Human rights protection must gain new momentum at World Humanitarian Summit – UN experts

Human rights protection must gain new momentum at World Humanitarian Summit – UN experts
Statement by Special Procedures mandate holders* of the Human Rights Council in advance of the World Humanitarian Summit

GENEVA/ISTANBUL (20 May 2016) – We, a group of concerned Special Procedures mandate holders of the United Nations Human Rights Council urge all participants to ensure that human rights are prominent in the discussions at the World Humanitarian Summit and integrated into all aspects of the conference. They should be reflected fully in the outcomes, targets, and high level national commitments aimed at better protecting and meeting the needs of all those affected by conflict, disaster and displacement – some of the world’s most vulnerable people.

The Summit, a landmark international event taking place in Istanbul on 23 and 24 May 2016, offers a unique and timely opportunity to address major global humanitarian challenges, devise new and collaborative approaches to humanitarian action, and forge essential national commitments to improve responses. Among the outcomes of the Summit should be greater attention to human rights by all national and international actors during all phases: from prevention and preparedness, to emergency response and recovery, and helping to shape essential peace-building, justice and development measures aimed at mitigating against future humanitarian crises.

A strong emphasis of the Summit should be on preventing conflict and forced displacement and we stress the essential role of human rights in this respect. Many conflicts could have been avoided through greater attention to human rights at an early stage before violence breaks out. Many more could be prevented in the future if human rights-based approaches to prevention are adopted – potentially saving countless lives and avoiding the need for costly humanitarian action. Human rights principles – participation, justice, equality, non-discrimination and accountability – are key conflict prevention and peace-building measures. Implementing them for all as well as understanding and addressing the adverse impact on human rights of both domestic policies and external international action are effective ways to address the root causes of humanitarian crises.

It is in crisis and conflict that individuals and communities are most at risk and in need of protection. Yet it is at precisely these times that we most often see human rights violations taking place with impunity and attention to human rights weakened or neglected. Humanitarian protection measures need to adequately address the specific issues and protection concerns of some who find themselves made particularly vulnerable in times of crisis. Humanitarian action that places human rights at its center provides a strong formula to ensure protection for all. The Summit provides a unique opportunity to also promote international cooperation and solidarity in the pursuit of effective solutions and better implementation of international law and standards in all humanitarian contexts.

In numerous recent conflicts we have witnessed civilian populations that have been targeted by all sides to the conflicts, forcibly displaced or besieged and who have experienced many gross violations of their human rights. Failure to prevent the targeting of civilians and protect human rights has meant loss of life and harm that can take decades to redress. This demonstrates the massive challenges and the need to better enforce international humanitarian law as well as international human rights law and standards as never before. Ensuring accountability for violations of international law must be a higher priority for States and the international community.

States have an unequivocal duty to respect and protect the right to life of all, in particular civilians, without discrimination, and they must also comply with this non-derogable duty in emergencies, crisis and conflict situations. Moreover they have an obligation to respect, protect and fulfill the full spectrum of civil and political and economic, social and cultural rights. International human rights law provides States and other stakeholders with a valuable resource helping to inform humanitarian responses and laying the foundations for ongoing human rights fulfillment. Those whose lives and homes have been shattered must have their immediate needs met, but they are given hope for the future in their own countries through the knowledge that their rights and dignity will be fully respected during and in the aftermath of crisis.

To achieve the objective to “leave no-one behind” we remind all States of their role as primary duty bearers, responsible for ensuring the protection, human rights and provision of assistance to all affected persons. This requires special attention to those who may be in particular situations of vulnerability, including children, youth, minorities, indigenous peoples, migrants, internally displaced persons, refugees, stateless persons, persons with disabilities, members of the LGBTI community, older persons, and women and girls exposed to multiple threats and intersectional discrimination. It requires identifying who is at risk, how and why, and appropriate action to close protection gaps where they exist. Human rights-based approaches help to ensure that all voices are heard and the rights and needs of all are met.

In some humanitarian emergencies, responses that fail to uphold human rights, including the rights of those belonging to groups in vulnerable situations, can put lives at greater risk. Some face restrictions on their freedom of movement and access to safe locations, are at risk of arbitrary arrest and detention, or are deprived of essential assistance due to factors including their nationality, ethnicity or religion. Women and children are made highly vulnerable to a range of human rights violations including trafficking in persons, sexual violence, forced prostitution or sexual slavery, in situations where they should have heightened protection and guarantees of safety. Those who are charged with protection must never be allowed to become the violators themselves.

We applaud the essential and courageous role of humanitarian actors in the delivery of vital, life-saving assistance and acknowledge their commitment to assist and protect. We urge greater access and resources to be made available to them. We also believe that enhancing the presence and access of dedicated human rights actors at such crucial times – working closely with governments, humanitarian and other partners, would help to ensure human rights-based approaches are integrated fully into humanitarian responses. National Human Rights Institutions, civil society organizations and human rights defenders among others have important roles in this respect. We call for greater support to them so that they may carry out their functions freely and in safety.
The Special Procedures mandate holders of the Human Rights Council making this call stand ready to support and provide assistance to member States, the United Nations system and all other partners in this essential work and to use the tools available to them to support the protection of human rights in humanitarian settings.

* Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

This statement is endorsed by the following Special Procedures human rights mandate holders:
Working Group of experts on people of African Descent
Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights of persons with albinism
Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights
Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice
Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities
Special Rapporteur on the issue of human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment
Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights
Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association
Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health
Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living
Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders
Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers
Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples
Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons
Working Group on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination
Special Rapporteur on minority issues
Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons
Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance
Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy
Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and consequences
Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief
Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions
Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography
Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity
Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights
Independent expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order
Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism
Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights
Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children
Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation & guarantees of non-recurrence
Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances
Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation
Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences
Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia
Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan
Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Central African Republic
Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967
Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea
Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression
Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Haiti

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde Calls for Global Solidarity to Address Humanitarian Challenges

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde Calls for Global Solidarity to Address Humanitarian Challenges
Press Release No. 16/234
May 20, 2016
Ms. Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), issued the following statement today ahead of the first World Humanitarian Summit being held in Istanbul, Turkey, May 23–24:

“The need for humanitarian assistance has reached levels not seen since the Second World War, leaving millions of people in desperate need of support. This is one of the biggest challenges of our time. The need for fundamental change in how humanitarian aid is delivered to ensure more effective use of scarce resources is now widely recognized.

“The UN Secretary-General’s decision to organize the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit is especially timely and deserves the full support of the international community. We all need to step up our game by boosting financial support for humanitarian relief from all countries that can afford to contribute, and by improving the organization and delivery of humanitarian assistance.

“To support global efforts aimed at improving the delivery of humanitarian aid, the IMF will leverage its track record of moving quickly to support governments facing humanitarian crises.

The IMF can:
:: Speedily disburse financial support through special facilities that do not require full economic programs—the Rapid Financing Instrument and Rapid Credit Facility. Countries that have benefited from such support in recent years include Nepal and Vanuatu.
:: Increase the amount of financing provided to countries with whom we already have lending arrangements, adjusting economic programs to accommodate the new demands on budgets and foreign reserves—as we have done with Jordan.
:: Use its Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust to provide financing to low-income countries to meet debt service payments, as was done for Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone in the wake of the Ebola outbreak.
:: Assist governments in designing macroeconomic policies to contain the economic fallout from humanitarian crises. This can help to provide bilateral donors with the confidence that the effectiveness of aid programs is not undermined by macroeconomic instability.

“The IMF is deepening its engagement with fragile countries by helping them build institutions that can deliver key economic services, from putting in place efficient tax systems to implementing sound public investment. We are also assisting countries exposed to natural disasters in designing macroeconomic strategies that enhance their resilience and expand their room for maneuver to respond to adverse shocks.

“Humanitarian crises require action on multiple levels—preventive engagement, relief provision, protecting and empowering those affected by crises to rebuild livelihoods. The IMF is committed to playing its full part, working collaboratively with governments and international agencies, using its financial resources, policy expertise, and technical assistance.”

EU’s vision on reshaping aid in the Council Conclusions adopted on 12 May 2016

EU helps reshape international assistance at the World Humanitarian Summit
The EU and its Member States will jointly call for a global partnership for a more efficient and effective humanitarian aid system at the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey next week.

:: EU’s vision on reshaping aid in the Council Conclusions adopted on 12 May 2016
[Editor’s excerpted paragraphs]
Uphold the norms that safeguard humanity
6. The EU and its Member States will continue to advocate strongly and consistently for the respect of international law, including international humanitarian law (IHL), refugee law and international human rights law. Serious violations of IHL cause intolerable human suffering and aggravate humanitarian crises. All parties to armed conflict must comply with IHL, including with the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution as also reflected in international customary law. This is of particular importance for the protection of civilians, detainees and those hors de combat, as well as of civilian objects4. It is also of paramount importance for the protection of humanitarian and healthcare personnel, patients, and medical facilities; the EU and its Member States will continue to actively promote all possible measures to prevent them from being targeted in conflicts. The EU and its Member States will continue placing respect for IHL at the top of the international agenda, strengthening dialogue and cooperation among States on the implementation of IHL and fully implementing the EU guidelines on the promotion of compliance with international humanitarian law5.

11. The EU and its Member States propose a new, development-oriented policy framework to address forced displacement, together with humanitarian assistance. This approach is set out in the Commission Communication ‘Lives in Dignity: from Aid-dependence to Self-reliance: Forced displacement and development’6. Its aim is to foster the self-reliance and resilience of the displaced and their host communities through securing sustainable livelihoods and access to basic services, including education at all levels. This framework will build upon a broad engagement between international donors, host governments, local communities, civil society and the displaced themselves with the objective of improving living conditions during protracted forced displacement, achieving durable solutions for ending displacement and mitigating the shock of large-scale movements of people on host countries.

12. The EU and its Member States are tackling the multi-dimensional root causes of the current refugee crisis and broader forced displacement, including by stepping up their efforts on conflict prevention, resolving existing conflicts and addressing climate change challenges and human rights abuses, all of which are major drivers of forced displacement. The EU and its Member States will continue promoting collective global responses to the root causes of forced displacement, contributing to finding durable solutions, and building the resilience of vulnerable communities.

Global Humanitarian Assistance Report 2016 (pre-release)

Global Humanitarian Assistance Report 2016 (pre-release)
Report Synopsis
[June 2016]
Welcome to a preview of key figures from our Global Humanitarian Assistance Report 2016, released to coincide with the World Humanitarian Summit. The Summit will in part focus on how to improve the volumes and effectiveness of funding, and we hope these latest figures from our new data analysis will help set the context for changes in the financing landscape.
We find that total international humanitarian assistance last year reached a record $28bn, yet funding requested by the United Nations via coordinated appeals experienced an unprecedented shortfall of 45%. Our infographic above navigates through the findings and a slide pack of key charts is also available below to view and download.

