From a 90% effective COVID vaccine to the potential impact of president-elect Joe Biden on global development

Pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and BioNTech have issued a press release claiming their COVID-19 vaccine candidate is 90% effective at protecting people from transmission of the virus in global trials, potentially putting an end to the coronavirus pandemic in reach.

Related: Accessibility concerns about promising Pfizer, BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine

 

Development experts have welcomed Joe Biden’s election as president of the United States which they feel will lead to a return to normality and stability after four years of attacks and cuts on foreign assistance  during the Trump administration.

Related: How President Biden can reinvigorate global development and diplomacy

 

After four years of cuts, attacks, and politicisation of health under US President Donald Trump, observers hope president-elect Joe Biden will restore the US’s place at the forefront of global health efforts, but health experts say the damage wrought by Trump may be difficult to undo with many of trends set in motion and accelerated by the actions of the current administration here to stay.

Related: 5 Trump-era global health policies a Biden administration might undo

 

World leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, have welcomed Joe Biden’s victory in the US presidential election as an opportunity to ramp up global action on the climate crisis.

Related: Governments urged to go beyond net zero climate targets

 

The world’s public development banks have pledged to pursue a ‘green recovery’ from the COVID-19 pandemic. The pledge has drawn a mixed response from activists for not committing to an end to fossil fuel finance or setting firm targets for how much funding would be allocated for a green recovery.

Related: EU member states approve EIB Group Climate Bank Roadmap 2021-2025

 

Zambia is on the verge of defaulting on its foreign debt after it missed a payment of more than USD $40m last month, putting the country at risk of the first country to default on its sovereign debt since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Related: AfDB Adesina’s road map for rebooting African economies

 

A new report led by campaign groups Counter Balance and the CEE Bankwatch Network has accused the European Investment Bank (EIB) of using taxpayer cash to support infrastructure projects linked to alleged human rights violations.

Related: EIB eyes human rights rethink amid criticism

 

Development experts say Mauricio Claver-Carone’s controversial appointment as president of the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) could push some Latin American governments to turn to China for financing to preserve political autonomy.

Related: Donors spending more aid on self-interested goals, report says

 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says global measles cases surged in 2019 to their highest number in 23 years, with global measles deaths up nearly 50% from 2016 with the disease claiming an estimated 207,500 lives in 2019 alone.

 

New U.N. special rapporteur for the human right to water and sanitation Pedro Arrojo-Agudo says exploring the impact of COVID-19 and the climate crisis on water and sanitation will be his first priority as he succeeds Leo Heller in the role.

Related: New UN special rapporteur on water backs predecessor in privatization row

 

Germany is hoping it can use the momentum generated by the global response COVID-19 to address the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s long standing funding issues.

Related: Enough for Ebola, but not for pandemics? Why WHO emergencies work needs reform

 

Devex gives an overview of Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO) permanent under-secretary Philip Barton’s appearance in front of the UK parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee.

 

An international alliance of more than 60 parliamentarians from 16 countries have urged the chief prosecutor of the international criminal court to accept a complaint alleging genocide by China against its Uighur Muslim minority.

 

USAID acting deputy adminstrator John Barsa has told political appointees at USAID the agency will not cooperate with the transition to a Biden administration until General Services Administration (GSA) Administrator Emily Murphy signs a letter recognising Biden’s election.

Related: White House fires USAID deputy to keep Barsa at helm

 

A former employee from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) has filed a racial discrimination complaint against the organisations, claiming CZI, a philanthopic organisation founded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan in 2015, underpaid and under-promoted Black staff members.