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. Twitter, Donald Trump, and Incitement to Violence

    CARACAS, Jan 15 (IPS) - Over the last four years, United States President Donald Trump has had in Twitter his main political communication tool. On this technological platform, he spread messages that were not entirely true, insulted and disqualified people, fired, or mocked his collaborators. Twitter was a stage for his sort of presidential reality show.

  2. Dengue—an Epidemic Within a Pandemic in Peru

    NEW YORK, Jan 15 (IPS) - While the world is grappling with the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Peru is still dealing with an epidemic that it has not been able to control—the mosquito-borne viral disease known as dengue.

  3. Tuberculosis Kills As Many People Each Year As COVID-19. It's Time We Found a Better Vaccine

    Jan 15 (IPS) - In July 1921, a French infant became the first person to receive an experimental vaccine against tuberculosis (TB), after the mother had died from the disease. The vaccine, known as Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG), is the same one still used today.

  4. Legally Speaking, Is Digital Money Really Money?

    WASHINGTON DC, Jan 15 (IPS) - Countries are moving fast toward creating digital currencies. Or, so we hear from various surveys showing an increasing number of central banks making substantial progress towards having an official digital currency.

  5. Q&A: China Accused of Intimidating, Detaining Citizens Critical of COVID-19 Linked Abuses

    UNITED NATIONS, Jan 14 (IPS) - China must end its campaign against individuals seeking redress for COVID-19 linked abuses and the human rights lawyers and activists who help them, Human Rights Watch (HRW) with reports ranging from allegedly trapping them inside their homes, to chaining alleged lock-down violators to metal posts. 

  6. Americas Descent into Depths of Disastrous Trumpism

    COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, Jan 14 (IPS) - Democracy is fragile. It is more fragile that the window panes of the Congress that were smashed by the mob unleashed by President Donald Trump. It is the ultimate symbol of the desecration of American democracy.

  7. Renewable Energy Transition Key to Addressing Climate Change Challenge

    BONN, Germany, Jan 13 (IPS) - 2021 is going to be critical, not only for curbing the rapidly spreading COVID-19 pandemic, but also for meeting the climate challenge.

    But as Dr Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) was clear to point out, the climate challenge is essentially an energy challenge. And as large polluters continue to commit to targets of net zero emissions by 2050, the world could -- in theory -- potentially address the climate challenge.

  8. Can the World Tackle the Food Insecurity Crisis in 2021?

    Jan 13 (IPS) - The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated food insecurity and disrupted food systems and food supply chains in developed and developing countries alike. In the United States, millions of Americans struggle to put food on the table. Around the world, according to the United Nations over 270 million are hungryand this is expected to continue to increase. 

  9. Africas Free Trade Area Opens for Business

    UNITED NATIONS, Jan 13 (IPS) - African countries opened their markets on 1st January under the continental free trade agreement and duty-free trading of goods and services across borders is now underway despite the COVID-19 pandemic and other teething problems.

  10. Flipping Arizona: Hispanic Movements Flex Political Muscles

    PHOENIX, Arizona, Jan 12 (IPS) - The Valley of the Sun is a vast, flat stretch of Sonoran Desert, etched by arroyos and studded with small, jagged peaks. It spans about 50 miles (80 kilometers) west to east and 40 miles (64 kilometers) north to south in south-central Arizona (the state that borders southern California to the east). After cruising through southward on one of the tangle of freeways that vein the expanse, we can leadfoot it another 100 miles (161 kilometers) southeast to Tucson across much the same hardscape, only gradually gaining elevation. The saguaro cacti grow more thickly, but the higher cordilleras maintain a discreet distance most of the way.

  11. More stories…

Health

  1. Dengue—an Epidemic Within a Pandemic in Peru

    NEW YORK, Jan 15 (IPS) - While the world is grappling with the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Peru is still dealing with an epidemic that it has not been able to control—the mosquito-borne viral disease known as dengue.

  2. Tuberculosis Kills As Many People Each Year As COVID-19. It's Time We Found a Better Vaccine

    Jan 15 (IPS) - In July 1921, a French infant became the first person to receive an experimental vaccine against tuberculosis (TB), after the mother had died from the disease. The vaccine, known as Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG), is the same one still used today.

  3. Q&A: China Accused of Intimidating, Detaining Citizens Critical of COVID-19 Linked Abuses

    UNITED NATIONS, Jan 14 (IPS) - China must end its campaign against individuals seeking redress for COVID-19 linked abuses and the human rights lawyers and activists who help them, Human Rights Watch (HRW) with reports ranging from allegedly trapping them inside their homes, to chaining alleged lock-down violators to metal posts. 

  4. TNCs Reviving TPP Frankenstein

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Jan 12 (IPS) - The incoming Biden administration is under tremendous pressure to demonstrate better US economic management. Trade negotiations normally take years to conclude, if at all. Unsurprisingly, lobbyists are already urging the next US administration to quickly embrace and deliver a new version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

  5. COVID-19 Pandemic Shapes the Future World People Want

    BONN, Germany, Jan 11 (IPS) - The peoples of the world are unanimous - access to basic services such as universal healthcare must become a priority going forward. So too should global solidarity, helping those hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and addressing the climate change emergency.

