Sixteen-year-old Suhana Khan had just completed her grade 10 exams in March, when India imposed a nationwide COVID-19 lockdown. Since then, she has been spending her mornings and evenings doing household chores, from cooking and cleaning to fetching drinking water from the tube well.
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.
(Eid al-Adha) around the corner, 11-year-old Fatoumata Binta from Terrou Mballing district in M'Bour, western Senegal, wakes up early and joins her brothers Iphrahima Tall and Ismaila to fetch water from a river several miles from home.
Catherine Bertini, former executive director of the World Food Programme, began the IPS United Nations Bureau webinar “The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Women and Girls
” by reminiscing on a talk she gave in 1995 entitled “Women eat last”. She remarked that after 25 years, the phrase is still something that is relevant to the present day.
“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
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?
The United Nations has been relentlessly pursuing a highly-ambitious blueprint for the sustainable future of humanity –harking back to the adoption of a new global economic agenda by the General Assembly back in 2015.
COVID-19 has claimed more than 550,000 lives
and disrupted the entire world, sparing no region. As of July 2020, the number of daily new confirmed cases and deaths due to COVID-19 are growing rapidly in Latin America and the Caribbean, especially in Brazil and Mexico but also in many African countries as well as India. As highlighted in a recent article
, these numbers are likely underestimated given the reduced testing capacity in many low and middle-income countries.
Announcing an independent evaluation of the global Covid-19 response on 9th July, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
asked why it has been “difficult for humans to unite and fight a common enemy that is killing people indiscriminately?”.
While men are more likely to die from COVID-19, women are facing the full blow of the socio-economic fallout from the ongoing pandemic as well as seeing a reversal in equality gains made over the last two decades, says an all-women panel of international thought leaders, who met virtually during a discussion convened by IPS.
Europe, like the rest of the world, faces an extended crisis. An element of social distancing—mandatory or voluntary—will be with us for as long as this pandemic persists. This, coupled with continued supply chain disruptions and other problems, is prolonging an already difficult situation. Based on updated IMF projections
released last month, we now expect real GDP in the EU to contract by 9.3 percent in 2020 and then grow by 5.7 percent in 2021, returning to its 2019 level only in 2022. If an effective treatment or vaccine for COVID 19 is found, the recovery could be faster—but the opposite would hold true if there are large new waves of infection.
For nearly three months, the government of Nepal implemented a strict lockdown to combat the spread of COVID-19. And while it slowed the spread of the virus, it also put a tremendous economic burden on many families nationwide. As of June 15, the country transitioned to a “soft lockdown,” easing some restrictions such as allowing private vehicles to operate on an odd/even-day scheme. But the economic effect is already being seen.
The COVID-19 pandemic is devastating labor markets across the world. Tens of millions of workers lost their jobs, millions more out of the labor force altogether, and many occupations face an uncertain future. Social distancing measures threaten jobs requiring physical presence at the workplace or face-to-face interactions. Those unable to work remotely, unless deemed essential, face a significantly higher risk of reductions in hours or pay, temporary furloughs, or permanent layoffs. What types of jobs and workers are most at risk? Not surprisingly, the costs have fallen most heavily on those who are least able to bear them: the poor and the young in the lowest-paid jobs.
When governments and states begin their recovery journey from the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic, there might be a heightened threat to indigenous peoples, their land and resources.
“The fear is [that] the economic recovery is based on access to land and natural resources,” Lola García-Alix, senior advisor on Global Governance at the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA), told IPS.
Digital technologies in agriculture are helping address the twin problems of food security and supply chain disruptions triggered by COVID-19 in India, while augmenting the income of smallholder farmers.
Leveraging technology to match supply and demand of resources and food is key to overcoming the issues of starvation and food supply interruptions, Anshul Sushil, CEO and co-founder at Wizikey, a software that allows businesses to reach media directly, eliminating the middlemen, tells IPS.
The issue of women’s rights, feminism and gender is complex and ongoing in most countries including Bangladesh. When I was asked to write about impact of COVID-19 on women and girls, I found myself drawn towards writing about women’s situation in general as that automatically impacts COVID-19 response as well. Since I am a woman who has been a part of many different cultures, yet a Bangali at heart, I am not only a survivor within its ranks but also responsible for being a part of the solution to the problems we face.