the CEU Weekly An independent publication by CEU students and alumni
February 1, 2012, Year 2, Issue 12
Orban’s endgame sial policy and legislative reforms remain effective. It all began with letters of concern sent from Brussels, which later evolved into a disappointment from the United States. Very soon Hungary will feel the real pain coming from the IMF and the World Bank. Eventually, even the “eastern bloc” countries, as well as Russia, will start to turn their faces away from this alienVictor Orbán has spent half of his political life try- ating nation and in favor of ing to climb up the Hungarian ruling ladder. It seems the domineering West. Pothat he will spend the other half fighting to defend it litically, this is not a game that Orbán can win. against all the opposition he now faces. And I am not talking just about the political antagonism that is surrounding Mr. Orbán as we speak. He is com- Dome stic Opposition : While it’s true that Fidesz pletely locked up from all sides in a labyrinth of his was able to dominate on own creation, and there is no easy way out. the latest national parliaExternal Politics: Mr. Orbán can be certain about mentary elections, this result one thing: he should prepare to confront non-ending can be attributed to the.. pressures from the West, for as long his controver-
Pro-government peace march Page 6
Where will the homeless go? Page 5
WANTED: The Sustainable Campus Initiative
YOU CAN‟T Legislate my taste
STUDENT UNION Not enough quorum
Where should I get my Hungarian news and information? Page 6 Legendary langos Page 5
Hospital in the Rock Page 5
THE WEEKLY SPAM REVIEW
LIBRARY Thoughts Pages 3 and 4
Polemic Professor Steven Plaut shares his Economics 101 for the Occupiers Professor Steven Plaut came into fame after sending a public reply to CEU student Rozina Gilaz that many deemed utterly inappropriate. Everything began after The CEU Weekly published a piece of news of 180 words regarding the prisoners swap between Hamas and the Israeli government. That little piece of news tried to reflect the debates within the Israeli society regarding the exchange of prisoners with Hamas. Student Rozina Gilaz considered that our coverage simply echoed the right wing and Zionist press, and she sent a long letter to us and the whole CEU community..
Join the CEU Weekly! Student Tip # 7 7. Do not leave your thesis research for the last 6 weeks of the program; begin early and use those unbearable Sunday evenings to begin tracking who and what has been written about your topic. Continue until your actual writing begins! Hungarian Expression of the week Phrase: Mi a neved csini? Pronunciation: mia nevet chini? Translation: What is your name cutie?
the CEU Weekly
February 1, 2012, Year 2, Issue 12
Orban’s endgame political opposition. What I see on the horizon is a more determined, unified opposition party alignment under strong leadership, and even foreign induced (or funded) political gatherings. All of which will more than certainly take Mr. Orbán off his throne after the next elections.
Economics: There are so many things that are fundamentally wrong withthe state of Hungary’s economic development. For starters, it doesn’t have the right leadership in place to guide the country through these hard times. But more importantly, Hungary is struggling to get rid of the massive household debt cloud as well as the government’s fiscal imbalance. Moreover, Hungarians are looking ahead at years of low growth, poor industrial competitiveness, and yes – higher -than-optimal unemployment. Add to this the Fidescz’s central bank laws (which can potentially limit the national bank’s independence) and you are looking at stagflation: slow growth andhigh inflation, the latter being caused by the politically dependent central bank which is forced to finance government debt by printing money.
Finance: It’s no secret that Hungary should waive a goodbye at any future support loans from the IMF, and the EU’s cohesion funds too for that matter. When Hungary will need a rescue package, very few (if any at all) European nations will agree to recapitalize the Hungarian financial system. Public borrowing will be happening at record-high, unsustainable interest rates, partially because Moody's has recentlydowngraded Hungary's debt rating to "junk" status. Foreign banks will disinvest from this market, leaving the country in a massive capital withdrawal shock. Thiscapital withdrawal will further weaken the already struggling Forint. It's known that Hungarians have been financing their asset purchases in the past 3-5 years with foreign currencies, predominantly with Swiss Francs. It’s all too easy to predict that financial conditions of domestic borrowers will deteriorate even more, if Forint continues to depreciate. And all the programs that Mr. Orbán installed in order to assist domestic borrowers with escalating debt obligations will practically evaporate in value. It’s really so unfortunate that a country, located in the heart of the world’s
The contents in CEU Weekly, an independent publication by CEU student and alumni, are the sole responsibility of: Editors: Rodrigo Avila B. (Editor in Chief ) Jonathan Day (Managing Editor) Editorial Council: Natalia Peral, Yusuf Yüksekdağ, Lucas Gilardone, Donald Mogeni, Moritz Poesch, Tamas Gyorgy and Erik Kotlarik Page 2
largest trading bloc, is secluding itself from all the trade and financial benefits, in a financial suicide that only Hungarians could commit (Hungary's suicide rates are arguably the highest in the world).
