Rekyleffekter motverkar minskade klimatutsläpp – men de kan undvikas

Rekyleffekter motverkar minskade klimatutsläpp – men de kan undvikas

Minskade utsläpp och effektivare resursanvändning inom en sektor leder inte alltid till samma positiva resultat på totalen. Till exempel visar en nyligen publicerad översiktsstudie att åtgärder för ökad energieffektivitet är påfallande ”ineffektiva” när det kommer till att minska energiförbrukningen på samhällsnivå. Det beror på att effektivare energianvändning också ger lägre energikostnader och därmed ökar efterfrågan på energi – så kallade rekyleffekter. I genomsnitt äts mer än hälften av energieffektiviseringarna upp av rekyleffekter, ibland ännu mer. Rekyleffekter är också vanliga på transportområdet. Ökad bränsleeffektivitet i fordon, förbättrad trafikplanering och bildelning har i vissa fall visat sig öka klimatpåverkan från transporter, vilket knappast är syftet med åtgärderna.

Trots att rekyleffekter varit kända länge och forskningslitteraturen har konstaterat att de är betydande så har de i hög grad ignorerats i praktiskt styrmedels- och lagstiftningsarbete. Detta kan bland annat bero på att rekyleffekter sker sektorsövergripande och att de är relativt svåra att beräkna med precision. I en ny studie har IVL Svenska Miljöinstitutet och KTH undersökt en rad transportrelaterade styrmedel och hur rekyleffekter från dessa kan minimeras eller undvikas.

Studien bedömer att två av de styrmedel för minskade växthusgasutsläpp som har införts i Sverige på senare år har god möjlighet att ge en positiv klimateffekt. Det gäller dels den flygskatt som infördes 2018 och dels systemet med bonus-malus där bonusen för elbilar nu höjs från och med den 1 april. Minskat flygresande till följd av flygskatten kan visserligen leda till att människor i stället lägger pengar på annan konsumtion, men rekyleffekten av detta bedöms vara liten med tanke på att nästan all övrig konsumtion är mindre klimatbelastande per krona jämfört med flygresor. Elbilar har lägre driftkostnader än bilar med förbränningsmotor, och stimulans av elbilar kan därför leda till längre körsträckor, men även detta är av mindre betydelse ur klimatsynpunkt då eldriften i Sverige har låg klimatpåverkan. Hänsyn behöver dock tas till att elbilar genererar högre utsläpp av växthusgaser vid tillverkningen än bilar med förbränningsmotorer.

Ett exempel på en policy som däremot riskerar att leda till betydande rekyleffekter är främjande av ökat hemarbete och resfria möten. Många människor har under pandemin haft möjlighet att arbeta hemifrån för att begränsa smittspridningen, och många företag och arbetsplatser ser nu över möjligheterna att underlätta detta även efter pandemin. Primärt kan hemarbete och digitala möten leda till minskade arbetsresor och därmed till minskade utsläpp från transporter och betydande klimatvinster. På sikt är dock risken stor att människor väljer att bosätta sig längre bort från arbetsplatsen, vilket ger längre resor när de väl sker, och kanske dessutom bo större och med sämre tillgång till kollektivtrafik – alltså typiska rekyleffekter. 

Förändringar i boendemönster riskerar också att skapa inlåsningseffekter som på lång sikt gör det svårare att minska utsläppen från transporter och boende. Samma problem kan uppstå om miljövänligare bilar (inklusive elbilar) gynnas på kort sikt om det samtidigt på längre sikt låser in oss i ett bilberoende samhälle. Utifrån Trafikverkets scenarier uppskattar vi att bilresandet per capita behöver minska med 15–35 procent mellan 2017 och 2030 för att nå målet om 70 procent minskning av vägtrafikens växthusgasutsläpp.

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Fler chefer ska utbildas i hållbarhet

Fler chefer ska utbildas i hållbarhet

De chefer som är medlemmar i Ledarna ska nu erbjudas samma mentorskapsprogram inom hållbarhet som NMC Nätverket för hållbart näringsliv tidigare erbjudit sina medlemmar.

