Rising income inequality poses a severe risk to the global economy and could result in the reversal of globalization, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF).The organization's annual Global Risks report ranked rising income and wealth disparity first among the underlying trends that will determine the shape of the world in the next decade. It states that since the 1980s, the share of income going to the top 1% of wealthiest citizens has increased in much of the Western world, including the UK, the US, Canada, Ireland and Australia — although the same was not true in France, Germany, Japan or Sweden.
At the start of the Maltese EU Presidency, the Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament has today presented a study on the country’s tax practices.
The study, written by the Italian-British academic, Tommaso Faccio, shows that Malta would be included in the list of tax havens if the criteria developed by the European Commission for non-EU countries were applied to the EU.
For many years now, STWR has made the case for a massive mobilisation of civil society around the issue of life-threatening poverty and hunger. Our basic advocacy position as an organisation could not be simpler: that the urgent need for world rehabilitation must begin with a united people’s voice that speaks on behalf of the least advantaged, giving the highest priority to the prevention of extreme human deprivation in every country. We submit that only through a universal demand for a fairer sharing of global resources can we begin to see a gradual reversal of disastrous current trends, even in terms of regional conflicts and environmental degradation. Yet this will require millions upon millions of ordinary people out on the streets in constant, peaceful demonstrations that are focused on the need for governments to redistribute essential resources to the most marginalised people of the world.
When you consider that the 18th "replenishment" of the World Bank's International Development Association (IDA), just concluded in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, is traditionally a fundraising exercise with IDA's donor countries, then an outcome that shows IDA resources jumping from $52 billion just three years ago to $75 billion today suggests that donors are feeling remarkably generous these days.
Dig deeper, though, and something different, but no less remarkable, is going on. The fact is this replenishment was not primarily about donor pledges. Instead, it marked a fundamental turning point for the World Bank, with an agreement among the donors to allow the bank for the first time to leverage IDA's resources through borrowing in the marketplace.
Global real wage growth has decelerated since 2012, falling from 2.5 per cent to 1.7 per cent in 2015, its lowest level in four years, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has said.
In its latest Global Wage Report 2016/17, the ILO said if China, where wage growth was faster than elsewhere, is not included, real wage growth has fallen from 1.6 per cent in 2012 to 0.9 per cent in 2015.
"The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development identified decent work for all women and men, and lower inequality, as among the key objectives of a new universal policy agenda. The issues of wage growth and wage inequality are central to this agenda," said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder, in a preface to the report.
International Migrants Day, 18 December, reminds the world of the enormous contribution of the more than 250 million migrants to the world economy and to societies and communities.
It must also serve as a call to action on the global refugee crisis, with more than 20 million people having fled violence and destitution to move abroad, and twice this number displaced inside their countries of origin, the vast majority in developing countries.
The next African Union summit will be on January 31, 2017 in Addis Ababa, where Morocco is hoping to achieve its sinister agenda against Western Sahara, Africa’s last colony. The honourable thing for the AU is to rebuff Morocco’s arm-twisting and vigorously support the self-determination of the Saharawi people.
Morocco is currently courting a number of African countries relentlessly, including Madagascar, Tanzania, Rwanda, and others. Morocco has signed 19 economic agreements with Rwanda and 22 with Tanzania—two countries that traditionally backed Western Sahara’s quest for decolonization. Nigeria and Morocco have signed a total of 21 bilateral agreements, a joint venture to construct a gas pipeline that will connect the two nations as well as some other African countries to Europe. It is easily clear that the economic agreements with these countries imply ulterior motives for increasing Morocco’s leverage in its campaign to return to the African Union (AU) and deal a blow to Western Sahara’s aspirations for self-determination. Morocco is waging a similar campaign internationally and in the halls of the U.S. Congress by hiring expensive lobbyists and sleazy public relations firms
After nearly nine months of consultations on the European Pillar of Social Rights the fog is lifting and the contours of what has been promised and what many of us have been determinedly calling for in the last few months are taking shape. The Commission’s work plan already gave some indication of where they were heading: although we were invited to contribute to the design of the pillar and called unanimously for more than a social placebo in these times of multi-crises, the work plan reduces it to a “set of rights”. It is true that subsidiarity is an issue, as the German Constitutional Court reminded all of us four years ago, and that the majorities are what they are. Nonetheless some political courage is needed to conclude the big debate on the design of what should be more than an internal market with the four core freedoms. Citizens rightly ask what the EU is doing for them? Trade unions and Civil Society Organisations engage tirelessly with their constituencies in the Member States defending – in spite of some justified criticism – the European project. Saying that there is no alternative would be wrong, because the neo-nationalistic wave is growing even though it does not yet have the magnitude of a full political tsunami.
Find out about ILO's programmes for social protection floors: report on the preliminary achievements in 2016
The South Centre is pleased to announce the publication of Policy Brief No. 34 entitled "Air pollution -- the silent top global cause of death and of climate change" by Martin Khor, Executive Director of the South Centre.
New research is showing that air pollution is a powerful if silent killer, causing 6.5 million worldwide deaths as well as being the major cause of climate change.
Actions are urgently needed to curb air pollution, which has emerged as the biggest threat to health and the environment, and they need to be taken at global and national levels.
To access the policy brief directly, go to this webpage: https://www.southcentre.int/policy-brief-34-december-2016/
The "unprecedented pressure" being placed on international human rights standards risks unravelling the unique set of protections that have been set in place after the end of World War II, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has said, in the run-up to Human Rights Day on 10 December.
In a UN news release, the UN human rights chief Mr Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein announced that on Human Rights Day, the UN Human Rights Office will launch a campaign entitled "Stand up for someone's rights today."
The High Commissioner underlined that it was within the power of every individual to play a role in pushing back against such pressures.