The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health :: Education :: Heritage Stewardship ::
Sustainable Development
Week ending 16 December 2017

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
GE2P2 Global Foundation – Governance, Evidence, Ethics, Policy, Practice

pdf version:The Sentinel_ period ending 16 December 2017

:: Week in Review  [See selected posts just below]
:: Key Agency/IGO/Governments Watch – Selected Updates from 30+ entities
:: INGO/Consortia/Joint Initiatives Watch – Media Releases, Major Initiatives, Research
:: Foundation/Major Donor Watch -Selected Updates
:: Journal Watch – Key articles and abstracts from 100+ peer-reviewed journals

Tokyo Declaration on Universal Health Coverage: All Together to Accelerate Progress towards UHC – World Bank, WHO, UNICEF, JICA, UHC2030

Editor’s Note:
Universal Health Coverage [UHC] has become the nexus for much global health strategy and  governance focus in the larger context of Sustainable Development Goals/Agenda 2030 context. We present the full text of a joint statement underscoring UHC’s integrating role and a supporting press release below.

Tokyo Declaration on Universal Health Coverage: All Together to Accelerate Progress towards UHC
Statement December 14, 2017 – World Bank, WHO, UNICEF, JICA, UHC2030
Universal Health Coverage Forum 2017
[full text; editor’s text bolding]
We, the Co-Organizers of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Forum, reaffirm our commitment to accelerating progress towards UHC, and to achieving health for all people, whoever they are, wherever they live, by 2030.

We recognise the integrated and indivisible nature of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which balance the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.

We reiterate the importance of target 3.8 of the SDGs, which seeks to provide all people with access to high-quality, integrated, “people-centred” health services. This must include promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services, as well as safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines. We want to ensure that people do not suffer financial hardship when accessing services. We emphasize the importance of protecting all people from health risks such as outbreaks, and responding rapidly to outbreaks and crises.

We acknowledge that health is a human right and that UHC is essential to health for all and to human security. We adhere to the principle of Leaving No One Behind, which requires special effort to design and deliver health services informed by the voices and needs of people. This prioritizes the most vulnerable members of the world’s population — children and women — those affected by emergencies, refugees and migrants, and marginalized, stigmatized and minority populations, so often living in extremely difficult circumstances.

We affirm that UHC is both technically and financially feasible. UHC produces high returns across the life course and drives employment and inclusive economic growth. UHC is one of the cornerstones of the Sustainable Development Agenda and contributes to progress towards all SDGs. Without UHC, billions of people are at risk of losing the opportunity to live full and productive lives, and hundreds of millions risk impoverishment in their pursuit of health care. Millions of people live in countries and states considered to be fragile. Attaining UHC in these settings requires strong intersectoral collaboration.

We reaffirm and build on the G7 Ise-Shima Vision for Global Health, the TICAD VI Nairobi Declaration, which acknowledges the “UHC in Africa: A Framework for Action.” We also build on the G20 Berlin Declaration, which acknowledges the UHC2030 “Healthy systems for universal health coverage – a joint vision for healthy lives,” as well as other regional and international declarations. All of these stress the need to build and strengthen resilient and sustainable health systems and prepare for public health emergencies in an integrated way. In this context, we note the progress that has been made to reinforce preparedness and responses to public health emergencies, including formalization of coordination mechanisms among the World Health Organization (WHO) and other relevant United Nations (UN) partners, and funding mechanisms for emergencies like the WHO’s Contingency Fund for Emergencies (CFE) and the World Bank’s Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF).

We welcome the release of the 2017 UHC Global Monitoring Report. According to this report, much remains to be done to achieve UHC:  
   :: At least half of the world’s population still does not have access to quality essential services to protect and promote health. 
   :: 800 million people are spending at least 10 percent of their household budget on out-of-pocket health care expenses, and nearly 100 million people are being pushed into extreme poverty each year due to health care costs.

Concerned that progress towards UHC is too slow, despite the efforts made in each country, we call for greater commitment to accelerate progress towards UHC.

Strengthening global momentum towards UHC
:: By 2023, the midpoint towards 2030, the world needs to extend essential health coverage to 1 billion additional people and halve to 50 million the number of people being pushed into extreme poverty by health expenses.

:: We commit to monitoring progress towards UHC as part of the UN SDG review process by issuing global monitoring reports regularly, and reviewing key findings at the subsequent UHC Forum. We welcome the use of a uniform measurement methodology for UHC indicators in the 2017 Global Monitoring Report. We also emphasize the importance of strengthening the breadth and depth of data at the national and subnational levels, including disaggregated data, to inform evidence-based policymaking and to assess progress, as well as strengthening the capacity of local stakeholders to analyse and use data.

:: In response to the recommendations of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth, and as articulated in the Dublin Declaration on Human Resources for Health, we call upon all relevant stakeholders to expand and transform investments in the health and social workforce for UHC, emphasizing the empowerment of women and youth employment.

:: To maintain a high level of political momentum on UHC, we welcome the 40th anniversary conference in 2018 of the Alma Ata Declaration, from the International Conference on Primary Health Care. We also welcome the decision to designate December 12 of each year as International UHC Day and support the UN high-level meeting on UHC in 2019. Furthermore, we will support stronger global leadership at high level of the UN system to promote UHC.

