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Thursday, October 20, 2016

New UN Manual Empowers Indigenous Peoples

Empowerment through Sustainability

This is an important article for us to share with our readers because it creates international participatory engagement with potentially independent cultures and offers indigenous nations authority and rights over their territories. The problem we have detected is that indigenous peoples who fail to take up their rights and become sustainable through active stakeholder participation in the United Nations SDGs and Agenda 2030 risk being left behind and having their nation-state control their territories and operate in the stead of territorial concessions. Learn more about becoming a stakeholder in the United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development by becoming a member with Globcal International.

A new UN manual gives more say to indigenous peoples in development projects that affect them.

Download the UN Manual

10 October 2016 – The United Nations agricultural agency today unveiled a new manual that seeks to ensure that indigenous peoples, custodians of more than 80 per cent of global biodiversity, are able to freely give or deny their consent in development interventions that affect their natural resources or their way of life.

The UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) Manual on Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) outlines essential steps that should be followed so that Indigenous Peoples are able to participate in a manner that is free of coercion and with the necessary information in a development project – from its design to sharing its achievements after it has been completed – prior to any decisions having been made.

“None of us would allow someone to come to our home and start any activity of any kind without our agreement,” said Marcela Villarreal, Director of FAO Office for Partnerships, Advocacy and Capacity Building, in a news release today, explaining the concept of FPIC.

“It is shocking that in the 21st century, [there is an] underlying understanding that there are different rights for different human beings. […] This is de facto marginalization by dividing rights for first and second class citizens,” she added.

According to FAO, there are about 370 million indigenous individuals living in more than 90 countries, estimated to make up 75 percent of the world's cultural diversity and speaking well over half of the world's 7,000 surviving languages.

However, over the past decades, they have been facing mounting challenges related to their livelihoods, respect for their rights and spiritual beliefs, and access to lands, natural resources and territories.

Furthermore, mounting pressures from some extraction industries in some parts of the world are placing them at great peril.

FAO said today that a constant variable in all the actions that lead to forced displacement and destruction of their natural resources is the lack of respect for their FPIC right.

Datu Rico Pedecio, head of the Manobo Tribe in Leyte, Philippines. Following the devastation of typhoon Haiyan, the Manobo replanted valuable forest areas and gardens destroyed by the storms. Photo: FAO/Rommel Cabrera

The right of Indigenous Peoples to FPIC has also been acknowledged in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted by the General Assembly in September 2007.

Indigenous knowledge vital for sustainable development

The importance of indigenous peoples' traditional knowledge systems and their contributions to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as in combatting climate change is receiving greater attention.

This point was noted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his address to the Arctic Circle Assembly this weekend. FAO also highlighted this importance.

In today's news release, speaking specifically on food security and combatting malnutrition, the agency noted: “Indigenous Peoples' food systems can help the rest of humanity expand its narrow food base, currently reliant on only a small set of staple crops.”

“Additionally, by protecting forest resources, many indigenous communities help mitigate the negative impacts of climate change,” it added.

Publisher's Note: This article was published from the United Nations News Center to inform our members of current activities and opportunities with the United Nations. The information in the article presented may not be valid for all indigenous nations or tribes because of current government or state treaties with some tribes as dependents, it may be necessary for those who are subject citizens or national residents to organize cooperative businesses that can enable them to operate independently to overcome their nation or state with understanding. Those interested in developing balanced international authority and claiming their international rights under the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples should contact Globcal International to learn how to become more autonomous and sovereign to represent themselves better within the international theater.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

New Partnership Financing for SDGs

UN leader announces launch of new partnership platform to support financing for the Sustainable Development Goals

At UN Headquarters, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses the High-level meeting on Financial Solutions for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). UN Photo/Amanda Voisard

10 October 2016 – Announcing the launch today of a new platform for scaling up innovative finance solutions to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the initiative can help in identifying and piloting innovative finance instruments that can drive investment and support well thought-out SDG interventions.

“Financial actors and institutions are already beginning to develop solutions for attracting private capital in support of the 2030 Agenda [for Sustainable Development],” Mr. Ban told a meeting with high-level officials from Ministries of finance and foreign affairs, together with leaders from major global financial institutions at UN Headquarters today.

