The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health ::
Holistic Development :: Sustainable Resilience
Week ending 29 August 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, consortia and collaborations, foundations, and commercial organizations. We also monitor a spectrum of peer-reviewed journals and general media channels. The Sentinel’s geographic scope is global/regional but selected country-level content is included. We recognize that this spectrum/scope yields an indicative and not an exhaustive product. Comments and suggestions should be directed to:

David R. Curry
Editor &
Founding Managing Director
GE2P2 – Center for Governance, Evidence, Ethics, Policy, Practice

pdf version: The Sentinel_ week ending 29 August 2015

blog edition: comprised of the 35+ entries to be posted below on 30 August 2015

Lamenting Recent Migrant, Refugee Deaths, Secretary-General Appeals to Governments for Bolstered Efforts Ahead of Global Meeting at UN Headquarters 28 August 2015

Lamenting Recent Migrant, Refugee Deaths, Secretary-General Appeals to Governments for Bolstered Efforts Ahead of Global Meeting at UN Headquarters
28 August 2015
The following statement by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was issued today:

I am horrified and heartbroken at the latest loss of lives of refugees and migrants in the Mediterranean and Europe. Yesterday saw the grim discovery of the bodies of more than 70 people inside a truck abandoned near the Austrian border with Hungary. Reports indicate that many of the victims were Syrian asylum seekers — including children.

Recent days have brought yet more news of hundreds of refugees and migrants drowning in perilous journeys on the sea. Earlier this year, I visited search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean. Despite the concerted and commendable efforts of the joint European search and rescue operation, which has saved tens of thousands of lives, the Mediterranean Sea continues to be a death trap for refugees and migrants.

These repeated tragedies underscore the ruthlessness of people smugglers and traffickers whose criminal activities extend from the Andaman Sea to the Mediterranean to the highways of Europe. It also highlights the desperation of people seeking protection or a new life.

A large majority of people undertaking these arduous and dangerous journeys are refugees fleeing from places such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. International law has stipulated — and States have long recognized — the right of refugees to protection and asylum. When considering asylum requests, States cannot make distinctions based on religion or other identity nor can they force people to return to places from which they have fled if there is a well-founded fear of persecution or attack. This is not only a matter of international law; it is also our duty as human beings.

I commend those leaders and communities who have stepped up to our shared responsibilities and obligations. But much more is required. I appeal to all Governments involved to provide comprehensive responses, expand safe and legal channels of migration and act with humanity, compassion and in accordance with their international obligations.

Let us also remember: the high number of refugees and migrants are a symptom of deeper problems — endless conflict, grave violations of human rights, tangible governance failures and harsh repression. The Syrian war, for example, has just been manifested on a roadside in the heart of Europe.

In addition to upholding responsibilities, the international community must also show greater determination in resolving conflicts and other problems that leave people little choice but to flee. Failing that, the numbers of those displaced — more than 40,000 per day — will only rise.

This is a human tragedy that requires a determined collective political response. It is a crisis of solidarity, not a crisis of numbers. I am encouraged that these issues will be an area of focus and priority when world leaders gather at the United Nations Headquarters in New York next month for the opening of the General Assembly. I am organizing a special meeting devoted to these global concerns on 30 September.

Migrant crisis: “Let’s not pretend Europe’s response is working” – UN rights expert warns [UN OHCHR]

UN OHCHR Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights [to 29 August 2015]

Migrant crisis: “Let’s not pretend Europe’s response is working” – UN rights expert warns
8/28/2015 Press Releases
GENEVA (25 August 2015) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, today called on the European Union to establish a human rights-based, coherent and comprehensive migration policy* which makes mobility its central asset. “It is the only way in which the EU can reclaim its border, effectively combat smuggling and empower migrants,” he said.

“Let’s not pretend that what the EU and its member states are doing is working. Migration is here to stay,” Mr. Crépeau stressed. “Building fences, using tear gas and other forms of violence against migrants and asylum seekers, detention, withholding access to basics such as shelter, food or water and using threatening languagee or hateful speech will not stop migrants from coming or trying to come to Europe.”

