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. The UN General Assembly: A 75-Year Journey Towards the Future We Want

    NEW YORK, Aug 04 (IPS) - Tijjani Muhammad-Bande is President of the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly and Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations.The United Nations came into existence at a time of great despair, when the penholders of its founding document dared to imagine a better world, one that would be defined by peace and equality. Visionary world leaders chose hope over cynicism, empathy over indifference and partnership over distrust when they came together in San Francisco on 26 June 1945 to sign the Charter of the United Nations. They embarked upon a new, rules-based world order, with an Organization of unrivalled legitimacy at its core.

  2. Make a Fool of Yourself in the Third Act

    MIAMI, Aug 04 (IPS) - Long ago, I was reviewing the offer of readings on the Internet, as a break from the search for academic sources for one of those articles with which to comply with professional rules, impress colleagues and students, and continue climbing steps in the university.

  3. Clean Cooking Transition: Pathways as Seen by Kenyan Villagers

    AMSTERDAM, Aug 04 (IPS) - Eco Matser is Program Manager at HivosThe Sustainable Development goals on energy speak clear: universal access energy and clean cooking by 2030 (SDG7). But the current efforts are still lagging several steps behind the specific needs of the communities and are not enough to achieve energy access for all, especially clean cooking solutions.

  4. Religion & the Pandemic: A Call Beyond the Here & Now

    I have never been interested in religion or spirituality before, but I found myself tuning in to all sorts of on-line religion and spirituality related forums "in search of something."

    These are the words of a 30-something single young, middle class man (born into a Protestant-Catholic family background) in a European country. The latter is known more for turning several churches into museums or shopping centers, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. When people are afraid, lonely and alone - they tend to seek "something" beyond science.

  5. Address Malnutrition with Food Insecurity

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Aug 04 (IPS) - The 2020 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the Worldissued by the Food and Agriculture Organization and its United Nations partners in mid-July, reports that chronic hunger continued to increase to 690 million worldwide in 2019, 60 million more than in 2014.

  6. Kashmir Now Hotspot of Illegal Riverbed Mining

    Aug 03 (IPS) - Going against its own orders, the government in the Indian Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has ordered the fast-tracking of environmental clearances despite manifest evidence of illegal sand mining.

  7. With Proper Investment in Youth, Kenya’s Potential for Progress Is Unlimited

    NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 03 (IPS) - Africa's demographic boom has been hailed as its biggest promise for transforming the continent's economic and social outcomes, but only if the right investments are made to prepare its youthful population for tomorrow's world.

  8. SDGs: Accelerating Action & Transformative Pathways through Nature-based Solutions

    UNITED NATIONS, Aug 03 (IPS) - The theme of this year's High-Level Political Forumwhere governments reviewed progress on the Sustainable Development Goals was "Accelerated action and transformative pathways: realizing the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development."

  9. The COVID-19 Plastic Pandemic

    KATHMANDU, Aug 03 (IPS) - The coronavirus pandemic was a respite for nature everywhere. The air was cleanertrekking trails were pristine, the summit of Mt Everest was desertedand worldwide carbon emission dipped by -26%.

  10. Why the African Free Trade Area Could be the Game-Changer for the Continent's Economies

    Aug 02 (IPS) - Most economists see structural transformation as one of the main routes to Africa's sustainable development. What it means is changing the share of agriculture, manufacturing and services in an economy. It is a central aim of the African Union's Agenda 2063.

  11. More stories…

Health

  1. The UN General Assembly: A 75-Year Journey Towards the Future We Want

    NEW YORK, Aug 04 (IPS) - Tijjani Muhammad-Bande is President of the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly and Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations.The United Nations came into existence at a time of great despair, when the penholders of its founding document dared to imagine a better world, one that would be defined by peace and equality. Visionary world leaders chose hope over cynicism, empathy over indifference and partnership over distrust when they came together in San Francisco on 26 June 1945 to sign the Charter of the United Nations. They embarked upon a new, rules-based world order, with an Organization of unrivalled legitimacy at its core.

  2. Religion & the Pandemic: A Call Beyond the Here & Now

    I have never been interested in religion or spirituality before, but I found myself tuning in to all sorts of on-line religion and spirituality related forums "in search of something."

    These are the words of a 30-something single young, middle class man (born into a Protestant-Catholic family background) in a European country. The latter is known more for turning several churches into museums or shopping centers, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. When people are afraid, lonely and alone - they tend to seek "something" beyond science.

  3. Address Malnutrition with Food Insecurity

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Aug 04 (IPS) - The 2020 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the Worldissued by the Food and Agriculture Organization and its United Nations partners in mid-July, reports that chronic hunger continued to increase to 690 million worldwide in 2019, 60 million more than in 2014.

  4. With Proper Investment in Youth, Kenya’s Potential for Progress Is Unlimited

    NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 03 (IPS) - Africa's demographic boom has been hailed as its biggest promise for transforming the continent's economic and social outcomes, but only if the right investments are made to prepare its youthful population for tomorrow's world.

