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DAVOS – The Sustainable Development Goals, which the international community adopted in September, include a commitment to provide every child with access to free primary and secondary education by 2030. Finding the additional $20 billion per year, or more, that will needed to deliver on this commitment is one of the central objectives of the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity.

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DAVOS – We live in extraordinary times. Each day seems to bring fresh headlines about an unfolding crisis – whether it is migration, economic volatility, security, or climate change. One factor common to all these complex and unprecedented challenges is poverty; so eliminating it will make overcoming them significantly easier.

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BERLIN – The climate agreement that world leaders reached in Paris last month has been widely celebrated for establishing the ambitious target of limiting the increase in global temperature to well below 2º Celsius above pre-industrial levels. But the agreement is just one step, albeit an important one. Policymakers now must figure out how to achieve this goal – no easy feat, especially given that, contrary to the conventional wisdom, steadily rising costs for conventional energy cannot be counted on to propel the necessary shift toward a low-carbon future.

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ABERYSTWYTH – Scientists estimate that there are more than 400,000 species of plants on earth, at least half of which are edible for humans. Indeed, it is entirely possible that we are capable of eating 300,000 plant species. And yet we consume just a tiny fraction of that. Homo sapiens, the most cosmopolitan of species, one that thrives by virtue of being a generalist, eats only about 200 plant species. Remarkably, a mere three crops – maize, rice, and wheat – account for more than half of the calories and proteins that we derive from plants.

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BOSTON/NEW YORK – US President Barack Obama’s administration recently issued an appeal for ideas to advance its “precision medicine initiative,” which will channel millions of federal research dollars toward efforts to tailor clinical treatment to individual patients. The idea of personalized medicine, which builds on dramatic advances in genetics and molecular biology, certainly sounds appealing – and not only in the United States, but also in Britain and elsewhere. Unfortunately, the assumption that precision medicine will benefit public health by improving clinical practice does not hold up.

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