Once considered one of the best in the region, Sri Lanka’s healthcare system is ailing, laid low by the exodus of hundreds of doctors and, with patients left languishing, experts are calling on the government to act to stop the loss of talent. More than 1,700 medical officers — an umbrella term for doctors and other healthcare professionals — have left Sri Lanka over the past two years, according to the Government Medical Officers’ Association trade union, which shared data exclusively with the Thomson Reuters Foundation. This compares to the departure of around 200 doctors and other health workers in 2021. The latest exodus has dealt a heavy blow to the island nation’s much-praised universal health system on which most of its 22mn people depend. “It is very sad to see the lack of doctors. The little support we had is slipping away,” said Srimal Nalaka, 47, who had been waiting for six hours for his monthly diabetes checkup at a state-run hospital south of the commercial capital Colombo. “The economic crisis has hit us all, but for those of us with health issues the impact is even more severe,” said Nalaka, who has a diabetic ulcer on his right leg. The worst may be yet to come. A health ministry report, also shared exclusively with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, showed that 4,284 doctors obtained “Good Standing” certificates — considered mandatory to verify an individual’s professional status to foreign regulators — from the Medical Council between June 2022 and July 2023, indicating that they too are thinking about leaving. The same report also revealed that more than 5,000 doctors had acquired medical licences from Britain, Australia and countries in the Middle East, and a similar number have reserved slots for foreign licensing exams this year and in 2025. More than 2mn Sri Lankans have left the country to work or study abroad since 2022, when the country defaulted on its debt and sank into its worst financial crisis in more than seven decades. And while the economy is clawing its way back towards recovery, the healthcare system is still poorly, with ever-longer waiting lists and a lack of access to quality treatment and medicines in a country with 1.2 doctors per 1,000 people, according to World Bank data from 2021. Chamil Wijesinghe, a GMOA spokesman, said hospitals were already severely strained before the financial crisis. “We are urging the president and the government to take greater responsibility for the lives of innocent citizens. Urgent measures and policies are needed to retain the existing doctors,” said Wijesinghe. “But the government is comatose.” The federal health ministry did not respond to requests for comment on the concerns raised by GMOA. President Ranil Wickremesinghe has already put forward the idea of seeking compensation from the countries that recruit Sri Lankan doctors. Last August, he asked the government to raise the issue with the World Health Organisation. When asked about progress on the president’s request, Palitha Mahipala, the secretary to the ministry of health, said the issue had to be handled with careful consideration and diplomacy. Last year, Wickremesinghe also reversed an earlier order that reduced the retirement age of public employees, including doctors, from 65 to 60 to ease staff shortages. And in January, the cabinet approved his proposal to double the Disturbance, Availability & Transport allowance for doctors. This action, however, triggered a strike in February after trade unions unsuccessfully lobbied for the allowance to be extended to other healthcare workers as well. The challenge of keeping talented, expensively trained medical professionals at home is not unique to Sri Lanka. In many African countries, notably Nigeria and Zimbabwe, poor pay and difficult working conditions have driven doctors and nurses to seek employment abroad. Zimbabwe’s Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga has even announced plans to criminalise the foreign recruitment of health staff, and says it is wrong that Zimbabwe spends vast sums training health workers only for them to be poached by richer countries. In Sri Lanka, where medical studies are publicly funded, it takes seven years to become a medical officer and up to 15 years to train as a specialist doctor. Wijesinghe of the GMOA said the authorities have to make it more attractive for doctors to stay. The GMOA presented an eight-point proposal to the president last October, with the key focus on improving salaries, benefits, incentives, and facilities for doctors. In the meantime, low-income households are suffering most because they cannot afford private care or increasingly expensive medicines. For R.S. Siva, a 72-year-old retired engineer, the lack of specialist doctors at a government hospital meant he had to dip into his savings to pay for private care to have an operation on a small bowel obstruction. “If I had no savings for a medical emergency like this, I wouldn’t be alive today,” he said. “The daily rate for the private room was 100,000 rupees ($319), and the doctor charged Rs500,000 ($1,596) for the surgery alone,” he said as he recovered at home. For many Sri Lankans, these costs are prohibitive, leaving them dependent on the public sector, which provides nearly 95% of in-patient care and about 50% of out-patient care. Aside from the immediate effects on staffing at hospitals, the brain drain will also hit education. Medical experts warn that with more skilled healthcare workers flying out, there will be significant gaps in mentoring and training medical students. A health ministry panel, which compiled the report on those leaving, found that fewer doctors were taking part in selection examinations for postgraduate training, meaning there would be fewer consultants in the future. It added that a “considerable number” of doctors, who had initially enrolled in post-graduate training programmes, had dropped out of their courses. Sirimal Abeyratne, the head of the department of economics at the University of Colombo, said there was no quick fix to the brain drain and its disproportionate effects on the poorest. “No overnight policy changes can solve this issue. In Sri Lanka, the exit door is open, but our entrance is closed. Our labour market is not open to foreign talent,” he said. Nalaka, who runs a small grocery store, said doctors should give their country a second chance. “I have to choose between putting food on the table and buying insulin,” he said. “We need solutions that keep our doctors here, caring for us at home.” — Thomson Reuters Foundation
Former US President George W Bush believed he had a “sense of his soul”. British ex-premier Tony Blair thought he deserved a place at the “top table”. And French President Emmanuel Macron invited him for hours of talks at his official holiday residence.For much of President Vladimir Putin’s two-and-a-half decades in power, Western leaders thought they understood the strategy of the Kremlin leader and argued that Russia merited a place as an international partner.But that approach was blown apart two years ago on February 24, 2022, when Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine, consigning to a distant past images such as that of the smiling Russian leader bounding up the steps of Macron’s Mediterranean Fort de Bregancon residence in August 2019 bearing flowers for the French leader’s wife Brigitte.While Putin failed in his initial aim of taking key Ukrainian cities in a lightning offensive that first winter, he now appears increasingly content, seeing off Ukraine’s much-anticipated summer 2023 counter-offensive and controlling key territories in the south and east of the country.In a symbolic gain for Moscow, the eastern Ukrainian town of Avdiivka fell to Russian troops last week after months of battle.And in a devastating blow to the Russian opposition, Putin’s top critic Alexei Navalny died in his Arctic prison last week. His team says he was murdered.