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Women’s Labour Migration from Asia and the Pacific: Opportunities and Challenges

March 27, 2015 Comments off

Women’s Labour Migration from Asia and the Pacific: Opportunities and Challenges
Source: Migration Policy Institute

The number of women migrants in many countries in the Asia-Pacific region is on the rise, both absolutely and proportionately: in 2013 women comprised nearly half (48 percent) of overall migrants to the region and 44 percent of migrants from the region, in line with global trends. Earlier it was thought that out-migration of women mostly takes place in the context of associational migration, including marriage, but a larger share of female migrant workers are now migrating on their own as a result of a variety of economic and cultural factors in both sending and receiving countries.

The gendered dimensions of migration both within and from the region have implications for migration flows and trends as well as for migrants themselves. The majority of female migrant workers in the region work in low-skilled, women-dominated occupations in the domestic, hospitality, health-care, and garment and entertainment sectors, and many skilled female professionals from the region must take up substandard employment due to skills mismatch and lack of recognition of their qualifications. With the Millennium Development Goals set to expire at the end of 2015, the formulation of the next development agenda offers a window of opportunity for better support of gender equality and women’s empowerment across the developing world.

This Issue Brief, one in a series by MPI and the International Organization for Migration, looks at the trends and patterns in female labor migration in the Asia-Pacific region as well as the key policy challenges relating to female migration that governments in the region face. It also examines the significant financial and social impacts of female migrant workers and recommends best practices for policymakers looking to capitalize on these gains while supporting the rights and welfare of migrant women and their families.

Open Data in the G8

March 26, 2015 Comments off

Open Data in the G8
Source: Center for Data Innovation

In 2013, the leaders of the G8 signed an agreement committing to advance open data in their respective countries. This report assesses the current state of open data efforts in these countries and finds substantial variation in their progress. Moving forward, countries have many opportunities to enhance their open data capabilities, such as by increasing international collaboration, better educating policymakers about the benefits of open data, and working closely with civil society on open data initiatives.

Education Technology and the Twenty-First-Century Skills Gap

March 26, 2015 Comments off

Education Technology and the Twenty-First-Century Skills Gap
Source: Boston Consulting Group/World Economic Forum

Today’s fast-changing world requires students who not only possess strong skills in areas such as language arts, math, and science but must also be adept at skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, persistence, collaboration, and curiosity. The requisite twenty-first-century skills fall into three broad categories: foundational literacies, competencies, and character qualities.

All too often, however, students in many countries are not acquiring these skills. A study that included nearly 100 countries reveals large gaps in selected indicators for many of these skills. For example, the U.S. performs relatively well on many skills when compared with the entire world. But when compared with high-performing peers such as Japan, Finland, or South Korea, the U.S. shows significant skills gaps in numeracy and scientific literacy. Some countries display gaps between our broad categories of skills. For example, relative to other OECD countries, Poland and Ireland perform well on a range of indicators representing foundational literacies but lag behind other OECD countries in areas such as critical thinking and curiosity. Gaps such as these are clear signs that too many students are not getting the education they must have to prosper in the twenty-first century, and countries are not finding adequate numbers of the skilled workers they need to compete.

Numerous innovations in the education technology space are beginning to show potential for helping address skills gaps. These technologies could both lower the cost and improve the quality of education.

A new report by the World Economic Forum, written in collaboration with The Boston Consulting Group and titled New Vision for Education: Unlocking the Potential of Technology, examines ways that education technology can enhance learning as one tool in a portfolio.

EU Council Library Think Tank Review — Issue 22

March 26, 2015 Comments off

EU Council Library Think Tank Review — Issue 22
Source: General Secretariat of the Council of the EU (Central Library)

Welcome to issue 22 of the Think Tank Review compiled by the EU Council Library. It gives a short abstract of papers published in February 2015, with a link to the full text.

This month’s Review has a focus on external action and includes the CEPS/ Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung report on More Union in European defence, presented in Brussels on 9 March. Other relevant resources from the library were listed in our blog post on the event.

On economics, we harvested the habitual range of papers on the banking union, capital markets, pros and cons of the ECB’s quantitative easing, debt targets and the balanced budget rule, and more. Thomas Piketty’s book continues to trigger debate. See the collection of (mostly critical) essays on the book by the UK think tank Policy Network. On inequality, the notion at the heart of Piketty’s book, we also feature an article by Caritas Europa and one by Friends of Europe.

Protection in Crisis: Forced Migration and Protection in a Global Era

March 26, 2015 Comments off

Protection in Crisis: Forced Migration and Protection in a Global Era
Source: Migration Policy Institute

More than 51 million people worldwide are forcibly displaced today as refugees, asylum seekers, or internally displaced persons. According to the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, to be recognized legally as a refugee, an individual must be fleeing persecution on the basis of religion, race, political opinion, nationality, or membership in a particular social group, and must be outside the country of nationality. However, the contemporary drivers of displacement are complex and multilayered, making protection based on a strict definition of persecution increasingly problematic and challenging to implement.

Many forced migrants now fall outside the recognized refugee and asylum apparatus. Much displacement today is driven by a combination of intrastate conflict, poor governance and political instability, environmental change, and resource scarcity. These conditions, while falling outside traditionally defined persecution, leave individuals highly vulnerable to danger and uncertain of the future, compelling them to leave their homes in search of greater security. In addition, the blurring of lines between voluntary and forced migration, as seen in mixed migration flows, together with the expansion of irregular migration, further complicates today’s global displacement picture.

This report details the increasing mismatch between the legal and normative frameworks that define the existing protection regime and the contemporary patterns of forced displacement. It analyzes contemporary drivers and emerging trends of population displacement, noting that the majority of forcibly displaced people—some 33.3 million—remain within their own countries, and that more than 50 percent of the displaced live in urban areas. The author then outlines and assesses key areas where the international protection system is under the most pressure, and finally examines the key implications of these trends for policymakers and the international community, outlining some possible policy directions for reform.

CRS — Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses (March 18, 2015)

March 25, 2015 Comments off

Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Since the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979, a priority of U.S. policy has been to reduce the perceived threat posed by Iran to a broad range of U.S. interests. In 2014, a common enemy emerged in the form of the Islamic State organization, reducing gaps in U.S. and Iranian interests, although the two countries have somewhat differing approaches over how to try to defeat the Islamic State.

See also: Iran Sanctions (March 9, 2015) (PDF)

CRS — International Drug Control Policy: Background and U.S. Responses (March 16, 2015)

March 25, 2015 Comments off

International Drug Control Policy: Background and U.S. Responses (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The global illegal drug trade represents a multi-dimensional challenge that has implications for U.S. national interests as well as the international community. Common illegal drugs trafficked internationally include cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine. According to the U.S. intelligence community, international drug trafficking can undermine political and regional stability and bolster the role and capabilities of transnational criminal organizations in the drug trade. Key regions of concern include Latin America and Afghanistan, which are focal points in U.S. efforts to combat the production and transit of cocaine and heroin, respectively. Drug use and addiction have the potential to negatively affect the social fabric of communities, hinder economic development, and place an additional burden on national public health infrastructures.

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