30 Jun 2018

Venezuela – Towards an Economy of Resistance

Peter Koenig

The Government of Venezuela called an international Presidential Economic Advisory Commission, 14-16 June, 2018 – to debate the current foreign injected economic disturbances and seeking solutions to overcome them. I was privileged and honored to be part of this commission. Venezuela is literally being strangled by economic sanctions, by infiltrated elements of unrest, foreign trained opposition leaders, trained to disrupt distribution of food, pharmaceutical and medical equipment. Much of the training and disturbance in the country is financed by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), an “NGO” that receives hundreds of millions of dollars from the State Department to “spread democracy” and provoke “regime change” around the world, by boycotting and undermining the democratic processes of sovereign nations that refuse to bend under the yoke of the empire and its ‘allies’ – meaning vassals, afraid to stand up for inherent human values, and instead dance spinelessly to the tune of the murderous North American regime and its handlers.
Imagine, Venezuela has by far the world’s largest known reserves in hydrocarbon under her territory –more than 300 billion barrels of petrol, vs. 266 billion barrels, the second largest, of Saudi Arabia. Venezuela is a neighbor, just across the Caribbean, of the United States’ arsenal of refineries in Texas. It takes about 3 to 4 days shipping time from Venezuela to the Texan refineries, as compared to 40-45 days from the Gulf States, from where the US imports about 60% of its oil – to be shipped through the high-risk Iran controlled Strait of Hormuz. And on top of this, Venezuela, is a socialist country defending the rights of the working class, fostering solidarity, human rights and sheer human values, so close to the borders of an abject neoliberal and increasing militarized greed-driven dictatorship, pretending untouchable ‘exceptionalism’.Daring to stand up against the threats of boots and bombs from the North, is simply intolerable for Washington.
A real foreign imposed economic crisis is in full swing. Venezuela’s black money market is manipulated by Twitter mainly from Miami and occasionally corrected from Colombia, depending on the availability from Venezuela stolen contraband, offered to better-off cross-border customers. This is missing merchandise on Venezuela’s supermarket shelves. It’s imported merchandise – mostly food and medical supplies – fully paid by the government. This has nothing to do with Venezuela being broke and unable of paying for needed imports. The media which propagate such slander are criminal liars, typical for western “journalism”. It is merchandise stolen, captured at the ports of entry by US trained gangs and deviated as smuggle-ware mostly to Colombia, the new NATO country. The scheme is a carbon copy of what happened in 1973 in Chile, orchestrated by the CIA to bring the Allende Government to fall. People have a short memory – or they like to forget – to keep implementing their disastrous neoliberal agenda.
The big difference though is that Chile’s socialist government was then barely 3 years old, whereas Hugo Chavez, who brought and solidified socialism to Venezuela, was elected in 1998, some 20 years ago. Chavismo has survived relentless attacks, including the Washington induced failed coup on 11 April 2002. A month ago, on 20 May 2018, Presinet Nicolas Maduro was overwhelmingly re-elected with 68% – with a solid block of 6 million Venezuelans, who withstood constant attacks, physical violence, foreign induced slander propaganda, empty supermarket shelves, at times sky-rocketing inflation. But this solid socialism is a basis the empire cannot so easily sway its way.
However, Venezuela is in a State of Emergency. A State of Emergency, exacerbated by NATO newly stationed on 7 US military bases throughout Colombia, and by a 2,200 km border with Venezuela, of which about 1,500 km is a porous jungle, difficult to control. Accordingly, State of Emergency measures ought to be taken. Fast. Among them – de-dollarization of Venezuela’s economy, diversification of imports and an ardent strive towards food autonomy, as well as import-substituting industrial, pharmaceutical and medical production. Today, Venezuela imports about 70% of her food, though the country has the capacity, arable land- and human resources-wise, to become self-sufficient.
As Mr. Putin said already two years ago, the sanctions were the best thing that happened to Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union. It forced the new Russia to reorganize her agricultural sector, as well as to rebuilding her defunct industrial arsenal and become a scientific vanguard – all of which has happened since 2000 under the leadership of President Putin. For the last three years, Russia has been the world’s largest wheat exporter and has one of the world’s most modern industrial parks – and cutting edge scientific learning and development institutions.
Venezuela has similar potentials. Venezuela also has solid allies in Russia, China and Iran – and indeed in the entire Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), an association of currently 8 members, including China, Russia and India, comprising close to half the globe’s population with one third of the global GDP. Venezuela has already started decoupling from the dollar, by launching the world’s first government owned and controlled cryptocurrency, the hydrocarbon and mineral backed Petro which has already been accepted internationally – foremost by China, Russia, Turkey and the Eurozone.
Despite the Yankee boot on her neck, Venezuela has demonstrated the audacity to launch a dollar-independent incorruptible cryptocurrency – that is slated to become a new world reserve currency, especially as other countries are having similar plans, i.e. Iran, Russia, China, India, to name just a few – and as the dollar is rapidly losing ground as the world’s major reserve asset. In the last 20 years the dollar has lost from a worldwide 90% reserve-security to less than 60% today, a trend that continues, especially as hydrocarbon trade is increasingly detached from the dollar and carried out in local currencies, gold-convertible Chinese yuan, rubles and now also the Venezuelan Petro.
This is a heavy blow to the dollar. Though, it isn’t enough. As long as the dollar is still a major player in Venezuela’s economy, the battle and related hardship goes on. Radical measures are in order. This is all the more difficult, since Venezuela, like Russia, Iran and most other non-obedient countries, are heavily infested with disastrous and destructive Fifth Column elements which are primarily controlling or manipulating the financial sectors. But the east is full with successful examples on how to detach from the fraud and greed-driven western monetary system. It is a simple model of “Resistance Economy” – local production for local markets with local money through local public banks that work for the local economy. China followed this example until she reached food- health- education and shelter self-sufficiency around the mid-1980s, when Beijing started opening up to the world, including the west, but with primary trade focus on ‘friendly’ nations. The Russian example is mentioned above, and Iran is now following her own track of “Resistance Economy”.
An Economy of Resistance is also applicable for Venezuela. It is a matter of urgency and a question of political will and perseverance. President Maduro, his Cabinet, as well as the solid and broad-based socialism in solidarity of over 6 million citizens will prevail.

