By Walden Bello

The world’s population surpassed 7 billion on October 31. But except for perhaps the anti-family planning lobby, this was a milestone that few were in a mood to celebrate. 

Concerns about overpopulation were present when the world hit the 6 billion mark in 1999, but they were subdued in that era of growth and — at least in the North — optimism. There was a sense then that although there would be major hurdles along the way, the world’s future could only get brighter. 

From August 9-11, 2010, Focus on the Global South, the Foundation for Ecological Recovery/TERRA, World Rainforest Movement (WRM), International Rivers, Bank Information Centre and the Thai Working Group on Climate Justice (TCJ), organised a workshop entitled “Food, Livelihoods and Climate Change in the Mekong Region”. The workshop was held at the Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, and attended by 52 representatives of local networks and civil society organizations from Myanmar, Lao PDR, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and China.

By Walden Bello (originally published in Foreign Policy in Focus)

With the tenth anniversary of the crime that was 9/11, the question inevitably crops up: who won, the United States or al-Qaeda? According to the politically correct answer, although al-Qaeda has been decimated, it has been a Pyrrhic victory for Washington. In defeating al-Qaeda, the U.S. government engaged in many unnecessary violations of human rights and due process that diminished America in the eyes of both its citizens and the world.

Hardly anybody, whether on the left, the middle, or the right dares to claim that al-Qaeda actually won. The reason is, most likely, the fear that such an assertion could be taken as legitimizing al-Qaeda’s reprehensible act. Yet, viewed with a cool eye that looks beyond its undoubtedly perverse ethics, al-Qaeda, despite being on the run and its leader Osama bin Laden killed, clearly came out ahead on points, and the United States may have won the battle but lost the war.

ON 20 SEPTEMBER 2011 in New York, President Benigno S. Aquino III will deliver his keynote remarks at the Open Government Partnership (OGP) conference titled “The Power of Open: A Global Discussion”.  The conference brings together governments, civil society, industry leaders, academics and  media, with panels discussing the role of openness in improving government responsiveness and accountability, fighting corruption, and creating efficiencies, innovation and growth.


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