By Cassidy Childs, SDG Research Assistant and Advocacy Fellow

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Sugarcane (1931) by Diego Rivera

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed a critical and ongoing crisis — the people that produce our food are going hungry.

More than 50% of the hungry people in the world are small-holder farmers who operate on less than five acres — these same farmers produce 70–80% of the world’s food. In the US, farmworkers face the highest-per-capita rates of COVID-19, with estimates that 57,000 food system workers have been infected nationally. With a lack of access to federal or state aid, farmworkers avoid COVID-19 testing because they lack the time to get tested, the transportation to healthcare resources, and the resources to self-quarantine. Therefore, data on farmworkers during the pandemic is incomplete, particularly for undocumented workers. …


By Rebecca Contreras, SDG Research Lead

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An indigenous Guatemalan woman examines a corn crop ravaged by the effects of climate change in her country’s Corredor Seco (Dry Corridor) region. Photo by Phil Laubner for Catholic Relief Services.

Climate change is exacerbating the conditions that create regional and global security threats — namely social, political and economic marginalization and unequal access to resources. The loss of livelihoods stemming from the increased strain on the environment will lead to competition over scarce resources, thus fueling social conflict and regional displacement which could prove destabilizing for Latin America. …


By Marcus Schmidt, UNA-NCA Advocacy Fellow

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The United Nations works toward ensuring global peace and stability with many peacekeeping and human rights operations around the world. The UN Security Council (UNSC) is the most powerful decision-making body of the UN, determining which operations and crises to prioritize. The UNSC consists of five permanent members — the United States, China, France, Russia, and the United Kingdom — and ten non-permanent members who are elected for two-year terms.

It is astonishing that no African nation maintains a permanent seat on the Security Council, particularly when eight of the fourteen current UN Peacekeeping missions and fourteen of the twenty-either UN special political missions take place on the continent. This imbalance is further exacerbated when considering the ratio of regional member nations to the number of elected (or non-permanent) seats that each region has on the UNSC. …


By Jerome Williams, UNA-NCA Research Assistant

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The fashion industry’s shift from the traditional two seasons of production — for either spring/summer or fall/winter — to nearly 50–100 microseasons per year has significantly reduced the cost of clothing since the year 2000. Fast fashion allows clothes to be produced rapidly in order to satisfy the trends of consumers while increasing affordability. Between 2000 and 2015, apparel sales have increased at a rate of 60%, alongside a 40% decline in the frequency of wearing clothes consumers have already purchased. …


By Paris Nguyen, UNA-NCA Advocacy Fellow

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The streets of Venice, Italy is submerged following high tide | 2019, Euronews

Global temperatures are predicted to rise between 2.5 and 10 degrees Fahrenheit within this century. While this increase may sound minuscule, its long-term effects are catastrophic — particularly its impact on rising sea levels. Due to the increasing global temperatures, melting glaciers add more water to the ocean, in addition to seawater expanding as it warms. This phenomenon results in sea levels rising roughly an eighth of an inch per year, and by the end of the century, experts predict sea levels could rise upwards of a full meter.

More land will become submerged by the ocean which in turn reduces the boundaries and coastal territory of certain countries bordered by water. A low-lying nation-state such as the Maldives could even see its capital city completely submerged by the year 2100, raising a fascinating question — would the Maldives simply lose its right to nation status once completely underwater? Current international law fails to clearly address the full ramifications of global warming’s impact on statehood and sovereignty; as a result, increasing sea levels pose a unique uncertainty regarding how shifting access to nautical and land territory may impact the legitimacy of nation-states. …


By Tess Turner, UNA-NCA Advocacy Fellow

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A Massai woman in Kenya with her cattle | Ton Koene, National Geographic

Northern Kenya, riddled with insecurity, poverty, and violence, provides a new angle to understand global conflicts — one that centers around cows. In Kenya, cows are a form of currency. Located within the “pastoralist corridor,” this region in northern Kenya is too arid to farm, but it can be grazed. As a result, this area is populated by nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes whose livelihoods are dependent on their cattle herds. While cattle has traditionally been a stable form of currency, violence and cattle raids have increasingly decimated Kenya’s herding population.

There is no simple explanation to understand the prevalence of violence in northern Kenya: state failure, corruption, and the post-WWII demarcation of borders that merged two conflicting tribes, the Turkana and the Pokot, all play a part. But the impact of climate change cannot be ignored. The desertification of the area, marked by long droughts and flash flooding, has made it difficult to maintain herds. This resource strain has exacerbated violence in the region, causing young men to raid neighboring towns to restore dwindling herd sizes. …


By Neval Mulaomerovic, UNA-NCA Advocacy Fellow

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The IMF Board of Governors meeting gets underway in 2017 | Stephen Jaffe/IMF

Since the 2008 financial crisis, low-income and middle-income countries have received an increasingly large amount of loans from private investors and creditor countries. Creditors, such as China, promoted large-scale infrastructure investment and launched several development projects across Southeast Asia and Africa. This trend created a surge in debt among developing countries, with the world’s poorest nations burdened with $2.8 billion in monthly debt repayments.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) projected a global recession even larger than that of 2008 that would last well into 2021. Global trade and tourism have plummeted and public debt has reached a new peak worldwide as countries scramble to reinforce their healthcare systems and rebuild their economies. Whereas high-income countries rely on government spending and credit from their central banks to replenish their economies, developing countries are forced to turn to outside lenders, contributing to already high debt levels. As a result, in December of 2019, over 40 percent of low-income countries were in or approaching a state of debt distress. …


By Kelsey Maddox, UNA-NCA Advocacy Fellow

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Venezuelan migrants wanting to return to their country due to the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, wait in Cali, Colombia, for a chance to get into a bus that will take them to the border, on May 12, 2020.

As one of the hardest hit areas, Latin America is still suffering from an increasing spread of infections and deaths as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Venezuela in particular continues to struggle to contain and mitigate the profound impacts of the virus due to the humanitarian crisis debilitating the country. Over the last decade, around five million Venezuelans have fled to neighboring countries because of President Nicolás Maduro’s regime causing an economic collapse that led the country into a nation-wide famine, leaving citizens with no reliable access to healthcare and experiencing regular shortages of water and electricity. The coronavirus pandemic has forced many migrants to return to Venezuela, unable to support themselves in the neighboring countries where they resided and forced to face additional hardship. The coronavirus pandemic has revealed shockingly weak infrastructures within Venezuela that are not equipped to protect their citizens. …


By Kayleigh Thompson, UNA-NCA Advocacy Fellow

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A photo released by the Armenian military shows a soldier from Nagorno-Karabakh firing a conventional artillery piece towards Azeri positions | Source: New York Times, Armenian Defense Ministry, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

One of the many “frozen conflicts” of the post-Cold War era, the latest eruption of conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region has revamped interest in the Caucasus region as a target for peacekeeping intervention from the UN Security Council (UNSC), North Atlantic Trade Organization (NATO), and the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OCSE). …


By Kathryn Ng Ross, UNA-NCA Advocacy Fellow

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Graphic by Healthline

September marked Suicide Prevention Month in the United States and across the world, dedicated to sharing resources and cultivating awareness about the highly stigmatized issue of suicide. Suicide Prevention Month is centered around World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10th organized by the International Association for Suicide Prevention. By spreading awareness around the issue and sharing personal stories, Suicide Prevention Month aims to make it “okay to talk about suicide.” With a tense political climate in the midst of an ongoing pandemic, many Americans have recently been struggling with their mental health. …

Advocacy @ UNA-NCA

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