The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health ::
Holistic Development :: Sustainable Resilience
Week ending 20 February 2016

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 20 February 2016

blog edition: comprised of the 35+ entries  posted below on 21-24 February 2016

Security Council open debate: the meaning of and responsibilities proceeding from the UN Charter

Editor’s Note:
In an extraordinary full-day debate titled “Respect for the Principles and Purposes of the Charter as a Key Element for the Maintenance of International Peace and Security”, the UN Security Council engaged the meaning of and responsibilities proceeding from the UN Charter. A number of member states used the occasion to level accusations and make claims against other member states and coalitions, and most members states who were criticized responded.

We lead with the transcript of the Secretary General’s opening remarks and then the initial text of the overview of the debate. We also provide below links to over 8 hours of debate video – watching and reflecting on this debate is sobering, and a useful investment in understanding the real state of play in the global body.


Press Release
Secretary-General Says Early Warning, Action to Prevent Conflict Remains Best Approach to Advance Vision of Peace as Security Council Debates UN Charter
15 February 2016
Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at the Security Council open debate on “Respect for the Principles and Purposes of the Charter as a Key Element for the Maintenance of International Peace and Security”

Today’s event continues the useful discussion initiated last year under the Chinese presidency. The year 2015 saw important steps to uphold the values and advance the vision set out in the Charter of the United Nations.

Reviews of the international peace and security architecture provided valuable ideas for strengthening our work in conflict prevention, peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding. The adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change demonstrated our capacity to overcome divisions and chart a course towards the common good.

While we celebrate these achievements, we must also recognize that 2015 was one of the most troubled and turbulent years in recent history. Civil wars ravaged Syria and Yemen. Violent extremism spread. The blatant disrespect for fundamental principles of international human rights and humanitarian law defies our common humanity and challenges the Security Council in fulfilling its duties under the Charter.

For the millions living amidst war and extreme poverty, and for countless others whose rights are violated or neglected in other ways, the ideals and aspirations of the Charter remain elusive. Bringing the promise of the Charter to the most vulnerable must continue to be our goal.

Decades of experience have validated the Charter’s vision. We understand better than ever that peace, development and human rights are intrinsically connected. We have seen that conflict-affected countries generally experience the highest poverty rates and were the least likely to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. We know that human rights abuses are our most effective early warning signs of the instability that often escalates into atrocity crimes.

The primary responsibility for preventing conflict and protecting human rights lies with Member States. It is clearly established in the Charter and reiterated in numerous resolutions adopted by this Council as well as by the General Assembly.

But, in some situations, Member States may lack the capacity to fulfil their obligations. In others, it is Member States themselves which are the main violators of human rights.

The United Nations can help Member States meet these national challenges and uphold their responsibility to protect. We continue to offer assistance in building up national capacity to identify and address the precursors of genocide and other grave crimes. The Human Rights Up Front initiative is helping the United Nations system to coordinate better across the peace and security, development and human rights pillars, and to engage with Member States at early stages of crises.

We are placing a growing focus on prevention through both early warning and early action. We should all much prefer to assess early information than to wait for the warning signs of disaster. We should be open to modest steps that could address situations of concern before they grow more serious and complex.

Our engagement with Member States on these matters will continue to be based on cooperation, transparency and respect for sovereignty. I know that at times, Member States feel that such efforts are a form of interference that undermines national sovereignty. But, it is violence and conflict — and not our attempt to help Member States prevent it — that threaten State sovereignty. It is violations of human rights by the State that erode the legitimacy of the State.

In its engagements, the United Nations seeks to reinforce sovereignty, not challenge or undermine it. Article 99 of the Charter empowers the Secretary-General to “bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security”. The General Assembly has recognized this as well.

Article 99 has been formally invoked only rarely in UN history. But, that does not mean it is no longer operative or relevant or that it cannot be invoked in the future. It remains a key mechanism.
Whether or not Article 99 is formally invoked may be secondary. First and foremost is our responsibility to alert the Council when we see situations that we feel require its engagement. I will continue to act in that spirit.

When considering which items reach the agenda of the Security Council, my further hope is that we will be driven by the Charter, not by geo-political rivalries or other external dynamics. When a Member State uses an overly broad definition of terrorism to monopolize power at the risk of long-term stability, that would seem to merit the Council’s attention. When we see massive loss of life and cross-border flows of people, that would seem to merit the Council’s attention.

We must not avert our eyes from these or other such situations, no matter how complex or contentious they might be to discuss, and the world must see that the Council is addressing the situations that matter most to most people.

The Security Council has many tools with which to encourage and seek to secure the peaceful resolution of disputes before they escalate. But, ultimately the unity of the Security Council is the crucial factor. We have seen what [heights] are possible when unity is visible and we have seen the depths that are inevitable when unity has vanished.

We look forward to working with you to best serve “we the peoples” in the enduring spirit of the Charter. Thank you.


Speakers in Security Council Urge Balance between UN Role in State Sovereignty, Human Rights Protection, But Differ over Interpretation of Charter Principles
7621st Meeting (AM)
15 February 2016
Speakers today called for the United Nations to strike a balance between the fundamental principle of State sovereignty and the need to protect human rights, as the Security Council held a day-long debate on the tenets of the Organization’s Charter.

Many of the nearly 70 speakers differed, however, on their interpretations of that founding document, with some underscoring the primacy of non-interference in domestic affairs and others expressing the need for action in cases where States were unable to protect their people — or were themselves the perpetrators of human rights violations.

