When the coronavirus pandemic delivered a mortal blow to the United States, grounding the country to a virtual standstill and throwing its economy into a deep recession, hundreds and thousands were forced to work “remotely” while offices remained shuttered, beginning late March.
Dr David Nabarro is Special Envoy to the World Health Organisation on COVID-19 and Strategic Director of 4SD. He sets out his challenge to leaders to use COVID-19 as an opportunity for radical change that responds to the needs and the interests of all of humanity.
• Countries must work together
• Focus on equity
• Effective local action
I, like many of my fellow Americans, am extremely concerned about Trump’s dictatorial tendencies. Given his behavior – what he said and did over the past four years – he may well act on some of these tendencies, especially if he loses the election by a narrow margin.
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.
The Charter of the United Nations has been a constant presence in my life. My awareness of it started with the usual brief introduction to the basics of the United Nations as an organization that many young people receive in school. Later, as my political awareness took shape against the backdrop of military rule in Portugal and my country’s status as a colonial power, the Charter’s calls for self-determination and other freedoms registered with urgency. During the time I spent as a volunteer in the poor neighbourhoods of Lisbon, the Charter’s vision of social justice was equally resonant. In subsequent service as a parliamentarian and then as Prime Minister, I was privileged to have an opportunity to advance not only national progress but one of the Charter’s other main objectives: international cooperation. Across a decade as High Commissioner for Refugees and now in my current role, the Charter’s power inspires me onward every day in serving “we the peoples”, including the most vulnerable members of the human family, who have a special claim on that landmark document’s provisions and protections.
At last week’s 2020 High Level Political Forum (HLPF
), UN member states discussed how to get back on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. They focused on a dire need for “accelerated action and transformative pathways to realize the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development.”
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.
In the words of (ret.) Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, Secretary of Defense Colin Powell’s Chief of Staff, the Trump Administration has been dangerously “poking China in the eye.”
The world is in the midst of the Great Migration Clash, a bitter struggle between those who “want out
” of their countries and those who want others to “keep out
” of their countries. More than a billion
people would like to move permanently to another country and no less than a billion people say fewer or no immigrants
should be allowed to move into their countries.
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.
A factoid is unreliable information repeated so often that it becomes accepted as fact. One such factoid repeatedly echoed across the globe by the tobacco industry is that tobacco tax increases worsen cigarette smuggling.
GDP has been increasingly challenged on many grounds as a measure of economic and social progress. Clearly, GDP does not take account of other dimensions of wellbeing, natural resource depletion or environmental damage.
“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
Global travel restrictions as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak are accelerating a trend towards research publications focussed on the global South, publishers say.
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?
In May 2019, senior members of Ghana’s law enforcement posed for photos with the U.S. ambassador to their country at a ceremony
in the capital, Accra. Between them they held boxes and bags, gifts from the U.S. government to Ghana which, according to one of the recipients, contained Israeli phone hacking technology.
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.
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?”.