Today, around 21,000 children died around the world. This daily tragedy, from poverty and other preventable causes, rarely makes headline news.

Latest World News

World

  1. A Treaty to End Corporate Immunity?

    Thursday, April 25, 2019

    UNITED NATIONS, Apr 25 (IPS) - Hans Wetzels is a writer for Africa Renewal* published by the United Nations

    When Ecuadorean diplomat Luis Gallegos first proposed a "Binding Treaty on Business and Human Rights," many countries and environmental activists welcomed the idea with open arms.

  2. Women and Girls ‘Preyed on as the Spoils of War’

    Thursday, April 25, 2019

    MAIDUGURI, Nigeria, Apr 25 (IPS) - This is part of a series of features from across the globe on human trafficking. IPS coverage is supported by the Riana Group.

    "They forcefully took us away and kept us like prisoners," Lydia Musa, a former Boko Haram captive who was abducted at the age of 14 during an attack on her village in Gwoza, in Nigeria's north eastern Borno State, tells IPS. Musa and two other underaged girls were abducted and forced to marry Boko Haram fighters in spite of their protests that they were too young to marry.

  3. Russia’s First Female Central Bank Governor in a Challenging Job

    Wednesday, April 24, 2019

    WASHINGTON DC, Apr 24 (IPS) - Olga Stankova is with the Communications Department at the International Monetary Fund (IMF)

    Within a few short months after taking up her post as governor of the Central Bank of Russia in 2013, Elvira Nabiullina faced a growing economic crisis brought on by plunging oil prices, geopolitical tensions, and sanctions.

  4. After the Rain: The Lasting Effects of Storms in the Caribbean

    Wednesday, April 24, 2019

    UNITED NATIONS, Apr 24 (IPS) - Luis Felipe Lopez-Calva is UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean

    Sustainability is constitutive of the concept of development. Just as economist Amartya Sen has argued that there is no point in discussing the relationship between development and democracy, because democracy is constitutive of the concept of development, there is no point of trying to disentangle sustainability from the notion of development itself.

  5. Against All Odds, Indigenous Villages Generate Their Own Energy in Guatemala

    Tuesday, April 23, 2019

    USPANTÁN, Guatemala, Apr 23 (IPS) - In the stifling heat, Diego Matom takes the bread trays out of the oven and carefully places them on wooden shelves, happy that his business has prospered since his village in northwest Guatemala began to generate its own electricity.

  6. Bleak Outlook for Press Freedom in West Africa

    Tuesday, April 23, 2019

    LONDON, Apr 23 (IPS) - When former footballer George Weah became president of Liberia in 2018, media practitioners felt they had in him a democrat who would champion media freedoms. "But we were mistaken," journalist Henry Costa told IPS.

  7. Why Climate Action Plans are not Good Enough to Deliver a Low-Carbon Future in Cities

    Tuesday, April 23, 2019

    DUBAI, Apr 23 (IPS) - Karishma Asarpot* is an urban planner, blogger and researcher who holds a Master of Science degree in Urbanism from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.

    Though climate policies aim to reduce GHG emissions, they miss out on emphasizing the importance of urban planning policies

    Cities that have ratified the Paris Agreement and pledged to reduce carbon emissions are adopting climate action plans aimed at reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

  8. Privatization Promotes Collusion and Corruption

    Tuesday, April 23, 2019

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Apr 23 (IPS) - Privatization is expected by many to promote competition and eliminate corruption. In practice, the converse has been true as privatization beneficiaries have successfully colluded and engaged in new types of corruption to maximize their own gains.

    At the risk of reiterating what should be obvious, the question of private or public ownership is distinct from the issue of competition or market forces. Despite the misleading claim that privatization promotes competition, it is competition policy, not privatization, that promotes competition.

