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Old 12-14-2010, 03:17 PM   #16
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Middle class in Latin America economically vulnerable, says OECD

OECD | Friday, December 3, 2010

Even though the growing middle class in Latin America is becoming an engine of economic progress, this group remains economically vulnerable when compared with high income OECD countries, according to the OECD Development Centre’s Latin American Economic Outlook 2011.

‘A growing and vibrant middle class is a sign of good economic prospects in Latin America,’—said Ángel Gurría, Secretary General of the OECD —‘However, Latin Americans in the middle of the income distribution still face serious hurdles in terms of purchasing power, education and job security. These groups still have some way to go to be fully comparable to the middle classes in more advanced economies.’

Therefore, Latin American governments must ensure that they do not fall down the economic ladder. Labour market informality remains high among this segment of the population. As informality goes hand-in-hand with low social-protection coverage, fewer than half of these workers will benefit from a social safety net when they get old or lose their jobs. In Chile, 39% of the population within this group does not contribute to any pension scheme. This goes up to 52% and 67% in Brazil and Mexico, respectively, and to an astonishing 95% in Bolivia.

Size of the middle sector in Latin America

(as percentage of total households)

Source: OECD Development Centre 2010
Stat link:
http://statlinks.oecdcode.org/412010041P1G073.XLS


Education is the surest way to lift children to higher social and economic levels, but the ability of education systems in Latin America to boost social mobility remains very limited in comparison to other countries. The quality of the education received is closely linked to the socio-economic background. A Latin American with illiterate parents is 10 times more likely to be illiterate than he is to finish university.

There is normally a direct correlation between a sizeable and relatively prosperous middle class and long-term growth, greater equality and less poverty. However, high levels of labour informality, low coverage of social-protection programmes and limited fiscal resources to improve public services could cancel-out the possible benefits in Latin America. Reducing the economic vulnerability of Latin Americans who have reached a middle income level and ensuring that more Latin Americans can move up into this level are worthy objectives of public policy.

To hedge the risks going forward, the OECD Development Centre recommends three actions to governments: consolidate the position of the middle sectors by extending social-protection; foster upward social mobility through education; and strengthen the social contract by improving the quality of public services such as health and education.

Concrete instruments that policy makers in the region should consider to protect the most vulnerable people within these middle sectors include extending social pensions, compulsory (or semi-compulsory) affiliation for the more educated self-employed, greater flexibility regarding contributions and withdrawals, and matching defined contributions (transfers made by the state to an individual’s pension plan).

Instrument for creating more opportunities for upward mobility through more and better education include investing more in early childhood development; increasing the quality of public education, through measures such as better administration of schools, a modern system of evaluation, better recruitment and training of teachers as well as better incentive systems; and financing tertiary education through grants and loans.

Source: http://www.oecd.org/document/56/0,33...rssChId=201185
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Old 06-08-2011, 12:21 PM   #17
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Food Prices, Global Hunger to Skyrocket by 2030, Oxfam Warns
Natalie Wolchover, Life's Little Mysteries Staff Writer
Date: 31 May 2011 Time: 01:11 PM ET

Climate change is causing extreme droughts in many areas - just one factor that is increasing global food prices, according to Oxfam. Credit: sxc.hu

CREDIT: sxc.hu

Left unchecked, climate change aligned with population explosion and low agricultural yields will drastically increase global poverty and hunger over the next two decades, warns the international aid organization Oxfam in a report released today (May 31).

The prices of staple foods such as corn and rice will speed up their ascent, Oxfam predicts, and will climb by 180 percent and 130 percent, respectively, by the year 2030.

In a world where the poorest people now spend as much as 80 percent of their incomes on food — the average Filipino spends proportionally four times more on sustenance than the average British person, for example — drastic food scarcities and price hikes will likely push many struggling populations into hunger and, potentially, starvation.

In its new report, Growing a Better Future, Oxfam says current trends indicate that the world's population will reach 9 billion by mid-century; meanwhile, the average growth rate in agricultural yields has almost halved since 1990. Left unchecked, the gap between food demand and supply will continue to widen.

