Six months after the outbreak, the new global scenario resulting from the impact of COVID-19 is gradually becoming much more defined. From the very beginning, we sensed that little good could result from a situation so surprising and unexpected. Now it is becoming increasingly clear that we are entering times of extreme volatility in the international sphere. Times of uncertainty and incandescence as we have not seen for years.
Food security in sub-Saharan Africa is under threat. The ability of many Africans to access sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs has been disrupted by successive natural disasters and epidemics. Cyclones Idai and Kenneth, locust outbreaks in eastern Africa, and droughts in southern and eastern Africa are some examples. The COVID-19 pandemic is just the latest catastrophe to have swollen the ranks of 240 million people going hungry in the region. In some countries, over 70 percent of the population has problems accessing food.
Another episode of the spectacular show that could be called The Greatest Story Ever Told: The Saga of the Trump Presidency
, scripted and acted by Trump himself, took place on 1st of June.
COVID-19 has brought the world to a halt. Nations, businesses, and schools have closed, and billions are confined to their homes. Yet millions of care workers step out daily to keep the lights on and support those in need.
Lockdowns have been the main measures to ‘flatten the curve’ of COVID-19 infections. But lockdowns typically incur huge economic costs, distributed unevenly in economies and societies. In fact, some governments
acknowledged that they were choosing ‘life over economy’.
‘Life vs. Economy’: A false dichotomy
As lockdowns have been repeatedly extended arguing that economy can be revived but not the dead
, it has become increasingly clear that ‘lives and livelihoods’ are intrinsically intertwined. The longer the lockdowns, higher is the risk of hunger and hence death.
Landless farmers who produce rice for the landlords of big “haciendas” can’t get more than a little pocket money from their harsh work—not enough to provide diverse and healthy food for their families. Seasonal workers on sugar-cane plantations know that they can count on only six months of earnings. When summer arrives, those whose irrigation facilities have been destroyed by typhoons, or those who never had any, struggle while waiting for the rain.
In these difficult times for the Palestinian people and for justice, the Government of Israel is proposing to add further to the turmoil by unilaterally absorbing large swathes of the Palestinian West Bank of the Jordan River. It might therefore be fitting to remind the world of the chronology of the events leading up to the creation of the State of Israel in May 1948.
In the midst of the COVID 19 pandemic, the much-anticipated 73rd World Health Assembly (WHA) of the WHO concluded without any major controversies or disagreements.
The world economic contraction so far this year is largely due to measures, especially at the national or local level, to contain or prevent Covid-19 contagion, particularly those restricting business operations, thus reducing economic activity, output, incomes and spending.
The COVID-19 pandemic is crippling the economies of rich and poor countries alike. Yet for many low-income and fragile states, the economic shock will be magnified by the loss of remittances—money sent home by migrant and guest workers employed in foreign countries.
With very weak health systems and overall capacity constraints to effectively respond to the deadly coronavirus disease, Africa’s fate against the invisible enemy, was going to be nothing short of catastrophic according to early predictions. Although Africa is yet to reach its peak, many countries are not seeing the exponential growth in case numbers, or in mortality rates as seen in other regions of the world. So far, the continent has the lowest mortality rates with higher recovery rates globally.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak was first reported in Wuhan, China in late December 2019, the disease has spread to more than 200 countries and territories. In the absence of a vaccine or effective treatment, governments worldwide have responded by implementing unprecedented containment and mitigation measures—the Great Lockdown
. This in turn has resulted in large short-term economic losses, and a decline in global economic activity not seen since the Great Depression. Did it work?
The COVID-19 insurgence has highlighted the need for multilateral cooperation among sustainability stakeholders. As the journey towards achieving Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is fraught with imminent global challenges, global environmental leaders agree that now is the time to act collectively for nature, leaving no one behind.
The murder of George Floyd by a police officer in broad daylight came amid a high point in the continuing rampage of the coronavirus throughout the country, killing over 100,000 and infecting nearly 2 million while more than 45 million have lost their jobs.
Indonesia’s founding President Sukarno delivered his annual Independence or National Day address on 17 August 1964 anticipating the forthcoming year as Tahun vivere pericoloso
, the ‘year of living dangerously’. 2020 may well be the world’s turn, and not only due to the obvious Covid-19 threat to the world.
Looking back to the start of 2020, the world has changed almost beyond recognition. To protect public health, the global economy was put into stasis. Shops closed, factories were mothballed, and people’s freedom of movement was severely curtailed.
No country has escaped the health, economic, and social impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. Tragically, more than 260,000 people have died and millions have been infected. The IMF is projecting global economic activity to decline on a scale not seen since the Great Depression. It is truly a crisis like no other.
As the COVID-19 virus spread rapidly around the globe, so did various theories about what caused the pandemic. According to the standard scientific theory, the virus probably originated in bats and then crossed over to humans, probably via another intermediate host. It then spread rapidly across the globe, piggybacking on the international travel network.
The tragedy of the coronavirus pandemic and its associated challenges have thrown our world into chaos, with the virus destroying lives and livelihoods in its path.
On February 26 this year, 15 South Sudanese children were released from armed groups and handed over to civilian child protection actors, including UNICEF and UNMISS, UN’s peacekeeping operation in South Sudan, who were able to facilitate the children’s safe return to their families.
By now, the impact of COVID19 on our daily lives has been well documented, especially in advanced economies. Anxiety about the future continues to grow everywhere. Much of the corporate news coverage we consume has focused on the toll this pandemic will take on mainland countries. Often neglected, however, is the unique position Pacific Island States find themselves in.
Health systems around the world are prioritising health care services and equipment to treat people diagnosed with Covid-19, which means that many procedures deemed to be elective and non-essential are being suspended or simply not provided. Abortion, for instance, has been categorised
as a non-essential health service by some States, while others have removed certain restrictions to accessing abortion.