As we are celebrating the International Day of Older Persons today, we recognize that population ageing is a human success story, a story of longer and often healthier lives of the world’s people. The many faces of older persons that we see in Asia and in the Pacific, and, indeed, all over the world, attest to this fact. Still, however, ageing is considered a threat. There is talk about the “burden of ageing”, exploding healthcare costs, and concerns about plummeting economic growth due to the shrinking labour force. In many cities of Asia-Pacific, we see advertisement for “anti-ageing cosmetics” and surgeries. The current ideal is that we must be young, dynamic and without wrinkles or grey hair, especially older women.
Warnings of strong winds, high waves and reduced visibility along the East African coastline are increasingly common.
But local fisher folk like Ali Sombo from Kwale County, situated along Kenya's Indian Ocean Coastline, don't always heed the warnings by the Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD) to stay clear of the open sea during rough waters.
We saw this coming. As humanitarians, our risk assessments in different parts of the world have always factored in the potential for extreme weather events and the spread of vector-borne diseases, of drought, desertification, and mass displacement. Emergency first responders like us work up scenarios for interventions and gain experience each time we put our planning to the test in real crises.
"We don't have a good appreciation of our local weather systems," says Dr James Kinyangi head of the African Development Bank's climate and development Africa special fund, which supports investments in climate and weather observations networks in Africa.
International Leprosy Congress just wrapped up in Manila, Philippines last week. Alongside policy makers, diplomats, medical researchers, doctors, donors and academics, several Hansen's disease-affected people’s organisations also participated in the 3-day congress that was co-sponsored by The Nippon Foundation (TNF) and Sasakawa Health Foundation (SHF).
Arama Sire Camara, a fruit and vegetable seller in the province of Kindia, some 135 km from the Guinean capital of Conakry, feels safer trading well into the night thanks to the Rural Electrification Project, financed by 21-million-dollar investment by the African Development Bank.
“With lighting on the road at night and illuminating our goods, it means we are safer, especially with all the cars on the road. You can work for longer after nightfall, and so we can make more of our products,” she says.
Forty years ago, Yohei Sasakawa saw his father moved to tears after meeting and witnessing the suffering of people affected by leprosy – also known as Hansen’s disease. Not only did the patients have a physical illness, but they also suffered from social exclusion and discrimination. It made the young Sasakawa vow to work for the elimination of leprosy from the world – just as his father had been doing.
Former Zimbabwe strongman Robert Mugabe, who died this week, aged 95, leaves a mixed and divisive legacy.
While the 28th World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa is being held in Cape Town, South Africa this week, the international aid and development charity Oxfam released its latest report: A tale of two continents: fighting inequality in Africa.
Trends in global consumption of cigarettes haven’t improved since the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) came into force, according to a study
published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) earlier this summer.
It’s 1962, and in a modest Hong Kong neighborhood, a poetic love story unfolds. Filmed almost twenty years ago, Wong Kar-wai’s seminal movie In the Mood for Love captured the world’s imagination about lifestyle in the region.
The past five years have been the hottest on record in Asia and the Pacific. Unprecedented heatwaves have swept across our region, cascading into slow onset disasters such as drought. Yet heat is only part of the picture. Tropical cyclones have struck new, unprepared parts of our region and devastatingly frequent floods have ensued. In Iran, these affected 10 million people this year and displaced 500,000 of which half were children. Bangladesh is experiencing its fourth wave of flooding in 2019. Last year, the state of Kerala in India faced the worst floods in a century.
Graduate students of the London School of Economics and Political Science gathered at Kenya’s coast in September 2018, where the Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Dr Mukhisa Kituyi told them: “With your international credibility, it is easier and tempting to leave and take out of the continent the little intellectual resource that could solve problems their countries face.”
A senior United Nations official has promised a thorough investigation into allegations of misconduct in field operations in Yemen and the occupied Palestinian territories, saying that those responsible would be punished.
To mark World Humanitarian Day, we celebrate the overlooked women leaders who are first responders, unwavering advocates, and powerful change-makers in humanitarian emergencies.
For many people, climate change is about shrinking glaciers, rising sea levels, longer and more intense heatwaves, and other extreme and unpredictable weather patterns. But for women pastoralists—livestock farmers in the semi-arid lands of Kenya—climate change has forced drastic changes to everyday life, including long and sometimes treacherous journeys to get water.
“The Perfect Storm” was a dire prediction that by 2030 food shortages, scarce water and insufficient energy resources together with climate change would threaten to unleash public unrest, cross-border conflicts and mass migration from worst-affected regions.
The migrant and refugee crisis has become a serious test for the unity of Europe as a political project. The inflow of destitute migrants and refugees has tested Europe’s political unity to an unprecedented extent. With a long-term solution to the migrant and refugee crisis nowhere in sight, the adverse impact of the current situation has the potential to unfold further and to give rise to a broader crisis with long-term implications, affecting Europe and the MENA region alike.