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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.

Lagarde-ian of the Galaxy
The Huffington Post
The morning scene at New York’s Carlyle Hotel is about the most perfect illustration of the term “power breakfast” that you could envision. On the ground floor of the opulent art deco hotel—a longtime favorite of American presidents, and the preferred Manhattan residence of visitors from Princess Diana to Mick Jagger to George Clooney—impeccably attired men enjoyed the buffet as several different security details milled about the lobby. Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, was sitting at a secluded table with an aide. Since Lagarde, 59, replaced Dominique Strauss-Kahn at the IMF—a formerly staid institution created in 1944 to ensure financial stability largely through the maintenance of exchange rates—she has found herself at the center of not one but several global emergencies.

The Complexities of Global Protests
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Major protests have occurred around the world with increasing frequency since the second half of the 2000s. Given the superficial resemblance of such events to each other— especially the dramatic images of masses of people in the streets—the temptation exists to reach for sweeping, general conclusions about what is happening. Yet it is in fact the heterogeneity of this current wave of protests that is its defining characteristic. The spike in global protests is becoming a major trend in international politics, but care is needed in ascertaining the precise nature and impact of the phenomenon.

Humanitarian broadcasting in emergencies - A synthesis of evaluation findings
BBC Media Action
Researching the impact of our interventions is a central priority for Media Action, but this is especially difficult in an emergency. Despite these challenges, the report documents the findings of four evaluations of responses around the 2015 Nepal earthquakes, the 2014/15 Ebola epidemic, the Syrian refugee crisis and the 2014 conflict in Gaza.  By carrying out a robust synthesis of these findings against selected OECD DAC evaluation criteria, it seeks to contribute to understanding and evidence of the impact of media interventions in crisis and sets out a series of conclusions as to what mass media interventions, in particular, are effective and less effective at accomplishing. 

The Fragility Within
Foreign Policy
International development, as we have conceived it over the last several decades, may not be dead, but it is dying. In past decades, it used to be common parlance to refer to parts of our planet as different “worlds.” There was the First World, the mostly capitalist, mostly Western countries of the developed world; there was the Second World, comprising mostly the industrialized communist nations; and there was the Third World, a term still heard occasionally in reference to developing countries. These worlds appeared, and in many ways were, analytically and culturally distinct. There were problems of developed countries and problems of developing countries — “their” problems and “our” problems. To address these problems, the global development community needed people with completely separate types of expertise and experience. Those of us working in the field talked, even much more recently, about development experts parachuting into societies, as if they were landing in space capsules. That time is ending.

Good data can help diagnose the health of cities around the world
The Guardian
Living in a city can seriously affect your health, for better or worse. Many cities have extremes of good and bad health within their boundaries, and with one billion more people living in cities in 2014 than in 2000, it is increasingly important to understand why.  Such understanding needs good data, which is also often required to gain funding, according to Amit Prasad, technical officer for urban health at the World Health Organisation’s Centre for Human Development in Kobe, Japan. A 1993 World Bank report promoted the idea of measuring returns on investment in health, which was then adopted by the Gates Foundation and national governments. Yet data on urban health remains patchy, with comparisons between cities in different countries particularly difficult to access.

Share tech or risk water conflict, warns UN think-tank
Countries must share technological solutions to manage freshwater resources together, says a UN University report. Although 200 water treaties have been signed in the past 50 years, water remains a significant source of potential conflict in places without adequate cooperation, according to the study published by the UN University Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH). The study, published on 1 October, says there have been 37 water conflicts since 1948. In places such as Israel and its neighbours, political tensions mean that the distribution of water is a potential source of added conflict.

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