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Our Future is in the Hands of 58 people

(IPS) - In case you missed it, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the third and final part of a report on Apr. 13 in which it says bluntly that we only have 15 years left to avoid exceeding the “safe” threshold of a 2°C increase in global temperatures, beyond which the consequences will be dramatic.

And only the most myopic are unaware of what these are – from an increase in sea level, through more frequent hurricanes and storms (increasingly in previously unaffected areas), to an adverse impact on food production.

Eurodad report shows how IMF lending often makes crisis countries’ situations worse

As the International Monetary Fund (IMF) prepares for its Spring meetings, new research reveals that the number of conditions it attaches to its loans are rising – and they continue to be linked to harsh austerity measures and interfere in sensitive policy areas.

Conditionally Yours: An analysis of the policy conditions attached to IMF loans is the latest in a series of reports on the IMF’s lending practices produced by the European Network on Debt and Development (Eurodad) over the past decade.


Illicit Financial Flows: The Elephant in the Room of the EU-Africa Summit

A $35 million mansion in California, artwork totaling €18 million, and a $38 million dollar private jet.

These sound like items purchased by the world’s wealthiest oligarchs, right?

Well, they were actually acquired by Teodorin Obiang, son of President Teodoro Obiang of Equatorial Guinea. When his father convenes with other leaders for this week’s EU-Africa summit, a wide range of topics will be covered. But there’s one issue in particular that should be given a loudspeaker during the talks in Brussels: illicit financial flows.

IMF and World Bank must support a global goal to end extreme inequality

Rapidly rising inequality will be high on the agenda at the IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington this week. Oxfam has been warning of the scale of the problem, a paper published ahead of Davos this year revealed that 85 people own the same wealth as the bottom 3.5 billion people. Thomas Piketty has identified runaway economic inequality as threatening us all. The pope and president Obama agree.

Follow the money

Interesting report on the World Bank and its use of financial intermediaries.

Can development happen when investing in private banks?

Last Updated on Monday, 14 April 2014 15:40
Doing Business with the World Bank: when 'development' drives poverty and inequality

The thing about 'international development' is that it’s a bit of a murky, catchall term. It’s got a good feel to it – if you’re involved in international development, you’re more often than not seen as one of the good guys − and it swirls around in a bucket of meaning alongside similarly noble-seeming notions such as 'foreign aid' and 'disaster relief'. 'International development' could be helping people escape from the ruins of an earthquake or the ruins of economic mismanagement, but it is generally understood to be about 'doing good'.

How would you feel, then, if some projects that came under the umbrella of 'international development' were hiding something darker, less altruistic and far more self-interested? What if some groups charged with leading global development were actually doing more for a small group of transnational elites than for the 870 million people in the world suffering from chronic undernourishment or the 1.2 billion living on less than $1.25 a day?

Well, in many ways, the World Bank, with its $30 billion annual budget, is doing just that and contributing to misery and environmental destruction along the way.

Let them eat cake! IMF the Equality Champion?

IMF staff discussion note finds inequality impedes growth, redistribution does not

Fund refuses to connect findings to its policies or lending programmes

Quasi-official policy paper examines fiscal policy tools to combat inequality, but not approved by board

NGO studies show inequality impacts political, social and democratic dimensions, not just growth


Don't say we weren't warned ...

Please take a moment to read the newly released Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, "Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability."  It's a frightening look at the future of our planet, based on the collective volunteer work of dozens of top scientists across fields synthesizing the findings of thousands of peer-reviewed scientific articles.

This report is the second of four that comprise the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5).  The first report released last November (which I wrote about here) establishes that warming of the climate is unequivocal and that it is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming. This newly released second report describes the impacts that climate change is already having on people, and is projected to have in the future.  The third report, to be released in two weeks, will describe the actions people can take to slow climate change.  A fourth report in October will provide an overall synthesis.

Peace and Social justice

Study the past if you want to define the future … (Confucius)

Reflections on the commemorations of the First World War: Peace and Social Justice

Whereas universal and lasting peace can be established only if it is based upon social justice …’ (Preamble to the Constitution of the International Labour Organisation, 1919).

The end of the nineteenth century was a period of globalization, just like today. International trade and the financial sector were booming. Leaving apart the link between globalization, nationalism and war, I want to briefly focus on the lessons that were learnt in that period. These lessons remain highly relevant and useful today, but they are too often ignored.

In 2014, in Belgium and in other European countries the First World War is being commemorated, one century after its start. We should use this opportunity to look at all dimensions of its legacy, and up till now, this is not the case. One of the important lessons that were drawn from the murderous conflict 1914-1918 was this: peace is not possible without social justice.

Post-2015 Development Agenda: Moving to Self-Sufficiency

For fifteen years, eight goals have represented the yardstick by which development is measured. These are the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) adopted in the United Nations Millennium Declaration at the beginning of the century, and represent a commitment to a noble new partnership to drastically reduce poverty worldwide. It is through this Declaration that all 193 member states of the United Nations and 23 organizations have agreed to achieve a set of eight goals by 2015.[1]

Now that we are rounding into the last year of the Declaration, the UN and other aid organizations are developing the post-2015 Development Agenda and asking the important question: “So now what?”

And the answer is self-sufficiency.

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