The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health ::
Holistic Development :: Sustainable Resilience
Week ending 28 March 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

pdf verion: The Sentinel_ week ending 28 March 2015

blog edition: comprised of the 35+ entries to be posted below on 29 March 2015

UN Security Council, 7418th meeting – The situation in the Middle East

Editor’s Note:
It was an extraordinary week for UN Security Council debate and action. We include content just below from separate sessions on Syria and Children in Armed Conflict. Other actions are covered in Agency Watch below.


Middle East – Security Council, 7418th meeting – Video
26 Mar 2015 – The situation in the Middle East
Report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of Security Council resolutions 2139 (2014), 2165 (2014) and 2191 (2014) (S/2015/206).
This video segment includes the statements of Valerie Amos, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator on the humanitarian situation in the Syrian Arab Republic, and a response from H.E. Bashar Ja’afari, Permanent Representative of the Syrian Arab Republic to the United Nations.
UNTV Video:

Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos: Security Council Briefing on Syria – New York, 26 March 2015
Report from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
[Full text]

Mr. President,
We are in the fifth year of a war in Syria characterized by breathtaking levels of savagery and it is just over one year since this Council adopted resolution 2139. The resolution demanded action by the parties to the conflict, to cease attacks against civilians and facilitate humanitarian access to those in need. We had all hoped that the resolution would compel the parties to reduce the violence and lead to a significant improvement in the situation of people in Syria.

By any measure, however, the situation in Syria has dramatically worsened.

Civilians continue to bear the brunt of this conflict. The Secretary-General has submitted report after report highlighting the failure of the parties to meet their basic minimum legal obligations. Indiscriminate aerial bombings, including the use of barrel bombs, car bombs, mortar attacks, unguided rockets and the use of other explosive devices in populated areas, are the hallmarks of this conflict.

Fighting continues to escalate across the country. Increased violence in Idlib city in the past few days is particularly worrying and has the potential to displace hundreds of thousands more people. I am concerned that civilians could become trapped in the city if the fighting escalates. People must be given safe passage and be allowed to leave if this becomes necessary.


Mr. President,
I have previously reported on the worsening socio-economic situation in the country which has eroded the development gains made over a generation. Today, a Syrian’s life expectancy is estimated to be 20 years less than when the conflict started. Unemployment is around 58 per cent, up from around 10 per cent in 2010; and nearly two thirds of all Syrians are now estimated to be living in extreme poverty.


Mr. President,
The inability of this Council and countries with influence over the different parties at war in Syria, to agree on the elements for a political solution in the country, means that the humanitarian consequences will continue to be dire for millions of Syrians.

Children are particularly badly affected with 5.6 million children now in need of assistance. Well over two million children are out of school. A quarter of Syria’s schools have been damaged, destroyed or taken over for shelter. It will take billions of dollars to repair damaged schools and restore the education system.

Nutritional surveys indicate a worrying decline in the nutritional status of children. Three governorates – Hama, Aleppo and Deir-ez-Zor – have Global Acute Malnutrition rates above 10 percent among the children sampled: a level considered as “serious” according to WHO standards. The overall country-wide Global Acute Malnutrition Rate was 7.2 per cent. This is considered to be “poor”.

The health system in Syria has been destroyed. Only half of the network of primary health centers which existed before the conflict are still working. Physicians for Human Rights has documented 233 attacks on 183 medical facilities, with 610 medical staff killed over the last four years.

Basic services continue to be deliberately attacked and cut. For example, some 450,000 people in Dar’a had their water cut for two weeks in February. And even when basic services are restored, people only have sporadic access due to the systemic degradation of basic infrastructure. NGOs reviewing satellite imagery report that 83 per cent of the lights have gone out in Syria over the past four years. This is an average. The cuts are even higher in areas like Aleppo.

As needs grow humanitarian organizations need to reach more people, but we are facing increasing difficulties in reaching the 4.8 million people who live in areas which are hard to reach. And as the violence escalates and conflict lines continue to shift, I fear that these numbers will rise. Access continues to be constrained by insecurity and active fighting but the parties to the conflict are increasingly, deliberately obstructing the delivery of life-saving aid.

In parts of the country under ISIL control, a number of humanitarian offices have been closed. As a result WFP was forced to halt distribution to 700,000 people in ISIL-controlled areas of Aleppo, Hasakeh, Deir ez-Zor and Raqqa governorates and FAO distributions in the northern governorates – the agricultural belt of the country – have also been reduced in the past few months.

The Syrian Government continues to put in place restrictive administrative hurdles, hampering the effective delivery of aid and have insisted that the United Nations share beneficiary lists. In February, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs instructed the United Nations that all communications with government ministries and public service providers be routed through the MFA.

At a time when needs are growing, and the humanitarian community should be scaling up its response, the Government continues to put in place measures that are not practical and slow down our response.

So far this year the United Nations has requested access to 33 locations for the delivery of aid through inter-agency convoys. Only three have been agreed. To Al Wa’er, Talbiseh and Ar Rastan in Homs. Despite the approval and support of the Governor, Syrian state security forces removed surgical and other medical and reproductive health supplies from the convoys to Al Wa’er and Talbiseh. Urgently needed medical supplies, including surgical items, are scheduled to be delivered to Ar Rastan on 30th March. I ask this Council to make it clear to the Government of Syria that these convoys must be allowed to proceed and their security forces should allow the free passage of all supplies to people in need.


Mr. President,
There has been some confusion about the number of people in besieged and hard to reach locations. In besieged areas people cannot leave and assistance cannot get in on a regular basis.

In February, the United Nations could not deliver any food or medicines to besieged locations. UNRWA has restarted delivery of some assistance to Yarmouk on 4th March. However, food distribution takes place only three times a week, with around 200 families receiving parcels on each distribution day. UNRWA estimates that the 18,000 people trapped in Yarmouk require 400 food parcels daily to meet their basic needs.

An additional 228,000 people are now living under siege in Government-controlled neighborhoods of Deir ez-Zor, by ISIL. They are unable to leave the city and only minimal supplies have been air lifted in by the Government. This increases the total number of people besieged in Syria from 212,000 to an estimated 440,000.


Mr. President,
This situation cannot continue. 185,500 people are in areas besieged by the Government, despite their assertions that they have a responsibility to look after their own people. The rest are in areas besieged by armed groups. The authority of this Council is being undermined. People trapped in besieged locations are becoming more and more desperate. We must be allowed to deliver essential humanitarian items, such as food, nutritional supplies for children, medicines and medical items. Time is running out. More people will die.