Key findings:
:: Total international humanitarian assistance 2015: US$28bn
This is the third consecutive annual increase in overall spending, and an increase of 12% from the year before.

:: Government contributions total: US$21.8bn
International humanitarian assistance from government donors has increased by almost 11% – from US$19.6bn to US$21.8bn.

:: Private contributions total: US$6.2bn
Estimates of private donations show an increase of around 13% from US$5.5bn to US$6.2bn.

:: Shortfall in funding for UN-coordinated appeals: 45%
Although amount requested fell by US$0.6 billion from the previous year, the total given to them dropped by US$1.6 billion.

:: International humanitarian assistance as a proportion of total resources to crisis-affected countries: 5%
Analysis of the 20 countries that received the most international humanitarian assistance in 2014 shows that this resource flow makes up only a small proportion of the total funding playing a role in crisis.

:: People in extreme poverty who are vulnerable to crisis: 677 million
Efforts to end poverty remain closely related to crisis, with 76% of those in extreme poverty living in countries that are either environmentally vulnerable, politically fragile, or both.

Four schools or hospitals attacked or occupied every day – UNICEF

Four schools or hospitals attacked or occupied every day – UNICEF
NEW YORK, 19 May 2016 – An average of four schools or hospitals are attacked or occupied by armed forces and groups every day – according to UNICEF analysis released ahead of the World Humanitarian Summit.

The findings, drawn from the most recent Report of the UN Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict, come in the wake of recent attacks on education and health facilities and workers – including the bombing of schools in Yemen, and a strike on a hospital in Aleppo, Syria on 27 April, that killed at least 50 people, including one of the last paediatricians in the area.

“Children are being killed, wounded, and permanently disabled in the very places where they should be protected and feel safe,” said Afshan Khan, UNICEF’s Director of Emergency Programmes.

“Attacks against schools and hospitals during conflict are an alarming, and disgraceful, trend. Intentional and direct strikes on these facilities, and on health workers and teachers, can be war crimes. Governments and other actors need to urgently protect schools and hospitals by upholding the provisions of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, and states must sign the Safe Schools Declaration.

Attacks against schools and hospitals are one of the six grave violations against children identified and addressed by the UN Security Council. The last Report of the UN Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict documented more than 1500 incidents of attacks on, or military use of, schools and hospitals in 2014, including:
:: In Afghanistan 163 schools and 38 health facilities were attacked.
:: In Syria, 60 attacks on education facilities were recorded, as well as nine cases of military use of schools and 28 attacks on health facilities.
:: In Yemen, 92 schools were used for military purposes by armed forces and groups.
:: In South Sudan, there were seven incidents of attacks on schools and 60 involving military use.
:: A total of 543 educational facilities were damaged or destroyed in the State of Palestine and three attacks were documented on Israeli schools.
:: According to education authorities in Northeast Nigeria, a total of 338 schools were destroyed and damaged between 2012 and 2014.

Over the past year, the UN monitoring system has also documented so-called ‘double-tap’, or even ‘triple-tap’, strikes on healthcare facilities in which civilians are attacked, as well as the first responders arriving on the scene.

Beyond attacks on buildings, conflict has other far-reaching consequences on children’s education and healthcare. In Syria, for example, as well as attacks on hospitals, the removal of medical kits and surgical supplies from aid convoys, restrictions on medical evacuations, and killing of medical personnel, mean that access to critical and lifesaving healthcare for civilians in affected areas is diminishing day by day.

“Children are being abducted from their schools in horrific circumstances in countries like Nigeria and South Sudan, while others are being raped, or recruited and used as child soldiers,” said Khan.

The very first World Humanitarian Summit will take place in Istanbul on the 23rd and 24th of May. Global leaders will discuss how to effectively respond to major humanitarian emergencies, and how to be better prepared to meet challenges of the future.

About the Safe Schools Declaration
The Safe Schools Declaration, developed through state consultations led by Norway and Argentina in Geneva throughout the first half of 2015, provides states the opportunity to express broad political support for the protection and continuation of education in armed conflict, and is the instrument for states to endorse and commit to implement the Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict. The Declaration was opened for endorsement at the Oslo Conference on Safe Schools convened by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on May 29, 2015. A first group of 37 states endorsed it that day and that number has since been growing.

The following States have endorsed the Safe Schools Declaration (as of April 27, 2016):
Afghanistan, Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, Costa Rica, Cote d’Ivoire, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Finland, Georgia, Greece, Honduras, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Lebanon, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malaysia, Montenegro, Mozambique, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Palestine, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Sierra Leone, Slovenia, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Uruguay, Zambia

Half of All Refugee Children Are Out of School Leaving Them Exposed to Exploitation and Abuse

Half of All Refugee Children Are Out of School Leaving Them Exposed to Exploitation and Abuse
Save the Children – Press Release
FAIRFIELD, Conn. (May 16, 2016) — At least 3.5 million refugee children around the world are currently out of school, leaving them increasingly vulnerable to discrimination and potential abuse, as well as exploitation by traffickers, or the pressure of entering into early marriage.