India’s Arid Land, Thirsty Crops

Moin Qazi

We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one
-Jacques Cousteau
While the world has significantly improved food security, it is now faced with a mounting challenge on a more major front: water insecurity. Water has been crucial to all civilizations. In India, however, it is of much more importance as over 600 million people get their food and livelihood from the water that irrigates their land. Most of them depend on monsoons to replenish their water sources. But the truancy of rain leaves them vulnerable. Every year, the country breaks out in a cold sweat whenever the south-west monsoon is delayed. It is India’s bad luck that while it has plenty of land, there is scant water to cultivate it. There are stories of areas where people have waited for successive years for rain that never arrived.  In several regions, the once green pastures have been scorched to dust as rainless years left the land bone dry.
India’s water crisis stems from a thorny mix of economic, geographic, and political factors. Today, the country’s agricultural sector accounts for over 90 per cent of the total water drawn, but contributes only around 15 per cent to the country’s GDP. An estimated 89 per cent of the extracted groundwater is used in the irrigation sector (in comparison, household use occupies the second slot at nine per cent, with industrial use accounting for two per cent of groundwater use). The World Bank data shows that only 35% of India’s agricultural land is irrigated. This means that 65% of farming depends on rainfall. 75 per cent of India’s agriculture is groundwater based with the country having at least four crore irrigation wells .90 percent of rural India’s drinking water comes from groundwater. In urban India, 50 percent of the water supply is groundwater based.
India was not the highest extractor of groundwater in the 1960s and 70s; the Green Revolution changed that. At independence the share of groundwater in agriculture was 35 percent; today it is a startling 70 percent. At 260 cubic km per year, our country is the highest user of groundwater in the world–we use 25 percent of all groundwater extracted globally, more than   China and the United States combined.It is groundwater that boosted the Green Revolution and brought us food security but today we are in danger of ‘killing the goose that laid the golden egg’. We have drilled deep for groundwater without taking this basic hydrogeological fact into account. The entire aquatic ecosystem is now in peril. The worse plight is of those who have no water even for their basic needs .They dig and dig through dusty layers of the dry and parched earth in the hope of reaching the last inches of precious fluid below.
The lack of sustainable agriculture sucks rivers, lakes, and underground water sources dry.  Agriculture has also followed Skewed and short-sighted path   as food crops have been gradually abandoned in favour of cash crops such as sugar cane, rice and wheat which are highly profitable but requires huge volumes of water.
Some classic examples of the skewed and short-sighted agricultural priorities that upset India’s water balance are the farming practices in some of its provincial states, particularly Maharashtra, Punjab, and Haryana. The agricultural shift by profit-motivated young farmers has made things worse. Farmers who once grew millet, sorghum, and other cereals have turned to sugarcane in Maharashtra, which fetches more money but is a very thirsty crop. Likewise, farmers have taken to growing rice and wheat in Punjab and Haryana, two parched states where the groundwater has sunk even further.
Maharashtra is the epicentre of India’s farm quagmire. Its landlocked and water-deprived Marathwada  belt is in a miserable state. Farmers drawn to the region by government incentives began cultivating sugarcane, a water-intensive crop that is ill-suited to Marathwada’s semi-arid climate. Sugarcane consumes about 22.5 million litres of water per hectare during its 14-month long growing cycle compared to just four million litres over four months for chickpeas, commonly grown in India and called gram locally
For decades, farmers have been dependent on sugarcane. In a good season, it can give farmers almost Rs.1 lakh an acre. It is backed by a minimum support price, which was Rs.2,255 a tonne in 2017.  The area under sugar cane cultivation in Marathwada grew from to 1m hectares from 2004. Marathwada has the lowest ratio of actual irrigated land vis-à-vis irrigation potential in the state. Of the potential land that could be irrigated by dams created in the region, only 38 percent is actually being irrigated. For the rest of Maharashtra, this ratio is at 76 percent. The per capita income in Marathwada is 40 percent lower than the rest of Maharashtra. Growing sugarcane in drought-prone areas is a recipe for water famine.
Buoyed by the monetary bonanza, farmers put up a race for sugarcane cultivation. The land area under sugarcane cultivation in the state has gone up from 167,000 hectares in 1970-71 and 300,000 hectares in 2002-2004 to 1,022,000 hectares in 2011-12 taking 70% of the region’s irrigation water.  Tragically Marahwada accounts for just   four percent of cultivated land in the state. Maharashtra is India’s second-biggest producer of sugarcane, despite being one of the country’s drier states. Sugarcane’s sturdiness also attracts farmers—mature cane withstands heavy rainfall or dry spells and is also less vulnerable to pests and diseases compared to other crops.
A similar story is playing out in Punjab and Haryana, but with rice replacing sugarcane. Rice covers 62 percent of Punjab’s area under cultivation, which was 10 percent in 1970. The expansion of rice has been similar in neighbouring Haryana. Though the droughts have hit all crops, India still produces more rice, wheat, and sugar than it consumes.
The government currently asks farmers to switch from rice to oilseeds and pulses but does little to support such a change. Moreover, in order to pander to the political class, the government supplies free or subsidised power. Even though Minimum Support Prices (MSPs) are currently announced for 23 crops, the most effective price support is for sugarcane, wheat, and rice. This creates highly skewed incentive structures in favour of these water-intensive crops. Without government intervention to reset the revenue balance in favour of less water-intensive crops, experts warn of further depletion in scarce water resources It will be sound economics as well as ecology for India to make a large scale switch from water intensive crops to less thirsty ones and rely on wetter climates for replenishing its   deficit of water guzzling crops.
The crisis is so bad that those who hope to win the race for the last water reserves are drilling deeper and deeper into the ground leading to a precipitous drop in water tables across India by an average of 0.3 metres per year and by as much as four metres in some place— the world’s fastest rate of groundwater decline. On account of this, the water level in the wells is not being topped by the underground aquifers.
During the last three decades, there has been an explosive growth of private tube-wells   because of a lack of reliable surface irrigation.  Some farmers in parched states now need to dig 300 feet (91 metres) for water, compared to five feet (1.5 metres) in the 1960. They’ve been drilling wells deep beneath the tilled soil into the volcanic rock–700 feet, 800 feet, even 900 feet down.
India extracts 230-250 cubic kilometres of groundwater each year constituting about one-quarter of the world’s total. Farmers using groundwater obtain twice the crop yields compared to surface water. This is because groundwater irrigation gives the farmers more flexibility as to when to irrigate.