The United Nations and its humanitarian partners continue to do everything we can to try to save lives and we are still getting aid to millions of people each month, including through cross border operations. The pledging conference in Kuwait on 31st March is an opportunity to raise some of the resources required to maintain our life saving work. I encourage governments to give generously.


We also need the Council’s continued strong support in the following areas:
To remain strong advocates for compliance with international humanitarian and human rights law. Making it clear that parties to the conflict, including the Government, which bears a special responsibility as a Member of the United Nations, cannot act with impunity.

On the issue of denial of access, where parties arbitrarily withhold consent to relief operations there must be consequences and accountability. Council members may wish to consider the concrete steps they would like to take, given the violations of the Council’s demands on access contained in resolution 2139.

And on the repeated targeting of health facilities and personnel, the Syrian armed forces, non-state armed groups and terrorist groups must be held accountable for their actions.


Mr. President,
Day after day, month after month, year after year, the death, destruction and violence in Syria grows. As Council members have said many times, there is no humanitarian solution to the crisis. The international community must demonstrate greater determination to reach a long overdue political solution.

Thank you.

UN Security Council – Open debate: Children and armed conflict – SC/11832 – 25 March 2015

25 March 2015
UN Security Council – Open debate: Children and armed conflict

Former Child Soldier Describes Forced Recruitment during Security Council Debate, Urges International Community to Aid Other Children Released by Armed Groups
7414th Meeting (AM)
UN Security Council
Citing ‘New and Grave’ Threats, Speakers Spotlight Strategies to Tackle Abuse, Chart Progress of Protection Campaigns

Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict: Statement Delivered by Leila Zerrougui
Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict 25 Mar 2015
Statement delivered in French

At Security Council Debate on Children, Armed Conflict, Secretary General Says ‘Children of the World Should Be Students, Not Soldiers’
25 March 2015
I thank the Permanent Representative of France for organizing this important and timely debate. The world’s children are increasingly under threat in theatres of war. Last year was considered one of the worst ever for children in areas affected by conflict.

An estimated 230 million children live in countries and areas where armed groups are fighting. Up to 15 million children were directly affected by the violence. The perpetrators of violations against children in armed conflict are increasingly diverse and brutal…

…Globally, in conflict situations, the main perpetrators of grave violations against children are armed groups. These groups constitute the vast majority of parties listed in the annexes of my annual report on children and armed conflict.

Since I last addressed the Council on this issue one year ago, hundreds of thousands more children have been confronted with the emergence or intensification of conflict, and have endured new and grave threats posed by armed groups. Sadly, this includes some of the worst human rights violations a child can experience — including death, injury, imprisonment and torture, sexual abuse, forced recruitment and abduction. There is rarely anyone to hear their protests or advocate for their rights.

The rise of violent extremism in conflict areas is particularly disturbing. The tactics of groups such as Da’esh and Boko Haram make little distinction between civilians and combatants. These groups not only constitute a threat to international peace and security, but often target girls and boys. No cause can justify such acts.

Children have the right to be protected in their schools, in their homes, in their communities. Increasingly, children are snatched from a normal life of school and family, abducted by armed groups and thrown into a life of violence and horror. From north-eastern Nigeria to Iraq, from South Sudan to Syria, we have witnessed a wave of such abductions used to terrorize and humiliate entire communities…

…We agree that we cannot tolerate a world in which children are killed and maimed, where they are abducted, subject to sexual violence, forced to become soldiers, and where schools and hospitals are attacked. That is why we engage not just with Governments, but also armed groups to stop grave violations against children. My Special Representative has worked with many such groups, and will work with more, to ensure we are doing our utmost to protect children in these most difficult environments.

The resolutions adopted by the Council over the past 16 years have built a solid framework and given us tools to better engage with Governments and non-State actors not only to end, but also to prevent, these violations.

We have seen concrete outcomes of our efforts that have translated into thousands of children now going to school instead of battle, and playing in fields instead of fighting on them. By protecting children, we contribute to building durable peace and to helping countries reach their full potential.

But, we must act collectively and expeditiously. I call on the international community to continue supporting this work and this mandate, and to always ensure that the children’s best interests are at the heart of any response we undertake.

Allow me to end on a positive note. I would like to take this opportunity to commend my Special Representative and UNICEF [United Nations Children’s Fund] for their campaign “Children Not Soldiers”, which they launched a year ago to end the recruitment and use of children by Government forces by 2016….

The progress they have accomplished to date is encouraging. With the support of the United Nations, Chad completed all the requirements to make its army child-free. Six of the seven countries involved in the campaign are now engaged with the UN to end and prevent the recruitment of children in their security forces, and some of them are making commendable progress.

…The children of the world should be students, not soldiers. They deserve to grow up in communities that offer them safety and the chance to reach their full potential. These are fundament rights of all children — not aspirations. Member States have the obligation to take all necessary measures to fulfil them.

Wars in Syria and Iraq drive highest asylum numbers in 22 years – UNHCR

Wars in Syria and Iraq drive highest asylum numbers in 22 years
UNHCR Press Release

26 March 2015, GENEVA – The wars in Syria and Iraq, as well as armed conflicts, human rights violations and deteriorating security and humanitarian conditions in other countries, pushed the number of asylum applications in industrialized countries to a 22-year high last year, according to a UNHCR report released today.

The UNHCR’s Asylum Trends 2014 report puts the estimated number of new asylum applications lodged in industrialized countries throughout the year at 866,000, a 45 per cent increase from 2013, when 596,600 claims were registered. The 2014 figure is the highest since 1992, at the beginning of the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres put the new figures in their historical context. “In the 1990s, the Balkan wars created hundreds of thousands of refugees and asylum seekers,” Guterres said. “Many of them found refuge in industrialized countries in Europe, North America and elsewhere. Today, the surge in armed conflicts around the world presents us with similar challenges, in particular the dramatic situation in Syria. Our response has to be just as generous now as it was then – providing access to asylum, resettlement opportunities and other forms of protection for the people fleeing these terrible conflicts.”

Syrians were by far the largest group among those seeking asylum in 2014, with almost 150,000 applications, one in every five asylum claims in the industrialized world. Iraqis accounted for 68,700 applications, almost double the number in 2013. Afghans were the third largest group, with almost 60,000 applications, followed by citizens of Serbia (and Kosovo) and Eritreans….

