COMMENTARY: Responding to Shifting Trends in International Cooperation

12 04 2012

by Sebastian Reichman
ASSIST Intern
University of Applied Sciences Krems

A fundamental shift in the language landscape of international cooperation has taken place. In the 2005 Paris Declaration of OECDs “High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness”, the word ‘aid’ is mentioned 57 times, whereas ‘cooperation’ is only used twice. In the Busan Declaration of 2011, however, a reversal of pattern can be observed: ‘aid’ appears six times, and ‘cooperation’, 41 times.

This shift goes beyond simple word-games, as it reflects a deep change in the very nature of the process of development cooperation. Besides promoting solidarity and human rights, it is vital for solving global problems, such as food security and climate change. These problems are borderless in nature and require coordinated, global action to tackle, and the one-sided process of giving aid simply does not grasp the requirement for comprehensive cooperation society faces nowadays.

Development cooperation can also be seen as a contribution to the highly globalized world we nowadays find ourselves in. As a fact, globalization knows winners and losers and those who benefit face the moral obligation to share their dividends with those who lose.

The need to address climate change also calls to mind the concept of climate justice. Western countries had their phase of industrial revolution – a period of extremely high pollution – at a time when carbon emissions hardly received attention. However, this is not a thing of the past, as countries in the northwestern hemisphere still emit about 55% of the global emissions, while comprising merely one-fifth of the world’s population. Now that developing countries find themselves in a state of industrial development, bringing about improved living standards, it would be two-faced to deny them this progress.
Furthermore, growth’s meaning differs based on the socio-economic context. In the North, growth often refers to greater purchasing power or higher living standards, but in developing countries, it is a matter of life and death, of survival.

Scientific consensus proves that the current situation simply does not allow pollution at current levels if global warming is to be limited to 2 degrees Celsius. Henceforth Western countries face the moral imperative to employ their expertise in order to pursue this development on a sustainable basis. This can be achieved through bilateral aid and/or by supporting organizations that engage in the campaign to achieve development in sustainable terms.

The beneficiaries of achievements in this context are by no means the partners in developing countries only. In the same way challenges such as climate change do not know any borders, the alleviation of such problems as hunger, poverty, human rights violations and social injustice do not know any either. It is what economists like to call spillover benefits, where countries benefit from the world being a better place.

Partnerships for cooperation come in all shapes and sizes, but Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) in particular are emerging as effective means of generating and promoting innovation and entrepreneurial development.

By participating in public-private partnerships companies are able to improve their reputations, achieve product differentiation (think fair trade) and foster a sense of corporate identity. Beyond these benefits, companies simply have to react to consumer demands, as consumers increasingly require companies to deliver more than just good quality at a good price.

In addition, globalization and technological advancements increased public awareness for the imperative of development cooperation. Organizations can now deliver their messages in a far more comprehensive and sophisticated way, and the public responds as the world’s grievances transform from words into images and videos. This perfectly coincides with a broader realization of the process of globalization, which in turn inspires people to grasp the need for coordinated action.

But as promising these partnerships may be, there are challenges ahead which may be rooted in differences in ideology and values between the partners, the cultural and geographical distance, politically-loaded relationships and fragile social trust, among others.

Thankfully, organizations like ASSIST are emerging to help respond to these challenges, through their comprehensive capabilities in conceiving and handling projects to address the needs of the society. They can bring together appropriate partners, experts, relevant grants and civil society organizations, to make the vision of sustainable development a reality.#





ASSIST energy efficiency initiative LEAP Indonesia holds Train the Trainer workshops

11 04 2012

Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST) energy efficiency initiative Leapfrog towards Efficiency And Progress through Low Carbon Economy Indonesia (LEAP) held Train-the-Trainer Workshops last March 26 to 30, 2012 Hotel Ibis Slipi in Jakarta Indonesia.

Benchmarked on international standards and best practices such as ISO 50001, the training aims to build capacity of energy professionals in Indonesia by creating a pool of local trainers on energy management systems. Among the topics covered are carbon footprint calculation, GHG inventory, and energy management systems.

