From 8.7 million deaths from air pollution in 2018 to concerns over the effectiveness of the AstraZeneca vaccine against new COVID variants

A new study estimates that air pollution from the burning of fossil fuels was directly responsible for 8.7m deaths globally in 2018, accounting for roughly one in five deaths that year.

Related: State-owned fossil fuel firms’ plan to invest $1.9tn could destroy climate hopes

 

UN Secretary General António Guterres has urged governments to agree to conduct formal climate negotiations online for the first time to ensure preparations for November’s COP26 talks are not disrupted by COVID-19.

Related: Countries must ramp up climate pledges by 80 percent to hit key Paris target, study finds

 

The UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS), has endorsed a new policy document aimed at ‘guiding the transformation of global food systems to address malnutrition and achieve related Sustainable Development Goals by 2030’.

Related: With COVID-19 blamed for surge in food prices, can trade facilitation efforts help?

 

African Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) Director John Nkengasong says African countries where the South African variant of COVID-19 is dominant should not roll out the AstraZeneca vaccine, though Nkengasong says countries should still deploy the vaccine if the variant is not dominant.

Related: AstraZeneca says vaccine against new Covid variants may take six months

 

Researchers at the Center for Global Development (CGD) say the hole left in bilateral health funding by the UK abandoning its commitment to spend 0.7% of gross national income on aid is unlikely to be replaced by other sources of funding.

Related: UK’s aid budget cuts undermine G-7 global health agenda, experts say

 

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has topped the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s annual list of America’s 50 Biggest Charity Donors after donating USD $10 billion to launch the Bezos Earth Fund last year.

Related: The Philanthropy 50

 

The Pacific Islands Forum has been thrown into disarray after nearly one-third of its member countries quit en masse following the election of Henry Puna, Polynesia’s candidate, to be the forum’s secretary-general in defiance of a long-standing convention that dictated it was Micronesia’s turn to provide the forum’s leader.

 

Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) President Mauricio Claver-Carone says the Bank will need to cut lending by at least 25% from last year unless members approve a proposed USD $80 billion capital increase.

Related: The Chinese ‘Debt Trap’ Is a Myth

 

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is set to become the  first woman and the first African national to lead the World Trade Organisation (WTO) after Yoo Myung-hee, the other finalist in the selection process, withdrew her candidacy.

 

The European Commission is exploring how it could use its development budget to incentivise private investment in health and education around the world through the use of budget guarantees.

 

Observers say the UN has failed to live up to its commitment to tackle sexual harassment within UN agencies, with experts saying reporting misconduct is still fraught with unnecessary complications and deterrents, and former and current U.N. staffers reporting victim-centred support once promised to U.N. employees has not fully materialised.

 

The Biden administration has revoked the Trump administration’s last minute terrorist designation of the Houthi movement, a move the administration says is purely to alleviate the ‘world’s worst humanitarian crisis’.