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 United Nations, 75 Years Young: Engaging Youth Social Entrepreneurs to Accelerate the SDGs

    BANGKOK, Thailand, Oct 26 (IPS) - Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana is the United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.This year, the United Nations is marking its 75th anniversary – a milestone of extraordinary economic and social progress in Asia and the Pacific. While the Organization enjoys a lifespan almost equal to the world's improved average life expectancy, the future lies with those who have recently embarked on theirs: our young people.

  2. Reaching Remote Women Through Inclusive Technology

    NEW YORK, Oct 26 (IPS) - The coronavirus pandemic has impacted the way people value working from home, career building, and their overall approach to utilising downtime.

    It has blurred out the lines between hobby, casual reading, and how time is spent away from work.

  3. Not in Our Name, Never in Our Name: A Conversation with Muslim Faith Leaders Echoing the Wisdom of a Pontiff

    NEW YORK, Oct 26 (IPS) - As the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed Al-Tayeb said on October 20: As a Muslim and being the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, I declare before Almighty God that I disassociate myself, the rulings of the religion of Islam, and the teachings of the Prophet of Mercy, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), from such heinous terrorist act and from whoever would embrace such deviant, false thought.

  4. Q&A: Why are Stillbirths still Societal Taboo?

    UNITED NATIONS, Oct 26 (IPS) - Societal taboo and a lack of understanding about stillbirth  can cause the issue to be neglected among health practitioners, according to Dr. Danzhen You, a senior adviser on Data and Analytics at the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

  5. Can Agroecology Feed the World?

    ROME, Oct 23 (IPS) - Producing food and ensuring nutrition security, protecting the environment and restoring biodiversity, building sustainable and fair food systems: That's the promise of agroecology.

  6. Rising above the Hate Online – Indian Muslim Women Speak Out

    NEW DELHI, India, Oct 23 (IPS) - When a minority woman with an opinion doesn't comply with stereotypes, she is targeted with online hate, says award-winning journalist and senior editor at The WireArfa Khanum Sherwani in an exclusive interview with Inter Press Service.

  7. Budgeting for a Better Future, for Every Child

    NEW YORK, Oct 23 (IPS) - Joanne Bosworth is Chief of Public Finance and Local Governance at UNICEF.

    Jennifer Asman is Public Finance Policy Specialist at UNICEF.2020 has not turned out as planned. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact populations around the world, governments have been forced to take a fresh look at their spending and how to meet additional costs of pandemic response as they expect a fall in revenue. Budget information has become even more critical.

  8. COMMENTARY: The Sinatra Doctrine Confronts a Global Consensus

    SEATTLE, Oct 23 (IPS) - By late September, the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States had claimed 200,000 lives. That's equivalent to a slightly higher toll than the 418,500 United States deaths in World War II, adjusted for relative population and duration.

  9. Living with Drought: Lessons from Brazil's Semiarid Region

    RIO DE JANEIRO, Oct 23 (IPS) - No one died of hunger during the worst drought in Brazil's semiarid ecoregion, between 2011 and 2018, in sharp contrast to the past when scarce rainfall caused deaths, looting, a mass exodus to the South and bloody conflicts.

  10. Capture of CO2 and Hydrogen as Part of Latin America's Energy Future

    MEXICO CITY, Oct 22 (IPS) - While struggling to increase the generation and consumption of renewable energy, Latin America is beginning to see the rise of new technologies, such as the capture and storage of carbon and hydrogen from fossil fuels or wind and solar energy.

  11. More stories…

Health

  1. Reaching Remote Women Through Inclusive Technology

    NEW YORK, Oct 26 (IPS) - The coronavirus pandemic has impacted the way people value working from home, career building, and their overall approach to utilising downtime.

    It has blurred out the lines between hobby, casual reading, and how time is spent away from work.

  2. Q&A: Why are Stillbirths still Societal Taboo?

    UNITED NATIONS, Oct 26 (IPS) - Societal taboo and a lack of understanding about stillbirth  can cause the issue to be neglected among health practitioners, according to Dr. Danzhen You, a senior adviser on Data and Analytics at the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

  3. Can Agroecology Feed the World?

    ROME, Oct 23 (IPS) - Producing food and ensuring nutrition security, protecting the environment and restoring biodiversity, building sustainable and fair food systems: That's the promise of agroecology.

  4. COMMENTARY: The Sinatra Doctrine Confronts a Global Consensus

    SEATTLE, Oct 23 (IPS) - By late September, the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States had claimed 200,000 lives. That's equivalent to a slightly higher toll than the 418,500 United States deaths in World War II, adjusted for relative population and duration.

  5. Child Protection: the Pandemic has Left the Most Vulnerable Children Invisible

    Oct 22 (IPS) - A right is an entitlement and it has three basic principles, without which rights cannot be enjoyed. The first principle is that of universality: A right has to be enjoyed by all citizens, including all children. There cannot be a distinction between a Dalit or an Adivasi child and a child who is better endowed.