“For the millions living amidst war and extreme poverty, and for the countless others whose rights are violated or neglected in other ways, the ideals and values of the [United Nations] Charter remain elusive,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as he addressed the 15-member body. Bringing the promise of the Charter to the most vulnerable must continue to be the main goal, he added.

While the primary responsibility for preventing conflict and protecting human rights lay with Member States, the United Nations could help countries meet their national challenges and uphold their responsibility to protect. Among other things, the Organization offered assistance in building up national capacity to identify and address the precursors of genocide and other grave crimes, he said.

It was violence and conflict — not the United Nations attempt to help Member States prevent it — that threatened State sovereignty, he continued. When considering items on the Council’s agenda, he hoped that States would be driven by the principles enshrined in the Charter and not by geo-political rivalries and other external dynamics.

A number of speakers underscored the changing nature of the threats facing international peace and security — which now ranged from terrorist acts to pandemic diseases and unprecedented migration flows — with some stressing that interpretations of the Charter’s core principles must also evolve. In that regard, the representative of the United Kingdom cautioned against the use of “outdated” interpretations to excuse inaction on the part of the international community. Indeed, he said, the concept of sovereignty itself had changed; today, it should amount to a contract between the Government and the governed.

The Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Argentina agreed that there existed in the Charter a “dynamic equilibrium” between non-interference in internal affairs and the promotion of human rights. States could not hide human rights violations behind the principle of sovereignty. While it was difficult to strike an accurate balance, it was preferable to make errors while defending human rights than to show “excessive zeal” in respecting, to the letter, the principle of non-interference.

Other speakers, however, emphasized that the principles of sovereignty and non-interference must be respected at all times. In that regard, the representative of Iran, speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said global peace had become elusive due in part to a tendency to resort to unilateralism. States should refrain from implementing extraterritorial or coercive measures and condemn the categorization of countries as “good” or “evil” based on unjustified criteria, he said, warning against resorting to the Charter’s Chapter VII to address issues that did not threaten international peace…


UNTV Video Capture of Security Council Debate
7621st Meeting (AM)
15 February 2016

Ban Ki-moon (UN Secretary-General) on the respect for the principles and purposes of the UN Charter – Security Council, 7621st meeting (English)
15 Feb 2016
Remarks by H.E Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations at the 7621st Security Council meeting on the maintenance of international peace and security and the respect for the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations.

(Part 1) Respect for the principles and purposes of the UN Charter – Security Council, 7621st meeting (English)
15 Feb 2016
Maintenance of international peace and security and the respect for the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations as a key element for the maintenance of international peace and security (7621st meeting).

(Part 2) Respect for the principles and purposes of the UN Charter – Security Council, 7621st meeting (English)
15 Feb 2016

(Part 3) Respect for the principles and purposes of the UN Charter – Security Council, 7621st meeting (English)
15 Feb 2016

EU Summit: “Migrants in Europe have become fair game” – UN rights expert

EU Summit: “Migrants in Europe have become fair game” – UN rights expert
Mr. François Crépeau (Canada) was appointed Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants in June 2011

GENEVA (18 February 2016) – As the European Union summit starts in Brussels, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, warns that it has become impossible in Europe to have a meaningful discussion about migrant’s rights, diversity, and integration.

Mr. Crépeau calls on the leaders of the 28-nation bloc gathering on 18-19 February to halt the continuous regression of the human rights of migrants as Europe struggles to deal with its migrant crisis. In his appeal, the Special Rapporteur reiterates the key messages of his 2015 report on the management of the external borders of the EU and its impact on the human rights of migrants*.

“Europe has always been a strong advocate of human rights in Europe and elsewhere. In its struggle to maintain control of its borders however, it is being tested on its adherence to human rights. Through slowly stripping away the rights of asylum seekers and migrants, Europe is creating a scary new ‘normal’.

What we now see is European governments focused on feeding their electorate with the fear of migrants for clear electoral purposes. Governments pandering to nationalist populist movements have promised to keep migrants out but have been unable to do so simply because the emphasis on securitisation doesn’t work. European countries must offer safe and regular channels for mobility. It is the only way that European countries will regain full control of their borders.

The operationalisation of the NATO military operation recently announced by European leaders raises many questions. What will NATO do that Frontex didn’t do? When intercepting a migrant boat, what will the procedure be? Will they embark migrants on their navy ships as the Italians did in Mare Nostrum? If they do, where will they disembark them? To what authority will they transfer them? How will simple pushbacks be prevented? How will they treat the migrants on board? How will they identify protection needs? And how will we know what NATO forces are doing? What civilian oversight mechanisms will be in place to ensure the protection of the rights of the migrants during the operation?

‘Fighting the smugglers’ is a red herring: as long as persons in need of mobility are not provided with official mobility solutions, unofficial channels will be provided by opportunistic smuggling rings. I have repeatedly said that overreliance on securitisation of borders will not work. People will continue to come because they need to survive. And smugglers will continue to adapt, prosper and exploit the migrants as long as their business model is not effectively destroyed. The only way to actually eliminate smuggling is to take over their market by offering regular, safe and cheap mobility solutions, with all the identity and security checks that efficient visa procedures can provide.

It is appalling to see how the discussion concerning migrants has been lowered to the smallest common dominator, feeding off fear and xenophobia and making migrants fair game for all types of verbal or physical abuse. Migrant-bashing has dangerously become the norm and the standard is so low now that to have a meaningful and serene discussion about rights, diversity and integration is often impossible.

Europe must reclaim its role as a moral and political leader of human rights in this debate of fear, stereotyping, racism and xenophobia. I continue to urge European political leaders to show moral and political leadership in fighting much more vigorously racism, xenophobia and hate crime, by consolidating our common human rights culture and strengthening its institutions at all levels, and in celebrating the diversity of cultures and religions as an enrichment for everyone, citizens and foreigners alike.”

