The UN General Assembly has convened a Special Session on the Covid-19 pandemic at the level of Heads of State and Government on 3 and 4 December next. It took more than a year of discussions to overcome the opposition of certain states, notably the United States of former President Donald Trump.
The emancipatory fight against the climate crisis will only have a chance if, in addition to preserving the natural foundations of life, better living conditions become conceivable for many people. ‘Better’ does not mean ‘more and more’; accordingly, climate justice must be based on experiences and feelings of injustice and exploitation. And these must be translated into changed social conditions.
A strong social contract is a precious resource in any country. Without it, citizens will be reluctant to pay their taxes resulting in governments being unable to collect the revenues they need to offer good quality public services to their citizens. The fundamental building block of a strong social contract is citizens being able to trust their Governments. As Sweden’s Ministry of Finance argues, governments build trust through the provision of universal public services.
Read the paper from Development Pathways, Stephen Kidd et al.
The support for equitable access to treatments and eventual vaccines is welcome, however there is no new initiative on support for developing countries and no progress on international tax reform.
Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said: “The world is facing its greatest employment challenge in living memory, however the G20 leaders have not shown the leadership that is needed. The Declaration acknowledges the scale of the challenge without offering real solutions. Coordinated action, with support for the least wealthy countries, is needed for recovery and resilience. The lack of global ambition in this G20 Declaration is extremely disappointing and will leave countries on their own to fight the terrible economic consequences of the pandemic.”
The pandemic has highlighted the fragility of social protection, especially in the developing world. A new global fund is needed—and it’s affordable.
The Covid-19 pandemic and the workplace closures adopted by governments to limit the spread of the virus have imposed an unprecedented ‘stress test’ on social-protection systems across the world. Hours worked worldwide decreased by 10.7 per cent worldwide in the second quarter, potentially translating into the loss of 305 million jobs.
This article is about the outlook for religions in the 21st century. It touches upon liberation theology and contrasts it with prosperity theology and religious fundamentalism. It further reports on a study about the origin of religions and its implications for human rights. For a quick overview, just read the bolded text].
Religions will have to adapt to the definitive loss of their influence and will have to share their followers with other social movements (Jaume Botey, Catalan theologian and philosopher)
-The question this statement brings about then is: Will the state have to establish a new legislative framework for religions to operate in a pluralistic, human rights-tolerant fashion?
California has this year seen the largest forest fires on record. The smoke, whipped up by the flames, made it impossible for people to go outside without harming their lungs. Yet, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, meeting friends and family inside, and away from the smoke, risked catching the disease. Despite living in the richest state in the most powerful country in the world, its citizens were stuck, caught between two globally systemic crises – a spreading fire amongst a spreading virus.
This type of Catch-22 situation is not new for many around the world, particularly those in the Global South, who have long had to navigate the harsh realities of a broken international financial system and climate breakdown. The same month that fires raged in the USA, Bangladesh suffered the heaviest rainfalls in a decade, leaving a third of the country underwater. In the words of the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, ‘Bangladesh is trying to save lives, shore up healthcare systems, and cushion the economic shock for millions of people, all while avoiding fiscal collapse. But this is not a cry for help; it is a warning.’1
Whether it’s rehousing millions of displaced people in Bangladesh, or injecting trillions into the global economy to keep things afloat during the pandemic, the costs of these crises will continue to mount. As the debts rise, many will be asking, “Who is going to pay for all this?”
The intergovernmental working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights held its sixth session, 26 – 30 October 2020, and adopted a final report that will form the basis of actual negotiations in 2021.
This was despite the International Organisation of Employers (IOE) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) obstructing the process, the US rejecting the process and the EU delegation not having a negotiating mandate.
Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said: “The IOE, the ICC and the US need to admit that it’s time to end corporate impunity. COVID-19 has re-emphasised the risks of having global supply chains not built on a level playing field for business and with insufficient human and labour rights protection for workers and communities.