  9. Lost in the Cyberworld? The Enigmatic Mr Assange

    Tuesday, April 23, 2019

    STOCKHOLM / ROME, Apr 23 (IPS) - Trump´s electoral success was preceded by a rise of chauvinistic politics in most of Europe, paired with electoral triumphs of far-right candidates in several other countries. A development accompanied by revelations of corrupt leaders laundering and transferring illegally obtained money, aided by financial institutions finding the means to do so. The world seems to move away from a rule-based order to a state of affairs dominated by might and wealth. World leaders´ private business dealings thrive within a global environment where laws intended to protect human rights are becoming increasingly ineffective. Foreign policies appear to be adapted to private gains and personal vendettas. Global financial systems seem to be crafted to facilitate kleptocracy and money laundering, while repression and violence smite whistle-blowers and daring journalists. Endeavours supported by propaganda and smear campaigns orchestrated by political/financial consultants and private investigation firms. All this is made possible through complicated schemes using the internet.

  10. Sri Lanka’s Easter Sunday Carnage: Quo Vadis?

    Monday, April 22, 2019

    NEW YORK, Apr 22 (IPS) - Dr. Purnaka L. ("PL") de Silva is Director, Institute for Strategic Studies and Democracy (ISSD) Malta

    "If we believe in absurdities we shall commit atrocities" - Voltaire

    I returned from attending a three-hour Easter Sunday mass at the Fordham University Church around midnight New York time on May 20, 2019, when my phone rang and a colleague asked me what's going on in Sri Lanka? I said what is going on?

  11. More stories…

Economy

  1. Russia’s First Female Central Bank Governor in a Challenging Job

    Wednesday, April 24, 2019

    WASHINGTON DC, Apr 24 (IPS) - Olga Stankova is with the Communications Department at the International Monetary Fund (IMF)

    Within a few short months after taking up her post as governor of the Central Bank of Russia in 2013, Elvira Nabiullina faced a growing economic crisis brought on by plunging oil prices, geopolitical tensions, and sanctions.

  2. Against All Odds, Indigenous Villages Generate Their Own Energy in Guatemala

    Tuesday, April 23, 2019

    USPANTÁN, Guatemala, Apr 23 (IPS) - In the stifling heat, Diego Matom takes the bread trays out of the oven and carefully places them on wooden shelves, happy that his business has prospered since his village in northwest Guatemala began to generate its own electricity.

  3. Why Climate Action Plans are not Good Enough to Deliver a Low-Carbon Future in Cities

    Tuesday, April 23, 2019

    DUBAI, Apr 23 (IPS) - Karishma Asarpot* is an urban planner, blogger and researcher who holds a Master of Science degree in Urbanism from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.

    Though climate policies aim to reduce GHG emissions, they miss out on emphasizing the importance of urban planning policies

    Cities that have ratified the Paris Agreement and pledged to reduce carbon emissions are adopting climate action plans aimed at reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

  4. Privatization Promotes Collusion and Corruption

    Tuesday, April 23, 2019

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Apr 23 (IPS) - Privatization is expected by many to promote competition and eliminate corruption. In practice, the converse has been true as privatization beneficiaries have successfully colluded and engaged in new types of corruption to maximize their own gains.

    At the risk of reiterating what should be obvious, the question of private or public ownership is distinct from the issue of competition or market forces. Despite the misleading claim that privatization promotes competition, it is competition policy, not privatization, that promotes competition.

  5. Lost in the Cyberworld? The Enigmatic Mr Assange

    Tuesday, April 23, 2019

    STOCKHOLM / ROME, Apr 23 (IPS) - Trump´s electoral success was preceded by a rise of chauvinistic politics in most of Europe, paired with electoral triumphs of far-right candidates in several other countries. A development accompanied by revelations of corrupt leaders laundering and transferring illegally obtained money, aided by financial institutions finding the means to do so. The world seems to move away from a rule-based order to a state of affairs dominated by might and wealth. World leaders´ private business dealings thrive within a global environment where laws intended to protect human rights are becoming increasingly ineffective. Foreign policies appear to be adapted to private gains and personal vendettas. Global financial systems seem to be crafted to facilitate kleptocracy and money laundering, while repression and violence smite whistle-blowers and daring journalists. Endeavours supported by propaganda and smear campaigns orchestrated by political/financial consultants and private investigation firms. All this is made possible through complicated schemes using the internet.

