Monday, April 30, 2012
by Nilin Kripu
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
12 noon - Lions and Giants
Friday, September 2, 2011
Transparency International (TI), the anti-corruption organisation, calls on world football's governing body, FIFA, to carry out comprehensive governance reforms overseen by a group composed of representatives from outside FIFA (elder statesmen, sponsors, media and civil society) and inside football (federations, clubs, professional leagues, players, women’s football, referees, supporters) in a way that ensures its independence.
The proposed group would watch over an independent investigation of existing corruption allegations and the introduction of new procedures to ensure transparency and good governance, such as term limits for senior positions and a conflict of interest policy, with external figures present in bodies that make major decisions.
TI has called on FIFA to take similar steps before, but developed its advice more specifically after FIFA showed a new willingness to change: asking for advice on anti-corruption policies and providing more information about its financial management and governance structures. This has allowed TI to provide detailed recommendations on governance issues targeted to the highest echelons of FIFA.
“FIFA says it wants to reform, but successive bribery scandals have left public trust in it at an all-time low. Working with an oversight group – taking its advice, giving it access, letting it participate in investigations – will show whether there is going to be real change. The process has to start now,” said Sylvia Schenk, senior advisor on sport to TI.
TI's eight-page recommendation document, Safe Hands: Building Integrity and Transparency at FIFA, is based on years of experience providing tools for companies and institutions that want to become more transparent and less vulnerable to corruption.
Reforms should have global backing
Because of the special nature of FIFA, meaningful reform requires everyone who has a stake in the game to join the debate and increase the pressure for reform, including supporters, bodies representing clubs and players, and the sponsors.
With its unprecedented reach, political clout and enormous worldwide social influence, FIFA is answerable only to national football officials from 208 countries. TI is therefore also sending the recommendations to national football federations in countries where it has chapters, calling upon those federations to support reform.
“Leaders in the world of sport have a particular responsibility to behave with integrity, not just because sports like football face corruption challenges such as match-fixing, but because sport provides role models for people everywhere, especially young people,” said Schenk.
TI prepared the FIFA recommendations after bribery allegations and a lack of transparency marred FIFA’s presidential elections in June 2011, as it did the selection of the host nations for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in December 2010.
“When an organisation says it wants to change, TI stands ready to provide constructive advice. Now that we have laid out clear, straightforward steps, it’s up to FIFA to prove its commitment to transparency and accountability,” said Schenk.
TI’s recommendations reflect good practice in the business world, and are drawn from existing documents such as TI's Business Principles for Countering Bribery and reporting guidance drawn from the section of the United Nations Global Compact related to fighting corruption.
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Parking crisis and worsening air quality and congestion in Delhi and other cities is of serious concern: say experts at CSE´s international conference
· A diverse group of city regulators, civil society representatives and experts from cities across the world gathered in the capital today for a dialogue on Parking Reforms for a Liveable City, organised by Centre for Science and Environment
· Parking crisis is the result of growing dependence on cars and availability of free parking. Solutions do not lie in capturing more valuable urban land for car parks, but in shifting to other modes and releasing the space for other important uses
· Parking devours close to 8-10 per cent of urban land in
· Car parking is choking roads, walkways, green spaces, when cars carry only 14 per cent of travel trips in the city. Is this sustainable?
· A car needs about 23 sq m to be comfortably parked. But a very poor family in
· The conference recommended - manage parking well, pay for parking, limit parking where good public transport is available, and give people more attractive options for travel
This was the conclusion drawn by a select group of regulators, experts, and civil society representatives from different Indian cities and abroad, who had gathered in the capital today for a conference on Parking Reforms for a Liveable City, organised by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE). The Centre has been at the forefront of a campaign to encourage and push
Speaking at the conference, Anumita Roychowdhury, CSE´s executive director-research and advocacy and head of its air pollution team, said: "Our cities are on a suicidal path. The policy of increasing parking spaces and offering them free to meet the insatiable demand for parking is absolutely wrong."
Keeping in mind the ever-increasing number of cars on our roads, parking entails enormous costs - pollution, congestion, traffic delays and wastage of fuel. Uncontrolled and free parking encourages more car dependency. Says Roychowdhury: "Parking already devours close to 10 per cent of the urban land in
Reiterates Vivek Chattopadhyaya, deputy programme manager of the air pollution team at CSE: "A city can never have enough land for parking. But parking will block the options of using the same land for other uses."
Car parks use up high value urban land, but pay nothing or a pittance for using the land. This also leads to very iniquitous use of urban land. A car gets about 23 sq m to be comfortably parked in a structured parking lot. But a very poor family in
As it is, car users enjoy a hidden subsidy. This subsidy works out to be even higher if the rental or the land cost of the parking space in prime areas is considered. Increased investments in expensive multistoried structured car parks will further increase the subsidy burden as the parking rates are not expected to recover the costs.
Globally, cities are combining good public transport with direct restraints on cars to reduce pollution and congestion. They are making car parking prohibitively expensive, adding high premium to car ownership, exacting dues for entering prime busy areas, only allowing a fraction of them on roads at a time, or just not allowing them in the city centre. They are also giving people more options to cars. But Indian cities continue to encourage private car usage by charging a pittance for road usage and for parking.
Hong Kong and
Winds of change
The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) has recommended to the Supreme Court that land is limited and there is a limit to the additional parking space that can be created in the city. The provision of parking for personal motorised vehicles cannot be considered as a matter of public good. Individual users should pay for the use of the space for parking and `user pays principle´ should be applied. The Supreme Court has taken these principles on board.
