Iceland’s prime minister, Katrin Jakobsdottir, speaks to the media after voting at a polling station in Reykjavik, Iceland, Sept. 25, 2021 (AP photo by Arni Torfason).

Iceland almost made history at the end of September, when it looked like the country had elected Europe’s first majority-female parliament, with women holding 33 of 63 seats. After a recount, however, the share of seats held by women declined to 30. Still, in a world where the average share of female lawmakers is 25.5 percent, even this degree of parity is an achievement. It might seem especially satisfactory because it was done without any mandatory quotas requiring a certain level of women’s representation in parliament. But three of Iceland’s five largest parties had adopted voluntary gender quotas, which appears to have […]

Women and teachers demonstrate inside a private school to demand their rights and equal education for women and girls, Kabul, Afghanistan, Oct. 5, 2021 (AP photo by Ahmad Halabisaz).

Last week, a group of Afghan women appealed to the United Nations, imploring it not to recognize the Taliban’s proposed ambassador to the global body as the representative of their country. “The UN needs to give that seat to somebody who respects the rights of everyone in Afghanistan,” Fawzia Koofi, a former Afghan politician and peace negotiator, told reporters. The group’s call was echoed by Ghulam Isaczai, the embattled ambassador appointed by the government the Taliban ousted, in remarks he made to the U.N. Security Council. “Women and girls in Afghanistan are pinning their hopes and dreams on this very […]

A view of banners promoting the U.N. COP26 climate conference, Glasgow, Scotland, Oct. 29, 2021 (AP photo by Scott Heppell).

This is the web version of our subscriber-only Weekly Wrap-Up newsletter, which gives a rundown of the week’s top stories on WPR. Subscribe to receive it by email every Saturday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it directly to your email inbox. Starting Sunday, all eyes will be on Glasgow, where the United Nations Climate Conference will be taking place for the next two weeks. The COP26 summit has been described as the world’s last chance to head off the worst-case catastrophic scenarios projected by climate scientists. According to the most recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate […]

Detail from the Catalan Atlas, a medieval map produced in the 1370s, depicting Mansa Musa of the Mali Empire (Bibliotheque Nationale de France, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons).

No regular reader of my columns at World Politics Review can be surprised by now that I believe the future of Africa is one of the most important as well as one of the most neglected questions facing humankind. Africa is so routinely marginalized from the concerns of global affairs that even among otherwise well-informed people, most are unaware that it is the continent where almost all the action is taking place in terms of worldwide demographic growth. So it bears repeating here what I have written before: Africa’s population, which at the outset of my own career was about […]

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann during a press briefing at the OECD Ministerial Council meeting, Oct. 6, 2021, Paris (AP photo by Patrick Semansky).

A new agreement negotiated under the auspices of the G-20 and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development aims to crack down on tax havens by subjecting the world’s largest and most profitable multinational corporations to a minimum corporate tax rate of 15 percent. The deal has been agreed by 136 countries and jurisdictions, collectively representing more than 90 percent of the global economy. The OECD is hoping it will become effective by 2023. Many economists and commentators argue that such a deal is long overdue, given the ability of many gigantic corporations to avoid paying taxes on all or […]

Supporters attend a rally for a group of young people who filed a lawsuit saying U.S. energy policies are causing climate change and hurting their future, Portland, Ore., June 4, 2019 (AP photo by Steve Dipaola).

At next month’s long-awaited United Nations Climate Summit in Glasgow, all eyes will be on national leaders to make commitments that give the world a chance to limit average global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. At a recent youth-led event, Hilda Nakabuye, founder of the Ugandan Fridays for Future movement, articulated the impatience felt by young people across the world, calling on global leaders to finally “put on their big boy pants, to stand up and to take concrete climate action!” All the focus on the leaders at center-stage, however, risks missing the action taking place […]

The sun shines near the Space Needle during a record-setting heat wave, Seattle, Washington, June 28, 2021 (AP photo by Ted S. Warren).

The slow pace of carbon emissions reductions and the increasingly obvious, devastating consequences of climate change make it imperative for the world’s governments to develop a broad portfolio of strategies to manage climate risk. That portfolio currently includes three main strategies, all of which will be discussed at the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow: mitigation of the causes of climate change, via emissions cuts; adaptation to its effects; and carbon dioxide removal, via both nature-based solutions and negative-emissions technologies.  Given the quickening pace and growing magnitude of the climate emergency, however, the world must also consider the feasibility and wisdom of adding a fourth arrow to […]

Polisario Front soldiers sit on a cliff in the Boujdour refugee camp, Algeria, Oct. 15, 2021 (AP photo by Bernat Armangue).

After two years of diplomatic deadlock, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appointed a new envoy for Western Sahara, a territory disputed between Morocco and the pro-independence Polisario Front, which represents the ethnic Sahrawi population of the territory. The recent designation of seasoned Italian-Swedish diplomat Staffan de Mistura marks a much-delayed and critical step forward in a standoff that, if left untreated, risks spreading instability elsewhere in the region.  The temperature has been rising of late in this often-overlooked conflict. In November 2020, fighting flared up between Morocco and the Polisario Front. A month later, President Donald Trump threw fuel on the […]

A climate change demonstrator mocks Sen. Joe Manchin, who has blocked President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda, at the Capitol in Washington, Oct. 20, 2021 (AP photo by J. Scott Applewhite).

