Forced and coerced sterilizations, far from being a relic of the past, remain a widespread and troubling practice throughout the world. In the Americas, numerous countries have been accused of carrying out state-sponsored campaigns of forced sterilizations against indigenous, Afro-descendant, poor, and/or intellectually disabled women, in what amounts to an appalling act of violence and targeted erasure of marginalized communities. While international jurisprudence on forced sterilizations is limited, the Inter-American Human Rights System has been at the forefront of confronting this issue of reproductive justice. Through an analysis of two landmark cases at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, this paper explores the strides that have been made and the gaps that remain for survivors of forced sterilization to receive justice.
LGBTQ+ rights are gaining attention in national and international political discourse and policymaking. Despite recent progress, complex challenges still stand in the way of establishing human rights for LGBTQ+ communities around the world. One such challenge is the uneven progress towards LGBTQ+ rights caused by conflicts between progressive policy and conservative norms, which poses a threat to the progress that has been made and may lead to worsening conditions for LGBTQ+ people. Within the context of Latin America and Cuba specifically, this paper explores whether progressive policy alone is sufficient for enabling change, and the relationship between policy and norms: does policy shift with norms? Or do norms shift with policy? With a unique history and culture, and some of the strongest pro-LGBTQ+ policies in the region, Cuba provides an opportunity to examine these questions and provides critical insights for literature that is otherwise underdeveloped.
The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the influence that private pharmaceutical companies and philanthropic foundations have on global health governance. Private actors have been able to maintain the norm of intellectual property rights, despite opposition from developing countries and growing opposition from powerful actors in developed countries. This article examines how private actors have wielded their material resources, expert authority, and discursive powers to overrule the wishes of governments. It concludes by exploring the public health consequences of their growing hold on international governance and offers some policy recommendations to mitigate distorted public health outcomes.
Accessing healthy and affordable food is highly intertwined with the biggest challenges of our century, such as climate change or conflict resolution. The United Nations has established eliminating hunger as one of the seventeen goals of the international community to achieve sustainable development. The largest part of the food the world consumes is produced by smallholders, peasants and Indigenous communities, but their own food sovereignty is not always practically implemented. This paper explores the extent to which Indigenous Peoples in the Ecuadorian Amazon are able to practice food sovereignty, and traces colonialism’s continuous influence on the application of international law to this marginalized community. Though the Indigenous concept of Buen Vivir is linked to food sovereignty and was integrated into the Ecuadorian constitution since 2008, post-neoliberalism, land ownership issues, access to seeds, the use of chemical fertilizers within agriculture, and tourism in the Amazon are all elements impeding its realization.
Since 2005, Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia, has become infamous for being one of the most polluted cities in the world. In response to growing public concerns over air pollution, on May 15, 2019, the Government of Mongolia (GoM) implemented a ban on raw coal – a type of fuel that poor citizens in the city use to survive harsh winters in the world’s coldest capital – and introduced “refined coal briquettes” at a subsidized price close to the price of raw coal. Since the COVID-19 outbreak and the country-wide economic shutdown, lower-income families are struggling to afford food, let alone refined coal briquettes; as a result, they are resorting to burning cheap, dirty fuel, including trash to keep themselves warm. Despite GoM’s efforts to reduce air pollution, in October 2020, Ulaanbaatar’s air quality, again, ranked the worst in the world, ahead of Lahore, Pakistan; Delhi, India; Chengdu, China, and other cities infamous for hazardous levels of air quality. While reducing raw coal consumption is critical to improving air quality, the raw coal ban is not a panacea to solving Mongolia’s air pollution. Poverty is the true culprit behind Ulaanbaatar’s subpar air quality. If Mongolia is to sustainably reduce air pollution, the raw coal ban must be accompanied by social and economic policies that aim to lift people out of poverty.
Since the 5th World Parks Congress in Durban (2003) and the 7th COP on Biological Diversity in Kuala Lumpur (2004), the definition of protected areas has evolved. Protected areas now to incorporate principles of participation and inclusion, as well as of traditional and local knowledge. This adjustment shed light on the role of non-state actors, including indigenous peoples and local communities, as guarantors of conservation, and marked a decisive turning point in the evolution of international policies on this issue. Despite the growing awareness of the importance of biodiversity conservation and the role played by local communities to this end, national legislation and policies in Morocco do not yet give due recognition to areas conserved by local communities. Articulated around the case study of a traditional natural resource management regime - the agdal - practiced by communities of the Moroccan Atlas, this paper highlights the extent to which traditional modes of managing common-pool resources (CPR) are compatible with a government’s strategy to decentralize natural resource management. This paper finds that despite the benefits that community-conserved areas and territories represent for maintaining ecosystems, traditions, and livelihoods, as well as their advantages in terms of decentralization, these practices are under threat due to a lack of policies and programs directly supporting or recognizing communities' agency over local natural resources.
Despite positive trends in electrification and gender equality in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) over the last two decades, the region lags behind the rest of the world in both dimensions. Recent economic assessments of the efficiency of pursuing universal electrification in SSA show the costs outweigh the benefits. This paper argues that, in the context of SSA, gains in women’s empowerment may strengthen the case for electricity expansion, but are not captured in standard cost-benefit analyses. The paper reviews existing literature to identify four channels through which positive externalities and equity gains may arise from electrification: (1) alleviating time poverty, (2) expanding labor market opportunities (“economic empowerment”), (3) improving maternal health and women’s safety, and (4) changing social norms. Findings indicate that electrification can alleviate women’s time poverty, create opportunities for women and girls to enter the labor force or focus on school, decrease exposure to harmful indoor air pollutants, improve maternal health, reduce exposure to and acceptance of gender-based violence, and change social norms through access to information. Expanding electricity access using renewable energy sources (“sustainable electrification”) presents additional opportunities to enhance women’s economic power by mainstreaming gender in the industry’s development. Falling costs of renewable technologies may also shift traditional cost-benefit analyses of electrification. Based on these findings, the paper recommends that policies continue to promote universal electricity access by prioritizing sustainable technologies that can support high-power household appliances, and integrating gender into every stage of the electrification process.