The Panama Papers provide further evidence of the scale of global tax dodging, and of its impact on poverty and inequality, particularly in the global south. Tax havens are estimated to be costing poor countries at least $170bn in lost tax revenues every year. This is essential money which could be paying for schools, hospitals, childcare or services to address violence against women. The realization of women's rights is not going to be achieved for free. UN Women have analyzed country action plans on gender equality and found that some are facing a shortfall of up to 90 per cent in the funds needed to achieve their goals
While still unproven, the Zika virus, mild for many who get it, appears to cause a severe fetal abnormality -- microcephaly -- in which an infant's head doesn't develop properly in the womb and causes brain damage. The rate of microcephaly in Brazil is suddenly 20 times above average and that rise appears to coincide with Zika outbreaks.
In South Sudan, domestic violence is widespread and largely tolerated. In the all-too-common words of two young women from Warrap State: "We are often beaten. When we make a mistake, we are beaten -- and there are so many mistakes." It was unfortunately not surprising that gender-based violence was a major threat for women living in IDP and refugee camps.
Women's organizations, governments and United Nations entities celebrated the 15th anniversary of Security Council Resolution 1325. This landmark resolution stated that women's participation, security and protection were essential in the prevention and resolution of armed conflict. This resolution was much heralded at the time and was followed by seven additional resolutions on women, peace and security. However, civil society organizations have observed again and again that these strong words have not been translated into action.
We need policies that enable the poorest to benefit most from economic growth. Of the 1.1 billion people living in extreme poverty in 2010, 200 million could have escaped extreme poverty if poor people had simply benefited equally from the proceeds of growth -- particularly women and youth, two groups being left behind.
The absence of female voices in public policy debates is not simply a matter of demographic representation. Without women's voices, and more specifically feminist voices, we lose the perspective that strong women bring to the table and we lose the potential for far better politics and policies that champion the rights and interests of both women and men.
Election season is heating up. The leaders debate on economic policy is almost upon us. And my mother wants me to say a few things to those who aspire to lead our country. She wants me to say that, as a strong woman who is the mother of a strong woman and grandmother of a strong granddaughter, we need to do better.
The number of conflicts -- especially intra-state conflicts -- is on the rise worldwide, contributing to record numbers of forcibly displaced people in 2014. Many of these conflicts are marked by violent extremism and acts of gender-based violence and abuse. The practice and policy of war and security have traditionally been dominated by men. Women and girls are almost always excluded from the political processes that are essential for peace and security: between 1992 and 2011, less than four per cent of signatories to peace agreements and fewer than 10 per cent of negotiators at peace tables were women. Yet, there is solid evidence that women's participation in peace negotiations contributes to more lasting peace.
The searing images of three-year-old Alan Kurdi have moved through cyberspace and galvanized reaction around the world. For Canadians, there are layers and hard questions that go further than our basic human response of sorrow. That's because Alan Kurdi's family could and should have been in Canada by now.
The expropriation of land for mining projects can have the greatest impact on women. Women need land to grow food to feed their families or for subsistence farming which can be an important source of income. Lost access to land via land grabs means that women's livelihoods become more precarious, thus causing greater economic dependence on men.
Oxfam will take on the most powerful and wealthy organizations and individuals in the world. And the voice on this occasion is Winnie Byanyima, Oxfam's international spokesperson, speaking to the global elite as they gather this week in their annual state of the global economy meetings in Davos, Switzerland. And does she ever have a story to tell, backed by research and motivated by a deep sense of social justice. Byanyima will hit those people present with a remarkable and troubling truth: as of next year, over half of the world's wealth will be owned by the top 1 per cent. This is staggering, perhaps even representing the end of the economic order we have known and which sustained the West for decades.
The world's diplomats recently met in New York to launch the concluding negotiations of the Arms Trade Treaty, that was initiated six years ago. During the hours the diplomats huddled over the Treaty, some 10,000 people died from armed violence. A killing every minute. Conventional arms are the real weapons of mass destruction.
The Humanitarian Coalition, which I believe to be inspired by a similar British organization, is a group of seasoned NGO organizations who think that by working together on issues, they can get more done. But it's what they offer to confused Canadian donors that might well prove their most pivotal contribution.