Much of the blame for India’s plight must lie at the doors of the political class which has shown no seriousness, despite dire warnings. There is several alternate cultivation systems that help conserve water and could have been promoted actively. One of them is ratooning. Ratooning is the agricultural practice of harvesting a monocot crop by cutting most of the above ground portion but leaving the roots and growing shoots intact so as to allow the plants to recover and produce a fresh crop in the next season.
Realizing its predicament decades ago, Israel studied the “water equation” and introduced revolutionary innovations to make itself all but independent from Mother Nature. Israel took 70 years to solve its water problem; India won’t need that long, as it can replicate Israeli practices. It needs to summon the political will to act before water runs out. Changing governance, raising money, and experimenting new ideas will all take time and the climatic stresses are mounting fast. The time to act is now.

GM Crops in India: Approval by Contamination?

Colin Todhunter

The regulatory system for GMOs (genetically modified organisms) in India is in tatters. So said the Coalition for a GMFree India (CGMFI) in 2017 after media reports about the illegal cultivation of GM soybean in the country.
In India, five high-level reports have already advised against the adoption of GM crops:
  1. The ‘Jairam Ramesh Report’, imposing an indefinite moratorium on Bt Brinjal [Feb 2010];
  2. The ‘Sopory Committee Report’ [August 2012];
  3. The ‘Parliamentary Standing Committee’ [PSC] Report on GM crops [August 2012];
  4. The ‘Technical Expert Committee [TEC] Final Report’ [June-July 2013]; and
  5. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science & Technology, Environment and Forests [August 2017].
Given the issues surrounding GM crops (including the now well-documented failure of Bt cotton in the country), little wonder these reports advise against their adoption. Little wonder too given that the story of GM ‘regulation’ in India has been a case of blatant violations of biosafety norms, hasty approvals, a lack of monitoring abilities, general apathy towards the hazards of contamination and a lack of institutional oversight.
Despite these reports, the drive to get GM mustard commercialised (which would be India’s first officially-approved GM food crop) has been relentless. The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) has pushed ahead regardless by giving it the nod. However, the case of GM mustard remains in limbo and stuck in the Supreme Court due to various pleas lodged by environmentalist Aruna Rodrigues.
Rodrigues argues that GM mustard is being undemocratically forced through with flawed tests (or no testing) and a lack of public scrutiny: in other words, unremitting scientific fraud and outright regulatory delinquency.
Moteover, this crop is also herbicide-tolerant (HT), which is wholly inappropriate for a country like India with its small biodiverse farms that could be affected by its application.
GM crops illegally growing
Despite the ban on GM cops, in 2005, biologist Pushpa Bhargava noted that unapproved varieties of several GM crops were being sold to farmers. In 2008, Arun Shrivasatava wrote that illegal GM okra had been planted in India and poor farmers had been offered lucrative deals to plant ‘special seed’ of all sorts of vegetables.
In 2013, a group of scientists and NGOs protested in Kolkata and elsewhere against the introduction of transgenic brinjal in Bangladesh – a centre for origin and diversity of the vegetable – as it would give rise to contamination of the crop in India. As predicted, in 2014, the West Bengal government said it had received information regarding “infiltration” of commercial seeds of GM Bt brinjal from Bangladesh.
In 2017, the illegal cultivation of a GM HT soybean was reported in Gujarat. Bhartiya Kisan Sangh (BKS), a national farmers organisation, claimed that Gujarat farmers had been cultivating HT crop illegally – there is no clearance from the government for any GM food crop.
There are also reports of HT cotton illegally growing in India. In a paper appearing in the Journal of Peasant studies last year, Glenn Stone and Andrew Flachs show how cotton farmers have been encouraged to change their ploughing practices, which has led to more weeds being left in their fields. The authors suggest the outcome in terms of yields (or farmer profit) is arguably no better than before. However, it coincides with the appearance of an increasing supply (and farmer demand) for HT cotton seeds.
It doesn’t take a dyed-in-the-wool cynic to appreciate that the likes of Bayer, which has now incorporated Monsanto, must be salivating at the prospect of India becoming the global leader in the demand for GM. PM Modi has already proclaimed that GM represents a good business-investment opportunity.
Vandana Shiva has highlighted the arm twisting that has gone on in an attempt to force through GMOs into India, with various politicians having been pushed aside until the dotted line for GMO open field testing approval was signed on. Of course, Modi is only accelerating what former PM Manmohan Singh had set in motion – a politician whose pro-GMO policies were regarded by the late Arun Shrivastava as total treachery.
It is not surprising then that calls are being made for probes into the workings of the GEAC and other official bodies who seems to be asleep at the wheel or deliberately looking the other way. The latter could be the case given that, as Stone and Flachs indicate, senior figures in India regard GM seeds (and their associated chemical inputs) as key to modernising Indian agriculture.
CGMFI spokesperson Kavitha Kuruganti says that the regulators have been caught sleeping. It wouldn’t be the first time: India’s first GM crop cultivation – Bt cotton – was discovered in 2001 growing on thousands of hectares in Gujarat, spread surreptitiously and illegally by the biotech industry. Kuruganti said the GEAC was caught off-guard when news about large scale illegal cultivation of Bt cotton emerged, even as field trials that were to decide whether India would opt for this GM crops were still underway.
In March 2002, the GEAC ended up approving Bt cotton for commercial cultivation in India. To this day, no liability was fixed for the illegal spread.
The tactic of contaminate first then legalise has benefited industry players before. In 2006, for instance, the US Department of Agriculture granted marketing approval of GM Liberty Link 601 (Bayer CropScience) rice variety following its illegal contamination of the food supply and rice exports. The USDA effectively sanctioned an ‘approval-by-contamination’ policy.
Illegal GM imports
Despite reasoned argument and debate having thus far prevented the cultivation of GM crops or the consumption of GM food in India, it seems we are be witnessing GM seeds and crops entering the food system regardless.
Kuruganti says that a complaint lodged with the GEAC and a Right to Information (RTI) application seeking information regarding the illegal GM soybean cultivation in the country has stirred the apex regulatory body to bring the issue to the notice of the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), months after the issue became public.
In reply to the RTI application, the GEAC responded by saying it had received no complaint about such illegal cultivation. Kurauganti says this is a blatant lie: the BKS had collected illegally cultivated soybean samples for lab testing and the report was sent to the GEAC along with a letter of complaint. GM HT soybean has not been granted permission for field trials, let alone large-scale cultivation.
It is also understood that apart from the BKS, the Government of Gujarat also alerted the GEAC to the illegal cultivation.
Kuruganti says:
“The fact that the GEAC is writing now to the DGFT to take action (on preventing the illegal GM imports), makes it clear that it lacks any real intent to take serious action about the violations of its own regulations. It also indicates that it is putting up a show of having “done” something, before an upcoming Supreme Court hearing on PILs related to GMOs.”
Her assertion is supported by Rohit Parakh of India for Safe Food:
“Commerce Ministry’s own data on imports of live seeds clearly indicates that India continues to import genetically modified seeds including GM canola, GM sugar beet, GM papaya, GM squash and GM corn seeds (apart from soybean) from countries such as the USA… with no approval from the GEAC as is the requirement.”
Kuruganti concludes that the regulatory system is a shambles and is not preventing GMOs from being illegally imported into the country or planted. Moreover, the ruling BJP has reneged on its election promise not to allow GM without proper protocols.
Offshoring Indian agriculture
It is not a good situation. We have bogus arguments about GM mustard being forwarded by developers at Delhi University and the government. We also have USAID pushing for GM in Punjab and twisting a problematic situation to further Monsanto’s interests by trying to get GM soybean planted in the state. And we have regulators (deliberately) asleep at the wheel.
The fact that India is importing so many agricultural commodities in the first place doesn’t help. Relying on imports and transnational agribusiness with its proprietary (GM) seeds and inputs is not a recipe for food security. In the 1960s, Africa was not just self-sufficient in food but was actually a net food exporter. Today, courtesy of World Bank, IMF and WTO interventions, the continent imports 25% of its food, with almost every country being a net food importer.
Is this want India wants? Based on its rising import bill, self-reliance and food security seems to be an anathema to policy makers. In response to the government’s decision to abolish import duty on wheat in 2017, Ajmer Singh Lakhowala, head of the Punjab unit of Bharatiya Kisan Union, said sarcastically:
“The import of cheap wheat will bring the prices down. It appears the government wants the farmers to quit farming.”
As previously outlined, at the behest of the World Bank and courtesy of compliant politicians in India, it certainly seems to be the case.
Self-sufficiency is not to the liking of the US and the World Bank. Washington has for many decades regarded its leverage over global agriculture as a tool to secure its geostrategic goals.
Whether it involves the import of subsidised edible oils, wheat, pulses or soybean – alongside the ongoing neglect of indigenous agriculture and farmers by successive administrations – livelihoods are being destroyed, food quality is being undermined and Indian agriculture is slowly being offshored.

