Zoom Announces Termination of Merger Agreement with Five9

SAN JOSE, Calif., Sept. 30, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Zoom Video Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZM) today announced that Zoom and Five9 have mutually terminated the merger agreement executed by the parties on July 16, 2021.

At Five9's special meeting of stockholders held on September 30, 2021, Five9 did not obtain the requisite stockholder support for the merger agreement. As a result, Zoom and Five9 each had the ability to terminate the merger agreement.

"While we were excited about the benefits this transaction would bring to both Zoom and Five9 stakeholders, including the long–term potential for both sets of shareholders, financial discipline is foundational to our strategy," said Eric S. Yuan, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Zoom. "The contact center market remains a strategic priority for Zoom, and we are confident in our ability to capture its growth potential. At Zoomtopia, we announced the Zoom Video Engagement Center, our cloud–based contact center solution, which will launch in early 2022. Video Engagement Center will be a flexible, easy–to–use solution that connects businesses and their customers. We are building this new solution with the same scalability and trusted architecture that has made Zoom the platform of choice for businesses around the world. We also plan to maintain our valued existing contact center partnerships with companies like Five9, Genesys, NICE inContact, Talkdesk, and Twilio. We remain focused on driving long–term value creation for Zoom shareholders and delivering happiness to our customers through our broad–based communications platform including unified communications, developer, and events solutions."

About Zoom
Zoom is for you. We help you express ideas, connect to others, and build toward a future limited only by your imagination. Our frictionless communications platform is the only one that started with video as its foundation, and we have set the standard for innovation ever since. That is why we are an intuitive, scalable, and secure choice for individuals, small businesses, and large enterprises alike. Founded in 2011, Zoom is publicly traded (NASDAQ: ZM) and headquartered in San Jose, California. Visit zoom.com and follow @zoom.

Forward–Looking Statements
This press release contains express and implied "forward–looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements regarding Zoom's strategic priorities, market opportunity, product launches, the expected benefits of new products, growth strategy, partnerships and expected benefits from the same, and business aspirations to support organizations and people on multiple fronts as they look to reimagine work, communications and collaboration. In some cases, you can identify forward–looking statements by terms such as "anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "expect," "intend," "may," "might," "plan," "project," "will," "would," "should," "could," "can," "predict," "potential," "target," "explore," "continue," or the negative of these terms, and similar expressions intended to identify forward–looking statements. By their nature, these statements are subject to numerous uncertainties and risks, including factors beyond our control, that could cause actual results, performance or achievement to differ materially and adversely from those anticipated or implied in the statements, including: declines in new customers and hosts, renewals or upgrades, difficulties in evaluating our prospects and future results of operations given our limited operating history, competition from other providers of communications platforms, continued uncertainty regarding the extent and duration of the impact of COVID–19 and the responses of government and private industry thereto, including the potential effect on our user growth rate once the impact of the COVID–19 pandemic tapers, particularly as a vaccine becomes widely available, and users return to work or school or are otherwise no longer subject to shelter–in–place mandates, as well as the impact of COVID–19 on the overall economic environment, any or all of which will have an impact on demand for remote work solutions for businesses as well as overall distributed, face–to–face interactions and collaboration using Zoom, delays or outages in services from our co–located data centers, and failures in internet infrastructure or interference with broadband access which could cause current or potential users to believe that our systems are unreliable. Additional risks and uncertainties that could cause actual outcomes and results to differ materially from those contemplated by the forward–looking statements are included under the caption "Risk Factors" and elsewhere in our most recent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC"), including our quarterly report on Form 10–Q for the fiscal quarter ended July 31, 2021. Forward–looking statements speak only as of the date the statements are made and are based on information available to Zoom at the time those statements are made and/or management's good faith belief as of that time with respect to future events. Zoom assumes no obligation to update forward–looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date they were made, except as required by law.

Press Relations
Colleen Rodriguez
Global Public Relations Lead for Zoom
press@zoom.us

Investor Relations
Tom McCallum
Head of Investor Relations for Zoom
investors@zoom.us


INVNT GROUP® And PepsiCo Innovate Through Strategic Partnership At Global Fair In Dubai

New York, NY, Sept. 30, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — [INVNT GROUP] and PepsiCo have strategically partnered to design and build three one–of–a–kind, interactive, and educational pavilions opening October 1st , 2021. Each pavilion is designed around core sub–themes of Mobility, Sustainability, and Opportunity.

PepsiCo's global brands including Aquafina , Gatorade , Pepsi and Lay's headline the landmark pavilions; designed with the power of connectivity and sustainable futures in mind.

Each pavilion has taken acute dedication, creativity, and labor – logging 6,032 hours for the Aquafina The Drop pavilion, 5,815 hours for the Gatorade The Bolt pavilion, and 5,943 hours for the Pepsi & Lay's The Plus pavilion. Through advanced modular methodologies, INVNT GROUP in partnership with it's on the ground fabrication partner in Dubai, Bespoke Modular Systems, has designed and engineered the pavilions with eco–conscious materials and considerations.

Scott Cullather, President & CEO, INVNT GROUP notes, "We've been working collaboratively with PepsiCo since 2006 on many of their largest activations and brand engagements across the portfolio. We are thrilled to continue that partnership through our purposeful work. The entire world will be present at this magnificent event, and we look forward to entertaining, educating, inspiring, and delighting."

Jamal Wick, Managing Director, Bespoke Modular Systems added, "We are thrilled to support INVNT GROUP in bringing to life their designs for these iconic pavilions and can't wait for the world to experience them firsthand this October."

Aquafina: The Drop

The glistening Aquafina pavilion features 41,000 strategically placed recyclable aluminum cans on its exterior, creating a striking yet fluid water–drop structure. Visitors will be transported through The Drop pavilion as if within a water drop, while engaging with eye–opening statistics and ways to eradicate water inequity experienced by so many, globally.

It also delivers a high–tech experience with "Aquatar": the 3D water encyclopedia that shares facts on the human body's relationship to water. Aquatar was created with Unreal Engine, the world's most open and advanced real–time 3D creation tool for cutting–edge content, interactive experiences, and immersive virtual worlds. Upon engaging, guests are transformed into water and water particles are displayed on a larger–than–life curved projection wall – all in real time.