(*) Check the 2015 EU border management report (A/HRC/29/36):

Joint UNHCR, UNICEF, IOM Press Release: With growing numbers of child deaths at sea, UN agencies call for enhancing safety for refugees and migrants

Joint UNHCR, UNICEF, IOM Press Release:
With growing numbers of child deaths at sea, UN agencies call for enhancing safety for refugees and migrants
GENEVA, 16 February 2016 – An average of two children have drowned every day since September 2015 as their families try to cross the eastern Mediterranean, and the number of child deaths is growing said IOM, UNHCR, and UNICEF. The agencies are calling for enhancing the safety of those escaping conflict and despair.

Since last September, when the tragic death of toddler Aylan Kurdi captured the world’s attention, more than 340 children, many of them babies and toddlers, have drowned in the eastern Mediterranean. The total number of children who have died may be even greater, the agencies say, their bodies lost at sea.

“We cannot turn our faces away from the tragedy of so many innocent young lives and futures lost – or fail to address the dangers so many more children are facing,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “We may not have the ability now to end the desperation that causes so many people to try to cross the sea, but countries can and must cooperate to make such dangerous journeys safer. No one puts a child in a boat if a safer option is available.”

The stretch of the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece is among the deadliest routes in the world for refugees and migrants. The winter’s rough seas, overloading and the poor quality of boats and lifesaving equipment increase the risk of capsizing, making the journey significantly more dangerous.

“These tragic deaths in the Mediterranean are unbearable and must stop,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. “Clearly, more efforts are needed to combat smuggling and trafficking. Also, as many of the children and adults who have died were trying to join relatives in Europe, organising ways for people to travel legally and safely, through resettlement and family reunion programmes for example, should be an absolute priority if we want to reduce the death toll,” he added. The UN Secretary General has called for a high-level meeting on global responsibility-sharing through legal pathways for admission of Syrian refugees, to take place in Geneva on 30 March.

With children now accounting for 36 per cent of those on the move, the chance of them drowning on the Aegean Sea crossing from Turkey to Greece has grown proportionately. During the first six weeks of 2016, 410 people drowned out of the 80,000 crossing the eastern Mediterranean. This amounts to 35-fold increase year-on-year from 2015.

“Counting lives is not enough. We must act,” said William Lacy Swing, IOM’s Director General in Geneva. “This is not only a Mediterranean problem, or even a European one. It is a humanitarian catastrophe in the making that demands the entire world’s engagement. Haiti’s 2010 earthquake was not a matter for only one hemisphere, nor was the 2004 Southeast Asian tsunami. Those disasters were met by an outpouring of humanitarian action. So must this one.”

Annual report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict

Annual report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict
Human Rights Council A/HRC/31/19
Thirty-first session – Agenda item 3
Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development
[18 pages – Pdf:


News Release
Human Rights Council Report: Increasingly Complex and Widening Conflicts Take Huge Toll on Children in 2015
15 Feb 2016
New York – Increasingly complex and widening conflicts have taken a huge toll on children in much of the Middle East in 2015, with parts of Africa and Asia facing protracted and relapsing wars that show no signs of abating, wrote Leila Zerrougui, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, in her annual report to the Human Rights Council. The Report covers the period from December 2014 to December 2015.

“Children were disproportionately affected, displaced and often the direct targets of acts of violence intended to cause maximum civilian casualties and terrorize entire communities,” she said in the report, describing how extreme violence affected countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria and Syria. “Groups perpetrating extreme violence also particularly targeted children pursuing their right to an education.”

Promoting a response to extreme violence that protects children
Military responses targeting groups using tactics of extreme violence continued to generate additional protection challenges for children. Throughout the year, militias and vigilante groups allied with States used children in support roles or as combatants. In addition, the use of airstrikes was of particular concern due, in many instances, to their indiscriminate nature.

The Special Representative reminded all involved that respect for human rights must be the basis of an effective response to extreme violence and actions must be undertaken in full compliance with international, humanitarian, human rights and refugee law. She added it is essential to emphasize the crucial role of prevention, as detailed in the UN Secretary-General’s plan of action to prevent violent extremism. Addressing the root causes of extreme violence, such as poverty and lack of economic opportunities for youth, lack of good governance, alienation of communities and political grievances, are necessary steps to find a lasting solution…

Global Nutrition Report 2015

Global Nutrition Report 2015 –
International Food Policy Research Institute
ISBN: 978-0-89629-883-5 | DOI: :: 201 pages
Full report translations: Français | Español | Português

Children whose growth is stunted, people who don’t get enough vitamins and minerals for a healthy life, adults who are overweight and obese—malnutrition takes many forms and affects every country on earth. A problem of staggering size, malnutrition is widespread enough to threaten the world’s sustainable development ambitions.

The Global Nutrition Report 2015 is a report card on the world’s nutrition—globally, regionally, and country by country—and on efforts to improve it. It assesses countries’ progress in meeting global nutrition targets established by the World Health Assembly. It documents how well countries, aid donors, NGOs, businesses, and others are meeting the commitments they made at the major Nutrition for Growth summit in 2013. And it spells out the actions that proven effective in combating malnutrition in all its forms.

The 2015 report makes it clear that global progress to reduce malnutrition has been slow and uneven. Nearly half of all countries face multiple serious burdens of malnutrition such as poor child growth, micronutrient deficiency, and adult overweight and obesity. No country is on track to achieve the global nutrition targets established by the World Health Assembly. Some countries, however, have made notable progress and the Report seeks to understand the factors that contributed to improvements.

