Asia and the Pacific is lauded globally for its rapid economic growth over recent decades and has lifted 1.1 billion people out of extreme poverty since 1990. Nevertheless, the region continues to have the largest number of poor people in the world.
As I often do, I recently discussed the Syrian Civil War with a friend of Lebanese origin. He is far from supporting the Syrian regime, which occupied his country of origin between 1989-2008. My friend assumes the Syrian government was behind the assassination of Lebanon´s prime minister Bachir Gemayel, who in 1982 together with 26 others were blown to pieces by a bomb planted at the headquarters of the Lebanese Forces
. He also suspects Syria was behind the death of former prime minister Rafik Harari, who in 2005 was killed in a car bomb explosion. However, this does not make my friend an admirer of Israel or the U.S., which together with Russia, Turkey, Iran, and Saudi Arabia meddle in Syria´s bloody internal strife. It is an almost impossible task to disentangle the mess of warring fractions guided by corrupt politicians, religious fanatics, liberal politicians, bandits, Mafiosi and/or foreign commercial and strategical stakeholders.
Throughout my ten years working in international development and climate policy, I’ve mostly heard colleagues talk about the private sector as if it was this intangible, multifaceted medusa with its own business lingo that is impossible for us policy experts to tackle: “the ‘private sector’ needs a return on investment in order to act on climate” or “the ‘private sector' does not have the right incentives, but we need ‘private’ capital to solve this crisis”
Recently, Christine Lagarde
, outgoing Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), argued that developing ‘countries need a seat at the table’ to design rules governing international corporate taxation.
This acknowledges recent IMF findings
that developing countries lose approximately USD200 billion in potential tax revenue yearly, about 1.3 per cent of their GDP, due to companies shifting profits to low-tax locations. Oxfam estimated
in 2018 that extreme poverty could be eradicated for USD107 billion annually, i.e., about half the lost revenue.
Recently, the World Health Organisation (WHO) launched
global consultations for a new Roadmap on how to eliminate Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). The roadmap would help achieve universal health coverage by 2030, address health emergencies and promote healthier populations.
Vanuatu is among the world’s ‘most at-risk’ countries to natural disasters. In the last 12 months alone, the country has faced multiple volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, cyclone and tsunami.
To mark World Humanitarian Day, we celebrate the overlooked women leaders who are first responders, unwavering advocates, and powerful change-makers in humanitarian emergencies.
The success of Silicon Valley has been inspirational for many countries worldwide wishing to establish science and technology parks. In Asia, successful science and technology parks can be found in many economies, including China, Japan and Thailand.
The special report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on climate and land, launched last week, makes it clear that without drastic changes in land use, agriculture and human diets, we will fall significantly short of targets to hold global temperature rise below 1.5°C.
We live in different worlds. The ones of friends, family and work colleagues. Worlds which are overshadowed by other, much bigger ones. Global spheres of international finance, politics, climate change, etc., contexts that might threaten our smaller circle of relationships; our family, our income, our general wellbeing, in short – our entire existence. However, even at those levels there exist small circles of acquaintances and associates able to make decisions that affect the entire humankind. Let me take one example – the regimes of U.S. President Donald J. Trump and Brazilian President Jair Messias Bolsonaro, which are menacing our global natural habitat.
Women comprise a very small proportion of the financial industry workforce, and this has implications on the way female clients use and benefit from financial services.
Every year, over 12,000 women
are killed in Latin America. The region is plagued by extremely high levels of violence, and a vacuum of state power persists. Public face of this violence is caused by paramilitary, guerrilla, gangs and armed groups.
The Asia-Pacific region is at a crossroads. The traditional export-oriented, manufacturing-driven growth is facing headwinds from sluggish external demand and rising protectionist trade measures.
An old adage passed on by veteran U.N. staff to younger recruits is, “Do nothing whenever possible. It’s safer.” For a junior officer that might indeed be career-enhancing.
The harmful effects of falling corporate tax rates
have been acknowledged in a recent International Monetary Fund (IMF) research paper
. This trend, since the early 1980s, has been especially detrimental for developing countries, which rely on direct taxation
much more than developed economies.
The World Bank claims poverty is decreasing around the world but UN research shows it depends on what you measure. If we are serious about reducing poverty, we need to start by properly identifying it.
We have known for over 25 years that poor land use and management are major drivers of climate change, but have never mustered the political will to act.
What if current fertility rates of countries remain constant for the rest of the 21st century? Under this assumption, the populations of high fertility countries skyrocket while those of most low fertility countries plummet and world population nearly triples in size by the century’s close.
In 2019 a female scientist created an algorithm that gave the world the first ever images of a black hole. Working with a team of astronomers, physicists, mathematicians and engineers, a young woman led the development of a computer program that in her own words enabled them to “achieve something once thought impossible.”
“I don’t want to see a single war millionaire created in the United States as a result of this world disaster.” 1
These were the words of US President Franklin D. Roosevelt on 22 May 1940 when he learned of individuals profiting because of the booming arms trade industry during the Second World War. Seven decades down the line, President Roosevelt’s warning against the rise of the military-industrial complex and war profiteers is more relevant than ever and a telling testimony that for many in safe places war means profit. But, should the pursuit of economic profit be allowed to supplant ethical considerations, especially when weapons often end up in the hands of terrorists, human rights violators and criminal governments?
Trying to teach and inspire youngsters is a daunting task. Many teachers tend to suffer from a harrowing, bad conscience, obliged as they are to follow routines, rules, and regulations set down by their employers while knowing that these are difficult to apply and provide with desired results. Worst is a nagging feeling of inability to reach out to the students. Most teachers want their pupils to be good learners, critically thinking individuals who feel gratified and keen to change things for the better.