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Water Quality in LiechtensteinThe principality of Liechtenstein, located between Austria and Switzerland, is known for its grand castles, alpine landscapes and beautiful views overlooking the Rhine. The Rhine makes up 27 kilometers of the country’s western border with Switzerland.

However, it is just one of the many rivers that flow through Liechtenstein. Because of this, water is incredibly important to the country, not only as a drinking and sanitation source but as a source of power for Liechtenstein’s several hydroelectric dams. Consequently, the water quality in Liechtenstein is among the best in the world.

In 2003, Liechtenstein adopted the Water Protection Act and the ordinances that went along with it. This included several regulations to maintain or improve the quality and quantity of groundwater. Among these regulations were spatial planning measures, ensuring that there are designated groundwater protection zones and clear rules as to the protection and use of said groundwater.

These ordinances also clearly detail the protocol if any water was to become polluted. This makes it easy to identify and solve any contamination issues as soon as they arise.

These regulations ensure the healthy exchange between groundwater and surface waters, which is crucial to the continued availability of drinking water and the many attractive recreational water sites that Liechtenstein boasts.

As part of the most recent Convention on Biodiversity, revisions to the initial Water Protection Act included aims to strengthen biodiversity in the area. Firstly, Liechtenstein clearly defines its “water spaces,” which allows for planning backup in the case of flooding and makes for better maintenance of ecological integrity. It also makes sure that these spaces are not used for agriculture or other building projects, which could seriously damage the water quality in Liechtenstein as a whole.

Clearly, Liechtenstein has demonstrated its commitment not only to preserving water quality but also to preserving biodiversity and the natural beauty of its many water sources. In this, Liechtenstein serves as a role model for all of Europe and, by extension, the world, by challenging us all to make water quality and conservation a priority.

Audrey Palzkill

Photo: Flickr

Hunger in LiechtensteinWhen looking at countries that are suffering from hunger, it is easy to equate the hunger with nationwide poverty. In the case of high-income countries, such as the U.S., such a generalization might lead one far astray from reality.

Liechtenstein is a small country bordering Switzerland on the west side and Austria on the east side. Its GDP is the highest in the world, with people living there making an equivalent average of about $139,100 per year.

Note that the cost of living in Liechtenstein is only 33 percent higher than in the United States, even though they make on average 2.4 times as much as American citizens do. It is unimaginable that poverty can exist in such a wealthy country. However, we must ask, does poverty– or even hunger– in Liechtenstein exist?

The answer is: essentially, no. It is not hunger in the traditional sense, where people are starving or going hungry. In the case of Liechtenstein, there are some people who are not making enough money to have “disposable” income.

In the U.S., this is taken for granted. There are an estimated 45 million Americans living under the poverty line (2013), with 58 million Americans working for minimum wage. However, Liechtenstein doesn’t seem to have any people living under the poverty line, mainly because it has strong social services that tackle the problems of poverty or hunger before they even arise.

A 2008 estimate of households living in conditions that are called “Einkommensschwach,” which literally translates to “weak income” (low-income), is at 11 percent. This is about 3,000 people out of its population of 37,000.

Note that “Einkommensschwach” does not mean “living under the poverty line,” it just means a low-income household. Thus, these numbers convey people’s income even after social services have come into effect. The limit to be considered “Einkommenschwach” is about the equivalent of $28,000 per year.

However, social services in Liechtenstein are so powerful, it basically eradicates all hunger in Liechtenstein, as well as true poverty. During a meeting, the social minister in Liechtenstein even asked the question “With such high incomes, can we really speak about poverty? Wouldn’t this even be unethical to make such a comparison with other countries?”

In other words, not only is hunger in Liechtenstein not a considerable issue, it is even questionable if one can talk about poverty in Liechtenstein at all.

Michal Burgunder

Photo: Pixabay

The Top Diseases In LiechtensteinUntil the end of World War 1, Liechtenstein was under control of the Austrian Empire and then later was controlled by Austria-Hungary. The princes in the country maintained control until the end of the war, in which economic devastation caused the country to create a monetary union with Switzerland. The country has since regained total independence and has struggled to grow its economy since. The top diseases in Liechtenstein are mostly preventable with proper healthcare.

The poor state of health care in Liechtenstein has led to there being little access to health care for many citizens. This article hopes to highlight the top diseases in the nation.

Hepatitis B
One of the top diseases in Liechtenstein is hepatitis B. Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver that is primarily spread through bodily fluids. The citizens of this country often contract this disease unknowingly through sexual contact or medical treatment. Although medical care is a necessity in the country when a citizen is going through a medical concern, many avoid going to the hospital to avoid getting sicker by contracting this disease.

Influenza
Although influenza may seem like a disease that is not dangerous to many in the developed world, influenza is one of the top diseases in Liechtenstein. The flu season usually runs from November to April and is caused by a virus spread from person to person.

The poor economic state of the country coupled with the poor infrastructure in the region has created the perfect conditions for influenza to be a major killer in Liechtenstein. The winters of the country are frigid due to its location and this combined with a lack of access to heated environments allows the flu to spread quickly in the nation.

Furthermore, many citizens avoid going to the hospital because of inadequate medical standards in the country. The prevalence of influenza on top of many people not treating it properly have continued to allow this easily treatable disease to be a major killer in the country.