  6. Recovery: What Are We Talking About?

    MEXICO CITY, Jan 11 (IPS) - The new year has arrived, but the situation is worse than in the last months of 2020. The pandemic is still unleashed: the end of the year holidays, the official permissiveness, and the slowness of the distribution of vaccines seem to announce that the disease will continue to wreak havoc for several months in most of the world, particularly in America, Europe, and parts of Asia like India. It has therefore been required to redouble preventive measures: a new lockdown and the disruption of almost all economic and school activities. Therefore, the recovery looks still uncertain and distant.

  7. Tales of the 21st Century: Rohingyas Without home

    DHAKA, Bangladesh, Jan 08 (IPS) - Mohammad Rakibul Hasan is a Bangladeshi documentary photographer, photojournalist, filmmaker and visual artist who has been visiting the camps in Cox’s Bazaar to document the Rohingya refugee crisis.

  8. Shifting Conversations in Multifaceted Policymaking

    BANGKOK, Thailand, Jan 07 (IPS) - As the people of Kiribati, Samoa and Tonga gear up as the first nations to welcome 2021, communities around the Asia-Pacific region and beyond look forward to bidding farewell to the most tumultuous year in recent decades.

  9. If Covid-19 is Primarily a First World Virus, Why is the Global South in Lockdown?

    COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, Jan 07 (IPS) - The currently available Covid-19 vaccines have been authorized for emergency use in Europe and North America. This is due to an apparent spike in Covid-19 flu cases in the northern hemisphere as winter advances. Highly advertised vaccines are being produced and rolled out at ‘warped speed’ by powerful pharmaceutical and bio-technology companies headquartered in Euro-America although their efficacy including how long their immunity lasts is not clear.

  10. Is High Tech a Danger to Humanity?

    STOCKHOLM / ROME, Jan 06 (IPS) - COVID-19 has made several of us aware of the frailty of our bodies, the certainty of death and how valuable health, companionship and compassion are. Such insights are not uncommon in poor societies where a person’s main and perhaps only asset is her/his body and what s/he is able to do with her/his hands. However, wealthy and privileged people are surrounded by, dependent on, and even integrated with an ever more sophisticated technology, which increasingly, for better or worse, is separating us from what human existence has been for thousands of years.

  11. More stories…

Economy

  1. Dengue—an Epidemic Within a Pandemic in Peru

    NEW YORK, Jan 15 (IPS) - While the world is grappling with the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Peru is still dealing with an epidemic that it has not been able to control—the mosquito-borne viral disease known as dengue.

  2. Renewable Energy Transition Key to Addressing Climate Change Challenge

    BONN, Germany, Jan 13 (IPS) - 2021 is going to be critical, not only for curbing the rapidly spreading COVID-19 pandemic, but also for meeting the climate challenge.

    But as Dr Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) was clear to point out, the climate challenge is essentially an energy challenge. And as large polluters continue to commit to targets of net zero emissions by 2050, the world could -- in theory -- potentially address the climate challenge.

  3. Africas Free Trade Area Opens for Business

    UNITED NATIONS, Jan 13 (IPS) - African countries opened their markets on 1st January under the continental free trade agreement and duty-free trading of goods and services across borders is now underway despite the COVID-19 pandemic and other teething problems.

  4. Facing their Failure to meet 2020 Biodiversity Targets, World Leaders Pledge Action & Funds

    UNITED NATIONS, Jan 12 (IPS) - French President Emmanuel Macron convened the 4th edition of the One Planet Summit for Biodiversity with a concession – that after a decade, the world has failed to take the action needed to stem global biodiversity loss. The Jan. 10 event, hosted virtually by France, the United Nations and the World Bank, focused on four areas for urgent action; protecting land and maritime species, promoting agroecology, mobilising finance for biodiversity and protecting tropical forests, species and human health.

  5. TNCs Reviving TPP Frankenstein

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Jan 12 (IPS) - The incoming Biden administration is under tremendous pressure to demonstrate better US economic management. Trade negotiations normally take years to conclude, if at all. Unsurprisingly, lobbyists are already urging the next US administration to quickly embrace and deliver a new version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

  6. COVID-19 Pandemic Shapes the Future World People Want

    BONN, Germany, Jan 11 (IPS) - The peoples of the world are unanimous - access to basic services such as universal healthcare must become a priority going forward. So too should global solidarity, helping those hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and addressing the climate change emergency.

  7. Italy and the Dubious Honor of Chairing the G20

    ROME, Jan 11 (IPS) - For 2021, Italy has been given chairmanship of the Group of 20, which brings together the world’s 20 most important countries. On paper, they represent 60% of the world’s population and 80% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). While the shaky Italian government will somehow perform this task (in the general indifference of the political system), the fact remains that this apparently prestigious position is in fact very deceiving: the G20 is now a very weak institution that brings no kudos to the rotating chairman. Besides, it is actually the institution which bears the greatest part of responsibility for the decline of the UN as the body responsible for global governance, a task that the G20 has very seldom been able to face up to.

