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What We Achieved in 2016

2016 was a dynamic year for the ASAP network, with exciting developments at the global level and among our growing network of chapters.

ASAP Global

  • ASAP Global held two successful conferences at Yale University: “The New Philanthropy: Effective Altruism and Beyond” (May 2016) and “New Topics in Global Justice” (October 2016). These conferences convened many forward-thinking academics to debate burning issues related to philanthropy, global poverty and justice.
  • ASAP Global completed a number of major capacity-building efforts, introducing a new administrative system, accounting system and database, positioning the organisation for successful growth and increased impact in 2017.

ASAP Chapters

ASAP\’s Chapter Network produced prolific outputs in 2016. What follows is a selection of achievements shared by representatives of ASAP chapters.

ASAP Cambodia

  • ASAP Cambodia produced twelve senior project research studies on various issues related to poverty alleviation through Pannasastra University of Cambodia\’s Faculty of Social Sciences and International Relations (SSIR).
  • The chapter provided technical assistance to the Cambodia Council of Ministers in assessing the needs of four impoverished villages in Takeo Province and conducted an inspection of these villages in January 2016. The inspection revealed that access to primary health care services and basic water and sanitation facilities were major concerns by the poor village population.
  • To assist the villagers in the provision of curative and preventive health care services, ASAP Cambodia coordinated with the Rotary Club of Metro Phnom Penh to send an American medical team to these villages in the early part of 2017. ASAP Cambodia arranged for 10 university students to assist the team, and a total of 4,320 indigent patients were able to access curative and preventive health care services during five days of clinic outreach.
  • The chapter enabled Pannasastra University\’s Student Senate to incorporate poverty alleviation programs and projects in their community outreach activities, facilitating a high level of awareness on poverty issues among student leaders and sharing of resources for community action projects for the poor.

ASAP Germany & Austria

  • Members of ASAP Germany and Austria started a book series on Philosophy and Poverty through Springer Publishing, the Advisory Board of which also includes members of ASAP Spain and Canada.

ASAP Greece

  • ASAP Greece launched a new academic series with Papazisis Publishing on \”The Reform of the Social State\”, with the first book Flagship Initiatives to Safeguard Social Cohesion During Austerity Times – The Paradigm of the Greek Social Inclusion Strategy by ASAP Greece Coordinator Gabriel Amitsis published in 2016.
  • Several other publications were produced by chapter members, including:
    • Amitsis G. (2016): \”The Development of National Asylum Policies in Times of Economic Recession: Challenges for Greece\”, Transnational Social Review, 2016, 6(1-2), 204-208.
    • Chtouris S. et ot. (2016): \”A Concept on the Dialectical Methodology of Empirical Research – The Paradigm of Focus Groups on the Social and Labour Integration of Young People\”, Greek Social Research Journal, 145 (in Greek).
    • Papatheodoridis, G., Thomas H. C. …., Yfantopoulos J. et ot. (2016): \”Addressing Barriers to the Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment of Hepatitis B and C in the Face of Persisting Fiscal Constraints in Europe – Report from a High Level Conference\”, Journal of Viral Hepatitis, 23 (Suppl. 1), 10-12.
    • Stergiou A. (2016): \”The Development of Second Pillar Pensions in the Greek Framework\”, Labour Law Review, 75(10) (in Greek).

ASAP Oceania

  • ASAP Oceania conducted the Australian Poverty Audit, turning the spotlight on the poverty reduction policies of the major political parties to inform policy debate during the July 2016 election. Parts of the report were published in local news media outlets as well as academic blogs.

ASAP Romania

  • ASAP Romania organised and participated in meetings with government officials and poverty/development experts, leading to a new governmental programme for poverty reduction at a national level. This effort followed on successful efforts in the previous year to inform and advise the UN delegation to Romania led by Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty Philip Alston, resulting in partial inclusion of ASAP Romania\’s analysis in the delegation\’s preliminary report.
  • ASAP Romania subsequently organised a press conference for the Rapporteur and publicised the report extensively on social media, which were critical in influencing the new government.