“Territorial sovereignty is about controlling the border, knowing who comes in and who leaves. It has never been about sealing the border to migration,” the expert said. “Democratic borders are porous by nature. Providing migrants and asylum seekers with legal and safe mobility solutions will ensure such a control.”

The Special Rapporteur urged Europeans to start focusing on regaining control of their external border from the smugglers by increasing mobility solutions available to most migrants, investing in integration measures – especially through supporting the action of cities – and developing a strong public discourse on diversity and mobility as cornerstones for contemporary European societies.

“If Europeans want their governments to regain control of their borders, then they must urge them to bank on mobility and offer migrants and asylum seekers official channels to enter and stay in Europe,” the human rights expert said.

“Opening up the regular labour markets through smart visas allowing people to come to look for work and incentivise them to return if they don’t find the job in question would allow for a much better regulated and controlled official labour market,” Mr. Crépeau noted.

However, he cautioned, such measures must be supported with sanctions against employers who exploit irregular migrants in underground labour markets (in agriculture, construction, care or hospitality). “This would considerably reduce the pull factor they exercise on irregular migrants and further reduce the market for recruiters, smugglers and exploitative employers,” the expert said.

“In addition, there is an obvious urgent need for Europe to create, jointly with other Global North countries, a massive resettlement programme for refugees like Syrians and Eritreans that could offer protection to 1.5 or 2 million of them over the next five years,” he said, highlighting that such a programme would impact the market for smugglers and allow European countries to decide who comes and make appropriate preparations.

The Special Rapporteur recalled that, last year, saving lives of migrants and asylum seekers at sea was seen as a moral imperative by the international community, which then put pressure on the EU to intervene and save the lives of those on the boats. The expert welcomes the positive steps taken by the EU and its member states in rescuing migrants and asylum seekers at sea. “However, rescuing people who arrive by sea and then turning a blind eye to their plight leaving them vulnerable to human rights violations is irresponsible,” the expert said.

“Talking about ‘flows’, ‘marauders’, and ‘swarms’ is an unsubtle way of dismissing the legitimacy of the asylum seekers and migrants’ claim to human rights, by creating images linking them to toxic waste or natural disasters” he noted. “We are talking about men, women, children and even babies, who have faced traumatic experiences. These are people just like you and me, and none of us have the moral high ground to say that we would never do the same if we were in their shoes.”

The UN Special Rapporteur warned that the political and popular discourse in Europe has seen a race to the bottom in the anti-migrant sentiments and use of inappropriate language which is often linked to criminalising migrants. “Migrants are human beings with rights. When we dehumanise others, we dehumanise ourselves,” he underscored.

Mr. Crépeau called on European political leaders “to show moral and political leadership in fighting much more vigorously racism, xenophobia and hate crime, in consolidating the common human rights culture that is now framing the evolution of all traditions, in strengthening the free movement of persons throughout the EU while developing regulated mobility solutions at its external borders, and in celebrating the diversity of cultures and religions as enrichment for everyone, citizens and foreigners alike.”

IOM / International Organization for Migration [to 29 August 2015]

IOM / International Organization for Migration [to 29 August 2015]

Selected Press Releases
IOM on Latest Austrian Truck Tragedy
Austria – IOM condemns the shameful act of neglect that the Austrian authorities say resulted in the suffocation of some 71 migrants in the back of a truck in Austria.

IOM Monitors Migrant Flows into Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
An estimated 1,500-2,000 migrants are crossing from Greece to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and on into Serbia every 24 hours.

Displacement Escalates in Iraq
Iraq – IOM Iraq’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) updated figures, released yesterday, identified 3,176,946 internally displaced Iraqis (529,491 families) across Iraq from January 2014 to 13 August 2015.

IOM Aids Colombian Deportees from Venezuela
Colombia – IOM has joined a humanitarian team of government entities and international agencies assisting the over 1,000 Colombians who have been deported from Venezuela in the last few days.

IOM Highlights Psychosocial Needs of Displaced People in Eastern Nigeria
Nigeria – IOM, with financial support from the US, French and German governments, has released a report based on a psychosocial needs assessment of internally displaced persons (IDPs) carried out in Yola, Adamawa State, in eastern Nigeria in April 2015.