Refugee children are five times less likely to attend school than other children. Currently, 50 percent of primary school-aged refugee children and 75 percent of secondary school-aged children are completely left out of the education system, with none of the safeguards that school environments provide. In 2015 alone, the education of 80 million children was disrupted by humanitarian crises.

“It’s horrible that children are being denied the chance of a decent future because they are out of school. Without an education, these children face a bleak future. They are more likely to undertake perilous journeys to Europe and other parts of the world, and are also more likely to be married early, exploited, trafficked, and forced into work,” says Carolyn Miles, President and CEO of Save the Children.

“This is why, at the first ever World Humanitarian Summit, we are calling for no refugee child to be out of school for more than 30 days after being displaced. The average length of time spent living as a refugee is now 17 years, meaning that millions of children and young people will miss out on some — if not all — of their education, severely diminishing their future opportunities, and those of their families and communities,” she adds.

“Education sets children up for success and provides refugee children with hope for the future in the places they are currently living as well as providing a sense of stability and normalcy for children who have lived through traumatic and stressful events. It also prepares children to learn the basic skills needed to rebuild and develop their countries if and when they return.”…

A Joint Announcement on Implementation of Agenda 2030 Accelerating Progress Towards Gender Equality

A Joint Announcement on Implementation of Agenda 2030 Accelerating Progress Towards Gender Equality
Australian Government, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Global Affairs Canada
UK Secretary of State for International Development
United Nations Foundation
UN Women
U.S. Agency for International Development
U.S. Department of State
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
The World Bank Group

Launched at the 2016 Women Deliver Conference, Copenhagen, Denmark
May 17, 2016
01. In September 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted by consensus Resolution 70/1: Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (the 2030 Agenda).

02. The Resolution states that “realizing gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls will make a crucial contribution to progress.”

03. The prioritization of gender equality and women’s rights is reflected in SDG 5 and in a cross-cutting manner through the 2030 Agenda, with eleven of the seventeen goals having gender-focused targets and indicators.

04. The unprecedented ambition and broad support for gender equality in this agenda must be matched by equal ambition to ensure its implementation.

05. High quality, comparable and regular gender- and age-disaggregated statistics are critically needed to address the existing data gaps and meet the ambitions of the SDGs, including the overarching aim to ‘leave no-one behind.’

06. Good gender data provides the much-needed detail on the disparities that exist between men and women and boys and girls, identifies the underlying causes of inequality, and measures the impact of policy and programmatic interventions.

07. In addition to closing pervasive gender data gaps, issues of systematic gender bias in existing measurement tools, fragmentation of gender data stakeholders, and technical and capacity challenges of national statistical systems must also be addressed.

08. Data and statistics are essential for smart policy, and the lack of reliable gender data has hindered progress on advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

09. As supporters and champions for this agenda, we recognize that gender data holds power to make the invisible, visible and actionable.

10. Our shared ambition is not just to have good data on women and girls, but to ensure that it is used by governments, policy-makers, program designers, civil society and women themselves to hold stakeholders accountable for progress.

11. The group of organizations represented here is committed to supporting the acceleration towards gender equality as outlined in Agenda 2030 and are announcing today that we will increase our focus and investments towards closing the core gender data challenges. We believe this is an urgent step in the process of implementing the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Announces $80 Million Commitment To Close Gender Data Gaps and Accelerate Progress for Women and Girls

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Announces $80 Million Commitment To Close Gender Data Gaps and Accelerate Progress for Women and Girls
New initiative will promote gender equality and support the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

SEATTLE/COPENHAGEN (May 17, 2016) – In her keynote speech today at the Women Deliver conference in Copenhagen, Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, announced that the foundation will commit $80 million over the next three years to close gender data gaps and help accelerate progress for women and girls around the world. Alongside the Gates Foundation’s commitment, partners across governments, nonprofits and philanthropic organizations have also agreed upon a new statement of principles [text above]regarding gender data and its importance for accelerating development outcomes.

Data holds power: It demonstrates the size and nature of social or economic problems, and brings clarity around who is falling through the cracks. Through reliable data, women and girls’ lives can become visible and counted, helping to inform programming and hold leaders to account. However, a lack of comprehensive, current information about women and girls, especially in developing countries, hinders efforts to advance gender equality. If the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are to be reached by 2030, the world must advance its knowledge about women and girls’ lives and livelihoods, their welfare and well-being, and their contributions to their communities, countries and economies.

“By adopting the SDGs the world agreed to achieve gender equality by 2030. But we cannot close the gender gap without first closing the data gap,” said Melinda Gates. “We simply don’t know enough about the barriers holding women and girls back, nor do we have sufficient information to track progress against the promises made to women and girls. We are committed to changing that by investing in better data, policies and accountability.”

The Gates Foundation’s new $80 million commitment will support efforts that:
:: Fill critical gender data gaps, including knowing how much time women and girls spend on unpaid work around the world, and what implications this has on their life chances and choices, such as completing education, getting jobs or starting businesses.

:: Improve the accuracy and reliability of data collection, which can reveal at a large scale who owns assets like land, property or credit.

:: Equip decision makers with more timely and clearer evidence about programs and interventions that are working and those that are not, so they can be redesigned quickly and more effectively.

:: Support civil society in holding leaders to account for the commitments they’ve made to women and girls, helping maintain the political will to achieve gender equality.

