The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health ::
Holistic Development :: Sustainable Resilience
Week ending 19 December 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 19 December 2015

blog edition: comprised of the 35+ entries  posted below on 20 December 2015

2015 Human Development Report – Work for Human Development United Nations Development Programme [UNDP]

2015 Human Development Report Work for Human Development
United Nations Development Programme
ISBN: 978-92-1-126398-5 eISBN: 978-92-1-057615-4 288 pages

Press Release
“Address Challenges and Seize Opportunities of the New World of Work”, UNDP Urges
2 billion people lifted out of low human development, in last 25 years, now focus on work is needed to galvanize progress, alerts the 2015 Human Development Report.
Addis Ababa, 14 December 2015 – Fast technological progress, deepening globalization, aging societies and environmental challenges are rapidly transforming what work means today and how it is performed. This new world of work presents great opportunities for some, but also profound challenges for others. The 2015 Human Development Report, released today at a ceremony in Ethiopia, urges governments to act now to ensure no one is left behind in the fast-changing world of work.

The report, titled ‘Work for Human Development’, calls for equitable and decent work for all. In doing so, it encourages governments to look beyond jobs to consider the many kinds of work, such as unpaid care, voluntary, or creative work that are important for human development. The report suggests that only by taking such a broad view can the benefits of work be truly harnessed for sustainable development.

Speaking at the launch, Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, said “Employment can be a great driver of progress, but more people need to be able to benefit from sustainable work that helps them and their families to thrive.”

The need for more inclusive and sustainable work opportunities was also emphasized by United Nations Development Programme Administrator Helen Clark who said: “Decent work contributes to both the richness of economies and the richness of human lives. All countries need to respond to the challenges in the new world of work and seize opportunities to improve lives and livelihoods.”

With better health and education outcomes and reductions in extreme poverty, 2 billion people have moved out of low human development levels in the last 25 years, the report says. Yet in order to secure these gains and galvanize progress, a stronger focus on decent work is needed…

ILO global estimates on migrant workers – 2015

ILO global estimates on migrant workers
Results and Methodology – Special focus on migrant domestic workers
ISBN: 9789221304791 (print); 9789221304807 (web pdf) :: 118 pages
Preface [excerpt]
In today’s globalized world, labour migration is a rising policy priority. Economic hardship and geopolitical crises leading to the lack of decent work are resulting in growing and diverse migratory movements. In many economies, including emerging economies, ageing populations and declining labour forces are also contributing to the growing mobility of workers. Women are joining migration flows in growing numbers as independent workers, with important consequences for gender equality in countries of origin and destination alike.

Migration flows have changed over the past few decades, growing significantly in some corridors and between countries of the South. The governance challenges have increased in complexity. There is a need to understand these dynamic migrant flows and their implications for labour markets, particularly in migrant-dominated sectors.

New thinking and new approaches to the governance of labour migration are needed: a fair sharing of the prosperity migrant workers help to create, and policies that respond equitably to the interests of countries of origin and destination, as well as to migrant workers, employers and national workers.

To be effective, such policies must be grounded in strong evidence. For this, data on the number of migrant workers, their distribution by sector and their employment patterns are badly needed. While acknowledging the many challenges of data collection and analysis in this field, the present global estimates developed by the ILO aim to fill in part the current knowledge gaps…


Press Release
International Migrants Day
New ILO figures show 150 million migrants in the global workforce
A new ILO statistical study provides estimates on labour migration, including regions and industries where international migrant workers are established and a special focus on migrants in domestic work.
News | 16 December 2015
GENEVA (ILO News) – Migrant workers account for 150.3 million of the world’s approximately 232 million international migrants, according to a new study by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

The report, ILO Global Estimates on Migrant Workers , shows migrant workers account for 72.7 per cent of the 206.6 million working age migrant population (15 years and over). The majority – 83.7 million – are men, with 66.6 million women migrant workers.

Commenting on the report, ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said: “This analysis represents a significant contribution by the ILO in supporting member States to deliver the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, particularly in respect to targets within Goal 8 on protecting all workers, including migrant workers, and goal 10 on the implementation of well managed migration policies. Decision makers will now have real data on which to base their policies.”

Labour migration is a phenomenon that concerns all regions of the world, however almost half (48.5 per cent) of migrant workers are concentrated in two broad regions: Northern America, and Northern, Southern and Western Europe. The Arab States have the highest proportion of migrant workers as a share of all workers with 35.6 per cent.

The study also examines the distribution of the migrant workforce in broad industry groupings. The vast majority of migrant workers are in the services sectors, with 106.8 million workers accounting for 71.1 per cent of the total, followed by industry, including manufacturing and construction, with 26.7 million (17.8 per cent) and agriculture with 16.7 million (11.1 per cent). Among all migrant workers, 7.7 per cent are domestic workers.

“This estimate study shows that the vast majority of migrants migrate in search of better job opportunities. By applying a robust methodology we believe it will add significantly to our knowledge base on migration and provide a strong foundation for the development of effective migration policies,” said Manuela Tomei, Director of the ILO’s Conditions of Work and Equality Department (WORKQUALITY)….