Gatorade: The Bolt

Gatorade delves into to the science of physical performance and active lifestyles. The Bolt pavilion features multiple educational and shareable moments, starting with a retrospective of the Gatorade legacy and its relationship to some of the greatest athletes and sports moments of all time.

Visitors will get a look at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI Lab), which boasts years of research focused on performance of the human body and its unending capabilities. Gatorade approaches personal hydration through innovation, with the GX Sweat Patch. Created to sync with your mobile device, the patch tracks performance vitals through perspiration, and offers bespoke recommendations for powering active lifestyles.

The Bolt pavilion also features an experiential moment where visitors can put their agility to the test against other visitors, through the Gatorade React Board.

Pepsi & Lay's: The Plus

Bringing two of the world's biggest brands under one roof, visitors can crunch and fizz through The Plus pavilion. Designed to engage all the senses through a kaleidoscope of bold flavors and rich colors, the pavilion creates a moment of joy and discovery.

Lay's immersive pods allow visitors to bask in the renewing power of the spring season. Visitors can step into a striking cherry blossom display that is enhanced by scents of some of the most inventive Lay's flavors from around the world.

Pepsi Black draws visitors into a multi–media world activated by cutting edge technology. Unity, the world's leading platform for creating and operating interactive, real–time 3D (RT3D) content, powers interactive stations like the Pepsi Black "Pledge Wall" – a giant 5m x 4m LED curved wall where guests can enter a pledge and send their pledge into the fizzing world of Pepsi. The wall will hold all visitor's pledges over the 6 months duration of the global conference. The number of pledges will keep accumulating and eventually the activation will cycle through thousands of pledges.

"PepsiCo will bring its unique sense of fun, ensuring that every guest makes the most of this iconic world gathering. The Bolt, The Drop, and The Plus are perfectly aligned with subthemes of Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability and will showcase how PepsiCo will lead the world towards a fun and sustainable future," said PepsiCo's AMESA Chief Marketing Officer, Mustafa Shamseldin.

The pavilions will be open from 1 October 2021 through March 2022.

######

ABOUT INVNT GROUP

[INVNT GROUP] was established with a vision to provide consistent, meaningful, well–articulated BrandStory across all platforms. With offices in New York, Dubai, London, Singapore, San Francisco, Sydney, Stockholm, Detroit, and Washington D.C.; headed up by President and CEO, Scott Cullather, [INVNT GROUP], THE GLOBAL BRANDSTORY PROJECT represents a growing portfolio of complementary disciplines designed to help forward–thinking organizations everywhere, impact the audiences that matter, anywhere. The GROUP consists of modern brand strategy firm, Folk Hero; creative–led culture consultancy, Meaning; branded content studio and content marketing agency, HEV'; collegiate events and experiences, INVNT Higher Ed, and INVNT, the founding live brandstory telling agency. For more information about [INVNT GROUP], visit: www.invntgroup.com.

ABOUT PEPSICO

PepsiCo products are enjoyed by consumers more than one billion times a day in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. PepsiCo generated more than US$70 billion in net revenue in 2020, driven by a complementary food and beverage portfolio that includes Frito–Lay, Gatorade, Pepsi–Cola, Quaker, and Tropicana. PepsiCo's product portfolio includes a wide range of enjoyable foods and beverages, including 23 brands that generate more than US$1 billion each in estimated annual retail sales.

Guiding PepsiCo is the vision to Be the Global Leader in Convenient Foods and Beverages by Winning with Purpose. “Winning with Purpose” reflects our ambition to win sustainably in the marketplace and embed purpose into all aspects of the business. For more information, visit www.pepsico.com.

ABOUT BESPOKE MODULAR SOLUTIONS

Bespoke Modular Solutions (BMS) provides a new level of modular and prefabricated turnkey solutions to innovational real estate developers, hoteliers, and private residential projects to name a few. We offer a complete end–to–end solution, from a team of international experts that understand the region's cultural and geographical sensitivities. Our designers and engineers have worked for the most renowned European companies in modular construction and in hotel operations.

Our company values live by building a better future for our next generation and children. We therefore are proud to say that we are pioneers in the region in off–site construction in an eco– friendly environment, with sustainable materials and in a time reduced manner. For more information, visit: www.bespoke–modular–solutions.com.

Attachment


INVNT GROUP® And PepsiCo Innovate Through Strategic Partnership At Global Fair In Dubai

New York, NY, Sept. 30, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — [INVNT GROUP] and PepsiCo have strategically partnered to design and build three one–of–a–kind, interactive, and educational pavilions opening October 1st , 2021. Each pavilion is designed around core sub–themes of Mobility, Sustainability, and Opportunity.

PepsiCo's global brands including Aquafina , Gatorade , Pepsi and Lay's headline the landmark pavilions; designed with the power of connectivity and sustainable futures in mind.

Each pavilion has taken acute dedication, creativity, and labor – logging 6,032 hours for the Aquafina The Drop pavilion, 5,815 hours for the Gatorade The Bolt pavilion, and 5,943 hours for the Pepsi & Lay's The Plus pavilion. Through advanced modular methodologies, INVNT GROUP in partnership with it's on the ground fabrication partner in Dubai, Bespoke Modular Systems, has designed and engineered the pavilions with eco–conscious materials and considerations.

Scott Cullather, President & CEO, INVNT GROUP notes, "We've been working collaboratively with PepsiCo since 2006 on many of their largest activations and brand engagements across the portfolio. We are thrilled to continue that partnership through our purposeful work. The entire world will be present at this magnificent event, and we look forward to entertaining, educating, inspiring, and delighting."

Jamal Wick, Managing Director, Bespoke Modular Systems added, "We are thrilled to support INVNT GROUP in bringing to life their designs for these iconic pavilions and can't wait for the world to experience them firsthand this October."

Aquafina: The Drop

The glistening Aquafina pavilion features 41,000 strategically placed recyclable aluminum cans on its exterior, creating a striking yet fluid water–drop structure. Visitors will be transported through The Drop pavilion as if within a water drop, while engaging with eye–opening statistics and ways to eradicate water inequity experienced by so many, globally.

It also delivers a high–tech experience with "Aquatar": the 3D water encyclopedia that shares facts on the human body's relationship to water. Aquatar was created with Unreal Engine, the world's most open and advanced real–time 3D creation tool for cutting–edge content, interactive experiences, and immersive virtual worlds. Upon engaging, guests are transformed into water and water particles are displayed on a larger–than–life curved projection wall – all in real time.

