Energy subsidies are one of the few domains where there is a near full-throated consensus among progressives, governments, and economists over the need for reform. Nearly everywhere, energy subsidies are regressive, vastly favoring the car-and energy-consuming parts of the population that are the least in need. The costs of these subsidies can vary, but in many countries, they represent a large fiscal burden. Prior to its 2005 reforms, for example, Indonesia's fuel subsidy was nearly the same amount as its health budget and its targeted anti-poverty programs combined. From the perspective of global climate change, few economic policies are as damaging as the direct and indirect contributions of fossil fuel subsidies.
States and societies are in crisis around the world, as questions arise around the nature and quality of existing social contracts. COVID-19 has laid bare profound vulnerabilities within and across societies. The global pandemic is revealing deep failures in policy visions, institutional fragility, and incapacities of states to harness societal compliance where trust and a sense of national belonging is weak. At the same time, our interdependencies have never been so clear, as all countries, developed and underdeveloped alike, confront similar challenges. Crisis, however, offers opportunity to do things better, to build forward better – strengthening social contracts at all levels. How then, can social contracts, and compacting in times of crisis, offer pathways to address inequality and exclusion?
The outbreak of the Ebola virus in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2018, the 10th outbreak in the DRC, was the first time that the disease emerged in a conflict zone. This report, the second in a series on the Ebola epidemic, attempts to explain how the epidemic and the transnational effort launched to contain it (the Riposte) was affected by this violence, and how they in turn influenced the armed conflict.
Shared capital, defined as a broadly distributed pattern of rights over productive assets, can be a powerful instrument to address economic and social inequalities. We argue that initiatives to bring about shared capital can foster both redistribution and recognition, and thereby bring about more inclusive and peaceful societies. Based on experience, we suggest moreover that they are feasible and can be advanced by suitable policies and actions—at local, national, and global levels.
The consequences of violence worldwide are dire. More than half a million people die from violent deaths each year. In 2019, violence cost the global economy $14.5 trillion USD, or $1,909 USD per person. Countries with armed conflicts account for 80 percent of humanitarian spending. Beyond these cold numbers, the human toll of violence results in the suffering of families, trauma-affected communities, and increased fear and hopelessness. Different types of violence—such as crime, violent extremism, and armed conflict—are often interlinked and share risk and resilience factors. Although currently siloed, the UN system has the capacities and knowledge to develop approaches to prevention that cut across interlinked forms of violence.