  6. Economic Empowerment of Women Good for All

    Monday, April 22, 2019

    UNITED NATIONS, Apr 22 (IPS) - Kingsley Ighobor is a writer at Africa Renewal,* published by the United Nations

    Government staffer Souhayata Haidara enjoys talking about her life in a patriarchal society. Her career is a triumph of patience and perseverance, she tells Africa Renewal with a smile and a wink.

  7. “A Question of Life or Death”

    Thursday, April 18, 2019

    STOCKHOLM, Apr 18 (IPS) - The mining industry is one of the world's most dangerous industries. Globally, the death toll is at least 14,000 workers per year. But how many lives are actually lost is something that neither trade unions, national governments or the United Nations know.

  8. Climbing the Coconut Value Chain in the Pacific

    Thursday, April 18, 2019

    PORT VILA, Apr 18 (IPS) - Josephine Latu-Sanft is Senior Communications Officer, Commonwealth Secretariat.

    In the Pacific, coconut is king. Known as the ‘tree of life’, locals make use of every part of the tree to survive – the fruit for eating, husks for fuelling fires, fronds for making multiuse baskets, and the trunk for building houses.

  9. Pakistan’s Battle Against Climate Change

    Wednesday, April 17, 2019

    ISLAMABAD, Apr 17 (IPS) - Pakistan, which has been listed as the 7th most vulnerable country affected by climate change, is now seriously tackling the vagaries of weather, both at the official as well as non-official level.

    Pursuant to an initiative launched by the Pakistan Parliament's Upper House, the Senate, which specially entrusted a sub-Committee of the Standing Committee on Climate Change to focus on "Green and Clean" Islamabad, media, civil society and students have taken up the cudgels on combating climate change.

  10. U.S. Needs to Shift to More Sustainable Agriculture—As Do All Countries

    Wednesday, April 17, 2019

    WASHINGTON, D.C., Apr 17 (IPS) - Water supply has long been a key issue in California. Today it is no less critical, especially given the years of drought that California is experiencing, lending additional impetus to assessing the impact of agriculture on water.

  11. More stories…

Climate

  1. After the Rain: The Lasting Effects of Storms in the Caribbean

    Wednesday, April 24, 2019

    UNITED NATIONS, Apr 24 (IPS) - Luis Felipe Lopez-Calva is UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean

    Sustainability is constitutive of the concept of development. Just as economist Amartya Sen has argued that there is no point in discussing the relationship between development and democracy, because democracy is constitutive of the concept of development, there is no point of trying to disentangle sustainability from the notion of development itself.

  2. Against All Odds, Indigenous Villages Generate Their Own Energy in Guatemala

    Tuesday, April 23, 2019

    USPANTÁN, Guatemala, Apr 23 (IPS) - In the stifling heat, Diego Matom takes the bread trays out of the oven and carefully places them on wooden shelves, happy that his business has prospered since his village in northwest Guatemala began to generate its own electricity.

  3. Why Climate Action Plans are not Good Enough to Deliver a Low-Carbon Future in Cities

    Tuesday, April 23, 2019

    DUBAI, Apr 23 (IPS) - Karishma Asarpot* is an urban planner, blogger and researcher who holds a Master of Science degree in Urbanism from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.

    Though climate policies aim to reduce GHG emissions, they miss out on emphasizing the importance of urban planning policies

    Cities that have ratified the Paris Agreement and pledged to reduce carbon emissions are adopting climate action plans aimed at reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

  4. Global Energy Consumption is Up -- So Are Emissions

    Monday, April 22, 2019

    NEW DELHI, Apr 22 (IPS) - Sunita Narain is Editor, Down To Earth based in New Delhi

    Our acceptance of climate change doesn't keep pace with our energy consumption reduction. However, the latest International Energy Agency's (IEA'S) Global Energy and CO2 Status Report for 2018 has some good news.