Titled 'Financial solutions for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),' the gathering showcased the initiatives and examples from around the world on how best business and the financial services sector can engage in the SDG process and transform markets.

Mr. Ban said that the proposed multi-stakeholder Financial Innovation Platform would support the identification and piloting of innovative finance instruments, and would engage key development actors, including Governments, civil society, philanthropic organizations, entrepreneurs, institutional investors, banks, project developers and development finance institutions.

Mr. Ban, who will step down as the top UN official when his tenure ends on 31 December, expressed hope that the Platform will provide the best possible know-how to support the efforts by the incoming Secretary-General.

“Sustainability and stability of the financial system are mutually reinforcing,” he said, emphasizing the importance of reorienting existing financial flows to sustainable objectives so that investors will reap the benefits in the form of secure markets and thriving consumers.

That is why Governments, gathering in Addis Ababa in July 2015, adopted an an action agenda aimed at creating policy and regulatory environments that provide incentives for long-term and sustainable investments, he added.

According to Mr. Ban, the financial sector, spearheaded by companies such as Aviva, is promoting the creation of international benchmarks while the World Bank Treasury Office is issuing innovative financial instruments that are generating new investment opportunities.

Efforts are now needed to build on these initiatives, and the United Nations can play “a catalytic role” and intends to create a venue where leaders from all sectors, including government, can join forces, learn from each other and align their actions for greater collective effect, the Secretary-General said.

Many new ideas and solutions are already in play. International Housing Solutions, a global private equity investor, is using both catalytic and commercial capital investors to make green homes affordable to a wide population in Sub-Saharan Africa. CEO Michael Falcone said at the meeting that the creation of a UN platform will help to expand affordable green homes across the region.

“We are engaged in nothing less than the transformation of global capital markets,” said Mark Wilson, Group CEO of Aviva, an international insurance and investment company. “That demands major change. “If business isn't sustainable then society is at risk and if society isn't sustainable then business is at risk. So it's just enlightened self-interest for business to support the SDGs,” he said.

"While there are many pathways forward to achieve the SDGs, one thing is clear: business as usual is not an option to close the $2.5 trillion annual funding gap in developing countries alone," said Judith Rodin, President, The Rockefeller Foundation. "To realize the SDGs we need to foster a new era of collaboration and coordination, and the UN Secretary-General has unprecedented convening power to do this by bringing together leaders from different sectors,” she stressed.

The concept of a new multi-stakeholder forum to help finance progress on the Goals emerged following the 2015 Financing for Development Conference that took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. At that Conference, world leaders called for creative and innovative solutions by the private sector to scale-up investments in activities that contribute to the sustainable development.

It is now clear to many in the finance sector, that there are new demands of the marketplace as well as shareholders seeking sustainable investments. This is why a new framework for sustainable investing is needed. The know-how that is being made available within the finance sector will be shared and made accessible: the platform will accelerate solutions and encourage scale up.

For more information and to receive regular updates about the United Nations and the Sustainable Development Goals please subscribe to my personal Google News feed or you can subscribe to Globcal International's United Nations SDGs official syndicated feed. 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Indigenous American Indians in the United States

Indigenous American Indians: Discrimination, a Pipeline and Columbus Day

Article by Chaker Khazaal, Writer, Reporter, Speaker

“Few have been ignored by Washington for as long as Native Americans.” 

Almost exactly one month after mass protests spurred government intervention in the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), the United States’ observance of Columbus Day is a timely reminder that there is still much work to be done to preserve and restore Indigenous American Indian culture.

Columbus Day has been observed in the U.S. every October since 1937 to celebrate the day Christopher Columbus “discovered” the new world—except that he was actually quite far from being the first person to settle in North America. And let’s not forget that his “discovery” set off a chain of events that would ultimately lead to the decimation of most of the Indigenous American people, their land and their culture.

I spoke with Western Cherokee medicine man Jason Rios, one of the thousands of Indigenous American Indians who stood in peaceful protest of the pipeline, which they say will disrupt waters and lands sacred to their people. The pipeline protest is perhaps the most significant since a 1970’s protest connected to the Wounded Knee Massacre, where hundreds of their ancestors (mostly unarmed elders, women and children) were shot 'in mass' by U.S. forces on their reservation in South Dakota over a century ago.
Columbus Day is a timely reminder that there is still much work to be done to preserve and restore Indigenous American Indian culture.
Rios, who is also a father of three and a leader of an independent branch of the Oklevueha Native American Church, told me that the pipeline and the observance of Columbus Day are just two of many ways in which the United States government continues to neglect to recognize his people’s culture.