It is worth noting that the Russian Federation, which is not included in this report for methodological reasons, received some 265,400 applications for temporary asylum and 5,800 applications for refugee status from Ukrainians during 2014. At the same time, the number of Ukrainians seeking asylum in the 44 countries included in the report went up from 1,400 in 2013 to 15,700 in 2014…

UNHCR’s Asylum Trends 2014 report is based on data received from 44 governments in Europe, North America and parts of the Asia-Pacific. The number of people applying for refugee status in industrialized countries is just one element in the global picture of forced displacement from conflict and persecution. Worldwide, by the end of 2013, 51.2 million individuals were forcibly displaced as a result of persecution, conflict, generalized violence or human rights violations. Of these, some 16.7 million people were refugees and 33.3 million were internally displaced in their own country. Close to 1.2 million were asylum-seekers. UNHCR’s forthcoming Global Trends 2014 report, due in June 2015, will provide a complete picture of global displacement in 2014.

The Asylum Trends 2014 report and annex tables are available here:
:: Report
:: Annexes [Excel tables -zip file]

UNODC launches new global initiative to boost criminal justice responses to foreign terrorist fighters

UNODC launches new global initiative to boost criminal justice responses to foreign terrorist fighters
Press Release – UNODC United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

Valletta/Vienna, 25 March 2015 – The growing involvement of individuals as Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTF) in various conflicts and terrorist activities has resulted in an increasingly dangerous threat to international peace and security. In response, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has launched a new initiative aimed at bolstering countries’ criminal justice responses to this phenomenon. The initiative, which runs to 2019, will assist Member States in criminalizing the FTF phenomenon, in areas such as terrorist recruitment, incitement to terrorism, terrorism financing, and terrorist training, among others.

While not a new occurrence, the extent of the involvement of FTFs in conflicts and acts of terrorism today is unparalleled. With terrorist groups such as Al-Qaida, the Al-Nusra Front, and Islamic State all recruiting foreign nationals, the threat posed by terrorism now encapsulates not just end-target countries, but also countries of origin and transit. In this, the threat of individuals travelling to conflict zones, becoming further radicalized, receiving combat training, and then returning to their home countries with the aim of carrying out terrorist acts is more serious than ever.

In light of this issue, a three-day conference held in collaboration with the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM) and the International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law in Malta (IIJ), ended today in Valletta. Representatives from the Mediterranean basin – including Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and Yemen – and the Balkan countries – among them Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, and The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – were present to discuss and evaluate the threat that FTFs pose to their countries and regions. Additionally, Belgium, France, Italy, Japan, the Russian Federation, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States were represented, together with five United Nations agencies and six international and regional organizations…

…UNODC’s global initiative covers both foreign cooperation and domestic assistance: the former is critical given the transnational dimension of FTFs which makes a purely national approach insufficient; the latter meanwhile is central to efforts needed to strengthen national legislation against this emerging trend in terrorist operations and to enhance domestic capacities of criminal justice and law enforcement officials…

UNICEF: Easier access to the most reliable and up-to-date stats on children through revamped data websites

Easier access to the most reliable and up-to-date stats on children through UNICEF’s revamped data websites
NEW YORK, 23 March 2015 – UNICEF has made all its data on health, nutrition, education, water and sanitation, child protection, and HIV/AIDS publicly available, in an easily searchable format which includes redesigned country profiles and a new data visualisation tool for the creation of charts, maps and graphs: UNICEF DATA AND ANALYTICS. All of which make UNICEF the most reliable and up-to-date source of statistics on women and children.

Problems that go unmeasured often go unsolved. Consistent, credible data about children, their families and their communities are critical to the improvement of children’s lives and indispensable to the realisation of their rights.

UNICEF’s data provide a fuller picture than ever before of the situation of children across the globe. The data tells intricate and detailed stories about where and how children are born and cared for, how they grow, learn, work and connect with others, and how they make their way in the world.

WMO Statement on the Status of the Global Climate in 2014

WMO Statement on the Status of the Global Climate in 2014
World Meteorological Organization, WMO-No. 1152 : March 2015 :: 24 pages
Report pdf:

The warming trend observed over the past few decades continued in 2014, which WMO has ranked as nominally the warmest year since modern instrumental measurements began in the mid-1800s. Although 2014 broke the record by only a few hundredths of a degree – less than the margin of uncertainty – this result means that 14 of the 15 hottest years on record occurred during the twenty-first century. The evidence for human-induced global warming is therefore increasingly robust.

Although discussions of climate change focus primarily on atmospheric warming near the Earth’s surface – which is, of course, where we live our lives – the warming of the ocean is also critically important. This is because the ocean absorbs over 93 per cent of the excess heat trapped by rising atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. The WMO Statement on the Status of the Global Climate in 2014 reports that global-average sea-surface temperatures for 2014 were warmer than for any previous year on record. We need to maintain and even strengthen our ocean observing systems in order to better understand sea-temperature trends and their implications for long-term climate change.

This Statement also highlights extremes that occurred in 2014 at the national and regional levels. Europe, for example, was unusually warm, with 19 countries reporting record temperatures for the year. Severe flooding and flash floods occurred in many countries, particularly in the Balkans, South Asia, and parts of Africa and South and Central America.

Natural climate variability creates such extremes every year, but the high incidence of flooding around the world is consistent with an accelerated hydrological cycle driven by the additional energy captured in the atmosphere by greenhouse gases. As a result of improved scientific understanding and modelling techniques, good progress has been made on attributing certain observed climate extremes and weather events to human-induced climate change. WMO is working with its Members and leading scientific organizations to further advance attribution research with a view to incorporating it into operational climate services in the near future.

Despite expectations that an El Niño could develop, the event did not materialize, making 2014 a neutral El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) year. El Niño is typically associated with elevated global temperatures. Not only does this mean that 2014 was exceptionally warm despite not being an El Niño year, but the failure of ENSO to mature poses important scientific questions demanding further research. Another interesting phenomenon in 2014 was the behaviour of the seas around Antarctica. While parts of Antarctica’s land-based glaciers are melting, the sea ice expanded to a record extent for the third year in a row. Again, this is an exciting and important area for continued observation and research.

This Statement draws on data provided by leading global and regional climate centres and research institutes as well as National Meteorological and Hydrological Services. It is published in the six official WMO languages in order to reach a broader audience.

Press Release
Global Climate in 2014 marked by extreme heat and flooding
23 March 2015
Report Released for World Meteorological Day: Climate Knowledge for Climate Action
Record ocean heat, high land-surface temperatures and devastating flooding were some of the defining characteristics of the global climate in 2014, which was nominally the warmest year on record, although by a very small margin, according to a detailed analysis by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

The WMO Statement on the Status of the Global Climate in 2014 confirmed the continuation of the warming trend over the past few decades, with 14 of the 15 hottest years on record occurring this century.

States of Fragility 2015: Meeting Post-2015 Ambitions – OECD

States of Fragility 2015: Meeting Post-2015 Ambitions
Published on March 26, 2015 :: 124 pages
Report pdf: :: Report highlights 16 pages
This 2015 OECD report on fragility contributes to the broader debate to define and implement post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It points out that addressing fragility in the new framework will be crucial if strides in reducing poverty are to be made. It argues in favour of proposed SDG 16 – promoting peaceful and inclusive societies – which aims to reduce violence of all forms.

The 2015 report differs markedly from previous editions as it seeks to present a new understanding of fragility beyond fragile states. It assesses fragility as an issue of universal character that can affect all countries, not only those traditionally considered “fragile” or conflict-affected. To do so, it takes three indicators related to targets of SDG 16 and two from the wider SDG framework: violence, access to justice, accountable and inclusive institutions, economic inclusion and stability, and capacities to prevent and adapt to social, economic and environmental shocks and disasters. It applies them to all countries worldwide, and identifies the 50 most vulnerable ones in all five dimensions. The group of countries most challenged on all five fronts differs little from the traditional list of fragile states and economies. Still, several middle-income countries with disproportionately high levels of crime-related violence, sub-national conflict or poor access to justice move into the spotlight.

The report concludes that making headway on the targets will require building a new portfolio of tools and interventions, and an understanding of the role the international community should and can play in assisting this process.


Report Editorial
This year has the potential to be a turning point in the history of poverty reduction. As the end of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) draws closer, we are witnessing progress given that extreme poverty has been halved worldwide, although the majority of fragile states and conflict-affected countries have not met the MDG targets. It is worthy to note that the MDG framework did not address the challenges faced by fragile and conflict-affected countries nor the context within which the MDGs were being implemented in fragile situations.

It is evident that 15 years on, fragile and conflict-affected countries have been left behind. In the run-up to the Special Summit on Sustainable Development in September 2015, the UN Secretary-General’s synthesis report puts forward “justice – promoting safe and peaceful societies, and strong institutions”, as one of the “six essential elements” for delivering the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for post-2015. The proposed goal on justice and peace will be an important step in tackling the challenges faced in fragile environments.

For this reason, the States of Fragility 2015 is highly relevant as it underscores just how
important it is to recognise the nexus between fragility and poverty. The universal character of the post-2015 development framework calls for a broader understanding of fragility, risk and vulnerability. The nature of fragility has evolved over the past decade and so must our thinking. Conflict remains unparalleled and it can reverse national development gains by more than 20 years. Recent assessments of fragility have shown that the key drivers of conflict in many of the fragile and conflict-affected countries often revolve around injustice, inequality, ethnic tensions and, in extreme cases, religious radicalisation of various kinds. Climate change, environmental disasters and pandemic diseases such as Ebola have also exposed the vulnerabilities of many countries, from small island states in the Pacific to post-conflict West African states. Weak institutions could also be a source of collapse in seemingly strong states.

This report presents a truly innovative attempt to capture the diversity of risks and vulnerabilities that generate fragility in its many forms. It does so by looking at five main
dimensions and identifying the countries and economies the most vulnerable to them. The work presents some astonishing facts, and opens up new perspectives and proposes a new course of action. A huge political push is now needed to radically improve the ways in which the New Deal principles are implemented, and to deliver results on the ground. Providers of development co-operation must reflect on the conclusions of this report, and channel their support to build peace and effective institutions in line with the national priorities of partner countries.

Much research is already underway in the run-up to the UN Special Summit on the Sustainable Development Goals framework. This report stands out because of the practical tool it offers for understanding and monitoring the multidimensional nature of fragility across the globe. Given the universal aspirations of the emerging SDG framework, the model proposed in this report could be highly relevant to the work underway to develop an SDG framework that is all encompassing. For these reasons, we hope that it will be developed further to support the UN-led sustainable development agenda and the goal of promoting safe and peaceful societies and strong institutions.


Executive summary
Addressing fragility will be central to realising the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals
States of Fragility 2015 is published at an important time for international development cooperation. In 2015, the world’s governments will agree on a successor framework to the
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This framework will be more ambitious than ever, requiring in turn more urgent efforts to reduce the persistent poverty in fragile situations and strengthen the institutions that can deliver economic and social development.

Fragile states and economies lag behind in achieving the Millennium Development Goals
Many fragile states and economies have made important strides toward reaching the MDGs, but as a group they have lagged behind other developing countries. Nearly two-thirds of those now considered fragile are expected to fail to meet the goal of halving poverty by 2015. Just one-fifth will halve infant mortality by 2015, and just over one-quarter will halve the number of people who do not have access to clean water. These trends point to a growing concentration of absolute poverty in fragile situations. Today, the 50 countries and economies on the 2015 fragile states list (which is a sample group for analysis) are home to 43% of people living on less than USD 1.25/day; by 2030, the concentration could be 62%.

Fragility should be assessed differently in the post-2015 era
This report offers a new tool for assessing fragility that is more comprehensive than the traditional single categorisation of “fragile states”, and recognises the diversity of risks and
vulnerabilities that lead to fragility. It identifies countries the most vulnerable in five dimensions of risk and vulnerability linked to fragility, and asks how likely they are to achieve the UN OpenWorking Group’s post-2015 goals and targets in those five dimensions: 1) violence (peaceful societies); 2) access to justice for all; 3) effective, accountable and inclusive institutions; 4) economic foundations; 5) capacity to adapt to social, economic and environmental shocks and disasters.

This approach to assessing fragility can help to identify national and international priorities by shedding light on which countries are the most vulnerable to risks, and can inform international financing allocations. This report proposes a model that can be modified to reflect the final negotiated development framework that will emerge in late 2015.