  5. Pakistan’s Battle Against Climate Change

    Wednesday, April 17, 2019

    ISLAMABAD, Apr 17 (IPS) - Pakistan, which has been listed as the 7th most vulnerable country affected by climate change, is now seriously tackling the vagaries of weather, both at the official as well as non-official level.

    Pursuant to an initiative launched by the Pakistan Parliament's Upper House, the Senate, which specially entrusted a sub-Committee of the Standing Committee on Climate Change to focus on "Green and Clean" Islamabad, media, civil society and students have taken up the cudgels on combating climate change.

  6. Global Governance and Information

    Tuesday, April 16, 2019

    VIENNA, Apr 16 (IPS) - Ambassador Walther Lichem* of Austria is President Inter Press Service (IPS).

    The past seventy years since the end of the second world war have been marked by profound changes in our international system. Relations between states have become more horizontally structured interactions with a rising significance of the common good articulated and pursued by newly-created international programmes and organisations.

  7. Q&A: Building Resilience through Waste Diversion and Reduction

    Friday, April 12, 2019

    CASTRIES, Apr 12 (IPS) - Jua Kali is a social enterprise tackling waste management and helping to reduce reliance on St. Lucia's only landfill, which will reach the end of its lifespan in 2023. The company, with its slogan ‘Trashing the Idea of Waste,' hosts waste collection drives through pop up depots that encourage residents to bring in glass, plastic and tin cans in exchange for supermarket shopping points.

  8. Revealed - A Roadmap to Defeat Tobacco Tax & Keep Indonesians Addicted

    Thursday, April 11, 2019

    BANGKOK, Thailand, Apr 11 (IPS) - Dr. Ulysses Dorotheo is Executive Director of the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA)*

    The image of a smoking toddler from Indonesia horrified the world but did little to motivate local policy makers to enact measures to protect children and youth from the harms of tobacco use. Indonesia has one of the world's highest smoking rates where two out of three men and about 40 percent of adolescent boys smoke.

  9. Fridays for Future – following Greta Thunberg!

    Wednesday, April 10, 2019

    BERLIN, Apr 10 (IPS) - What happens worldwide on Fridays, a regular working day and consequently, a school day? We are all witnessing that students do not attend their classes: During the week of March 15, 2019, according to www.fridaysforfuture.org, there were at least 1.6 million striking students in more than 125 countries on all continents.

    Students ask their governments and parents: "Why should I be studying for a future that soon may exist no more, if no one does anything to save that future?" And they pledge: "Dear adults, use your power!" The youngsters gather in front of their town halls, exposing signs and pictures #Fridaysforfuture or #Climatestrike.

  10. Staying Cool is Creating a Vicious Cycle on our Warming Planet

    Wednesday, April 10, 2019

    NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 10 (IPS) - Joyce Msuya is Acting Executive Director, UN Environment.

    Our planet is heating up. 2018 was the fourth-warmest year on record, with peak temperatures engulfing the planet – from 43°C in Baku, Azerbaijan, to the low 30s across Scandinavia. The last four years have been the hottest since records began in 1880.

  11. More stories…

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Issues In depth

Latest

Action on climate change is cheaper than inaction

Posted Monday, February 02, 2015.

Many are afraid that tackling climate change is going to be too costly. But increasingly, studies are showing action will not just be cheaper than inaction, but could actually result in economic, environmental and even health benefits, while improving sustainability.

Read “Action on climate change is cheaper than inaction” to learn more.

Climate Change and Global Warming Introduction

Last updated Sunday, February 01, 2015.

The climate is changing. The earth is warming up, and there is now overwhelming scientific consensus that it is happening, and human-induced. With global warming on the increase and species and their habitats on the decrease, chances for ecosystems to adapt naturally are diminishing.

Many are agreed that climate change may be one of the greatest threats facing the planet. Recent years show increasing temperatures in various regions, and/or increasing extremities in weather patterns.

This section looks at what causes climate change, what the impacts are and where scientific consensus currently is.

Read “Climate Change and Global Warming Introduction” to learn more.

COP20—Lima Climate Conference

Posted Saturday, January 24, 2015.

An overview of the Climate Change Conference (also known as COP 20), held in Lima, Peru in December 2014.