Accelerating country-led process towards UHC
:: We commit to jointly mobilizing political leadership around the world so that countries develop their own roadmaps towards UHC, with clearly indicated targets, indicators and specific plans. We support the increased alignment of efforts among all development partners through country-led, multi-stakeholder coordination platforms in line with the UHC2030 Global Compact principles. We also promote country-level engagement with diverse stakeholders from non-governmental and private sector partners to enhance shared ownership and accountability. We welcome the contribution of international initiatives such as the Tokyo Joint UHC Initiative, the UHC Partnership, Providing for Health Partnership, and the Global Financing Facility (GFF), which aim to strengthen country systems and platforms for UHC and preparedness in a collaborative manner.

   :: In pursuing UHC, we commit to targeted investments to prevent, detect and respond to disease outbreaks and other emergencies including surveillance systems in order to safeguard health security and international collaboration under the International Health Regulations (2005). In doing so, we will promote a focus on fragile and conflict-affected settings to ensure UHC financing in such settings. We also commit to investing in building a sound foundation for healthy societies with equitable access to social services such as water, sanitation, nutrition, housing, and education, and mainstreaming gender throughout policies and programmes.

: On financing for UHC, we support a strong dialogue between the Ministries of Health and Finance to mobilize and manage domestic resources to increase public funding and reduce out-of-pocket payments. It is also critical for countries to mobilise citizen and community platforms, strengthening their budgetary processes, tracking expenditures to achieve value and equity of health spending, and enhancing the efficiency of health expenditures.

: Effective and innovative financing tools offered by development partners, such as the GFF and World Bank’s IDA, also complement domestic resources. In this regard, we welcome IDA18’s strong policy commitment to the global health agenda, which was supported by Japan and other donors, and look forward to further mobilization of IDA funds to promote UHC. We also call for expanded financing and increased alignment to support UHC by all development partners, particularly multilateral development banks and Global Health Initiatives such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (The Global Fund) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and foundations such as Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In order to further promote financing for UHC, we will explore holding a high-level dialogue with Health and Finance Ministries by 2019.

Innovation for UHC
:: We recognise that realising our ambition requires going beyond “business as usual,” and commit to developing and supporting strategies, policies and systems at the global and country level to harness and sustain the transformative potential of innovation. This commitment recognises the need for countries to articulate their local priorities for UHC and share best practices.

:: We also commit to improving access to medicines and vaccines through collaborative work and research and development, including during health emergencies building on platforms such as the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovations (CEPI) and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI). 

:: Accelerating progress towards UHC requires systematic learning from country experience through platforms such as UHC2030, increased focus on policy coherence, addressing implementation bottlenecks, and harnessing the potential of system innovations and effective and affordable technology in the health sector. We commit to stimulate learning on innovation for UHC by accelerating the generation and sharing of critical knowledge by building on and enhancing coordination of existing and future networks.

We look forward to future convenings and sharing the progress made towards UHC with the Global Community, in the context of the World Health Assembly, the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development and the UN General Assembly, upcoming high-level UHC meetings such as the 2018 40th Anniversary of Alma Ata, and at the next UHC Forum. We extend our deep appreciation to the Government of Japan for its commitment to supporting the continuation of the UHC Fora in the future.

The State of the World’s Children 2017: Children in a Digital World – UNICEF

Children: Rights, Development, Digital Access
The State of the World’s Children 2017: Children in a Digital World
December 2017 :: 211 pages
As the debate about whether the internet is safe for children rages, The State of the World’s Children 2017: Children in a Digital World discusses how digital access can be a game changer for children or yet another dividing line. The report represents the first comprehensive look from UNICEF at the different ways digital technology is affecting children, identifying dangers as well as opportunities. It makes a clear call to governments, the digital technology sector and telecom industries to level the digital playing field for children by creating policies, practices and products that can help children harness digital opportunities and protect them from harm.

Press Release
UNICEF: Make the digital world safer for children – while increasing online access to benefit the most disadvantaged
Flagship report highlights digital divides and explores current debates about the impact of the internet and social media on children’s safety and well-being
NEW YORK, 11 December 2017 – Despite children’s massive online presence – 1 in 3 internet users worldwide is a child – too little is done to protect them from the perils of the digital world and to increase their access to safe online content, UNICEF said in its annual flagship report released today.

The State of the World’s Children 2017: Children in a Digital World presents UNICEF’s first comprehensive look at the different ways digital technology is affecting children’s lives and life chances, identifying dangers as well as opportunities. It argues that governments and the private sector have not kept up with the pace of change, exposing children to new risks and harms and leaving millions of the most disadvantaged children behind.

“For better and for worse, digital technology is now an irreversible fact of our lives,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “In a digital world, our dual challenge is how to mitigate the harms while maximizing the benefits of the internet for every child.”

The report explores the benefits digital technology can offer the most disadvantaged children, including those growing up in poverty or affected by humanitarian emergencies. These include increasing their access to information, building skills for the digital workplace, and giving them a platform to connect and communicate their views.

But the report shows that millions of children are missing out. Around one third of the world’s youth – 346 million – are not online, exacerbating inequities and reducing children’s ability to participate in an increasingly digital economy.

The report also examines how the internet increases children’s vulnerability to risks and harms, including misuse of their private information, access to harmful content, and cyberbullying. The ubiquitous presence of mobile devices, the report notes, has made online access for many children less supervised – and potentially more dangerous.

And digital networks like the Dark Web and cryptocurrencies are enabling the worst forms of exploitation and abuse, including trafficking and ‘made to order’ online child sexual abuse.

The report presents current data and analysis about children’s online usage and the impact of digital technology on children’s wellbeing, exploring growing debates about digital “addiction” and the possible effect of screen time on brain development.

