By Pir-Mohammad Mollazehi* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
TEHRAN (IDN) - In what way is the oil wealth of the Arab countries being spent? Is that wealth being used to promote sustainable social, cultural, political and economic development in Arab countries and, thus, plays a positive role in the life and livelihood of the Arab masses? Or is it being used in the opposite direction and is actually destroying the entire infrastructure in the Arab world, and instead of being a silver bullet for the maladies of the Arab countries, is only a scourge?
It is not easy to pass a simple judgment on this issue and many positive or negative arguments can be offered here. However, if the current conditions in the Arab world are examined more closely, especially after the political developments that have come to be known as the Arab Spring, one can, at least, claim that more than being a cure to their intractable ailments, the Arab oil wealth has been a scourge in disguise.
By Richard Johnson | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
GENEVA (IDN) - “What does it mean to live on US$1.25 a day?” asks GCAP’s Michael Switow, and points to photographer Stefen Chow and economist Lin Hui-Yi’s interesting approach to answering this question. In their photo essay they shows how much food an individual at the poverty line can buy. In Brazil, for example, where the poverty line is US$1.23/day, someone could buy one pineapple. In Switzerland, the poverty line is much higher at more than US$10 per day, but this still only buys two sausages or one bunch of romaine lettuce.
By Hiba Zayadin* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
CAIRO (IDN) - The first step in General Abdel Fattah El-Sisi's roadmap to “democracy” has been implemented. A new charter has replaced the 2012 constitution drafted during former President Mohamed Morsi's short-lived presidency giving Sisi the legitimacy he seeks to strengthen the army's grip on Egypt's political system. Over 98% of participants voted in favour of approving the new constitution. According to officials, the voter turnout was 38.6% of the Egyptian population – higher than the 33% who voted on the constitution presented during Morsi's tenure.
There was little doubt the new military-backed constitution would pass. On the first day of the voting process, polling stations featured women ululating in celebration, Egyptian flags being waved, and soldiers carrying flowers handed to them by people displaying their support for the army.
By James Mackie* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
BRUSSELS (IDN) - While the debate on Scottish independence is heating up prior to the referendum in September 2014, it is important to consider what implications an independent Scotland would have for UK and European development aid. While the UK aid would undoubtedly be affected, this new donor country would need to make an effort to minimize the effect on further aid fragmentation.
Scottish independence would lead to more fragmentation of European development cooperation and a major reduction in Department for International Development (DFID) programmes as a result of an estimated GBP 1 billion cut in its budget, yet neither of these two outcomes are really dealt with in two recent reports on what a Yes vote in the 2014 Scottish referendum would mean for development cooperation.
By J C Suresh | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
TORONTO (IDN) - A new report has underlined the interdependence of the world economy, which is expected to strengthen in 2014 with growth picking up in developing countries and high-income economies appearing to be finally turning the corner five years after the global financial crisis.
According to the World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects (GEP) report, the firming of growth in developing countries is being boosted by an acceleration in high-income countries and continued strong growth in China. However, growth prospects remain vulnerable to headwinds from rising global interest rates and potential volatility in capital flows, as the United States Federal Reserve Bank begins withdrawing its massive monetary stimulus.
By Antonia Sohns* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
WASHINGTON (IDN) - In October, Christiana Figueres, the head of the United Nations body tasked with producing a global climate treaty gave an impassioned speech during which she stated that future generations are being condemned by the lack of a global agreement. Political action is required to rectify the existing prejudice of development in favor of current generations, with disregard for the future. Intergenerational justice may be improved and sustainable development enhanced, by investing in youth and in using financial incentives to deter unsustainable practices.
By Jutta Wolf | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
BERLIN (IDN) - Austerity policies in several countries around the world are denying work to millions of people and leaving vast production opportunities unused, says a new study by the German-based World Future Council (WFC), which places the value of lost production at 2.3 trillion U.S. dollars annually. This corresponds to Britain’s gross domestic product. Losses in the 18-nation Eurozone triggered by public austerity alone are estimated at a minimum of 580 billion Euros each year.
By David Dapice* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
MEDFORD (IDN |Yale Global) - As the year that saw the world’s strongest economy brought to the precipice of a default comes to a close, and many wonder if 2014 promises more stability? Judging by most forecasts, including that of the International Monetary Fund, the global economy may grow about 3.5 percent, but confidence in that forecast is subject to more than usual hedging due to several policy unknowns and uncertainties.
As unemployment in the developed world remains steady and growth in the emerging economies dependent on lackluster performance of the industrialized economies, a question mark hangs over economic prospects worldwide.
By Jaya Ramachandran | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
STOCKHOLM (IDN) - African countries, which are party to the 1996 African Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty of Pelindaba and already contribute a signiﬁcant share of the uranium used in the peaceful nuclear industry worldwide, have been asked to develop “a full understanding of their extractive industries, to avoid the risk that uranium will be supplied from unconventional sources – for example, as a by-product of other mining activities”.
By Peter Tase* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin (IDN) - Over the last two years, the Colombian government has given high priority to diplomatic efforts meant to shore up its immediate security situation, actively pursuing bilateral, trilateral and multilateral agreements with various governments in the region and beyond.
Colombia occupies a strategic position in the western hemisphere: it has a large territory connecting North America with the South, and it has enormous shores on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. This geostrategic advantage allows Colombia to act as a gate of entry for South America, and its network of sea ports processes a large volume of commodities and other shipments coming in and out of the United States and Europe on a daily basis.
By Said Khaloozadeh* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
TEHRAN (IDN) - Every time that the European Union (EU) has established an independent diplomatic mission in a country, it has been construed as a sign of the willingness of the EU member states to promote their relations with that country. Therefore, it seems that the European Union has decided to improve and promote the level of its relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran.
In order to achieve that goal, one good way is to open an independent embassy in the Iranian capital city of Tehran. This will also open the way for future negotiations between the two sides on the conclusion of a bilateral trade and cooperation agreement, and will also help Tehran and the EU to further strengthen their mutual relations. The next stage will be the opening of an independent embassy by the Islamic Republic of Iran in the seat of the EU in the Belgian capital city of Brussels, which will be a further sign of improvement in bilateral relations