The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health :: Education :: Heritage Stewardship ::
Sustainable Development
Week ending 18 January 2020

This weekly digest is intended to aggregate and distill key content from a broad spectrum of practice domains and organization types including key agencies/IGOs, NGOs, governments, academic and research institutions, consortia and collaborations, foundations, and commercial organizations. We also monitor a spectrum of peer-reviewed journals and general media channels. The Sentinel’s geographic scope is global/regional but selected country-level content is included. We recognize that this spectrum/scope yields an indicative and not an exhaustive product. Comments and suggestions should be directed to:

David R. Curry
GE2P2 Global Foundation – Governance, Evidence, Ethics, Policy, Practice

PDF: The Sentinel_ period ending 18 Jan 2020

:: Week in Review  [See selected posts just below]
:: Key Agency/IGO/Governments Watch – Selected Updates from 30+ entities   [see PDF]
:: INGO/Consortia/Joint Initiatives Watch – Media Releases, Major Initiatives, Research:: Foundation/Major Donor Watch -Selected Updates
:: Journal Watch – Key articles and abstracts from 100+ peer-reviewed journals  [see PDF]

Majority of millennials see catastrophic war as real possibility, and believe there should be limits – ICRC Survey

Conflict – “Catastrophic War”

Majority of millennials see catastrophic war as real possibility, and believe there should be limits
International Committee of the Red Cross survey asked 16,000 millennials in 16 countries their views on war.
16-01-2020 | News release
Geneva (ICRC) – Millennials see catastrophic war as a real likelihood in their lifetime. In fact, most millennials surveyed by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) believe it is more likely than not that a nuclear attack will occur in the next decade.

A survey of more than 16,000 millennials in 16 countries and territories last year – roughly half in peace, half experiencing conflict – commissioned by the ICRC explored millennials’ views on conflict, the future of warfare and the values underpinning international humanitarian law, such as the use of torture against enemy combatants.

The results indicate that millennials are nervous about the future, and heightened tensions globally are likely to deepen these fears.

A plurality of respondents, 47 percent, think it’s more likely than not that there will be a third world war in their lifetime. And although 84 percent believe the use of nuclear weapons is never acceptable, 54 percent believe it is more likely than not that a nuclear attack will occur in the next decade.

“This millennial foreboding may reflect an increase in polarization and dehumanizing rhetoric,” said ICRC President Peter Maurer. “If millennials are right about a third world war, the suffering of countries and regions will be immense. It’s a reminder of how critical it is that the laws of war that protect humanity are followed now and in the future.”

Encouragingly, 74 percent of millennials also believe that wars are avoidable, and nearly the same number (75 percent) think that limits must be imposed on how wars are fought.

However, the survey reveals worrying trends that point to a lack of respect for the basic human values enshrined in international law: 37 percent believe torture is acceptable under some circumstances – even after the UN convention banning torture is explained to them; and 15 percent believe that commanders should do whatever it takes to win, regardless of the civilian casualties generate…

“They have erased the dreams of my children”: children’s rights in the Syrian Arab Republic – United Nations Human Rights Council


“They have erased the dreams of my children”: children’s rights in the Syrian Arab Republic
“They have erased the dreams of my children”: UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria Publishes Report on Children’s Rights over the course of the Syrian War
United Nations Human Rights Council
GENEVA, 16 January 2020 – Children in the Syrian Arab Republic have been robbed of their childhood as they are forced to participate in a brutal war and endure numerous violations of their rights by all parties to the conflict while remaining acutely vulnerable to violence and abuse, the Commission of Inquiry for Syria noted today in its latest report.

In a 25-page report released today, entitled “They have erased the dreams of my children,” the three-person Commission outlines the multiple rights violations children have been subjected to – including over five million children displaced internally and abroad – and how boys and girls have been robbed of their childhood over the course of the brutal eight and a half-year war.

“I am appalled by the flagrant disregard for the laws of war and the Convention on the Rights of the Child by all parties involved in the conflict”, said Commission of Inquiry Chair Paulo Pinheiro. “While the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic has the primary responsibility for the protection of boys and girls in the country, all of the actors in this conflict must do more to protect children and preserve the country’s future generation,” he noted.