Additional facts from the report include:
:: Young people are the most connected age group. Worldwide, 71 per cent are online compared with 48 per cent of the total population.
:: African youth are the least connected, with around 3 out of 5 youth offline, compared to just 1 in 25 in Europe.
:: Approximately 56 per cent of all websites are in English and many children cannot find content they understand or that is culturally relevant.
:: More than 9 in 10 child sexual abuse URLs identified globally are hosted in five countries – Canada, France, the Netherlands, the Russian Federation and the United States.

Only collective action – by governments, the private sector, children’s organizations, academia, families and children themselves – can help level the digital playing field and make the internet safer and more accessible for children, the report says.

Practical recommendations to help guide more effective policymaking and more responsible business practices to benefit children include:
:: Provide all children with affordable access to high-quality online resources.
:: Protect children from harm online – including abuse, exploitation, trafficking, cyberbullying and exposure to unsuitable materials.
:: Safeguard children’s privacy and identities online.
:: Teach digital literacy to keep children informed, engaged and safe online.
:: Leverage the power of the private sector to advance ethical standards and practices that protect and benefit children online.
:: Put children at the centre of digital policy.

“The internet was designed for adults, but it is increasingly used by children and young people – and digital technology increasingly affects their lives and futures. So digital policies, practices, and products should better reflect children’s needs, children’s perspectives and children’s voices,” said Lake.

Human Rights Action – ICC Reparations to Conscripted Children: Lubanga

Human Rights Action – Reparations to Conscripted Children
Editor’s Note:
We understand the action by the ICC below is the first example of war crimes reparations being awarded to children.

Lubanga case: Trial Chamber II issues additional decision on reparations
International Criminal Court (ICC)
On 15 December 2017, Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a decision setting the amount of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo’s liability for collective reparations at USD 10,000,000. The decision completes the Order for Reparations of 3 March 2015 in the case of The Prosecutor v. Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, which awarded collective reparations to the victims of the war crimes committed by Mr Lubanga, namely: conscripting and enlisting children under the age of 15 into an armed group (Union des patriotes congolais/Forces patriotiques pour la libération du Congo) and using them to participate actively in hostilities.

The Chamber examined a sample of 473 applications representative of all of the victims potentially eligible for reparations and concluded that 425 of them were most likely direct or indirect victims of the crimes of which Mr Lubanga was convicted. The Chamber stated, however, that further evidence established the existence of hundreds or even thousands of additional victims affected by Mr Lubanga’s crimes. The Chamber also stated in this respect that some potential victims were no longer willing or able to take part in the reparations process for safety reasons.

The Chamber recalled that the scope of a convicted person’s liability is proportionate to the harm caused and, among other things, his or her participation in the commission of the crimes for which he or she has been found guilty, in the specific circumstances of the case. The Chamber further recalled that only collective reparations were awarded in this case. The Chamber assessed the harm suffered by the aforementioned 425 persons recognized as victims of Mr Lubanga at USD 3,400,000, and equitably assessed Mr Lubanga’s liability exclusive of the harm suffered by those persons at USD 6,600,000 – bringing the total amount of Mr Lubanga’s liability for collective reparations to USD 10,000,000.

In view of Mr Lubanga’s indigence, the Chamber invited the Board of Directors of the Trust Fund for Victims to examine the possibility of earmarking an additional amount for the implementation of collective reparations in this case and/or continuing its efforts to raise additional funds. The Chamber also instructed the Trust Fund to make contact with the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to explore how the Government might contribute to the reparations process…

Re|Shaping Cultural Policies: Advancing creativity for development – 2005 Convention Global Report – UNESCO

Development – Governance for Culture – Human Rights
Re|Shaping Cultural Policies: Advancing creativity for development
2005 Convention Global Report
UNESCO 2017 :: 252 pages ISBN 978-92-3-100256-4
Executive summary [excerpts]
The 2018 Global Report analyses further progress achieved in implementing the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (2005) since the first such report was published in 2015. It is the work of ten independent experts, who have worked together with the Secretary of the Convention and her colleagues, as well as BOP Consulting and the Principal Editor.


The first and leading goal is to support sustainable systems of governance for culture that contribute to the implementation of SDGs 8, 16 and 17. This challenge is addressed in the four chapters that make up the first section of the Global Report….

The second section of the report relates to the goal of achieving a balanced flow of cultural goods and services and the mobility of artists and cultural professionals worldwide that contributes to the implementation of SDGs 8 and 10…

The third implementation goal of the Convention set out in 2015 was to advance the long-standing cause of integrating a cultural dimension in sustainable development frameworks that contributes to the implementation of SDGs 4, 8 and 17….

The final section of the report is devoted to a key principle of the Convention that has come to the fore in recent years, namely the promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms of expression, information and communication that contribute to the implementation of SDGs 5 and 16.

…The final chapter is devoted to artistic freedom, which is germane not only to the being and creative practice of artists themselves but also to the rights of all cultural producers and audiences. But today, this freedom is increasingly under attack by a range of factors and forces, both governmental and nongovernmental. The chapter reports that attacks on artistic freedom in 2016 perpetrated by both State and non-State actors, mostly against musicians, showed a significant rise compared with 2014 and 2015. Yet, progress has been made in understanding the importance of artistic freedom for the successful protection and promotion of artistic expression itself….

One Planet Summit…World Bank announcement on upstream oil and gas

Heritage Stewardship – Climate Action – One Planet Summit
Global Covenant of Mayors and World Bank Announce Partnership, Securing Billions in Technical and Financial Assistance for Cities Executing Aggressive Climate Action Programs
World Bank partners with the Global Covenant of Mayors and will lend $4.5 billion USD to ensure 150 cities have the funds to implement initiatives to increase sustainability and resilience and fight climate change

Paris, France, 12 December 2017 – Today, at the One Planet Summit in Paris, the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy and World Bank Group, the world’s largest multilateral development bank, announced a new partnership to provide technical and financial assistance to 150 cities across the world undertaking aggressive climate action programs.

