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. Turning to sustainable global business: 5 things to know about the circular economy

    - UN News

    Due to the ever-increasing demands of the global economy, the resources of the planet are being used up at an alarming rate and waste and pollution are growing fast. The idea of a more sustainable “circular economy” is gaining traction, but what does this concept mean, and can it help save the planet?

  2. Counting down to Peace Day, UN chief urges: Stand up against hatred and care for planet

    - UN News

    A story from UN News

    Every year on 21 September, the United Nations invites people around the world to celebrate peace by observing 24 hours of ceasefire and non-violence. On Sunday, the UN chief kicked off the 100-day countdown to the International Day of Peace. 

  3. ‘Demystify’ albinism and end discrimination – UN chief

    - UN News

    A story from UN News

    On International Albinism Awareness Day, Sunday, the UN chief reiterated his “solidarity with persons with albinism”. 

  4. Global Leaders to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed: Stop the Atrocities in Tigray

    - Inter Press Service

    DILI, Jun 11 (IPS) - Seven highly respected leaders in conflict resolution have issued a call for Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to take immediate action to bring a halt to the atrocities being committed in the Tigray region of his nation. The letter urges the Prime Minister to implement seven steps to resolve the crisis.

  5. First Person: An on-air antidote to misinformation in the Central African Republic

    - UN News

    The citizens of the Central African Republic (CAR) have endured decades of war and conflict. Merveille Yayoro, a young reporter at Guira-FM, the radio station run by the UN peacekeeping mission in the country (MINUSCA), says that she wants her work to provide an antidote to hate speech and misinformation, and help bring about a lasting peace.

  6. Guterres: Vaccines should be considered 'global public goods'

    - UN News

    Lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines should be considered “global public goods”, the UN chief told journalists on Friday, covering the G7 Summit of leading industrialized nations taking place in the United Kingdom.  

  7. Mozambique: Violence continues in Cabo Delgado, as agencies respond to growing needs

    - UN News

    A story from UN News

    Civilians continue to flee armed conflict and insecurity in northern Mozambique, more than two months after militants attacked the coastal city of Palma, located in Cabo Delgado province, UN agencies reported on Friday. 

  8. Continuing Venezuela exodus and COVID-19 highlights need for global solidarity for most vulnerable

    - UN News

    Vulnerable Venezuelan migrants and refugees who have been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 health and socio-economic crisis, urgently need greater support from the international community, UN humanitarians said on Friday, ahead of a donor conference hosted by Canada next week.

  9. To Improve Global Health Security, We Must Not Abandon Tackling Existing Epidemics

    - Inter Press Service

    HOVE, United Kingdom, Jun 11 (IPS) - As world leaders come together in the UK for the G7, the global response to COVID-19 and how we can build a better defence system against infection is at the forefront of discussions.  Whilst we applaud the incredible global efforts in tackling COVID-19 and support calls for vaccines to be shared equitably across the world, we also urge G7 leaders not to abandon efforts to tackle existing epidemics such as neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), HIV/AIDs, malaria, TB and polio.

  10. UN elects five new members to serve on the Security Council

    - UN News

    Albania, Brazil, Gabon, Ghana and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were elected by the 75th session of the General Assembly on Friday to serve as non-permanent members of the UN Security Council for the 2022-2023 term. 

  11. More stories…

Health

  1. Counting down to Peace Day, UN chief urges: Stand up against hatred and care for planet

    - UN News

    A story from UN News

    Every year on 21 September, the United Nations invites people around the world to celebrate peace by observing 24 hours of ceasefire and non-violence. On Sunday, the UN chief kicked off the 100-day countdown to the International Day of Peace. 

  2. Guterres: Vaccines should be considered 'global public goods'

    - UN News

    Lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines should be considered “global public goods”, the UN chief told journalists on Friday, covering the G7 Summit of leading industrialized nations taking place in the United Kingdom.  

  3. To Improve Global Health Security, We Must Not Abandon Tackling Existing Epidemics

    - Inter Press Service

    HOVE, United Kingdom, Jun 11 (IPS) - As world leaders come together in the UK for the G7, the global response to COVID-19 and how we can build a better defence system against infection is at the forefront of discussions.  Whilst we applaud the incredible global efforts in tackling COVID-19 and support calls for vaccines to be shared equitably across the world, we also urge G7 leaders not to abandon efforts to tackle existing epidemics such as neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), HIV/AIDs, malaria, TB and polio.

  4. Preventing Hunger While Building Peace

    - Inter Press Service

    A story from Inter Press Service, an international news agency

    BOSTON / NEW YORK, Jun 11 (IPS) - Agroecology can fight malnutrition, curb conflict AND build community self reliance and resilience–in hunger hotspots and beyondAcute hunger is expected to soar in over 20 countries in the next few months, warns a recent report on global “hunger hotspots” from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP). An estimated 34 million people are “one step away from starvation”, pushed to the brink by climate shocks, conflict, and the Covid-19 pandemic.

