Global Challenges

  • Are cities prepared for the forecast migration?

    Following the Crowd to the City

    The world’s population is becoming increasingly urban. Sometime in 2007 is the turning point when city dwellers formed the majority of the global population for the first time in history. Today, the trend toward urbanisation continues: as of 2014, about 54% of the world’s population lives in cities – and it expects to reach 66% by 2050. Migration forms a significant, and often controversial, part of this urban population growth.

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  • U.S. FON operations are not intended to militarize the region.

    The Inevitable U.S. FON Operations in the South China Sea

    Recent statements suggest that the United States will soon conduct freedom of navigation (FON) operations against China’s artificial formations in the South China Sea (SCS). But there is far more handwringing going on than necessary, as demonstrated in a recent East Asia Forum article in which Mark Valencia warns that proposed FON challenges are ‘ill-advised, and even dangerous’.

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  • Childhood homelessness strongly influences adult unemployment.

    Intervening in Childhood Homelessness with Education Offers Hope

    People who become homeless as a child are more likely to have lower employment rates in adulthood than those who become homeless later, according to new research showing the economic and social costs of homelessness.

    Nearly one fifth of homeless people in Australia are children under the age of 12 attached to a homeless family, according to ABS data. This fraction includes forms of homelessness such as living on a friend or family member’s couch or in temporary accommodation, all considered insecure or inadequate living conditions.

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  • The U.S. needs to be careful when blaming others for cyber-espionage.

    What Does Cyber-Espionage for National Security Cover?

    The cyber theft of millions of personal dossiers from the United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM), revealed by US authorities in June 2015, has put the US government in an awkward position. In April 2015, US Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced an updated cyber strategy, according to which the United States would retaliate against ‘cyberattacks of significant consequence’.

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  • Merkel does a political balancing act in dealing with the refugees.

    Merkel Faces Tough Political Decisions Over Refugees

    Chancellor Angela Merkel has shown great compassion in allowing hundreds of thousands of refugees to enter Germany. Nevertheless, she has to avoid playing into the hands of the far right, as well as placating angry Eastern European neighbours.

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  • The U.S. will likely patrol new Chinese man-made islands, with caveats.

    Patrolling New Chinese 'Territory', or Not

    The US defence establishment’s provocative plan to assert freedom of navigation by patrolling near China’s artificial islands in the South China Sea appears to have stalled. But if the United States abandons the policy it will forego an important opportunity to help stabilise Asia’s contested waters.

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  • Switching to a 'circular economy' would benefit us and the environment.

    A Linear Economy's Environmental and Social Consequences

    The prosperity that we are enjoying today could largely be attributable to the industrial revolution of the 18th and early 19th centuries. Yet this enhancement of our standard of living has come at a steep price: the creation of the so-called linear economy.

    In other words, we have a “take, make, and dispose” economy. We take natural resources, make things and dispose of them in landfills and elsewhere.

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  • Asia has made great progress, but there is a long way to go to fight poverty.

    Sustainable Development Goals are on the Way, but will They Help?

    On 25–27 September, less than 3 weeks from now, heads of state of 192 nations will sign up for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which will succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as the new global development agenda. Notwithstanding such an important change, poverty eradication will remain the most important goal and Asia expects to continue its dominant role in attaining this goal for the world.

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  • Eradicating poverty through growth will take more than reforms.

    The Zero Draft Solution

    The world’s governments are preparing to finalise the Sustainable Development Goals at the United Nations in September 2015. It is set to be a major international event, and the goals will be ushered in with tremendous fanfare; they are widely regarded as a historic step toward building a better world, and toward eradicating poverty and hunger from the face of the Earth once and for all.

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  • Improving education to break through the middle-income trap.

    Graduating from Factor Accumulation to Better Education Systems

    Investment in human capital through education, partly by the government, as a precondition for sustainable growth, is almost a universal thought. For Asian countries that can no longer rely on factor accumulation to underpin their continued economic development, improving the quality of national education systems has become of paramount importance.

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