Left unaddressed, fragility will impede the post-2015 development goals
The goal of eradicating poverty will remain beyond the reach of many countries unless concentrated efforts begin now to address fragility. If institution building and conflict reduction continue at their existing pace, by 2030 nearly half a billion people could remain below the USD 1.25/day poverty line. Under a moderately optimistic scenario, in which countries’ institutions develop and conflict declines faster, that figure could reduce to 420 million people. A best-case scenario of rapid institution building and a widespread decline in conflict would reduce poverty to 350 million people.

Aid fills a significant finance gap in many fragile states, but there are huge imbalances in its distribution
While per capita official development assistance (ODA) to fragile situations has almost doubled since 2000, aid is distributed unevenly. Afghanistan and Iraq received significant flows in the MDG era – 22% of all ODA to fragile states and economies. At the same time, 10 of the world’s 11 aid orphans have been part of this pool of countries.
Remittances, the largest aggregate flow to fragile states and economies, benefit a small number of middle-income countries with big diaspora populations. Only 6% of foreign direct investment (FDI) to developing countries in 2012 went to fragile situations, and it was concentrated in just ten resource-rich countries.

Development finance can be better monitored and targeted at reducing fragility
Aid budgets are still adapting to the Peacebuilding and Statebuilding Goals (PSGs) endorsed in 2011 by conflict-affected and fragile countries, development partners and civil society. While there is no agreed framework for tracking aid to support the PSGs, a working model found that it remained low in 2012. Just 4% of ODA to fragile states and economies was allocated to the PSGs for legitimate politics, 2% for security and 3% for justice.

Some evidence suggests that aid is better aligned to needs for institution building: least developed countries (LDCs) with lower levels of institutional capacity receive higher per capita ODA financing. A significant burden of violence is concentrated in lower middle income countries, however, and these contexts receive relatively limited per capita aid flows.
Vulnerability to shocks and disasters is greatest among a cluster of LDCs and lower middle income countries, but ODA to these states is not commensurate with their greater exposure.

Scaling up ODA to the poorest and most fragile countries could help to make greater inroads into reducing fragility in the post-2015 era, as can non-concessional finance to middle-income countries and investments in global public goods.

New norms are needed for tracking spending on peace and security
No international norms exist for tracking peace and security spending. Only UN peacekeeping (almost USD 8.5 billion per year) and ODA expenditures on security are tracked. A small portion of ODA, just 1.4% in 2012, is spent on security sector reform in fragile states. Agreeing on targets and norms for monitoring spending on global peace, security and conflict prevention would sharpen the focus on the quality of international efforts to prevent and reduce crises. National ownership and international commitment are needed to reduce fragility.

Fragile states have untapped opportunities to pursue development. Capitalising on them will require national ownership, international commitment and innovation. Multisectoral efforts to reduce violence, build trust in government and improve the quality of public services will be key to achieving a post-2015 goal for peaceful and inclusive societies.

Aid will need to be much smarter in the post-2015 era
The post-2015 debate offers a historic opportunity to make the international approach to fragility and financing “fit-for-purpose”. Far greater international political will is needed to support nationally owned and led plans, build national institutions at a faster rate, and help countries to generate domestic revenues and attract private finance. To this end, donors must be more flexible and risk tolerant to on-budget aid modalities that build national institutions. The international community can also develop more demand-driven aid innovations that support domestic revenue generation, enable South-South and triangular co-operation, and make greater use of public finance instruments that help to attract FDI.

World bank – Disease Control Priorities, Third Edition : Volume 1. Essential Surgery

Disease Control Priorities, Third Edition : Volume 1. Essential Surgery
World Bank, 2015 :: 445 pages
Debas, Haile T.; Donkor, Peter; Gawande, Atul; Jamison, Dean T.; Kruk, Margaret E.; Mock, Charles N.
Book pdf:

Essential Surgery is the first volume in the Disease Control Priorities, third edition (DCP3) series. DCP3 endeavors to inform program design and resource allocation at the global and country levels by providing a comprehensive review of the effectiveness, cost, and cost-effectiveness of priority health interventions.

The volume presents data on the surgical burden of disease, disability, congenital anomalies, and trauma, along with health impact and economic analyses of procedures, platforms, and packages to improve care in settings with severe budget limitations. Essential Surgery identifies 44 surgical procedures that meet the following criteria: they address substantial needs, are cost effective, and are feasible to implement in low- and middle-income countries. If made universally available, the provision of these 44 procedures would avert 1.5 million deaths a year and rank among the most cost effective of all health interventions.

Existing health care delivery structures can be leveraged to provide affordable and quality care, with first-level hospitals capable of delivering the majority of procedures, while addressing substantial disparities in safety. Existing infrastructure can also expand access to surgery by implementing measures such as task sharing, which has been shown to be safe and effective while countries build workforce capacity. Nearly ten years after the second iteration of Disease Control Priorities was released, increased attention to the importance of health systems in providing access to quality care is once again reshaping the global health landscape. Low- and middle-income countries are continuing to set priorities for funding and are making decisions across an increasingly complex set of policy and intervention choices with a greater appreciation for the value of program and economic evaluations. By reviewing the large burden of surgical disorders, the cost-effectiveness of surgical procedures, and the strong public demand for surgical services, Essential Surgery makes a compelling case for improving global access to surgical care.

Press Release
Surgery Could Save Millions of Lives in Developing Countries
March 26, 2015

:: A new book, “Essential Surgery,” says greater access to surgical care in developing countries could avert 1.5 million deaths a year.
:: Basic surgeries such as setting broken bones or delivering babies via Caesarean section are among the most cost-effective health interventions in developing countries.
:: “Essential Surgery” is the first of nine volumes in the “Disease Control Priorities” series to be published by the World Bank Group in 2015 and 2016.

Five million people died of injuries in 2012, and 270,000 women died of pregnancy complications. Many of these deaths could have been prevented if people had better access to surgical care, says a new book published by the World Bank Group.

Essential Surgery, launched at the Consortium of Universities for Global Health sixth annual conference in Boston, is the first of nine volumes of the third edition of Disease Control Priorities (DCP3), a comprehensive review and analysis of the most effective and cost-effective approaches to global health.

The book finds that basic surgical procedures are among the most cost-effective of all health interventions in developing countries. If they were more widely available, essential surgical procedures would prevent 1.5 million deaths a year.

About 2 billion people lack access to surgical services such as Caesarean sections or setting broken bones, even though many surgeries could be offered at district hospitals in developing countries.