  6. Enhanced Social Protection an Opportunity Asia Pacific Must Grasp

    BANGKOK, Thailand, Oct 20 (IPS) - In the fight against COVID-19, success has so far been defined by responses in Asia and the Pacific. Many countries in our region have been hailed as reference points in containing the virus. Yet if the region is to build back better, the success of immediate responses should not distract from the weaknesses COVID-19 has laid bare. Too many people in our region are left to fend for themselves in times of need. This pandemic was no exception. Comprehensive social protection systems could right this wrong. Building these systems must be central to our long-term recovery strategy.

  7. Education: Act Now, Don’t Wait for the Bill

    PARIS, Oct 20 (IPS) - School reopening doesn't mean that education is back on course. For a start, schools remain closed in over 50 countries, affecting more than 800 million students. The poorest ones may never make it back to school, driven by poverty into child labour or early marriage. Distance learning has been out of reach for one third of the 1.6 billion students affected worldwide by school closures. They may disengage altogether if school closures continue.

  8. Low-cost Technology can Have Life-changing Impacts for Rural Women

    UNITED NATIONS, Oct 19 (IPS) - Access to technology which is relatively inexpensive to deploy can have a life-changing impact for rural women, social scientist Valentina Rotondi told IPS.

  9. What Developing Countries Can Teach Us About How To Respond To a Pandemic

    Oct 16 (IPS) - Nine months into the pandemic, Europe remains one of the regions worst affected by COVID-19. Ten of the 20 countries with the highest death count per million people are European. The other ten are in the Americas. This includes the US, which has the highest number of confirmed cases and deaths in the world.

  10. Is the IMF Encouraging World Financial Leaders to Walk Blindly Towards More Austerity?

    NEW YORK and SUSSEX, Oct 16 (IPS) - This week the world's Ministers of Finance and Central Bank Governors meet virtually at the 2020 Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank and decide on the fate of the world.

    This year's gathering is particularly important, given that the world is confronting an unprecedented crisis. Governments are struggling to finance emergency care and urgent socioeconomic support to cope with the COVID19 pandemic.

  11. More stories…

Economy

  1. The United Nations, 75 Years Young: Engaging Youth Social Entrepreneurs to Accelerate the SDGs

    BANGKOK, Thailand, Oct 26 (IPS) - Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana is the United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.This year, the United Nations is marking its 75th anniversary – a milestone of extraordinary economic and social progress in Asia and the Pacific. While the Organization enjoys a lifespan almost equal to the world's improved average life expectancy, the future lies with those who have recently embarked on theirs: our young people.

  2. Can Agroecology Feed the World?

    ROME, Oct 23 (IPS) - Producing food and ensuring nutrition security, protecting the environment and restoring biodiversity, building sustainable and fair food systems: That's the promise of agroecology.

  3. The Plight of Domestic Workers in Brazil

    SAO PAULO, Brazil, Oct 21 (IPS) - The inclusivity of Brazilian society is put to the test as the coronavirus pandemic highlights a labour sector ripe with historical and structural inequality: domestic work.

  4. Q&A: Human Trafficking Survivor Harold D’Souza: “The Perpetrators are More Aggressive Than Ever”

    NEW YORK, Oct 21 (IPS) - The fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic continues: as more people around the world lose their livelihoods, human trafficking is on the rise. Support services for survivors have been shut, and past gains to combat it have been reversed. Funding has dried up.

  5. Enhanced Social Protection an Opportunity Asia Pacific Must Grasp

    BANGKOK, Thailand, Oct 20 (IPS) - In the fight against COVID-19, success has so far been defined by responses in Asia and the Pacific. Many countries in our region have been hailed as reference points in containing the virus. Yet if the region is to build back better, the success of immediate responses should not distract from the weaknesses COVID-19 has laid bare. Too many people in our region are left to fend for themselves in times of need. This pandemic was no exception. Comprehensive social protection systems could right this wrong. Building these systems must be central to our long-term recovery strategy.

  6. Limited Liability: Profit Without Responsibility

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Oct 20 (IPS) - Limited liability protection for shareholders in joint stock companies was introduced to encourage investments in them. However, it has encouraged irresponsibility, causing much harm while generating profits without responsibility.

  7. NESFAS Partner Communities Celebrate World Food Day

    Oct 19 (IPS) - World Food Day, a day dedicated to tackle world hunger, is annually celebrated on October 16, 2020 globally. To commemorate this day, the North East Slow Food and Agrobiodiversity Society (NESFAS) along with its partner organisations — Society for Urban and Rural Empowerment (SURE) and North East Network (NEN), Nagaland — hosted several programmes across 27 communities in Meghalaya and Nagaland. It may be mentioned here that all government SOPs and measures were followed during the events.

