The most recent strategic planning workshop held by the Parliamentary Committee on International Relations and Cooperation on the 9th February 2016 in Cape Town allowed for various stakeholders to share ideas and have an informed discussion on a number of aspects facing South Africa’s foreign policy and specifically the role of the committee in exercising its oversight role as mandated by section 55(2) of the South African Constitution.
The year 2015 was a very challenging and unsettling year for the world where conflicts and the global economic downturn dominated the proceedings. Although it was a challenging year, there were positives, such as cooperation between some countries which was assisted by multilateral organizations namely the African Union (AU) and United Nations (UN).
Wildlife poaching flourishes where security and governance are weak. The revenues generated by this illegal business funds corruption, human trafficking, armed militant groups and other forms of crime. The illegal wildlife trade market has become a multibillion-dollar industry that has left some African species on the brink of extinction. This trade has been rated as the fourth most lucrative illegal business in the worldwith China rated first.
For the first time in 17 years the Venezuelan socialist Partido Sociolista Unido de Venezuela PSUV party under the leadership of Maduro lost its legislative majority in the December 2015 elections. Economic depression and high inflation rate led to the victory of the Mesa de la Unidad Democrática (MUD) opposition, comprised of a coalition of more than 20 parties. This piece serves to analyze the political atmosphere in Venezuela following the appointment of a new legislature.
With the recent accession to power by the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), through legislative elections, much has been said about Venezuela’s turn towards democracy and the overturn of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela’s (PSUV) control of the National Assembly, in the public and on social media. Therefore, it is crucial that democracy must be considered as a larger subset of governance systems, and the key desire of governance systems should be efficiency in service of its people regardless of political or ideological convictions. In other words, the debate should prioritise governance systems and their (in)efficiency in servicing the basic needs and dignity of their people instead of the common narrative of democracy versus the rest. This would allow for a more nuanced discussion that brings in issues of conflicting value-systems, misunderstanding of the application of law and rights and potentially forced cultural and systemic changes.