ASAP Spain

  • ASAP Spain contributed to many conferences and workshops in 2016 including:
    • Masterclass with Noam Chomsky on Migration (United Nations University\’s Center for Globalisation, Culture and Mobility)
    • Conference on Simon Caney\’s On Cosmopolitanism (Center for the Study of Global Ethics, Birmingham University)
    • \”Global Animals\” with Jeff McMahan, J. Mosterin, O. Horta, A. Williams, C. Faria discussing topics at the intersection of animal ethics and global justice (organised by P. Casal)
    • \”Ethics and Child Public Health\” workshop (Madrid, November 10-11, 2016): part of the \”Social Justice and Child Poverty\” research project funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF): P 26480 in cooperation with the JuriLog Group of the Institute for Philosophy of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)
    • \”The Increasing Demand for Institutional Accountability in the International Order\”, in the Winter School on Soft Law and Legal Theory, organised by the University of Palermo, February 15-19 2016 (Luis Martí)
    • \”Republicanism and Legitimate Constitution Making\”, in the Workshop on the Future of Democracy, organised by the EDDA Research Center of the University of Iceland, May 20-22, 2016
    • \”Compromise and Deliberative Democracy\” in the Workshop on Compromise and Democracy organised by the University of Copenhagen, October 2016
    • \”Domination and the Republican Case for Global Labor Regulations\”, in the \”Workshop on Theories of Domination and Labor Law: A New Conception for Legal Intervention?\”, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow October 2016
    • \”Republican Perspectives on International Courts\” workshop at Pompeu Fabra University, May 6-7, 2016. Speakers included Follesdal, Viehof and Bellamy, among others
  • Paula Casal participated in the International Panel on Social Progress
  • Members of ASAP Spain received grants for research pertaining to poverty measurement, ethics and global justice and contributed to several publications, including:
    • Un reparto más justo de planeta (Trotta, Madrid 2016) David Rodríguez-Arias, Jordi Maiso and Catherine Heeney (Eds.)
    • Justicia ¿Para todos? Perspectivas filosóficas sobre la Justicia. (Plaza y Valdés, Madrid 2016)
    • Chapter: \”Exclusion from Healthcare in Spain: The Responsibility for Omission of Due Care\” by Rosana Triviño, David Rodríguez-Arias and Txetxu Ausín, in Helmut P. Gaisbauer Gottfried Schweiger and Clemens Sedmak (ed.) Ethical Issues in Poverty Alleviation, Doordrecht, Springer, 2016


  • ASAP UK\’s \’Global Systemic Change\’ Roundtable was hosted by the University of Oxford in March 2016. It explored the different frameworks and assumptions held by various actors working on systemic change. The event was attended by a diverse range of individuals from academia, movements and organisations including Effective Altruists, New Economics Foundation (NEF), Finance Innovation Lab, World Bank, Tax Justice Network, Save the Children and the Department for International Development (DfID)
  • The chapter is now delivering a fourteen-chapter publication on systemic change written by event participants, which will launch soon in London and Oxford.

ASAP West Africa

  • ASAP West Africa held a successful two day conference at the University of Lagos. Its keynote address titled \”Corruption, Transparency and Accountability in Public and Private Sector Organisations\” was delivered by Mr. Waziri Adio, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI)
  • A policy paper, \”The Power of Infrastructure: How The Post-2015 Architecture of Development Assistance (ODA) will Shape the Future of African Economy\” was written by Saidu Ahmed Enagi (Deputy Coordinator Africa Affairs, CNRJ International and ASAP West Africa Youth Ambassador)
  • ASAP West Africa initiated its \”Access to Justice\” program for the poor in December 2016, which will commence in April 2017

New ASAP Chapters

  • New ASAP chapters were launched in Ireland, Chile and the Philippines. ASAP Spain assisted in the creation of ASAP Chile and participated in its inaugural conference.

GCCW Open Letter Calls on World Leaders to Implement and Strengthen Paris Agreement on Climate Change

Global Climate Change Week (GCCW) has published an open letter urging world leaders to ratify, implement, and strengthen the measures of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. We call on all our supporters to sign the letter and help put pressure on leaders to take greater action.

