The Year In Review: The Director Looks Back at 2021

Mission impossible: In 2021 RWI started the work to develop a strategic plan for the next five (22-26) years. How is this done in a time of such high volatility and uncertainty? Goals to realise five years from now in the current global climate are impossible to contemplate.

After nearly two years in Corona’s grip, states started to heave restrictions and open up in early 2021. However, we soon saw new waves of infection. The roll out of the vaccine that started in the richer parts of the world was shaky. The distribution of vaccines to the Global South was uneven and scattered. Donations of vaccines were random and unsynchronised. The irregular distribution to the Global South has been referred to as ‘vaccine apartheid’.

Like 2020, 2021 revolved a lot around the pandemic. Covid-19 still has a firm grip on the world. The pandemic will for many years to come affect our societies. As the world strives to mitigate the effects of the pandemic, we see proof of hyperinequalities that need to be efficiently addressed.

2021 was the year that Trump followers, allegedly egged on by the losing candidate himself, ran a riot on Capitol Hill. We witnessed the Taliban take over in Afghanistan and the Junta coup in Myanmar. 2021 was also the year when the world in vain hoped for COP26, the Glasgow climate summit, to be a game-changer for actions against climate change.

2022 opened by Russia launching a war against Ukraine disrespecting international law and basic democratic principles and committing what looks like grave human rights violations. The war drives the non-democratic global trends, pushes climate action aside and adds to the global economic downturn with millions more people in poverty and starvation. In early 2022, the world took another dramatic turn after two years of Covid-19.

RWI during 2021

Making mission impossible possible: The RWI strategic perspective is that even in these disturbing times, human rights and democratic principles are the best we have to guide countries, regional, and global policies and actions. They contribute to the vision, structure and direction of those who commit to societies where the well-being of human beings matters.

Based on the RWI Theory of Change and after solid internal and external consultations, we decided to address four areas of high importance for the future: Justice, Environment, Inclusion and Economy from a human rights perspective. We believe that by focusing on various dimensions of these four areas we, together with our partners, can contribute to change.

I wish to thank the devoted RWI staff for contributing to the agility and robustness of our institute. I want to thank Sida (the Swedish International Development Agency) and other donors for trustful partnerships with RWI. I want to thank our partners on all continents for the inspiring and enriching collaboration. Finally, I want to thank the RWI Board of Trustees for the unique support and direction they offer making us move towards the ultimate goal: Just and inclusive societies with the effective realisation of human rights for all.

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