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin is not well-loved among Democrats in Washington these days, but for champions of a greener world economy, he is someone who needs to be understood. In fact, for anyone looking to forecast the outcomes of the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, all you need to do is track Manchin’s moves and those of his political counterparts in the world’s top coal-producing democracies to understand the new politics of the green transition and energy nationalism.  At the moment, Manchin, a Democrat who represents the coal-producing state of West Virginia, is the main obstacle to a grinding push by […]

People passing a graffiti mural showing composer Ludwig van Beethoven on a street in Bonn, Germany, Feb. 19, 2020 (AP photo by Martin Meissner).

Editor’s note: This is Emily Taylor’s final weekly column. We’d like to thank her for her engaging and compelling coverage of tech issues over the past seven months, and we’re thrilled that she will continue to be a regular WPR contributor. The world premiere of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 10, or Beethoven X, which was completed by artificial intelligence, came and went earlier this month with barely a ripple. At a technical level, the achievement is extraordinary, and the music that resulted from it is not bad. It even sounds a bit Beethovenish. Yet it left this listener rather cold. […]

A mother holds her baby receiving a malaria vaccine as part of a trial at the Walter Reed Project Research Center in Kombewa, western Kenya, Oct. 30, 2009 (AP photo by Karel Prinsloo).

No animal on the planet is responsible for more death than the mosquito. They may lack the shark’s sharp teeth, the snake’s poisonous bite or the crocodile’s powerful jaws, but they carry parasites that cause malaria, which sickened 229 million people and killed more than 400,000 in 2019 alone. Reducing the prevalence of malaria has long been a top global health priority, but mosquitos’ ability to develop resistance to insecticides and the emergence of new drug-resistant strains of the disease have continually stymied treatment and prevention efforts. Humans may have finally found a way to fight back. Earlier this month, the World Health Organization officially approved the first-ever malaria vaccine, […]

Italian Premier Mario Draghi addresses the media during a press conference, Rome, Oct. 5, 2021 (AP photo by Andrew Medichini).

When the leaders of the G-20’s member states convene for their Oct. 30-31 summit in Rome, there will be no time for fiddling. The planet is on fire. The pandemic smolders on. And the global recovery is faltering. The G-20 was created for just such a moment and just such challenges. To meet them, the assembled heads of governments must make credible commitments to accelerate decarbonization, expand vaccine access and alleviate developing nations’ crushing burden of debt.  The G-20 was born out of crisis—or crises, to be exact. It first emerged in 1999 as an informal network of finance ministers […]

Students march as part of a Fridays for Future climate movement demonstration, Vienna, Austria, Sept. 24, 2021 (AP photo by Lisa Leutner).

At the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned governments of a growing intergenerational divide. Young people, he said, will “inherit the consequences” of decisions made by today’s world leaders. Those leaders are now failing not only young people, but also future generations—the 10 billion people who are likely to be born by the end of the century. Guterres is right that divisions between generations are growing. In older, richer countries, we are seeing a historic reversal of a longstanding trend: Rather than enjoying upward mobility, young people are now often worse off than their parents. And as populations in these […]

An anti-coup protester peeps from behind makeshift barricades in Yangon, Myanmar, March 11, 2021 (AP photo).

Up until the spring, the pro-democracy movement in Myanmar was mainly expressing its opposition to the military junta that seized power in February through peaceful protests. But over the summer, in reaction to the junta’s violent and often lethal response, hundreds of small, armed, civilian resistance groups popped up and begun to carry out ambushes on military convoys around the country. As Betcy Jose and Peace Medie have shown, this is typical of how civilians begin to protect themselves with force when faced with violence from their own government, and in the absence of adequate outside help. And when peaceful protesters begin to […]

Followers of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr celebrate after the announcement of the results of parliamentary elections, Baghdad, Iraq, Oct. 11, 2021 (AP photo by Khalid Mohammed).

On Sunday, for the fifth time since the U.S. invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein in 2003, Iraqis voted in elections. Initial results suggest that the big winner was nationalist cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, whose political formation once again emerged with the most seats in parliament. Parties aligned with pro-Iranian militias were the big losers, seeing their vote totals plummet. But with turnout at a record low 41 percent of registered voters, the election is being seen as an expression of Iraqis’ disillusionment with the state of the country’s electoral politics. The elections were the culmination of a political process triggered by […]

The Facebook “like” symbol is illuminated on a sign outside the company’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif, Jun 7, 2013 (AP photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez).

Facebook had a week from hell last week, even without the testimony to Congress of whistleblower Frances Haugen. Two separate technical outages knocked out its entire suite of services—Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, Oculus and Instagram. The incident highlights the fragility that a massive consolidation of resources brings to the global information and communications network, caused by the emergence of supernodes such as Facebook and its Big Tech rivals. It also reveals the disparity of public debate surrounding social media platforms on one hand and the internet’s foundational protocols on the other. (In the interests of transparency, Facebook is a client of my […]

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern holds up a card showing a new alert system for COVID-19, in Wellington, New Zealand, March 21, 2020 (AP photo by Nick Perry).

COVID-19 has walloped the world’s women. As the virus spread, women—who are overrepresented in hard-hit industries like food service, hospitality, education and, crucially, health care—found themselves vulnerable, unemployed and without a social safety net, and often neglected by government crisis responses. Closures of businesses and schools, necessitated by social distancing, have pushed millions of women from the global workforce: Worldwide, women lost 64 million jobs—$800 billion in earnings—in 2020. At the same time, women’s retreat to the home widened gendered inequities in household labor, as women shouldered ever-greater child care responsibilities and more domestic chores. More time at home also […]

Showing 1 - 17 of 241 2 Last