Recent decades have seen rapid increases in the use of robots and rapid advances in artificial intelligence, driven particularly by improvements in machine learning. From games like chess and Go to speech recognition and image recognition, machines have come to outperform humans in an expanding range of activities. This development has motivated many attempts to gauge the impact on the future of work for humans.
With each new year of data, and each new intergovernmental report, it becomes harder to deny the scale and urgency of the energy transition required to prevent catastrophic anthropogenic climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change urges countries to take action to prevent a rise in temperature by more than 1.5°C, and warns of catastrophic consequences of a rise above 2°C. Yet current policies and pledges fall far short of hitting these targets.
COVID-19 has underlined that spatial inequality is relevant—and costly—everywhere: not only in developing countries. The pandemic has exposed sharp inequalities in prosperous cities, such as New York and San Francisco, as well as in slums and informal settlements in developing countries such as Kenya and Iran. This paper presents the results of a rapid appraisal carried out in May 2020. It surveys how existing urban inequalities have played out in practice, how spatial inequality has shaped the repercussions of COVID-19, and how housing-related program and community responses have helped close—or exacerbated—these gaps. It also outlines the opportunities and prospects for longer term reforms.
Human rights have increasingly been impacted by the development of emerging technologies, which have raised many problematic issues in previous years. Many of the issues are not new, but they are greatly exacerbated by the scale and proliferation of AI, big data, and the rise of algorithmic decision-making.
All three of the recent UN secretary-general reports on peacebuilding and sustaining peace (2018, 2019, and 2020) take note of the need to enhance collaboration between the UN—not only its development system but also its peace and security and humanitarian arms—with international financial institutions (IFIs), namely the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF).