GAVI Alliance sets out opportunity to save up to six million lives through immunisation

Press Release: GAVI Alliance sets out opportunity to save up to six million lives through immunisation
20 May 2014

[Excerpt, Editor’s text bolding]
…The GAVI Alliance asked donors to invest an additional US$ 7.5 billion to support developing countries’ immunisation programmes from 2016 to 2020. These commitments would be added to the US$ 2 billion already available to GAVI for the period to ensure that Alliance-supported programmes are fully funded up to 2020…

…An acceleration is necessary because, despite an unprecedented increase in vaccine programmes in developing countries, 1.5 million children die each year of vaccine-preventable diseases and one in five children worldwide do not receive a full course of even the most basic vaccines.

The GAVI Alliance today set out an investment case that demonstrates how donors can support the world’s poorest countries to secure and expand their immunisation programmes, which protect children against illnesses such as pneumococcal disease and rotavirus, the leading vaccine-preventable causes of pneumonia and diarrhoea, between 2016 and 2020.

The economic benefits of fully funded, sustainable vaccine programmes would result in US $80 to $100 billion in gains for developing countries through increased productivity and reductions in the cost of treating illnesses that would have been prevented through immunisation….

African Development Bank announces US $2 billion fund with China

African Development Bank announces US $2 billion fund with China
22/05/2014

The African Development Bank (“AfDB”) and the People’s Bank of China (“PBOC”) on Thursday, May 22 entered into a US $2 billion co-financing fund to be known as the Africa Growing Together Fund (“AGTF”). The resources from the AGTF are expected to be provided over a 10-year period and will be used alongside the AfDB’s own resources to finance eligible sovereign and non-sovereign guaranteed development projects in Africa.
Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank Group, commented that “the AGTF marks an important milestone in the long-standing relationship between China and the African Development Bank Group in particular and Africa in general.” He added that “the AGTF will operate within the strategic framework, policies and procedures of the AfDB, including its integrated safeguards, thereby leveraging on the AfDB’s strengths.”

Commenting on the agreement, Zhou Xiaochuan, Governor of the People’s Bank of China, acknowledged the AfDB’s work over the last 50 years, and the great strides it has made in promoting growth and alleviating poverty. He stated that “the AfDB’s rich experience, convening power and strong results-oriented culture made the Bank China’s ideal partner for channeling resources in support of long-term growth and development on the continent.”

Charles Boamah, Vice-President and CFO of the African Development Bank Group, stated that “the AGTF enables an additional US $200 million in more or larger-sized projects annually throughout Africa, on identical terms and conditions as for loans made by the AfDB itself to the same projects. This builds on the success of similar instruments such as the Nigeria Trust Fund, which has been in operation for close to 40 years.” He expressed a hope that this model will be replicated with many more regional as well as non-regional member countries of the AfDB.
Following the signing, the AGTF will be immediately established, and is expected to be used to co-finance some projects before the end of this year.

Report: Profits and Poverty: The Economics of Forced Labour

Report: Profits and Poverty: The Economics of Forced Labour
ILO – Special Action Programme to Combat Forced Labour (SAP-FL); Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work Branch (FPRW)
20 May 2014 66 pages
ILO’s Director-General urges immediate action to eradicate forced labour

Excerpt

The publication of the new ILO report “Profits and Poverty: The Economics of Forced Labour” is significant because it takes our understanding of trafficking, forced labour and slavery to a new level.

The report builds on earlier ILO studies on the extent, the cost and profits from forced labour and human trafficking.

But this report is different: it looks at both the supply and the demand side of forced labour, and for the first time provides solid evidence for a correlation between forced labour and poverty.

What is more, it provides startling new estimates of the illegal profits generated through the use of forced labour in various economic sectors and industries, and in commercial sexual exploitation.

These new estimates show that progress is being made. State-imposed forced labour is declining in importance. Of course, we must remain vigilant to prevent that type of exploitation from resurging.

But we must also now turn our attention to understanding what continues to drive forced labour and trafficking in the private sector.

In order to move forward in this fight, we need to look at the socio-economic factors that make people vulnerable to forced labour.
– We need to understand the role of supply and demand, and how some unscrupulous employers can still reap huge profits by underpaying, or not paying workers at all.
– We need to strengthen social protection floors to prevent households from sliding into the poverty that pushes people into forced labour.
– We need to improve levels of education and literacy so that household decision-makers can understand their own vulnerability to forced labour and know their rights as workers.
– We need to address the fact that more than half of all of the victims are women and girls, primarily in commercial sexual exploitation, and we need to reduce the vulnerability of men and boys as well to forced labour in other sectors.
– And finally, we need to examine how the movement of people either within or across international borders contributes to forced labour and build and consolidate a rights-based approach to migration…

WHO: Plan of action of the Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity

WHO: Plan of action of the Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity
May 2014
[WHO Director General Margaret Chan announced formation of the new commission during the World Health Assembly in Geneva last week]

What is the role of the Commission?
The Commission has been tasked with producing a report specifying which approaches and which combinations of interventions are likely to be most effective in different contexts around the world. The report is to arise from consensus between a broad variety of experts. The Commission is to be co-chaired by Sir Peter David Gluckman, Chief Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of New Zealand, and Dr Sania Nishtar, founder and President of Heartfile.