“It reeks of a repeat of Wounded Knee almost 100 years later, and we have the FBI, National Guard, mercenaries and more all out there against peaceful and prayerful water protectors who are only engaging in non-violent direct action,” Rios said. “We still have genocide occurring today, but carried out on paper, as the pen is mightier than the sword with blood quantums.”

Rios went on to mention Leonard Peltier, an Indigenous American activist who many believe was wrongfully imprisoned on murder charges after the Wounded Knee protests over 40 years ago. While the government has yet to budge on releasing Peltier from his life sentence, the DAPL victory is a step in the right direction for Indigenous Americans hoping to use passionate but peaceful protest methods to make their voices heard.

“[The protest] was truly life-changing,” Rios told me. “It solidified, for me, all that I’ve been doing and working towards my entire life. I stood in solidarity with over 200 Indigenous nations against big corporations, big oil, and against an oppressive government.”

While President Obama’s move to block further construction of the pipeline was certainly surprising, it wasn’t the first time he’s made an effort to help rebuild relations with Rios and his people. Along with praising the president for his action regarding the pipeline, Indigenous American Indian leaders also credited him for keeping his promises while meeting at Obama’s final White House Tribal Nations Conference last week.

“Few have been ignored by Washington for as long as Native Americans—the first Americans,” Obama was quoted as saying during his 2008 candidacy.

“People talk about the genocide of the Jews—2 million people, mercilessly slaughtered. People talk about Syria and the hundreds of thousands killed there,” Rios said. “And yet nobody wants to talk about the 500 million Indigenous American Indians that were slaughtered in genocide on this land of ours.”

It’s hard to argue Rios’ point, especially if you consider the current state of Indigenous American Indian reservations. According to the Pew Research Center, the poverty rate at some reservations is nearly triple the national average. They also have higher rates of homelessness and high school dropouts.

According to the True Sioux Hope Foundation, the 29,000 Indigenous people on their reservation are living in third-world conditions. Their website states that the average home has nearly 20 people living inside of it, with over 90 percent of the reservation’s residents living unemployed and below the poverty line.

Furthermore, government healthcare provided for Indigenous American Indians has been described by one U.S. Senator as grossly underfunded and “horrifying.” Despite having little money, Rios and his church provide all of the goods and services to their patients free of charge.

“I got very sick in 2008-2009 and with the housing crisis, it resulted in me losing our home, having to file medical bankruptcy, and having my vehicle repossessed,” Rios told me. “Fast-forward to today... I’m homeless in the sense that I don’t have my own place, but we are staying at my mother’s until we get our own. Yet, I choose not to go back into the corporate world and be a slave in their system.”

Instead, Rios opts to devote his time to traveling coast-to-coast with his “elder” Carlo Hawk Walker on behalf of his church to provide free ceremonial and medicinal services to those who need it most.

“Carlo is the 6th Keeper of Sitting Bull’s Pipe,” Rios mentioned. Sitting Bull was an iconic Indigenous American chief and medicine man, so possessing a pipe associated with him carries significant honor and respect. “He is also a Sundancer, Sundance Chief, Peace Maker, and a Medicine Man,” Rios said, adding later that Carlo is also a Vietnam veteran.

Rios and Carlo work with other independent church branches and members to raise goods, as well as utilizing tax-deductible donations to ensure everything is cost-free for their patients. Unfortunately, their work is often impeded by outsiders that are either ignorant of or unwilling to accept native customs and traditions.
[We must] keep the widespread discrimination against Indigenous American culture in the spotlight as we continue to approach the day commemorating the genocide of their people.
As registered native medicine men, Rios and Carlo almost always travel with a sacred medicine bag containing natural herbs, medicines, and various other items used for native religious ceremonies—some of which are not legal for an ‘ordinary citizen’ to carry. While all Indigenous American Indians are legally exempt from laws prohibiting the possession of things like eagle feathers, only registered churches such as Rios’ can utilize the religious exemption from laws banning the transport of plants like peyote or marijuana. Rios must carry nearly 100 documents with him in his healing bag at all times to prove the authenticity of his medicines, his church’s practices, and his various other cultural belongings.

