Global

Storming of Capitol Hill Reminiscent of a Banana Republic

The storming of Capitol Hill in Washington DC by an unruly mob is reminiscent of an insurrection in a “banana republic” --as hilariously portrayed in the 1971 Woody Allen comedy “Bananas” spoofing a revolt in a fictional Latin American country.

If Covid-19 is Primarily a ‘First World’ Virus, Why is the Global South in Lockdown?

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.

Is High Tech a Danger to Humanity?


 

Oh, Lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz.
My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends.
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends.
So, oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz.
                                             Janis Joplin, 1970
COVID-19 has made several of us aware of the frailty of our bodies, the certainty of death and how valuable health, companionship and compassion are. Such insights are not uncommon in poor societies where a person’s main and perhaps only asset is her/his body and what s/he is able to do with her/his hands. However, wealthy and privileged people are surrounded by, dependent on, and even integrated with an ever more sophisticated technology, which increasingly, for better or worse, is separating us from what human existence has been for thousands of years.

Stand Tall, UN Humanitarians

Most people around the world were glad to see the back of 2020: From the devastating bushfires in Australia to the plagues of locusts through East Africa stretching across Arabia to Pakistan, extreme weather, melting ice sheets at the poles, and Covid-19 that still engulfs the globe.

Sir Brian Urquhart: Embodiment of the UN

Sir Brian Urquhart, who died on January 2 at the age of 101, served the United Nations in high posts for four decades, beginning in the organization’s earliest days.

2021: Year of Living Dangerously?

Goodbye 2020, but unfortunately, not good riddance, as we all have to live with its legacy. It has been a disastrous year for much of the world for various reasons, Elizabeth II’s annus horribilis. The crisis has exposed previously unacknowledged realities, including frailties and vulnerabilities.

How Women-centred Digital Platforms can Enhance Empowerment

A cherished snapshot of a happy mother and a smiling grandmother is universally associated with a good childhood. In the movies, TV, or media, a broken or depressed mother’s face is hardly seen. But the reality is somewhat different. The measures communities and society take to ensure that women and girls are protected and supported are often questioned.

Women Need Support and Understanding after Miscarriage

Recently, Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, wrote a piece sharing about her miscarriage. I knew, as I clutched my firstborn child, that I was losing my second, she wrote. She is part of a growing list of celebrities who have publicly shared their experiences with miscarriages.

Reflecting Back and Imagining Forward

What a challenging year 2020 has been! A year of living dangerously – “Tahun vivere pericoloso”- perhaps these words of late President Soekarno of Indonesia are the best description. Fortunately, I managed to remain sane, reading and writing op-eds (mostly about the pandemic, here, here).

Ten Defining Moments for Women in 2020

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.

Food Culture in Spotlight on UNESCO Heritage List

Cuisine formed a notable portion of the latest inscriptions on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, with hawker food in Singapore and couscous traditions in North Africa being celebrated.

2020: A Yet More Devastating Year Closes With At Least Some Signs Of Hope

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.

‘We Might Have a Covid-21 or Covid-22 Coming Our Way’

Cristián Samper is working for the Wildlife Conservation Society, an organization that concerns itself with the health of wildlife all over the globe. And he warned --even before the Covid-19 pandemic – about the dangers of a viral pandemic.

Indigenous Leaders want Traditional Knowledge to be Centrepiece of New Global Biodiversity Framework

The picturesque Mahuat River in Dominica is one of 8 communities that make up the Kalinago Territory – a 3,700-acre area on the Caribbean island’s east coast that is home to the Kalinago people, the largest indigenous group in the Eastern Caribbean. It is where 19-year-old Whitney Melinard calls home. Melinard is among a rising group of Dominica’s Kalinago youth, using their voices and platforms to speak out on issues affecting their people.

The World in 2021

The year 2020 is ending with the world caught up in an unprecedented human and economic crisis. The pandemic has contaminated 75 million people and killed 1.7 million. With the lockdowns, the global economy has suffered the worst recession in 75 years, causing the loss of income for millions of people. In such a bleak environment, what will the new year bring? Whilst uncertainty is the only certainty, eight points are likely to be key in the year ahead:

Why Transforming Our Food Systems Is a Feminist Issue

In countries where women are most marginalized, discriminated under the law and where gendered norms prevent women from owning property and resources, people are also the hungriest. This is because gender equality and food systems are intertwined.

The Night Arafat, Facing Death Threats, Slept in the UN Chief’s Office

The United Nations, which is commemorating its 75th anniversary, continues to remain bogged down in one of the world’s most politically and militarily volatile regions: the Middle East.

Online Violence, Fueled by Disinformation and Political Attacks, Deeply Harms Women Journalists

An alarmingly high number of women journalists are now targets of online attacks associated with orchestrated digital disinformation campaigns. The impacts include self-censorship, retreat from visibility, an increased risk of physical injury, and a serious mental health toll. The main perpetrators? Anonymous trolls and political actors.

How Africa can Lead the World in the COVID-19 Recovery

Africa, compared to Asia, Europe and the US, has largely escaped the devastating death toll of COVID-19, accounting for a fraction of the world’s 63 million cases.

Reclaim Your Rights: Defend Indigenous People’s Lands

Rights are earned through hard-fought struggles. And for Indigenous Peoples (IP), its fulfillment comes from the collective and continuous defense of ancestral land and territory, and assertion of their ways of life and the right to self-determination.

Energy Efficiency for Developing Countries: Pivoting from Fewer Inputs to More Outputs

Energy efficiency (EE) is often marketed as a tool to save energy and money. The oft-repeated mantra is doing “more with less”, namely producing more goods with less energy. But, as set out in a recent World Bank report (which I co-authored), EE can do something that is often much more important for developing countries: it can produce the additional goods and services needed to raise standards of living. 

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