LEAP Indonesia is a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project designed to help the businesses from five sectors (Cement, Iron and Steel, Textile, Power Plant and Palm Oil) 1) reduce their Green House Gas emissions, 2) become more energy-efficient and 3) contribute to the national plans of the government towards low-carbon economy.

The initiative is co-financed by PT TUV NORD Indonesia and German development bank DEG. ASSIST offers technical expertise, training and technical assistance to local companies for this project.

Another batch of training is currently being held in Medan, set at April 9 to 13.

The workshop was facilitated by ASSIST Partnerships and Network Management Director Kamesh Ganeson and Triyono Adiputra. Ganeson is a sought-after expert on Enterprise Risk Management, Energy Management Systems, Six Sigma Implementation, Business Continuity Management, Strategic Business Planning, Balanced Scorecard Implementation, Innovative Problem Solving and Decision Making (TRIZ, Theory of Constraints, 8D, K-T), Business Process Re-engineering, Value Analysis & Engineering, and Complaints Management. Meanwhile, Mr. Adiputra is a lead consultant for several Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects in Indonesia, and has a master’s degree in Environmental Management.

Participants include representatives of pilot companies from cement, iron and steel, and power industries: Holcim, Merpati Balap Sakti, Indonesia Power Gunung Salak, Siemens Indonesia, Indonesia Power (Suralaya), Jawa Power, Indo Raya Kimia.

Local papers Jurnal Medan, Sumut Pos and Bisnis Sumatra are also featuring the initiatives.#





LEAP Indonesia Project holds multistakeholder dialogues

13 02 2012

Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST) and PT TUV NORD Indonesia conducted multistakeholder dialogues in Jakarta and Medan, Indonesia last January 19 and 26, 2012 for the initiative Leapfrog towards Efficiency And Progress through Low Carbon Economy Indonesia (LEAP).

LEAP Indonesia is a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project designed to help the businesses from five sectors (Cement, Iron and Steel, Textile, Power Plant and Palm Oil) 1) reduce their Green House Gas emissions, 2) become more energy-efficient and 3) contribute to the national plans of the government towards low-carbon economy.

The initiative is co-financed by PT TUV NORD Indonesia and German development bank DEG. ASSIST offers technical expertise, training and technical assistance to local companies for this project.

Through the activity, the project implementers sought to: 1. Strengthen commitment to work together to achieve the goals and objectives of the project; 2. Provide an opportunity for accessing expertise and experience on how best to carry out the capacity-building phase of the project; 3. Generate inputs on the proposed training outline and topics to be covered; 4. Determine optimum strategies for recruiting training participants that will be developed as local trainers; 5. Identify complementarities and synergies with existing efforts and initiatives from government and other stakeholders.

Based on the inputs from the multistakeholder dialogues, training materials and technical assistance for the project would be fine-tuned. #

 





SAFE Cambodia conducts Gap Analysis of pilot companies

17 01 2012

The SAFE Cambodia Structured Program to Achieve Food Safety Excellence in Cambodia initiative conducted a Gap Analysis among nine pilot companies in Phnom Penh, Kompong Thom and Battambang last Dec. 12 to 17, 2011.

A Public-Private Partnership (PPP) initiative of TUV Rheinland and  Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST), it seeks to instill mass awareness on international food safety and cleanliness standards amongst local SMEs operating in the agriculture and fishery industry.

For the Gap Analysis, project partners TUV Rheinland and ASSIST assessed the companies’ capacity in implementing the international standards Good Manufacturing Practices, Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points (HACCP) and Food Safety Management System (FSMS)/ ISO 22000).

Following this activity, Project Consultant Ma. Lourdes Mangaban will develop the action plan for the companies to ensure compliance of their documentation and records to requirementsof GMP and HACCP.

The action plan will outline the steps to take, to prepare the participating companies for the rigorous certification process.