IOM Seoul Hosts Counter Trafficking Policy Seminar
Republic of Korea – The lack of effective indicators to identify trafficking victims in the Republic of Korea (ROK) is resulting in a situation where victims are sometimes treated as criminals, according to IOM.

IOM Resumes Evacuation of South Sudanese Refugees in Ethiopia
Ethiopia – IOM Ethiopia this week resumed its emergency evacuation of South Sudanese refugees from the border, which had been halted since late July 2015 as all receiving camps had reached their maximum capacity.

Statement by First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and Migration and Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos – European Commission

Statement by First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and Migration and Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos
European Commission – Statement
Brussels, 27 August 2015
The news of the 50 migrants found asphyxiated in the hull of a ship last night, and the lost souls of 20 or more migrants discovered abandoned in a truck on an Austrian highway today are frankly shocking. These are sinister, criminal acts, carried out by smugglers with no scruples whatsoever.

The news of the 50 migrants found asphyxiated in the hull of a ship last night, and the lost souls of 20 or more migrants discovered abandoned in a truck on an Austrian highway today are frankly shocking. These are sinister, criminal acts, carried out by smugglers with no scruples whatsoever.

The migration crisis is not somewhere far away. It is happening right in front of us.

Chancellor Faymann is right when he says we cannot go on this way.This is not an Austrian crisis. This is not an Italian, French, German or a Greek or a Hungarian crisis. This is a European crisis and it requires a collective European response.

The Commission put that European response on the table – from increasing our presence at sea, to cooperating with countries of origin and transit, to clamping down on smuggling networks, making returns more effective and implementing the recently adopted common EU asylum rules whilst showing solidarity with frontline countries – we have to address the issue from all angles. We already announced that further proposals will come soon.

Now is the moment for joint actions, and solidarity with all Member States and our partner countries in the region. That is also why we will be visiting several of the most affected Member States, starting from Calais on Monday and also Austria on 7 September, to discuss further support and joint actions.

In the meantime, some of the measures proposed by the Commission have already found support. All the others now urgently need to be taken up by the EU’s 28 Member States – even those who have until now remained reluctant to do so.

IMO’s Sekimizu issues fresh condemnation of Mediterranean people smugglers

IMO’s Sekimizu issues fresh condemnation of Mediterranean people smugglers
International Maritime Agency
Briefing – 28/08/2015
Recent incidents in which hundreds of migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean to Europe have lost their lives, including dozens found dead in the holds of the ships that were carrying them, have prompted strong condemnation and refreshed calls for concerted action to tackle people smugglers from IMO Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu.

Mr Sekimizu said that smugglers were sending people to sea in craft that were totally unsuitable for passengers and crowding them on board to levels that were completely unsafe.

“Not only are these activities illegal,” said Sekimizu, “they are also carried out with a callous disregard for human life and a total disrespect for any of the internationally accepted standards for safety of life at sea, developed and adopted by IMO. These boats should never be allowed to go to sea in the first place, and the perpetrators of these appalling crimes against humanity must be stopped.”

Mr Sekimizu praised the efforts of vessels operating under the auspices of the European Union in intercepting a number of smuggling voyages and saving thousands of lives. However, while commending the efforts of those participating in rescue operations, including navies, coast guards, merchant ships and private vessels for their role in rescuing the survivors of these potentially deadly voyages, Mr. Sekimizu called for stronger action by governments and the international community to prevent migrants undertaking risky sea passages in the first place.

“The sea is an unforgiving place. Any rescue operation is a dangerous undertaking for all concerned and places lives at risk – including those of the rescuers,” he said. “Ideally, these vessels should be prevented from taking to sea at all. I urge governments and humanitarian organizations to better manage migration ashore and authorities in the departure zones to redouble their efforts to keep overloaded, unsafe vessels from taking to sea.”

A special session of IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee on unsafe mixed migration by sea was held on 9 June, when it was agreed that greater focus needs to be placed on addressing unsafe migration by sea through more safe and regular migration pathways. Addressing the meeting, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said this global issue required everyone to work together with a comprehensive approach, which would protect human rights, uphold international law and recognize the benefits of migration. The Maritime Safety Committee agreed to continue to address matters pertaining to “Unsafe mixed migration by sea”, and invited IMO’s Facilitation Committee and Legal Committee to do the same.