“It’s true to say that President Putin is confident that he can outlast the West and so it’s incumbent on us to show the resolve to prove him wrong,” said a senior Western official, asking not to be named.Putin had made increasingly bullish statements, declaring in December that Ukraine “does not have a future” and – in a recent interview with controversial right-wing US talk show host Tucker Carlson – that a strategic defeat of Russia is “impossible by definition”.Western leaders have responded by insisting that defeating Russia in its war on Ukraine is the only option, with Macron declaring last month that Europe’s priority must be to “not let Russia win”.Analysts say only drastically ramped up Western support for Ukraine as it runs out of munitions can change the momentum.But even this is far from certain, as US legislators hesitate over a new aid package, Putin awaits a possible Donald Trump victory in this year’s US presidential election and cracks emerge in Europe.“It is a race by both sides to rebuild their offensive capacity,” said Andrea Kendall-Taylor, senior fellow at the Washington-based Center for New American Security (CNAS).“If the Western funding does not come through, if Russia gains some sort of advantage, then they have the possibility of making some more gains,” she said.“The momentum has shifted.”Kendall-Taylor added that if Ukraine can hold its lines in 2024, it could pressure Russia more in 2025 if new resources come through.“From Putin’s perspective, 2024 is quite critical,” she said.Ukraine is deeply unsettled by the prospect of a return to the White House of Trump, who famously declared in 2023 he would “have that war settled in one day, 24 hours” if elected again.Far-right parties, which commentators fear would advocate a softer line against Russia, are on the rise in France and Germany.Tatiana Stanovaya, founder of the R. Politik consultancy, said Putin saw 2024 as a “window of opportunity” to turn the course of the war in Russia’s favour, partly due to the weaknesses in the West.“He anticipates a temporary gap in Western military support, with ammunition production expected to ramp up only by early 2025,” she said.“The US election cycle might lead to a less decisive American geopolitical strategy towards supporting Kyiv, and the European Union, facing its own internal disagreements, is unlikely to compensate for this support on its own.”But one reason for some optimism in the West may come from Russia’s own domestic weaknesses.Its economy is firmly on a war footing, there are signs of public fatigue with the duration of the conflict and it has suffered astronomical losses.So far, Western sources say 350,000 soldiers have been killed or wounded on the Russian side.
Before the shock death of her husband Alexei in a grim Arctic prison last week, Yulia Navalnaya had always played down the idea she would one day take over as leader of Russia’s opposition. But on Monday, she vowed to continue his fight.In a video released three days after his death and less than a month before Russia’s next presidential election, the 47-year-old mother-of-two alternated between rage and grief as she signalled she would try to help lead a shell-shocked opposition.“In killing Alexei, (President Vladimir) Putin has killed half of me. Half of my heart and half of my soul. But there is another half of me, and it tells me that I have no right to give in. I will continue Alexei Navalny’s work, I will continue the struggle for our country,” she said.Should she take her husband’s mantle, Navalnaya would follow a path trodden by activist widows in other parts of the world, from US civil rights campaigner Coretta Scott King to Corazon Aquino of the Philippines. Closer to home, exiled Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya stood for president reluctantly after her husband Syarhei was jailed in 2020.In a sign that some forces see Navalnaya as a possible threat, several pro-Kremlin social media accounts have begun to try to undermine her by publishing what allies say is falsified information about her life.Recording her video in a dimly-lit room, Navalnaya accused Putin of murdering her husband and made clear she wanted revenge. The Kremlin says the authorities played no role in Navalny’s death.“I call on you to share my fury. My fury, my anger, my hatred of those who dared to murder our future,” she said.Any successor of Navalny would inherit a battered opposition movement whose key figures are either dead, jailed or in exile.Many of Navalny’s supporters fled abroad after the movement was branded extremist, and those that remain inside Russia have little room for manoeuvre in a tightly-controlled political system where unauthorised protests are banned.But her statement, which included a call to oppose Russia’s war in Ukraine, garnered over 1.5mn views in three hours and nearly 50,000 comments. A social media account opened in her name on X on Monday which featured her video statement was watched 1.4mn times in the same time period, while her new account quickly gained tens of thousands of users.Unlike her husband — who always said he would not be an exile and was arrested on arrival in Russia in 2021 after returning from treatment in Germany for poisoning — she has not announced plans to go home.But if she stays abroad she risks being cast by Moscow as a foreign puppet and will find it harder to be politically relevant.‘Supporting role’Before Monday, Navalnaya had largely steered clear of public politics, stressing her role as supporting her husband and holding their family unit together despite Navalny’s bruising battle with the Russian state.While always making clear she shared his anti-Putin views, she had limited her public appearances and statements to key turning points in his life, advocating for his release and humane treatment, before retreating from public view again.Their strong feelings for one another were often on display.When in August 2023, Navalny was sentenced to an extra 19 years on top of 11-1/2 years he was already serving, he used his hands to form the shape of a heart as she looked on at him in a glass courtroom cage.An economist by education and a former bank employee, Navalnaya stood by his side for years at protests, attended court hearings, was herself detained several times, and helped Navalny survive and recover from what Western doctors said was a nerve agent poisoning attempt on his life in 2020.A graduate of the prestigious Plekhanov Russian University of Economics, she was born in Moscow. Her father Boris Ambrosimov was a notable scientist.She met her future husband while on holiday in Turkiye in 1998 and they married two years later, going on to have a daughter, Daria, and a son, Zakhar. She and Navalny were both once members of the liberal Yabloko party.Within hours of reports of Navalny’s death on Friday, she made a surprise appearance at a security conference in Germany where she told the audience Putin would be held responsible.She met US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the same Munich event and also held talks with Tsikhanouskaya, the exiled Belarus opposition leader.On Monday, she was in Brussels at a meeting of European Union foreign ministers.Moscow is watching closely.Former Kremlin adviser Sergei Markov accused Western intelligence services on Monday of trying to turn Navalnaya into a “Joan of Arc” figure, predicted she would be forgotten in time, and advised her to stay “in a quiet place”.Tatiana Stanovaya, founder of the R.Politik analysis firm, said Navalnaya’s statement was “an unambiguous bid for an independent political role” but pointed out various potential pitfalls and said it was too early to predict how she would fare.“A great deal will depend on what she has to offer. Not as the widow of a remarkable politician tortured to death, but as an independent figure,” said Stanovaya.“Will she be able to find her own political style, her content, and a team that will not alienate people? Time will tell.” — Reuters
