This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
‘Back-to-back’ crises halt human development progress
The latest flagship UN report on human development, released on Thursday, warns that multiple crises are halting progress on human development, which is going backwards in most countries.
The 2021/22 Human Development Report – entitled Uncertain Times, Unsettled Lives – paints a picture of a global society lurching from crisis to crisis, risking an increase in deprivation and injustice.
Heading the list of events causing major global disruption are the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. These have come on top of sweeping social and economic shifts, dangerous planetary changes, and massive increases in polarization.
“The world is scrambling to respond to back-to-back crises,” said Achim Steiner, Head of the UN Development Programme, warning that while tempting to focus on “quick fixes” like subsidizing fossil fuels, immediate relief tactics are delaying the “long-term systemic changes” that must be made.
Africa’s migration trend
Moving to Africa, where women and girls make up most migrants in the Horn and East of the continent, 50.4 per cent, a phenomenon and migration trend unique to the region.
This is according to a new report by the International Organization for Migration's (IOM) Regional Data Hub.
The report entitled A Region on the Move 2021 reveals that around 60 per cent of that migrant population are refugees and asylum seekers.
Most are women, as they are most likely to be forcibly displaced, while men are more likely to migrate irregularly in search of employment opportunities.
Overall, one in four migrants on the African continent resides in the Horn of Africa and the region’s East.
In 2021, conflict and insecurity forcibly displaced 13.2 million people there, including 9.6 million internally displaced people, IDPs and 3.6 million refugees and asylum seekers.
A drought, mainly in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, has also been a key factor driving regional migration and displacement.
IOM raised the alarm over trafficking in people, identifying 3,000 regional cases over the last decade.
Most were identified as being from Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia, 78 per cent of whom were women and girls.
Meningitis in Africa
Staying on the African continent, the COVID-19 pandemic is delaying meningitis vaccination campaigns for more than 50 million children.
The region is at a heightened risk of outbreaks of meningitis type A, which had nearly been eliminated there.
In a race against time, the UN health agency WHO and partners have launched a roadmap to stop bacterial meningitis outbreaks by 2030.
But it must be rapidly implemented before the start of the meningitis season in January.
Meningitis type A had accounted for 90 per cent of cases and deaths before 2010.
However, after the effective MenAfriVac vaccine was developed and deployed, no new cases had been reported since 2017.
It had become “one of Africa’s biggest success stories in health,” according to WHO Regional Director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti.
However, she warned, the COVID-19 fallout is “hampering the drive” to eliminate the bacterial infection as a public health threat “once and for all”.
She urged countries to implement the roadmap or risk “catastrophic resurgences”.
Liz Scaffidi, UN News.
- UNDP: ‘Back-to-back’ crises halt human development progress
- IOM: Migration trend in Africa
- WHO: Meningitis in Africa