Mr Sekimizu said the current situation was a truly humanitarian crisis and was simply not sustainable.

In July, a new inter-agency platform for information sharing on migrant smuggling by sea was launched by IMO, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in order to better understand unsafe mixed migration by sea. It is anticipated that the platform will assist in improved monitoring of incidents associated with unsafe and irregular mixed migration by sea globally, with a view to better analysis of trends and the identification of potential solutions.

The platform was initiated following the Inter-agency High-level Meeting to Address Unsafe Mixed Migration, which was held at IMO Headquarters in March, with the aim of aim of facilitating dialogue and promoting enhanced cooperation and harmonization between United Nations agencies, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, Governments and the shipping industry.

INTERNATIONAL MIGRATION IN THE AMERICAS: Third Report of the Continuous Reporting System on International Migration in the Americas (SICREMI) 2015

INTERNATIONAL MIGRATION IN THE AMERICAS: Third Report of the Continuous Reporting System on International Migration in the Americas (SICREMI) 2015
Organization of American States (OAS), OECD
234 pages :: pdf –

Overview from press release
In the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, international migration increased by 17% between 2010 and 2013. At this rate of increase, the level of immigration flows would double in four years, according to the Third Report of the Continuous Reporting System on International Migration in the Americas – (SICREMI 2015), jointly produced by the OAS, 20 of its member countries and the OECD, with technical support from the Multilateral Investment Fund of the IDB.

The report also highlights:
:: The growing immigration in Latin America and the Caribbean is essentially due to increasing intra-regional migration.
:: The level of authorized migration increased 60 percent between 2010 and 2013, mostly in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico.
:: Large increases in immigrant populations occurred mostly within the same region or from neighboring regions.
:: The United States is the main country of residence of the migrants of the region, with the following exceptions: for Nicaraguans, Costa Rica is the main country of residence; for Bolivians, Chileans, Paraguayans, and Uruguayans, it is Argentina; for Colombians, Venezuela; for Argentines, Spain; for Surinamese, the Netherlands, and for U.S. citizens, Mexico.
:: In the Caribbean, 64% of immigrants come from the region itself.
:: In relation to their population, Argentina, Barbados, Belize and Costa Rica have levels of permanent authorized migration higher than that of the US.
:: In Brazil, Canada, Cuba and the United States the majority of immigrants come from outside the hemisphere.
:: In Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico and Paraguay, the majority of migrants come from a single neighboring country.
:: In the Southern Cone, permits based on international agreements have had a notable effect on migration.
:: Migration to Spain from the Americas in 2013 was 86,000 people, one-fourth of its highest level in 2007, when it reached 344,000.

Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU): Politics must change to build world we want [SDGs]

Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU)

Politics must change to build world we want
28 AUGUST 2015
by Martin Chungong, Secretary General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU)
When more than 180 parliamentary leaders from across the globe meet in New York later this month, the unique gathering will have the potential to kick-start wide-ranging political action to bring dramatic change to our world for generations to come.

As the heads of national parliaments, Speakers of Parliament are also the official voice of all the people in their countries. Among the most senior political leaders nationally, they also have the power to do politics differently.

That political muscle and a will to effect political reform that empowers all, especially the poor, the marginalized, women and youth, will be needed now as never before.

An agreement to be adopted at the UN in September to eradicate poverty in 15 years and to leave no-one behind in the quest for peace and prosperity through 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) will be the most ambitious global effort yet to achieve what has proved impossible so far.

With three billion people still living on less than US$ 2.50 a day, according to the UN, it is clear that business-as-usual politics, unreformed economies and infrastructures, and inadequate responses to corruption will not deliver the goals. The SDGs provide a mandate to tackle these obstacles to progress head-on.

Parliaments are powerful agents of change. It is by ratifying international agreements, passing budgets and legislation, monitoring their implementation and ensuring government is accountable to the people, that parliaments can drive that change. Their engagement on national development plans that put the well-being of the people up front and centre can make parliaments the linchpin for success in driving development forward.

This will require the buy-in of 45,000 parliamentarians in the world, representing virtually the totality of the global population.

In recent history, one African parliament’s refusal to adopt the national budget unless more resources were allocated to maternal and child health is a good case in point. It shows that where there is a political will, there is a way. It is also an all-too rare illustration of the power parliamentarians have to hold governments to their word. They must never be afraid to wield that power.