Enligt de bägge intresseorganisationerna tappar cheferna fart i hållbarhetsarbetet. På senare år är det allt färre chefer som beskriver sitt hållbarhetsansvar som tydligt. Genom samarbetet mellan de två organisationerna ska cheferna få rätt förutsättningar att leda omställningen.

”Chefens roll i den gröna omställningen är helt central. Chefer gör skillnad och vi vet att de vill vara med och ställa om. Men om hållbarhetsuppdraget är otydligt riskerar omställningen att bromsa in”, säger Andreas Miller förbundsordförande Ledarna, i en kommentar.

Förutom samarbete kring utbildning, där även medlemmar i NMC erbjuds utbildning i ledarskap, så tar nu Ledarna även plats i juryn som utser vinnaren av priset Hållbart ledarskap 2021.

”Vi ser många möjligheter med vårt nya samarbete eftersom det väver samman två av de kanske viktigaste frågorna på näringslivets agenda – nämligen hållbarhet och ledarskap. Tillsammans skapar vi en möjlighet att lyfta frågor som tydliggör ledarskapets roll i den hållbara omställningen samtidigt som vi når en större målgrupp för mentorskapsprogrammet och priset Hållbart Ledarskap”, säger Zara Berglund, tf. Generalsekreterare för NMC, i en kommentar.

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BCG: Så blir företaget ”ekosystempositivt”

BCG: Så blir företaget ”ekosystempositivt”

Första 30 dagarna utan kostnad

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Stort utbud av artiklar med stöd för strategiskt och praktiskt hållbarhetsarbete

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För 4 495 kr/år (ex. moms) får du tillgång till alla våra digitala artiklar samt vår dagliga omvärldsbevakning som håller dig uppdaterad för bättre beslutsfattande. Prenumerationen är löpande på årsbasis. Första månaden är utan kostnad och du har då möjlighet att säga upp din nystartade prenumeration.

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Amnesty: Pandemin ökar förtrycket

Amnesty: Pandemin ökar förtrycket

Rika länder som köper allt vaccin, den pandemiansträngda kvinnodominerade vården, migrantarbetare och flyktingar som inte får samma tillgång till vård. De redan utsatta får det värre. Det är de stora penseldragen som Amnesty målar upp i sin årliga rapport över tillståndet för mänskliga rättigheter i världen.

Dessutom använder flera ledare pandemin som ett argument för att fortsätta nedmontera mänskliga rättigheter i sina länder.

– Vi rekommenderar företag att använda vår årsrapport som en del av omvärldsbevakningen, en snabb översiktlig bild av människorättssituationen i olika länder. Gå sen vidare till lokala organisationer för att hitta mer information och utred om det finns kopplingar till er verksamhet eller era leverantörer i landet och utkräv ansvar, säger Ulrika Sandberg, sakkunnig inom ämnet företag och mänskliga rättigheter, till Aktuell hållbarhet.

Ungefär tre fjärdedelar av världens länder nämns i rapporten, men det är ingen garanti för guld och gröna skogar i resten av länderna. Ulrika Sandberg menar att oanmälda besök måste göras med jämna mellanrum för att kontrollera förhållandena i exempelvis leverantörers fabriker.

– Sen är det ett dilemma för företag att resa till områden med restriktioner eller exempelvis Xinjiang där det pågår systematiska kränkningar av de mänskliga rättigheterna. Det är inget företag som får obehindrad tillgång dit och då är det svårt att kontrollera, säger Ulrika Sandberg.

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Experter protesterar mot EU:s taxonomiändringar

Experter protesterar mot EU:s taxonomiändringar

Första 30 dagarna utan kostnad

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Stort utbud av artiklar med stöd för strategiskt och praktiskt hållbarhetsarbete

Möjlighet att säga upp under första 30 dagarna

För 4 495 kr/år (ex. moms) får du tillgång till alla våra digitala artiklar samt vår dagliga omvärldsbevakning som håller dig uppdaterad för bättre beslutsfattande. Prenumerationen är löpande på årsbasis. Första månaden är utan kostnad och du har då möjlighet att säga upp din nystartade prenumeration.

