The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health ::
Holistic Development :: Sustainable Resilience
Week ending 28 November 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 28 November 2015

blog edition: comprised of the 35+ entries  posted below on 29 November 2015

Unless we act now: The impact of climate change on children – UNICEF

Unless we act now: The impact of climate change on children
November 2015 :: 81 pages ISBN: 978-92-806-4826-3
Today’s children, and their children, are the ones who will live with the consequences of climate change. This report looks at how children, and particularly the most vulnerable, are affected and what concrete steps need to be taken to protect them.

Key Messages [Excerpt]
…Now is the time for action
The world must embark on low carbon development to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and needs to adapt to the impacts of climate change that cannot be halted. We can take steps now to safeguard our children’s future, notably:
:: Cutting greenhouse gas emissions so that the average rise in the global temperature is limited to a maximum of 2º Celsius, and ideally to 1.5ºC.

:: Prioritizing the needs of the most vulnerable in climate change adaptation efforts, particularly children – who will bear the brunt of climate change far longer than adults.

:: Reducing inequities among children now to promote their future resilience to climate change and other disasters or crises.

:: Listening to and acting on children’s perspectives on climate change.

:: Providing children and youth with climate change education, awareness raising and training.

:: Aligning and coordinating work on climate change adaptation, preparedness and disaster risk reduction at national and sub-national levels.

:: Protecting children and their families who are forced to move as a result of climate change.

:: Investing in children as part of national climate plans on mitigation and adaptation.

:: Scale-up proven approaches to address the changing needs of children.

Children deserve to live in a world free from the life-threatening effects of climate change. Given the overwhelming scientific evidence on the dangers of climate change, and the clear opportunities we have for altering its course, there is no excuse for not acting ambitiously.


Press Release
Children will bear the brunt of climate change: UNICEF
More than half a billion children live in areas with extremely high flood occurrence, 160 million live in high drought severity areas
NEW YORK/GENEVA, 24 November 2015 – More than half a billion children live in areas with extremely high flood occurrence and 160 million in high drought severity zones, leaving them highly exposed to the impacts of climate change, UNICEF said in a report released ahead of the 21st United Nations climate change conference, known as COP21.

Of the 530 million children in the flood-prone zones, some 300 million live in countries where more than half the population lives in poverty – on less than $3.10 a day. Of those living in high drought severity areas, 50 million are in countries where more than half the population lives in poverty.

“The sheer numbers underline the urgency of acting now,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “Today’s children are the least responsible for climate change, but they, and their children, are the ones who will live with its consequences. And, as is so often the case, disadvantaged communities face the gravest threat.”

Climate change means more droughts, floods, heatwaves and other severe weather conditions. These events can cause death and devastation, and can also contribute to the increased spread of major killers of children, such as malnutrition, malaria and diarrhoea. This can create a vicious circle: A child deprived of adequate water and sanitation before a crisis will be more affected by a flood, drought, or severe storm, less likely to recover quickly, and at even greater risk when faced with a subsequent crisis.

The vast majority of the children living in areas at extremely high risk of floods are in Asia, and the majority of those in areas at risk of drought are in Africa…

Leaving no one behind: Our promise – DFID Policy Paper

Leaving no one behind: Our promise
DFID Policy Paper
Published 24 November 2015
Promise made by governments, civil society and businesses at the UK government’s Leave No One Behind event on 27 September 2015 at the United Nations General Assembly.

We commit to putting the last first.
The Global Goals for Sustainable Development offer a historic opportunity to eradicate extreme poverty and ensure no one is left behind. To realise this opportunity we will prioritise the interests of the world’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged people; the poorest of the poor and those people who are most excluded and at risk of violence and discrimination.

We believe that no one should face the indignity of extreme, absolute, chronic poverty, no one should be denied the opportunity to realise their full potential or to share in progress, no-one should be unfairly burdened by disaster or a changing climate, and no-one should have their interests systematically overlooked. We believe it is in all of our interest to leave no one behind and to ensure a fair opportunity for all, now and for the future.

We pledge to ensure that:
:: every person has a fair opportunity in life no matter who or where they are
:: people who are furthest behind, who have least opportunity and who are the most excluded will be prioritised
:: every person counts and will be counted.

As governments, citizens, civil society and businesses, we commit to work together to eradicate extreme poverty and leave no one behind by:
1.. listening and responding to the voices of those left furthest behind, such as people with disabilities, children, older people and those who face discrimination based on who they are or where they live. Every country, regardless of their stage of development, has a responsibility to empower and address the needs of its most vulnerable citizens.

2. holding ourselves and each other accountable for designing policies and building inclusive institutions that put the furthest behind first and sustainably address the root causes of poverty and exclusion.

