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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. From We the Peoples to Our Common Agenda, the United Nations is a Work in Progress

    - Inter Press Service

    A story from Inter Press Service, an international news agency

    NEW YORK, Sep 22 (IPS) - When the UN Charter was being drafted in the closing days of the Second World War in 1945, a debate ensued on what its opening words should be. Jan Smuts, representative of colonial South Africa, had originally suggested that the UN Charter begin with the words, ‘The High Contracting Parties.’

  2. Philippines President urges world to ‘reverse course’ on inequality

    - UN News

    President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines urged?on?Tuesday all?United Nations?Member States to reverse course on inequality, saying the issue will define humanity’s future.?

  3. Somali President underscores need for COVID-19 vaccines for all

    - UN News

    A story from UN News

    Despite the heavy impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Somalia has continued on the path to economic reform, President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed said in a pre-recorded speech to the 76th session of the UN General Assembly on Tuesday.

  4. Sanctions are ‘US way of war’, Iranian President at UN

    - UN News

    A story from UN News

    In his speech to the high-level General Debate at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Iranian President Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi called for an end to United States sanctions against his country, describing them as a method of waging war.

  5. China headed towards carbon neutrality by 2060; President Xi Jinping vows to halt new coal plants abroad

    - UN News

    A story from UN News

    China is set to provide more COVID-19 vaccines to the world and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060, President Xi Jinping?told the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, urging global leaders to strengthen solidarity, promote mutual respect while rejecting “forming small circles or zero-sum games.”

  6. Republic of Korea calls for UN-led ‘era of global community’

    - UN News

    A story from UN News

    The UN needs to usher in and lead a new “era of global community”, and the Republic of Korea will do all it can to support a revived world order based on solidarity and cooperation, the nation’s President, Moon Jae-in, told the UN General Assembly on Tuesday.

  7. DR Congo President asks for materialization of ‘all the promises made to Africa’

    - UN News

    A story from UN News

    The?President of Democratic Republic of Congo,?Félix-Antoine?Tshisekedi?Tshilombo, asked?for?United Nations?Member States?to?“materialize all the promises made to Africa in compensation for the sacrifices agreed to protect humanity against global warming.”?

  8. World’s two largest economies commit to climate action – Guterres

    - UN News

    A story from UN News

    UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Tuesday welcomed important commitments made towards climate action by the world’s two largest economies, as the 76th High Level Debate began in New York.

  9. Afghanistan: ‘Palpable’ fear of ‘brutal and systemic repression’ of women grows

    - UN News

    Since the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan last month, they have made some commitments to uphold human rights. However, their subsequent actions have “sadly contradicted” those promises, the UN rights chief told a side event of the General Assembly on Tuesday.

  10. COVID ‘Shot for All’, not a luxury, but development priority: UNDP

    - UN News

    A story from UN News

    Top politicians?joined?award-winning African performers and others?on Tuesday,?in New York,?to take part in a?special event organized by the UN?Development?Programme?(UNDP), to discuss how?COVID-19 vaccines can be fairly distributed worldwide, as?a?key?priority for development.?

  11. More stories…

Health

  1. COVID ‘Shot for All’, not a luxury, but development priority: UNDP

    - UN News

    A story from UN News

    Top politicians?joined?award-winning African performers and others?on Tuesday,?in New York,?to take part in a?special event organized by the UN?Development?Programme?(UNDP), to discuss how?COVID-19 vaccines can be fairly distributed worldwide, as?a?key?priority for development.?

  2. For Healthier Food Systems: Turn the Tide Against Ultra-Processed Products

    - Inter Press Service

    MELBOURNE, Sep 21 (IPS) - COVID-19 has exposed serious vulnerabilities in how people around the world access and consume food.

    One of the more alarming trends is the significant increase in the consumption of foods that may be tasty and convenient, but harm our heath. These ultra-processed products include sugary drinks, snack foods, frozen meals, packaged breads and frozen desserts.

  3. The UN Food Systems Summit and Some Issues of Concern

    - Inter Press Service

    LETHBRIDGE, Canada, Sep 21 (IPS) - Why is the UN holding a Food Systems Summit? Two issues that need discussion at the international leadership level are: Long before the Covid crisis was upon us, the number of hungry people in the world was increasing. Why? What is the cause of this disturbing trend? And, can a country really claim to be food secure, unless it produces or can buy enough food to feed its population and its people can access sufficient quantities to keep themselves fit and healthy? Disquietening questions as extreme weather begins to show the destructive power that climate change will have on the planet and its people.

  4. Integrating ITMDs into Healthcare Could offer a Solution for the Pandemic Crisis in Canada

    - Inter Press Service

    A story from Inter Press Service, an international news agency

    NEW DELHI, India, Sep 20 (IPS) - Last year, as the world grappled to survive the Covid-19 Pandemic, Megan Fernandas an accountant living in Toronto, was trying to face her biggest fear, not the COVID-19 virus, but missing her doctor's appointment after surviving a rigorous fight against stage 2 breast cancer.