“When I travel, I travel as a medicine man at large, and through our organizations, I should be considered an Ambassador,” he explained. “Even outside of U.S. Law, there are international laws for Indigenous People. So in dealing with me, all agencies have a different set of rules that they have to abide by.”

It seems clear that all parties would benefit from a universal standard for safe travel of Indigenous religious leaders, or a pre-screening program such as NEXUS to expedite the travel of Indigenous American holy men and cultural practitioners. Without this, Rios and other native holy representatives are often held up, subjected to lengthy and humiliating searches, or denied access completely—even when they have the appropriate paperwork.

Rios recalls a recent instance when a member of their church asked him and his associate Aleka Bassett to visit and treat the church member’s wife at an ICU in Michigan.

Rios said that he and Bassett made the trip to Michigan to treat a fellow church member’s wife, who they were told might not have much time left. After arriving in their patient’s room and confirming with its shared occupant that she was comfortable with them practicing their medicines (there is no smoke, drugs or singing involved) and rituals, they began to go to work healing their patient. Before long, however, their work was disrupted by hospital staff unsure of what was taking place.

“We were ultimately escorted out of the hospital by the acting director and a three-team security detail,” Rios said. “They were on the phone with their legal department and still trying to figure everything out. The patient’s husband had to leave, too.”

“If it were a Christian patient in the hospital bed, the hospital would not only have welcomed but encouraged a priest to come in,” Rios continued. “But as Indigenous People, our spiritual leaders are kicked out with three-team security details.”

Rios’ experience is not an isolated one. Another medicine man, Chief Arlen Dumas, recently filed a formal complaint against an aggressive security guard who harassed and accused him of smuggling drugs through an airport earlier this year. Dumas had been traveling home with his 16-year-old son who was born with cystic fibrosis and was on his way to receive a medical check up for a recent double-lung transplant.

It’s important that we keep the widespread discrimination against Indigenous American culture in the spotlight as we continue to approach the day commemorating the genocide of their people. Rios and other activists know they must continue to fight for change. The Hill reported on Monday that five of the biggest labor unions in the country representing over 3 million workers are asking the government to once again allow construction on the DAPL to resume.

“I can go on forever about what is transpiring and how deep this goes,” Rios said of the pipeline. “It’s a shame.”

“But there is no greater cause nor any greater honor than to make this stand, as it is for all life and all future generations to come. It is for the preservation of our way of life, culture, heritage, as well as for our ancestors.”

This article is a "re-post" from the Huffington Post, written by Chaker Khazaal the views and content presented are based on the author's original research and are not necessarily those of Globcal International.

Editors Commentary: 

When people defy "common knowledge and understanding" with ignorance in the light of the truth they are considered either rebels, corrupt or perhaps are just downright uneducated! This may be the case when it comes to a majority of the United States House of Representatives, the United States Senate and the President of the United States, Barack Obama through their continued recognition of Columbus Day during our contemporary era of human rights and social justice.

Leaders are supposed to serve the population democratically through the representation of the people's collective will and majority vote, anytime this balance gets out of line through state-sponsored propaganda by considering the will of one group that is lesser than another corruption is taking place, it is plain and simple.

They believe they are somehow excused from perpetuating falsehoods because they see 'good works' funding (100s of millions of dollars) from some of the oldest and most respected religious organizations in the United States to ignore the academic reality of history, even notable historians and the same people's social justice movement they instigated. It is a total sham and a huge embarrassment to be involved or support their so-called misguided innocence which is translated to justified ignorance considering the preponderance of information to the contrary from the most respected universities and institutions in the world.

If we dig deeper we discover that some of the universities themselves are being quiet as well because they also receive charitable funding to keep quiet about Christopher Columbus and his genocidal campaign against the Indigenous peoples almost 525 years ago when he actually fed his dogs 'live' indigenous people. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Peace is More Popular than War

Download the Building Blocks for Peace poster.

Celebrate the International Day of Peace

On the International Day of Peace, 21 September 2016, let us create an effective teamwork for the betterment of our future, for the planet and for the human race.

