Global Development Update: September 2017

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Widespread climate migration a very real threat
If the advancement of climate change continues apace, there are estimated to be anywhere between 25 million to 1 billion environmental migrants by the year 2050. According to the Norwegian Refugee Council, the havoc of natural disasters displaces three to ten times more people than conflict and war, and will only get worse as the planet warms and weather patterns become more unpredictable.


Kenyan election results nullified by the Supreme Court
Citing election irregularities, Kenya’s Supreme Court nullified the reelection of sitting President Uhuru Kenyatta. It is the first time such a decision has been made by an African court, and comes after Kenya’s disputed presidential election in 2007, which set off protests that killed approximately 1,300 citizens. 

‘Hybrid war’ a moving target
The term ‘hybrid war’ is defined by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis as a merging of “different modes and means of war” to characterize the diverse arsenal of tools that countries employ to advance their geopolitical interests. Security experts note that the diffuse nature of modern warfare makes it an ever-evolving threat. 


 The purpose of Trump’s attacks on the media
UN human rights expert David Kaye says President Trump’s attacks on the media amount to a conscious attempt by the president to undermine the credibility of journalists, limit free speech, and drive coverage in a direction that he deems acceptable. 


The link between dowries and violent conflict
75% of the world lives in societies where a wealth transfer—or “brideprice”—occurs upon marriage. New research published in the academic journal International Security has found a correlation between fluctuations in these payments and the onset of violent conflict. 

Technology as a catalyst for advancing the rights of women with disabilities
A visually impaired woman herself, Sri Lankan disability activist Manique Gunaratne has established online training and mobile labs to help women with disabilities obtain the requisite technology training to find opportunities for meaningful employment.


 The looming water crisis and how to prevent it
As the climate warms, the planet is increasingly susceptible to desertification and more extreme precipitation patterns. Population growth, depletion of groundwater stores, failing infrastructure, and waste are all factors making this precious resource even scarcer.

Global warming and flight safety
According to a study by Colombia University, warming air temperatures make it difficult for planes to generate the lift necessary to take off safely, and may ground one-third of all aircrafts worldwide in future decades. Other studies warn of the effects climate change will have on increasing turbulence and headwinds, causing significant delays.

Why sand matters
Sand comes second only to water as the world’s most used natural resource. Sand is vital to the construction, electronics, glass, oil, ceramics, and automobile industries, and is in particularly high demand in rapidly developing parts of Asia.


 Food insecurity worse in conflict zones
A new United Nations joint report has found that climate shocks and widespread conflict have catalyzed severe hunger and famine around the world. Furthermore, conflict zones pose a unique set of challenges that make addressing these food crises particularly complex.


Internet users the customer, not the product
In a revealing interview with the Harvard Gazette, renowned cybersecurity expert Bruce Schneier illustrates how Internet users in the United States have few privacy protections from the collection of their data by big companies.

Book links technology and citizen engagement
While clear evidence demonstrating the effects of technology on the political engagement of citizens is scant, a new book uses case studies to highlight examples of how digital platforms have been used to amplify citizen voices in the political process.

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