Children have been killed and maimed, and subjected to myriad violations by warring parties, states the report, which covers the period between September 2011 to the end of October 2019. On multiple occasions, pro-Government forces used cluster munitions, thermobaric bombs and chemical weapons causing scores of child casualties. Rape and sexual violence have been used repeatedly against men, women, boys and girls as a tool to punish, humiliate and instil fear among communities. Government forces have detained boys as young as 12, subjecting them to severe beatings and torture.

The devastating situation of education in Syria is particularly highlighted as an area of concern. Since the start of the conflict thousands of schools have been destroyed or used for military purposes and more than 2.1 million boys and girls are not regularly attending classes of any form. “Urgent efforts are required by the Syrian Government to support as many children as possible to return to education,” noted Commissioner Karen AbuZayd. “Armed groups holding territory also need to act with haste to facilitate access to education,” she added.

Armed groups targeted schools and used educational facilities for military purposes. Children were detained and used as bargaining chips for prisoner swaps or to extract ransom. Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) terrorists recruited and used boys to fight on the frontlines. At its peak, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) subjected girls as young as nine to rape and sexual slavery. Boys, meanwhile, were given military training and routinely exposed to extreme violence, including witnessing public executions or forced into the role of executor.

The impact of the conflict on the long-term physical and mental health of boys and girls has been severe. Today, large numbers of children suffer from disabilities as well as devastating psychological and development issues. The report also outlines how over five million children have been displaced by conflict and have become increasingly vulnerable to violations.

The Commission urges States to ensure the protection of displaced children, particularly with regard to the obligations upon all States to repatriate children with familial links to ISIL fighters. “States have well defined obligations to protect children, including from statelessness. Failing to abide by such fundamental principles would be a clear derogation of duty,” noted Commissioner Hanny Megally…

World Economic Situation and Prospects 2020 – UN DESA

Development – Global Economy

World Economic Situation and Prospects 2020
Energy transition and the global economy
UN DESA 16 January 2020
The global economy has suffered a significant slowdown amid prolonged trade disputes and wide-ranging policy uncertainties. While a slight uptick in economic activity is forecast for 2020, the World Economic Situation and Prospects 2020 warns that economic risks remain strongly tilted to the downside, aggravated by deepening political polarization and increasing scepticism over the benefits of multilateralism. These risks could inflict severe and long-lasting damage on development prospects. They also threaten to encourage a further rise in inward-looking policies, at a point when global cooperation is paramount.

Compounding the economic slowdown, rising global temperatures and the increasing frequency and intensity of weather-related shocks press home the urgent need for a dramatic shift in the global energy mix. The World Economic Situation and Prospects 2020 explores the global economic implications of this energy transition. The transition to a cleaner energy mix will bring not only environmental and health benefits, but economic opportunities for many. However, without appropriate policy strategies, the costs and benefits will be unevenly distributed within and between countries.

“To live in shared prosperity within the capacity of our planet to support us, we must move away from carbon and resource-intensive industries, materials and value chains. We must instead prioritize sustainable consumption and production—a way of life that enables economic growth, while ensuring planetary protection.” – António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations


40 Economies Make 62 Legal Reforms to Advance Women’s Economic Participation

Development – Women’s Empowerment

40 Economies Make 62 Legal Reforms to Advance Women’s Economic Participation
World Bank
WASHINGTON, January 14, 2020 — The regulatory environment for women’s economic participation has improved over the past two years, with 40 economies enacting 62 reforms that will help women – half the world’s population – realize their potential and contribute to economic growth and development, says a new World Bank study. Still, the results are uneven — women in many countries have only a fraction of the legal rights of men, holding back their economic and social development.

The study, Women, Business and the Law 2020, measures 190 economies, tracking how laws affect women at different stages in their working lives and focusing on those laws applicable in the main business city. It covers reforms in eight areas that are associated with women’s economic empowerment, conducted from June 2017 to September 2019.

“Legal rights for women are both the right thing to do and good from an economic perspective. When women can move more freely, work outside the home and manage assets, they are more likely to join the workforce and help strengthen their country’s economies,” said World Bank Group President David Malpass. “We stand ready to help until every woman can move through her life without facing legal barriers to her success.”

The areas of Workplace and Marriage saw many reforms, especially in the enactment of laws that protect women from violence. In the last two years, eight economies enacted legislation on domestic violence for the first time. Seven economies now have new legal protections against sexual harassment in employment.

