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. Security Council’s Overdue COVID-19 Ceasefire Resolution Must Put Women & Youth at Center

    NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 07 (IPS) - More than three months after UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres made an urgent appeal for a global ceasefire in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN Security Council has finally passed a resolution supporting his call.

  2. Impact of COVID-19 on Women and Children in South Asia

    CANBERRA, Australia, Jul 06 (IPS) - The onset of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020 set off a series of health and economic crises that feed upon each other. The health crisis exacerbates the economic crisis by disrupting supply chains, throwing large number of people (particularly those working in the informal sector) out of work and closing down large numbers of enterprises – particularly micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME).

  3. Why Does Racism Prevail? Leading Scholars Apply their Minds

    Jul 06 (IPS) - All people belong to one biological species and there are no human "races". So why does belief in race persist? It may be a scientific misconception, but it is real. It defines the lived experience of many people and determines how governments act and how people treat one another. How did race come to have this power and this durability?

  4. Has COVID-19 Pushed Women in Politics off Kenya's Agenda?

    NAIROBI, Jul 06 (IPS) - In 2013, Alice Wahome ran in her third attempt to win the hotly-contested Kandara constituency parliamentary seat in Murang'a County, Central Kenya. As is typical of rural politics, the field was male-dominated, with the stakes being high for all candidates but more especially so for Wahome — no woman had ever occupied the Kandara constituency parliamentary seat.

  5. The Missing SDG: Ensure the Digital Age Supports People, Planet, Prosperity & Peace

    MONTREAL, Canada, Jul 06 (IPS) - As the nations of the world prepare to gather virtually to assess progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), society is just beginning to imagine what a post-COVID world might be like.

  6. A Pathway to Universal Healthcare in India

    BANGALORE, India, Jul 05 (IPS) - Universal healthcare (UHC) is an important global goal because of its close links to poverty reduction and enhancement of the growth potential of countries. While several countries can now be said to be well on their way towards achieving this goal, several others, most notably large ones such as India and Nigeriaare decidedly not.

  7. When Women and Children Cannot Escape their Abusers

    BEIRUT, Jul 03 (IPS) - Reports of escalating violence against women and children made the news almost everyday in March and April following the announcement of lockdowns to control the spread of Covid-19. The main concern has been that victims cannot escape their abusers or seek help when they share a confined space and are under constant scrutiny and the threat of violence.

  8. Q&A: Child Marriage, FGM and Harmful Practices on Women’s Bodies to Increase Because of COVID-19

    UNITED NATIONS, Jul 03 (IPS) - An additional 5.6 million child marriages can be expected because of the coronavirus pandemic, which resulted in a short-term increase in poverty and the shutdown of schools.

    The current pandemic is also expected to have a massive impact on the projected growth of harmful practices on women's bodies.

  9. Beyond Ending Conflict in Africa, We Must Tackle its Root Causes

    Jul 03 (IPS) - Hanna Tetteh is the United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Special Representative of the Secretary-General to the African Union.

    As head of the UN Office to the African Union (UNOAU), she spoke with Africa Renewal's Kingsley Ighobor on, among other issues, the current state of the UN-AU partnership and how women and young people can help resolve conflict.

  10. Global Economic Recovery must Prioritise Restructuring of Debt for Developing Countries

    UNITED NATIONS, Jul 02 (IPS) - Unless there is a restructuring of debt for developing countries, the servicing for this debt will take away valuable resources from these nations that are needed to prevent the further suffering of people during the coronavirus pandemic -- particularly with regards to safeguarding the health systems, and protecting the "integrity and resilience of economies". 

  11. More stories…

Health

  1. Impact of COVID-19 on Women and Children in South Asia

    CANBERRA, Australia, Jul 06 (IPS) - The onset of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020 set off a series of health and economic crises that feed upon each other. The health crisis exacerbates the economic crisis by disrupting supply chains, throwing large number of people (particularly those working in the informal sector) out of work and closing down large numbers of enterprises – particularly micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME).

  2. A Pathway to Universal Healthcare in India

    BANGALORE, India, Jul 05 (IPS) - Universal healthcare (UHC) is an important global goal because of its close links to poverty reduction and enhancement of the growth potential of countries. While several countries can now be said to be well on their way towards achieving this goal, several others, most notably large ones such as India and Nigeriaare decidedly not.

  3. Q&A: Child Marriage, FGM and Harmful Practices on Women’s Bodies to Increase Because of COVID-19

    UNITED NATIONS, Jul 03 (IPS) - An additional 5.6 million child marriages can be expected because of the coronavirus pandemic, which resulted in a short-term increase in poverty and the shutdown of schools.

    The current pandemic is also expected to have a massive impact on the projected growth of harmful practices on women's bodies.

  4. Rethink Food Security and Nutrition Following Covid-19 Pandemic

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Jul 02 (IPS) - The Covid-19 crisis has had several unexpected effects, including renewed attention to food security concerns. Earlier understandings of food security in terms of production self-sufficiency have given way to importing supplies since late 20th century promotion of trade liberalization.