Right to sanitation, a distinct human right – Over 2.5 billion people lack access to sanitation

Right to sanitation, a distinct human right – Over 2.5 billion people lack access to sanitation
GENEVA (18 December 2015) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human right to water and sanitation, Léo Heller, and the Chair of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Waleed Sadi, today welcomed the explicit recognition of the ‘human right to sanitation’ as a distinct right, together with the ‘human right to safe drinking water’ by the UN General Assembly.

Over 2.5 billion people still lack access to improved sanitation – the sanitation target under Goal 7 has been missed by one of the widest margins of all the 18 targets under the Millennium Development Goals. One billion people practise open defecation, nine out of ten in rural areas across the world.

“The right to sanitation is an essential component of the right to an adequate standard of living, inextricably linked to the highest attainable standard of health, and integrally related to the human right to water,” Mr. Sadi said. “The explicit recognition of the human right to sanitation and the human right to water reaffirms that sanitation has distinct features which warrant its own separate recognition and treatment from water in some respects.”

The experts explained that while sanitation does not necessarily have to be water-borne, Governments tend to focus on this type, rather than on-site sanitation such as pit latrines and septic tanks which are still widely used. As a result, individual households which rely on on-site sanitation often have to operate the entire system themselves, including collection and disposal, without government support. “The right to sanitation also requires privacy and dignity,” the experts stressed.

“Sanitation and water issues need to be approached comprehensively at many levels,” Mr. Heller said. “I strongly believe that the clear definitions of the human right to sanitation and the human right to water provided in the resolution will help focus international attention on sanitation issues in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

In the UN General Assembly resolution, adopted by consensus on 17 December, Member States recognized that ‘the human right to sanitation entitles everyone, without discrimination, to have physical and affordable access to sanitation, in all spheres of life, that is safe, hygienic, secure, socially and culturally acceptable and that provides privacy and ensures dignity.’…

RE | SHAPING CULTURAL POLICIES – A Decade Promoting the Diversity of Cultural Expressions for Development [UNESCO]

RE | SHAPING CULTURAL POLICIES – A Decade Promoting the Diversity of Cultural Expressions for Development
UNESCO – 2015 [2005 Convention Global Report]
ISBN 978-92-3-100136-9 :: 238 pages
Pdf: Download the Report
For the first time at the global level, the recently adopted United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda for 2030 acknowledges the key role of culture, creativity and cultural diversity to solving sustainable development challenges. This recognition resonates with the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, the 10th anniversary of which we celebrate in 2015.

Over the last decade, this landmark Convention – now ratified by 140 Parties – has changed the overall approach on culture and cultural goods and services. It recognized the sovereign right of governments to introduce policies to protect and promote the diversity of cultural expressions. It highlighted the dual nature of cultural activities, goods and services: they have both an economic and a cultural dimension – providing jobs and revenues, driving innovation and sustainable economic growth, and at the same time conveying identities and values, fostering social inclusion and sense of belonging. Today, we can witness the multiple advantages of this combination, as a force for both social and economic sustainability, as a driver to promote human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The new 2030 Agenda raises high expectations, and this is the importance of this first-ever UNESCO monitoring Report, to collect, analyse and disseminate information on the many different ways in which countries across the world are integrating culture into sustainable development policies and programmes.

This report comes in timely support for the implementation of the new Agenda, to ensure effectiveness and maximize impact, helping countries to evaluate goals, resolve policy questions, and devise new measures that meet people’s demands and needs. It provides in-depth analysis of current trends, advances and challenges faced by all relevant policy actors — with examples of innovative policies and measures that address contemporary issues including:
transnational mobility, artistic freedom, access to international marketplaces, the digital environment.

It also provides – for the first time – an integrated monitoring framework in the field of culture with proposed indicators of change and progress…


Press Release
First Global Report – Evaluating the Impact of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions
Paris, 16 December – The rise of Internet giants, the explosion of social networks, the digital revolution – all profoundly changing the methods of production and dissemination of cultural goods such as music, film and books. Since the adoption of the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, the world’s cultural landscape has changed considerably. Presented at UNESCO on 16 December, the Report Re|Shaping Cultural Policies explores these changes and the policy impact of the Convention.

Adopted by UNESCO in 2005, the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions came into force in 2007. It now has 141 signatory States and the European Union.

Industrialized nations hold the biggest stake in exports
Encouraging an equal flow of cultural goods and services from the developing world is a key guiding principle of the Convention. However, ten years after the adoption of the Convention, the sector remains largely dominated by industrialized countries.

Out of the $212.8 billion in global exports of cultural goods, 46.7% is from developing nations, this compared to 25.6% in 2004. However, this overall picture is distorted by cultural exports mainly from China and India, as these two countries are increasingly competing with developed nations. Without them, the market share of the developing countries for world exports of cultural goods increased by merely 5% between 2004 and 2013.

Developed countries are increasingly importing music and audio-visual goods from developing countries. The share of these imported goods in developed countries represented 39.6% in 2013. Books and publishing form the second largest group, with 32.3% of the share of imports from developing countries.