While it seemed like it was a successful meeting, because developing nations were committed to drawing up their own plans for emissions reductions for the first time, a number of important issues were left undecided such as how financing would work.

This page is an overview of the Lima Climate conference.

Read “COP20—Lima Climate Conference” to learn more.

Ebola Outbreak in West Africa

Posted Saturday, September 27, 2014.

An overview of the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa that has been described by the World Health Organization as the largest, most severe and most complex outbreak in the history of the disease.

The epidemic began at the end of 2013, in Guinea. From there it spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Senegal. Many of the affected countries face enormous challenges in stopping its spread and providing care for all patients.

Thousands of people have died and many are at risk as the fatality rate from this virus is very high. As the crisis worsens, as well as the enormous health challenges involved, the social and economic consequences may set these countries back, reversing some gains a number of these countries have made in recent years.

Read “Ebola Outbreak in West Africa” to learn more.

Foreign Aid for Development Assistance

Last updated Sunday, September 28, 2014.

In 1970, the world’s rich countries agreed to give 0.7% of their gross national income as official international development aid, annually.

Since that time, billions have certainly been given each year, but rarely have the rich nations actually met their promised target.

For example, the US is often the largest donor in dollar terms, but ranks amongst the lowest in terms of meeting the stated 0.7% target.

Net ODA in dollars and percent of GNI

Furthermore, aid has often come with a price of its own for the developing nations. Common criticisms, for many years, of foreign aid, have included the following:

  • Aid is often wasted on conditions that the recipient must use overpriced goods and services from donor countries
  • Most aid does not actually go to the poorest who would need it the most
  • Aid amounts are dwarfed by rich country protectionism that denies market access for poor country products while rich nations use aid as a lever to open poor country markets to their products
  • Large projects or massive grand strategies often fail to help the vulnerable; money can often be embezzled away.

This article explores who has benefited most from this aid, the recipients or the donors.

Read “Foreign Aid for Development Assistance” to learn more.

Nature and Animal Conservation

Last updated Sunday, January 19, 2014.

Preserving species and their habitats is important for ecosystems to self-sustain themselves.

Yet, the pressures to destroy habitat for logging, illegal hunting, and other challenges are making conservation a struggle.

Read “Nature and Animal Conservation” to learn more.

More updates

Most Popular

Poverty Facts and Stats

Last updated Monday, January 07, 2013.

Most of humanity lives on just a few dollars a day. Whether you live in the wealthiest nations in the world or the poorest, you will see high levels of inequality.

The poorest people will also have less access to health, education and other services. Problems of hunger, malnutrition and disease afflict the poorest in society. The poorest are also typically marginalized from society and have little representation or voice in public and political debates, making it even harder to escape poverty.

By contrast, the wealthier you are, the more likely you are to benefit from economic or political policies. The amount the world spends on military, financial bailouts and other areas that benefit the wealthy, compared to the amount spent to address the daily crisis of poverty and related problems are often staggering.

Some facts and figures on poverty presented in this page are eye-openers, to say the least.

Read “Poverty Facts and Stats” to learn more.

Global Financial Crisis

Last updated Sunday, March 24, 2013.

Following a period of economic boom, a financial bubble — global in scope — burst, even causing some of the world’s largest financial institutions have collapsed. With the resulting recession, many governments of the wealthiest nations in the world have resorted to extensive bail-out and rescue packages for the remaining large banks and financial institutions while imposing harsh austerity measures on themselves.

Some of the bail-outs have also led to charges of hypocrisy due to the apparent socializing of the costs while privatizing the profits. Furthermore, the institutions being rescued are typically the ones got the world into this trouble in the first place. For smaller businesses and poorer people, such options for bail out and rescue are rarely available when they find themselves in crisis.

Plummeting stock markets at one point wiped out 33% of the value of companies, $14.5 trillion. Taxpayers bailed out their banks and financial institutions with large amounts of money. US taxpayers alone have spent some $9.7 trillion in bailout packages and plans. The UK and other European countries have also spent some $2 trillion on rescues and bailout packages. More is expected. Much more.

