Topics

Democracy & Dialogue

The Heinrich Böll Foundation supports Indian civil society actors to create platforms for dialogue on democracy, especially including voices of those who find themselves at the periphery; geographically, socially and culturally.

Mizo National Front Fighter in the 1960s
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A new film titled “Rambuai, Mizoram’s Trouble Years” documents the story of armed uprising and violence in the state 1966-86, how finally peace was made, and how people in Mizoram today talk about this traumatic period of their history. A review by Chok Tsering.

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The repression of NGOs and other civil society groups increases worldwide, which leads to a decline of democratic freedom. This issue should be added to the agenda of national parliaments and multilateral organizations.

Gender & Socio-Economic Policies

Public policy, having a tremendous impact on everyday life, affects men and women differently; and yet gender remains the most unattended dimension of much public policy. Gender continues to be an underdeveloped area in research and, even more, in political practice. In India, there has been progress in gendering policy with gender budgeting and training/creating awareness on gender issues, as well as (limited) gender audits at the institutional level. Still, there is far to go, as gender has not become central to policy and little inclusion has been done from the point of its ‘lived effects’.

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Interview Urvashi Butalia is one of India’s foremost feminists. On the occasion of her receiving Germany’s Goethe Medal on August 28, 2017 in Weimar, we have talked to her about her work as a publisher, feminism, writing and politics in India.

Women Leaders at CSW61
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The annual session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women brought governments and activists together to deliberate on women’s economic empowerment worldwide. A report from New York by Shalini Yog and Axel Harneit-Sievers.

Climate & Resources

India is going to be affected strongly by climate change, with impacts especially upon the agricultural sector and the country’s coastlines. Climate change has been on the national policy agenda since 2007, being integrated into mainstream policy framework through planning processes on national and state levels. India continues to be a major actor in the international climate negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

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Amitav Ghosh’s new book “The Great Derangement” examines climate change and climate policy from unusual perspectives. It is bound to get much international attention because it asks some fundamental new questions concerning the handling of climate change in literature and activist politics, and because it represents a well-known voice from Asia.

Globally, political leaders are lauding the acceptance of the global and legally binding Paris Agreement on Climate Change at COP21 as a historical moment. It achieves a goal long believed unattainable. However, judged against the enormity of the challenge and the needs and pressure from people on the ground demanding a global deal anchored in climate justice, the Paris Agreement can only be called a disappointment.

International & Globalization

Civil society activists have to confront the new context of international relations and co-operation, wherein questions of foreign, security and developmental policy are becoming increasingly intertwined. Given this background, with this objective of raising interest and consciousness of these linkages, HBS India facilitates monitoring, analyses, debates, publications and seminars on the subject.

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The on-going meeting of the 21st Century Panglong Conference of Myanmar is expected to bring together all ethnic nationalities and government negotiators to build a democratic federal union. A keynote addressed by former Indian Ambassador to Myanmar, Gautam Mukhopadhya at a conference on "Federalism and India-Myanmar Relations" in Mizoram.

Repression of civil society is on the rise all over the world, even in some democratic countries. Especially activists and organisations working for democracy, human rights, and social and environmental justice are under pressure. A Civic Charter, developed in consultation with civil society actors from all over the world and launched in October, aims to support civil society organizations as activists to advocate for their rights and freedom of action.