With May ending, we head into a very busy June for UNU-WIDER (and midsummer). Next week we are back in Stockholm at Sida for the ReCom results meeting on ‘Aid, climate change, and the environment’. Later this month the Learning to Compete conference—on industrial policy in Africa'—will be held in Helsinki, together with our Board meeting. Plus, lots more publication, for your summer (northern hemisphere) reading.
Andris Piebalgs, EU Commissioner for Development
Imagine a world where global poverty is at a record low; growth in Africa—at a record high; EU development aid—unprecedentedly generous. Now open your eyes: this is the world we live in. However, this world also suffers increasingly from extreme weather conditions causing more and more severe natural disasters; millions of children go hungry every day and social inequality divides societies. The world is more complex than ever and we need to focus on the crucial issues which will create a better future for all of us. But there is one common thread that can guide us through the maze of future challenges—the post-Millennium Development Goals’ (MDGs) agenda and the agenda beyond 2015. Full article
Matthew Andrews, Harvard Kennedy School
The governance agenda has grown rapidly in the international development community. Words like ‘governance’ are commonplace and widely referenced indicators yield the agenda particularly visible. Such constructs offer implicit definitions of what ‘good governance’ is that inform the substance of governance reforms. These reforms are often sponsored by international organizations and target changes in government institutions, or rules of the game. With this increasing prominence it is no surprise that there is now talk of adding a governance indicator to the post-2015 development goals. This talk needs to be informed by concerns over the limited achievements of this agenda to date and the incentives it seems to foster for creating governance by appearance and not action.
Lorraine Telfer-Taivainen and Roger Williamson
Pathways to Industrialization in the Twenty-First Century, (edited by Adam Szirmai, Wim Naudé, and Ludovico Alcorta) a new book with important messages on industrial policy, particularly for successfully developing economies, was launched in mid-April at a packed lecture theatre at the London School of Economics. Full article
The world is a complex place where risk and uncertainty are an everyday challenge. Decision makers at all levels say they are drowning in information; they are longing for clarity and knowledge, rather than conflicting information and opinions. Full article
Developing countries have contributed negligibly to the present climate change problem but are the most vulnerable to its negative effects, bearing 70–80 per cent of the costs of environmental damage. Developing countries need to pursue a path that achieves harmony between economic development and environmental conservation. However, even when the developing countries have the necessary financial and technological resources, many of them lack the capacity to do so.
Climate change is in the process of transforming the environment of our planet over the course of the 21st century. A minimum of approximately two degrees centigrade of warming appears to be built into the climate system already over this period. Adaptations to the implications of these temperature rises will be required alongside mitigation efforts to curb further temperature rises. Official development assistance (ODA) aimed at facilitating this may serve as a new source of finance for lower-income countries.
Three national characteristics of Vietnam make it particularly vulnerable to man-made climate change. First, Vietnam’s economy is highly dependent on agriculture, and climate change may negatively impact farm revenues. Second, the country is located at the end of several trans-boundary river basins, and climate change may influence river flow in undesirable ways either through changes in precipitation/runoff patterns or by altering the behavior of upstream countries. Third, Vietnam’s low lying coastline is vulnerable to rising sea levels, which when combined with increased storm-surges, may lead to further population displacement and significant infrastructure damage.
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