Transbiblica Global Outlook 2022
While 2020 is a year of surprise as the world coming to a standstill with COVID-19, 2021 is a year of realization that humanity has its own limitations. Though the world adapted to covid faster, the variants such as omicron made people to realize that it’s a long way to go.
The year started with the shocking riot on the supreme democratic institution of USA- The Capitol- triggered by the defeat of pro-evangelical President, Mr Donald Trump. Several evangelical leaders refused to believe Trump’s defeat in the elections, as they were intoxicated with Christian nationalism, putting religion above God.
During the year, Christian charities once again came under scrutiny when years of concealed sexual misconducts of the celebrated global speaker- Dr Ravi Zacarias- came to limelight after his unfortunate death. It’s a costly lesson for the Christian leadership to take stewardship of God’s resources seriously, both in giving and managing.
Towards the end of the year, we have lost one of the most courageous Christian leaders- Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu- who seized every opportunity to rally against apartheid in his country. Teaming up with the then South African President Nelson Mandela, he used his local pulpit, as powerfully as the podium of the United Nations, to build a just and a fair world.
Irrespective of the world becoming fair or not, 78 million people were added to the world’s population in 2021, bringing the total to around 7.8 billion. Many of them had a great year, but for some, it was a terrible year with diseases, violence, starvation and death.
The purpose of this document is to help Christian individuals and groups to have a broad understanding of the world we live in, and respond appropriately. God is looking for people who can act on behalf of Him and with His power. As you read, we pray that God will speak to you and stir your hearts to pray and respond.
Biblical justice involves making individuals, communities, and the cosmos whole, by upholding both goodness and impartiality. “The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern” (Prov. 29:7).
The world tried to be just in responding to COVID-19, but it terribly failed. While 100% the people from few countries are fully vaccinated, only 8.4% of the people in low-income countries have at least had a single dose. This is after the formation of powerful group- COVAX- that worked round the clock to ensure all low-income countries receive vaccines on time, along with others.
COVID-19 unleashed its power in 2020, and continued to shatter countries with much more vigor this year. By the end of 2021, around 290 million people (around 4% of global population) were known to be infected by COVID-19, with 5.5 million deaths. The scientists amazed the world with vaccine development with lightning speed, that too with high effectivity.
Churches and Christian agencies also have been severely affected during the pandemic. While the church shed all their inhibitions and transformed the way they function, it took no time for the people to realize that the church is not a building, but an assembly of people wherever they are. This transformation will have several positive repercussions in the days to come.
While millions of people are stuck with COVID-19 induced travel limitations, a record breaking 84 million people have been forcefully displaced from their homes in 2021. Conflict, COVID-19, poverty, economic collapse, and climate change are the primary reasons for the mass exodus. For them, COVID-19 is a much smaller problem.
In one of the significant peace efforts, Pope Francis met with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani (a Shiite Muslim leader), the first ever meeting between a pope and a grand ayatollah. The meeting ended with a call for coexistence of severely persecuted Christians in Iraq, and the Muslim majority. We need many such peace efforts across the world by Christian leadership, finding the roots of animosity and promote peace.
However, long-running conflicts continued in many parts of the world in 2021 also.
Ten years into war, the situation in Syria is becoming more complex with several factions vigorously fighting against each other. So far, half a million people died, with 3700 this year alone. The peace efforts are continuing focusing on a new constitution, but with limited success.
The seven years of Yemeni Civil War killed around 377,000 people, with more than 3 million displaced. The infighting is growing stronger day by day, with no solution seen anywhere near. Iran and Saudi Arabia who are supporting two strong rival parties needs to initiate peace talks immediately and find a solution to this conflict.
Ethiopia newly entered into the conflict map this year with military action on one of its rebel provinces ‘Tigray’. When Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019, he was lauded as a regional peacemaker. However, now it is very unfortunate that he has to lead a protracted civil war. It is estimated that around 350,000 people in the conflict affected area were at risk of famine.
The democratic government in Myanmar collapsed with a coup by the military, followed by a state of emergency and a crackdown on dissent. This situation could result in up to 25 million people living in poverty during 2022.
But out of all, the surprising re-capturing of Afghanistan after 20 years by Taliban tops the chart. After spending an astounding $300 million every single day on afghan military operations for the last twenty years, USA had to exit with zero success. Millions are facing starvation, and International agencies are scrambling to support whatever way they can.
As the global economy roared back to life, Carbon emissions jumped in 2021 coupled with increased extreme weather events. This year saw the most extreme heat wave in modern history, a record four $20 billion-plus weather disasters, and the hottest month on record globally.
