Government intervention to support those financial institutions exposed to the fluctuations in international markets confirms that Italian banks have been in difficulties since the beginning of the global financial crisis. The worst consequence of the crisis so far is the shrinking of the credit market. In a country where 90% of businesses are of medium or small size, the Government’s response has been quantitatively and qualitatively insufficient. There is a need for different policies that adequately distribute the resources to fight poverty and protect workers.
The 2005 Iraqi Constitution strove to include a number of positive measures for women’s empowerment; however, a culture of equality of access and opportunity is needed in addition to legislation. During this transition period, women have not only lost most of the benefits hitherto provided by the State; they are disproportionately affected by the shrinking of the State’s power, the insecurity arising from political instability, the breakdown of economic activities due to the war; and the deterioration of social structures. Increased violence against women requires urgent intervention from all actors in society.
Although several indicators show that India’s situation is not among the worst, many sectors have declined due to the downturn in the global economy while others have not been able to regain or maintain their growth trends. Thus, for instance, there has been drastically reduced growth in personal and consumer loans and industrial production. Inflation, increasing unemployment and decline in foreign institutional investment are some additional impacts. The Government must find a balance between economic reforms to stimulate growth and the necessary relief for 250 million Indians living in extreme poverty.
The global crisis has pushed Hungary into the worst economic decline in almost two decades. It was partially responsible for the resignation of Premier Ferenc Gyucsany earlier this year. The export-dependent economy has suffered from the slowdown of its main commercial partners. The social system is crippled by corruption, the national currency has plunged and public finances are heavily burdened by pension obligations. The new Premier plans to cut pensions, public sector bonuses and maternity support; to mortgage energy and transport subsidies; and to raise the age for retirement.
Honduras is one of the poorest countries in Latin America. The international financial crisis already predicted that life would be even more difficult for the Honduran population, but the coup d’état, supported by the most reactionary sectors of society – in particular the defenders of the patriarchal culture – has exacerbated the situation. Social organizations, in particular women’s movements, are organizing the resistance against the de facto regime.
The relentless food crisis affecting the country, with 121 of 333 municipalities beset by famine, indicates that the current feudal system of agricultural production urgently needs to be changed. Putting an end to the displacement of the farming communities and allowing them to own their land would not only make landholding fairer but also enable a return to food self-sufficiency. The promised Comprehensive Agrarian Reform must be implemented without delay.
The global crisis has already wounded Ghana’s economy severely. Initial damage has included decreasing exports and remittances from abroad and galloping devaluation. The crisis is threatening to hamper efforts to reduce poverty, which had been registering successes. Government efforts to mitigate the impact of the crisis appear insufficient. The biggest challenge is to improve income distribution, since poverty is deeper in rural areas. Policies are urgently needed to strengthen agriculture, a sector that had been contributing almost 40% of the GDP.
The German Government’s crisis management strategy does not include social or indeed ecological goals. Its stimulus packages and tax cuts are socially inequitable; layoffs and the rise in part-time workers are revealing the ugly face of deregulation. Although German ODA has increased and commitments for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in 2009 are higher than ever before, they are still insufficient. Declarations of Chancellor Angela Merkel may promise a new approach in international relations, but in practice, the Government’s crisis management policies have been focused on the G20.
In France the world crisis has had a direct impact on the people, as it has in all the developed countries – which is where it began. The most obvious effects have been rising unemployment and increased social exclusion, and sectors that not long ago were in a comfortable situation are even suffering food shortages. In addition, because of the crisis and the country’s inability to create new resources for Official Development Assistance, this aid has been cut back sharply and France will not fulfil its commitments in this area.
With no working constitution, functioning parliament, independent judiciary, free press, bureaucratic accountability or officially published national budget, Eritrea, the most militarized country in the world, lacks the mechanisms required to tackle the current global crisis. The shrinking global economy has drained remittances to Eritrea, while prices of food and fuel have skyrocketed. The country needs an immediate transition to a democratic system of governance that has the support of the international community. Humanitarian aid monitored by independent international NGOs appears to be the most effective emergency plan to save the lives of helpless Eritreans.
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