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 […]

The head of Sudan’s military, Gen. Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan, speaks during a press conference, Khartoum, Sudan, Oct. 26, 2021 (AP photo by Marwan Ali).

Editor’s Note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only weekly newsletter, Africa Watch, which includes a look at the week’s top stories and best reads from and about the African continent. Subscribe to receive it by email every Friday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it directly to your email inbox. Across Sudan, people have taken to the streets to protest a military coup that threatens to derail their aspirations for a democratic future. On Oct. 25, just weeks after a previous failed coup attempt, Sudan’s military leadership detained Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, several key civilian government officials […]

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 […]

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, lead a rally in Managua, Nicaragua, Sept. 5, 2018 (AP file photo by Alfredo Zuniga).

On Nov. 7, a presidential election will be stolen. One week from this Sunday, the profoundly unpopular Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, will declare themselves the winners after one of the most grotesque reelection campaigns in recent memory. We know they will win, among other reasons, because they have imprisoned all the other candidates who sought to challenge them at the polls. Ortega and Murillo might have won without resorting to such a blunt instrument of tyranny, because they had already used their somewhat less blunt anti-democratic instruments to dismantle the checks and balances […]

Chinese military vehicles carrying DF-17 missiles take part in a parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Beijing, Oct. 1, 2019 (AP photo by Ng Han Guan).

The recent report in the Financial Times that China tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic weapon has pundits, members of Congress, and even Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley worried about a “Sputnik moment.” Given the failure of the United States’ own test of a hypersonic missile last week, it seems to many that a hypersonic missile gap has opened, harming U.S. security. But even if China’s test means it has perfected a new way to deliver a nuclear warhead—a big if—it’s no cause for alarm. A new nuclear delivery system will not meaningfully shift the balance of […]

EU leaders pose for a group photo at an EU summit in Brussels, Oct. 21, 2021 (AP photo by Olivier Matthys).

Editor’s Note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only weekly newsletter, Europe Decoder, which includes a look at the week’s top stories from and about Europe. Subscribe to receive it by email every Thursday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it directly to your inbox. European leaders are preparing for two big global summits taking place in Europe in the coming days: the G-20 Summit in Rome, Italy, and the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties, or COP26, in Glasgow, Scotland. As the European Union strives to step up as a global power, this is […]

A butterfly alights on a leaf at the Yasuni National Park in the Upper Napo Valley of the western Amazon region, in Ecuador, Aug. 20, 2010 (AP photo by Dolores Ochoa).

October has been a busy month in the field of sustainable finance. China, the world’s largest bilateral creditor, hosted the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity; public development banks recommitted to aligning their practices with the Paris Agreement at the Finance in Common Summit; and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and the World Economic Forum jointly launched a Global Alliance for Sustainable Investment.  This weekend, leaders from the G-20 countries will meet in Rome and renew their commitment to climate finance. And next month, the world’s governments will meet in Glasgow for the […]

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 […]

Chinese President Xi Jinping remotely addresses the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly in a pre-recorded message at the U.N. headquarters, Sept. 21, 2021 (AP photo by Mary Altaffer).

Editor’s Note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only weekly newsletter, China Note, which includes a look at the week’s top stories and best reads from and about China. Subscribe to receive it by email every Wednesday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it directly to your email inbox. Beginning Sunday, Oct. 31, world leaders will gather in Glasgow, Scotland, for two weeks to unveil new commitments to tackle global warming and climate change. But after weeks of guessing games, it looks like Chinese President Xi Jinping—the leader of the world’s largest emitter of […]

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 […]

Demonstrators protest against a rally of right-wing extremists in Dortmund, in Germany’s western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Oct. 9, 2021 (DPA photo by Roland Weihrauch via AP).

BERLIN—No European country does more than Germany to confront right-wing extremism—namely xenophobic, anti-democratic movements that perpetrate or extoll violence. Since the end of World War II, against the backdrop of the Nazi regime’s crimes, the country has battled far-right extremism in a vast array of ways: using the security apparatus, democracy promotion, educational campaigns and even bans on extremist parties and organizations, among other measures.  One might even say that Germans are specialists in the field—although in Europe, the phenomenon of a violent far right is not unique to Germany. Yet even though Berlin bends over backward to address the […]

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 […]

Supporters of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik party rally against Asia Bibi in Karachi, Pakistan, Oct. 12, 2018 (AP photo by Fareed Khan).

Last summer, Tahir Ahmad Naseem was at a bail hearing in a high-security courtroom in Pakistan when he was shot dead. His killer, a 15-year-old student named Faisal Khan who had sneaked a pistol into the courtroom, was arrested immediately. But rather than facing public opprobrium, Khan was hailed as a hero. Thousands took to the streets to defend him, chanting slogans in his support and rallying for his release from prison. Police officers clicked jubilant selfies with him as they ferried the teenager in and out of court.  Naseem, his victim, had been targeted both by the lawsuit and […]

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 […]

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 […]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari speak during a joint news conference, Ankara, Turkey, Oct. 19, 2017 (Presidential Press Service photo via AP).

Last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan touched down in Luanda, Angola, for the first leg of a four-day, three-nation diplomatic tour of Africa. After meeting with Angolan President Joao Lourenco, the Turkish leader continued on to West Africa, where he met with his Togolese counterpart, Faure Gnassingbe, before concluding his trip in Nigeria with a bilateral meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari. Throughout the tour, Erdogan—who has now visited nearly 30 African countries—highlighted the importance of cooperation between Turkey and Africa, and emphasized the prospects for increased partnerships. He also signed a swathe of bilateral agreements, including one for the […]

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