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Forskare välkomnar minskat krav på parkering

Forskare välkomnar minskat krav på parkering

Den statliga utredningen ”Stärkt planering för en hållbar utveckling” föreslog nyligen att dra ned kravet på parkeringsutrymme vid nybyggande. Ett förslag som välkomnas av forskare på IVL Svenska Miljöinstitutet.

”Det är ett välkommet förslag som utredningen lägger fram. En progressiv parkeringspolitik är ett av kommunernas viktigaste verktyg för att minska trafikens miljöstörningar”, säger IVL:s mobilitetsexpert Anders Roth i en kommentar.

Bland annat ser han positivt på resonemang som att istället för att en tomt ska ha tillgång till ett visst antal parkeringsplatser ska bil- och cykelpooler, infrastruktur för hemleveranser och andra mobilitetslösningar finnas inom räckhåll.

”Vi har sett att dagens lagstiftning för byggande gör det svårt för kommuner att använda parkeringsytor i tätorterna mer effektivt, det är därför glädjande att utredningen tagit ett helhetsgrepp och föreslår att lagstiftningen uppdateras”, kommenterar IVL:s miljöjurist Åsa Romson.

Läs utredningen här

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”GDPR försvårar uppföljning av social hållbarhet i upphandling”

”GDPR försvårar uppföljning av social hållbarhet i upphandling”
Inköp och upphandling

Publicerad: 7 April 2021, 09:06

Uppgifter som rör anställda hos leverantörer kan vara svåra att behandla till följd av GDPR.

Foto: Getty Images

Dataskyddsförordningen gör det svårt att behandla personuppgifter och därmed följa upp krav på social hållbarhet i upphandling, menar Upphandlingsmyndigheten.

De krav på sociala skyldigheter gentemot anställda som ställs på leverantörer inom offentlig upphandling kan vara svåra att följa upp till följd av dataskyddsförordningen, GDPR. Det menar Upphandlingsmyndigheten som i

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Moscow to put screws on President Sandu, plunging her into a political game with Russian vaccine

Fears are confirmed that the lack of support for Moldova’s President Maia Sandu by the parliament will stir her to cozy up to Russia, despite her Western-leaning campaign promises.

Half a year after she won the presidential election, Sandu is trying to call parliamentary re-elections to win the support of the law-making body that is now blocking her attempts to reform the country.

We outlined in November 2020, that having gained the presidency, Sandu would not get parliamentary support, therefore. Her PAS, in a bloc with ACUM, has got just 15 seats of the 101-seat parliament. As a comparison, the Socialists have 37 votes, and the Democrats have 13 seats. Such support by the parliament will not allow for serious reforms. This means high risks of a large slippage in support for Sandu as early as in 1.5 years of presidency.

The Socialist Party of Russian-minded former president, socialist Igor Dodon, backed by advisers from among senior Russian intelligence officers (SVR) in the presidential campaign last year, has jumped with two feet into the election campaign amid an unfavorable epidemiological situation and drop in the polls, playing the vaccination card. The latest IMAS poll shows that Sandu’s PAS has 42.5% now, while the socialists have 32.7%.

Dodon’s party is trying to accuse Sandu of disrupting the vaccination campaign in Moldova. Dodon, together with the Russians, takes advantage of high-quality vaccine shortage in the global market for geopolitical purposes. Russia seeks to discredit the policymakers in other countries by criticizing their response to the pandemic and make the contracts to supply Russian vaccine that has not passed all required clinical trials, so that the political regimes would be dependent on the Kremlin, and Russia would win the support by the people in such countries.

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Så kan företagen förbereda sig inför lagstiftningen

Så kan företagen förbereda sig inför lagstiftningen

Emma Ihre, Théo Jaekel och Parul Sharma har tankar om hur bolag kan förbereda sig för den kommande lagstiftningen om hållbarhets-due diligence.

Många bolag säger sig inte vara så oroliga för den nya lagstiftningen om hållbarhets-due diligence. Men inget bolag är fritt från hållbarhetsrisker i leverantörsleden och nu är det dags för dem som inte gjort hemläxan att förbereda sig.