  5. Sustainable Tourism and Fisheries Key to Growth in Post-COVID Pacific

    BANGKOK, Thailand, Jun 30 (IPS) - Developing countries of Asia and the Pacific are experiencing unbalanced tolls of the COVID-19 pandemic. Grim milestones in infections and deaths have left countless devastated. Yet, we must look at the economic and social impacts in small island developing States (SIDS), where setbacks are likely to undo years of development gains and push many people back into poverty.

  6. Managing an Epidemic Within a Pandemic

    Jun 29 (IPS) - While COVID-19 has made the headlines every day over the past two months, services for tuberculosis (TB), one of the oldest diseases in the world, have been interrupted due to the lockdown. According to the World Health Organization's (WHO) Global Tuberculosis Report 2019India had an estimated 2.7 million new cases and 440,000 deaths due to TB in 2018—the highest in the world.

  7. Put Climate at the Heart of COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plans

    WASHINGTON DC, Jun 29 (IPS) - Cast your mind back. Six months ago—it seems like a lifetime—the world's attention was on Madrid. The United Nations was meeting to take stock of international progress in fighting climate change. Headlines were dominated by young people pointing out—rightly—that governments were still not doing enough. They demanded urgent and ambitious action to cut emissions and help the most vulnerable.

  8. Africa’s Post-pandemic Future Needs to Embrace Youth in Agriculture

    Jun 29 (IPS) - Warnings at the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic that Africa could be hit by a wave of up to 10 million cases within six months thankfully now seem unfounded, although it is still far too early to be over-confident.

  9. Q&A: Post COVID-19 Pandemic Lets Stop the Next Wave of Medicalisation over Mental Health

    UNITED NATIONS, Jun 26 (IPS) - The current pandemic is not only heightening mental health concerns, but might also put many at risk of becoming institutionalised or being neglected by the system.

  10. How Deforestation Helps Deadly Viruses Jump from Animals to Humans

    Jun 26 (IPS) - The coronavirus pandemic, suspected of originating in bats and pangolins, has brought the risk of viruses that jump from wildlife to humans into stark focus.

  11. More stories…

Economy

  1. Impact of COVID-19 on Women and Children in South Asia

    CANBERRA, Australia, Jul 06 (IPS) - The onset of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020 set off a series of health and economic crises that feed upon each other. The health crisis exacerbates the economic crisis by disrupting supply chains, throwing large number of people (particularly those working in the informal sector) out of work and closing down large numbers of enterprises – particularly micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME).

  2. The Missing SDG: Ensure the Digital Age Supports People, Planet, Prosperity & Peace

    MONTREAL, Canada, Jul 06 (IPS) - As the nations of the world prepare to gather virtually to assess progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), society is just beginning to imagine what a post-COVID world might be like.

  3. Beyond Ending Conflict in Africa, We Must Tackle its Root Causes

    Jul 03 (IPS) - Hanna Tetteh is the United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Special Representative of the Secretary-General to the African Union.

    As head of the UN Office to the African Union (UNOAU), she spoke with Africa Renewal's Kingsley Ighobor on, among other issues, the current state of the UN-AU partnership and how women and young people can help resolve conflict.

  4. Global Economic Recovery must Prioritise Restructuring of Debt for Developing Countries

    UNITED NATIONS, Jul 02 (IPS) - Unless there is a restructuring of debt for developing countries, the servicing for this debt will take away valuable resources from these nations that are needed to prevent the further suffering of people during the coronavirus pandemic -- particularly with regards to safeguarding the health systems, and protecting the "integrity and resilience of economies". 

  5. Rethink Food Security and Nutrition Following Covid-19 Pandemic

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Jul 02 (IPS) - The Covid-19 crisis has had several unexpected effects, including renewed attention to food security concerns. Earlier understandings of food security in terms of production self-sufficiency have given way to importing supplies since late 20th century promotion of trade liberalization.

  6. Why Accelerating Implementation of AfCFTA Must Remain a Top Priority

    UNITED NATIONS, Jul 02 (IPS) - 1 July 2020 was supposed to be the official date to start trading under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). It was a much-anticipated follow up to the 2019 African Union Summit, that launched the operational phase of the AfCFTA in a colorful ceremony in Niamey – Niger.

  7. Sustainable Tourism and Fisheries Key to Growth in Post-COVID Pacific

    BANGKOK, Thailand, Jun 30 (IPS) - Developing countries of Asia and the Pacific are experiencing unbalanced tolls of the COVID-19 pandemic. Grim milestones in infections and deaths have left countless devastated. Yet, we must look at the economic and social impacts in small island developing States (SIDS), where setbacks are likely to undo years of development gains and push many people back into poverty.

