I wanted to share six numbers that I am watching in 2022. And no, these are not my lottery ticket picks!
Instead, these are six numbers that will drive the global challenges in 2022 – and depending on how the U.S. responds, it will shape the impact on every American family’s health, security, and economic interests.
And no surprise – the tools of diplomacy and global development are going to once again be front and center.
- This is the number of people around the world that literally are on the brink of famine – just one of the many examples of the growing humanitarian crises that are reaching unprecedented levels due to refugees, conflicts, drought, and the lack of protection for women and girls.
- According to the United Nations, the number of people in need of emergency aid is expected to grow by 17% compared to last year totaling 274 million people worldwide.
- Experts and policymakers are already raising alarm bells to ensure access to life-saving humanitarian aid since most of these crises are in conflict areas requiring heightened diplomacy and new resources.
- This is the number of countries where the state of democracy has declined according to Freedom House – it’s the biggest gap in 15 years as some in power around the world have leveraged the pandemic to quell dissent and consolidate power.
- For too long, the world has watched instability and rising authoritarianism in hot spots from Sudan to Venezuela to the Philippines and more. This week alone, with crises from Kazakhstan to Ukraine, the threat to democracy and international norms takes center stage with high stakes negotiations in Europe.
- Attention is increasing on this issue after last December’s “Summit for Democracy”, where the U.S. made new global commitments for the “Year of Action” – including U.S. assistance to support free and independent media, to fight corruption, and to bolster democratic reformers. Plus, Senators Graham and Coons introduced new legislation to modernize U.S. overseas democracy programs, calling for a 25% increase in investments.
- This is the number of people who are expected to be pushed into extreme poverty by 2030 due to climate change, according to the World Bank.
- The Pentagon has called this rapidly growing challenge a “threat multiplier” given climate’s disproportionate impact on hunger, conflict, and migration – affecting the most vulnerable in the developing world.
- As COP26 showcased leadership from a wide range of stakeholders – including foundations, the private sector, non-profits, and even a bipartisan delegation from the U.S. – more focus is needed this year on solutions to help developing countries adapt to climate change, which will be central for our own national security interests.
- This is the rapid growth rate of bilateral trade between China and Africa in just the first nine months of last year, reported by Brookings. At a time of unprecedented disruption – from COVID and global supply chains – China’s rapid expansion in global emerging markets underscores the urgency for the U.S. to step up to compete in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and beyond.
- One of the best tools to compete with China in Africa and other developing markets was launched with strong bipartisan support through the BUILD Act – the U.S. Development Finance Corporation. With the DFC and other smart global development investments, particularly in health, technology, gender, and infrastructure, we can fight poverty and advance our own economic competitiveness.
- This is the number of Americans who are vulnerable if we don’t get the global response right to the global pandemic. As Omicron becomes the dominant strain at home and abroad, it is a wake-up call that our domestic health and economic recovery is linked to ending the pandemic globally.
- Africa remains the world’s least vaccinated continent against COVID-19, with about 10% of the continent’s population fully vaccinated – and 42 low- and middle-income countries with more than 1 billion people combined have collectively only received enough donations to fully vaccinate just 10% of their populations.
- As policymakers assess budget priorities ahead of February’s fiscal deadlines, smart additional U.S. resources for the global response will be essential to end the pandemic.
- This is the number of bipartisan pieces of legislation passed over the past decade to strengthen U.S. diplomacy and development programs on dozens of issues including rights for women and girls, global food security, HIV/AIDS, and economic growth.
- With partisanship on the rise – and as we head into a mid-term election year – it’s more important than ever that the long-term consensus between Republicans and Democrats remains when it comes to America’s global leadership. It’s central to our values – and now, more than ever – diplomacy and global development are critical for the health, security, and economic interests of the American people.