A Chinese curse is “May you live in interesting times”. That meant that too many events would disrupt the essential elements of harmony, on which the Chinese pantheon is based.We certainly live in very interesting times where every day dramatic events pile on us, from terrorism to coup d’etat, from climate disaster to the decline of institutions and ever increasing social turmoil. It would be important, even if very difficult, to look in a nutshell why we are in this situation now - "lack of harmony" . So here goes a dramatically compressed explanation.
After a half century of decline, agricultural commodity prices rose with oil prices in the 1970s, and again for a decade until 2014. Food prices rose sharply from the middle of the last decade, but have been declining since 2012, and especially since last year, triggering concerns of declining investments by farmers.
Has the world gone mad? No. Violence is a part of our history, as mankind – we've known it all our lives. But, never before have we been exposed to violence in the manner that we are now, because of cable news coverage and social media. Before this age of rapid transfer of information, it took us much longer to learn about acts of violence in far away lands.
The first 1000 days after the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals are critical, according to a report published last week, urging UN member states to take action quickly.
A recent report from the National Academy of Science of The United States, titled Gene Drives on the Horizon : Advancing Science, Navigating Uncertainty, and Aligning Research with Public Values”, warns:
In a petition signed by 150 NGOs, the Coalition for Human Rights in Development have called for development banks to make sure that human rights are respected by their beneficiaries.
The global economic and employment situation is alarmingly protracted, with recovery not expected any time soon. In October 2012, then IMF chief economist Olivier Blanchard indicated he did not see a global economic recovery before 2016.
As many observers around the world have pointed out, the United States is no longer a true democracy. It is an oligarchy.The US government ignores the safety, wishes and needs of the majority of its citizens, and instead makes decisions which will bring profit to enormous corporations, or satisfy the wishes of powerful lobbies.
Less than a year after the adoption of the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), non-government organizations (NGOs) are concerned about declining possibilities for participation, both at the UN and in national politics.
Although “leave no one behind” has become a central rallying cry around the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, more needs to be done for it to be put into practice, civil society said during a review conference of progress made on the Post-2030 agenda here this week.
Habitat III, the UN’s conference on cities this coming October will explore urban agriculture as a solution to food security, but here in New York City, it has shown potential for much more.
A sign of the time is that Germany is raising a revolt against the President of the European Commission, Jeam-Claude Juncker, whom Chancellor Angela Merkel imposed in 2014 after a strong fight with David Cameron, then a powerful British PM. The group of Visograd, , formed by Poland, Hungary, Slovaquia and the Czech Republic, which resurged from ashes, to become an anti Brussels voice, has requested to bring back the Commission under the authority of the States. When Merkel organized a meeting of the leaders of the six original founders of the EU, in Berlin, she invited Donald Tusk, the President of the Council, but not Jean-Claude Juncker, who is the President of the Commission. And Wolfgang Schauble, the German minister of Finance, has launched an appeal: “it is time to bring back Brussels under the control of the states. “
When the financial crisis preceding the Great Recession broke out in late 2008, attention to the previously ignored UN Secretariat’s analytical work was greatly enhanced. This happened as the UN and the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) had been almost alone in warning, for some years, of the macroeconomic dangers posed by poorly regulated financial sector developments.
World leaders agreed in 2000 to halve the number of people living in poverty by 2015. The poverty line was defined as the purchasing power parity (PPP) equivalent to a US dollar a day, later adjusted to the 2005 PPP equivalent of $1.25 daily in 2008 to the 2012 PPP equivalent of $1.90 daily in 2015. As the cost of living rise unevenly across the world, the World Bank periodically updates the global poverty line to reflect these changes. Nevertheless, there are many concerns about how the line was defined and has been revised over the decades.