Demographics: Even if Mr. Orbán manages to keep all the quasi-authoritarian strings in his hands, it won’t be long before the people of Hungary will simply immigrate away from the country; with an already aging population, the young and dynamic will want to live in a free society where their votes actually matter, where freedom of speech and the media don’t suffer hits and attacks from the State, where central banks conduct monetary policy independently from the central government, and where is some logical, economics- and not ideologybased long-run planning. Hungary's 10 million populationwill reduce to around5 mlnby 2035. Since Mr. Orbán pledges to remain in power for at least 25 years, this estimate is (unfortunately) more than realistic.
Whether we like it or not, Hungary is on a nonpreventable path towards a political, economic, financial, and demographical fiasco. Orbán’s endgame is approaching, and it seems that he can’t get away with this one.
Rustam Jamilov From Baku, Azerbaijan Junior Economist at the Central Bank of the Republic of Azerbaijan Lecturer at Azerbaijan State Economic University Alumnus of CEU Business School
the CEU Weekly
February 1, 2012, Year 2, Issue 12
The Weekly Spam Review Our dearest Prof. Steven Plaut sent a document to the CEU Weekly, which is a response to Occupy Wall Street movement; as he calls “An Economic Primer for the Occupiers.” I could not find a way to summarize Professor’s invaluable right-wing and free market fetishist arguments. Yet, I’d like to congratulate him on this one. According to Plaut: “Americans who live below the poverty line live in larger homes, are more likely to own their home, are more likely to own cars and durable goods, and eat more protein than do Europeans and Japanese who are NOT below their own poverty lines. Many low-income Americans have Big Screen TV‟s, DVD‟s and even Jacuzzis.” What a fascinating and humanistic argument! Homeless people, who are clearly below the poverty line, have the whole damn world as their home! Nothing is larger than the parks or yards. Also, homeless people have the greatest shopping cards with so many durable goods. Isn’t it cool, huh? Lastly, streets are full of insects containing the precious protein we need. Considering the diets of Europeans, by eating insects one would definitely get more protein than Europeans. However, homeless people do not have Big Screen TV’s! Yet they do not live the poverty line because of the capitalism for Plaut. For him: “The „homeless‟ are by and large people with psychiatric problems and/or substance abuse problems and/or teenage runaways, and so American „homelessness‟ has little to do with income distribution. Even if income distribution were perfectly equitable, the homelessness rate would not change much, unless laws were changed making their institutionalization easier.” So my exemplification of homeless people is not a good way to defend his argumentation after all, yet this even shows how his arguments are really strong, sound and compelling! The CEU Weekly published his arguments in this issue; so please see how great they are. Lastly, I’d like to warn you about homeless people in Budapest. Do not go near to them! They are people with psychiatric problems or substance abuse problems!
Lack of quorum in the Student Union assembly Last week, the Student Union was not able to have its Assembly meeting because there was not enough quorum. Being part of the Student Union in CEU is challenging for several reasons: first and obvious, the academic workload is enough as to keep you completely busy throughout your time here. Second, the fact that many MA students (that are also part of the SU) are here only for one year, makes continuity a difficult task. In any case, it is good that students keep seeing the SU as an organization where they can practice and enhance their different skills. After all, the student body is by law part of the governance structure of the university, and as such, it can provide rewarding experiences to its members and, why not, to its constituencies too. Finally, we should not forget that, although undesirable, lack of quorum happens also in national congresses, so it should not be that surprising that it may happen with CEU’S SU too.