"The food system must be transformed. By 2050, there will be 9 billion people on the planet and demand for food will have increased by 70 percent. This demand must be met despite flatlining yields, increasing water scarcity, and growing competition over land. And agriculture must rapidly adapt to a changing climate and slash its carbon footprint," wrote Robert Bailey, Oxfam's senior climate advisor, in the report.

Climate change has already driven up food prices in many areas by causing drought and desertification, Oxfam reports, and of all the factors contributing to rising food prices, it will create the most serious impact of all in the coming decades.

"The impact of climate change on food prices is clearly closely linked to the impacts that climate change will have on crop production," Bailey wrote. Rice crop yields decline by an estimated 10 percent for every 1 degree-Celsius rise in dry-season minimum temperature, for example.

Aside from raising global temperatures, climate change "will increase the frequency and severity of extreme weather events such as heat waves, droughts and floods which can wipe out harvests at a stroke," the report states.

Fixing the system

Global poverty is fueled by a broken system in which wealthy countries take advantage of the poor, Oxfam states. To curb the problem, the international community must address "the appalling inequities which plague the food system from farm to fork. We produce more food than we need. In the rich world, we throw much of it away. In the developing world, nearly one billion of us go without."

Industrialized countries must initiate major policy changes in order to fix the broken system, Oxfam continues. They must redirect tax breaks toward clean energy initiatives and place taxes on greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, "we must manage trade to manage risk by building a system of food reserves; increasing transparency in commodities markets; setting rules on export restrictions; and finally putting an end to trade-distorting agricultural subsidies."

The new report points to examples of the changes that must be undertaken to curb global poverty and hunger. In Brazil, social activism has led to agricultural policies that decreased hunger by one-third between 2000 and 2007. Vietnam achieved comparable results through land reform and a program of investment in smallholder agriculture — single-family farming.

"Thankfully, the vast transformation needed is already under way – led by individuals, organizations and movements who have taken the future into their own hands," the report states.

http://www.livescience.com/14373-foo...fam-warns.html
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Old 04-08-2013, 03:28 PM   #18
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What You Need To Know About Hunger In 2012

It costs just $0.25 per day to provide a child with all of the vitamins and nutrients he or she needs to grow up healthy.

How many hungry people are there in the world and where do most of them live? What effect does it have on their minds and bodies and what can we do to help them? Here is a list of 10 facts to help you understand why hunger is the single biggest solvable problem facing the world today.

1. Approximately 925 million people in the world do not eat enough to be healthy. That means that one in every seven people on Earth goes to bed hungry each night. (Source: FAO News Release, 2012)

2. While the number of hungry people has risen, as a percentage of the world population, hunger actually fell from 37 per cent of the population in 1969 to just over 16 per cent of the population in 2010. (Source: FAO, 2010)

3. Well over half of the world’s hungry people–some 578 million people–live in Asia and the Pacific region. Africa accounts for just over one quarter of the world’s hungry population. (Source: FAO, The State of Food Insecurity in the World, 2010)

4. Hunger is number one on the list of the world’s top 10 health risks. It kills more people every year than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. (Source: UNAIDS global report, 2010; WHO World Hunger and Poverty Statistics, 2011).

5. A third of all deaths in children under the age of five in developing countries are linked to undernutrition. (Source: UNICEF Report on Child Nutrition, 2006)

6. The first 1,000 days of a child’s life, from pregnancy through age two, are the critical window in which to tackle undernutrition. A proper diet in this period can protect children from the mental and physical stunting that can result from malnutrition. (Source: UN Standing Committee on Nutrition, 2009)

7. It costs just US $0.25 per day to provide a child with all of the vitamins and nutrients he or she needs to grow up healthy. (Source: WFP, 2011)

8. Malnourished mothers often give birth to underweight babies who are 20 per cent more likely to die before the age of five. Up to 17 million children are born underweight every year. (Source: A World Fit for Children, UNICEF, 2007)

9. By 2050, climate change and erratic weather patterns will have pushed another 24 million children into hunger. Almost half of these children will live in sub-Saharan Africa. (Source: Climate Change and Hunger: Responding to the Challenge, WFP, 2009)

10. Hunger is the single biggest solvable problem facing the world today. Here are eight effective strategies for fighting hunger.

Learn more: http://usa.wfp.org/news-story/what-y...ut-hunger-2012
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