Tick-Borne Encephalitis
Tick-borne encephalitis is a disease present in some areas of Liechtenstein and has become one of the country’s most dangerous diseases. The disease is a viral infection that affects the central nervous system which soon leads to death once a person contracts the illness. The condition usually gets caught when a person consumes unpasteurized milk products.

Due to the lack of food regulations in the country, tick-borne encephalitis has become rampant in regions of Liechtenstein that rely heavily on dairy products. Although vaccinations are available for citizens in Liechtenstein, they are too expensive for many people causing them to catch the illness.

The top diseases in Liechtenstein are issues that people in developed nations do not struggle to avoid. Proper health care, alongside food and sanitation standards, would allow the country to avoid having its citizens catch these illnesses

Supporting organizations such as the Red Cross and other nongovernmental organizations will allow the vaccines needed for the people of Liechtenstein to avoid catching these diseases. Support could take the form of a donation or even volunteering one’s time. The best part is the top diseases in Liechtenstein are easily preventable. All it takes is a little effort from groups of people who care to make a change.

Nick Beauchamp
Photo: Flickr

Refugees in LiechtensteinLocated in Central Europe, nestled between Switzerland and Austria, lies the Principality of Liechtenstein. With only 62 square miles of territory and fewer than 38,000 citizens, one might assume that Liechtenstein would refuse refugees, but this is not the case. Liechtenstein has willingly taken part in the aid of refugees fleeing from war torn and oppressive regions. Here is what you need to know about refugees in Liechtenstein:

  1. World Data has reported that, in 2016, refugees sent a total of 52 asylum applications to Liechtenstein. A total of 39 decisions were reached.
  2. In 2016, 28 percent of all decisions reached were positive.
  3. As of 2015, the principality already accepted six refugee families from Syria, a sum of 23 persons.
  4. In 2014, Liechtenstein spent roughly $25 million on International Refugee and Migration Assistance and Development Cooperation, as well as Emergency and Reconstruction Assistance. In 2015, such expenditures were expected to increase significantly.
  5. Lichtenstein declared a willingness to participate in the EU relocation programs, not out of obligation, but out of its humanitarian tradition.
  6. The crown prince of Liechtenstein stated that, although they are willing to accept refugees, the principality must also “protect its culture.”
  7. Ambassador Fritsche of Liechtenstein stated that its small municipality is probably not a target for refugees because the country is not well-known. He theorized that this might be because Liechtenstein is not a full EU member.
  8. In 2015, it was made clear that if the principality did not allow refugees in Liechtenstein, the state would be booted out of the Dublin agreement, a cornerstone of asylum laws in the EU.
  9. Liechtenstein acceded to the Geneva Convention of 1951 and the Protocol of 1967, the world’s more recognized laws on refugees.
  10. Liechtenstein’s government protects against the expulsion of refugees in cases where their “lives or freedom” might be threatened.

Although Liechtenstein is a relatively small principality, their willingness to host refugees sets a clear example for nations around the world. Today, refugees in Liechtenstein are adjusting to a new way of life in a foreign land. In the future, perhaps they will come to call the country a home.

Shannon Golden
Photo: Flickr

Poverty in Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein, despite its small size, is a hub of economic activity, with one of the highest GDPs per capita in the world, growing at an annual rate of 1.2 percent. As Dr. Kristian Niemietz of the Institute of Economic Affairs reports, median gross wages in 2009 averaged £3,500 per month or $4,374. Today, that average is about $6,436.

Such high-income hints decreased poverty rates, but, unfortunately, statistics on poverty in Liechtenstein are practically nonexistent. Its strong standard of living, however, provides some significant insight.

The country’s unemployment rate is approximately 2.6 percent, with a Liechtensteinian at the 25th income percentile in 2009 earning a monthly wage of £2,700 or approximately $40,494 annually in U.S. dollars. In comparison, a U.S. worker at the 20th income percentile in 2009 was earning about $20,000 annually, demonstrating a vast difference between the two countries in what constitutes poor.

In addition, Liechtenstein boasts a strong education system that contributes to its wealth. Students benefit from small classes, typically at an average of 15 children, as well as highly motivated teachers that provide them with the skills needed for successful careers. Standardized testing is also regular, which helps to identify struggling students, who are provided with extra assistance through resources such as learning workshops and psychological support.

Such efforts are paying off. In a 2012 OECD education exam for 15 year-olds known as PISA, which stands for the Programme for International Student Assessment, Liechtenstein came in eighth place for mathematics, 12th for reading, and 11th for science.

Furthermore, Liechtenstein has a strong healthcare system. There is private healthcare available, but universal public healthcare is guaranteed. The Ministry of Public Health monitors health services, ensuring that medical standards are met and procedures run accordingly. A combination of skilled medical professionals as well as a small population means citizens enjoy high-quality healthcare.

Despite all this, Liechtenstein still struggles with equality, especially in regard to income. For example, the 2010 gender pay gap in Liechtenstein was about 17.8 percent. One possible solution to this comes in calling for more female representation in the working world.

Regardless, Liechtenstein is a country of immense wealth and prosperity for citizens of both genders. The average poor person in Liechtenstein is considered wealthy by worldly standards, making poverty in Liechtenstein, at least for the time being, a non-issue.

Genevieve T. DeLorenzo

Photo: Flickr