Opinion

Will Governments Support Access to Information Driving Development?

In an Information Society, access, and the ability to apply and re-use information is at the heart of individual fulfilment and social participation. Long before the idea of an Information Society came into use, libraries connected people to this, connecting them with literature and learning, and allowing them to improve their lives, and those of their families and communities.

Asian Financial Crisis: Lessons Learned and Unlearned

Debates are taking place on whether there will be another financial crisis, whether in some part of the world or that is global in scope.  Governments draw lessons from financial crises to adopt measures to prevent their recurrence.  However, such measures are often designed to address the root causes of the last crisis but not the next one.  More importantly, they can actually become the new sources of instability and crisis. 

To Achieve Ambitious Goals – We Need to Start with our Basic Rights

Recent protests in Ethiopia have seen people demonstrate in their thousands, angry at their authoritarian government, its favouritism towards those close to the ruling elite, and its failure to share the country’s wealth more equally.

Nigeria’s Ticking Time Bomb

In the dusty arid town of Dikwa, tens of thousands of Nigerians queue for hours in sweltering 40-degree heat for water. Fatuma is one of 100,000 people displaced in the Borno State town, the epicentre of Nigeria’s conflict. She sifts through remnants of food aid seeds, drying them out to prepare them to eat. Food is a scarcity here. Fatuma used to live on three meals a day. Today she is happy if aid agencies can provide her with a single meal.

Alcoholism Cannot Explain Russian Mortality Spike

The steep upsurge in mortality and sudden fall in life expectancy in Russia in the early 1990s were the highest ever registered anywhere in recorded human history in the absence of catastrophes, such as wars, plague or famine. The shock economic reforms in the former Soviet economies after 1991 precipitated this unprecedented increase in mortality, shortening life expectancy, especially among middle-aged males.

The G20 Needs To Go Back to its Roots

When the finance ministers of the G7 countries proposed the G20 in the late 1990s, a good sense of realism prevailed. They recognized that addressing issues of global finance required the political support from—and involvement of—emerging market economies.

The Unnoticed Demise of Democracy

Politicians are so busy fighting for their jobs, they hardly seem to notice that they risk going out of business. Democracy is on the wane, yet the problem is nowhere in Parliaments. Common to all is a progressive loss of vision, of long term planning and solutions, with politics used just for power.

Kenya and Ethiopia Join Forces to Advance Peace, Security, Development and Hope

The Horn of Africa is often synonymous with extreme poverty, conflict, demographic pressure, environmental stress, and under-investment in basic social services such as health, education, access to clean water and infrastructure.

Prepare Now for the Next Financial Crisis

The Asian financial crisis started 20 years ago and the global financial crisis and recession 9 years back. When a new global financial crisis strikes, the developing countries will be more damaged than in the last crisis as they have become less resilient and more vulnerable.  They thus need to prepare from being overwhelmed.

Lawmakers in Europe Want the UN to Debate a Parliamentary Assembly. When Will Governments Follow?

Earlier this month, the European Parliament adopted its annual recommendations on the European Union’s policy at the upcoming session of the United Nations General Assembly that begins in September.

Early Death in Russia

The transition to market economy and democracy in the Russian Federation in the early 1990s dramatically increased mortality and shortened life expectancy. The steep upsurge in mortality and the decline in life expectancy in Russia are the largest ever recorded anywhere in peacetime in the absence of catastrophes such as war, plague or famine.

Don’t Move Resources from Development to Security, Warns UN Chief

Twenty years ago, when I was starting my functions as Prime Minister of Portugal, the world was surfing a wave of optimism. The Cold War had ended, technological prosperity was in full swing, the internet was spreading and there was the idea that globalisation would not only increase global wealth, but that it would trickle down and would benefit everybody in our planet.

Reforming the International Financial System

When we fail to act on lessons from a crisis, we risk exposing ourselves to another one. The 1997-1998 East Asian crises provided major lessons for international financial reform. Two decades later, we appear not to have done much about them. The way the West first responded to the 2008 global financial crisis should have reminded us to do more. But besides accumulating more reserves, Southeast Asia has not done much else.

We Have to Reclaim the Public Policy Space for SDGs

At the High-Level Political Forum which currently takes place at the United Nations in New York several events, for instance a SDG Business Forum, are devoted to the critical role of business and public-private partnerships (PPPs) in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Promoting Sustainable Population Growth, Key to Raising Human Rights Standards

The world population has witnessed a remarkable growth during the recent decades. In 1965, it stood at 3.3 billion people. In 2017 –52 years later-- the global population reached a staggering 7.5 billion people corresponding to more than a doubling of the Earth’s residents over the last half-century.

Will the UN “Leave No One Behind” and Improve LGBTI Health and Well-Being?

While there has been progress in researching the health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people and responding to certain emerging health threats in high-income countries - elsewhere in the world such research is inadequate and incomplete.

New Neocon Mantra: Iran, like Soviet Union, on Verge of Collapse

Iran hawks suddenly have a new mantra: the Islamic Republic is the Soviet Union in the late 1980s, and the Trump administration should work to hasten the regime’s impending collapse.

G20’s Record Does Not Inspire Hope

The G20 leaders meeting in Hamburg, Germany, on 7-8 July comes almost a decade after the grouping’s elevation to meeting at the heads of state/government level. Previously, the G20 had been an informal forum of finance ministers and central bank governors from advanced and emerging economies created in 1999 following the 1997-1998 Asian financial crisis.

UN Needs a 21st Century Development System

Allow me first of all to express my deep gratitude to all the colleagues that have worked hard – in the Secretariat, in the Agencies, Funds and Programmes – to allow for this report to be ready on time. And to the leader of the team – the Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed – who has been not only the inspiration, but also the centre of management and strength to make things happen, and to make things happen with the required ambition and with the required detail.

The Asian Financial Crisis — 20 Years Later

It’s been 20 years since the Asian financial crisis struck in July 1997.   Since then there has been an even bigger global financial crisis, centred in the United States starting in 2008.  Will there be another crisis in the near future?

1997 Asian Crisis Lessons Lost

After months of withstanding speculative attacks on its national currency, the Thai central bank let it ‘float’ on 2 July 1997, allowing its exchange rate to drop suddenly. Soon, currencies and stock markets throughout the region came under pressure as easily reversible short-term capital inflows took flight in herd-like fashion. By mid-July 1997, the currencies of Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines had also fallen precipitously after being floated, with stock market price indices following suit.

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