Global Climate Change Week is an initiative led by ASAP board member Keith Horton. It aims to encourage academic communities – including academics, students, and professional staff at universities – in all disciplines and countries to engage with each other, their communities, and policy makers on climate change action and solutions.


Effective Altruism Conference Recap

Academics Stand Against Poverty co-hosted the conference \”The New Philanthropy: Effective Altruism and Beyond\” held at Yale University on May 6 and 7. The event featured a keynote address by Angus Deaton, recipient of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, in which he presented a critical analysis of effective altruism. Renowned philosopher Peter Singer also joined the conference via Skype. The full recap is available on the Yale Global Justice Program website. Videos will be posted in the coming weeks.


Call for Papers: Third Annual Amartya Sen Prize Competition

Submission Deadline: August 29, 2016

ASAP, Global Financial Integrity and the Yale Global Justice Program are soliciting original essays of ca. 7,000 to 9,000 words on the non-revenue impact of curbing illicit financial flows for the third annual Amartya Sen Prize.

Poor populations are hurt when rich individuals and multinational corporations surreptitiously shift trillions of dollars in wealth and profits out of less developed countries. One harm arises from the loss of tax revenues incurred by their governments. By concealing their profits or wealth, MNCs and individuals evade taxes on profits, dividends, interest and/or capital gains—taxes that could fund social spending or tax reductions for ordinary citizens.

This year\’s submissions are to focus on the other harm from illicit financial outflows: the loss of capital to a poor country\’s economy, which may well substantially exceed the revenue loss. Such capital loss occurs when, often to dodge taxes or tariffs, individuals and companies of all sizes move wealth and profits offshore illicitly, e.g. through trade misinvoicing. Authors might choose to discuss the potential economic impact of reducing such capital losses: the impact on savings, investment, trade, interest rates, consumption, employment, economic growth, and/or culture and the arts, for example. In this context, it would be interesting to explore what policies domestic and international authorities might adopt in order to discourage the export of private sector capital and to amplify the beneficial effects of curbing illicit financial outflows. The latter exploration raises the partly moral question of how to value these effects from the standpoint of a less developed country\’s poor majority.

Authors might also tackle the challenge of estimating the magnitude of such capital losses. Is some of the capital now illicitly removed brought back openly as new investment? Would some of the capital now illicitly removed be exported anyway, openly, even if there were no opportunity to shift it out in tax-dodging ways? Would some of the MNCs now illicitly shifting profits out have refrained from entering the country in the first place without the prospect of tax-dodging profits, and would such failures to enter be counterproductive to the interests of the developing countries?

The above lines of thought are meant to be suggestive rather than exhaustive. We hope for a creative diversity of submissions that provide a rich and well-grounded picture of what our world could look like—especially from the perspective of the poor — if illicit financial outflows from the less developed countries could be substantially curtailed.

The best entries will be presented at an international conference in the fall of 2016 at Yale University and subsequently published in a special issue of a prominent journal. In addition, at least two of the winning essays will receive a monetary award: a first prize of $5,000 and a second prize of $3,000

Please email your entry to by Monday, August 29 at 5pm ET. We ask that entries be anonymized to facilitate blind refereeing. Winners will be selected by an expert jury, whose decisions are final.


Global Justice Post-2015 Conference Videos

Below are videos from the recent Global Justice Post-2015 Conference held at Yale University, from October 30th to November 1st. The conference was co-hosted by ASAP, the Yale Global Justice Program (GJP), and Global Financial Integrity. Special thanks to Yale GJP Fellow Alexandre Sayegh for filming the videos.


Oslo Principles on Climate Change Video Now Available

ASAP President Thomas Pogge\’s short video on climate change and the Oslo Principles is now available below. The video uses graphics and explanations to argue that governments have a duty to avert the world\’s looming climate catastrophe. Special thanks to Hudson Brown who created the animation. More information on the Oslo Principles is available here.


