FDA Approves Genio® 2.1 For Use in DREAM U.S. IDE Pivotal Study

FDA Approves Genio 2.1 For Use in DREAM U.S. IDE Pivotal Study

New smartphone application, upgraded activation chip, improved user interface, and stimulation amplitude trimming enhance patient experience and comfort

Mont–Saint–Guibert, Belgium "" June 1, 2022, 10:30pm CET / 4:30pm ET "" Nyxoah SA (Euronext Brussels/Nasdaq: NYXH)("Nyxoah" or the "Company"), a medical technology company focused on the development and commercialization of innovative solutions to treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of Nyxoah's next generation Genio 2.1 system for use in the Company's DREAM U.S. IDE pivotal study. Genio 2.1's upgrades are entirely related to the external components of the Genio system, as the implantable stimulator remains unchanged.

Genio 2.1 further demonstrates Nyxoah's patient–centric approach to addressing the needs of those suffering from moderate–to–severe OSA. The system features updates to the Genio activation chip and a new smartphone application to enable daily reporting of therapy usage, which will support therapy acclimation and long–term compliance. Additional features of Genio 2.1 include an improved user interface and the ability for clinicians to make more incremental stimulation adjustments. This is particularly meaningful for patients who are more sensitive to neurostimulation, as with Genio 2.1 physicians can fine–tune stimulation amplitude to determine the optimal level of comfort for patients without compromising therapy efficacy.

"Genio 2.1's features, along with existing full–body 3.0T MRI compatibility, illustrate Nyxoah's patient–first mission in OSA product development," commented Olivier Taelman, Nyxoah's Chief Executive Officer. "The updated activation chip and new smartphone app, combined with our upgraded user interface and increased stimulation resolution, represent key next steps in optimizing patient outcomes. We are excited to make these important new features available to patients in our DREAM trial."

About Nyxoah
Nyxoah is a medical technology company focused on the development and commercialization of innovative solutions to treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Nyxoah's lead solution is the Genio system, a patient–centered, leadless and battery–free hypoglossal neurostimulation therapy for OSA, the world's most common sleep disordered breathing condition that is associated with increased mortality risk and cardiovascular comorbidities. Nyxoah is driven by the vision that OSA patients should enjoy restful nights and feel enabled to live their life to its fullest.

Following the successful completion of the BLAST OSA study, the Genio system received its European CE Mark in 2019. Nyxoah completed two successful IPOs: on Euronext Brussels in September 2020 and NASDAQ in July 2021. Following the positive outcomes of the BETTER SLEEP study, Nyxoah received CE mark approval for the expansion of its therapeutic indications to Complete Concentric Collapse (CCC) patients, currently contraindicated in competitors' therapy. Additionally, the Company is currently conducting the DREAM IDE pivotal study for FDA and US commercialization approval.

For more information, please visit http://www.nyxoah.com/.

Caution "" CE marked since 2019. Investigational device in the United States. Limited by U.S. federal law to investigational use in the United States.

Loic Moreau, Chief Financial Officer
+32 473 33 19 80

Jeremy Feffer, VP IR and Corporate Communications
+1 917 749 1494


Madison Realty Capital Receives Strategic Minority Investment from ICONIQ

NEW YORK, June 01, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Madison Realty Capital, a vertically integrated real estate private equity firm focused on debt and equity investment strategies, today announced that ICONIQ Investment Management ("ICONIQ") has made a strategic minority investment in the firm that will advance its long–term growth and success. Terms of the investment were not disclosed.

Madison Realty Capital will leverage ICONIQ's financial and strategic support to grow its global network of institutional relationships, expand upon its products and augment its team with top talent, while continuing to execute on its core competencies within private real estate debt and equity investing. Madison Realty Capital's investment process, management, and day–to–day operations will remain unchanged.

Josh Zegen and Brian Shatz, Managing Principals and Co–Founders of Madison Realty Capital, said "We are pleased to establish this strategic partnership, and further our existing relationship with ICONIQ. This investment is a testament to the trust that we foster with our partners and investors. ICONIQ's investing expertise and network are complementary to our own, and we look forward to expanding our footprint across the U.S., developing new relationships with top–tier borrowers, lenders, and developers, and accelerating the growth of our business to the benefit of our global, institutional investor base."

Sam Kurtzman, Portfolio Manager at ICONIQ, stated, "Madison Realty Capital has developed an accomplished institutional platform with nearly two decades of experience investing across market cycles. The firm is one of the most active private real estate lenders in the U.S. and we believe continues to differentiate itself as a lender of choice for borrowers seeking flexible financing solutions with certainty of execution."

Nugi Jakobishvili, Chief Investment Officer at ICONIQ, added, "The firm's principals "" Brian Shatz, Josh Zegen, and Adam Tantleff "" have cultivated a strong culture and highly experienced team, and we look forward to working together to expand an already successful relationship to further the growth of Madison Realty Capital's platform for years to come."

ICONIQ's investment follows a record year for Madison Realty Capital, which last year completed $6.4 billion in transaction volume across 72 deals and raised $2.08 billion for Madison Realty Capital Debt Fund V LP, the firm's largest debt fund to date.

