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Human Development Report 2014: Reducing Vulnerabilities and Building Resilience

The 2014 Human Development Report “Sustaining Human Progress: Reducing Vulnerabilities and Building Resilience” - shows that overall global trends in human development are positive. Yet, people at all ages are also facing threats and challenges to their wellbeing, including by natural or human-induced disasters and crises.

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OECD and its guidelines for automatic exchange of financial information

On Monday, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released detailed guidelines on the common reporting standard for automatic exchange of financial information. The plan inches closer to implementation of a global standard but continues to keep developing countries looking in from the outside.

Honest Accounts? The true story of Africa's Billion Dollar Losses

New research published today by 10 UK and African NGOs reveals Africa is losing $192 billion every year to the rest of the world – almost 6 and a half times the amount of ‘aid’ given back to the continent. This research is the first attempt to calculate Africa’s losses across a wide range of areas. These include: illicit financial flows; profits taken out of the continent by multinational companies; debt payments; brain drain of skilled workers; illegal logging and fishing and the costs incurred as a result of climate change.

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On the unreliability of poverty data

MDG 1 has been met in 2010. Extreme poverty in developing countries was halved in twenty years! This is the statistical reality, but we know that there has been little improvement for people in Sub-Saharan Africa. According to official World Bank statistics, extreme poverty in SSA still hurts 413 million people, more than twice the number of 1981 and 50 % more than in 1990. Even proportionally, extreme poverty was only reduced from 51,45 in 1981 to 48 % in 2010.

The Dilution of Development Aid?

Development aid is being redefined. Before the new UN Development Goals (Post-2015 Agenda) can be determined, the industrialized countries of the OECD wish to redefine which financial flows count as development aid.

The Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the OECD has been measuring financial flows from its members to developing countries since the 1960s. The data, compiled every year, provides information about which donor country invests how much in which developing country and in what development sector. In essence, all grants (see glossary below) and concessional loans that go towards the economic and social development are recognized as Official Development Assistance (ODA). In 1970, the United Nations General Assembly agreed for the first time that industrialized countries would earmark 0.7% of their annual gross national income as ODA. This goal has been repeatedly reaffirmed, but so far has been attained by just five of the 28 DAC donor countries (Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom).

International Reform Activists Dissatisfied by BRICS Bank

The creation of BRICS’ (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) own financial institutions was “a disappointment” for activists from the five countries, meeting in this northeastern Brazilian city after the group’s leaders concluded their sixth annual summit here.

Conditionally yours: Rising IMF Conditionality

IMF loans are provided through a variety of concessional and non-concessional facilities. The rationale behind IMF conditionality is that countries in fiscal crisis should only receive loans from the IMF if they reform their policies – the precise agreed reforms and macroeconomic targets are set out in the conditions attached to the loans. In practice, the IMF is heavily involved in drafting programme documents and the design of the conditions attached. For example, the IMF’s own Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) review in 2007 found that 84 per cent of Fund staff surveyed recognise that the first draft of the Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies, which sets out the terms of the loan and conditions, was drafted by IMF staff, and there is no evidence that this has changed significantly since 2008.

The Return of Exernal Debt

In recent weeks the external debt issue has returned to the limelight of finance and international politics, due to a ruling of the Supreme Court of the United States, which has emitted a resolution against the government of Argentina. This decision highlights a profound dilemma that exists between national sovereignty and financial globalization. When a government places a debt in international markets, it offers guarantees of payment that commit their taxpayers to pay up in the middle or the long term. Nevertheless, by selling public bonds these become private assets that in certain circumstances can become the object of gigantic speculation which in turn can unleash bankruptcy in the debtor States.

Re-thinking the Role of Global Investment in Africa's Development

Africa’s political leaders are under illusion to believe that foreign direct investments (FDIs) will get them out of their development crisis. This is not to dismiss FDIs but to provide a framework for an analytical and critical understanding of “capital”, how it is generated, and what its real function is.

Put and end to money laundering, bribery and corruption

Corruption around the world is facilitated by the ability to launder and hide proceeds derived from the abuse of power, bribery and secret deals. Dirty money enters the financial system and is given the semblance of originating from a legitimate source often by using corporate vehicles offering disguise, concealment and anonymity. For example, corrupt politicians used secret companies to obscure their identity in 70 percent of more than 200 cases of grand corruption survey by the World Bank.

Amid Scepticism, UN trumpets successes in cutting poverty

With 17 months before the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) reach their targets by the December 2015 deadline, the United Nations is trumpeting its limited successes – but with guarded optimism.

“Global poverty has been halved five years ahead of the 2015 time frame,” says Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in the latest status report released Monday.

"Unfortunately, the trend in the U.N. secretary-general's office and many developed countries is to place hopes in private corporations and 'multi-stakeholder partnerships' that fudge the massive problems caused by many corporations." -- Yoke Ling Chee

Millennium Development Goals Report 2014

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