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.”…