2020 was dominated by a collective global crisis on an unprecedented scale, the impact of which was felt differently around the globe and in parts of society. And the Covid-19 pandemic will continue to cast its shadow this year. The fight against Covid-19 and the recovery in the economy and society are coming at the same time as several major events in international environmental and climate policy.
The end of 2020 seems to have marked the closure of a cycle of political turbulence that started in 2016 with the Brexit referendum and the election of Donald Trump as the President of the United States. The European Union, which could have emerged from this period in a much weakened condition, has instead been strengthened, having established a clear long-term project for European societies and for Europe’s place in the world: the Green Deal.
Limited fiscal space in many developing countries demands collective efforts and EU leadership to help improve their macro-economic conditions and attract more investments for a higher impact and sustainability for recovery from COVID-19.
“What happens in the Arctic does not stay in the Arctic. It affects us all.”
The EU intends to play a pioneering role in the future, armed with a “clear and coherent Arctic policy”. If this is to succeed, the EU will need to take the lessons learned from the pandemic into account because COVID-19 has exacerbated existing inequalities and challenges in the region, particularly in terms of infrastructure and healthcare.
Many of us are hopeful for a Covid-19 vaccine in the near future to overcome a tumultuous year. But for people living in poverty in lower- and middle-income countries, the crisis is far from over. Vaccinations are potentially still years away for these countries, and many donors have significantly cut their aid budgets. This threatens to reverse hard-fought progress to both lift people out of poverty and improve opportunities for women and girls. It also puts vulnerable groups, such as people with disabilities and migrants, at risk.
The establishment of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 was a groundbreaking moment for global consensus on the shared rights of all human beings. 72 years later, international human rights agreements are often violated without consequence, with their impact on directly improving state’s human rights records modest at best. And Covid-19 has presented new, unexpected and unprecedented challenges to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, as well as exacerbating suffering and violence from ongoing conflicts.
One billion people live with a disability. The International Day of Persons with Disabilities provides a key opportunity to highlight the issues they face and take stock of how the humanitarian sector can play its part in building a more inclusive post-Covid-19 world. This is an urgent challenge.
COVID-19 has changed the world and the way we live it, establishing something of a “new normal” as states and societies battle the pandemic and learn to accommodate its multidimensional effects. For Libyans’ living in the midst of conflict, normality and a new normal are difficult to determine.
Twenty-five years after its creation (as a successor to the GATT [General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade], 1947-1995), and following many years of paralysis, the stakes for reform are high. This is particularly evident during the post Covid-19 recovery period, as the pandemic exposes the structural vulnerabilities of globalised economies.
This paper looks at what development finance institutions (DFIs), including multilateral development banks, can do to support a gender-sensitive economic recovery from COVID-19.