Global

Coronavirus & Early Lessons from China

The impact of the coronavirus is having a profound and serious impact on the global economy and has sent policymakers looking for ways to respond. China’s experience so far shows that the right policies make a difference in fighting the disease and mitigating its impact—but some of these policies come with difficult economic tradeoffs.

Chinese vs. Western Governance: The case of COVID-19

During January the onslaught in the Western media, notably the US and the UK, against the Chinese government’s handling of the Covid-19 epidemic, was merciless. The Chinese government stood accused of an inhumane attitude towards its people, secrecy, a cover-up, and an overwhelming concern for its own survival above all other considerations.

COVID-19 in the Time of Insecurity

Humankind has outlived multiple pandemics in the course of world history. The kingdoms and states of Central and Western Europe abolished the institution of serfdom once it had become clear that medieval rule in the aftermath of devastating pestilence would founder without ending the dependency and servitude that characterized the Dark Ages. The vulnerability of entire nations to the risk of total collapse in the absence of widespread access to the most basic healthcare in the Spanish Flu spurred governments to build the public health systems that have made the progress and development of the last hundred years possible. If the past is prologue, then continuity and survival command that we change.

Is It Time to Postpone the 2020 Climate Summit?

With the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the planet and the governments of both wealthy and poorer nations overwhelmed by the demands of managing a response, the scheduling of this year’s critical UN Climate Summit is suddenly in doubt.

What does U.N. Secretary General’s Call for Ceasefire Mean for Countries in Conflict?

Conflict experts are concerned the the global ceasefire called for by the United Nations amid the coronavirus outbreak may not work and could lead to a rise in violence.

“In the Beginning was the Word”: Why Covid-19 Renders Words even more Powerful

I was able to take office as the secretary general to the largest global interfaith organization – Religions for Peace - with interreligious councils (IRCs) composed of senior-most religious leaders representing their religious institutions, in 90 countries, and 6 regional IRCs, a week before we had to ask all employees to work from home, in compliance with New York State law.

Improving Development Impact

Most developing countries have good policies, programmes and projects in place. Many of these have been prepared with assistance from development partners or international financing institutions such as the World Bank, the regional development banks, the UN agencies or bilateral aid agencies. Most of these are of high quality and have gone through intensive review and quality control.  The major challenge is to effectively implement these policies, programmes and projects. Unfortunately this does not often happen and leads to huge lost opportunities. This is particularly the case in the poorest countries, many of which are conflict affected. 

Why Empowering National Human Rights Institutions Helps on the Quest for Healthy Earth?

We are living in a critical time. As we face existential environmental challenges from climate crises to the mass extinction of species, it is difficult sometimes to see solutions and new ideas. This is why we all need to celebrate and give visibility to creative and courageous efforts of people and organizations striving towards a healthy planet for all.

Health Workers Are the Frontline Soldiers Against Covid-19. Let’s Protect Them

Many soldiers have seen first-hand the horrors of war and, terrifying though it often was, they knew who they were fighting, and could recognise their enemy.

Stronger UN Leadership Needed to Cope with Coronavirus Threat

The economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic is hard to predict as events are still unfolding, and estimates vary dramatically. UNCTAD estimates lost output in the order of US$1 trillion, just over a third of Bloomberg’s expectation of US$2.7 trillion in losses. The OECD expects global economic growth to halve from already anaemic levels.

White Supremacists, Yellow Peril & “Chinese Virus” Add to a Volatile Political Mix

When US President Donald Trump repeatedly characterized the fast-spreading COVID-19 as a “Chinese virus” last week, it prompted some white supremacists to resurrect an age old ethnic slur against Chinese and East Asians: the “Yellow Peril” which, in a bygone era, was touted as a xenophobic threat to the Western world.

Fighting Coronavirus: It’s Time to Invest in Universal Public Health

Austerity policies pushed by international financial institutions have weakened public health systems, despite current financial support packages, condemning many people to die.

Women & Climate: Planting a Global Forest in a Connected World

In January of this year, Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, shocked much of the world when they announced they would be stepping down from their roles as senior royals.

Thirsting for Water Security?

Water is essential and indispensable for life on earth. We know that; and many of us have perhaps heard, written and uttered these words themselves a ‘million’ times.

Harassment of Journalists Jeopardises Keeping Public Safe amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Growing intimidation and repression of journalists reporting on the coronavirus is threatening public health in some countries, press freedom monitors have warned.

Never Give up on Women’s Rights – Edna Ismail

For Dr Edna Adan Ismail maternal health and midwifery is deeply personal. In an interview with Women Deliver Young Leader Musu Bakoto Sawo, Ismail recalls her mother’s devasting experiences which impacted on her own life’s choices.

Could the Coronavirus Be a Biological Weapon in the Not-Too-Distant Future?

The devastating spread of the deadly coronavirus across every continent-- with the exception of Antarctica-- has triggered a conspiracy theory on social media: what if the virus was really a biological weapon?

Plagues and People – The Coronavirus in a Historical Perspective

The human factor is intimately involved in the origin, spread, and mitigation of the Coronavirus and we cannot afford to ignore that our future existence depends on compassion and cooperation. Response matters!

Coronavirus & Water Pandemics: Doing the Math

As the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic spreads, guidance on how wash your hands and other measures intensifies. These recommendations are important, but they are hardly of value to the 40% of humanity lacking access to even the most basic hand washing requirements — soap and water 1.

Could the Coronavirus Pandemic have been Avoided if the World Listened to Indigenous Leaders?

Mina Setra remembers the story clearly. As a Dayak Pompakng indigenous person from Indonesia, when  visitors from the city who came into her community; brought bottled water with them because they were worried about the water not being suitable for drinking. 

Use Stimulus Packages for Longer Term Progress

The coronavirus pandemic seems to have finally forced governments around the world to ditch their obsession (at least for the moment) with delivering budget surplus. As stock markets tumble, stimulus measures, worth billions of dollars, are announced to boost investor confidence and consumer spending to keep economies running.

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