Twelve economies improved their laws in the area of Pay, removing restrictions on the industries, jobs and hours that women can work. Globally, the most frequent reforms were in areas related to Parenthood, with 16 economies enacting positive changes. Reforms included expansion of the amount of paid maternity leave available to mothers, introduction of paid paternity leave and prohibition of dismissal of pregnant employees.

Achieving legal gender equality requires strong political will and a concerted effort by governments, civil society, and international organizations, among others. But legal and regulatory reforms can serve as an important catalyst to improve the lives of women as well as their families and communities.
“This study helps us understand where laws facilitate or hinder women’s economic participation. It has incentivized countries to undertake reforms that can eliminate gender imbalances,” said World Bank Group Chief Economist Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg. “Achieving equality will take time, but it is encouraging that all regions have improved. We hope that this research will continue to serve as an important tool to inform policy making and level the playing field for women.”

The WBL index measures only formal laws and the regulations which govern a woman’s ability to work or own businesses– a country’s actual norms and practices are not captured. The global average score was 75.2, which improved slightly from 73.9 two years ago. Clearly, much more work remains as women in many countries have only a fraction of the legal rights of men, holding them back from opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship…

Lack of new antibiotics threatens global efforts to contain drug-resistant infections


Lack of new antibiotics threatens global efforts to contain drug-resistant infections
17 January 2020 WHO News release
Declining private investment and lack of innovation in the development of new antibiotics are undermining efforts to combat drug-resistant infections, says the World Health Organization (WHO).

Two new reports reveal a weak pipeline for antibiotic agents. The 60 products in development (50 antibiotics and 10 biologics) bring little benefit over existing treatments and very few target the most critical resistant bacteria (Gram-negative bacteria).

While pre-clinical candidates (those in early-stage testing) are more innovative, it will take years before they reach patients.

“Never has the threat of antimicrobial resistance been more immediate and the need for solutions more urgent,” says Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO. “Numerous initiatives are underway to reduce resistance, but we also need countries and the pharmaceutical industry to step up and contribute with sustainable funding and innovative new medicines.”

The reports (Antibacterial agents in clinical development – an analysis of the antibacterial clinical development pipeline and its companion publication, Antibacterial agents in preclinical development) also found that research and development for antibiotics is primarily driven by small- or medium-sized enterprises with large pharmaceutical companies continuing to exit the field…



Ebola – DRC+
Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)

Ebola Outbreak in DRC 75: 14 January 2020
Situation Update
From 6 to 12 January 2020, eight new confirmed cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) were reported from Mabalako, Beni, and Musienene Health Zones in North Kivu Province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Of these cases, three were reported in Beni Health Zone, where no cases had been reported for 29 days, and one was reported in Musienene Health Zone, where no cases had been reported for 132 days. These four cases are linked to the transmission chain that originated in Aloya Health Area, Mabalako Health Zone, and were not unexpected given known links between Mabalako and Beni…

:: From 8 August 2018 to 12 January 2020, 265 309 people were vaccinated with the rVSV-ZEBOV-GP Ebola vaccine.
:: Vaccination with the Ad26.ZEBOV/MVA-BN-Filo vaccine continued in Karisimbi Health Zone, with 5684 people vaccinated since its introduction on 14 November 2019.

…Risk communication, social mobilization and community engagement
:: Traditional healers and managers of private structures which had contact with suspected EVD cases participated in response activities after community dialogue in Aloya, Mabalako Health Zone.
:: A forum for popular expression was also organized with village chiefs and civil society leaders to address questions related to vaccination activities in Métal and Aloya Health Zones.
:: Teams continue to involve local actors in communication and vaccination activities in Lwemba and Biakato.


DR Congo: Red Cross volunteers attacked during Ebola burial
Goma/Nairobi/Geneva, 15 January 2020 – Two volunteers from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) Red Cross were seriously injured following an attack during a safe and dignified burial of a suspected Ebola case near Mambasa, in eastern DR Congo on Monday, 13 January. The volunteers are now in hospital, receiving medical care and psychosocial support.

DR Congo Red Cross teams have faced incidents of violence and aggression from communities resisting safe and dignified burial protocols since the start of the Ebola outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri.  In this most recent attack, the family had consented to the burial but rumours and panic quickly spread among the community resulting in a violent assault against the Red Cross team.

Grégoire Mateso Mbuta, President of the DR Congo Red Cross Society said: “This incident is a stark reminder of the serious risks our volunteers face when they carry out the dangerous task of safe and dignified burials. While we deplore any violence towards our volunteers or staff, we understand first hand, the fear and frustration that communities harbour and shall continue to render the needed services to the affected populations.”

