These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
The State of Broadband 2014: Broadband for all
Broadband Commission for Digital Development (ITU and UNESCO)
The Broadband Commission for Digital Development aims to promote the adoption of effective broadband policies and practices for achieving development goals, so everyone can benefit from the advantages offered by broadband. Through this Report, the Broadband Commission seeks to raise awareness and enhance understanding of the importance of broadband networks, services, and applications to guide international broadband policy discussions and support the expansion of broadband where it is most needed. This year, the Report includes a special focus on the importance of integrating ICT skills into education to ensure that the next generation is able to compete in the digital economy.
Facebook Lays Out Its Roadmap for Creating Internet-Connected Drones
If companies like Facebook and Google have their way, everyone in the world will have access to the internet within the next few decades. But while these tech giants seem to have all the money, expertise, and resolve they need to accomplish that goal—vowing to offer internet connections via things like high-altitude balloons and flying drones—Yael Maguire makes one thing clear: it’s going to be a bumpy ride. “We’re going to have to push the edge of solar technology, battery technology, composite technology,” Maguire, the engineering director of Facebook’s new Connectivity Lab, said on Monday during a talk at the Social Good Summit in New York City, referring to the lab’s work on drones. “There are a whole bunch of challenges.”
UN Forest Pledge Relies on Supply Chains, Human Rights
The United Nations has set its first ever global deadline to end forest loss, bringing together for the first time actors that have been perennial antagonists. A coalition of national governments, companies, civil society organisations and indigenous groups has signed a declaration committing them to halve deforestation by 2020 and ending it by 2030. The plan should, the UN says, reduce the world’s carbon emissions by between 4.5 and 8.8 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year. Western governments have committed around $1 billion in funding.
Cost of gathering data on new development goals could be crippling
For the past decade and a half, the world has made a few smart promises with the millennium development goals (MDGs): to halve the proportion of people who suffer from hunger and poverty, get all children in school and dramatically reduce child mortality. We have seen a move towards success, although not all targets will be met. Surprisingly, we have little information about what exactly we have achieved. While you can go on websites and, for instance, see how well Botswana is doing with poverty eradication, the truth is that most data is based on only one household survey – from 1993. Most of the available numbers are not based on data but on projections and estimates.
How to see into the future
The Undercover Economist
Billions of dollars are spent on experts who claim they can forecast what’s around the corner, in business, finance and economics. Most of them get it wrong. Now a groundbreaking study has unlocked the secret: it IS possible to predict the future – and a new breed of ‘superforecasters’ knows how to do it
Victims receive little of funds spent on anti-trafficking – report
Millions of dollars have been spent to fight human trafficking but it is not clear how this money is spent and very little actually reaches the victims themselves, according to new research. The concerns raised in the latest edition of the Anti-Trafficking Review, an annual journal by the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW), call into question the efficiency and effectiveness of funds that governments, the United Nations and private foundations pour into anti-trafficking efforts. "Compared to much other spending by governments and international aid programs, the degree of transparency and accountability on how these millions are spent has been very limited," Mike Dottridge, guest editor and former director of Anti-Slavery International, said on Tuesday in Bangkok at the launch of this year's journal. He added that the vast sums spent on improving the criminal justice system have not translated into increased quantity and quality of prosecution of traffickers.
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