The second in an annual series, the Global Nutrition Report 2015 also highlights the critical relationship between climate change and nutrition, as well as the pivotal role business can play in advancing nutrition. It considers how countries can build food systems that are more nutrition friendly and sustainable.

With a wealth of data and analysis, the report aims to improve accountability among the governments, institutions, businesses, and others whose actions affect people’s nutrition. It is accompanied by extensive supplementary online data, including nutritional profiles for 193 countries, 6 regions, and 22 subregions.


The 2015 Report was funded through the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition & Health, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, the European Commission, the Governments of Canada, Germany, and the Netherlands, Irish Aid, UK Department for International Development (DFID), US Agency for International Development (USAID), and 1,000 Days.

The Report is delivered by an Independent Expert Group and guided at a strategic level by a Stakeholder Group, whose members also reviewed the Report. The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) oversees the production and dissemination of the Report, with the support of the Secretariat based at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS). The Lancet, the premier peer-reviewed medical journal, managed the blind external review process for the Report, which was launched in New York City on September 22, 2015. There will be follow-up events for the Report in multiple cities around the world.

From Fragility to Resilience: Managing Natural Resources in Fragile Situations in Africa

From Fragility to Resilience: Managing Natural Resources in Fragile Situations in Africa
African Development Bank Group (AfDB)
February 2016 :: 252 pages
[prepared by the Environmental Law Institute for the Transition Support Department of the African Development Bank.]

In Africa, natural resource sectors generate approximately one-third of growth in gross domestic product, serving as a foundation for employment, food security, and development. For example, when oil was discovered off the coast of São Tomé, the government received a signing bonus of approximately USD $100 million, more than twice its annual budget. Unfortunately, natural resources have also financed or been a contributing cause of at least 14 conflicts in Africa countries in fragile situations. Natural resources are therefore both a driver of conflict, if mismanaged, and a source of resilience, if managed well.

Several major global declarations and reports over the past fifteen years recognize the potential of natural resource management to strengthen resilience in fragile situations. These include reports on peacebuilding by the United Nations Secretary-General in 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2014; the 2015 report by the United Nations Secretary-General’s High Level Independent Panel on UN Peace Operations; and the 2015 report of the Advisory Group of Experts on the Review of the UN Peacebuilding Architecture. The 2011 Busan New Deal, which was endorsed by the Bank, articulates a vision focusing on countries transitioning out of fragility to resilience, and many of the New Deal’s objectives rely on effective natural resource management.

With this Flagship Report, the Bank is helping to develop a detailed understanding of the dynamics of natural resource management in fragile situations in Africa. Building on that understanding, the Report identifies and analyzes region-specific opportunities for action. In providing this vision, the Report helps to operationalize the principles outlined in the global documents, reflecting the priorities, capacities, and perspectives of African countries and institutions.

Fragility spans a broad spectrum that is varied in geographic scope and frequency of conflict, ranging from declared hostilities between warring parties to established states that experience sporadic violence. It can also be triggered by a failed or a flawed election, an attempt to modify the constitution for selfish political gains, a natural disaster and/or a health epidemic. These explain the Bank’s decision to move from the concept of fragile states to countries in fragile situations or countries in transition. Accordingly, the approaches to natural resource management described in the Report are broadly relevant to all states seeking to transition from fragility towards resilience.

Prepared jointly with the Environmental Law Institute (ELI), this Flagship Report aims to improve the conceptualization, development, and implementation of conflict-sensitive projects and programs in Africa. It seeks to inform representatives from regional member countries, Bank staff, and other partners. The Report represents an important step in mainstreaming both fragility and natural resource management into Africa’s development process…


Press Release
New report urges Africa to address fragility through natural resources management
16/02/2016 – The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) and the Washington-based Environmental Law Institute (ELI) have produced a new report on natural resources management in fragile and conflict-affected countries. This flagship report examines how African countries in fragile situations can work towards addressing the causes and drivers of fragility by better managing natural resources across sectors….

The report delves into cross-cutting issues such as climate change, governance, private sector, regional integration, and conflict sensitivity. It also provides options for the design and implementation of natural resource-related programmes geared toward building the resilience of African countries…

The report is part of a series of initiatives carried out by the AfDB within the context of its Strategy for Addressing Fragility and Building Resilience in Africa for the period 2014-2019. This strategy aims to place the Bank at the centre of Africa’s efforts to address fragility and pave the way for a more resilient and inclusive development trajectory. It is based on an understanding of fragility as a condition of elevated risk of institutional breakdown, societal collapse or violent conflict.

The findings of this report will help the Bank to enhance its engagement with African countries in fragile situations, and reinforce its interventions in bridging the gap between natural resource management and development on the continent….

Announcing Blue Meridian Partners…

Announcing Blue Meridian Partners and More
January 29, 2016
By Nancy Roob
President and Chief Executive Officer of the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, and the CEO of Blue Meridian Partners.

…Today, I’m pleased to announce that the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation (EMCF) and nine other donors are joining together to raise the collaborative-funding model to a level more in keeping with the scale of the challenges we face. Together we are launching Blue Meridian Partners to invest at least $1 billion in high-performance nonprofits that are poised to have truly national impact for economically disadvantaged children and youth.

Private funders have worked together to marshal resources of this scale in areas such as global health and land conservation. But this level of concentration has rarely been attempted or achieved to help nonprofits in the dramatically undercapitalized field serving disadvantaged children and youth in the U.S.

