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. Funding, Policy Changes Could Result in Countries Reaping Benefit of Migration

    - Inter Press Service

    A story from Inter Press Service, an international news agency

    BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, Feb 23 (IPS) - Amid an escalation of global conflict and climate change-induced displacements, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is escalating its donor campaign.

  2. Childrens Futures at a Crossroads

    - Inter Press Service

    A story from Inter Press Service, an international news agency

    UNITED NATIONS, Feb 23 (IPS) - At the start of 2024, we stand at a critical juncture: Geopolitical tensions are escalating, economic integration is unravelling, and multilateral cooperation is faltering. This global fragmentation threatens to undermine decades of progress made for children worldwide.

  3. Rights violations ripple across war-torn Sudan

    - UN News

    The armed conflict in Sudan has resulted in thousands of civilians killed, millions displaced, property looted and children conscripted, as fighting has spread to more regions of the country since the conflict began last April, according to a wide-ranging report from the UN Human Rights Office released on Friday.

  4. Ukraine: Bucha and Irpin rise from the ashes of Russian military occupation

    - UN News

    When the Russian occupation of Bucha in the early days of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine ended in March 2022, widespread destruction was revealed, and a UN commission concluded that war crimes had been committed against the civilian population. Two years on, life is returning to the town on Kyiv’s outskirts and nearby Irpin, which have been restored with UN support.

  5. Unpacking 2023, the Warmest Year on Record

    - Inter Press Service

    BANGKOK, Thailand, Feb 22 (IPS) - 2023 was the warmest year on record. The latest Copernicus Climate Change Service highlights that February 2023 to January 2024 was the first time that we experienced 12 consecutive months of temperatures 1.5-degree hotter than the pre-industrial era.

  6. Pakistan’s Election Outcomes Leave Many Unhappy

    - Inter Press Service

    LONDON, Feb 22 (IPS) - Pakistan’s 8 February election has resulted in an uneasy compromise that few wanted or expected. There’s little indication the outcome is going to reverse recent regression in civic freedoms.

  7. #UNmute: Over 350 Civil Society Organizations Ask for Real Inclusion in UN Summit of the Future Negotiations

    - Inter Press Service

    NEW YORK, Feb 22 (IPS) - A coalition of over 350 civil society organisations part of the #UNmute initiative, shared concerns over the current engagement mechanisms for civil society at the UN – particularly in light of the upcoming Summit of the Future.

  8. Coastal Indigenous and Minority Women Driving Kenya’s Blue Forest Conservation Efforts

    - Inter Press Service

    TSUNZA, Kenya, Feb 22 (IPS) - Fish vanished from the sea near Tsunza, a village on Kenya’s coast, after several oil spills between 2003 and 2006. The impact of this and the vanishing mangroves badly affected the livelihoods of women. Now they are the champions of the restoration of one of the global warming mitigation superheroes—mangroves.

    Tsunza Peninsula is a natural wonder that sits just inside the many inlets of Mombasa Island on the border between Mombasa and Kwale Counties—a little-known spectacle of lagoons, islands, and thick mangroves in Kinango Sub-County, Kwale County, on Kenya’s coastal region. 

  9. Inside Kenya’s Seed Control Battle: Why Smallholder Farmers Want to Share Indigenous Seeds

    - Inter Press Service

    NAIROBI, Feb 22 (IPS) - A group of 15 smallholder farmers in Kenya petitioned the country’s High Court, seeking to compel the government to review sections of a law that bans the sharing and exchange of uncertified and unregistered seeds.

  10. UNRWA at ‘breaking point’ warns agency chief

    - UN News

    A story from UN News

    The UN agency serving Palestine refugees (UNRWA) has reached breaking point due to Israeli calls for its abolition and the associated funding freeze, just when it is needed most, said UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini.