Publicerad: 6 April 2021, 12:45

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Lagkrav på riskbedömning av miljö och mänskliga rättigheter kryper närmare

Lagkrav på riskbedömning av miljö och mänskliga rättigheter kryper närmare

Flera rättsprocesser pågår mot oljebolaget Shell för oljeförorening i Nigerdeltat i Nigeria. På bilden Eric Dooh.

Foto: Marten van Dijl / Milieudefensie / Flickr

Den 8 februari avslutades EU-kommissionens öppna konsultation om den kommande lagstiftningen om så kallad hållbarhets-due diligence. Kraven kommer sannolikt gälla alla företag med säte i EU eller som verkar på EU:s marknad, med något slags anpassning och stöd för mindre bolag.

Publicerad: 6 April 2021, 12:31

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Globala bolag lanserar färdplan för minskad avskogning

Globala bolag lanserar färdplan för minskad avskogning
Biologisk mångfald

Publicerad: 6 April 2021, 10:31

Tesco, Danone och Mondelez international är tre av de tolv multinationella bolagen som vill att inga av deras produkter ska orsaka någon avskogning.

Foto: eppicphotography /iStock/ Getty Images


Tolv multinationella företag har lanserat sin färdplan för att minska avskogningen vid deras produktion eller användande av kartong- och pappersförpackningar. De har också börjat se över nötköttets del i avskogningen.

Flera stora multinationella företag, såsom Unilever, Walmart, Nestlé, Pepsico, Colgate & Palmolive och Essity, lanserade under förra året sin ambition att bli ”skogspositiva”. Samma år presenterades färdplaner bolagens soja- och

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Disclosed plot in Jordan likely to rock country’s image as an island of stability

Conspiracy against the government disclosed in Jordan rises uncertainty in this country, revealing a race for the throne inside the royal family. Foreign connection trace increases risks for the stability of one of the key players in fighting terrorism in the Middle East. 

Jordanian authorities on Saturday, April 3rd, arrested as many as 20 people and sought to restrain the movement of a former crown prince amid what officials called a threat to the “security and stability” of a country long regarded as a vital U.S. ally in the Middle East. In a statement published by the Jordanian state news agency, it was said the action was part of a broader security investigation in which a former minister, a member of the royal family and some other unidentified individuals were detained.

Prince Hamzeh bin Hussein, the eldest son of the late King Hussein and his American-born fourth wife, Queen Noor, was told to remain at his Amman palace amid an investigation into an alleged plot to unseat his older half brother, King Abdullah II, according to a senior Middle Eastern intelligence official briefed on the events. The official statement said that the former crown prince had not been arrested but that “comprehensive investigations” were underway.

The arrests of other officials were reported by Jordanian news outlets. Among them:

 Sharif Hasan, a member of the royal family. He is the son of Sharif Hasan Ibn Zayd Al Nasser, a Hashemite who lives in Saudi Arabia. 

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Al-Shabaab threats to American and French forces can benefit China and President Guelleh campaign

Al-Shabaab tries to expand its influence in East Africa and push out Western foreign military forces beyond the region. It uses upcoming presidential elections uncertainty in Djibouti to grow influence and capabilities near the important world trade-route. 

Ahmed Omar Abu Ubaidah (Abu Ubaydah Ahmad Umar), the leader of the Somalia-based al-Qaeda affiliate al-Shabaab called for attacks against American and French interests in Djibouti before key presidential elections on April 9, 2021. The Al-Shabaab leader accuses the Djibouti government of “turning the country into a military base from where every war against the Muslims in East Africa is planned”. In newly released audio, Ahmed Omar Abu Ubaidah accuses the leaders of Djibouti of turning the country into a military base “from where every war against the Muslims in East Africa is planned.” Abu Ubaidah specifically called on the youth in Djibouti to “carry out individual lone wolf martyrdom operations” to expel the French and Americans.”

Ahmad Umar.

“Make American and French interests in Djibouti the highest priority of your targets,” the audio posted by al-Shabaab media says. Djibouti has a military contingent serving as part of the African Union’s peacekeeping mission in Somalia.

Abu Ubaidah said his group was ready to offer “safe refuge” and “prepare and train” those willing to migrate from Djibouti if they cannot fulfill the “individual obligation of jihad.”

