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Vision 2030 & the Political Costs of Saudi Reforms – Part 2

A pillar of the Saudi social contract has been the allocation of oil rents to the population in exchange for loyalty and fidelity to the Saud clan. A key weakness of Vision 2030 is its lack of focus on the potential political consequences of economic reforms. The plan seems to assume that its ramifications will be easily borne by the Saudi population.

Paradise on Tenterhooks

It was a shutdown that was emblematic of the instability plaguing the Maldives in recent months.On Feb. 8, Raajje TV, an opposition aligned TV channel in the atolls, suspended broadcasting due to lack of security.

Will Vision 2030 Usher the New Kingdom of Saud? – Part 1

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is undergoing a process of change in its social, economic, and political structures unseen since its founding in 1932. Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and a group of close advisors, aided by an army of multinational consultants and investment bankers, have been driving this transformation.

Robots, Unemployment … and Immigrants

Amazon has recently introduced Amazon Go, a shop where the customer enters, chooses a product from the shelves, charges the price on a magnetic card and swipes it on the way out, transferring the charge to the customer’s bank account . No queues, no cashiers, fast and easy, and the first shop in Seattle has been a roaring success.

Latin America Focuses on Attacking Pockets of Rural Poverty

Identifying territories where rural poverty is most entrenched in Latin America and the Caribbean to apply new tools and innovative policies to combat hunger is the new strategy that will be discussed at a ministerial meeting to be held in early March.

A Crisis Deepens in Libya but Where Are the Cameras?

Perhaps no major political or humanitarian disaster is as overlooked as the ongoing crisis in Libya. For example, although the New York Times in September 2017 published a total of seven articles mentioning Libya, only one of them touched on the violence ripping it apart. Even the Times’ gesture merely highlighted the latest permutation of the US government’s foreign military decisions.

Oxfam’s Sexual Abuse Episode Must Inspire a Culture Shift

Sexual abuse allegations against Oxfam staff, and failings in the charity’s response to them, delivered a body blow to an organisation renowned for years of humanitarian and development work. At the very least the accusations will leave a stain on the reputation of a charity that works in some of the toughest environments in the world, and has made a positive difference in the lives of the most vulnerable.

Migrants Are Up Against Nicaragua’s “Containment Wall”

Nicaragua’s "containment wall", aimed at bolstering internal security, has been successful with regard to the fight against transnational crime. But its victims are migrants who are relentlessly blocked from passing through the country en route to their destination: the United States.

UN Seeks Private Sector Leadership to End Violence Against Children

It may seem as if achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16, and its target of ending all violence against children, depends mostly on action from governments and civil society. But we also need leadership from the business community to achieve a world where every child is free from violence, abuse, trafficking and torture.

Till Her Last Breath- Remembering Asma Jahangir

I first met Asma Jahangir, the champion of human rights in Pakistan, who died Sunday, as a teenager in Sri Lanka in the late 1980s. In a friendship that spanned political upheavals and turbulent transitions in Pakistan and in Sri Lanka, to the War on Terror in the US, Asma remained my mentor and muse.

Internet Freedom Rapidly Degrading in Southeast Asia

Researchers recently evaluated 65 countries which represent 87 percent of internet users globally. Half of them experienced a decline of internet freedom. China, Syria and Ethiopia are the least free. Estonia, Iceland and Canada enjoy the most freedom online.

Turning Promise into Action: Working Towards Gender Equality

Persistent and pervasive gender-based discrimination is undermining sustainable development and preventing communities and countries from reaching their full potential, said a UN agency.

African Migration to Europe, Not a Crisis but an Opportunity

An increasingly common justification for European development assistance to Africa is the notion that it will reduce migration from the South. While this sounds intuitive and makes for an appealing argument, the research shows that it is highly unlikely.

Development, Self-Interest & Countries Left Behind

The world’s wealthiest countries today promote development abroad in a way that is relatively new. For centuries, some of these countries colonized the developing world. As former colonies gained independence they were caught in the international power struggle of the Cold War, often led by dictators who found it in their interest to serve as pawns in great power proxy conflicts.

Village Savings: Helping Small Farmers Weather Climate Shocks

In the past, Lameck Sibukale only knew savings in the form of rearing chickens, goats and more importantly, cattle—a long cherished cultural heritage of the Tonga-speaking people of southern Zambia.

Intellectual Property Regime Undermines Equity, Progress

Over the last few decades, people in the developing world have been rejecting the intellectual property (IP) regime as it has been increasingly imposed on them following the establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO) including its trade-related intellectual property rights (TRIPs) regime. IP rights (IPRs) have been further enforced through ostensible free trade agreements (FTAs) and investment treaties among two (bilateral) or more (plurilateral) partners.

Automated Digital Tools Threaten Political Campaigns in Latin America

The use of technological tools in political campaigns has become widespread in Latin America, accompanied by practices that raise concern among academics and social organisations, especially in a year with multiple elections throughout the region.

Stock Market Turmoil May Expose Flaws in Global Finance

Was last week’s global stock market sell-off only a “correction” or does it signify a new period of financial instability, caused by major flaws in the world financial system?

Boycott, Divest & Sanctions Campaign Not Anti-Israel but Pro-Palestinian, Says Norwegian MP

When Norwegian parliamentarian Bjørnar Moxnes recently nominated the BDS movement for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize, the leader of Norway’s Red Party faced the inevitable: a furious backlash from pro-Israeli and anti-Palestinian groups.

Ethnic Violence in Ethiopia Stoked by Social Media from U.S.

In Ethiopia social media is a double-edged sword: capable of filling a sore need for more information but also of pushing the country toward even greater calamity.

Pyeongchang Olympics: A New Cornerstone for Peace and Prosperity

All eyes are on the 23rd Olympic Winter Games and 12th Paralympic Winter Games in PyeongChang this February. Top athletes will carry their national flags in an opening ceremony which has come to epitomize the international community. Sports fans worldwide eagerly await the Olympics, and this time there is cause for cautious optimism that sport diplomacy may lower tensions on the Korean Peninsula itself. Leaders, diplomats and citizens from the world over will witness North and South Korean athletes walking side by side. For this, there could be few better places than PyeongChang, which means peace (Pyeong) and prosperity (Chang): goals integral to the mission of the United Nations and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

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