On September 29, 2017, Yvette Abrahams, an indigenous religious leader from Cape Town, South Africa who served as the country’s Commissioner For Gender Equality for five years, gasped when she learned that South Africa had just voted in favor of United Nations Human Rights Council resolution condemning the death penalty for those found guilty of committing consensual same-sex sexual acts. She could not believe that the United States had not.
The pain and anger of more than a million people who tweeted #MeToo in the last week have crowded social media with personal stories of sexual harassment or assault.
With 30 countries from Kenya to Indonesia and from Canada to Brazil now involved in the world campaign to beat pollution by countering the torrents of plastic trash that are degrading oceans and endangering the life they sustain, the UN has strengthened its massive efforts to clean up the seas, which are the Earth’s main buffer against climate change.
Yesterday (19/10) over 6,900 Rohingya refugees who were stranded in dire conditions in no-man’s land at Anjuman Para on Bangladesh’s side of the border, were moved by the Bangladesh military to several makeshift settlements in the Ukhia and Teknaf sub-districts of Cox’s Bazar. Some 800,000 Rohingyas are now living in the settlements, 589,000 of whom have arrived since August 25th.
Index insurance is being promoted as a solution to protect climate affected smallholder farmers in Africa. This type of micro insurance is slowly gaining ground as a way of compensating farmers for lost crops and livestock due to climate change.
They work for years to bolster the economies of two countries. For one, the United States, they provide labour and taxes; for the other, Mexico, they send remittances that support tens of thousands of families and communities. Then they are deported, and neither government takes into account their special needs.
The world’s tobacco companies – which have been widely ostracized in the UN system – may be ousted from one of their last fortified strongholds in the United Nations: the International Labour Organization (ILO).
“Wars are always clarifying” is a line that I jotted down from a column in the New York Times that was written two years after the attack on the twin towers on September 11, 2001. The subject was ostensibly “9/11” and the war on terrorism that it set off (Thomas Friedman wrote the line).
Should the state appreciate or even acknowledge the work of Pakistani citizens, especially women, that is recognised abroad?
The Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics unveiled the report “Household Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES) 2016” on October 17. It is the most exhaustive nationwide survey carried out and is usually brought out every five years or so. What it tells us is that the income inequality between the rich and poor has widened with the top 10 percent of the population now having an income share of 38.16 percent, which is 2.32 percent higher than what it was in 2010. Whereas, the bottom 10 percent of the population has half (1.01 pecent) of the income share it had in the year 2010 (2 percent). Indeed, poverty reduction has also slowed down a full 0.5 percent over this period.
In early October, three Ethiopian boys in Yemen told IOM, the UN Migration Agency, “we miss our family and can no longer stay here.”
Lack of energy access presents a formidable challenge to Africa and lack of access to financing has been singled out as the biggest reason why over 620 million people living on the continent are stuck in energy poverty.
At the dawn of the millennium, Sheila Mponda, 60, waved goodbye to her four children, who were leaving Zimbabwe for the United Kingdom in search of greener pastures. Mponda had just lost her husband and had been a housewife all her life.
I will travel to the Central African Republic early next week to spend United Nations Day with a peacekeeping operation in order to pay tribute to peacekeepers across the world.
While many often focus on wealth disparities, economic inequality is often a symptom and cause of other inequalities including women’s access to sexual and reproductive health.
A woman shopkeeper is standing on a plastic chair to avoid knee high swirling rainwater mixed with sewage. “I work with a women’s cooperative selling products made by Palestinian women in my shop. The sewage water has gone into the electric wires, so I have no electricity. Everything in the shop is destroyed. The metal door [that was] installed to protect the settlers prevents the water from flowing out into the main drain. . . . This means we suffer every time it rains. They [the settlers] want us to move from here. This is why they make our life hard,” she cries.
As the United Nations’ Second Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (2008-2017) comes to an end, more self-congratulation is likely. Claims of victory in the war against poverty will be backed by recently released poverty estimates from the World Bank, entrusted by the UN system to monitor poverty.
The world is running out of antibiotics to combat the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) warned while announcing the World Antibiotic Awareness Week on 13-19 November.
The Argentine biodiesel industry, which in the last 10 years has become one of the most powerful in the world, has an uncertain future, faced with protectionist measures in the United States and Europe and doubts in the international scenario about the environmental impact of these fuels based on agricultural products.
After violence broke out in Myanmar’s Rakhine state on 25 August, more than 500,000 Rohingya refugees crossed into neighbouring Bangladesh in less than five weeks. Tens of thousands of refugees have arrived since, fleeing discrimination, violence and persecution, as well as isolation and fear.
This month the world marks two key International Days: for the Eradication of Poverty on 17 October and for Disaster Reduction, four days earlier. It is no coincidence that they are profoundly connected.