The current Ebola outbreak, which began on 1 August 2018, is unfolding in an area affected by a two decades-long conflict that has claimed countless lives and raised fear and hostility towards responders.

Building community trust and acceptance has been at the core of the Red Cross’ Ebola response operations. This investment has paid off. Since the beginning of the outbreak nearly 20,000 successful safe and dignified burials have been conducted with a consistently high success rate.
Red Cross volunteers continue to work within affected communities, listening to concerns and gathering feedback that is then analysed and used to provide improved support to people in need. As a result, community resistance for safe and dignified burials has drastically declined over the course of the operation.

Nicole Fassina, Ebola Operations Manager for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said: “While we experienced an overall improvement in community’s acceptance of burials, this attack underscores why we cannot become complacent. The Red Cross will continue to engage and involve communities in the Ebola response if we want to bring this outbreak to end.”


Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)

Polio this week as of 14 January 2020
:: Pakistan intensifies cVDPV2 response efforts, focusing on comprehensive outbreak response, strengthened routine immunization, communication and enhanced surveillance.

Summary of new viruses this week (AFP cases and ES positives):
:: Pakistan:  seven WPV1 cases; and, five WPV1-positive environmental samples
:: Angola:  two cVDPV2 cases
:: Benin:  one cVDPV2 case
:: Central African Republic (CAR):  two cVDPV2 cases
:: Ghana:  one cVDPV2 case; and, six cVDPV2-positive environmental samples
:: Malaysia:  one cVDPV1-positive environmental sample; and, one cVDPV2-positive environmental sample
:: Philippines:  two cVDPV2 cases
:: Togo:  two cVDPV2 cases


Editor’s Note:
WHO has posted a refreshed emergencies page which presents an updated listing of Grade 3,2,1 emergencies as below.

WHO Grade 3 Emergencies [to 18 Jan 2020]

Democratic Republic of the Congo
:: Ebola Outbreak in DRC 75: 14 January 2020
[See Ebola above for detail]

Mozambique floods – No new digest announcements identified
Nigeria – No new digest announcements identified
Somalia – No new digest announcements identified
South Sudan – No new digest announcements identified
Syrian Arab Republic – No new digest announcements identified
Yemen – No new digest announcements identified


WHO Grade 2 Emergencies [to 18 Jan 2020]
:: WHO assesses capacity and preparedness of Al Jumhury Teaching Hospital for influenza
Erbil, Iraq, 14 January 2020

Afghanistan – No new digest announcements identified
Angola – No new digest announcements identified
Burkina Faso [in French] – No new digest announcements identified
Burundi – No new digest announcements identified
Cameroon – No new digest announcements identified
Central African Republic – No new digest announcements identified
Ethiopia – No new digest announcements identified
HIV in Pakistan – No new digest announcements identified
Iran floods 2019 – No new digest announcements identified
Libya – No new digest announcements identified
Malawi floods – No new digest announcements identified
Measles in Europe – No new digest announcements identified
MERS-CoV – No new digest announcements identified
Myanmar – No new digest announcements identified
Niger – No new digest announcements identified
occupied Palestinian territory – No new digest announcements identified
Sudan – No new digest announcements identified
Ukraine – No new digest announcements identified
Zimbabwe – No new digest announcements identified


WHO Grade 1 Emergencies [to 18 Jan 2020]

Chad – No new digest announcements identified
Djibouti – No new digest announcements identified
Kenya – No new digest announcements identified
Mali – No new digest announcements identified
Namibia – viral hepatitis – No new digest announcements identified
Tanzania – No new digest announcements identified


UN OCHA – L3 Emergencies
The UN and its humanitarian partners are currently responding to three ‘L3’ emergencies. This is the global humanitarian system’s classification for the response to the most severe, large-scale humanitarian crises. 
Syrian Arab Republic
:: Syrian Arab Republic: Recent Developments in Northwestern Syria Situation Report No. 6 – As of 15 January 2020

Yemen – No new digest announcements identified


UN OCHA – Corporate Emergencies
When the USG/ERC declares a Corporate Emergency Response, all OCHA offices, branches and sections provide their full support to response activities both at HQ and in the field.
CYCLONE IDAI and Kenneth – No new digest announcements identified
EBOLA OUTBREAK IN THE DRC – No new digest announcements identified