The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health ::
Holistic Development :: Sustainable Resilience
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Week ending 24 January 2015

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, consortiums 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
Editor &
Founding Managing Director
GE2P2 – Center for Governance, Evidence, Ethics, Policy, Practice
david.r.curry@ge2p2center.net

pdf verion: The Sentinel_ week ending 24 January 2015

blog edition: comprised of the 35+ entries to be posted below on 25 January 2015

Wealth: Having It All and Wanting More :: OXFAM ISSUE BRIEFING – JANUARY 2015

Wealth: Having It All and Wanting More
OXFAM ISSUE BRIEFING – JANUARY 2015
Deborah Hardoon, Senior Researcher, Oxfam GB
Post date: 19 January 2015 :: 12 pages

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Global wealth is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a small wealthy elite. These wealthy individuals have generated and sustained their vast riches through their interests and activities in a few important economic sectors, including finance and insurance and pharmaceuticals and healthcare.

Companies from these sectors spend millions of dollars every year on lobbying to create a policy environment that protects and enhances their interests further. The most prolific lobbying activities in the US are on budget and tax issues; public resources that should be directed to benefit the whole population, rather than reflect the interests of powerful lobbyists.

This briefing explains Oxfam’s methodology and data sources and updates key inequality statistics, such as Oxfam’s frequently cited fact in 2014: ’85 billionaires have the same wealth as the bottom half of the world’s population.’

[Report Press Release Excerpt]
The combined wealth of the richest 1 percent will overtake that of the other 99 percent of people next year unless the current trend of rising inequality is checked, Oxfam warned today ahead of the annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos.

Wealth: Having It All and Wanting More, a research paper published today by Oxfam, shows that the richest 1 percent have seen their share of global wealth increase from 44 percent in 2009 to 48 percent in 2014 and at this rate will be more than 50 percent in 2016. Members of this global elite had an average wealth of $2.7 million per adult in 2014.

Of the remaining 52 percent of global wealth, almost all (46 percent) is owned by the rest of the richest fifth of the world’s population. The other 80 percent share just 5.5 percent and had an average wealth of $3,851 per adult – that’s 1/700th of the average wealth of the 1 percent.

Staggering inequality
Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International, said: “Do we really want to live in a world where the one percent own more than the rest of us combined? The scale of global inequality is quite simply staggering and despite the issues shooting up the global agenda, the gap between the richest and the rest is widening fast.

“In the past 12 months we have seen world leaders from President Obama to Christine Lagarde talk more about tackling extreme inequality but we are still waiting for many of them to walk the walk. It is time our leaders took on the powerful vested interests that stand in the way of a fairer and more prosperous world.

“Business as usual for the elite isn’t a cost free option – failure to tackle inequality will set the fight against poverty back decades. The poor are hurt twice by rising inequality – they get a smaller share of the economic pie and because extreme inequality hurts growth, there is less pie to be shared around.”…

[Concluding section of report]
5 RISING INEQUALITY IS NOT INEVITABLE
In October 2014 Oxfam launched its Even It Up campaign, calling for governments, institutions and corporations to tackle extreme inequality. This briefing provides further evidence that we must build a fairer economic and political system that values every citizen. Oxfam is calling on world leaders, including those gathered at the 2015 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, to address the factors that have led to today’s inequality explosion and to implement policies that redistribute money and power from the few to the many.

1 Make governments work for citizens and tackle extreme inequality
Specific commitments must include: agreement of a post-2015 goal to eradicate extreme inequality by 2030; national inequality commissions; public disclosure of lobbying activities; freedom of expression and a free press.

2 Promote women’s economic equality and women’s rights
Specific commitments must include: compensation for unpaid care; an end to the gender pay gap; equal inheritance and land rights for women; data collection to assess how women and girls are affected by economic policy.

3 Pay workers a living wage and close the gap with skyrocketing executive reward
Specific commitments must include: increasing minimum wages towards living wages; moving towards a highest-to-median pay ratio of 20:1; transparency on pay ratios; protection of worker’s rights to unionise and strike.

4 Share the tax burden fairly to level the playing field
Specific commitments must include: shifting the tax burden away from labour and consumption and towards wealth, capital and income from these assets; transparency on tax incentives; national wealth taxes and exploration of a global wealth tax.

5 Close international tax loopholes and fill holes in tax governance
Specific commitments must include: a reform process where developing countries participate on an equal footing, and a new global governance body for tax matters; public country-by-country reporting; public registries of beneficial ownership; multilateral automatic exchange of tax information including with developing countries that can’t reciprocate; stopping the use of tax havens, including through a blacklist and sanctions; making companies pay based on their real economic activity.

6 Achieve universal free public services by 2020
Specific commitments must include: removal of user fees; meeting spending commitments; stopping new and reviewing existing public subsidies for health and education provision by private for-profit companies; excluding public services and medicines from trade and investment agreements.

7 Change the global system for research and development (R&D) and pricing of medicines so that everyone has access to appropriate and affordable medicines
Specific commitments must include: a new global R&D treaty; increased investment in medicines, including in affordable generics; excluding intellectual property rules from trade agreements.

8 Implement a universal social protection floor
Specific commitments must include: universal child and elderly care services; basic income security through universal child benefits, unemployment benefits and pensions.

9 Target development finance at reducing inequality and poverty, and strengthening the compact between citizens and their government
Specific commitments must include: increased investment from donors in free public services and domestic resources mobilization; and assessing the effectiveness of programmes in terms of how they support citizens to challenge inequality and promote democratic participation.