About Madison Realty Capital

Madison Realty Capital is a vertically integrated real estate private equity firm that, as of March 31, 2022, manages approximately $8.5 billion in total assets on behalf of a global institutional investor base. Since 2004, Madison Realty Capital has completed approximately $20 billion in transactions providing borrowers with flexible and highly customized financing solutions, strong underwriting capabilities, and certainty of execution. Headquartered in New York City, with an office in Los Angeles, the firm has approximately 70 employees across all real estate investment, development, and property management disciplines. Madison Realty Capital has been frequently named to the Commercial Observer's prestigious "Power 100" list of New York City real estate players and is consistently cited as a top construction lender, among other industry recognitions. To learn more, follow us on LinkedIn and visit www.madisonrealtycapital.com.

D’Addario Designates June 6, 2022, as #WorldStringChangeDay

FARMINGDALE, N.Y., June 01, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — D'Addario, the world's premier guitar string maker, is proud to announce the inaugural celebration of #WorldStringChangeDay on Monday, June 6, 2022.

As the world leader in guitar string innovation and quality, D'Addario is inviting musicians around the globe to celebrate the ritual and reward of caring for their instrument with a fresh set of strings.

"There's nothing better than the feel and tone of fresh strings," says acclaimed Brazilian Guitarist and Technician Lari Basilio. "It makes the playability smoother, the tone more vibrant, and inspires you again!"

Players on social media will be encouraged to show off how their instrument looks, plays, and sounds with fresh strings and dive into their own preferences and string–changing techniques.

Throughout the week leading up to #WorldStringChangeDay, Guitarists, Bassists, Ukulele, and Mandolin players across D'Addario's worldwide artist roster, like Herman Li, Evan Taucher, Lari Basilio, JB Brubaker, Casper Esman, Mark Tremonti, and more will be sharing content around the importance of changing strings and maintaining your instrument.

“D'Addario strings have always been my go–to,” says Grammy–Nominated guitarist Michael Kiwanuka. “There's just something about them that makes my guitar sound and feel the way it should. They're the first step to achieving a great tone. With a fresh set of strings, I'm always inspired to pick up my guitar and play.”

As part of the new holiday, D'Addario will be hosting a giveaway via social media where players can post a story of them changing their strings for a chance to win a set of strings of their choice.

Musicians are encouraged to post on their social media pages using #WorldStringChangeDay to be a part of the conversation and have a chance to have their posts shared by D'Addario & Co.

D'Addario's history of manufacturing guitar strings dates back to the 1600s in Salle, Italy. As part of their commitment to vertical integration, D'Addario manufactures more than 700,000 strings a day in Farmingdale, New York, made possible by their own in–house wire mill.

To learn more about how you can get involved, please visit: https://ddar.io/WSCD.PR

D'Addario & Company, Inc.

D'Addario is the world's largest manufacturer of musical instrument accessories, marketed under several product brands: D'Addario Fretted, D'Addario Orchestral, D'Addario Woodwinds, Promark Drumsticks, Evans Drumheads, and Puresound Snare Wires. A family–owned and operated business with roots dating back to the 17th century, D'Addario now has over 1,100 employees worldwide, and manufactures 95% of its products in the U.S. while utilizing Toyota's Lean manufacturing principles. D'Addario musical accessories are distributed in 120 countries, serve more than 3,300 U.S. retailers, all major e–commerce sites, and are the preferred choice of musicians worldwide such as, Keith Urban, Zac Brown, Brandi Carlile, Dave Matthews, Gary Clark Jr., Chris Thile, Ry Cooder, Joe Satriani, Julia Fischer, Anderson .Paak, Kacey Musgraves and more.

The D'Addario Foundation believes in the power of music to unlock creativity, boost self–confidence, and enhance academics. D'Addario also reinforces its role as a social and environmental leader with initiatives such as Playback and PlayPlantPreserve.

Media Contact – D'Addario & Co, Inc.
Natalie Morrison (natalie.morrison@daddario.com)

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/94e60972–3b85–46fd–aa13–11bf42c8927d

Pakistani Artists, Activists Fight for Refugee Status for Arrested Afghan Musicians

Local singers and instrumentalists joined rights activists and politicians in a protest against Afghan musicians' arrest in Peshawar. They fear that there could be serious repercussions if the musicians are deported back to Taliban-led Afghanistan. Credit: Ashfaq Yusufzai/IPS

Local singers and instrumentalists joined rights activists and politicians in a protest against Afghan musicians’ arrest in Peshawar. They fear that there could be serious repercussions if the musicians are deported back to Taliban-led Afghanistan. Credit: Ashfaq Yusufzai/IPS

By Ashfaq Yusufzai
PESHAWAR, Jun 1 2022 – The arrest of Afghan musicians in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan has elicited protests from local politicians, artists and rights activists who demand their release and say they should be allowed to stay as refugees.

“Four musicians arrested by police in Peshawar, the capital of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, for lack of visa and travel documents have been sent to jail and will be deported under the 14 Foreigners’ Act,” a police officer, Nasrullah Shah, told IPS.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) is one of the four provinces of Pakistan located on the border with Afghanistan.

Police arrested the artists on May 27. They had been performing on TV and radio for years in Afghanistan, but the Taliban government’s opposition to music silenced them. The group includes Saidullah Wafa, Naveed Hassan, Ajmal and Nadeem Shah.

