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The road to eradicating polio: A dose of good news in global health
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HEALTH

The road to eradicating polio: A dose of good news in global health

8 November 2019 3:30PM UTC | By: KATIE RYAN

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Here is a dose of good news to start your day: cases of wild poliovirus — a highly infectious viral disease that can cause irreversible paralysis or even death — have decreased by over 99% since 1988. Over the same period of time, the number of polio endemic countries dropped from 125 to two. As a result, 18 million people who otherwise would have been paralyzed are able to walk today.

While there is no cure for polio, it can be prevented by immunization. And because polio mainly affects children under 5, immunizing children while they are young is critical. As long as one child is affected with polio, children all over the world are still at risk.

2019 saw some major milestones in the fight against polio. We’ve rounded up the biggest headlines you need to know:

Type 3 polio has been eradicated

In October, the World Health Organization declared that wild poliovirus type 3 (WPV3) has been eradicated worldwide. Wild poliovirus type 2 (WPV2) was already eradicated in 2015. So, of the three wild polio strains, only one type remains and cases of it are concentrated in just two countries — Afghanistan and Pakistan.

This is truly a historic achievement for humanity. With WPV2 and WPV3 eradicated, polio is one step closer to being completely wiped from the face of the earth. This kind of achievement has only been seen once before: the elimination of smallpox in 1980.

Polio eradication efforts have already saved the world more than US$27 billion in health costs since 1988. A sustained polio-free world will save another US$14 billion by 2050.

Nigeria is polio-free

In August, Nigeria reached three years without a case of wild poliovirus after a devastating outbreak of the disease occurred in northeast region in 2016. Thanks to routine immunization, innovative strategies to vaccinate hard-to-reach children, and surveillance, Nigeria was able to stop the outbreak and remain polio-free.

Next year, each country in Africa will undergo a rigorous process to confirm that they are all polio-free. With hope, the entire continent will be certified polio-free by mid-2020.

Now, attention will turn to fully eliminating the last cases of polio in Afghanistan and Pakistan and getting the resources needed to finish the job.

GPEI and Gavi are both up for replenishment

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), started by Rotary International in 1988, is on its final push to tackle the last 1% of cases and eradicate the disease. However, “conflict, political instability, hard-to-reach populations, and poor infrastructure” make this difficult. GPEI will hold a funding event at the Reaching the Last Mile Forum on November 19 in Abu Dhabi to raise money for their endgame strategy.

Building off of GPEI’s comprehensive strategy, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance will provide support for routine polio immunization in the countries that need it most. Gavi is a public-private partnership that was created in 2000 to improve access to new and underused vaccines for children living in the world’s poorest countries. Gavi will hold a pledging conference in June 2020 to raise funds for 2021-2025.

Years of action to fight polio prove what the world can do when we’re committed to a cause. We’ve made great progress against a once-global disease — and now we need to finish the fight.

Sign up below to become a ONE Member today to take part in our next global campaign launching in January 2020.

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FOOD & HUNGER

The Planet Is Doomed Unless We Stop Eating So Much Meat, UN Warns

Even if renewable energy takes over world.

Why Global Citizens Should Care
Reckless land use is a major driver of climate change. The United Nations urges countries to rapidly begin restoring environments that have been degraded in recent decades. You can join us in taking action on related issues here

Countries have to rapidly shift to restorative forms of agriculture and dramatically reduce meat production to save the planet from catastrophic climate change, according to a leaked version of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on land, the Guardian reports

Even if renewable sources of energy and electric vehicles become the overwhelming norm, the environmental harm caused by food production will still render the planet uninhabitable in the decades ahead. From deforestation to soil degradation to water pollution, food production has become a liability that must be addressed, the report warns. 

 
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Not One Country Is On Track to Protect Pregnant Girls
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“We are now getting very close to some dangerous tipping points in the behaviour of the climate — but as this latest leaked report of the IPCC’s work reveals, it is going to be very difficult to achieve the cuts we need to make to prevent that happening,” Bob Ward, policy director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, told the Guardian. 

This leaked report, which will soon be released in full, follows a series of similar reports calling for a transformation of the global food system. In July, the UN released a report exploring the state of food security and found that world hunger is on the rise. The World Resources Institute teamed up with the UN for another report on food sustainability not long after. That report concluded that the world needs to produce more food on less land by 2050, otherwise catastrophic climate change will occur.

The latest report by the UN expands the discussion by focusing on how land is being used around the world.

