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)…

Voluntary Guidelines to Support the Integration of Genetic Diversity into National Climate Change Adaptation Planning

Voluntary Guidelines to Support the Integration of Genetic Diversity into National Climate Change Adaptation Planning
Rome, 2015 :: 50 pages
The guidelines take account of the characteristics of different genetic resources for food and agriculture which face different challenges and opportunities in respect to climate change. The objectives of the guidelines are to promote the use of genetic resources for food and agriculture in climate change adaptation and support their integration into national climate change adaptation planning; to support the genetic resources experts and those involved in climate change adaptation to identify and address the challenges and opportunities of genetic resources for food and agriculture in adaptation; and to promote the involvement of genetic resources stakeholders in the national climate change adaptation planning process. The guidelines follow the structure and approach of the technical guidelines for the National Adaptation Plan process prepared by the Least Developed Countries Expert Group of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The process involves four main elements in each of which a number of steps are proposed.


Press Release
Making genetic diversity part of climate change adaptation
FAO issues guidelines on conservation and use of world’s genetic resources for food and agriculture
24 November 2015, Rome – In the run-up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, FAO has released new guidelines to assist countries in better conserving and sustainably using genetic resources in times of climate change.

The Voluntary Guidelines to Support the Integration of Genetic Diversity into National Climate Change Adaptation Planning aim at ensuring that genetic resources for food and agriculture are part of national plans addressing measures for adaptation to climate change.

Genetic resources for food and agriculture encompass the diversity of plants, animals, forests, aquatic resources, micro-organisms and invertebrates that play a role in food and agricultural production.

While these life forms are themselves threatened by climate change, their genetic makeup makes them key players in addressing the challenges such changes present.

If properly conserved and used, for example, plant genetic resources may provide seeds that can tolerate or thrive amid greater aridity, frost, flooding or soil salinity. Livestock breeds raised in harsh production environments over a long period of time tend to acquire characteristics that enable them to cope with these conditions.

Policies that anticipate future needs and plan the management of genetic resources as a pivotal reservoir and tool can help build more resilient agricultural and food production systems.

To promote more informed decision-making, FAO is, for example, developing an instrument that can be used to predict the impact of climate change on the distribution of livestock breeds.

“Genetic resources for food and agriculture will have to contribute greatly to our efforts to cope with climate change,” says Maria Helena Semedo, FAO Deputy Director-General for Natural Resources. “We need to act now to reduce the risk that the scale and speed of climate change will surpass our ability to identify, select, reproduce and – eventually – use these resources in the field.” she added.

If current trends prevail, yields of some staple crops may in 2050 be 25 percent lower than today, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Such projections make plans to organize and deploy genetic resources all the more urgent, especially as just five cereal crops – rice, wheat, maize, millet and sorghum- provide about 60 percent of all human dietary energy.

Guidelines fill a gap
Currently, there is no commonly adopted approach to integrating agricultural biodiversity into strategic planning for climate change adaptation. The Guidelines aim to address this gap. They will assist countries in addressing genetic resources dimensions when developing or updating their National Adaptation Plans (NAPs).

“We need to secure and mobilize genetic resources now to have options for the future – we need to have effective conservation, improved information and improved utilization pathways – and we need to plan. Funding is required to support countries in this process,” says Irene Hoffmann, Secretary of FAO’s intergovernmental Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, under whose aegis the guidelines were developed.

FAO together with the United Nations Development Programme currently assists eight developing countries in the development of their NAPs.

Greater efforts need to be made to conserve and support the sustainable use of plant varieties and livestock breeds and to collect and conserve the wild relatives of important food crops. Promoting the maintenance of on-site farm diversity allows for evolution in step with environmental changes. Regional and global gene banks provide for the maintenance of backup collections of genetic material that can be drawn upon to support climate change adaptation measures.

Given that all countries depend on genetic diversity from other countries and regions, international cooperation and exchange of such material is crucial. In this regard, the Commission negotiated the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, which allows researchers and breeders to access genetic resources from other countries.

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

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

25 November 2015
Root Causes of Increasing Instability Must Be Addressed to Prevent Further Deterioration in Sahel, Special Envoy Tells Security Council
Citing accelerating terrorist attacks, spikes in displacement and increasingly grave humanitarian challenges, the top United Nations official for the Sahel told the Security Council today that the international community must address the root causes of such threats to prevent further deterioration in the region.