Until relatively recently, surgery was considered too complicated and expensive to be an integral part of public health in developing countries. But opinions are changing as more evidence emerges of the value and cost-effectiveness of basic surgical procedures.

“You’ve got a broken arm or a ruptured appendix … everybody knows you need a surgeon. And it turns out that kind of surgery is not that hard, not that expensive, and it really makes a big, big difference,” said DCP3 and Essential Surgery editor Dean Jamison, senior fellow in Global Health Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco, and an emeritus professor of global health at the University of Washington. Jamison was also lead author of the original Disease Control Priorities in 1993, as well as of the 1993 World Development Report, Investing in Health…

EBOLA/EVD [to 28 March 2015]

EBOLA/EVD [to 28 March 2015]
Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC); “Threat to international peace and security” (UN Security Council)

Ebola Situation Report – 25 March 2015
Incorporating the WHO Activity Report
:: A total of 79 new confirmed cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) were reported in the week to 22 March: the lowest weekly total in 2015. There were 45 new confirmed cases reported from Guinea. Having reported no cases for 3 consecutive weeks, a new confirmed case was reported from Liberia on 20 March. Sierra Leone reported 33 new confirmed cases in the week to 22 March…
:: In the context of falling case incidence and a receding zone of transmission, treatment capacity now far exceeds demand in both Liberia and Sierra Leone. Accordingly, and with technical guidance from WHO, national authorities in both countries have begun to implement plans for the phased safe decommissioning of surplus facilities. Each country will retain a core capacity of high-quality Ebola treatment centres, strategically located to ensure complete geographic coverage, with additional rapid-response capacity held in reserve…
:: There have been almost 25 000 reported confirmed, probable, and suspected cases of EVD in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone (table 1), with over 10 000 reported deaths (outcomes for many cases are unknown). A total of 45 new confirmed cases were reported in Guinea, 1 in Liberia, and 33 in Sierra Leone in the 7 days to 22 March…


First Ebola vaccine to be tested in affected communities one year into outbreak
Guinea WHO Country Office
Ring vaccination starts in Coyah, Guinea
25 March 2015


Ebola test vaccines appear safe in Phase 2 Liberian clinical trial
Liberia-U.S. partnership planning Phase 3 trial and study of Ebola survivors.
March 26, 2015


MSF Report: Pushed to the Limit and Beyond — A year into the largest ever Ebola outbreak
March 2015 :: 22 pages

Press Release
Pushed to the Limit and Beyond: MSF on the global Ebola response one year into the deadliest outbreak in history
March 23, 2015
One year ago today, an outbreak of Ebola in the West African country of Guinea was announced. Since then, nearly 10,000 people have died of the disease, and it has not yet been defeated. Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) today released a critical analysis of the Ebola epidemic over the past year, revealing the shortcomings of the global response to the crisis and warning that the outbreak, despite an overall decline in cases, is not yet over.

The report, Pushed to the Limit and Beyond, is based on interviews with dozens of MSF staff involved in the organization’s Ebola intervention. It describes MSF’s early warnings one year ago about cases of Ebola spreading in Guinea, the initial denial by governments of the affected countries, and the unprecedented steps that MSF was forced to take in the face of global inaction as the outbreak engulfed neighbouring states.

Exposing inefficiencies in aid and health systems
“Today we share our initial reflections and take a critical look at both MSF’s response and the wider global response to the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history,” says Dr. Joanne Liu, MSF international president. “The Ebola epidemic proved to be an exceptional event that exposed the reality of how inefficient and slow health and aid systems are to respond to emergencies.”

The report details the effects of the several months-long “global coalition of inaction,” during which the virus spread wildly, leading MSF to issue a rare call for the mobilization of international civilian and military medical assets with biohazard capacity. By the end of August, MSF’s ELWA3 centre in Monrovia was overwhelmed with patients. Staff were forced to turn away visibly ill people from the front gate, in the full knowledge that they would likely return to their communities and infect others.

“The Ebola outbreak has often been described as a perfect storm: a cross-border epidemic in countries with weak public health systems that had never seen Ebola before,” says Christopher Stokes, MSF’s general director. “Yet this is too convenient an explanation. For the Ebola outbreak to spiral this far out of control required many institutions to fail. And they did, with tragic and avoidable consequences.”…

United Nations – Secretary General, Security Council, General Assembly [to 28 March 2015]

United Nations – Secretary General, Security Council, General Assembly  [to 28 March 2015]
Selected Press Releases/Meetings Coverage

27 March 2015
Adopting Two Resolutions on Libya — 2213, 2214 (2015) — Security Council Extends United Nations Presence, Eases Arms Embargo to Counter Terrorist Threat
Unanimously adopting two separate resolutions this evening on Libya, the Security Council, in the first, called for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire and extended the United Nations Support Mission there (UNSMIL) until 15 September, and in the second, adjusted the arms embargo on the country in light of the terrorist threat there.

26 March 2015
Humanitarian Chief Notes ‘Breath-Taking Levels of Savagery’ in Syria, Faulting Security Council, Countries with Influence for Lack of Agreement on Way Out
A year after the adoption of resolution 2139 (2014), the situation in Syria had dramatically worsened, characterized by “breath-taking levels of savagery”, a top United Nations official told the Security Council today.
[see more extensive treatment in Week in Review above]

26 March 2015
Losing Sight of Peace between Israel, Palestine ‘Tantamount to Pouring Oil on Regional Flames’, Special Coordinator Warns Security Council
It might already be too late to realize the paradigm of “two States for two peoples”, the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process told the Security Council today, of the view that during his tenure he had been part of a peace process in which “a can is kicked down an endless road”.

26 March 2015
Unanimously Adopting Resolution 2211 (2015), Security Council Extends Mission, Intervention Brigade in Democratic Republic of Congo
The Security Council today extended until 31 March 2016 the mandate of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), including its intervention brigade.

26 March 2015
Unanimously Adopting Resolution 2212 (2015), Security Council Increases Uniformed Personnel of Mission in Central African Republic
The Security Council today authorized an increase of 750 military personnel, 280 police personnel and 20 corrections officers for the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), over the levels authorized by resolution 2149 (2014).

24 March 2015
Security Council Tells Parties in South Sudan to Issue Clear Orders against Human Rights Abuses, Reach Agreement on Transitional Government Arrangements
Underscoring the seriousness and urgency of the situation in South Sudan, the Security Council today called on all parties to armed conflict to issue clear orders prohibiting all violations of international humanitarian law and human rights abuses without further delay.