Al-Shabaab remains a persistent threat to U.S. interests in East Africa. This is why it remains important to apply continued pressure on the al-Shabaab network and isolate the threat it presents to the region and beyond.

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Bosnia-Herzegovina`s past and future challenges

The beginning of the 90s in the Balkans was marking an uncomfortable beginning for the then Yugoslavia. After Tito’s death in 1980, tensions within Yugoslavia were re-emerging, from nationalist groups calling for more autonomy, tensions calls to the declarations of independence of Croatia and later Slovenia.

Conflict and resentment would not stop there. In 1991 this discontent spread to Bosnia and Herzegovina. BiH, a country inhabited by Serbs, Bosnian Muslims and Croats, would soon face the war. BiH Serbs threatened bloody war if the majority Bosnian and Croat communities tried to break away. The war started and the Serbs were taking control of most of the country, of course with the support of Radovan Karadzic[1] and under the leadership of Ratko Mladic[2], genocide took place in Bosnia against the Bosnian population.

This would later be called the greatest failure of the United Nations in Balkans, as the genocide of civilians took place in the area controlled by UN troops UPROFOR, who were stationed in the area called as a “Safe Zone”.  UNPROFOR was deployed in BiH according to UN Security Council Resolution 819 with the aim of reaching an agreement between Serbs and Bosnians. The agreement was reached in 2003 which demilitarized Bosnians but not Serbs, and this turned out to be fatal for Bosnians. 

Two years later, in 1995, Serbs killed and massacred over 8,000 civilians of the Bosnian Muslim community in Srebrenica. What happened in Srebrenica, was the largest massacre in Europe since World War II. Hundreds of Russians and Greeks also took part in the massacre on the Serb side. This whole event took place in the eyes of the United Nations mission UNPROFOR. The United Nations had made Srebrenica a safe haven for civilians, but this did not prevent Serbian soldiers from attacking the “Safe Zone” controlled by UN troops.

Now more than 25 years after this genocide, more than 1,000 troops from the Srebrenica massacre are still missing, and among other things, BiH is still fighting on its way to meeting the priorities of joining the European Union. BiH, after a five-year political stalemate, only last year managed to approve in Parliament the Rules of Procedure for the Stabilization and Association for the Parliamentary Committee, this is just one of the 14 main priorities that must be met on the road to the EU.

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Russia to support Myanmar military junta and strengthen its military ties with Naypyidaw

The Myanmar military junta was supported by the Kremlin; Russian ammunition was used by Myanmar to commit genocide against the Rohingya.

Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister Colonel-General Alexander Fomin paid a visit to Myanmar where he met with the military junta leader and exchanged gifts.

General Min Aung Hlaing (right) and Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister Colonel-General Alexander Fomin (left)

In January 2021, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu also visited Myanmar. He negotiated with the Supreme Commander of the country’s armed forces, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing who had seized power in February,1 military coup. Min Aung Hlaing reportedly has visited Russia six times, including last June.

Min Aung Hlaing’s turn to Russia for assets followed the new direction he gave the Tatmadaw as the country began its tentative transition toward democracy in 2011 after 50 years of oppressive military rule. Therefore, the Kremlin took measures to block any kind of democratic development in Myanmar in the interests of the local military elites. Moscow understands that Russia cannot become a leader for countries developing and maintaining democratic values. That is why authoritarian leaders’ support creates the opportunity to build relations on Moscow’s well-practiced principles – bribery, state corruption and guaranteeing international protection by vetoing UN resolutions.

Source: SIPRI.

Despite China’s backup of the Myanmar coup and junta, it is highly likely that Russia was informed of the coup plans during Shoigu’s visit to Myanmar and ensured Min Aung Hlaing of support at the coup final stage.

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From the ICTY to the Specialized Chambers: The KLA’s Journey through the Courts

The Kosovo Specialist Chambers & Specialist Prosecutor’s Office for Kosovo in The Hague were established at the persistence of the international community with the relevant constitutional changes by the Assembly of Kosovo. The Special Court as it is referred to in Kosovo is temporary and although it is a part of the judiciary in Kosovo, it operates independently and is funded by the European Union.

