Stories written by Samira Sadeque
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‘The Sahel – a Microcosm of Cascading Global Risks Converging in One Region’

The European Commission this week pledged $27.8 million in humanitarian support to the Sahel region as floods and the coronavirus pandemic exacerbate the stability in a region deeply in conflict. While the figure is less than 2 percent of the $2.4 billion that the United Nations has appealed for, Amnesty International researcher Ousmane Diallo told IPS that despite past donations from international development partners to Sahelian countries, the situation hasn’t improved over the years.

Low-cost Technology can Have Life-changing Impacts for Rural Women

Access to technology which is relatively inexpensive to deploy can have a life-changing impact for rural women, social scientist Valentina Rotondi told IPS.

Q&A: Food Systems need to Mimic Nature

Despite the World Food Programme (WFP) being awarded the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize for its work in addressing global hunger, sustainable food systems expert Emile Frison believes a lot more needs to be done. This includes the rethinking of approaches to agricultural production, establishing deeper relationships between consumers and producers, and taking a wholistic approach towards socio-economic factors.

Improving People’s Lives with Digital Technology during COVID-19

Digital technology has been crucial in ensuring community and connection during the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. And its shown that collaboration between the private and public sector can ensure that digital technology continues to advance in a way that improves people’s lives under crises, experts said on Tuesday, Oct. 13. 

Q&A: Women in Mali Play Critical Role in Preventing and Resolving Conflicts

The coronavirus pandemic has affected the safety and sense of community for many women in Mali given the travel restrictions and lockdowns in place, Bassirou Gaye, an assistant researcher for a 2019 report on the role of Mali women in peacekeeping, told IPS this weekend.


Mayors Explore how COVID-19 Pandemic will Redefine Urban Cities

The coronavirus  pandemic has the potential to bring about positive changes for cities, and give leaders the opportunity to make long-term, transformative changes as a result, according to renowned architect Norman Foster, who was speaking at the first ever Forum of Mayors 2020.

We Need Nature and Biodiversity if We Want a Sustainable Future

“Investing in nature is investing in a sustainable future,” was one of the key messages from yesterday’s first-ever United Nations Summit on Biodiversity where world leaders and experts agreed  on the urgency to act swiftly to preserve biodiversity globally. 

Q&A: How Fast Fashion Sits at the Crucial Intersection of Environmental & Gender Justice

Racism “keeps the global north oblivious to the effect of fast fashion addiction on the global south” say environmental and gender justice experts.

‘Leave No one Behind’: How Inclusive is World Leaders’ Call to Climate Action?

Wrapping up Climate Week at the United Nations General Assembly, global leaders called for climate action that may be “ambitious but achievable” and called for climate measures that would “leave no one behind”. But some climate activists remain concerned about how this can be achieved.

Accessibility of Vaccines & Commitment to Ceasefire – Priority Focuses for 75th UNGA

Key focuses of the upcoming 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) High Level Week will be the accessibility of vaccines and a renewed plea for a global ceasefire. “I will make a strong appeal to the international community to mobilise all efforts for the global ceasefire to become a reality by the end of the year,” U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said on Wednesday. 

Syria’s Children Remain at Immense Threat of Rape and Recruitment by Army: Report

Children in Syria are facing the brutal brunt of the ongoing civil war in the country, now rendered further paralysed owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and United States sanctions. At the Sept. 15 launch of the report investigating human rights violations in Syria by the Commission of Inquiry on Syria, experts warned that in addition to the already ongoing conflict, “newer forms of violence” was on the rise.

Hopes and Challenges for the First-Ever Food Systems Summit

Building inclusive and healthier food systems, and safeguarding the health of the planet will be some of the key priorities at the first-ever Food Systems Summit next year.


Mozambique Reels from Repeated Attacks on Press Freedom

While Mozambique was recently rattled by an arson attack on a local media organisation, experts say that it’s only a part of a worrying pattern of continuous attacks on the media in the country.


Qatar Accuses UAE of Racial Discrimination in UN’s Highest Court

Qatar officials reiterated their claim on Wednesday that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) be held responsible for their “discrimination” against Qatari citizens, as the third day of public hearings proceeded at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the United Nation’s highest court. But foreign policy experts caution that the case is not good for stability in the Persian Gulf region.

South Sudan – COVID-19 and Ongoing Violence has Catastrophic Impact on Civilians

Large-scale intercommunal violence on civilians in the Jonglei and greater Pibor regions in South Sudan has led to the mass displacement of thousands of people who are living in the open without health care, adequate food, shelter, water or sanitation in the middle of the rainy season.

Madagascar – Jails Hold more Pre-trial Prisoners than Convicted Criminals

The recent killing of 22 prisoners in Madagascar during a prison escape on Sunday, Aug. 23 has brought the extraordinary situation of the country’s prisons under a spotlight. Human rights watchdog Amnesty International has condemned the killings, criticising the current judicial system that has led to Madagascar’s prisons holding more people awaiting trial than convicted criminals.

Q&A: Ageing Africa Left out of COVID-19 Policies

Nearly three quarters of respondents in a survey across 18 African countries have claimed that their countries’ COVID-19 responses are gravely lacking in addressing the ageing population.


Q&A: Family Farming in Latin America & the Caribbean Hard Hit by COVID-19 Restrictions

With limited transport options to carry their goods to the market, lack of protective gear, and limited financial resources, family farmers across Latin America are facing grave consequences as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Impending Food Crisis in Lebanon will Largely Affect Migrant Workers

Migrant workers and refugees in Lebanon will “inevitably” suffer the most as food insecurity threatens the nation following last week’s blast.

COVID-19 – Some 23.8 Million More Children Will Drop out of School

Countries with low human development are facing the brunt of school lockdowns, with more than 85 percent of their students effectively out of school by the second quarter of 2020, according to a United Nations policy brief on the impact of COVID-19 on education.

Southeast Asia Has a Chance to Build Back Better Post-Pandemic

Southeast Asia’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has been efficient, but some areas such as data privacy, measures to go back to normalcy after lockdown is lifted, and resources for migrant or transient populations will need addressing. 

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