No single discipline can provide the groundwork for a strategic approach to tackling childhood obesity. Social scientists, public health specialists, clinical scientists and economists will join together to synthesize the best available evidence into a coherent plan. Actors responsible for food production, manufacturing, marketing and retail; maternal health and nutrition; child health, education and health literacy; physical activity; and public policy will also engage in the task.

The Commission will deliver its report to the WHO Director-General in early 2015 so that she can convey its recommendations to the 2015 World Health Assembly.
Working groups

The Commission will be supported by two working groups.

An ad hoc Working Group on Science and Evidence consisting of experts in epidemiology, paediatrics, nutrition, development origins, health literacy, and marketing to children, health economics, physical activity and gestational diabetes will:
:: estimate the prevalence of childhood obesity and its consequences
:: evaluate the economic impact of childhood obesity
:: examine the evidence on prevention of childhood obesity and how to reverse it in affected
children; and determine the best combination of policies to put in place to achieve these
goals in different settings
:: evaluate and recommend policy options for monitoring and surveillance.

The Working Group on Implementation, Monitoring and Accountability will consist of experts in monitoring and accountability, joined by representatives of governments, civil society, groups representing children, advocates for child health and nutrition, international organizations and the food industry. This group will develop:
:: a framework for implementation of and accountability for policies recommended by the
Working Group on Science and Evidence
:: mechanisms required to monitor recommended policy options
:: assessment of the feasibility of monitoring recommended policy options
:: an approach ensuring that countries are not unduly burdened by reporting requirements

Report: Cost of Air Pollution: Health Impacts of Road Transport

Report: Cost of Air Pollution: Health Impacts of Road Transport
OECD
21 May 2014 80 pages
ISBN: 9789264210448 (PDF) ; 9789264210424 (print)
DOI: 10.1787/9789264210448-en
Excerpt for Overview
Air pollution is costing advanced economies (plus China and India) an estimated USD 3.5 trillion a year in premature deaths and ill health and the costs will rise without government action to limit vehicle emissions, a new OECD report says.

In OECD countries, around half the cost is from road transport, with diesel vehicles producing the most harmful emissions. Traffic exhaust is a growing threat in fast-expanding cities in China and India, as the steady increase in the number of cars and trucks on the road undermines efforts to curb vehicle emissions.

“The price we pay to drive doesn’t reflect the impact of driving on the environment and on people’s health. Tackling air pollution requires collective action,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría, presenting the report at the International Transport Forum’s 2014 Summit in Leipzig, Germany (Read the full remarks).

The report calculates the cost to society across the OECD’s 34 members at about USD 1.7 trillion, based on the value people attach to not having their lives cut short by cancer, heart disease or respiratory problems. It puts the cost at nearly USD 1.4 trillion in China and nearly USD 0.5 trillion in India.

More than 3.5 million people die each year from outdoor air pollution. From 2005 to 2010, the death rate rose by 4 percent worldwide, by 5 percent in China and by 12 percent in India.

Main Findings
:: The number of deaths due to outdoor air pollution fell by about 4% in OECD countries between 2005 and 2010. But while 20 of the 34 OECD countries achieved progress, 14 did not.
:: The number of deaths due to outdoor air pollution in China rose by about 5%, in India by about 12% over the same period.
:: The cost of the health impact of air pollution in OECD countries (including deaths and illness) was about USD 1.7 trillion in 2010.
:: Available evidence suggests that road transport accounts for about 50% of this cost in the OECD, or close to USD 1 trillion.
:: In China, the cost of the health impact of air pollution was about USD 1.4 trillion in 2010, and about USD 0.5 trillion in India. There is insufficient evidence to estimate the share of road transport but it nonetheless represents a large burden.

Main recommendations
:: Remove any incentives for the purchase of diesel cars over gasoline cars.
:: Maintain and tighten regulatory regimes, in particular, vehicle standards regimes such as those currently in place in the European Union. Make test-cycle emissions more similar to the emissions the vehicles cause under normal use.
:: Invest in more ambitious mitigation programmes, including improved public transport.
:: Continue the research on the economic value of morbidity impacts of air pollution and on the specific evidence linking it to road transport.
:: Mitigate the impact of air pollution on vulnerable groups, such as the young and the old.

