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  • Author: Daniele Fattibene
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development stands at a crossroads. While Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have progressively entered the political discourse and agendas of numerous states, without long-term financial investments, building a more just and sustainable future will remain little more than a rhetorical embellishment.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, United Nations, Sustainable Development Goals
  • Political Geography: Europe, European Union
  • Author: Noeleen Heyzer
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: With Vietnam, the ASEAN Chair, and Indonesia in the UN Security Council, the Women, Peace and Security Agenda has advanced in ASEAN. However, new issues need to be addressed in its implementation given the changing peace, security and development landscape.
  • Topic: Security, Development, United Nations, Peace, UN Security Council, ASEAN
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Vietnam, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Matthew Eldridge
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: Even as many developing countries are confronting the health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, they are already bracing for the widespread, global recession that will follow. These countries already struggle to provide many services and supports to their citizens, and although the emergency assistance packages of international financial institutions are a start, they alone won’t be enough to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19 and enable a strong recovery. Although most developing countries escaped the 2007–08 financial crisis with limited damage, for many, this economic downturn is expected to be much worse because of the direct health effects, the sharp decline in global economic activity, the structural composition of their economies, and constrained policy options.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Siautu Alefaio
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Of all the earth’s regions, the Pacific is one of the most prone to natural disasters. Climate-related disasters such as floods, droughts, and tropical cyclones make the headlines, along with other natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions. These may be accompanied by crises in public health. Today, many Pacific Island countries rely heavily on government relief and international aid when they face a disaster. Traditional sources of resilience can still play an important role, however, both within local communities and within the broader diaspora of Pacific communities in Aotearoa-New Zealand, Australia, and the US. A better understanding of Pacific cultures from within and a better recognition of the role of the Pacific diaspora and of churches in Pacific communities would also help improve development efforts and disaster response.
  • Topic: Development, Humanitarian Aid, Natural Disasters, Diaspora
  • Political Geography: Australia, New Zealand, Asia-Pacific, United States of America
  • Author: Jonathan Pryke
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: In an atmosphere of heightened geostrategic competition, China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has raised questions about the risk of debt problems in less-developed countries. Such risks are especially worrying for the small and fragile economies of the Pacific. A close look at the evidence suggests that China has not been engaged in debt-trap diplomacy in the Pacific, at least not so far. Nonetheless, if future Chinese lending continues on a business-as-usual basis, serious problems of debt sustainability will arise, and concerns about quality and corruption are valid.There have been recent signs that both China and Pacific Island governments recognize the need for reform. China needs to adopt formal lending rules similar to those of the multilateral development banks, providing more favorable terms to countries at greater risk of debt distress. Alternative approaches might include replacing or partially replacing EXIM loans with the interest-free loans and grants that the Chinese Ministry of Commerce already provides.
  • Topic: Debt, Development, Diplomacy, Geopolitics, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Felix Chang
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: Resting at the eastern end of Bhutan is the Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary. Spanning some 750 square kilometers, it is spread out across a densely forested area of the Himalayan Mountains. The sanctuary is far better known for its unique flora and fauna (including the red panda and, reputedly, the fabled yeti) than its geographic boundaries. But the latter is precisely what brought it to international attention in June 2020. Early that month, Bhutan sought a grant for the sanctuary from a global environmental organization that funds sustainable development projects. Unexpectedly, China’s representatives to that organization opposed the grant. Their reason: China considers the sanctuary to be “disputed territory.”
  • Topic: Development, Environment, Territorial Disputes, History
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Bhutan
  • Author: Svitlana Chekunova
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Razumkov Centre
  • Abstract: Passing the Law consolidating agreements between the Government and "green" investors is one of the steps towards stabilizing the renewable energy sector in Ukraine. Global deepening of the crisis in the energy markets encourages countries to implement economic recovery programs, take stimulating measures to support the energy sector, in particular, renewable energy producers. In the crisis, the RES sector is almost the only one that has shown growth, as indicates the International Energy Agency (IEA) in its reportafor May 2020. It has also predicted the resilience of the RES sector to market fluctuations in 2021. Utilizing the competitive advantages of renewable energy underpins economic development and job creation, as well as the reduction of harmful emissions and the introduction of innovative technologies.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, Government, Law
  • Political Geography: Ukraine, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Christopher Datta
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: Across the developing world the United States runs aid programs that have met the laudable goal of reducing infant mortality and maternal death resulting from childbirth. We have done some astonishing things, such as completely eliminating smallpox. Now we are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic by working to equip local communities with the tools needed to fight back against the coronavirus. Effective and inexpensive vaccines are everywhere administered to countless children who would otherwise die or be crippled by disease. More vaccines are on the way, perhaps even one for malaria, one of the biggest killers in the developing world. It is nothing short of a miracle. And yet the impact of these efforts in many countries could well be a legacy of war, famine, misery and the creation of new and even worse diseases.