Not for the first time, the central figure at this year’s Munich Security Conference was someone not in attendance. This year was Donald Trump’s turn.Like most participants at this annual “Davos of Defence,” I desperately hope that the presumptive Republican candidate will forever remain a former president. This is not merely out of sympathy for my American friends, who see him as a danger to the future of their republic, but also because I fear what he would do to the global order.As a European, though, I am somewhat grateful for Trump’s existence. Even if he loses the election this November, he could end up becoming the European project’s unwitting saviour. He has forced Europeans finally to rethink the core assumptions that have been hamstringing them with regard to the war in Ukraine, Europe’s own defence, and European political unity.As the war in Ukraine nears the end of its second year with no end in sight, Trump’s candidacy is focusing European minds about what victory and defeat might entail. Everyone’s ideal outcome is for Ukraine to recover all its territory. Watching the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s widow, Yulia Navalnaya, take the stage in Munich hours after learning of her husband’s death, it was impossible not to recoil at the thought of giving Vladimir Putin even one square inch of Ukraine. But as the war of attrition grinds on, it makes less and less sense to consider the matter only in territorial terms.After all, an even bigger threat to Ukraine than territorial losses would be a Trump peace plan that both cedes territory and demilitarises the country, thus leaving it condemned to a perilous state of neutrality. Europeans are waking up to the fact that Ukraine can pursue its European and Western ambitions only through dual accession to Nato and the European Union. As Ivan Krastev argued recently, it may be time to start considering a “West German scenario.”Trump has also unwittingly lent urgency to the ongoing European debate about defence and security. Just this week in Munich, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen promised to hand over her country’s “entire artillery” to the Ukrainians. More broadly, Europeans have already been contributing more aid (military and otherwise) to Ukraine than the United States has. Ahead of Nato’s summit in Washington in July, 20 of the 22 EU members of the alliance (including Germany) are on track to spend at least 2% of their GDP on defence.True, most of this shift is the result of Putin’s revanchism. But Trump’s recent comments encouraging the Russians to “do whatever the hell they want” with Nato members that refuse to “pay up” have raised the ante. Europeans must not only invest more but also change how the money is spent, not least by overcoming the old psychological divisions between Nato and the EU.But perhaps Trump’s biggest contribution has been to Europe’s political unity. After he was elected in 2016, many feared the rise of an “illiberal international” that would have brought far-right populist parties in Europe into close alignment with Trump’s White House and Putin’s Kremlin. But if Trump is elected a second time, polling by the European Council on Foreign Relations (to be published soon) shows that he would not be welcomed enthusiastically in most European countries, including even Hungary.One striking consequence of the war (and of Brexit) lies in the repositioning of many right-wing parties. Most notably, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has carefully moved away from her previous Euroscepticism and made a point of cutting all of Italy’s ties with Putin. In Poland, Donald Tusk’s return to the premiership has united a traditionally sceptical electorate behind the idea of a more cohesive geopolitical Europe. — Project Syndicate
Stony-faced and resolute, Yulia Navalnaya on Monday picked up the baton from her late husband Alexei with a call to action for Russia’s opposition after years in his shadow. In a dimly lit room, her light blond hair tied in her usual bun, the 47-year-old addressed the opposition that has been left leaderless after Navalny’s death. “I call on you to stand by me,” she said in a powerful nine-minute video that gathered around two and a half million views in a few hours. Her husband has for over a decade been Putin’s most prolific critic, running against the long-time ruler and blasting the regime’s corruption. The two met on holiday in Turkiye, with both saying they fell in love immediately. A trained economist, Navalnaya gave up her job to raise the couple’s two children. But she stayed away from media spotlight, maintaining as much privacy as she could while Alexei’s political career took off. She stood by him as he galvanised mass protests in Russia, flying with him out of the country as he lay in a coma after a poisoning in 2020. Five months later, she was defiant when the couple flew back to Moscow, knowing it would land him in jail. “Waiter, bring us some drink, we’re flying home,” Navalnaya said in a video sitting next to Alexei on the plane, copying a scene from a Russian cult film. The couple were separated at passport control upon landing, the last time she saw her husband free. They briefly embraced before police took him away and she was greeted at the airport to chants of “Yulia!”. The couple often shared photographs of their family life with their children — in a stark contrast to Putin, who keeps his personal life in utter secrecy. They last saw each other in February 2022, only speaking through letters as prison visits became forbidden. She had since clung on to the hope that she would see him again even as he was given 19 years in prison and sent to the harshest possible prison. But on Friday Russian penitentiary authorities announced the Kremlin critic had died, after more than three years behind bars. Navalnaya, who was at the Munich Security Conference, spoke out shortly after the announcement. “If this is true, then I want Putin and all his entourage, Putin’s friends and his government to know: they will bear responsibility for what they did to our country, to my family, to my husband.” Hopes were finally dashed when Navalny’s team confirmed the opposition leader’s death on Saturday. “Putin killed the father of my children. Putin took away the dearest thing I had, the closest and most beloved person,” Navalnaya said on Monday. She had over the years seen her husband be arrested, poisoned, and abused. Navalny used to joke that this made her views more radical than him. “When you are not a politician but you see the darkest things against your family then, of course, it radicalises you,” Navalny had said in an interview. Navalnaya had nevertheless insisted she was primarily a mother and a wife uninterested in going into politics. But many observers were left wondering if there was anyone else to unite the divided opposition, which used to revolve around him. And after decades of resisting calls to take on a more active political role, Navalnaya agreed to pick up the torch. “The most important thing we can do for Alexei and for ourselves is to continue to fight more desperately, more fiercely than before,” she said. “I know it seems like nothing more is possible. But we all need to come together into one strong fist and use it to strike this crazed regime.”
