A government-backed coalition of international advisors to the Belt and Road Initiative
(BRI) has recommended that China apply more stringent environmental controls over its overseas investments. If adopted, this would be a major departure from China’s usual approach of deferring to host country rules, many of them inadequate, for regulating its overseas investments.
While the world is grappling with the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Peru is still dealing with an epidemic that it has not been able to control—the mosquito-borne viral disease known as dengue.
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.
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.
Throughout its history, San Salvador has faced the danger of landslides - mud and rocks that slide down the slopes of the volcano at whose feet the city was founded in 1525.
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.
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.
As the people of Kiribati, Samoa and Tonga gear up as the first nations to welcome 2021, communities around the Asia-Pacific region and beyond look forward to bidding farewell to the most tumultuous year in recent decades.
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.
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.
Local communities in the vicinity of the abandoned Panguna copper mine, have taken decisive action to hold the global mining multinational, Rio Tinto, accountable for alleged environmental and human rights violations during the mine’s operations between 1972 and 1989.
"We are no longer familiar with the Xingú River," whose waters govern "our way of life, our income, our food and our navigation," lamented Bel Juruna, a young indigenous leader from Brazil´s Amazon rainforest.
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
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.
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 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:
At the end of this year, we must pay our respects to the nearly 1.5 million people who have died from the Coronavirus.
COVID 19 has inflicted extensive damage beyond human casualties, exposing the frailties of governments, societies, economies and health systems, particularly in those countries that chose to ignore the warnings and advice of the WHO.
The San Salvador volcano is a gift of nature for the inhabitants of the capital who live at its foot, a gigantic green lung that gives them oxygen and fresh air. But it is also a curse.
When it comes to international environmental diplomacy, America has a chequered past. It stood at the forefront of the international battle to fix the ozone hole and has shaped many key international agreements.
Sadly, US positions are not always built on solid political ground at home. Twice, in the climate change process, this has led to the United States forging an agreement, only to then walk away. This happened with the 1997 Kyoto Protocol which then Vice-President Gore flew to Japan to sign in the full knowledge that a Republican dominated Senate would never ratify the deal. It happened again five years ago, with former President Obama closing that landmark deal (and John Kerry signing at the UN), only for President Trump to tear it up a few weeks later.