Maverick Citizen

CIVIL SOCIETY WATCH 1-7 MARCH 2021

Civil society honours forests, raises more questions about vaccines and asks poets to reflect on rights

Between 200 million and 350 million people live in or next to forests and rely on it for food, water, shelter and their livelihood. On 3 March 2021, World Wildlife Day commemorates forests and the people who rely on and protect them. (Photo: Patrick George, Gabe Wong and Ziyan Tang.)

This week, the world’s forests are honoured for all that they protect and provide. Covid-19 vaccines remain on the lips of South Africa’s civil society, as are its economic plans. And poets get the chance to share their reflections on human rights.

About 80% of all the planet’s land animals and plants inhabit forests, yet it covers just 31% of the world’s total land area. It’s estimated that between 200 million and 350 million people live in or next to forests and rely on them for water, food, shelter and their livelihoods. World Wildlife Day, on 3 March 2021, centres on the theme “Forests and Livelihoods: Sustaining People and Planet” to acknowledge the role forests play and the indigenous knowledge that can keep them safe.

The rest of the week

On Monday, 1 March, the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research will host a seminar in which Judge Dennis Davis will unpack the implications of the 2021 Budget for vaccine funding, inclusive growth and poverty reduction. Join at 4pm here.

On Tuesday, 2 March, the commissioner on the National Planning Commission in the Presidency, Professor Miriam Altman, will discuss the country’s economic progress towards the National Development Plan’s 2030 goals with Professor Danie Meyer of the University of Johannesburg and Kuben Naidoo of the South African Reserve Bank. Join here at noon. 

On Wednesday, 3 March, Corruption Watch will ask law professors what we should know about Covid-19 vaccine procurement and roll-out and how to prevent more corruption. Attend the webinar at 11AM here.

Later that day, the Gauteng Collective Action Network will launch a report on its first year of work and chart its way forward. Join the discussion here at 8am.

On Thursday, 4 March, the world focuses on World Obesity Day to raise awareness and improve understanding of the root causes of obesity. The United Nations writes:

“People with obesity are constantly shamed and blamed because many – including doctors, policymakers and others – do not fully understand the root causes of obesity, which are often a complex mixture of dietary, lifestyle, genetic, psychological, sociocultural, economic and environmental factors. It is time we break the cycle of shame and blame and re-evaluate our approach for addressing this complex global public health problem.”

For World Obesity Day an online tool has been created for advocates which illustrates detailed information about obesity in any country. Its main website also has information for the public, healthcare professionals and civil society on how to foster change. 

That morning, there will be a vaccine literacy training session for community activists and the media from 11am to 12.30pm. Dr Lydia Cairncross of the People’s Health Movement will present on how vaccines work and Marcus Low, the editor of Spotlight, will present on how to report on vaccines and the pandemic. The SECTION27 team will present a guide to pandemic jargon and Luckyboy Mkhondwane of the Treatment Action Campaign will lead the workshop. Sign up here

Later that day, experts in law and health will compare the approach of India and the US to patent law and its implications for global Covid-19 vaccine access. Register for the webinar, to take place at 4.30pm.

That evening, the Southern African Political Economy Series Trust presents an online discussion about the recent report on cartels in Zimbabwe published by Maverick Citizen. The panel, including editor Mark Heywood, will discuss the findings and implications of the report as well as the role of the international community in curbing but also profiting from the looting. Join at 5.30pm here.

Calling all poets: Monday, 8 March is the deadline to submit poems for consideration for the Time of the Writer International Festival. Poems will be performed during the festival on 21 March and published in a print and online publication. The poems must reflect on human rights in contemporary South Africa. Found out more here. MC/DM

Information pertaining to Covid-19, vaccines, how to control the spread of the virus and potential treatments is ever-changing. Under the South African Disaster Management Act Regulation 11(5)(c), it is prohibited to publish information through any medium with the intention to deceive people on government measures to address Covid-19. We are, therefore, disabling the comment section on this article in order to protect both the commenting member and ourselves from potential liability. Should you have additional information we should know about, please email [email protected]

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"Information pertaining to Covid-19, vaccines, how to control the spread of the virus and potential treatments is ever-changing. Under the South African Disaster Management Act Regulation 11(5)(c) it is prohibited to publish information through any medium with the intention to deceive people on government measures to address COVID-19. We are therefore disabling the comment section on this article in order to protect both the commenting member and ourselves from potential liability. Should you have additional information that you think we should know, please email [email protected]"

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