Global Development Update: August 2017

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UNHCR warns of famine in the Horn of Africa



More than 20 million people in Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen are currently at risk of famine. Drought and a funding shortfall are conspiring to make an otherwise avoidable humanitarian crisis a tragic inevitability. As a result, levels of internal displacement are on the rise.


Harvard University launches new digital democracy initiativeunnamed-1
Robby Mook, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign manager, and Matt Rhoades, Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign manager, are joining forces to lead a recently launched bipartisan initiative entitled “Defending Digital Democracy” (DDD) at the Harvard Kennedy School. 


Fighting human trafficking with math
An estimated 27 to 45.8 million individuals are trapped in some form of modern-day slavery. The scourge is present in every country in the world. Preliminary evidence suggests that data science has great potential to help identify vulnerable populations, disrupt trafficking networks, and cut down on demand.


Proposed changes to Tunisia’s inheritance law sparks larger conversation

Source: Al Jazeera

Source: Al Jazeera

Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi recently announced his government would review a law that grants men twice the share of an inheritance as women. While Tunisia is seen as a leader for women’s rights in the Middle East, such efforts to legislate gender equity have been met with broad resistance, as many Tunisians view these measures as infringing on the larger issue of whether Tunisia should adhere to civil or religious law.


100 companies responsible for the majority of global emissions
The recently released Carbon Majors Report identifies 100 companies that have been the source of more than 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1988. Published in collaboration between CDP and the Climate Accountability Institute, the pioneering report is the first of a series that will highlight the responsibility companies and their investors have to address climate change.

Maldives applies for Security Council seat to push climate change agenda
Scientists expect the sea to rise by at least three feet by the year 2100. By seeking a two-year non-permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council, the low-lying island of the Maldives hopes to highlight the threat posed by climate change and sea level rise to small island developing states (SIDS).

China providing leadership on green financing 
unnamed-3The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) is pushing a “green finance” agenda, by supporting programs tailored towards sustainable development and combatting climate change. This new financing model has taken root over the past three years, as China has attempted to put aside polluting industries in favor of projects use resources more efficiently.


UN body agrees to accelerate implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
In July, the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) committed to accelerating the pace of implementation for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, following voluntary national reviews presented by 44 different countries regarding their experiences implementing the agenda.


UN body begins talks to conserve the high seas
After two years of dialogue, UN diplomats took initial steps towards a treaty for marine conservation on the high seas. Intense diplomatic bargaining remains, however, as the 193 member states who are weighing in have disparate and vested commercial interests in high seas fishing and resource extraction.

While development aid rises, developing countries aren’t receiving benefits
Development aid has hit a new high, with 22 countries allotting a greater share of their budget to the challenge in 2016. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, however, most of this money is staying in wealthy countries to address the refugee crisis, while aid to the least developed countries in the world actually fell last year by 3.9% 

Shifting the narrative about immigrant workers
A special UN session convened to highlight the valuable contributions of migrant workers around the world, including: $575 billion in remittances transferred abroad by international migrants; a filling of the labor market at all skill levels in developed countries; and a tendency towards entrepreneurship, 20% of all entrepreneurs in the United States are immigrants.

Global support for the US is on the decline
Support for the United States abroad has declined steeply in at least 37 countries, new evidence shows. While a median of 64% expressed confidence in President Barack Obama, only 49% say the same when asked about President Donald Trump. A majority of Israelis and Russians, however, report increased confidence in the new administration.


Emerging markets outpacing the G7 in contributions to global growth

Source: World Bank

Source: World Bank

The global economic outlook is brightening, with global growth expected to rise to 2.7 percent in 2017, and 2.9 percent over 2018-19. A particular bright spot are the economies of the so-called “EM7”: Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia and Turkey, which together accounted for 24 percent of global economic output between 2010-2016.

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