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Europe Global Environment & Development The New South From G8 to G20 The Development Agenda UN Reform Global Finance Doha Final The Euro-zone in Crisis Eastern Europe

The global social crisis
The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs' (DESA) 2011 World Social Situation Report (WSS 2011) speaks of the "Great Recession". However, it does not refer to this evocative term in its policy chapters concluisions. Given the severity of the 2008-2009 recession and the looming risk of a second dip in 2012 - this is a missed opportunity.
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Nepal: A second chance for the Maoists
Nepal is struggling to overcome the aftermaths of a decade-long civil war that cost 11,000 lives. The war formally ended in 2006, but violence and impunity continue in parts of the country, as a new Prime Minister, from the Maoist Party, takes over as elected head of the interim government.
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Non-FDI modes of international production
International production is not exclusively about foreign direct investment (FDI) on the one hand and trade on the other. There is a third pillar: NEMs which include contract manufacturing, services outsourcing, contract farming, franchising, licensing, and management contracts.
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The euro zone and its periphery: Bail-out 2.0
The EU summit on 21 July 2011 got much publicity, but produced quite limited results. It brought some short-term relief for Greece and other euro zone states in the periphery, but did hardly anything to deal with underlying problems. Its main result was buying time.
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Europe taking the lead on speculations tax
Out of the ashes of the 2008 financial crisis, an idea that progressives have been kicking around for decades - a financial transactions tax (FTT) - took on new life. There were hopes that the G20 would take up the proposal. And there were some early encouraging signs. Today, however, European leaders are going ahead on their own.
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Revitalising Africa's cotton sector
Market conditions are ripe for a resurgence of African cotton farming - recent global prices are more than double their average for the last 20 years. And prospects for sustained demand appear good as a number of developing country economies, as a by-product of continuing growth, search for greater supplies of cotton and textiles.
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Trade union rights violations still ubiquitous
Colombia and the Americas maintain the lead in a grim record of murder and repression of workers involved in trade union activities in the latest world Annual Survey of violation of trade union rights released by the ITUC at the 100th ILO Conference.
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BRICS Executive Directors at IMF concerned
The Executive Directors of the BRICS countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - at the International Monetary Funds published a statement of concern on the selection process of the next Managing Director of the fund.
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It is time for Greece to say goodbye to the euro
Sometimes there is turmoil in the markets because a government threatens to do what is best for its citizens. This seemed to be the case in Europe last week, when the German magazine Der Spiegel reported that the Greek government was threatening to stop using the euro.
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LDCs set to jump start to a green economy
With their low-carbon profile, rich natural assets and promising policy initiatives, the world's 48 least developed countries are well-positioned to jump start the transition to a green economy, according to a new UN report.
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The tyranny of the central bankers
The European Central Bank (ECB) announced earlier this month that it was raising its overnight lending rate by a quarter of a percentage point to 1.25%. This is very bad news for people across the euro zone countries and possibly the rest of the world as well. Furthermore, it reveals the democratic deficit of fundamental decisions about economic policy.
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Sanya/China: Summit of the BRICS countries
Leaders of BRICS - China, Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa - issued a joint declaration at the conclusion of the BRICS Summit in Sanya/China on 14 April. The joint declaration lists the BRICS nations' consensus on global economy, international financial issues and developmental affairs.
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Portugal on its way to the slaughter house
After some hesitations, the Portuguese government announced that it would seek support from the EU and the IMF. It did so in the face of systematic downgrading of Portugal's creditworthiness by US rating agencies and rapidly mounting interest rates.
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Global environmental governance at Rio+20
There is little faith in the reform of the UN system; nonetheless, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, to be held in Rio de Janeiro in 2012 - also known as Rio +20 - is not only to set the stage for a green economy, but also to provide an impetus for the institutional reform of the UN environmental sector.
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Bangkok: North-South battle on the Kyoto Protocol
During the latest round of climate talks last week in Bangkok, developing countries have challenged the rich nations to state once and for all whether they want to stay inside or quit the Kyoto Protocol. This North-South battle had already been boiling the whole of last year...
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WBGU Report: A social contract for sustainability
The German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) has just published its latest flagship report, World in Transition: A Social Contract for Sustainability. In this report, the WBGU explains the reasons for the urgent need for a 'post fossil-nuclear metabolism'. It also concludes that the transition to sustainability is achievable, and presents ten concrete packages of measures to accelerate the necessary restructuring.
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International monetary reform: Proposal for G20
In March, at a meeting in Beijing organized by Columbia University's Initiative for Policy Dialogue and China's Central University of Finance and Economics, scholars and policymakers discussed how to reform the international monetary system. After all, even if the system did not directly cause the recent imbalances and instability in the global economy, it proved ineffective in addressing them.
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Climate action and natural disasters
As a new round of global climate negotiations under the United Nations starts this week in Bangkok, the evidence of natural disasters is all around us. Even as the effects of Japan's triple crisis of earthquake, tsunami and the nuclear disaster continue, newspapers in Bangkok are filled with stories and images of disastrous flooding in Southern Thailand that have inundated towns and villages and affected a million people.
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LDC-IV: Structural transformation and decent work
A new report by the International Labour Office (ILO) recognizes the growth revival in the least developed countries (LDCs) in the last decade, but argues that major structural challenges in the nature of growth, employment and decent work remain. Decent work and minimum wages should become an integral part of the LDC agenda.
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The IMF and reforming the global monetary system
Since Dominique Strauss-Kahn - the self-anointed "reform director" - became the head of the International Monetary Fund, the IMF has made enormous gains in power but reform of its policies and governance model are far behind. This discrepancy will not be remedied by the French G20 presidency either.
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The recent escalation of food prices
In January 2011, the international food price index surpassed levels reached during the 2007-08 food crisis. According to a new UNICEF working paper (see reference), extreme price movements of agricultural commodities not only threaten the food security of millions of people but also the economic recovery and social stability of developing countries.
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