US sanctions against Iran aimed at regime change

Peter Symonds

The Trump administration further spelled out this week the draconian sanctions it intends to enforce on Iran. A senior State Department official told the media the US would take measures against any country that failed to reduce its oil imports from Iran to “zero” by November 4.
Companies that fail to meet the deadline face the prospect of being excluded from the US financial system. While not completely ruling out waivers, the US official said there were unlikely to be any exemptions for corporations buying oil from Iran. The predisposition of the Trump administration, the official said, is: “No, we’re not going to do waivers.”
The announcement follows Trump’s decision on May 8 to unilaterally pull out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. Known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), it was signed with the US, Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia. Under the JCPOA, Tehran agreed to drastic curbs on its nuclear programs in return for a step-by-step easing of international sanctions.
Despite the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) repeatedly verifying that Iran kept its side of the bargain, the Trump administration tore up the deal. Washington wants to force Iran to fall into line with US policy throughout the Middle East, and end its nuclear and missile programs.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned last month that Iran would face “the strongest sanctions in history” if it did not bow to Washington’s demands. He also strongly hinted at regime change, suggesting that the Iranian public could take matters into its own hands.
Prior to Tuesday, Washington had already foreshadowed punitive measures to come into force in August. It plans to re-impose curbs on Iran’s ability to buy US dollars, along with any global trading in Iranian gold, coal, steel, cars, currency and debt. Ultimately the US sanctions will hit every aspect of Iran’s economy, although agricultural products, medicines and medical devices are supposedly exempted.
The US announcements have pushed up world oil prices and hit the Iranian economy hard. Oil sales generate 60 percent of Iran’s export income and underpin the government’s finances. The country’s currency, the rial, has plunged by 40 percent against the US dollar since last month, forcing the government to take emergency measures. These include the allocation of hard currency largely to importers and basic commodities, and bans on hundreds of imported goods, including cars.
The developing economic crisis inside Iran is generating sharp differences within the regime and prompted days of protests in Tehran’s Grand Bazaar by traders and shoppers against the government’s economic measures.
The Washington-based Brookings Institution published a paper yesterday entitled “Trump tightens the screws on Iran’s oil. Is the US aiming for regime collapse?” It commented: “The Trump administration is deploying US sanctions on Iran as a bludgeon rather than a scalpel in the hopes of wreaking maximum havoc on Iran as quickly as possible.”
US actions, however, are likely to wreak havoc around the globe. The latest round of economic thuggery has compounded the international tensions generated by US trade war measures. The White House is using sanctions legislation put in place by the Obama administration to force Tehran to sign the nuclear deal. Unlike Obama, however, Trump does not have the support of major allies, let alone China and Russia.
The European Union (EU) opposed Trump’s decision to pull out of the JCPOA and has been seeking ways to maintain the deal, even without US participation. The US actions threaten to sabotage billions of dollars worth of European trade and investment that has developed since 2015.
Last month, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced that the bloc planned to reactivate a law that would prevent European companies from complying with any sanctions the US might reintroduce against Iran. On June 6, the EU Commission adopted an update of the 1996 “blocking statute.” It requires European companies to refrain from complying “whether directly or through a subsidiary or other intermediary person, or by deliberate omission,” with US sanctions on Iran.
European refiners and banks appear to be cutting back on purchases of Iranian oil. Reuters reported yesterday that the Swiss lender Banque de Commerce et de Placements (BCP) would stop financing Iranian oil cargoes by June 30. France’s Total, Greece’s Hellenic Petroleum and Litasco, the Geneva-based arm of the Russian company Lukoil, are among the customers using BCP banking services.
The Brookings Institution article explained that since the US withdrew from the JCPOA deal, “companies have been rushing to exit Iran, mammoth contracts for hundreds of new airplanes have been scuttled, and nearly all of the signature investments by European and Asian firms have already shifted to wind-down mode.”
The Wall Street Journal reported this week: “Top administration officials from the State and Treasury departments have jetted around the world in recent days to persuade other countries to cut use of Iranian crude and warn them that any companies, banks or traders that handle Iranian oil face US penalties, including the risk of being frozen out of US markets.”
US allies in Europe and Asia have already been warned, and White House trips are due to take place to China, India and Turkey, where the Trump administration also faces opposition to its sanctions.
All three countries, however, have indicated they will not fully comply with US demands for “zero” imports of Iranian oil. A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman this week described China’s relations with Iran as “friendly” and its economic and energy ties as “beyond reproach.”
Sunjay Sudhir, joint secretary for international cooperation at India’s petroleum ministry, told CNNMoney earlier this week: “India does not recognise unilateral sanctions, but only sanctions by the United Nations.” India is the second largest purchaser of Iranian oil after China.
The US official who announced the November deadline for ending purchases of Iranian oil warned that Washington was not “kidding about this.” China and India “will be subject to the same sanctions as everybody else if they engage in those sectors of the economy.”