  8. Is the IMF Encouraging World Financial Leaders to Walk Blindly Towards More Austerity?

    NEW YORK and SUSSEX, Oct 16 (IPS) - This week the world's Ministers of Finance and Central Bank Governors meet virtually at the 2020 Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank and decide on the fate of the world.

    This year's gathering is particularly important, given that the world is confronting an unprecedented crisis. Governments are struggling to finance emergency care and urgent socioeconomic support to cope with the COVID19 pandemic.

  9. Milton Friedman Versus Stakeholder Capitalism

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Oct 13 (IPS) - Milton Friedman was arguably the most influential economist of the second half of the 20th century, associated with promoting ‘neo-liberal', free-market, shareholder capitalism.

    Friedman's monetarist economics is now widely considered irrelevant, if not wrong, especially with the low inflation associated with ‘unconventional' monetary policies following the 2008-2009 global financial crisis.

  10. COVID’s Impact in Real Time: Finding Balance Amid the Crisis

    WASHINGTON DC, Oct 12 (IPS) - One enduring lesson from the COVID-19 pandemic is that any lasting economic recovery will depend on resolving the health crisis.

  11. More stories…

Climate

  1. The United Nations, 75 Years Young: Engaging Youth Social Entrepreneurs to Accelerate the SDGs

    BANGKOK, Thailand, Oct 26 (IPS) - Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana is the United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.This year, the United Nations is marking its 75th anniversary – a milestone of extraordinary economic and social progress in Asia and the Pacific. While the Organization enjoys a lifespan almost equal to the world's improved average life expectancy, the future lies with those who have recently embarked on theirs: our young people.

  2. Can Agroecology Feed the World?

    ROME, Oct 23 (IPS) - Producing food and ensuring nutrition security, protecting the environment and restoring biodiversity, building sustainable and fair food systems: That's the promise of agroecology.

  3. Living with Drought: Lessons from Brazil's Semiarid Region

    RIO DE JANEIRO, Oct 23 (IPS) - No one died of hunger during the worst drought in Brazil's semiarid ecoregion, between 2011 and 2018, in sharp contrast to the past when scarce rainfall caused deaths, looting, a mass exodus to the South and bloody conflicts.

  4. Capture of CO2 and Hydrogen as Part of Latin America's Energy Future

    MEXICO CITY, Oct 22 (IPS) - While struggling to increase the generation and consumption of renewable energy, Latin America is beginning to see the rise of new technologies, such as the capture and storage of carbon and hydrogen from fossil fuels or wind and solar energy.

  5. 'The Sahel - a Microcosm of Cascading Global Risks Converging in One Region'

    UNITED NATIONS, Oct 22 (IPS) - The European Commission this week pledged $27.8 million in humanitarian support to the Sahel region as floods and the coronavirus pandemic exacerbate the stability in a region deeply in conflict.

    While the figure is less than 2 percent of the $2.4 billion that the United Nations has appealed for, Amnesty International researcher Ousmane Diallo says that despite past donations from international development partners to Sahelian countries, the situation hasn't improved over the years.

  6. Bulawayo Water Crisis: When the Taps Run Dry and the City Runs out of Ideas

    BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, Oct 21 (IPS) - Dotted across the Zimbabwean city of Bulawayo, the water tanks installed in private residences is evidence that years of water crisis, that has seen some suburbs here going for months without running water, has not spared anyone. The large plastic drums, locally called Jojo tanks after the company that manufacturers them — which have a storage range of up to 10,000 litres — have assumed a class status of sorts in Bulawayo.

  7. Questions remain over Botswana's Mass Elephant Deaths

    BRATISLAVA, Oct 20 (IPS) - When hundreds of elephants died in the space of a few months in Botswana earlier this year, conservationists were shocked. Wildlife experts said it was one of the largest elephant mortality events in history.

  8. Limited Liability: Profit Without Responsibility

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Oct 20 (IPS) - Limited liability protection for shareholders in joint stock companies was introduced to encourage investments in them. However, it has encouraged irresponsibility, causing much harm while generating profits without responsibility.

  9. Climate Change: New Threat to Nepal’s Rhinos

    CHITWAN, Nepal, Oct 19 (IPS) - Nepal's population of one-horned rhinoceros that survived hunting, a shrinking habitat and wildlife trafficking are now faced with a new threat: changes in their living environment due to a rapidly-warming atmosphere.

  10. Why We Need Trees to End to Poverty - Landmark Report

    NEW YORK, United States, Oct 15 (IPS) - Amid the Covid-19 pandemic and a projected rise in extreme poverty, a team of scientists says the world can no longer afford to overlook the role of forests and trees in poverty eradication.With extreme poverty (living on $1.90 a day) projected to rise for the first time in over 20 years, a new study has concluded that global poverty eradication efforts could be futile in the absence of forests and trees.

  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