After months of whispered warnings, Russia’s economic troubles made global headlines when its currency collapsed halfway through December. Amid the tumbling price of oil, the ruble has fallen to record lows, bringing the country to its most serious economic crisis since the late 1990s.
Virtually all countries use Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as their primary measurement of economic progress and overall societal progress. At the same time, countries express allegiance to the doctrine of sustainable development. This exposes an obvious disconnect.
Dercy Teles de Carvalho Cunha is a rubber-tapper and union organiser from the state of Acre in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon, with a lifelong love of the forest from which she earns her livelihood – and she is deeply confounded by what her government and policymakers around the world call “the green economy.”
In 2011, students in Chile made headlines when they launched a nationwide strike lasting almost eight months.
When the Korean company Daewoo attempted to acquire half the arable land of Madagascar for free, it unleashed a tsunami of investor interest in agricultural land, popularised as the 'land grab'.
Last week, Indonesia's new president, Joko Widodo, ordered the country’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry to review the licenses of all companies that have converted peatlands to oil palm plantations.
After a period of frostiness, Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Turkey seem intent on mending ties, as each of the parties show signs of needing the other.
Rampant unsustainable logging in the southwest Pacific Island states of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, where the majority of land is covered in tropical rainforest, is worsening hardship, human insecurity and conflict in rural communities.
Priyantha Wakvitta is used to seeing his adopted city, Colombo, transform into a landscape of bright sparkling lights and window dressing towards the end of the year.
It’s one of the oldest tricks in politics: Talk down expectations to the point that you can meet them.
The Ebola crisis has thrown into sharp relief the issue of water, sanitation and hygiene in treating and caring for the sick. Dying patients are being taken to hospitals which never had enough water to maintain hygiene, and the epidemic has pushed the system to the breaking point.
For anyone who recently attended the Fourth International Conference on Degrowth
in Leipzig, Germany, listening in on conference talk, surrounded by the ecologically savvy, one quickly noticed that no one was singing the praises of sustainable development.
When Azerbaijan served as chair of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, it scoffed at the spirit and purpose of the organisation and moved vigorously to squash all forms of free speech at home.
“Alive they were taken, and alive we want them back!”
Numerous international and national efforts have focused on gender equality and the empowerment of women. The United Nations, for example, has convened four world conferences on women - Beijing in 1995, Nairobi in 1985, Copenhagen in 1980 and Mexico City in 1975 - and Member States have adopted various international agreements, such as the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).