Issue XXXIII | September 2020
Global Development Update is a monthly bulletin that informs readers about the events, ideas, and people that are shaping an emerging world community. It is produced by The Global Citizens' Initiative- a non-profit working to help develop a sustainable world community for all. Click below to sign up for a free Global Development Update subscription.
Are Women Happier Then Men? Yes, but it's Complicated
According to a 2013 study of happiness and gender, based on Gallup World Poll data for 160 countries, women worldwide report higher levels of life satisfaction than men, but at the same time report more daily stress. “The gap between women and men’s well-being is greater (e.g., women are that much happier than men) in wealthier contexts, among more educated and older cohorts, and in urban areas. While there seems to be a modest gender difference in life satisfaction, it does not hold when women’s rights are compromised.” Read on.
A UN Protection that Might Displace 300 Million
The Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD), scheduled for May 2021, is set to agree on a new target to protect at least 30 percent of the Earth’s Surface under conservation status by 2030. However, 128 experts and environmental and human rights NGOs warn that increasing global protected areas could lead to human rights violations and “cause irreversible social harm for some of the world’s poorest people.” The NGOs state that 300 million people could potentially be affected unless protections include the rights of indigenous people, traditional land-owners, and environmental stewards. Read on.
Preventing a COVID-19 Child Rights Disaster
The pandemic's impact on children was the focus of the Nobel Peace Laureates and Leaders for Children at a Fair Share for Children Summit held September 9 and 10th, 2020. Laureates and Leaders for Children is a growing movement of visionary leaders across diverse fields of expertise and influence, committed to working together to inspire the international community to globalize compassion for the world’s most vulnerable children. Several Nobel laureates, world leaders, directors of UN agencies, and others came together to "push for urgent action to prevent a child rights disaster in the wake of the pandemic.” The Nobel laureates fear that despite pledges of unprecedented sums of money to support world economies, this may not reach children.” Read on.
European Bank Failing Gender Framework Commitments
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is considered to be the entity with the largest share of approved funding from the Green Climate Fund (GCF), with a total of USD 831 million – nearly 15 percent of the GCF's total portfolio. However, getting gender impact information from them is challenging. One of the EBRD’s flagship climate investment initiatives, the Green Cities Framework, secured support from the GCF in October 2018. “The GCF had made two disbursements under this framework, totaling USD 17 613 636. It appears that no Annual Performance Report has been produced yet for 2019, however.” Read on.
COVID-19: Forecasts Predict Increase in Female Poverty
According to UN Women and UNDP's new poverty forecasts commissioned and conducted by the Pardee Center for International Futures at the University of Denver, COVID-19 has unleashed a powerful boomerang effect that reverses the progress that has already been made. “Not surprisingly, these data also confirm that women and girls – already over represented among the world’s extreme poor by 6 million – will continue to be those hardest hit.” Women were already disadvantaged because gender gaps are biased towards women. Closing these gender gaps will take decades. Read on.
Human Footprint Eliminated 68% of Species in 50 Years
Humans have destroyed 68% of species over 50 years. According to the World Wildlife Fund's (WWF), globally monitored population sizes of mammals, fish, birds, reptiles, and amphibians have declined an average of 68% between 1970 and 2016. Explosive population growth, land-use change, and climate change are driving this decline. Land-use change, meaning the conversion of pristine native habitats, like forests, grasslands, and mangroves, into agricultural systems, is the leading factor. “The report finds that while nature is being destroyed and changed at an extraordinary rate, modeling predicts that the declining trends can be flattened and reversed with urgent and unprecedented actions.” Read on.
The Role of Plastics in the Climate Crisis
Plastics are having a devastating effect on the environment. If plastic use were a country, it would be the fifth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world. In every step of its creation, plastic is driving the climate crisis. Here are a few alarming statements from the article. There are about 150 million metric tons of plastic in our oceans, with about 10 million tons added each year. Only about 9 percent of all plastic is ever recycled. Read on.
Lost Generation of Children
Several months into the global pandemic, there is no denying the devastating impact COVID-19 has had on the world. Millions of lives have been upended, and the "fallout from one of the most devastating consequences of the spreading virus is on the lives of a growing new generation: children.” The founder of the Laureates and Leaders for Children and 2014 Nobel Peace Laureate, Kailash Satyarthi, pointed out that the pandemic has worsened existing inequalities faced by the most impoverished families. Read on.
The Wickedness of Disinformation
The harmful effects of disinformation on individuals and societies are increasingly more apparent, and governments are under pressure to take action. "Initial attempts at self-regulation via mechanisms such as voluntary codes of conduct have not yielded the desired results, leading policymakers to turn increasingly to top-down regulation. This approach is destined to fail.” Disinformation and other online issues can’t be solved with traditional regulation. These “wicked” problems can’t be fixed because they are highly complex and unstable. Disinformation can only be managed or minimized. Read on.
The Changed EU
The European Union is changed forever with the agreement of a historic accord that unites the countries in a "new form of society, in which sovereignty is shared reciprocally." The EU will issue treasury bonds to finance a brand new part of its budget, which it calls the "recovery plan," amounting to 750 billion euros. This development falls in line with Europeans wanting European solutions to the economic and geopolitical challenges that threaten them. Read on.
The US Say No to Join WHO-Linked Vaccine Efforts
The Trump Administration decided to opt-out of a global effort to develop a COVID-19 vaccine only because the World Health Organization (WHO) is involved. This decision could reduce the US role in health diplomacy while changing the course of the pandemic. The administration will not participate because the White House doesn't want to work the WHO, "which President Trump has criticized over what he characterized as its China-centric response to the pandemic. Read on.
COVID-19 Pandemic Threatening Peace and Security
Rosemary DiCarlo, UN Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peace building Affairs, gave a briefing to the Security Council on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on peace and security. In her briefing, she highlights three significant risks. The following are top highlights: The first is the erosion of trust in public institutions. The second risk relates to the aggravation of certain human rights challenges during the pandemic, which in turn can fuel conflict. The third risk is the political and peace processes. Read on.