From the US’s renewed commitment to the climate fight to 2 million COVID deaths

US President Joe Biden recommitted the US to the Paris climate agreement, ordered federal agencies to start reviewing and reinstating more than 100 environmental regulations that were weakened or rolled back under the Trump Administration, and rescinded the construction permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline as part of a flurry of executive orders signed on his first day in office.

Related: Biden raises hopes of addressing climate crisis as Cop26 nears

 

The global COVID-19 death toll has passed 2 million just over a year after the first death from the disease was recorded.

Related: Africa CDC outlines ultracold storage strategy for COVID-19 vaccines

 

World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has criticised wealthy countries for prioritising bilateral deals for COVID-19 vaccines over the COVAX initiative, driving up prices and undermining efforts to ensure equitable access to a vaccine around the world.

Related: Opinion: Without urgent action, billions will miss out on a COVID-19 vaccine this year

 

European Investment Bank (EIB) President Werner Hoyer warned a failure to vaccinate people around the world is not just an ethical issue but ‘a question of stability around the world’ that could be the difference between ‘war and peace’.

Related: Fighting climate crisis made harder by Covid-19 inequality, says WEF

 

US President Joe Biden has retracted his predecssor Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and announced that Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, would be the head of the U.S. delegation to the agency’s executive board.

Related: What Antony Blinken’s nomination hearing says about US foreign aid

 

The Trump administration’s decision to publish three global development policies in his last two weeks in office has raised questions about whether these efforts were politically motivated and if the policies went through a sufficient consultation process before their release.

Related: Trump team overrides Congress in last-minute foreign aid push

 

Former British prime minister Theresa May has accused her successor Boris Johnson of ‘abandoning global moral leadership’ for to threatening to break international law during Brexit trade negotiations and backing out of the UK’s foreign aid target.

Related: 3 biggest UK development contracts in 2020

 

As the world enters year two of the COVID-19 pandemic, health experts are questioning whether governments are willing to make needed changes at the World Health Organisation (WHO) to avoid another global health crisis given the organisation’s failure to act on numerous recommendations on how it could improve over the years.

Related: WHO platform for pharmaceutical firms unused since pandemic began

 

As President Joe Biden takes office, climate journalist David Wallace-Wells says for the first time in years there is reason for optimism in the fight against climate change.