Greenhouse gas concentrations are at their highest levels in 2 million years, the UN reveals, and emissions continue to rise. 2011-2020 was the warmest decade of all. As a consequence of climate change, we are also seeing the collapse of biodiversity and the growing acidification of oceans – and it does not stop there. This phenomenon is directly affecting people’s health, safety, housing and ability to grow food – and it is even more concerning when we observe it through intersectional lenses.
In addition, the Covid-19 pandemic not only exposed our social and economic systematic weaknesses but unleashed a human development crisis. The pandemic hit hard on the fundamental tripod of human development – income, health, and education – and inequality has sky-rocketed. For some of these elements, current conditions regressed to levels of deprivation and contraction that were last observed in the mid-1980s.
For the ninth year in a row, global peace has also deteriorated due to decreasing levels of societal safety and security, increasing ongoing domestic and international conflict, and increasing levels of militarisation. In the words of UNDP, this is a moment where “social mobility is down, and social instability is up” – as a consequence, collective action becomes harder in such a context of social fragmentation.