The State of Qatar and the State of Kuwait issued yesterday a joint statement following the visit of Amir of the sisterly State of Kuwait Sheikh Meshal al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah to Doha.The statement said that based on the established historical ties and strong fraternal relations between the leaderships of the State of Qatar and the State of Kuwait and their brotherly peoples, and to further strengthen bilateral relations and the strategic partnership between them, Amir of the sisterly State of Kuwait Sheikh Meshal al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah paid a state visit to the State of Qatar on February 20, 2024.His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, and his brother, Amir of the State of Kuwait Sheikh Meshal al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah held a session of official talks at the Amiri Diwan during which they discussed relations between the two brotherly countries and ways to further develop them in all fields, recalling the important and constructive role played by the late Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah and his efforts in this field.Amir of the State of Kuwait Sheikh Meshal al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah also congratulated his brother, His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani on the State of Qatar’s assumption of the presidency of the 44th session of the Supreme Council of the Co-operation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf. The Amir of the State of Kuwait renewed congratulations on the occasion of the Qatar national team’s victory in the 2023 Asian Football Cup that was held in Doha recently.The Amir of the State of Kuwait also praised the positive reactions to the Horticultural Doha 2023 Expo, and the Qatari efforts that contributed to achieving its desired goals which will benefit the region and the world as a whole, wishing the State of Qatar every success in hosting regional and international events. His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani appreciated the constant support of the Government of the State of Kuwait to the success of the activities and events hosted by the State of Qatar.The two sides praised the growth of trade relations and bilateral investments as the volume of trade exchange between the State of Qatar and the State of Kuwait until October 2023 reached $1.94bn. They stressed the importance of expanding the horizons of co-operation and economic partnership between them, achieving integration between the opportunities available in both countries, and exploring and developing economic opportunities in light of Qatar Vision 2030 and Kuwait Vision 2035.The two sides welcomed Qatari and Kuwaiti investors and companies’ expansion of their business in the two countries and taking advantage of the opportunities available in the giant projects in all sectors.The two sides also expressed their aspiration to the convening of the 6th session of the Qatar-Kuwait Joint Higher Co-operation Committee scheduled to be held this year in Doha, and to working on implementing the agreements, memorandums of understanding and joint programmes that were agreed upon.The two sides noted the close co-operation between them in political, military, security, economic, cultural, scientific and sports fields, and other areas of joint co-operation.On the defence and security side, the two sides affirmed their keenness to strengthen defence co-operation in all fields and develop strategic relations and partnerships to protect the security and stability of the two countries and the region. They praised the level of security co-operation and co-ordination existing between the two countries and stressed their desire to enhance co-operation in topics of common interest, including: combating crimes in all its forms, combating drugs, border security, combating extremism, hate speech and terrorism, and spreading a culture of moderation and tolerance in order to achieve security and stability in the two brotherly countries.The two sides discussed the progress of joint GCC co-operation and the outstanding achievements to meet the aspirations of the citizens of the GCC countries towards greater interconnection, co-operation and integration. They stressed the importance of maintaining the cohesion, solidarity and unity of the GCC countries and intensifying efforts to complete the components of economic unity and the joint defence and security systems, in a way that guarantees the stability of the countries of the Council, strengthens its regional and international role, and achieves the lofty goals of this blessed system.The two sides discussed the latest regional developments and their repercussions on inter-Arab relations, regional security and stability, and stressed the importance of Iraq’s respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the State of Kuwait and adherence to bilateral and international pledges and agreements and all relevant United Nations resolutions, especially Security Council Resolution No. 833 (1993) on the demarcation of the land and sea borders between the State of Kuwait and Iraq, and the importance of completing the demarcation of the maritime borders between the two countries beyond maritime mark 162.The two sides also stressed the importance of Iraq’s commitment to the agreement regulating maritime navigation in the Khor Abdullah waterway. The agreement was signed between the State of Kuwait and Iraq on April 29, 2012, before being ratified by both countries to take effect on December 5, 2013, and jointly deposited with the United Nations on December 18. 2013. Both sides rejected Iraq’s unilateral cancellation of the 2008 security swap protocol and its map approved in the joint plan to ensure the safety of navigation in Khor Abdullah signed between the two sides on December 28, 2014, which included a clear and specific mechanism for amendment and cancellation.The two countries also renewed support for Security Council Resolution No. 2,107 (2013), which requests the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) to strengthen, support, and facilitate efforts related to searching for missing Kuwaitis and third-country nationals and determining their fate or returning their remains within the framework of the Tripartite Commission and the sub-technical committee emanating from it, under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross, and returning the Kuwaiti property, including the national archives.They stressed the importance of the Security Council’s continued follow-up of the missing Kuwaitis and third-country nationals and the missing Kuwaiti property, including the National Archives, through the continued preparation of periodic reports submitted by the UN Secretary-General on the latest developments in the two issues, and the UNAMI efforts in this regard, pursuant to paragraph 4 of Security Council resolution 2107 (2013). They called on Iraq and the UN to make every effort to reach a final solution for all these suspended issues.The two sides also stressed that the Durra field is entirely located within the State of Kuwait’s marine borders and that the natural resources in the submerged area adjacent to the Kuwaiti-Saudi divided zone, including the entire Durra field, are jointly owned by the State of Kuwait and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in accordance with the provisions of international law and based on the agreements concluded and currently in force between the two countries, and that no third other party has rights to these resources.With regard to regional affairs, the two sides discussed the latest developments in Palestine and the occupied Arab territories, and expressed their deep concern over the humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip, and the brutal war that claimed thousands of defenceless civilians, including children, women and the elderly, and destroyed vital facilities, places of worship and infrastructure as a result of the blatant attacks by Israel, the occupying power.The two countries stressed the need for the international community, especially the Security Council, to assume its responsibilities to stop military operations in the Palestinian territories and protect civilians in accordance with international law and international humanitarian law, and called for pressure on Israel, the occupying power, to stop its aggression and prevent attempts to impose forced displacement on Palestinians from the Gaza Strip, which is a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law and international laws.The two sides also stressed the need to enable the United Nations and international humanitarian organisations to carry their duties of providing humanitarian aid and relief to the Palestinian People.They also called for intensifying efforts to arrive at a comprehensive and just solution to the Palestinian cause in accordance with the two-state solution, the Arab Peace Initiative, and the relevant international legitimacy resolutions, guaranteeing the Palestinian people’s right to establish their own independent state on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.The two sides also welcome the International Court of Justice (ICJ)’s ruling issued on January 26, 2024 which calls on the Israeli occupation to take all measure set by the Genocide Convention to prevent a genocide against the Palestinian people. They followed with deep concern the decisions of some states to suspend the funding of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) based on accusations against some of its employees, underscoring the Agency’s important vital, and humanitarian role in providing services and meeting the basic needs of 5.7mn Palestinian refugees.Both sides called on the international community to continue to support Palestinian refugees, particularly in light of the continued Israeli occupation’s aggression on the Gaza Strip, adding that suspending funds will deepen the refugee’s suffering.They renewed both states’ firm position on supporting the brotherly Palestinian people, including supporting UNRWA due to it being a main pillar of stability in the region and due to the importance of its noble work and the provision of humanitarian services to Palestinian refugees.The Kuwaiti side praised Qatari mediation efforts to maintain international peace and security, particularly with regards to the Palestinian prisoners exchange and allowing the entry of relief aid to the Gaza Strip, in addition to Doha’s co-ordination with multiple sisterly and friendly states, the last of which was the Qatari-French co-ordination in January 2024 to allow medicines and medical equipment into the Gaza Strip, receiving the State of Kuwait’s interest and praise as they correspond to Kuwaiti efforts since the beginning of the aggression on the Gaza Strip, when Kuwait established an airlift to the brothers in Gaza.Concerning Yemen, the two sides stressed the importance of reaching a comprehensive political solution to the Yemen crisis, in reference to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Initiative for Yemen, its executive mechanisms, the Yemen comprehensive National Dialogue’s, and the United Nations resolutions, including Resolution 2,216, expressing total support for the efforts of the United Nations and the regional efforts of the sisterly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the sisterly Sultanate of Oman aiming to end the Yemeni crisis and meet the aspirations of the Yemen people for peace, stability, and growth.As for the navigation in the Red Sea, the two sides asserted the need to uphold the security and stability of the Red Sea, in respect for the right of navigation in accordance with the provisions of international law and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982, which maintains the interests of the entire world.At the conclusion of the visit, the Amir of the State of Kuwait Sheikh Meshal al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah expressed his gratitude to His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani for the warm reception and generous hospitality that he and the accompanying delegation received.His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani wished good health and wellness to the Amir of the State of Kuwait Sheikh Meshal al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah and the brotherly Kuwaiti people further development under his wise leadership.
