Greetings from CUTS!
As we approach our 35th year, 2018 has been a year of assessment, consolidation and growth. I see both ⎼ accomplishments and milestones ⎼ that CUTS has achieved and our unfinished but continuing agenda. In both the situations, I am convinced that more intensive and extensive work is to be done not only by CUTS but also by other likeminded groups, particularly for seeking solutions to the myriad problems that the world in general, and India, in particular, face. We are proud to share with you some of our most memorable achievements of the last year.
In April 2018, we launched our 6th overseas centre in Washington DC, USA to capture and promote the spirit of closer cooperation with the US on several economic and strategic issues in the context of Indo-Pacific region and in partnership with Australia and Japan, reaching out to Africa at the other end.
The organisation was admitted as the 30th partner of UNCTAD for its e-trade programme. I was invited by the UN Economic Commission of Africa as an Expert on Competition Policy and Consumer Protection in the preparation of draft protocols for the upcoming Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement.
I hope that in the future we will be able to scale up our work with the intended impact. I am extremely grateful to all the development partners, individuals and institutions, experts, media and academia, and government departments and private groups who have continuously extended their support. Equally important are efforts of my colleagues who have collectively contributed to the success of the organisation.
Wish you the very best for 2019.
Pradeep S Mehta, Secretary General, CUTS International
Building consensus on cross border trade using small boats
The prospects of allowing mechanised boats (20-50 tonne capacity) to navigate across border between Dhubri (India) and Chilmari (Bangladesh) by identifying the potential cargo as well as the socio economic benefits of cross border trade were highlighted by CUTS, and its recommendations were discussed in the 19th Standing Committee on Protocol, following which both were declared as ‘Ports of Call’ in the respective countries
BBIN Motor Vehicles Pact to be a Game-changer
CUTS and its country partners have been able to reachout to more than 2,100 people in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) and Myanmar sub-region. It has also been able to effectively communicate the livelihood and gender concerns of grassroot stakeholders to policymakers which would help them in making the Motor Vehicles Agreement an inclusive agreement.
Inspired Climate Talks’ Agriculture Roadmap
CUTS Geneva supported East African countries in drafting of a regional submission to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture. It also proposed a roadmap for the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture, which the UNFCCC membership reflected in the outcomes of the Bonn Climate Conference in May 2018.
Ensuring Food and Nutrition Security
CUTS Nairobi has been working through the Voice for Change Partnership (V4CP) to engage key players in the dairy industry to turn the situation around. James Kariithi, Coordinator, Agricultural Sector Development Support Programme, Laikipia County opined that CUTS and V4CP’s partnership has added value to their work by increasing awareness that food security is not only about volume but also about nutrition and safety.
Need to Operate Taxis on Clean Fuel
CUTS Centre for Competition, Investment & Economic Regulation prepared a research report covering cost benefit analysis of select provisions and broad recommendations on potential regulatory alternatives. The report was well received by the media as well as policymakers and a presentation was delivered before the NITI Aayog and Ministry of Road, Transport & Highways. The same was also listed as a valuable resource for the MOVE Global Mobility Summit held at New Delhi in September 2018.
Rolling out Digital Economy
CUTS Hanoi advocated for the need of promoting Digital Economy in the country, by showcasing the benefits brought forth by digital technologies. The need for optimal regulations was also stressed upon, based on the challenges faced by the digital economy due to sub-optimal regulations. The primary and secondary research conducted for these, yielded a research report entitled ‘Enabling a Digital Economy for Inclusive Development in Vietnam’ which was released in an international conference in Bangkok in August 2018.
Prioritising Passage of Competition Law
The Ghanaian Trade Minister and Ghana International Trade Commission acknowledged the relentless efforts of CUTS Ghana in ensuring that Ghana has a functional competition policy and law to guide the conduct of the market and enhance enabling business environment for the private sector. Frank Agyekum, Secretary, Ghana International Trade Commission assured that the government will prioritise the passage of the law in 2019.
Revisiting 74th Constitutional Amendment Act
The National Conference on ’25 Years of 74th Constitutional Amendment Act’ organised in association with NITI Aayog not only received appreciation from policymakers but also attracted a lot of attention in leading national and regional dailies. The gaps and challenges in the implementation of 74th Constitutional Amendment Act (CAA) even after 25 years became a topic of discussion and concern in the policy circles. CUTS urged policymakers/stakeholders to assess the Indian urban scenario as the time has come to revisit the 74th CAA.
Disability Matters – Let’s Make their Votes Count
CUTS Centre for Human Development received appreciation by District Election Commission, Chittorgarh for effective interventions in the area of electoral registration ⎼ meaningful and high voter turnout with greater participation from persons with disability under Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) Programme launched by the Election Commission of India.
CUTS and Lusaka City Council Sign an MoU
CUTS Lusaka signed an MoU with the Lusaka City Council to cooperate in raising consumer awareness on the need to move away from mono diets. This is important given that Zambia has the highest levels of malnutrition in Africa. Both the institutions would jointly organise discussions on consumer rights and responsibilities on diet-related issues and share information on programmes, activities and projects of mutual interest.