The World Bank’s investment of $4.5 billion USD will ensure cities battling the increasing threats of climate change have the funding necessary to implement sustainable initiatives and climate resilience programs.

The partnership will help countries leverage the private sector by developing bankable business plans, structuring public-private partnerships to crowd in private sector investment, monetizing increases in land values, and designing and implementing credit enhancement mechanisms to allow commercial financing to cities.

The partnership brings together the largest global alliance of cities committed to tackling climate change with the world’s leading development institution to design and structure climate resilient investments and to catalyze new sources of capital to finance them in cities across the globe.

The lending will occur over the next three years under the umbrella of the World Bank’s City Resilience Program (CRP), and will draw on resources from IFC and MIGA to provide financial and technical assistance to 150 cities, including current and future Global Covenant cities, to drive climate ambitions forward and upwards and build greater resilience to climate and disaster risks.
The partnership will be inclusive and open to the full spectrum of investors, from multilateral development banks and international financial institutions, to institutional investors, private investors, and local commercial banks.

Ultimately, this collaboration between the Global Covenant of Mayors and the World Bank will help ensure cities realize the investment potential of their climate action commitments, and will have the ability to contribute to their government’s NDC investment plans in order to meet their Paris Agreement targets…


World Bank Group Announcements at One Planet Summit
Paris, 12 December, 2017 – At the One Planet Summit convened by President Emmanuel Macron of France, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, and World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, the World Bank Group made a number of new announcements in line with its ongoing support to developing countries for the effective implementation of the Paris Agreement’s goals.
1. WBG and upstream oil and gas
As a global multilateral development institution, the World Bank Group is continuing to transform its own operations in recognition of a rapidly changing world. To align its support to countries to meet their Paris goals:
The World Bank Group will no longer finance upstream oil and gas, after 2019.
(In exceptional circumstances, consideration will be given to financing upstream gas in the poorest countries where there is a clear benefit in terms of energy access for the poor and the project fits within the countries’ Paris Agreement commitments…


Q&A: The World Bank Group and Upstream Oil and Gas
Date: December 12, 2017 Type: Brief
Q. How will this decision impact the World Bank Group’s portfolio in upstream oil and gas?
Current projects in our portfolio would continue as planned. However, no new investments in upstream oil and gas would be undertaken after 2019, unless under exceptional circumstances as noted in the decision.
This decision underlines our stated commitments to help countries accelerate the transition to sustainable energy and our support for the Paris Agreement goal of keeping global temperature rise to below 2C.

Q. How is “upstream” oil and gas defined?
Upstream is an industry term that refers to exploration of oil and natural gas fields, as well as drilling and operating wells to produce oil and natural gas.

Q. What about countries that have energy needs? How does this decision impact them?
Technological shifts and evolving markets mean that for many countries there are now a wider set of low-cost options for countries to tap to strengthen energy supply and extend access to energy. In the past decade, solar photovoltaic costs have fallen by 80% and wind power costs have fallen 60%. For those countries with oil and gas resources, commercial financing is often readily available for exploration and production. In exceptional circumstances in the poorest countries where there is a benefit to energy access, the World Bank Group will consider upstream natural gas projects.
The World Bank Group will continue to provide technical assistance that helps our client countries strengthen the transparency, governance, institutional capacity and regulatory environment of their energy sectors – including in oil and gas.
The World Bank Group is committed to helping countries extend access to reliable, affordable and sustainable energy for all their citizens. We have a long track record of supporting the expansion and improvement of energy access, both on and off-grid – through power generation, transmission and distribution, support to the private sector, and technical assistance and policy work. Tens of millions of people have gained access to energy as a direct result of World Bank Group support, and we will continue this work.

Q. How does this affect World Bank Group projects in poor countries?
As stated, in exceptional circumstances in the poorest countries where there is a clear benefit to energy access, and this is consistent with countries’ NDC commitments, we will finance upstream natural gas projects.

Q. Will you continue your support of ongoing natural gas projects and why?
The World Bank Group will continue to support and finance midstream and downstream natural gas investments for transport and distribution to consumers and for power generation. In some countries, natural gas still plays an important role during the energy transition. Gas has the lowest CO2 emissions of any fossil fuel. We support natural gas as a flexible energy source that can help countries make the transition more quickly to renewables, expand access to energy for the poor, and displace carbon-intensive coal.

Blockchain –Unpacking the disruptive potential of blockchain technology for human development :: International Development Research Centre

Sustainable Development – Technology

Blockchain –Unpacking the disruptive potential of blockchain technology for human development
International Development Research Centre
Researcher and author: Raúl Zambrano
August 2017 :: 85 pages

Executive Summary
Technologies old and new are propelling the current wave of innovation around the world. Artificial intelligence, robotics and machine learning are all gaining new ground and being deployed in a wide variety of contexts globally. One of the more cryptic but oft-hyped technologies is blockchain, an emergent technology developed as part of Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency invented in 2008. Whereas Artificial Intelligence and robotics innovations
seem to have a dark side, many perceive blockchain technology as a platform for positive and even radical change.

Yet for developing countries, the high sophistication and complex infrastructure requirements (bandwidth, connectivity and high operating costs) of this technology might prove challenging if countries intend to be active players and not just end users or consumers. Exploring the relevance of new technologies to address existing socio-economic gaps and support internationally agreed development targets including the globally-recognized Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is critical for countries in the global South. The question for developing countries is not only how this could be workable but also who could be involved in harnessing blockchain technologies to close
development gaps, foster social inclusion and promote democratic governance.