Its establishment follows a 2011 Council of Europe report in which Swiss Senator Dick Marty prepared which spoke about alleged crimes committed by KLA members against ethnic minorities and political opponents from January 1998 to December 2000. Dick Marty’s report accuses Kosovo political leaders of organ trafficking and other crimes committed in Kosovo and Albania. This had severely damaged the image and future of Albania from a geo-political perspective as a member of NATO and as a contender for eventual membership in the European Union. The presented evidence by Marty is also very controversial and inconclusive.  A few years before the report, Gazeta Express in Kosovo published a wiretapping of an alleged member of Serbian secret service trying to buy services of a Kosovo Albanian to testify about organ harvesting scandal for the same court. This scandal was stopped by the Kosovo police but the attempt to buy witnesses is a major problem in establishing truths. 

The investigation of the swiss politician, Dick Marty on organ trafficking and other crimes in Kosovo and Albania was not finding evidence even after some of his trips through the region. War crimes investigators from EULEX (European Union Justice and Justice Mission in Kosovo) also told Mr. Marty that the allegations against the authorities were a terrible “tale”. Marty, known for his “investigations” on CIA secret prisons in Europe is also known to have opposed Kosovo’s Independence and is now collaborating with Serbia in attempts to mine Kosovo statehood. Dennis McShane, a former UK minister of EU, says in a authored text in Open Democracy that “Dick Marty’s report to the Council of Europe reflects the unfortunate politicisation of that body by Russia since accession in 1995. Kosovan politics is not clean, but there is no evidence of organ trafficking by Thaçi. And Marty’s judgement is clouded by his anti-American instincts”. McShane also says that “There is not one single name or a single witness to the allegations that Thaçi was involved in the harvesting of human organs from murdered victims. That such disgusting practices happened and happen elsewhere in the world is not in doubt. But Marty fails to link Thaçi directly to organ harvesting though the lurid title of his report – “Illicit trafficking in human organs in Kosovo” – is designed to maximize headlines”. The report was initiated by Konstantin Kosachev and Mikhail Margelov, Russian MEPs along with Milos Aligrudic, MP from Serbia, Yevhen Marmazov from Ukrainian Communist party (banned since 2014) and MEP. Other MPs followed from various parliamentary groups of the European Parliament. 

In 2015, Kosovo was led to believe that UN will establish an international tribunal to investigate Kosovo for the allegations. In fear of Russian influence on the UNSC, Kosovo Assembly in 2015, voted in favor of establishing a Special Court and considered its establishment as “A challenge that Kosovo must pass”. It is clear that all this was created by the extraordinary pressure exerted by the diplomatic representatives on the Kosovo institutions by asking the Kosovo Assembly to establish its own Special Court that will look at the crimes of one ethnicity only in the context of so many war crimes of Serbian military unindicted by the ICTY and other courts. Opposition political parties opposed the establishment of the Special Court on the pretext that they were not opposed to a war crimes tribunal, but demand that it be comprehensive, and not judge only the Albanian side. 

Immediately after the war in Kosovo, a justice system was built by the UNMIK administration, a fragile and dysfunctional system. UNMIK, also disapproved the practice of trials in absence so most of the accused of war crimes in Kosovo, who were Serbs and managed to flee in 1999 went free. This crippled Kosovo justice system to deal with war crimes thus heavily building the distrust of Kosovo people in justice system. 

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The Kremlin Manchurian candidate is creating the Scottish separatist party, more radical than SNP

On 6 May, people across Scotland will vote to elect 129 Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs). The party that wins the most seats will form the Scottish government.

Former Scottish National Party (SNP) leader Alex Salmond announced the creation of a new pro-independence party which will stand in the Scottish Parliament election, seeking to help build a political supermajority for breaking away from the rest of Britain.”I’m announcing the public launch of a new political force: the Alba Party’, Salmond said in Twitter statement. Salmond and current SNP First Minister Nicola Sturgeon used to be close friends and allies, but they fell out after several women made sexual harassment complaints against him. He was compromised; thus, he became an easy target for Russia’s intelligence influence operations. The same way Moscow used French actor Gérard Depardieu.