PRIVATE VIOLENCE, PUBLIC CONCERN – Intimate Partner Violence In Humanitarian Settings – IRC Research

PRIVATE VIOLENCE, PUBLIC CONCERN – Intimate Partner Violence In Humanitarian Settings
IRC Practice Brief, January 2015 :: 12 pages
pdf: http://www.rescue.org/sites/default/files/resource-file/IRC_PVPC_FINAL_EN.PDF

Violence against women and girls perpetrated by their intimate partners is a global phenomenon-experienced by at least one in three women during their lifetime.1 Prevalence is likely to be even higher in humanitarian settings, with an increasing body of evidence showing intimate partner violence (IPV)2 to be the most common type of violence women experience, though it may go underreported and receive less attention from humanitarian actors compared to sexual violence perpetrated by armed forces.

A new study by the International Rescue Committee (IRC), Private Violence, Public Concern, examines the nature and drivers of intimate partner violence in three refugee camps across three continents. The research shows that intimate partner violence in humanitarian settings is driven by a complex set of factors that include pre-existing gender inequalities, which is exacerbated by rapidly changing gender roles.

Private Violence, Public Concern’s qualitative findings deepen our understanding of women’s experience of intimate partner violence in displaced settings and highlights the lack of programming that exists to effectively prevent and respond to intimate partner violence. The study took place in 2014 in Domiz camp in Iraq, Dadaab camp in Kenya, and Ajuong Thok settlement in South Sudan, and focused on three key questions: 1) What are the drivers and nature of intimate partner violence in humanitarian settings?; 2) How do displaced women experience intimate partner violence?; and 3) What are women’s suggestions for how humanitarian organizations can improve prevention and response to intimate partner violence?

This brief presents key findings from the study, draws on knowledge and insights from decades of IRC experi¬ence working with women and girls in crisis settings, including research on intimate partner violence in West Africa and Syria,8,9 and presents recommendations that are relevant to the humanitarian community working both within and outside of formal camp settings.

Education Policy Research – OECD, UNESCO, UNICEF

Education Policy Outlook 2015: Making Reforms Happen
OECD
19 Jan 2015 :: 315 pages
ISBN: 9789264225442 (PDF) ; 9789264228535 (EPUB) ; 9789264220942 (print)
DOI : 10.1787/9789264225442-en
pdf:http://www.oecd-library.org/deliver/9115011e.pdf?itemId=/content/book/9789264225442-en&mimeType=application/pdf

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[Excerpt from press release]
Governments around the world are under growing pressure to improve their education systems. Rising spending is increasingly being matched by reforms to help disadvantaged children, invest in teachers and improve vocational training. But a widespread lack of evaluation of the impact of these reforms could hinder their effectiveness and hurt educational outcomes, according to a new OECD report, which finds that once new policies are adopted, there is little follow-up. Only around one in 10 of the 450 different reforms put in place between 2008 and 2014 were evaluated for their impact by governments between their launch and the publication of this report.

Measuring policy impact more rigorously and consistently will prove more cost-effective in the long-run, says the OECD. It will also ensure that future reforms are built on policies proven to work over a timeframe independent of political cycles or pressures.

“Too many education reforms are failing to measure success or failure in the classroom,” said Andreas Schleicher, OECD Director for Education and Skills, at the launch of the report at the Education World Forum in London. “While it is encouraging to see a greater focus on outcomes, rather than simply increasing spending, it’s crucial that reforms are given the time to work and their impact is analysed.”

“Education represents 12.9% of government spending, with total expenditure across the OECD exceeding 2.5 trillion dollars a year, equivalent to the GDP of the United Kingdom,” he added. “This valuable investment must be deployed in the most effective way. Reforms on paper need to translate into better education in our schools and classrooms.”
The report finds a trend of reform priorities converging across the OECD. Of the reforms analysed, most focused on: supporting disadvantaged children and early childhood care; reforming vocational education systems and building links with employers; improving training and professional development for teachers; and strengthening school evaluation and assessment.

A second OECD report underlines the continuing need for improving education. Education at a Glance Interim Report: Update of Employment and Educational Attainment Indicators finds that almost one in six 25-34 year-olds across OECD countries does not have the skills considered essential to function in today’s society, and the situation has changed little since 2003.

There are 13 OECD countries with 15% or more unqualified youth, including countries like France, the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, New Zealand or Italy.
“Having one out of every six young adults entering the world of adult life without a qualification is a major risk for labour markets and societies, said Andreas Schleicher. “Progress has to be achieved across the educational ladder, with priority given to diminishing the share of the least educated among the young.”

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Adolescents twice as likely to be out of school as children of primary school age, say UNESCO and UNICEF
New report shows why ‘business as usual’ won’t lead to universal primary or secondary education
19.01.2015
Around 63 million adolescents between the ages of 12 and 15 years are denied their right to an education, according to a new joint report from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics and UNICEF, Fixing the Broken Promise of Education for All: Findings from the Global Initiative on Out-of-School Children, released today during the Education World Forum.
Globally, 1 in 5 adolescents is not in school compared to almost 1 in 10 primary school-age children. So adolescents are twice as likely to be out of school as their younger counterparts. The report also shows that as children get older, the risk that they will never start school or will drop out increases.

