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If only Hillary Clinton had been president of the World Bank and not chief of US diplomacy.

The former Secretary of State now says she wants the world to see her emails. This, to fend off a new controversy in which reporters, researchers, archivists, political adversaries and posterity itself might have been denied access to her official communications — which she apparently stored on a private server somewhere in her suburban mansion in New York.

But the emails of Jim Yong Kim, Robert Zoellick, Paul Wolfowitz and other World Bank presidents cannot be subpoenaed by Congressional investigators or requisitioned by investigative reporters under any freedom of information law.


The future lies in the past. What has happened will determine what will come. The idea that we can change everything and save the world at the last minute is exciting in movies but it does not work in real life. It particularly applies when we speak about issues like climate change where the consequences of what we did in the past century are just beginning to manifest.

This principle applies also to climate negotiations. What is now on the table after the climate negotiations held in Geneva from 8-13 February 2015 is setting the scope and the range of possibilities for the climate agreement at the upcoming COP 21 in Paris this December.


Over the past twenty years we have heard constantly that the world has the resources to address global development challenges such as poverty, environmental degradation, diseases and inequalities. However, despite the resources “being there” human development plans have been consistently underfunded.

Clearly, existing “trickle-down” and redistribution mechanisms are not being effective and will be woefully inadequate to fund the implementation of the universal SDGs agenda.


A couple of months ago, with the indignation about the latest World Bank report in which poverty was seen as a ‘cognitive tax’, I promised to write something on hope. Because there are several reasons why hope is back on the agenda.

A radical left party won the elections in Greece, end of January. The negotiations with the European Union on debt rescheduling and austerity policies are very very difficult, but they are going on. Greece does not want to leave the Euro, nor the European Union, but does want other mechanisms for respecting the common rules that are inherent to a currency zone.

It is impossible to predict how these negotiations will end. Everything might still go wrong, and Greece might be forced out of the Euro. Apart from the disastrous consequences this would have for life in Greece itself and for the rest of the European Union, the future looks in fact rather rosy. Why?


There are now two types of developing countries, and both have become increasingly vulnerable to financial crises in recent years. This is the main message of an impressive and sobering new report from the South Center.

One of the factors driving the massive rise in global inequality and the concentration of wealth at the very top of the income distribution is the interplay between innovation and global markets. In the hands of a capable entrepreneur, a technological breakthrough can be worth billions of dollars, owing to regulatory protections and the winner-take-all nature of global markets. What is often overlooked, however, is the role that public money plays in creating this modern concentration of private wealth.


The German DIW just published a new study on the European Financial Transaction Tax. Its revenues are higher than expected, even with a 75 % reduction of turnover! What follows is the executive summary in English of the analysis:


The present study examines the effects of the introduction of a financial transaction tax along with enhanced cooperation across 11 European Union member states. In particular, based on the tax concept of the European Commission, the tax revenues for four participating countries, Germany, France, Italy, and Austria, are estimated.


According to the United Nations, over 1,100 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and more than 8,600 representatives have registered to participate in this year’s session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).

“This is a reality check on the part of the member states." -- Mavic Cabrera-Balleza of the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders

Described as the primary intergovernmental body mandated to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women, the 45-member CSW will hold its 59th sessions Mar. 9-20.


STATISTICS presented at the World Economic Forum recently reminded us about the scale and effect of poverty. According to Oxfam, by next year, more than half of the world’s wealth will sit in the hands of the top 1%. Closer to home, the two richest men in SA have wealth equal to the poorest 26.6-million people (according to Forbes). About half of SA’s population lives in poverty.


The most recent step in the post-2015 negotiations was the 17-20 February debate in New York on the Declaration, meant to be the framework political statement. Despite strong emphasis on transformation and high aspiration, traditional lines were drawn between (mostly) Northern and Southern positions.

At the same time, the debate was rich and nuanced, reflecting the increasing diversity of developing country concerns and their willingness to engage substantively on issues that will be critical to transformation. The process continues to suggest there is historic potential for redressing some of the longstanding imbalances driving deep social and economic disparities, and the impending collision with planetary boundaries. The notion that post-2015 is supposed to universally apply to every country and person in the world is unprecedented—never before has there been a development agenda this broad in scope.


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