From the COVID-19 death toll passing 1 million to the UN Biodiversity Summit

The global COVID-19 death toll has passed 1 million, according to a tally of cases maintained by Johns Hopkins University.

Related: World hits 1M COVID-19 deaths. How did we get here, and will it get worse?


Leaders from more than 60 countries have pledged to clamp down on pollution, embrace sustainable economic systems and eliminate the dumping of plastic waste in oceans by the middle of the century as part of meaningful action to halt the destruction of nature on Earth ahead of the UN Biodiversity Summit.

Related: China’s carbon pledge will require complete inversion of existing system


Amnesty International has been forced to shut down operations in India and lay off all staff after the Indian government froze its bank accounts. Amnesty described the move to freeze its accounts as the culmination of a two-year campaign of harassment by the home affairs ministry.

Related: By kicking Amnesty out, India is betraying its founding ideals


The World Bank has announced plans for a USD $12 billion initiative to help poor countries purchase Covid-19 vaccines as soon as effective drugs become available in an effort to ensure that low-income countries are not frozen out by wealthy nations.

Related: World leaders pledge $1B for ACT-Accelerator


The World Health Organization has praised the ‘decisive’ action taken by African nations in response to COVID-19 as infection numbers across the continent continued to decline.

Related: Data suggests the pandemic is playing out differently in Africa


International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director Kristalina Georgieva has urged the world’s wealthiest countries to act now to stop the pandemic inflicting long-term damage on the world’s poor and leaving a lost generation behind.

Related: Q&A: Suma Chakrabarti explains the need to ‘push to get the private sector to do more’


A new UN database designed to track government responses to COVID-19 shows most countries are failing to adequately protect women and girls during the fallout from of the pandemic.

Related: Gender data: How expensive is it, really?


The World Health Organisation (WHO) has opened an investigation after ore than 50 women  accused aid workers from WHO and NGOs of sexual exploitation and abuse during efforts to fight Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Related: UK not doing enough to support survivors of peacekeeper abuse, report says


UNICEF UK has opened an internal review into bullying allegations made against the UNICEF UK chair Douglas Alexander, allegations which have led to the resignations of Alexander and UNICEF UK’s executive director, Sacha Deshmukh, and vice-chair, Caroline Underwood.


The British government says it consulted with 26 NGOs about the merger of the Department for International Development (DFID) and Foreign & Commonwealth Office  (FCO) into the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) but it has refused to name the organisations involved.

Related: Use aid to make UK a hub for philanthropic funds, Kruger report says


The world’s top 10 donors, who contribute 80% of humanitarian funding, are asking for greater ‘burden-sharing’ in humanitarian assistance, particularly by expanding the donor base to include new governments, in light of budget pressures and increased needs created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Related: There is ‘enough common ground’ to revitalize the UN, but it still won’t be easy


EU development leaders have begun the process of working out the details for the EU’s ‘Team Europe’ brand which was launched earlier this year to bring the work of EU institutions, member states, and European development banks under one umbrella.

Related: German development minister joins team EIB


Climate activists have criticised the British government after documents emerged showing government officials have held several meetings with fossil fuel firms, including BP, Shell and Equinor, about their participation in next year’s COP26 climate talks.

Related: Cambridge University to divest from fossil fuels by 2030


Data from Inpe, Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research, shows fires in Brazil’s Amazon increased 13% in the first nine months of the year compared with a year ago making 2020 the rainforest region’s worst year for forest fires in a decade.

Related: Global heating warming up ‘nights faster than days’


As the UN General Assembly comes to a close, Devex talks to five global development experts about the long-term impact of COVID-19 on development and the agencies and organizations that provide aid to those in need.

Related: Q&A: IDB Invest on the future of impact investing after the pandemic