In total, 121 million children and adolescents have either never started school or dropped out despite the international community’s promise to achieve Education for All by 2015. Data show that there has been almost no progress in reducing this number since 2007. Children living in conflict, child labourers and those facing discrimination based on ethnicity, gender and disability are the most affected. There is also a growing concern that previous gains in expanding access to education will erode without a major shift in policies and resources.

“Business as usual strategies based on more teachers, more classrooms and more textbooks are not enough to reach the most disadvantaged children,” said UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova. “We need targeted interventions to reach the families displaced by conflict, the girls forced to stay home, the children with disabilities and the millions obliged to work. But these policies come at a cost. This report serves as wake-up call to mobilise the resources needed to guarantee basic education for every child, once and for all.”

As pressure mounts to include universal secondary education in the post-2015 global development agenda, the report shows the way forward to break the barriers that keep children out of school. If current trends continue, 25 million children – 15 million girls and 10 million boys – are likely to never set foot inside a classroom.
“To realize the promise of universal education for every child, we need a global commitment to invest in three areas: getting more children into primary school; in helping more children – especially girls – stay in school through the secondary level; and improving the quality of the learning they receive throughout their schooling,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “There should be no debate among these priorities: we need to do all three, because the success of every child – and the impact of our investment in education – depends on all three.”

The highest out-of-school rates are in Eritrea and Liberia, where 66 per cent and 59 per cent of children, respectively, do not go to primary school. In many countries, the rates of exclusion are even higher for older children, especially girls. In Pakistan, 58 per cent of adolescent girls roughly between the ages of 12 and 15 are out of school compared to 49 per cent of boys.

Poverty is the greatest barrier to education, according to the report. In Nigeria, two-thirds of children in the poorest households are not in school and almost 90 per cent of them will probably never enrol. In contrast, only 5 per cent of the richest children are out of school and most of them are expected to start in the future (see the interactive data tool).

MSF- The Right Shot: Bringing Down Barriers to Affordable and Adapted Vaccines

MSF- The Right Shot: Bringing Down Barriers to Affordable and Adapted Vaccines
2nd Edition – January 2015 :: 124 pages

Click to access the_right_shot_2nd_edition.pdf


website: www.msfaccess.org/our-work/vaccines

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[Full text from Overview]
Whether vaccinating refugee children in South Sudan, or pregnant women in Afghanistan, MSF has committed itself to prioritizing vaccination as a core health service in its operations. In 2013 alone, our programs delivered more than 6.7 million doses of vaccines and immunological products, and we see the need to ramp up our activities even further.

However, the organization increasingly faces challenges at the field and global levels in expanding capacity to address immunization needs. The barriers encountered by MSF, including the rising cost of new vaccines and the lack of vaccine products suited for low-resource settings, are also obstacles for affected countries. As MSF uses newer vaccines more frequently in crisis settings, in line with the recently developed World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines on vaccinating in humanitarian emergencies, the challenges we face in purchasing vaccines at an affordable price have become acute. In addition, countries that are unable to afford these high prices are increasingly voicing their frustration at the inability to protect their children against life-threatening-but preventable-diseases.

This second edition of The Right Shot outlines how the prices of 16 fundamentally important vaccines have evolved since their development, in some cases as far back as 2000.
The report analyzes how prices are affected by the fact that a few multinational companies dominate the market, a lack of competition, various procurement strategies and purchasing conditions, and the business practices of the pharmaceutical industry. The publication consolidates and analyzes vaccine price data points from countries, UNICEF, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), MSF, and pharmaceutical companies. By examining the differences in pricing strategies used by companies based in emerging economies (developing country manufacturers) and multinational companies (industrialized country manufacturers), the publication explains how multinational pharmaceutical companies use their first-to-market advantage to reap blockbuster revenues, and are increasingly moving beyond high-income countries in seeking other profitable markets.
It also demonstrates how entry of additional manufacturers with WHO-prequalified vaccines, in particular developing country manufacturers, stimulates competition and drives down prices.

An overarching challenge that MSF faces in analyzing the vaccine market is the lack of data on prices and the notoriously opaque nature of the market; this lack of transparency also inhibits efforts to improve affordability. Price secrecy is ubiquitous in the vaccines market, putting countries and other purchasers at a distinct disadvantage when negotiating with companies.

While Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, has helped to lower prices of new and underused vaccines for its eligible countries-originally the poorest 73 countries of the world-the cost to fully immunize a child has nevertheless skyrocketed. Even at the lowest global prices, the introduction of the newest vaccines against pneumococcal and diarrheal diseases (pneumococcal conjugate and rotavirus vaccines, respectively), and against cervical cancer (human papillomavirus vaccine) has increased the cost of the full vaccines package 68-fold from 2001 to 2014, calling into question the sustainability of immunization programs after countries lose donor support. Of particularly serious concern is the impact of this drastic increase on most middle-income countries (MICs), which are benefitting neither from lower prices negotiated by organizations such as Gavi, nor from international donor support. Many children living in MICs are not benefitting from new, life-saving vaccines as a result of irrational and unaffordable pricing policies; some of these countries even have lower immunization coverage rates than Gavi-eligible countries.