  5. The COVID-19 Plastic Pandemic

    KATHMANDU, Aug 03 (IPS) - The coronavirus pandemic was a respite for nature everywhere. The air was cleanertrekking trails were pristine, the summit of Mt Everest was desertedand worldwide carbon emission dipped by -26%.

  6. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

    MIAMI, Jul 31 (IPS) - In the cinematic context of the death of the Italian and universal composer, Ennio Morricone, author of the background music of more than four hundred films, as an indirect tribute, Europe took a solid step.

  7. The Charter of the United Nations: Ideals for Shaping Our Reality

    NEW YORK, Jul 31 (IPS) - "Reconciling the requirements of the ideal with the possibilities of the real": this is how Georges Bidault, Minister for Foreign Affairs and head of the French delegation to the San Francisco Conference, summed up the objective pursued by the drafters of the Charter of the United Nations.

    On the still living ashes of the Second World War, the fathers of an Organization charged with developing friendly relations between nations, promoting human rights and economic and social progress were less utopian than visionary. They understood that the community of States should have a common constitution. It has been tested by conflict, crisis and upheaval, but its resilience and strength have shaped the very structure of contemporary international relations.

  8. Southeast Asia Has a Chance to Build Back Better Post-Pandemic

    Jul 31 (IPS) - Southeast Asia's response to the coronavirus pandemic has been efficient, but some areas such as data privacy, measures to go back to normalcy after lockdown is lifted, and resources for migrant or transient populations will need addressing. 

  9. Corporate Bailout or Cash Transfers for All, including Children?

    BEIRUT, Jul 31 (IPS) - The Covid-19 pandemic seems to have spared children from the direct health effects of the virus but the crisis has affected their social and economic rights directly and indirectly beyond what we could have foreseen. And there's no doubt that children who come from more vulnerable backgrounds will feel the long-term impact of the pandemic and the measures taken to prevent its spread the hardest.

  10. Google’s $10 billion Investment in India Should be Inclusive of Persons with Disabilities

    Jul 30 (IPS) - Over the next seven years, Google will invest a whopping $10 billion in India to improve technology, health and education, according to CEO Sundar Pichai. This is unprecedented and could be a game changer that could improve health, education and economic empowerment. 

  11. More stories…

Economy

  1. Address Malnutrition with Food Insecurity

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Aug 04 (IPS) - The 2020 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the Worldissued by the Food and Agriculture Organization and its United Nations partners in mid-July, reports that chronic hunger continued to increase to 690 million worldwide in 2019, 60 million more than in 2014.

  2. With Proper Investment in Youth, Kenya’s Potential for Progress Is Unlimited

    NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 03 (IPS) - Africa's demographic boom has been hailed as its biggest promise for transforming the continent's economic and social outcomes, but only if the right investments are made to prepare its youthful population for tomorrow's world.

  3. Why the African Free Trade Area Could be the Game-Changer for the Continent's Economies

    Aug 02 (IPS) - Most economists see structural transformation as one of the main routes to Africa's sustainable development. What it means is changing the share of agriculture, manufacturing and services in an economy. It is a central aim of the African Union's Agenda 2063.

  4. The Charter of the United Nations: Ideals for Shaping Our Reality

    NEW YORK, Jul 31 (IPS) - "Reconciling the requirements of the ideal with the possibilities of the real": this is how Georges Bidault, Minister for Foreign Affairs and head of the French delegation to the San Francisco Conference, summed up the objective pursued by the drafters of the Charter of the United Nations.

    On the still living ashes of the Second World War, the fathers of an Organization charged with developing friendly relations between nations, promoting human rights and economic and social progress were less utopian than visionary. They understood that the community of States should have a common constitution. It has been tested by conflict, crisis and upheaval, but its resilience and strength have shaped the very structure of contemporary international relations.

  5. Only Governments Can Prevent Covid-19 Recessions Becoming Depressions

    KUALA LUMPUR, Jul 30 (IPS) - Covid-19 threatens economic life the world over. The most urgent and important need is for governments, businesses and families to survive. Governments must revive economies and livelihoods to prevent Covid-19 recessions from becoming protracted depressions.

    The Covid-19 crisis is clearly a ‘black swan event', threatening both public health and livelihoods. Both the pandemic and containment efforts are not due to business operations and decisions, but nonetheless have compelling consequences for them.

  6. Fight Pandemic, Not Windmills of the Mind

    SYDNEY and KUALA LUMPUR, Jul 28 (IPS) - With uneven progress in containing contagion, worsened by the breakdown in multilateral cooperation due to mounting US-China tensions, recovery from the Covid-19 recessions of the first half of 2020 is now expected to be more gradual than previously forecast.

