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Where is China’s Belt and Road taking the world?

The old Silk Roads went everywhere but today’s version – the Belt and Road – leads only to Beijing Those seeking quick no-questions-asked prosperity by rushing along it should open their eyes wider, the closer they get to the destination. They should also expect the ride to get more bumpy.

Hindsight 2020 as Foresight 2021: The world in the rear view mirror is closer than it may appear

Hindsight 2020 and Foresight 2021 are much the same. This critical “review of reviews” analyses the true state of the world at the end of this tumultuous year and posits that the next year will be much the same. Can #COVID19 be fully blamed for all the world’s afflictions? Before the pandemic the world was already crumbling fast and progress on all fronts of development, environment, health, humanitarian and human rights had faltered or regressed. To make future progress self and collective delusions have to be torn away to grip the sad realties most people are mired in and the tough challenges we face

Looking below and beyond the mushroom cloud

Three cheers for the new Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty. Because an unequal world where some are allowed to retain offensive nuclear capabilities while others can’t acquire them, is unfair and bound to be inherently unstable.

Peace continues to elude the Nobel Prize

18 October 2020 – Mukesh Kapila The recent award of the Nobel Peace Prize to the World Food Programme (WFP) triggered mixed reactions. WFP’s humanitarian efforts certainly deserve applause. At the same time, questions arise. Do already privileged organisations doing their mandated jobs need such affirmation?  More fundamentally, should humanitarian and peace efforts be confounded?Continue reading “Peace continues to elude the Nobel Prize”

Trading-off human rights with public health in the name of COVID-19

25 September 2020 – Mukesh Kapila Today, during the General Assembly marking the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights organises a high-level event on participation as a human right when tackling global challenges. A recent seminar by PlatformA and the Parliamentary Assembly of the MediterraneanContinue reading “Trading-off human rights with public health in the name of COVID-19”

Will the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response restore the world’s trust in the fractured post COVID-19 global health system?

17 September 2020  – Mukesh Kapila Some ten months after the first case was reported from Wuhan and, as the world COVID-19 meter clicks on relentlessly towards 30 million confirmed SARS-COV-2 infections,  the Independent Panel For Pandemic Preparedness and Response meets for the first time today. It’s leisurely gestation has not matched the rapid evolutionContinue reading “Will the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response restore the world’s trust in the fractured post COVID-19 global health system?”

Six jobs the new World Health Organisation leader should prioritise

1 July 2017 – Mukesh Kapila Dr Tedros should steer clear of vertical disease programmes pushed by donors, be prepared for his authority to be questioned, and tighten the purse strings The first ever African director general of the World Health Organisation assumes office on Saturday. The election of Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, or as he isContinue reading “Six jobs the new World Health Organisation leader should prioritise”

We need a revolution in mindsets at the top of the World Health Organization

9 May 2017 – Mukesh Kapila Medical science has never been so productive and yet health inequalities have never been wider – more of the same is not an option Does it matter who heads the World Health Organization (WHO)? Yes, say West Africans badly let down by WHO’s feeble response to the Ebola epidemic. Yes, say Darfuris, whoseContinue reading “We need a revolution in mindsets at the top of the World Health Organization”

Humanitarians need to do less to do more

12 January 2017 – Mukesh Kapila It’s time to end this cruel roulette over the life and death of people in need and tighten our definition of humanitarianism. Are humanitarians demanding too much? The latest catalogue of human misery seeks $22.2bn for 92.8 million people in 33 countries. This consolidated humanitarian appeal for 2017 is the largest-everContinue reading “Humanitarians need to do less to do more”

If We Fail in Health We Fail Overall

9 August 2016 – Mukesh Kapila The much hyped, first-ever World Humanitarian Summit has come and gone. Convened by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, 9000 participants from 173 countries assembled in Istanbul on 23-24 May 2016. They included 55 heads of state and government, and hundreds of civil society, NGO, academic, and private sector organizations. Issuing aContinue reading “If We Fail in Health We Fail Overall”

Global Health: Our Moral Compass in a World of Crisis

7 May 2016 – Jakaya Kikwete & Mukesh Kapila The first ever World Humanitarian Summit will be convened in Istanbul by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on 23-24 May 2016. This comes with the recognition that the world’s response to humanitarian crises is itself in crisis, as conflicts seem to go on for ever, record numbers ofContinue reading “Global Health: Our Moral Compass in a World of Crisis”

Remembering Darfur: The World’s Longest Running Genocide

1 January 2016 – Mukesh Kapila On the 27th of January 1945 Auschwitz concentration camp was liberated. That is why today is designated Holocaust Remembrance Day by the United Nations to recall the Nazi-perpetrated genocide that killed some 6 million Jews, 1 million Roma, 250,000 mentally and physically disabled people, and 9,000 homosexual men.  We also remember today the victimsContinue reading “Remembering Darfur: The World’s Longest Running Genocide”

Remembering through Your Gut

5 February 2015 – Mukesh Kapila The first General Assembly of the United Nations – born out of the horrors of the Second World War – met in January 1946 in London’s Central Hall at Westminster. After being welcomed by British Prime Minister Clement Attlee to “this ancient home of liberty and order”, the UN’s first sessionContinue reading “Remembering through Your Gut”

Shall Not Perish: Remembering the Indian Ocean Tsunami

26 December 2014 – Mukesh Kapila Ten years ago, the Indian Ocean Tsunami was triggered by one of the largest-ever earthquakes. With a mind-boggling magnitude 9.1-9.3 on the Richter scale, it lasted for a record ten minutes and literally shook the world: vertical earth movements of 1 centimetre or more were recorded on the oppositeContinue reading “Shall Not Perish: Remembering the Indian Ocean Tsunami”

How Mary Saves the World – One Life at a Time

23 December 2014 – Mukesh Kapila Zambia is getting to grips with its AIDS crisis thanks to the millions of dollars in donor aid allowing the country to make anti-retroviral treatment universally available. But these precious drugs can often stay in hospitals and clinics while most of the population is scattered across a vast landscapeContinue reading “How Mary Saves the World – One Life at a Time”

In Celebration of Senseless Acts of Kindness

26 October 2014 – Mukesh Kapila “senseless act of kindness’’ which took me to its author Vasily Grossman and his magisterial novel: Life and Fate. This is a near-forgotten jewel of Russian literature. His translator Robert Chandler provides this introduction, quoting from Grossman himself: “We would do well to remember every time we hear promises of a newContinue reading “In Celebration of Senseless Acts of Kindness”

Lessons from a Personal Journey through the Genocide in Rwanda

15 May 2014 – Mukesh Kapila This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. The theme of the official commemorations – Kwibuka20 – asks the world to stand against genocide in three ways [1]: To remember by honouring the memory of those who died and offering support to those who survived To uniteContinue reading “Lessons from a Personal Journey through the Genocide in Rwanda”

Is Sudan committing another genocide – against the Nuba people?

21 March 2012 – Mukesh Kapila My warnings about Darfur were ignored – concerted international action is needed to save Sudan’s Nuba from the same fate. As the engines of the Sudanese Antonov bomber grew louder, everyone started running for their lives: mothers shouting for their children, the little ones screaming in fear. As theContinue reading “Is Sudan committing another genocide – against the Nuba people?”

Rethinking progress: A new development paradigm and goals for critical global challenges

2 August 2011 – Mukesh Kapila As the MDG 2015 deadline looms closer, could we not aspire to do more, do better and reach further, by shaping a new development model for post-2015? What would that be and what should the next generation of development goals look like? Does anyone still remember the excitement ofContinue reading “Rethinking progress: A new development paradigm and goals for critical global challenges”

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