Areas of Engagement

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(Geneva) On April 17, 300 civil society organizations – including global union federations, development advocates, women’s groups, consumer and small business organizations, and environmental groups – from more than 150 countries delivered a letter to members of the WTO. In it, they urge Members of the WTO to: “Stop all trade and investment treaty negotiations during the COVID-19 outbreak and refocus on access to medical supplies and saving lives.” WTO Members meet today on whether to continue negotiations amid the pandemic.

We are constantly being told that “we are all on the same boat”, and while we might be experiencing a change in our social relations and perceiving ourselves as part of a greater entity, the reality is that we are navigating the same turbulent tide, but with different sorts of boats.  

With each passing day, we’re learning more about the coronavirus and the disease it causes, Covid-19. The pandemic has had profound effects on daily life across much of the globe, but there is an opportunity that cannot be missed. The Covid19 shockwave is perhaps the first time event that has allowed the public opinion of the planet to understand the importance of public health systems and the pivotal role of health in any given decent societal organization that has a plan for the future.

It is classical syndrome of hate-mongering governments to nervously seek and blame “others” for responsibilities and failures that have endogenous roots. Since the arrival of SARS-CoV-2 in the US, Donald Trump’s administration has hunted for scapegoats in his relentless attempt to shift blame for the increasing number of American deaths. The World Health Organization (WHO) is only the last scapegoat in this sequence – after the Obama administration, China and the US media. The blame-game is a well-known trick, but it’s not really credible.

Cancelling all debt payments owed by low-income countries to other governments, multilateral institutions and private lenders would free up to US$ 25.5 billion to fight coronavirus in 2020 alone. Extending the cancellation to apply to payments due in 2021 would make another US$ 24.9 billion available to help save lives now and in the future.

The call comes to us from the Italian network of the People's Health Movement and from the Dico32 Campaign. The Italian mobilization does not act in isolation, but in the scenario of a European mobilization with the unequivocal title: “Our health is not for sale”.

The six points of the network: The joint action of European civil society in the field of public health is structured around a platform based on six main points:

Never before has a virus blocked the planet’s gear the way COVID-19 did.  Three months after the first outbreak, it is dominating our lives and immagination: but instead of acting as a leveler, this time the virus is acting as an amplifier of the long-existing economic and social inequalities that cross societies, multiplying the danger of the virus and triggering a vicious circle with potentially devastating consequences.

This issue intends to stimulate a broad-based reflection about health justice and the politics of care, starting the conversation from the viewpoint of the global fragility that has long afflicted the lives of billions of people around the world, and yet remained concealed until COVID-19 came to tear the veil. On the other hand, the origins of this virus and the major reasons for such anthropogenic migration stem from the induced ecological imbalances that humankind has created.

Despite the ongoing pandemic of COVID 19 that is ravaging the world today, the World Trade Organization (WTO) is continuing to negotiate an outcome on fisheries subsidies. While Geneva, where WTO’s headquarters are located, is under lockdown and putting on hold all face-to-face meetings, WTO is willing to proceed with negotiations in the most non-transparent, non-inclusive and ad-hoc manner. 

 

The Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND) launched the 2019 Arab Watch Report on the Right to Food, which explores from a comparative perspective the political food economy in the Arab region as well as alternati

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