According to Shah, they crossed into Pakistan illegally.

The musicians, however, insisted that there was a ban on music back home, and as a result, they faced economic problems.

“Since the Taliban took power in Afghanistan in August last year, there was an unannounced ban on musical activities, which has landed the singers and musicians in hot water,” Saidullah Wafa, one of the arrested singers, told IPS. Taliban are notorious for killing musicians, and they will murder us if we go back,” Wafa said. Before fleeing to Pakistan, he lived in the Afghan capital, Kabul.

He claimed that Taliban militants consider music against Islam and have killed many singers and others associated with it in the past. Fearing prosecution, we came to Pakistan to seek refuge, the 25-year-old said.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has condemned the arrest and possible deportation.

“HRCP is concerned to learn that four Afghan nationals have been arrested by the KP police under the Foreigners’ Act 1946; the court has ordered they be deported. All four face significant threats from the Taliban government in Kabul,” it tweeted.

Local music journalist Sher Alam Shinwari, who writes for Dawn newspaper, said the seized Afghan musicians are refugees. He said they cannot and should not be deported to the Taliban-led government in Afghanistan.

“Afghan musicians, since they arrived in Peshawar and elsewhere in KP, have never been involved in any unlawful activities. Secondly, they have re-joined their relatives already living in refugee camps or rented homes in and around Peshawar,” Shinwari said.

Most have valid documents or ration cards, while some of them carried artists’ registration cards issued by local artists’ organisations, he said.

Deporting Afghan musicians to the Taliban is tantamount to throwing them to the wolves because the Taliban had murdered several artists in the recent past, Shinwari explained.

Families of most of the musicians were already living in Pakistan, and their deportation would be a human rights violation.

Rashid Ahmed Khan, head of Honary Tolana, an organisation striving for musicians’ rights, told IPS that the arrested musicians would be in danger if sent back.

“They were taken into custody by police without a search warrant, sent to jail and be handed over to the Taliban – which is an inhuman act. These famous artistes moved to Peshawar last year when Taliban seized power in Afghanistan to save their lives,” he said.

On May 30, local artists held a protest demonstration against the arrest of Afghan musicians in Peshawar and urged the government to allow them to stay in Pakistan as refugees.

Politicians also joined the protest.

Sardar Hussain Babak, a local lawmaker, assured them that they would raise the issues on the floor of the parliament.

Some Afghan artists present at the protest said they had come to Pakistan for their safety and could not continue their profession in their own country.

They demanded police stop their action against the artists because they were guests in Pakistan and their lives were at risk in Afghanistan.

Local artists, including Saeeda Bibi and others, condemned the police action against the Afghan musicians and demanded their early release.

“Taliban have resorted to violence against the musicians, destroyed their equipment at different places, and shot dead people even participating in the wedding ceremonies in Nangrahar and other provinces of Afghanistan,” Saeeda Bibi told IPS.

“We have applied for bail of the detained artists with the hope to get them released at the earliest,” she said. “We have set a three-day deadline for police to stop action against the artists. Otherwise, Afghan and Pakistani artists would march on Islamabad and stage a sit-in until their demands were heard.

“We also appealed to UNHCR to take notice of the ordeal of Afghan artists so that they could live in Pakistan as refugees.”

KP Information Minister Muhammad Ali Saif told IPS that the artists should be prosecuted in terms of the law.

“We have been hosting 3 million Afghan refugees for the past four decades, which is the glaring example of hospitality. They will be treated as per the law,” he said.

There were no instructions to police regarding the arrest of Afghan musicians, and the court would decide about their deportation, he said.

IPS UN Bureau Report


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Ukraine Points Up the Threat to Education During War

Education is fundamental for students during war. Beyond teaching, schools and universities can provide a safe space, give students routine, and connect them to life-saving resources such as meals and mental health services.

Over 1,600 schools and universities have been damaged or destroyed since Russia’s invasion on February 24, according to Ukraine’s Education Ministry. Credit: UNICEF

By Jerome Marston and Marika Tsolakis
NEW YORK, Jun 1 2022 – Conflict has taken a horrific toll on civilians in Ukraine over the past three months with many families struggling to meet even their most basic needs, including education. Over 1,600 schools and universities have been damaged or destroyed since Russia’s invasion on February 24, according to Ukraine’s Education Ministry. Armed forces on both sides have reportedly bombed schools or used them as bases or for storing weapons.

In just one example, a Russian airstrike reportedly hit a school on May 8 in Luhansk, on the front lines in eastern Ukraine, injuring or killing dozens of civilians who had sheltered there.

Education is fundamental for students during war. Beyond teaching, schools and universities can provide a safe space, give students routine, and connect them to life-saving resources such as meals and mental health services.

Fortunately, 3.7 million Ukrainian children have been able to access online and distance learning since February despite school closures. This has reduced gaps in instruction and, perhaps more critically, maintained a sense of normalcy.

Repairing schools will require significant time and resources, and many students and teachers will experience stress and trauma that affect learning and teaching. That is, if they return to class at all – children in conflict- and crisis-affected areas are twice as likely to be out of school as those in other places

Yet, the war’s longer-term impact on the quality of and access to education remain worrisome. Repairing schools will require significant time and resources, and many students and teachers will experience stress and trauma that affect learning and teaching. That is, if they return to class at all – children in conflict- and crisis-affected areas are twice as likely to be out of school as those in other places.

