These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
Great news: people around the world are living longer than ever
The World Health Organization has some good news for the world: Babies born today are likely to live longer than ever before, and the gains are particularly dramatic in the parts of the world where life expectancy has lagged most. Worldwide, life expectancy is just under 74 years for women and just over 69 years for men. Babies born today across Africa can expect to live almost 10 years longer than those born in 2000, the biggest gains in life expectancy anywhere in the world.
To Fight Disease Outbreaks, Scientists Turn to Cell Phones
Cell phones ride in our pockets or purses everywhere we go, which makes them a powerful tool for monitoring explosive epidemics. Epidemiologists rely on computer models to simulate the spread of disease and determine how best to intervene, and tracking human movement is key to accomplishing this two-headed task. Now, a team of researchers says mobile phone records can provide better data about population movements, which in turn helps produce more accurate epidemic models. To prove this approach can work, researchers compiled cell phone records, from 2013, generated by 150,000 users in Senegal to track population movements and model a cholera epidemic that ravaged the country in 2005.
African Economic Outlook 2016: Sustainable Cities and Structural Transformation
The African Economic Outlook 2016 presents the continent’s current state of affairs and forecasts its situation for the coming two years. This annual report examines Africa’s performance in crucial areas: macroeconomics, financing, trade policies and regional integration, human development, and governance. For its 15th edition, the African Economic Outlook takes a hard look at urbanisation and structural transformation in Africa and proposes practical steps to foster sustainable cities. A section of country notes summarises recent economic growth, forecasts gross domestic product for 2016 and 2017, and highlights the main policy issues facing each of the 54 African countries. A statistical annex compares country-specific economic, social and political variables.
Preventing Violent Extremism through Inclusive Development and the Promotion of Tolerance and Respect for Diversity
Based on the Secretary-General’s Plan of Action to prevent violent extremism and Sustainable Development Goal 16, UNDP has developed a global framework called 'Preventing Violent Extremism through Inclusive Development and the Promotion of Tolerance and Respect for Diversity'. This framework highlights that prevention of violent extremism needs to look beyond strict security concerns to development-related causes of, and solutions to, the phenomenon. UNDP’s approach to PVE reflects the fact that the world today faces two interlinked trends: the rise of violent extremism, and the need to govern increasingly diverse and multi-cultural societies. At the heart of UNDP’s approach is a belief that better governance of diversity will lead to societies better protected against violent extremism.
Poorer Countries Admire Leaders’ Strength, Wealthier Countries Admire Their Ideals
A recent report by WIN/Gallup International gathered survey research from 65 countries around the world, asking respondents to choose whether they have a favorable or unfavorable view of leaders from the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, India, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. Together, these ten states comprise 57 percent of the global GDP and 50 percent of the world’s population. With respondents from 65 counties hailing from a wide range of political, social, and economic backgrounds, what factors shape their views on the standings of current world leaders?
Malia, the Rise of the Gap Year, and Ethical International Engagement
Stanford Social Innovation Review
A growing number of students—including President Obama’s older daughter, Malia—are deciding to take a year off, or a “gap year,” before they begin college. During this time, many will choose to engage in some form of international volunteering service. This may seem a laudable pursuit—and in some cases, it is. But it’s important to realize that there are dangers. Anyone considering volunteering as part of a gap year (or otherwise) must understand how international service interacts with the structures of local development, or else risk inadvertently harming communities. There are often warning signs, and there are both organizations supporting young people’s desires to engage in ethical international service and several frameworks that support ethically grounded global partnerships. But to really address the pernicious patterns in international volunteering today, the education sector must embrace and foster a deeper understanding of global citizenship and the structures of development.
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