Well managed priced parking and parking restraints will benefit all
· Car user will benefit: Car users can have more reliable and predictable advance information about parking that can reduce cruising time. Efficient billing makes payment more transparent and accurate. If short-term parking is managed well, the chances of finding a space for quick errands improves and reduces waiting and cruising time as well as fuel cost spent on cruising. This decreases traffic chaos due to indiscriminate on-street parking.
· Non-car users will benefit: Well managed parking will help to protect footpaths and allow barrier free walking, frees up public spaces for cycle tracks, rickshaw parking, autoriskshaw-parking, play grounds and also improves access to bus-stops. Improve safety of children, women and elderly people. Removal of cars from the shopping frontage improves visibility and access to shops for more customers, improves shopping experience, and increases throughput of customers. Walkable neighbourhood fosters mixed use, free up public space for play grounds, improve overall environment, green areas and public recreational spaces. Well managed common parking can make it easier for emergency vehicles like ambulances, fire trucks, police, etc. to reach all homes/ offices/ buildings.
· Public health will benefit: Paid and restricted but well managed parking can reduce car use/ dependency which can reduce air pollution and congestion in the city. Air pollution is already taking heavy toll as large number of people is suffering from respiratory diseases like asthma, cardiac problems. Long term exposure to such levels will cause increased occurrence of cancers and other diseases in most individuals. Noise level can also be controlled. Global experience shows that when parking policy is designed as a travel demand management it reduces car usage and therefore congestion, air emissions as well as fuel use.
The way ahead
Many Indian cities are now investing on parking structures. Without a pricing and a management strategy, capital-intensive parking structures can remain grossly underutilised. It is recognised the world over that the demand for parking is infinite and any amount of supply cannot fulfill it -- if additional measures are not implemented to control car growth and usage. It is important to rethink strategy on multilevel parking in
The workshop set the following terms for action on parking in cities:
· Parking policy should aim to reduce vehicle traffic (particularly urban-peak traffic) to reduce congestion, accidents, pollution, etc
· Eliminate parking subsidies. The right price tag on cars and its usage makes a difference. People are more sensitive to the direct cost of driving and this forces them to take decision to reduce car usage and move to alternatives. When combined with priced parking, limit on parking space and improved public transport, parking strategies promote alternative modes and restrain car usage.
· Integrate parking for more effective multimodal integration that gives priority to public transport buses, non-motorised transport and walking.
· Promote efficient management strategies and use parking spaces- as far as possible -- as common and shared public parking spaces that are priced.
· The policy will have to integrate the parking needs of the public transport buses, non-motorised transport and freight transport in a city.
· Maximize the parking revenue gains to be ploughed back for other sustainable practices. The NUTP has also stated that revenue from parking should be used for public transport betterment.
· Use parking creatively for multimodal integration to improve usage of buses, cycling and walking.
Says Roychowdhury: "With the help of a parking policy, it is possible to arrest and reverse these unsustainable trends. This can work well in Indian cities where public transport, cycling and walking still carry more than half of all daily commuting trips. Cars may be choking our cities. But a substantial part of daily commuting is on buses, foot and pedal. This is the strength that the Indian cities need to build on. Parking levers can help to achieve this."
Another blow to f al-Qaeda. The killing of it's second-in-command Atiyah abd al-Rahman in Pakistan last week, has dealt the terror organization a blow so significant, it has left it's core operations virtually paralyzed, intelligence experts said Sunday.
Al-Rahman, a Libyan national, rose to the number two spot when Ayman al-Zawahri took the reins of al-Qaeda after Laden in May in a US raid in Pakistan.
"Atiyah's death is a tremendous loss for al-Qaeda, because (Zawahri) was relying heavily on him to help guide and run the organization, especially since bin Laden's death," one US official said.
"The trove of materials from bin Laden's compound showed clearly that Atiyah was deeply involved in directing al Qaeda's operations even before the (May) raid. He had multiple responsibilities in the organization and will be very difficult to replace," the official said.
US and Pakistani intelligence ties have been strained since the unilateral American strike against bin Laden, and Pakistani intelligence did not confirm Rahman's death. Sources in Pakistan said four people known to have been killed in a US drone strike on August 22 were local militants and not al-Qaeda.
Although most US officials described Rahman as al-Qaeda's No. 2, one said his rank wasn't as clear, saying he could be considered one of the top three leaders of the organization.
Regardless, Rahman's death would signal another significant setback for al Qaeda's core group just days before the tenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Noman Benotman, a former Libyan Islamist and now an analyst with Britain's Quilliam think tank, described Rahman as al-Qaeda's "CEO," or chief executive officer.
"This was the one man al Qaeda could not afford to lose," Benotman said.
"In the last two years he successfully, and I think more or less single-handedly, created the dynamics that kept al-Qaeda together."
A US official said Rahman ran daily operations for the group, spoke on behalf of bin Laden and Zawahri and was the one that "affiliates knew and trusted."
"Zawahri needed Atiyah's experience and connections to help manage al Qaeda. Now it will be even harder for him to consolidate control," the U.S. official said.
Zawahri is believed to lack bin Laden's presence or his ability to unite different Arab factions within the group, analysts say.
US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said last month on a visit to Afghanistan that he believed the strategic defeat of al Qaeda was within reach if the United States could kill or capture up to 20 remaining leaders of the core group and its affiliates.