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The Global Risks report 2015

January 26, 2015 Comments off

The Global Risks report 2015
Source: World Economic Forum

The 2015 edition of the Global Risks report completes a decade of highlighting the most significant long-term risks worldwide, drawing on the perspectives of experts and global decision-makers.

Over that time, analysis has moved from risk identification to thinking through risk interconnections and the potentially cascading effects that result.

Taking this effort one step further, this year’s report underscores potential causes as well as solutions to global risks.

Not only do we set out a view on 28 global risks in the report’s traditional categories (economic, environmental, societal, geopolitical and technological) but also we consider the drivers of those risks in the form of 13 trends.

In addition, we have selected initiatives for addressing significant challenges, which we hope will inspire collaboration among business, government and civil society communities.

Does Global Progress on Sanitation Really Lag behind Water? An Analysis of Global Progress on Community- and Household-Level Access to Safe Water and Sanitation

January 26, 2015 Comments off

Does Global Progress on Sanitation Really Lag behind Water? An Analysis of Global Progress on Community- and Household-Level Access to Safe Water and Sanitation
Source: PLoS ONE

Safe drinking water and sanitation are important determinants of human health and wellbeing and have recently been declared human rights by the international community. Increased access to both were included in the Millennium Development Goals under a single dedicated target for 2015. This target was reached in 2010 for water but sanitation will fall short; however, there is an important difference in the benchmarks used for assessing global access. For drinking water the benchmark is community-level access whilst for sanitation it is household-level access, so a pit latrine shared between households does not count toward the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target. We estimated global progress for water and sanitation under two scenarios: with equivalent household- and community-level benchmarks. Our results demonstrate that the “sanitation deficit” is apparent only when household-level sanitation access is contrasted with community-level water access. When equivalent benchmarks are used for water and sanitation, the global deficit is as great for water as it is for sanitation, and sanitation progress in the MDG-period (1990–2015) outstrips that in water. As both drinking water and sanitation access yield greater benefits at the household-level than at the community-level, we conclude that any post–2015 goals should consider a household-level benchmark for both.

See: Study calls for new global standard for safe drinking water and sanitation (Science Daily)

Being a LGBTI person in African countries

January 26, 2015 Comments off

Being a LGBTI person in African countries
Source: European Parliamentary Research Service

More than 4 African countries out of 5 of have laws criminalising homosexuality, or even punishing LGBTI rights advocacy. Only in 2014 tougher laws were passed in Nigeria, Gambia and Uganda.

As recent developments in Europe show, having non-discriminative laws doesn’t prevent homophobic feeling; but when this feeling is encouraged or not punished by the authorities, it can favour violence towards LGBTI people, including rapes and killings. Furthermore it leads LGBTI people to live in hiding which increases mental or physical health problems among the population.

On several occasions the European Parliament has reminded the EU of its commitment against all forms of discrimination in all the places it acts.

An overview of Europe’s film industry

January 26, 2015 Comments off

An overview of Europe’s film industry
Source: European Parliamentary Research Service

In spite of the fact that Europe pioneered both technological and content innovation in cinema, at present the EU film landscape is characterised by the strong presence of Hollywood productions. In 2013, they held a share of nearly 70% of the EU market, while European productions represented only 26%. What makes the major US companies so powerful is the fact that they are vertically integrated, with activities spanning production and distribution, allowing them to spread risks over several films, and reinvest profits in new projects. To offset the financing challenges facing EU film companies, different types of film-support schemes have been set up, accounting in 2009 for an estimated €2.1 billion (excluding tax incentives and interventions by publicly funded banks and credit institutions).

Notwithstanding the ever-increasing presence of Hollywood majors, the European film industry is quite dynamic and encompasses over 75 000 companies, employing more than 370 000 people, and reaping some €60 billion in revenue in 2010. Within the EU, the ‘Big Five’ – France, Germany, United Kingdom, Italy and Spain – account for around 80% of releases, industry turnover, and persons employed.

The creative wealth of nations : how the performing arts can advance development and human progress

January 23, 2015 Comments off

The creative wealth of nations : how the performing arts can advance development and human progress (PDF)
Source: World Bank

Cultural activities are increasingly noted as drivers of meaningful development. But they have yet to gain a prominent place in the architecture of development strategy. The performing arts, discussed here, exhibit direct effects on social progress and economic growth through trade in music, movies, and temporary work permits for artists, for example. Indirect contributions may also include environmental stewardship, tourism, nation branding, social inclusion, cultural democracy, and shifting cultural behaviors. These direct and indirect contributions are not well documented. As such, how is the creative or cultural sector a crucial part of the wealth of nations, and how could the World Bank Group better leverage the performing arts in its development strategy? This discussion provides a broad snapshot, from arts education, to social inclusion, to international trade in services. Key constraints include: the paucity of data and the difficulty of measuring cultural activities, the challenge of intellectual property, and the unclear benefits of cultural tourism. Part I sets the stage. Part II then provides policy options to foster the performing arts as a promising engine for development. Suggestions include: 1. expanding direct involvement in artistic projects, 2. increa sing the use of performing arts to address social issues, 3. collecting data, 4. promoting intellectual property training programs, 5. supporting digital platforms in the developing world that advance indigenous music, and 6. funding studies on such areas as cultural tourism. Progress still needs to be made in the discussion of the diverse ways that the performing arts can contribute to meaningful development.

Global Metro Monitor 2014: An Uncertain Recovery

January 23, 2015 Comments off

Global Metro Monitor 2014: An Uncertain Recovery
Source: Brookings Institution

With only 20 percent of the population, the world’s 300 largest metropolitan economies accounted for nearly half of global output in 2014. This interactive and report compare growth patterns in the world’s 300 largest metro economies on two key economic indicators—annualized growth rate of real GDP per capita and annualized growth rate of employment. These indicators, which are combined into an economic performance index on which metro areas are ranked, matter because they reflect the importance that people and policymakers attach to achieving rising incomes and standards of living and generating widespread labor market opportunity.

UK — Government Digital Strategy: annual report 2014

January 23, 2015 Comments off

Government Digital Strategy: annual report 2014
Source: Government Digital Service and Cabinet Office

A yearly update on the progress of government departments in carrying out the Government Digital Strategy.

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