  8. Recovery: What Are We Talking About?

    MEXICO CITY, Jan 11 (IPS) - The new year has arrived, but the situation is worse than in the last months of 2020. The pandemic is still unleashed: the end of the year holidays, the official permissiveness, and the slowness of the distribution of vaccines seem to announce that the disease will continue to wreak havoc for several months in most of the world, particularly in America, Europe, and parts of Asia like India. It has therefore been required to redouble preventive measures: a new lockdown and the disruption of almost all economic and school activities. Therefore, the recovery looks still uncertain and distant.

  9. Shifting Conversations in Multifaceted Policymaking

    BANGKOK, Thailand, Jan 07 (IPS) - As the people of Kiribati, Samoa and Tonga gear up as the first nations to welcome 2021, communities around the Asia-Pacific region and beyond look forward to bidding farewell to the most tumultuous year in recent decades.

  10. Making African Continental Free Trade Area Work for Women in a Post-COVID-19 World

    Jan 06 (IPS) - Angela Lusigi is, UNDP Resident Representative in GhanaOn 1st January 2021, trading under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement commenced after months of delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

  11. More stories…

Climate

  1. Renewable Energy Transition Key to Addressing Climate Change Challenge

    BONN, Germany, Jan 13 (IPS) - 2021 is going to be critical, not only for curbing the rapidly spreading COVID-19 pandemic, but also for meeting the climate challenge.

    But as Dr Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) was clear to point out, the climate challenge is essentially an energy challenge. And as large polluters continue to commit to targets of net zero emissions by 2050, the world could -- in theory -- potentially address the climate challenge.

  2. For Heavily Indebted Small Islands, Resilience-Building is the Best Antidote

    GENEVA, Jan 12 (IPS) - In December 2020, Fiji was pounded by Pacific Cyclone Yasathe years’ second category 5 storm which destroyed hundreds of buildings and caused about $1.4 billion in damage to health facilities, homes, schools, agriculture and infrastructure.

  3. Facing their Failure to meet 2020 Biodiversity Targets, World Leaders Pledge Action & Funds

    UNITED NATIONS, Jan 12 (IPS) - French President Emmanuel Macron convened the 4th edition of the One Planet Summit for Biodiversity with a concession – that after a decade, the world has failed to take the action needed to stem global biodiversity loss. The Jan. 10 event, hosted virtually by France, the United Nations and the World Bank, focused on four areas for urgent action; protecting land and maritime species, promoting agroecology, mobilising finance for biodiversity and protecting tropical forests, species and human health.

  4. San Salvador Becomes a Sponge to Reduce Damage from Landslides

    SAN SALVADOR, Jan 11 (IPS) - Throughout its history, San Salvador has faced the danger of landslides - mud and rocks that slide down the slopes of the volcano at whose feet the city was founded in 1525.

  5. COVID-19 Pandemic Shapes the Future World People Want

    BONN, Germany, Jan 11 (IPS) - The peoples of the world are unanimous - access to basic services such as universal healthcare must become a priority going forward. So too should global solidarity, helping those hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and addressing the climate change emergency.

  6. Recovery: What Are We Talking About?

    MEXICO CITY, Jan 11 (IPS) - The new year has arrived, but the situation is worse than in the last months of 2020. The pandemic is still unleashed: the end of the year holidays, the official permissiveness, and the slowness of the distribution of vaccines seem to announce that the disease will continue to wreak havoc for several months in most of the world, particularly in America, Europe, and parts of Asia like India. It has therefore been required to redouble preventive measures: a new lockdown and the disruption of almost all economic and school activities. Therefore, the recovery looks still uncertain and distant.

  7. Shifting Conversations in Multifaceted Policymaking

    BANGKOK, Thailand, Jan 07 (IPS) - As the people of Kiribati, Samoa and Tonga gear up as the first nations to welcome 2021, communities around the Asia-Pacific region and beyond look forward to bidding farewell to the most tumultuous year in recent decades.

  8. Is High Tech a Danger to Humanity?

    STOCKHOLM / ROME, Jan 06 (IPS) - COVID-19 has made several of us aware of the frailty of our bodies, the certainty of death and how valuable health, companionship and compassion are. Such insights are not uncommon in poor societies where a person’s main and perhaps only asset is her/his body and what s/he is able to do with her/his hands. However, wealthy and privileged people are surrounded by, dependent on, and even integrated with an ever more sophisticated technology, which increasingly, for better or worse, is separating us from what human existence has been for thousands of years.

  9. Stand Tall, UN Humanitarians

    LETHBRIDGE, Canada, Jan 05 (IPS) - Most people around the world were glad to see the back of 2020: From the devastating bushfires in Australia to the plagues of locusts through East Africa stretching across Arabia to Pakistan, extreme weather, melting ice sheets at the poles, and Covid-19 that still engulfs the globe.

  10. Mining giant Rio Tinto Face Environmental, Human Rights Complaint in Papua New Guinea

    CANBERRA, Australia, Jan 04 (IPS) - Local communities in the vicinity of the abandoned Panguna copper mine, have taken decisive action to hold the global mining multinational, Rio Tinto, accountable for alleged environmental and human rights violations during the mine’s operations between 1972 and 1989.

  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