In this column, I will describe this new venture in greater detail and explain how it complements the work we’re doing at EMCF…

… Blue Meridian Partners has secured $750 million toward our goal of investing at least $1 billion to help high-performance nonprofits achieve much greater scale.

Six General Partners, listed in alphabetical order, have committed $50 million or more:
:: The Ballmer Group, Philanthropy
:: The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation
:: Stanley and Fiona Druckenmiller
:: The Duke Endowment (with a focus on North Carolina and South Carolina)
:: George Kaiser Family Foundation (with a focus on Tulsa, Oklahoma)
:: The Samberg Family Foundation.

Four Limited Partners intend to commit $10 million or more:
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
The JPB Foundation
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation…

…Blue Meridian’s investments will be big bets. They will be flexible, unrestricted, long-term (5-10 years), tied to performance, and total up to $200 million for each grantee. They will help grantees to expand their impact directly, by allowing them to strengthen their work, grow and serve greater numbers of youth, as well as indirectly, by helping them increase their influence on the child welfare, educational, judicial, and other systems that affect children’s lives.

In addition to its size, what differentiates Blue Meridian Partners from EMCF’s previous ventures is its decision-making structure. All six of the General Partners will share decision-making authority. This includes deciding where and how to invest, and overseeing and monitoring performance. EMCF’s board will cast one among six votes…

Blue Meridian Partners is a new capital aggregation collaboration that plans to invest at least $1 billion in high-performance nonprofits that are poised to have truly national impact for economically disadvantaged children and youth.

New global design challenge will make life better for refugees

New global design challenge will make life better for refugees
February 19, 2016 – IKEA Foundation
The IKEA Foundation is challenging designers and creative thinkers from around the world to come up with new design solutions which will help refugees in urban areas.

The What Design Can Do Refugee Challenge, launched today, calls for innovative solutions to support refugees arriving in urban areas, and to help them integrate.

The IKEA Foundation is teaming up with What Design Can Do, an Amsterdam-based design platform, and the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to run the challenge. The five winning ideas, to be announced on 1 July, will receive funding up to €10,000 and expert support to develop their ideas into feasible plans and working prototypes.

How design can help
According to UNHCR, more than 60% of the world’s 19 million refugees live in urban areas, a figure set to rise. The challenges society faces in accommodating and integrating refugees are complex, which is where designers and creative thinkers can help by using their skills to come up with new solutions.

“IKEA Foundation supports refugees and the poorest communities all over the world, but given the size of the problem, much more is needed,” says Jonathan Spampinato, Head of Strategic Planning and Communications at IKEA Foundation. “We are in a unique position to facilitate innovation by bringing together unlikely partners and advancing solutions to pressing societal issues.”

The international jury will include Marcus Engman, Head of Design at IKEA, along with other renowned design professionals. Marcus says: ““Design is a great tool to make things better. Let’s put it into use for something more than just doing things. Let’s put it in the hands of the great talents of today and then give them the toughest challenge of them all – solving the needs of the many who have almost nothing. That is what Democratic Design is all about to me – making form, function, quality, sustainability accessible for the many, not just for the few.”

More about the challenge:

Zika virus [to 20 February 2016]

Zika virus [to 20 February 2016]
Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)


Zika Strategic Response Framework Announcement
Zika Outbreak: WHO’s Global Emergency Response Plan
Global prevention and control strategy
16 February 2016
WHO has launched a global Strategic Response Framework and Joint Operations Plan to guide the international response to the spread of Zika virus infection and the neonatal malformations and neurological conditions associated with it.

The strategy focuses on mobilizing and coordinating partners, experts and resources to help countries enhance surveillance of the Zika virus and disorders that could be linked to it, improve vector control, effectively communicate risks, guidance and protection measures, provide medical care to those affected and fast-track research and development of vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics.

WHO says $56 million is required to implement the Strategic Response Framework and Joint Operations Plan, of which $25 million would fund the WHO/AMRO/PAHO response and $31 million would fund the work of key partners. In the interim, WHO has tapped a recently established emergency contingency fund to finance its initial operations.

As part of WHO’s new emergency programme, the agency’s headquarters activated an Incident Management System to oversee the global response and leverage expertise from across the organization to address the crisis.

WHO’s Regional Office for the Americas (AMRO/PAHO) has been working closely with affected countries since May 2015, when the first reports of Zika virus disease emerged from northeastern Brazil. AMRO/PAHO and partner specialists were deployed to help health ministries detect and track the virus, contain its spread, advise on clinical management of Zika and investigate the spikes in microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome in areas where Zika outbreaks have occurred. AMRO/PAHO will continue to work with partners to manage the response in the Americas.

WHO is issuing regular information and guidance on the congenital and neurological conditions associated with Zika virus disease, as well as related health, safety and travel issues.

Working with partners, WHO is also mapping efforts to develop vaccines, therapies, diagnostic tests and new vector control tactics and putting in place mechanisms to expedite data sharing, product development and clinical trials…

Russia steps up Syria cyber assault – Financial Times

Editor’s Note:
We generally do not include media reports in this Week in Review section, but the implications of the front-page Financial Times story below for NGOs and humanitarian actors involved in Syria and the larger region suggested inclusion.


Russia steps up Syria cyber assault
Financial Times, February 19, 2016 8:40 pm
Sam Jones, Defence and Security Editor

Russia is mounting a far-reaching cyber espionage campaign against Syrian opposition groups and NGOs, as Moscow seeks to influence the flow of information on the country’s humanitarian crisis and obscure the full extent of its military operations there.