Reforming economies to prioritize the well-being of people will also go a long way to win back trust in parliamentarians and the public’s faith in politics. This is a real challenge facing democracy today.

Clearly, the political leadership required to fulfil this vision of a brave new world will have to be as much in the hands of the world’s parliamentary leaders as in those of heads of government. Speakers of Parliament will de facto be in the vanguard of parliamentary action. After their quinquennial World Conference on key global issues ends in New York, their individual leadership in mobilizing parliaments will help determine how each country fares in the long run.

However, we know that progress on development is built on solid foundations of peace and democracy. Both are under assault today. Our world continues to be threatened by conflict, terrorism, abuses of human and political rights and inequality. A parliament that is representative of all voices in society and which unabashedly acts to protect them, is a fundamental pillar of the rule of law and good governance. These are also prerequisites for sustainable development.

But not all parliaments have the capacity to take on the heavy demands of the SDG baton. Countries in conflict, post-conflict, in transition, and with weak or fledgling democracies will need help to prepare their parliaments to fulfil their role. Equal attention will have to be paid to fulfilling SDG 16 on building effective, accountable institutions as to the other goals.

Governments must not renege on their commitment. Without this essential cog in the machinery of implementation, the SDGs will remain laudable but unattainable ideals.

The impetus for change, including of mindsets, must be there at the starting blocks. There is no time to waste. Politicians the world over must fulfil their responsibilities and deliver on the demands of their people. It is what the people expect of them.


VIDEO: Fourth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament (IPU) – Press Conference
28 Aug 2015
The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) on the upcoming Fourth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament. Participants: Mr. Saber Chowdhury, President of the IPU; Mr. Martin Chungong, Secretary-General of the IPU.
:: The Fourth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament

The Economic & Social Cost of Illiteracy – A snapshot of illiteracy in a global context [World Literacy Foundation]

The Economic & Social Cost of Illiteracy – A snapshot of illiteracy in a global context
Final report from the World Literacy Foundation
24 August 2015 :: 18 pages

Executive Summary
Over the years, there have been many attempts to place an economic value on the cost of illiteracy in various nations. There are disputes about the methodologies used to calculate such figures. But the fact remains that it costs the global economy more than USD $1 trillion dollars each year because up to one in five people worldwide struggle with illiteracy.

Functional illiteracy means a person may be able to read and write simple words, but cannot apply these skills to tasks such as reading a medicine label, balancing a chequebook, or filling out a job application.

Globally, more than 796 million people in the world cannot read and write. About 67 million children do not have access to primary school education and another 72 million miss out on secondary school education.

The findings of this final report include:
:: The cost of illiteracy to the global economy is estimated at USD $1.2 trillion.
::The effects of illiteracy are very similar in developing and developed countries. This includes illiterates trapped in a cycle of poverty with limited opportunities for employment or income generation and higher chances of poor health, turning to crime and dependence on social welfare or charity (if available)…

USAID Announces $10 Million in New Global Research Collaboration

USAID Announces $10 Million in New Global Research Collaboration
Friday, August 28, 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) U.S. Global Development Lab today announced $10 million for 45 new research projects that will address evidence gaps and advance technical capacity in critical areas of development. Spanning 23 USAID partner countries, the 45 new projects are funded through the Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) program, an initiative designed to foster collaborative global research. The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine implements the program.

“In order to achieve greater development impact, we must work collaboratively to strengthen scientific expertise all over the world,” said Ann Mei Chang, Executive Director of the U.S. Global Development Lab. “Through programs like PEER, we support a network of university researchers who are sourcing, developing and applying local solutions to critical development challenges around the world.”

The latest cohort of PEER projects – representing the fourth cycle of the program – were selected from over 500 high-quality proposals and represent close to $50 million dollars of leveraged funds through collaborations with U.S.-funded counterparts. Through the PEER program, USAID supports researchers in developing countries working in partnership with U.S. government-funded researchers. These new awards will allow scientists and engineers to collaborate on a variety of crucial research areas, such as wildlife protection, biodiversity conservation, water resource sustainability, satellite monitoring of natural resources, fisheries management, food security, disaster mitigation, and others. The PEER program also supports regional workshops and trainings for awardees.