N A W $
??? Last academic year, a group of proactive students got organized and founded the Sustainlabe Campus Initiative (SCI), thanks to which we now have recycling trash bins in Campus. They also organized different awareness campaigns, ranging from the Earth Day at CEU to a series of ads promoting environmntally-friendly practices within our University. Furthermore, some old SCI members were at CEU last September in order to welcome new comers and strike back” (true, the “Anti Almost Everything Collective”, also known as the “Radical Queer Affinity Collective“, accused them of being sexists given the content of some of their ads, but that is a different story). In any case, we believe that the SCI resembled the best of CEU: proactive students, a responsive and risk taking administration, and the proof that micro changes (as having recycling bins) can generate macro processes that benefit all the community. Given the aforesaid, it is a shame that the SCI seems to be missing from CEU’s landscape and that nothing has been heard from them in this academic year. Considering that many environment-related challenges surely remain and that awareness campaigns can always be usefull, it would be very sad if the Sustainable Campus Initiative turns out to be not very sustainable.
Your “corner” Have any comments, ideas, corrections? Would you like to advertise a project? Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org and get yourself published!
The CEU Weekly is looking for -Social Media Manager
the the CEU Weekly February 1, 2012, Year 2, Issue 12
You can’t legislate my taste! It has become fashionable in the world to confine smoking to the designated areas only. However this trend has become more and more an impediment to individual preferences. I am not against the very notion of confinement regarding smoking. However, the ways smoke-free laws are getting implemented sometimes present themselves as an attempt to legislate people’s taste. This is my complaint against recent smoke-free laws; it is against some of the ways it’s implemented, not the law itself. I don’t overlook the demands of non-smokers. For example, smoking right in front of the CEU entrance should have not been allowed, and I’m glad it’s not allowed right now. People were being exposed to big clouds of cigarette smoke, right after they get out. This was clearly annoying and sometimes detrimental to some people with respiratory problems. As a smoker, it’s not really hard for me to just walk away from the door a little bit. However, I’m very much concerned with the future of the smoking lounges in the dormitory. Dormitory staff has announced that “smoking in the whole area of the Bambus Bar will be prohibited starting from 1 February. Also, the new law prohibits smoking within 5 meters of the building.” They also stated that “smoking in the floor's smoking lounges hasn't been affected from 1 February, but there may be changes later which we will communicate accordingly.”
If smoking inside the building will be prohibited completely, then a smoker, who is living in the 9th floor, should go outside and move away five meters from the entrance in order to smoke a cigarette. Dormitory is a place where students live, and such an act is but an attempt to legislate people’s taste. Yusuf Yuksekdag TURKEY Political Science, MA
LIBRARY THOUGHTS A library ought to be more, than a room where the heck of books & magazines are stored. It should be a unique space where your spirit can freely roam and contemplate, accompanied by ancient lore. I can proudly say that our library is such a place, indeed. When I want to print out my papers, but I cannot, because all three workable printers are occupied by other fellow students, my mind starts to wonder. There are 5 printers. Out of 5 only 3 are functional. What is the very reason to situate out -of -order printers among those which are working? Striving to find plausible answer, usually the myth of Sisyphus comes to my mind. Or the myth of the man, who is for his sins tied in his afterlife to the tree. This man is starving, though the twig with juicy apples is just leaning in front of his face. Yet he cannot reach out for a bite to satiate himself. Is that the reason, why two broken down printers are ostensi- frankly, I would rather swap those ideas for a chance to bly placed? To remind us the legacy of existentialism? Or print out my stuff without standing in line. are they located there in compliance with intricate Feng-Shui Erik Kotlarik principles to obviate malicious forces? SLOVAKIA LLM in Comparative Constitutional Law No matter what the answer is, when I wait in the queue, my brain is always being stimulated by strong incentives. But
the the CEU Weekly
February 1, 2012, Year 2, Issue 12
