Why Would Anyone Want This Job? The WHO Prepares to Elect a New Chief

GENEVA — In late May by secret paper ballot, all 194 member states of the World Health Assembly that have paid their dues will cast their votes for one of three final candidates in the first-ever election of the planet’s top doctor: the director-general of the World Health Organization. The candidates are Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, … Read more

A Poverty-Easing Plan to Help Displaced People and Their Host Countries

WASHINGTON, D.C. — One year ago, almost 1 percent of the world’s population, about 65 million people, had been forcibly displaced from their homes. That is a population size that would constitute a nation larger than Britain or would be the world’s 21st-largest country. But instead of creating their own country, the majority of the 65 … Read more

Ruth Messinger: A ‘Global Ambassador’ Pushing for Women’s Progress

In the political annals of New York, the 1990s boasted a strong presence of women not only in government but also at the United Nations. One such woman, Ruth Messinger, served as Manhattan borough president from 1990 to 1998, with time out in 1997 to run for mayor of New York City on the Democratic … Read more

The UN’s Support of Midwifery and the Serious Gaps That Remain

Midwifery is one of the world’s most ancient vocations, its practitioners playing a prominent role dating back to the Bible. In much of the world, midwives continue to play an important role in maintaining the health of women and newborns. It should come as no surprise, then, that investments in this occupation, according to the … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Peace Wins a Place in Several New UN Development Goals

A key new element in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that will be adopted formally in late September at the United Nations is the inclusion of goals and targets that go beyond the traditional development objectives of the Millennium Development Goals and address social transformation more broadly. In particular, the new framework singles out … Read more

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The 10 Youngest Nations by Population? They’re Mainly in Africa

While the graying population around the world is rising in countries like Japan and South Korea, along with much of the United States and Europe, other parts of the world — primarily Africa — are experiencing the opposite situation, with young people claiming the majority. The contrast between oldest and youngest populations can be stark: … Read more

Illegal Money Transfers From Developing Nations Nearing $1 Trillion

A nonprofit research organization based in Washington, D.C., estimates that in 2011 — the latest data available — $946.7 billion flowed out of developing countries in various illegal ways, including diversions by corrupt officials and businesses as well as through tax evasion, terrorist transfers and cash moved across borders in the suitcases of traffickers. Furthermore, … Read more

Developing Nations Take Aim at the World Bank

In a direct challenge to Western control of two major international financial organizations, the five countries known as the BRICS — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — announced on July 15 the formation of a new development bank that they will control. The final plans to establish the bank, to be named the … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

The World Trade Organization: Seeking a Fair Balance of Interests

WTO conference in Bali 2013

Working most of the time, far away from the attention of the world public, an international organization was recently in the limelight: the World Trade Organization. After lengthy negotiations on liberalization measures in world trade, which started in 2001 and dragged on because of considerable differences of opinion between the developed and the developing countries, … Read more

Poverty Stalks Eastern European and Central Asian Countries

A family in Macedonia is making coffee using a Primus stove after a power outage

The world’s most abjectly poor people are most often — too often, they say — illustrated by faces from South Asia or sub-Saharan Africa, where numerically, the majority of the global poor live. A new interactive report from the World Bank moves the focus north, to eastern European countries and Central Asia, where scores of people … Read more

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Jan Eliasson Explains His Role as No. 2 at the UN

Jan Eliasson, deputy secretary-general of the UN

Jan Eliasson has been the deputy secretary-general of the United Nations since July 2012, the second in command after Ban Ki-moon. Eliasson, 73, is a former Swedish foreign minister and was ambassador to the United States twice, among other foreign postings. He was also president of the UN General Assembly and a key UN mediator … Read more

Obscured by a Diplomatic Dispute, Slavery Persists in India

Indian villagers participating in IPEC

Over the last year, as India and the United States headed for an impasse over how to deal with an Indian deputy consul-general in New York indicted for visa fraud for bringing a domestic worker into the country — and then abusing the employee’s rights — numerous reports were emerging on the prevailing extent of … Read more

World Bank, WHO and Japan Seek Full Health Coverage in All Nations

While Americans quarrel over the Affordable Care Act — Obamacare — much of the rest of the world has established or is moving toward universal health care for all citizens, and the World Bank is taking a lead in setting measurable targets for meeting that goal as a priority in human development. “The quest for … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Could European Social Democracy Happen in Bangladesh?

Rana Plaza in Dhaka

Over the last year, the terrible working conditions in Bangladesh’s garment factories have made headlines around the world. The Tazreen Factory fire, in which more than a hundred people were killed, was followed quickly by the collapse of another factory at Rana Plaza, a catastrophe that killed more than 1,100 workers. Responses by Western corporations … Read more

So You Want to Be a Furnace Cleaner? Nyet!

Belarus stadium

If you are an aspiring snowmobile driver in Kazakhstan and happen to be a woman, you’re out of luck. The same goes for operating cranes at sea, among other labor-intensive jobs in the country, which bans women from dozens of such positions. It could be worse. In Russia alone, women are barred from 456 types … Read more

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Bangladeshi Pioneer Invests in Women From the ‘Ultra-Poor’

Fazle Hasan Abed, founder of BRAC

Fazle Hasan Abed runs the world’s largest nongovernmental development organization. He has garnered numerous international prizes, honorary degrees, very important friends and a British knighthood. Yet in the United States, Abed’s successes, won through a creative self-help program centered on mothers and their families, are virtually unknown. So here is his story, and BRAC‘s. The … Read more

Where’s the Money? Funds for Millennium Development Goals Lag

Garbage dump in Bamako, Mali

With 827 days to go until the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals — the United Nations’ flagship agenda for global development — the buzzword at the General Assembly’s annual opening debate in New York this week was “acceleration.” A clear sense of urgency dominated many talks, particularly as the world body prepares to draw … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Business in Kinshasa Rolls On While Eastern Congo Simmers

Marketplace in Kinshasa

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Democratic Republic of the Congo is riddled with negative media attention. In the midst of virtually persistent conflict in eastern Congo since 1993, what goes on far away in Kinshasa, the capital of this massive country? Economic reforms, health care developments and a culture of music and creativity are providing support … Read more

A Tale of Sierra Leone and Striving for Transparency

Britain, the world’s major center for investment in the extractive industries, is reviving the international debate on how open management of mining can prevent conflicts. The issue was raised in a Security Council meeting on June 19, after a seven-year hiatus on the subject in that setting. It was also discussed at the Group of … Read more

Poverty Experts Want New Thinking on Development Goals

A colonial-era home in Bolama, an island off Guinea-Bissau

If 2015 comes and goes with a significant number of Millennium Development Goals failing to meet their targets, questions will abound over whom or what to blame. There will also be skepticism over reports that a few of the goals have already been met with 100 percent success. In general, specialists in development have already … Read more

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