The United Nations global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises, Education Cannot Wait (ECW
), released a shocking new report
today that indicates the number of crisis-impacted school-aged children requiring educational support has grown from an estimated 75 million in 2016 to 222 million today.
Despite the fact that the post Second World War period witnessed the growth and proliferation of a plethora horrendous weapons of mass destruction such as nuclear bombs, human intellectual ingenuity managed to keep the slide into catastrophe at bay. The idea was proffered, and largely accepted, that these weapons were meant not to fight wars but to prevent them. During much of the Cold War period, when nuclear weapons proliferated, particularly among the superpowers, peace was maintained on the premise of the concept of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). Since the key superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union, had the capacity to destroy each other many times over, rational logic prevented both from initiating a nuclear war. Defence was achieved by deterrence, that is preventing the enemy from attacking with threat of overwhelmingly unacceptable level of retaliation (“nuclear deterrence”)
In March 2022, United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres warned
of a ‘hurricane of hunger’ due to the war in Ukraine. Forty-five developing countries, most of them on the African continent, he said, ‘import at least a third of their wheat from Ukraine or Russia, with 18 of those import[ing] at least 50 percent’. Russia and Ukraine export
33% of global barley stocks, 29% of wheat, 17% of corn, and nearly 80% of the world’s supply of sunflower oil. Farmers outside of Russia and Ukraine, trying to make up for the lack of exports, are now struggling with higher fuel prices also caused by the war. Fuel prices impact both the cost of chemical fertilisers and farmers’ ability to grow their own crops. Maximo Torero Cullen, chief economist at the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, said
that ‘one of every five calories people eat have crossed at least one international border, up more than 50 percent from 40 years ago’. This turbulence in the global food trade will certainly create a problem for nutrition and food intake, particularly amongst the poorest people on the planet.
Catherine M. Russell
became UNICEF’s eighth Executive Director on 1 February 2022.
Ms. Russell brings to the role decades of experience in developing innovative policy that empowers underserved communities around the world, including high-impact programmes that protect women and girls, including in humanitarian crises. She has extensive experience building, elevating and managing diverse workforces and mobilizing resources and political support for a broad range of initiatives.
Conflicts in Northern Ethiopia’s regions of Afar, Amhara and Tigray, have pushed children and adolescents out of school and are fueling humanitarian needs in the region. In response to this crisis, Education Cannot Wait (ECW
) announced today a US$2 million First Emergency Response Grant that will reach more than 20,000 refugee and displaced, as well as host community children and adolescents. This brings ECW ongoing investments in Ethiopia
to over $30 million.
Economic crisis has provoked a great wave of protests in Sri Lanka. People are demanding the resignation of the president, blamed for high-handed and unaccountable decision making, exemplified by his introduction of an agricultural fertiliser ban in 2021 that has resulted in a food crisis. People don’t just want the president’s removal: they want a change in the political balance of power so that future presidents are subjected to proper checks and balances. Hope comes from the wide-reaching and diverse protest movement that has put aside past differences to demand change.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) issues an annual report evaluating press freedom globally.
This year’s index focused on 180 countries across the world.
Pakistan’s impossibly debonair and incredibly urbane cricketing star turned politician, Imran Khan, is a man of a myriad parts. Where English is spoken and cricket is played, he remains a hero. Time was when leading his team in many a Test match he caused blood to rapidly pulsate through Pakistani veins. In a nation buffeted by the vicissitudes of misfortune and thirsting for pride, he had fulfilled his people’s dream by winning them the ultimate prize in cricket, the World Cup. But then he switched games and went into politics. The fates, with him for a while, eventually withdrew their favour. He gambled with a tactic that was no more than a political stunt. Alas it failed, and the Courts in his country refused him relief. But this essay is not so much about him. It about the Courts that finally caused his fall. It is also about the role the judicial organ of the State has played along the inscrutable path of Pakistan’s constitutional and political destiny.
Expanding on Education Cannot Wait’s (ECW
) US$5 million Ukraine First Emergency Response
grant announced in March, ECW today announced a new, initial US$1.5 million allocation to support the education in emergencies response for the Ukraine refugee crisis in Moldova while on mission with strategic partners USAID
. This new allocation brings ECW’s total Ukraine crisis education response to US$6.5 million to date. The new grant will be delivered in partnership with the Government of Moldova to ensure refugee children and youth can access safe and protective learning opportunities. Investments will also benefit children in the host communities. The development of the grant will be facilitated through the coordination mechanism established for the education response.
One of my great joys, if present in America on Independence Day, has been being out at the fireworks on the Fourth of July with my daughter, son-in-law, and my two grandchildren. The glorious denouement of the event has often been a final spray of brightly lit colours against the azure sky, with delighted crowds cheering along with the resounding crescendo of the volley of cannon-fire, the flamboyant finale of Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture! Can those happy moments of such experience be at the risk of being altered or even eliminated from our lifestyle?