A heatwave in Canada and adjacent parts of the USA pushed temperatures to nearly 50°C in in British Columbia. Death Valley in California reached 54.4 °C during one of multiple heatwaves in the southwestern USA, whilst many parts of the Mediterranean experienced record temperatures. The exceptional heat was often accompanied by devastating fires.
In midst of it, around 40,000 delegates gathered in the 26th annual meeting of ‘United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties’ (COP26) to discuss about halving global emissions by 2030, and reach ‘net zero’ by 2050. The gathering is partly successful with the leaders agreeing to some key decisions on coal, deforestation, methane and farming.
Churches and Christian agencies are most active during these negotiations at COP26. They prayed for the conference, advocated with delegates of their respective countries, contributed to negotiations, conducted side meetings and much more. As God’s children, we care about environment not because of suffering to people, because of our deep devotion to God, who created it and saw it Good.
Nationalism continues to dominate many countries, as their leaders using it as a powerful technique to stir people’s emotions. Democracy in various countries continue to decline since 2006 as documented by various agencies. USA organized a Summit this year, to put democracy back on global agenda.
North Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Central African Republic have been ranked as the least democratic countries in 2020 as per Economist Intelligence Unit. As we see around, democracy is not a fool proof solution, but one of the better governance options available in the world today.
July of 2021 marked 100 years of celebration of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the sole governing political party of the country since 1949. The CCP is one of the few communist parties to have maintained power into the 21st century. Under President Xi Jinping – China’s most powerful leader since Mao – the party has further embedded itself across Chinese society and ruthlessly silenced dissent, including in Tibet, Xinjiang and Hong Kong.
The current international order is governed by a system that was created in 1945, after the Second World War. This system is challenged by power politics, nationalist discourse and the blame-game. Regionalism and bilateralism is prevailing more than multilateralism. But climate change and COVID-19 have repeatedly reminded us the importance and urgency of multilateral global collaboration.
Global security concerns are rising as the United States rivalries with both Russia and China are growing, threatening a new form of cold war. While Russia is getting ready to attack Ukraine, China is doing the same with Taiwan.
The United States led the ranking of countries with highest military spending in 2020, with 778 billion U.S. dollars dedicated to the military. That constituted 39 percent of the total military spending worldwide that year, which amounted to 1.98 trillion U.S. dollars.
The two-state solution has dominated efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for decades. But growing doubts about its viability have highlighted the potential importance of alternative approaches. Are there any other solutions that average Israelis and Palestinians would support?
At least one million Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities have vanished into a sprawling network of camps and prisons in western China. China’s mistreatment of the Uyghur people is likely to remain center stage. Alleged Chinese human rights abuses in Xinjiang formed the basis of a recently announced U.S. diplomatic boycott of next year’s Winter Olympics in Beijing.
As we move to 2022, the world is eagerly waiting to a record $100 trillion economy for the first time. 2022 also will welcome India as the most populous country, overtaking China.
COVID-19 may finally become endemic, but many countries are likely to go into pandemic-induced economic recession. This year, the governments worldwide will mount campaigns to address behavioral and economic scars left by pandemic on children and young people due to two years of limited schooling, reduced socialization and challenged mental health.
We need to continue to pray for stiff relationships between some of the powerful nations- Russia’s aggression on Ukraine; China’s aggression on Taiwan; worsening relationships between United States of America, Russia and China; Iran’s nuclear deal negotiations and Israel’s possible attack; and many more fragile states which are in the brink of collapse.
As we pray for these issues, may God awaken us to our responsibility of being salt and light of this society where ever we live.
|March||08th||International Women’s day (Sunday 6th)||International Day|
|May||22nd||International Bio-diversity Day (Sunday, 22nd )||International Day|
|June||05th||World Environment Day (Sunday, 5th)||International Day|
|26-28||48th G7 Summit, Germany||Global Event|
|July||17th||World day for International Justice (Sunday, 17th)||International Day|
|Aug||10th -14th||22nd World Methodist Conference||Global Christian Event|
|31st to 8th Sep||The 11th Assembly of the World Council of Churches||Global Christian Event|
|September||13th to 27th||77th UN General Assembly, New York||Global Event|
|21st||International Day of Peace (Sunday, 18th)||International Day|
|30th to 31st||17th G20 Summit, Bali, Indonesia||Global Event|
|November||7th – 18th||UN Climate Conference COP-27, Egypt|
|December||10th||Human Rights Day (Sunday, 11th)||International Day|