Read More: Here's What It Will Take to Feed 10 Billion People by 2050

More than 72% of the Earth’s ice-free surface is being exploited to support humanity’s rapacious appetite for food and natural resources, the authors of the report found. The vast majority of this land is being used to raise livestock or grow crops, two systems that are both adversely impacted by climate change and heavily contribute to it.

In fact, land use is responsible for a quarter of the greenhouse gas emissions that heat up the planet each year. Cattle, in particular, are the leading source of methane emissions, a greenhouse gas significantly more potent than carbon dioxide. 

Deforestation is another driver of climate change. As forests are mowed down to make space for cattle grazing or crops, carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere, and a vital carbon sink is erased in the process. Deforestation has surged by 80% over the past year in the Amazon Rainforest, primarily because of agribusiness operations. 

Read More: 7 Staggering Facts From the UN's New Report on Hunger

As climate change heats up the planet, erodes and floods coastlines, disrupts precipitation patterns, and causes extreme drought, food production is becoming even harder. The very practices that agricultural systems rely upon are undermining the ability of future food production. 

An alarming example of this is the prevalence of soil degradation caused by chemical-heavy farming, deforestation, and other industrial practices. Similarly, desertification, when once verdant land turns to sand, is sweeping the globe

The UN calls for countries to fundamentally change how land is being used. Rewilding — returning land to the condition it was in prior to human interference — will have to be a major part of the solution, the authors argue.

Another important dimension involves dietary shifts. Countries that have high rates of meat consumption need to lower their intake of animal products. 

Read More: Scientists Pitch New 'Planetary Health Diet' to Save Lives and Environment

Food waste, which covers a third of all the food that’s produced, has to be reduced. In addition to being hugely inefficient, food rotting in landfills releases greenhouse gas emissions. 

Technological progress also has to be shared between countries to ensure that harvests reach their maximum potential while also minimizing the use of vital resources such as water.

The IPCC is a sweeping annual report by the UN and it will cover far more than land use when it comes out. But the leaked section makes one thing clear — fighting climate change is a broad challenge that touches all aspects of life.  

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GIRLS & WOMEN

This Dutch Woman Shames Catcallers With Selfies — But They Still Have No Idea Why

This is why it’s important.

Catcalling is sexual harassment.

The blow of a kiss or a honk of a horn — the harassed could be any woman, in any place, at any time.  But a 20-year-old student from Amsterdam is refusing to let her perpetrators get away with it. And, no, her name is not “darling."

Noa Jansma set up the Instagram account Dear Catcallers to document incidents of street harassment.

One month, 30 posts, and nearly 50,000 followers later, two observations become starkly clear. Firstly, it appears that women from all over the globe relate to Jansma experience in the Netherlands. And second, the men captured in the photographs seem to have no idea what the problem is.

“They’re not at all suspicious because they find what they do completely normal,” Jansma said. Over the course of the whole month, just one man questioned why she was taking a selfie. Indeed, in an interview with Het Parool, Jansma said that the very first man she photographed even responded “with enthusiasm.”

Global Citizen campaigns on the Global Goals — including Goal Five for gender equality. Help us take action here.

“This Instagram has the aim to create awareness about the objectification of women in daily life,” Jansma wrote in her very first post on August 29. “Since many people still don’t know how often and in whatever context ‘catcalling’ happens, I’ll be showing my catcallers within the period of one month.”

Catcalling is a global problem. Women everywhere are painfully used to wolf whistles and bumptious barking. But even 45 million hits on a crucially insightful viral video can feel like howling at the moon. Surely the clue is in the name: dogs call out cats when out for walkies. Is it to pay them a compliment? No — it’s just because they’re hungry.

Now, Jansma’s project is set to be continued all over the world.

“My month of posts has ended, but it doesn’t mean that catcallers are in the past as well,” her most recent Instagram post reads. “To show that it’s a global phenomenon and this art-project is not only about me, I’ll pass on the account to different girls around the world.”

From the very first day of 2018, street harassment in Amsterdam will be punishable by a £170 fine, according to the Independent. It follows a similar ruling in Rotterdam, where any kind of sexual harassment will lead to three months in jail. The Netherlands are clamping down on catcalling — and they’re not the only country to identify sexual harassment as an issue.

 

Catcalling is a very public symptom of much wider societal ill: some men just do not view women as equal human beings. Often, such a damaging worldview can even be enshrined in law — from legal child marriage to domestic violence. Help Global Citizen fight gender inequality by asking developed countries like Australia to champion the repeal or reform of laws that discriminate against women and girls.

