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DGI Brief - Nov 25, 2016

Happy Friday and International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Today's top 3 global issues news are about #HIV #AIDS #Colombia and a #GoodStoryFriday about #Jordan

- WORLD: UNAIDS reports that it is well underway to its global goal of 3o million people on anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment by 2020 (currently at 18.2 mil), but urges greater action on the prevention of new HIV infections. Why it matters: In 2015, estimated 7,5000 teenagers & young women became infected with HIV every week globally! The rates are alarmingly high among young African women. The last 5 years saw only a 6% reduction in new HIV infections among women aged 15-24. In fact, young women & girls are a group at highest risk – in South Africa, girls between 15-19 account for 90% of all new HIV infections, the rate for girls 10-19 in eastern Africa is 74%! Globally, young women & girls are not just at the highest risk of HIV infection, but also low rates of testing & poor adherence to treatment. HIV/AIDS is woven into the complexity of women’s issues where poverty, social, educational & economic structures disadvantage them. We have made some strides in tackling HIV/AIDS worldwide and certainly have the power to eradicate the disease, but we have to act more comprehensively else we risk resurgence.

- COLOMBIA’s government & largest rebel group, the FARC, have signed a new peace agreement that has now been submitted to Congress for approval. The revised deal makes changes to almost all of the 57 points after voters rejected the original in an October referendum. Why it matters: Opposition, led by former President Uribe, campaigned intensely against deal believing it was too soft on the FARC. Uribe has always wanted to crush FARC militarily without any consideration for negotiation or compromise. The opposition has led to improvements but we must also credit the leadership of President Santos & FARC’s Timochenko whose determination & desire for peace allowed for the revisions. Congress, where President Santos’ party has a solid majority, is expected to pass the agreement as early as next week. Long live peace!

- After intense negotiations, JORDAN agreed to reopen the border with Syria to resume delivery of humanitarian aid to the 85,000+ Syrians stuck in the desert border area known as the ‘berm’. Jordan closed the border in June after ISIS bombing killed 7 soldiers. Why it matters: Understandably Jordan cares about security & as such does have the right to close borders, but it can be done so & still allow humanitarian aid to go to the needy. The Syrian families in the berm are some of the most destitute displaced, the desert conditions truly ruthless. Last they received any aid was in August when the UN had to use cranes to lift supplies over the border, not allowed to pass any other way. With the winter temperatures dangerously low, the agreement could not come sooner.

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