Such numbers, made quickly available, are enough to wipe many individual’s mortgages, or clear out third world debt many times over. Even the high military spending figures are dwarfed by the bailout plans to date.

Taxpayers are paying for some of the largests costs in history

This problem could have been averted (in theory) as people had been pointing to these issues for decades. However, during boom, very few want to hear such pessimism. Does this crisis spell an end to the careless forms of banking and finance and will it herald a better economic age, or are we just doomed to keep forgetting history and repeat these mistakes in the future? Signs are not encouraging as rich nations are resisting meaningful reform…

Read “Global Financial Crisis” to learn more.

Causes of Poverty

Last updated Sunday, September 28, 2014.

Poverty is the state for the majority of the world’s people and nations. Why is this? Is it enough to blame poor people for their own predicament? Have they been lazy, made poor decisions, and been solely responsible for their plight? What about their governments? Have they pursued policies that actually harm successful development? Such causes of poverty and inequality are no doubt real. But deeper and more global causes of poverty are often less discussed.

Read “Causes of Poverty” to learn more.

Climate Change and Global Warming

Last updated Monday, February 02, 2015.

The climate is changing. The earth is warming up, and there is now overwhelming scientific consensus that it is happening, and human-induced. With global warming on the increase and species and their habitats on the decrease, chances for ecosystems to adapt naturally are diminishing. Many are agreed that climate change may be one of the greatest threats facing the planet. Recent years show increasing temperatures in various regions, and/or increasing extremities in weather patterns.

This section explores some of the effects of climate change. It also attempts to provide insights into what governments, companies, international institutions, and other organizations are attempting to do about this issue, as well as the challenges they face. Some of the major conferences in recent years are also discussed.

Read “Climate Change and Global Warming” to learn more.

Environmental Issues

Last updated Monday, February 02, 2015.

Environmental issues are also a major global issue. Humans depend on a sustainable and healthy environment, and yet we have damaged the environment in numerous ways. This section introduces other issues including biodiversity, climate change, animal and nature conservation, population, genetically modified food, sustainable development, and more.

Read “Environmental Issues” to learn more.

Racism

Last updated Sunday, August 08, 2010.

Racism is the belief that characteristics and abilities can be attributed to people simply on the basis of their race and that some racial groups are superior to others. Racism and discrimination have been used as powerful weapons encouraging fear or hatred of others in times of conflict and war, and even during economic downturns. This article explores racism from around the world.

Read “Racism” to learn more.

More articles

Topical

Global Financial Crisis

Last updated Sunday, March 24, 2013.

Following a period of economic boom, a financial bubble — global in scope — burst, even causing some of the world’s largest financial institutions have collapsed. With the resulting recession, many governments of the wealthiest nations in the world have resorted to extensive bail-out and rescue packages for the remaining large banks and financial institutions while imposing harsh austerity measures on themselves.

Some of the bail-outs have also led to charges of hypocrisy due to the apparent socializing of the costs while privatizing the profits. Furthermore, the institutions being rescued are typically the ones got the world into this trouble in the first place. For smaller businesses and poorer people, such options for bail out and rescue are rarely available when they find themselves in crisis.

Plummeting stock markets at one point wiped out 33% of the value of companies, $14.5 trillion. Taxpayers bailed out their banks and financial institutions with large amounts of money. US taxpayers alone have spent some $9.7 trillion in bailout packages and plans. The UK and other European countries have also spent some $2 trillion on rescues and bailout packages. More is expected. Much more.

Such numbers, made quickly available, are enough to wipe many individual’s mortgages, or clear out third world debt many times over. Even the high military spending figures are dwarfed by the bailout plans to date.

Taxpayers are paying for some of the largests costs in history

This problem could have been averted (in theory) as people had been pointing to these issues for decades. However, during boom, very few want to hear such pessimism. Does this crisis spell an end to the careless forms of banking and finance and will it herald a better economic age, or are we just doomed to keep forgetting history and repeat these mistakes in the future? Signs are not encouraging as rich nations are resisting meaningful reform…

Read “Global Financial Crisis” to learn more.

