Opinion

International Women’s Day, 2024
Support the Women and Girls Fighting for Rights

This International Women’s Day (March 8) comes at a fiercely challenging moment. We can find inspiration, and hope, however, in the women and girls around the world who, often at great risk, are leading the fight for rights for everyone.

Greece: Another First for LGBTQI+ Rights

After almost two decades of civil society campaigning, Greece’s parliament has passed a law enabling same-sex couples to marry and adopt children. It’s the first majority-Orthodox Christian country to realise marriage equality.

Bearing Witness: No Safety for Children in Gaza

Nothing could prepare me for my recently concluded mission into the Gaza Strip, where children face catastrophic conditions. In my twenty years with UNICEF, traveling from one humanitarian crisis to the next – from famines to floods and war zones to refugee camps – I’ve simply never seen such devastation and despair as is happening in Gaza.

Africa’s Debt Crisis Needs a Bold New Approach– & a Way Forward

It hasn’t been easy for African states to finance their developmental and environmental policy objectives over the past few years. Recent events suggest that the situation may be improving. For the first time in two years, three African states have been able to access international financial markets, albeit at high interest rates. Kenya, for example, is now paying over 10% compared to about 7% in 2014.

Hapless New Year for Global South

As dire economic predictions for 2023 did not materialise, pundits began 2024 far more optimistically. But policy ghosts from the last half-century will likely undermine such wishful thinking.

Female Genital Mutilation Continues Amid Sudan’s Conflict and Forced Displacement

Female genital mutilation (FGM) stands as one of the most egregious violations of human rights, particularly affecting women and girls worldwide. However, when conflict and forced displacement enter the equation, the horrors of FGM are exacerbated, creating a dire situation that demands urgent attention and action. Where instability and insecurity prevail, the prevalence of FGM often intensifies, exacerbated by factors such as displacement, poverty, and the breakdown of social systems.

Abusive Use of Veto Power Against Global Public Opinion — Why?

With its current cash crisis, UN's leadership is finding itself in a helpless situation both politically and financially. The UN’s credibility has reached rock bottom.

‘Unbounded’ Impunity Emboldens Israel

Israel continues to reject calls for a ceasefire in Gaza and now readies itself for an assault on Rafah with a Ramadan deadline for the release of all hostages. It emphatically says, it will oppose any international attempt at creating a Palestinian State, regarded as an “unilateral recognition”. Its unrestrained bombings and ground assaults so far have resulted in close to 30,000 Palestinian deaths more than half of whom are women and children. they have brazenly ignored the International Court of Justice (ICJ) order to take all measures to prevent a plausible genocide. Many thousands are facing starvation and death even when the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) demanded unhindered aid flows to besieged Gaza. All these were possible due to Israel’s ‘unbounded’ impunity which emboldens it.

Western States Scramble to Explain Themselves, as UN experts call for Arms Transfers to Israel to “Cease Immediately”

There are moments when international treaties, long forgotten by the general public, suddenly spring back to life. Moments when glimpses of reality shine through the thick-laden bureaucracies of the United Nations and catch the attention of the world outside.

Russia: Moments of Dissent after Two Years of War

Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine marked its second anniversary on 24 February. And while civil society is offering an immense voluntary effort in Ukraine, in Russia activists have faced intense constraints. The suspicious death of opposition leader Alexei Navalny is part of a great wave of repression. He’s the latest in a long list of people who’ve come to a sudden end after falling out with Vladmir Putin.

No God but Greed: Slavery and Indifference

At Statens Museum for Kunst in Copenhagen there is a great painting made in 1797 by the Danish Golden Age painter Jens Juel. It depicts one of Denmark’s richest merchants at the time – Niels Ryberg, his newlywed son Johan Christian, and the son’s bride, Engelke. Johan Christian makes a gesture as though to show off the family estate. There is a strong feeling of harmony between the people and the countryside in which they are placed. The picture reflects the new interest in nature that emerged all over Europe towards the end of the 18th century. It also demonstrates how Denmark’s new, rich bourgeois wished to carry themselves in the style of the aristocracy, a social class which dominance they were infringing. Ryberg and his son appear just as distinguished as the aristocrats that used to be portrayed by Jens Juel.

The World Social Forum: The counterweight to the World Economic Forum

This week the 2024 annual meeting of the World Social Forum (WSF) was held in Nepal. There were fifty thousand participants from over 90 countries, exchanging strategies to address the multiple global crises, from climate catastrophes to unfettered capitalism, inequality, social injustice, wars and conflict.

Children’s Futures at a Crossroads

At the start of 2024, we stand at a critical juncture: Geopolitical tensions are escalating, economic integration is unravelling, and multilateral cooperation is faltering. This global fragmentation threatens to undermine decades of progress made for children worldwide.

Unpacking 2023, the Warmest Year on Record

2023 was the warmest year on record. The latest Copernicus Climate Change Service highlights that February 2023 to January 2024 was the first time that we experienced 12 consecutive months of temperatures 1.5-degree hotter than the pre-industrial era.

Pakistan’s Election Outcomes Leave Many Unhappy

Pakistan’s 8 February election has resulted in an uneasy compromise that few wanted or expected. There’s little indication the outcome is going to reverse recent regression in civic freedoms.

#UNmute: Over 350 Civil Society Organizations Ask for Real Inclusion in UN Summit of the Future Negotiations

A coalition of over 350 civil society organisations part of the #UNmute initiative, shared concerns over the current engagement mechanisms for civil society at the UN – particularly in light of the upcoming Summit of the Future.

It Is Imperative To Protect Children In War

All around the globe, the most vulnerable among us are suffering the gravest consequences of war. Children bear the brunt of the horrors inflicted by States and armed groups worldwide, with recent examples found in Gaza, Ukraine, Sudan, Myanmar, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Syria, and Afghanistan.

Who Wants to Live by the Sea?

For most of history, only those who made their living from the sea chose to live on the coast. Fear of being battered by storms, not to mention vulnerability to attacks from foreign navies, kept most people inland. Gradually that changed and, along with fisherfolk and their families, the idea of a coastal location became something of a cult. High property prices still reflect its popularity. But is it any longer so desirable?

Small Island “Digital” States: Charting the Course for Transformation

Small Island Developing States, or SIDS, have long been pioneers in international development, often compelled by the challenges they face. Positioned on the frontlines of climate change, they lead efforts in mitigation, adaptation, and advocacy, and despite their geographical dispersion, they are innovating approaches to resilience and sustainability.

Phasing out from Fossil Fuels: An Imperative for Climate Justice

Climate change made 2023 the warmest year on record. As urgency mounts to address this worldwide crisis, phasing out the use of fossil fuels is a necessary step that all nations must take. This is because fossil fuels—coal, oil and gas -- are the primary drivers of the climate crisis accounting for over 75% of global greenhouse gas emissions and nearly 90% of all carbon dioxide emissions.

Women Biomass Producers: Energy’s Largest and Largely Invisible Workforce

The International Energy Agency (IEA) held its annual ministers meeting last week in Paris, marking the 50th anniversary of the world’s leading energy organization. Critical topics on the agenda included energy security issues linked to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, as well as advancing a clean energy transition to meet global climate change goals.

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