Finally, while recent years have seen the introduction of several new vaccines that offer significant potential to reduce childhood deaths, there has been little investment in adapting-or optimizing-vaccine products to resource-limited contexts. Most vaccines still need to be refrigerated in a rigid “cold chain” until the moment they are administered, which is an immense challenge for places without electricity. Multiple doses are needed to fully protect children, and bulky products complicate transport to remote areas. These are some of the obstacles that annually prevent almost 22 million children under one year of age from receiving the basic package of lifesaving vaccines. Whether in a small village in rural Congo or a refugee camp in Iraq, vaccine delivery can be extremely difficult and costly to execute. A growing body of evidence, including MSF research, shows that some vaccines can remain effective outside of a strictly regulated temperature range, and rapid steps to re-label vaccines for their true heat stability are needed, along with further investments in better adapted products.

Vaccine commodities themselves account for almost half of the 57 billion US dollars (US$) needed to finance the Decade of Vaccines-the global framework for expanding access to immunization from 2011 to 2020. In the meantime, many countries, especially middle-income countries, are unable to afford the newest vaccines for their populations, nor can organizations such as MSF provide these vaccines to crisis-affected children, because of the very high price tag. Better solutions that can make new quality-assured vaccines more affordable and adapted to the environments where children are most vulnerable are urgently needed. Efforts to accelerate real competition in the vaccines market will deliver the most sustainable price reductions; in the interim, procurement strategies that benefit as many countries as possible should be pursued. Collective action is needed to improve price transparency and ensure affordable prices for quality assured vaccines in all countries, so that governments can make the benefits of immunization accessible to their populations. Shedding more light on the vaccine industry will benefit children everywhere.

Genetic diversity a hidden tool in coping with climate change – FAO book

Genetic diversity a hidden tool in coping with climate change
Raw material of food systems are key to helping agriculture adapt to volatile weather and rising temperatures

19 January 2015, Rome – Genetic resources have a critical role to play in feeding the world – especially as climate change advances faster than expected – and much more needs to be done to study, preserve and utilize the biological diversity that underpins world food production, according to a new book released by FAO today.

“Time is not on our side” warns the book, Coping with climate change: the roles of genetic resources for food and agriculture. “In the coming decades, millions of people whose livelihoods and food security depend on farming, aquaculture, fishing, forestry and livestock keeping are likely to face unprecedented climatic conditions.”

Crops, livestock, forest trees and aquatic organisms capable of surviving and producing in a changing climate will be needed.

The ability of plants and animals raised by farmers to withstand volatile conditions and adapt when the environment changes is a direct result of their genetic diversity, but stronger efforts to study and use that diversity as a coping mechanism – and policies to support that – are required, the book argues.

“In a warmer world with harsher, more variable weather, plants and animals raised for food will need to have the biological capacity to adapt more quickly than ever before,” said FAO Deputy Director-General Maria Helena Semedo.

“Preventing further losses of agricultural genetic resources and diverting more attention to studying them and their potential will boost humankind’s ability to adapt to climate change,” she added.

Such an adaptive approach will require updating the goals of agricultural breeding programmes – and in some cases introducing varieties, breeds, species, that have not been previously raised.

And improvements to field-based and off-site conservation programmes for domesticated species, their wild relatives and other wild genetic resources important for food and agriculture – along with policies that promote their sustainable use – are “urgently” needed.

Building our knowledge of genetic resources for food and agriculture – where they are found, what characteristics they have (e.g. resistance to drought or disease) and how they can best be managed is also critical, the book says.

In particular, improving knowledge, conservation and use of crop wild relatives is important – they are likely to have genetic traits that can be used to develop well-adapted crops for use in climate change-affected food systems.

“We need to strengthen the role of genetic resources and help farmers, fishers and foresters cope with climate change,” says Linda Collette, lead editor of the volume and Secretary of FAO’s Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, which starts its biennial meeting today.

Many locally adapted varieties and breeds of crops and livestock – as well as trees, fish, insects and micro-organisms – are poorly documented and may be lost before their potential roles in climate change adaptation are recognized.

Efforts should be made to avoid practices that destroy biodiversity or undermine the health of agricultural ecosystems – for instance the use of broad-spectrum insecticides that impact pollinators.

Guidelines point the way
The commission will also consider the adoption of guidelines for the integration of genetic resources into climate change adaptation plans, developed by FAO taking into account UNFCCC’s current guidance. The draft guidelines argue for an increased and explicit use of genetic resources as a part of overall adaptation measures needed to assure food security – in recognition to the critical role that genetic diversity must play there.

The guidelines contain a range of recommendations aimed at helping countries implement policies and strategies for studying, preserving, and utilizing genetic resources to adapt to climate change.

They aim to support governments’ use of genetic resources – ranging from seed varieties of major staple crops to the millions of microbes living in the soil, an area where expertise is relatively thin – in their national plans for coping with climate change.

U.N. approved cross-border aid helps 600,000 Syrians in six months

Editor’s Note: While we cannot generally track country-level activity, we take note of the Secretary General’s report below which tracks the impact of the Security Council’s precedent-setting decision to authorize specific humanitarian access to Syria without government consent.
U.N. approved cross-border aid helps 600,000 Syrians in six months
By Michelle Nichols
UNITED NATIONS Fri Jan 23, 2015 5:25am IST
(Reuters) – The United Nations said on Thursday that 54 aid shipments to Syria had been made since the U.N. Security Council authorized some cross-border routes in July, supplying food to 600,000 people, along with water and medical supplies.

In his latest monthly report to the council, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the United Nations and partners had made 40 shipments from Turkey and 14 from Jordan. Deliveries could not be made from Iraq due to insecurity, he said.

The Security Council approved humanitarian access without Syrian government consent into rebel-held areas at four border crossings from Turkey, Iraq and Jordan. Western diplomats said at the time that nearly 2 million people could be reached.

