Issue XXIII | November 2019
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.
More than 11,000 Scientists Declare a Climate Emergency
A new report called the World scientists’ warning of a climate emergency has a powerful warning that the world “clearly and unequivocally faces a climate emergency." Even more alarming than that is the fact that the report speaks for 11,258 scientists in 153 countries from a broad range of disciplines who contributed to the study. Unlike other reports by organizations like the UN, there are uncertainties or policies. The report makes its decisive conclusions based on a set of easy-to-understand indicators that show the human impact on greenhouse gas emissions, economic trends, population growth rates, per capita meat production, and global tree cover loss, and ocean pollution. Read on .
Human Rights
Accountability for Human Rights Abusers
Last month global leaders gathered in Geneva to make progress on a treaty that promises to start a new chapter for human rights around the world. “The process—the intergovernmental working group on the binding treaty on transnational corporations and human rights—could mean that for the first time, human rights would be prioritized above corporate profits." However, the amount of progress made on these treaties depends on the good faith of all the actors involved. Communities and governments have had difficulty holding abusive corporations and industries accountable for the environmental, economic, and societal damage they have caused.
East and West Collide Over Free Speech
The USA and China are clashing when it comes to free speech, and billions of dollars are at stake. In a tweet heard around the world, the general manager of the Houston Rockets showed support of the Hong Kong protests. “The tweet prompted contrasting responses: US citizens immediately began quarreling among themselves about the message's usefulness and whether basketball officials should apologize while the Chinese collectively expressed opposition and businesses began suspending agreements.” With the trade war already creating so much tension, businesses looking to get into the massive Chinese market have an added challenge. Read on.
The Best And Worst Countries to be a Woman
Women who love Norway or Switzerland are in luck. Those are the two countries where it is best to be female. New research looked at 167 countries since 2017 when the first Women, Peace and Security Index was created, to determine where they are living the best lives. Several factors were taken into consideration, such as access to bank accounts, jobs, and security. The United States did not make the top ten, which were all filled by European countries. Yemen and Afghanistan are the two worst.  Read on.
The UN is Neutral on the Sex Trade Debate
The UN recently declared its neutrality on the Sex Trade. “The surprising controversy over women in the sex trade — tangled in issues of legality, terminology and competing feminist visions — has produced an unequivocal statement from the executive director of UN Women that the agency is not taking sides in this debate." At the heart of the issue is prostitution. There is an ongoing debate on whether prostitution should be supported or criminalized. There are compelling reasons on both sides of the issue. Should sex workers who have chosen to be in the industry be demeaned? Would decriminalization increase sex trafficking and violence? Read on.
Expressing Trauma with Art
For women who have experienced trauma, talking about their emotions and experiences can be a painful and difficult task. When words are not the right tool, art can step in as a vehicle for self-expression. In Nairobi, women trained as artists, have created quilts that tells the story of their lives. The United National Population Fund (UNFPA) funded The Advocacy Project to train the women. They also funded the exhibition of quilts from women in other parts of the world. Art has become a bonding moment for the women in the project while also learning new skill that can help them generate income. Read on.
New Action to Fight Air Pollution
New amendments to the Gothenburg Protocol, adopted in 2012, are now in effect, and it means the start of a new chapter in the fight against air pollution. According to the World Health Organization, air pollution kills 7 million people each year. It is the world's most massive single environmental health risk and a leading cause of death by cancer. “The amended Protocol, negotiated under the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (Air Convention), establishes legally binding emissions reduction commitments for 2020 and beyond for the major air pollutants: sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), ammonia (NH3), volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5).” Read on.
The Aviation Industry Takes Action on Climate Change
No other sector has come together like the aviation industry to create a policy to address climate change issues. “ The Carbon Offset and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), adopted by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in October 2016, addresses the growth in total CO2 emissions from international aviation above 2020 levels.” Before this, there was a high risk that too many states would introduce climate policies that would overlap each and hinder progress. The policy documents incorporate the concept of shared responsibility for managing CO2 emissions while also addressing the circumstances of developing countries. Read on.
