Italy, as other countries, has been struggling to balance the health and economic challenges posed by COVID-19. Controlling the spread of the virus implied restrictions on economic activity, on school and college attendance, and on personal movement. It also had to deal with the economic and social implications of a fall of almost 10% in GDP. This has been hard for a country which, even before the pandemic, was one of the slowest growing economies in Europe, with unemployment, especially among young people in the South of the country, at alarming levels.
Pandemic relief measures in developing countries have been limited by modest resources, fear of financial market discipline and policy mimicry. COVID-19 has triggered not only an international public health emergency, but also a global economic crisis, setting back decades of uneven progress
, especially in developing countries.
It has been one year since the police murder of George Floyd, an outrage that resonated around the world. The killing forced people to the streets, in the USA and on every inhabited continent, to demand respect for Black lives and Black rights, proving that protest was essential even during the pandemic.
Last month, in the midst of New Delhi’s coronavirus lockdown, 37- year-old labourer Prakash Kumar wanted to return to his rural home in India’s northern state of Uttar Pradesh. But instead of travelling the usual few hours by bus, Kumar had to journey for three days.
Failure to sufficiently accelerate comprehensive efforts to contain COVID-19 contagion has greatly worsened the catastrophe in developing countries. Grossly inadequate financing of relief, recovery and reform efforts has also further set back progress, including sustainable development.
We are living through a decisive moment. The COVID-19 pandemic’s devasting impact is reaching every corner of the world. As we look back at this period, we will see history divided into a pre-COVID and a post-COVID world.
Last week Ministers of Finance met virtually at the Spring Meetings
of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank to discuss policies to tackle the pandemic and socio-economic recovery.
Leaders at this year’s World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings (April 5-11) will determine how best to recover from one of the biggest crises the institutions have faced since their founding in 1944—COVID-19’s impact and its economic aftermath.
This World Health Day, G20 finance ministers will meet in Rome, Italy, to discuss how they will build back from the pandemic. The global economy is and concerted effort, coordination and imagination is needed to enable not only a worldwide recovery but also to ensure that the world’s poorest people are not left behind.
The past year has forced many of us to address difficult truths about how we treat and take care of each other — among them is a reckoning with racism and injustice.
Women hold up half the sky.
Some years ago, Sarah al-Amiri, a young Emirati engineer, had a fixed gaze beyond the sky and towards our galaxy. “Space was a sector that we never dared to dream growing up,” she noted.
The world is emerging from the biggest social and economic shock in living memory, but it will be a long time before the deep scars of the COVID-19 pandemic on human well-being fully heal.
In the Asia-Pacific region, where 60 per cent of the world lives, the pandemic revealed chronic development fault lines through its excessively harmful impact on the most vulnerable. The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) estimates that 89 million more people in the region have been pushed back into extreme poverty at the $1.90 per day threshold, erasing years of development gains. The economic and educational shutdowns are likely to have severely harmed human capital formation and productivity, exacerbating poverty and inequality.
COVID-19 has set back the uneven progress of recent decades, directly causing more than two million deaths. The slowdown, due to the pandemic and policy responses, has pushed hundreds of millions more into poverty, hunger and worse, also deepening many inequalities.
Inequality characterizes the world we live in, predisposing how we act and think. We perceive our existence as composed of dichotomies – men and women, young and old, black or white, as well as a difference between those who have and those who do not have access to wealth, health, education and influence. Dichotomies are also born out of comparisons, about how things are now and how they could have been, how they were before and how they are now.
This year it will be 128 years since the right of women to vote was first recognized, with New Zealand becoming the first nation to allow the participation of women in its general election in 1893.
From the suffragettes - to today’s feminists, both men and women have fought to increase women’s political participation and representation. It has been a slow, sometimes bitter and occasionally even dangerous struggle. Yet global progress remains slow and uneven – as it does in Samoa. As we approach the 2021 General Election on 9 April, it is important to remember that women’s full and effective participation in all areas of life drives progress for everyone.
The fight for equality around the globe has taken a few steps forward in some countries which provides a glimmer of hope for future generations for increased female participation and representation. However, that particular fight is taking new shapes and forms in multiple corners of the world, where women are still persecuted, silenced, threatened, killed, harassed, and stripped off their basic human rights on a daily basis. The question today is, when will the world become a safer place for women and girls?
As the global effort to address climate change has strengthened over the last few years, so has the realization that rising temperatures and climactic disruptions disproportionately impact women, particularly in developing countries, as they tend to be more dependent upon natural resources
and are thus overrepresented in resource-intensive economic sectors. Furthermore, inherent in gender inequality are disadvantages for and discrimination against women in all facets of society, including in the economy and politics. Thus, it is unfortunate, yet perhaps unsurprising, that these structural disparities are mirrored in the negative effects of climate change. Therefore, if gender differences are not incorporated into climate change plans, women will be unable to access the co-benefits that arise from concerted climate action.
Power is an intriguing concept and it means different things to different people. In simple words, power is the ability to influence the behavior of others to get what you want. Power distribution is usually visible in most societies when there is a clear and obvious division between the roles of the men and expectations from women. One can’t talk about power without talking about patriarchy - in which men always hold the power and women are largely excluded from it. Women are almost always taught power and ambition are two dirty words, and should not be linked to their personalities.
Today is International Women’s Day (IWD), and the theme for this year’s celebration is "Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world."
We recognize the tremendous contribution and leadership demonstrated by women and girls around the world in shaping our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and a more sustainable future.
Among the greatest gifts with which I have been blessed were parents who instilled in me a deep-rooted sense of identity, and the unequivocal belief that there was no difference between what a boy and a girl could achieve.
This assurance sustained me while growing up, as the tenth child out of twelve wonderful siblings, and through the numerous times when it was suggested by others that I would never succeed, simply because I was black, poor and female.
International Women’s day 2021 heralds a particularly challenging time for women and girls. The Covid pandemic has battered our world to such an extent that we know that our lives have been irrevocably changed and has rolled back some of the gains we made in the human rights and gender equality field.