:: Amplify and strengthen organizations and platforms that keep gender equality at the center of global and national development efforts.

World Bank Group Launches Groundbreaking Financing Facility to Protect Poorest Countries against Pandemics

World Bank Group Launches Groundbreaking Financing Facility to Protect Poorest Countries against Pandemics
May 21, 2016 – PRESS RELEASE
First-ever insurance and pandemic bonds will save lives and protect economies

SENDAI, Japan, May 21, 2016—The World Bank Group today launched the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF), an innovative, fast-disbursing global financing mechanism designed to protect the world against deadly pandemics, which will create the first-ever insurance market for pandemic risk. Japan, which holds the G7 Presidency, committed the first $50 million in funding toward the new initiative.

“Pandemics pose some of the biggest threats in the world to people’s lives and to economies, and for the first time we will have a system that can move funding and teams of experts to the sites of outbreaks before they spin out of control,” said Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group. “This facility addresses a long, collective failure in dealing with pandemics. The Ebola crisis in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone taught all of us that we must be much more vigilant to outbreaks and respond immediately to save lives and also to protect economic growth.”…

…The new facility will accelerate both global and national responses to future outbreaks with pandemic potential. It was built and designed in collaboration with the World Health Organization and the private sector, introducing a new level of rigor into both the financing and the response.

“Recent years have seen a dramatic resurgence of the threat from emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases,” said Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization. “WHO fully supports the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility as a critical contribution to global health security and a crucial line of defence against high-threat pathogens.”

The PEF includes an insurance window, which combines funding from the reinsurance markets with the proceeds of World Bank-issued pandemic (catastrophe, or Cat) bonds, as well as a complementary cash window. This will be the first time World Bank Cat Bonds have been used to combat infectious diseases. In the event of an outbreak, the PEF will release funds quickly to countries and qualified international responding agencies.

The insurance window will provide coverage up to $500 million for an initial period of three years for outbreaks of infectious diseases most likely to cause major epidemics, including new Orthomyxoviruses (e.g. new influenza pandemic virus A, B and C), Coronaviridae (e.g. SARS, MERS), Filoviridae (e.g. Ebola, Marburg) and other zoonotic diseases (e.g. Crimean Congo, Rift Valley, Lassa fever). Parametric triggers designed with publicly available data will determine when the money would be released, based on the size, severity and spread of the outbreak.

The complementary cash window will provide more flexible funding to address a larger set of emerging pathogens, which may not yet meet the activation criteria for the insurance window.
All 77 countries eligible for financing from the International Development Association, the World Bank Group’s fund for the poorest countries, will be eligible to receive coverage from the PEF. The PEF is expected to be operational later this year…

…Four global expert panels that were convened over the past year in the wake of the Ebola crisis concluded that the world must urgently step up its capacity for a swift response to outbreaks before they become more deadly and costly pandemics.

The PEF will do a number of important things to prevent another Ebola crisis:
:: It will insure the world’s poorest countries against the threat of a pandemic.
:: In the event of a severe infectious disease outbreak, it will release funds quickly to the countries and/or to international responders, to accelerate the response—saving lives and reducing human suffering.
:: By mobilizing an earlier, faster, better planned and coordinated response, it will reduce the costs to countries and their people for response and recovery.
:: It will promote greater global and national investments in preparing for future outbreaks and strengthening national health systems.
:: It will combine public and private resources to advance global health security, and create a new insurance market for managing pandemic risk.

The World Bank Group estimates that if the PEF had existed in mid-2014 as the Ebola outbreak was spreading rapidly in West Africa, it could have mobilized an initial $100 million as early as July to severely limit the spread and severity of the epidemic. Instead, money at that scale did not begin to flow until three months later. During that three month period, the number of Ebola cases increased tenfold. The Ebola epidemic has claimed more than 11,300 lives and cost at least $10 billion to date. International assistance has totaled more than $7 billion for Ebola response and recovery.

World Cities Report 2016, Urbanization and Development: Emerging Futures

World Cities Report 2016, Urbanization and Development: Emerging Futures
UN-Habitat :: United Nations Human Settlements Programme, 2016 :: 262 pages
Full report pdf:

Press Release
UN-Habitat launches the World Cities Report 2016, Urbanization and Development: Emerging Futures
New York 18 May 2016— The new global flagship report on sustainable urban development launched by UN-Habitat on Wednesday, states that a New Urban Agenda is needed to unlock the transformative power of cities. The World Cities Report 2016, Urbanization and Development: Emerging Futures, says that the top 600 cities, with 1/5th of the world’s population, produce 60 per cent of global GDP. However, when unplanned and unmanaged, urbanization can lead to increased inequality, the growth of slums and disastrous impacts on climate change, according to the report.

UN-Habitat Executive Director, Dr Joan Clos, said: “In the twenty years since the Habitat II conference, the world has seen a gathering of its population in urban areas. This has been accompanied by socioeconomic growth in many instances. But the urban landscape is changing and with it, the pressing need for a cohesive and realistic approach to urbanization. “A New Urban Agenda is required to effectively address the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities offered by urbanization,” said Clos.

Such urban expansion is wasteful in terms of land and energy consumption and increases greenhouse gas emissions. The urban centre of gravity— at least for megacities has shifted to the developing regions. In 1995, there were 22 large cities, and 14 megacities globally; by 2015, both categories of cities had doubled, with 22, or 79 per cent of the megacities located in Latin America, Asia and Africa. The fastest growing urban centres are the medium and small cities with less than one million inhabitants, which account for 59 per cent of the world’s urban population.