Targets include some of the most important human rights organisations and aid groups operating in the country, such as the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, which reports on military incidents and is frequently cited in western media outlets, the Financial Times has learnt. The operation shares many of the hallmarks of Moscow’s sustained hacking campaign against the Ukrainian government in 2013 and 2014.

Details of the Syrian campaign were discussed with two senior intelligence officials, one from Europe and one from a country neighbouring Syria. The operation was large in scale and systematic in nature, one of them said, speaking on condition of anonymity, adding that the campaign was directed by the FSB, Russia’s state security agency.

Governmental and private sector groups have also been heavily targeted in Turkey, reflecting Ankara’s role as a protagonist in the battle for Syria. “There’s a major Russian cyber response right now because of a worsening relationship [with Ankara],” the regional intelligence official said, citing Turkey’s shooting down of a Russian jet in November as a turning point.

It is unclear just how many organisations have been compromised, but the malware used by the Russian agents could be used to erase data, propagate disinformation from official accounts or gather intelligence on highly sensitive targets gleaned from NGOs’ contact book…

United Nations – Secretary General, Security Council, General Assembly [to 20 February 2016]

United Nations – Secretary General, Security Council, General Assembly [to 20 February 2016]
Selected Press Releases/Meetings Coverage

18 February 2016
Onus on Both Sides of Middle East Conflict to Shape Their Future as Violence Rages Unabated, Special Coordinator for Peace Process Tells Security Council
The Israeli-Palestinian-Israeli conflict had reached a pivotal point, and with no signs of an end to the violence that erupted in October, the onus was on both sides to shape their future before the opponents of peace decided their fate for them, the Secretary-General’s Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process told the Security Council today.

18 February 2016
Honouring Boutros Boutros-Ghali, General Assembly Says Former Secretary-General Instrumental in Shaping United Nations Response to Post-Cold War Realities
The General Assembly held a plenary meeting this morning to pay tribute to the memory of the United Nations’ sixth Secretary-General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali.

16 February 2016
Security Council Urged to Impress Importance of Facilitating ‘Unconditional’ Humanitarian Access, Protecting Civilians upon Warring Parties in Yemen
After nearly a year of fighting that had caused immeasurable suffering in Yemen, it was more urgent than ever to address the human catastrophe unfolding in that war-torn country, United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien told the Security Council today, urging it to impress upon the warring parties the importance of facilitating unconditional humanitarian access and protecting civilians.

15 February 2016
Speakers in Security Council Urge Balance between UN Role in State Sovereignty, Human Rights Protection, But Differ over Interpretation of Charter Principles
Speakers today called for the United Nations to strike a balance between the fundamental principle of State sovereignty and the need to protect human rights, as the Security Council held a day-long debate on the tenets of the Organization’s Charter.

15 February 2016
Secretary-General Welcomes Presidential Election Results in Haiti
The Secretary-General welcomes the 14 February election by the National Assembly of Haiti of a Provisional President of the Republic. This election stems from the agreement signed on 6 February between Haitian stakeholders to preserve institutional continuity and further the electoral process.
Welcoming this crucial first step, the Secretary-General encourages all parties to work together towards the implementation of the road map contained in the agreement to ensure the return to constitutional normality.
The Secretary-General expresses his confidence that the stabilization of Haiti and the democratic process will continue in a peaceful and collaborative manner.

UN OHCHR Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights [to 20 February 2016]

UN OHCHR Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights [to 20 February 2016]
Selected Press Releases

UN Human Rights Chief deeply concerned by China clampdown on lawyers and activists
GENEVA (16 February) – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said on Tuesday he had raised concerns and sought clarifications from the Chinese authorities about the recent arrests of lawyers, and harassment and intimidation of Government critics and NGO workers.

“We are seeing a very worrying pattern in China that has serious implications for civil society and the important work they do across the country,” the High Commissioner said. “Civil society actors, from lawyers and journalists to NGO workers, have the right to carry out their work, and it is the States’ duty to support and protect them,” he said.

The High Commissioner said he appreciated the opportunity to raise such cases with Chinese officials in Geneva, and acknowledged their efforts to clarify the matters at issue. However, the responses he received indicate that the authorities “too often reflexively confuse the legitimate role of lawyers and activists with threats to public order and security.”…


Afghanistan: civilian casualties hit new high in 2015
KABUL/GENEVA (14 February 2016) – The number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan during 2015 are the highest recorded, the UN said today on the release of its 2015 Annual Report on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict.

The annual report, produced by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in coordination with the UN Human Rights Office, shows that increased ground fighting in and around populated areas, along with suicide and other attacks in major cities, were the main causes of conflict-related civilian deaths and injuries in 2015.

“This report records yet another rise in the number of civilians hurt or killed. The harm done to civilians is totally unacceptable,” said Nicholas Haysom, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA. “We call on those inflicting this pain on the people of Afghanistan to take concrete action to protect civilians and put a stop to the killing and maiming of civilians in 2016.”

UNAMA documented 11,002 civilian casualties (3,545 deaths and 7,457 injured) in 2015, exceeding the previous record levels of civilian casualties that occurred in 2014. The latest figures show an overall increase of four per cent during 2015 in total civilian casualties from the previous year. UNAMA began its systematic documentation of civilian casualties in 2009.