Among the 45 new awards, the PEER program will support:
:: Experts from Afghanistan, Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan who are generating sustainable solutions to critical water issues in the region. :: Scientists will examine water resource management, glacier dynamics, related policies, and the effects of climate change on transboundary water systems.
:: American and Kenyan scientists working together as part of East Africa’s strategic efforts to reduce threats to the region’s rich wildlife heritage, including poaching, trafficking, disease, and human-animal conflicts.
:: Use of geospatial data and satellite imagery to investigate climate change through SERVIR, a joint program between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and USAID. PEER research projects will strengthen capacity of local stakeholders to integrate earth observation information in decision-making, with the goal of improved environmental management and resilience to climate change.
:: Researchers in Indonesia and Brazil tackling a broad range of biodiversity issues affecting livelihoods, food security, climate adaptation, and education.

The PEER program is a collaboration between USAID and eight federal science agencies: NASA, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA),the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Smithsonian Institution (SI), the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (USDA/ARS), the United States Forest Service (USFS), and the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Since its launch in 2011, PEER has supported more than 190 researchers in over 40 countries, with a total investment of over $45 million.

The next call for PEER pre-proposals will open in October 2015.To learn more about the PEER program and to view a complete list of the latest award recipients please visit the PEER website.

United Nations – Secretary General, Security Council, General Assembly [to 29 August 2015]

United Nations – Secretary General, Security Council, General Assembly  [to 29 August 2015]

Selected Press Releases/Meetings Coverage
28 August 2015
Lamenting Recent Migrant, Refugee Deaths, Secretary-General Appeals to Governments for Bolstered Efforts Ahead of Global Meeting at UN Headquarters

28 August 2015
Amid Growing Use of Enforced Disappearances by Non-State Actors, Secretary-General Urges Prompt Action in Message on International Day Commemorating Victims
Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, observed on 30 August

28 August 2015
Security Council, in Statement, Welcomes Peace Accord Signing by South Sudan’s President, Affirming Readiness to Ensure Full Compliance
Welcoming the 26 August signature by South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir on the agreement to resolve the conflict in that country, as well as earlier signatures by other parties, the Security Council this afternoon confirmed its intention to move swiftly to update the mandate of the United Nations Mission there, known as UNMISS, to support implementation of key tasks in the accord.

27 August 2015
Secretary-General, Deeply Disturbed by Ongoing Reports of Chemical Weapons Use in Syria, Recalls Security Council Text Stating This Will Not Be Tolerated

27 August 2015
Amid Ongoing Devastation, Syria’s Warring Parties Must Allow Humanitarian Access to All ‘Wherever They May Be Located’, Top Aid Official Tells Security Council
The more than four-year-long conflict in Syria was characterized by a “callous disregard for human life” that “seemingly knows no bounds”, the top United Nations humanitarian official told the Security Council today.

24 August 2015
Secretary-General Condemns Terror Acts by Da’esh against Syrian Civilians, Heritage, Outraged by Brutal Murder of Retired Chief Archaeologist

UNHCR Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees [to 29 August 2015]

UNHCR Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees [to 29 August 2015]

50,000 Afghan refugees from Pakistan returned this year under UNHCR voluntary programme
28 August 2015

Clashes in Central African Republic town of Bambari displaces thousands
27 August 2015

UNHCR assists refugees at Greece-FYR Macedonia border, reiterates readiness to help affected governments
23 August 2015

UN OCHA [to 29 August 2015]

UN OCHA [to 29 August 2015]

27 Aug 2015
Syrian Arab Republic: Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O’Brien, Statement to the Security Council on Syria, New York, 27 August 2015

27 Aug 2015
Chad: “Additional financial support now needed”, says Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel

27 Aug 2015
Myanmar: Resilient communities of Myanmar face flood recovery with courage and dignity

25 Aug 2015
South Sudan: Under-Secretary-General Stephen O’Brien Briefing to the Security Council: The Humanitarian situation in South Sudan

23 Aug 2015
Central African Republic: Central African Republic: Humanitarian Coordinator strongly condemns attack against humanitarian workers in Bambari

UNICEF [to 29 August 2015]

UNICEF [to 29 August 2015]

Selected press release and news notes
New release of children by armed group in Central African Republic brings total to more than 600 since May
BATANGAFO, Central African Republic, August 28 2015 – An additional 163 children – including 5 girls – have been released by an armed group in the Central African Republic.

Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus elimination in India will spare thousands of deaths: UNICEF
NEW DELHI, 27 August 2015 – The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, announced today during the Call to Action 2015 Summit that Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus (MNT) has been eliminated in India. This landmark achievement will save the lives of countless mothers and their newborns, UNICEF said.

World Tennis No. 1 Novak Djokovic Takes Centre Court For Children With Appointment as UNICEF’s Newest Goodwill Ambassador
NEW YORK, 26 August 2015 – UNICEF today announced Novak Djokovic’s appointment as a Goodwill Ambassador. Djokovic, the number one ranked tennis player in the world, has focused on the issues of vulnerable children and their communities through his previous position as a UNICEF Serbia Ambassador and his own Novak Djokovic Foundation.

Bringing education to the children of Pibor, South Sudan
PIBOR, South Sudan, 25 August 2015 – A national campaign to increase school attendance and participation was launched today in the Greater Pibor Administrative Area.

Severe water shortages compound the misery of millions in war-torn Syria – says UNICEF
AMMAN, Jordan, 25 August 2015- Amid the unremitting brutality of the war in Syria and a scorching summer heat wave, there is increasing evidence that parties to the conflict are using water to achieve military and political gains.

UNICEF supports children fleeing violence and on the move in Europe
GENEVA/SKOPJE MK, 25 August 2015 – UNICEF has established a child-friendly space with a mobile team near Geveglija town, at the border with Greece to provide much needed support to women and children on the move through the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

WHO & Regionals [to 29 August 2015]

WHO & Regionals [to 29 August 2015]

Call for nominations: SAGE Working Group on Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Elimination
25 August 2015

The Weekly Epidemiological Record (WER) 28 August 2015, vol. 90, 35 (pp. 433–460) includes:
…Pertussis vaccines: WHO position paper – September 2015

Water, sanitation and hygiene to eliminate neglected tropical diseases
27 August 2015 — WHO releases a global plan today to better integrate water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services with other public health interventions to accelerate progress in eliminating and eradicating neglected tropical diseases by 2020. Targeted water and sanitation interventions are expected to bolster ongoing efforts to tackle 16 neglected tropical diseases that affect more than 1 billion of the world’s most vulnerable populations.

Improving preterm birth outcomes: new guidance
August 2015 – WHO’s new guidance WHO recommendations on interventions to improve preterm birth outcomes has been launched to help prevent the complications and consequences of preterm birth. Adding to efforts worldwide to further reduce child mortality, the guidance offers recommendations on interventions which can be provided to the mother when preterm birth is imminent and to the preterm infant after birth, with the aim of improving outcomes for preterm infants.

WHO Fact Sheets:
28 August 2015
Ebola virus disease
26 August 2015

:: WHO Regional Offices
WHO African Region AFRO
:: Last Ebola case in Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone celebrated an important milestone on Monday, 24 August 2015. For the first time in more than a year, there are no people being treated for Ebola virus disease and no confirmed cases of Ebola in the country. Surrounded by singing, dancing and clapping health-care workers, Adama Sankou, palm oil trader, was released from the Makheni Ebola treatment unit. In the ceremony held to mark the final Ebola case, the President of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma, described Madame Sankou’s release as “the beginning of the end of Ebola.” “‘Ebola nor don don” (Ebola is not yet finished), the President…
:: WHO staff on the ground essential to breaking Ebola transmission chains – 24 August 2015

WHO Region of the Americas PAHO
:: Latin American and Caribbean Countries Commit to a 75% Reduction in New HIV Infections in Adults and Young People by 2020 (08/24/2015)

WHO South-East Asia Region SEARO
No new digest content identified.