Gatorade: The Bolt

Gatorade delves into to the science of physical performance and active lifestyles. The Bolt pavilion features multiple educational and shareable moments, starting with a retrospective of the Gatorade legacy and its relationship to some of the greatest athletes and sports moments of all time.

Visitors will get a look at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI Lab), which boasts years of research focused on performance of the human body and its unending capabilities. Gatorade approaches personal hydration through innovation, with the GX Sweat Patch. Created to sync with your mobile device, the patch tracks performance vitals through perspiration, and offers bespoke recommendations for powering active lifestyles.

The Bolt pavilion also features an experiential moment where visitors can put their agility to the test against other visitors, through the Gatorade React Board.

Pepsi & Lay's: The Plus

Bringing two of the world's biggest brands under one roof, visitors can crunch and fizz through The Plus pavilion. Designed to engage all the senses through a kaleidoscope of bold flavors and rich colors, the pavilion creates a moment of joy and discovery.

Lay's immersive pods allow visitors to bask in the renewing power of the spring season. Visitors can step into a striking cherry blossom display that is enhanced by scents of some of the most inventive Lay's flavors from around the world.

Pepsi Black draws visitors into a multi–media world activated by cutting edge technology. Unity, the world's leading platform for creating and operating interactive, real–time 3D (RT3D) content, powers interactive stations like the Pepsi Black "Pledge Wall" – a giant 5m x 4m LED curved wall where guests can enter a pledge and send their pledge into the fizzing world of Pepsi. The wall will hold all visitor's pledges over the 6 months duration of the global conference. The number of pledges will keep accumulating and eventually the activation will cycle through thousands of pledges.

"PepsiCo will bring its unique sense of fun, ensuring that every guest makes the most of this iconic world gathering. The Bolt, The Drop, and The Plus are perfectly aligned with subthemes of Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability and will showcase how PepsiCo will lead the world towards a fun and sustainable future," said PepsiCo's AMESA Chief Marketing Officer, Mustafa Shamseldin.

The pavilions will be open from 1 October 2021 through March 2022.

######

ABOUT INVNT GROUP

[INVNT GROUP] was established with a vision to provide consistent, meaningful, well–articulated BrandStory across all platforms. With offices in New York, Dubai, London, Singapore, San Francisco, Sydney, Stockholm, Detroit, and Washington D.C.; headed up by President and CEO, Scott Cullather, [INVNT GROUP], THE GLOBAL BRANDSTORY PROJECT represents a growing portfolio of complementary disciplines designed to help forward–thinking organizations everywhere, impact the audiences that matter, anywhere. The GROUP consists of modern brand strategy firm, Folk Hero; creative–led culture consultancy, Meaning; branded content studio and content marketing agency, HEV'; collegiate events and experiences, INVNT Higher Ed, and INVNT, the founding live brandstory telling agency. For more information about [INVNT GROUP], visit: www.invntgroup.com.

ABOUT PEPSICO

PepsiCo products are enjoyed by consumers more than one billion times a day in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. PepsiCo generated more than US$70 billion in net revenue in 2020, driven by a complementary food and beverage portfolio that includes Frito–Lay, Gatorade, Pepsi–Cola, Quaker, and Tropicana. PepsiCo's product portfolio includes a wide range of enjoyable foods and beverages, including 23 brands that generate more than US$1 billion each in estimated annual retail sales.

Guiding PepsiCo is the vision to Be the Global Leader in Convenient Foods and Beverages by Winning with Purpose. “Winning with Purpose” reflects our ambition to win sustainably in the marketplace and embed purpose into all aspects of the business. For more information, visit www.pepsico.com.

ABOUT BESPOKE MODULAR SOLUTIONS

Bespoke Modular Solutions (BMS) provides a new level of modular and prefabricated turnkey solutions to innovational real estate developers, hoteliers, and private residential projects to name a few. We offer a complete end–to–end solution, from a team of international experts that understand the region's cultural and geographical sensitivities. Our designers and engineers have worked for the most renowned European companies in modular construction and in hotel operations.

Our company values live by building a better future for our next generation and children. We therefore are proud to say that we are pioneers in the region in off–site construction in an eco– friendly environment, with sustainable materials and in a time reduced manner. For more information, visit: www.bespoke–modular–solutions.com.

Attachment


BlueStacks launches BlueStacks X, the world’s first cloud gaming service for mobile games

PALO ALTO, Calif., Sept. 30, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — BlueStacks Inc., a pioneer of Android gaming on PC and the world's leading mobile gaming platform, today announced the release of BlueStacks X (beta), the world's first cloud–based game streaming service for mobile games. BlueStacks X is available on Windows 10 and 11, Mac, iOS, Android, Chromebook and Raspberry Pi. It is the only cloud gaming service on the market that offers free game streaming for mobile games across platforms and devices.

BlueStacks X (beta) is powered by hybrid cloud technology, built in partnership with now.gg, BlueStacks' sister company. Hybrid cloud enables the cloud to offload parts of compute and graphics rendering to the endpoints, dramatically reducing the cloud costs and enabling users to enjoy a free service. This can be achieved both with using a native client and browsers capable of native graphics rendering. This technology works transparently and does not require any integration from game developers.

"BlueStacks App Player recently crossed 1 Billion lifetime downloads. BlueStacks X is a natural next step for us. Hybrid cloud is a big technological breakthrough which makes it economically viable to launch the service," said Rosen Sharma, CEO, BlueStacks Inc. "We are a trusted partner to top mobile game developers. There is a lot of excitement among them about BlueStacks X and some of the other innovations we have like deep Discord integration."

"These days all gamers practically live on Discord. Launching BlueStacks X as a Discord bot is so innovative and smart. We can literally just click a link and jump into a game. I can customize the service for my server, way cool," said Aevatrex (Jonathan Fermin), leading mobile gaming influencer.

BlueStacks X can be accessed via the mobile browser on iOS, Android, Windows 11, Mac, Chromebooks and even some smart TVs. The BlueStacks X native client is available on Windows 11, Windows 10 and older versions of Windows. BlueStacks X can also be used by BlueStacks App Player users.

BlueStacks X (beta) already has over 200 games, and several new games are being added every week. The service has a great collection of RPG and Strategy games with other genres being added over time.