This white paper explores the potential blockchain technology could have in fostering human development in developing countries. The first part (after the executive summary) provides a non-technical overview of blockchain. It then moves to illustrate the range of applications in development areas and sectors from a public/private goods perspective. The third section examines the actual relevance of blockchains in developing countries. The paper concludes with a series of recommendations for additional research and potential development programming using blockchain technologies. The annexes lay out the information and communications technology for development (ICTD) framework and a more technical presentation of blockchain technologies.

This paper centers on blockchain applications that go beyond cryptocurrencies. The core focus is thus on the use of blockchain technology as a generic application platform in developing countries….

Recommendations [p.55, text bolding from original]
Undertake a series of selected case studies on ongoing blockchain technology initiatives that are taking place in developing countries. While some anecdotal information on such initiatives can be found, little in terms of academic or developmental research is currently available. Indeed, a large vacuum exists here that has helped spread blockchain hype even more.

Undertake further research and analysis on both blockchains for governance and the governance of blockchains vis-à-vis governments and the provision of public goods. In particular, the links between trust, consensus building and representation have not been explored in the existing literature.

Link current and future work on blockchain technology to Artificial Intelligence as the latter is being systematically introduced into the technology and related “decentralized applications” or Dapps. This points back to blockchain’s governance issue and the governance of algorithms in general which are not participatory, nor transparent. Is blockchain part of the solution?

Consider opening new and pioneering research on the governance of algorithms and the impact they can have in society, especially in developing countries. This theme is in turn linked to the notion that technologies are social products. In the end, society ends up shaping how technology is harnessed. However, the prevailing view today seems to be the opposite, blockchain technology included.

Explore innovative approaches and solutions to facilitate blockchain technology access to those sitting at the bottom of the pyramid, focusing on access and use of cryptographic tools. Here, distinguishing technology use and ownership from its benefits is crucial. Previous technology deployments have shown that poor communities can benefit from them without directly using or owning a particular technology. Community networks and shared mobile telephone use are well-known examples here.

Explore the role of ongoing innovation initiatives and existing tech hubs in developing countries to support blockchain deployments. Africa and Asia, in particular, have a considerable number of technology hubs which can furnish adequate expertise to deploy blockchain technologies with local expertise and to target the provision of public goods.

Consider funding or supporting small blockchain pilots or prototypes focused on specific development themes, the SDGs or local priorities in developing countries. Funding need not be large but special attention should be placed on the human development impact. As mentioned above, identity and government services using blockchain technologies are the most relevant at this point and have already been implemented in other contexts.

Support or help create a network of blockchain technology innovators and entice them to support applications that foster public goods provision. Attracting local innovators in emerging and developing economies is of critical importance here.

Support the creation of a blockchain for blockchain-related projects in developing countries, or consider the creation of a related sustainable knowledge base. Partnering with international experts and other innovators on a global scale should be part of such initiative.

There has been some action by multi-laterals and overseas development funding agencies on linking blockchain technologies to the implementation of the SDGs. Development agencies and development practitioners should join these efforts to track the latest developments and
eventually undertake further research on the topic.

Launch or help organize a ‘blockchain for development’ network, or a decentralized autonomous organization with key donor countries and organizations. The main goal of such a network could be to keep the development perspective atop, and above blockchain itself.

Hewlett Foundation announces $600 million philanthropic commitment to climate change

Heritage Stewardship: Climate

Hewlett Foundation announces $600 million philanthropic commitment to climate change
December 11, 2017
Menlo Park, Calif.―The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation announced today that it will donate $600 million over a five-year period from 2018-2023 to nonprofits globally working on solving climate change…

“Huge numbers of people are already suffering from climate change from unprecedented flooding, superstorms, drought, famine, wildfires, and pest-borne disease – and this is just a fraction of what our children and grandchildren will suffer if we don’t get this under control,” said William and Flora Hewlett Foundation President Larry Kramer. “The world has made incredible progress in recent years, in ways that both mitigate warming and generate new economic opportunities. But we still have a long way to go. The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation is proud to increase its commitment to creating a clean energy system, and we urge all leaders – whether in philanthropy, business, or government – to step up to this challenge and increase their own commitments to solving climate change. Everyone must find their role in the solution—our future depends on it.”…

The Hewlett Foundation’s charitable donations will support nonpartisan, non-profit organizations working on transitioning energy systems from fossil fuels to clean energy, with the goal of limiting global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius by 2050 and avoiding unprecedented, widespread human suffering. The foundation’s donations will be focused in the biggest emitting countries and regions of the world: the United States, China, India, and Europe, supporting organizations that: conduct scientific research and policy analysis, offer policy makers much-needed technical expertise on energy systems and transitions, advocate on behalf of a wide range of communities and constituencies, promote private-public partnerships to achieve national and state clean energy goals, and convene leaders through best-practice and expertise-sharing networks in these geographies. The foundation will also look to support organizations that are integrating solutions across sectors to overcome our long-term energy challenges, as well as organizations fostering public-private partnerships to finance clean energy systems, and encouraging private investment for the commercial deployment of viable new technologies…

