Issue LXXI | December 2023



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.

Human Rights
Gender Equity
Poverty Reduction & Income Inequality
Global Governance & Connectivity
Global Peace & Justice

Dear Global Global Development Update Subscriber,

Attached is the latest issue of Global Development Update (GDU)--a monthly bulletin intended to keep you up to date with the policies, events, and people that affect our planet as a whole. The publication of GDU for the last 5 years has depended entirely on small and medium-size contributions from readers like you. We take no government or corporate funding. We need your support. We would greatly appreciate your clicking the DONATE button and making a small contribution that can help sustain the work we do.

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The AI Regulation Paradox: Protecting U.S. Democracy May Jeopardize Democracy Abroad

The surge in disinformation fueled by artificial intelligence (AI) has prompted calls for a regulation to protect democracy in the United States. However, the paradox emerges when strict rules in the U.S. potentially lead to a proliferation of disinformation globally. As major social media platforms focus on appeasing U.S. lawmakers and regulators, their capacity to monitor content worldwide diminishes. While the U.S. aims to fortify its democratic processes, the unintended consequence may exacerbate disinformation challenges globally. Read on.

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Global Threat: Cyber Harassment Against Women and Girls

The prevalence of cyber harassment against women and girls is escalating globally, with heartbreaking cases spotlighting the severity of the issue. A global assessment reveals a concerning lack of comprehensive legal frameworks, indicating a pressing need for governments to prioritize and enact robust legislation to combat online violence. Read on.

Global Erosion of Human Rights: Assessing the Universal Declaration at 75

As the world commemorates the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 2023 WJP Rule of Law Index paints a disheartening picture—fundamental rights have regressed in over three-quarters of countries since 2016. Civic participation, grounded in human rights principles, has plummeted globally in 83% of nations, underscoring the imperative for a renewed global commitment to safeguarding human rights. Read on.

Persistent Gender Inequality: Assessing Progress on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Anniversary

Despite the Universal Declaration of Human Rights' pledge to uphold equal dignity for all, the 2023 Women, Business and the Law report reveals stark gender disparities persist. With 2.4 billion working-age women facing legal inequalities globally, including restricted job opportunities and unequal pay, urgent action is needed to dismantle barriers hindering women's basic human rights and economic participation. Read on.


Earth on the Brink of Irreversible Climate Catastrophe

Scientists caution that humanity is approaching five critical climate tipping points, including the collapse of ice sheets and coral reefs, which, if crossed, will unleash devastating and irreversible damage. The Global Tipping Points report highlights the urgency for immediate action to prevent mass displacement, political instability, and financial collapse. Read on.

Global Climate Summit Concludes with Landmark Agreement to Reduce Fossil Fuel Use

After two weeks of negotiations at COP28, over 200 countries have reached a historic agreement explicitly calling for a global reduction in oil, gas, and coal use. While hailed as a significant step, the non-binding text lacks enforcement mechanisms, drawing criticism for not going far enough to combat climate change. Read on.


FTX Founder Convicted Amid Cryptocurrency Industry's Risky Funding Practices

Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of FTX, has been found guilty of wire fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering charges related to a widespread fraud case. The trial highlighted risky funding practices in the cryptocurrency industry, specifically the creation and inflation of tokens with no real value, which can lead to massive losses for investors and a lack of transparency in the industry. Read on.


Navigating Digital Governance: UNESCO's Guidelines Evolution

UNESCO's finalized Guidelines for digital platform governance, initially met with concerns about potential curbs on freedom of expression, have undergone notable improvements. The shift from "regulation" to "governance" reflects a nuanced approach, emphasizing context-aware regulatory choices, stakeholder engagement, and states' duty to create an enabling environment while safeguarding human rights. Read on.

Rule of Law Erosion: A Global Crisis Deepens

Despite affirmations of commitment to the rule of law, the World Justice Project's latest Rule of Law Index reveals a sustained global decline, marking the sixth consecutive year of deterioration in 59% of surveyed countries. Authoritarian trends, diminishing respect for human rights, and dysfunctional justice systems contribute to the crisis. Read on.


Global Perspectives and Divides

A 24-nation survey delves into interconnectedness attitudes, revealing a global divide in feelings of closeness, varying stances on international engagement, and a correlation between international travel, economic factors, and ideological perspectives. Read on.


Navigating the Israel-Palestine Quagmire: A Call for Alternative Strategies

A new article cautions against hasty military interventions in the Israel-Palestine conflict: Learning from history, military interventions rarely succeed, and alternative strategies, such as sanctions and negotiations, should be pursued to avoid a prolonged and destructive conflict. Read on.

Challenging Nuclear Deterrence: Unproven Gamble and Humanitarian Concerns

The debate on whether a country is justified in going nuclear for self-defense revolves around the contested theory of "nuclear deterrence." The recent condemnation of nuclear deterrence by the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons members suggests a growing shift towards a global perspective prioritizing disarmament and challenging the security paradigm of nuclear deterrence. Read on.

UN Urges Global Agreement to Regulate Torture Tools Trade

UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Alice Jill Edwards, has urged nations to enhance efforts to prevent torture by establishing a global agreement to regulate the trade in torture-capable weapons and tools. Edwards emphasized the need for State and corporate accountability to stop the trade in instruments of torture. Read on.

December 2023 Global Citizen Blog

In this issue, we explore the threat to democracy and society posed by AI.

Don Byrd, an AI specialist and co-chair of a task force at Braver Angels, a U.S. organization working to reduce societal polarization, highlights the immediate threats posed by AI, such as deepfakes, AI-controlled weapons, and misinformation campaigns. Byrd calls for measures to address the reduction of trust in society, emphasizing the danger AI poses to democracy and advocating for a reorientation of foreign policy to guide technological evolution responsibly. Read on.

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