Ex-spy and lawyer face jail for exposing Australian bugging operation in East Timor

Mike Head

Nearly four years after raiding their homes and offices, the Australian government has laid serious criminal charges against a former intelligence officer and his lawyer for exposing Australia’s spying operation against East Timorese ministers during talks over disputed oil and gas rights in the Timor Sea.
In a move clearly intended to send a wider chilling political message, the pair face up to two years jail for making known to the public that the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS), the country’s overseas spy agency, surreptitiously bugged the East Timor cabinet room in 2004 under the guise of providing aid to the tiny state.
Attorney-General Christian Porter personally authorised the prosecution, so the decision was taken at the highest levels of the Liberal-National government. The lack of any Labor Party criticism points to a bipartisan move, in line with the Gillard Labor government’s rejection of East Timor’s initial 2012 complaint about the bugging.
The decision to place the pair on trial indicates that much is at stake for Australia’s military-intelligence apparatus and political establishment. This is both in terms of protecting the escalating operations of the US-linked apparatus itself, and of covering up Australia’s protracted bullying of East Timor, which has become a testing ground for Washington’s drive to combat growing Chinese influence in the region.
Independent member of parliament Andrew Wilkie revealed under parliamentary privilege on Thursday that a former ASIS officer, who can be identified only as Witness K, and his lawyer, former Australian Capital Territory Attorney-General Bernard Collaery, had been charged by the Commonwealth Department of Public Prosecutions.
Witness K, ASIS’s head of technical operations in 2004, revealed the bugging operation and was going to be a key witness in East Timor’s case in the International Court of Justice at The Hague to overturn the 2006 Timor Sea treaty ultimately imposed by Canberra.
But Witness K was unable to give evidence after his passport and documents were seized and home raided, along with Collaery’s Canberra office, in December 2013 by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) and the federal police.
The ruling establishment regards the pair’s exposure of one of ASIS’s many illegal operations as a threat to the US-led “Five Eyes” global surveillance network, of which ASIS is a key part, together with the Australian Signals Directorate, the electronic spying agency.
This network is at the centre of Washington’s escalating trade war and military offensive against China, including preparations for war to reassert US hegemony over the Indo-Pacific region, which it established through World War II.
After Wilkie’s speech, prosecutors confirmed the pair had been charged with breaching the Intelligence Services Act by “conspiring” to “communicate” ASIS “information.” A maximum penalty of two years’ imprisonment applies because the alleged offence was committed before the maximum sentence was increased to 10 years in 2014.
The confirmation came on the same day as the Labor Party joined hands with the government to ram through parliament two huge “foreign interference” bills that constitute the greatest assault on fundamental legal and democratic rights in Australia since World War II.
As part of that legislation, wider secrecy provisions have been expanded. Previous jail terms of two years for leaking classified documents have been increased to up to 10 years for communicating “inherently harmful information” (i.e., even if not classified as secret), or information that “is likely to cause harm to Australia’s interests.” These punishments now apply not only to whistleblowers who allegedly leak information but to anyone who helps make it public.
While denouncing “foreign interference,” supposedly by China, the government is criminalising any exposure of US-backed Australian “interference,” including in East Timor.
By charging Collaery, as well as “Witness K,” the government is also attacking the principle of lawyer-client privilege, a centuries-old protection against authoritarian rule. This is not the only core legal and democratic right threatened. Media reports indicate that the government will apply to have the trial heard in secrecy, overturning another key principle—the right to a public trial.
Addressing the media on Thursday, Collaery said the charges were an attack on freedom of expression, the legal profession, and on him personally for acting as a lawyer. Collaery also threw doubt over the government’s case. He denied that his client was a whistleblower. “He went with his complaint to the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, received approval and I received approval to act,” Collaery said.
The charges are the latest development in a saga stretching back to 2004, when ASIS planted listening devices in East Timor’s cabinet room while the Howard Liberal-National government was coercing the impoverished state into relinquishing its territorial rights to the lucrative Greater Sunrise oil and gas field.
ASIS’s illegal surveillance was just part of a concerted campaign of economic and diplomatic bullying by Canberra, from the day that it sent troops to occupy the territory in 1999, supposedly to protect the Timorese people, and continuing long after nominal independence was granted in 2002.
The Timorese leadership was coerced into dropping its request for a demarcation of the maritime border between the two countries in line with international law, which would have allocated East Timor the majority share of the undersea oil and gas fields. The chief beneficiaries were Woodside Petroleum and other Australian, US and European energy conglomerates, which secured the rights to mine the reserves.
The bugging operation also assisted the violent regime-change operation that Canberra launched in 2006 against then Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri’s Fretilin government. This involved the instigation of a split within the Timorese armed forces, followed by a renewed Australian military intervention.
Under the 2006 oil and gas treaty, the Australian government secured 50 percent of the revenues from the $40 billion Greater Sunrise gas project in the Timor Sea and deferred the setting of a maritime boundary for 50 years. By international law, Greater Sunrise should be in East Timor’s territory. However, Canberra had declared in 2002 that it would no longer abide by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in settling the Timor border.
In March this year, the Australian government finally agreed to a treaty with East Timor that essentially conceded that their undersea boundary should be set at halfway point between the two countries, in line with international law, thus placing most of the vast untapped gas reserves within East Timor’s territory.
Nevertheless, the Australian government and the transnational energy giants that control the gas fields remain adamant that East Timor cannot have the gas processing operations, and all the associated profits.
After more than 15 years of illegally denying Timorese sovereignty in the disputed zone, there were concerns in both Canberra and Washington that Australia’s defiance of UNCLOS was opening the door for China to acquire greater influence in East Timor and the Asia-Pacific region.
Beijing had politically exploited the issue to undercut the denunciations from Washington and Canberra of China’s refusal to recognise a US-orchestrated international tribunal ruling in 2016 rejecting China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea.
As the Chinese economy has grown rapidly over the past two decades, Chinese agencies and companies have been increasingly active in East Timor, as throughout the region, funding infrastructure and establishing business operations.
The territory is a strategic part of the Indonesian archipelago, which is pivotal to Washington’s war preparations against China. Critical sea lanes, on which China depends for its trade, pass through Indonesia and have been identified by the Pentagon as “choke points” to be blockaded in the event of war.
As the documents released by US National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden have proven, Australia’s spy agencies are central to the NSA’s vast global surveillance operations, with Australian diplomatic missions, including in East Timor, Indonesia and China, functioning as NSA listening posts.

