From the 1980s, various studies purported to portray the public sector as a cesspool of abuse, inefficiency, incompetence and corruption. Books and articles with pejorative titles such as ‘vampire state’, ‘bureaucrats in business’ and so on thus provided the justification for privatization policies. Despite the caricature and exaggeration, there were always undoubted horror stories which could be cited as supposedly representative examples. But similarly, by way of contrast, other experiences show that SOEs can be run quite efficiently, even on commercial bases, confounding the dire predictions of the prophets of public sector doom.
The emergence of new ideas, technological advancements and innovative market-driven financing solutions has lent confidence to the idea that universal access to energy services is attainable. This is particularly good news in the Asia and the Pacific region, where, despite making significant contributions to global growth and poverty reduction since 2000, nearly half a billion citizens still have no access to modern energy, principally in rural and far-flung areas. Three-quarters of these people live in South Asia alone. Some 70% of the Pacific island households are un-electrified, a level similar to sub-Saharan Africa. The lack of electricity and clean cooking options marginalizes predominantly remote and slum communities who are trapped in energy poverty, preventing them from stepping on the first rung of the ladder to prosperity.
Every two years, governments from across the globe gather to debate the fate of the world’s whales. And every two years, Japan, Norway and Iceland find themselves in the firing line for their refusal to end commercial whaling.
Privatization has been one of the pillars of the counter-revolution against development economics and government activism from the 1980s. Many developing countries were forced to accept privatization as a condition for support from the World Bank while many other countries have embraced privatization, often on the pretext of fiscal and debt constraints.
Urban development ministers, mayors from all over the world, city planners, architects and municipal authorities, civil society and private sector will meet in Quito, the capital city of Ecuador, for Habitat III, the Third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (17-20 October, 2016), to adopt the New Urban Agenda as well as to strategize and agree on its implementation.
Why do people go hungry? Mainly because they do not have the means to get enough food, whether by producing it themselves or by purchasing it. There is more than enough food to feed the world. All those who currently go hungry can be adequately fed with about two percent of current food production, much more of which is wasted or lost. The main problem is one of distribution or access, rather than production or availability.
The first Sustainable Development Goal calls for us to end poverty in all its forms everywhere by 2030. The goal and the deadline are ambitious - and they need to be. We do not have the luxury of time.
“Humiliation and exclusion” – what a fascinating thematic twist to the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty! Too often, discussion of poverty focuses entirely on material resources. Those play an important role, but are only part of the story. We all know people who seem happy with very little, and others who are definitely unhappy with riches. However, having children publicly sent home from school because of unpaid fees is just one of the many humiliations faced by small farmers and other resource-poor people around the world. The resulting exclusion from education and the society of their peers is a terrible burden to force upon children. Poverty brings many others as well.
Higher food prices are supposed to induce farmers to increase production for sale. In reality, however, their supply responsiveness is influenced by many factors, including their ability to respond to price changes.
One word could undoubtedly summarize the past year with painful precision: Refugees.
United Nations’ apex forum, the General Assembly elected the next Secretary-General yesterday by acclamation rubber-stamping the recommendation of the Security Council (SC). I am appalled by the choice of 15 members of the Security Council of another man following eight others in 70 plus years of UN’s existence as if only men are destined to lead this global organization.
When Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood tweets, the world listens.
The new UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who takes office on January 1, arrives with strong credentials -- both as a former Prime Minister of Portugal and an ex-UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement between the US and eleven other Pacific Rim countries was under negotiation for the first seven years of the Obama presidency. For the first four years, Hilary Clinton was the Secretary of State, directly supervising the negotiations. Even after she quit her cabinet position to launch for her second presidential bid, she continued to tout it in superlative terms.
The new US census data released in late September show that 3.5 million people in the US climbed out of poverty, as the tepid economic recovery continues. Employers are finally creating more jobs and paying higher wages than seven years after the Great Recession started following the 2008 financial crisis.