Where will the homeless go? The CEU Weekly has been reporting on the attempts by local authorities in Budapest districts directed to “ban” the homeless. In recent months, new regulations that criminalize activities typically performed by the homeless have emerged. We of course find this a non sense policy, like if being a homeless were always a life choice. Instead of banning the search into trash bins or the sleeping in public spaces, policies should address the question of why there are homeless in the first place. In order to give a first hand reporting, in recent days The CEU Weekly has been visiting places traditionally used by homeless people. On this regard, we have to inform that the aforesaid policies are been enforced by the police already. For example, until last Friday, it was still possible to see a small community of homeless having refuge from the cold in the underground passageway of Ferenciek Tere. Nonetheless, on Monday morning it was possible to observe a group of police officers asking for documents and giving instructions to the urban inhabitants of this public space. Similar activities were seen in Blaja Luza Ter. Since then, homeless are hard to see in this places. In this context, advocacy groups should be asking to local authori-
Hospital in the rock! If you are up for some excitement and a slice of Hungarian history, here is a museum that you should definitely not miss. The Hospital is located under the Buda Castle, which makes it easy to access in theory, but it might be tricky to find it once you get there. Apart from being a hospital, it served as a nuclear bunker and a civil defence depot, and remained a secret establishment untill as recently as 2004. It has been serving as a museum since 200 8, of ferin g guided tours in English from Tuesday to Sunday, every hour
from 11:00 to 19:00. The exhibition follows the history of the hospital, starting from the Second World War, showing rooms which are filled with equipment and confusingly realistic wax figures which guarantee a regular dose of goosebumps. The very last tour every day is a special one: the visitors are given flashlights, while every other light source in the underground hospital is turned off. The exhibition is rather creepy even with the lights on, so I would not recommend this option for the faint of heart…
ties which are the alternatives they are planning to offer to this vulnerable populations. The picture below is of course a sarcastic approach to this social problematique, and we truly expect that local authorities will find a more lasting solution.
Legendary Langos! Got tired of Chinese restaurants? Are you fed up with the million Gyros spots? Want to eat some Hungarian, but you just can’t convince your Hungarian friend to make you a nice gulyás? You have a craving for local cuisine like, but you don’t feel like spending gazillions of your precious Forints in a fancy restaurant? Here is something you must do before leaving Budapest: visit the Great Market Hall (Vásárcsarnok or Nagycsarnok)! All you have to do is get on the 47/49 tram on Deák tér and get off at the third stop, Fővám tér. If you face the bridge (you should – it looks amazing), there will be a Burger King to be ignored on your right, and two magnificent buildings
on your left. One is Vásárcsarnok, and the other one is Corvinus University. You will have to figure out which one is which by yourself. Enter, and let yourself be intoxicated with the atmosphere, explore, have some hurka, kolbász or lángos on the spot and make sure you take something home with you as well! If you find yourself in need of a good lángos at night when the Vásárcsarnok is fast asleep, dont worry: the CEU weekly has a solution for everything. Visit the lángos place near the entrance of Corvintető at Blaha Lujza tér. It might not be as good as the one at Vásárcsarnok, but if you want to charm someone, you can ask for a heart shaped lángos there! Page 5
he Weethe CEU Weekly February 1, 2012, Year 2, Issue 12
Pro-government Peace March The government had chosen a peculiar way of proving that vote for Fidesz, which is still way more than the supporters of they still have the support of the people in Hungary, in spite the two biggest opposition parties: the socialist MSZP (14%) of the anti-government protests, the heavy criticism from and the far-right Jobbik party (10%). abroad and the shrinking popularity of Fidesz since the last elections. The pro-government rally under the name ’March of Peace for Hungary’ took place on Jan. 21, and it attracted a crowd that beats any recent opposition protest in terms of the number of attendants: although different sources speak about very different numbers (the press release from the Ministry of Interior mentions 400 000 people, but even the most humble estimates do not go under 100 000), the streets were definitely crowded with people. There were no substantial speeches, and the exact motives of people taking the streets were rather diverse, according to the messages on the signs and banners that the protesters carried. There is a great collection of pictures with explanations on the Contrarian Hungarian that is worth looking at. According to Századvég on Jan. 27, 26% of the voting population would