Unfortunately, Ukraine is not alone. Education is under attack around the globe, and armed violence against students, teachers, and education facilities is on the rise. In fact, we found in research for our new report an average of six attacks on education each day in 2020 and 2021. In all, we identified more than 5,000 cases of attacks or military occupation of schools during that two-year period.

These attacks harmed, injured, or killed over 9,000 students, teachers, and academics. Nine countries each had more than 400 attacks or over 400 students or educators harmed. Attacks increased in Mali, Myanmar, and Colombia compared to the previous two years, but decreased in countries such as Syria and Yemen, where conflict de-escalated. Shelling and rifle fire damaged dozens of schools in Ukraine in 2020 and 2021, in the eastern Donbas region where conflict began half a decade before.

In attacks on education, militaries and armed groups bomb, burn, and loot schools and universities and kill, rape, arbitrarily arrest, and recruit students and educators. They occupy schools and universities to use them for non-educational purposes such as for bases, barracks, or training grounds.

Explosive weapons, which were involved in one-fifth of all reported attacks on education globally and were used in many of the attacks in Ukraine, had particularly devastating effects. Airstrikes, shelling, and other explosives are especially dangerous because they produce a large blast that can propel bomb fragments a great distance, in all directions, often indiscriminately harming civilians and civilian buildings.

There are several key steps that can be taken to protect education in Ukraine and elsewhere.

First, allies of the warring parties mustneed to press them to stop attacking schools or using explosive weapons with wide-area effects near schools or universities. Warring parties should also avoid occupying schools and universities and using them for military purposes. Occupation damages schools and universities and puts students and educators at risk, but it may also place the educational facilities in the crosshairs of enemy forces.

Second, governments should endorse and implement the Safe Schools Declaration, an intergovernmental political commitment to protect students, teachers, schools, and universities in armed conflict. Though Russia has not endorsed the declaration, Ukraine did in 2019. It has taken important steps to fulfil Declaration commitments in the midst of conflict, such as instituting remote learning and collecting data on attacks on education facilities.

Third, the attackers need to be held to account. Governments, the United Nations, and national and international organizations should support efforts to collect reliable evidence of attacks on schools and universities, and their students and staff, and to put those responsible on trial in fair national or international courts, as well as to provide assistance to victims of attacks.

Finally, funding must be raised and –crucially– directed toward rebuilding schools and universities destroyed in attacks as soon as it is safe. Education is chronically underfunded in humanitarian response. However, donors and governments can ensure funds are directed toward rebuilding classrooms, playgrounds, and libraries, since distance learning, while exceptionally important, is no long-term substitute for quality in-person education.

Destroyed and occupied schools and universities not only upend learning, they also jeopardize the post-conflict rebuilding of communities and economies. Education needs to be safeguarded in Ukraine and globally.


Jerome Marston and Marika Tsolakis are senior researchers at the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack, an inter-agency coalition formed in 2010 to address the problem of targeted attacks on education during armed conflict.

First CE-IVD marked AI solution for prognostic risk stratification of breast cancer patients.

Stockholm, Sweden, June 01, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Stratipath, a global leader in AI–based precision diagnostic solutions, today announced that its AI software for prognostic risk stratification of breast cancers, Stratipath Breast, is now CE–IVD marked. This paves the way for clinical implementation in the European Union. Based on the analysis of digital histopathology whole slide images, stained with haematoxylin and eosin (H&E) the software provides novel decision support to clinicians and enables precision medicine for more patients.

Stratipath Breast is the first EU regulatory compliant solution for risk stratification of breast cancer using AI–based precision diagnostics to analyse cancer tissue, and enabling identification of patients with increased risk of disease progression.

In contrast to traditional molecular tests, AI–based risk stratification enables faster turnaround times for results, provides new information at the point of diagnosis and reduces the need for expensive molecular testing, allowing for wider use and benefit to more patients.

“Stratipath Breast offers a faster and cheaper alternative to molecular assays, allowing more patients to have access to precision diagnostics. By using Stratipath Breast, clinicians can diagnose with support from prognostic information, while reducing laboratory time and costs," says Johan Hartman, professor in pathology at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, and co–founder of Stratipath.

Histological tumour grade is a strong prognostic indicator of breast cancer. Grading of invasive breast cancer is performed on all invasive breast cancers based on morphological assessment, according to the Nottingham Histologic Grade (NHG), resulting in the low– to high–risk categories NHG 1, 2 or 3. But currently, more than 50% of all breast cancer patients are categorised as of intermediate risk (i.e NHG 2), which provides little clinical utility for treatment decision–making. The consequential over– and undertreatment of patients with early breast cancer has become one of the main challenges for treating physicians, and the clinical decisions are often dependent on expensive molecular assays that are not accessible to the majority of patients.

Using deep learning, Stratipath Breast enables cancer detection and classification of intermediate risk tumours into low– and high–risk groups, based on grade–related tumour morphology. The stratification comes from a rigorous scientific development process and validation using multi–source real–world datasets, comprising histopathology images and associated clinical outcome data.

