In a couple of days, I’ll join leaders from the worlds of business, governments, politics, arts, and academia at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The Forum is one of the premier events for discussing global risks. Many if not most of these risks are identified in the Forum’s annual Global Risks report.
Accountability is an elusive concept, but understanding where it originates can help citizens find ways to hold governments accountable.
In the narrowest sense, accountability is equated with answerability; it refers to the obligation to give an account of one’s action to particular individuals, groups, or organizations. However, in a world where public administrators increasingly operate in intergovernmental networks and global coalitions, deciphering what constitutes accountability in public management has become a challenging task.
One of the simplest ways to unravel the mystery of accountability for public administrators is to trace back to the root sources; and examine how it unfolds across varying levels to affect governmental decision-making.
What did blogging at the World Bank in 2014 look like?
Policymakers and researchers would often like to measure whether reforms have their desired effects, but it’s not always feasible to collect survey data to shed light on this issue. Here, administrative data, that is being collected in any case, can help. Administrative data has no additional cost and may be readily available, particularly in countries that digitize the information they collect.
This is Davos week, and over on the Oxfam Research team’s excellent new Mind the Gap blog, Deborah Hardoon has an update on the mind-boggling maths of global inequality.
Wealth data from Credit Suisse, finds that the 99% have been getting less and less of the economic pie over the past few years as the 1% get more. By next year, if the 2010-2014 trend for the growing concentration of global wealth is to continue, the richest 1% of people in the world will have more wealth than the rest of the world put together.
Measurements of wealth capture financial assets (including money in the bank) as well as non financial assets such as property. It is not just inefficient to concentrate more and more wealth in the hands of a few, but also unjust. Just think of all the empty properties bought by wealthy people as investments rather than providing housing for those in need of a home. Think of the billionaire chugging out carbon emissions flying around in a private jet, whilst the poorest countries suffer most from the impacts of climate change and the poorest individuals living want for a decent bicycle to get to school or work.
So what is the story about regional inequalities in Turkey?
New developments and curiosities from a changing global media landscape: People, Spaces, Deliberation brings trends and events to your attention that illustrate that tomorrow's media environment will look very different from today's and will have little resemblance to yesterday's.
Video receives a lot of attention online. Over 1 billion unique users visit YouTube every month, and 1 in 5 Twitter users discover videos each day from tweeted links.
According to a report by Cisco, Internet traffic is expected to increase by 260% until 2018, and online video will be responsible for much of the growth. The report forecasts that by 2018, global IP video traffic (does not include peer-to-peer filesharing) will account for 79% of all consumer Internet traffic and the sum all forms of video (TV, video on demand, Internet, peer-to-peer sharing) will account for 80-90% of global consumer traffic.
The recently launched GSM Association Code of Conduct for Mobile Money Providers is a welcome initiative. There is increasing recognition of the economic benefits that digital financial services can bring, along with an understanding that achieving ambitious financial inclusion targets may well depend on their rapid rollout. Such targets are being proposed by the World Bank, under the Maya Declaration and in other forums.
At the same time, there is a recognition that consumer protection is a critical element in building trust in the use of such services. See, for example, Principle 4 of the G20 Principles for Innovative Financial Inclusion and the recently held Responsible Finance Forum, as well as the outcomes of the 2014 deliberations of the 2014 Global Partnership on Financial Inclusion.
The code of conduct will apply to “mobile money providers” and to “mobile money.” The former term is not defined (could a bank be a provider?), whilst the latter term has a broad definition that provides (in summary) that “mobile money is a transformational service that uses information and communication technologies (ICIs) and non-bank retail channels to extend the delivery of financial services to clients who cannot be reached profitably with traditional branch-based financial services.” The example given (in summary) is an e-wallet, payments-related service.
The object of the code is expressed as being, in short, to support the continued development of the industry by:
- "Improving [the] quality of services and customer satisfaction;
- "Facilitating the implementation of trusted partnerships; and
- "Building trust with regulators and encouraging the implementation of appropriate and proportional regulatory standards.”
To support these objectives, there are eight principles dealing with safeguarding client funds; measures to combat money laundering and terrorism financing; monitoring of staff, agents and entities providing outsourced services; reliable service provision; security of the mobile network and channel; the provision of information to customers; complaints and personal data.
The young boy stood before his father’s corpse, wailing. He could not believe that his father, who had gone out for breakfast, had ended up dead. He was blown up by a suicide bomber in one of Baghdad’s busiest restaurants in 2005.
I was covering the bombing attack for The Washington Post when I saw the boy becoming another digit in the count of war victims. In the news, he might be a number but in reality he became an orphan whose loss would add to the obstacles of achieving sustainable development.
When I was a reporter in my war-torn country of Iraq, I saw death every single day, in schools, markets, buses, and even worship areas. What is worse is that this is still happening, not only in Iraq but also in many other countries. Conflicts, wars, sectarianism, and racism have become a daily occurrence in the news, and it is just too disturbing.