3. taking steps to enable all people to reach their full potential, including by securing good nutrition, protection from disease, access to quality education, access to clean water and sanitation, and freedom to have a say in the decisions that affect their lives.

4. challenging the social barriers that deny people opportunity and limit their potential, including changing discrimination and exclusion based on gender, age, location, caste, religion, disability or sexual identity.
5. building inclusive and open economies and societies, where there is rule of law, inclusive political systems, action to address corruption and where all people are able to hold their governments to account.

6. working with young people to help break the cycle of discrimination, exclusion and poverty.

7. achieving gender equality, prioritise the empowerment of girls and women and end violence against girls and women, and stop modern slavery.

8. supporting a data revolution, to ensure timely, accurate and high quality data is used to achieve and measure sustainable development and to monitor progress and assess whether targets are being met by all peoples and all segments of society.

The Least Developed Countries Report 2015 – Transforming Rural Economies

The Least Developed Countries Report 2015 – Transforming Rural Economies
November 2015 :: 190 pages
UNCTAD/LDC/2015 ISBN 978-92-1-112893-2 eISBN 978-92-1-057413-6
Full Report pdf:
The headline of the newly adopted 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is a global commitment to eradicate poverty by 2030. Nearly half the population of the 48 least developed countries (LDCs) – some 400 million people – remain in extreme poverty, compared with less than a quarter in any other developing country.

The LDCs are thus the battleground on which the 2030 Agenda will be won or lost. This is where shortfalls from the SDG targets are greatest, where improvement has been slowest, and where the barriers to further progress are highest.

Rural development will be central to the quantum leap in the rate of progress required for LDCs to achieve the SDGs. More than two thirds of people in LDCs live in rural areas, where poverty is also most widespread and deepest, and infrastructure and social provision most lacking. Rural development is essential, not only to poverty eradication, employment generation and economic development, but also to sustainable urbanization.

UNCTAD’s Least Developed Countries Report 2015 therefore focuses on the transformation of rural economies. Assessing LDCs’ progress in agricultural productivity, the extent and nature of their rural economic diversification, and gender issues in rural transformation, it shows that:
:: Agricultural productivity began to increase in LDCs in 2000, following decades of stagnation or decline, but has risen strongly only in Asian LDCs.
:: Rural economic diversification varies widely between LDCs, but only a few have passed beyond the stage in which non-farm activities are centred on agriculture and urban linkages are limited.
:: Women comprise half the rural workforce in LDCs, but face serious constraints on realizing their productive potential, slowing rural transformation.

The 2030 Agenda both highlights the need and provides the opportunity for a new approach to rural development centred on poverty-oriented structural transformation (POST), to generate higher incomes backed by higher productivity. In rural areas, this means upgrading agriculture, developing viable non-farm activities, and fully exploiting the synergies between the two, through appropriately designed and sequenced efforts to achieve the SDGs.

The Report argues that:
:: Differentiation is needed between peri-urban, intermediate, remote and isolated rural areas.
:: A key priority is to overcome the contradiction between need and opportunity, by which more remote areas and poorer households have the greatest need but also the most limited opportunities for income diversification.
:: A POST process can be promoted by labour-based methods and local procurement in infrastructure investment to stimulate demand, coupled with parallel measures to strengthen local supply response.
:: Supply response can be improved by appropriate sequencing of infrastructure investment and interventions, and provision of information about prospective changes in demand and market conditions.
:: Gender-specific measures are needed to overcome disadvantages arising directly from gender norms, and more inclusive gender-sensitive approaches to address their poverty-related consequences.
:: Access to appropriate technologies, inputs, skills and affordable finance needs to be fostered.
:: Effective policy coordination is required nationally, while producers’ associations, cooperatives and women’s networks can play a key role locally.
:: Innovative approaches to trade and cross-border investment could make a substantial contribution.

Finally, the Report highlights the importance of adequate support from the international community to achieve structural transformation and fulfil the SDGs, based on the principle that “to will the end is to will the means”.

What are “Least Developed Countries”?
Geneva, Switzerland, (25 November 2015)
From UNCTAD The Least Developed Countries Report 20151

Forty-eight countries are currently designated by the United Nations as “least developed countries” (LDCs), entitling them to aid, preferential market access and special technical assistance, among other concessions. LDCs are distributed among the following regions:

Africa (34): Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, the Niger, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, the Sudan, Togo, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, and Zambia.

Asia (9): Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Nepal, Timor-Leste, and Yemen.

Caribbean (1): Haiti.