25 November 2015
Security Council Presidential Statement Expresses Outrage that Civilians Continue to Account for Vast Majority of Casualties in Armed Conflict Situations
The Security Council today expressed its intention to continue addressing the protection of civilians, both in country-specific considerations and as a thematic agenda item, outraged that they accounted for the vast majority of casualties in conflict situations, suffering forced displacement and destruction of property, among other impacts.

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

UN OHCHR Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights [to 28 November 2015]
Selected Press Releases/Announcements

Modern slavery may be hidden in supply chains, but it can be rooted out – UN rights expert
International Day for the Abolition of Slavery – Wednesday 2 December 2015
GENEVA (27 November 2015) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and consequences, Urmila Bhoola, today called on States, businesses and civil society across the world to step up actions to eradicate modern slavery and other human rights violations from business supply chains.

Speaking ahead of the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, on Wednesday 2 December, Ms. Bhoola urged the international community to utilize social dialogue and create multi-stakeholder platforms as part of increased efforts to end these human rights violations.

“Slavery is often hidden, but we do know that contemporary forms of slavery such as forced labour and debt bondage are present in supply chains in numerous industries and sectors, including agriculture, garments and textiles manufacture, food processing and packaging. Modern slavery is particularly difficult to detect beyond the first tier of complicated supply chains of transnational businesses.

However, these forms of slavery can be rooted out through a multi-stakeholder and multi-faceted approach ensuring that all business operations and relationships are based on human rights, that those responsible for supply chain-related human rights violations are held accountable and that the victims are guaranteed the right to effective judicial and non-judicial remedy and appropriate and timely assistance aimed at empowering them.

My latest report* to the UN Human Rights Council focuses on the duty of States, the responsibility of businesses and the role of other stakeholders in preventing, mitigating and redressing contemporary forms of slavery in supply chains:

*Special Rapporteur’s report on the elimination of contemporary forms of slavery from supply chains (A/HRC/30/35):

SRSG/CAAC Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict [to 28 November 2015]

SRSG/CAAC Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict [to 28 November 2015]

27 Nov 2015
DR Congo: Statement by Leila Zerrougui on the Publication of Report on Recruitment of Girls by Armed Groups
The report “Invisible Survivors: Girls in Armed Groups in Democratic Republic of the Congo from 2009 to 2015”, published this week by the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) on the recruitment of girls by armed groups in the country highlights the violence girls are confronted with as well as the difficulty of providing them with adequate assistance.

UN OCHA [to 28 November 2015]

UN OCHA [to 28 November 2015]
[We generally do not include OCHA Flash Updates on humanitarian crises in this digest]

27 Nov 2015
Somalia: Somalia: Flash Update 5 Humanitarian Impact of Heavy Rains | 27 November 2015

27 Nov 2015
Central African Republic: Central African Republic: Humanitarian Coordinator calls for more international support to humanitarian crisis as he welcomes Pope Francis’ visit to displacement sites

27 Nov 2015
Nigeria: Multi-faceted support urgent in north-east Nigeria to address complex crisis in Lake Chad basin

24 Nov 2015
Yemen: Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O’Brien – Statement on Yemen [EN/AR]
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Yemen
I am deeply concerned by the worsening humanitarian situation for people living in the central Yemeni city of Taizz. Since September fighting has intensified there, and some 200,000 vulnerable civilians are living under a virtual state of siege, in dire need of drinking water, food, medical treatment, and other life-saving assistance and protection. Civilian neighbourhoods, medical facilities and other premises…

UNICEF [to 28 November 2015]

UNICEF [to 28 November 2015]
Selected press releases

UNICEF Advocate Ishmael Beah witnesses impact of conflict on children in South Sudan
JUBA, South Sudan/NAIROBI, Kenya/GENEVA/NEW YORK, 27 November 2015 – Continued violence and the impact of brutal fighting has taken an increasingly heavy toll on the lives of children in South Sudan, Ishmael Beah said today, as the UNICEF Advocate for Children Affected by War wrapped up a one week visit to the country.

More than 1 million children in urgent need of assistance after three years of fighting in Central African Republic
BANGUI, Central Africa Republic, 27 November 2015 – An estimated 1.2 million children are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance nearly three years after conflict erupted in the Central African Republic.

Adolescent deaths from AIDS tripled since 2000 – UNICEF
JOHANNESBURG/NEW YORK, 27 November 2015 – The number of adolescent deaths from AIDS has tripled over the last 15 years, according to new data released today by UNICEF.

