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Will the Pope ban poverty?

One week before the International Council of the World Social Forum organised its meeting in Tunis, Pope Francis organised his own social forum in Rome: a World Meeting of Popular Movements!

A large  number of social movements from all over the world gathered in the Vatican, some of them ‘faith-based’, though not all catholic, others not even religious. There were landless farmers, informal sector workers, waste pickers, homeless people …

Luxembourg Leaks: Company's Secret Tax Deals

The landlocked European duchy has been called a “magical fairyland” for brand-name corporations seeking to drastically reduce tax bills.

Pepsi, IKEA, FedEx and 340 other international companies have secured secret deals from Luxembourg, allowing many of them to slash their global tax bills while maintaining little presence in the tiny European duchy, leaked documents show.

World Bank Worries

For the first time in its seven-decade-long history, World Bank staff staged a work stoppage earlier this month. Staff are unhappy about the “Change Process,” aka the ongoing internal reorganization that President Kim initiated on his arrival at the bank now more than two years ago. A Staff Association update of October 9 says: “We are riding a bicycle as we build it, and staying upright is getting harder and harder.”*

The reorganization process is the first of my two big worries about the World Bank.

The second is more troubling: The bank is well past its heyday as a major supplier of funds to developing countries. Short of a new vision, it faces an existential threat of growing irrelevance and obscurity as rising incomes in big emerging markets reduce the demand for and logic of the bank’s country loan model. I believe the world still needs a World Bank. But it needs a World Bank built for the development challenges of the 21st century, not the 20th.

Climate talks ... and talks ... and talks

The IPCC has published its fifth assessment report, repeating the urgent need to cut CO2 emissions if we want to stop the worst of climate change.

Stop deforestation, stop dirty energy, change unsustainable consumption and production patterns ... we all know it, when will it happen?

Need for rights-based approach to food security

It is imperative that a Human Rights-based approach to food security is adopted in order to eliminate hunger and provide access to healthy, nutritious and affordable food for all, the new UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Ms Hilal Elver, has said.

In her first report to the UN General Assembly (A/69/275), which is holding its sixty-ninth session in New York, the rights expert, who is from Turkey, said that in order to advance the implementation of the right to adequate food, renewed political commitment is essential and stakeholders must look to those countries that have made significant progress in adopting policies and legislation in this regard.

Trade unions and campaigners slam “strongly flawed” Doing Business report

Campaigners and citizens groups are questioning why the World Bank is still planning to release its Doing Business Report (DBR) tomorrow (Wednesday) even though officials have failed to fix ‘strong flaws’ which undermine its goals to eliminate absolute poverty and promote shared prosperity.

GFI Notes Significant Progress on Automatic Information Exchange but Warns that Poorest Countries Are Being Shunned

While noting significant progress today in the global effort to curb tax evasion, Global Financial Integrity (GFI) expressed concerns that the OECD/G20 movement toward automatic exchange of financial information was excluding the world’s poorest countries from reaping any benefits while failing to deal with the issue of illicit financial flows in a comprehensive manor.

Extreme poverty and human rights

Th first report of the UN special rapporteur on human rights and extreme poverty:

The report focuses on the importance of social protection floors. This will require to overcome the ambivalence of some international organisations, such as the World Bank, the recognition of social protection as a human rights and better knowledge on the affordability of social protection, even for the poorest countries.



Cash-strapped Human Rights Office at Beaking Point

After six weeks in office, the new U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein of Jordan launched a blistering attack on member states for insufficient funding, thereby forcing operations in his office to the breaking point “in a world that seems to be lurching from crisis to ever-more dangerous crisis.”

Global Monitoring Report

This year's Global Monitoring Report is worth reading. It is the result of a cooperation between the World Bank, the IMF and the OECD and contains a chapter on inclusive and sustainable growth in OECD countries, as well as one on aid. Its statistics have been adapted to the newest available data (though not the new PPP's) and its graphs are totally new. Remarkably: extreme poverty is now expressed in % of the total world population, whereas in the MDGs refer to developing countries ...

It gives a very clear though somewhat discouraging overview of where we stand with the MDGs.

Debt auditing in Argentina

The Argentine parliament has just passed legislation for launching a debt audit commission. It will look into the debts contracted by the country since the military junta took over in 1976. The Commission, which is yet to take off, is supposed to submit its report within 180 days. The audit can genuinely serve the interest of the people. Thus, CADTM urges the Argentine government to follow the example of Ecuador which set up a commission in 2007 for an audit of the debt incurred between 1976 and 2006.

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