Featured Journal Content

Featured Journal Content

BMC Medicine
(Accessed 16 December 2017)
11 December 2017
Mapping the evidence on pharmacological interventions for non-affective psychosis in humanitarian non-specialised settings: a UNHCR clinical guidance
Authors: Giovanni Ostuzzi, Corrado Barbui, Charlotte Hanlon, Sudipto Chatterjee, Julian Eaton, Lynne Jones, Derrick Silove and Peter Ventevogel
Populations exposed to humanitarian emergencies are particularly vulnerable to mental health problems, including new onset, relapse and deterioration of psychotic disorders. Inadequate care for this group may lead to human rights abuses and even premature death. The WHO Mental Health Gap Action Programme Intervention Guide (mhGAP-IG), and its adaptation for humanitarian settings (mhGAP-HIG), provides guidance for management of mental health conditions by non-specialised healthcare professionals. However, the pharmacological treatment of people with non-affective psychosis who do not improve with mhGAP first-line antipsychotic treatments is not addressed. In order to fill this gap, UNHCR has formulated specific guidance on the second-line pharmacological treatment of non-affective psychosis in humanitarian, non-specialised settings.
Following the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) methodology, a group of international experts performed an extensive search and retrieval of evidence on the basis of four scoping questions. Available data were critically appraised and summarised. Clinical guidance was produced by integrating this evidence base with context-related feasibility issues, preferences, values and resource-use considerations.
When first-line treatments recommended by mhGAP (namely haloperidol and chlorpromazine) are not effective, no other first-generation antipsychotics are likely to provide clinically meaningful improvements. Risperidone or olanzapine may represent beneficial second-line options. However, if these second-line medications do not produce clinically significant beneficial effects, there are two possibilities. First, to switch to the alternative (olanzapine to risperidone or vice versa) or, second, to consider clozapine, provided that specialist supervision and regular laboratory monitoring are available in the long term. If clinically relevant depressive, cognitive or negative symptoms occur, the use of a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor may be considered in addition or as an alternative to standard psychological interventions.
Adapting scientific evidence into practical guidance for non-specialised health workers in humanitarian settings was challenging due to the paucity of relevant evidence as well as the imprecision and inconsistency of results between studies. Pragmatic outcome evaluation studies from low-resource contexts are urgently needed. Nonetheless, the UNHCR clinical guidance is based on best available evidence and can help to address the compelling issue of undertreated, non-affective psychosis in humanitarian settings.

11 December 2017
Individual, collective, and transgenerational traumatization in the Yazidi
Authors: Jan Ilhan Kizilhan and Michael Noll-Hussong
In recent years, Islamic terrorism has manifested itself with an unexpectedly destructive force. Despite the fact that Islamic terrorism commences locally in most cases, it has spread its terror worldwide. In August 2014, when troops of the self-proclaimed ‘Islamic State’ conquered areas of northern Iraq, they turned on the long-established religious minorities in the area with tremendous brutality, especially towards the Yazidis. Vast numbers of men were executed, and women and children were abducted and willfully subjected to sexual violence. With the aim of systematic destruction of the Yazidi community, the religious minority was to be eliminated and the will of the victims broken. The medical and mental health issues arising from the combination of subjective, collective, and cultural traumatization, as well as the subsequent migrant and refugee crisis, are therefore extraordinary and require novel and wise concepts of integrated medical care.

11 December 2017
Humanitarian and primary healthcare needs of refugee women and children in Afghanistan
Authors: Ariel Higgins-Steele, David Lai, Paata Chikvaidze, Khaksar Yousufi, Zelaikha Anwari, Richard Peeperkorn and Karen Edmond
This Commentary describes the situation and healthcare needs of Afghans returning to their country of origin. With more than 600,000 Afghans returned from Pakistan and approximately 450,000 Afghans returned from Iran in 2016, the movement of people, which has been continuing in 2017, presents additional burden on the weak health system and confounds new health vulnerabilities especially for women and children. Stewardship and response is required at all levels: the central Ministry of Public Health, Provincial Health Departments and community leaders all have important roles, while continued support from development partners and technical experts is needed to assist the health sector to address the emergency and primary healthcare needs of returnee and internally displaced women, children and families.


Child Care, Health and Development
January 2018 Volume 44, Issue 1 Pages 1–171
ISSOP position statement on migrant child health (pages 161–170)
ISSOP Migration Working Group
Version of Record online: 23 JUL 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/cch.12485
ISSOP wishes to express our appreciation toward the countries, communities, organisations, and volunteers who provide humanitarian assistance to migrants. We find it disturbing that some countries refuse to protect the basic human rights of migrants. For the full text version of this position statement, please go to:
Greater numbers of children are on the move than ever before. In 2015, the number of forcibly displaced people across the globe reached 65.3 million. Of the more than 1 million migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees who arrived in Europe in 2015, nearly one third were children, and 90,000 of these children were unaccompanied.

Child migrants are among the most vulnerable, even after arriving at their destination. The health of migrant children is related to their health status before their journey, the conditions during their journey and at their destination, and the physical and mental health of their caregivers. These children may have experienced numerous forms of trauma including war, violence, separation from family, and exploitation. They may suffer from malnutrition and communicable diseases including vaccine-preventable diseases. Pregnant women, newborns, and unaccompanied minors are particularly vulnerable groups. Social isolation is a major risk factor for all migrant children that compound other health risks even after settlement in their new home. Lack of health information, language, and cultural differences serve as major barriers to adequate, timely, and appropriate healthcare. In spite the challenges they face, migrant children demonstrate remarkable resilience that can be nurtured to promote good mental and physical health.

Migrant children, irrespective of their legal status, are entitled to healthcare of the same standard provided to children in the resident population, as stated in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. It is imperative that the health sector includes informed health workers who are able to identify the health risks and needs of these children and provide culturally competent care. In order to achieve this and promote the rights of migrant children to optimal health and well-being, ISSOP recommends that:
:: Programmes and activities designed to promote and protect migrant child health and well-being must be designed in collaboration with all sectors involved, including the education and social sectors, and should always include the voices of migrant children and their families.

