40 years on: four action points essential to the global battle against HIV and AIDS
On 5 June 1981 a short report of five cases of pneumocystis pneumonia in young homosexual men in Los Angeles marked the discovery of AIDS, the first pandemic of the 20th century caused by a completely new virus, HIV.
Since then HIV has killed 33 million and infected 76 million people. Of the 38 million people living with HIV 27 million are now on life-saving treatment. This is a three-fold increase since 2010. But it still falls short of the global target of ensuring that 30 million people would be on treatment by 2020.
In fact, not one of the 2020 targets has been achieved. We are not even close. In 2020, there were 1.5 million new infections, three times the target of 500,000, and 690,000 deaths were reported, almost 200,000 more than the target of 500,000.
Food & nutrition: Imagining a future-fit world
Estimates show that an additional 150 million people will be pushed into poverty and hunger by the end of 2021. Unfortunately, it has taken the pandemic to show that we need to move from siloed thinking to systems thinking. What does this mean for future-fit thinking? Here are a few recommendations:
First, we must think circular. This means that it is no longer possible for us to decouple the consumer and producer nature of most individuals: Especially in rural economies, recognising this twin identity of most people is critical. In turn, this means that incentives for both consumption and production systems must change in lock-step. As we change producer prices, we must carefully consider the implications for food consumption patterns.
North Africa and the Middle-East: A new wave of debt.
In the first three parts we have observed the evolution of the DCs’ external debt over the last twenty years. The first part shows a dramatic increase of indebtedness, which multiplied by 2.5 with a steep acceleration from 2008 onward. The second part highlights the main threats on the DCs’ external debt, among which the growing significance of bonds, the evolution of interest rates and the depreciation of their currencies against the U.S. dollar. The third part examines the various factors that lure DCs into the debt trap: dependence on commodities, drop in foreign exchange reserves, inflating repayments, conjuncture of a multi-dimensional crisis aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic, etc.
We deepen our analysis by focusing on various regions. After Latin America and the Caribbean and Sub-Saharan Africa, we continue with the Middle-East and North Africa (MENA).
Globalisation of HE: the good, the bad and the ugly
Globalisation – the tendency to global convergence and integration – has wonderful potential in the abstract. It offers the possibility that we can work our way out of the national container blocking collaborative action, for example, on climate change.
Global convergence suggests a full and formative encounter with the diversity of human ideas, knowledge, imagination, government, institutions, social habits, on the basis of unity in diversity, heer butong, in tianxia, all under heaven, the Chinese terms.No one country or culture has all the answers and we have much to learn from each other. That is the ideal.
Harmonizing Counterterrorism and Great-Power Competition
For all the talk of a shift away from counterterrorism and toward great power competition, the reality is that with a modicum of strategic planning the two are mutually reinforcing, not mutually exclusive, efforts.
The defining characteristic of America’s post-9/11 counterterrorism approach has been an aggressive, forward defense global posture. As former defense secretary Robert Gates put it, “better to fight them on their 10-yard line than on our 10-yard line.” This counterterrorism enterprise has been remarkably successful from a tactical perspective, foiling attacks and disrupting terrorist networks. Protecting against future attacks demands continued vigilance, but nearly twenty years after 9/11 there is growing consensus that America’s forward defense counterterrorism posture is neither financially sustainable nor strategically balanced against the resource needs of other national security threats.
Thinking globally about racial justice
Last summer, Black Lives Matter protests in the United States after the murder of George Floyd echoed around the world.
Evoked by the worldwide visibility of the brutal killing on video, this solidarity also reflected visceral anger against police violence in a host of other countries — including African countries like Kenya, South Africa, and Nigeria. Millions across the world, not just the U.S., watched the trial of Floyd’s killer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis. The celebration and relief at Chauvin’s conviction won’t just be felt here.
Today’s global crises — police violence, a global pandemic, the climate emergency, and many more — require action wherever we live. But they also require global collaboration on a scale never seen before.
Water Stress: A Global Problem That’s Getting Worse
Billions of people around the world lack adequate access to one of the essential elements of life: clean water. Although governments and aid groups have helped many living in water-stressed regions gain access in recent years, the problem is projected to get worse with the harmful effects of global warming and population growth.
Water stress can differ dramatically from one place to another, in some cases causing wide-reaching damage, including to public health, economic development, and global trade. It can also drive mass migrations and spark conflict. Now, pressure is mounting on countries to implement more sustainable and innovative practices and to improve international cooperation on water management.
On Earth Day, world’s poorest still paying highest price of climate change
To mark Earth Day, World Vision is calling on global leaders to fully respond to the climate change crisis as a tsunami of climate related disasters threaten to wipe out decades of development advances. The agency warns that the triple threat of climate change, conflict and COVID will push hundreds of millions of people into poverty and forced displacement without strong international commitments to mitigate impact, support adaptation and build resilience in the most at-risk communities.
“Climate change threatens all of us, but the world’s poorest, who pollute the least, pay the highest price,” says Michael Messenger, President and CEO of World Vision Canada. “Climate change limits access to food and clean water for millions of people living on the world’s margins, while making them more vulnerable to natural disasters and disease. We will reverse decades of progress in reducing poverty and hunger without massive efforts to stop climate change.”
COVID-19, infection control, and cholera
While the focus of healthcare research and reporting has understandably been primarily on the COVID-19 pandemic in the last year, other diseases and conditions have presented a quietly growing threat; particularly in low-income and developing nations.
Dr Osama B Hassan, of the Division of Epidemiology and Public Health in the University of Nottingham’s School of Medicine, co-authored an article in The Lancet’s EClinical Medicine journal earlier this year titled ‘Cholera during COVID-19: the forgotten threat for forcibly displaced populations’; he tells HEQ about the impact of COVID-19 on efforts to combat ongoing threat of cholera.
2021 Global Food Policy Report
Lessons from COVID crisis for reducing inequities and enhancing resilience of food systems
The severe health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have disrupted food systems and upended livelihoods. Yet pandemic responses have demonstrated the power of well-crafted policies to blunt the impact of major shocks while laying the groundwork for stronger, more resilient food systems, according to the 2021 Global Food Policy Report, released today by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). The report provides lessons drawn from the current crisis that can help us transform food systems to reduce the impact of the ongoing pandemic, better prepare for future shocks, and address longstanding weaknesses and inequalities.