Multinational corporations are lobbying the U.N. behind closed doors to keep tax avoidance off the list of targets in the Sustainable Development Goals, say advocates of global tax reform. Many experts cite tax avoidance by corporations and wealthy individuals as a major driver of inequality and poverty worldwide. The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), established by international consensus as a series of goals for reducing poverty and inequity, included reducing tax avoidance and evasion.
Republican attempts to indict Hillary Clinton did not end with the election and ongoing inquiries now put a Bangladeshi Nobel Peace Prize winner squarely in the crosshairs. Muhammad Yunus, and anti-poverty advocate of microfinance, is under political attack at home that is now fueled by the GOP.
Humanitarian needs are growing worldwide and international donors are not keeping up. So far, only one-quarter of the money requested for 2017 is available to respond to crises ranging from Syrian refugees to the more than 20 million people at risk of famine. More money is needed due to deteriorating conditions in conflict regions and the recent rapid growth of violence in the Kasai province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The United Nations is urging countries around the Caribbean to view the recent surge in refugees, from near and far, as a long-term benefit and not just a short-term challenge. More than 5,000 people came to various Caribbean nations last year seeking asylum, representing a 257 percent increase in the number of asylum seekers between mid-2015 and mid-2016 for the region.
As the battle continues between Islamic State-affiliated militants and the Philippine military in the southern city of Marawi, humanitarian agencies are scrambling to care for the hundreds of thousands of evacuees who have fled the devastation. An estimated 300 to 500 civilians remain trapped in the city, held hostage as ‘human shields’ for the rebels.
Human rights experts are warning about negative impacts from U.S. President Donald Trump’s plan to revive some of the trade and travel restrictions with Cuba that former President Barack Obama had relaxed in an effort to improve relations between the two countries. Many had said the sanctions against Cuba had accomplished little, other than to undermine the economic opportunities of Cubans.
Despite widespread opposition, Japan has passed a controversial counter-terrorism law that targets the planning stages of crimes. And you thought the Philip K. Dick book and movie Minority Report about a futuristic law enforcement agency of thought police was just science fiction!
Canada has decided to shift its foreign aid spending so that it emphasizes empowering women and girls. By setting a goal of 15 percent of aid spending on gender equality, Canada will become the single largest contributor in bilateral funding to women’s rights organizations.
Germany wants to start a new global emergency relief fund just as the U.S. announces its intention to leave the United Nation’s Green Climate Fund. The announcements come roughly a week apart and show how diverging priorities for some of the world’s largest economies may reshape the humanitarian system.
If you are an American, you might be excused for thinking the world is less peaceful lately. But in fact, overall, the planet is a bit more peaceful than it was last year. Not so much for the U.S., however, or for regions embroiled in war and civil conflict. That’s the assessment of the new Global Peace Index in its annual report based on 2016 statistics.