6 April 2010


The goal of providing universal primary education by 2015 seems to be slipping out of reach according to the Global Campaign For Education (GCE)

According to a UNESCO Global Report released earlier this year, 72 million children were out of school in 2007 and 56 million would still be out of school by 2015 if funding trends remained the same.

The report also highlighted that around 54 percent of children out of school are girls; that literacy remains among the most neglected of all education goals, with about 759 million adults lacking literacy skills today, two-thirds women; that millions of children are leaving school without having acquired basic skills, and that 1.9 million new teacher posts will be required to meet universal primary education by 2015.

"It is estimated that it will cost US$16 billion a year to achieve universal primary education and wider Education for All goals by 2015," said Kailash Satyarthi, GCE President. "This figure is just two percent of the amount mobilised to bail out four banks in the UK and US."

In the lead up to this years Soccer World Cup the 1GOAL campaign seizing is attempting to use the popular appeal of football to advance the cause of education for all.

Information as to how you can support the campaign can be found at the above website.


Concerns about the increasing gap between rich and poor, about finding the billions needed to tackle poverty and climate change, at home and abroad and about preventing global financial meltdowns have prompted a renewed interest in a global financial tax or 'Robin Hood tax' as it is sometimes called.

Leaders of the EU issued a statement supporting the idea at their recent spring summit in Brussels and the EU's executive, the European Commission, 'will shortly present a report on possible innovative sources of financing such as a global levy on financial institutions' the statement noted.

Whilst there is general agreement about the need for increased international banking regulation, there are believed to be a number of alternative proposals under consideration.

The 'Robin Hood tax' or ‘Tobin tax’ as it is also known, (named after the Nobel Prize-winning economist who first suggested the idea), calls for a tax on foreign exchange transactions that would be applied uniformly by all major countries. A tiny amount (less than 0.5%) would be levied on all foreign currency exchange transactions to deter speculation on currency fluctuations.

When levied on the billions of dollars moving around the global finance system every day through transactions such as foreign exchange, derivatives trading and share deals, it can raise hundreds of billions of dollars every year.

Whilst support for such a tax is not universal (see the recent ABC report) 350 economists from dozens of countries, including two Nobel laureates and prominent figures such as Prof Jeffrey Sachs, have signed a letter addressed to the G20 calling for the introduction of such a tax.


Two of Australia’s leading scientific agencies have come together to issue a report confirming that Australia has warmed significantly over the past 50 years, and stating categorically that "climate change is real".

The "State of the Climate" report produced by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Bureau of Meteorology shows that Australia's mean temperature has increased 0.7 degrees since 1960. The statement also finds average daily maximum temperatures have increased every decade for the past 50 years.

The report also found that the 2000s were Australia's warmest decade on record; that sea levels rose between 1.5 and three millimetres a year in Australia's south and east, and between seven and 10 millimetres in the north between 1993 and 2009; and that sea surface temperatures have risen 0.4 degrees since 1960.

The release of the report comes as many Australian scientists have expressed concern at attacks casting doubts on the scientific evidence demonstrating that global warming is man-made.

Bureau of Meteorology director Dr Greg Ayres said the trends in temperatures confirmed the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) findings showing human processes, such as burning fossil fuels, was the main cause of global warming.


The plight of religious minorities was highlighted in the interactive dialogue that followed the presentation of the annual report of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Ms Asma Jahangir, to the Human Rights Council last month.

The situation of the Baha’i in Iran, Christians and Jews in Iran, Christians in Iraq, Christians in Nigeria, and unequal access to education for all religious minorities were issues raised by various member States. Concern was also expressed over restrictions on people who either do not have a religion, or wish to change their religion.

Ms Jahangir also reported on her recent visits to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Laos but noted that many States had failed to respond to her request to visit , including the Russian Federation, Malaysia, Pakistan, China, Vietnam, Bulgaria, and Egypt.

A summary of the interactive dialogue can be found at the International Service for Human Rights website. The report of the Special Rapporteur can be downloaded from the Human Rights Council website.

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