Where should I get my Hungarian news and information anyways? We understand that a page or two every two weeks in our newspaper is not enough to inform you about what is going on in Hungary. Do not worry, we are not offended. On the contrary, we not only understand, but here to help. As all of us use the Internet, let us recommend a few of our favorite websites that might come in handy if you have a craving for Hungarian news, want to get details about local issues, or simply looking for fun activities to do in Budapest. We know that you can use Google and it is very hard to click on printed links, so I will spare you from the www.‟s J The Budapest Times: While they humbly call themselves Hungary’s leading English language source, the webpage of the Budapest Time is indeed a good place to start from. It is more or less up-to-date, although in the culture section at first you will be likely to think that you are reading about concerts and performances that you have already missed. Don’t worry! It is only because they show the date of publication in an accentuated place. Parts of the page seem to be long forgotten and the navigation on the page is a little dodgy, but don’t give up on it too early: for news and recommendations for leisure activities, it is a nice page. The Contrarian Hungarian: This is a politics blog, with in-depth insights about current events in Hungary, often in the form of very long and exhausting posts. The author describes basic details as well, so don’t worry: you will understand the articles even if you don’t know which the main political parties are, or how to spell the last name of the Hungarian President. Hungary is having a very busy, interesting and important time politically, and reading this blog is great to keep you updated. At the same time it has to be noted that the blog contains the author’s personal opinion, so to some degree it is subjective. Still, I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about the reasons why a lot of people in Hungary are worried. The Contrarian Hungarian has a regularly posting Facebook page, through which selected articles about Hungary from other sources are also being shared. Xpatloop.com: This site looks ugly, old and chaotic. Also, there is a creepy plug-in on the front page for finding a date between 1899 years of age. The whole thing screams for Alt+F4, but if you give it a second chance, Xpatloop.com can offer you some nice suggestions about Budapest and articles about Hungary in general. There is a quite practical list of Hungarian museums under ’Arts & Culture’ with very brief descriptions, links and addresses: you can skim through the list quickly to find something that interests you. Pay attention to the location though, as not only museums in Budapest are listed. Funzine: Funzine is a printed magazine that has new issues every two weeks, and can be found in a lot of frequented places in the city. Most likely you can pick one up at CEU as well, for example at the Nádor 11 entrance. There is a Hungary Funzine and a separate Budapest Funzine issue, you are probably better off with the latter, so pay attention on which one you pick up! The online version of Funzine looks and works great as well, it is regularly updated and pleasantly Budapest-centered. If you are looking for sights to be seen, places to eat, performances to see or phrases to learn, Funzine is a safe place to look. If you just want to kill some time in front of your computer, visit the ’Urban Legends of Hungary’ section or the ’Death Star Canteen’ – I am not going to tell you what you can find there, see it for yourself! Page 6
the CEU Weekly
February 1, 2012, Year 2, Issue 12
Polemic Professor Steven Plaut shares his Economics 101 for the Occupiers Cont. from page 1..where she expressed her point of view. After that email was made public, the CEU Weekly editors received several more emails siding or against her recommendations. One of those emails was precisely the one sent by Professor Plaut; the response which has already been condemned by many CEU members via Group Wise. This time professor Plaut has asked The CEU Weekly to consider publishing this response against the Occupy Wall Street movement. This time, although we do not agree with his viewpoint, we have decided to publish it for two main reasons: first, we are committed to voice all different perspectives, as long as they are expressed in accordance with CEU non discrimination policy and second, we believe in the legitimacy of debates that respect individuals while fighting the ideas. So, believe it or not, here it is!