About BlueStacks
BlueStacks is an award–winning mobile gaming platform adopted by over 1 Billion gamers in 100 countries and six continents around the world. In 2020 over 6 Billion gaming sessions of 70,000 different games were played on BlueStacks. In 2021 BlueStacks launched BlueStacks X (beta) the world's first game streaming service for mobile games. BlueStacks has a global team of over 400 and is one of the most recognized tech brands in the industry. The world's top game developers leverage its platform to promote their games.


Extreme Solution Joins HYCU® Cloud Service Provider Program

BOSTON, Sept. 30, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — HYCU, Inc., a pioneering enterprise software company specializing in multi–cloud data management, today announced Extreme Solution, a Google Cloud partner focused on aligning innovative technology solutions to help customers with their digital transformation initiatives, is the latest solutions provider to join the HYCU Cloud Services Provider Program. A leader in cloud–based technology software solutions with more than 20 years of experience servicing customers across Egypt, UAE and North America, Extreme Solution is used by millions of users across a number of industries for Mobile and Web Solutions Development, Public Cloud and mission–critical Infrastructure initiatives.

"For more than 20 years, we have built a strong reputation on digital success for our customers to get the best ROI with cloud–native solutions that grow and scale as our customers grow and scale," said Sherif Kozman, CEO at Extreme Solution. "We have aggressive growth goals and in order to meet them, we need to partner with and round out our offerings with companies like HYCU. HYCU cloud–native data migration, protection and recovery software as a service is easy to use and deploy and helps us meet the demanding data protection needs for our customers and partners regardless of location, be it physical, virtual or Google Cloud–based."

HYCU solutions were designed specifically to meet the cloud–native data protection and data management needs of next–generation on–premises and cloud services, managed services and systems integrators. HYCU's Cloud Services Provider Program allows Extreme Solution to cost–effectively scale growth and their customers' adoption with simplicity and ease of use.

"We are thrilled at the continued interest in our Cloud Services Provider Program," said Michele Lynch, EMEA Channel Director, HYCU Inc. "With HYCU, Extreme Solution's partners and customers alike gain a powerful as a service data management solution to deploy for their customers. As a true cloud–native service, HYCU has quickly become a key building block for a financially rewarding model to help our partners be more profitable and to assist in their aggressive business expansion plans. Welcome Sherif and the entire Extreme Solution team to the HYCU family."

Extreme Solution will be showcasing the latest HYCU solutions at The Techne Summit in Alexandria, Egypt from October 2–4.

To learn more about the HYCU Cloud Services Provider Program, visit https://www.hycu.com/service–providers/ or contact info@hycu.com.

For further information, please contact:
Don Jennings
HYCU, Inc.
Tel: (617) 791–1710
Email: don.jennings@hycu.com


Rwanda’s Rainforest Conservation Wins Praise from Indigenous Community

Rwanda’s Gishwati Mukura rainforest is one of the most biodiverse places on the Congo Basin. Credit: Aimable Twahirwa/IPS

By Aimable Twahirwa
NYABIHU, RWANDA, Sep 30 2021 – Laurent Hategekimana, a villager from Nyabihu, a district from Western Rwanda, recalls the terrible condition of the Gishwati natural forest a few years ago when it was overrun by illegal loggers and invading farmers.

Many invaders of this natural reserve were local villagers, and Hategekimana, a farmer-turned environmental activist, faced a hard task changing their minds.

“Although many haven’t yet started getting tangible benefits, some people are engaging in beekeeping while others are trying to venture into tree planting, conservation farming and handcraft,” the father of six told IPS in an interview.

In these remote rural parts of Rwanda, tropical forest conservation is now creating new jobs for several thousand indigenous people who live especially near major rainforests in Western Rwanda thanks to the country’s new laws and policies encouraging community participation in environmental protection.

With a number of challenges facing this group who self-identify as having a link to surrounding natural resources, scientists recommend strategic solutions to resolve possible conflicts between people and the conservation of wildlife along this part of the Congo river basin.

Some scientists believe it is important to find out what kinds of activities communities want, need and could commit to and steward in a sustainable way, to come up with durable actions that address biodiversity conservation and climate change issues.

Thanks to several conservation mechanisms adopted recently by the Rwanda government and stakeholders, Hategekimana is among members of the indigenous community who have become actively involved in keeping guard of the Gishwati natural forest. They inform the local administrative authorities of illegal activities such as felling trees without a permit and burning charcoal.

“I now understand the importance of conserving the forest. That’s why I sacrifice my time to protect it,” Hategekimana said.

Over the last two decades, large parts of these natural reserves on the Rwandan side of the Congo rainforest were nearly depleted, largely due to resettlement and livestock farming.

When new forest conservation efforts were initiated in 2015, most local villagers felt they were depriving their main source of income. Some were initially engaged in illegal logging, timber, and charcoal business.

The natural reserve of Gishwati-Mukura, now a national park for conservation, is currently contributing to improving the livelihoods of the local communities living in the surrounding areas. This, in turn, offers the forest a better chance of regeneration.

This has pushed local residents to launch a local NGO focusing on the conservation of the newly created national park. Thanks to these initiatives, the size of the reserve increased from 886 to 1 484 hectares the number of chimpanzees grew from 13 to 30, the 600 hectares added to the core forest are naturally regenerating and chimpanzees started using this area over the last two decades

Professor Beth Kaplin, the Director of the Center of Excellence in Biodiversity and Natural Resources Management of the University of Rwanda told IPS that there is a need to commit to really listening to the people who live next to this park and interact with it daily and develop strategies collaboratively to solve emerging problems.

“We need to take time to find out what kinds of activities communities want, need and could commit to and steward in a sustainable way (…) to come up with durable actions that address biodiversity conservation and climate change issues,” she said.

Gishwati Forest, a protected reserve in the north-western part of Rwanda, covers an area of about 1439 hectares and Mukura forest, with a total surface of 1987 hectares, has critical populations of endemic and endangered species such as golden monkeys, blue monkeys, and chimpanzees and over 130 different types of birds.

The reserve also boasts about 60 species of trees, including indigenous hardwoods and bamboo, according to Rwanda Development Board, a government agency responsible for Tourism and Conservation.

The Rwanda Environmental Management Authority (REMA) estimates the forest reserves initially covered 250 000 hectares, but illegal mining, animal grazing, tree cutting, and other practices drastically reduced its size.