Child brides in Africa could more than double to 310 million by 2050 – UNICEF
NEW YORK/LUSAKA, Zambia, 26 November 2015 – If current levels persist, the total number of child brides in Africa will rise from 125 million to 310 million by 2050, according to a UNICEF report released at the African Union Girls Summit in Lusaka, Zambia, today.

Children will bear the brunt of climate change: UNICEF
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.

IOM / International Organization for Migration [to 28 November 2015]

IOM / International Organization for Migration [to 28 November 2015]
Selected Press Releases

Mediterranean Migrants: Latest Developments
Greece – IOM estimates that over 110,000 migrants and refugees have now arrived in Greece by sea since the beginning of November.

Germany Offers Protection to Refugees Stranded in Egypt
Egypt – This week IOM moved the last of nearly 600 refugees – half of them Syrian – from Egypt to Germany as part of the country’s Humanitarian Admissions Programme (HAP).

Egypt Passes New Anti-Human Smuggling Law
Egypt – The Egyptian Cabinet has approved a new anti-human smuggling law that is in line with international standards.

Mediterranean Migrants: Latest Developments
Greece – IOM staff in Greece report a drastic decrease in the number of migrants and refugees crossing into Greece over the weekend.

UN Women [to 28 November 2015]

UN Women [to 28 November 2015]
Selected Press Releases

Girls speak out at the First African Girls’ Summit on Ending Child Marriage
Date: 27 November 2015
UN Women is participating and actively contributing to the First African Girls’ Summit on Ending Child Marriage, being held in Lusaka, Zambia, from 24–27 November 2015.

Press release: Spotlighting prevention, “Orange the World” kicks off global efforts to end violence against women and girls
Date: 24 November 2015
From parades to soccer matches, school debates, and the lighting up of hundreds of iconic monuments, starting tomorrow a United Nations call to “Orange the World” will galvanize global action calling for an end to violence against women and girls, which affects one in three worldwide.

Nearly 40 Chinese companies sign on to the Women’s Empowerment Principles
Date: 24 November 2015
Thirty eight companies from China signed the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) CEO Statement of Support. The Women’s Empowerment Principles, developed by UN Women in collaboration with the UN Global Compact, outline seven steps for companies to improve women’s empowerment at work and in the marketplace

Press release: Progress for women in news media grinds to a halt
Date: 23 November 2015
After 20 years, research in 114 countries reveals continued severe disparity between representation of women and men in the news media.

WHO & Regionals [to 28 November 2015]

WHO & Regionals [to 28 November 2015]

Iraq cholera vaccination campaign
24 November 2015 — An oral cholera vaccine campaign in Iraq helps to control and contain the outbreak. This photo story follows the vaccination teams that are disseminating the vaccine and educational material on how to prevent the disease. The campaign has reached over 232 000 people during the first round. In the last 3 weeks the number of cases has continued to decline with only a few cases being reported from the affected areas.

New recommendations show how to treat all people living with HIV and decrease new infections
Harare, 27 November 2015 –The world is poised to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030 – provided it can accelerate the pace of progress achieved globally over the past 15 years, according to a new World Health Organization (WHO) report…

Treatment for all people living with HIV
Recent findings from clinical trials have confirmed that the early and expanded use of antiretroviral treatment saves lives by keeping people living with HIV healthier and by reducing the risk that they will transmit the virus to partners.

In September, that confirmation led WHO to recommend that all people living with HIV start ART as soon as possible after diagnosis.

At ICASA, WHO is presenting a set of recommendations to enable countries to expand treatment to all — rapidly and efficiently. These recommendations include using innovative testing strategies to help more people learn they are HIV positive; moving testing and treatment services closer to where people live; starting treatment faster among people who are at advanced stages of HIV infection when they are diagnosed; and reducing the frequency of clinic visits recommended for people who are stable on ART…

Eliminate violence against women
25 November 2015 — WHO releases a new tool for medical and legal professionals to ensure that proper evidence is collected in cases of sexual violence to help bring justice for victims. The goal is to end impunity for perpetrators of sexual violence and help eliminate violence against women. Globally 1 in 3 women has been a victim of physical/sexual partner violence in her lifetime.
New toolkit to strengthen the medico-legal response to sexual violence

Global Alert and Response (GAR) – Disease Outbreak News (DONs)
:: 27 November 2015 Zika virus infection – Guatemala
:: 27 November 2015 Zika virus infection – El Salvador
:: 27 November 2015 Microcephaly – Brazil
:: 26 November 2015 Cholera – Iraq
:: 26 November 2015 Cholera – United Republic of Tanzania
:: 26 November 2015 Circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus – Lao People’s Democratic Republic

