Working Together to Prevent Storm Damage

 The international RAMPF Group is donating 5,000 euros to support the work of Verein zur Hagelabwehr im Landkreis Reutlingen (Cloud Seeding Association Reutlingen). This means the cloud seeding aircraft can be in action for 80 days in the coming storm season.

The storm of June 23, 2021, did more than cause significant damage in and around Reutlingen. It also brought back bad memories of July 28, 2013, when several hundred people were injured and vehicles, building fronts, roofs, and solar panels were battered by hailstones – some of which were as big as tennis balls.

Although the Verein zur Hagelabwehr im Landkreis Reutlingen was set up in 2014 in response to the storm of the century, its cloud seeding aircraft was not able to take off until early July in 2021. This was because the aircraft that the association hires was grounded due to engine damage.

“This can’t happen again. That’s why we are so reliant on donations from companies and private individuals, as these will ensure our pilots and aircraft are always ready to go throughout the storm season from May till September,” says Gabriele Gaiser, First Chairperson of the Association.

Donating as a gesture of solidarity

As things currently stand, finance is in place for 80 deployment days in 2022. “This means we’re ready to go from the beginning of June till mid-August,” says Franz Eisele, the Association’s Treasurer. However, he also indicates that he hopes more donations will come in to further expand the potential deployment time.

The international RAMPF Group, based in Grafenberg, is playing a part in this by donating 5,000 euros to the Association.

Matthias Rampf, CEO of the RAMPF Group, explains, “For one thing, the Association’s work is very important for us as a company. After all, extreme weather can affect our production reliability and cause considerable damage to buildings and vehicles. On top of that, this is a way for us to show our solidarity with the people of the Reutlingen district. After all, the cloud seeding aircraft could have significantly reduced the damage caused by the storms in 2013 and 2021.”


Benjamin Schicker




  • Corporate Social Responsibility

Working Together to End Gender-Based Violence

Gender-based violence continues to be far too prevalent in our society with 1 in 3 women and girls experiencing physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. With the devastating effects of COVID-19 all around the world, women and those in marginalized communities are even more at risk.  

I’ve seen firsthand the reverberating effects of gender-based violence on communities during my time working on federal gender and diversity initiatives in Canada. From my experience, the most effective way to make a difference is working together in a comprehensive, sustained way across government, business and the non-profit sectors to prevent, educate, and innovate. 

Uber has taken its commitment to improve safety in our industry and in our communities seriously. We continue to work with experts in safety and gender-based violence to refine our policies and processes so that we are a more survivor-centric company. We have pioneered a host of safety technology solutions that drivers and riders can tap into when using Uber. And we have led the way in safety transparency by making our safety record public through our first-of-its-kind US Safety Report. 

Last year, during the height of the pandemic, we partnered with domestic violence organizations and local governments around the world to provide more than 50,000 free rides to shelters and safe spaces, and more than 45,000 free meals.

This year to mark the UN’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, our teams around the globe are continuing to develop partnerships and initiatives geared toward doing our part to help end gender-based violence in the communities we serve: 

Australia & New Zealand

  • Expanded Driving Change initiative and partnerships to help women secure employment opportunities, further support the transgender community and dismantle the culture of street harassment with organizations including Australia Says NO MORE, RespectEd Aotearoa, and TOAH-NNEST.
  • Continuing the WESNET Rides Program which gives practical support to women as they rebuild their lives; from facilitating travel to or from shelters, to relocating families and enabling women to avoid their perpetrators.


  • Deepened and expanded partnerships with YWCA Canada, WomanACT, EVA BC and Le Chaînon to support survivors of domestic and gender-based violence through initiatives related to training, community building, safe housing and counseling.  


  • Launching a broad awareness campaign on gender-based violence and discrimination with riders as well as the wider general population in France.
  • Deploying mandatory video education for all active drivers developed with the help of NGO HandsAway in France.


  • Continuing and expanding Gender Sensitization Education in partnership with the Manas Foundation to meet our goal of reaching 100,000 drivers by the end of 2021. 
  • Partnered with NGO Breakthrough India for its first-ever research report on bystander behaviour and its role in making public spaces safer for Indian women.

Latin America 

  • Launching public educational videos and content developed by MeToo Brazil and ACTO in Mexico to riders and drivers about gender-based violence. Educational podcasts created by Efecto Boomerang in El Salvador and with GenderLab in Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia are also being deployed. 
  • Providing free rides for survivors of domestic violence and workers in Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico in partnership with the Ministry of Women, Genders and Diversity of Argentina, Avon Institute, Mujeres 2000, and the National Shelter Network.
  • Developed enhanced training for customer support agents in Brazil in partnership with MeToo. 
  • Partnering with Igarapé Institute in Brazil, Colombia and Mexico to maintain and update a platform with data about violence against women: EVA.
  • Working with Fondo Semillas to support women-led organizations in Mexico including community soccer tournaments for survivors of gender-based violence.
  • Worked with MeToo Brazil to offer support services and counseling for survivors of gender based violence.
  • Supported a victimization survey on violence against women conducted by the Brazilian Public Security Forum and a survey on women’s safety and commuting in cities with Patrícia Galvão Institute, Locomotiva Institute and UN Women consulting. 