In 2014, Rwanda received $9.5 million from the Global Environment Facility through the World Bank to restore the forest and biodiversity in the Gishwati-Mukura forest.

The primary purpose of this funding was to support community-based activities. These included farm stays, handicrafts, beekeeping, and tourism activities such as tea plantation tours and the chance to learn from traditional healers, who use natural plants to support modern medicine and synthesised drugs.

The collective efforts of villagers, environmental, indigenous NGOs and local administrative entities to train and mobilise villagers on the importance of conserving the forest in this part of the Congo River Basin, which covers 33 percent of Rwanda, has been praised.

“These efforts have changed people’s mindsets and in turn save this natural forest from extinction,” said Jean Bosco Hakizimana, a senior local administrative leader in Arusha, a small forest village from Nyabihu, a mountainous district in North-Western Rwanda.

Delphine Uwajeneza, the deputy head of the African Initiative for Mankind Progress Organization, told IPS that the key to achieving the current natural forest conservation efforts would be to include indigenous people in decision-making and management of ecosystems. Her NGO advocates for the protection and promotion of the rights, welfare, and development of the historically marginalised people in Rwanda.

“Current conservation efforts will not allow rainforests to persist if they are completely closed off from use or other benefits by these communities … they are the first to preserve the environment,” Uwajeneza told IPS in an interview.

While the Rwandan Government and stakeholders are satisfied with current conservation efforts, some scientists and activists shake their heads in dismay and say it is not enough. They are adamant the communities living around those natural reserves need to benefit.

Dr Charles Karangwa, Head of the Regional Forests and Landscapes Programme for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Eastern and Southern Africa Region, told IPS the most important is to balance the need of these communities trying to make a living and trying to maintain and sustain their forests.

“Development actors need to engage these vulnerable communities in a win-win situation,” he said.

In 2011, Rwanda joined “The Bonn Challenge”, a global effort to bring 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded land into restoration by 2020. Rwanda has reached its 30% forest cover target, according to officials.

However, despite the good policy framework and efforts towards achieving this goal, experts stress the need for identifying ways that communities can benefit from the resources of the forest in sustainable ways.

“People who work here (in the traditional ceramic industry) earn their livelihood without entirely depending on forest resources,” says 55-year-old Giselle Uwimanaas as she chats with neighbours in the village a stone’s throw from a nearby rainforest reserve of Mukura in Rutsiro, Western Rwanda.

 


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Despite Heightening Investor Pressure, Few Companies Publicly Report on Sustainability, Sphera’s New Survey Finds

CHICAGO, Sept. 30, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Though pressure is growing from all corners""from investors, to governments, to boards of directors""companies worldwide struggle to report progress on their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) goals. Indeed, just 38% of businesses publicly communicate their sustainability performance, according to a new survey from Sphera , a leading global provider of ESG performance and risk management software, data and consulting services.

It's not just a matter of disclosing progress on their objectives, however; companies are also behind the curve when it comes to clearly setting their ESG goals in the first place. Less than one–third (29%) of the respondents said they have set and communicated their sustainability targets, and even fewer""16%""have set emissions targets in accordance with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) framework.

This marked lack of ESG transparency highlights the persistently wide chasm between ESG promises and action in the private sector. In the absence of significant, enforceable regulations worldwide, companies have largely been left to voluntarily make commitments, but with no meaningful mechanisms to either measure their progress or hold themselves accountable to them. About half (51%) of companies surveyed affirm that their senior management has made sustainability commitments, but only 21% say they have a clear roadmap to implementation, and just 26% say they have fully integrated sustainability into their business strategy.

"It's easy to "talk the talk' when it comes to corporate ESG initiatives, but much harder to "walk the walk'," says Paul Marushka, Sphera's CEO. "Businesses have largely been left to their own devices to establish and measure their sustainability performance, leading to a constellation of voluntary frameworks that ultimately disincentivize meaningful action. But with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's recent report providing its strongest warning yet "" indicating that half–measures will no longer cut it "" and the upcoming COP26 conference promising to hold the business community to account, organizations need to start making good on their promises and show tangible progress."

These findings are from Sphera's Sustainability Survey 2021, a survey of 218 global business leaders evaluating their sustainability metrics, measurement and progress.

Additional findings from the survey include:

Scope 3 is missing from the menu. Though reducing emissions across the value chain is essential to meeting decarbonization targets and""for those businesses who have committed to them""achieving net zero emissions, very few companies have accounted for Scope 3 emissions in their sustainability plans. Only 13% of businesses surveyed said they have identified all relevant Scope 3 categories and completed a corresponding hotspot analysis; 29% say they consider the entire value chain when calculating their corporate emissions baseline or carbon footprint.

"Scope 3 emissions can make up the vast majority of a company's overall carbon footprint," Marushka added, "which means any sound sustainability strategy must involve an assessment of the supply chain and a commitment to working with suppliers who are also taking measurable steps to reduce their emissions. The end result ultimately creates a multiplier effect for both companies' sustainability efforts."

Poor data quality can stymie even the best efforts. Only a minority of respondents (16%) use data from established commercial databases to quantify their corporate carbon footprint; another 14% say they use high–quality, industry–based data for baseline assessment at the product level. In practice, this means many more organizations are using suboptimal datasets, such as spend–based, input–output databases, to measure their emissions. These types of top–down, nonspecific data sources can lead to inaccurate assessments, further exacerbating the gap between sustainability promises and outcomes.

The middle market struggles the most. Perhaps unsurprisingly, large organizations with more than $1 billion in revenue are more likely to be rated as optimized (34%) in terms of sustainability maturity.1 At the same time, 39% of small businesses with less than $100 million in revenue are considered optimized. Midsize businesses trail both, with an optimization rate of just 30%. In fact, midsize businesses are more likely than their larger or smaller counterparts to not exceed basic compliance requirements (25% vs.13% for smaller organizations and 6% for larger organizations).

About the Sustainability Maturity Survey 2021
Sphera partnered with the University of Esslingen in Germany to design and field a survey of companies throughout Europe, North America and Asia–Pacific. Respondents represented businesses in a wide range of industries, including automotive, construction, education, health care, oil and gas, manufacturing and technology. The survey was conducted between April 7 and May 3.

