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Supported by a supermajority in parliament and three landslide elections, in 2010, 2014 and 2018 the government of the Fidesz party, led by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has severely undermined the system of checks and balances, eliminated political and professional autonomy of most of the state institutions and allowed the capture of the state by influential groups – oligarchs and political players.

In October 2019, after years of paralysis and disarray of the Hungarian opposition, they obtained a surprise victory at the municipal elections, announcing changes that are still too early to predict.

Nepal should recover from the human and economic devastation caused by COVID-19 by accelerating efforts to achieve SDGs.

Nepal needs clamor for policy attention and scarce resources, there is great temptation during crisis to react only for the immediate term. That would be a big mistake: as every recent crisis has revealed, Nepal is extremely vulnerable to underlying threats that can quickly become existential for large sections of the population.

“We are only as safe as the most vulnerable among us”
The health and socioeconomic crisis caused by COVID-19 has shown in a dramatic fashion that we are only as safe as the most vulnerable among us. Despite previous legal and policy commitments and laudable progress in many countries, only between one-third and one-half of the world’s population were covered by essential health services. More than 55 percent had no access to social protection at all, with devastating consequences for societies worldwide.

Following the opening of the 75th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) and a series of High-level meetings and events parallel to the General Debate, the UNGA plenary and committees have shifted to a pattern wherein the Member States debate and negotiate resolutions on a range of topics.

Across the UNGA agenda, priorities include COVID-19 recovery, the UN Decade of Action--the final 10 years to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) ---and the call for necessary reforms for the UN to be effective across management, peace and security and development. Reform to the UN Development System (UNDS) will be a prime agenda item of the UNGA Economic and Finance (Second) Committee negotiations, with an outcome resolution of its Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QCPR) expected in November or December.

Social Watch Czech Republic releases an annual report evaluating the progress of the Czech Republic towards reaching the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The report is divided into five sections: people, planet, prosperity, peace, and partnership.

The Czech Republic is failing to meet many of the UN sustainable development targets, with progress only visible in certain areas, according to a report last week from Social Watch CZ, a non-governmental organization that monitors compliance with the goals.

The presentation by Finland of its second VNR in 2020 initiated a new kind of cooperation between state authorities and civil society, with non-governmental actors presenting their assessment in the official report. Both views are largely in line, but civil society is more critical.

There is no extreme poverty in Finland and a comprehensive social security covers the whole population. Still there are challenges in relation to poverty and inequality. A crucial problem is that increasing in inequalities and social exclusion seem to accumulate and extend across generations, causing intergenerational transmission of poverty.

As a result of longstanding failures in dealing with internal and external challenges, and in particular conditionalities imposed by IMF loans, Jordan has faced a large series of social and political protests in recent years. In the wake of increasing deteriorations of the economic situation, the demonstrations have received an enormous upswing and received public support from all segments of society.

The alternative report on Jordan, prepared by the Phenix Center for Economic Studies, describes the dynamics and the leading role of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) during the demonstrations, and takes a look at the aftermath of the protests and upcoming challenges.

Feminist organizations have insisted for decades on the importance of recognizing the systemic role of care work. This invisible work is indispensable for reproducing the labour force and more broadly for sustaining life. The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed this feminist message into an accepted truth.

The new coronavirus has forcefully exposed the fragility of human life. All of us face the risk of catching a disease that can kill us. In this context, it is also made very visible that our lives are interdependent. To avoid contagion, we need to take care of ourselves, but we also depend on the whole of society adopting habits of caring.

Only a handful of political leaders decided to confront scientific advice, and one of these was President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, for whom COVID-19 was “just another little flu”. The result has been catastrophic, not just in terms of the pandemic (over 100,000 diagnosed deaths by mid-August 2020, second only to those in the USA) but also in terms of the economy that his denial policies tried to protect.

In June, the World Bank forecast an 8 percent decline in Brazil’s GDP in 2020 (from a previous forecast of 2% growth), while the global economy is estimated to decline by 4.9 percent and emerging market and developing economies, including Brazil, by 3 percent, in their first contraction in at least 60 years.

A range of different forms of confinement and quarantine were implemented around the world in order to slow down the spread of the pandemic and avoid a collapse of overburdened health systems. In that process, low-paid services such as home deliveries, food processing, garbage collection and care-giving were identified as “essential”.

In most comparatively affluent countries those services are largely provided by immigrants and yet, as reported from the UK by Imogen Richmond-Bishop of Just Fair, “COVID-19 has disproportionately affected migrant communities” through drops in income; limited access to welfare support; barriers for homeless migrants to access accommodation and overcrowded and substandard housing.”

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