These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
Digital News Report 2016
Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism
This year we have evidence of the growth of distributed (offsite) news consumption, a sharpening move to mobile and we can reveal the full extent of ad-blocking worldwide. These three trends in combination are putting further severe pressure on the business models of both traditional publishers and new digital-born players – as well as changing the way in which news is packaged and distributed. Across our 26 countries, we see a common picture of job losses, cost-cutting, and missed targets as falling print revenues combine with the brutal economics of digital in a perfect storm. Almost everywhere we see the further adoption of online platforms and devices for news – largely as a supplement to broadcast but often at the expense of print.
Food Security and the Data Revolution: Mobile Monitoring on the Humanitarian Frontline
Advanced Training Program on Humanitarian Action, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative
Obtaining real-time and actionable information on the needs of affected populations has long been a priority for humanitarians; so keeping up with new technologies that could improve existing data collection systems is also a necessity. Innovations such as mobile phones and the Internet have already profoundly changed the nature of humanitarian work. They are proving to be faster and cheaper than legacy information systems, increasing the amount of information that decision makers have, and ultimately enabling them to save more lives. However, what is truly transformative is their potential to reach previously ‘invisible’ populations.
Man versus virus
THE director of the World Health Organisation knew the plan would fail. To rid the world of smallpox was impossible. Each year, 2m people still died of it. Total global vaccination was a chimera. Besides, no disease had ever been eradicated. But since he had been pushed into it by the Soviet Union and the United States, he would put an American at the head of it, so that when everything went down the tubes it would be America’s fault. The year was 1966; he asked for Donald Henderson. In terms of revenge, he picked wrong. D.A., as everyone called him, was not at all inclined to fail.
Accountability dilemmas in foreign aid
Many of the problems with foreign aid stem from two interrelated accountability dilemmas. On the one hand, in deciding on aid policies and interventions, donor agencies are accountable to their own parliaments and domestic pressure groups rather than to foreign aid beneficiaries in recipient countries. On the other hand, their resulting focus on short-term targets and results can undermine efforts to build the institutions needed for the long-term sustainability of development outcomes. These dilemmas generate some ‘contradictions’ that are very difficult for donors to avoid and that have consistently undermined aid effectiveness. This paper offers a set of ideas and suggestions for rebalancing accountabilities in development assistance. These span from the need to provide more development assistance through multilateral institutions and to finance it with independent and direct sources of revenue, to identifying necessary reforms in donor agencies aimed at designing more appropriate aid interventions.
2016 Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report- Education for people and planet: Creating sustainable futures for all
The 2016 Global Education Monitoring Report (GEM Report) is both masterful and disquieting. This is a big report: comprehensive, in-depth and perspicacious. It is also an unnerving report. It establishes that education is at the heart of sustainable development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), yet it also makes clear just how far away we are from achieving the SDGs. This report should set off alarm bells around the world and lead to a historic scale-up of actions to achieve SDG 4. The GEM Report provides an authoritative account of how education is the most vital input for every dimension of sustainable development.
What the G20 is doing – and why it matters
As the leaders of the world’s 19 biggest economies and the European Union meet in the beautiful southern Chinese city of Hangzhou for the culmination of China’s year at the helm of the G20, it pays to ask exactly what they’re doing – and why it matters. Yes, the G20 really does matter, and for a whole fistful of reasons. The most important is that, even though the group has expanded its agenda and activities dramatically since its inception in 2009, it remains an informal group, with all the flexibility and ease that implies. The world’s pressurised governments badly need a forum like this, one in which they can hammer out practical measures for collective action with some room to manoeuvre.
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Photo credit: Flickr user fdecomit