An Economic Primer for the “Occupiers”
By Prof. Steven Plaut (economics)
What with the “Occupy Wall Street” crowd besieging the United States, while their kith and kin all around the world are bellyaching against “capitalism” and against America, I thought I would provide a very brief refresher course for the “Occupiers” about the basic facts of life and the fundamentals of economic reality. Here it goes: - Nothing can be redistributed until it is produced. - People do not produce things without incentives and rewards. They do not work, except for a handful of workaholics, unless they get rewarded for doing so. - There is no evidence that redistribution of income to make it more "equitable" promotes economic growth and there is lots of empirical evidence that it deters growth. - Over time, the main factor that diminished the dimensions of poverty and its harshness in the West has been economic growth and not welfare programs. - The main factor that produced dramatically greater safety in the workplace and dramatically lower rates of work-related hazards was worker mobility and competition among employers to attract employees and not governmental regulation of safety and hazards. - Capitalist countries have the cleanest environments on the planet. Ex-Soviet countries have the most polluted and the most severely compromised environments. - No society has ever eliminated poverty. Lots of societies have increased its dimensions and severity. - There are serious doubts as to whether income equality is desirable. Full income equality also means everyone equally has a pathetically low standard of impoverished living. The cave men had income equality. - When income becomes too equitable, there are no incentives to work hard and take risks and innovate. - "Democratizing" the economy just means imposing political agendas on economic players, and it deters growth. It turns profit into a political reward rather than a reward for efficiency and innovation and hard work and productivity. "Democratization" of the economy is anti-democratic. - Keynes did not talk about "equality" at all except in passing. Google of his name with “income inequality” if you don’t believe me. - Scandinavian “socialism” is really just capitalism with high taxes used to finance a high level of welfare state services. Scandinavian countries have low levels of nationalization of capital and also of regulation of business. - "Soak the rich" policies generate far, far less tax revenue than the “Occupiers” and their kin think. That is partly because there are far fewer “soakable” rich people than the Occupiers think, and they are already taxed so highly that raising their taxes further could actually produce LESS tax revenue, because of “Laffer Curve” style incentive effects. - Those who whine that it is impossible to find a job in America will have to explain how it is that every single illegal immigrant in the US who does not even speak English manages to find a job. - Americans who live below the poverty line live in larger homes, are more likely to own their home, are more likely to own cars and durable goods, and eat more protein than do Europeans and Japanese who are NOT below their own poverty lines. Many low-income Americans have Big Screen TV’s, DVD’s and even Jacuzzis. - Low-income Americans weigh more than other Americans, have much higher obesity rates, and are hardly “hungry.” Over-eating is one of the most severe health problems in the United States. - A large portion of “capital” in capitalist countries is owned by workers through pension programs and similar financial institutions. - The “homeless” are by and large people with psychiatric problems and/or substance abuse problems and/or teenage runaways, and so American “homelessness” has little to do with income distribution. Even if income distribution were perfectly equitable, the homelessness rate would not change much, unless laws were changed making their institutionalization easier. - The minimum wage creates unemployment and destroys jobs. - Someone incapable of providing a labor service worth more than $5 an hour to employers will be out of a job if the law requires that he or she be paid $9 an hour. - Low income people are better off when they are employed at $5 an hour than when they are unemployed while wages for the employed are $9 an hour. - Unions create unemployment and reduce the number of people in unionized professions who are employed. - Rent controls create housing shortages, raise the effective cost of housing for low-income people, produce massive quality deterioration in the housing stock, and may even contribute at the margin to homelessness because of the shortage in housing they create. - Wealthy people overseas with health problems come to the United States to get care. They do not go to Cuba. - People all over the globe seeking high-quality university education come to the United States to get it. They do not go to North Korea or Cuba. YOU CAN FIND PROFFESORS PLAUT ARTICLE AND GIVE HIM YOUR COMMENTS/THOUGHTS/CRITICISMS AT
he Weethe CEU Weekly
February 1, 2012, Year 2, Issue 12
Rio+20: The NEXT World Summit The United Nations Conference on S u st a i na b l e D e ve l o p me n t (UNCSD) or Rio+20 http:// www. uncsd 2 0 1 2. o rg / rio 2 0/ index.html will take place this June 20-22. The name Rio+20 was derived from the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) or Earth Summit, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 20 years ago in 1992. It is also anniversary of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg, South Africa. It is envisaged as a Conference at the highest possible level, including National and Supra-national leadership from around the world. The outcome of Rio+20 will include renewed political commitments, address current policy implementation gaps from prior commitments and tackle new and emerging implementation gaps. The themes of Rio+20 are “green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication” and Institutional frameworks for sustainable development. Though the United Nations has not deemed to officially define sustainable development or green economy for that matter, sustainable development works with three pillars of humanity: economy, society and environment. Sustainable development is key to ensuring future generations have a planet, economy, and society to support their lives. Basically, sustainable development is working to improve live for the current generation without compromising the livelihoods of future ones. Students and under 30’s have the largest stake in the outcome of