WHO European Region EURO
:: Exploring the cultural contexts of health and well-being 28-08-2015

WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region EMRO
:: Safe corridor needed to deliver health care to over 3 million people in Taiz, Yemen
Sana’a, 27 August 2015 – In Yemen, conflict and a resulting humanitarian crisis have left thousands of people in need of treatment, caused extensive damage to health facilities, and fanned a dengue fever outbreak in Taiz. The governorate has witnessed an extreme spike in cases of dengue fever in the past 2 weeks and a humanitarian corridor is needed not only to ensure access to health care for more than 3 million people in Taiz but to assess the outbreak and institute control measures. Read more about the situation in Taiz
:: Water, sanitation and hygiene to eliminate neglected tropical diseases
27 August 2015
:: Pakistan second endemic country to introduce IPV into routine immunization schedule
24 August 2015
:: WHO steps up response to the critical health needs in Taiz and Hodeida governorates as the humanitarian situation worsens
23 August 2015

WHO Western Pacific Region
:: WHO, DOH, KOICA Launch AcCESS for MNH project to improve health of mothers and newborns in Davao Region
DAVAO, Philippines, 28 August 2015 – The World Health Organization (WHO), Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), and the Department of Health (DOH) Regional Office XI launched on 18 August 2015 at SMEX Convention Center, Davao City a three-year Subnational Initiative (SNI) project called “Accelerating Convergence Efforts through Systems Strengthening for Maternal and Newborn Health” or AcCESS for MNH. The project aims to improve the health of mothers and newborns in 10 local government units (LGUs) in Davao Region.

UNDP United Nations Development Programme [to 29 August 2015]

UNDP United Nations Development Programme [to 29 August 2015]

Helen Clark: Speech at World Assembly of Women on “Women’s Empowerment through Sanitation” Tokyo, Japan
Aug 29, 2015

Helen Clark: Speech at World Assembly of Women on 
“Gender Equality and Women’s Leadership”
Aug 28, 2015 Tokyo, Japan

UNDP launches storytelling contest to amplify climate coverage on the run up to Paris summit
Aug 27, 2015
UNDP has launched today a global storytelling contest, Voices2Paris, to contribute to raising public awareness on the negative impacts of climate change as well as on the opportunities and solutions seen in actions by individuals and governments alike across vulnerable developing countries worldwide.

Helen Clark: Bishop Sir Paul Reeves Memorial Lecture 2015 on “The promise and challenge of 2015 for sustainable development”
Aug 26, 2015
Auckland University of Technology (AUT), Auckland, New Zealand

South-South cooperation initiative aims to enhance regional resilience in Africa
Aug 26, 2015
African countries convene in Mozambique this week for a south-south Leadership Development Forum on climate change and disaster risk reduction (DRR).

UNEP United Nations Environment Programme [to 29 August 2015]

UNEP United Nations Environment Programme [to 29 August 2015]

Selected Press Releases
Largest Ever Citizen Consultation on Climate Change
Fri, Aug 28, 2015
The vast majority of global citizens – almost 80 per cent – feel very concerned about the impacts of climate change, whilst two out of three citizens think that climate action is an opportunity to improve their quality of life.

These are the top findings of the largest ever citizen consultation on climate change carried out by the more than 100 partners of the World Wide Views Alliance ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in December.

The synthesis report of the study is now available in English, French, English, Spanish, Arabic, Russian and Chinese.

UN-HABITAT United Nations Human Settlements Programme [to 29 August 2015]

UN-HABITAT United Nations Human Settlements Programme [to 29 August 2015]

Amman Youth Declaration Calls For Action From Local Governments On Peacebuilding
Amman, 26 August 2015 – The Amman Youth Declaration on youth and peacebuilding has been adopted by the more than 400 youth delegates attending the Global Forum on Youth, Peace and Security recently held in Jordan.

FAO Food & Agriculture Organization [to 29 August 2015]

FAO Food & Agriculture Organization [to 29 August 2015]

Ancient crops preserved for future generations in Arctic seed vault
Potato varieties once thought lost to the Andean people who introduced them to the world will now be stored for perpetuity deep in the Arctic ice. The deposit is being made at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a back-up facility in the permafrost far north of the Arctic Circle that currently holds over 860,000 food crop seeds from all over the world.

Open-access database will help water-scarce countries get more crop per drop
A new open-access data portal to be developed by FAO will use satellite imagery to help water-scarce countries in the Near East and North Africa better manage this precious resource.