Articles on international development

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The United Nations says people “left behind” include those vulnerable to the effects of climate change, but aren’t the furthest behind those damaging the environment? Here, a man rides a bicycle through a devastated Homs, Syria. Numerous studies say climate change was a factor in record-setting drought, one of several causes of the country’s civil war. AP Photo/Dusan Vranic

‘Leaving no one behind’ conveys a paternalistic approach to development

The United Nations Declaration on sustainable development stresses "leaving no-one behind," but what about the factors that cause many to be behind in the first place?
Farmer-led development projects in places like Tanzania, shown here, can increase access to food and water, and reconnect people to nature. (Cecilia Schubert/flickr)

How to reduce poverty and re-connect people to nature

Farmer-led development work can improve people's lives, provide access to food and water - and re-connect them to nature.
International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt speaking in 2017. Nick Ansell/PA Wire/PA Images

Gesture politics and foreign aid: evidence vs spin

There needs to be a more honest debate around the topic of foreign aid – there isn't much evidence in the claim that it's a pressing concern for much of the public.
COP 22 President Salaheddine Mezouar from Morocco, right, hands over a gavel to Fiji’s prime minister and president of COP 23 Frank Bainimarama, left, during the opening of the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany, Monday, Nov. 6, 2017. AP Photo/Martin Meissner

Many small island nations can adapt to climate change with global support

Although climate change threatens the world's small island nations, many can find ways to adapt and preserve their homes and cultures – especially if wealthy countries cut emissions and provide support.
Some Peace Corps volunteers already provide computer assistance and instruction. Peace Corps

Is it time for a Cyber Peace Corps?

The US could help solve a global security problem and boost its image abroad by helping willing experts share their cybersecurity knowledge around the country and the globe.
No need for a bank: Just a smartphone and a blockchain. Houman Haddad/UN World Food Program

Can blockchain technology help poor people around the world?

Already becoming a darling of Wall Street, blockchain technology's biggest real benefits could come to the world's poorest people. Here's how.
Paul Odihambo shows off a bore well in his village outside of Kisumu, Kenya that a DIY aid group donated. Susan Appe

Will Trump’s cuts inspire more DIY foreign aid?

With steep budget cuts looming, a growing number of tiny volunteer-driven organizations are delivering aid on their own. Will the Trump administration inspire even more small-scale global giving?
If implemented, President Trump’s proposed foreign aid cuts would have many repercussions. Kendra Helmer/USAID

US foreign aid, explained

As President Trump puts U.S. foreign aid on the chopping block, few Americans know much about it. Perhaps even fewer realize that the U.S. lags behind its peers on this front.
Women in rural Malawi, outside an AIDS hospital. AIDS was the first of the ‘new’ pandemic threats, after bird flu. Author provided.

How the Trump budget undercuts security risks posed by pandemics

An active outbreak of a type of bird flu in China raises concerns about worldwide pandemics. Ebola and Zika viruses still threaten. Here's why this is not the time to cut funding.
Clean water can help to break the link between poor hygiene and eye diseases such as trachoma. Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA)

It’s a fallacy that all Australians have access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene

As Australia joins a New York summit to discuss the UN Sustainable Development Goals, it still faces questions over whether it is meeting water standards at home.
An excavator clears land for a palm oil plantation in southern Sierra Leone for a Lichtenstein-based a company. Such projects are criticised by some as ‘land grabs’. Reuters/Simon Akam

How a project with good aims delivered bitter outcomes in Sierra Leone

International development banks are supposed to ensure adherence to human rights in the projects they fund. Instead, their practices provide fertile ground for human rights abuses.

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