The system measures risk–associated morphological patterns locally in the image and aggregates this information across the analysed tissue area to establish whether the tumour belongs to the high– or low–risk group. Results from Stratipath Breast provide prognostic information and are intended to be used as a decision support tool, together with other clinical and pathological information.

Stratipath Breast provides an optimal workflow through integration with leading digital pathology solutions. It can also be used on its own, via the Stratipath customer web portal. Access to Stratipath Breast will be provided as a Software as a Service solution, by a subscription or pay as you use model. Not marketed in the USA.

About Stratipath
Stratipath is a spin–out from Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, bringing pioneering research in AI and precision medicine into clinical use. The company was founded in 2019 by Johan Hartman, M.D., PhD, Mattias Rantalainen, PhD and Fredrik Wetterhall with a mission to radically improve cancer treatment decisions and patient outcomes. Stratipath offers an AI precision diagnostic solution for healthcare and can offer an accelerated path for pharma and biotech companies to identify patients most likely to benefit from novel therapies.


Developing Countries and the Perfect Storm Part I: What Should Developed Countries Do?

By Daud Khan
ROME, Jun 1 2022 – Developing countries – in Africa, in Asia, in Latin America and in the Middle East – are facing a combination of crises that are unprecedented in recent times. Over the last three years they have had to face the COVID-19 crisis, the food crisis, the energy crisis, the climate change crisis, the debt crisis and, on top of all this, a global recession. The crises have overlapped, and each has added to the problems created by the previous ones.

Daud Khan

First among the crises relates to food – the most basic of human needs. Even before the events in Ukraine there were shortages and uncertainties. International food prices rose by 40% over their level of 2020 – with increases of almost 90% in the price of vegetable oil – pushing up domestic food prices in both importing and exporting countries, and driving millions towards food insecurity. And then came the Ukraine crisis; and price of cereals and cooking oils spiked yet again – up 20% for cereal and 30% for vegetable oils.

And it is not just an issue of prices. Supplies are hard to come by. In April 2022 Ukraine exported only 1 million tons of grain as opposed to a normal export volume of 5 million tons and Indonesia banned exports of palm oil. On top of this came climate change. Low rainfall and drought-like conditions have also affected production in several major wheat exporting countries such as France and the USA. Scorching temperatures across northern India and Pakistan have reduced wheat output by 20% and in response, India has now banned exports of wheat.

The second crisis relates to the price of energy. Energy prices before the Ukraine crisis has risen 75% in twelve months and another 25% since then. This has raised costs of transport, manufacturing and services. Prices of natural gas, which drives the prices of urea fertilizer, rose by over 140% and this will impact plantings, yields and output of food crops in coming years. The prices of phosphate fertilizers have also risen – by over 200% the last year – with about a third of the increase coming since January 2022, mainly as a result of disruption of supplies.

The next punch in the belly for developing countries came from interest rates increases. Developing country debt has boomed in over the past decades years, fueled by the easy availability of savings and real interest rates of virtually zero. With rising inflation, the US Federal Reserve Board has hiked up interest rates. This has not only increased interest payments but also the value of the US$ in which much developing country debt is denominated. This is making debt servicing vastly more expensive and balance of payments problems are looming large for many countries. Higher debt servicing is also putting pressure on Government budgets and is resulting in large cuts in development and social spending.

And we are not finished yet. Global GDP and trade are slowing down. This reflects the recessionary cocktail of high energy prices, supply bottlenecks, rising interest rates and political uncertainties around the globe, as well as COVID-related lockdowns in China.

This perfect storm is mostly the result of the policies of the big economies – the ongoing US/Russia/China rivalry; rapid globalization followed by the strict COVID-related lockdowns; and easy monetary policies which first pumped in huge sums of money into the economies and are now raising interest rates to rein in inflation. Climate change has much to do with large and continued emission of GHGs, the bulk of which comes from the big economies, including China. And now, speculative capital, mostly originating in the developed world, is further aggravating the situation in food, fuel and other commodity markets.

But the interlinked nature of the globalized world implies that in relative terms the financial and human burden of these actions falls heaviest on developing countries. After all it is one thing for food and energy prices to rise, or for GDP growth to slow in rich countries such as the USA, Europe and Australia, or even in China. In these countries living standards are high, infrastructure and services are well developed, and often well designed social safety nets are in place. It is quite different in developing countries, where large numbers continue to live with poverty and hunger; where basic services such as education, health and clean drinking water are scarce; and those facing old age, illness or loss of earnings can only rely on the goodwill of friends or family.

There is, quite rightly, much concern about the situation. Several high level meetings have been convened, including by the UN, and there are strong calls for increased aid flows and debt relief, as well as for the creation of special funds for the countries most affected by high prices, debt burdens or climate change. These actions are needed and necessary to avoid widespread suffering, political turbulence and increased migratory flows. And the developed countries will likely bear most of the financial burden of these measures.

But many of the measures, even if implemented, are short term palliatives and will not solve underlying problems. Moreover, developing countries cannot continue to rely indefinitely on goodwill and charity. The risk of doing this became very clear during the COVID crisis where little of the vaccines available and none of the vaccine production technology were shared.

