Wednesday, November 10, 2021

FEEEDS Global Issues Update: Concordia's 2021 Summit Report, Women's Health Index, Democracy Regression & Climate Change/COP26

As a follow-up to its recent, and well-respect annual summit, always held on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly, Concordia's 2021 event highlighted the state of the world's social and business issues. This year's Concordia Summit, its 11th, had nearly 300 speakers addressing international issues. You can learn more by reading the report on the summit now liveas well as review some of the key factoids around global issues, which were  highlighted at the 4-day event(2021 summit: by the numbers). The Summit was held both virtually, and with limited in-person interaction

Ambassador Sanders, as a global advocate on key development issues, is a senior advisor to Concordia. One of the key session for Dr. Sanders, as CEO-FEEEDS, was the data presentation on the Women's Health Index done by Hologic with polling done in partnership by Gallup World Poll on key health concerns for women. The Index focuses on health issues as well as servicing gaps for women world-wide in some 116 countries based on interviews with 120,000 women. Other issues during the Summit which resonated with FEEEDS' advocacy were turn-backs on democracy, COVID'pushing more people into extreme poverty, and  COP26. Below are some highlights on these key FEEEDS's advocacy issues, which were highlighted by various speakers in various ways during the Summit:

-- Turn-backs on Democracy:  Pressures on democracy (what FEEEDS calls "Democracy Regression") continues to increase across every region of the world, through both government and unilateral actions (from Myanmar to Brazil and coups in West Africa) as well as extreme societal and political divides in countries like the United States, France, Germany and India;

-- COVID-19 & Poverty: COVID-19, is not only turning back the clock on previous global efforts to reduce poverty (2000-2015 MDGs & 2015-2030 SDGS underway now), but possibly pushing another 97 million more people into extreme poverty (define as less than $1.90/day). We must step up and make three-times the effort to get back to pre-pandemic levels, which in and of themselves were stark. Pre-pandemic 2019 levels had 635 million people (see chart on 2015-2020) living in extreme poverty, even though great global reductions had been achieved year-on-year over the last decade. COVID-19 not only stopped progress, but turned back the clock on poverty reduction. The most recent extreme global poverty figures by the World Bank has the combined the 2019 pre-pandemic poverty figure (635 miilion), with the COVID-driven additional 97 million -- resulting in a projected 2021 total figure of  711 million people who face extreme poverty today. (NB: U.S., Brazil & India, in that order, had highest COVID deaths);

-- Climate Change & COP26: Bottom line is faster action and larger financial commitments are needed to reduce the affects of climate change by both governments, business, and institutions. Underscoring these two points, numerous Concordia's Summit sessions further stressed that we need to move three times faster in order to reach the net zero goal of reducing carbon emissions by 1.5˚C. In addition, there needs to be more action on helping with climate refugees and climate famine as both are growing at alarming rates.  It was recognized that a lot depended, of course, on what the 26th United Nations' climate change meeting of the Conference of Parties in Glasgow, United Kingdom produced, (better known as COP26). So far here is where we are on a few areas coming out of COP26 (section will be updated as other commitments come in and are clarified):

-- 100 world leaders attended;

-- 450 global businesses promised to climate reduction by 2023, valued at  USD$130 trillion;1

-- Net 0 - United Kingdom announced it would become a "net zero financial center," where firms would publish their climate actions;2 

-- $11 billion pledged by the United States to help developing countries with climate change;3

-- $19 billion committed by 100 countries to address deforestation and forest degradation, including assistance with rebuilding and rejuvenating the world's forest over the  next 8 years. Included in this pledge was $1.7billion to assist and support indigenous peoples in the world's key rain forest area. (NB: Of note, rain forest areas as large as the United Kingdom were lost last year due to climate change; 85 percent of the world's forest are in Brazil, Congo Basin & Indonesia. Dr. Sanders has been to all three);4

-- 100 countries signed on to the U.S. & UK led push for reductions in methane gas, another contributor to climate change CO2 emissions;  (NB: Top U.S. CO2  emissions in this order are fossil fuels (transportation, industry, electricity, homes & businesses); agriculture (methane gas); unmanaged land and forestry use.5

 -- 40 countries also pledged to shift away from coal/fossil fuel. However, there is a lot of leeway in what this might mean from new investments to financing and production.  Varying dates for ending total use were conveyed. Biggest polluters -- China, U.S., Australia, India and Japan -- did not sign onto this pledge.6

-- $105 billion committed to help spur green energy projects in developing nations was also pledged.7

resource notes:
1. World News Live, CGTN 11/4/21
2. World News Live & BBC news 11/3/21
3. World News Live, CGTN, BBC news & NPR 11/2/21
4. World News Live, CGTN & BBC news 11/3/21
5.  COP26 11/2/21
6. BBC & Reuters 11/4/21
7. NYTimes online 11/4/21

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