Baños para el desarrollo

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19/07/2017, by Gemma Roquet

En el mundo hay 748 millones de personas sin acceso a agua potable. Una de las causas es la ausencia de infraestructuras de saneamiento adecuadas, entre las cuales destaca la falta de un baño en cada hogar. La situación es más grave de lo que parece: en el mundo hay más personas con teléfono móvil que con un baño. ¿Qué consecuencias tiene semejante carencia?

Una buena salud es fundamental para el desarrollo humano. Además de tener acceso a infraestructuras sanitarias como hospitales, esta también está condicionada por elementos cotidianos que pueden garantizarla, como la existencia de inodoros y otras infraestructuras de saneamiento. El saneamiento mejorado o básico incluye todas aquellas instalaciones que aseguran una higiénica separación entre los excrementos y las personas: letrinas o inodoros que vierten en un sistema de alcantarillado, a una fosa séptica o a un pozo simple, un pozo negro con ventilación o losa o un sistema de inodoros secos.

Teniendo en cuenta que cada persona emite cien gramos de excrementos y litro y medio de orina al día, se debería priorizar la manera como se depositan estos desechos, que contienen virus, bacterias y parásitos, para evitar la propagación de enfermedades. A menudo se piensa en grandes estrategias para combatir la pobreza, pero dar acceso a un baño adecuado a los dos tercios de la población que no lo tienen sería una inversión con efectos positivos inimaginables. Según la Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS), cuando todo el mundo tenga acceso a un saneamiento adecuado, la calidad del agua será más óptima y el número de personas muertas debido a su contaminación se reducirá.

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What Kenyan voters got for the $500m spent on elections

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18/08/2017, by Nanjala Nyabola

Raila Odinga, leader of the National Super Alliance and Kenya’s opposition is petitioning the Supreme Court for a review of the results of the 2017 election, easing the political pressure that has kept the country in suspended animation for the last week.

On the morning of August 9th, about 12 hours after results started trickling on the Independent Election and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) results transmission website, leader of the largest opposition coalition Raila Odinga claimed that the website had been hacked to under-represent his share of the vote. On Friday, at 10:30 pm, the chairman of the IEBC, Wafula Chebukati, declared Uhuru Kenyatta the winner triggering a flurry of protests in Nairobi and Kisumu. According to the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights at least 24 people have died.

Kenya’s elections generally have three phases. First, there is a jittery pre-election phase peppered with accusations of malpractice; second, a peaceful and even joyous voting phase; and third, an anxious wait for final results and the inevitable fallout.

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Eventuais sanções à Venezuela podem piorar sofrimento da população, diz relator da ONU

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As sanções não são a resposta para a crescente crise na Venezuela, e a comunidade internacional não deve seguir por esse caminho, disse o relator especial das Nações Unidas Idriss Jazairy nesta sexta-feira (11).

“As sanções podem piorar a situação da população venezuelana, que já está sofrendo com a inflação paralisante e a falta de acesso adequado a alimentos e remédios”, disse Jazairy.

O especialista enfatizou que esforços no sentido de prejudicar a economia venezuelana só levarão a violações dos direitos das pessoas comuns. “Sanções causam perturbação a qualquer Estado, e podem particularmente ter efeitos devastadores para cidadãos de países em desenvolvimento quando prejudicam a economia”.

“O diálogo é a base de uma solução para as disputas”, disse Jazairy. “Os Estados devem se engajar em diálogo construtivo com o governo venezuelano para chegar a soluções para os desafios muito reais enfrentados”, disse.

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How we can find ways to finance universal education for all

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14/08/2017, by Steven J. Klees

The 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals represent a remarkable commitment by the international community to eliminate poverty and improve health, the environment, education, and much more in all countries by 2030. The SDG for education is straightforward: “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”

Unfortunately, we are a long way from achieving this goal, particularly in developing countries. More than 250 million of the world’s 1.6 billion children are not in school, and 400 million lack basic literacy. If current trends continue, by 2030 half of all children will not have the basic skills needed for employment.