However, times of crisis also create opportunities. There is a need for new thinking and for paradigm shifts in developing countries but also for Governments to undertake reforms that they have been postponing for years, if not decades, due to fears that such reforms would hurt vested interests and national elites. It is now time to act bravely.

Part two of this article will discuss some of the concrete measure that developing countries could take to address the various crises.

Daud Khan works as consultant and advisor for various Governments and international agencies. He has degrees in Economics from the LSE and Oxford – where he was a Rhodes Scholar; and a degree in Environmental Management from the Imperial College of Science and Technology. He lives partly in Italy and partly in Pakistan.

IPS UN Bureau


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If Women Don’t Lead, We’ll Lose the Battle Against Climate Crisis

The Iraqi capital of Baghdad covered in a layer of dust during the third dust storm in two months, 24th May 2022. Credit: Zaid Albayati/Oxfam 2022

By Sally Abi Khalil
BEIRUT, Lebanon, Jun 1 2022 – We are in the midst of so many crises across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region: the most unequal, water scarce, least democratic region in the world, with the widest gender gap, multiple armed conflicts raging across it, and fragile states on the brink.

For weeks, the region has been struggling with sand storms and dust, affecting the health and well-being of all, especially women and their children. Back in January the images of snowstorm hitting refugee camps in Syria were haunting.

Women shoveling snow and melting it to use for washing and cooking was a jarring insight into how women in our region will be burdened by the climate emergency. Increasingly people here are feeling the burn of the climate crisis, through extreme weather conditions, heat waves, snowstorms, desertification and draughts.

The International Panel on Climate Change has projected that the MENA region will be one of the world’s regions hit hardest by climate change in the 21st century.1

On this World Environment Day, June 5, the urgency of the climate emergency is creeping closer and closer to home. Oxfam’s recent report “Inequality kills” warned that 231,000 people each year could be killed by the climate crisis in poor countries by 2030. This is a conservative estimate, millions could die in the second half of this century.

The root of many of challenges in MENA is the patriarchal nature of societies and the woeful level of participation of women. From the formal economy to government, women’s representation and participation rates are some of the lowest in the word.

Women in MENA are removed from the core of public life and political engagement, therefore, our ability to manage the next looming challenge of a climate catastrophe is set to fail. Unless climate change is seen as a feminist issue- in need of a feminist response- its impacts cannot be managed effectively.

Vital to addressing the climate crisis is recognizing the inequalities that perpetuate it and the impact of such inequality on men and women in the region. There is no shortage of evidence that climate change is incredibly gendered.

The UN estimated in 2018 that 80% of people displaced by climate change were women. It leads to internal displacement and migration where women disproportionately suffer different forms of gender-based violence, shoulder the bulk of family responsibilities like water collection and care work, and further entrenches poverty.

Water scarcity impacts women’s ability and accessibility to basic water and sanitation services, leaving them heating snow or walking long distances to find household water. Climate change increases women’s existing difficulties accessing assets and resources.

Women in many countries across MENA are already pushed to cultivate less fertile land, diminishing their ability to produce food and limiting their voices.

As the climate crisis takes hold at breakneck speed, we are grossly underprepared and underequipped to manage and adapt to its impacts as long as women lack the agency they need to be part of an effective response to this new climate normal.

As goes the long-worn rally cry, there cannot be climate justice without gender justice. One cannot be achieved without the other. We know women in the region will be most impacted by climate change. It leads to internal displacement and migration where women disproportionately suffer all forms of violence as they shoulder the responsibility of care work and household responsibilities.

The layered crises we face here in the region of gender disparity, inequality and climate are all interlinked, however the intersectionality of climate change and gender in MENA is ignored. It is often absent from the government and civil society responses and even from the agenda of feminist movements and women rights organizations, with concerns that this may divert feminist action on poverty and gender-based violence for example.

However, the linkages are important because they are at the cutting edge of addressing systemic and oppressive power structures that favor rich nations over poor nations, urban centers over rural areas, those with education versus those without, those who have access to technology verses those who do not and, ultimately, men over women.

For far too long in the hierarchy of needs across the region, climate change as been seen as the least pressing issue effecting lives, however we cannot triage what competing crises can and cannot wait.

As droughts dry up farmland, water sources evaporate as rivers shrink, and rainfall becomes more scarce, the impacts of climate on the region are becoming increasingly dire. More dire still is that women are not on the forefront of conversations about the future.

They are left behind the same way they are ignored in conversations related to peace and security, reconstruction and economic recovery. Such conversations are controlled by the same power structures that created them This time, they cannot be left behind.

Climate justice cannot be seen as an issue of the west, or of the privileged. It is an integral, cross cutting issue that must be coupled with gender equity for us to be equipped to battle the growing challenges it is bringing us.

There is no doubt women are the key to addressing these challenges. The evidence is clear. By organizing, mobilizing and building voices and agency, women can lead the climate conversation and set an agenda for change.