Salmond said that Alba will contest the upcoming Scottish elections as a list-only party under his leadership, seeking to build a supermajority for independence in the Scottish Parliament. It was reported that the party had been founded in January this year by former TV producer Laurie Flynn, and was registered by the Electoral Commission on February, 8.

As Alba’s website informs, if the party should get around half of the SNP list vote it would result in 20-25 Alba MSPs. The idea is to secure a Parliamentary ‘supermajority’ for independence ‘in the region of +40, rather than the +5 which was achieved in 2016’.

The Alba party is being created while the UK-Russia relations are taking a turn for the worse. On March 16, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called Russia as Britain’s top security challenge. Despite the fact that support of separatist political project development fully reminds Moscow’s tactics that can be observed over the past 7-8 years, one cannot state that the Scottish pro-independence movement is an exclusively Russia’s project. Moscow seeks to support all foreign projects contributing to the weakening and decentralizing the states that the Kremlin sees as opponents.

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Election results in Congo hardly to roil the country, but hurt democracy

Presidential election results in Congo look pessimistic for democracy in this country. There are all signs the dictatorship has been set up in Brazzaville with elements of government corruption, clamping down on opposition, and human rights violation. The incumbent president seeks to hold the power in the country.  This desire spurs him on to contact and make agreements with other authoritarian leaders.

After 36 years in power, Denis Sassou Nguesso’s victory was crushing and expected.

 At the end of the first round of the presidential election held on Sunday 21 March, Denis Sassou Nguesso(Congolese Marxist-leaning Party of Labour) was re-elected for a fourth term as the head of Congo with 88.57% of the vote, according to provisional results announced on Tuesday by Raymond Zephirin Mboulou, the Minister of Interior. The turnout was 67.55%.

Guy-Brice Parfait Kolélas (Congolese Movement for Democracy and Integral Development), who died of Covid-19 on Sunday night during a medical evacuation to France, had obtained 7.84% of the vote. He was considered the main opponent of the head of state.

The two strongest challengers remain in prison: former army chief Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko was arrested after challenging the incumbent in the last polls and charged with breaching state security; André Okombi Salissa (Initiative for Democracy in Congo) previously served in government, but then ran against Sassou-Nguesso and was detained in 2017 for possession of weapons. The arrest and detention of Mokoko and Salissa were politically motivated, rather than for legitimate crimes. The only two who could potentially challenge Sassou-Nguesso are Guy-Brice Parfait Kolélas, his former minister, and his ex-minister of finance Mathias Dzon. Dzon achieved his best score in his home town of Gamboma, where he got close to 45%.

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Brief Analysis: Mozambique and the expansion of Islamist terrorism

Over the past year, security risks related to Islamist terrorism in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province have increased exponentially. The northern areas of the country, the poorest in Mozambique despite the presence of important mineral and hydrocarbon deposits, are affected by an Islamist insurgency, which in the early years was a strictly local issue, but with the prolongation of this and the rise of the Islamic State in Central Africa (ISCAP), it has transformed and consolidated as a regional threat, also due to the growing presence of foreign Islamist terrorists.

The jihadist propaganda message has found popularity among the majority of the population due to numerous factors related to social and economic problems, unemployment, exploitation by foreign companies, abuse and marginalisation, factors that have led many people, young people in particular, to support extremist Islamist groups. Moreover, the province of Cabo Delgado has for years been the focus of considerable investment in infrastructure for the extraction of oil, natural gas, pink sapphires, rubies and gems. However, the local population is excluded from job opportunities, to the detriment of foreign workers, and in many areas, land is being expropriated without adequate compensation, with violence, robbery and abuse by the private security forces of the various companies, with the complicity of the Mozambican police, creating demoralisation and social stress among the local population. Many people are being raped or killed, farming and fishing communities have been displaced. 

Ethnic rivalries also play a key role, as most of the insurgents come from the Kimwani ethnic group, marginalised by the Makonde, the ethnic group of the political elite. 