Ban’s report on Syria aid access, obtained by Reuters, said food assistance had reached 596,000 people, non-food items had been delivered to 522,000, water and sanitation supplies had reached more than 280,000 and medical supplies some 262,000.

Deliveries at those four border crossings added to existing efforts in coordination with the Syrian government, which reach several million people a month.

But Ban said the situation has continued to “deteriorate rapidly” as Syria’s civil war is about to enter its fifth year.

“Widespread fighting across the country, administrative hurdles, and lack of agreement from the parties continued to constrain humanitarian access across the country, affecting the humanitarian capacity to deliver at planned scaled,” Ban said.

He said some 12.2 million Syrian need assistance, while 3.8 million people have fled the country and about 7.6 million in Syria are displaced.

“It is completely unacceptable that the people of Syria continue to face grave abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law by the parties to the conflict and that they are denied access to the basic requirements for their survival,” Ban’s report said….

EBOLA/EVD [to 24 January 2015]

EBOLA/EVD [to 24 January 2015]
Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC); “Threat to international peace and security” (UN Security Council)

WHO: Ebola response roadmap – Situation report 21 January 2015
[Excerpt]
SUMMARY
:: Case incidence continues to fall in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, with a halving time of 1.4 weeks in Guinea, 2.0 weeks Liberia, and 2.7 weeks in Sierra Leone. A combined total of 145 confirmed cases were reported from the 3 countries in the week to 18 January: 20 in Guinea, 8 in Liberia, and 117 in Sierra Leone.

:: Mali has been declared free of Ebola virus disease (EVD) after completing 42 days since the last case tested negative for EVD.

:: Surveillance and information sharing will be increased in the border districts of Guinea-Bissau, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali and Senegal adjacent to the 3 intense-transmission countries.

:: Each of the intense-transmission countries has sufficient capacity to isolate and treat patients, with more than 2 treatment beds per reported confirmed, probable and suspected case. The planned numbers of beds in each country has now been reduced in accordance with falling case incidence.

:: Similarly, each country has sufficient capacity to bury all people known to have died from EVD.

:: Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone report that between 89% and 99% of registered contacts are monitored each day, though the number of contacts traced per EVD case remains lower than expected in many districts. In the week to 11 January, 53% of new confirmed cases in Guinea arose from known contacts; in the period between 1 January and 15 January, 53% of new confirmed cases in Liberia arose from known contacts. Equivalent data are not yet available for Sierra Leone.

:: There are currently 27 laboratories providing case-confirmation services in the 3 intense-transmission countries. Five more laboratories are planned in order to meet demand. The mean time between sample collection to sample testing in the 21 days to 18 January was 1.37 days in Guinea, 2.03 days in Liberia, and 2.32 days in Sierra Leone, although several districts in Guinea have yet to report data.

:: Case fatality among hospitalized patients (calculated from all hospitalized patients with a reported definitive outcome) is between 57% and 59% in the 3 intense-transmission countries, with no detectable improvement since the onset of the epidemic.

:: A total of 828 health worker infections have been reported in the 3 intense-transmission countries; there have been 499 reported deaths. The incidence of health worker infections has fallen in Liberia and Sierra Leone, but rose in Guinea throughout December.

:: As an indication of community engagement, 71% of districts in Guinea and 100% of districts in Sierra Leone have a list of key religious leaders who promote safe and dignified burials. No data are available for Liberia. Incidents of community resistance to safe burials and contact tracing continue to be reported in all 3 countries, although they are most common in Guinea.

COUNTRIES WITH WIDESPREAD AND INTENSE TRANSMISSION
:: There have been in excess of 21,000 reported confirmed, probable, and suspected cases (Annex 1) of EVD in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone (table 1), with more than 8600 deaths (outcomes for many cases are unknown). A total of 20 new confirmed cases were reported in Guinea, 8 in Liberia, and 117 in Sierra Leone in the 7 days to 18 January.

:: A stratified analysis of cumulative confirmed and probable cases indicates that the number of cases in males and females is similar (table 2). Compared with children (people aged 14 years and under), people aged 15 to 44 are approximately three times more likely to be affected. :: People aged 45 and over are almost four times more likely to be affected than are children.

:: A total of 828 health worker infections have been reported in the 3 intense-transmission countries; there have been 499 reported deaths (table 3)…

United Nations – Secretary General, Security Council, General Assembly [to 24 January 2015]

United Nations – Secretary General, Security Council, General Assembly
Selected Press Releases [to 24 January 2015]
http://www.un.org/en/unpress/

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23 January 2015
SG/SM/16482-ECO/246-ENV/DEV/1485
With Adoption of Sustainable Development Goals ‘We Can Set Our Lives, Our World on Course for a Better Future’, Secretary-General Tells World Economic Forum
Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s introductory remarks at the World Economic Forum plenary session “Tackling Climate, Development and Growth”, in Davos, Switzerland, today.

20 January 2015
SG/A/1540
Secretary-General Appoints Eric Goosby of United States as United Nations Special Envoy on Tuberculosis
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Eric Goosby of the United States as the United Nations Special Envoy on Tuberculosis.

20 January 2015
SG/SM/16473-GA/11612
Secretary-General, at General Assembly Ebola Meeting, Urges National Stakeholders, Community Leaders, Response Partners, Member States to Stay Engaged
Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the informal General Assembly meeting on Ebola, in New York today.