…Despite growing negative public perception of migrants and refugees, previous experience of refuge crisis shows that migrants can, eventually become valuable contributors to the economic and social development of countries. A major emerging urban issue capable of undermining the long-term sustainability of cities worldwide concerns insecurity and increasing risk. The fear of crime and violence continues to be pervasive in cities. New and pervasive risks affecting cities include terrorism, urban warfare, heightened securitization, and disease and pandemics…

Key Messages
:: When well-managed, urbanization fosters social and economic advancement and improved quality of life for all.
:: The current model of urbanization is unsustainable in many respects. Many cities all over the world are grossly unprepared for the challenges associated with urbanization.
:: A new agenda is required to effectively address these challenges and take advantage of the opportunities offered by urbanization.
:: The new urban agenda should promote cities and human settlements that are environmentally sustainable, resilient, socially inclusive, safe and violence-free, economically productive.

Rockefeller Foundation & Arup Debut a Pioneering Tool that Allows Cities to Better Understand Their Capacity to Address Social, Physical, or Economic Challenges

Rockefeller Foundation & Arup Debut a Pioneering Tool that Allows Cities to Better Understand Their Capacity to Address Social, Physical, or Economic Challenges
May 18, 2016
City Resilience Index (CRI) Offers Leaders a Comprehensive Analysis of Capabilities and Vulnerabilities
LONDON—Today, The Rockefeller Foundation and Arup introduced the City Resilience Index (CRI), the first-ever comprehensive tool to help cities assess their resilience, identify their vulnerabilities, and better prepare themselves for the future.

The CRI is a powerful, tested tool created to help policy-makers, urban planners and stakeholders understand and tackle the systemic challenges that increasingly threaten cities. Comprising 52 resilience indicators, the CRI assesses key resilience qualities ¬such as diversity, awareness, and self-regulation, that are critically important to building resilience within a city. The CRI gives cities the ability to assess their preparedness and ability to accommodate current and emerging challenges, through a secure online interface through which cities can enter their data. Each city’s findings can guide urban policymaking, planning, and investment.

“Cities increasingly understand that building resilience is a 21st century imperative, and now for the first time they have a way to comprehensively assess where they are strong, and where they need to improve to be ready for whatever may come their way,” said Judith Rodin, President of The Rockefeller Foundation, which supported Arup to develop the CRI. “The CRI was created over three years and in consultation with a range of cities globally. It is designed with rigor, and in a way that cities everywhere will benefit from using it as a planning and decision-making tool, that can help them realize a resilience dividend from investments in their growth and the well-being of their citizens,” added Rodin.

Designed primarily as a self-assessment, this tool will generate a resilience profile that will reveal a city’s specific strengths and weaknesses, creating a baseline to plan from and measure future progress against.

“Every city is unique, and each faces specific challenges. But, the factors that enable cities to deal with disruption are universal,” said Jo da Silva, Director, Arup. “The CRI captures the breadth of issues that contribute to a city’s resilience. It provides a practical means to measure resilience, and a common language that will enable cities to learn from each other.”

“The City Resilience Index represents an important advancement in assessing resilience, providing a new opportunity for cities, through an analysis of real data, to better assess what their resilience capabilities are,” said Michael Berkowitz, President of 100 Resilient Cities, Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation.

For more information on the City Resilience Index, please visit:

:: Journal Watch

:: Journal Watch
The Sentinel will track key peer-reviewed journals which address a broad range of interests in human rights, humanitarian response, health and development. It is not intended to be exhaustive. We will add to those monitored below as we encounter relevant content and upon recommendation from readers. We selectively provide full text of abstracts and other content but note that successful access to some of the articles and other content may require subscription or other access arrangement unique to the publisher. Please suggest additional journals you feel warrant coverage.

Emergence of Congenital Zika Syndrome: Viewpoint From the Front Lines

Annals of Internal Medicine
17 May 2016, Vol. 164. No. 10
Ideas and Opinions
Emergence of Congenital Zika Syndrome: Viewpoint From the Front Lines FREE
Federico Costa, PhD; Manoel Sarno, MD, PhD; Ricardo Khouri, PhD; Bruno de Paula Freitas, MD; Isadora Siqueira, MD, PhD; Guilherme S. Ribeiro, MD, PhD; Hugo C. Ribeiro, MD; Gubio S. Campos, PhD; Luiz C. Alcântara, PhD; Mitermayer G. Reis, MD, PhD; Scott C. Weaver, PhD; Nikos Vasilakis, PhD; Albert I. Ko, MD; and Antonio Raimundo Almeida, MD, PhD
[No abstract; Final text]
…Although recent advances in flavivirus vaccines may guide relatively rapid development of a Zika vaccine, availability is still probably years away. Treatment with a monoclonal antibody could also be developed quickly on the basis of promising past results with flaviviruses. However, systematic investigations of pregnant women and newborns will still be needed to determine the risk for transplacental infection and development of severe congenital sequelae that can, in turn, guide effective diagnostic and prevention efforts.

