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The Global Economy Could Be In Trouble If UK Doesn’t Handle Brexit Carefully

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By Mousom Singha:

On June 23, 2016, the United Kingdom voted to opt out of the membership in the European Union. While this has a plethora of outcomes for the island nation and the Union it left behind, most of them are yet to be played out when Britain actually pulls out of the 28-member group, invoking, the much talked about, Article 50. Till such time, the stakeholders in the UK and outside, can only predict and adjust their course, in the continuation of their relationship with the latest non-member nation of the EU.

Britain has argued principally against the EU on its policy towards immigration. The leaders who headed the ‘Leave’ campaign had augmented their line of reasoning with issues of jobs, crime, finance, law and, of course, trade. While, each of these focus areas require an in-depth critical analysis, it is understandably out of scope for a single article. Such an analysis of these highly irregular variables would not do justice to the topic at hand. I’ll be looking into a specific industry and the market it commands around the globe: commodities, and even more specifically, base and precious metals.

The progressive growth of London as a centre of global finance has paved the way for many development stage companies and those graduating from the exploration focused markets overseas. Investments from UK’s shareholders and equity funds flow into the growth behind many large mining corporations from Australia, which in turn, base their operations in Africa for numerous mining products.

Following the results of the referendum, there has been a knee-jerk effect on the prices of the base metals and the stock indexes of the companies trading in this industry. Copper, nickel and other base metal prices plummeted as the dollar appreciated in the wake of the results. An extremely curious thing happened simultaneously. The price of gold rose. Gold has strengthened to a two-year high based on the closing prices on the futures market in New York. Historically, the prices of gold and the dollar usually moved in the opposite directions. Even the price of platinum has risen ever so slightly. Many speculators say that this growth is sentiment-driven. And they have just cause to say so. The prices of base metals which are consumption driven have not changed or changed for the worse.

The following chart shows the slight downward curve experienced by the companies mainly trading in base metals along with the FTSE 100 index. However, it is noticeable that the two companies trading mainly in gold have an upward curve:

The stock index variation of mining companies in the FTSE 100 following Brexit
The stock index variation of mining companies in the FTSE 100 following Brexit

 

Many supporters of the ‘Leave’ campaign feel that Britain’s links with the EU are holding it back from forging ties with emerging markets evidenced by the lack of any major deals with China or India. However, about 45 percent of the total export by Britain goes to the EU. Putting up trade barriers may prove to be counter-productive for the island nation. China is one of the major exports market for the EU. A slowdown in the EU economy with the leave of the UK may result in the unwanted slowdown in the Chinese economy. If things go down as such, a gloomy question looms over: will China then be interested in setting up deals with the UK enabling the latter to achieve its original objective?

However, as of now, most of the major mining companies feel strongly about continuing their presence in the UK. Many of these have their primary stock listing in the London Stock Exchange, prominent among them being BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Glencore. Even the Indian mining giant Vedanta Resources has its listing in London. The Russian company, Polyus Gold is the largest London-listed gold producer and has decided to stay on. The same cannot be said for Nord Gold NV, another Russian company, which is prospecting a listing shift to Toronto after Brexit.

Another perspective of focus is the environmental laws enforced by the EU. Most of the mining companies are notoriously infamous for their disregard of environmental laws. This behaviour was checked under the laws laid down by the EU which all its member states must abide by. EU’s environmental laws were the catalyst for the UK’s own environment related laws. The EU also conducts technological and scientific research in these areas and provides guidance on the implementation of these rules. With Brexit, the UK has to bear the cost for an independent study and the further enforcement of its law. Among other priorities, the environment, in the past, has often borne the brunt of lack of resources and time.

With so many open-ended questions, the future of Brexit is certainly very muddy to predict. Only time can tell, how Britain will cope with the crisis at hand.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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