From António Guterres’s call for a radical shake-up of global institutions to the 27 countries facing impending COVID-19-driven food crises

UN secretary general António Guterres has called for a radical shake-up of the UN Security Council, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank to address systemic inequalities exposed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Related: What is the future of the UN in the age of impunity?

 

A new analysis published by the the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP) identifies 27 countries facing impending COVID-19-driven food crises.

Related: Yemen sees return to alarming levels of food insecurity

 

The World Bank says private sector lenders to the world’s poorest countries should agree plans to reduce debt payments to avoid turning the Covid-19 pandemic into deeper economic crisis.

Related: UN forum offers ‘sobering’ vision of SDGs progress and new virtual reality

 

Aid advocates have expressed disappointment at this week’s historic EU budget deals after €10.5 billion for development funding and €5 billion for humanitarian aid that were proposed by the commission as part of the pandemic recovery package was removed from the final deal. Ultimately €70.8 billion was allocated to the budget’s main development tool, a reduction of 10.4% compared with the first proposal from the commission in May 2018.

 

Wellcome Trust Director Jeremy Farrar says the choices world leaders make now in response to the COVID-19 crisis will help define the 21st century.

Related: ACT now, ACT together to end COVID-19

 

The UK’s official development assistance (ODA) budget is to be cut by £2.9 billion this year, roughly 20% of the annual aid budget, in response to the economic impact of COVID-19.

Related: One in three charities ‘not confident’ they will survive the pandemic, survey finds

 

Devex takes a look at procurement activity related to the U.N.’s support of COVID-19 response and crisis recovery operations, projects, and programs to give an overview of the organization’s procurement priorities and its COVID-19 response.

Related: DFAT data insights: Funding COVID-19

 

Experts say that, though some progess has been made over the past couple of years, sexual abuse and exploitation in the aid sector remains ‘widespread’ and unreported and warn the COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating existing power imbalances.

Related: DFID sees huge rise in reported sexual abuse cases

 

UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima says approaches to tackling persistent barriers preventing women and girls, and other key populations from exercising their rights and accessing critical services will need to change if the organisation wants to further its progress fighting HIV/AIDS.

Related: Q&A: Winnie Byanyima on internal reforms at UNAIDS

 

The UK’s Foreign Affairs Committee has published a report warning the UK’s new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office ‘risks operating for months without clear strategic direction’ and that there is a risk that some of the strategic objectives of the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) could come into conflict in the new merged department.

Related: Senior UK MPs back new parliamentary committee to scrutinize ODA

 

Devex looks at what lessons the UK can learn from Australia’s 2013 merger of AusAid, Australia’s former development agency, with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade ahead of the UK’s planned merger of the Department for International Development (DFID) with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO).

Related: Opinion: How UK aid can retain its poverty reduction focus under the new FCDO

 

20 Democratic members of the US House of Representatives have signed a letter demanding the resignation of Merritt Corrigan from USAID over her reported history of ‘homophobic, misogynistic, and xenophobic’ comments.

Related: Q&A: Mark Green on character-driven leadership

 

The importance of handwashing to combating the spread of COVID-19 has renewed attention on efforts to improve access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), highlighting gaps within the sector that are leading some to call for the creation of a global WASH organisation to lead and coordinate WASH efforts around the world.

 

The International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC) has launched an independent investigation into allegations made by former staff IWHC has a culture of racism and bullying which caused the accusers “racial trauma [they] continue to grapple with long after leaving the organisation’.

 

An international team of scientists have published a study which they say narrows the range of probable climate outcomes and rules out the most optimistic forecasts for global heating while downplaying the likelihood of worst-case scenarios

Related: Climate change: Polar bears could be lost by 2100

 

Incoming Global Environment Facility (GEF) CEO Carlos Manuel Rodríguez discusses his plans for the organisation as he prepares to take over leadership of the GEF in September.

Related: ADB, GCF Commit to Partnership to Boost Green Recovery from COVID-19

 

A group of 72 ‘public and private sector leaders’, including 40 investors with nearly USD $1 trillion in assets, have sent a letter to Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell Tuesday calling for the Fed to take action on climate change.

 

Alan Schwartz and Reuben Finighan of the Universal Commons Project discuss the limits of impact investing to solve the world’s problems and the how government regulations and policies can help incentivise businesses to pursue goals that will have a positive impact on society.