1 MEI (2017). Climate Change: The Middle East Faces a Water Crisis. Available at https://www.mei.edu/publications/climate-change-middle-east-faces-water-crisis

IPS UN Bureau


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The following article is part of a series to commemorate World Environment Day June 5

The writer is Oxfam Regional Director for Middle East and North Africa (MENA)

“Gun Control” at the Pentagon? Don’t Even Think About It

The Pentagon. Credit: Military Times

By Norman Solomon
SAN FRANCISCO, USA, Jun 1 2022 – New outcries for gun control have followed the horrible tragedies of mass shootings in Uvalde and Buffalo. “Evil came to that elementary school classroom in Texas, to that grocery store in New York, to far too many places where innocents have died,” President Biden declared over the weekend during a university commencement address.

As he has said, a badly needed step is gun control — which, it’s clear from evidence in many countries, would sharply reduce gun-related deaths.

But what about “gun control” at the Pentagon?

The concept of curtailing the U.S. military’s arsenal is such a nonstarter that it doesn’t even get mentioned. Yet the annual number of deadly shootings in the United States — 19,384 at last count — is comparable to the average yearly number of documented civilian deaths directly caused by the Pentagon’s warfare in the last two decades. And such figures on war deaths are underestimates.

From high-tech rifles and automatic weapons to drones, long-range missiles and gravity bombs, the U.S. military’s weaponry has inflicted carnage in numerous countries. How many people have been directly killed by the “War on Terror” violence?

An average of 45,000 human beings each year — more than two-fifths of them innocent civilians — since the terror war began, as documented by the Costs of War project at Brown University.

The mindset of U.S. mass media and mainstream politics is so militarized that such realities are routinely not accorded a second thought, or even any thought. Meanwhile, the Pentagon budget keeps ballooning year after year, with President Biden now proposing $813 billion for fiscal year 2023.

Liberals and others frequently denounce how gun manufacturers are making a killing from sales of handguns and semiautomatic rifles in the United States, while weapons sales to the Pentagon continue to spike upward for corporate war mega-profiteers.

As William Hartung showed in his Profits of War report last fall, “Pentagon spending has totaled over $14 trillion since the start of the war in Afghanistan, with one-third to one-half of the total going to military contractors.

A large portion of these contracts — one-quarter to one-third of all Pentagon contracts in recent years — have gone to just five major corporations: Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman.”

What’s more, the United States is the world’s leading arms exporter, accounting for 35 percent of total weapons sales — more than Russia and China combined. The U.S. arms exports have huge consequences.

Pointing out that the Saudi-led war and blockade on Yemen “has helped cause the deaths of nearly half a million people,” a letter to Congress from 60 organizations in late April said that “the United States must cease supplying weapons, spare parts, maintenance services, and logistical support to Saudi Arabia.”

How is it that countless anguished commentators and concerned individuals across the USA can express justified fury at gun marketers and gun-related murders when a mass shooting occurs inside U.S. borders, while remaining silent about the need for meaningful gun control at the Pentagon?

The civilians who have died — and are continuing to die — from use of U.S. military weapons don’t appear on American TV screens. Many lose their lives due to military operations that are unreported by U.S. news media, either because mainline journalists don’t bother to cover the story or because those operations are kept secret by the U.S. government. As a practical matter, the actual system treats certain war victims as “unworthy” of notice.

Whatever the causal mix might be — in whatever proportions of conscious or unconscious nationalism, jingoism, chauvinism, racism and flat-out eagerness to believe whatever comforting fairy tale is repeatedly told by media and government officials — the resulting concoction is a dire refusal to acknowledge key realities of U.S. society and foreign policy.

To heighten the routine deception, we’ve been drilled into calling the nation’s military budget a “defense” budget — while Congress devotes half of all discretionary spending to the military, the USA spends more on its military than the next 10 countries combined (most of them allies), the Pentagon operates 750 military bases overseas, and the United States is now conducting military operations in 85 countries.

Yes, gun control is a great idea. For the small guns. And the big ones.

Norman Solomon is the national director of RootsAction.org and the author of a dozen books including Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America’s Warfare State, published this year in a new edition as a free e-book. His other books include War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death. He was a Bernie Sanders delegate from California to the 2016 and 2020 Democratic National Conventions. Solomon is the founder and executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy.

IPS UN Bureau


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Restore Land to Tackle Multiple Crises

Farms surrounded by arid lands in Kangirega Village, Turkana County, Kenya (March 2022). Credit: UNCCD

By Ibrahim Thiaw
BONN, Germany, Jun 1 2022 – Land is our lifeline on this planet. Yet ‘business as usual’ in how we manage land resources puts our own future on planet Earth in jeopardy, with half of humanity already facing the impacts of land degradation.

As we mark the 50th World Environment Day, let us accelerate efforts to meet global pledges to restore by 2030 one billion degraded hectares — an area the size of the USA or China — to stem the loss of life and livelihoods and secure future prosperity for all.

We need to move fast—and together—to realize these commitments through tangible action and effective investments. In doing so, we may find that the answer to some of humanity’s biggest challenges is right beneath our feet.

It was against the backdrop of multiple global challenges, including the worst-in-40-years drought in Eastern Africa, as well as food and economic crises fuelled by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and conflicts, that 196 nations came together in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire from 9-20 May for the 15th Conference of Parties (COP15) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

At the 9 May Summit convened by Côte d’Ivoire President Alassane Ouattara, leaders adopted the Abidjan Call, which reinforces the commitment towards achieving land degradation neutrality by 2030. Simply put, this means ending land loss by avoiding, reducing and reversing the damage we do to our forests, peatlands, savannahs and other ecosystems.