Digital revolution
The expansion of social networks and user-produced content, the growing use of connected multimedia devices, and the explosion in the quantity of data available have led to the emergence of new actors and new rationales. This revolution is by no means confined to industrialized countries, many regions in the global south have made considerable progress, particularly in the field of connectivity. In Africa, the penetration rate for mobile telephony increased threefold between 2007 and 2012.

Technology also provides an opportunity for new voices to make themselves heard in public service media. We are seeing an emergence of new actors, including citizen journalists and amateur film producers, who are redefining the boundaries of journalism. Likewise, the enthusiasm of young people for film creation has been greater. The production of fiction film in developing countries rose significantly between 2005 and 2010, up from 3% in 2005 to 24% in 2013, while the production of documentaries rose from 1% to 25% over the same period.

But these changes are occurring in part to the detriment of linguistic diversity. Indeed, 80% of linguistic content available on the internet is in English, Chinese, Spanish, Japanese, Portuguese, German, Arabic, French, Russian, and Korean. Another challenge identified by the Report: the rise of Internet giants may undermine access to a diversity of cultural choices, particularly in language choice. “Although the platforms provide a wide range of cultural offerings, the fact that they control not only sales but also the communication and algorithms of recommendations raises the problem of discoverability,” the Report emphasizes…

ICRC: Strengthening the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance of the United Nations, 2015

ICRC: Strengthening the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance of the United Nations, 2015
United Nations, General Assembly, 70th session, Plenary, statement by the ICRC, New York, 10 December 2015.
17-12-2015 | Statement

First, in an exceptional joint press conference held on 30 October, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon and ICRC President Peter Maurer underscored the importance of recognizing that much of the human suffering we are witnessing today is the result of a blatant lack of compliance with international humanitarian law by both State and non-State parties to armed conflict. It is they – not humanitarian organizations – who bear primary legal responsibility for protecting civilians under their control and ensuring that their basic needs are met. It is also urgent for other States, both individually and collectively, to impress upon the parties to a conflict the need to abide by their legal obligations, including those governing access by impartial humanitarian organizations.

Second, further efforts must be made to improve the impact of humanitarian action. In spite of important initiatives taken among humanitarian actors in recent years, notably in regard to coordination, the lack of access and security remains an important obstacle to the effective delivery of humanitarian assistance and protection. This owes mainly to frequent problems of acceptance among parties to a conflict. For this reason, governments should make every effort to reach a renewed consensus on apolitical humanitarian action, including by not sponsoring or limiting humanitarian action for ulterior motives. This will help bring about a working environment in which humanitarian action can reach its full potential. It is also incumbent on humanitarian organizations to live by humanitarian principles in public debates as well as in their operations. Organizations should refrain from espousing humanitarian principles that they are not willing or able to adhere to in practice, at the cost of fuelling distrust towards the entire humanitarian sector.

Third, greater attention and understanding should be devoted to the question of how to better include and promote local action in the overall humanitarian response. The ICRC’s approach in this regard is to further develop the capacities of National Societies of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, support local medical services and provide the armed forces with IHL training. However, in highly polarized situations such as armed conflict, local humanitarian actors may be viewed with suspicion for a number of reasons, including a perceived or alleged ethnic, religious or political affiliation. In such cases, they may be prevented from providing humanitarian assistance to victims across enemy lines and from actively engaging in protection activities with all parties to the armed conflict.

Experience shows that, in such situations, international humanitarian organizations may subject to fewer restrictions and be more effective. The ICRC therefore believes that, in the interest of the victims, we must take full advantage of the respective strengths of both local and international organizations rather than favouring one over the other. The best approach will be based on prevailing circumstances and in a logic of complementarity and responsible partnership.

Fourth, the links between humanitarian and development planning and financing need to be closer. Because many conflicts go on for years or even decades, the ICRC and other humanitarian organizations increasingly engage in development-related work, supporting basic services and critical infrastructure in areas such as health care, water and sanitation, electricity, veterinary care and agriculture. Owing to insufficient development spending, millions of people come to depend on these services to survive. Although these are long-term commitments for the humanitarian organizations – particularly when carried out in urban areas – they are subject to the constraints of short-term, annual humanitarian budgets. Existing financing models thus need to be adapted to allow humanitarian organizations to plan and budget this type of work over several years.

Humanitarian and development organizations must also learn to work together in a way that better serves the needs of their beneficiaries. The ICRC, for its part, is actively seeking to strengthen its cooperation with development organizations and work with them more systematically. The ICRC’s commitment to independence and neutrality, which are critical to its ability to reach victims on all sides, may sometimes limit the situations and areas in which such cooperation can take place. There are nevertheless many ways in which cooperation is both possible and desirable.

It is the ICRC’s view that real progress will hinge on the ability to address these various challenges. Key to this is the recognition that the international humanitarian system is based on three distinct pillars, namely the UN system, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs, each of which possesses its particular strengths and weaknesses. The approach should not be geared towards fusing the three – encouraging them to work the same way and on the same issues – but rather towards capitalizing on the strengths of each of them. The ICRC hopes that your deliberations and the upcoming World Humanitarian Summit will help bring about tangible improvements in the lives of the many millions of people who fall victim to armed conflict every year, and we stand ready to share our views and experience in this regard.