  5. New WHO guidance aims to stamp out rights violations in mental health services

    - UN News

    A story from UN News

    New guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO), published on Thursday, calls for providing mental health care that respects human rights and focuses on recovery. 

  6. Investing in Lives & Livelihoods of Indias Women Crucial to Nations Full Recovery

    - Inter Press Service

    NEW DELHI, India, Jun 10 (IPS) - Thousands of Indians have been affected by the latest COVID-19 outbreak. Not only those suffering from the disease, but also those who care for them.

  7. Nine in 10 African nations set to miss urgent COVID vaccination goal

    - UN News

    Nine in 10 African nations look set to miss the September target of vaccinating 10 per cent of their populations against COVID-19, the World Health Organization (WHO), said on Thursday.  

  8. From Climate Change to Covid, Are We Ready to Deal with Disasters?

    - Inter Press Service

    PARIS, Jun 10 (IPS) - In the last 20 years, disasters affected over 4 billion people. At global level we witness on average one sweeping disaster a day, the majority of which are floods and storms. From the Covid-19 pandemic to climate change, calamities are taking new shapes and sizes, infiltrating every dimension of society. From the emotional to the political, how do we deal with disasters? How can we create a whole-of-society approach to disaster risk reduction?

  9. Nations Pledge to Tackle Inequalities as part of New Targets to end HIV/AIDS by 2030

    - Inter Press Service

    UNITED NATIONS, Jun 09 (IPS) - World leaders, those on the frontlines of the AIDS response, civil society, academics and youth have agreed that there is no way to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030 without tackling persistent inequalities among marginalised groups.

  10. Inclusivity Is My Key to Success

    - Inter Press Service

    A story from Inter Press Service, an international news agency

    ROME, Jun 09 (IPS) - In three cycles I spent all together more than 15 years in Rome, at the Permanent Representation of Hungary to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and between my last two assignments in Rome my responsibilities in Budapest included FAO related issues. This made it possible for me to witness the development of this organization under the leadership of four Directors-General. Edouard Saouma, Jacques Diouf, Jose Graziano da Silva and Qu Dongyu.

  11. More stories…

Economy

  1. Turning to sustainable global business: 5 things to know about the circular economy

    - UN News

    Due to the ever-increasing demands of the global economy, the resources of the planet are being used up at an alarming rate and waste and pollution are growing fast. The idea of a more sustainable “circular economy” is gaining traction, but what does this concept mean, and can it help save the planet?

  2. Investing in Lives & Livelihoods of Indias Women Crucial to Nations Full Recovery

    - Inter Press Service

    NEW DELHI, India, Jun 10 (IPS) - Thousands of Indians have been affected by the latest COVID-19 outbreak. Not only those suffering from the disease, but also those who care for them.

  3. Time to End Generational Injustice with a 'Global Blue New Deal' to Protect Oceans

    - Inter Press Service

    PARIS, Jun 08 (IPS) - Increasingly, youth are rising up to declare that they've had enough of the cyclical exploitation of the environment that jeopardizes their own future.

  4. Paltry International Support for Spending Needs Sets South Further Back

    - Inter Press Service

    A story from Inter Press Service, an international news agency

    SYDNEY and KUALA LUMPUR, Jun 08 (IPS) - With the pandemic setting back past, modest and uneven progress, huge disparities in containing COVID-19 and financing government efforts are widening the North-South gap and other inequalities once again.

  5. Is the UN Fighting a Losing Battle Against Worlds Corrupt Leaders?

    - Inter Press Service

    UNITED NATIONS, Jun 07 (IPS) - A hilarious anecdote, recounted in the New York Times years ago, related to the widespread corruption embedded in the political culture of a Southeast Asian country where crooked politicians were willing to provide receipts every time they received a bribe—big time bribes.

  6. Why We Need More Women in Power

    - Inter Press Service

    NEW DELHI, India, Jun 07 (IPS) - What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you read the words, women and power? The accepted wisdom is that women can be powerful, but not without the constant reference to their gender - which is often based on a set of unconscious biases towards them. Is she competent enough, effective, articulate without being too assertive or too aggressive. Is she a straightjacket, is she too emotional, will her family life impact her work or vice versa. Is she smart enough to camouflage her intelligence, is she ready for a key position, is it worth making her powerful?

  7. The Oceans Silent Killer: Breaking Down Overfishing

    - Inter Press Service

    SCRANTON, USA, Jun 07 (IPS) - You don’t have to look too hard to find some news network or media outlet talking about water pollution, plastic waste, CO2 emissions, and climate change.

  8. First Person: Raising a glass to ‘Mama Cheers’

    - UN News

    A story from UN News

    A Ugandan woman entrepreneur who was left with just a wheelbarrow and a red dress, when a business partner ran off with all her money has been recognized with an award by the UN trade agency (UNCTAD) after she grew her company into a nationwide enterprise with five million customers.