  • Topic: Development, Diplomacy, USAID, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Brenda Brown Schoonover
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: IntraHealth, originally known as Intrah, the Program for International Training in Health, was created in 1979 to train health workers and enhance the skills and champion health workers in overseas countries in areas where they are most needed. Intrah grew out of a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) cooperative agreement with the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (UNC). Much of IntraHealth International’s success in global development is due to its President and CEO, Pape Amadou Gaye, who is stepping down after 16 years heading the organization. I first met Pape Gaye in the late 1990s, when he was Regional Director for Intrah’s West and North Africa programs in Lome, Togo, where I was U.S. Ambassador.
  • Topic: Development, Diplomacy, Memoir
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States of America
  • Author: David A. Lake, Eli Berman
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Political Violence @ A Glance
  • Abstract: Violence is a feature of life in many developing countries. As governments, private philanthropic organizations, and communities work to reduce inequity, alleviate poverty, and improve the well-being of people living in low- and middle-income countries, what role does conflict play in stymying development? And can development reduce conflict? David Lake, distinguished professor of political science at UC San Diego, poses five questions about development and conflict to Eli Berman, research director at the UC Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation and professor of economics at UC San Diego.
  • Topic: Development, Poverty, Governance, Afghanistan, Conflict, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Roland Rajah, Alexandre Dayant, Jonathan Pryke
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: China has not been engaged in debt trap diplomacy — at least not yet. China has not been the primary driver behind rising debt risks in the Pacific, although a continuation of business as usual would risk future debt problems in several countries. There is scope for a new Australian infrastructure financing facility to provide loans to the Pacific without causing debt problems, particularly as it has adopted key sustainable lending rules. Pacific nations have an opportunity to obtain more favourable financing from official development partners but care must be taken to avoid overly geopolitical aid.
  • Topic: Debt, Development, Infrastructure, Geopolitics, Soft Power, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
  • Political Geography: China, Australia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Alistair D.B. Cook, Yen Ne Foo
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Following the recent political turmoil in Papua New Guinea, the new prime minister James Marape signaled a shift in its foreign policy away from traditional partners to re-engage Southeast Asia. How can ASEAN help PNG develop its national capacity, such as in disaster preparedness?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Politics, Economy, Disaster Management
  • Political Geography: Southeast Asia, Papua New Guinea
  • Author: Angelo Paolo L. Trias
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: The UN Global Assessment Report (GAR) is a comprehensive review and analysis of worldwide progress on disaster risk management (DRM). This year’s edition challenges us to move beyond prevailing norms in DRM to consider the complex nature of systemic risk. What does this shift mean and how will it shape DRM policy, research, and practice?