27 March 2015
Strongly Condemning Religious-Based Attacks, Secretary-General Urges Security Council to Help Middle East End Atrocity Crimes, Reclaim Historic Diversity
Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at the Security Council open debate on victims of attacks and abuses on ethnic or religious grounds in the Middle East, in New York today:

25 March 2015
At Security Council Debate on Children, Armed Conflict, Secretary General Says ‘Children of the World Should Be Students, Not Soldiers’
[see more extensive treatment in Week in Review above]

27 Mar 2015
Ban Ki-moon on the victims of attacks and abuses on ethnic or religious grounds in the Middle East – Security Council, 7419th meeting (English)
Opening remarks by H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General at the 7419th meeting of the Security Council on the issue of the victims of attacks and abuses on ethnic or religious grounds in the Middle East.

27 Mar 2015
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on the victims of attacks and abuses on ethnic or religious grounds in the Middle East – Security Council, 7419th meeting (English)
Statement by Mr. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights at the 7419th meeting of the Security Council on the issue of the victims of attacks and abuses on ethnic or religious grounds in the Middle East.

UN OHCHR Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights [to 28 March 2015]

UN OHCHR Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights [to 28 March 2015]

Libyan human rights defenders under attack – UN report
GENEVA (25 March 2015) – A UN human rights report released on Wednesday reveals a catalogue of violent attacks and threats against Libyan rights defenders, across Libya – and in some cases even after they are forced to leave the country.
Attacks, including killings, abductions, torture and other ill-treatment, unlawful deprivation of liberty and death threats by phone and on social media since the escalation of fighting in May 2014 have been documented in the joint report by the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and the UN Human Rights Office. Armed groups across the country have targeted human rights defenders seeking to shed light on and address human rights violations and abuses…
…“Given the increasing risks, the killings of prominent human rights defenders and repeated threats, many have fled the country, fallen silent, or have been forced to work in secret at great risk to themselves and their loved ones,” the report notes….
The full report is available on the OHCHR website at:

Human Rights Council creates mandate of Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy

UNOCHA [to 28 March 2015]

UNOCHA [to 28 March 2015]

27 Mar 2015
Yemen: Statement of the Yemen Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr. Johannes van Der Klaauw

26 Mar 2015
Syrian Arab Republic: Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos: Security Council Briefing on Syria – New York, 26 March 2015
[see more extensive treatment in Week in Review above]

26 Mar 2015
occupied Palestinian territory: Occupation practices and continued conflict drive humanitarian needs in the occupied Palestinian territory, a UN OCHA Annual Overview concludes [EN/AR/HE]

25 Mar 2015
Central African Republic: La Communaute Humanitaire condamne l’assassinat d’un personnel medical en Republique Centrafricaine


WHO & Regionals [to 28 March 2015]

WHO & Regionals [to 28 March 2015]
:: Millions of Syrians endure deteriorating health crisis: WHO calls for increased funding
March 2015 – It is estimated that there are more than 1.3 million people in need of health assistance in Aleppo. Ahead of next week’s third International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria in Kuwait, the WHO appeals for US$ 124 million to continue its support to health services in the Syrian Arab Republic.

:: Cyclone Pam delivers a devastating blow to health services in Vanuatu
25 March 2015 –WHO is responding to the health needs of those affected by Tropical Cyclone Pam – a storm which has been described as the strongest cyclone in the Pacific in more than a decade. To be able to respond to these crisis and provide emergency medical supplies and support to re-establishment of the health system WHO is requesting US$ 3 Million.
– WHO donor alert for Cyclone Pam

:: Global Alert and Response (GAR): Disease Outbreak News (DONs)
– 26 March 2015 Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – Saudi Arabia

:: The Weekly Epidemiological Record (WER) 27 March 2015, vol. 90, 12 (pp. 109–120) includes:
– Reducing mortality from emerging diseases
– Meningococcal disease control in countries of the African meningitis belt, 2014
:: WHO Regional Offices
WHO African Region AFRO
:: First Ebola Vaccine to Be Tested in Affected Communities One Year into Outbreak Ring Vaccination Starts in Coyah, Guinea 25 March 2015

:: Central African Republic: health emergency at a crossroads 25 March 2015

:: Message of the Regional Director on the occasion of World Tuberculosis Day 2015
Infographic: Gear Up to end TB [jpg, 759kb]
WHO Region of the Americas PAHO
:: PAHO/WHO urges better detection and treatment of tuberculosis to “End TB” in the Americas (03/23/2015)
WHO South-East Asia Region SEARO
:: One year of polio-free certification 27 March 2015

:: World Water Day 2015: Water and Sustainable Development 22 March 2015
WHO European Region EURO
:: Europe leading the way in plain packaging legislation for tobacco products 26-03-2015

:: New WHO report shows that transparency and cooperation help to reduce high prices for new medicines 26-03-2015

:: Using price policies to promote healthier diets 23-03-2015
WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region EMRO
:: Millions of Syrians endure deteriorating health crisis: WHO calls for increased funding
Aleppo, Syria, 27 March, 2015 – Ahead of next week’s third International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria in Kuwait, WHO appeals for US$ 124 million to continue its support to health services in the Syrian Arab Republic…

:: WHO and health partners respond to increased health needs as a result of conflict in Yemen
26 March 2015
WHO Western Pacific Region
:: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Japan verified as achieving measles elimination
MANILA, 27 March 2015 – Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia and Japan have been verified as having achieved measles elimination by the Measles Regional Verification Commission. The three countries join Australia, Macao SAR (China), Mongolia and the Republic of Korea as countries and areas in the Western Pacific Region that have successfully eliminated measles

UN Division for Sustainable Development [to 28 March 2015]

UN Division for Sustainable Development [to 28 March 2015]

UN General Assembly – Post-2015 intergovernmental negotiations (Sustainable development goals and targets)
23 Mar 2015 – 27 Mar 2015
New York
:: Statements & Presentations (74)
:: Proposed 6 themes for Interactive Dialogues during the Post-2015 United Nations Summit
:: Targets in the proposed SDGs framework
:: Technical report by the Bureau of the United Nations Statistical Commission (UNSC) on the process of the development of an indicator framework for the goals and targets of the post-2015 development agenda (Working draft)
:: Webcasts of meetings available:

UNESCO [to 28 March 2015]

UNESCO [to 28 March 2015]


#Unite4Heritage campaign launched by UNESCO Director-General in Baghdad
UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, launched #Unite4Heritage at Baghdad University – a social media campaign to counter the propaganda of cultural cleansing and the destruction of cultural heritage, to support Iraqi youth and to mobilise young people across the world for its protection. The launch took place in front of students, government ministers and university officials.


