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Weekly wire: The global forum

Darejani Markozashvili's picture

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

Report Card on International Cooperation
Council of Councils (CFR)
The Council of Councils (CoC) Report Card on International Cooperation evaluates multilateral efforts to address ten of the world’s most pressing challenges, from countering transnational terrorism to advancing global health. No country can confront these issues better on its own. Combating the threats, managing the risks, and exploiting the opportunities presented by globalization require international cooperation. To help policymakers around the world prioritize among these challenges, the CoC Report Card on International Cooperation surveyed the Council of Councils, a network of twenty-six foreign policy institutes around the world.

Global survey reveals the impact of declining trust in the internet on e-commerce
UNCTAD/Ipsos/Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI)
The survey, conducted by Ipsos and the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), in collaboration with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the Internet Society, comes as data breaches and the reported hacking of elections in several European countries continues to capture international headlines. The survey results suggest that the resulting impact on trust is hindering further development of the digital economy. Released today at the UNCTAD E-Commerce Week in Geneva, the 2017 CIGI-Ipsos Global Survey on Internet Security & Trust shows that among those worried about their privacy, the top sources of concern were cybercriminals (82%), Internet companies (74%) and governments (65%).

Why Would Anyone Want This Job? The WHO Prepares to Elect a New Chief
Pass Blue
In late May by secret paper ballot, all 194 member states of the World Health Assembly that have paid their dues will cast their votes for one of three final candidates in the first-ever election of the planet’s top doctor: the director-general of the World Health Organization. The candidates are Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, 52, a former government minister of Ethiopia with a Ph.D. in community health, who goes by his first name; Dr. Sania Nishtar, 54, a cardiologist from Pakistan; and Dr. David Nabarro, 67, a medical doctor and official of the UN, from Britain. As the eighth head of the WHO, the victor on May 23 will be faced with rehabilitating the agency’s image, which was damaged over its delayed response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014. He or she will have to take the reins of a reform initiated by Dr. Margaret Chan, the outgoing director-general, who is Chinese; lead a Balkanized structure of six semiautonomous regional and 150 country offices; and reinspire morale among some 7,000 staff members, whether at their desks on the bucolic campus for humanitarian headquarters here in Switzerland or braving conflict zones like Yemen to vaccinate hundreds of thousands of vulnerable children.

Randomized control trials for development? Three problems
Brookings Institution
Development economists have extensively used randomized control trials (RCTs) as the “gold standard” of evidence for informing development policy. The reason is that, by randomly assigning people to be in the treatment group and control group, you are able to sift away other factors, thereby identifying the causal link between treatment and outcomes. Here are three concerns about the use of this and other methods where the identification strategy, rather than the importance and relevance of the policy question, is the basis of evidence for guiding development policies.

World Economic Situation And Prospects As Of Mid-2017
UN-DESA/UNCTAD/United Nations regional commissions
The mid-year update of the World Economic Situation and Prospects 2017 confirms the projections made in the World Economic Situation and Prospects 2017 in January 2017 of a modest recovery in global growth for 2017-2018. Helped by a moderate recovery in trade and investment, world gross product is expected to expand by 2.7% in 2017 and 2.9% in 2018. While this marks a notable acceleration compared to 2016, growth in many regions remains below the levels needed for rapid progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Average growth of 4.7% in 2017 and 5.3% in 2018 is forecast for Least Developed Countries (LDCs), well below the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target of at least 7 per cent GDP growth. Under the current growth trajectory and assuming no changes in income inequality, nearly 35% of the population in LDCs, highly-indebted poor countries and countries in fragile and conflict affected situations may remain in extreme poverty by 2030.

What can the UN do if your country cuts the internet?
Al Jazeera
It has been almost a year since internet access was declared a human right, yet infringements continue. Between January and March 2017, internet in two English-speaking regions of  Cameroon  was cut off for almost 100 days following protests over an attempt to force the use of French in schools and courtrooms. In late April, the government blocked social media in  India-administered Kashmir  on the grounds that it was "being misused by anti-national and antisocial elements". These cases came just months after Freedom House, the US-based freedom of expression watchdog, said that  internet freedom across the globe had declined for a sixth consecutive year. The organisation said governments are specifically targeting messaging applications like WhatsApp and Telegram in a bid to control the flow of information.  In a  resolution  passed in July 2016, the UN Human Rights Council described the internet as having "great potential to accelerate human progress". It also condemned "measures to intentionally prevent or disrupt access to or dissemination of information online".

Photo credit: Flickr user fdecomit

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