  • Topic: Development, Migration, United Nations, Risk, Sustainability, Disaster Management
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Reehana Raza, Karuti Kanyinga, Akanshaka Ray
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: On August 8, 2017, Kenya held its first elections since creating 47 new county governments in 2013 under a constitution promulgated in 2010. The elections were intensely contested both at the national and local level. Disputes over presidential results, amid allegations of fraud, saw Kenya’s new apex court, the Supreme Court, annul the August 8 presidential election. The court ordered a fresh presidential poll, which was held on October 26, 2017. Meanwhile, more than 20 local governorship results were legally contested, with multiple cases being taken all the way to the Supreme Court. These elections and the violence that followed the disputed presidential election created long periods of uncertainty across Kenya’s national and local government. In Wajir county, the election result for governor was contested for almost 20 months, until the Supreme Court ruled last February that the election was valid. Political transition generally creates uncertainty for bureaucrats, but prolonged transition periods exacerbate uncertainty and paralyze government functions. An annual survey and a technical report by partners implementing a project funded by the US Agency for International Development and the UK Department for International Development, Agile Harmonized Assistance for Devolved Institutions (AHADI), assesses how 22 Kenyan counties are improving their capacity to efficiently provide services to citizens. The most recent 2018 assessment shows how the 2017 elections undermined counties’ ability to sustain and maintain capacity-building initiatives.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Elections, Transition
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa
  • Author: Matthew Eldridge
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: The United Nations projects that by 2050, urban areas will swell in size by 2.5 billion people, with 90 percent of that growth occurring in Asia and Africa. Urbanization presents significant development benefits—boosting innovation, human capital accumulation, and access to opportunities—but it also strains existing physical infrastructure, social services, and public health systems. To manage the challenges and maximize the benefits of rapid growth, national and municipal governments, civil society, and development partners (among others) must weigh interrelated financial, political, cultural, economic, and technical considerations. For many, the big question is whether cities should build anew in urban peripheries or retrofit and reinvest in urban cores. At a recent event hosted by the Urban Institute, in partnership with the World Bank, experts considered this question through the lens of one rapidly growing city: Dhaka, Bangladesh, examined in a new World Bank report, Toward Greater Dhaka.
  • Topic: Development, Economic Growth, Urban
  • Political Geography: Bangladesh, Global Focus
  • Author: Paul Rivlin
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: Paul Rivlin analyzes possible future directions for the global oil market, against the backdrop of ongoing geopolitical developments in the Middle East and elsewhere.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, Oil, Global Markets, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Paul Rivlin
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: In this edition of Iqtisadi, Paul Rivlin examines the "MENA Generation 2030" UNICEF report, and its implications. According to the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) the population of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA: the Arab countries and Iran) will increase from 484 million in 2018 to 581 million in 2030 and 724 million in 2050.[1] (See Table 1) Between 2018 and 2030, the population is forecast rise by almost 1.7 percent annually and between 2030 and 2050 by just over 1.2 percent annually. By far the largest country demographically is Egypt, and its population is forecast to rise by almost 1.8 percent annually between 2018 and 2030 and by almost 1.4 percent annually between 2030 and 2050. This edition of Iqtisadi examines the report and its implications.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economy, Population Growth
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Rina Bassist
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: In this issue of Ifriqiya Rina Bassist analyses the deteriorating security situation in the Sahel region, as well as the incoming international support for the regional G5 Sahel joint force that was created in 2014. She argues that, despite some progress, more external funding is needed to implement vital development goals aimed at stabilizing the region.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Strategic Stability
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sahel, Western Sahara
  • Author: Daniel Míguez, Matias Dewey
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: A growing body of research, based on large-scale international comparisons, has associated socioeconomic development with several intervening factors, such as levels of respect for social norms, interpersonal trust, degrees of confidence in public institutions, or incidence of corruption in governmental bodies. The paper contributes to this body of scholarship by comparing the differing socioeconomic development experienced by Chile and Argentina between 1983 and 2013. Specifically, the paper inquires whether the greater socioeconomic development experienced by Chile was actually related to greater legitimacy of the law, higher levels of trust in public institutions, lower perceived levels of corruption, and greater interpersonal trust. The results of our exploration do not completely confirm or disprove this thesis. Instead, they reveal not only the need for a nuanced approach to how these factors relate to socioeconomic progress but also for their forms of association to be considered in the context of politically, socially, and economically fluctuating conditions.
  • Topic: Development, Political and institutional effectiveness, International Development
  • Political Geography: Chile
  • Author: Margareth Sembiring
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: The negotiations in the recently concluded COP24 in Katowice produced a critical rulebook for the 2015 Paris Agreement. Equally important is the Silesia Declaration signed during the conference. It exhorted relevant stakeholders to ensure a just transition for segments of populations affected by climate agenda.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Environment, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ammar A. Malik
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: Over the next decade, cities in developing markets will drive global economic expansion. McKinsey predicts that 440 cities in emerging markets will generate half of all growth through 2025. To realize the potential of urbanization, developing cities need to become denser, easier to navigate, and more adept at using data to deliver public services. Inefficient public transit has posed a significant challenge to urban areas around the world. 1.2 billion trips are made using public transit every day, but the share of trips via public transit has declined in developing cities from 35.5 percent in 1995 to 23.7 percent in 2012.