The Greenhouse Gas Protocol – which provides the most widely recognised accounting standards for greenhouse gas emissions – categorises GHG emissions into three ‘scopes.’Scope 1 covers direct emissions from owned or controlled sources. Scope 2 covers indirect emissions from the purchase and use of electricity, steam, heating and cooling.Scope 3 emissions are those produced by a company’s customers and supply chain. They typically account for more than 80% of a company’s carbon footprint.When asset managers first made commitments to align their portfolios with net-zero emissions, they mostly skirted the thorny issue of Scope 3.That’s no longer possible. A wave of regulation and public scrutiny is pushing investors to face what a unit of London Stock Exchange Group calls “one of the most vexing problems in climate finance.”The urgency comes as regulators from the European Union, Japan, the UK and elsewhere signal mandatory Scope 3 disclosures are on the horizon for corporates.The US Securities and Exchange Commission also has discussed whether big emitters should be required to disclose their Scope 3 emissions.The Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change says: “Without recognising the Scope 3 emissions of a company, it isn’t possible to fully understand and assess its contribution to climate change.”FTSE Russell, the indexes and benchmark unit of LSEG, calls this the “Scope 3 Conundrum.”Incorporating value-chain emissions is “indispensable to a clear-eyed assessment of climate risks for companies,” but integrating Scope 3 data with portfolio analysis and investment decisions is “often hobbled” by the complexity of Scope 3 accounting.That complexity is caused by low disclosure rates, variable data quality and poor comparability, says the report.FTSE Russell has found that just 45% of the 4,000 medium to large-sized publicly traded companies in the FTSE All-World Index disclose Scope 3 data, and less than half of those do so for the most material-emissions categories in their sector.When investors in the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative set targets to align their portfolios with net-zero emissions by 2050, they are only required to take into account Scope 3 emissions to “the extent possible.”Many of the asset managers in the $57tn initiative say they intend to add Scope 3 as the availability and quality of emissions data improves.The share of the global economy covered by independently verified pledges to cut emissions surged in 2022 as companies faced with climate change and greenwashing concerns sought a stamp of approval from the UN-backed Science Based Targets initiative.Companies with targets or commitments represented 34% of the global economy, by market capitalization, SBTi said in a new report that looks at 2022. That was up from 28% from a year earlier and was driven by a record 87% increase in validations to 1,097, more than the previous seven years combined.Investors are pressuring companies to validate their targets and to show progress amid evidence of inflated and misleading claims. Measuring Scope 3 emissions has several benefits. For most businesses and public bodies, the majority of their GHG emissions and cost reduction opportunities are outside their own operations.For sure, addressing Scope 3 emissions can help advance an organisation’s decarbonisation and sustainability journey.But one problem is that the most widely used voluntary emissions reporting standard, the GHG Protocol, was not originally designed with investors in mind.The protocol was devised in the early 2000s and divides Scope 3 into 15 categories, ranging from the emissions resulting from purchased goods and services, to business travel and the processing of sold products.And unlike Scope 1 and 2 emissions, which are derived from a company’s own activity and from purchased energy, accurately assessing Scope 3 is much more difficult.
