Yearly Archives: 2009
The United Nations predicted Wednesday that the global economy will shrink 2.6 percent this year as a result of the world financial crisis – a considerably deeper downturn than the 0.5 percent contraction forecast in January.
In its midyear economic projections, the U.N. said developing countries have been disproportionately hard hit by the global economic crisis.
The crisis started in developed countries, but the U.N. report said developing nations have suffered most from capital outflows, rising borrowing costs, collapsing world trade, lower commodity prices and falling remittances from overseas workers. [emphasis mine]
The good news is that it may all get better next year…unless of course it gets worse. But for now, the crisis continues to pummel those who are least able to weather the storm. And consider this: only seven countries are on target to meet the minimum growth rate to significantly reduce their poverty rates. This will understandably make the already ambitious Millennium Development Goals even harder to achieve, but, given the culpability of developed nations in causing the crisis, only increases their imperative to contribute to global poverty reduction.
(image from flickr user IFRC under a Creative Commons license)
The Associated Press has the story:
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged Beijing on Thursday to cooperate on climate change, calling a safe environment a basic human right.
Speaking at Beijing’s elite Tsinghua University, Pelosi continued the theme of her five-day China trip – that combating global warming represented a new challenge that both governments must tackle jointly.
“We are all in this together,” Pelosi told an audience of about 200 students and faculty who applauded enthusiastically throughout the 45-minute session. “The impact of climate change is a tremendous risk to the security and well-being of our countries.”
Here’s a video of some excerpts from the speech:
A sad fact about life is that when things get tough, it’s often those who can least afford more hardship who bear the brunt.
The global economic crisis is exacerbating human rights abuses, Amnesty International has warned.
In its annual report, the group said the downturn had distracted attention from abuses and created new problems.
Rising prices meant millions were struggling to meet basic needs in Africa and Asia, it said, and protests were being met with repression.
We’ve been remiss in covering the so-called Major Economies Forum, the gathering of the world’s top 17 greenhouse gas emitters that concluded in Paris yesterday. And while some of the big economies may be calling for emissions reductions targets less stringent than, say, small island nations would prefer, the gap between the United States and Europe may be shrinking. Even though Germany and France are urging 25-40% reductions by 2020, compared to the goal of 17% set out by the still ambitious (by U.S. standards) Waxman-Markey climate bill in the U.S. House, Obama climate envoy Todd Stern suggests these numbers are more similiar than they may appear (via Andy Revkin):
The United States is proposing to make a seismic change in U.S. policy,” he said. “The president is proposing to do that, and Congress as well is in the middle of working on this. The level of reductions we’re talking about, the level of effort we’re talking about from where we are, from a few years back before where we are, is about the same as what Europe is proposing to do.”
The key, of course, for the United States no less than the other 16 major emitters, is achieving what is possible politically. But political will, Al Gore assures us, is as renewable a resource as he would have us implementing to power our homes.
Unlike the foolhardy China alienation strategy of Dan Blumenthal and Robert Kagan, Robert Farley actually connects the right dots and sees how harnessing a relationship with Beijing will in fact be the only way to influence Pyongyang. In addition to the very real interests that China has in North Korea (preventing a refugee influx, avoiding a nuclear power across its border), Farley adds this key point:
China’s relatively close relationship with North Korea means that Beijing likely has a clearer understanding of the internal situation of the Pyongyang regime than the United States. China probably has a better notion than the US of the balance of power between factions in the succession crisis, and a better idea of which levers to pull in order to strengthen one faction over another. [emphasis mine]
North Korea’s missile tests, it should be emphasized, were almost surely the result of this internal political maneuvering (and most probably to appease the North Korean military apparatus). This storyline is decidedly in contrast to that reflexively assumed by many advocates of a “tougher” North Korea policy (or even the less hawkish): that North Korea’s actions were a bit of intentional muscle-flexing designed to provoke or “test” President Obama. Not that this factor might not have influenced the North Korean military’s calculation, but it reverses the lens with which this should be analyzed; the missile testing was likely directed inward at least as much as outward.
Manchester United is playing Barcelona in today’s UEFA Champions League final. As an American, this does not mean too much to me. But I couldn’t pass up noting one thing.
Here’s Barca’s Uniform
And here’s the Man U kit:
So it’s the global financial crisis versus the children. I’ll let you guess who we at Dispatch are pulling for today.
The SG: In Ethiopia over the weekend, the SG is now in the United Arab Emirates. Today he met with Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashed Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, where the two discussed developments in the region, including Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan, and in the Middle East Peace Process.