  • Topic: Development, Economic Growth, Cities, Digital Policy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ammar A. Malik, Janet Malzahn
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: As the global refugee crisis persists, refugees continue to leave war-ravaged countries and increase the strain on the world’s philanthropic sector. Conflicts and instability have expelled more than 68 million men, women, and children from their homes. With widening funding gaps and no resolution in sight, the international humanitarian system must tap into new sources of funding, resources, and expertise to care for the expanding population of displaced people. The private sector can, and should, help address this crisis. By partnering with humanitarian organizations, for-profit companies offer a unique perspective and wealth of resources to help refugees. These socially responsible partnerships, which we've documented and cataloged, engage the private sector in humanitarian efforts by giving them the opportunity to generate gains for their business while also producing value for refugees by joining with mission-driven non-profits. These partnerships are more likely to provide meaningful and ongoing help to refugees if they are profitable for businesses.
  • Topic: Development, Humanitarian Aid, Refugee Crisis, Private Sector
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Sinclair Dinnen
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: Concerns about personal security have been prominent in Papua New Guinea for many years. Personal security figures regularly in travel advisories issued by foreign governments. International news coverage of Papua New Guinea is often about violence or crime, reinforcing the country's reputation as a dangerous and lawless place. A visitor to Port Moresby, the sprawling national capital, sees evidence of this in the elaborate security arrangements that shape the urban landscape. Drivers of insecurity in this young nation are complex and multidimensional, stemming from the legacies of a recent colonial past, along with the ongoing challenges of state consolidation and the uneven effects of economic globalisation. The main security threats are non-traditional, including urban crime, gender-based violence, corruption, arms trafficking, border protection, resource poaching, climate change, natural disasters, and transnational crime. Although some view China's growing presence as a potential threat, its activities in Papua New Guinea have been largely confined to diplomacy, development assistance and investment. Prime Minister Peter O'Neill has acknowledged the absence of any "distinct conventional external threat", while PNG's National Security Policy recognises the developmental and political character of the country's security challenges.
  • Topic: Security, Crime, Development, Natural Resources, Rule of Law
  • Political Geography: AustralAsia, Papua New Guinea
  • Author: Craig Lawrence
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: Climate, topography, population, culture, economics, and finance all conspire to raise significant barriers to providing economic and social infrastructure critical to Papua New Guinea's future development. Compared to developed economies, the physical stock of infrastructure assets in Papua New Guinea is insufficient to deliver the economic and social services needed to drive faster economic growth and improve human development. It faces significant choices as a result that may also be influenced by the public infrastructure requirements of foreign direct investment in export oriented extractive resource sectors. A lack of effective national infrastructure planning and funding constrain PNG's economy and its ability to improve the lives of its citizens through provision of these infrastructure services. This paper briefly reviews several key infrastructure sectors - telecommunications, transport, energy, and urban water - to provide snapshots of their status, identify challenges, and where possible make relevant international comparisons. It also looks at ways to improve the delivery of relevant economic infrastructure: (i) effective planning and prioritisation; (ii) funding strategies for infrastructure investment; (iii) funding of ongoing infrastructure operations; and (iv) consideration of infrastructure life cycle issues. In addition, in the future effective economic regulation of PNG commercialised infrastructure services will help ensure that consumers benefit from these services. The Independent Consumer and Competition Commission will therefore have an increasingly important role to play.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, Infrastructure, Economic Growth
  • Political Geography: AustralAsia, Papua New Guinea
  • Author: Jonathan Pryke
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: Until recently, visitors making their way to the immigration checkpoint at Jacksons International Airport in Port Moresby were greeted with a sign exclaiming, "Welcome to Papua New Guinea: The land of the unexpected". In a nation that is so self-aware of its unpredictability, forecasting future scenarios is like staring into a crystal ball. Quality data is scarce and incomplete, trends are difficult to establish and validate, and prognostications on PNG's future are often dogmatic and politicised. Over the past 42 years Papua New Guinea has defied many of the most negative projections for its future, and navigated a huge number of 'crossroad' situations. Even before 1975, some were arguing that independence would be an unmitigated disaster, and the risk of Papua New Guinea becoming a failed state is a question that has permeated its short history. It