The leaders’ call to action comes in response to a stark warning by the UNCCD’s flagship Global Land Outlook report that up to 40% of all ice-free land is already degraded, with dire consequences for climate, biodiversity and livelihoods. Business as usual will, by 2050, result in degradation of 16 million square kilometres (almost the size of South America), with 69 gigatonnes of carbon emitted into the atmosphere.

But it is not all doom and gloom. The report underscores that investing in large-scale land restoration is a powerful, cost-effective and viable pathway to restore our communities, economies, health and much more.

Restoring one billion hectares of degraded lands will add 50% to the global GDP, help tackle climate and biodiversity crises, boost water and food security, and chart a new path to post-pandemic recovery. It would also attenuate seemingly unrelated crises such as forced migration: land restoration would help reduce the estimated 700 million people at risk of being displaced by drought by 2030.

At the conclusion of two-week negotiations in Abidjan, countries sent a united call about the importance of healthy and productive land for securing future prosperity for all and for boosting drought resilience the world longs for.

Exacerbated by land degradation and climate change, droughts are increasing in frequency and severity, and may affect an estimated three-quarters of the world’s population by 2050, according to the Drought in Numbers 2022 report from UNCCD. Recognizing drought as a serious threat to humanity, UNCCD parties agreed to step up collaboration to explore new policies at the regional and global levels, working together towards COP16 in Saudi Arabia.

With 38 decisions taken at COP15, the Convention will be able to anticipate and act on the changes to the land that may unfold in the years to come. As one concrete example of COP15 decisions, a global database will be developed to help countries to map the exact location of the one billion hectares earmarked for restoration, and to track progress of their restoration in a systematic manner.

This will help the international community to check action against the targets at the national level. More importantly, it will help countries to make well-informed decisions.

Future-proofing land management will also help boost agricultural productivity, avoid supply chain disruptions, and withstand future environmental shocks. The US$ 2.5 billion Abidjan Legacy Programme launched by President Ouattara in Abidjan is one example of investing in long-term environmental sustainability across major value chains in Côte d’Ivoire while protecting and restoring forests and lands and improving communities’ resilience to climate change.

At this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, which came hot on the heels of UNCCD COP15, I argued for greater involvement of food and land-use sectors, which represent about 12% of global GDP and up to 40% of employment, in land restoration and drought resilience efforts.

Stronger governance for better land management

The Abidjan COP15 was transformational in many ways, not least of them a growing recognition of the essential role of good governance for effective land restoration and drought resilience.

COP15 agreed on policy actions to enable land restoration through stronger tenure rights, gender equality, land use planning and youth engagement to draw private sector investment in conservation, farming and land use practices that improve the health of the land.

Take gender equality, for instance. Although women make up nearly half of all agricultural workforce, they only hold 18% of the associated land titles in sub-Saharan Africa. Furthermore, women are twice more affected by desertification, land degradation and drought compared to men, according to a new UNCCD study released at the Gender Caucus at COP15.

Yet, when empowered, women can be at the forefront of global land restoration efforts, as examples from around the world—from Nepal to Jordan to Paraguay—demonstrate. Decisions taken at COP15 seek to promote women’s involvement in land management and restoration efforts by strengthening their rights and facilitating access to finance.

UNCCD is a trailblazer among international environmental treaties in acknowledging that we cannot reverse land degradation without secure land tenure. People with secure tenure know that when they invest in the land, they will reap the benefits; they are more motivated to protect the long-term health and productivity of their land.

Secure tenure is not only important to small-scale farmers, indigenous peoples and local communities—it is just as important to those making large-scale investments in land degradation neutrality and restoration. Otherwise, it can become a source of tension or conflict over natural resources. At COP15, countries agreed to build on existing guidance on land tenure to ensure the inclusive and meaningful participation of all actors in efforts to combat land degradation.

Youth makes up most of the population in countries affected by desertification, land degradation and drought. And in many of these countries, land-based sectors are the mainstay of the economies. That’s why the Youth Forum at COP15 focused on supporting land-based youth entrepreneurship, securing decent land-based jobs, and strengthening youth participation in the Convention. Beyond better land stewardship, it could go also go a long way towards reducing social unrest resulting from high youth unemployment rates.

Addressing climate, biodiversity and land crises together

Climate change, biodiversity loss and land degradation pose existential threats to nature and humanity. The linkages between them have been clearly established. Our actions to address them must also be interlinked and coordinated as there is no pathway to achieving our goals on climate, biodiversity or land without tackling them together.

UNCCD is one of the three global treaties that emerged from the Rio Earth Summit 30 years ago, along with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

As the international community gathers in Stockholm this week to mark the 50th anniversary of the landmark United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, the three Rio Conventions issue a joint call to make this decade one of urgent action, restoration and transformation, uniting the land, biodiversity and climate agendas for the survival of people and the planet.

This World Environment Day with its theme “Only One Earth”, let us have the same sense of urgency and solidarity that guided our predecessors at the historical Stockholm 1972 conference. Fifty years on, this truth still holds — this planet is our only home.

IPS UN Bureau


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The following article is part of a series to commemorate World Environment Day June 5

The writer is United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary, United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)