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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.


World Humanitarian Summit: three tests for success
Thomson Reuters Foundation
After months of feverish consultation, preparation and speculation, the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) will finally kick off in Istanbul on May 23. The two-day Summit will convene 6,000 aid leaders to decide on how better to respond to today’s defining crises. So, what will mark the difference between an anti-climactic letdown and a rallying achievement? Here are my three measures of success.

World Employment and Social Outlook
Over the past two decades, significant progress has been made in reducing poverty in the majority of countries. In emerging and developing countries, taken as a whole, it is estimated that nearly 2 billion people live on less than $3.10 per day (adjusted for cost-of-living differences across countries). This represents around 36 per cent of the emerging and developing world’s population, which is nearly half the rate that was observed in 1990, when the initial international commitments to reduce poverty were undertaken. During the same period, extreme poverty – defined as people living on less than $1.90 per day – declined at an even faster rate to reach 15 per cent of the total population of emerging and developing countries in 2012, the latest available year

How mobile phones are disrupting teaching and learning in Africa
The Conversation US
Mobile phones have become ubiquitous in Africa. Among younger users, basic phones are most common. But more pupils are accessing smartphones that can connect to the internet – and taking them along to school. Phones are often used in school whether they’re allowed or not. Although they can enable valuable access to information, they also bring new responsibilities and dangers. It’s remarkably common for classes to be interrupted by both pupils’ and teachers’ phones. Access to pornography as well as bullying and harassment through phones is widely reported. We have conducted a study of young people’s mobile phone use in Ghana, Malawi and South Africa. Our findings emphasise the central place that mobile phones occupy in many young people’s lives. Before the mobile phone arrived in Africa, few people had access to landlines. The mobile phone represents far more of a communication revolution in Africa than in richer countries.

World Cities Report 2016
The analysis of urban development of the past twenty years presented in this maiden edition of the World Cities Report shows, with compelling evidence, that there are new forms of collaboration and cooperation, planning, governance, finance and learning that can sustain positive change. The Report unequivocally demonstrates that the current urbanization model is unsustainable in many respects. It conveys a clear message that the pattern of urbanization needs to change in order to better respond to the challenges of our time, to address issues such as inequality, climate change, informality, insecurity, and the unsustainable forms of urban expansion.

Designer activism and post-democracy
Open Democracy
Celebrity philanthropists like Bono, Madonna, George Clooney and Angelina Jolie have become the public face of the humanitarian agenda, along with gala events such as Comic Relief in Britain and its counterpart Red Nose Day in the USA. There’s nothing new about the social elite becoming publicly involved in ‘good causes,’ but today’s highly-networked configurations of power, business, media and charity are different: ‘designer’ activists, campaigners and philanthropists are flourishing as never before. But there’s a puzzle: there is little evidence that celebrity endorsements contribute to higher levels of donations to their favored charities, and opinion polls suggest that celebrity advocacy has a peculiar legitimacy with the public. Most people are not persuaded by it—but they also believe that most other people are. Some minor testimony to this skepticism can be seen in the success of satires from Helen Fielding’s debut novel Cause Celeb to the Instagram site BarbieSavior.

Understanding community perception: mine builds trust through mobile phones
The Guardian
“Masazane” means getting to know each other in isiZulu. It’s a fitting name for the project that is enabling just that: a closer relationship between a mine and its local community, powered by technology.  The Masazane Project trialled the effectiveness of mobile phone technology as a tool to successfully engage with communities on a real time basis. The 12-month pilot has been running for several months and community perceptions of the mine are provided on a real-time basis.  The project sought to gain community members’ views on the mine’s impacts – both positive (ie employment) and negative (ie environmental) – the quality of the relationship between the mine and the communities, and the extent to which communities trust and accept the operation.

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Photo credit: Flickr user fdecomit

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