The elections in Mexico and the political tasks of the working class

Bill Van Auken

The national elections taking place in Mexico on Sunday pose vital issues before the Mexican and international working class.
After six years of the corrupt and brutal rule of the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto, Mexico is mired in pandemic violence, unprecedented social inequality and staggering levels of unemployment as well as deepening poverty for the majority of the population.
The ruling PRI, which held undisputed power from 1929 to 2000, is so hated that it chose as its candidate a “technocrat”, José Antonio Meade, who is not even a member of the party. He is running third in the polls, and there is distinct possibility that the party will face a nationwide rout on the local, state and federal levels.
The candidate of the right-wing PAN (National Action Party), with which the PRI has alternated power since the dawn of the new millennium, Ricardo Anaya, is widely viewed as a representative of the corrupt system of bribes and kickbacks that he oversaw as the former head of the president of the Mexican Chamber of Deputies.
With the massive popular repudiation of these two traditional ruling parties, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the former mayor of Mexico City and now three-time presidential candidate, running as leader of the MORENA (Movimiento de Regeneración Nacional) party, is projected by virtually every poll to win the July 1 election by an historically unprecedented margin.
The coming to power of López Obrador will yield not a way out of the current crisis, but its sharp intensification and new dangers for the Mexican working class. Sooner rather than later, a MORENA-led administration will betray the mass aspirations for an end to the social hardship and suffering that López Obrador has cynically exploited.
There are no doubt substantial popular illusions in López Obrador, or AMLO as he is popularly known. A 64-year-old professional politician, he began his career in the PRI, leaving it for the PRD (Democratic Revolutionary Party) and twice running as its presidential candidate. He went on to found MORENA after the PRD turned sharply to the right, signing on to Peña Nieto’s 2012 “Pact for Mexico”, which opened up Mexico’s labor market, its education system, and the energy, financial, and telecommunication sectors to privatization schemes and so-called free-market “reforms.”
The closing of AMLO’s campaign Wednesday night, staged before a crowd that packed the Azteca stadium in southern Mexico City, provided an illustration of the sharp contradiction between the popular illusions in López Obrador and the reality of his class position and political program.
While vowing that the ruling parties of the past would lose the election, he promised that there “will not be reprisals.” This means that the crimes of the past six years, including the disappearance and presumed murder of the 43 Ayotzinapa teaching students, along with countless other massacres by state security forces, not to mention the wholesale corruption which AMLO has made the centerpiece of his campaign, will go unpunished.
He promised that “we will seek unity to the extent that we can.” Indeed, right-wing former PRI and PAN officials are already being integrated into AMLO’s prospective cabinet, guaranteeing continuity of the anti-working class policies carried out by both parties over the course of decades.
He signaled his readiness to enter a dialogue and reach agreements with Donald Trump, who after Peña Nieto is the most hated man in Mexico for his undisguised anti-Mexican racism, persecution of immigrants and demands that Mexico pay up to $15 billion to build a wall on its border. AMLO said that he would propose to Trump the creation of “something like the old Alliance for Progress,” the aid program inaugurated under US President Kennedy in 1961 with the aim of tying Latin America closer to US imperialism and forestalling left-nationalist revolutions like the one in Cuba.
As López Obrador has emerged as the all but certain victor in the July 1 election, he has moved steadily to the right, even as Mexico’s ruling oligarchy, which formerly denounced him as a demagogue bent on turning Mexico into a new Cuba or Venezuela, has moved to accept him.
Indeed, billionaire Carlos Slim, the richest man in Mexico and formally the richest man in the world, warned recently that if AMLO failed to be elected president, the country would face economic instability.
In an appearance before the heads of Mexico’s major banks in March, the MORENA candidate vowed that the “property regime” in Mexico would be respected, with no plans for “expropriations or nationalizations.” He swore his fealty to the “market economy” and promised that his policies would not “affect the banking sector at all.”
Similarly, his aides and advisors have walked back AMLO’s previous denunciations of the drive to privatize Mexico’s previously state-controlled energy sector and open it up to exploitation by international energy conglomerates, promising that all such contracts will be respected.
The markets have already factored in the victory of López Obrador, and by all accounts see no threat to the interests of Mexican and world capitalism.
“This stability is perhaps surprising,” said the director general of the Mexican stock exchange, José Oriol Bosch. “There are always those who look for the negative, but what is being demonstrated in the markets is that the country is prepared for this process.”
After his meetings with executives of major international banks such as Citigroup Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. in recent months, Wall Street is similarly bullish on an AMLO victory.
It cannot be excluded, given the deep crisis and bitter divisions within the Mexican ruling class, that the 2018 election will be determined not by the popular vote, but by electoral fraud. Such was the case in 1988, when the election was stolen from Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas in order to install the PRI candidate Carlos Salinas.
This has been the most violent election year in Mexican history, with over 120 politicians murdered since campaigning began. These killings take place in the context of a continuing wave of violence, claiming 8,000 lives in the same period, in a country where at least 35,000 people are classified as disappeared.
The passing of an Interior Security Law last year has given the president the authority to impose what amounts to martial law, deploying the army to the streets. An attempt to impose a president under such conditions, however, could quickly plunge volatile Mexico into violent social upheaval.
The international working class has undergone bitter experiences with bourgeois parties like MORENA, resting on affluent layers of the middle class and employing vaguely left phrases, while promising “hope” and “change.” Just across Mexico’s northern border, American workers made such an experience with Democrat Barack Obama, hailed by the pseudo-left as a “transformational president,” who, once in power, imposed policies that expanded war, accelerated the transfer of wealth from the bottom to the top and increased mass deportations to record levels.
Then there was the election of Syriza in Greece. Hailed by petty-bourgeois left parties throughout the world, it came to power in 2015 on the basis of promises to end EU-imposed austerity measures, only to capitulate within months, trampling underfoot a referendum rejecting austerity by a landslide and imposing the cuts demanded by the international banks.
There is a striking similarity between the campaigns waged by Syriza and MORENA. Syriza formed a coalition after the 2015 election with the Independent Greeks, a right-wing nationalist party that advocates anti-immigrant policies and support for the Greek Orthodox Church, while engaging in open anti-Semitism.
AMLO’s Morena is running in Sunday’s election as part of a coalition that includes the Social Encounter Party (PES), a right-wing party comprised mostly of Evangelical Christians that campaigns against gay rights, same-sex marriage and abortion.
This remarkable symmetry is by no means coincidental. In both cases, the alliance of these supposed “left” bourgeois candidates with parties of the extreme right represents an unmistakable signal to the ruling establishment that they can be entrusted to defend the interests of both national and foreign capital, including through the support of the most right-wing policies.
MORENA and AMLO represent the interests of capitalism. It is notable that López Obrador has not embraced or welcomed the explosive struggles of the Mexican workers and oppressed, from the gasolinazo protests against the hiking of energy costs to the strikes of teachers and the ongoing struggles of victims of state violence.
While promising the cheapest form of populism, a struggle against corruptionwhile guaranteeing impunity for the corruptand minimal increases in social assistance programs for the poor, it can be certain that a López Obrador administration will respond to pressure from the working class not with concessions, but with ferocious attacks in defense of the interests of the financial elite that has embraced AMLO.
The acute crisis in Mexico and the lack of an independent political alternative for the working class underscores the urgency of building a new revolutionary leadership, a section of the International Committee of the Fourth International, fighting to unite the struggles of the Mexican working class with those of workers in the United States and throughout the Americas to put an end to capitalism.