Global Poverty Consensus Report Published

The Global Poverty Consensus Report (GPCR) is a joint project between ASAP and the Comparative Research Programme on Poverty (CROP). It aims to highlight the existing academic consensus on the causes and remedies for global poverty. Based on thirty-nine interviews done by Gilad Tanay in 2012, the analysis was written by Alberto Cimadamore and Lynda Lange. The final report is now available for download. More information on the project is available here.


Global Climate Change Week, This October

The ASAP-supported project Global Climate Change Week (GCCW) was launched on May 26. GCCW is a new initiative designed to encourage academics in all disciplines and countries to engage with their students and communities on climate change action and solutions. During GCCW (to be held this year on October 19-25) academics will alter their programs to coordinate their teaching on some aspect of climate change. They will also organize various other activities focused on awareness-raising, behavior change and political transformation in relation to climate policy, with the participation of NGOs, the community and not-for-profit sector.


Strong Response for Global Colleagues Project Call

More than 75 senior and earlier-career researchers from universities around the world will take part in ASAP\’s new Global Colleagues flagship project – a response which well exceeded organizers\’ expectations.

The project is designed to promote international collaboration among poverty researchers and help earlier-career faculty working at less well-resourced universities become better integrated into global networks and develop their own research agendas. It matches established senior researchers at relatively well resourced universities in North and South countries one-to-one with earlier career researchers, typically in other countries.

\”We received a great number of applications which – and this is particularly encouraging – are very diverse,\” said Robert Lepenies, who is a Max Weber Fellow at the European University Institute in San Domenico di Fiesole, Italy and serves as Chair of the Global Colleagues Steering Committee.

Mom Bishwakarma

\”We received notes of interest from very young scholars, as well as scholars already more fully engaged in teaching and research,\” Lepenies said. \”There is an enormous variety in terms of geographic location, and topics represented. We are sure this will make for an excellent first cohort. Further, the multiple disciplinary perspectives on poverty that earlier-career scholars contribute also presents a learning opportunity for ASAP as an organization. We\’re looking forward to watching how the partnerships will develop.\”

Senior researchers from Africa, South Asia, Europe, the Americas and elsewhere were to begin meeting with earlier-career colleagues, who are dispersed across a similar geographic range, in late spring 2015. Senior colleagues will offer advice on research plans and assistance in networking among international researchers with similar interests. Earlier career researchers, many of whom are located in provincial cities, will share insights on their contexts, local development challenges and their own research ideas. Significant benefits are expected to flow for both researchers in each pairing.

Mom Bishwakarma, a PhD researcher in Sociology at the University of Sydney who was raised in Nepal, said he was pleased to be asked to share his own insights as a member of the Global Colleagues Steering Committee. He sees strong potential in the project.

\”The Global Colleagues initiative will be effective in strengthening networking among colleagues, information sharing, selection of research priorities in the global South, enhancing the skills of junior colleagues and helping them explore resource opportunities,\” he said. \”This will be an essential project in the days to come.\”

Colleagues will be matched for an initial one-year period. Shared research interests are given emphasis in colleague pairings, and where possible and most appropriate, pairings are made across international boundaries.

Lepenies is planning to administer pre- and post-participation surveys to Colleagues as part of a research study to determine the project\’s impact, especially in terms of helping earlier-career researchers advance their research aims.

For more information on the Global Colleagues project, contact Robert Lepenies at


Abolishing National Aid Agencies Offers No New Paradigm But Means Loss of Autonomy, Professional Skill

By Jack Corbett and Sinclair Dinnen

The reabsorption of autonomous or semi-autonomous aid agencies into departments of foreign affairs in New Zealand (2009), Canada (2013) and Australia (2013) has sent ripples across the international development community. Following a persistent two-decade trend towards greater autonomy and independence of aid policy in these countries, but also in places like the United Kingdom, this shift appears to represent a significant change to the status-quo.

Two pressing questions have arisen from the trend toward reabsorption:

  • Will it radically change the focus of aid policy, and if so how?
  • How will it change the nature of development administration?