Commodities and Development Report 2015 – Smallholder Farmers and Sustainable

Commodities and Development Report 2015 – Smallholder Farmers and Sustainable
Commodity Development
UNCTAD/SUC/2014/5 :: 84 pages

The contributions of family farming to food security, poverty reduction and sustainable development were specifically recognized in 2014 when the United Nations General Assembly declared that year the International Year of Family Farming. Building on this momentum, this Commodities and Development Report focuses on smallholders. The Report aims at providing a convincing demonstration of the need for devoting more attention and resources to smallholders as a way of achieving the newly agreed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) relating to poverty, nutrition, hunger and environmental sustainability.

It advocates that smallholders play a key role in the achievement of a more inclusive and socially as well as environmentally sustainable development path at the national and global levels. This Report is timely for three reasons. First, 2015 is a pivotal year for the international development agenda, marked by the final assessment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Additionally, the Report provides a useful reminder of the importance of smallholders in achieving the environmental sustainability agenda. The Report’s insights are also topical in the context of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP21 in Paris in December 2015.

Second, concerns about food insecurity following the 2008 food crisis have led to a renewed interest in food security issues. As will be highlighted by the evidence provided in chapter 1, smallholder farmers have long been associated with the achievement of food security. While recognizing the multiple elements that constitute food security, the Report focuses on two of them: food availability and food access. Although the Report might not be of primary relevance to issues of nutrition security and malnutrition − the so-called “hidden hunger” − its thematic analysis would be informative for stakeholders of the United Nations Secretary-General’s initiative, the Zero Hunger Challenge (ZHC) launched in 2012, whose objective is to eliminate hunger during our lifetime. The Report’s findings are specifically of interest to two of the five elements of the Challenge, namely, “The sustainability of food systems” and “Attaining a 100 per cent increase in smallholder productivity and incomes.”

Third, the Report’s analysis and policy recommendations regarding the establishment of an enabling environment at the global level are relevant considering the ongoing agricultural negotiations under the Doha Round, including at the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference in December 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya. Moreover, beyond this year’s events, the Report seeks to be a useful reference for policymakers and other stakeholders on smallholder issues as they embark on the implementation of the SDGs…

Press Release
Business potential of smallholder farmers must be unleashed for sustainable development, report says
Geneva, Switzerland, (17 December 2015)
The world’s smallholder farmers manage just 12 per cent of all agricultural land, yet they produce more than 80 per cent of the world’s food (in value terms). They deserve more attention therefore from policymakers to unleash their full business potential, the UNCTAD Commodities and Development Report 2015 says. As global poverty affects smallholders disproportionately, achieving poverty reduction goals will require taking a fresh look at how policies must be designed and coordinated so as to cater to their needs.

Though there are marked differences by country and region in the average size of small farms, it is estimated that more than 90 per cent of the 570 million farms worldwide are managed by an individual or a family, and that mostly they rely on family labour. Estimates further show that about 2.5 billion people depend on agricultural production systems for their livelihoods. Smallholder farmers also play a key role in environmental sustainability objectives, including climate change mitigation, by protecting biodiversity in agriculture.

“It is now time for the international community to recognize the vital role smallholders play the world over in ensuring continued access to nutritious natural food and the achievement of global food security,” UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi said. “I call on all development partners who have pledged to increase resources directed to the fight against climate change to devote special attention to smallholder farmers who are key players in sustainable agricultural practices.”…

Sustainable farming systems in Bangladesh and Japan receive global recognition

Sustainable farming systems in Bangladesh and Japan receive global recognition
Four new sites designated Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems for innovation, sustainability and adaptability

15 December 2015, Rome – Four traditional farming systems in Bangladesh and Japan have been designated today by FAO as “Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems.”

They include Bangladesh’s floating gardens, a unique hydroponics production system constructed with natural grasses and plants, which have been developed in flood areas; and a trio of sites in Japan: the sustainable river fisheries utilizing Sato-kawa system in Gifu, the Minabe-Tanabe Ume approach to growing apricots on nutrient-poor slopes in Wakayama; and the Takachihogo-Shiibayama mountainous agriculture and forestry system in Miyazaki which allows agricultural and forestry production in a steep mountainous area.

The sites were officially recognized during a joint meeting of the GIAHS Steering and Scientific Committee at FAO headquarters in Rome. These new designations bring the number of Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) systems to a total of 36 sites located in 15 countries in Africa, Latin America, Near East and Asia.

“In the context of today’s environmental and economic challenges and climate change, small-scale and family farmers, and especially traditional agriculture, can offer real solutions for food security, the conservation of natural resources and sustainable rural development, if adequate policies and investment are directed to them”, said FAO Deputy Director-General Maria Helena Semedo.

The Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) which was launched by FAO in 2002 during the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, has been recently endorsed by member countries, during the 39th Session of the FAO Conference, as an FAO Corporate Programme.