Pilot companies include caterers, water bottlers, and farm produce distributors.#





ASSIST holds awareness sessions for Vietnam’s textile, garment and leather manufacturers

9 12 2011

Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST) held three awareness sessions for the CONSERV (Conservation of Environment Resources in Vietnam) Public Private Partnership (PPP) Project last November 23, 24 and 25 in Ho Chi Minh, Bien Hoa and Long An.


CONSERV is an initiative co-financed by German donor DEG and implemented by PUMA SE and ASSIST. It seeks to promote resource efficiency and waste management practices among Vietnam’s textile, garment and leather factories. The 17-month project will feature awareness-raising and capacity-building whilst also contributing to sustainable development in the country.

Designed to support suppliers in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, protecting vulnerable natural resources and minimizing waste and pollution, project gathered members of Vietnam’s textile, garment and leather industries (TGL) from the suppliers of major sports brand PUMA.


The participants listened to seminars on resource efficiency as well as cleaner production techniques. By March 2012, CONSERV will also hold Training of Trainer (ToT) workshops and develop o Body of Knowledge on Resource Efficiency and Waste Management. #





SAFE Cambodia TOTs tackle Hazard Analysis for Food Industry Practitioners

22 11 2011

Structured Program to Achieve Food Safety Excellence in Cambodia (SAFE Cambodia), a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) initiative of TUV Rheinland and  Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST) conducted a training of trainers (TOT) for Food Industry Practitioners on October 3 to 8 in Siem Reap, and October 10 to 15 in Phnom Penh.

Focusing on the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) module, the session featured an introduction to the approach, the prerequisite programs (PRPs), and the extensive discussion on the 12 logical steps to its application and implementation.

The HACCP training aimed to equip the food safety trainers with the skills at system implementation. These were reinforced through a combination of lectures as well as group discussions and workshops which covered each of the steps on hazard analysis, and the process for developing a per-product HACCP plan.

Coming from Siem Reap, Battambang, and Kompong Thom, the participants were representatives of the rice and vegetable farming, water purification, fisheries, food service sectors. #





ASSIST and TUV NORD launch LEAP Project in three key cities of Indonesia

16 11 2011

Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST) and TUV NORD kicked off the Leapfrog towards Efficiency And Progress through Low Carbon Economy Indonesia (LEAP) last November 7, 9 and 11 in Surabaya, Jakarta and Medan, respectively.

LEAP Indonesia is a Public-Private Partnership initiative designed to help the businesses from five sectors (Cement, Iron and Steel, Textile, Power Plant and Palm Oil) 1) reduce their Green House Gas emissions, 2) become more energy-efficient and 3) contribute to the national plans of the government towards low-carbon economy.

In particular, the project supports the Indonesian Government’s commitment to reduce 26% of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2020.

TÜV NORD Indonesia President Director Robert Napitupulu welcomed the participants, while ASSIST Projects and Grants Management Director Sathappan Sathappan provided a project overview. For his part, Mr. Gunardi of the Ministry of Environment discussed the country’s effort at reducing Indonesia’s carbon footprint.

The launch sessions generated interest among the local companies to adopt energy management systems benchmarking ISO 50001, towards reducing their GHG emissions and contribute to the switch towards a low-carbon economy.

Representatives of local and multinational companies, as well as universities and local chambers (EKONID, KADIN, and PAKLIM), attended the event. The local chambers and universities will be helping build the local capacity in the field of energy.

Multi-stakeholder sessions will be held in the coming months to create a roadmap for the LEAP program which will be followed by technical training sessions early next year.

LEAP is co-financed by PT TUV NORD Indonesia and German development bank DEG. ASSIST will play the role of a lead implementation partner by providing technical expertise, training and technical assistance to local companies.

DEG Representative Office Jakarta Hans-Jürgen Hertel and PAKLIM’s (Program Advis Kebijakan untuk Perlindungan Lingkungan Hidup dan Iklim (Policy Advice for Environment and Climate Change) Dr. Joyce Miller also attended the event. #








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