is a question that is now being asked more frequently. On one view, Papua New Guinea has managed to "muddle through", largely on the strength of its peoples' resilience in the face of adversity. However, this resilience may be dwindling, and rather than "muddling through", Papua New Guinea may instead be on a "muddling down" trajectory. Its politicians, on the other hand, claim that the country's prospects have never been better. In a nation with so many development challenges and such porous data, it is difficult to identify future scenarios, let alone determine which is most likely. How does one define a failed state in Papua New Guinea, where most of the nation is not dependent on a properly functioning state? Without accurate data, how can one track trends in human development over decades? Should the focus be placed on the country as a whole, or on urban areas, on rural areas, or areas critical for economic development? How can new technological advancements be appropriately accounted for? Drawing on the papers in this series, five variables from each of the sectors addressed in the papers have been identified as critical influences on PNG's development over the next ten years and beyond. From these variables, three potential scenarios emerge, with the most likely scenario that Papua New Guinea will continue to 'muddle through' as it has in the past, failing to meet many expectations of development but defying the country's many detractors, and avoiding state failure.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Politics, State
  • Political Geography: AustralAsia, Papua New Guinea
  • Author: Jonathan Pryke, Paul Barker
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: On many indicators, Papua New Guinea's rapid population growth is outpacing development progress. Service delivery across the country is in decline. Growing urbanisation is increasing the burden on service providers as people who move from rural areas generally lose access to their customary land and become less self-sufficient. More than 40 per cent of the population is under the age of 14. The resulting youth bulge is outstripping very limited formal sector employment opportunities. The needs of the private sector are evolving, and skills development is critical. New immigrant groups are moving in to Papua New Guinea and taking over small and medium businesses that have typically been run by locals, adding further societal and employment pressures. This paper will chart these trends in Papua New Guinea, and the impact they will have on political stability, policymaking and development. It will look at trends in service delivery, employment, and skills development. It will look at the role of new immigrants in Papua New Guinea and future workforce capacity, and assess the government's capacity to deal with these challenges.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Immigration, Urbanization, Youth
  • Political Geography: AustralAsia, Papua New Guinea
  • Author: Fenohasina Rakotondrazaka Maret, Daiki Akiyoshi
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: In Nairobi, Kenya, technological advances like Uber have brought positive disruption and significant benefits to consumers. The country has been called the Silicon Savannah for having hatched various technological innovations. But in some parts of Kenya, it’s not uncommon to wait for hours to get a stable Internet connection. In the capitals of Madagascar and Burkina Faso, where smartphone and computer ownership is still low, people have to go to cybercafés to access the Internet, usually on run-down computers with old software, and even then, connection speeds may be painfully slow. Slow connection speeds and lack of Internet access aren’t just a hassle though, they’re signs of the digital divide that sets many African countries behind. The World Bank’s World Development Report 2016 provides an in-depth analysis of countries’ access to and use of the Internet, mobile phones, and tools to collect, store, analyze, and share information digitally. We revisited the latest data and observed a persistent digital divide, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Topic: Development, Science and Technology, Digital Policy
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa, Madagascar, Burkina Faso
  • Author: G. Thomas Kingsley
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: Cities in developing countries are growing massively and at a pace that would not have been thought possible a few decades ago. Accommodating the new, largely poor, urban dwellers may be one of the greatest challenges of human history. A data revolution could support new ways of addressing this challenge. But United Nations agencies are so far just thinking about using data to track progress. In 2015, the United Nations adopted an ambitious new agenda for global development, and its proponents called for a data revolution to help achieve its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The challenge of rapid urbanization is a priority in the SDGs, as it is in the companion New Urban Agenda adopted by the United Nations’ Habitat III conference in late 2016. But to achieve the aims of these agendas, we need to use data in ways that will make change happen, not just track it. We need to get the data, tools, and training to the programs, people, and community leaders responsible for achieving the new goals. They are the ones whose work will decide whether the world’s urban future will be a story of inclusion and prosperity or a tragedy (over a billion people living in abject poverty in urban slums with scant water supply, sanitation, or other services—and highly at risk of environmental disaster).