19 January 2015
SC/11740
Inclusive Development Critical for Preventing Conflict, Speakers Emphasize, as Security Council Debates Maintenance of International Peace, Security
During a day-long debate featuring nearly eighty speakers and presided over by the President of Chile, the Security Council today urged a common United Nations approach to inclusive development as a key for preventing conflict and enabling sustainable peace.

UNHCR Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees [to 24 January 2015]

UNHCR Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees [to 24 January 2015]
http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/hom

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Press Releases
UNHCR and ITC partner to support economic empowerment for refugees
21 January 2015
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Trade Centre (ITC) have agreed to step up joint efforts to ensure better economic and employment opportunities for the millions of refugees across the world.

The collaboration will seek to improve the livelihoods of refugees by enhancing their skill set and connecting them to opportunities linked to international trade. The Agreement was signed by High Commissioner António Guterres and ITC Executive Director Arancha González at UNHCR headquarters on Wednesday 21 January 2015.

‘Building the economic potential and creating job opportunities for refugee communities is about investing in peace, security and dignity,’ said Ms. González. ‘By linking refugees to markets we assist these communities in retaining and using their traditional skills in a way that provides economic opportunities, and builds a market for their goods and services.’

‘Empowering refugees through work and economic opportunities is key to helping people return to normal and productive lives,’ said High Commissioner Guterres. ‘This is an important step toward that goal.’

Co-operation between UNHCR and ITC will place special focus on interventions that aim to integrate refugees into the value chains of private-sector companies that are targeting export markets, especially sectors linked to information technology and agribusiness and handicrafts. Particular attention will be paid to women and youth.

UNOCHA [to 24 January 2015]

UNOCHA [to 24 January 2015]
http://www.unocha.org/

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23 Jan 2015
Syrian Arab Republic: UN Emergency Fund gives $100 million for aid operations in Syria and other poorly funded crises
(New York, 23 January 2014) – The United Nations humanitarian chief, Valerie Amos, has allocated some US$100 million from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to boost life-saving relief work in Syria and 11 other countries where humanitarian…

23 Jan 2015
occupied Palestinian territory: United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator calls for an immediate halt to demolitions and forced displacement in the West Bank
23 January 2015 Today, the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, James W. Rawley, expressed concern over the Israeli authorities’ recent spate of demolitions of Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem. “In the past three days, 77 Palestinians, over half of them children, have been made homeless,” said Mr. Rawley…

20 Jan 2015
Central African Republic: CentralAfrican Republic: UN humanitarian coordinator calls for immediate release of abducted humanitarian worker
(Bangui,20 January, 2015) The day after the abduction of a French humanitarian aid worker in Bangui, the United Nations interim Humanitarian Coordinator Mohamed Malick Fall, calls upon the perpetrators for her immediate and safe release. Mr. Fall and the whole humanitarian community in the Central African Republic (CAR) are deeply concerned by yesterday’s kidnapping and strongly condemn such…

UNICEF [to 24 January 2015]

UNICEF [to 24 January 2015]
http://www.unicef.org/media/media_71508.html
Media Releases [selected]
Poorest students receive up to 18 times less public education resources than the wealthiest, says UNICEF
DAVOS, 22 January 2015 – In many countries around the world, significantly less public resources are used to educate children in the poorest 20 per cent of society than their counterparts in the most affluent 20 per cent, according to a new report issued today by UNICEF. This difference can be as much as 18 times.

Children losing homes, schools and lives as result of Nigeria violence
GENEVA/DAKAR/NEW YORK, 20 January 2015 – Children are suffering the dire consequences of the conflict in Nigeria, losing their homes, missing out on education and risking their lives, UNICEF said today.

Government of Somalia ratifies UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
NEW YORK, 20 January 2015 – As the world enters into the 26th year of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Somalia has become the 194th state party to ratify the Convention, setting a course to improve the lives of its youngest citizens.

As schools reopen in Guinea, UNICEF helps efforts to reduce Ebola transmission risk
DAKAR/NEW YORK/GENEVA, 20 January 2015 – As schools reopen in Guinea, UNICEF and partners are helping reduce as much as possible the risk of Ebola transmission, training teachers to implement safety measures such as daily temperature screening, and supplying thermometers and handwashing kits for schools.

Put children at heart of global agenda, UNICEF challenges Davos
DAVOS, Switzerland, 20 January 2015 – On the eve of the World Economic Forum, UNICEF outlined an ambitious ‘Agenda for Every Child’ that it says must drive the post-2015 sustainable development targets.

Adolescents twice as likely to be out of school as children of primary school age, say UNESCO and UNICEF
LONDON, 19 January 2015 – Around 63 million adolescents between the ages of 12 to 15 years old are denied their right to an education, according to a new joint report from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics and UNICEF, Fixing the Broken Promise of Education for All: Findings from the Global Initiative on Out-of-School Children, released today during the Education World Forum.

UNICEF steps up relief efforts for Malawi flood victims as rains continue
LILONGWE/BLANTYRE, Malawi, 19 January 2015 – As heavy rains continue to fall in Malawi, UNICEF is stepping up its relief efforts, airlifting an initial 90 tons of supplies, as it seeks to reach those most in need.

UN Women [to 24 January 2015]

UN Women [to 24 January 2015]
http://www.unwomen.org/

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Press release: UN Women launches HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 Initiative
Date : January 23, 2015
Top global leaders join campaign to advance gender equality. Watch the livestream of the press conference as UN Women’s HeForShe initiative unveils a new campaign to engage governments, corporations and universities as instruments of change positioned within some of the communities that most need to address deficiencies in women’s empowerment and gender equality.