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OCT. 1, 2019

 

 
 
ENVIRONMENT

Meet One of the Inspirational Local Activists Fighting for a Zero-Waste Society in the Philippines

"What we’re lacking is implementation, political will, and infrastructure."

Why Global Citizens Should Care
Plastic pollution causes extensive harm to marine life and ultimately endangers the health and livelihoods of people around the world. All around the world individuals and organisations are fighting to usher in a new era of sustainability. You can join us to help curb plastic pollution by taking action here, and learn more about the issue by watching the fifth episode of ACTIVATE: The Global Citizen Movement on National Geographic and online.

More than 60 billion plastic sachets and 17 billion shopping bags are used in the Philippines every year

Because of their flimsy nature, these bags and wrappers rarely get recycled. Instead, they end up overflowing in landfills, stuffed into incinerators, and littering the island nation's streets and coastlines. 

That’s hundreds of millions of pieces of plastic being disposed of in ways that harm the environment.

 

 
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In recent years, the epidemic of plastic pollution has become well-known around the world, as people engage in beach clean-up efforts and call on companies to invest in plastic alternatives. 

Yet few countries face as overwhelming a plastic crisis as the Philippines.

A lack of plastic collection protocols and recycling facilities, combined with a heavy reliance on single-use plastics for everyday purchases, has turned once pristine environments into dumping grounds.

Screen Shot 2019-09-24 at 5.19.56 PM.pngRyan Gall

Local fishing communities have seen their incomes decline as plastic pollution harms fish populations, and tourist destinations are becoming less popular because of the extent of plastic's impact.

The good news is that local activists are driving a movement to clean up coastlines and neighborhoods, compel the government to invest in recycling facilities, and get the country to transition to a zero waste economy.

 

 

 

 

 

Anna Oposa is one of the activists leading this effort. As the executive director and "Chief Mermaid" of Save Philippines Sea, Oposa has helped to build a grassroots movement fighting for a sustainable future. 

In the fifth episode of ACTIVATE: The Global Citizen Movement, a six-part documentary series developed by National Geographic and Procter & Gamble and co-produced by Global Citizen and RadicalMedia, Oposa describes the scale of the plastic challenge facing the Philippines and how her organization is working on local solutions. For example, she works with corporations to help them find sustainable alternatives to plastic and organizes ocean clean-up efforts. You can view the full episode here.

 

Always be yourself, unless you can be a mermaid. Then always be a (Chief) mermaid 🧜🏽‍♀️😂

Big thanks to the Siargao Mermaids for adopting me! ❤ #mermaidsarerealpic.twitter.com/km3iT8HxW7

— Anna Oposa (@annaoposa) August 10, 2019

Oposa spoke with Global Citizen about the problem of plastic waste in the country, how it's directly affecting people's lives, and what it's going to take to solve it. 


Global Citizen: What are the main sources of marine plastic pollution in the Philippines?

Anna Oposa: Food packaging, personal care products, household products, and ghost fishing nets.

How does plastic pollution affect the livelihoods of Filipinos? 

There are many ways. One is that plastic pollutes our natural environment, which affects the popularity and appeal of tourism destinations. Plastic can also affect fishing practices by getting caught in marine life and boat propellers.

What kind of impact are local beach and sea clean-up efforts having in the country?

They are useful in raising awareness on plastic pollution and [showing people] how throwing “away” trash means it still ends up somewhere. They can also inspire positive behavior change among individuals who join these events.

These efforts also cause a reduction of plastic use at source, an increase of use in reusables, and written letters to leaders.

Related StoriesMarch 25, 2019Philippines Launches Massive Effort to Clean 'Unflushed Toilet' of Manila Bay

Is plastic pollution a problem that should be solved with a top-down approach or a bottom-up approach? Or does it take a combination of the two?

There needs to be a combination. We already have good and strong laws — what we’re lacking is implementation, political will, and infrastructure. We also need collective behavior change.

We need government leaders who care about their constituents more than their own political ambitions. We need financial resources allocated properly and used efficiently to set up the right infrastructure and services required by law.

Screen Shot 2019-09-24 at 5.19.38 PM.pngRyan Gall

What do you hope to achieve within the next two years?

I hope to take our environmental education programs on a larger, national scale through “Earthducation.” our environmental education program for schools and teachers; by partnering with more establishments for Waste Watch; and by partnering with corporations to help them facilitate change within their operations

This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.