Back in 2013, when Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny was facing bogus criminal charges, I recalled when my great-grandfather, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, compared Russia to a tub full of dough. “You put your hand down in it, down to the bottom,” and “when you first pull out your hand, a little hole remains.” But then, “before your very eyes,” the dough returns to its original state – a “spongy, puffy mass.” Navalny’s death in a remote Arctic penal colony more than a decade later proves that little has changed.The prison where Navalny died is a particularly brutal one. Nicknamed “Polar Wolf,” it is a freezing cold gulag for violent criminals. But Navalny – an anti-corruption lawyer and blogger – was not known for violence. In 2013, he was fending off trumped-up embezzlement charges, and the convictions that got him sent to Polar Wolf in 2021 were for parole violations, fraud, and contempt of court. While in prison, he accumulated more convictions on fabricated charges, including supporting extremism.Navalny’s real crime, of course, was challenging President Vladimir Putin. From leading protests against the rigged parliamentary elections of 2011 to investigating the corruption of Russia’s elites to seeking to unseat Putin (in a presidential election from which the authorities excluded him), he was relentless in his nearly two-decade-long campaign against Putin and his circle. The many legal proceedings were Stalin-style show trials – intended to give the illusion of justice, while getting a high-profile critic off of ballots and television screens. But whereas the Stalin-era trials made liberal use of the death penalty (as well as gulags), no case against Navalny, no matter how trumped up, warranted it – at least not officially.The Russian prison service claims that Navalny lost consciousness after a walk and could not be resuscitated, despite the best efforts of emergency medical workers. But Navalny did not seem “unwell” the previous day, when he took part in online court proceedings, or the day before that, when his lawyer visited him. This is not to say that Navalny’s death was definitely a direct hit, ordered by Putin himself; life at Polar Wolf would destroy anyone’s health. But, directly or indirectly, it was Putin who killed Navalny.And this was not even the first attempt. In the summer of 2020, Navalny was poisoned by the nerve agent Novichok – a Soviet creation – and was airlifted to Berlin to recover. He knew that returning to Russia would mean more politically motivated prosecutions, like those of former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky and punk-rock agitators Pussy Riot. He even knew that he could end up being killed, like Boris Nemtsov, Anna Politkovskaya, and countless others. But he chose to return to Russia to continue confronting Putin.Navalny was arrested immediately upon landing in Moscow. The protests that ensued, with tens of thousands of Russians taking to the streets to demand his release, only reinforced the Kremlin’s view of him as a threat that had to be neutralised. In the show trials that followed, no government authority dared even to use his name, referring to him instead as the “German patient.” It was like living in the Harry Potter universe, where the feared Lord Voldemort is called “he who must not be named.”When I wrote about the Navalny show trials in 2013, I suggested that Russia might have been evolving, albeit slowly. Little did I know that this period would later be remembered as “vegetarian times,” when independent media were suppressed but not banned, public protest was punished but not with long prison sentences, and a high-profile enemy of the Kremlin like Navalny could keep running an anti-corruption foundation and speaking out against injustice. But since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, the Kremlin has become carnivorous.Since the invasion, almost 300 cases have been initiated just for “discrediting the Russian armed forces.” Nowadays, all it takes to get your own show trial in Russia is to recite an anti-war poem. The tragedy of the despot is that the fight never ends. The more show trials a regime holds, the more it must hold to keep people in check. The more repression people endure, the more repression is needed to avoid a backlash. The more blood is spilled, the more blood has to be spilled.There is no end point – no finish line – for an authoritarian like Putin. He must hold onto power today, and then do it again tomorrow. It is reasonable to assume, then, that in the run-up to Russia’s next sham presidential election next month, Putin’s tolerance for dissent is at an all-time low.Yes, the election is expected to run smoothly, and Navalny’s death arguably has attracted more attention than his statements from prison ever did; it remains possible that the murder was indirect. But that same logic would have applied to the poisonings of Russian-British double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia two weeks before the 2018 presidential election. Neither victim posed an imminent threat to Putin, and their deaths attracted a lot of negative international attention. But Putin needed to send a message: enemies beware.And the dough refills the tub.— Project SyndicateNina L Khrushcheva, Professor of International Affairs at The New School, is the co-author (with Jeffrey Tayler) of In Putin’s Footsteps: Searching for the Soul of an Empire Across Russia’s Eleven Time Zones.
Even as they insist they are not dancing to Donald Trump’s tune on Nato, European leaders are singing from a song sheet designed to appeal to the former US president and his Republican supporters.Trump sparked fierce criticism from Western officials for suggesting he would not protect countries that failed to meet the transatlantic military alliance’s defence spending targets, and would even encourage Russia to attack them.At the weekend, the comments by the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination hung over the Munich Security Conference, a big annual gathering of politicians, soldiers and diplomats that is often a barometer of US-European relations.European leaders are anxious not only about Nato’s future if Trump beats incumbent President Joe Biden in November but also about a hold-up to a $60bn Ukraine aid package in the US Congress, as Republicans demand border security measures to pass the bill.Ukrainian and Western leaders say the package is vital as Kyiv’s forces struggle almost two years after Russia’s invasion began. Moscow said on Sunday it had taken full control of the devastated eastern Ukrainian town of Avdiivka.European leaders are reaching out to US lawmakers, business leaders and think tanks as part of efforts to influence the Trump camp that began even before his controversial comments a week ago.Among their arguments: Europe is spending more on defence and will do more; such spending and aid for Ukraine are worth billions to US arms firms; and protecting Europe projects US strength to China — a major focus of Trump’s foreign policy.“We Europeans must take much greater care of our own security, now and in the future,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told the conference in the luxury Bayerischer Hof hotel, attended by dozens of US lawmakers.“The willingness to do so is very great,” he declared.Scholz and other European leaders, such as Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte — the favourite to be Nato’s next boss — insisted they were getting more serious about defence because it was in their own interests, not because of Trump.But they aim to persuade Trump and his followers that sticking with Nato, as he did during his presidency despite complaining loudly, would be good for them too.“It is in the US interest to have a Nato alliance with strong allies that can reinforce US influence,” Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere told Reuters in Munich. Late last month, current Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg travelled to the US for a visit partly designed to sell the alliance and support for Ukraine to the Trump camp.He spoke at the Heritage Foundation, a Trump-friendly think tank in Washington, and visited a Lockheed Martin plant in Alabama that makes Javelin anti-tank missiles.“The money which is allocated to Ukraine, very much of that money ends up in the United States. Because they buy weapons — for example, the Javelins — from defence producers in the United States,” Stoltenberg said in Munich.Citing US concerns about China, he said: “The United States represents 25% of the world’s GDP. Together with Nato allies, we represent 50% of the world’s GDP and 50% of the world’s military might. So as long as we stand together, we are safe.”European leaders say their higher defence spending reflects a view that Russia now poses a far greater security threat.It also reflects a growing view among European governments that they will have to take more responsibility for their security in the years ahead, regardless of who wins the next US presidential election.“The US over time, I think, will be less inclined to feel that they have to fully underwrite European security,” Latvian Foreign Minister Krisjanis Karins told Reuters.Eighteen of Nato’s 31 members are expected to meet its defence spending target of at least 2% of GDP this year, up from 11 in 2023, the alliance says. Germany and France, the European Union’s biggest economies, are among those expecting to reach the goal.The US spent around 3.5% of its GDP on defence in 2023, according to Nato estimates.But defence is about much more than spending figures. The US also brings the might of a superpower, its nuclear arsenal, and a US-led command structure to Nato’s defence of Europe.How much impact the Europeans’ arguments will have on Trump and Republican lawmakers is an open question.