29 Jun 2018

UNCDF Grants for Development of a Mobile Application for Financial Education in West Africa 2018

Application Deadline: 10th July 2018

Eligible Countries: Guinea, Niger, Senegal, The Gambia

About the Award: The application should be designed for trainers at FSPs level but also for final young clients on their own devices with the option (where applicable) to be linked to an e-wallet system of a partner financial institution. Content for the financial training modules will be provided by UNCDF and the partner financial institution.

Type: Grants, Entrepreneurship

Eligibility: The application:
• Should use an open sourced solution
• Provide an option for USSD compatibility is desirable
• Easy to adapt to different cultural contexts like local language
• Should be easy to use and should take into consideration low literacy and digital skills of end users
• Should be android compatible
• Compatibility with IOS desirable

The technical partner will first launch the platform in Guinea. The launch in other countries will be discussed with UNCDF at the start of the engagement. Please note the timeline for other countries will vary according to the FSPs selected in each country.

Number of Awards: Not specified

Value of Award: Up to US$300,000 for the whole project. Applicants should provide budgets indicating the cost per stage (as depicted above) per country and how they would allocate costs to produce high quality results with their technical approach.

Duration of Programme: The duration of the grant agreement will be 30 months.

How to Apply: 
  • Applications and any consultation about this RfA should be submitted via email at youthstart@uncdf.org
  • Questions regarding this RfA will be accepted until 5 July 2018
  • The subject line of the email should be: Mobile Application for Financial Education YS-E
  • Applications can be submitted in either English or French
Visit Programme Webpage for Details

Award Providers: UNCDF

FAO/FIMI Training of Trainers on Human Rights, Food and Nutrition Security for Indigenous Women Leaders from Africa 2018

Application Deadline: 9th July 2018

Eligible Countries: African countries

To Be Taken At (Country): To be communicated

About the Award: In this occasion, FIMI and FAO are going to implement the program Training of Trainers on Human Rights, Food Security and Nutrition to be carried out at a regional level in Africa.
The Objectives are:
  • Strengthen the leaderships and knowledges of indigenous women on human rights, food security and nutrition for the capacity building of other indigneous women from Africa.
  • Promote and strengthen the articulation, alliances and collaborations between activists and indigenous organizations at the regional level for the advocacy and participation at the international processes.
Type: Training

Eligibility: This program is open to indigenous women leaders from Africa, the requirements are
  • Indigenous women with skill and experience in facilitating capacity building processes.
  • Indigenous women associated with an indigenous organisation and actively working with indigenous communities and involved in human rights, indigneous peoples rights and women?s rights.
  • Basic english speaking and writing skills.
Number of Awards: In the selection process, 30 indigenous women leaders will be selected to participate in the program through an Advisory Committee.

Value of Award: Scholarship to cover airfare (economy flights), accommodation and food will be provided; it is included educational material. FIMI will provide full scholarships for 30 participants. All scholarships will awarded in the most equitable way possible.
Participants’ commitments
  • A signed letter of commitment to actively participate and complete the 12 days of the capacity building training.
  • Deliver a Capacity builidng Plan on the knowledge acquired from ToT and its implementation.
  • Getting a visa or passport in advance, if it is required.
Duration of Programme: The program will be held for a period of 12 days continuous during August or September of this year. The exact dates and venue are still to be confirmed.

How to Apply: For an application to be complete, the following documents must be submitted:
  1. A completed application form 
  2. A letter of organizational endorsement, preferable the Organisation/Institution the applicant belong to or is working closely with. This letter shall be addressed to the Coordination of the Indigenous Women’s Global Leadership School. The letter should also specify the national or regional network which the organisation is affiliated with.
  3. A commitment letter from the candidate to perform all tasks required and commitment to conclude the program.
The completed application form and a letter of endorsement shall be sent by email to winniekodi@iiwf.org with a copy to global-school@iiwf.org Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any enquiries.