ACTIVATE: THE GLOBAL CITIZEN MOVEMENT is a six-part documentary series from National Geographic and Procter & Gamble, co-produced by Global Citizen and RadicalMedia. ACTIVATE raises awareness around extreme poverty, inequality, and sustainability issues to mobilize global citizens to take action and drive meaningful and lasting change. The series will premiere globally in fall 2019 on National Geographic in 172 countries and 43 languages. You can learn more here.

ACTIVATE_Square_USA.jpg

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Little Sasha suffers from a rare type of spinal atrophy called Wenug Hoffman Syndrome.

Sasha can only communicate through blinking. Her mind is perfect but she is trapped in her body. The only gift that Sasha wants for Christmas is a gift of a tomorrow.

You can help us to keep Sasha at home with her mum Lena and out of an institution with a Gift of Medical Support.

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Foto de Music Generation.

Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture is on the hunt for up to 2,020 people from across Galway city, county and beyond to be part of the Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture county-wide cast for the opening ceremony celebrations. Sounds like fun! Participants can sign up here: https://galway2020.ie/en/cast/
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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AID AND DEVELOPMENT

6 Surprising Facts from ONE’s Better Aid Scorecards

24 September 2019 11:07AM UTC | By: JORGE RIVERA, KEREZHI SEBANY

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Governments love to make big pledges to help end poverty. The question is, how often do they deliver? How well are they spending their aid – where’s it going, who’s benefiting, and are they transparent about it? With the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) due in just over ten years’ time, we need to know these answers.

That’s why ONE has created the Better Aid Scorecards, which assesses the 21 biggest donors on their aid volume, aid targeting and aid quality. This tool gives a snapshot of how well the world is doing. The current picture is not all positive. Donor countries are not pulling their weight, and there’s a funding gap of billions of dollars.

Achieving the SDGs needs money from many sources – government budgets, private investment and aid. Aid is a critical resource to support poverty reduction, particularly in the poorest countries that have the fewest resources.

Here’s six key facts that show why we need the Better Aid Scorecards to help end extreme poverty:

1. Rich countries are not putting their money where their mouth is

Back in 1970, donors agreed to an ambitious, but attainable, target to invest 0.7% – that is 70 cents for every $100 – of their yearly national income as international aid. Almost 50 years later – and after many donors re-committing to it – they’re very far from achieving it. Donors are spending less than half (44%) of what they have committed. If all donors had met the 0.7% target in 2018 there would have been almost $200 billion more aid available.

2. No donor country is doing well overall

Countries like the UK, Sweden and Norway come out on top, but diving into the 3 different areas (quantity, targeting, and quality) every donor has room to improve. The UK, for instance, has met its 0.7 commitment but needs to improve aid targeting and quality.

3. Less than one third (29%) of global aid goes to the least developed countries (LDCs)

LDCs continue to struggle with high levels of poverty and have the fewest financial resources to address their own development challenges. None of the 21 donors we evaluated spend enough of their aid budget on the countries that need it most. Click the image below to tweet this statistic.

Scorecard_Social_Graphic_1200x628_en_5-1

4. Donors are spending too little on health, education, and social protection

In 2017, donors spent only 32% of aid on these core catalysts for development, far lower than the 50% target advocated for by ONE. The U.S., however, spends a commendable 57% of its aid on social sectors.

5. Despite gender inequality being a major obstacle for overcoming poverty, girls and women are not sufficiently prioritised

Collectively, donors target a mere 36% of their aid to gender-responsive projects, which take into account the specific needs of women and girls. Sweden (84%) and Ireland (83%) show that it is possible to spend a large majority of aid in gender-responsive ways.

6. In 2017, at least $17.7 billion in aid never left donor countries – $4 billion more than the total aid invested in the world’s 10 poorest countries

Certain types of financing, such as money to support refugees living in donor countries, or scholarship costs for international students, can technically count as aid, but we believe is not directly contributing to poverty reduction and reaching countries that really need it. Although this spending is important, it should be additional to aid, which is already too scarce.

The world set a deadline to end extreme poverty by 2030. With just over ten years to go, the outlook is not promising, as major donors are off-track against each of the criteria we examined. But, all is not lost. There’s still time for donors to step up. The Better Aid Scorecards are a tool to hold their feet to the fire.

Visit the Better Aid Scorecards site and view our rankings in detail.

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Foto de (RED).

Don’t just buy holiday gifts. Buy holiday gifts that fight AIDS. 🛍

Following last year’s launch of the (MONTBLANC M)RED line designed by Marc Newson, we’re giving you even more ways to SHOP (RED) SAVE LIVES with these (RED) Montblanc writing instruments & notebook. #SHOPATHON bit.ly/2Xgb7s2

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