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Hello, this is Kasmira with your April roundup. It’s been a month scattered with milestones, second-chance talks, and anniversaries.

As Covax, the vaccine sharing scheme, turns one, questions are still pending over whether it can deliver on its mission to distribute 2 billion vaccines this year. After a tough year of supply, logistics and funding hurdles, two candles on the cake would be an important feat for global vaccine solidarity - if countries are willing to share their slices. Success hinges on international support.

In other milestones, US president Joe Biden on Thursday will mark 100 days in office - a decades-old standard used to judge presidents - and the report cards are in. For the International Geneva committee, it’s clear there has been a change of tone - from human rights to global health and climate - with the recent virtual climate summit providing the latest platform for the US to put its renewed international cooperation efforts on show.

Also this month, new rounds of talks were launched to resolve long-standing conflicts - but with new complications, both for Cyprus and reviving the Iran nuclear deal. We cover these below along with other news and opinion pieces from your colleagues in the International Geneva community. See you back here for more milestones next month.

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Kasmira Jefford


This week in International Geneva

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Greek Cyrpiot protester takes part in a march for peace in divided capital Nicosia, Cyprus, April 24.(AP Photo / Petros Karadjias)

🤝UN talks seek ‘common ground’ for Cyprus future. Talks between Cyprus’ opposing factions in the north and south began in Geneva on Tuesday to “determine whether common ground exists” on the island's future nearly four years after previous peace negotiations collapsed. The division of Cyprus has stoked tensions between Turkey and Greece ever since the split over four decades ago. However, with neither side seeming willing to compromise, hopes for a solution in the near future appear slim.

by Pip Cook (EN)

Here's what else has happened

💵 ⚕️ Bill Gates is ready to spend more on global health - governments should too. One of the most powerful voices in global health - and the World Health Organization’s (WHO) largest private donor - the philanthropist’s dominant presence has raised concerns over the influence of private actors in public health institutions. Speaking at the Graduate Institute, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Chris Elias says countries should step up their contributions to the UN health agency.

by Pokuaa Oduro-Bonsrah (EN)

⚖️🤝Weighing in on a new treaty on pandemics. The WHO and the European Union recently announced their intention to produce a new global treaty on pandemics. Writing for Geneva Solutions, Jagan Chapagain, secretary general of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, puts forward a case for what this agreement should look like.

Geneva Solutions (EN)

☢️ Is the Iran nuclear deal back on track? Indirect talks between the United States and Iran aimed at salvaging the landmark 2015 nuclear deal have been underway in Vienna since early April, with a third round resuming this week. Marc Finaud, head of arms proliferation at the Geneva Center for Security Policy, gives his views on whether serious differences can be resolved.

Geneva Solutions (EN)

🦑 The race to write the rulebook for mining the ocean floor. Deep-sea mining in international waters remains off-limits. But with efforts now underway by members of the UN's International Seabed Authority to turn draft regulation into law, and growing demand for mineral-rich technologies, scientists and environmentalists worldwide and in the international Geneva community are raising the alarm over the future of this still little-known and unexplored ecosystem.

by Kasmira Jefford (EN)


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Francesco Pisano, Director of the UN Library and Archives Geneva.

🎧 'This body of knowledge is the Silicon Valley of multilateralism'. With over 1.7 million books and tens of thousands of digital references, the UN Library at the Palais des Nations is a historical institution. More than a source of documentation, it plays an essential role in the history of multilateralism. In this Geneva Solutions podcast, UN Library director Francesco Pisano reflects on its stronghold of knowledge and transition into the digital age.

by Zelda Chauvet (EN)

Number of the month

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Ivory Coast is the second country in the world after Ghana to receive vaccines acquired through the United Nations-backed COVAX initiative with a delivery of 504,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine made by the Serum Institute of India. (AP Photo/ Diomande Ble Blonde)

💉 The life of Covax. As the vaccine-sharing scheme marked its first anniversary last Friday, the head of the WHO warned that vaccines still remained out of reach for the poorest countries. Launched in April last year to distribute Covid vaccines to low-income countries, Covax has shipped 48 million doses to 120 countries so far and aims to secure 2 billion doses by the end of 2021. The scheme has however faced setbacks including production glitches, a lack of support from wealthy nations, and a recent move by India, the biggest vaccine manufacturer, to curb its exports.

Reuters (EN)

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