About the new GIAHS sites
The new GIAHS sites include three in Japan and one in Bangladesh:
Japan – Ayu of the Nagara River System
The Nagara River is one of the cleanest rivers in Japan that provides a number of ecosystem services. Various components of the system such as river, forests and farmlands are closely linked to each other. The sustainable inland fisheries of a specific type of fish (Ayu) benefit from clean waters of the Nagara River which are maintained through upstream forest management. Local communities have lived within this linked ecosystems and have developed their livelihoods and cultural practices.

Japan – Minabe-Tanabe Ume System
Minabe-Tanabe Ume System allows for the production of high-quality Ume (Japanese apricots) and various kinds of fruits on nutrient-poor slopes. Local communities have created a thriving Ume fruit production environment by maintaining upper coppice forests for landslide prevention and maintenance of water, and Japanese honeybee for pollinators. By permitting the production of a diverse range of products, the system ensures stable livelihoods and makes communities more resilient to disasters.

Japan – Takachihogo-Shiibayama Mountainous Agriculture and Forestry System
This site is located in a steep mountainous area where flat land is extremely scarce. In this severe environment, local people have established a distinctive and sustainable system of agriculture and forestry which balances timber production with diverse farming activities — such as terraced rice growing, shiitake mushroom cultivation, beef cattle raising, or tea cultivation. The forest is maintained as a “mosaic” of conifers and broadleaf trees using traditional practices.

Bangladesh – Floating garden Agricultural Practices
Farmers in some parts of Bangladesh where flood waters can remain for a prolonged period of time have developed a unique hydroponics system in which plants can be grown on the water on floating organic bed of water hyacinth, algae and other plant residues. This environmentally friendly traditional cultivation technique utilizes the natural resources of wetlands to grow vegetables and other crops almost all year round providing numerous social, economic, agricultural and ecological benefits to the local population.

WTO members conclude landmark $1.3 trillion IT trade deal

WTO members conclude landmark $1.3 trillion IT trade deal
16 December 2015 – World Trade Organization
WTO members representing major exporters of information technology products agreed today (16 December) at the WTO’s Tenth Ministerial Conference, in Nairobi, on the timetable for implementing a landmark deal to eliminate tariffs on 201 IT products valued at over $1.3 trillion per year.

Negotiations were conducted by 53 WTO members, including both developed and developing countries, which account for approximately 90 per cent of world trade in these products. However, all 162 WTO members will benefit from the agreement, as they will all enjoy duty-free market access to the markets of the members eliminating tariffs on these products. The list of 201 products was originally agreed by the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) participants in July 2015.

“I am delighted to mark this breakthrough here today at the Ministerial Conference”, said WTO Director General Roberto Azevêdo. “This is a very significant achievement. Annual trade in these 201 products is valued at $1.3 trillion per year, and accounts for approximately 10% of total global trade. Eliminating tariffs on trade of this magnitude will have a huge impact. It will support lower prices — including in many other sectors that use IT products as inputs — it will create jobs and it will help to boost GDP growth around the world”…

…Among the products covered in this agreement are new-generation semi-conductors, GPS navigation systems, medical products which include magnetic resonance imaging machines, machine tools for manufacturing printed circuits, telecommunications satellites and touch screens.
:: ITA press conference — Remarks by Director-General Roberto Azevêdo
:: Briefing Note: Expansion of Trade in IT Products
:: Ministerial Declaration on the Expansion of Trade in Information Technology Products

United Nations – Secretary General, Security Council, General Assembly [to 19 December 2015]

United Nations – Secretary General, Security Council, General Assembly [to 19 December 2015]
Selected Press Releases/Meetings Coverage

18 December 2015
Security Council Unanimously Adopts Resolution 2254 (2015), Endorsing Road Map for Peace Process in Syria, Setting Timetable for Talks
The Security Council today endorsed a road map for a peace process in Syria, setting out an early-January timetable for United Nations-facilitated talks between the Government and opposition members, as well as the outlines of a nationwide ceasefire to begin as soon as the parties concerned had taken initial steps towards a political transition.

18 December 2015
Secretary-General Hails Security Council Resolution as First to Focus on Political Settlement of Syria Crisis

18 December 2015
On World Migrants Day, Deputy Secretary-General Warns against Falling into Trap of Fear Set by Terrorists, amid Largest Exodus since Second World War

17 December 2015
Secretary-General Vows Fast Action after Report Finds Misuse of Authority in United Nations Response to Central African Republic Abuse Claims

17 December 2015
General Assembly Adopts 64 Third Committee Texts Covering Issues Including Migrants, Children’s Rights, Human Rights Defenders
Acting on the recommendation of its Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural), the General Assembly adopted 57 draft resolutions and seven draft decisions today, tackling a wide range of issues from the global refugee crisis to the rights of the child, as well as human rights defenders and country-specific human rights situations.

17 December 2015
Unanimously Adopting Resolution 2253 (2015), Security Council Expands Sanctions Framework to Include Islamic State in Iraq and Levant
In a sweeping move to suppress the financing of terrorism, the Security Council today expanded and strengthened its Al-Qaida sanctions framework to include a focus on Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) in an unprecedented meeting that heard finance ministers from around the world outline efforts to dismantle funding channels to a terrorist group now in control of large swaths of Iraq and Syria.

