May 03, 2021
As we heard from Dr. Elizabeth Vibert in a recent GRAN Learning Event, food insecurity is growing in sub-Saharan Africa. Global hunger has been rising steadily since 2015 due to the intersecting... Read more
As we heard from Dr. Elizabeth Vibert in a recent GRAN Learning Event, food insecurity is growing in sub-Saharan Africa. Global hunger has been rising steadily since 2015 due to the intersecting crises of protracted conflicts, the rapidly changing climate and, more recently, the pandemic.
In response, the first-ever UN Food Systems Summit has been scheduled for September 2021. The UN Special Envoy to the Summit, has said that the process is meant to build healthier, more inclusive, nutritious, and resilient global food systems over the next decade. However, some farming organizations and human rights groups have raised the alarm that the planned Summit is driven by private sector interests in industrial farming, with the serious risk that decisions arising from the Summit may result in loss of food sovereignty for small-scale farmers around the globe. Read more here.
Some investments made in Federal Budget 2021 are a step in the right direction toward Canada’s ability to meet its national climate targets. And new federal dollars for early learning, child care, expanded employment insurance and emergency benefits are all consistent with the principles for a just recovery that 150 Canadian non-profits and campaign groups, including GRAN, adopted last year.
However, it was disappointing not to see a bigger commitment to fighting the pandemic globally, and equally disappointing to note the lack of long-term commitments to helping people in sub-Saharan Africa who are profoundly affected by the climate emergency, poverty, and hunger.
The federal government released Budget 2021 yesterday. While there was some investment in international assistance, the Budget falls short in responding to the urgent need of the world's most vulnerable. $375 Million was pledged for international COVID response (part of a $1.4 billion increase in international assistance, spread over five years). We contrast this with the Government’s commitments for 2020-21, which were about $1.2 billion. Budget 2021 investments do not reflect or respond to the dire humanitarian needs around the globe. Two components of international assistance funding, not mentioned in Budget 2021, are global education and international climate finance. We are cautiously optimistic that additional announcements regarding funding commitments for these two GRAN priorities will be made in the near future.
You can read the budget response released by Cooperation Canada by clicking here. If you are on social media, please re-tweet the statement from Cooperation Canada as well as tweets from GRAN.
The success of the new “African Continental Free Trade Area” (AfCFTA), which took effect on January 1, 2021, will depend on the capacity of African governments to tap into the potential of human capital.
With 60% of its population under 25, robust investment in education with emphasis on STEM education, innovation and 21st century skills, must be urgently made for Africa to achieve its goals.
Click here to read more at this GPE blog.
Education is fundamental to our ability to build back a better world. The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the disparities that children and young people face in achieving a quality education. As a result of school closures, this generation of young people may never reach their full personal, education, job and earning potential.
Click here to see why the UK sees education as a good investment and is supporting the Global Partnership for Education’s Replenishment.
Will Canada join the UK in its commitment?
GRAN is deeply concerned about the worsening humanitarian crisis in Tigray that is having a disproportionate impact on women and children.
Speaking at the end of his five day visit to Ethiopia, Francesco Rocco, President of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), said:
“I am very concerned about the conditions that I saw during my visit, including the internally displaced by the fighting, especially children, their mothers and the elderly. It was clear to me that the people of Tigray need much more support than they are currently getting.”
The international community, including Canada, is urging Ethiopia to grant full access for humanitarian convoys and medical supplies to the region.
Click here to learn more.
In low-income countries, identifying people who have fallen on hard times due to the pandemic is no easy task. So Togo turned to artificial intelligence: a computer program that dives into satellite imagery and cell phone data to pinpoint pockets of poverty and distribute financial support. Click here to read more.
Goal 4, Education for All, has been made vulnerable by the pandemic, with the very real possibility that millions of children may not return to school.
The Global Partnership for Education has developed a series of interviews about the power of education, entitled 5 Reasons for $5+ Billion. Read this inspirational interview with Mohamed Sidibay, former child soldier now peace activist, in which he talks about what education has meant in his life, and speaks compellingly of the importance of supporting increased investments in education globally.
While the world has been focused on the pandemic and COVID vaccine development, over the past year real progress has quietly been made in HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention. A new injectable long-acting HIV/AIDS treatment has been approved for use in Canada, the United States and the European Union. With this breakthrough, a person with HIV can now receive just one injection each month, instead of having to take multiple pills each day to control their disease. While this new treatment regimen is currently priced well beyond the means of developing countries, its development gives hope for future treatment possibilities. Click here to read more.
“It is time to show leadership on protecting the rights of Grandma and other older people. To show appreciation for the enormous contributions that older people make to families, communities and the gross national product. To show intergenerational and international solidarity. To recognize how we love and need our grandparents.” -- GRAN Co-founder Peggy Edwards
Click here to read Peggy Edward’s recent article on the intersection of ageism, COVID-19 and human rights, and the compelling case she makes for a UN Convention on the Rights of Older Persons.