The main problem is a shortage of resources. While developing countries can finance more than 90% of what they need to ensure universal access to quality primary and secondary education, there is still a large funding gap – approaching $40 billion in 2020, and $90 billion by 2030 – that must be filled by international aid.

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The Partition: The British game of ‘divide and rule’

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10/08/2017, by Sashi Tharoor

On August 15, 1947, India won independence: a moment of birth that was also an abortion, since freedom came with the horrors of the partition, when East and West Pakistan were hacked off the stooped shoulders of India by the departing British.

Seventy years later, it is hard to look back without horror at the savagery of the country’s vivisection, when rioting, rape and murder scarred the land, millions were uprooted from their homes, and billions of rupees worth of property were damaged and destroyed. Within months, India and Pakistan were embroiled in a war over Kashmir, the consequences of which still affect us today.

There was an intangible partition, too. Friendships were destroyed, families ruined, geography hacked, history misread, tradition denied, minds and hearts torn apart. The creation and perpetuation of Hindu-Muslim antagonism was the most significant accomplishment of British imperial policy: the colonial project of “divide et impera” (divide and rule) fomented religious antagonisms to facilitate continued imperial rule and reached its tragic culmination in 1947.

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Christopher Kissane: ‘Historical myopia is to blame for the attacks on Mary Beard’

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Five hundred years ago, Martin Luther sparked a movement of Reformation that would leave indelible marks on European history. While some have used this anniversary as an opportunity for reflection, and others a chance to heal old wounds, 2017 finds us in an age of intense historical myopia. Breathless news cycles and furious outrage are shrinking our horizons just as they need to widen. Public debate barely remembers the world of last year, “old news”, let alone that of a decade or few ago.

History’s expertise, and most dangerously its perspective, are being lost in our inability to look beyond the here and now. We stumble into crises of finance and inequality with ignorance of economic history, and forget even the recent background to our current politics. We fail to think in the long term and miss a growing environmental catastrophe. We refuse help to millions of refugees by turning away from our own history. As technology and globalisation bring the world closer together, we have narrowed rather than broadened our perspective. With challenges on many fronts, history needs to be at the heart of how we think about our ever-changing world.

Instead, history’s prominence in Britain is too often reduced to a seemingly endless parade of Tudors, Victorians and the second world war. When history does appear in public debate, it is generally in the form of facile analogies, from all manner of centenary comparisons to the first world war to the Reformation, as “the first Brexit” or “this generation’s Dunkirk”. Such lazy attempts to equate the present and the past are actively misleading, a pointless parlour game that crowds out the vital role of history in understanding current affairs. Instead of examining the historical trends in American economy and culture that have produced Trump, we ask if he is “the new Hitler”.

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How Gaza was made into an unlivable place

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24/07/2017, by Michael Lynk

Gaza and Tel Aviv lie only 75 kilometres apart from each other. They share the same sandy topography and the same intensely hot Levantine summers. But the similarities largely end there. Any recent satellite image taken at night over the eastern Mediterranean would show an incandescent blaze for Tel Aviv, and only wan pinpricks of light further down the shore in Gaza.

Gaza is in the third month of an externally enforced reduction of its already meagre electrical power supply. The enclave of two million people would ordinarily require about 450 megawatts (MW) of electricity daily for around-the-clock power. However, over much of the past decade, as part of the tight Israeli blockade of Gaza, its power supplies have fluctuated around 200MW, resulting in persistent blackouts. But over the past several months, according to the Israeli human rights organisation Gisha, Gaza’s supply each day has varied from 140MW to an all-time low of 70MW, lengthening the blackouts and the human suffering.

The immediate cause of the power crisis lies with the dispute between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas over fuel taxation. This prompted the PA to request the Israel reduce the 120MW it sold daily down to around 70MW, and Israel has complied.

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