16 December 2015
On International Migrants Day, Secretary-General Calls for Commitment to Human-Rights-Based Responses Guided by International Law

16 December 2015
Human Trafficking ‘Slavery in the Modern Age’, Says Deputy Secretary-General in Briefing to Security Council

16 December 2015
Security Council Presidential Statement Says Human Trafficking Might Constitute War Crimes, as Members Consider Issue for First Time
The Security Council today deplored all acts of trafficking in human beings by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh), the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), Boko Haram and other terrorist groups, underscoring that certain acts associated with that practice in the context of armed conflict might constitute war crimes.

16 December 2015
General Assembly, Concluding Review of World Summit on Information Society, Commits to Bridging Digital Divides, Building Connected Communities
The General Assembly today reaffirmed its common desire and commitment to the vision of the World Summit on the Information Society to build a people-centred, inclusive and development-oriented information society, as the 193-member body concluded its two-day high-level meeting reviewing the summit outcomes.

UN OHCHR Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights [to 19 December 2015]

UN OHCHR Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights [to 19 December 2015]

Burundi crisis: Zeid calls for robust action by international community to avert another civil war
17 December 2015

Comment by High Commissioner Zeid on the CAR review report
17 December 2015

Right to sanitation, a distinct human right – Over 2.5 billion people lack access to sanitation –
GENEVA (18 December 2015) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human right to water and sanitation, Léo Heller, and the Chair of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Waleed Sadi, today welcomed the explicit recognition of the ‘human right to sanitation’ as a distinct right, together with the ‘human right to safe drinking water’ by the UN General Assembly…

UN OCHA [to 19 December 2015]

UN OCHA [to 19 December 2015]
[We generally do not include OCHA Flash Updates on humanitarian crises in this digest]
18 Dec 2015
World: Strong and renewed commitment for Central Emergency Response Fund in 2016
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: World (New York, 17 December 2015): Ten years ago, Member States of the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution, A/RES/60/124 and created the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). Established in 2005, CERF marked an innovative breakthrough in humanitarian funding as a “fund for all, by all.” It raises and pools funds before the need arises, and provides fast, predictable funding to partners…

18 Dec 2015
Yemen: The Task Force on Population Movement Report: 2.5 million IDPs as a result of conflict in Yemen
Source: International Organization for Migration, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Yemen Yemen, 18 December 2015 – The situation in Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the Middle East, has substantially worsened since the start of the conflict in March 2015.

16 Dec 2015
Yemen: Statement of the Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, during cessation of hostilities
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Yemen The agreement by all parties to the conflict in Yemen to cease all hostilities is a long awaited opportunity for humanitarian actors to reach areas of the country that have been inaccessible for the past months, as well as to continue ongoing aid and protection services.

15 Dec 2015
 Burundi: Urgent action needed to prevent a humanitarian crisis
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, UN Children’s Fund Country: Burundi (New York, 15 December 2015): Two United Nations Emergency Directors warned today that urgent action is needed to prevent a descent into catastrophic violence in Burundi.

UNICEF [to 19 December 2015]

UNICEF [to 19 December 2015]
Selected press releases

More than 380,000 children out of school in northern Mali, three months into school year
BAMAKO, Mali/GENEVA/NEW YORK, 18 December 2015 – More than 380,000 children aged 7 to 15 remain out of school in insecure regions in northern Mali, three months into the new school year and almost four years since the security situation worsened in that part of the country, UNICEF said today.

On the Day of International Migration, UNICEF says children need urgent solutions, solidarity
GENEVA, 18 December 2015 – “The year, 2015, will be remembered for the heart-breaking image of a lifeless little boy on a beach – one of many who came before him; one of many who came after him. It was a year that saw hundreds of thousands of children and their families on the move leaving behind horrors, on an odyssey of hope through Europe. It was the year of mass displacement. And there is no end in sight.

Unicef statement on the report of the independent review on sexual exploitation and abuse of children in the Central African Republic
NEW YORK, 17 December 2015 – “We are reviewing the Independent Panel’s Report, especially references to those instances where UNICEF failed to implement its policy on responding to the sexual abuse and exploitation of children, in order to draw practical lessons for the future.

More than 16 million babies born into conflict this year: UNICEF
NEW YORK, 17 December 2015 – More than 16 million babies were born in conflict zones in 2015 – 1 in 8 of all births worldwide this year – UNICEF said today, a figure that underscores the vulnerability faced by increasing numbers of children.

UNHCR and UNICEF highlight unrelenting children’s crisis
NAIROBI, Kenya, 15 December 2015 – The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned today that the children of South Sudan remain some of the most vulnerable in the world. Noting the second anniversary since violence erupted in South Sudan, the two UN agencies called for all parties to uphold their commitments to the Peace Agreement, so as to allow the almost 1.5 million South Sudanese children to return home and receive an education, and child soldiers to be released and reintegrated.

