columbus programme.
Steady as she goes
I am totally sold on the songs by the Raconteurs, especially "Steady as she goes". I heard it in a Swedish version and got the reference from a friend.
I don't know how it happened but I have missed this Jack White (supergroup) project totally before. Brilliant. Here is a version of the song
DVDs plummets in sales
After the peak year of 2009 has been going down for DVD movies. When sold for 2.2 billion to two billion in 2010 and 1.7 billion last year.
Even the newer Blu-ray disc has been able to lift, writes Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet. The professionals believe, among other things, games and social media have increased competition for customers. At the same time argued that pirated downloads have taken off again. However, there is disagreement about the on-demand market has hit record sales. It is likely that the area of DVD is over.
Tanzania secures $100m to improve investment climate
The World Bank Board has recently approved an International Development Association (IDA) credit of $100m as direct budget support to improve Tanzania's investment climate and promote shared growth through sound public finance management.
Senegal selected democracy
In sharp contrast to the unrest in other parts of the region Senegal last week displayed a textbook example of democratic change of power. It is the second time that the Senegalese through a peaceful, internationally accepted Allows the leader of an opposition party to take over. The country can thus consolidating its democratic reputation in a region that for decades has been plagued by coups and conflicts. Senegal is the only country in West Africa who have never experienced a military coup. The president then twelve years, Abdoulaye Wade, lost the presidential election second round. The challenger Macky SalI absorbed. Wade called on Sunday night his rival, congratulated and conceded defeat. At once began to crowd celebrating on the streets of Dakar to the sound of honking cars.
Best in the 2000s, so far
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind. I love Swedish rock band The Hives, and there song "Hate to say I told you so" from the "Veni, Vidi, Viscious -album" (2000) is the best song written so far in 2000s.
It is rock'n roll. it is wild. The Kinks going 2000. Brilliant. You can listen to the song HERE
Would You Trust a Mobile APP to Find Love?
When it comes to digital dating these days, it's all about location, location, location (and how flattering your profile picture on Facebook or Twitter is, of course). Recently launched mobile dating apps like Soul2Match and Blendr, last released i.e. in Kenya, are using GPS technology and sophisticated biometric facial recognition software to help singles connect with potential mates while on the go.
Even online dating has gone mobile and it's changing the way we date. Location and appearance based mobile applications are taking us back to the basics of what brings couples together: physical proximity and attraction. The question is, with all of this technology at our fingertips - will real women and real men use these applications? Would you trust these apps to find a match for you? I mean, if you struggle already, what makes you think a mobile app could do any better?
Hearing on innovative capacity building
About 40 percent of all growth in Sida's partner countries, innovation-driven. However, aid can foster innovation? And can an aid organization to be innovative? It was to develop proposals on how Sida can create room for innovation and flexibility in their contribution management the authority to put the project INNOBIS, or "Innovations in Aid". A few weeks ago gave Page the representatives of its partner organizations and other key community stakeholders to develop the debate further. Bengt Ake Lundwall, a professor at Aalborg University and the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris, began by problematizing the whole approach. He said that page carries a controversial activities: to give away Swedish tax money to non-Swedes. "The tolerance of failure is small and the society expects measurable results, he noted." At the same time the very nature of innovation efforts sometimes fail. If you know in advance what the result of an innovation process, it is no innovation process, he said. Moreover, innovation is difficult to measure. How many innovations were made, for example, in Sweden last year? Is it even a meaningful question? Later in the day suggested Bengt Ake Lundwall, a solution to the dilemma: "Why not establish a separate entity within the page," Page Innovation ", which operates under slightly different rules for such follow-up than the rest of the organization? Page Innovation could serve as a "network promoting catalyst" for innovation - a "interpreneur" which brings together the College's technical expertise with business know-how, and various industries in participating countries with each other. " Is this a good idea? Well, Mats Borgvall, administrator at the State Department, sat in the audience. "we will definetely consider it," he promised. Another long list of concrete proposals were presented by representatives of academia and partner organizations - RFSU Chemicals Inspectorate, Swedish Consultants, VINNOVA, KTH Innovation, WWF, and more - before the lively panel and group discussions began. Also contributed including Leif Denti, University of Gothenburg, and Klas Palm, my university, a better theoretical understanding of creativity conditions. "It is about creating demand for innovation" was a recurrent point during the seminar. It is not only entrepreneurs and executives that drive the development forward. Workers, peasants, and not least consumers are equally important. "I am very pleased with the day" greeted Eva Lithman, INNOBIS project manager, at the end of the day. We have been with us a wealth of ideas on how Sida can promote innovation in the partner countries, good suggestion on how we can strengthen our cooperation with our partner organizations, and a better understanding of how the page can become a more innovative organization. I think we've gotten a good basis for our added work. In addition, I am pleased and impressed that so many wanted to come. " This was a very interesting and exciting day with many good ideas for the development of Swedish aid and capacity building.
Sweden ranked as the 17th team in the football world
Sweden lifts a position on the International Football Association rankings after 3-1 victory against Croatia and is now considered the 17th best team in the world.
Spain tops FIFA's list before the new runner-up Netherlands, which passed through Germany. Sweden's group of opponents in this summer's European Championships in Ukraine are ranked as follows: England (6), France (18) and Ukraine (49).
Norad launched new programme for capacity building in higher education and research
NORHED – Norwegian Programme for Capacity Building in Higher Education and Research for Development is Norad’s new programme for capacity building in higher education and research in low and middle income countries.
The programme was launched at the end of 2011 and is based on equal partnerships between institutions in the cooperating countries and in Norway. NORHED draws on findings and recommendations from the external evaluation of NUFU and NOMA, as well as experiences from other donor funded programmes in higher education and research. NORHED will have thematic and/or geographic focus, and may support education on bachelor-, master- and PhD-level, as well as joint research. There will be a call for proposals for seed money during spring 2012. The first main call for proposals will be in course of fall 2012. NUFU and NOMA will be phased out after the ongoing programme periods.