Amid growing rates of coronavirus infections, the UN warns of COVID’s impact on refugees and on global food security.
But two pieces of good news: the deadliest Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo has ended, and the world came together to support crucial vaccine efforts. Here are six stories you may have missed this month.
DRC’s deadliest Ebola outbreak declared officially over
After nearly two years and 2,280 deaths, the second-worst Ebola outbreak in history is over, the World Health Organization announced on 25 June. “Ending this Ebola outbreak is a sign of hope for the region and the world, that with solidarity and science and courage and commitment, even the most challenging epidemics can be controlled,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa. This WHO video looks back at the two-year effort to bring this epidemic to an end. While this is welcomed news, the Democratic Republic of Congo continues to fight a separate outbreak of Ebola in Northwest, as well as the world’s largest measles outbreak and the coronavirus.
Institutional racism in global development industry
As the world grapples with institutional racism in the wake of George Floyd’s death and worldwide Black Lives Matter protests, global development institutions are confronting racism within their organisations and programs. In the US, the Government Accountability Office found that minorities were less likely to get promoted in USAID’s civil service than their white counterparts. Meanwhile, Katja Iversen, head of Women Deliver, is taking a leave of absence amid an investigation into racial discrimination within the women’s rights organisation. And the UN Human Rights Council held an urgent debate on racism and police brutality at the request of 54 African leaders. The debate included remarks from George Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, who called for an international investigation into the killing of black people in America.
World Refugee Day marked by grim statistics
This month marked World Refugee Day on 20 June, and the UN urged governments and businesses to do more to support refugees during COVID-19. New numbers show the global refugee population has risen to almost 30 million people — nearly twice as many as 10 years ago. Refugees have been hit hard by the pandemic because they tend to work in the informal sector. Half of the refugees in Lebanon and Colombia lost their income source, and almost two-thirds of recently settled refugees in the United States may have lost their jobs. Young refugees have all it takes to design solutions to their challenges, writes activist Vivian Onano for ONE.
DFID merged with FCO
On 16 June, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the unexpected merger of the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) into a new Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). Johnson has long advocated for the merger, but the move resulted in widespread condemnation by opposition politicians and from some within the Conservative party. Civil society — and even DFID staffers — say they were caught off guard by the move, despite Johnson’s claims that he ran consultations about the merger. Find out more on why DFID is one of the world’s top aid agencies and sign our petition now to protect DFID.
UN issues warning on the state of global food security
UN Secretary-General Antonio Gueterres is warning of COVID’s impact on global hunger: “Unless immediate action is taken, it is increasingly clear that there is an impending global food emergency that could have long term impacts on hundreds of millions of children and adults,” he said. Before COVID-19, 135 million were experiencing hunger so severe that it threatened their lives and livelihoods. Now because of the pandemic, that number could double by the end of 2020. Here’s how we can prevent a global hunger epidemic.
World supports Gavi during global pandemic
In a show of global solidarity, world leaders pledged US$8.8 billion to support Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance over the next five years, during the Global Vaccine Summit on 8 June. This investment will allow Gavi to save 8 million lives and immunise over 300 million children in the world’s poorest countries over the next five years. It will also help Gavi and partners ensure that a COVID-19 vaccine is available to all who need it. At the summit, Gavi launched a new tool called the Advance Market Commitment for COVID-19 Vaccines (Gavi Covax AMC), which will help companies produce higher quantities of an eventual vaccine, and increase the speed at which vaccines become available – particularly to the poorest countries around the world.