“Restore Our Earth!” was the theme and rallying cry for this year’s Earth Day on 22 April. This is not something that could be achieved on a single day. Yet, Earth Day 2021 might signal a greater turning of the tide as the world enters the “Green Twenties.”
The European Commission DG NEAR and the office of the High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy released a new policy statement (‘Communication’) ‘Renewed Partnership with the Southern Neighbourhood: A New Agenda for the Mediterranean’ on 9 February 2021. The Communication was accompanied by a staff working document ‘Renewed Partnership with the Southern Neighbourhood Economic and Investment Plan for the Southern Neighbours’. The priorities outlined in the Communication and the investment Plan are to be concretised during 2021 as the new ‘Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI), which will finance the EU’s international cooperation, is programmed during 2021.
The adoption of the EU’s Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027 will bring profound changes to the set-up of the EU’s instruments for crisis prevention, conflict management and peacebuilding in fragile and conflict-affected countries, which aim to improve the EU’s ability to engage in these contexts. However, reforming the EU’s financial instruments alone is not sufficient to address key underlying challenges. What is needed is an overarching strategic framework that puts policy coherence for sustainable peace at the centre of EU crisis prevention, conflict management and peacebuilding.
It is vital for the EU-AU partnership to improve digital infrastructure development in Africa, particularly expanding fixed broadband coverage and access, as well as to improve African firms and consumers’ access to e-commerce platforms and provide targeted support for digital transformation in key sectors such as agriculture.
The pandemic not only acts as a multiplier of existing developmental and socioeconomic challenges in Africa – and thereby contributes to increasing
migratory pressure in and out of the continent – but it also reveals interdependencies between Africa and the EU. It is hoped that the current health and socioeconomic crisis would also act as an opportunity to substantially rethink the relations between the two continents on, and well beyond migration.
COVID19 recovery and the mitigation of future ecological and social crises will be important topics in the super year 2021. What international negotiations will be crucial?
Getting the pandemic globally and permanently under control is key to mitigating its impacts on health, society and the economy. This requires that a large proportion of the global population need be vaccinated against COVID-19 as quickly as possible, which necessitates global solidarity between states in the global North and global South and between societal actors worldwide. Global problems need global solutions.
As European Think Tanks we proposed the conference event because we would like to encourage discussions around the importance of aligning both policies and finance with the 2030 Agenda and its SDGs to chart a course towards inclusive, equitable and low carbon development.
Although it is too early to fully assess the magnitude of the impact of COVID-19 on fragility and conflict in Africa, the pandemic is presenting long-term socio-economic and political challenges which could have long-lasting implications for fragility and security in Africa in 2021 and beyond.
The impacts of Covid-19 on mental well-being and the mental health and psychosocial support needs of adolescents in Viet Nam and Tanzania. It is guided by two research questions:
– What impact has Covid-19 had on the mental health of adolescents in Viet Nam and Tanzania?
– What interventions (digital and non-digital) have been used to mitigate or respond to these mental health needs during the pandemic?
In this commentary Pauline Veron shares her takeaways from a recent high level DIE-ECDPM webinar event, with some key lessons for health cooperation between West Africa and the EU.