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At a briefing on COVID-19, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated: “We are in an unprecedented situation and the normal rules no longer apply. We cannot resort to the usual tools in such unusual times.”

The Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire in light of COVID-19 has already garnered significant support including from Member States and CSOs, receiving over 2 million signatures. Learn more and sign the petition here.

Civil Society Organizations and Research Center in Lebanon released a statement in reaction to the Government response to the Covid 19 crisis.
The suggestions and recommendations stem from the need to take a comprehensive approach to the crisis with its health, economic and social dimensions, with human rights and dignity at the center of the approach taken, and learn from this crisis in order to develop plans that strengthen public health care systems, free education and public access to social security.

The potential and challenges of the digital economy are emerging steadily on the UN agenda. The UN General Assembly’s Committee on Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Issues (Third Committee) closed its 74th session in November 2019 adopting over 60 resolutions on a wide range of subjects, only one of which (A/C.3/74/L.11) addressed digital technologies.

The Committee heard presentations from a variety of Independent Experts and Special Rapporteurs, two of whom addressed in their reports the human rights implications of emerging digital technologies. The Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Phillip Alston, focused his report on the digital welfare state. The Special Rapporteur on the Protection of the Right to Freedom of Expression, David Kaye, addressed online hate speech.

In addition to the health aspects of the virus, the global coronavirus crisis also has financial, socio-economic and developmental consequences. For this reason, a large number of policy measures have been announced by governments and international organizations, on the one hand to contain the pandemic, on the other to mitigate the economic consequences.

These measures contain for example fiscal stimulus and aid packages of various shapes and sizes, intended to cushion the serious economic and social consequences of the coronavirus outbreak worldwide. The main target groups of planned loans and cash injections are the healthcare system, as well as larger banks and companies. However, some strategies are also aimed at small and medium-sized companies as well as groups of individuals, their savings, private pensions and other private assets.

By Roberto Bissio*

The message could not have been clearer: "There is a very real threat of a rapidly moving, highly lethal pandemic of a respiratory pathogen killing 50 to 80 million people and wiping out nearly 5% of the world’s economy. A global pandemic on that scale would be catastrophic, creating widespread havoc, instability and insecurity.”

This prediction was published in September 2019, several months before the identification of the first Covid-19 patient, by Gro Harlem Bruntland, former Prime Minister of Norway and former Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), and by Elhadj As Sy, Secretary General of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent, as co-chairs of the the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board. The Board's report entitled A World at Risk was conclusive: "The world is not prepared."

The report by Ricardo Tranjan examines the financial situation of the 3.4 million households in Canada who rent and whose primary source of income is wages and salaries or self-employment income. Everyone will be eventually touched by the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, but rent is due soon. Specifically, it addresses the following question: How many weeks or months can renters go without employment income before running out of savings?

The short answer is that almost half of them have less than a month’s worth of savings; one-third have two weeks or less.

The Covid-19 pandemia is a global health crisis (with major financial and economic consequences) but international organizations, starting with the World Health Organization “are still insufficiently funded to respond quickly to the emergence of dangerous diseases - and to prevent them from spreading to global pandemics” argue Jens Martens and Bodo Ellmers, from Global Policy Forum in a briefing paper published last March 18. People in most Global South countries are likely to suffer its impact even more and therefore “in order to prevent the corona crisis from becoming a global development crisis, solidarity must not end at national borders.”

Cyprus undergoes a trade-off between urgent responses to the economic and financial crisis and its sustainable development commitments. As a member of the European Union, Cyprus should be implementing the concepts of Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) and Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development (PCSD), yet neither of these is mentioned in the country’s official Voluntary National Review, which in fact omits the whole of SDG 17 (on implementation).

SDG 6, Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, represents one of the easiest – and most fundamental – parts of the 2030 Agenda to achieve. Dynamics of power and inequality shape access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and other basic services, both in terms of tangible metrics (income, nearness and type of family toilet or water source) and because of the unequal distribution of influence over decision-making - the gulf between whose rights and voices count and whose do not. Raising the political leverage of communities facing discrimination in infrastructure and service provision is key in changing the power relationships between users and providers. The preconditions for universal access to WASH at national level must be matched by commitments at international level: to significantly increase official development assistance (ODA), restructure debt, curb illicit financial flows and stimulate new sources of international public assistance through democratic institutions.

Social Watch Philippines, together with a number of Filipino academics and civil society representatives, present a policy matrix that identifies urgent issues, provides analyses and outlines recommendations on trade and development from a wide range of actors from civil society, the academe, and private sector in time for the preparatory process leading to the UNCTAD XV Conference to be held in Barbados from 18 to 23 October 2020.

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