  5. Fundamental Changes Needed at UN Summit to Tackle Global Food Insecurity

    - Inter Press Service

    BRIGHTON, UK, Sep 20 (IPS) - COVID-19 has exposed numerous fractures in global food systems that leave millions at risk of food insecurity. Like the numerous political failures in dealing with COVID, the repercussions of food system failings are experienced by rich and poor countries alike, with the poorest and most marginalised paying the greatest price.

  6. Struggling economies, widening inequality and millions vulnerable: the urgent need for vaccine equity

    - UN News

    Health leaders agree that a world without COVID-19 will not be possible until everyone has equal access to vaccines. More than 4.6 million people have died from the virus since it swept across the globe from the beginning of 2020, but it’s expected that the rate of people dying will slow if more people are vaccinated.?

  7. If Women Farmers were Politicians, the World Would be Fed, says Danielle Nierenberg

    - Inter Press Service

    BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, Sep 17 (IPS) - Women, key contributors to agriculture production, are missing at the decision table, with alarming consequences, says Food Tank President Danielle Nierenberg in an exclusive interview with IPS.

  8. WHO asks for commitments on maternal and newborn health

    - UN News

    Every day, approximately 800 women and 6,700 babies lose their lives around the time of childbirth. In addition, nearly 5,400 babies are stillborn daily, with 40% of these deaths occurring in relation to?labour?and childbirth.?

  9. Refugees face dire consequences from COVID-19 underfunding, UNHCR warns

    - UN News

    Underfunding has left a “yawning gap” in the UN Refugee Agency’s ability to protect forcibly displaced people worldwide from the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UNHCR said on Friday.?

  10. Africa faces 470 million COVID-19 vaccine shortfall this year

    - UN News

    Africa?needs?around 470?million doses?to accomplish?the global of fully vaccinating 40?per cent?of its population?by the end of the year,?the?World Health Organization (WHO)?said on?Thursday.??

  11. More stories…

Economy

  1. Colombia calls for global financial consensus to avert COVID debt crisis

    - UN News

    The President of Colombia on Tuesday warned that many developing countries have increased their fiscal deficit to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, putting at risk their financial capacity to act on other priorities, such as climate change.

  2. The UN Food Systems Summit and Some Issues of Concern

    - Inter Press Service

    LETHBRIDGE, Canada, Sep 21 (IPS) - Why is the UN holding a Food Systems Summit? Two issues that need discussion at the international leadership level are: Long before the Covid crisis was upon us, the number of hungry people in the world was increasing. Why? What is the cause of this disturbing trend? And, can a country really claim to be food secure, unless it produces or can buy enough food to feed its population and its people can access sufficient quantities to keep themselves fit and healthy? Disquietening questions as extreme weather begins to show the destructive power that climate change will have on the planet and its people.

  3. Progressive Taxation for Our Times

    - Inter Press Service

    A story from Inter Press Service, an international news agency

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Sep 21 (IPS) - As developing countries struggle to cope with the pandemic, they risk being set back further by restrictive fiscal policies. These were imposed by rich countries who no longer practice them if they ever did. Instead, the global South urgently needs bold policies to ensure adequate relief, recovery and reform.

  4. Integrating ITMDs into Healthcare Could offer a Solution for the Pandemic Crisis in Canada

    - Inter Press Service

    A story from Inter Press Service, an international news agency

    NEW DELHI, India, Sep 20 (IPS) - Last year, as the world grappled to survive the Covid-19 Pandemic, Megan Fernandas an accountant living in Toronto, was trying to face her biggest fear, not the COVID-19 virus, but missing her doctor's appointment after surviving a rigorous fight against stage 2 breast cancer.

  5. Food Experts’ Expectations for Global Food Systems Transformation

    - Inter Press Service

    DOMINICA, Sep 20 (IPS) - Dubbed ‘the People’s Summit, the United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) hopes to put the world back on a path to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, through food systems overhauling. From the tempered to the extremely optimistic, experts in various food system sectors share their expectations of transformation.

  6. Innovation continued despite COVID-19: New UN report

    - UN News

    A story from UN News

    Despite the economic devastation wrought by COVID-19, the new technology sector continued to thrive and prosper last year, the UN’s intellectual property agency said in a new report published on Monday.

  7. If Women Farmers were Politicians, the World Would be Fed, says Danielle Nierenberg

    - Inter Press Service

    BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, Sep 17 (IPS) - Women, key contributors to agriculture production, are missing at the decision table, with alarming consequences, says Food Tank President Danielle Nierenberg in an exclusive interview with IPS.

  8. Barilla Foundation Report Highlights Need for Food Companies to Align with Sustainable Development Goals

    - Inter Press Service

    Sep 16 (IPS) - In the backdrop of rising hunger, half of the world’s population living on unhealthy diets, a third of agricultural produce lost to postharvest events, and waste, poverty in farming communities, a pandemic that laid bare the vulnerability of food systems to external shocks and unsustainable food production, the Barilla Foundation for Food and Nutrition has published a report which introduces guidelines for the private sector to fulfil its role in transforming global food systems.