Director-General calls for the protection of Yemen’s cultural heritage
As conflict escalates in Yemen, the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today urged all parties to protect the country’s cultural heritage.

“The cultural heritage of a nation is essential for its citizens to preserve their identity, to benefit from their diversity and their history and to build themselves a peaceful future,” the Director-General said. “The heritage of Yemen is unique, reflecting centuries of Islamic thought, rich exchange and dialogue. I call on the people of Yemen, as well as on countries in the region engaging in military operations in Yemen, to do all they can to protect Yemen’s invaluable cultural heritage”.

“Experience shows that cultural heritage is never more vulnerable than during times of conflict. It is crucial that all parties refrain from targeting, by shelling or by air strikes, or using for military purposes cultural heritage sites and buildings.” Irina Bokova cautioned.

In this connection, Irina Bokova recalled the obligations under international humanitarian law to protect cultural heritage, in particular the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.

ASEAN [to 28 March 2015]

ASEAN [to 28 March 2015]

ASEAN Senior Information Officials Launch Virtual Learning Resource Centre Website
NGWE SAUNG BEACH, 26 March 2015 – The ASEAN Virtual Learning Resource Centre (AVLRC) website was soft launched at the 13th Senior Officials Meeting Responsible for Information (SOMRI) in Ngwe Saung Beach, Myanmar. His Excellency U Ye Htut, Union Minister for Information of Myanmar officiated the soft launch.

Capitalising on new media platforms, the AVLRC is primarily envisioned to become a reference for those studying ASEAN countries or the ASEAN Community. It aims to provide convenient, reliable, and timely information and knowledge about the ASEAN region such as its culture, history, natural and cultural heritage, educational opportunities, news, statistics and travel, among other information.

“The AVLRC will ensure that students who want to know more about the regional community have a ready and accessible source of information consolidated in one online portal,” stressed U Tint Swe, Director General of Myanma Radio and Television, Ministry of Information, Myanmar, and Chair of the 13th SOMRI… The AVLRC can be accessed through .

UNCTAD [to 28 March 2015]

UNCTAD designs business-to-consumer electronic-commerce index
E-commerce finally taking off in developing countries
Geneva, Switzerland, (24 March 2015)
Small European countries top the ranking of 130 economies according to their readiness for business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce, a new UNCTAD study shows. According to a new UNCTAD B2C E-commerce Index included in the study, the highest e-commerce readiness is found in Luxembourg, Norway and Finland.

Among developing and emerging economies, the front-runners are all in East Asia, namely the Republic of Korea, Hong Kong (China) and Singapore (see table). Meanwhile, in terms of actual levels of online shopping, countries with large populations – such as Brazil, China and the Russian Federation – are performing better than predicted, suggesting that large markets facilitate e-commerce.

The Information Economy Report 20151, subtitled “Unlocking the Potential of E-commerce for Developing Countries”, was released on 24 March. Its B2C E-commerce Index draws on data on Internet use, secure servers, credit card penetration and postal delivery. Assessing e commerce readiness can serve as a first step towards formulating a national e-commerce strategy.
:: Full report:
:: Overview:


Global mapping of cyberlaws reveals significant gaps despite progress
Geneva, Switzerland, (24 March 2015)
As growing concerns over cybercrime affect the willingness of both buyers and sellers to make transactions online, new UNCTAD research shows that the enactment of laws that facilitate security and trust in online transactions varies considerably across the world, with significant gaps in many developing countries.

The findings are included in UNCTAD’s Information Economy Report 2015: Unlocking the Potential of E-commerce for Developing Countries1, which was released on 24 March….

…The UNCTAD report underlines that compatibility and interoperability between different legal systems are essential to facilitate cross-border e-commerce. Even in developed regions with a certain degree of legal harmonization, different requirements set in national laws may hamper such transactions, and the need to align laws with international legal instruments remains.
Several Governments need to allocate sufficient resources to develop cyberlaws, while the next challenge they face is to enforce such laws, both domestically and in regard to cross-border transactions.

In addition, the UNCTAD report says, security and trust are fundamental aspects for creating an environment conducive to electronic commerce. An increased incidence of online fraud and of data breaches are growing concerns, requiring adequate legal responses at the national and international levels. The UNCTAD report presents a new global map of cyberlegislation in four areas: cybercrime, e-transactions, consumer protection, and privacy and data protection. It shows that the adoption of such laws is generally high in developed countries, but highly inadequate in many other parts of the world.

The share of countries that have adopted a law is typically highest for e-transactions and lowest for the protection of online consumers (see table). But patterns vary by region. For example, in Central America, seven out of eight countries have consumer protection legislation in place, but more than half of the countries lack laws related to data protection and cybercrime. The subregion with the weakest coverage of e-commerce legislation is Central Africa, where only two out of nine countries have laws on e-transactions, online consumer protection and data protection, and only one country has adopted cybercrime legislation…

:: UNCTAD’s global mapping of cyberlaws available online:
:: Full report:

World Trade Organisation [to 28 March 2015]

World Trade Organisation [to 28 March 2015]
[We generally limit coverage to regional and global level initiatives, recognizing that a number of country-level announcements are added each week]

26 March 2015
Azevêdo says lack of trade finance can be a significant trade barrier for developing countries
Director-General Roberto Azevêdo, in opening the seminar on “Trade Finance in Developing Countries” at the WTO on 26 March 2015, pointed to a recent WTO Secretariat paper that showed trade financing gaps are “the highest in the poorest countries, notably in Africa and Asia”. He said that “lack of development in the financial sector can be a significant barrier to trade”, and told participants “let’s redouble efforts to work together and resolve this problem”

26 March 2015
Azevêdo urges continued support for fund helping developing countries implement international standards
Director-General Roberto Azevêdo, at a reception for participants in the Standards and Development Facility (STDF) meeting at the WTO on 26 March, said that the one of the most frequent issues raised by business people in developing countries are the difficulties they face in meeting required standards. He welcomed the recent extension of the STDF programme for the next five years, stressing that the “partnership has accomplished a great deal”.