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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.

Drones for Development
Project Syndicate
Unmanned aerial vehicles have populated both the imagination and nightmares of people around the world in recent years. In April, the United States Navy announced an experimental program called LOCUST (Low-Cost UAV Swarming Technology), which officials promise will “autonomously overwhelm an adversary” and thus “provide Sailors and Marines a decisive tactical advantage.” With a name and a mission like that – and given the spotty ethical track record of drone warfare – it is little wonder that many are queasy about the continued proliferation of flying robots. But the industrial use of the lower sky is here to stay. More than three million humans are in the air daily. Every large human settlement on our planet is connected to another by air transport.

Confronting the Crisis of Global Governance
Commission on Global Security, Justice & Governance
Today’s global challenges, from mass violence in fragile states and runaway climate change to fears of devastating cross-border economic shocks and cyber attacks, require new kinds of tools, networks, and institutions if they are to be effectively managed. Climate change, economic shocks, and cyber attacks are likely to have lasting and far-reaching consequences, and the marked and visible increase in mass atrocities in one country after another has reversed the trend of declining political violence that began with the end of the Cold War.  Dealing with each of these issues calls for policies and actions beyond the writ or capabilities of any state and threatens to escape the grasp of present international institutions.

Global Peace Index
Institute for Economics and Peace
This is the ninth edition of the Global Peace Index (GPI), which ranks the nations of the world according to their level of peacefulness. The index is composed of 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators from highly respected sources and ranks 162 independent states, covering 99.6 per cent of the world’s population. The index gauges global peace using three broad themes: the level of safety and security in society, the extent of domestic and international conflict and the degree of militarisation.  In addition to presenting the findings from the 2015 GPI and its eight-year trend analysis, this year’s report provides an updated methodology to account for the economic impact of violence on the global economy

A Post-GDP World
Foreign Policy
In global governance, a country’s status is intimately connected with the size of its economy. In his influential book, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, Yale historian Paul Kennedy concludes that economic strength is more significant than military might when it comes to determining the international pecking order. This has certainly been the case during the 20th century, when Gross Domestic Product (GDP) became the key parameter deciding which countries should lead the institutions of global governance. Definitions of “superpower,” “middle power,” or “emerging power” have all been defined by GDP. The distinction between the “developed” and the “developing” world is also a result of GDP.

Can the data revolution transform how we finance development?
At the start of 2016, the U.N. will launch a new set of Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, to drive development efforts around the globe. But one question still needs some thought: How will we finance these new goals?   Even more questions lie within this broader question on finance. Which countries need more resources? What types of resources are needed most? Where does international finance, both public and private, currently flow? Where does it not? Answers to all of these require reliable and easy-to-understand data on all international financial flows.  When governments convene in July in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to agree on a framework for financing the new sustainable development agenda, there will be a key window of opportunity to improve the existing, haphazard approach to data collection and reporting

The state of gender equality: Where’s the data?
We may assume that we will know gender equality when we see it, but how? A few countries have reached milestones on individual measures, such as political representation or pay equity, but the world has few, if any, real-life examples of societies with full gender equality.  Moreover, our beliefs about whether we’re making progress overall are only as reliable as the data used to track specific improvements. But the best available statistics, broken down by country, are actually missing a staggering amount of information.  Bread for the World Institute recently launched an interactive data tool that makes such unavailable information “visible.” You can see at a glance the missing data on gender. In trying to get a complete picture of gender equality, we can see with this tool that women are, in many ways, missing from the picture.

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Photo credit: Flickr user fdecomite

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