  9. COVID-19 Recovery Requires Justice Beyond Rhetoric

    - Inter Press Service

    BONN, Germany, Sep 16 (IPS) - Policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic crisis have exacerbated rather than reduced global inequalities. On the one hand, the net wealth of billionaires has risen to record levels since the outbreak of the pandemic (increasing by more than US$ 5 trillion to US$ 13.1 trillion from 2020 to 2021), on the other hand, the number of people living in extreme poverty has also increased massively (by approx. 100 million to 732 million in 2020).

  10. Even as IUCN Congress Closes, Conservation Debate Hots Up

    - Inter Press Service

    MARSEILLE, France, Sep 15 (IPS) - One of the most hotly debated issues at the recently concluded IUCN Congress in Marseilles was about designating 30 percent of the planet's land and water surface as protected areas by 2030.

  11. More stories…

Climate

  1. World’s two largest economies commit to climate action – Guterres

    - UN News

    A story from UN News

    UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Tuesday welcomed important commitments made towards climate action by the world’s two largest economies, as the 76th High Level Debate began in New York.

  2. For Healthier Food Systems: Turn the Tide Against Ultra-Processed Products

    - Inter Press Service

    MELBOURNE, Sep 21 (IPS) - COVID-19 has exposed serious vulnerabilities in how people around the world access and consume food.

    One of the more alarming trends is the significant increase in the consumption of foods that may be tasty and convenient, but harm our heath. These ultra-processed products include sugary drinks, snack foods, frozen meals, packaged breads and frozen desserts.

  3. The UN Food Systems Summit and Some Issues of Concern

    - Inter Press Service

    LETHBRIDGE, Canada, Sep 21 (IPS) - Why is the UN holding a Food Systems Summit? Two issues that need discussion at the international leadership level are: Long before the Covid crisis was upon us, the number of hungry people in the world was increasing. Why? What is the cause of this disturbing trend? And, can a country really claim to be food secure, unless it produces or can buy enough food to feed its population and its people can access sufficient quantities to keep themselves fit and healthy? Disquietening questions as extreme weather begins to show the destructive power that climate change will have on the planet and its people.

  4. How Jamaica got Youth Climate Action Engagement Right

    - Inter Press Service

    DOMINICA, Sep 21 (IPS) - When the NDC Partnership, the alliance which helps governments to determine and achieve their climate goals, held its first-ever Global Youth Engagement Forum in July, several segments were underpinned by Jamaica’s model of engaging young people and sustaining youth interest in climate initiatives.

  5. Food Experts’ Expectations for Global Food Systems Transformation

    - Inter Press Service

    DOMINICA, Sep 20 (IPS) - Dubbed ‘the People’s Summit, the United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) hopes to put the world back on a path to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, through food systems overhauling. From the tempered to the extremely optimistic, experts in various food system sectors share their expectations of transformation.

  6. Call for ‘decisive action now’ to avoid climate catastrophe

    - UN News

    Speaking alongside the UK Prime Minister in New York on Monday the UN Secretary-General,?António Guterres,?has called on?world leaders for “decisive action now to avert climate catastrophe.”?

  7. Fundamental Changes Needed at UN Summit to Tackle Global Food Insecurity

    - Inter Press Service

    BRIGHTON, UK, Sep 20 (IPS) - COVID-19 has exposed numerous fractures in global food systems that leave millions at risk of food insecurity. Like the numerous political failures in dealing with COVID, the repercussions of food system failings are experienced by rich and poor countries alike, with the poorest and most marginalised paying the greatest price.

  8. Indigenous Peoples in Mexico Defend Their Right to Water

    - Inter Press Service

    LERMA/COYOTEPEC, Mexico, Sep 18 (IPS) - In the San Lorenzo Huitzizilapan Otomí indigenous community, in the state of Mexico –adjacent to the country’s capital–, access to water has been based on collective work.

  9. FROM THE FIELD: Haiti’s gruelling post-quake road to recovery

    - UN News

    Thousands of Haitians?continue to take?refuge in?neighbours’?houses, makeshift shelters, chapels or informal displacement sites, a month after a devastating?7.2 magnitude earthquake struck the west of the?Caribbean island?where they live. That’s according to the UN’s?International Organization for Migration?(IOM)?which has been assisting in recovery efforts.?

  10. If Women Farmers were Politicians, the World Would be Fed, says Danielle Nierenberg

    - Inter Press Service

    BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, Sep 17 (IPS) - Women, key contributors to agriculture production, are missing at the decision table, with alarming consequences, says Food Tank President Danielle Nierenberg in an exclusive interview with IPS.

  11. More stories…

More news by World, Economy, Environment, Geopolitics, Health, Human Rights, More news topics

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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