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Global Citizens Call on the Australian Government to Support Vulnerable Nations Amid COVID-19


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It's clear: the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis isn't going to end for anyone, until it ends for everyone.

This notion is the backbone of #EndCOVIDForAll, a foreign aid campaign supported by more than 170 international aid and development organisations, including Global Citizen, that calls on the Australian Government to commit new funds and provide vital support to nations less equipped to deal with the pandemic.

On Aug. 19, World Humanitarian Day, the campaign came to a head.

Australians across the country united to sign the #EndCOVIDForAll pledge and upload face-masked selfies to social media in a show of support.

Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, former politicians Natasha Stott Despoja and Mary Wooldridge and TV presenters Carrie Bickmore and Adam Liaw were among the famous faces to publicly join the campaign.

To mark the moment, Global Citizen Australia hosted a free virtual webinar to unpack Australia’s role in the COVID-19 crisis.

Australian action-takers and activists from across the country tuned-in to hear unique perspectives on some of the unseen consequences of the pandemic — including on the virus' widespread social and economic impact for both Australians and those in the Asia-Pacific. 

The event, moderated by newly appointed chair of the Australian Board of Directors Mary Wooldridge, saw panellists from across gender equality organisations and mental health services also discuss the significance of the next phase of Australia's COVID-19 response. 

Patty Kinnersly, the CEO of domestic violence organisation Our Watch, spoke to the importance of placing a gendered lens on all aspects of the international crisis action plan.

"How we respond to the COVID-19 crisis could reverse decades of health, social and economic progress for women. We must place a gendered lens on the crisis now," Kinnersly stated, before explaining how pandemics worsen existing gender inequalities for women and girls around the world.

The pandemic has worsened factors that disproportionately affect women, Kinnersly explained, including poverty, food insecurity, child marriage and domestic violence.

According to a report published in Forbes India, COVID-19 is reversing 70 years of progress for girls’ education in India alone. 

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Patrick McGorry, the executive director of Orygen, a professor of youth mental health at the University of Melbourne and a founding director of the National Youth Mental Health Foundation, also joined the panel.

McGorry explained how COVID-19 has dually impacted mental health and presented a once-in-a-generation opportunity for change.

"We have some great opportunities now. Everyone has been sensitised to the fragility of their mental health," McGorry said, before highlighting why it is so vital mental health be prioritised in the Pacific, where even basic health services are often lacking. 

"Mental illness creates poverty and results from it,” he stated. 

COVID-19 could push a further 70 million people around the world into extreme poverty, according to the World Bank.

In the Pacific, those living in extreme poverty could increase by up to 40%. 

You can join Global Citizen and the #EndCOVIDForAll campaign by signing our petition and uploading a mask selfie here