Climate Change and Global Warming

Last updated Monday, February 02, 2015.

The climate is changing. The earth is warming up, and there is now overwhelming scientific consensus that it is happening, and human-induced. With global warming on the increase and species and their habitats on the decrease, chances for ecosystems to adapt naturally are diminishing. Many are agreed that climate change may be one of the greatest threats facing the planet. Recent years show increasing temperatures in various regions, and/or increasing extremities in weather patterns.

This section explores some of the effects of climate change. It also attempts to provide insights into what governments, companies, international institutions, and other organizations are attempting to do about this issue, as well as the challenges they face. Some of the major conferences in recent years are also discussed.

Read “Climate Change and Global Warming” to learn more.

Food and Agriculture Issues

Last updated Sunday, September 28, 2014.

Food and agriculture goes to the heart of our civilizations. Religions, cultures and even modern civilization have food and agriculture at their core. For an issue that goes to the heart of humanity it also has its ugly side.

This issue explores topics ranging from the global food crisis of 2008, to issues of food aid, world hunger, food dumping and wasteful agriculture such as growing tobacco, sugar, beef, and more.

Read “Food and Agriculture Issues” to learn more.

Foreign Aid for Development Assistance

Last updated Sunday, September 28, 2014.

In 1970, the world’s rich countries agreed to give 0.7% of their gross national income as official international development aid, annually.

Since that time, billions have certainly been given each year, but rarely have the rich nations actually met their promised target.

For example, the US is often the largest donor in dollar terms, but ranks amongst the lowest in terms of meeting the stated 0.7% target.

Net ODA in dollars and percent of GNI

Furthermore, aid has often come with a price of its own for the developing nations. Common criticisms, for many years, of foreign aid, have included the following:

  • Aid is often wasted on conditions that the recipient must use overpriced goods and services from donor countries
  • Most aid does not actually go to the poorest who would need it the most
  • Aid amounts are dwarfed by rich country protectionism that denies market access for poor country products while rich nations use aid as a lever to open poor country markets to their products
  • Large projects or massive grand strategies often fail to help the vulnerable; money can often be embezzled away.

This article explores who has benefited most from this aid, the recipients or the donors.

Read “Foreign Aid for Development Assistance” to learn more.

Tax Avoidance and Tax Havens; Undermining Democracy

Last updated Monday, January 07, 2013.

Through tax havens, transfer pricing and many other policies — both legal and illegal — billions of dollars of tax are avoided. The much-needed money would helped developing (and developed) countries provide important social services for their populations.

Some tax avoidance, regardless of how morally objectionable it may be to some people, is perfectly legal, and the global super elite are able to hide away trillions of dollars, resulting in massive losses of tax revenues for cash-strapped governments who then burden ordinary citizens further with austerity measures during economic crisis, for example. Yet these super elite are often very influential in politics and business. In effect, they are able to undermine democracy and capitalism at the same time.

As the global financial crisis has affected many countries, tackling tax avoidance would help target those more likely to have contributed to the problem while avoid many unnecessary austerity measures that hit the poorest so hard. But despite rhetoric stating otherwise, it does not seem to high on the agenda of many governments as you might think.

Read “Tax Avoidance and Tax Havens; Undermining Democracy” to learn more.

World Military Spending

Last updated Sunday, June 30, 2013.

World military spending had reduced since the Cold War ended, but a few nations such as the US retain high level spending.

In recent years, global military expenditure has increased again and is now comparable to Cold War levels. Recent data shows global spending at over $1.7 trillion. 2012 saw the first dip in spending — only slightly —since 1998, in an otherwise rising trend.

After a decline following the end of the Cold War, recent years have seen military spending increase

The highest military spender is the US accounting for almost two-fifths of the world’s spending, more than the rest of the G7 (most economically advanced countries) combined, and more than all its potential enemies, combined.

Read “World Military Spending” to learn more.

More issues

“If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence.” — Bertrand Russell, Roads to Freedom