President Jimmy Carter of the United States had once paid Iran glowing tributes, which was received quite normally in American policy circles and raised no eyebrows: He had said: “(Iran was) an island of stability in one of the most troubled areas of the world”. In one of the weirdest ironies of history, within months in 1979, with the Iranian Revolution, the perception of Iran in American eyes underwent a most radical transformation. It was followed by the hostage-taking of American diplomats, and a nose-diving of bilateral relations. Since 1980 there have been no diplomatic connections. However, over the years a kind of modus vivendi had evolved, a grudging tolerance of each other accompanied by some functional interactions. Eventually, in 2015, the US along with key European States entered into what was called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), virtually capping Iran’s nuclear capabilities, and largely stabilizing the relationship.
Even during the best of times, unfortunately members of the global community who have special needs are marginalized and often treated as social outcasts. The COVID crisis which has been raging for over the better part of the year 2020 has posed additional barriers and challenges for these already disenfranchised individuals.
COVID-19 has become a scourge affecting all levels of human society – morals, behaviour, human interaction, economy and politics. The pandemic has wrecked havoc on our way of being and its impact will remain huge and all-encompassing. It is not only affecting our globally shared existence, it is also changing what has been called ”the little life”, i.e. our own way of thinking and being, our personal life situation and the one of those close to us; people we love and depend upon – our friends and family.
School as we all know it hasn’t changed that much in over a century. However, in the face of new threats to health and wellbeing, the future of those familiar structures that bring teachers and students together is starting to be questioned.
The Persian Gulf is one of the most strategic waterways in the world and is also one of the most polluted.
According to estimates by experts, pollution levels in the Persian Gulf are 47 times higher than the world’s average and are steadily increasing.
While COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc across Latin America, its governments are developing policies which they hope will provide for a rapid economic recovery when the pandemic wanes.
International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva has warned
that developing countries would need more than the earlier estimated
US$2.5 trillion to provide relief to affected families and businesses and expedite economic recovery.
After decades of impressive growth, for the first time, Southeast Asia is experiencing a drop in measured human development. The economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic will likely take months to reveal itself and years to put right. Yet, a legacy of mobilizing under constraints is leading Southeast Asia’s pandemic response.
The 2020 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World
, issued by the Food and Agriculture Organization and its United Nations partners in mid-July, reports that chronic hunger continued to increase to 690 million worldwide in 2019, 60 million more than in 2014.
Going against its own orders, the government in the Indian Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has ordered the fast-tracking of environmental clearances despite manifest evidence of illegal sand mining.
Africa’s demographic boom has been hailed as its biggest promise for transforming the continent’s economic and social outcomes, but only if the right investments are made to prepare its youthful population for tomorrow’s world.
Most economists see structural transformation as one of the main routes to Africa’s sustainable development. What it means is changing the share of agriculture, manufacturing and services in an economy. It is a central aim of the African Union’s Agenda 2063.
“Reconciling the requirements of the ideal with the possibilities of the real": this is how Georges Bidault, Minister for Foreign Affairs and head of the French delegation to the San Francisco Conference, summed up the objective
pursued by the drafters of the Charter of the United Nations. On the still living ashes of the Second World War, the fathers of an Organization charged with developing friendly relations between nations, promoting human rights and economic and social progress were less utopian than visionary. They understood that the community of States should have a common constitution. It has been tested by conflict, crisis and upheaval, but its resilience and strength have shaped the very structure of contemporary international relations.
Covid-19 threatens economic life the world over. The most urgent and important need is for governments, businesses and families to survive. Governments must revive economies and livelihoods to prevent Covid-19 recessions from becoming protracted depressions.
The Covid-19 crisis is clearly a ‘black swan event’, threatening both public health and livelihoods. Both the pandemic and containment efforts are not due to business operations and decisions, but nonetheless have compelling consequences for them.
With uneven progress in containing contagion, worsened by the breakdown in multilateral cooperation due to mounting US-China tensions, recovery from the Covid-19 recessions of the first half of 2020 is now expected to be more gradual than previously forecast
Pandemic response measures
In the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, many governments, especially of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
(OECD) economies, have introduced massive fiscal and monetary packages for contagion containment, relief and recovery.
As lockdowns ease in countries across Asia and the Pacific in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing is clear—a return to business as usual is unimaginable in a region that was already off track to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The virtual High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development recently convened governments and stakeholders across the globe to focus on the imperative to build back better while keeping an eye on the Global Goals.
There has been much discussion in recent months about how workers who transitioned to working from home—and those who were deemed “essential”—are less affected by the layoffs and job losses brought on by lockdowns than are workers in “social” jobs that require closer human interaction (e.g. restaurant workers). However, our new IMF staff research
suggests that this does not tell the full story.
Dr David Nabarro is Special Envoy to the World Health Organisation on COVID-19 and Strategic Director of 4SD. He sets out his challenge to leaders to use COVID-19 as an opportunity for radical change that responds to the needs and the interests of all of humanity.
• Countries must work together
• Focus on equity
• Effective local action
Covid-19 is expected to take a heavy human and economic toll on developing countries, not only because of contagion in the face of weak health systems, but also containment measures which have precipitated recessions, destroying and diminishing the livelihoods of many.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the structural weaknesses of today’s food systems, showing how quickly global networks of food production, trade and supply can waver
under the impact of a single disease.
In the words of (ret.) Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, Secretary of Defense Colin Powell’s Chief of Staff, the Trump Administration has been dangerously “poking China in the eye.”