The jihadist group operating in Mozambique, in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, is Ansar al-Sunna Wa-Jamma (ASWJ), an ultra-conservative Wahabi religious organisation (early members were followers of Aboud Rogo Mohammed, a radical Kenyan cleric), which was militarized from 2015 to 2017. ASWJ’s first militants, the group’s leaders, were radicalised to jihadism and trained in Tanzania, Sudan and Somalia (by former Mozambican policemen and border guards fired by the government or by trainers from the Somali jihadist group al-Shabaab). The group initially limited itself to insurgent operations against private and government security forces, without a proactive propaganda or political agenda. The group gained prominence in October 2017, when 30 armed militants attacked a police unit in Mocimboa da Praia. The group’s leadership pursues goals centred on the creation of an Islamic State governed by Shari’a, the rejection of the government’s secular education system, is anti-Christian and anti-Western, prevents people from attending hospitals or schools it considers un-Islamic and aims to take control of the Cabo Delgado region in the north of the country, exploiting the delicate situation of economic crisis to recruit men and expand its control (recruitment is mainly through family ties and radical mosques.  The group uses videos to radicalise poor, marginalised and unemployed young people).  The group operates with small, hard-to-detect cells of 10 to 30 militants, use guerrilla tactics and operate relatively autonomously. The group controls mosques, or has built its own, where its members preach anti-state ideology and a radical interpretation of Islam. Estimates of the number of militants in the group vary between 450 and 1,500. ASWJ finances its operations with proceeds from the illegal trade in wood, rubies, charcoal, and ivory, as well as exploiting the illicit trafficking of heroin from Pakistan to Tanzania, Europe, and South Africa. The group is also involved in the illegal trade of ivory and smuggled goods. Additional funds come from sympathisers, who donate via electronic payments (using income from smuggling, religious networks and human traffickers, ASWJ sends young men to Tanzania, Kenya and Somalia for military training).

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The United States, Afghanistan, and the Issue of Peace: Prospects Analyzed

The Afghan war which began in 2001 is now the longest war in American history. The war had formally ended in December 2014 and had cost $578.7 billion. There are about 2,500 U.S. troops currently in Afghanistan.  [1] Another report states that the war has by now cost more than $2 trillion, and more than 2,300 American lives. More than 38,000 Afghan civilians have been killed.[2]

Earlier, the February 2020 Doha agreement between the Trump administration and the Taliban had called for a complete withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan by the May 1, 2021 deadline in return for the Taliban entering peace negotiations with Ghani Government in Afghanistan which is its adversary, desisting from attacking US or NATO troops, and decreasing violence in the country. The Taliban had also committed to prevent Al Qaeda, or other militants, from launching terrorist attacks from Afghanistan. Since entering last year’s peace agreement with the US., the Taliban have indeed halted all attacks on U.S. or NATO forces. Afghan government’s security forces and civilian casualties remain high and there have been an increasing number of unclaimed bombings and targeted killings in the past few months. [3] The Afghan government and the Taliban have blamed each other, and the IS.[4]  Later, the Taliban stalled the talks with the Afghan government as it did not meet the condition of the released of thousands of their men in a prisoner swap.[5]

On March 18, 2021, a meeting was hosted by Russia in Moscow to break stalemate in the Afghan peace process. Pakistan, China, the US and representatives of the Afghan Taliban and the Afghan government attended the meeting. A joint statement issued after the meeting urged both Afghan government and Taliban to hold talks to conclude the long-awaited peace agreement. Abdullah Abdulla, head of the Afghan peace council also called for an end to violence and the acceleration of the peace talks.[6]

On March 19, 2021, the Afghan government and the Taliban agreed to accelerate peace talks The Head of the Afghan peace council Abdullah Abdullah indicated his desire to talk with the Taliban to bring peace. The Afghan government reiterated its commitment for the peaceful settlement of the crisis in Afghanistan.[7]

On March 21, 2021 Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin made a visit to Afghanistan and met with Afghan President Ghani. They discussed the peace process and concerns over rising violence, according to the statement. The visit came at a crucial time for the Afghan peace process as US President Joe Biden’s administration reviews its plan for Afghanistan ahead of the May 1 troop withdrawal deadline agreed by the previous Trump administration with the Taliban. 

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