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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.

Views on National Economies Mixed as Many Countries Continue to Struggle
Pew Research Center

Almost a decade after the global financial crisis rattled national economies, many in the world feel their respective countries’ economies remain weak. A new Pew Research Center survey reveals a bleak picture in parts of Europe, with more than eight-in-ten in Greece, France and Spain describing their country’s economic situation as bad. This gloom is not shared by all in the European Union, however – most Swedes, Germans and Dutch say their economy is doing well. And in China, India and Australia, views are mostly positive. Just three of the 12 nations for which trends are available have seen an increase of public confidence in their national economy in the past year. This mirrors the International Monetary Fund’s projection that 2016’s global growth will be modest and fragile.

Predicting The Break: How Nations Can Get Ahead Of The Next Refugee Crisis

Europe's leaders were so caught off guard by the refugee crisis when it first erupted in 2014 that the German city of Cologne—overwhelmed by the number of asylum-seekers that November—bought a luxury tourist hotel for $7 million to house some of them. It would only get worse. The whole of Europe, in fact, was shell-shocked (and who wouldn't be at the sight of Aylan Kurdi?). The big question now, for governments, migrations researchers, and analysts, is: Can we do better next time?

How State Capacity Varies within Frontier States: A Multi-country Subnational Analysis
Governance Journal

While there is a growing literature on state formation and the rise of state capacity over time, this literature typically deals with differences between countries, neglecting the fact that state formation also occurs differentially within a country over time. This article examines legacies of state formation spatially, by looking at variation within “frontier” states—countries that in recent centuries have extended rule over new territories adjacent to their core regions. Frontier zones are found to have ongoing lower levels of public order and deficient public goods provision. Several theories are examined to explain this discrepancy, including internal resettlement, costs of monitoring and enforcement, and the relationship between settlers and the indigenous population. It is argued that the formation of strong social institutions among settlers leads to resistance to attempts to impose governance over frontier regions, and to “select for” lower fiscal capacity and lower provision of public goods.

Natural Resource Revenue Sharing
Natural Resource Governance Institute

In nearly every country, subnational governments receive public funds, either through direct tax collection or through intergovernmental transfers. However, in more than 30 countries—including Bolivia, Canada, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Indonesia, Nigeria and Papua New Guinea—distribution of non-renewable natural resource revenues to subnational authorities is governed by a set of rules that are distinct from those governing distribution of non-resource revenues. Resource revenue sharing has been promoted as a remedy to the “resource curse” in several conflict-affected states such as Iraq, Libya and Myanmar. But while these systems can promote economic development and help mitigate or even prevent violent conflict in resource-rich regions, they can also impede the transformation of natural resource wealth into wellbeing. In some places, they have exacerbated boom-bust cycles and regional inequalities. Worse, depending on how they have been designed and implemented, they have sometimes intensified violent conflict rather than alleviating it.

Protected Planet Report 2016
United Nations Environment Programme

The Protected Planet Report 2016, launched at the World Conservation Congress on 2 September, assesses how protected areas contribute to achieving the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity and relevant targets of the Sustainable Development Goals, two of the most important environment and sustainable development commitments ever made by governments in the international fora. It highlights current research and case studies as examples of the role protected areas play in conserving biodiversity and cultural heritage.

The Ecosystem of Shared Value
Harvard Business Review

In the past, companies rarely perceived themselves as agents of social change. Yet the connection between social progress and business success is increasingly clear. Consider these examples: The first large-scale program to diagnose and treat HIV/AIDS in South Africa was introduced by the global mining company Anglo American to protect its workforce and reduce absenteeism. The €76 billion Italian energy company Enel now generates 45% of its power from renewable and carbon-neutral energy sources, preventing 92 million tons of CO2 emissions annually. And MasterCard has brought mobile-banking technology to more than 200 million people in developing countries who previously lacked access to financial services. If business could stimulate social progress in every region of the globe, poverty, pollution, and disease would decline and corporate profits would rise.  

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Photo credit: Flickr user fdecomit

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