BMC Infectious Diseases (Accessed 21 May 2016)

BMC Infectious Diseases
(Accessed 21 May 2016)

Research article
Improving the uptake of pre-travel health advice amongst migrant Australians: exploring the attitudes of primary care providers and migrant community groups
Migrant travellers who return to their country of origin to visit family and friends (VFR) are less likely to seek travel-related medical care and are less likely to adhere to recommended medications …
Holly Seale, Rajneesh Kaur, Abela Mahimbo, C. Raina MacIntyre, Nicholas Zwar, Mitchell Smith, Heather Worth and Anita E Heywood
BMC Infectious Diseases 2016 16:213
Published on: 18 May 2016


Research article
Initiation and completion rates for latent tuberculosis infection treatment: a systematic review
Control of latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) is an important step towards tuberculosis elimination. Preventive treatment will prevent the development of disease in most cases diagnosed with LTBI.
Andreas Sandgren, Marije Vonk Noordegraaf-Schouten, Femke van Kessel, Anke Stuurman, Anouk Oordt-Speets and Marieke J. van der Werf
BMC Infectious Diseases 2016 16:204
Published on: 17 May 2016

Human newborn bacille Calmette–Guérin vaccination and risk of tuberculosis disease: a case-control study

BMC Medicine
(Accessed 21 May 2016)

Research article
Human newborn bacille Calmette–Guérin vaccination and risk of tuberculosis disease: a case-control study
Helen A. Fletcher, Ali Filali-Mouhim, Elisa Nemes, Anthony Hawkridge, Alana Keyser, Samuel Njikan, Mark Hatherill, Thomas J. Scriba, Brian Abel, Benjamin M. Kagina, Ashley Veldsman, Nancy Marín Agudelo, Gilla Kaplan, Gregory D. Hussey, Rafick-Pierre Sekaly and Willem A. Hanekom
Published on: 16 May 201
An incomplete understanding of the immunological mechanisms underlying protection against tuberculosis (TB) hampers the development of new vaccines against TB. We aimed to define host correlates of prospective risk of TB disease following bacille Calmette–Guérin (BCG) vaccination.
In this study, 5,726 infants vaccinated with BCG at birth were enrolled. Host responses in blood collected at 10 weeks of age were compared between infants who developed pulmonary TB disease during 2 years of follow-up (cases) and those who remained healthy (controls).
Comprehensive gene expression and cellular and soluble marker analysis failed to identify a correlate of risk. We showed that distinct host responses after BCG vaccination may be the reason: two major clusters of gene expression, with different myeloid and lymphoid activation and inflammatory patterns, were evident when all infants were examined together. Cases from each cluster demonstrated distinct patterns of gene expression, which were confirmed by cellular assays.
Distinct patterns of host responses to Mycobacterium bovis BCG suggest that novel TB vaccines may also elicit distinct patterns of host responses. This diversity should be considered in future TB vaccine development.

BMC Public Health (Accessed 21 May 2016

BMC Public Health
(Accessed 21 May 2016)

Research article
How equitable are community health worker programmes and which programme features influence equity of community health worker services? A systematic review
Community health workers (CHWs) are uniquely placed to link communities with the health system, playing a role in improving the reach of health systems and bringing health services closer to hard-to-reach and …
Rosalind McCollum, Woedem Gomez, Sally Theobald and Miriam Taegtmeyer
BMC Public Health 2016 16:419
Published on: 20 May 2016

Research article
Using short-message-service notification as a method to improve acute flaccid paralysis surveillance in Papua New Guinea
High quality acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) surveillance is required to maintain polio-free status of a country. Papua New Guinea (PNG) is considered as one of the highest risk countries for polio re-importation…
Siddhartha Sankar Datta, Berry Ropa, Gerard Pai Sui, Ramzi Khattar, Ravi Shankar Santhana Gopala Krishnan and Hiromasa Okayasu
BMC Public Health 2016 16:409
Published on: 17 May 2016

Critiquing the response to the Ebola epidemic through a Primary Health Care Approach
The 2014/2015 West Africa Ebola epidemic has caused the global public health community to engage in difficult self-reflection.
Vera Scott, Sarah Crawford-Browne and David Sanders
BMC Public Health 2016 16:410
Published on: 17 May 2016

Research article
Associations in the continuum of care for maternal, newborn and child health: a population-based study of 12 sub-Saharan Africa countries
Despite the progress in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5, inequity in the utilization of maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) care services still remain high in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).
Patrick Opiyo Owili, Miriam Adoyo Muga, Yiing-Jenq Chou, Yi-Hsin Elsa Hsu, Nicole Huang and Li-Yin Chien
BMC Public Health 2016 16:414
Published on: 17 May 2016

Deaths, late deaths, and role of infecting dose in Ebola virus disease in Sierra Leone: retrospective cohort study

British Medical Journal
21 May 2016 (vol 352, issue 8058)