Though tens of millions of people are considered to be living with long Covid in some form, it’s not yet a condition about which much is known. Studies continue to try to spot patterns in its prevalence, which should eventually provide more clues as to how to combat the condition. Long Covid symptoms can include tiredness, fatigue, difficulty thinking, shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, menstrual changes and post-exertional malaise. It is in this context that a new analysis, published last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and University of Washington, in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, has found that Covid-19 is associated with quadruple the risk of developing chronic fatigue.Researchers examined the electronic health records of more than 4,500 people who had Covid-19 during 2020-2021 and more than 9,000 people who did not have the disease. They found that 9.5% of Covid-19 patients developed fatigue, one of the most common symptoms of long Covid, and that those who had been infected were 1.68 times more likely to develop fatigue than those who were not. “The high incidence rates of fatigue reinforce the need for public health actions to prevent infections, to provide clinical care to those in need, and to find effective treatments for post-acute Covid-19 fatigue,” the researchers wrote.Another finding was that post-Covid fatigue, encompassing chronic fatigue, was more common among women than men, and more common among older than younger people in an unadjusted model. It was also more prevalent among those with other medical conditions. Researchers noted that chronic fatigue diagnoses continued in the 18 months after Covid-19 detection, suggesting a “persistent effect” but also potentially indicating “a delay in diagnosing fatigue as a separate symptom or diagnosis.”For the study, researchers said they considered chronic fatigue to be a subset of fatigue,’ and noted it was not necessarily the same as myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome, or ME/CFS, which needs additional symptoms for diagnosis. They said their study criteria did, however, include diagnostic codes used for CFS. ME/CFS is an unexplained syndrome that sometimes occurs after infections and comes with severe fatigue. The condition can worsen after activity, and the CDC (US) recently estimated some 3.3mn adults had it in 2021-2022. ME/CFS has garnered increased attention in recent years as its symptoms can overlap with those of long Covid, spurring hopes for more research and insights into the illness.A new UK study published in Nature Communications should also be considered in this context. It found that some form of brain injury could be behind the symptoms reported by those with long Covid, and adapting tests and treatments to match could aid progress in tackling the condition. Analysing 203 patients hospitalised with Covid-19 or its associated symptoms, and comparing the results with 60 people without the infection, researchers noticed elevated levels of four brain injury biomarkers – key signs of biological change – in those infected with Covid-19.“Our study shows that markers of brain injury are present in the blood months after Covid-19, and particularly in those who have had a Covid-19-induced brain complication,” says neuroscientist Benedict Michael from the University of Liverpool in the UK. “This suggests the possibility of ongoing inflammation and injury inside the brain itself which may not be detected by blood tests for inflammation.” These brain complications associated with Covid-19 have ranged from mild (headaches) to potentially life-threatening (seizures, stroke, and encephalitis). As previous research has shown, the consequences can be long-lasting.
The Qatari-Kuwaiti relations have remained strong, reinforced by high-level co-ordination between the wise leaderships of both countries and their constant commitment to supporting and enhancing these relations in various fields. This has transformed the historic ties between the two nations from bilateral co-operation into a comprehensive strategic partnership and integration across various domains.The two states share relations and bonds that extend beyond the boundaries of diplomatic and geographic concepts, rooted deep in history. These ties serve as a living example of integration, solidarity, and collaboration among brothers, not only in the Arabian Gulf region but throughout the entire Arab world.The two countries are linked by distinctive relations, built upon a shared destiny, common goals, and a joint endeavour to achieve integration and interdependence in all vital areas that fulfil the aspirations of their people. This aligns with the determination of the wise political leaderships in both countries to push and elevate these relations to higher and more integrated levels.These relations witnessed extensive development in recent years, which is reflected in the convergence of perspectives between the two countries on various political and economic fronts and a shared vision on regional and international issues. Senior officials from both nations exchange visits, messages, and communications regularly, underscoring the distinguished partnership between Qatar and Kuwait and the exceptional status and high regard for Kuwait in the hearts of the Qatari, including His Highness the Amir, the government, and citizens.As an indication of the depth and uniqueness of Qatari-Kuwaiti relations, and under the guidance of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, the late Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah was honoured in the State after a vital infrastructure project was named Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor. This new route extends from the south to the north of Doha, representing a new lifeline for the roads in the country. The name expresses Qatar’s gratitude, love, and appreciation for this great Arab leader who distinguished himself with honourable positions towards his homeland, Arab brethren, and the Islamic nation worldwide, earning him the well-deserved title of ‘Amir of Humanity.’This gesture also signifies the esteemed position of this great Arab leader in the hearts of Amir of Qatar, government, and people alike. The inauguration of this corridor coincided with Qatar’s participation in celebrating the 58th National Day and the 28th Liberation Day of Kuwait.Co-operation between Qatar and Kuwait encompasses various fields, including politics, economics, trade, investment, military, security, education, tourism, and the arts. A Joint Supreme Committee was established on June 18, 2002, to create a twinning relationship between the two countries, covering all aspects of cooperation and seeking broader prospects for fraternal ties. In November 2020, the Committee held its 5th session through visual communication technology. The session reviewed bilateral co-operation, in addition to enhancing collaboration, achieving more integration in various sectors, and exchanging views on matters of mutual interest. Five MoUs were signed, focusing on encouraging direct investment, civil service affairs and administrative development, Islamic affairs, various agricultural fields, and improving the implementation, construction, and maintenance of roads.In January 2020, Kuwait signed a 15-year agreement with Qatar to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) starting from 2022 to the end of 2036. The agreement stipulates the supply of 3mn tonnes of LNG from Qatar to Kuwait’s Al-Zour LNG Import Terminal. In an indication of the strong relations between the two brotherly countries, the ‘Made in Qatar’ exhibition was held at the Kuwait International Fair in February 2020, with the participation of 220 Qatari manufacturing companies to stimulate mutual investments. On the sidelines of the expo, the Qatari-Kuwaiti Business Forum was held to enhance co-operation relations between the business sectors in the two countries.The wide participation by Qatari business sectors in the exhibition and the accompanying forum was an affirmation of the sincere desire of Qatari businessmen and companies to enter the Kuwaiti market and establish trade relations that enhance the economies of the two brotherly countries and meet the ambitions to establish joint Qatari-Kuwaiti projects that push trade and economic co-operation between the two countries forward.The Made in Qatar exhibition aimed to support national products, highlight the successes and development achieved by national industries over the past few years, support the State’s efforts aimed at supporting the industrial sector, as well as open up new foreign markets to Qatari companies and enhance bonds of strategic relations between Qatar and Kuwait.The four-day exhibition also witnessed the organisation of a number of side events, and bilateral meetings between businessmen from both sides, during which they reviewed the available investment opportunities and discussed ways to build long-term economic co-operation mechanisms between Qatari and Kuwaiti companies. Kuwait is the 12th trade partner of Qatar, and the volume of trade exchange between the two countries is witnessing continuous growth. The shipping line, which was inaugurated between Hamad Port and Kuwait’s Shuwaikh Port in August 2017, played a pivotal role in doubling the volume of trade exchange between the two countries, and provided an ideal service in transporting goods, especially food and other materials, to and from Qatar on a regular basis.The number of Kuwaiti companies that entered the Qatari market with 100% ownership increased to 170 companies, while the number of Qatari-Kuwaiti joint companies operating in the Qatari market exceeded 656 companies. The distinguished air traffic between the two countries is one of the evidence of the development of trade relations that both sides are keen to strengthen and develop.The co-operation between the two countries extended to the education sector, where many Kuwaiti students are in Qatar to receive education at various academic levels, especially undergraduate and postgraduate students in various majors and universities.Moreover, there is great military co-operation between the two countries, as the number of affiliated Kuwaiti officer students studying in Qatari military colleges reached 69 officer cadets, in addition to the participation of large numbers from various sectors of the Qatar Armed Forces in joint exercises held in Kuwait, while large numbers of the Kuwait Armed Forces participate in exercises held in Qatar.
