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The Potential of Clean Cookstoves

by Isobel Coleman
A woman cooks inside her home in San Juan, Honduras, August 2008 (Courtesy Reuters/Edgard Garrido). A woman cooks inside her home in San Juan, Honduras, August 2008 (Courtesy Reuters/Edgard Garrido).

For decades, global health experts have recognized that smoke from indoor cooking is a major contributor to premature death.  Yet, in poor countries around the world, some 3 billion people still rely on wood, coal, or animal dung to cook their food over indoor fires. The impact of the resulting indoor air pollution is devastating, particularly for the women and girls who are largely responsible for cooking and bear the brunt of the smoke. A new study calculates that the toll from indoor air pollution is even larger than previously thought: the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that exposure to smoke from traditional cooking was linked to 4.3 million deaths in 2012 – more than was attributable to HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis combined, and double the number estimated just five years ago.

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The Implications of China’s Economic Slowdown

by Terra Lawson-Remer
An investor in front of an electronic board showing stock information at a brokerage house in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, May 9, 2013 (Courtesy Reuters/Jon Woo). An investor in front of an electronic board showing stock information at a brokerage house in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, May 9, 2013 (Courtesy Reuters/Jon Woo).

News of a credit crunch and broader economic slowdown in China once again raises the question of how that country’s evolving economy might affect its political trajectory. Read more »

New Insights on the Relationship Between Democracy and Wealth

by Terra Lawson-Remer
Protesters in Cairo rally against Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, February 22, 2013 (Asmaa Waguih/Courtesy Reuters). Protesters in Cairo rally against Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, February 22, 2013 (Asmaa Waguih/Courtesy Reuters).

Do the chances of democracy’s success in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, or Myanmar depend on each country’s wealth? And does China’s growing prosperity portend a democratic transition there anytime soon?

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Emerging Voices: Blair Glencorse on Higher Education in Nepal

by Guest Blogger for Isobel Coleman
Nepalese students protest against the decision made by the meeting of Constitutional Council (CC) on Sunday to recommend President Ram Baran Yadav to appoint Lokman Singh Karki as the chief of Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) in Kathmandu, May 7, 2013 (Navesh Chitrakar/Courtesy Reuters). Nepalese students protest against the decision made by the meeting of Constitutional Council (CC) on Sunday to recommend President Ram Baran Yadav to appoint Lokman Singh Karki as the chief of Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) in Kathmandu, May 7, 2013 (Navesh Chitrakar/Courtesy Reuters).

Emerging Voices features regular contributions from scholars and practitioners highlighting new research, thinking, and approaches to development challenges. This article is from Blair Glencorse, executive director of the Accountability Lab. He analyzes the problems plaguing Nepal’s colleges and universities and argues for higher education as a crucial concern on the post-2015 development agenda.

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Egypt’s Civil Society–and Democratic Transition–on Trial

by Terra Lawson-Remer
Friends of Egyptian suspects react as they listen to the judge's verdict at a court room during a case against foreign non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Cairo, June 4, 2013 (Asmaa Waguih/Courtesy Reuters). Friends of Egyptian suspects react as they listen to the judge's verdict at a court room during a case against foreign non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Cairo, June 4, 2013 (Asmaa Waguih/Courtesy Reuters).

Last week an Egyptian court sentenced over three dozen people working for foreign NGOs to prison terms for “receiving illegal funds from abroad and operating unlicensed organizations.” These convictions are not just a sign of a weak and faltering democratic transition. By discouraging the formation of a vigorous civil society, they also strike a fundamental blow to the sustainability of freedom and democracy in Egypt over the long term.

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New From CFR: Joshua Kurlantzick on Democracy’s Woes

by Development Channel Staff
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) exchanges documents with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping during a signing ceremony at the Kremlin in Moscow, March 22, 2013 (Sergei Karpukhin/Courtesy Reuters). Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) exchanges documents with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping during a signing ceremony at the Kremlin in Moscow, March 22, 2013 (Sergei Karpukhin/Courtesy Reuters).

In an interview and op-ed last week, CFR fellow Joshua Kurlantzick analyzes the setbacks facing democracy as autocratic powers such as China and Russia advance their own political philosophies in the developing world. Read more »

New From CFR: Joshua Kurlantzick on the China Model and Shannon O’Neil on Mexico’s Economy

by Development Channel Staff
China's newly elected Premier Li Keqiang (L) shakes hands with Wen Jiabao as China's President Xi Jinping and other delegates clap during the fifth plenary meeting of the first session of the 12th National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing, March 15, 2013 (Courtesy Reuters). China's newly elected Premier Li Keqiang (L) shakes hands with Wen Jiabao as China's President Xi Jinping and other delegates clap during the fifth plenary meeting of the first session of the 12th National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing, March 15, 2013 (Courtesy Reuters).

In two recent pieces, CFR fellows weigh political and economic developments in a pair of emerging giants: China and Mexico. In an excerpt on TheAtlantic.com from his recently released book, Democracy in Retreat, CFR fellow Joshua Kurlantzick analyzes the appeal to developing countries of China’s development model. Read more »

Human Development, Inequality, and the BRICS

by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Chinese President Xi Jinping, South African President Jacob Zuma, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, and Russian President Vladimir Putin pose for a family photograph during the fifth BRICS Summit in Durban, South Africa, March 27, 2013 (Rogan Ward/Courtesy Reuters). Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Chinese President Xi Jinping, South African President Jacob Zuma, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, and Russian President Vladimir Putin pose for a family photograph during the fifth BRICS Summit in Durban, South Africa, March 27, 2013 (Rogan Ward/Courtesy Reuters).

In South Africa this week a group of emerging nations, Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa itself, known as the BRICs (the moniker given by Goldman Sachs in 2001), gathered to launch their own development bank. The New York Times called the move “a direct challenge to the dominance of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.”

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Emerging Voices: Callan, Blak, and Thomas on China’s Foreign Aid and Investment

by Guest Blogger for Isobel Coleman
This graph shows actual and estimated totals of official development assistance and other financial flows to the developing world from China, the United States, and traditional donor countries (Courtesy Dalberg Global Development Advisors). This graph shows actual and estimated totals of official development assistance and other financial flows to the developing world from China, the United States, and traditional donor countries (Courtesy Dalberg Global Development Advisors).

Emerging Voices features regular contributions from scholars and practitioners highlighting new research, thinking, and approaches to development challenges. This article is from Paul Callan, Jasmin Blak, and Andria Thomas of Dalberg Global Development Advisors. Callan is Dalberg’s Global Operating Partner and leads the firm’s Strategy and Performance practice; Blak and Thomas are based in Dalberg’s Washington, DC, office. In the article, they analyze China’s foreign aid and investment in the developing world and advocate more accurate reporting to enable better comparisons of Chinese financial flows to those from traditional donor countries.

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Afghanistan’s Overlooked Economic Transition

by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
An Afghan vendor deals with customers at a local market in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, December 2, 2012 (Ahmad Nadeem/Courtesy Reuters). An Afghan vendor deals with customers at a local market in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, December 2, 2012 (Ahmad Nadeem/Courtesy Reuters).

Much attention has been devoted to Afghanistan’s upcoming political and security transition, with Secretary of State John Kerry arriving in Kabul today for meetings with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. But one critical piece of the stability equation has been largely overlooked to date: economic transition. As 2014 approaches, a great deal of progress will either be built upon or lost.

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