SRSG/CAAC Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict [to 20 February 2016]

SRSG/CAAC Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict [to 20 February 2016]

19 Feb 2016
Afghanistan Reiterates Commitment to End Recruitment and Use of Children in National Security Forces

15 Feb 2016
Human Rights Council Report: Increasingly Complex and Widening Conflicts Take Huge Toll on Children in 2015

UN OCHA [to 20 February 2016]

UN OCHA [to 20 February 2016]

20 Feb 2016
Iraq: Thousands of civilians are trapped in Iraq and in desperate need of humanitarian assistance
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq Country: Iraq (Baghdad/Erbil, 20 February 2016): The United Nations is deeply worried about thousands of civilians who are trapped in Fallujah and in Sinjar district. “Urgent steps need to be taken to alleviate the suffering of people struggling to survive in Iraq. As humanitarians, we have a common responsibility to save lives…

19 Feb 2016
South Sudan: South Sudan: Humanitarian Coordinator Condemns Death and Destruction in Malakal Protection of Civilians Site
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: South Sudan (Juba, 19 February 2016): The Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan is deeply saddened by the tragic killing of at least 18 people, including two aid workers, and appalled by the destruction of humanitarian facilities and civilian shelters, during the violence in Malakal Protection of Civilians (PoC) site.

19 Feb 2016
Pakistan: International Donor mission observes the resilience of the returnees of Bara
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Pakistan Mr. Neil Buhne, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Pakistan, and humanitarian donors representing Canada and Sweden respectively, visited return areas in Bara, Khyber Agency, on 18 February, 2016. The objective of the visit was to observe the delivery of humanitarian assistance to returnees and meet officials and implementing partners of the Pakistan Humanitarian Pooled Fund (PHPF),,,

18 Feb 2016
World: Latin America and the Caribbean: Sustained support needed as El Nino batters fragile region
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Colombia, Haiti, World (New York, 18 February 2016): The Director of Operations for the Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, John Ging, urged the international community to maintain support for Latin American countries facing the devastating impacts of El Nino, extreme poverty and political fragility.

18 Feb 2016
Yemen: Yemen humanitarian response plan requests US$1.8 billion to assist over 13 million people with live-saving assistance [EN/AR]
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Yemen (Geneva and Sana’a, 18 February 2016) – The humanitarian community in Yemen is today launching an appeal for US$1.8 billion to provide critical and life-saving assistance to 13.6 million people who have been affected by the escalation in conflict across the country. “Yemen’s plight has often been overshadowed by crises elsewhere in the region and the world,” said Jamie McGoldrick, the Humanitarian Coordinator.

17 Feb 2016
Sudan: Number of civilians displaced by recent Darfur conflict increases to 73,000 [EN/AR]
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Sudan Khartoum, 17 February 2016. The number of civilians displaced as a result of the recent conflict in Darfur’s Jebel Marra area has increased from 38,000 to 73,000, according to the latest estimates by the United Nations. Civilians have been fleeing the Jebel Marra since hostilities between the government and a faction of the Sudan Liberation Army escalated mid-January, and have been arriving in three main locations…

17 Feb 2016
occupied Palestinian territory: Humanitarian Coordinator calls on Israel to halt demolitions in the occupied West Bank immediately and to respect international law [EN/HE]
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for the oPt Country: occupied Palestinian territory Jerusalem, 17 February 2016 The Coordinator for Humanitarian and UN Development Activities for the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), Robert Piper, today called for an immediate halt to the destruction of Palestinian-owned property in the occupied West Bank and for respect for international law.

UNICEF [to 20 February 2016]

UNICEF [to 20 February 2016]
Selected Press Releases

With growing numbers of child deaths at sea, UN agencies call for enhancing safety for refugees and migrants
GENEVA, 19 February 2016
[see Week in Review above for details]

Two years on, Ukraine conflict affects over half a million children – UNICEF
GENEVA/ NEW YORK/KYIV, Ukraine, 19 February 2016 – The conflict in Ukraine has deeply affected the lives of 580,000 children living in non-government controlled areas and close to the front line in eastern Ukraine, UNICEF said today. Of these, 200,000 – or one in three – need psychosocial support.

UNICEF: Malnutrition mounts as El Niño takes hold
JOHANNESBURG/NAIROBI, Kenya, 17 February 2016 – Almost one million children are in need of treatment for severe acute malnutrition in Eastern and Southern Africa, UNICEF said today. Two years of erratic rain and drought have combined with one of the most powerful El Niño events in 50 years to wreak havoc on the lives of the most vulnerable children.

Strikes against children in a hospital in Syria – Statement by the Executive Director of UNICEF, Anthony Lake
NEW YORK, 15 February, 2016 – We at UNICEF are appalled by reports of attacks against four medical facilities in Syria – two of which were supported by UNICEF. One is a child and maternal hospital where children were reportedly killed and scores evacuated.

UNHCR Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees [to 20 February 2016]

UNHCR Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees [to 20 February 2016]
Press Releases

19 February 2016
With growing numbers of child deaths at sea, UN agencies call for enhancing safety for refugees and migrants
[see Week in Review above for details]


19 February 2016
UNHCR stresses right to asylum of Mozambicans crossing into Malawi
As the number of Mozambicans fleeing to Malawi continues to grow, UNHCR is calling on all parties to respect their right to seek asylum amid signs of pressure to return. More than 6,000 have arrived in Malawi since mid-December, citing clashes between armed elements of the opposition RENAMO and government forces.

Nearly all of the new arrivals are staying in a settlement in Kapise village, Mwanza district, some 100 kilometres south of Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe, with others scattered throughout the neighbouring district of Chikwawa.

Mozambican government officials have visited Kapise at least three times since mid-January to ask people why they fled, discuss the possibility of returning to their places of origin and monitor the humanitarian situation of their fellow citizens. The Mozambican government has offered to provide socio-economic assistance should they return.