Pacific (4): Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

The list of LDCs is reviewed every three years by the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC), based on recommendations by the Committee for Development Policy (CDP). In March 2015, the CDP recommended the graduation of Angola, by virtue of the “income-only” graduation rule (see below). Equatorial Guinea and Vanuatu are scheduled to be taken off of the list in June 2017 and December 2017 respectively.

Since the category was defined forty years ago, four countries have graduated from LDC status: Botswana in December 1994; Cabo Verde in December 2007; Maldives in January 2011; and Samoa in January 2014. In March 2012, the CDP recommended Tuvalu’s graduation from LDC status but in the absence of an endorsement by ECOSOC, this recommendation has not come into effect.

IRCT calls on States to reject move at UN General Assembly to restrict protection of human rights defenders

IRCT calls on States to reject move at UN General Assembly to restrict protection of human rights defenders
The IRCT joins NGOs from all over the world in calling for States to actively oppose an initiative at the UN General Assembly to delegitimise the work of human rights defenders and remove essential obligations to protect and enable their important work to promote implementation of human rights obligations.

The initiative, which is led by the African Group, China and Iran, is proposing a series of amendments to a UN General Assembly resolution on protection of human rights defenders, which would result in a significant weakening of the existing global standards for protections of human rights defenders, including torture rehabilitation centres, that provide much needed support to victims of human rights violations worldwide.

“At the IRCT, we are well aware of the importance of protecting those who support others as many of our members and partners operate in an environment where threats, harassment and direct attacks against their organisations, their staff and the many torture victims benefitting from their services is a permanent concern,” says Jamal Hammoud, responsible for the development of the IRCT’s protection programme.

In the absence of international treaties protecting this important undertaking, the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders has provided the guiding principles for States to uphold. It is these principles that have once again come under threat.

The IRCT urges all our colleagues to raise the issue with their respective governments and share with their networks to generate further global action to preserve the resolution in its original language. Voting is expected to take place in New York on 25 or 26 November 2015.


To: All Member States of the United Nations General Assembly
24 November 2015
We write to you as a group of human rights defenders and civil society organizations located across the world working at national, regional and international levels. We write in regard to the draft resolution entitled ”Recognizing the role of human rights defenders and the need for their protection“ currently being advanced in the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee, and due to be adopted on Wednesday 25 November 2015.

We urge your government to support the above mentioned resolution and to reject amendments, tabled by the African Group, China and Iran, designed to weaken the text.1

Among other things, the proposed amendments remove references to the legitimacy of the work of human rights defenders, delete or weaken language regarding the need for their protection, and delete whole paragraphs related to the need to combat impunity for violations and abuses against defenders and the need to ensure adequate procedural safeguards in judicial proceedings. A call for the release of defenders detained or imprisoned in violation of international human rights law, for exercising their human rights and fundamental freedoms, is also proposed for deletion. In addition, the amendments introduce notions that States should only support and enable their work ‘as appropriate’, rather than in accordance with the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and other obligations arising under international human rights law .

Human rights defenders make a vital contribution to the promotion and respect for human rights, democratic processes, securing and maintaining peace and security, and advancing development in our countries. However, in doing this work, defenders often face a range of violations and abuses at the hands of State and non-State actors. States must acknowledge the role of defenders and the specific risks they face, and commit to ensuring their protection.

Fifteen years ago, all States agreed to the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, including State obligations to protect all human rights defenders working on all human rights. This commitment has been reiterated and built upon in subsequent General Assembly and Human Rights Council resolutions. We are therefore extremely concerned to hear that the above mentioned delegations have objected to several core elements of the draft resolution.

Based on consultations with over 500 defenders from 111 States, the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders found that in the vast majority of States the situation for human rights defenders is deteriorating in law and in practice. He concluded that a lack of awareness regarding their vital and legitimate work, combined with a lack of political commitment and weak institutional arrangements for their protection, is placing them, their organisations and families at elevated risk.2

The resolution as drafted reflects a number of these findings and makes a series of recommendations for States and other actors. Importantly, this year’s text includes a key focus on the implementation of the resolution itself. This will hopefully prompt States and other actors to move beyond rhetoric in addressing the challenges faced by human rights defenders and take action to ensure the implementation of the calls in the resolution.

We urge all States to live up to their human rights commitments by supporting this resolution, by rejecting amendments designed to weaken it, and by taking concrete steps to protect human rights defenders.

1 The amendments are contained in UN documents A/C.3/70/L.69 – L.107, available here.
2 Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders to the General Assembly, available here.

