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Issue 2/Mar-Apr 2008

Contents

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* Are We Approaching a Global Food Crisis? Between soaring food prices and food aid shortage
By the end of the 1990s, food prices had plummeted to historic lows. But after the turn of the millennium, prices began to increase. And since 2006, food prices have escalated dramatically, raising fears of a global food crisis. The price hike has affected virtually all major commodities. Prices of dairy and many cereals more than doubled in 2007, reaching all-time record highs. This rapid price increase will worsen the already dire situation for the world’s poor and hungry, writes Katarina Wahlberg.
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* Bob Zoellick’s Newest Blueprint for the World Bank: Restoring legitimacy and confidence?
In the run-up to the Spring Meetings, Bob Zoellick, the President of the World Bank, outlined last week, during a major policy speech at the Center for Global Development four strategic areas where he sees a need for immediate World Bank action. These are the global food policy, the Doha Trade Deal, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, and Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWF) investment in Africa. Liane Schalatek reports from Washington.
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* Will the Ilisu Dam Drown Out Western Credibility? Conditions as fig leafs
Governments and financial institutions have come under increasing pressure not to fund environmentally and socially destructive projects. In the case of the Chad-Cameroon Oil Pipeline, the Nam Theun 2 Dam in Laos and the Ilisu Dam in Turkey, the World Bank and Western governments have resorted to approving financial support under strict conditions. This approach has so far not worked because funders were not serious about enforcing their conditions. The Ilisu Dam is now facing a crunch. It may salvage the remaining credibility of Western donors - or drown it out completely, writes Peter Bosshard.
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* Smart Women, Right Decisions. A recipe for decent work
More and more women are entering the labour markets around the world, according to a new report (see reference) published by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to coincide with International Women’s Day. However, women continue to bear the brunt when it comes to vulnerable employment. Investing in decent work for women is not only right, but smart, says the ILO. Here are two ILO Online stories that prove so.
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* Spreading the Benefits of Globalisation - In preventing the big backlash
So far, only a small minority of top earners has benefited from global integration. Even conservative economists have begun to worry about social inclusion and effective redistribution. As many argue, it is better to prevent protectionist tendencies, which would cut the overall benefits of globalisation, and to share the cake more fairly. By Rainer Falk
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