  7. A Determined Path to the SDGs in 2030 Despite the COVID-19 Pandemic

    BANGKOK, Thailand, Jul 27 (IPS) - As lockdowns ease in countries across Asia and the Pacific in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing is clear—a return to business as usual is unimaginable in a region that was already off track to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The virtual High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development recently convened governments and stakeholders across the globe to focus on the imperative to build back better while keeping an eye on the Global Goals.

  8. Three Steps for Leaders to Tackle Covid and Climate Emergency

    GENEVA, Jul 24 (IPS) - Dr David Nabarro is Special Envoy to the World Health Organisation on COVID-19 and Strategic Director of 4SD. He sets out his challenge to leaders to use COVID-19 as an opportunity for radical change that responds to the needs and the interests of all of humanity.

    1. Countries must work together
    2. Focus on equity
    3. Effective local action
  9. It was Meant to Be a Ground-breaking Year for Gender Equality but COVID-19 Widened Inequalities

    SYDNEY, Australia, Jul 24 (IPS) - Sixteen-year-old Suhana Khan had just completed her grade 10 exams in March, when India imposed a nationwide COVID-19 lockdown. Since then, she has been spending her mornings and evenings doing household chores, from cooking and cleaning to fetching drinking water from the tube well. 

  10. Covid-19 Compounds Developing Country Debt Burdens

    SYDNEY and KUALA LUMPUR, Jul 23 (IPS) - Covid-19 is expected to take a heavy human and economic toll on developing countries, not only because of contagion in the face of weak health systems, but also containment measures which have precipitated recessions, destroying and diminishing the livelihoods of many.

  11. More stories…

Climate

  1. Clean Cooking Transition: Pathways as Seen by Kenyan Villagers

    AMSTERDAM, Aug 04 (IPS) - Eco Matser is Program Manager at HivosThe Sustainable Development goals on energy speak clear: universal access energy and clean cooking by 2030 (SDG7). But the current efforts are still lagging several steps behind the specific needs of the communities and are not enough to achieve energy access for all, especially clean cooking solutions.

  2. Kashmir Now Hotspot of Illegal Riverbed Mining

    Aug 03 (IPS) - Going against its own orders, the government in the Indian Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has ordered the fast-tracking of environmental clearances despite manifest evidence of illegal sand mining.

  3. The COVID-19 Plastic Pandemic

    KATHMANDU, Aug 03 (IPS) - The coronavirus pandemic was a respite for nature everywhere. The air was cleanertrekking trails were pristine, the summit of Mt Everest was desertedand worldwide carbon emission dipped by -26%.

  4. Reflections on the Charter of the United Nations on its 75th Anniversary

    NEW YORK, Jul 29 (IPS) - This year we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Charter of the United Nations, written and signed during a period of great global change. Today, the world is again shifting beneath our feet. Yet, the Charter remains a firm foundation for our joint efforts.

  5. Solar Energy Expands in Brazil Despite the Pandemic

    RIO DE JANEIRO, Jul 28 (IPS) - Solar energy has continued to expand in Brazil during the COVID-19 pandemic and should contribute to the economic recovery in the wake of the health crisis.

  6. Trinidad Skilfully Handles COVID-19 but Falls Short with Wildlife

    PORT OF SPAIN, Jul 23 (IPS) - Could indiscriminate hunting lead to an outbreak of another zoonotic disease in Trinidad and Tobago. In this Voices from the Global South podcast our correspondent Jewel Fraser finds out.

  7. Research Provides the Bricks and Mortar for Our Food Systems to ‘Build Back Better’

    MONTPELLIER, France, Jul 22 (IPS) - Elwyn Grainger-Jones is the Executive Director of the CGIAR System Organization.The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the structural weaknesses of today's food systems, showing how quickly global networks of food production, trade and supply can waver under the impact of a single disease.

  8. ‘One CGIAR’ with Two Tiers of Influence? The Case for a Real Restructuring of Global Ag-Research Centres

    BRUSSELS, Jul 22 (IPS) - While the ‘CGIAR System' may sound like a technocratic body, few organizations have exerted as much influence on today's food systems as this network of global agricultural research centres.

  9. How Kenya’s Indigenous Ogiek are Using Modern Technology to Validate their Land Rights

    CHEPKITALE, Kenya, Jul 21 (IPS) - The Ogiek community, indigenous peoples from Kenya's Chepkitale National Reserve, are in the process of implementing a modern tool to inform and guide the conservation and management of the natural forest. The community has inhabited this area for many generations, long before Kenya was a republic. Through this process, they hope to get the government to formally recognise their customary tenure in line with the Community Land Act.

  10. The World Needs You. Now.

    NEW YORK, Jul 20 (IPS) - "We may all come on different ships, but we are in the same boat now," Martin Luther King Jr once said. His timeless wisdom rings truer than ever today for the many challenges the world is facing. COVID-19, continued armed conflicts and forced displacement, climate-change induced disasters, deep divides and widespread discrimination mark the human family in the 21st century.

  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