Ending gender inequality through the post-2015 agenda
Date : January 20, 2015
At a panel discussion organized by UN Women on “The Centrality of Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women and Girls for the Post-2015 Development Agenda,” panelists took at a deeper look at the latest post-2015 discussions, stressing that only a transformative approach can steer the world onto a more just, equitable and sustainable path.

Women, Peace and Security: Seeking Synergy with the Reviews on Peace Operations and Peacebuilding
Date : January 20, 2015
Speech by Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, Lakshmi Puri at a panel organized by the Netherlands on “Women Peace and Security: Seeking Synergy with the Reviews on Peace Operations and Peacebuilding,” 20 January 2015, New York.

WHO [to 24 January 2015]

WHO  [to 24 January 2015]
:: 136th WHO Executive Board session
26 January–3 February 2015 –
– Main Documents: http://apps.who.int/gb/e/e_eb136.html

:: Noncommunicable diseases take 16 million lives prematurely annually
19 January 2015 — Urgent government action is needed to meet global targets to reduce the burden of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), and prevent the annual toll of 16 million people dying prematurely – before the age of 70 – from heart and lung diseases, stroke, cancer and diabetes, according to a new WHO report. The report states that most premature NCD deaths are preventable.
– Read the news release on the new NCDs status report
– Read the NCDs status report

:: Global Alert and Response (GAR): Disease Outbreak News (DONs)
– Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – Oman 23 January 2015
– Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – Saudi Arabia 20 January 2015
– Human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus – China 19 January 2015

:: The Weekly Epidemiological Record (WER) for 23 January 2015, vol. 90,4 (pp. 17–24) includes –
Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety, 3–4 December 2014

WHO Regional Offices [to 24 Janaury 2015]

WHO Regional Offices

WHO African Region AFRO
Press Releases
:: More than 2.5 million people reached in emergency response campaign with anti-malarial medicines in Sierra Leone – 22 January 2015
:: Meningitis A vaccine now recommended in routine immunization schedules
Brazzaville, 20 January 2015 – The World Health Organization (WHO) now recommends the conjugate meningitis A vaccine MenAfriVac® to be introduced in routine immunization schedules in sub-Saharan Africa. This recommendation ensures that infants are protected against meningitis and population-wide immunity is maintained.The use of the MenAfriVac® vaccine to prevent meningitis A epidemics is one of the greatest vaccination success stories in public health history and highlights what partners can accomplish when unified by a compelling cause. In 2014, the MenAfriVac® campaigns reached more than 63 million people with remarkable success.

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WHO Region of the Americas PAHO
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WHO South-East Asia Region SEARO
:: India: first to adapt the Global Monitoring Framework on noncommunicable diseases (NCDs)
January 2015
Every year, roughly 5.8 million Indians die from heart and lung diseases, stroke, cancer and diabetes. In other words, 1 in 4 Indians risks dying from an NCD before they reach the age of 70. Full story – India: first to adapt the Global Monitoring Framework on NCDs

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WHO European Region EURO
:: Ukraine health system buckling under weight of humanitarian crisis 19-01-2015

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WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region EMRO
:: WHO provides support for hearing impaired children in Iraq
22 January 2015 – WHO and the Ministry of Health of the Kurdistan region have provided cochlear implants to 20 internally displaced and refugee children in Iraq as part of a larger WHO disability prevention and reduction project targeting internally displaced persons, refugees and affected host communities in Dohuk. WHO is also providing support to strengthen health services. To continue to improve its humanitarian response in Iraq, WHO requires more financial resources. Of the US$ 187 million needed, the Organization has so far raised only US$ 55 million (29%).

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WHO Western Pacific Region
No new digest content identified.

UNDP United Nations Development Programme [to 24 January 2015]

UNDP United Nations Development Programme [to 24 January 2015]
http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/presscenter.html

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23 Jan 2015
Helen Clark: Speech on ‘Reducing Tropical Deforestation Related to Key Agricultural Commodities’
Davos, Switzerland

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22 Jan 2015
Hi-tech conferencing helps UNDP coordinate anti-Ebola action
Through donations of videoconferencing kits and boosts to internet bandwith worth over 1 million U.S. Dollars from U.S. based companies Polycom and Airbus DS, UNDP offices in the countries hardest hit by Ebola can better coordinate action on the ground and with the international community.

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21 Jan 2015
Momentum remains high for forests role in sustainable development and tackling climate change
As world leaders and heads of business descend on Davos this week for the World Economic Forum, discussions on the crucial role of forests in tackling climate change while helping sustain over 1.6 billion forest dependent people remain key in 2015 – a bellwether year for climate change and sustainable development.

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20 Jan 2015
UNDP-led mission marks shift to recovery in Ebola affected West Africa
A United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-led mission to pinpoint critical areas of support needed to help the the nations most affected by Ebola start their recovery concluded on Tuesday in Sierra Leone.

UNEP United Nations Environment Programme [to 24 January 2015]

UNEP United Nations Environment Programme [to 24 January 2015]
http://www.unep.org/newscentre/?doctypeID=1

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New Report Identifies Key Innovations to Bridge Sustainable Development Investment Gap
Banks hold the largest pool of global financial assets
Nairobi, 21 January 2015 – A new report released today by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) identifies critical innovations in the US$300+ trillion global financial system, which, if brought to scale, could help close the widening sustainable development investment gap. The report is being launched at the World Economic Forum at Davos – at the outset of what promises to be a momentous year for sustainable development.

