Archive

Reuters blog archive

from The Human Impact:

Who’s key to gender equality? Hint: It’s not women

Photo

When it comes to women’s rights, it turns out it’s really all about men.

A recent World Bank report underscored that strong economies and greater education for women, once thought to be silver bullets against gender inequality in the world of work, are effectively trumped by persistent social norms.

Entrenched social attitudes and traditions remain among the greatest obstacles to realising women’s rights globally - and most of those attitudes and traditions are held or enforced by men, according to experts.

An emerging theme at this year’s United Nations Commission on the Status of Women  (CSW58), is an increasing acknowledgment of the importance of addressing and changing the attitudes of men and boys to achieve the stubbornly elusive goal of gender equality.

“We can empower women more and more, but if men remain the same, what’s the point?” Waruna Sri Dhanapala, minister counselor at Sri Lanka's permanent mission to the United Nations, told a panel discussion on Monday.

from Global Investing:

More development = fewer violent deaths in India

A recent report highlights the importance of economic development for India and indeed for all developing countries. It also shows why we should worry about the slow pace of reform in India and how that has hit growth rates.

Bank of America/Merrill Lynch analysts have picked up a report from the Institute for Conflict Management, a New Delhi-based think tank, showing that terrorism-linked deaths in India last year were 6 times lower than in 2001, a development they ascribe to the rapid growth the country enjoyed in this period. The graphic below shows the link:

from The Human Impact:

Only two Southern African countries on track to meet 2015 MDG water and sanitation targets – report

Some 120,000 children under the age of five in Southern African countries die every year from diarrhoea, which is primarily caused by lack of access to clean water and sanitation.

More than 40 million people in the region who should have received access to safe drinking water by 2015 will miss out, and 73 million will go without basic sanitation due to investment shortfalls, according to a report.

from The Human Impact:

What to make of the Daily Mail campaign to spend foreign aid on UK flood victims?

Photo

Earlier this week, the right-wing British tabloid the Daily Mail launched a campaign for the government to divert cash  from the foreign aid budget to help victims of the catastrophic floods wreaking havoc in southern England and Wales.

Populist campaigns are nothing new for the Mail, and this one – which attracted more than 100,000 signatures in 48 hours – followed a similar call by populist right-winger Nigel Farage, whose small UK Independence Party (UKIP) wants Britain to quit the European Union and who enjoys thinking up fringe policies which irritate the ruling Conservatives.

from The Human Impact:

The future of “building back better”: houses, schools, and political transformation too?

Photo

Disaster recovery experts and scholars alike seem to agree on at least one thing: disaster-recovery efforts should concentrate not only on restoring affected communities to pre-disaster levels, but should focus on “building back better” by linking immediate relief with long-term recovery and development.

Some go even further by suggesting that disasters can become an opportunity not  just to “build back better”, but to bring about political transformation by ending conflicts and improving governance in post-disaster settings.

from Felix Salmon:

When loans beat grants

What’s best: giving a man a fish, teaching a man to fish, or lending a man a fish? Nathan Fiala, of the German Institute for Economic Research, went to Uganda to find out, and the results of his study make for fascinating reading.

Fiala’s study is the first to directly pit the newly-trendy area of cash transfers (which come in both conditional and unconditional flavors), against the slightly tarnished area of microfinance. He found a group of small Ugandan businesses, and divided them randomly into five groups. The first received loans; the second loans with business skills training; the third cash grants; the fourth cash grants with business skills training; and finally, there was a fifth control group. The loans and the grants were both around $200; Fiala went back to all of the businesses after six months and nine months to see how the various groups were doing.

from The Human Impact:

Why India’s Mars mission matters, despite poverty

Photo

There has been much fanfare over the launch of India's first rocket to Mars - a mission which, if successful, will position the Asian nation as a major player in the global space race.

For days last week, local television news channels broadcast constant updates as the Indian Space Research Organisation readied to send "Mangalyaan" – the “Mars-craft” – to the red planet.

from Expert Zone:

Invisible hand of market at work

Photo

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

India's economic situation is at least grave, if not exactly in dire straits. Growth is at a decadal low, consumer inflation is persistently high, jobs have never been as scarce, the currency is volatile and the investment cycle is showing no signs of revival. Many of these problems are a result of bad policy and global economic conditions, but several are also the outcome of a natural economic cycle.

from Expert Zone:

Rajan panel proposals not a cure for disparity among states

Photo

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

The report of a committee headed by Raghuram Rajan on backward states has drawn attention to development disparities among states in India. Not that these were not known or assessed before. The report offers an index for identification of states according to the degree of backwardness and their share of financial assistance from the central government.

The committee’s recommendations, even if efficiently implemented, are not likely to show results soon. The per capita income in Bihar, for example, is a fourth of the per capita income of Goa and half that of Gujarat. But it is encouraging that GDP growth in backward states has recently accelerated and, to some extent, reduced the income gap. It took place because state governments realized that growth counts politically, not because of any additional assistance from the central government.

from Felix Salmon:

A very smart way to save antiquities

I first heard about the Sustainable Preservation Initiative back in 2009. Back then, it was little more than an idea attached to a tollgate. The problem at hand is the large number of antiquities and important archaeological sites which exist in poor areas of poor countries. Historically, that has been a recipe for looting; more recently, those sites have been more at risk of simply being bulldozed as urban areas sprawl. As SPI's Larry Coben and Rebekah Junkermeier write, the way that archaeologists have historically attempted to address those problems -- conservation, education and museums -- simply didn't work. So, they came up with another idea -- one which would give locals a sustainable financial incentive to maintain and preserve their patrimony.

Four years on, SPI is a well established organization. The bare-bones original concept was simply to put up a fence in front of an archaeological site, and let locals charge for admission. When tourists would arrive to see the ruins, they would pay the locals, creating a brand new income stream. Today, SPI's ambitions -- and the incomes, and the number of people that a single site can support -- are much bigger. The organization's first big project was in San Jose de Moro, in Peru, a region where incomes average $9.50 per day. SPI came in with a $48,000 one-time grant, which paid for a visitors center, a snack bar, toilets, a crafts workshop -- standard touristic infrastructure, which is now providing good incomes to a dozen local residents. The local crafts, based on local antiquities, are even available now on Novica.

  •