Looking back upon 2020, we all bear the scars of a devastating year; none so much as girls and boys around the world. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted education for over 1.6 billion children and youth globally and continues to do so. It has also deepened socio-economic inequities and heightened insecurities around the world, further impacting the lives of girls and boys everywhere. Ongoing, protracted conflicts, forced displacement and the worsening climate crisis were no less forgiving.
Dealing with COVID-19-related city lockdowns has been exceptionally stressful, particularly for those parents who have had to balance work, personal life, children and elderly, providing home schooling or facilitating virtual learning, managing infection control within the home, and more, all while being disconnected from support services.
Selimatha Salifu of Ghana is a former child labourer who has vowed to do her part to bring attention to the plight of the world’s over 150 million child labourers
. Raised in a fishing community, she recalls her days buying fish to sell, working from daybreak till nightfall to contribute to her family. She credits the General Agriculture Workers Union for rescuing her and ensuring she enrolled in school.
A deadly pandemic to control. An urgent nationwide vaccination programme to roll out. An economic crisis to navigate. Political divisions and distrust deep enough to spark mob violence and terrorism.
A war-mongering president, with his finger on the nuclear trigger--- and who threatened to attack North Korea and Iran-- was unceremoniously drummed out of office on January 20.
Many of us around the world breathed a sigh of relief yesterday (Jan 20) as the ‘nuclear football
’ (the briefcase with nuclear weapons codes and communication links for the President to launch a nuclear attack) was passed from Mr Trump to President Biden, as the new president was inaugurated.
The COVID-19 Pandemic has affected every sector of society and a global assessment by the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) confirms that its shocks have extended to forests on every region on earth.
COVID-19 is like a rainstorm, a thunderous and powerful rainstorm all over the world. If we didn’t know before, we certainly know now just where the holes are in our roofs, or where there are no roofs. We see ever more clearly who is getting drenched and who is dying, and who remains dry.
COVID-19 vaccination programmes are gathering pace in high-income countries, but for much of the world, the future looks bleaker. Although a number of middle-income countries have started rolling out vaccines, widespread vaccination could still be years away
A year into the COVID-19 crisis, countries across the globe continue to face alarming levels of pressure on their health and social services. Education and other essential rights, such as water and sanitation, have been severely compromised.
In July 1921, a French infant became the first person to receive
an experimental vaccine against tuberculosis (TB), after the mother had died from the disease. The vaccine, known as Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG), is the same one still used today.
Countries are moving fast toward creating digital currencies. Or, so we hear from various surveys
showing an increasing number of central banks making substantial progress towards having an official digital currency.
2021 is going to be critical, not only for curbing the rapidly spreading COVID-19 pandemic, but also for meeting the climate challenge.
But as Dr Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) was clear to point out, the climate challenge is essentially an energy challenge. And as large polluters continue to commit to targets of net zero emissions by 2050, the world could -- in theory -- potentially address the climate challenge.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated food insecurity and disrupted food systems and food supply chains in developed and developing countries alike. In the United States, millions of Americans struggle to put food on the table
. Around the world, according to the United Nations over 270 million are hungry
, and this is expected to continue to increase.
In December 2020, Fiji was pounded by Pacific Cyclone Yasa
, the years’ second category 5 storm
which destroyed hundreds of buildings and caused about $1.4 billion in damage to health facilities, homes, schools, agriculture and infrastructure
French President Emmanuel Macron convened the 4th edition of the One Planet Summit for Biodiversity
with a concession – that after a decade, the world has failed to take the action needed to stem global biodiversity loss. The Jan. 10 event, hosted virtually by France, the United Nations and the World Bank, focused on four areas for urgent action; protecting land and maritime species, promoting agroecology, mobilising finance for biodiversity and protecting tropical forests, species and human health.
The United Nations has been one of the most vociferous advocates of gender empowerment and a persistent critic of gender discrimination worldwide.
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.
For 2021, Italy has been given chairmanship of the Group of 20, which brings together the world’s 20 most important countries. On paper, they represent 60% of the world’s population and 80% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). While the shaky Italian government will somehow perform this task (in the general indifference of the political system), the fact remains that this apparently prestigious position is in fact very deceiving: the G20 is now a very weak institution that brings no kudos to the rotating chairman. Besides, it is actually the institution which bears the greatest part of responsibility for the decline of the UN as the body responsible for global governance, a task that the G20 has very seldom been able to face up to.
The new year has arrived, but the situation is worse than in the last months of 2020. The pandemic is still unleashed: the end of the year holidays, the official permissiveness, and the slowness of the distribution of vaccines seem to announce that the disease will continue to wreak havoc for several months in most of the world, particularly in America, Europe, and parts of Asia like India. It has therefore been required to redouble preventive measures: a new lockdown and the disruption of almost all economic and school activities. Therefore, the recovery looks still uncertain and distant.
Between now and January 20,2021, the President of the United States has almost run out of arenas in which to impose his will. His reelection has soured in infamy. His concern for the COVID-19 pandemic faded long ago. There is only one last pursuit available to him to demonstrate that he is the most powerful man on earth, i.e. using the nuclear weapons at his disposal.