UNICEF fears hunger in Malawi, embarks on mass screening for malnutrition across country
LILONGWE, Malawi 15 December 2015 – As Malawi struggles to cope with drought and the first maize deficit in a decade, UNICEF is carrying out a mass screening for malnutrition in children under five across 25 districts – 90 per cent of the country. The response comes as reports from communities and villages indicate an increasing food shortage and hunger problem in the country.

UNICEF: 500 children die every day from lack of safe water, sanitation in sub-Saharan Africa
DAKAR, Senegal, 15 December 2015 – Around 180,000 children under 5 years old die every year – roughly 500 a day – in sub-Saharan Africa due to diarrhoeal diseases linked to inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), UNICEF said ahead of a conference in Dakar on financing for the sector.

UNHCR Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees [to 19 December 2015]

UNHCR Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees [to 19 December 2015]

UNHCR report confirms worldwide rise in forced displacement in first half 2015
9 December 2015
With almost a million people having crossed the Mediterranean as refugees and migrants so far this year, and conflicts in Syria and elsewhere continuing to generate staggering levels of human suffering, 2015 is likely to exceed all previous records for global forced displacement, UNHCR warned in a new report today.

UNHCR’s Mid-Year Trends 2015 report, covering the period from January to end June, and looking at worldwide displacement resulting from conflict and persecution, shows markers firmly in the red in each of the three major categories of displacement – Refugees, asylum-seekers, and people forced to flee inside their own countries.

The global refugee total, which a year ago was 19.5 million, had as of mid-2015 passed the 20 million threshold (20.2 million) for the first time since 1992. Asylum applications were meanwhile up 78 percent (993,600) over the same period in 2014. And the numbers of internally displaced people jumped by around 2 million to an estimated 34 million. Taking into account that the report covers only internally displaced people protected by UNHCR (the global total including people both in and outside UNHCR’s care is only available in mid-2016), 2015 is on track to see worldwide forced displacement exceeding 60 million for the first time – 1 in every 122 humans is today someone who has been forced to flee their home.
High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres said: “Forced displacement is now profoundly affecting our times. It touches the lives of millions of our fellow human beings – both those forced to flee and those who provide them with shelter and protection. Never has there been a greater need for tolerance, compassion and solidarity with people who have lost everything.”…

UNHCR and UNICEF highlight unrelenting Children’s Crisis
NAIROBI, 15 December 2015 – The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned today that the children of South Sudan remain some of the most vulnerable in the world. Noting the second anniversary since violence erupted in South Sudan, the two UN agencies called for all parties to uphold their commitments to the Peace Agreement, so as to allow the almost 1.5 million South Sudanese children to return home and receive an education, and child soldiers to be released and reintegrated.
Over the past two years, 1.65 million people have become internally displaced, and more than 650,000 South Sudanese have sought international protection as refugees in neighbouring Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, and Uganda. Without more global attention and support, an entire generation of children from the world’s newest nation could be lost.

Donors promise initial US$ 687.2 million for UNHCR operations in 2016, the highest amount ever
9 December 2015

IOM / International Organization for Migration [to 19 December 2015]

IOM / International Organization for Migration [to 19 December 2015]
Selected Press Releases

International Migrants Day 2015 – Statement & Video
Switzerland – IOM released the following statement from Director General William Lacy Swing to mark International Migrants Day.

EU Migrant, Refugee Arrivals by Land and Sea Approach One Million in 2015
Greece – IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix reports that a total of 990,671 migrants and refugees have entered Europe in 2015.

Displacement and Returns Continue in Iraq: IOM
Iraq – The IOM Iraq Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) identifies 3,195,390 internally displaced Iraqis (532,565 families), from 1 Jan 2014 through 3 Dec 2015.

IOM Monitors Migrant, Refugee Arrivals in Europe
Greece – IOM estimates 45,255 migrants and refugees have reached the Greek islands from Turkey since the beginning of December.

UN Women [to 19 December 2015]

UN Women [to 19 December 2015]
Selected Press Releases

UN Women statement on the municipal elections in Saudi Arabia
Date: 18 December 2015

UN Women Statement for International Migrants Day
Date: 18 December 2015

Statement by UN Women Executive Director on the adoption of the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
Date: 17 December 2015

Joint Statement by Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and Zainab Hawa Bangura on the signing on 15 December 2015 of the agreement on conflict victims between the Government of Colombia and FARC-EP
Date: 17 December 2015
This statement is attributable to Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, and Zainab Hawa Bangura, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict

UN Women introduces new policy brief series to pave the way for gender equality and women’s rights
Date: 16 December 2015
The UN Women policy brief series synthesizes research findings, analysis and policy recommendations on gender equality and women’s rights in an accessible format. The series aims to bridge the research and policy divide by identifying areas that require urgent policy attention and propose a set of suitable measures to address them

Press release: UN Women’s Fund for Gender Equality awards USD 7.3 million for implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals
Fund for Gender Equality’s global grant-making portfolio hits 80 Countries in six years
(New York, 16 December, 2015) — UN Women’s Fund for Gender Equality (FGE) today announced USD 7.26 million in grants to 24 innovative programmes across the globe to boost women’s economic empowerment and political leadership and participation. The high-impact programmes designed by women-led civil society organizations have been selected to jumpstart the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 28 countries. UN Women’s Fund for Gender Equality will provide technical and financial assistance to maximize impact and sustainability of these interventions…

WHO & Regionals [to 19 December 2015]

WHO & Regionals [to 19 December 2015]

Health and human rights
Fact sheet N°323
December 2015
Key facts
:: The WHO Constitution enshrines “…the highest attainable standard of health as a fundamental right of every human being.”
:: The right to health includes access to timely, acceptable, and affordable health care of appropriate quality.
:: Yet, about 100 million people globally are pushed below the poverty line as a result of health care expenditure ever year.
:: Vulnerable and marginalized groups in societies tend to bear an undue proportion of health problems.
:: Universal health coverage is a means to promote the right to health.


