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Least Developed Countries Report 2013

The least developed countries (LDCs) face a stark demographic challenge, as their population is projected to double to 1.7 billion by 2050. The LDC youth population (aged 15 to 24 years) is expected to soar from 168 million in 2010 to 300 million by 2050, when one in four youths worldwide will live in an LDC.

 

The LDC working-age population will increase by 16 million people each year. Given the clear demographic challenges, the LDCs will need to make significant efforts to generate a sufficient quantity of jobs and offer decent employment opportunities to their young population. If this is not achieved, the likelihood is that poverty, social instability and international emigration rates will rise.

 

Against this background, the Report considers how LDCs can promote growth that generates an adequate number of quality jobs and enables them to reach what UNCTAD believes are their most urgent and pivotal goals: poverty reduction, inclusive growth and sustainable development.

 

Key messages and full report :

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A New Washington Consensus - or and old Diktat?

The term “Washington Consensus” was coined more than two decades ago to describe a set of policy prescriptions that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank promised would be bring economic prosperity to developing countries.

Under the tenure of World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, there is a new “consensus” developing in Washington.  But this policy agenda looks remarkably similar to how it did twenty years ago. In fact, it involves revisiting and re-emphasising more of the same – albeit repackaged with the promise of more efficient implementation.

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IMF: Not the Prescription we Need Now

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has got to be the most overrated financial institution in the world. So many of the world's economies look to it in times of crisis, largely for its money, but certainly not for the conditionalities that usually accompany such funds.

 

The harsh reality is that the IMF has few, if any, success stories in its long history. But why are we even surprised? The IMF has always been staffed at its highest levels by former politicians (usually finance ministers) from failed or failing economies.

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Widening Inequality Shatters Mirage of Social Mobility

Twelve-year-old Maruf lives in a shanty in Nayanagar, close to a Dhaka suburb. He works at a nearby car workshop, fixing luxury car engines for about six dollars a month. He shares this meagre income with his family of four.

Growing income inequality will pose a major threat to social stability in countries around the globe, according to a new report by the World Economic Forum.

 

Based on a worldwide survey of experts from academia, government and the non-profit sector, the report finds that income inequality is the second most important trend in the top 10 that are likely to impact social stability over the next year.

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CEOs with Massive Retirement Fortunes Push Social Security Cuts

With budget negotiations on the horizon (in the US), a buzz is building around Social Security, from Elizabeth Warren and other Democrats calling for an expansion of benefits to The Washington Post’s editorial board arguing that seniors must be sacrificed for the good of the “poor young.”

 

Two of the biggest players in the debate are largely behind the scenes: Business Roundtable and Fix the Debt, corporate lobbies that use deficit fear-mongering to sell benefit cuts. These groups are made up of CEOs of America’s largest corporations—people with retirement accounts that are more than 1,000 times as large as those of the average Social Security beneficiary.

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THE WORSE OUTCOME OF ALL THE AGGRESSIONS TO THE HUMAN CONDITION THAT HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS BRING ABOUT IS HUMILIATION.

1. Aggressions directed towards the human rights (HR) of marginalized individuals or groups utterly disarm them; they devastate the most essential tenets of their dignity.* To effectively counter these aggressions, we all need to get rid of our perennial sense of compassion --the one that only generates feelings of piousness and leads to charity. This is why I am, once again here, making an appeal for all of us to refocus our work away from charity and towards HR in our respective professional lives.

*: This is even reflected in their gazes and expressions: when dignity vanishes, fear creeps in --and fear, together with a sense of powerlessness, risks being transmitted like a legacy from generation to generation.

The alternative I am calling-for is to embrace and offer a political alternative in human rights work.

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Illicit Financial Flows — A Massive Transfer Of Wealth From Poor To Rich

Earlier this month, the Financial Transparency Coalition organised the conference ‘Towards Transparency: Making the Global Financial System Work for Development’ in Tanzania. There, African civil society organisations and a coalition of leading international development organisations called on global policymakers to adopt measures to counter the hundreds of billions of euros siphoned out of the continent through money laundering and industrial-scale corporate tax avoidance.

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Trade Rules hurt the rural poor

DO NOT DILUTE G 33 PROPOSAL: ADDRESS IMBALANCE IN GLOBAL AGRICULTURAL SUBSIDIES RULES, SUPPORT PUBLIC STOCKHOLDING FOR GUARANTEEING LIVELIHOODS AND FOOD CONSUMPTION OF THE POOR AT BALI WTO MINISTERIAL

We, as members of the global civil society, urge the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, Roberto Azevedo, and heads of member states, to take the issue of food security in developing countries as a matter of serious and immediate concern, and not to render the G-33 proposal on public food stockholding a travesty by asking developing countries to agree to the current text on the peace clause.

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Uppsala statement on the right to social security

(Link to conference website)

Following a two days conference organised by the Church of Sweden in partnership with other organisations1 entitled ‘100 Years of Social Pensions in Sweden: Global poverty challenges and experiences of social protection’, Civil Society Organisations from both the global South and North met in Uppsala, Sweden on 3 October 2013, and state the following:

1. The right to social security/social protection2 is a universal human right, as recognized in international, regional and national conventions, treaties and laws.

 

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A dangerous blend? The EU’s agenda to ‘blend’ public development finance with private finance

'Blending’ is a mechanism that links a grant element, provided by official development assistance (ODA), with loans from publicly owned institutions or commercial lenders. This is not a new phenomenon. What is new is the narrative of the European Union (EU), which argues that using ODA to leverage private finance is the solution following the financial crisis. There has been an increase in development finance institutions (DFIs) and EU donors using blending mechanisms to increase support and lending to private companies and to partner with private financiers by using ever larger quantities of ODA. Eurodad is concerned about this agenda and its implications for overseas development, which are examined in detail in this report.

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Qatar: UN Human Rights Rapporteur exposes truth on migrant workers and calls for ILO standards to be met

International unions are calling on the Qatar authorities to give an immediate response to the request for urgent reforms for migrant workers following a ten-day UN investigation in the country.

Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation, welcomed the recommendations by Francois Crepeau, UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, including the right to form and join trade unions, proper grievance procedures, a minimum wage and the abolishment of the kafala system.

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