this process. We are the tomorrow’s leaders and it is our responsibility to participate in major global commitments that will affect our future. I think most will agree that responsibilities that will affect our and future generations, should not be solely left up to today’s world powers, whether they are multinational corporations or heads of state. As inhabitants of planet earth and civil society within our constituencies, we have the ability to contribute as informed citizens to the Rio+20 political process by means of the structure the United Nations has built for participation. Besides Member States’ Delegations, there are nine Major Groups of stakeholders: Business and Industry; Science and Technolo gy Com m u nit y; No n governmental Organi zations (NGOs); Farmers and Agriculture; Local Authorities; Indigenous Peoples; Women; Workers and Trade Union; and Children and Youth. The Major Group for Children and Youth or MGCY, http:// uncsdchildrenyouth.org/ is thus far one of the most influential in the Rio+20 processes. Our initiatives, informed perspectives, educations, use of innovation and most of all, our important stakes in the outcome of Rio+20 has been noted by the United Nations secretariat and Member States. Through the past year young people have been preparing for Rio +20. The first benchmark was in November, when the MGCY collectively submitted policy papers contributions to the Draft Zero, guided by the themes, “a green economy in the context of sustainable development and
poverty eradication,” and Institutional frameworks for sustainable development.” Also, submissions addressed the main objectives of Rio +20, “ensuring renewed political commitment, addressing imp l e me nt a t i o n g a p s” a n d “addressing new and emerging challenges.” MGCY has made every possible effort to be allinclusive of children and youth worldwide. They have a listserv called “Youth Space” http:// g ro up s. g o o g l e . co m/ g ro u p / Rioplus20YouthSpace?hl=en where policy questions and positions were reviewed multiple times during the drafting process. The next benchmark was the first Rio +20 Inte rses sional (preparatory meeting), where young people showed up representing the Major Group for Children and Youth. MGCY delivered a three-minute statement addressed to the Member States to prioritize young peoples’ policy deliverables in the Rio+20. Again, MGCY opened up the statement, which at that time was a brief summary of our policy stands, for comment and editing to the entire Youth Space. The response to our statement was a great inflow of questions and comments from other Major Groups and stakeholders. Inquiries included how MGCY is organized, communication methods and resource usage. The reason behind our success as a Major Group is due to our innovative ideas, and dedication to our futures. We have organized without having any physical meeting place or office, little to no funding, and using the latest and greatest of virtual participation technology and methods. . Children and
youth (those under 30) make up 45% of the worlds population. If we unify in this process, we can help dictate the political moves of governments and business globally, to instill a world mindful of future generations when making heavily weighted decisions and actions Submissions to the Zero Draft were compiled from all Member States, Major Groups and stakeholders in November. After the December Intersessional, the “Compilation Document” (or a first -draft form of Zero-Draft) was created. This past week MGCY addressed the present state of the draft in another three-minute statement at the Informal Consultation at the United Nations headquarters in New York City. Overall, MGCY stated that we are concerned that the Zero Draft for Rio+20 is insufficiently ambitious and fails to provide solutions to urgent problems or a concrete action plan for the sustainability challenges that we will continue to face. The shortcomings in the Zero Draft need to be tackled now if Rio+20 is to deliver significant results for chi l d re n a nd youth. Currently, it does not lead to the future we want or rather, the future we need. If anyone would like to learn more or see how to get involved, check out the two web pages mentioned above. Sarah Dayringer USA Public Policy Alumna (2011) SustainUS-Agents of Change UNCSD- Major Group of Children and Youth United Nations Environmental Program-TUNZA
About the CEU Weekly This is a student-alumni initiative that seeks to provide CEU with a regularly issued newspaper. The CEU Weekly is a vehicle of expression for the diversity of perspectives and viewpoints that integrate CEU’s open society: free and respectful public debate is our aim. We offer a place in which current events and student reflections can be voiced. Plurality, respect and freedom of speech are our guiding principles. This is a paper for the CEU community, by the CEU community; submissions for publication are not only welcomed, but encouraged. If you have something you would like published in the CEU Weekly, please visit our website for submission details. Write us at email@example.com
Follow us in Twitter and Facebook @TheCEUWeekly