The Goal to End Hunger and Poverty by 2030   is at Risk
According to the UN, the world is not on track to end hunger and poverty by 2030. Those are the two of the UN Sustainable Goals adopted in September 2015, and not meeting them threatens to stop progress on the other goals. "The UN points out that globally, the number of people living in extreme poverty – on US $1.90 a day – has dropped massively, from 36% in 1990 to 10% in 2015." However, despite this progress, global hunger is on the rise. The World Food Program created an outline to help address this global challenge. Read on.
Engaging Young Adults in Rural Areas
In recent years, the concerns and worldviews of young adults (aged 15-24) have been increasingly occupying center stage in global debates. The energy, dreams, and demands of this population can be the drivers of massive political, societal, and economic drivers. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the world data lab has pioneered the development of a global poverty model to better quantify the challenges facing the worldwide young adult population. "Of the world's 1.2 billion people aged between 15-24, 104 million—about 9 percent—live on less than $1.90 a day (at 2011 US$ PPP)." The nature of youth poverty is driven in part by the relatively sparse opportunities available to harness their productivity, connectivity, and sense of agency.
Solving Poverty Worldwide in Practical Economic Terms
It will take $ 78 Billion to abolish extreme poverty. That is less than 0.1% of global GDP. "According to The Economist, the average person among the very poor lives on $1.33 a day. It would take only $0.57 per person to abolish extreme poverty." Extreme poverty is solvable, and the numbers exist to support that claim. Statistically speaking, the world is moving in the right direction. There are those that debate the priority should be climate change, but solving poverty is more "urgent because people are suffering right now, whereas global warming's severe impact will not come about for another ten to twenty years." Read on.
International Digital Taxation
Digital businesses have empowered societies and individuals and driven economic growth in ways unimaginable even one generation ago. Yet, the topic of how to tax and regulate these businesses with global reach to "optimize economic and societal outcomes" is hotly debated. "More than 130 countries are discussing new rules, under the OECD's Inclusive Framework, to change the nexus requirement, so it is not dependent on physical presence." Historically, governments felt that taxing lost-cost high-volume imports was not worth the government expenditure. However, with the onset of e-commerce, governments are reconsidering this. Read on .
ASIA: The 21st Century Power
First, the Europeanization of the 19th century, then the Americanization of the 20th century, and now a new era begins. In the 21st century, the world is being Asian-ized. "Home to more than half of the world's population, the region has climbed from low- to middle-income status within a single generation. By 2040, it is likely to generate more than 50% of world GDP, and could account for nearly 40% of global consumption." Asia is rising, and it is difficult to ignore the region's economic prowess. "Asia now accounts for around one-third of global trade in goods, up from about a quarter ten years ago. Over roughly the same period, its share of global airline travelers has risen from 33% to 40%, and its share of capital flows has increased from 13% to 23%." Read on.
Counter-Terrorism Laws and the Protection of Humanitarian Relief
Governments, attempting to regulate and control aid to terrorist groups, might be undermining human rights work. "Both counter-terrorism legislation and International Humanitarian Law are aimed at protecting people, especially civilians. Yet, counter-terrorism legislation, as well as accompanying donor requirements, can stand in the way of impartial life-saving humanitarian assistance." However, as in Somalia, anti-terrorist measures contributed to the death of 250,000 Somalians during a drought. "A humanitarian doctor's first question to a patient should be "Where does it hurt?" not "What group are you from?". Counter-terrorism laws can shift the focus in the humanitarian sector to the labeled identity of those in need, resulting in the refusal to help victims who are vulnerable and whose survival is dependent on humanitarian assistance.  Read on.
On Building a Protest That Lasts
Mass mobilization has been front and center around the world. Whether pressuring a political leader to step down or demanding climate change action, the masses are gathering to stand up for what they believe in. While mass mobilization casts a bright spotlight on global politics, the moments following these movements might have the most impact. A new report from the Carnegie Endowment includes case studies from around the world that uncover the factors and decisions that determine which of these outcomes prevail. "While many people celebrate the supposedly-leaderless nature of protests, reformers need to develop some kind of institutionalized decision-making processes and capacities over time.” Read on.