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Global food prices in May spiked 40% year-on-year, the biggest jump in a decade, according to Food and Agriculture Organization data. This is causing concern that in addition to the pandemic’s health challenges, rising food prices will hit already vulnerable populations hardest, Shabtai Gold reports.
• Although global economic growth is expected to increase this year, a new report from the World Bank predicts that low-income countries will have drastically different experiences to high-income places with more access to COVID-19 vaccines.
• Disrupted supply chains and soaring shipping costs are contributing to the rising cost of staple foods. The World Bank found that the price of maize has skyrocketed 66% since January 2020, while wheat prices are up 23%. Those inflationary trends are most pronounced in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia.
• The bank’s chief David Malpass singled out Russia specifically but warned all countries that a tendency to curb food exports in times of crisis — often a bid to keep domestic costs down — could be “harmful.”
• By the end of the year, some 100 million people “will have fallen back into extreme poverty,” the report predicted.
As U.S. President Joe Biden embarks on an eight-day European trip, his administration is reportedly planning to buy 500 million doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to donate to COVAX. The first 200 million will be distributed by the end of this year, and the rest by June 2022.
Now, the question is: Will other countries announce similar commitments at the G-7 summit in Cornwall, which kicks off tomorrow?
The current U.S. administration has made financial assistance to Central America’s Northern Triangle a key part of its policy in the region, as the administration explicitly discourages people from migrating to the U.S. But cuts to U.S. development assistance in the region during the Trump administration led many NGOs to scale back or even cancel programs, damaging relationships with local communities by forcing the organizations to renege on promises made.
NGOs in Guatemala tell me they are eager for the U.S. funding spigot to be turned back on, but some expressed reservations about relying so heavily on a donor at the whims of fickle foreign assistance politics in the future.
“What might we do today such that we are not out with begging bowls for funding over again a year down the line?”— Jacob Mathew, CEO, Industree Foundation
Despite worldwide attention on India’s COVID-19 crisis, local NGOs have often been unable to access necessary funds, in part because of licensing rules that regulate which organizations can receive foreign funds. That has made social entrepreneurs consider new avenues of funding, including blended finance and a planned $50-$100 million fund (of which $7 million have been raised so far) to support organizations through the challenges of the next five years.
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WASH infrastructure is protected, even in conflict zones, under international humanitarian law and human rights law. But facilities continue to come under attack in conflict-affected areas, and some experts believe WASH facilities are increasingly being targeted. That causes catastrophic risks for entire communities, and particularly for children.“[It’s] an opportunity to disrupt critical services that many people are depending on for their survival, including wells, water storage, water access points, and toilets,” says Rolando Wallusche, Catholic Relief Services’ technical adviser for WASH.
Increased attention and swift punishment are potential ways to mitigate the damage.
In other news
A group of gunmen killed 10 mine clearers from Halo Trust and injured a dozen more in Afghanistan on Tuesday. [BBC]
Child labor increased for the first time in 20 years to 160 million children worldwide in 2020, a new report by UNICEF and the International Labour Organization says. [UN News]
A Congolese World Food Programme employee is under investigation for his alleged failure to take sufficient precautions that led to the death of Italian Ambassador Luca Attanasio. [Reuters]
Médecins Sans Frontières has been ordered by Myanmar’s military junta to stop its operations in the city of Dawei, which could affect the treatment of 2,162 residents living with HIV. [France 24]
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