:: Health services should be readily available and easily accessible for preventive, maintenance, and curative care regardless of the child’s legal status. Care should be of the same standard as care provided to the local population.
:: Health information should be provided that is culturally sensitive and readily available in a language that migrant children and families can understand.
:: Medical interpreters and cultural mediators should be available during healthcare encounters, and personnel working with migrants should receive training in cultural competence.
:: Health professionals should not participate in age determination until methods with acceptable scientific and ethical standards have been developed.
:: Professionals working with migrant children and families should have access to emotional support services.
:: Evidence-based best practices in the care of migrant children should be identified and made widely available to health workers.
:: An observatory should be established to study the factors leading to poor psychosocial and mental health in migrant children and youth.
:: Paediatricians and paediatric societies should work to improve the sensitivity of their respective populations towards migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees.


Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)
Polio this week as of 13 December 2017 [GPEI]
:: In Pakistan, the polio eradication programme and the routine immunization programme are working hand in hand to increase vaccination coverage in urban areas.
:: Pakistan and Afghanistan are implementing sub-national rounds during the second half of December; the rounds are synchronized to ensure that all the high risk mobile populations are efficiently reached with polio vaccine.
:: Summary of newly-reported viruses this week:
Afghanistan:  Two new WPV1 positive environmental samples reported, both collected from Nangarhar province.
Pakistan: One new case of wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) reported in Sindh province, Pakistan. This follows the advance notification of the case last week. Two new WPV1 positive environmental samples reported, one from Sindh province, and one from Balochistan province. Syria: Four new circulating vaccine derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) cases reported, all from Deir Ez-Zor governorate.

Editor’s Note:
It continues to be unclear why the weekly GPEI report on new cases at country level [above] does not capture cases in Syria [below].
Syria cVDPV2 outbreak situation report 26, 12 December 2017
Situation update 12 December 2017
:: Four new cases of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV2) were reported this week. Three cases were reported from Mayadeen district, one case from Boukamal district, Deir Ez-Zor governorate. The most recent case (by date of onset) is 21 September 2017 from Boukamal district.
:: The total number of confirmed cVDPV2 cases is 74.
:: Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) partners continue to support the Syrian Ministry of Health with planning for the second phase of the outbreak response.
:: A new environmental surveillance laboratory has been successfully established in Damascus this week. WHO has led the training of surveillance officers and staff from the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Water Resources.


WHO Grade 3 Emergencies  [to 16 December 2017]
The Syrian Arab Republic
:: Saving the lives of Syrian mothers and children
13 December 2017, Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic — Through a donation from the Government of Spain, WHO is providing medicines to support health services in 7 governorates in the Syrian Arab Republic. WHO has provided anti-D immunoglobulin injections and other medicines, including anesthetics, to health facilities in 7 governorates in Syria through a generous donation from the Government of Spain. The grant provided sufficient medicines for more than 4500 treatments
:: Syria cVDPV2 outbreak situation report 26, 12 December 2017
[See Polio above for detail]

WHO Grade 2 Emergencies  [to 16 December 2017]
:: Bangladesh moves to protect Rohingya children from diphtheria 12 December 2017
[See joint announcement below]


Bangladesh moves to protect Rohingya children from diphtheria
COX’S BAZAR, Bangladesh, 12 December 2017 – The Government of Bangladesh, with the support of UNICEF, the World Health Organization and GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, today launched  a vaccination campaign against diphtheria and other preventable diseases for all Rohingya children aged 6 weeks to 6 years living in 12 camps and temporary settlements near the Myanmar border.
Accelerated immunization will cover nearly 255 000 children in Ukhiya and Teknaf sub-districts in Cox’s Bazar, while the Government and health partners continue to increase support for diphtheria treatment and prevention….


South Sudan implements the second round of Oral Cholera Vaccination to enhance outbreak response efforts in high risk locations
Juba, 14 December 2017:  Cholera in South Sudan remains an important public health problem which has affected 21 571 people and resulted in 462 deaths since the onset of the outbreak on 18 June 2016. This has been the longest and largest outbreak in magnitude and geographical extent, its impact exacerbated by the protracted crisis, insecurity, displacements and declining access to safe drinking water and sanitation. Access to improved sanitation facilities across South Sudan remains at less than 10% while access to safe drinking water from improved water sources is estimated at 60%.
As part of the ongoing cholera response, the Ministry of Health of South Sudan with support from WHO and partners has deployed cholera vaccines to complement traditional cholera response strategies in several high-risk populations and locations. From the 2,178,177 doses secured by WHO in 2017, a total of 1,133,579 doses have already been deployed with 879,239 doses used during the first round and 254,340 doses utilized in second round campaigns in 16 cholera-affected and high-risk populations countrywide.
“When used alongside other interventions for improving access to safe water and sanitation, oral cholera vaccines are very effective for cholera prevention and control, giving protection to those at risk, especially when the recommended two doses are administered,” emphasized Dr Pinyi, Director General for Preventive Services at the Ministry of Health of South Sudan.
The most recent consignment of 737,819 doses, requested by WHO from the Global Task Force on Cholera Control (GTFCC) stockpile was in Juba by 11 December, 2017. The vaccines have been deployed to areas and counties with pending second round vaccination campaigns and these include Kapoeta South, Kapoeta East, Tonj East, Aburoc and Malakal Town…