Research Update
Deaths, late deaths, and role of infecting dose in Ebola virus disease in Sierra Leone: retrospective cohort study
BMJ 2016; 353 :i2403 (Published 17 May 2016)
Objectives To assess the frequency of fatal recrudescence from Ebola virus disease after discharge from treatment centres, and explore the influence of infecting dose on case fatality rates.
Design Retrospective cohort study.
Setting Western Area, Sierra Leone.
Participants 151 survivors treated for Ebola virus disease at the Kerry Town treatment centre and discharged. Survivors were followed up for a vital status check at four to nine months after discharge, and again at six to 13 months after discharge. Verbal autopsies were conducted for four survivors who had died since discharge (that is, late deaths). Survivors still living in Western Area were interviewed together with their household members. Exposure level to Ebola virus disease was ascertained as a proxy of infecting dose, including for those who died.
Main outcome measures Risks and causes of late death; case fatality rates; odds ratios of death from Ebola virus disease by age, sex, exposure level, date, occupation, and household risk factors.
Results Follow-up information was obtained on all 151 survivors of Ebola virus disease, a mean of 10 months after discharge. Four deaths occurred after discharge, all within six weeks: two probably due to late complications, one to prior tuberculosis, and only one after apparent full recovery, giving a maximum estimate of recrudescence leading to death of 0.7%. In these households, 395 people were reported to have had Ebola virus disease, of whom 227 died. A further 53 people fulfilled the case definition for probable disease, of whom 11 died. Therefore, the case fatality rate was 57.5% (227/395) for reported Ebola virus disease, or 53.1% (238/448) including probable disease. Case fatality rates were higher in children aged under 2 years and adults older than 30 years, in larger households, and in infections occurring earlier in the epidemic in Sierra Leone. There was no consistent trend of case fatality rate with exposure level, although increasing exposure increased the risk of Ebola virus disease.
Conclusions In this study of survivors in Western Area, Sierra Leone, late recrudescence of severe Ebola virus disease appears to be rare. There was no evidence for an effect of infecting dose (as measured by exposure level) on the severity of disease.

Abducted children and youth in Lord’s Resistance Army in Northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC): mechanisms of indoctrination and control

Conflict and Health
[Accessed 21 May 2016]

Abducted children and youth in Lord’s Resistance Army in Northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC): mechanisms of indoctrination and control
Jocelyn TD Kelly, Lindsay Branham and Michele R. Decker
Published on: 18 May 2016
Globally, an estimated 300,000 children under the age of 18 participate in combat situations; those in armed groups in particular suffer prolonged exposure to psychological and physical abuse. The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) is a rebel movement known for its widespread conscription of children; yet little is known about this process once the group moved beyond northern Uganda. In this paper, we describe the processes related to abduction and indoctrination of youth by the LRA in northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo ( DRC).
In-depth interviews were conducted with formerly abducted children, their family members, community leaders, and service providers (total n  = 34) in four communities in LRA-affected areas of northeastern DRC. Inductive coding of transcripts was undertaken to identify salient themes.
Informants articulated a range of practices by the LRA to exert high levels of control over new recruits, including strict social isolation from recent abductees; control of communication; promoting new identity formation; and compelling children to act out strictly defined gendered roles. Witchcraft and secrecy are used to intimidate recruits and to magnify perception of the group’s power. These methods promote de-identification with one’s civilian and family life; and eventually the assimilation of a new language and identity.
Indoctrination of newly abducted children into the LRA occurs via a complex system of control. This study provides one of the first detailed explorations of social and psychological mechanisms through which this is achieved, and focuses particularly on the gendered differences in the indoctrination process. Results support past findings that the LRA is a strategic and well-organized organization in its approach to enlisting child soldiers. Understanding some of the ways in which the LRA controls its recruits and the psychological impact of indoctrination enables reintegration programs to more effectively address these issues and serve the complex needs of formerly abducted children.

Development in Practice – Volume 26, Issue 4, 2016

Development in Practice
Volume 26, Issue 4, 2016

NGO workers’ internalisation of the human rights-based approach in Bangladesh
Jae-Eun Noh*
pages 456-466
The Western origin of human rights raises the question of how the human rights-based approach to development (HRBA) is understood in non-Western countries. This article explores individual practitioners’ perceptions of the HRBA in an NGO working in Bangladesh, drawing on interviews with its workers. The data suggest that participants accept the universal values of human rights and make sense of the HRBA influenced by their organisational and national contexts. Conceptualising this process as “internalisation”, this article argues that the organisational support and workers’ field experience are critical for incorporating contextual consideration into their interpretation and practice of the HRBA.


NGO–researcher partnerships in global health research: benefits, challenges, and approaches that promote success
Catherine Olivier, Matthew R. Hunt & Valéry Ridde
pages 444-455
Open access
Published online: 13 Apr 2016
Partnerships involving NGOs and academic researchers (NGO–R partnerships) are increasing in global health research. Such collaborations present opportunities for knowledge translation in global health, yet are also associated with challenges for establishing and sustaining effective and respectful partnerships. We conducted a narrative review of the literature to identify benefits and challenges associated with NGO–R partnerships, as well as approaches that promote successful partnerships. We illustrate this analysis with examples from our own experiences. The results suggest that collaborations characterised by trust, transparency, respect, solidarity, and mutuality contribute to the development of successful and sustainable NGO–R partnerships.

Outbreak of a new measles B3 variant in the Roma/Sinti population with transmission in the nosocomial setting, Italy, November 2015 to April 2016

Volume 21, Issue 20, 19 May 2016

Rapid communications
Outbreak of a new measles B3 variant in the Roma/Sinti population with transmission in the nosocomial setting, Italy, November 2015 to April 2016
by A Filia, A Amendola, M Faccini, M Del Manso, S Senatore, S Bianchi, BM Borrini, A Ciampelli, E Tanzi, MT Filipponi, G Piccirilli, T Lazzarotto, MG Pascucci, M Baggieri, F Magurano