  8. The Goan Village Women Helping Mitigate Plastic Pollution by Making Eco-friendly Sanitary Pads

    PILGAON/GOA, India, Jun 30 (IPS) - Jayashree Parwar has not traveled much outside of her village of Bicholim in the western coastal Indian state of Goa. But the homemaker-turned-social-entrepreneur has been reaching women in dozens of cities across the country with a hygiene product she makes at home along with women from her community.

    Called Sakhi (friend in Hindi), the plastic-free sanitary pad is Goa's first menstrual hygiene product made with organic materials.

  9. Are We Going from San Francisco?

    SYDNEY and KUALA LUMPUR, Jun 30 (IPS) - Seventy-five years ago, on 26 June 1945, before the Japanese surrender ending the Second World War, fifty nations gathered at San Francisco's Opera House to sign the United Nations (UN) Charter.

  10. Put Climate at the Heart of COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plans

    WASHINGTON DC, Jun 29 (IPS) - Cast your mind back. Six months ago—it seems like a lifetime—the world's attention was on Madrid. The United Nations was meeting to take stock of international progress in fighting climate change. Headlines were dominated by young people pointing out—rightly—that governments were still not doing enough. They demanded urgent and ambitious action to cut emissions and help the most vulnerable.

  11. More stories…

Climate

  1. The Goan Village Women Helping Mitigate Plastic Pollution by Making Eco-friendly Sanitary Pads

    PILGAON/GOA, India, Jun 30 (IPS) - Jayashree Parwar has not traveled much outside of her village of Bicholim in the western coastal Indian state of Goa. But the homemaker-turned-social-entrepreneur has been reaching women in dozens of cities across the country with a hygiene product she makes at home along with women from her community.

    Called Sakhi (friend in Hindi), the plastic-free sanitary pad is Goa's first menstrual hygiene product made with organic materials.

  2. Put Climate at the Heart of COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plans

    WASHINGTON DC, Jun 29 (IPS) - Cast your mind back. Six months ago—it seems like a lifetime—the world's attention was on Madrid. The United Nations was meeting to take stock of international progress in fighting climate change. Headlines were dominated by young people pointing out—rightly—that governments were still not doing enough. They demanded urgent and ambitious action to cut emissions and help the most vulnerable.

  3. Indigenous Farmers Harvest Water with Small Dams in Peru's Andes Highlands

    AYACUCHO, Peru, Jun 29 (IPS) - A communally built small dam at almost 3,500 meters above sea level supplies water to small-scale farmer Cristina Azpur and her two young daughters in Peru's Andes highlands, where they face water shortages exacerbated by climate change.

  4. How Deforestation Helps Deadly Viruses Jump from Animals to Humans

    Jun 26 (IPS) - The coronavirus pandemic, suspected of originating in bats and pangolins, has brought the risk of viruses that jump from wildlife to humans into stark focus.

  5. Looking Beyond the Lowest-common Denominator? DFID/FCO Merger

    DHAKA, Bangladesh, Jun 25 (IPS) - The progress on ending extreme poverty, preventable child deaths, gender equality and climate change was too hard won to be side-lined.

  6. Sweden-Costa Rica: Same Paths on Climate Change, Different on COVID-19

    ROME/SANTIAGO, Jun 24 (IPS) - The lack of a coordinated international response had led to varying results worldwide in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Two countries that have long coordinated their response to global goals like promotion on democracy, human rights and environmental issues, Sweden and Costa Rica highlight how public policy matters. While with their similar approaches to climate change the two walk together, their different approaches to COVID-19 have reaped disparate results, and death tolls.

  7. Unlawful Use of Force by Police at Protests Across the US

    BUFFALO, New York, Jun 23 (IPS) - Police forces across the United States have committed widespread and egregious human rights violations in response to largely peaceful assemblies protesting systemic racism and police violence, including the killing of Black people.

  8. Latin America's Potential Green Hydrogen Economy

    LA JOLLA, California, Jun 22 (IPS) - The COVID-19 pandemic and crisis has led to increasing attention and clamor to redouble efforts toward an energy transition that would help the world reduce C02 emissions. In many countries of the region, how to manage hydrocarbons, but with an eye on the energy transition has only been accentuated. We believe clean hydrogen is part of that broader policy and reconstruction debate.

  9. Agriculture: Rooted in Racism

    Jun 22 (IPS) - Systemic racism in agriculture is painfully obvious. Why has it taken a new Civil Rights movement to clearly expose the sordid roots and present-day inequalities in food and farming? There has been far less social progress in the United States in the last 155 years than many people would like to believe. In 2020, racism still seeps its way into every aspect of life; from unconscious bias and micro-aggressions in everyday interactions to domestic and international policy and enforcement.

  10. Why Rwanda is a Great Green Growth Investment

    MBABANE, Jun 17 (IPS) - In its effort to accelerate Rwanda's green growth development initiative, its local businesses encouraged their Italian counterparts to invest in the East Africa region.

  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.

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