When the Rhythm Changes, So Must the Dance – Molly Melching, Tostan

Stanford Social Innovation Review Blog
Nonprofit Management
When the Rhythm Changes, So Must the Dance
Why careful listening is important to starting and scaling positive social change.
By Molly Melching | May. 20, 2014

Bringing an idea or movement to transformative scale is a complex task, especially in a world where the challenges we face often seem insurmountable. It requires innovation, partnership, and planning, as well as much patience. But since founding Tostan (an African community empowerment NGO) in 1991, I have found that something called responsive listening is actually the most essential element of helping a grassroots movement grow. For us, responsive listening has shaped not only what we do, but also how we fund it.

Responsive listening is about really understanding people and working alongside rather than for them. These behaviors are foundational for Tostan and a catalyst for all innovations to our programs and approach. Listening attentively to the needs of our partner communities and directly incorporating their feedback has constantly refined the way we work. One change at a time, we have built an approach that organically brings movements to scale, because the communities with which we partner essentially design and lead them.

Today, the heart of our approach to this work is our Community Empowerment Program (CEP), a three-year, non-formal education program with three main elements:
:: It is human rights-centered. During the first months of our program, community members learn about their human rights. Participants start a dialogue about what these rights mean to them and explore how their existing traditions, values, and religious beliefs support these rights. Likewise, knowledge of their human rights gives them a foundation to question practices or social norms that violate these rights. Learning about human rights has proved powerful, especially for women, giving them new confidence to speak out about issues such as child marriage, female genital cutting, and domestic violence, and to participate in family and community decisions.
:: It is holistic and integrated. The communities we partner with in Africa are dynamic, and work to address a broad range of challenges and experiences. We have found that education functions best in the same way: When holistic and integrated, it prepares participants to find appropriate solutions to the many issues their communities face. Our program has evolved to mirror this need, facilitating learning on topics such as human rights, problem solving, hygiene and health, literacy, numeracy, and project management. In this way, issues intersect and reinforce one another—for example when communities apply new skills to build a school or address a health issue.
:: It is inclusive of networks. When it comes to building support for a movement, it is imperative to include the extended family or social network. This is something I learned from my dear friend Demba Diawara, a village imam (leader) and social change activist in Senegal. He told me: “A person’s family is not their village. The family includes one’s entire social network. … If you truly want to bring about widespread change, they must all be involved.” In other words, neighboring villages, relatives living far away, and all others connected to a given community must engage in the conversation.

A process called organized diffusion helps achieve this broad engagement. First, all members of an individual village or community must connect to the learning process. Our CEP classes include a diverse range of community members—women, men, and adolescents—from different social strata in the village. These participants learn and talk together during class sessions, and commit to sharing the information they gain with their family and community. Second, CEP is not a village-at-a-time model. Instead, we work in clusters of 30-50 communities within a region. That way, the dialogue expands even farther, as entire communities host social mobilization activities and inter-village meetings to discuss information relevant to their extended network—notably, that includes people not participating in our full program and even communities living across borders in other countries. Through this outreach process, entire social networks become engaged, taking ideas and turning them into action for change.

These hallmarks of our approach—human rights-centered, holistic, and inclusive of community networks—are the result of responsive listening, and they are what help empower and mobilize communities to identify and grow their movements for change. Although the cultural contexts and exact needs of communities vary, the same principle applies: We are working with communities to design an approach that can scale and sustain itself.

The practice of reflective learning has also influenced how we fund this work. Our financial support has traditionally taken the form of stand-alone projects lasting one or two years and focused mostly on single issues—a typical funding pattern for many NGOs. We deeply appreciate these partnerships. But as we looked at reaching thousands more villages across West Africa, we realized that we needed something more—multi-issue, multi-year, multi-country support to really follow what we’ve learned and allow our programs to scale up in step with communities’ ambitions.

Launched last year, our Generational Change in Three Years campaign creates that new, holistic funding model by coordinating our work in 1,000 communities and six countries around three goals: 1) ending female genital cutting in Senegal and reducing it in surrounding countries, 2) greatly reducing child marriage and violence against women and girls, and 3) transforming education for a generation of parents and children. The “pooled” funding model of this campaign will allow us to deliver results more efficiently—by reducing administrative costs, streamlining reporting protocols, and ensuring secure cash-flow. In April we launched the first wave of this new effort, starting activities in 150 communities in Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, and Mauritania.

