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Mariela Baeva
Mariela Baeva
Member of the European Parliament for Bulgaria
2007 - 2009
(first direct EP elections in Bulgaria);

LEED to OECD partner (Nanotech)

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Going up?*

“All human beings are born equal. But on the following day, they no longer are,” said French author Jean Renard in 1907. This is because sticky floors and ceilings–or rags to rags and riches to riches–define the bottom and top income distributions. Today, it takes four to five generations, on average, for children from the poorest 10% of the population to reach median income levels. Meanwhile, about 50% of children of wealthy parents will themselves remain rich in countries like Germany and the US.

Worse, every four years, a fifth of the middle class’ poorest fall down to the bottom of the income distribution while its upper half enjoys much greater security, as shown in A Broken Social Elevator? How to Promote Social Mobility.

What’s more, in countries like Brazil and South Africa where income inequality is high, there is a state of “permanent inequality”, with an underlying feeling that social mobility is but a broken promise. Indeed, low upward mobility increases people’s sense that their voices do not matter and that the system is neither fair nor meritocratic.

Still, mobility is not all about money. It can range from jobs to education and health, and it changes when viewed through each of these lenses. These distortions create unique situations within each country: in places like Japan and Korea, educational mobility is higher than income mobility, but it’s the other way around in Norway and Spain. In the US, job mobility is higher than earnings mobility, while in Finland it’s the reverse, with lower educational mobility on top.

Yet there is nothing inevitable about socio-economic status being passed down between generations. Equal access to quality education is one way to enhance social mobility: countries that spend more on public education tend to achieve higher educational mobility. The same goes for health. Moreover, progressive taxation on wealth, inheritance and combatting tax avoidance leads to less sticky ceilings, while money transfers or benefits to low-income families and improving the school-to-work transition unsticks the floors. And as the report shows, policies that address the likes of residential segregation and sudden unemployment, or aim to improve the work-home balance can enhance social mobility across the board.

*The OECD Observer

53 developing nations promised to increase spending

Positive news: “The emerging story from a major education summit in Senegal is about developing countries investing even more in education. Donors such as the UK, US, France and Canada pledged $2.3 billion to help the Global Partnership for Education’s work over the next three years. On the same stage in Dakar, 53 developing nations promised to increase spending on their own school systems by a total of $110 billion. And Senegal became the first African country to become a donor to other developing nations.” (theirworld.org, February’18)

Mohamed Sidibay for Theirworld and Global Partnership for Education’s conference in Senegal,

Dear Mariela,

A few days ago, I asked you: what is the one question you want me to ask  world leaders?

It was a few hours before a key moment for the campaign to fund education – the Global Partnership for Education’s replenishment conference in Dakar, Senegal, where I was going to deliver the keynote speech.

And you were clear that the biggest question of the moment was: what will you do to turn the decline in education financing around and ensure that every child can realise their right to education?

To be honest, when I sent you that email, I was feeling a bit sceptical. For years aid to education has been stagnating or going down. I’ve spoken at big events before.

What was going to change this time? And why now? Continue reading

How Immigrants Contribute to Developing Countries’ Economies*

Link to How Immigrants Contribute to Developing Countries’ Economies

*OECD Development Centre

Key Facts on Education (OECD)

Key Facts on Education (OECD)
Did You Know? Key Facts on Education

A portrait of family migration*

Migration is all over the news in Europe, North America and Australia. When people think about migration, they tend to picture either refugees driven to undertake dangerous journeys in order to escape threatening situations or people coming to a new country to pursue studies or work. Yet there is a large category of migrants all too often overlooked: family migrants. Such migrants accounted for 40% of migration to the OECD area in 2015 and they typically make up 25-50% of an OECD country’s foreign-born population – and as much as 70% in the United States.

Why is family migration receiving so little attention? Continue reading

Building the Future: Children and Sustainable Development Goals in Rich Countries – Innocenti Report*

Building the Future: Children and Sustainable Development Goals in Rich Countries is the latest in the Innocenti Report Card series, which analyses inequality in 41 high-income countries. It looks at how far children are falling behind in the dimensions of income, education, health and life satisfaction. Continue reading

For globalisation to work for all, you have to level the playing field first*

Today the debate rages about whether the decline in living standards is due to the effects of globalisation or to poor domestic policies. Both have surely played a role. But the problems often associated with globalisation (inequality, the hollowing out of the middle class, employment of less-skilled workers in advanced countries, etc.) do not originate from “openness” as such. The problem is that not all countries are open to the same degree and the playing field in the cross-border activities of businesses is not level. Continue reading

Timor-Leste: Life beyond oil*

The end of the oil era may be coming, but the lights will stay on in Timor Leste. Almost two-thirds of the population are younger than 24, and they are keen for a chance at a better life. With the right mix of inclusive planning, grassroots development and support for a vital private sector, the transition to a non-oil economy may signal bright days ahead for this young nation.

Timor Leste has achieved remarkable progress since restoration of independence in 2002. Continue reading

Excerpts from PEN International Women Writers Committee Statement on Turkey

February, 2017

Since July 15, 2016, when there was an attempted coup d’état in Turkey, many aspects of freedom of expression have been limited, cut off or abolished.

News agencies, TV stations, radio stations, newspapers, magazines and publishers have been shut down. 4,464 academics have lost their jobs.

Many women journalists and academics are among those who have lost their jobs, been detained, called to court, sentenced, or fined. This includes some very high-profile women writers such as Asli Erdogan Displaying asli erdogan.jpg(no relation to the president), who spent 132 days in jail in Istanbul for being listed as a consultant to a pro-Kurdish newspaper.

Most of the journalists, academics and writers targeted have nothing to do with the coup attempt. The government doesn’t even allege that they do. They wrote something pro-Kurdish, criticized the government or just signed a declaration stating that they want peace.

Another woman writer, the sociologist Pinar Selek Displaying pinar selek.jpg, who has been acquitted by the courts many times, recently has had the government’s case against her renewed. The government continues to ask for a life sentence, claiming that she set a bomb in a market, though all expert sources say the explosion was caused by a gas leak. However, Pinar Selek is a supporter of Kurdish people.

Kurdish writers and those who work in media in the Kurdish area are in even worse shape. All schools teaching the Kurdish language have been closed. Christian churches, including Surp Giragos, the newly-restored Armenian church in Diyarbakir, have been confiscated by the government in the wave of growing Islamism. Government forces raided the offices of Kurdish PEN, destroying their equipment and files.

Many Kurdish writers have been detained. Mujgan Ekîn Displaying mujgan ekin.jpg, a journalist, editor and presenter for GUN TV in Diyarbakir, was taken away in October 2016. Though witnesses saw her abducted by the police, the government consistently denied all knowledge of her whereabouts. She was found two months later . She had been tortured and taken to Jerablus, an area of Syria under Turkish control.

PEN International, PEN Turkey and Kurdish PEN have all been working constantly to try to preserve or restore freedom of expression. This month a large international mission of PEN delegates went to Turkey to try to help. However the situation continues to worsen.

The PEN International Women Writers Committee realizes that there are freedom of expression and human rights crises going on in many other places, such as the alarming situations presently unfolding in the United States and in the Philippines. They deserve attention too. At this moment our interest is to support our Kurdish and Turkish colleagues, women writers who are trying to do their work in a dangerous and extremely challenging situation. We want to make sure that PIWWC members and supporters know about them.

 

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