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Weekly wire: The global forum

Darejani Markozashvili's picture

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

Transnational Crime and the Developing World
Global Financial Integrity
This March 2017 report from Global Financial Integrity, “Transnational Crime and the Developing World,” finds that globally the business of transnational crime is valued at an average of $1.6 trillion to $2.2 trillion annually. The study evaluates the overall size of criminal markets in 11 categories: the trafficking of drugs, arms, humans, human organs, and cultural property; counterfeiting, illegal wildlife crime, illegal fishing, illegal logging, illegal mining, and crude oil theft. The combination of high profits and low risks for perpetrators of transnational crime and the support of a global shadow financial system perpetuate and drive these abuses. The report also emphasizes how transnational crime undermines economies, societies, and governments in developing countries. National and global policy efforts that focus on curtailing the money are needed to more successfully combat these crimes and the illicit networks perpetrating them.

The Climate Change-Human Trafficking Nexus
International Organization for Migration
Climate change increases the risk of natural disasters and places a strain on livelihoods. This may contribute to high-risk behaviours and other negative coping strategies among affected populations, such as resorting to unscrupulous recruitment agencies associated with human smuggling and trafficking. This IOM infosheet explores  the links between climate change, human trafficking and smuggling in the Asia-Pacific region. To address these challenges, the infosheet provides an overview of best practices from existing projects in the region.

Starving to death
The Washington Post
Our world produces enough food to feed all its inhabitants. When one region is suffering severe hunger, global humanitarian institutions, though often cash-strapped, are theoretically capable of transporting food and averting catastrophe. But this year, South Sudan slipped into famine, and Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen are each on the verge of their own. Famine now threatens 20 million people — more than at any time since World War II. As defined by the United Nations, famine occurs when a region’s daily hunger-related death rate exceeds 2 per 10,000 people. The persistence of such severe hunger, even in inhospitable climates, would be almost unthinkable without war.

Terrorism and the Media
Terrorism and the fight against terrorism have become major elements of domestic and international politics, with the media firmly on the front lines, especially when attacks target civilian populations. The dilemmas and challenges that result are immediately clear. Citizens expect the media to inform them as completely as possible without going overboard or resorting to sensationalism. The authorities call for restraint by evoking the risks of excessive coverage for the integrity of operations or the calm of the population. Accusations of being the megaphone of terrorism to attract audiences weigh constantly on media, who are often operating on over-drive. Despite the significance and recurrence of terrorist acts, the media often struggles to find its footing. “Often questions are asked and matters settled only in an emergency, at the risk of incoherence and blunder,” says Christophe Ayad, a Middle East specialist at Le Monde. “Everyone fumbles around, advancing on a case-by-case basis.” The quality of terrorism coverage obviously depends on many factors. It is determined, among other things, by the degree of freedom of the press in each country, the economic resources available to the media, cultural factors and singular conceptions of ethics and the social role of the media, notes Shyam Tekwani, regarding the situation in Asia.

Architects: Key to Future Cities Lies in Making the Poor Visible
Voice of America
With 70 percent of the world’s population expected to live in cities by 2050, getting urban planning right is crucial to ensuring future cities are safe, resilient and fair places, particularly for the poorest residents, experts said Wednesday. As Africa urbanizes, its cities will need 700 million more homes, 310,000 more schools and 85,000 additional health centers by 2050, said Christian Benimana, a Rwandan architect. “How we set up all this infrastructure has to be carefully thought through,” said Benimana, who works with MASS Design Group, which focuses on architecture that promotes human dignity. “It can’t be a random thing, in the way we’ve been doing it for 100 years. We have to think seriously. If we don’t, the current situation where economic inequality is blatantly visible will worsen,” Benimana said.

The Insecurity of Inequality
Project Syndicate
Global inequality today is at a level last seen in the late nineteenth century – and it is continuing to rise. With it has come a surging sense of disenfranchisement that has fueled alienation and anger, and even bred nationalism and xenophobia. As people struggle to hold on to their shrinking share of the pie, their anxiety has created a political opening for opportunistic populists, shaking the world order in the process. The gap between rich and poor nowadays is mind-boggling. Oxfam has observed that the world’s eight richest people now own as much wealth as the poorest 3.6 billion. As US Senator Bernie Sanders recently pointed out, the Walton family, which owns Walmart, now owns more wealth than the bottom 42% of the US population. I can offer my own jarring comparison. Using Credit Suisse’s wealth database, I found that the total wealth of the world’s three richest people exceeds that of all the people in three countries – Angola, Burkina Faso, and the Democratic Republic of Congo – which together have a population of 122 million.

Photo credit: Flickr user fdecomit

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