About Sphera
Sphera creates a safer, more sustainable and productive world. We are a leading global provider of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) performance and risk management software, data and consulting services with a focus on Environment, Health, Safety & Sustainability (EHS&S), Operational Risk Management and Product Stewardship.

Press Contact
Kylie Souder
kylie.souder@aspectusgroup.com
+1 513–304–5776

__________________
1
According to Sphera's Sustainability Maturity rubric, an "optimized" business leverages ESG software and data resources to go above and beyond meeting compliance requirements to help find efficiencies, increase productivity and innovation, reduce costs and mitigate risks. A "leader" is at the head of the competitive pack and is shaping the future of its sector through its sustainability initiatives.


Transforming Global Food Systems Equitably & Sustainably Requires the Private Sector

A farmer works in a rice field in Bagré, Burkina Faso. Credit: FAO/Alessandra Benedetti

By Hugh Welsh
NEW JERSEY, USA, Sep 30 2021 – In the days following the UN Food Systems Summit I have read a number or articles questioning whether there is a role for the private sector in transforming global food systems into something healthier, more sustainable and more equitable. Frankly, I don’t see how food systems transformation is possible without meaningful participation of the private sector.

The theme of each of these articles is that the ‘private sector created the food systems challenges and consequently has no role in discussing and executing potential solutions’.

In a world that is becoming more divisive every day, this type of exclusionary sentiment will not lead to the collaboration and cooperation we so desperately need if we are to collectively work towards results – not rhetoric.

The United Nations has projected that the world’s population is expected to swell to 9.8 billion by 2050 and 11.2 billion by 2100. According to The World Health Organization in 2020, it was estimated that a staggering 811 million people or approximately a tenth of the global population were undernourished.

Our existing food system is already under tremendous pressure and showing signs of distress from the effects of climate change on agricultural production and environmental degradation of the land and oceans. A new approach to providing healthy nutrition and tackling climate change is urgently needed.

So, what does food system transformation look like?

One such example is Africa Improved Foods (‘AIF’), a company that is a unique partnership between DSM* and quasi-public sector partners. In collaboration with the Government of Rwanda, AIF has become a trusted Africa-based producer of high-quality fortified porridge to address childhood stunting in Rwanda, have an African source of nutritious food for the WFP, and a product sold commercially in regional retail outlets.

The Kigali based operation provides good jobs, and sources key raw materials such as maize and soy from regional small holder farmers, the majority of which are women owned enterprises. Overall, AIF sources materials from over 130,000 farmers in Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi, DRC and Kenya. In Rwanda alone, AIF sources directly from 45,000 farmers.

This is not philanthropy, to be sustainable operations like AIF must be profitable. To be transformative, operations like AIF must focus on creating local jobs, helping local farmers, and producing high quality nutritious food for the local community. To be impactful, innovation like AIF must be scalable – and the AIF model is replicable throughout the world with the right public and private partners supporting.

This model offers a potential solution to the tragedy of malnutrition and food insecurity. It also, importantly, spurs local economic growth and social stability through the creation of a manufacturing base and jobs, improves the lives of small holder farmers by creating a predictable market for their crops and encourages the use of practices to address issues like aflatoxin. It also offers communities and aid organizations alike an opportunity to source from Africa for Africa, perpetuating a virtuous cycle of healthy development.

We also recognize the connection between climate change and nutrition, and the need to address both. While continuing to work on more sustainable and nutritious plant-based proteins, we recognize that demand for animal protein will only continue to grow as the global population grows and grows wealthier.

Extensive research has indicated that we will need to double production of animal protein to meet the anticipated demand, however, herein lies yet another challenge – according to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, cattle are responsible for 65% of the livestock sector’s greenhouse emissions globally.

Methane is a short-lived but potent greenhouse gas with a warming effect 28 times greater than that of carbon dioxide. Ruminants, such as cattle, cows and sheep emit methane gases contributing to climate change. We need to make the production of animal protein more sustainable and a key will be private sector innovation.

One example is DSM’s Bovaer® feed additive which can reduce methane emissions from ruminants by up to 80%. This safe and effective feed additive can lead to the immediate reduction of enteric methane emissions at a time when we need meaningful, scalable and affordable solutions to the climate emergency NOW.

These are two simple examples of private sector contributions to food systems transformation. DSM has committed to reaching 800 million suffering from micronutrient deficiency, reaching 150 million people with plant-based proteins, helping 500 million improve their immunity through nutrition, reducing livestock emissions by double digits, and helping at least 500,000 small holder farmers enjoy a sustainable livelihood – all by 2030.

These are our Food System Commitments and we look forward to working with all stakeholders to achieve them. We ask the critics of the private sector– we hear what you say but what are you committed to do?

Hugh Welsh is President and General Counsel of DSM North America. DSM is no longer an acronym – it’s a stand alone.

 


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The Plight of Haiti

By Jan Lundius
STOCKHOLM / ROME, Sep 30 2021 – I assume channel surfing and internet browsing contribute to a decrease in people’s attention span. I am not familiar with any scientific proof, though while working as a teacher I found that some students may be exhausted when five minutes of a lesson has passed and begin fingering on their smartphones. They might also complain if a text is longer than half a page, while finding it almost impossible to read a book.

Maybe we are all incapable of keeping a focus. For a while, Afghanistan overshadowed the media stream, though interest faded when the tragic scenes at the airport of Kabul were not there anymore. New catastrophes await the attention of world media.

Attention to Haiti comes and disappears in short flashes. Most recently, we were regaled with pictures of how US horse-mounted patrollers by the Mexican border were roping in Haitian immigrants, reminding us of how runaway slaves were caught 150 years ago. Three days later the US special envoy to Haiti resigned in protest of an ongoing large-scale, forced repatriation of Haitian migrants to a homeland wrecked by civil strife and natural disaster. Daniel Foote was appointed after the assassination of Haiti’s president. His letter of resignation reflects a deep concern for Washington’s disinterest in improving conditions in Haiti:

“I will not be associated with the United States inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees and illegal immigrants to Haiti, a country where American officials are confined to secure compounds because of the danger posed by armed gangs to daily life. Our policy approach to Haiti remains deeply flawed, and my policy recommendations have been ignored and dismissed, when not edited to project a narrative different from my own.”