:: WHO Regional Offices
WHO African Region AFRO
:: New recommendations show how to treat all people living with HIV and decrease new infections
:: Youngest victims of the health crisis in Central African Republic – 26 November 2015
:: Health Ministers Endorse a Research Strategy for the African Region – 25 November 2015

WHO Region of the Americas PAHO
:: Lila Downs and PAHO launch campaign to prevent postpartum hemorrhage deaths in the Americas (11/24/2015)
:: First meeting of the Program to Strengthen Cooperation for Health Development in the Americas, in Brazil (11/24/2015)

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

WHO European Region EURO
:: New HIV guidelines will help Europe meet the ambitious global goal 27-11-2015
:: Highest number of new HIV cases in Europe ever 26-11-2015
:: “Europe is Europe because of migration”: highlights from day 2 of the high-level conference on refugee and migrant health 24-11-2015
:: “We cannot turn away our eyes”: highlights from day 1 of the high-level conference on refugee and migrant health 24-11-2015
:: European health decision-makers meet for high-level discussion on refugee and migrant health 23-11-2015

WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region EMRO
No new digest content identified.

WHO Western Pacific Region
:: The Royal Government of Cambodia launches the first dedicated, nationally representative study on the prevalence of intimate partner violence
PHNOM PENH, 24 November 2015 – One in five women in Cambodia has experienced sexual and/or physical intimate partner violence, according to the National Survey on Women’s Health and Life Experiences launched by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the National Institute of Statistics. The study documents significant physical, mental, sexual and reproductive health consequences, including injuries and pain, suicide and miscarriage. The study shows that 90% of women who reported being injured by their intimate partner had been hurt severely enough to need health care. However, 47% never sought health care.

UNDP United Nations Development Programme [to 28 November 2015]

UNDP United Nations Development Programme [to 28 November 2015]
Selected Press Releases

Breakthrough brings cost of HIV treatment to under $100 per patient per year
Nov 27, 2015
UNDP has achieved significant reductions in the price of HIV medicines that it procures, bringing down the cost of the most common treatment to an unprecedented US$100 per patient per year in Equatorial Guinea, Haiti, Mali, South Sudan, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Through these price reductions UNDP is saving US$ 25 million that are being used to put an additional 250,000 people on life-saving HIV treatment.

Helen Clark: Speech on “Youth as Partners for Change in the Implementation of Agenda 2030”
Nov 24, 2015
Keio University, Tokyo, Japan 24 November 2015

UNDP Africa launches initiative to help prevent and respond to violent extremism
Nov 23, 2015
UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Africa today launched an initiative to support African countries to prevent and respond to the growth of violent extremism through a development lens.

UNEP United Nations Environment Programme [to 28 November 2015]

UNEP United Nations Environment Programme [to 28 November 2015]
Selected Press Releases

Portfolio Decarbonization Coalition Overseeing Decarbonization of $230bn Assets under Management, Far above Target
UK, Dutch and French Investment Firms Join Coalition Ahead of COP21, with More to Follow
London/Geneva, 27 November 2015 – The Portfolio Decarbonization Coalition (PDC), which aims to support greenhouse gas emissions cuts by engaging institutional investors committed to decarbonizing their portfolios, is now overseeing the decarbonization of $230 billion in Assets Under Management (AUM), dramatically surpassing its target of $100 bn.

Hermes Investment Management in the UK, MN in the Netherlands, BNP Paribas Investment Partners, Humanis, and Caisse des Dépôts (CDC) in France today joined the coalition, bringing the number of members to 23, managing total assets of $2.2 trillion.

Announcements of new members are planned for COP 21, where 190 nations will convene in Paris with the aim of negotiating a universal agreement on climate. The new members will significantly increase the total commitments to decarbonization.

The increasing membership of the PDC is a clear signal that a growing number of leading investors are committed to reducing the carbon risks and impacts of their portfolios, and playing a key role in tackling climate change.

UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said, “The success of the PDC is a clear signal that more and more leading investors are recognizing the inherent risk that climate change poses to their portfolios. By aligning their portfolios with the low-carbon economy, they are playing a key role in the climate action the world wants to see. Exceeding the $100 billion target is a significant milestone, and I hope the leadership of the coalition members inspires other investors to join this great effort.”