We get daily reports on human rights abuses, violence, wars and injustice around the world. This is very sad facts, but we must continue to believe in the goodness of man. We must continue to believe that we all together can make a change.

Let us try to see all the people in the world as a big team where we all work together in a teamwork and make efforts to reach our common goals. This is what world leaders did in September 2015, when leaders from 193 countries came together at an historic UN Summit to sign the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

This agenda includes 17 different goals, The Sustainable Development Goals, as follows:
  • Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere.
  • Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.
  • Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.
  • Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning.
  • Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
  • Goal 6: Ensure access to water and sanitation for all.
  • Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
  • Goal 8: Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all.
  • Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.
  • Goal 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries.
  • Goal 11: Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
  • Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.
  • Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
  • Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources.
  • Goal 15: Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss.
  • Goal 16: Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies.
  • Goal 17: Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

I think we all can agree that these are very important goals. With these goals in our mind, let us start to make common efforts for the betterment of our future. Each one of us is an important and necessary part of this teamwork. What we do counts. Small act or big act - it does not matter. The most important thing is that we all take action together. Action is needed to make things happen. Let us start today to spread awareness about these 17 Sustainable Development Goals. These are our goals for a better future for us all. Our goals for a better future for our planet, which we all desperately depend on. Let us take care of each other and protect all living creatures!

Global Citizenship

for the sake of Peace

I would like to take this occasion to promote Global Citizenship, because I believe in Global Citizenship for the sake of peace. There have been too many nationalist communities in the human history, leading to decline and destruction. This is one of the reasons why I believe in Global Citizenship as our global solution. The Global Citizenship Registry is a program initiated by David Wright and Globcal International. It is a program where we all have the chance to come together in a big, global family, where we all share our responsibility for our planet and our human race. We all have our universal human rights in common. Each member of this great big family is an equal. We believe that intercultural understanding, tolerance, nonviolence and mutual respect all are important building stones in our big mosaic of peace.

Our Global Citizenship program is developed to work in partnership with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Global Citizenship has become our vehicle for attaining them. Every single one who is signing up for the Global Citizenship Registry get access to a great amount of educational and informational material. And education is, as we all know, of great importance for lasting peace.

By signing the Global Citizenship Pledge, we promise:
to maintain a neutral worldview free of religious, political, national, racial or tribal favoritism or discrimination.
to promote intercultural understanding, tolerance, nonviolence and mutual respect.
to promote a global ethic of citizenship and shared responsibility.
to work for the full implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
to protect the planet from degradation, including through sustainable consumption and production and sustainably managing its natural resources.
to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
to protect human rights and promote equality.
to live in peace and harmony with all other citizens and settlements.

The Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks for Peace

The International Day of Peace is observed on 21 September. The day’s theme for 2016 is “The Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks for Peace.” Every single one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals is a building block in the global architecture of peace. The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for the day is:

“The people of the world have asked us to shine a light on a future of promise and opportunity. Member States have responded with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development… It is an agenda for people, to end poverty in all its forms. An agenda for the planet, our common home. An agenda for shared prosperity, peace and partnership. “

In the society of today, we face many challenges such as poverty, hunger, diminishing natural resources, water scarcity, social inequality, human rights abuses, violence, environmental degradation, diseases, corruption, racism and xenophobia. Every single one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals can be seen as solutions to overcome these challenges. Let us use the blocks to build our peaceful society today. We are all in this fragile world together. We need to protect our planet and take good care of each other.

May Peace prevail on Earth.

Article by Maria Veneke Ylikomi, Goodwill Ambassador, Globcal International

Saturday, September 10, 2016

e-Residency is Virtual Global Citizenship

This Tiny Country Thinks Virtual Citizens Will Make It Rich

Estonia aims to bring 10 million people to its digital shores.
July 27, 2016 by Nanette Byrnes, MIT Technology Review

With 1.3 million citizens, Estonia is one of the smallest countries in Europe, but its ambition is to become one of the largest countries in the world. Not one of the largest geographically or even by number of citizens, however. Largest in e-residents, a category of digital affiliation that it hopes will attract people, especially entrepreneurs.