Qatar’s ambassador to Kuwait Ali bin Abdullah al-Mahmoud said the visit of Kuwait’s Amir Sheikh Mishal al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah to Doha, the first of its kind since he assumed office in December 2023, will strengthen fraternal ties and add a new brick to the edifice of the strong relations between the two sisterly countries, which have crystallised over the years.In a statement to Qatar News Agency, the ambassador stressed that the visit will contribute to strengthening and consolidating the distinguished relations between the Qatari and Kuwaiti leaderships and pushing bilateral co-operation towards broader horizons in order to achieve the common future goals and aspirations between the two countries.This visit will witness official talks between the leaderships of the two countries, addressing ways to enhance mutual co-operation for the benefit and prosperity of their peoples, he said, adding that there will be an exchange of views on the most prominent issues and developments on both the regional and international fronts as well as topics of mutual interest. The ambassador expressed the highest appreciation and welcome for the visit of the Kuwaiti Amir, and reiterated that the visit embodies the spirit of love, solidarity and cohesion between the leaderships of the two countries and their brotherly peoples. (QNA)
Kuwaiti ambassador to Qatar Khaled Badr al-Mutairi has affirmed that Kuwait and Qatar are linked by deep-rooted historical relations with distinct characteristics, and bear common features based on the unity of destiny and purpose.In a statement to Qatar News Agency, he explained that the visit of Kuwaiti Amir Sheikh Mishal al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah to Doha carries the highest meanings of love and appreciation for the government and people of Qatar.He added that the two countries seek to achieve integration and interconnection in all vital fields that fulfil the hopes of the two brotherly peoples, indicating that these relations reflect the insistence of the two wise political leaderships to push and advance them to higher and more integrated levels.The ambassador referred to the Joint Supreme Committee that was established in 2002 in order to boost relationship between the two brotherly countries, covering all aspects of co-operation and seeking broader prospects for fraternal ties.He underlined that what brings the two countries together goes beyond the boundaries of diplomatic and geographical concepts, noting that it is a deep connection rooted in the depth of history, where the bonds of kinship between the two peoples have endured through times of joy and hardship. (QNA)
In a world where health disparities dictate life outcomes, the need for inclusive and equitable health solutions is more pressing than ever. The first convening of the Doha Global South Health Policy Initiative held this week in Doha as a partnership between the Middle East Council on Global Affairs and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, with the support of Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, marks an important moment in our collective pursuit of health equity.For many years, the dialogue around health solutions has been influenced by donors and organisations from the Global North. A sense of mistrust has eroded collaboration among the global community and this dynamic has sometimes overlooked the valuable insights and priorities of health leaders from low-and-middle-income countries. In 2021, Strive Masiyiwa, a Zimbabwean businessman and philanthropist — and now a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation trustee — said that rich countries’ behaviour during the pandemic perpetuated “a deliberate global architecture of unfairness.”Through the Doha Global South Health Policy Initiative, we aim to offer health leaders from the Global South a new platform to voice their priorities and challenges and elevate the local solutions they have identified for programme implementation.Global South health technical experts possess the knowledge and ability to significantly improve access to healthcare that, when shared and scaled, can lead to major advancements in health and development, even in the most remote and challenging environments. Investing in research, strengthening healthcare systems, and advocating for evidence-based policies are just a few examples of how we could further work together to improve health outcomes for the most vulnerable populations – and this exactly embodies the spirit of our gathering in Doha.By launching this initiative, we aim to foster a knowledge sharing environment that focuses on scalable interventions in maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH), expanding women’s healthcare services beyond MNCH, and managing the control or eradication of infectious diseases. Advancement in maternal and child health in the last decade, for instance, have led to low-cost and easy-to-implement innovations and practices that prevent and treat deadly childbirth complications such as post-partum haemorrhaging and maternal anaemia. Now, expanding access to these innovations could save up to 2mn mothers and babies globally by 2030 and 6.4mn by 2040. But this can only happen when health leaders and technical experts from all parts of the world can openly share knowledge and co-create solutions that resonate with their unique contexts.Our goal is clear: to listen and to identify and address critical health challenges in a manner that fosters significant progress in low-and-middle-income countries, aligning with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) focused on health equity and access. More than halfway to the deadline for the SDGs, the world is off track and there is an urgent need for translating our collective knowledge into tangible progress for all.Under the leadership Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the country’s ability to bring together voices from the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia creates a unique platform for deepening understanding and cooperation on health practices that can transform communities and countries. Qatar, through the Qatar Fund for Development, has played a valuable role in recent years, including through the creation of the US$2.5bn Lives and Livelihoods Fund in partnership with the Islamic Development Bank, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the Gates Foundation, which offers affordable financing to the Islamic Development Bank’s most vulnerable member countries to help them address critical needs, including combatting infectious diseases such as malaria and polio and ensuring routine immunisation.As we convene in Doha, let us remember that this is more than a meeting; it is the beginning of a movement towards a more inclusive, equitable, and healthy world. This initiative is a call to action for everyone involved in global health: governments, international organisations, the private sector, civil society, and academics. Together, we have the opportunity to forge a new path in health collaboration, one that is led by the voices and needs of the Global South. The challenges ahead are significant, but so too is our collective resolve.Tarik M. Yousef, Ph.D, is Director, Middle East Council on Global AffairsChristopher J. Elias, MD, MPH, is President, Global Development, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation