War and violence cost the global economy $13.6tn (£10.2tn) in 2015, according to the annual global peace index. Terrorism is at a record high and the effects of conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa have been felt far beyond the region.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) Information Sharing Center (ISC) in Singapore. In those ten years, ReCAAP ISC has grown into a true multilateral organization comprising 20 nations across globe working toward the safety and security of the maritime commons.
Commentary around recent developments in the economies of sub-Saharan Africa has centered on a trifecta of threats: low commodity prices, China’s slowdown, and the rising cost of external borrowing. The region’s robust growth over 2000-2014, analysts say, is slowing down.
Although international attention has focused on continued developments in North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, commercial satellite imagery indicates that Pyongyang is also improving its conventional military forces. Notably, serious resources have been channeled into upgrading the North’s naval capabilities.
During a recent series of talks with academics and analysts on the prospects for the G20 Leaders Summit in Hangzhou on Sept 4 and 5, Fredrik Erixon, director of the European Center for International Political Economy (ECIPE), made two points that impressed me.
Myth has it that Prometheus stole fire from the Gods and brought it down from Mount Olympus to Earth for the betterment of humankind. Another, more deadly type of fire was brought to the world on 16 July 1945 when the first nuclear explosive device was detonated at the Alamogordo Test Range in the desert of New Mexico, USA. In the intervening seven decades, nine different States have carried out over 2000 nuclear explosions, polluting the world’s oceans, atmosphere and land with devastating health effects on many millions of people and the environment.
The UN is still important, but it needs to be reformed for a new age
Over the past several weeks, the Islamic State group has suffered major tactical defeats on the battlefield, including the loss of a major logistics route into the caliphate, Manbij, and being driven from what was considered its strongest external foothold outside of Iraq and Syria, Sirte.
On September 4-5 President Barack Obama attends his final annual summit of the Group of 20 (G20) in Hangzhou, China. The event is a fitting bookend for his presidency. The very first G20 summit took place in Washington just days after Obama’s election, meaning that his administration and the G20 have grown up together.
In many countries, particularly in Europe, immigration is increasingly framed as a security issue. Mainstream politicians, bowing to pressure from fear-mongering populists, are calling for tighter restrictions, and some countries are openly flouting their legal obligation and moral responsibility to provide protection to refugees fleeing conflict.
The Brundtland Report defines the word ‘sustainable’ as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. Ultimately, it’s about maintaining the Earth’s natural resources to ensure the wellbeing of our children, our children’s children, and the generations beyond.
The skies above this small northern Iraqi town are black with smoke and ash rains down from around a half dozen oil wells that Islamic State group fighters set ablaze as Iraqi troops moved in to retake Qayara last week.
The construction and equipment of a school, the drilling of a well, training in agro-ecology for farmers, the development of a health center… these are all examples which reflect the wide variety of microprojects. These projects provide simple and sometimes innovative solutions for improving the quality of life of the world’s poorest populations. An interview with Cécile Vilnet, coordinator of the Micro Projects Agency (AMP).
There is a leadership struggle underway within Boko Haram, the violent, extremist movement that has claimed more than 20,000 lives since 2011 and destabilized the secular Nigerian state and its neighbors.
In 2015, about one in every 150 cars sold in the U.S. had a plug and a battery. But mass adoption of electric vehicles is coming, and much sooner than most people realize.
For the millions of people living in remote rural areas of Ethiopia who lack access to the power grid or cannot afford electricity, solar energy represents an important first step on the energy access ladder. Instead of relying on kerosene, candles, dry cell batteries and other fossil fuel-based sources of power, they can now turn to off-grid solar to light up their homes, watch television and charge mobile phones, thanks to an initiative of the Government of Ethiopia supported by the World Bank.
On the morning of the 1st of October 1960, Nigerians celebrated their freedom from British colonial rule. Now, 56 years later, the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) group hopes to recreate this for the Niger Delta region by seceding from the rest of Nigeria. How they intend to do this remains unclear but, one established fact is that President Buhari will not rest on the country’s oars and watch it disintegrate. Rather, he is prepared to use every single governmental structure available to retain Nigeria’s sovereignty which he swore to protect. Is a repeat of the 1967 Biafran war on the horizon? No one can say, really, until the 1st of October this year. In the meantime, there is a need to understand how the Niger Delta Avengers have since positioned themselves in the oil rich region, and how they can now demand a republic of their own.
Shoolchildren from small-town Georgia to suburban Baltimore will encounter a new approach to learning when they head back to class this fall—one that makes them partners in their own education, not just participants.
The billions of dollars in aid delivered to Africa annually may do the continent much good, but it cannot deliver a solution to poverty. Only creating more high-quality jobs can do that. The question is how.
A handful of cities have invested considerable time, energy, and tax-dollars into building an exciting new kind of public infrastructure only for it to be abandoned and fall into disuse shortly after completion. Like the ghost-town villages and crumbling stadiums of Olympic host cities, open data portals were built and celebrated only to be forgotten after the thrill of newness faded away. Local governments are reacting and responding to demands from their constituencies to be more open, accountable, and effective.
The run-up to the battle for Mosul, the northern Iraqi city held by ISIL since June 2014, is slow but steady. Government troops are engaged in fierce battles with the militants south of the city while US engineers are busy upgrading an airbase recaptured from the extremist group last month to serve as the main military hub for the operations.
While al Qaeda may soon return to preeminence in the global jihad recruitment competition, it is evolving in the face of existential challenges such as the American post-9/11 counter-terrorism regime, competition from the Islamic State, and a rapidly changing Middle East. al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, Jabhat al Nusra (or the al Nusra Front as it’s commonly referred to in the United States), officially rebranded itself as Jabhat Fath Al Sham -- “Conquest of the Levant Front” -- in order to appeal to a broader range of recruits and moderate opposition groups in the Syrian civil war. Exposing his face to the camera for the first time, al Nusra’s leader, Abu Muhammad al Julani, declared a soft split from al Qaeda and a moderated agenda to avoid Western scrutiny. His move raises questions about the future role of al Qaeda’s “core” leadership under Dr. Ayman al Zawahiri -- which is increasingly isolated from the Syrian conflict. Given its diminished role, it is increasingly unlikely that al Qaeda’s “core” leadership will retain relevance, leaving two plausible paths for al Qaeda and al-Julani: al-Julani orchestrates a coup, or, as the more involved and charismatic leader, he assumes leadership through a peaceful handoff by Zawahiri.
In San Bernardino County, Calif., 82,000 people were ordered to leave their homes Wednesday as an explosive wildfire “hit with an intensity that we hadn’t seen before,” as one fire official said, and surged across 30,000 acres.
“Are they the Chibok girls?” Every time there is news of the women and girls held by Boko Haram – as Jama’at Ahlus-Sunnah Lida’awati wal-Jihad (JAS) is commonly known – this is always one of the first questions; and the answer is usually no.
The military campaign against the Islamic State has jelled, and ISIS defeatscontinue to mount. As shown in the ouster of Islamic State forces last week from Manbij in Syria and Sirte in Libya, the group’s fighters are now fleeing abroad or into the desert rather than fight to the death to hold untenable positions in cities and towns.