Launch of WHO mobile phone application for nutrition
December 2015 — Access the latest WHO nutrition guidelines, recommendations and related information for nutrition interventions, wherever you are, with the eLENA (e-Library of Evidence for Nutrition Actions) mobile phone application.


Global Alert and Response (GAR) – Disease Outbreak News (DONs)
:: 17 December 2015 Human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus – China
:: 15 December 2015 Circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus – Lao People’s Democratic Republic
:: 15 December 2015 Microcephaly – Brazil
:: 15 December 2015 Cholera – Democratic Republic of the Congo

:: WHO Regional Offices
WHO African Region AFRO
:: The African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC) closes and a new body set up to eliminate Neglected Tropical Diseases
KAMPALA, 17 December 2015:- The African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC) founded in 1995 has been formally closed and a new entity – the Expanded Special Project for the Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (ESPEN), with an expanded mandate, proposed to replace it. ESPEN was formally introduced to delegates at the 21st session of the Joint Action Forum (JAF) of the African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC) that has concluded in Kampala, Uganda.

WHO Region of the Americas PAHO
No new digest content identified.

WHO South-East Asia Region SEARO
:: Make focused, accelerated efforts to prevent, reduce newborn deaths: WHO
New Delhi, 14 December 2015: Nearly 7400 new-borns die every day in the WHO South-East Asia Region causing untold misery to mothers and families. Two-thirds of these deaths can be prevented by adopting proven and cost-effective measures, World Health Organization today said seeking focused efforts by governments and partners to prevent newborn deaths with a sense of urgency.
“Scaling up interventions with good quality care around the time of childbirth and during the first days after birth can substantially prevent complications and infections in new-borns, which are the main causes of newborn deaths,” Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director for WHO South-East Asia Region, said here as health partners signed a pledge to reduce newborn deaths.
Led by WHO; UNICEF, UNFPA, World Bank, UNAIDS and UNWOMEN pledged to jointly support the countries in the Region to prioritize accelerated reduction in newborn deaths by ensuring equitable access to essential life-saving interventions for mothers and babies across the Region…

WHO European Region EURO
:: Will there be sufficient health professionals to meet future needs? 18-12-2015
:: European health report available in French, German and Russian 16-12-2015

WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region EMRO
:: WHO: Urgent support needed to provide health services for 15 million people in Yemen
Geneva, 15 December 2015 – WHO and health partners are appealing for US$ 31 million to ensure the continuity of health services for nearly 15 million people in Yemen affected by the ongoing conflict. Funding is urgently needed as the Yemeni health system has collapsed, leaving millions of vulnerable people without the care and medications they urgently need. Conflict is making the delivery of health services and supplies extremely challenging, health facilities and ambulances have been damaged, and there is a shortage of health workers, limiting access to health care.

WHO Western Pacific Region
:: Universal Health Coverage – a Foundation for the Sustainable Development Goals
MANILA, 12 December 2015 – Held every year since 2012 on 12 December, Universal Health Coverage (UHC) day gathers partners globally to reaffirm the urgency for greater action and progress towards UHC. WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific calls for countries to ensure good quality health services are accessible to all as it celebrates UHC Day. Dr. Shin Young-soo, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific said, “Every country – no matter how rich or poor – can do something now to improve access to good quality services, to improve financial protection and to improve efficiency.”

UNDP United Nations Development Programme [to 19 December 2015]

UNDP United Nations Development Programme [to 19 December 2015]
Selected Press Releases

Helen Clark: Speech at briefing session ECOSOC Dialogue on the longer-term positioning of the United Nations development system in the context of 2030 Agenda (phase 2)
Dec 17, 2015 United Nations, New York

Helen Clark: Speech at the launch of the 2015 Human Development Report
Dec 14, 2015UNECA Conference Center – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

UN Statistical Commission :: UN Statistics Division [to 19 December 2015]

UN Statistical Commission :: UN Statistics Division [to 19 December 2015]

Results from open consultation on ‘grey’ indicators are now available
A document containing the inputs provided by the Observers of the Inter-agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators (IAEG-SDGs) and other stakeholders during the open consultation on proposed global SDG Indicators coded as “grey” has been posted online.

Results from the open consultation on ‘green’ indicators are now available
A document containing the inputs provided by the Observers of the Inter-agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators (IAEG-SDGs) and other stakeholders during the open consultation on proposed global SDG Indicators coded as “green” has been posted online.