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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.

A Year After Panama Papers, Is Enough Being Done to Stop Illicit Finance?
Transparency International
One year ago today a group of more than 300 journalists in 79 countries sent a powerful message to the corrupt: you can no longer hide. The publication of the Panama Papers on 3 April 2016 was a shot heard around the world against corruption. Suddenly one of the most closely held secrets of the biggest criminals was revealed – where and how they hide their money. The Panama Papers showed how a Panamanian law firm helped set up 214,000 secret shell companies, many of them used by corrupt politicians, criminals and tax abusers around the world. The law firm, Mossack Fonseca, was just one of hundreds of law firms around the world that provide services that can be used to enable corruption, illicit financial flows, drug-dealing, terrorism, tax evasion and the surge in economic inequality. The Panama Papers showed how secretly owned companies are an important vehicle for corruption that allows secret movements of money and other activity away from the eyes of law enforcement, tax collectors, regulators and others.

Human Development Report 2016
The report finds that although average human development improved significantly across all regions from 1990 to 2015, one in three people worldwide continue to live in low levels of human development, as measured by the Human Development Index. This is a concern in developed countries too, where poverty and exclusion are also a challenge, with over 300 million people – including more than one-third of all children – living in relative poverty. The report shows that in almost every country, several groups face disadvantages that often overlap and reinforce each other, increasing vulnerability, widening the progress gap across generations, and making it harder to catch up as the world moves on.

Global Report on Food Crisis 2017
Food Security Information Network
The European Union, FAO and WFP have joined forces with FEWS NET, UNICEF and regional organisations like CILSS, IGAD and SICA to coordinate needs assessment to increase the impact of humanitarian and resilience responses through the preparation of the “Global Report on Food Crises”. This Global Report aims to enhance coordination and decision making through a neutral analysis that informs programming and implementation. The key objective and strength of the report is to establish a consultative and consensus-based process to compile food insecurity analyses from around the world into a global public product. The Report compares and clarifies results of food security analyses conducted by various partners and across geographical areas to provide a clear picture of acute food insecurity situation. The report provides food security population estimates for countries selected on the basis of the degree of risk of facing acute food crises in 2016 and beyond. In addition, a detailed food security analysis is presented for those countries and/or population groups facing high severity and magnitude of acute food insecurity based on IPC/CH classification.

The future of technology in crisis response
United Nations OCHA
From delivering aid with drones to replacing food parcels with digital payments, the humanitarian sector has experienced more disruption due to technology in the past decade than we have in the past 50 years. Last week UN agencies, NGOs, start-ups, tech and financial services giants gathered in Mountain View, California at the annual Humanitarian ICT Forum, hosted by Google, to discuss how to empower people in crisis through digital connectivity. Participants held important discussions on how to: expand digital payments to people living in crises; bring humanitarian data collection, sharing and analysis to the next level; and ensure two-way communication with crisis-affected people is the operational norm. As Gwi-Yeop Son, Director of Corporate Programmes at OCHA, one of the forum’s conveners, put it: only by connecting people in crisis can vulnerable people access the information and tools they need to make the best decisions to protect themelves and their families. Here are 8 takeaways from the forum

Games, not handbooks, to beat insecticide resistance
If you are unable to listen to this audio, please update your browser or go here to download. Public health managers around the world rely on insecticides to control diseases spread by mosquitoes – from familiar names such as malaria and dengue to newer threats such as Zika and chikungunya. But as mosquitoes continue to survive use of insecticides, options are running out. And new products are not yet ready to be deployed. This means that proper management of resistance to existing tools is vital.  In this audio interview, Edward Thomsen, from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine in the UK, explains why he and his team are looking to digital gaming and simulation tools to foster a culture of proper insecticide management.

The world has made great progress in eradicating extreme poverty
The Economist
TO PEOPLE who believe that the world used to be a better place, and especially to those who argue that globalisation has done more economic harm than good, there is a simple, powerful riposte: chart 1, below. In 1981 some 42% of the world’s population were extremely poor, according to the World Bank. They were not just poorer than a large majority of their compatriots, as many rich countries define poverty among their own citizens today, but absolutely destitute. At best, they had barely enough money to eat and pay for necessities like clothes. At worst, they starved. Since then the number of people in absolute poverty has fallen by about 1bn and the number of non-poor people has gone up by roughly 4bn.

Photo credit: Flickr user fdecomit

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