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Weekly Wire: the Global Forum

Kalliope Kokolis's picture

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

The Guardian
The future of development: Goodbye aid and MDGs, hello global goods and well being

"The future of development. What a title. It's fraught with hostages to fortune, bear traps and day dreams.
I pick 2030 as "the future". Partly because, 15 years after the first set of millennium development goal (MDG) targets I expect poverty (percent and numbers) in Asia to be much lower, and in Africa I expect the decline to be strong too. But partly because it is far enough away to think a bit more freely."

State of the Mobile Web, February 2011

"Lately, we have seen the tremendous power of the Internet as a source of information and tool for social change. We witnessed the beginning of an uprising, which became a modern revolution. According to our analysis of Opera Mini usage, there was a sharp uptake in the use of the mobile Web in Egypt, which was not surprising, given the circumstances in that country during the month of February. Even more interesting, perhaps, is that we observed a sustained increase in traffic to certain sites in Egypt, even after events in the region stabilized. We believe more and more people are becoming accustomed to the Internet as their primary news source, and that is especially true for people who need instantly available and up-to-date information in hot spots around the world."

The Status of Civil Society in Zambia

"Progress towards higher levels of human development can be measured by the expansion of choices and freedoms that the public enjoys. This includes how far the voices of the poor and vulnerable can influence national policy and investment debates and decisions. Having such an empowering public space pre-supposes the existence of effective, responsive and accountable public institutions that can take actions that serve the needs of the people. But they cannot do so alone. While state bodies must play their roles to ensure that the gains of development grow and are accessed in an equitable and just manner, civil society organisations (CSOs) must play a set of complementary roles to develop and adapt locally relevant programmes, provide key development services, ensure a monitoring and „watch dog‟ function to make sure things are on track, and most importantly provide and protect the right of the community to actively engage in determining their own paths to greater human development."

Transparency International
The Anti-Corruption Catalyst: Realizing the MDGs by 2015 

"The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) build on previous international development promises and represent an unprecedented, comprehensive framework for combating poverty, reaching universal education and achieving gender equality, among other aims. As this report highlights, however, there is clear evidence that corruption has proven to be a major obstacle for countries and regions to reach the MDGs by 2015 as pledged. The costs of corruption can be explicit, implicit and hidden. Decision-makers must recognise these problems and find solutions that integrate the MDG and anti-corruption agendas. This report provides practical examples and quantitative data to show how strengthening transparency, accountability and integrity does have a ‘MDG payoff’. Such measures need to be systematically built into development initiatives and form part of any five-year action plan put forth on the MDGs."

Ars Technica
Google spends $1 million on censorship and throttling detection

"Google has awarded $1 million to Georgia Tech researchers so that they can develop simple tools to detect Internet throttling, government censorship, and other "transparency" problems.

That money will cover two years of work at Georgia Tech, with an additional $500,000 extension possible if Google wants an extra year of development. At the end of the project, the Georgia Tech team hopes to provide 'a suite of Web-based, Internet-scale measurement tools that any user around the world could access for free. With the help of these tools, users could determine whether their ISPs are providing the kind of service customers are paying for, and whether the data they send and receive over their network connections is being tampered with by governments and/or ISPs.'"

Independent Commission for Aid Impact launched 

"ICAI is the independent body responsible for the scrutiny of UK aid, focusing on delivery of value for money for the UK taxpayer and maximising the impact and effectiveness of the UK aid budget. With a remit to scrutinise all UK Official Development Assistance (ODA), ICAI will evaluate and review ODA spend in government departments."

ICT Works
Kenya now has the cheapest mobile phone services in Africa- at a cost

"I was just in Kenya and amazed that I could call endlessly in Kenya, call to the USA, and surf massive amounts of data on my iPhone and laptop (via the $100 Google IDEOS mobile phone acting as a wifi hotspot), and yet only use a trifling amount of Safaricom airtime."

Ghana conference urges transparency and accountability of petroleum resources in Africa, effective use of revenue for economic growth

"It is up to the African governments to make sure there is  full transparency and accountability of resources, including in the petroleum sector, and that they are used effectively to generate revenues for economic growth, said participants at an international policy conference that ended in Accra today.

The two-day event, titled "Competitiveness and Diversification: Strategic Challenges in a Petroleum-Rich Economy", was organized by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Ministry of Trade and Industry."

Media Badger
Digital Diaspora

"Most every Western country has diaspora communities, from fragile states and from other Western nations. With increased broadband Internet access around the world (surpassing 2 Billion people as of 2010) and the rapid growth of social technologies such as Facebook, blogs, Twitter and a number of other free services, diaspora’s are increasingly able to connect.

The Impact of Digital Diaspora
In Canada, as an example, the largest Tamil, Tunisian, Armenian and Haitian diaspora communities in the world are very active in social media. From recent immigrants to second and third or fourth generation. Secondary generations can now “connect” digitally with their countries of origin faster and at less cost than ever before possible."

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