The deportation of Haitians is one of the swiftest, mass expulsions ever. The US is presently receiving thousands of Afghans while sending Haitians to a country which humanitarian crisis is intimately related to earlier US interventionist policies; military occupation and meddling in internal affairs, often through support to dictators. Haiti is reeling from the 7 July assassination of its president, facing an escalation in gang violence, while some 4.4 million people, or nearly 46 per cent of its population suffer acute food insecurity. On 14 August, an earthquake shock Haiti; at least 2,200 people were killed, more than 12,200 injured, at least 137,500 buildings were damaged or destroyed, and an estimated 650,000 people are currently in need of assistance. Three days after the catastrophe a tropical storms disrupted access to water, shelter, and other basic services, while flooding and mudslides worsened the situation for already vulnerable families.

Haiti is one of the most overpopulated countries on earth. The US has a population density of 70 persons per square mile, Cuba has 235, while Haiti’s population density is almost 600 people per square mile. Agriculture is not producing enough to feed a population harassed by political instability, connected with a small, but highly influential political and economic elite, often supported by foreign stakeholders. The international community, which historically has contemplated Haiti through a lens distorted by racism and disinterest, is not doing much to mitigate a worsening situation, triggering immigration movements towards countries like the US, which government apparently assume that a solution to the problem will be to send migrants back to their misery.

Investments have to be made in education and health, as well as in support of enterprises capable of providing sustainable income, while governmental institutions need to be strengthened to promote human development for all sectors of society. Emigration cannot be the only means to brake Haiti’s chain of down-spiraling events, but it helps – currently, 35 percent of Haiti’s GDP is constituted by the roughly 3.8 billion USD worth of remittances the diaspora provides every year.

The recently murdered president, Jovenel Moïse, was originally not a member of the traditional elite, but an entrepreneur acting outside the political sphere. He developed an agricultural project of organic banana production and partnered with Mulligan Water, a US based global water treatment company, to establish a water plant for distribution of drinkable water to Haiti’s northern departments. In 2017, Moïse participated in the general elections on a platform promoting universal education and health care, as well as energy reform, rule of law, sustainable jobs, and environmental protection. He won with a slight margin. Since then, numerous roads have been built, reconstructed and paved. Haiti’s second largest hydro-power plant and several agricultural water reservoirs have been constructed, producing electricity and water for increased agricultural production.

Protests against Moïse’s regime had been mounting, among accusations of widespread corruption and a continued negligence of damages caused by the 2010 earthquake, when more than 200,000 persons were killed and 1.5 million left homeless. This natural disaster was preceded by a hurricane which in 2008 wiped out 70 percent of Haiti’s crops. In 2016, hurricane Matthew was almost as devastating.

Dangers to Moïse’s government furthermore lurked among members of the wealthy, small and powerful elite and not the least – increasingly menacing crime syndicates. Foremost among them is the one controlled by former police officer Jimmy Chérizier, alias Barbecue, leader of G9 and Family, a criminal federation of nine of the strongest gangs in Haiti’s capital.

Chérizier has been known to support Moïse’s party, Tèt Kale, and being backed by corrupt members of the police force. After being behind several armed attacks on rivaling gangs and innocent individuals, who live in fear of extortion, arson, theft and rape committed by his thugs, Chérizier has disclaimed all political affiliations and called for a ”popular uprising”, marching with his men through the slums of La Saline, while openly brandishing sophisticated weaponry.

Even if Jovenel Moïse described criminal gangs as Haiti’s “own demons”, his government’s actions have been considered as negligible. Moïse declared: “We prioritize dialogue, even in our fight with bandits and gangs. I am the president of all Haitians, the good and the bad.”

So far, 44 individuals have been arrested in connection with the assassination of Moïse, on the run is a former official in the Justice Ministry’s anti-corruption unit. Haitian police states that the killing squad consisted of 26 Colombians and two Haitian Americans. The Colombians were all former soldiers. Retired Colombian military personell are currently employed by security firms around the world, which value their training and fighting experience. Moïse’s killers were allegedly hired by an obscure, self-described doctor, Christian Sanon, through a US firm called Corporate Training Unlimited (CTU). No explanation has been given to how a man with a negligible income and 400,000 USD in debt could be the organizer of a complex and expensive plot to murder Haiti’s president. A further twist to the story is that Haiti’s interim Prime Minister, neurosurgeon and former Minister of Health, Ariel Henry, a few days ago sacked his Minister of Justice, since he supported a prosecutor who sought charges against Henry over the murder of Moïse. Everything remains shrouded in mystery.

Why Haitians turn up along the US-Mexican border is easier to explain. After the devastating earthquake in 2010, several Haitians arrived in Brazil, attracted by a building boom partly in connection with Brazil hosting the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. When those jobs dried up, several construction workers ended up in other Latin American countries, especially Chile. Others crossed the border to the Dominican Republic, which currently host about 1 million Haitians. All over Latin America strict migration policies are now enforced, while Haitians move towards the US, fearing that misery awaits them if they return to their impoverished homeland. Some 19,000 undocumented migrants, mainly Haitians, are stuck in Colombia, trying to enter Panama and continue to Mexico, where approximately 12,000 migrants are waiting to be processed by US immigration agents, which most likely will refuse entry.

Historically speaking, the small island nation of Haiti has been important to the Americas. In 1804, it became after the US the first independent republic of the Americas. In spite of winning its war of liberation, Haiti was forced to compensate France, a debt paid until 1947. The French Saint-Domingue was one of the world’s most brutally efficient slave colonies; one-third of newly imported Africans died within a few years and a policy of ”better buy than bread” kept the slave population young and limited. After liberation an export oriented mono-cultivation of mainly sugarcane was through a land reform changed into family based small holder subsistence farming and the population increased rapidly. With an unyielding black government Haiti suffered until the 1830s of European non-recognition and it was not until the late 1860s it was accepted as a nation by the US and other American countries, while continuously being depicted as barbaric and uncivilized.

In 1822, Haiti conquered the Spanish part of the island, abolishing slavery there. The president Boyer welcomed 6,000 US former slaves, as well as political exiles from the Americas. He supplied Simón Bolívar with 1,000 rifles, munitions, supplies, a printing press, and hundreds of Haitian soldiers to support him in his effort to” free Latin America” and abolish slavery. Between 1915 and 1935 the US occupied Haiti, resulting in several thousand Haitians killed and numerous human rights violations, including torture, summary executions and forced labour. The occupation was, as has been customary with most colonial and exploitative enterprises, defended as a “civilization process”.

