Equity and Protection, University of Oxford, World Health Organization, Conflict, Food Insecurity, Africa

Organisations. University of Oxford, World Health Organization WHO
Period. 14 – 21 July 2020
  • During the Sustainable Development Goals progress review meeting over the weekend, the UN Secretary General issued one of his strongest rebukes of the international community for systemic inequities that the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed. In a significant departure from his traditional diplomatic tone, the Mandela Day speech by the UN head noted the many “myths, delusions, and falsehoods” around international progress on equality. Among the examples he listed was the “lie that free markets can deliver healthcare for all. The fiction that unpaid care work is not work, the delusion that we live in a post-racist world, the myth that we are all in the same boat.” He went on to call for a “New Social Contract” with commitment of renewed and inclusive multilateralism, while urging for fundamental reforms to the UN Security Council, the IMF, and the World Bank.
  • Humanitarian response locations remain a particular cause for concern, including in sub-Saharan Africa which is home to over 26% of the world’s refugees. Ongoing conflicts and persistent attacks have led to the closure of hundreds of health facilities, including in Mali and Burkina Faso where 1.5 million people are left without adequate health care. During its Monday media briefing, the WHO cited a recent study by Oxford University highlights the risk of conflict on outbreaks, identifying 63 fragile countries currently facing unrest and conflict in the background of the COVID-19 pandemic, while additional 13 countries are projected to experience new conflicts over the next two years. The study further estimates that the average cost to host and neighbouring countries for a civil war is about $60 billion, while 100 million could be pushed into extreme poverty and 130 million face starvation.

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