2020 has been one heck of a rollercoaster for all of us. As much as we like the phrase ‘New year, new me’ to be true, the reality is that 2021 will take on some of the challenges from the previous year and will expose us to new hurdles as we move ahead (And in some ways, the year has already proved to be as chaotic as its predecessor).

Here is everything we have predicted that will take up most of the news space all over the world:

1. Battle over the vaccines

2020 was the year when all everyone hoped, prayed, and wanted for was to get rid of the pandemic. Or at least develop a vaccine as a safety precaution.  As the vaccines for COVID-19 start rolling out all across the world, 2021 is going to be a year focused on which countries get the vaccine first and in how much quantity.

A coalition of international organizations, warn that 90% of people in 67 low income countries will not receive vaccinations against COVID-19 in 2021. The People’s Vaccine Alliance argue that this is due to rich countries purchasing the vaccine for their populations, disrupting the global distribution patterns.

The global distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine is far from equal

2. Adjusting to the new world order

Economies all over the world are struggling to bounce back from the after effects of the pandemic. The road to recovery is not too smooth because 2020 has been the first year in decades that the world has collectively faced a pause to businesses.

At the same time, the world took a much needed pause that the human race otherwise was not ready for. On the bright side of the pandemic, people have had moments of self reflection and simple pleasures. We have also gotten an opportunity to take rapid action on climate change by investing more in green recovery initiatives by different governments all across the globe and cutting down on our carbon footprint as individuals.

3. Survival of the fittest

With the United States of America getting a new president in the face of Joe Biden, along with Kamala Harris as vice president, it will be interesting to see how and where this term starts off, making further changes or taking U-turns on the already patchy relationships established under the Trump presidency. All eyes are on the new president elect as he takes over office tomorrow. Will we see the US becoming a signatory to the Paris Climate Change treaty again? What about the Iran Nuclear deal? What’s the relationship with China going to look like? Democrats aim for America to be fitter and smarter under the Biden/Harris term, unlike Trump whose only agenda was to ‘make America great again’.

4. All eyes on streaming

With studios moving to streaming, what is the future of the movie industry?

5. Recovering together

In 2020, the world collectively suffered while each country dealt with issues of its own. COVID-19 might have taken most of the news space but, the truth is that it did not help in hiding social upheavals in many parts of the world. The number of countries rated extreme risk in the Civil Unrest Index has jumped from 12 in 2019 to 20 by early 2020. Countries dropping into this category include Ethiopia, India, Lebanon, Nigeria, Pakistan and Zimbabwe. Sudan, meanwhile, has overtaken Yemen to become the highest risk country globally.

India gathered a lot of media attention by the end of 2020 during the protests being staged by farmers in Delhi. Human rights violations, including arbitrary arrests and the use of indiscriminate violence, pose a risk to the protesters. The use of violence, in turn, radicalizes protesters, provokes violent responses and ultimately fuels further unrest which is likely to continue in 2021.

Unlike other new years that we have experienced or celebrated, 2021 started off with a sense of weariness. The year already feels one that the collectively will call as the year of healing or recovery or the one after the pandemic. We already know how we need to cope up with the troubles that 2020 brought along. So, even with the new variant of the coronavirus, and yet another display of white supremacy, for some reason, it already feels like, ‘been there, done that’ or ‘bring it on’. After all, what can be worse than 2020?

 

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Haddiqua Siddiqui

By Haddiqua Siddiqui

Editorial Fellow