  • Topic: Development, Science and Technology, United Nations, Sustainable Development Goals
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: John Berry
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: Over 200 years ago, one of our founding fathers Benjamin Franklin urged us to innovate, with the warning: “When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.” One of our greatest presidents, Abraham Lincoln, was not only a talented statesman, he was an inventor and tinkerer extraordinaire. Innovation lies at the very heart of what it means to be an American. From the beginning, our country was a grand experiment. We believed then—and now—that freedom plus hard work equals progress. Innovation, invention, and creativity help turn progress into success.
  • Topic: Development, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America, Global Focus
  • Author: Solomon Greene, Sarah Rosen Wartell
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: A century ago, 1 in 10 people lived in urban areas; today, it’s more than half. By 2050, that fraction will rise to two thirds of the world’s population as cities of all sizes swell to accommodate an estimated 2.5 billion more urban dwellers. What will cities look like in the future? Next week, researchers from the Urban Institute will join global leaders at the United Nations’ historic Habitat III conference to take stock of our progress in creating sustainable cities that meet the needs of all residents, and to get ahead of anticipated changes that will create both opportunities and challenges for city dwellers, our nations, and our planet.
  • Topic: Development, Urban, Cities
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jonah Lefkoe, Charles Cadwell
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: As the world’s greatest athletes, brave tourists, and the eyes of a global TV audience (London 2012 brought 3.6 billion global viewers, and Rio is expected to break viewership records in the United States) descend on Rio for the 2016 Olympics, Brazil’s political troubles and urban infrastructure are also in the spotlight. Awarding the Olympics to Rio was not a completely foolish act. In 2009, when Brazil won its Olympic bid, the country was recovering from the 2008 financial crisis faster than the United States and enacting new social programs to further assist its poor populations. From 2003 to 2014, 29 million Brazilians were lifted out of poverty, and income inequality, measured by the Gini coefficient, fell 11 percent. When the International Olympic Committee announced Brazil’s selection as the Olympic host, Brazilians threw a party on Copacabana Beach, and then-president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Lula) declared a new era for Brazil’s progress.
  • Topic: Development, Poverty, Governance, Sports, Olympics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Benjamin Edwards, Jonah Lefkoe
  • Publication Date: 07-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: At tomorrow’s White House Summit on Global Development, President Obama will convene stakeholders in international development to celebrate the administration’s successes and plan for its legacy. The Obama administration has reformed the development goals and how we implement development activities. Revisions to the goals include sector initiatives like Power Africa, Feed the Future, the President’s Global Climate Change Initiative, and Let Girls Learn—results-focused projects that have filled gaps in our development policies. Changes to implementation include President Obama’s landmark 2010 Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development, the USAID (US Agency for International Development) Forward reforms derived from that directive, and his recent signature on the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act of 2016. These initiatives are changing the way US development efforts are conducted, reimagining development with a focus on process and adaptability. The White House has laid out two goals for the summit: institutionalize the administration’s reforms, and recommit to expanding dignity and opportunity for all. To go beyond a well-earned celebration of progress already made, the event’s agenda should include three things.
  • Topic: Development, Urban, Barack Obama, USAID
  • Political Geography: North America
  • Author: Solomon Greene
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: Earlier this month, House Republicans released a new plan to fight poverty and help Americans move up the economic ladder. The plan begins and ends with the premise that “The American Dream is the idea that, no matter who you are or where you come from, if you work hard and give it your all, you will succeed.” In between, however, there is scant mention of the role that place (i.e., where you come from) plays in perpetuating poverty or shaping economic opportunity. This is a glaring omission, especially in light of the plan’s insistence on grounding poverty-reduction policies in the best available evidence. The evidence shows that geography plays a powerful role in determining life outcomes in the United States. Better understanding the mechanisms by which zip codes determine destiny and identifying effective strategies to sever the connection between poverty and place should be central to any federal antipoverty plan.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Ammar A. Malik, Jasmina Pless
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: An estimated 1.5 billion people live on less than $1 per day—the majority of whom are women. The “the feminization of poverty,” the worldwide gap between women and men trapped in poverty, has grown during the past decade. As developing countries continue to urbanize, uneven access to public services prevents women from taking full advantage of the newly available economic opportunities. Despite women’s improved overall labor force participation, they often end up with lower paying, precarious jobs—often in the informal economy. In Pakistan for instance, three-quarters of women engaged in non-agriculture jobs work in the informal economy without laws or public policies to protect them. That’s an estimated 8.5 million domestic workers. Governments typically clamp down on informal establishments by shutting them down or simply ignore their existence. The lack of appropriate legal or regulatory systems further increases women’s vulnerability to exploitation through low wages or lack of employment protections. Women are seldom viewed as productive economic agents as they are outside the tax net.
