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Good morning, it's Kasmira, and today we're covering the brewing debt crisis facing many poor countries and why, according to UN experts, credit ratings agencies are not playing their part.

The Swiss sustainable finance sector is throwing its weight behind gender lens investing with a new initiative launched this morning. And the WTO is not the only organisation in town with a new female chief.

And not forgetting of course that today is International Women's Day. Who better to hear from than an impressive woman fighting for change in Afghanistan: Zarifa Ghafari, who'll also be speaking at FIFDH this week.

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Kasmira Jefford


Sustainable business & finance news

Photo article

China granted some debt relief to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in January 2021. The country has been grappling with the coronavirus pandemic, a new Ebola outbreak, as well as alarming levels of violence in the eastern Beni territory where hundreds of thousands have been displaced.(Credit: Keystone/AP Photo/Adrienne Surprenant)

💰🌍 Credit ratings agencies, debt crises, and human rights. At a Human Rights Council session last week, UN independent expert Yuefen Li called for urgent reforms of credit ratings agencies, which she said were failing to perform their role in helping countries avert looming debt crises. The mounting debt burden of vulnerable countries is contributing to extreme poverty and undermining human rights.

Geneva Solutions (EN)

♀️🔎 Switzerland sharpens focus on gender lens investing. A Swiss initiative has been launched focused on growing investments that contribute to improving the lives of women and girls. The Gender Lens Initiative Switzerland (GLIS), initiated by Sustainable Finance Geneva (SFG) aims to boost the country's contribution to advancing gender equality.

Geneva Solutions (EN)

🇯🇲 👩🏾 From Jamaica to the world. As the WTO's new director-general Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala took up her new post last week the organisation's sister agency, the International Trade Centre, also welcomed a new chief recently: Pamela Coke-Hamilton. In this interview, she talks about growing up in Jamaica, her career in international trade, and how Geneva has and hasn’t changed.

UN Today (EN)

Here's what else is happening

On International Women's Day

Photo article

Zarifa Ghafari (Illustration: FIFDH)

Zharifa Ghafari: Taking strides for women’s rights in Afghanistan. Elected mayor of the Afghan municipality of Maidan Shar in 2018 at the age of 26, Ghafari is one of the country's few female mayors and has been on the front lines in fighting for women's rights and education in Afghanistan. Due to speak at Geneva’s International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights on Friday, Ghafari says she wants to give a voice to the women in her country and to share her hopes for “a brighter and better future” for Afghanistan, especially in light of current peace talks.

Geneva Solutions (EN)

Next on the agenda

📍 6 March - 17 April | Sustainability Week Switzerland Over the next two months, events dedicated to bringing sustainability into all aspects of Swiss higher education institutions will be held in cities across Switzerland. Geneva's "sustainability week" will take place from 22-26 March.

Sustainability Week (EN)

📍 8 March | Countering the regressive impact of COVID-19 on gender equality. This online panel discussion, featuring an impressive line-up of female politicians, business, and union representatives from different countries worldwide, will pay tribute to the efforts made by women in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.


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