As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Africa, countries are simultaneously dealing with the health and socio-economic impacts of the pandemic, and how and when to ease lockdowns and curfews imposed to stop the disease spreading and get onto the path of recovery.
As lockdowns ease in countries across Asia and the Pacific in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing is clear—a return to business as usual is unimaginable in a region that was already off track to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The virtual High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development recently convened governments and stakeholders across the globe to focus on the imperative to build back better while keeping an eye on the Global Goals.
Dr David Nabarro is Special Envoy to the World Health Organisation on COVID-19 and Strategic Director of 4SD. He sets out his challenge to leaders to use COVID-19 as an opportunity for radical change that responds to the needs and the interests of all of humanity.
• Countries must work together
• Focus on equity
• Effective local action
I, like many of my fellow Americans, am extremely concerned about Trump’s dictatorial tendencies. Given his behavior – what he said and did over the past four years – he may well act on some of these tendencies, especially if he loses the election by a narrow margin.
The Charter of the United Nations has been a constant presence in my life. My awareness of it started with the usual brief introduction to the basics of the United Nations as an organization that many young people receive in school. Later, as my political awareness took shape against the backdrop of military rule in Portugal and my country’s status as a colonial power, the Charter’s calls for self-determination and other freedoms registered with urgency. During the time I spent as a volunteer in the poor neighbourhoods of Lisbon, the Charter’s vision of social justice was equally resonant. In subsequent service as a parliamentarian and then as Prime Minister, I was privileged to have an opportunity to advance not only national progress but one of the Charter’s other main objectives: international cooperation. Across a decade as High Commissioner for Refugees and now in my current role, the Charter’s power inspires me onward every day in serving “we the peoples”, including the most vulnerable members of the human family, who have a special claim on that landmark document’s provisions and protections.
At last week’s 2020 High Level Political Forum (HLPF
), UN member states discussed how to get back on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. They focused on a dire need for “accelerated action and transformative pathways to realize the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development.”
Re-opening economies is a tough balancing act between keeping people safe from the virus while ensuring they can still make a living.
Some four months after the first COVID-19 case in Africa was reported in Egypt, countries on the continent are beginning to ease public health and social measures, such as lockdowns and curfews, imposed to curb the spread of the pandemic.
Covid-19 is expected to take a heavy human and economic toll on developing countries, not only because of contagion in the face of weak health systems, but also containment measures which have precipitated recessions, destroying and diminishing the livelihoods of many.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the structural weaknesses of today’s food systems, showing how quickly global networks of food production, trade and supply can waver
under the impact of a single disease.
While the ‘CGIAR System’ may sound like a technocratic body, few organizations have exerted as much influence on today’s food systems as this network of global agricultural research centres. Since its inception at the height of the ‘Green Revolution’ in 1971, the CGIAR has driven advances in crop breeding and agricultural mechanization and modernization across multiple continents. Its mission – to develop knowledge and innovation for agriculture in the global South – is as relevant today as ever, in light of climate change, COVID-19 and a host of additional challenges.
In the words of (ret.) Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, Secretary of Defense Colin Powell’s Chief of Staff, the Trump Administration has been dangerously “poking China in the eye.”
The world is in the midst of the Great Migration Clash, a bitter struggle between those who “want out
” of their countries and those who want others to “keep out
” of their countries. More than a billion
people would like to move permanently to another country and no less than a billion people say fewer or no immigrants
should be allowed to move into their countries.
A factoid is unreliable information repeated so often that it becomes accepted as fact. One such factoid repeatedly echoed across the globe by the tobacco industry is that tobacco tax increases worsen cigarette smuggling.
GDP has been increasingly challenged on many grounds as a measure of economic and social progress. Clearly, GDP does not take account of other dimensions of wellbeing, natural resource depletion or environmental damage.
On June 10, 2020, Senator Ricardo Monreal, President of the Political Coordination Board of the Senate of Mexico, presented a legislative initiative to reform Article 28 of the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States, in order to cluster in a single regulator of economic competition, the Telecommunications, Broadcasting and Energy sectors.
The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed and given rise to a new, deeply concerning wave of rape culture in Lesotho. Although the true extent is not known yet, we have noticed concerning reports that the onset of the pandemic has worsened sexual violence with more women and girls being confined to small living places whilst social tensions are exacerbated.
“We may all come on different ships, but we are in the same boat now,” Martin Luther King Jr once said. His timeless wisdom rings truer than ever today for the many challenges the world is facing. COVID-19, continued armed conflicts and forced displacement, climate-change induced disasters, deep divides and widespread discrimination mark the human family in the 21st century.
“The vision and promise of the United Nations is that food, healthcare, water and sanitation, education, decent work and social security are not commodities for sale to those who can afford them, but basic human rights to which we are all entitled.” Those were the poignant words of the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, in a hard hitting speech on 18 July 2020 to mark Mandela Day
I have had 5-decade long and happy association with the Peace Corps since I was a 7th grade student in the hills of Nepal. My wonderful Peace Corps teachers were instrumental in helping transform my life. And the 4000+ Peace Corps Volunteers who have served in Nepal have contributed immensely to my country’s development.
Two years ago, Aarti started a small business selling traditional handicrafts online, supporting artisans based in rural Karnataka. After an initial phase of struggle, she had a steady stream of orders and was looking to procure manufacturing equipment and scale the impact of her business by supporting more local talent.
The United Nations’ first Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) is “No poverty,” the most important because almost half the world, 46%, lives on less than $5.50 a day according to the World Bank. But world attention has turned away from poverty. Why?