Let’s face what lies ahead with open eyes: 2020 is going to be a very tough year for the world, and developing countries in particular. The infant decade has already begun with the harbingers of climate disaster as thousands fled to beaches in Australia from raging bush fires, and the Middle East braced for more conflict after a U.S. air strike in Baghdad killed Iran’s top general.
In a world shaken by so many problems, it is difficult to look at 2020 and not make some kind of holistic analysis. While enormous progress has been made on many fronts, it is clear that the tide has turned, and we are now entering – or have already entered – a new low point in the history of humankind..
“Right now, I don’t want to get married. I have a long life and a dream in front of me”, a 14-year-old young girl from Bangladesh told her parents as she was just not ready to get married.
"I refused to marry off my daughter for a simple, good reason: I want my daughter to be empowered,” said Lemeima mint El Hadrami, 49. "I don't want her to go through the same difficulties I did when I was young." El Hadrami was married when she was only 13.
“When I think about Bangladesh, I think about everybody. Not everybody is enjoying Rabindranath and the great literature and culture that Bangladesh has. But I think everybody has got the right to have this experience”, deeply felt by late Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, founder of BRAC (Building Resources Across Communities), a unique, integrated development organization that many have hailed as the most effective anti-poverty organization in the world; who passed away December 20, 2019at the age of 83.
We saw a hugely diverse selection of world leaders - from civil society, politics and business - seeking positive change at the UN General Assembly in New York in September. But the global reality is a political and economic environment that is increasingly divided. Boycotts. Protests. Narratives of hate.
Dealing with transboundary pests is tricky at the best of times. Standards, practices, capacity levels and engagement vary across countries and regions, and responses are often ad hoc and ineffective. However, matters become even more complex when the pest in question flies over borders, threatens the food security and livelihoods of millions, and causes severe environmental and economic damage along the way. Fall Armyworm
is such a pest.
In the light of limited access to education for displaced Rohingya children, the Nippon Foundation has announced US$ 2 million support to BRAC to launch a project to ensure educational facilities to both Rohingya and local community children.
“The 2030 Agenda is coming to life”, declared the Secretary General at the opening of the first SDG Summit, a quadrennial event for the follow up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. As leaders from Asia – Pacific took the floor, they highlighted country progress of SDG implementation and reaffirmed commitment to achieve the 2030 Agenda. Statements reflected different approaches across the region. Yet all converged on one priority: accelerated actions and transformative pathways
As urbanization continues apace, coupled with rapid population growth and rural to urban migration, the challenges for inclusive rural transformation continue, and the importance of fostering improved rural-urban linkages for better food systems becomes increasingly important..
According to the UN, by 2050 some 66% of the world’s population of 9 billion is expected to live in urban areas. Such rapid urbanization is increasingly shaping the rural space and rural livelihoods (through markets, demand for agricultural goods and labour, migration, and through the provision of services to rural areas). It is therefore critical for the increasing emphasis on urban development to take into account the importance of rural development.
Filomena (15), a fisherman’s daughter from a village in Nampula Province, Mozambique was married to a 21-year-old from the same village.
While opening a newspaper or watching a TV program we are every day made aware of the plights of irregular migrants. Some recent examples among many – on 24 October, 39 Chinese nationals were found dead in a lorry trailer in Essex. They had apparently frozen to death within a refrigerator container with temperatures as low as -25C (-13F). This while tragedies occur almost daily on the Mediterranean Sea. On 26 November, a rescue vessel found a boat almost completely sunken. It had three dead bodies aboard. Fifty-five migrants were saved. Three of them were in a critical condition, and one died after reaching Melilla in Spain, where the migrants were brought in. Three children were among the survivors, though a further ten individuals were reported missing. Nowadays, such news items pass by almost imperceptibly. Every day, thousands of unfortunate human beings are trafficked all over the world to suffer underpaid, hazardous work, or prostitution.
“There is no greater asset to Africa than its youth,” a statement that has been repeatedly proclaimed, but the continent still has a long way to go. Despite robust economic growth over the past two decades, a 1 percent increase in growth between 2000–14 was associated with only 0.41 percent growth in employment. This figure suggests that employment stood at less than 1.8 percent a year, far below the nearly 3 percent annual growth in the labor force. If this trend continues, 100 million people will join the multitudes of the unemployed in Africa by 2030.
The African Development Bank and technology firm Microsoft
today launched the ‘Coding for Employment’ digital training platform
, an online tool to provide digital skills to African youth, wherever they are across the continent.
More than 2 billion people in the world are suffering from malnutrition. This is the result of diets lacking essential micronutrients such as vitamins, iron and zinc, which are vital for the body to function, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Great strides have been taken to empower women and girls in the Asia-Pacific region since the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing adopted an ambitious global agenda to achieve gender equality twenty-five years ago. Gender parity has been achieved in primary education. Maternal mortality has been halved. Today, the region’s governments are committed to overcoming the persistent challenges of discrimination, gender-based violence and women’s unequal access to resources and decision-making.
-- I am Generation Equality because…
I didn’t want other girls to go through the same struggles I experienced. I got married when I was 14 years old. I had no idea what marriage was.
A new policy paper by the Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report at UNESCO, released ahead of the UNHCR Global Refugee Forum next month, shows the increasingly important role of cities using education of people on the move as a lever for their inclusion. It calls for international and non-governmental organisations to recognise cities as partners and for governments to clarify and support cities’ role in education.
Unanimously endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council in 2011, the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights are the authoritative global reference point articulating the responsibilities of companies to respect and protect human rights.
After years of austerity, a number of Eurozone countries are now considering expansionary
fiscal policies. And in the UK, government spending is set to return to levels last seen in the 1970s
. But austerity abounds elsewhere in the world, including in some of the poorest countries.
How Indonesian craftsmanship is undergoing a revival at the world’s first ‘bamboo university’.
It’s fast-growing, flexible and strong. Standing underneath a bamboo canopy, it is easy to understand why people have been using this grass plant for years, in the construction of houses, bridges and scaffolding.