UNHCR has expressed concern to both governments that the right to seek asylum and the principle of voluntary repatriation, as enshrined in the UN and Organization for African Union (OAU) conventions on refugees, should not be compromised. Both governments were reminded of their international obligations toward refugees and asylum seekers and the principles of voluntary return as regards this caseload. UNHCR calls upon all parties to respect the humanitarian nature of the influx of Mozambicans into Malawi…

IOM / International Organization for Migration [to 20 February 2016]

IOM / International Organization for Migration [to 20 February 2016]

With Increasing Child Deaths at Sea, IOM and UN Partner Agencies Urge Greater Protection for Migrants and Refugees
Switzerland – An average of two children have drowned every day since September 2015 as families try to cross the Mediterranean.

Mediterranean Migrant and Refugee Arrivals Top 90,000 in 2016
Greece – Cold weather contributed to a sharp drop in arrivals in Greece from Turkey, although the number topped 3,350 on February 17th, after many days of slow movement.

IOM Responds to Humanitarian Needs after Fighting in Malakal, South Sudan
South Sudan – IOM is responding to urgent humanitarian needs after heavy fighting erupted between armed actors in a UN protection of civilians (PoC) site.

IOM, Mozambique Launch a Diaspora Engagement Project
Mozambique – In September 2015, IOM Mozambique and the National Institute for Mozambican Communities in the Diaspora (INACE) received funding from the IOM Development Fund (IDF) to further involve the Mozambican diaspora in Mozambique’s development process.

IOM, ICMPD, Latin American Governments Meet to Discuss Migrants Caught in Crises
Costa Rica – Officials from 20 Latin America and Caribbean governments have met in San José, Costa Rica, to share ideas on how to support migrants caught in countries affected by conflict or natural disasters.

Indonesia National Police Chief Launches Two-Year IOM Training Programme for 7,000 Female Officers
Indonesia – Indonesia’s half-million strong national police force (INP) will train thousands of female officers (polwan) in the second phase of its latest collaboration with IOM, launched this week in Lampung province on the island of Sumatra.

UN Women [to 20 February 2016]

UN Women [to 20 February 2016]

Date: 19 February 2016
Pakistan’s Fiza Farhan appointed Member of the UN’s first-ever High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment

Women’s Situation Room to contribute to a peaceful electoral process in Uganda
Date: 17 February 2016
The official opening of the Uganda Women’s Situation Room was held on 15 February 2016 at the Sheraton Hotel in Kampala. The Women’s Situation Room is an early warning and rapid response mechanism against violence arising before, during and after elections.

“Youth must be at the centre of achieving the 2030 Agenda” — Lakshmi Puri
Date: 17 February 2016
Remarks by UN Assistant Secretary-General and UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri at the Youth Annual Assembly of the United Nations on 17 February, in New York.

Strengthening the capacity of networks of women with disabilities on humanitarian action
Date: 16 February 2016
Women leaders with disabilities from the Network of African Women with Disabilities (NAWWD) representing 10 African countries, and refugee women with disabilities met in Nairobi, Kenya from February 11-12 to participate in the workshop “Enhancing the Network’s Humanitarian Advocacy at Regional and Global Events”.

“Sport has huge potential to empower women and girls” — Lakshmi Puri
Date: 16 February 2016
Remarks by Ms. Lakshmi Puri, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women at “The Value of Hosting Mega Sport Events as a Social, Economic and Environmental Sustainable Development Tool” event on 16 February, 2016.

WHO & Regionals [to 20 February 2016]

WHO & Regionals [to 20 February 2016]

Weekly Epidemiological Record (WER) 19 February 2016, vol. 91, 7 (pp. 73–88) –
:: Zika virus infection: global update on epidemiology and potentially associated clinical manifestations
:: Risk communication – A moving target in the fight against infectious hazards and epidemics
:: Monthly report on dracunculiasis cases, January– December 2015

:: WHO Regional Offices
WHO African Region AFRO
:: Experts wrap up workshop on cancer registries
Brazzaville 12 February 2016 – Cancer control experts from nineteen French-speaking countries in Africa wrapped up a five-day workshop aimed at building their capacity to tackle the rising tide of cancer in the Region. The workshop which began on 8 February 2016, in Brazzaville, Congo brought together over forty high-level participants from ministries of health. It was organized by the World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa in collaboration with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), African Cancer Registries Network (AFCRN) and the Registre des cancers de Brazzaville…

WHO Region of the Americas PAHO
:: PAHO defines excess levels of sugar, salt and fat in processed food and drink products (02/19/2016)
:: PAHO and EQUATOR Network provide tools in Portuguese to promote excellence in research reporting
:: PAHO aims for faster diagnosis, more integration in combat against Zika, Dengue and Chikungunya viruses

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

WHO European Region EURO
:: Newly updated training aims to improve quality of care for mothers and newborns 19-02-2016
:: Risk assessment of the 2015–2016 influenza season confirms that A(H1N1) is circulating as a seasonal virus but is included in the vaccine 18-02-2016

WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region EMRO
:: WHO reaches 5 besieged areas in Syria with life-saving medicines
19 February 2016
:: WHO condemns multiple attacks on health facilities in the Syrian Arab Republic
17 February 2016 – WHO is appalled at the recent attacks on health care facilities in the Syrian Arab Republic. These attacks have resulted in at least 14 people being killed, including 4 health care workers, and have left many others severely injured. Sadly, such attacks on health facilities and health workers are increasing in both frequency and scale. These attacks have severe immediate and long-term consequences, depriving Syria’s most vulnerable populations of life-saving health care.
:: Is Zika on our doorstep?
17 February 2016

WHO Western Pacific Region
No new digest content identified.