  9. Infrastructure Expands in Brazil Despite Crises

    - Inter Press Service

    RÍO DE JANEIRO, Jun 04 (IPS) - Health, fiscal, environmental and political crises have not prevented Brazil from attracting private capital to expand infrastructure, according to the sector's minister, Tarcísio de Freitas.

  10. Fresh Air, Clean Water

    - Inter Press Service

    A story from Inter Press Service, an international news agency

    BONN, Jun 04 (IPS) - You want to breathe fresh air and have access to clean water? I guess you do, just like all of us. As populations in the so-called developed countries, we love to go for holidays in places where on high mountains you get to breathe deeply and enjoy the fresh air, where the oceans or lakes are clean and refreshing. And how do we arrive there? Mostly by airplanes or cars, polluting the air whilst travelling to the desired destinations, causing harm to people and the planet.

    Interestingly, many people today, calculate their flight’s CO2 footprint and pay a certain amount of money to invest in renewable energy projects, in order to feel better about their travelling and to receive tax deductibility (depending on regulations of their country).

  11. More stories…

Climate

  1. Turning to sustainable global business: 5 things to know about the circular economy

    - UN News

    Due to the ever-increasing demands of the global economy, the resources of the planet are being used up at an alarming rate and waste and pollution are growing fast. The idea of a more sustainable “circular economy” is gaining traction, but what does this concept mean, and can it help save the planet?

  2. Guterres: Vaccines should be considered 'global public goods'

    - UN News

    Lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines should be considered “global public goods”, the UN chief told journalists on Friday, covering the G7 Summit of leading industrialized nations taking place in the United Kingdom.  

  3. Why Mixed Messages Could Turn Boris Johnsons Glasgow Climate Summit Dream into a Nightmare

    - Inter Press Service

    NEW YORK, Jun 11 (IPS) - How are preparations for the Glasgow Climate Summit in November proceeding? Currently, we are more than halfway through three weeks of virtual preparatory negotiations taking place in June. These online talks are challenging in their own right, just as many had feared  (see: ‘Should the 2021 Climate Summit in Glasgow Still Take Place?’). 

  4. UN Scientists: Climate Change and Biodiversity Loss. Two Parts. One Problem.

    - Inter Press Service

    UNITED NATIONS, Jun 11 (IPS) - Earth is in the throes of multiple environmental crises, with climate change and the loss of biodiversity the most pressing.

    The urgency to confront the two challenges has been marked by policies that tackle the issues separately.

    Now, a report by a team of scientists has warned that success on either front is hinged on a combined approach to the dual crises.

  5. Preventing Hunger While Building Peace

    - Inter Press Service

    A story from Inter Press Service, an international news agency

    BOSTON / NEW YORK, Jun 11 (IPS) - Agroecology can fight malnutrition, curb conflict AND build community self reliance and resilience–in hunger hotspots and beyondAcute hunger is expected to soar in over 20 countries in the next few months, warns a recent report on global “hunger hotspots” from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP). An estimated 34 million people are “one step away from starvation”, pushed to the brink by climate shocks, conflict, and the Covid-19 pandemic.

  6. UN-backed report finds no G7-based stock exchange indices align with Paris climate goals

    - UN News

    A story from UN News

    New research co-authored by the UN Global Compact revealed on Thursday that none of the G7 leading industrial nations’ main stock indices are aligned with global emissions targets set out in the Paris Agreement, thwarting efforts to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. 

  7. From Climate Change to Covid, Are We Ready to Deal with Disasters?

    - Inter Press Service

    PARIS, Jun 10 (IPS) - In the last 20 years, disasters affected over 4 billion people. At global level we witness on average one sweeping disaster a day, the majority of which are floods and storms. From the Covid-19 pandemic to climate change, calamities are taking new shapes and sizes, infiltrating every dimension of society. From the emotional to the political, how do we deal with disasters? How can we create a whole-of-society approach to disaster risk reduction?

  8. First Person: Owner of first ‘vegan football club’ scoring sustainable goals

    - UN News

    A story from UN News

    A football club in the west of England has been recognized by the United Nations for its leading role in setting goals to tackle climate change, from planning a low-carbon stadium, to selling only 100 per cent vegan food. Ahead of the kick-off  of the delayed Euro 2020 football competition, owner and chairman, Dale Vince, told UN News that the club aims to be a beacon of sustainability in the sporting world

  9. Damage to Coral Reefs Hurts Fishing Communities in Central America

    - Inter Press Service

    LOS CÓBANOS, El Salvador, Jun 09 (IPS) - As fisherman Luis Morán walked towards his small boat, which was floating in the water a few meters from the Salvadoran coast, he asked "How can the coral reefs not be damaged with such a warm sea?”

  10. Scream of the World: Volcanos and Earthquakes

    - Inter Press Service

    A story from Inter Press Service, an international news agency

    STOCKHOLM / ROME, Jun 09 (IPS) - In February the killing of the Italian ambassador, Luca Attanasio, in the vicinity of the Virunga National Park in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, did for a short while put the global spotlight on this troubled area, where warfare, poverty and general insecurity generate immense human suffering.

  11. More stories…

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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