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Weekly wire: The global forum

Roxanne Bauer's picture

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

Even in Era of Disillusionment, Many Around the World Say Ordinary Citizens Can Influence Government
Pew Global

Signs of political discontent are increasingly common in many Western nations, with anti-establishment parties and candidates drawing significant attention and support across the European Union and in the United States. Meanwhile, as previous Pew Research Center surveys have shown, in emerging and developing economies there is widespread dissatisfaction with the way the political system is working. As a new nine-country Pew Research Center survey on the strengths and limitations of civic engagement illustrates, there is a common perception that government is run for the benefit of the few, rather than the many in both emerging democracies and more mature democracies that have faced economic challenges in recent years. In eight of nine nations surveyed, more than half say government is run for the benefit of only a few groups in society, not for all people.

Media Development and Countering Violent Extremism: An Uneasy Relationship, a Need for Dialogue

This report looks at how media development practitioners are reacting to the rise of the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) agenda, and its growing influence on their field. This influence is the cause of concern, not only because practitioners of CVE and media development have fundamentally different worldviews, but because the CVE agenda is seen to pose serious risks for southern media houses and the organizations that support them. Still, these risks are unlikely to be addressed without coordinated efforts from both sides. However uneasy the relationship, a dialogue between CVE and media development is needed.

Debt: Use It Wisely
IMF Fiscal Monitor

At 225 percent of world GDP, the global debt of the nonfinancial sector—comprising the general government, households, and nonfinancial firms—is currently at an all-time high. Two-thirds,  amounting to about $100 trillion, consists of liabilities of the private sector which, as documented in an extensive literature, can carry great risks when they reach excessive levels. However, there is considerable heterogeneity, as not all countries are in the same phase of the debt cycle, nor do they face the same risks. Nevertheless, there are concerns that the sheer size of debt could set the stage for an unprecedented private deleveraging process that could thwart the fragile economic recovery. Resolving this “private debt overhang” problem is, however, not easy in the current global environment of low nominal output growth. In light of these developments, this issue of the Fiscal Monitor examines the extent and makeup of global debt and asks what role fiscal policy can play in facilitating the adjustment.

World Disasters Report- Resilience: saving lives today, investing for tomorrow
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent

This World Disasters Report makes the case simply and eloquently for a different approach to humanitarian action, one that strives to strengthen the resilience of vulnerable and at-risk communities. To paraphrase the report: investing in resilience saves lives and money.  This is by no means a new idea, but the widening gap between available resources and persistent, urgent needs in southern Africa, the Sahel, the Horn, across South and South-East Asia, and in many parts of Latin America, makes it more compelling and more urgent than ever before. If we are to break this cycle of crisis-response, and make real progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals and disaster risk reduction, the answer is not just better response: it must also be fewer people in need. A focus on resilience should not replace or undermine the humanitarian imperative that demands that all need is addressed directly and with dignity.

Domestic Resource Mobilization: Tax System Reform
Center for Strategic and International Studies

This is the first in a series of four policy memos that explore various facets of domestic resource mobilization (DRM) and will examine the role of tax systems. DRM is commonly defined as the mix of financial resources available to a government to fund its operations, including direct and indirect taxes, other revenue, and borrowing from local capital markets. This series of policy memos is concerned with the tax or domestic revenue side of DRM, whereas the three subsequent memos will explore other topics related to DRM: the role of donors in supporting DRM, how good public financial management impacts DRM, and the political side of DRM. Donors have long provided support for tax reform, but since the adoption of the Millennium Development Goals in September 2000, donor and recipient governments have increasingly placed local resources at the center of efforts to tackling development challenges. This conversation has gained importance in the last five years as the international development community adopted the more ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015, which aim to end extreme poverty by 2030.

European commissioner lands top job at World Bank
Financial Times

Kristalina Georgieva is to become chief executive of the World Bank in January, leaving a top post at the European Commission just a few months after her unsuccessful bid to be appointed UN secretary-general. The move takes the Bulgarian commissioner, who has won widespread praise in Brussels for her steady handling of the EU’s politically fraught budget, back to the World Bank in Washington where she first made her name as a senior official.

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Photo credit: Flickr user fdecomit

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