The Center on International Cooperation (CIC) at New York University is pleased to share our Annual Report 2020-2021, which covers the activities and achievements of CIC and the Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies from October 2020 through September 2021.
The COVID-19 pandemic, and efforts to control its spread—including lockdowns, social distancing measures, and border closures—have led to unprecedented health, humanitarian, and socioeconomic shocks worldwide. These shocks, in turn, are raising the likelihood that risks for many forms of violent conflict—crime, armed conflict, violent extremism—may increase. Because it is crucial for the United Nations (UN) to adopt a conflict-sensitive lens in all relevant operations across the humanitarian, development, and peacebuilding (HDP) nexus to prevent an increasingly volatile situation from deteriorating further, this policy brief makes recommendations for strengthening implementation of conflict sensitivity based on extensive interviews with UN staff across the nexus.
Across the globe, particularly in urban areas, the gap between the demand and supply of affordable and adequate housing is growing rapidly. This is particularly the case on the African continent, which is currently undergoing the most rapid urban transition recorded in our history. Housing, particularly when it constitutes a home, is the cornerstone of our social, economic, and emotional lives. Having a roof over one’s head epitomizes stability and security for an individual as well as their family. The current COVID-19 pandemic gave housing a new level of importance and also exacerbated inequalities between those with and without adequate housing. In this context, access to affordable and adequate housing is increasingly being recognized not only as a necessity, but rather as a fundamental human right.
In 2017, the Congo Research Group (CRG) published a comprehensive study of companies owned by members of former President Joseph Kabila’s family, using publicly available documents to show their involvement in over 80 corporations around the world. This gave them ownership over 450 miles of diamond concessions along the Angolan border, contracts worth millions working on mining projects, shares in the largest mobile phone company, and vast tracts of farmland. The contrast between the family’s relative poverty before it came to power in 1997 and this wealth is striking. However, it was difficult to as-sess the value of these assets or the overall wealth of the family and its members, or to prove any crimes beyond conflicts of interest.
COVID-19 has provided a sharp reminder of the key role citizens’ perceptions and attitudes play in shaping the outcomes of public policy. This experience is changing the way governments use data to combat the pandemic and set priorities for the recovery.