Visit Programme Webpage for Details

Award Providers: FAO, IIWF/FIMI

Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize ($1 million) for Outstanding Teachers Worldwide 2018

Application Deadline: 9th September 2018

Eligible Countries: All

To be taken at (country): Winner will be announced at the Global Education and Skills Forum 2019 in Dubai, UAE

About the Award: Dubbed the “Nobel Prize for teaching”, this $1 million award aims to put teaching excellence in the spotlight, where it belongs. Our goal is to give outstanding global educators a chance to show the world what they do, sharing inspiring stories and encouraging ever-more ambitious teaching practice and educational initiatives.
The Prize will be awarded under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister, Ruler of Dubai.  The winner will be announced during the Global Education and Skills Forum 2019. The selection process will be audited by PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

Type: Contests/Award

Eligibility: To be eligible, an Applicant must:
  • be at least eighteen (18) years old at time of entry;
  • teach or provide educational support to students between the ages of 5 and 18 in a compulsory setting;
  • not be prohibited from participating in the Contest or receiving the Prize under applicable law;
  • not have a criminal record;
  • not have conducted themselves (by act or omission) in such a way as to bring the teaching profession or VF, its affiliates, or their respective directors, officers, employees, agents, and subsidiaries (“VF Parties”) into disrepute (as may be determined at the sole discretion of VF);
  • not be a previous Prize winner; and
  • not be a previous Top 10 candidate
Selection Criteria: We’re looking for:
  • Appreciation from parents, students, colleagues, head teachers or the community. We want to see the people who matter speaking up for a teacher who has made a real impact in their lives.
  • Innovation in teaching practice. Whether that means embracing technology or doing something new and different. Whatever innovative approach is used, it should clearly help students achieve their learning outcomes.
  • Contribution to educational debates. From blogs and conferences, to social media campaigns and media participation, our Global Teacher should be giving voice to the educational issues which affect them and their community.
  • Encouragement for teachers, and non-teachers. We’re looking for an individual who supports educators and encourages others to enter the teaching profession, either actively or by setting a positive example.
  • Preparation of young people for success in an increasingly diverse and globalised world. Winning candidates should be working to turn students into open-minded, successful global citizens.
  • Development of innovative ideas and initiatives which improve access to quality education for children from all backgrounds.
  • Accomplishment which goes beyond the classroom, setting a precedent for a truly extraordinary approach to education which inspires both teachers and non-teachers all over the world.
Selection Process:
  • Once the application process has closed, applications will be scored and read by a panel of online judges who will select the Top 50 Finalists.
  • The first Committee of judges (“Prize Committee“) will meet in November 2017 to select the Top 10 Finalists.
  • The Global Teacher Prize Academy (the final panel of judges) will then select the winner, through a secure online voting system, subject to additional screening, background and reference checks.
  • The whole selection process will be monitored and audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers to ensure transparency.
Number of Awardees: Ten (10)

Value of Award: US$1,000,000

How to Apply: 2019 applications and nominations are now open

Visit Award Webpage for details

Award Provider: Varkey Foundation

Canadian Government Rapid Research Fund for Ebola Virus Disease Outbreaks Call for Research Proposals 2018

Application Deadline: 13th July 2018 12:00 p.m. EST

Eligible Countries: African countries and Canada

About the Award: Together, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), International Development Research Centre (IDRC), and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) have made available a combined CA$1.5 million to support partnered teams of Canadian and African researchers.
The Rapid Research Fund (RRF) for Ebola Virus Disease Outbreaks will fund social science, population and public health, and health systems research relevant to the emerging crisis. A minimum of four successful teams will be eligible to receive research grants up to CA$360,000 over two years (2018–2020).
The focus of the supported research will be to inform the response to the current Ebola outbreak in DRC, with the aim of improving prevention and preparedness efforts for future Ebola or similarly significant infectious disease outbreak threats in the region.

Scope: The Rapid Research Fund (RRF) for Ebola Virus Disease Outbreaks is intended to support social sciences, humanities, public health and/or health systems research aimed at more effectively containing the current Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), as well as potential future outbreaks, more readily.
A minimum of four successful teams will be eligible to receive research grants up to CA$360,000 over two years (2018–2020). The focus of the supported research will be to inform the response to the current Ebola outbreak in DRC, with the aim of improving prevention and preparedness efforts to future Ebola or similarly significant infectious disease outbreak threats in the region.
Projects must be focused on addressing challenges related to the current Ebola outbreak in the DRC, and/or risks of extension to the surrounding region. Proposals should apply social science, humanities, population and public health, and/or health services research approaches that build on previous learnings, and/or respond to documented knowledge and practice gaps, to build capacity for more effective outbreak response, containment, and mitigation efforts.
The proposal must also justify the use of Rapid Research funds, detailing how the same research success and impact would not be achieved through traditional, less time-sensitive funding sources.

Type: Grant

Eligibility: This call is intended to fund collaborative partnerships between Canadian and African researchers based out of established, research-oriented organizations in North and sub-Saharan Africa and Canada.
The following eligibility criteria also apply:
  • Application from one Canadian lead applicant and an African co-lead applicant.
  • Application from one African lead applicant and a Canadian co-lead applicant.
  • Eligible organizations are legal entities, such as accredited universities, non-governmental or government-funded research organizations.
  • African-Canadian partnerships may include other co-applicant research partners from eligible organizations.
  • Intergovernmental organizations (e.g. United Nations system) and CGIAR Centres may not apply to this call as lead or co-applicants. Intergovernmental organizations may, however, participate as collaborating organizations.
  • The lead applicant and co-applicants may negotiate and develop funding arrangements directly with third-party organizations for specific services. IDRC will not contract directly with third-party organizations. Applications that involve third-party organizations must clearly justify their involvement and explain their role(s).
  • At most, a person can apply as the lead applicant for one project and be a co-applicant for one additional project.
Number of Awards: 4 teams

Value of Award: CA$1.5 million (up to CA$360,000 per project)

How to Apply: Apply online
Please consult the online call application in English and French for complete details on eligibility criteria, including additional information and FAQs.

Visit Programme Webpage for Details

Award Providers: International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).