  11. More stories…

Climate

  1. Unpacking 2023, the Warmest Year on Record

    - Inter Press Service

    BANGKOK, Thailand, Feb 22 (IPS) - 2023 was the warmest year on record. The latest Copernicus Climate Change Service highlights that February 2023 to January 2024 was the first time that we experienced 12 consecutive months of temperatures 1.5-degree hotter than the pre-industrial era.

  2. #UNmute: Over 350 Civil Society Organizations Ask for Real Inclusion in UN Summit of the Future Negotiations

    - Inter Press Service

    NEW YORK, Feb 22 (IPS) - A coalition of over 350 civil society organisations part of the #UNmute initiative, shared concerns over the current engagement mechanisms for civil society at the UN – particularly in light of the upcoming Summit of the Future.

  3. Coastal Indigenous and Minority Women Driving Kenya’s Blue Forest Conservation Efforts

    - Inter Press Service

    TSUNZA, Kenya, Feb 22 (IPS) - Fish vanished from the sea near Tsunza, a village on Kenya’s coast, after several oil spills between 2003 and 2006. The impact of this and the vanishing mangroves badly affected the livelihoods of women. Now they are the champions of the restoration of one of the global warming mitigation superheroes—mangroves.

    Tsunza Peninsula is a natural wonder that sits just inside the many inlets of Mombasa Island on the border between Mombasa and Kwale Counties—a little-known spectacle of lagoons, islands, and thick mangroves in Kinango Sub-County, Kwale County, on Kenya’s coastal region. 

  4. Inside Kenya’s Seed Control Battle: Why Smallholder Farmers Want to Share Indigenous Seeds

    - Inter Press Service

    NAIROBI, Feb 22 (IPS) - A group of 15 smallholder farmers in Kenya petitioned the country’s High Court, seeking to compel the government to review sections of a law that bans the sharing and exchange of uncertified and unregistered seeds.

  5. Who Wants to Live by the Sea?

    - Inter Press Service

    VICTORIA, Republic of Seychelles, Feb 21 (IPS) - For most of history, only those who made their living from the sea chose to live on the coast. Fear of being battered by storms, not to mention vulnerability to attacks from foreign navies, kept most people inland. Gradually that changed and, along with fisherfolk and their families, the idea of a coastal location became something of a cult. High property prices still reflect its popularity. But is it any longer so desirable?

  6. Cambodia's Declining Fish Catch: Can the Tide Be Reversed?

    - Inter Press Service

    KAMPONG KHLEANG, Cambodia, Feb 21 (IPS) - Living in a floating village means embracing the rhythm of the ever-changing water. As I stroll through Kampong Khleang, flanked by wooden stilt houses lining sandy streets, I witness daily life unfolding.  Alongside staircases, people prepare meals or run their little shops.

  7. Small Island Digital States: Charting the Course for Transformation

    - Inter Press Service

    UNITED NATIONS, Feb 21 (IPS) - Small Island Developing States, or SIDS, have long been pioneers in international development, often compelled by the challenges they face. Positioned on the frontlines of climate change, they lead efforts in mitigation, adaptation, and advocacy, and despite their geographical dispersion, they are innovating approaches to resilience and sustainability.

  8. Phasing out from Fossil Fuels: An Imperative for Climate Justice

    - Inter Press Service

    YAOUNDE, Feb 20 (IPS) - Climate change made 2023 the warmest year on record. As urgency mounts to address this worldwide crisis, phasing out the use of fossil fuels is a necessary step that all nations must take. This is because fossil fuels—coal, oil and gas -- are the primary drivers of the climate crisis accounting for over 75% of global greenhouse gas emissions and nearly 90% of all carbon dioxide emissions.

  9. Snowless Winter and a Climate Crisis: Kashmir's 'Unprecedented' Weather

    - Inter Press Service

    SRINAGAR, India, Feb 20 (IPS) - Abdul Gani Malik, a 75-year-old goldsmith living in Kashmir’s capital, Srinagar, has witnessed eras of tranquility and turbulence in the Himalayan region. What he has not seen, however, is a snowless Kashmir during the winter.