Painting, sculpture, dance and music have always flourished in Haiti. It was the Creole culture emanating among exiled Haitians in New Orleans that influenced the creation of jazz, which since then have had such a great impact on American culture. And … while listening to the depressing news about Haitian suffering it might be advisable to enjoy the works of Haiti’s great authors, like Jacques Roumain, Stephen Alexis, and René Depestre, and not the least women writers like Marie Vieux-Chauvet and Edwige Danticat. An attention span well worth the effort, particularly since it increases our knowledge of the problems harassing Haiti. Hopefully would such reading bolster the international community’s realization of the gravity of the plight of the Haitian people and contribute to end its long sufferings.

 


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Delivering On the Promise of Health For All Must Include Gender Equality and SRHR

Health workers are at the frontlines in the fight against the new Corona Virus. Credit: John Njoroge

By Ann Keeling, Divya Mathew, Deepa Venkatachalam, and Chantal Umuhoza
NEW YORK, Sep 29 2021 – Gender-responsive universal health coverage (UHC) has the proven potential to transform the health and lives of billions of people, particularly girls and women, in all their intersecting identities. At tomorrow’s kick-off to the 2023 UN High-Level Meeting (HLM) on UHC, Member States and stakeholders will review progress made on the 2019 HLM’s commitments and set a roadmap to achieve UHC by 2030. We, as the co-convening organizations of the Alliance for Gender Equality and UHC, call on Member States to safeguard gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) as part of UHC implementation, especially in light of the gendered impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To move forward, it is crucial to remember our cumulative past promises. In 2019, Member States adopted a Political Declaration that contained strong commitments to ensure universal access to SRHR, including family planning; mainstreaming a gender perspective across health systems; and increasing the meaningful representation, engagement, and empowerment of all women in the health workforce. Further, 58 countries put forward a joint statement that argued that investing in SRHR is affordable, cost-saving, and integral for UHC. These commitments were the result of the advocacy and hard work of civil society organizations, including members of the Alliance for Gender Equality and UHC, and set out a clear path on the steps needed to make gender-responsive UHC a reality.

However, following the 2019 HLM, the deadly and devastating COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed how individuals around the globe could access essential health services. Fundamental human rights, including hard-won gains made for UHC, SRHR, and gender equality, are now at risk as health and social services are strained and political attention is diverted. The protracted pandemic underscores how gender-responsive UHC is more important than ever.

We call on Member States to renew the commitments made in 2019 and affirm that delivering on the promise of health for all is only possible by way of gender-responsive UHC.

To truly deliver gender-responsive UHC, we offer the following five recommendations:

1. Design policies and programs with an intersectional lens that places SRHR and girls and women — in all their diversity — at the center of UHC design and implementation. To be effective, UHC must recognize and respond to the needs of women in all their intersecting identities, including by explicitly addressing the ways in which race, ethnicity, age, ability, migrant status, gender identity, sexual orientation, class, and caste multiply risk and impact health outcomes. What’s more, COVID-19 has deepened inequalities for marginalized populations, and special attention is needed, now more than ever, to deliver UHC for those pushed furthest behind.

2. Ensure UHC includes comprehensive SRH services, and provide access to SRH services for all individuals throughout the life course. These services must be free of stigma, discrimination, coercion, and violence, and they must be integrated, high quality, affordable, accessible, and acceptable. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides guidance in the UHC Compendium of interventions and supporting documents for what this can look like. The pandemic has given way to multiple interruptions to SRHR care. For example, an estimated 12 million women may have been unable to access family planning services due to the pandemic. COVID-19 response and recovery and UHC implementation must address these issues.

3. Prioritize, collect, and utilize disaggregated data, especially gender-disaggregated data. UHC policy and planning can only be gender-responsive when informed by data that are disaggregated by gender and other social characteristics. In the current pandemic, not all countries are reporting disaggregated data on infections and mortality from COVID-19 to the WHO, and most countries have not implemented a gendered policy response. In June 2021, only 50% of 199 countries reported data disaggregated by sex on COVID-19 infections and/or deaths in the previous month.1 The number of countries reporting sex-disaggregated statistics has also decreased over the course of the pandemic. Without this information, decision-makers are unable to base policies on evidence affirming how to address the health needs of all genders — a critical lesson for UHC.

4. Foster gender equality in the health and care workforce and catalyze women’s leadership. The approach to the health and care workforce in the pandemic has frequently not applied a gender lens, ignoring the fact that women are 70% of the global health workforce and powerful drivers of health services. Gender inequities in the health workforce were present long before the pandemic, with the majority of female health workers in lower-status, low-paid roles and sectors, often in insecure conditions and facing harassment on a regular basis. Moreover, although women have played a critical role in the pandemic response — from vaccine design to health service delivery — they have been marginalized in leadership on pandemic decision-making from parliamentary to community levels. In fact, 85% of national COVID-19 task forces have majority male membership. Urgent investment in safe, decent, and equal work for women health workers, as well as equal footing for women in leadership and decision-making roles, must be central to the delivery of UHC.

5. Back commitments to advancing SRHR, gender equality, and civil society engagement in UHC design and implementation with necessary funding and accountability. Now is the time to invest in health and the care economy, particularly in UHC. Governments everywhere are facing fiscal constraints from the pandemic. UHC is a critical part of investing in and building back resilient health and social systems to avoid catastrophic spending on future pandemics and global health emergencies. UHC must be designed intentionally, with appropriate accountability mechanisms, to reduce inequalities between and within countries — and especially gender inequality, which undermines social and economic rights and resilience.

We, along with our civil society partners in the Alliance for Gender Equality and UHC, stand ready to work hand-in-hand with governments, the UN, and all stakeholders to act on these recommendations on the road to the 2023 HLM on UHC. At this point in the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no time to waste in making the promise of health for all a reality, and this can only be achieved through gender-responsive UHC that centers gender equality and SRHR.

The authors are Ann Keeling of Women in Global Health, Divya Mathew of Women Deliver, Deepa Venkatachalam of Sama Resource Group for Women and Health, and Chantal Umuhoza of Spectra Rwanda. These four organizations are the co-conveners of the Alliance for Gender Equality and Universal Health Coverage.

1 Global Health 50/50 (globalhealth5050.org)

 


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