  • Topic: Development, Women, Economic Growth, Informal Economy
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia
  • Author: Mensur Akgün, Muhammed Ammash, Nimrod Goren, Gabriel Mitchell, Sylvia Tiryaki
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: Turkey and Israel face a unique opportunity: to reconcile after five years of stagnant bilateral relations. We, leaders of Israeli and Turkish think tanks that have been working together since 2012 to support the mending of Israel-Turkey relations, welcome this development and call on the leaders of both countries to seize this opportunity. In mid-December, officials from both countries met in Switzerland in order to finalize principles for an eventual agreement to normalize ties. Reports confirm that an outline and framework for the reconciliation agreement has indeed been reached, although some important issues – such as the blockade on the Gaza Strip – are still unresolved. Israel and Turkey came close to sealing a reconciliation deal on several occasions since the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident, most recently in the spring of 2014. However, while diplomats managed to find formulas that would overcome the differences between the countries, political leadership in Ankara and Jerusalem was hesitant to put the agreement into practice. This time around, there seems to be a convergence of economic and geostrategic interests, as well as political will on both sides.
  • Topic: Development, Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Maria Solanas Cardín
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Elcano Royal Institute
  • Abstract: The II National Action Plan for the implementation of Resolution 1325, currently being prepared by the Spanish Government, should build on lessons learnt and include specific measures and best practices if it aims to achieve any advancement in the women, peace and security agenda. Nine years after the approval of the I National Action Plan for the implementation of Resolution 1325 –and mainly driven by its participation, as a non-permanent member, in the United Nations Security Council during the 2015-16 biennium–, the Spanish Government has marked the women, peace and security agenda as a priority, undertaking to draft a II National Action Plan. The number of challenges outstanding, almost 16 years after the approval of Resolution 1325, calls for a global commitment that is sustained over time and for actions and measures in field operations supported by sufficient funding (the most serious and persistent impediment for implementation of Resolution 1325). The alliance with local organisations and agents, mainly women’s organisations, has proved to be the most efficient way to promote and ensure a significant participation by women in the prevention of conflicts and in peace-building. Only a Plan based on such premises will effectively contribute towards the implementation of Resolution 1325.
  • Topic: Development, Gender Issues, International Security, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Benjamin Edwards, Mohammad Hamze
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: The world’s urban population is projected to add 2.5 billion people by 2050, with nearly 90 percent of the increase concentrated in Asia and Africa. The provision of safe, clean drinking water in urban settings is a high priority for international development, and justifiably so. Drinking water that is protected from contamination improves health, education, and economic growth, yet roughly 150 million urban dwellers do not have access, with numbers on the rise. Fortunately, the problem has not gone unrecognized. An expansive body of work explores the causes of water market failures and the policy interventions national governments can use to mitigate them. This body of work, however, has paid less heed to local governments’ role in implementing those policies, a critical link in the chain of service provision.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Water, Cities
  • Political Geography: Africa, Asia, Global Focus
  • Author: Jameson Boex, Benjamin Edwards
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: As we approach this year’s deadline for achieving the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, the global development community is trying to decide how to make the new targets for 2030 more responsive and appropriate to local needs. An important piece of this debate concerns the role of local governments, and how local spending on public services such as health care and education could promote human welfare. A growing body of research explores this relationship, but so far the focus of most studies has been limited to spending by elected local governments, with the assumption that this type of local spending is the only type that matters. Yet many local entities responsible for service delivery in the developing world are not elected. Excluding resources provided directly by central government ministries or their local administrative arms ignores a rich and complicated story of how different levels of government interact to provide basic services.
  • Topic: Development, Education, Government, Health
  • Political Geography: Global Focus