Middle East 

  • Partnering with the KASHF Foundation in Pakistan, RES in Egypt, HarassMap International in the UAE, Qatar, Jordan, Bahrain and Lebanon, and Al Nahda in Saudi Arabia to develop and deploy education to riders and drivers about gender-based violence prevention. 

South Africa 

  • Expanding women’s empowerment and safety education in partnership with  UNFPA and deploying to riders and drivers. 

United Kingdom

  • Deploying sexual misconduct education to drivers and riders using the Uber platform. 
  • Launching a Women’s Safety social campaign that amplifies organisations helping make movement safer for women, while raising awareness of Uber’s safety features that help keep women safe on the platform. 
  • Partnering with domestic abuse charity Hestia to cover trips to their refuges, in support of their Fresh Start Toolkit, which brings businesses together to provide potentially lifesaving support to victims. Also working with Home Safe to cover trips for those that need it. 

United States

  • Provided free rides to domestic violence shelters and safe spaces for survivors of gender-based violence as part of Uber’s Driving Change Program. 
  • Developed a fund with that National Center for Transgender Equality for the trans community to help cover costs associated with updating names and gender on state and federal IDs and records. 
  • Launched the Industry Sharing Safety Program with Lyft to share account information related to drivers deactivated for serious safety incidents with peers. 

To learn more, you can visit

“Special Working Group on Startups and Innovation Needed” – Ms Anupriya Patel at SCO meeting.

In the 20th Meeting of SCO Ministers responsible for Foreign Economy and Foreign Trade held late yesterday and hosted by the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Minister of State (MoS) for Commerce and Industry, Smt. Anupriya Patel, in her intervention, stressed on the need for effective cooperation between SCO Member States for a balanced and equitable growth in trade and commerce. 

She proposed for creation of a new Special Working Group on Startups and Innovation and for setting up a new Expert Working Group on Cooperation in Traditional Medicine. 

She also stated that cooperation in the field of start-ups & innovation can be a focal point in reviving our economies from the consequences of the pandemic. With this in mind, she invited all SCO Member States to take part in the 2nd Start-up Forum on 27-28 October 2021, to be hosted by India. 

MoS highlighted that there is a significant gap in digital technologies between developed ang developing countries which needs to be narrowed down by building digital capacities. On the environment issues she welcomed the need for environment protection and mitigation of adverse effects of climate change, she also stressed that the climate agenda should not introduce measures which becomes unnecessary barriers to trade.

In her concluding remarks, Smt. Anupriya Patel emphasized that SCO members must prepare, act and stand in solidarity with each other and pursue an agenda that is equitable and inclusive and development oriented.

The virtual meeting was attended by the Secretary General of SCO and Heads of Delegations of China, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. 



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Hong Kong – Working Group on the Greater Bay Area Mediation Platform’s plaque unveiling ceremony held (with photos)

Working Group on the Greater Bay Area Mediation Platform’s plaque unveiling ceremony held (with photos)


     The plaque unveiling ceremony for the Working Group on the Greater Bay Area Mediation Platform (GBA Mediation Platform), established by the Guangdong, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) and Macao SAR legal departments, was held today (August 26). The event was officiated by the Director-General of the Department of Justice of Guangdong Province, Mr Chen Xudong; the Secretary for Justice, Ms Teresa Cheng, SC; and the Secretary for Administration and Justice of the Macao SAR Government, Mr Cheong Weng Chon.
     Ms Cheng said that the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) has been developing rapidly since the promulgation of the Outline Development Plan for the GBA. As the only common law jurisdiction within the country, Hong Kong can utilise the unique advantages under the “one country, two systems and three jurisdictions” in the GBA, and provide quality, effective and convenient legal services in the area in accordance with the development blueprint mapped out in the 14th Five-Year Plan.
     She said that during the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area Legal Departments Joint Conference held last year, the legal departments of the three places endorsed the Proposal to set up the GBA Mediation Platform as a co-operation platform for promoting mediation work, so as to enable better use of mediation by the business sector and the public in the area.
     Ms Cheng further said that the legal regulatory interface and connectivity in the GBA have yielded certain positive results. For instance, according to the Record of Meeting on Mutual Recognition of and Assistance to Bankruptcy (Insolvency) Proceedings between the Courts of the Mainland and the Hong Kong SAR signed in May this year, Shenzhen is one of the pilot areas that recognise insolvency proceedings in Hong Kong. Bankruptcy administrators from the Mainland may also apply to the High Court in Hong Kong for recognition of bankruptcy proceedings in the Mainland. In addition, the GBA Legal Professional Examination has been implemented with its inaugural examination held successfully on July 31.
     The inaugural meeting of the Working Group was held after the ceremony. During the meeting, qualification and accreditation standards for mediators in the GBA, best practices for mediators’ code of conduct, and guidelines for mediation rules applicable to cross-boundary disputes were discussed. The Working Group will also continue to actively promote the work of the GBA Mediation Platform.

