Labour

Taking Bangladesh to Zero-Leprosy, One New Case at a Time

Sandhya Mandal has never felt so vindicated. For the past four years, the 36-year-old community health worker from Meherpur – a rural district bordering India – has been traveling 50 km every day along dusty roads on an old motorbike, searching for leprosy patients who needed urgent treatment. But in her community, instead of compliments, neighbours and relatives raised questions about her work and her character. “They ask why I come home so late and what is this ‘work’ that I really do. Some even imply that I might be doing something like prostitution,” Mandal tells IPS.

Building Momentum to Hold Companies to Account

Millions of adults and children around the world suffer abuses as workers who obtain raw materials, toil on farms, and make products for the global market. They are at the bottom of global supply chains, for everything from everyday goods like vegetables and seafood to luxury items like jewelry and designer clothing that end up on store shelves worldwide.

Accelerating SDG Progress in Asia – Pacific

“The 2030 Agenda is coming to life”, declared the Secretary General at the opening of the first SDG Summit, a quadrennial event for the follow up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. As leaders from Asia – Pacific took the floor, they highlighted country progress of SDG implementation and reaffirmed commitment to achieve the 2030 Agenda. Statements reflected different approaches across the region. Yet all converged on one priority: accelerated actions and transformative pathways.

Why Is Growth Slowing in China?

China’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 14%. Since then, its growth rate has declined by more than half to 6.6% in 2018. The five-year moving average growth rate is at its lowest since reforms began in 1978, although annual growth briefly fell lower during 1989, the year of the Tian An Men incident.

Fostering Sustainable Urbanization and Rural-Urban Linkages

As urbanization continues apace, coupled with rapid population growth and rural to urban migration, the challenges for inclusive rural transformation continue, and the importance of fostering improved rural-urban linkages for better food systems becomes increasingly important.. According to the UN, by 2050 some 66% of the world’s population of 9 billion is expected to live in urban areas. Such rapid urbanization is increasingly shaping the rural space and rural livelihoods (through markets, demand for agricultural goods and labour, migration, and through the provision of services to rural areas). It is therefore critical for the increasing emphasis on urban development to take into account the importance of rural development.

Gains and Losses of Irregular Migration

While opening a newspaper or watching a TV program we are every day made aware of the plights of irregular migrants. Some recent examples among many – on 24 October, 39 Chinese nationals were found dead in a lorry trailer in Essex. They had apparently frozen to death within a refrigerator container with temperatures as low as -25C (-13F). This while tragedies occur almost daily on the Mediterranean Sea. On 26 November, a rescue vessel found a boat almost completely sunken. It had three dead bodies aboard. Fifty-five migrants were saved. Three of them were in a critical condition, and one died after reaching Melilla in Spain, where the migrants were brought in. Three children were among the survivors, though a further ten individuals were reported missing. Nowadays, such news items pass by almost imperceptibly. Every day, thousands of unfortunate human beings are trafficked all over the world to suffer underpaid, hazardous work, or prostitution.

Fostering Jobs, Entrepreneurship, and Capacity Development for African Youth: The Time for Disruption Is Now!

“There is no greater asset to Africa than its youth,” a statement that has been repeatedly proclaimed, but the continent still has a long way to go. Despite robust economic growth over the past two decades, a 1 percent increase in growth between 2000–14 was associated with only 0.41 percent growth in employment. This figure suggests that employment stood at less than 1.8 percent a year, far below the nearly 3 percent annual growth in the labor force. If this trend continues, 100 million people will join the multitudes of the unemployed in Africa by 2030.

African Development Bank launches digital tool to help African youth learn to code

The African Development Bank and technology firm Microsoft today launched the ‘Coding for Employment’ digital training platform, an online tool to provide digital skills to African youth, wherever they are across the continent.

Catalysing Change for Gender Equality

Great strides have been taken to empower women and girls in the Asia-Pacific region since the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing adopted an ambitious global agenda to achieve gender equality twenty-five years ago. Gender parity has been achieved in primary education. Maternal mortality has been halved. Today, the region’s governments are committed to overcoming the persistent challenges of discrimination, gender-based violence and women’s unequal access to resources and decision-making.

Social Protection Necessary to Quickly End Poverty, Hunger

Historically, most social security systems have developed in the formal sector of rich economies. However, most of the poor and hungry in the world live in rural areas, surviving in the informal economy.

First ladies panel seeks urgent policies to translate Africa’s demographic dividend into viable potential

“Investments in gender equality are critical to realizing demographic dividend, but we need to ensure that women have the tools to overcome the barriers they face,” First Lady of Rwanda, Jeannette Kagame told participants at a panel at the Global Gender Summit in Kigali on Monday.

Global Clothing Brands Should Respond to the #MeToo Mandate

It has been two years since #MeToo went viral, and it’s about time the garment industry’s sexual harassment problem got the attention it deserves. Clothing and footwear brands can do much more to prevent and address gender-based violence in their supply chains, but first they need to confront how badly their inspection or “social auditing” programs fail women.  

Green Steel

How Indonesian craftsmanship is undergoing a revival at the world’s first ‘bamboo university’. It’s fast-growing, flexible and strong. Standing underneath a bamboo canopy, it is easy to understand why people have been using this grass plant for years, in the construction of houses, bridges and scaffolding.

Evo Morales: Hero or Villain?

To be president in a country like Bolivia might be like a precarious act performed by a tightrope-dancer between “the Devil and the deep blue sea”. After 23 years as Bolivia’s President, Evo Morales finally lost his foothold and ended up as political refugee in Mexico, adding his name to a long list of previous revolutionary exiles, like Augusto Sandino, Fidel Castro, and most prominently – Leon Trotsky. The last one was murdered, though the others came back, something Evo Morales has promised to do:

Bringing Silicon Valley to Kathmandu Valley

For those who think that Nepal is too underdeveloped to make full use of artificial intelligence (AI), think again. That is exactly what they used to say about computers and mobile phones in the 1990s.

Empower Young People to Sustain Our Planet, and Let Peace and Prosperity Thrive

Q: At ICPD25 we heard that women and girls are still waiting for the unmet promises to be met? DO you think this time around there is a commitment to ensure that these promises are met? The Nairobi Summit is about the Future of Humanity and Human Prosperity.

World’s Sewage Workers ‘Underpaid, Sidelined and Risking their Lives’

People who empty out sewage tanks and scrub down latrines doubtless perform a vital, thankless and even undesirable task. A new report, however, shows that doing such jobs could also cost workers their lives.

A New Deal for Sustainable Development

Almost nine decades ago, newly elected US President Franklin Roosevelt introduced the New Deal in 1933 in response to the Great Depression. The New Deal consisted of a number of mutually supportive initiatives, of which the most prominent were: a public works programme financed by budget deficits; a new social contract to improve living standards for all working families, including creation of the US social security system; and financial regulation to protect citizens’ assets and channel financial resources into productive investments.

The Nairobi Summit Is about the Future of Humanity and Human Prosperity

As we count down the remaining days to the opening of the Nairobi Summit or the International Conference for Population and Development(ICPD), I am confounded by how much humanity has managed to simultaneously empower more women than at any other time in history, while at the same time failing to see that ‘women’s issues’ are actually ‘everyone’s issues’.

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’.

More Women in Latin America are Working, but Gender Gap Persists, New UN Figures Show

More women are entering the workforce across Latin America, with an increase in 11 per cent in the last 30 years, putting the region ahead of the curve when it comes to growth in female labour force participation, according to new data published by the United Nations on Monday. 

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