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Good morning, this is Kasmira, and today we’re jumping a couple of months ahead to the Geneva Health Forum, which will be gathering health professionals to address some of the most critical challenges, and solutions, facing our health and that of the planet – and it’s clear the two are inseparable.

Back to this week’s agenda, the UK and the United Nations on Thursday will seek to raise a record $4.4bn to help alleviate poverty and hunger in Afghanistan. And staying in Afghanistan, our colleague Tooba Neda Safi looks back on her own painful memories of when, aged 16, the Taliban banned girls from going to secondary school, as they did again last week.

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Kasmira Jefford


On our radar

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A debate during the 2021 Geneva Health Forum, held online. (Credit: Geneva Health Forum)

⚕️ Geneva Health Forum 2022: from pandemic response to planetary health. The Covid-19 pandemic has shed light on how human health and ‘planetary health’ are inextricably linked - through deforestation, urbanisation and climate change, all of which increase future disease risks. This year’s Geneva Health Forum explores these and other critical global health challenges, as well as emerging solutions, just ahead of the World Health Assembly.

Geneva Solutions (EN)

💰United Nations and UK to co-host Afghanistan pledging conference. The United Kingdom will co-host an international aid conference with the United Nations on Thursday, amid escalating poverty and hunger in the crisis-hit country since the Taliban took power last year. The virtual pledging conference is seeking to raise $4.4bn for Afghanistan. This comes as the total humanitarian ask for 2022 to help 183 million people in need in 63 countries stood at a record $41bn at the beginning of the year, although this figure is now likely to be much higher since the outbreak of war in Ukraine. At a pledging conference for war-torn Yemen earlier this month, just $1.3bn of the $4.2bn requested was raised.

Reuters (EN)

In case you missed it

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🗳️ Gilbert Houngbo elected as first African director general of ILO. The International Labour Organization (ILO) on Friday elected Gilbert Houngbo, a development expert and former prime minister of Togo, as its next director-general, making him the first African to be appointed to the role in the organisation’s 100-year history. Beating four other hopefuls to the post, Houngbo, says he most likely represented the candidate with the most well-rounded CV after working across the UN system, the private sector and the Togolese government. He is currently president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and will be swapping Rome for Geneva when his job starts in October.

Geneva Solutions (EN)

Here's what else is happening

Opinion of the day

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📚‘I was banned from school under the last Taliban regime. These girls’ sadness is also mine’. Journalist Tooba Neda Safi was 16 when the Taliban, in 1996, banned girls from going to school in Afghanistan. Last Wednesday, she woke up to images on the news of a girl crying in front of the school gates, just as she had. “The Taliban have taken the issue of girls' education hostage and want to extort it from the international community. They have never considered it as a human right that has to be restored,” she writes.

Geneva Solutions (EN)

Also on the agenda

📌 28 March | The art of tact and the art of the written word : poetry and diplomacy. Poet and diplomat Indran Amirthanayagam will travel from Washington, DC, for a unique dialogue with scholars of Gabriela Mistral, Octavio Paz, Elena Văcărescu and Paul Claudel. The evening, at the Palais des Nations but available to watch online via the link below, will feature poems from the past and present that combine diplomatic tact and poetic minutiae.

UN Geneva (EN)

📌 31 March - 2 April | International Cooperation Forum Switzerland 2022. Switzerland will this week hold the first edition of the International Cooperation Forum on climate change. The two-day event, to be hosted by Swiss president Ignazio Cassis, will address pressing issues for international cooperation in the face of climate change, including the current challenges posed by the Ukraine crisis and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Department of Foreign Affairs (EN)

For more events, visit the Genève Internationale website.

Before you go

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