Issue XXII | October 2019
Global Development Update is a monthly bulletin that informs readers about the events, ideas, and people that are shaping an emerging world community. Click below to learn more about TGCI, and how to sign up for a free membership.
Disinformation has Affected at Least 70 Countries
According to a report recently released by researchers at Oxford University, at least 70 countries have had disinformation interfere in their campaigns in the last two years. Despite social media platforms like Facebook working to combat fake news and campaigns online, governments around the world continue to use disinformation to attack their political opponents. When the offenders are governments, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter face increased challenges to police their sites. With 2020 on the horizon, the United States needs to stay vigilant. “A mix of domestic and foreign groups, operating autonomously or with loose ties to a government, are building from the methods used by Russia in the last presidential election.” Read on .
Human Rights
Aging is Not a Threat
October 1 st was International Day of Older Person which recognizes and celebrates the growing aging population around the world. Aging is “a human success story, a story of longer and often healthier lives of the world’s people." It represents how long we have come as humans, and with age comes wisdom that only time can provide. However, aging is shunned. "The current ideal is that we must be young, dynamic, and without wrinkles or grey hair, especially older women." Instead of being celebrated, aging is a burden. Skyrocketing healthcare costs and not enough products and services to cater to older persons means it is time to embrace intergenerational equality. Read on.
UN Calls for Independent Probe in Hong Kong
Earlier in October, the United Nations human rights chief called for an “independent probe into the violence during anti-government protests in Hong Kong, saying the injuries were alarming." Two young people were shot, and a journalist was permanently blinded in one eye during the unprecedented protests. U.N. High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet, expressed that the UN strongly condemns all the anti-government acts of violence on both sides and calls for those engaged to go about the protests in a peaceful manner. Read on.
Climate Change Affects Women More than Men
According to the UN, 80% of people displaced by climate change are women. Additionally, “Women are likelier than men to live in poverty, and gendered social roles that reproduce socioeconomic power imbalances leave women and girls particularly vulnerable to a wide variety of climate consequences, including reduced access to water, food, shelter, and vital services." It is critical for these reasons that women can participate in policy agendas aimed at climate change. In general, woman participation has proved to have better outcomes across many areas, and now more than ever, inclusion is desperately needed. Read on.
New Global Work Standards Help Save Lives
The International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention on Violence are new international standards that could improve the world of work globally and help protect women’s lives. Adopted in June, these new standards entail “governments around the world enthusiastically supporting legal norms and action on sexual harassment with active support and cooperation from businesses and workers.” There are already several success stories as resignations and persecutions of those accused of abuse are occurring around the world. However, more still needs to be done. Read on.
Living a Sustainable Lifestyle has Gone Global
A new challenge has emerged, and it has gone global. "UN Environment, a partner in the Sustainable Lifestyles and Education Programme, and the School of Disruptive Design developed the Anatomy of Action: a practical, evidence-based online resource that equips individuals to act and create sustainable lifestyles, to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.” The hashtag #Anatomyofaction launched on September 12 th followed by a “15 Ways in 15 Days” challenge that ran from September 15-30 th . The report outlined critical areas in everyday life where immediate could be taken to begin leading a more sustainable life. Read on.
The Most Massive Climate Protest in World History
According to an environmental advocacy group, four million people participated in the global climate strike, making it the largest in history. Inspired by the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, the global climate strike united children from around the world to stand up for a future that could be drastically different. While the number has not been confirmed, “an independent tally of participants will come. Researchers are working on their own estimates of the crowd size.” Read on.
Action on Climate Change Still Falls Short
In September, a U.N summit on accelerating action on climate change saw countries commit to new climate actions. Finland wants to become the first industrialized county to absorb more carbon than it emits, and India wants to boost its renewable energy sources. However, some of the most powerful nations, which produce a majority of the emissions, have yet to take action." Kate Hampton, who spoke at the summit as head of the Children's Investment Fund Foundation, said she was incredibly sad that the promises made there would likely disappoint young activists pushing for rapid change to address climate threats.” Read on.
The Fight Against Climate Change is Far From Won
The Climate Change Summit in New York started on a wrong note. "Despite dire warnings from UN Secretary-General António Guterres of an impending "climate emergency" – with hurricanes, droughts, floods, and heatwaves in the far horizon – only 64 speakers, mostly heads of government and heads of state, turned up for the summit. And 129 of the UN’s 193 member states were virtually missing in action.” What should have been a landmark event to address one of the most significant human challenges became a sad reminder of the lack of action and the long road ahead to tackle climate change. Read on.
Poverty Hotspots Around the World
Poverty persists in rich and developing countries alike. In new research, the Brookings Institution “found that a majority of developing countries will still have at least one region where extreme poverty is likely to persist in 2030.” These poverty hotspots have similar characteristics such as poor agriculture suitability, a high burden of communicable disease, a high risk of natural disasters, water stress, and other geographic factors that present challenges to the “leave no one behind” mission of the UN Sustainability Goals.
Investment Challenges with Insecure Land Tenures
Poor farmers that make investments in land can help lift themselves out of poverty and receive some peace of mind. However, “its potential to drive investment is far from certain. The new studies raise doubts about whether recent multi-billion-dollar investments in tenure certification will be as transformative as previously thought." Places, where farmers have better-established land rights, are more likely to have more considerable land investments. In areas where land rights are poorly allocated, the opposite is often true. Thus, “the international development organizations have spent vast sums on tenure reform initiatives across sub-Saharan Africa.” Read on.
The UN Struggles with Payroll
The UN is reaching its deepest deficit in the last ten years. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres stated in early October that the organization might not have enough cash in November to cover payroll. The problem: only 34 UN member states which paid their regular budget dues in full by January 31, 2019, “the 30-day due period specified as per UN’s Financial Regulation rules.” 64 states still haven’t paid their full 2019 dues. Among the countries are the US, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Israel and several others. Read on .
Forcing the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty
The 74th session of the General Assembly convened a High-Level Meeting in early September as a follow-up to global events on August 29 th commemorating the International Day against Nuclear Tests . The treaty “calls for increasing awareness and education ‘about the effects of nuclear weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosions and the need for their cessation as one of the means of achieving the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world.’” While it is a significant milestone, the treaty has yet to enter into force because eight countries, including the US, have to ratify it. Ratifying this treating will prove a legally "binding norm against nuclear testing." Read on.