Global

Smartphones: Children’s Blessing or Curse?

Habits can change extremely fast, particularly within so-called “developed” nations, where children, even more than grownups are affected by life changing events. Gone are the times when kids could move around freely and invent games and adventures together with their friends. Far away from the scrutinizing control of parents and authorities they learned to interact with other kids, taking risks and solving problems. It could be tough and often quite merciless times, but educative, beneficent, and fun as well.

This Time is Different for Fiscal Policy – Ageing Proceeds Fast

Several Asia-Pacific countries are ageing fast. This transition is neither unique nor limited to the region -- it is a global megatrend. However, this time it is different. Why? Because ageing proceeds quite fast.

More Poverty for the Poor

Many low-income countries (LICs) continue to slip further behind the rest of the world. Meanwhile, people in extreme poverty have been increasing again after decades of decline.

The US Election & the Dangers of Nuclear Weapons

Today, we are facing a growing and unprecedented array of nuclear weapons dangers. At the same time, this year’s presidential election is also unprecedented, unpredictable, and extremely consequential.

New Military Alliances Forming in the Pacific

On the heels of a new alliance announced this summer by Russia and North Korea for a pact pledging mutual defense, with the support of China, it is now shockingly being suggested in South Korea that it review its security policy with the US and end its reliance on the US guarantee, to employ on South Koreas’ behalf, US nuclear weapons as part of its “nuclear umbrella”.

Iconic Image Makes Trump the Ultimate Hero

Republican Vice-Presidential nominee JD Vance and other speakers at the GOP Convention gleefully referenced the party’s latest icon: a wounded Donald Trump with blood on his face raising his fist in defiance beneath Old Glory’s stars and stripes.

Rights Groups Demand Governments Protect Exiled Journalists, Dissidents

Rights groups have called for governments to do more to combat transnational repression as a series of recent reports show growing numbers of exiled journalists, political dissidents and rights defenders are being targeted by autocratic regimes in an attempt to silence them.

The International Seabed Authority Must Change Course Amid Series of Scandals

The International Seabed Authority (ISA) has enormous importance as responsible for the fate of the largest, and most untouched, biome on the Planet. Ahead of elections for its leadership, governments cannot ignore that its current Secretary-General has become the subject of both media investigations and criticism from other parts of the UN.

Are Sustainable Cities a Pipe Dream?

Cities, once thought to be modern utopias that foster innovation, inclusivity, and commerce, actually ended up being hubs for environmental degradation. Although the concept of urban living is inextricable from humanity, there are proposed ways to make them less environmentally taxing. One such solution is the idea of a sustainable city, otherwise known as a metropolis that effectively consumes fossil fuels and disposes of emissions with regards to the longevity of the planet as well as the economic wellbeing of its citizens. Cities can also be considered sustainable so long as they curb the consequences of consumption through means such as recycling or using healthier energy sources. Although this sounds like a simple path forward in Earth’s journey of decarbonizing, we must take a plethora of issues into consideration, such as transportation, housing, manufacturing, trade, and comfort.

HLPF 2024: Protecting Civic Space Critical for SDGs Success

Each year the international community comes together at the UN’s headquarters in New York to take stock of progress on sustainable development. This year’s High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) is being held between 8 and 18 July. Representatives from 36 countries, as per the UN HLPF website, will showcase their achievements on commitments outlined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, presenting their Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs).

Is Artificial Intelligence The Way Forward or Backward?

Contrary to popular belief, artificial intelligence has been a cornerstone of technological progress for much longer than the past few years. Computer scientist Alan Turing brought forth the concept of computers solving complex human problems with his invention of the Turing Machine in 1936. This machine provided solutions to a seemingly infinite number of problems, yet the technological limitations of the early 1900s proved that this number was indeed very finite. Flash forward to the 2020s, artificial intelligence has become a widespread practice, impacting different fields such as music, art, science, forensics, finance, agriculture, and many others. Although artificial intelligence has been hailed as the future of human progress, it also poses a risk to this future due to its significant carbon footprint.

The Winds of War

Herman Wouk’s 1971 novel The Winds of War traced the romance, bravery, fear, and faith required for American youths to join the military, deploy to the war zones, and confront the mighty Axis threat in the lead-up to WW II. It later became a dramatic TV series.

A new Treaty for a Sustainable and Just Future?

A High-Level Political Forum – described as one of the most important events of the year for discussing the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—will take place at the United Nations through July 18.

Emergence of a New Proletariat

Immigrants are essential to Europe’s economic survival. They are needed for doing the jobs that most Europeans no longer want to do. Jobs that involve manual labor in agriculture and industry; or providing home help, care for the elderly; or working un-social hours in the catering business.

US Fed- Induced World Stagnation Deepens Debt Distress

For some time, most multilateral financial institutions have urged developing countries to borrow commercially, but not from China. Now, borrowers are stuck in debt traps with little prospect of escape.

As Heat Soars in India, so Does Domestic Violence

As the temperature soars to new heights in India, so does domestic violence. It’s a well-established correlation that is largely left out of the climate change discussion, but the gap is glaring and needs to be bridged.

Pandemic’s ‘Silver Lining’ for Caribbean Was the Use of Technology

Global South countries did get one benefit from the COVID-19 pandemic. A professor at St. George’s University in Grenada describes it as the pandemic’s “silver lining." He was referring to the widespread use of next-generation genomic sequencing technology to identify, track, and trace the numerous variants of the Sars Cov-2 virus. Researchers and scientists in the Caribbean, Africa, and elsewhere have been eagerly harnessing genomic sequencing technology to develop resilience and greater self-sufficiency in numerous fields, ranging from health surveillance to agriculture and beyond.

A Bleak Future 50 Years after the New International Economic ‘Non-order’?

Fifty years ago on 1 May 1974, the Sixth Special Session of the General Assembly (April–May) adopted a revolutionary declaration and programme of action on the establishment of a New International Economic Order (NIEO) “based on equity, sovereign equality, interdependence, common interest and cooperation among all States, irrespective of their economic and social systems”. The hope was that a NIEO would “correct inequalities and redress existing injustices, make it possible to eliminate the widening gap between the developed and the developing countries and ensure steadily accelerating economic and social development and peace and justice for present and future generations”. Alas, what evolved is far from what was envisioned or called for.

A Warming Planet is Global, Adaptation is Local & Resilience People-Specific

The summer of 2024 has shattered heat records, starkly illustrating the harsh realities of our warming planet. In India alone, the heatwave has claimed over 100 lives and caused more than 40,000 cases of heatstroke in recent months, according to data from India’s Health Ministry. This extreme weather event has further burdened the poor and vulnerable, exacerbating the social and economic toll of disasters.

UN Climate Talks: Setting Sail to Plunder the Ocean

Despite the evident and increasing urgency of the climate crisis, the June intersessional meeting of the UNFCCC closed with little to show for two full weeks of negotiation.

Nuclear Coercion: Dangerous and Illegal

Our three organizations-- Western States Legal Foundation, Peace Depot, and Basel Peace Office-- all dedicated to the elimination of nuclear weapons, have consistently expressed our concern about the risk of nuclear war escalating during armed conflicts and times of high tension, when nuclear-armed states often make veiled or even explicit threats to use nuclear weapons and prepare for such use.

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