From the US’s departure from WHO to the debt crisis facing the developing world

US President Donald Trump has announced the US will sever all ties with the World Health Organisation (WHO). The announcement has been met with near universal condemnation across the world and it remains unclear if Trump has the authority to withdraw the US from the organisation without first getting congressional approval.

Related: How could the US withdraw from WHO?

 

The world’s poorest countries are facing a debt crisis ‘unlike anything we’ve ever seen’ in the wake of the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. Low interest rates over the past decade saw governments issuing record amounts of debt which they are now struggling to pay in the face of the duelling health and economic crises of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Related: Gordon Brown urges G20 countries to back $2.5tn coronavirus plan

 

A new USD $2 billion procurement fund aimed at ensuring that poorer countries can access doses of a potential coronavirus vaccine was announced at the third Gavi vaccine alliance replenishment summit. The summit also saw USD $8.8 billion in pledges for Gavi’s work on vaccination and immunisation around the world, surpassing the target for the summit of USD $7 billion.

Related: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledges $1.6 billion to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to protect the next generation with lifesaving vaccines

 

The OECD says funding for research into a COVID-19 vaccine does not meet its official development assistance (ODA) criteria and cannot be counted toward countries’ ODA commitments.

Related: EU’s COVID-19 development boost will all go on budget guarantees

 

World Health Organisation has launched a new project, the COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP), to share intellectual property, scientific data, and know-how to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. 37 countries have thrown their support behind the project which was first proposed by Costa Rica.

Related: Insufficient PPE pushes NGOs to consider making their own

 

With the Caribbean preparing to enter hurricane season and other parts of the world facing flooding and extreme weather patterns as they manage their COVID-19 responses, Devex talks to health and disaster relief experts about what steps officials need to take to manage health concerns amidst disaster response efforts.

Related: Q&A: How are global health security experts responding to the pressures of COVID-19?

 

Health experts say millions of children could die as a result of disruptions to vaccination programs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Related: Watch: END Fund CEO on pandemic impact on NTDs

 

Agnes Kalibata, president of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), and Dr. Lawrence Haddad, executive director of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), say the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on food systems shows the world needs a revolution in data collection, organization, and sharing on the global food supply.

Related: Q&A: How innovation can help end hunger

 

While the COVID-19 pandemic has seen an increase in public awareness of the importance of handwashing and personal hygiene in preventing the spread of infectious diseases, WASH experts fear standards will slip once the pandemic has passed.

Related: Steps for creating water solutions that will last

 

Travel restrictions are enhancing the role of local aid workers according to a new survey from Devex, though many say they are still not receiving the support they need.

Related: Is it finally time for the localisation agenda to take off?

 

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says tougher rules are needed to make investors aware of the dangers posed by the climate crisis, calling for companies to be forced to disclose their exposure to climate risk because a voluntary approach does not go far enough.

Related: Demands grow for ‘green industrial revolution’

 

The UN has warned Yemen faces a ‘macabre tragedy’ after a fundraising summit raised only USD $1.35 billion to support UN efforts in the country, falling USD $1 billion short of the summit’s goal.

 

The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Health Minister has confirmed the discovery of a new Ebola case in the country’s Équateur province, a region that last saw an outbreak of the virus in 2018.

Related: With attacks against health workers on the rise, advocates call for action

 

Andrew Natsios, a former administrator of USAID says a draft proposal from the Department of State to establish a new entity, the President’s Response to Outbreaks (PRO) to oversee the government’s pandemic preparedness, would ‘gut the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance’ at USAID by shifting its emergency health programs to the State Department and that separating public health from USAID’s emergency food and nutrition programs would — unintentionally — kill a lot of children’.

Related: Watch: Peter Sands’ ‘nightmare’ coronavirus scenario

 

Krishnan Narasimhan, deputy program manager at the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP), says the global economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic combined with the ongoing impact of the climate crisis on Pacific Islands shows the Pacific needs a new approach to disaster recovery.

Related: Interactive: The bilaterals funding the COVID-19 response in Southeast Asia and Pacific

 

USAID acting assistant administrator for the Bureau for Africa Christopher Maloney talks to Devex about the organisation’s priorities in Africa.

Related: Taking stock of the Trump administration’s Africa policy

 

More than 200 UK jobs at Oxfam are at risk as a result of the loss in funding the charity has experienced stemming from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Related: Watch: How COVID-19 is impacting UNDP’s hiring and culture

 

The appointment of new USAID ‘religious freedom adviser’ Mark Kevin Lloyd has outraged civil society groups and members of congress due to Lloyd’s history of making and promoting anti-Islamic comments on social media.