Landmine Monitor 2015 – International Committee to Ban Landmines

Landmine Monitor 2015
International Committee to Ban Landmines
Published: 26 November 2015 :: 68 pages
This is the 17th annual Landmine Monitor report. It is the sister publication to the Cluster Munition Monitor report, first published in November 2010. Landmine Monitor 2014 provides a global overview of the landmine situation. Chapters on developments in specific countries and other areas are available in online Country Profiles, found here.
Landmine Monitor covers mine ban policy, use, production, trade, and stockpiling in every country in the world, and also includes information on contamination, clearance, casualties, victim assistance, and support for mine action. The report focuses on calendar year 2014, with information included up to November 2015 when possible.


Press Release
Landmine Monitor 2015: Mine-free world in a decade? States must keep their promise
Posted on November 26, 2015 4:00 AM
Silver Spring, MD—Handicap International is urging countries contaminated by landmines, and those home to victims of these barbaric weapons, to redouble their efforts to protect civilians. Landmine casualties rose 12% in 2014, according to the Landmine Monitor 2015[1] , an annual report that measures how States are meeting their obligations under the Ottawa Convention[2]. The report was released today in Geneva.

The 17th annual Landmine Monitor, coordinated in part by Handicap International, finds that demining operations are moving at a slow pace in several countries. Indeed, 27 of the 33 States Parties contaminated by mines have been granted extensions on their clearance deadlines. This throws into doubt the political will of certain States to meet their obligations.

“In 2014, States Parties to the Ottawa treaty committed themselves to ridding the world of mines by 2025,” explains Anne Héry, Advocacy director at Handicap International. “They have ten years to complete their demining programs, destroy existing stockpiles and provide victims with assistance. We are calling on States Parties whose territories are contaminated to be particularly unstinting in their efforts. We’re also asking funding bodies to stay fully engaged, and to reverse the loss of impetus in terms of funding for anti-mines action.”

More than 3,600 casualties in 2014
According to the Landmine Monitor 2015, mines or explosive remnants of war killed or injured 3,678 people in 2014, up 12% compared with 2013. The report also underlines a steady rise in the use of improvised explosive devices by non-State armed groups….

World Bank Group unveils $16 Billion Africa Climate Business Plan to Tackle Urgent Climate Challenges

World Bank Group unveils $16 Billion Africa Climate Business Plan to Tackle Urgent Climate Challenges
One third of funds expected to come from Bank’s fund for the poorest countries
WASHINGTON, November 24, 2015—The World Bank Group today unveiled a new plan that calls for $16 billion in funding to help African people and countries adapt to climate change and build up the continent’s resilience to climate shocks.

Titled Accelerating Climate-Resilient and Low-Carbon Development, the Africa Climate Business Plan will be presented at COP21, the global climate talks in Paris, on November 30. It lays out measures to boost the resilience of the continent’s assets – its people, land, water, and cities – as well as other moves including boosting renewable energy and strengthening early warning systems.

“Sub-Saharan Africa is highly vulnerable to climate shocks, and our research shows that could have far-ranging impact — on everything from child stunting and malaria to food price increases and droughts,” said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim. “This plan identifies concrete steps that African governments can take to ensure that their countries will not lose hard-won gains in economic growth and poverty reduction, and they can offer some protection from climate change.”

Per current estimates, the plan says that the region requires $5-10 billion per year to adapt to global warming of 2°C.

The World Bank and the United Nations Environment Programme estimate that the cost of managing climate resilience will continue to rise to $20-50 billion by mid-century, and closer to $100 billion in the event of a 4°C warming.

Of the $16.1 billion that the ambitious plan proposes for fast-tracking climate adaptation, some $5.7 billion is expected from the International Development Association (IDA), the arm of the World Bank Group that supports the poorest countries. About $2.2 billion is expected from various climate finance instruments, $2.0 billion from others in the development community, $3.5 billion from the private sector, and $0.7 billion from domestic sources, with an additional $2.0 billion needed to deliver on the plan.

“The Africa Climate Business Plan spells out a clear path to invest in the continent’s urgent climate needs and to fast-track the required climate finance to ensure millions of people are protected from sliding into extreme poverty,” explains Makhtar Diop, World Bank Group Vice President for Africa. “While adapting to climate change and mobilizing the necessary resources remain an enormous challenge, the plan represents a critical opportunity to support a priority set of climate-resilient initiatives in Africa.”

The plan will boost the region’s ability to adapt to a changing climate while reducing greenhouse emissions, focusing on a number of concrete actions. It identifies a dozen priority areas for action that will enhance Africa’s capacity to adapt to the adverse consequences of climate variation and change.

The first area for action aims to boost the resilience of the continent’s assets. These comprise natural capital (landscapes, forests, agricultural land, inland water bodies, oceans); physical capital (cities, transport infrastructure, physical assets in coastal areas); and human and social capital (where efforts should include improving social protection for the people most vulnerable to climate shocks, and addressing climate-related drivers of migration)…