Reforming politicians have been quick to proclaim an era of radical policy change, with Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop heralding the emergence of a new ‘aid paradigm’ that is encapsulated in the following:

\”The world has changed – and our aid program must change too. Today, many developing countries are growing rapidly, with aid representing an increasingly small proportion of development finance. To be effective in this new context, our aid needs to be more innovative and catalytic, leveraging other drivers of development such as private sector investment and domestic finance. Our aid needs to support economic growth as the most sustainable way to reduce poverty and lift living standards. We need to recast our aid paradigm in light of this new development paradigm.\”

AusaidFor Bishop, aid is a form of \’economic diplomacy\’ that serves Australia’s foreign policy and commercial interests by promoting prosperity among its regional neighbours. And, the new integrated aid program will be structured to achieve this despite a drastically reduced budget, reflecting cuts of more than 6 billion US dollars over five years from 2014.

In Canada, the narrative around administrative change has been more circumspect, playing down the radical nature of the reform and instead positing that these changes reflect a desire to align objectives and produce efficiencies. In 2013, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade absorbed the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and was renamed the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development under the government led by Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper. That occurred several months before the changes were announced in Australia.

The changes to Australia\’s aid administration are, however, potentially much more significant. In the early 1970s, the founders of the Australian Development Assistance Agency (ADAA) believed that for the aid program to thrive, it needed a powerful lobby in the capital, Canberra, which would safeguard its interests against populist or merely thrifty politicians. To that end, the then-Whitlam Government sought to create a professional and autonomous aid agency staffed by development experts with its own career structure and recruitment patterns. ADAA was in fact abolished by the incoming Fraser government in 1976 and later reabsorbed into the then Department of Foreign Affairs, but the ideal of a professional and autonomous aid agency retained currency.

In contrast, from 2013 Australia\’s preeminent aid bureaucrat is now the Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Peter Varghese, a career diplomat and former head of the Office of National Assessments, with day-to-day CIDA aidadministration undertaken by that department’s desk officers. This move is reminiscent of the way the Australian aid program was organised in the 1960s.

The specifics of how this decision was reached and whose advice it was made on – officials or political staff – remains a mystery to even those at the highest echelons of the former AusAID. Abolition was not part of the conservative Liberal Party-led Coalition\’s election platform. Indeed, as shadow foreign minister before the Sept. 2013 election, Julie Bishop had indicated that a junior Minister for International Development would be appointed in her portfolio. In this sense, the move was entirely unheralded.

While the changes may appear dramatic and profoundly transformative when viewed from the inside of the bureaucracy, they appear less so when placed in the context of more than half a century of development thinking, both at home and abroad. From this perspective, while the administrative change is potentially profound, the new policy settings do not to constitute a paradigmatic change. The emphasis on growth and private sector investment, and recognition that aid is only a small part of a much bigger development finance picture, is hardly new.

140px-NzaidThe administrative changes, however, effectively herald the end of an era that began in earnest in the late 1960s and early 1970s when the merits of a professional and autonomous aid agency were first canvassed by Australia’s policy elite. Certainly, in making these changes the government hoped to affect not just the policy settings but also the management of the program. The implication being, of course, that AusAID\’s staff would not have been sufficiently responsive to the government of the day. We will never know whether that would have been the case. There is a certain irony embedded in this assessment, however, given that AusAID\’s crimes were said to include increasing aid to Africa and the Caribbean, both of which were at least in part a response to the Australian Government’s campaign for a seat on the UN Security Council in 2013-2014.

What we do know is that a substantial cohort of practitioners, along with years of experience and expertise, has left the Australian Public Service as a result of this decision. They are not all gone – we certainly acknowledge that DFAT retains a level of policy expertise in this area – but it is hard not to argue that the value placed on their skillset has now been diminished by the abolition of AusAID. If anything about the new arrangements hints at a paradigm shift, this is it.

The Authors:

Jack Corbett is a Research Fellow at the School of Government and International Relations at Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia

Sinclair Dinnen is an Associate Professor at the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, The Australian National University, Canberra