  10. Climate-affected Madagascar adapts to new reality: A Resident Coordinator blog

    - UN News

    People living in Madagascar are learning to adapt to rapidly altering climatic conditions in what is said to be the fourth most climate change affected country worldwide; that’s according to the UN Resident Coordinatorthe most senior UN official in the Indian Ocean island nation.

  11. More stories…

Health

  1. New Anti-Rape Crisis Centre Brings Hope for Sexual Abuse Survivors in Pakistan

    - Inter Press Service

    PESHAWAR, Pakistan, Feb 21 (IPS) - Medical experts and women's rights activists are pinning hopes on the establishment of an anti-rape crisis centre for the provision of medical and legal aid to victims of sexual assaults in a timely manner will ensure convictions.

  2. First Person: Supporting mental health in Madagascar, one consultation at a time

    - UN News

    Ongoing humanitarian crises in southern Madagascar have worsened the situation for people with mental health disorders, but the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) has been supporting patients by providing more psychiatric consultations.

  3. Tracking Global Development in Child Benefits Through New Monitoring and Information Platform

    - Inter Press Service

    UNITED NATIONS, Feb 15 (IPS) - Inclusive social protections for children would be a positive signifier of social development in a time where 1.4 billion children globally are denied them. A step towards realizing this has been taken through a new monitoring tool on current social protection and child poverty statistics.

  4. Women, Girls Equal Partners in HIV Responses, Says Activist

    - Inter Press Service

    BRATISLAVA, Feb 14 (IPS) - UNAIDS Executive Director, Winnie Byanyima, recently made an impassioned call for governments to support women and girls from marginalized communities at the frontlines of the defence of human rights, to help ensure, among others, that global health is protected.

  5. Stories from the UN Archive: Boris Karloff, leprosy and Nigeria

    - UN News

    As the world celebrates World Radio Daymarked on 13 February, we dug into the UN archives for a vintage podcast classic from 1959, when famed Frankenstein actor Boris Karloff narrated an episode describing a visit to a leprosy clinic in Tiranka, Nigeria.

  6. Proven Vector Control Interventions Needed to Stem Malaria Infections in Africa

    - Inter Press Service

    KIGALI, Feb 08 (IPS) - Experts recommend that the current prevention of malaria in highly endemic countries in Africa should integrate "locally appropriate" control measures to cope with the highest burden of mosquito-borne disease on the continent.

  7. Is Anti-Woke a Grass-Root Movement?

    - Inter Press Service

    STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Feb 08 (IPS) - “Woke” was for a century, especially among black people in the US, an inspirational concept. However, almost overnight it turned into a pejorative. Like using the term “politically correct” as an insult, calling someone “woke” came to imply that the referred person’s views are excessively ridiculous, or even despicable. Being “anti-woke” has become an indication that you do not belong to an assumed group of “do-gooders”, who at the expense of right-minded “ordinary” citizens assert the demands of interest groups, which declare themselves to be discriminated against due to their ethnicity/race, gender, sexual preference, and/or physical or psychological disabilities.

  8. Embodying the Spirit of the Dragon

    - Inter Press Service

    BEIJING, Feb 08 (IPS) - The Year of the Dragon is upon us.

    UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in his message for this Lunar New Year, “The dragon symbolizes energy, wisdom, protection and good luck. We need these qualities to rise to today’s global challenges.”

  9. Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting in Asia Remain a Neglected Problem

    - Inter Press Service

    KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, Feb 06 (IPS) - Significant advances have been made in Africa towards ending female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C). Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Asia, where FGM/C occurs in at least ten countriesbut governments across the region are failing to take effective action. Women’s rights organizations are calling for states to introduce much-needed laws to criminalize FGM, provide national data on the extent and nature of the practice, and adequately fund efforts to tackle this regionally neglected problem.

