Opinion

Red Alert for Blue Planet and Small Island States

Barely a week passes without alarming news of the most recent scientific research into the global climate crisis compounding a growing sense of urgency, particularly the impact on small island states from rising sea levels and extreme weather.

If India Stopped Growing, Would the IMF and World Bank Say So?

Leading economic indicators have slowed or reversed. Criticisms of official statistics are mounting. But the IMF and World Bank continue to forecast 6-percent growth by simple extrapolation.

Africa Watch: Morocco Tourism Gains Momentum

The crème de la crème of Hollywood was in Marrakech, Morocco, for the wedding of British movie star Idris Elba in April this year. Elba tied the knot with his Canadian model girlfriend, former Miss Vancouver Sabrina Dhowre, at the Ksar Char-Bagh hotel, an exquisite Alhambra-style hotel.

How Can We All Hear That the World is on Fire?

The annual rhythm of the United Nations year peaks with the General Assembly in September. One month on, it’s a good time to reflect on this year’s gathering which was remarkable for its focus on fighting climate change, the transforming effect of one 16 year old girl telling it like it is, and the way people heard her words in a way they haven’t heard before.

Industrial Policy Still Relevant

Industrial policy refers to the promotion of new investments and technology by governments to encourage the growth and development of specific economic sectors. However, scepticism persists about the feasibility and desirability of using industrial policy, especially of the ability to ‘pick winners’, often accused of leading to ‘propping-up failing industries’.

Beyond the Headlines: the Development Story Behind Irregular Migration

Last week, a too-familiar human tragedy captured news headlines. 39 people were found dead inside a shipping container on an industrial estate in Essex in Southeast England; 31 men and 8 women whose individual identities, for now, remain anonymous, as authorities begin to investigate one of Europe’s worst people-trafficking cases.

Governments Must Short Circuit Tobacco Industry’s Pervasive Tactics

The tobacco industry’s new rhetoric that smoking is harmful and that its so-called less risky products will reduce the global tobacco epidemic, should see the industry stop opposing or fighting government efforts to reduce tobacco use. However, this is not the case.

Sustainable Development and Education – Is the Non-Aligned Movement Still Relevant?

By the time of publication, representatives, senior officials, and Heads of State and Government of 120 countries from around the world will have converged on Baku in Azerbaijan for the XVIIIth Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

Fearless Young Women and Insensitive Men

On October 11, the Norwegian Nobel Prize Committee announced that this year´s Peace Prize is awarded to Ethiopia´s prime minister Abiy Ahmed: “For his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and in particular for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea.”1 Let us hope that Abiy remains a worthy Peace Prize winner and that warfare and human suffering on the Horn of Africa will finally come to an end.

Nigerian Military Targeted Journalists’ Phones, Computers with “forensic search” for Sources

Hamza Idris, an editor with the Nigerian Daily Trust, was at the newspaper’s central office on January 6 when the military arrived looking for him.

Governments & Internet Companies Fail to meet Challenges of Online Hate

The prevalence of online hate poses challenges to everyone, first and foremost the marginalised individuals who are its principal targets. Unfortunately, States and companies are failing to prevent ‘hate speech’ from becoming the next ‘fake news’, an ambiguous and politicised term subject to governmental abuse and company discretion.

Swiftly Ending Tobacco Epidemic Requires Government Action, Not Empty Promises

New information published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report shows that action taken by just 11 countries – most of them low- or middle-income – has resulted in 20 million fewer adult tobacco users in 2017 compared with 2008. Seventy percent of the world’s tobacco users live in low- and middle-income countries.

The Neoliberal Fuel to the Anti-Gender Movement

The number of newly elected Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) who oppose women’s reproductive rights, gender equality, sexuality education, same sex marriage and the Council of Europe Convention on Violence Against Women (Istanbul Convention) stands at around 30 per cent.

Development Banks Needed to Finance Sustainable Development

Public or state development banking will be vital to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, argues UNCTAD’s Trade and Development Report 2019 (TDR 2019). Ongoing World Bank led efforts seek to leverage private finance via shadow banking by using public money to guarantee handsome returns managed by giant investment houses. Such financialization introduce new costs and risks to financing investments for sustainable development, decent work and renewable energy.

Private Finance and Agenda 2030: Way Off-Track

Four years ago, UN member states proclaimed their ambitions for development in a document named “Transforming Our World”, also known as Agenda 2030. Today, according to several assessments including of the UN’s inter-agency task force on financing for development (FfD) transformation has fallen off-track. It has received too little money, political commitment and action to change the workings of the global economy. Agenda 2030 spells out the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) needed to ‘transform our world’.

Trump Poised to Withdraw from Open Skies Treaty

The Trump administration is reportedly on the verge of withdrawing from the 1992 Open Skies Treaty, according to lawmakers and media reports. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, first sounded the public alarm in an Oct. 7 letter to National Security Advisor Robert C. O’Brien.

Religious Leaders’ Plea to Member States: Honour Your Commitment to the UN

On the 8th of October, the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned that the organisation is running out of money by the end of October - "member States have paid only 70 percent of the total amount needed for [our] regular budget”.

Governments, Donors and Investors Must Put Their Money Where Their Mouths are on Gender and Climate Change

Climate change has a disproportionate impact on women and girls. This is clear when it comes to water, for instance. The Global Commission on Adaptation Report launched at the United Nations General Assembly last week states that the number of people who may lack sufficient water, at least one month per year, will soar from 3.6 billion today to more than 5 billion by 2050.

Holding Transnational Corporations Accountable for Human Rights Abuses

In Geneva this week, a treaty process is underway that promises to usher in a new era for human rights around the globe. The process—the intergovernmental working group on the binding treaty on transnational corporations and human rights—could mean that for the first time, human rights would be prioritized above corporate profits.

Let Plants be Thy Medicine – You Are What You Eat

United Nations World Food Day is celebrated around the world on October 16 under the theme: “Our Actions ARE Our Future. Healthy Diets for a Zero Hunger World”. This theme is timely, especially, because across Africa and around the world, there has been a gradual rise in malnutrition and diet-related non communicable diseases, as highlighted in The Lancet study and a United Nations Report published earlier this year.

Global Challenges for the ‘NextGen’

Success has many parents – so the saying goes. In the case of the massive successes of international agricultural research, no one person can claim parentage. There are heroes along the way such as Norman Borlaug and his early cereal breeding, and the team that eliminated the cattle disease Rinderpest from the world – smallpox is the only other disease that has been totally eradicated. Another is the founder of The Crawford Fund, Derek Tribe, who was also instrumental in the creation of what is now the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), which I chair. However, it would be more correct to highlight the thousands of scientists who have contributed to the world’s greatest feat of feeding an extra three billion people when pundits said it was impossible.

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