The peoples of the world are unanimous - access to basic services such as universal healthcare must become a priority going forward. So too should global solidarity, helping those hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and addressing the climate change emergency.
The currently available Covid-19 vaccines have been authorized for ‘emergency use ‘in Europe and North America. This is due to an apparent spike in Covid-19 flu cases in the northern hemisphere as winter advances. Highly advertised vaccines are being produced and rolled out at ‘warped speed’ by powerful pharmaceutical and bio-technology companies headquartered in Euro-America although their efficacy including how long their immunity lasts is not clear.
While 2020 will be remembered most for the way COVID-19 changed our lives in nearly every way and in every part of the world, we made some strides for women’s rights and gender equality.
Despite its grim record of multiple natural disasters and a deepening climate crisis, one could be forgiven for looking back on 2019 with a degree of nostalgia. There is no disguising the extent of the calamity wrought this year by COVID-19, yet as we approach the end of 2020 we may also draw strength from positive developments emerging.
I recently visited rural areas of Bangladesh amid the COVID-19 pandemic and returned to Dhaka with a new understanding of the impact that COVID-19 is having on child marriage, a harmful practice that is a global challenge. The fundamental shift that I saw was that child marriage, which has typically been encouraged by struggling parents, is now being encouraged by struggling girls. This worrisome trend underscores a new burden of the pandemic on the poor.
While Afghanistan ends a historic year, filled with the hope for peace as the government and Taliban sat down for almost three months of consecutive peace talks for the first time in 19 years, it was also a year filled with violence with provisional statistics by the United Nations showing casualties for this year being higher than 2019.
Siddharth Chatterjee, who has served with the United Nations for over 20 years, has been appointed as the new Resident Coordinator in China, the world’s second largest economy after the United States.
Education and health care were high on the agenda when the United Nations vowed to work toward a better future by setting 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be met by 2030.
On Dec. 2 Gabriel Arias, 42, left a Washington Heights, New York, money transfer agency after sending money home to the Dominican Republic. For the past eight years, every fortnight he would come to this branch at 171st street after getting paid from his construction job. But things are different this year and he worries about his family back home. Arias lost his job in May, amid heightened COVID-19 restrictions in the state. He told IPS he has tried to work some odd jobs, but has barely earned enough for his monthly apartment rental. This early December visit to send money home was only his second since June.
As India continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic and a growing number of deaths, farmers here have been fighting a battle of their own against volatile pricing, uncertain demand and lack of access to the market. But in the midst of all this uncertainty, one farming couple in a village near Hyderabad are working towards a food-secure future for themselves using eco-friendly farming techniques.
Earlier this year, when heavy rains caused massive flooding in Sudan, a three-month state of emergency was declared in September. The floods which began in July, were the worst the country experienced in the last three decades and affected some 830,000 people, including 125,000 refugees and internally displaced people.
Japan should step up and play a role as a global facilitator for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, Dr Daisaku Higashi said at a recent Japan Parliamentarians Federation for Population (JPFP) study meeting.
Heads of youth movements and student unions are challenging the world’s richest nations to correct an ‘incredibly unequal’ global response to COVID-19, by considering the plight of the world’s most vulnerable children and young people.
Rural communities on one of the nine islands that make up the Polynesian nation of Tuvalu are anticipating how life will change when they are connected to piped clean water for the first time.
Africa has over 700
companies with an annual revenue of more than $500 million, including 400 with revenue above $1 billion
. The ability of these companies to thrive rests on building and retaining talented women and men.
In 2013, when Jamila Ben Baba started her company, the first privately owned slaughterhouse in Mali, she did so in the midst of a civil war as Tuareg rebels grouped together in an attempt to administer a new northern state called Azawad.
Ben Baba, who is originally from Timbuktu, in northern Mali — where much of the civil war conflict took place — based the business in the country’s western region of Kayes and grew it into what is considered the largest private slaughter house in the West African nation.
For Zimbabwean farmer Sinikiwe Sibanda, planting more sorghum and millet than maize has paid off.
As the coronavirus pandemic has led to decreased incomes and increased food prices across the southern African nation -- it is estimated that more than 8 million Zimbabweans will need food aid until the next harvest season in March -- Sibanda's utilisation of traditional and indigenous food resources could provide a solution to food security here.
The European Commission this week pledged $27.8 million in humanitarian support to the Sahel region as floods and the coronavirus pandemic exacerbate the stability in a region deeply in conflict.
While the figure is less than 2 percent of the $2.4 billion that the United Nations has appealed for, Amnesty International researcher Ousmane Diallo told IPS that despite past donations from international development partners to Sahelian countries, the situation hasn’t improved over the years.
Access to technology which is relatively inexpensive to deploy can have a life-changing impact for rural women, social scientist Valentina Rotondi told IPS.
With the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize bestowed on the Rome-based World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations and its affiliated agencies continue to hold a monopoly of one of the world’s most prestigious annual awards.
In 1995, world leaders gathered in Beijing for the Fourth World Conference on Women and adopted the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. This marked a significant turning point for the global agenda for gender equality. This week, a high-level event will take place as part of the United Nations General Assembly to celebrate the meeting’s 25th anniversary. However, despite ambitious commitments to gender equality, nearly 25 years later, progress still lags far behind.