Firms in PNG Lose 10 Working Days for Each Employee Every Year Due to Violence: IFC Study

New research shows family and sexual violence is costing employers in Papua New Guinea almost 10 days of work per employee each year, equating to a financial impact of PGK 7.3 million (US$2.1 million) for participating companies.

The research, revealed in the report Workplace Responses to Family and Sexual Violence in PNG: Measuring the Business Case​, underscores the vital role employers play in supporting staff impacted by family and sexual violence. The report by IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, in partnership with Business Coalition for Women, shows the cost of family and sexual violence to businesses is significantly reduced when businesses are more gender-equal and provide support for affected employees.

“This study underscores that businesses that are more gender equal, and which provide workplace support for those impacted by family and sexual violence, also see more positive results,” said Alfonso Garcia Mora, IFC Vice President for Asia and Pacific. “Put simply, this also means less acceptance of family and sexual violence, greater recognition of the impact of this violence on staff which leads to more reporting of cases, as well as ultimately fewer days lost to the impacts of family and sexual violence.”

This groundbreaking report, released at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating gender-based violence, also makes several key recommendations for businesses, such as implementing policies, procedures, and training to respond to family and sexual violence and help employees affected by violence. It also recommends regular awareness sessions to guide workplace responses to family and sexual violence and to let employees know of available help.

“We partnered with IFC on this important research because it directly contributes to our core aim of helping the private sector recruit, retain and promote women,” said Evonne Kennedy, Executive Director of the Business Coalition for Women (BCFW). “We are working with many major companies in PNG to address violence, promote women’s leadership and implement human resources policies and processes. With this research we want to encourage more businesses to introduce workplace support for staff affected by family and sexual violence.”

The research, based on a survey of 1,400 employees from three major companies, revealed businesses with gender-balanced workforces and lower acceptance of violence among employees had higher rates of reporting of violence, and reduced business costs. Acceptance of violence was up to 8 percentage points lower—where men and women comprised between 40 and 60 percent of the workforce—and reporting of violence was up to 6 percentage points higher. Further, the number of workdays estimated to be lost to the impacts of violence was up to 8.67 days lower per employee each year.

“Creating respectful workplaces that are free from all forms of violence and harassment is essential to ensure employee well-being and improve productivity while driving better business returns,” said Rachel Moseley, Acting Australian High Commissioner to PNG. “Effective measures to support staff who experience family and sexual violence may also help businesses reduce lost time, employee turnover, and strengthen women’s participation in the country’s workforce.”

“This is an important piece of research that comes at a crucial time when Papua New Guinea is also dealing with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, which unfortunately has only increased the incidence of gender-based violence,” said Phillip Taula, New Zealand High Commissioner to PNG. “This report is not only welcome as a document that can inform the business sector as to the social and financial implications of gender-based violence but which can also inspire positive action.”

Almost half of all respondents in the survey and 53 percent of all female respondents reported having experienced violence within their lifetimes.  A majority of participants affected by family and sexual violence (88 percent) experienced emotional abuse, harassment or intimidation by a family or household member, while 80 percent were threatened, and 72 percent physically assaulted by a family or household member. There are early signs that measures recently introduced by the three companies, such as a team of staff trained to support colleagues and a subscription to the Bel isi PNG support service are making positive differences. The impact was stronger for companies with a gender-balanced workforce.

Family and sexual violence harms the lives of people directly affected by it, their families, and their communities. Rates of violence against women and girls in the Pacific are higher than the global rate, with the World Health Organization estimating 31 percent of ever-partnered women in PNG have experienced violence within the last 12 months. COVID-19-related lockdowns further reduced access to basic needs, increasing financial stress and social isolation and limiting the ability to escape abusive partners.

IFC partnered with BCFW, a non-profit organization established in 2014 by IFC—with funding from the Australian government—to conduct a two-year research project to better understand how companies in PNG can support employees affected by family and sexual violence.

About the PNG Partnership
IFC’s work in Papua New Guinea is guided by the PNG Partnership. Australia, New Zealand and IFC are working together through the Partnership to stimulate private sector investment and reduce poverty in Papua New Guinea.

About IFC
IFC—a member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2020, we invested $22 billion in private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit

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