Started two years ago, e-residency gives citizens of any nation the opportunity to set up Estonian bank accounts and businesses that use a verified digital signature and are operated remotely, online. The program is an outgrowth of a digitization of government services that the country launched 15 years ago in a bid to save money on the staffing of government offices. Today Estonians use their mandatory digital identity to do everything from track their medical care to pay their taxes.

Now the country is marketing e-residency as a path by which any business owner can set up and run a business in the European Union, benefiting from low business costs, digital bureaucratic infrastructure, and in certain cases, from the country’s low tax rates.

“If you want to run a fully functional company in the EU, in a good business climate, from anyplace in the world, all you need is an e-residency and a computer,” says Estonian prime minister Taavi Rõivas.

Things that don’t come with e-residency include a passport and citizenship. Nor do e-residents automatically owe taxes to the country, though digital companies that incorporate there and obtain a physical address can benefit from the country’s low tax rate. The chance to run a business out of Estonia has proven popular enough that almost 700 new businesses have been set up by the nearly 1,000 new e-residents, according to statistics from the government.

The government hopes to have 10 million e-residents by 2025, though others think that goal is a stretch.
Estonian officials describe e-residency as an early step toward a mobile future, one in which countries will compete for the best people. And they are not the only ones pursing this idea. Payment company Stripe recently launched a program called Atlas that it hopes will boost the number of companies using its services to accept payments. It helps global Internet businesses incorporate in the state of Delaware, open a bank account, and get tax and legal guidance.

Juan Pablo Vazquez Sampere, a professor at Madrid’s IE Business School, sees the Estonia program as enabling global entrepreneurs to operate in Europe at a fraction of the cost of living in the region.

Last year, Arvind Kumar, an electrical engineer who lives just outside Mumbai, left his 30-year-career in the steel industry to start Kaytek Solutions OÜ, which creates models to improve manufacturing quality and efficiency. Last September Kumar flew to Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, and spent half a day setting up a bank account and a virtual office. In addition to the price of the trip, initial setup costs were around $3,300 (€3,000), and he has ongoing expenses of about $480 (€440) a year. The Indian system of setting up a new business is “tedious” by contrast, says Kumar—time-consuming, difficult, and expensive.

Cost was also a factor for Vojkan Tasic, chairman of a high-end car service company called Limos4, in his decision to pick Estonia as a new home for the company. Started in his home country of Serbia six years ago, Limos4 has been paying credit-card processing fees of 7 percent. Limos4 operates in 20 large European cities as well as Dubai and Istanbul, and counts Saudi Arabian and Swedish royalty and U.S. and European celebrities among its clients.

After considering Delaware and Ireland, Tasic chose Estonia, where he can settle his credit-card transactions through PayPal subsidiary Braintree for 2.9 percent and where there is no tax on corporate profits so long as they remain invested in the business. Since getting his e-residency and moving the company to Estonia, profits are up 20 percent, Tasic says. Annual revenue is around $2 million.

For Estonia, the financial benefit comes from the fees e-residents pay to the government and the tax revenue local support services like accountants and law firms make.

To Tasic, who runs background checks on all his drivers, one of the best things about the e-residency is the fact that the Estonian police investigate every applicant. Since Kumar set up his company, Estonia has begun allowing e-residents to set up their bank accounts online, but there remains a level of security, because to pick up their residency card, applicants must go in person to one of Estonia’s 39 embassies around the world and prove their identity.

Some have raised concerns that the e-residence might attract shady characters who could shield themselves from prosecution and possible punishment by doing business in Estonia but residing outside of its jurisdiction. But with no serious cases of fraud or illicit activity to date, it is unclear whether this is a serious concern, says Karsten Staehr, a professor of international and public finance at Tallinn University of Technology.

As with any digital system, security is a major concern. Estonia, which sits just to the west of Russia and south of the Gulf of Finland, recently announced plans to back up much of its data, including banking credentials, birth records, and critical government information, in the United Kingdom.

In 2007 the country suffered a sustained denial-of-service cyberattack linked to Russia after moving a Soviet war memorial from Tallinn city center and has run a distributed system for some time with data centers in every embassy in the world.

“I am convinced they are doing a good job,” says Tasic, who holds a PhD in information services. “But with increased attention, the attacks will increase, so let’s see what the future is.”