Following the financial crisis, increasing focus is being placed on how the financial system can fulfill its underlying purpose to serve the long-term health of the global economy.

The new publication, Pathways to Scale, is the 3rd progress report from the UNEP Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System and draws on work across 12 countries and a range of critical sectors such as banking, insurance, investment and securities. A key problem is that financial markets still do not effectively price environmental resources, with the result that the value of natural capital stocks such as clean air, productive soils and abundant water is falling in 116 out of 140 countries across the world.

The Inquiry’s high potential innovations include three major asset pools:
:: Banking: Banking: Banks hold the largest pool of global financial assets (US$139 trillion), and leadership by developing countries such as Bangladesh, Brazil and China in ‘green credit’ regulations points to a new phase in international banking standards.
:: Bond markets: The largest capital market (US$100 trillion assets) and fastest moving theme, with a tripling of ‘green bonds’ issuance in 2014 and the prize of incorporating sustainability factors such as climate risk into routine credit ratings.
:: Institutional investment: With US$93 trillion in assets under management in pensions, insurance and sovereign wealth funds, new investment structures, changes to investor governance and reform of incentives (such as remuneration) could underpin the next generation of sustainable investment.

In addition, the Inquiry has identified growing interest in two cross-cutting policy tools

Central banks’ monetary decisions, including balance sheet policies, could also have potential for marrying stability and sustainability – for example, through ‘green quantitative easing’ – although some measures remain controversial.

‘Environmental stress tests’ could help both financial institutions and financial regulators understand the financial implications of disruptive environmental threats such as natural disasters, chronic air pollution, water insecurity and climate change.

UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director, Achim Steiner, said “if we are to generate truly inclusive wealth then we need a financial system that can efficiently invest in the human, productive and natural capital on which we all depend. What is heartening is the increasing evidence that central bank governors, finance ministries and major investment funds recognize that new ‘rules of the game’ are not just necessary and possible, but can deliver real benefits.”

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IPBES Forges ahead with its Mission to Assess the Planets State of Biodiversity and Ecosystems
Green light for strategic partnerships and stakeholder engagement, and adoption of a policy addressing conflict of interest
19-1-2015
Bonn, Germany, 19 January, 2015 – The Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), which was created to provide policymakers with reliable, independent and credible information on the status of biodiversity, agreed today to initiate a set of regional assessments in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific, and Europe and Central Asia. These assessments will be a vital contribution for a planned global assessment to be completed by 2019.
Around 700 delegates from over 270 governments, scientific organizations, civil society and the private sector attended the Platform’s third meeting, which was held from 12 to 17 January in Bonn, Germany. IPBES Member States present at the meeting adopted a conflict of interest policy and a stakeholder engagement strategy that will support the implementation of the Platform’s work programme and approved the guidance on strategic partnerships and other collaborative arrangements. Further Resources
The Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)

ILO International Labour Organization [to 24 January 2015]

ILO International Labour Organization [to 24 January 2015]
http://www.ilo.org/global/lang–en/index.htm

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Private sector services and the care economy, key engines of job creation
ILO report points to accelerating job growth in private sector services over the next 5 years and an increasing demand for higher-skilled workers.
News | 22 January 2015
GENEVA (ILO News) – The greatest single source of new jobs will be found in private sector services, such as business and administrative services, and real estate, according to the latest ILO World Economic and Social Outlook report .

These and related industries will employ more than a third of the global workforce over the next five years.

Public services in health care, education and administration will continue to be a major source of employment. While increasing at a slower pace, they will still represent 15 per cent of total employment…

UNWTO World Tourism Organization [to 24 January 2015]

UNWTO World Tourism Organization [to 24 January 2015]
http://media.unwto.org/news

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INVESTOUR – creating business opportunities for Africa
22 January 2015
Now in its sixth consecutive year, the Tourism Investment and Business Forum for Africa (INVESTOUR), to be held next week at the International Tourism Fair (FITUR), will bring together a record number of African tourism projects, potential investors and business partners, opening new opportunities for sustainable tourism in the region (29 January 2015, Madrid, Spain).

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UNWTO activities at FITUR 2015
19 January 2015
Models of sustainable tourism production and consumption, the role of technology in accessible tourism for all, the future of tourism in the Middle East and North Africa, tourism investment in Africa and shopping tourism are among the many topics to be addressed at UNWTO activities during the International Tourism Trade Fair, FITUR. Furthermore, FITUR will once again be the stage for the UNWTO Awards for Excellence and Innovation in Tourism official ceremony (Madrid, Spain, 28 January – 1 February 2015).

ECHO [to 24 January 2015]

ECHO [to 24 January 2015]
http://ec.europa.eu/echo/en/news

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EU Aid Volunteers: flagship initiative kicks-off
23/01/2015
Today marks the launch of the EU Aid Volunteers initiative’s activities following its three-year preparatory phase. The flagship initiative, running through 2020, will create over 4 000 volunteer opportunities in the humanitarian field.

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EU boosts humanitarian assistance to violence victims in Nigeria
19/01/2015
In north-eastern Nigeria, a brutal campaign is being waged against innocent civilians. The European Commission is providing assistance with almost €8 million to help the victims of this violence, as well as to combat malnutrition in the country.