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Weekly wire: The global forum

Roxanne Bauer's picture

World of NewsThese are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.

More people in less space: rapid urbanisation threatens global health
The Guardian

The global population looks set to rise to 9.7 billion people by 2050, when it is expected that more than two-thirds of humanity will be living in urban areas. The global health community is bracing itself. Compared to a more traditional rural existence, the shift in lifestyle and inevitable increase in exposure to pollution will lead to significant long-term rises in non-communicable diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. Worrying as this prospect may be, current population trends are already altering the global health landscape even faster than we realise, and that could pose far bigger and more immediate problems. When population growth is combined with other pressures, such as climate change and human migration, some parts of the world are likely to experience unprecedented levels of urban density.

How Being Stateless Makes You Poor
Foreign Policy
For the first 24 years of his life, third-generation Palestinian refugee Waseem Khrtabeel rarely noticed any difference between himself and his Syrian neighbors. Like his parents, Khrtabeel was born and raised in Damascus. He speaks with a distinct Syrian accent, just like that of his many Syrian friends. But Khrtabeel is not like other Syrians. He’s stateless.The first time Khrtabeel, 30, grasped the magnitude of that word was in early 2010, after graduating from Damascus University with a mechanical engineering degree. Khrtabeel was elated when he secured an interview with the Saudi Binladin Group, one of Saudi Arabia’s most prominent construction companies. On an unseasonably warm day in January, he arrived at the company’s recruiting office in southwestern Damascus promptly at 2 p.m., energized and confident. He was shown the door less than seven minutes later.

Donors Funding Technology: 10 Recommendations
Center for Global Development

Funding the global public good of technology is a useful way for donors to leverage the impact of their aid. Different types of technologies appear to be important to development progress, and to spread, in different ways. ‘Lab coat technologies’ (inventions) spread easily and improve quality of life, ‘process technologies’ (institutions) spread with difficulty and are important to economic growth. For all donor interventions, however, it appears that context matters—the same technology or investment has varied impact in different environments. While there still may be some universal ‘best practices,’ there is also a considerable heterogeneity in what works where. Donors should take the importance of context on board when designing their technology interventions.

Measuring a progressive society

IT HAS long been said that economic output is too narrow a gauge by which to measure the progress of nations. One of the earliest alternative indicators of progress, the UN’s Human Development Index, was first compiled in 1990 and combines wealth, education and life expectancy to give a broader comparison of living conditions in one country relative to another. But in recent years a plethora of new indices that go “beyond GDP” have emerged. One is the Social Progress Index (SPI), by the Social Progress Imperative, an American think-tank (whose advisory board includes Matthew Bishop, an Economist Group employee), which eschews GDP entirely and focuses on 53 social and environmental output indicators under three headings: basic needs, the foundations of well-being and opportunity.

2016 Trafficking in Persons Report
U.S. State Department

The Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report is the U.S. Government’s principal diplomatic tool to engage foreign governments on human trafficking. It is also the world’s most comprehensive resource of governmental anti-human trafficking efforts and reflects the U.S. Government’s commitment to global leadership on this key human rights and law enforcement issue. It represents an updated, global look at the nature and scope of trafficking in persons and the broad range of government actions to confront and eliminate it.

Here's what's needed to accelerate global entrepreneurship

The CEO of Google was one of the high-profile speakers meant to deliver “entrepreneurial inspiration” to an audience of entrepreneurs from around the world gathered in Silicon Valley for the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Summit. “You’re the ones building the next Google, the next Tesla, the next Spotify, the next, well we don’t even know,” Sundar Pichai said in a TED style talk at Stanford University last week. “People working anywhere in the world, born anywhere in the world, can create a product, and make it available to anyone in the world.”  But while developing country entrepreneurs took the stage alongside Silicon Valley CEOs, the fact remains that where you are an entrepreneur matters. That is why a key focus of GES 2016 was on ways the public and private sector can build ecosystems that enable startups to scale from anywhere.


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