Kelly Currie’s job is to ensure that global women’s issues are prioritized, but the Trump administration limits much action.
President Donald Trump has announced he has officially begun the process to withdraw the United States from the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN’s global health agency. In response, the Global Health Council and its multilateral roundtable have begun a social media campaign: #WeNeedWHO.
To be consistent with the UN’s proud record and the legacy of Bunche, it would not only be appropriate for UN staff but also the UN itself to join the peaceful protests—demanding peace and justice for victims of racism and accountability for those charged with the murder of unarmed black men and women.
John Barsa, administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), has asked for all references to sexual and reproductive health to be removed from the UN’s Global Humanitarian Response Plan. Barsa claims the U.N. is using the pandemic to advance access to abortion by including it as an “essential” health service.
Here’s the thing: Abortion is essential health care —including during a pandemic.
Donald Trump announced on April 14 that he was withholding funding to the World Health Organization, pending a “60 to 90 day” review of its handling of the coronavirus crisis and seeming bias toward China, where the COVID-19 outbreak originated in late December 2019.
On April 7, the UN announced it was suspending rotations of uniformed personnel until June 30, 2020. The suspension has major implications for host countries and their populations—from understaffing to prolonged deployments.
Twenty-five years after the adoption of the Beijing Declaration, UN Women released “Gender Equality: Women’s Rights in Review 25 Years after Beijing,” a report that analyzes the progress achieved, opportunities for growth and setbacks that women have had to face since 1995.
Reports of domestic violence are rising as COVID-19 races across the planet and people are ordered to stay home.
In a plea to all nations, UN Secretary-General Guterres said on April 5: “For many women and girls, the threat looms largest where they should be safest. In their own homes. I urge all governments to make the prevention and redress of violence against women a key part of their national response plans for COVID-19.”
The two sessions of the Global Equality Forum that had been planned for Mexico City in May and Paris in July will be postponed until next year.
This year was intended to be a celebratory time for women: the 25th anniversary of the momentous Beijing conference on women’s rights and how to advance them. It isn’t working out that way, however, as a global health crisis and disagreements among advocates for women rewrite the script.