  10. Moimuna Nursing Institute Ushers Hope for Vulnerable Rural Girls in Bangladesh

    - Inter Press Service

    THAKURGAON, Bangladesh, Feb 06 (IPS) - After passing her secondary school certificate (SCC) in 2019, Sweety Akter went door-to-door to collect money to enroll in a college, but she wasn't successful.

  11. More stories…

Economy

  1. Ukraine: Bucha and Irpin rise from the ashes of Russian military occupation

    - UN News

    When the Russian occupation of Bucha in the early days of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine ended in March 2022, widespread destruction was revealed, and a UN commission concluded that war crimes had been committed against the civilian population. Two years on, life is returning to the town on Kyiv’s outskirts and nearby Irpin, which have been restored with UN support.

  2. Pakistan’s Election Outcomes Leave Many Unhappy

    - Inter Press Service

    LONDON, Feb 22 (IPS) - Pakistan’s 8 February election has resulted in an uneasy compromise that few wanted or expected. There’s little indication the outcome is going to reverse recent regression in civic freedoms.

  3. Climate and conflict collide on the high seas: UN warns of soaring costs and delays

    - UN News

    A story from UN News

    Attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea coupled with wider geopolitical and climate-related crises, are upending international trade, inflating costs and causing major delays, the UN’s trade and development body said on Thursday.

  4. UN forum: Nations must collaborate now or risk further setbacks in sustainable development

    - UN News

    A story from UN News

    Today’s multilateral arrangements – global and regional organizations and major development banks – are “not up to the job” of helping countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the deputy UN chief said on Tuesday.

  5. Making Chile’s Economy More Dynamic, Greener, and Inclusive

    - Inter Press Service

    WASHINGTON DC, Feb 19 (IPS) - Chile’s economy is at a crossroads. Strong policies have successfully brought down high inflation and reduced the large current account deficit that emerged during the pandemic. Increases in social benefits have provided some relief in response to discontent over inequality.

  6. Imperialism, Globalisation and Its Discontents*

    - Inter Press Service

    KATHMANDU, Nepal, Feb 19 (IPS) - Imperialism continues to dominate the world. Globalisation is losing to some of its anti-theses, but imperialism still rules, increasingly by law, albeit in changing even contradictory ways.

  7. UN Tax Convention is Historic Opportunity at Risk of Failing

    - Inter Press Service

    LONDON, Feb 15 (IPS) - In late November, the UN General Assembly passed a landmark resolution signaling a start on working on a UN framework convention on taxation.

  8. Start-ups Powering up Africas Solar Energy Ecosystem

    - Inter Press Service

    NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 14 (IPS) - Often referred to as the “Sun continent,” Africa receives more hours of bright sunlight than any other continent. But even with 60 per cent of the world’s solar resources, Africa has only one per cent of solar generation capacity, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

  9. North Ignores Perfect Storm in Global South

    - Inter Press Service

    KATHMANDU, Nepal, Feb 14 (IPS) - A gathering ‘perfect storm’ – due to various developments, several quite deliberate – now threatens much devastation in the global South, likely to most hurt the poorest and most vulnerable.

  10. History’s Inflation Lessons

    - Inter Press Service

    WASHINGTON DC, Feb 13 (IPS) - In the early 1970s, conflict in the Middle East set off a spike in oil prices that left central banks around the world scrambling to control inflation. After a year or so, oil prices stabilized and inflation started to retreat. Many countries believed they had restored price stability and loosened policy to revive their recession-hit economies only to see inflation return. Could history repeat?

  11. More stories…

More news by World, Economy, Environment, Geopolitics, Health, Human Rights, More news topics

World news powered by Inter Press Service International News Agency and UN News

Issues in depth

Latest

Action on climate change is cheaper than inaction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

80% of the world population lived on less than $10 a day in 2005

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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