We have found that CEP is adaptable to almost every community and context, and works most powerfully when deployed at scale. Thus, continuing to run the model as best we could through uncoordinated projects would have embodied unresponsive listening. As we say in Senegal, “When the rhythm changes, so must the dance.” We are excited by where our latest campaign and other innovations can take us, and most importantly, how these innovations can propel the ambitious efforts of our partner communities to build bright futures.

The humanitarian response must be fit for new crises – David Miliband, IRC

The humanitarian response must be fit for new crises
David Miliband, IRC
The Guardian: Poverty Matters Blog
Changing ‘aidscape’ demands humanitarian goals with clear targets as part of post-2015 development plan

There will be intensive brainstorming about the future of humanitarian action in the next two years. In March 2015, the third world conference on disaster risk reduction will take place in Japan. The UN development summit in September 2015 will establish the successors to the millennium development goals (MDGs) – the sustainable development goals (SDGs). And in March 2016, the global humanitarian community will meet in Istanbul for the first world humanitarian summit.

This kind of focus is essential because the “aidscape” is changing. On the demand side, the growth of the middle class in China and India means a higher concentration of poverty in conflict-affected states. Half of the world’s extreme poor, who survive on less than $1.25 a day, live in these fragile states. As a result, humanitarian crises are becoming more complex and more frequent.

On the “supply” side, the humanitarian community is characterised by fatigue and fragmentation. The fatigue is manifest in what Pope Francis has called the “globalisation of indifference”. The fragmentation can be seen among traditional humanitarian actors, where there are diverse approaches and priorities, and in the entry of new players, whether funded from Muslim majority countries in the Gulf or by the private sector.

This discrepancy between demand and supply explains why, in the face of an unprecedented four crises rated level 3 by the UN in 2013 (Syria, South Sudan, Central African Republic and the Philippines), the global response has been lacking. UN appeals are underfunded by governments; the public is dispirited; humanitarian NGOs are stretched as rarely before.

Humanitarian agencies like the International Rescue Committee are responding with a range of innovations to improve efficiency and effectiveness. There is more focus on and accountability to “beneficiaries” – the people we assist; more integration of social and economic interventions; and better partnerships with local civil society.

But the challenge for humanitarian action goes beyond the practice of individual agencies. Too often, the whole of our effort seems less than the sum of the parts. To me, that can only be addressed if we debate and decide clear goals to align our efforts. I’m pleased to have initiated a debate on this blog, it’s time to take the ideas further.

Humanitarian goals (HuGos) could help tackle four fundamental issues. First, they could focus attention and resources on what the humanitarian system is trying to achieve. Second, they could align diverse practical efforts on the ground in response to conflict and disaster. Third, they could establish accountability in and for the system. Finally, they could rally public opinion.

There are difficult questions about whether HuGos should be outcome-based (such as around health or education levels, or number of lives saved) or input-or process-based (such as around funding levels, or timeliness of response). Whether HuGos are separate from the SDGs or integrated within them. How they relate to existing standards (eg sphere standards, or the core humanitarian standard).

But the difficulty of the questions should not lead us to duck them – we should aim for outcome-based standards that are integrated into the SDGs, and articulated in the form of floor or convergence targets.
Floor targets have been developed in domestic policy around the world – health, education, crime – to ensure that overall or average improvements in performance of public services are not at the expense of attention to the poorest performance, which is often correlated with socioeconomic status. In improving health, for example, attention is paid to the health of the poorest as well as to the average age of mortality.

There is a clear and compelling parallel for the humanitarian system. Humanitarian floor targets could mean, for example, that education or health levels in fragile states or level 3 emergencies are given due priority by establishing minimum outcome levels alongside the aspirations for improved overall provision for the poorest. Aspirations for tackling gender violence or inequality could be accompanied by floor targets for the position of women and girls in humanitarian emergencies.

The purpose would be to ensure that the SDGs do not encourage “cream skimming” and a focus on those low-income states and people just below the target level. They should be a key part of the armory in tackling the gravest inequalities.

These outcome-based targets could be complemented by input-targets designed to maximise progress towards the agreed outcomes, and to guard against humanitarian priorities being seen as “second-tier” targets. This could be minimum funding levels for the UN Central Emergency Response Fund, or minimum standards for responses to level 3 emergencies.

The conversation about the SDGs is now at quite an advanced stage. So the case for floor targets needs to be made with urgency and purpose. Real progress would set the stage for the world humanitarian summit to address key issues relating to the performance and focus of the humanitarian system, from how it does prevention to the nature of local partnerships and the integration of economic and social concerns.

The debate about the future of the fight against poverty is important and urgent. But one danger is clear: that people in conflict states are the Cinderellas of the process, left in the “too complicated” box. That must not be allowed to happen.