The things you can do and learn online for General Paper (and Project Work).

The following are ‘Global Political, Economic, and Social Facts’ extracted from the UN’s Human Development Report 2007/2008 by the Infoplease website.

  • In the last two decades, political and civil rights have improved substantially throughout the world: since 1980, 81 countries have taken significant steps in democratization, with 33 military regimes replaced by civilian governments. But of these fledgling democracies, only 47 are considered full democracies today.
  • Only 82 countries, representing 57% of the world’s population, are fully democratic.
  • Multiparty elections are now held in 140 of the world’s 193 countries.
  • Coups overthrew 46 elected governments in the second half of the twentieth century.
  • The proportion of the world’s extremely poor fell from 29% in 1990 to 23% in 1999.
  • In 1999, 2.8 billion people lived on less than $2 a day, with 1.2 billion of them surviving on the margins of subsistence with less than $1 a day.
  • In 2000, 1.1 billion people lacked access to safe water, and 2.4 billion did not have access to any form of improved sanitation services.
  • Between 1970 and 2000 the under-5 mortality rate worldwide fell from 96 to 56 per 1,000 live births.
  • Just 125 countries, with 62% of the world’s population, have a free or partly free press.
  • In 2001, 37 journalists died in the line of duty. Another 118 were imprisoned. Worldwide, more than 600 journalists or their news organizations were intimidated or physically attacked.
  • In 103 countries the proportion of women in parliament increased between 1995 and 2000, but around the world it still averages just 14%.
  • Of the world’s estimated 854 million illiterate adults, 544 million are women.
  • Armed conflict continues to blight the lives of millions: since 1990, 3.6 million people have died as a result of civil wars and ethnic violence, more than 16 times the number killed in wars between states.
  • Civilians have accounted for more than 90% of the casualties—either injured or killed—in post-cold war conflicts.
  • Ninety countries are affected by landmines and unexploded ordinance, with rough estimates of 15,000 to 20,000 mine victims each year.
  • Greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere are accruing at a record rate. In 2007, there were 380 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which exceeds the natural range of the past 650,000 years.
  • The United States has a carbon footprint five times that of China, and over 15 times that of India.
  • The 23 million residents of the US state of Texas emit more carbon dioxide than the entire population of sub-Saharan Africa, which is 720 million people.

What is the significance of each of these facts?

Read the selection of significant events from 1997 to the present here.

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