UN OCHA – L3 Emergencies
The UN and its humanitarian partners are currently responding to three ‘L3’ emergencies. This is the global humanitarian system’s classification for the response to the most severe, large-scale humanitarian crises. 
Syrian Arab Republic
:: 14 Dec 2017  Health Cluster Weekly Situation Report: Whole of Syria, Week 50 (8 – 15 December 2017)

:: 11 Dec 2017  Statement by the Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, Calling on Parties to Facilitate Unimpeded Aid Delivery [EN/AR]
:: Yemen: Escalation of armed clashes and airstrikes in Sana’a City – Flash Update 2 | 7 December 2017

:: Iraq: Humanitarian Bulletin, November 2017 | Issued on 8 December

UN OCHA – Corporate Emergencies
When the USG/ERC declares a Corporate Emergency Response, all OCHA offices, branches and sections provide their full support to response activities both at HQ and in the field.
:: ISCG Situation Update: Rohingya Refugee Crisis, Cox’s Bazar – 14 December 2017

:: 12 Dec 2017  Ethiopia Humanitarian Bulletin Issue 42 | 27 Nov – 10 Dec 2017
…Ethiopia launched Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework in line with pledges made at Leaders’ Summit on Refugees in September 2016.
…30,000 refugees to benefit from employment opportunities under the “Ethiopian Jobs Compact”.
…Government to phase out encampment policy over 10 years and advance out-of-camp and local integration options.

:: Fact Sheet NE Nigeria: Bama, Bama LGA (as of 12 December 2017)
:: UN allocates $13.4 million to support 1 million people with life-saving aid in North-East Nigeria
(Abuja, 11 December 2017): The United Nations, through the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund, has allocated $13.4 million to help thousands of children, women and men in need of urgent humanitarian assistance in crisis-hit north-east Nigeria.
The humanitarian emergency in the northeastern Nigeria is one of the most severe in the world today, with 8.5 million people in need of life-saving aid in 2017 in the worst-affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe.
The Nigeria Humanitarian Fund (NHF) allocation will help address this devastating situation by financing 24 projects in the sectors of protection, nutrition, water and sanitation, health, education, shelter and non-food items, rapid response and early recovery, targeting a total of 950,000 people…

The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health :: Education :: Heritage Stewardship ::
Sustainable Development
Week ending 9 December 2017

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
GE2P2 Global Foundation – Governance, Evidence, Ethics, Policy, Practice

pdf version:The Sentinel_ period ending 9 December 2017

:: Week in Review  [See selected posts just below]
:: Key Agency/IGO/Governments Watch – Selected Updates from 30+ entities
:: INGO/Consortia/Joint Initiatives Watch – Media Releases, Major Initiatives, Research
:: Foundation/Major Donor Watch -Selected Updates
:: Journal Watch – Key articles and abstracts from 100+ peer-reviewed journals

HUMAN RIGHTS DAY, 10 DECEMBER 2017 :: Values enshrined in Universal Declaration of Human Rights under assault, must be defended – Zeid

Human Rights

Values enshrined in Universal Declaration of Human Rights under assault, must be defended – Zeid
“Human Rights Day falls on 10 December every year, the day when, back in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – the world’s most widely translated* and possibly most influential document – was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly, itself just three years old at the time.”

“Thanks to the Universal Declaration, the daily life of millions has been improved, untold human suffering has been prevented and the foundations for a more just world have been laid. While its promise is yet to be fulfilled, the very fact that it has stood the test of time is testament to the enduring universality of its perennial values of equality, justice and human dignity.”

“Next year – on 10 December 2018 – we will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and this year’s Human Rights Day on Sunday marks the beginning of a year-long 70th anniversary commemoration.”

“It will also, I hope, be a year of intense and profound reflection on the continuing and vital importance of each and every one of the 30 articles contained in this extraordinary document.”
“The Universal Declaration was drawn up by a world wounded by war, the remedy prescribed by States to inoculate their populations against their own worst instincts and omissions. It was drawn up by representatives, and endorsed by leaders, of countries from all continents, who were – to quote from the Declaration’s preamble – fully, recently, sorely, aware that ‘disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind.’”

“It was drawn up with the memory and knowledge of the Holocaust, and the attitudes and accumulation of policies and practices that made it possible, seared on the conscience of those who failed to prevent it.”

“It was drawn up to cover not only civil and political rights, but also social, economic and cultural rights, in the full understanding that you cannot have development without human rights and you cannot have a full enjoyment of human rights without development – and peace and security depend on both.”

“Today, as World War II and the Holocaust grow distant, that awareness appears to be evaporating at an alarming rate, and the enormous progress that has been achieved through progressive enactment of human rights principles, as laid out in the Universal Declaration, is being increasingly forgotten or wilfully ignored.”

“The universality of rights is being contested across much of the world. It is under broad assault from terrorists, authoritarian leaders and populists who seem only too willing to sacrifice, in varying degrees, the rights of others, for the sake of power. Their combined influence has grown at the expense of liberal democratic order, peace and justice.”

“We see mounting cruelties and crimes being perpetrated in conflicts across the world; an antagonistic nationalism on the rise, with surging levels of racism, xenophobia and other forms of discrimination taking root, even in countries which had grown complacent in the belief these were problems of the past, rather than ones that could all too easily re-emerge and reassert themselves.”

“We see measures to end discrimination and promote greater justice – some of the fruits of the Universal Declaration and the immense body of law and practice it has spawned – starting to be being dismantled by those who seek profit from hatred and exploitation. We see a backlash against many human rights advances, including on the rights of women and those of many minorities, in the Americas, Asia, Africa and Europe.”

“We see political leaders who openly deny the fundamental truth of article 1 of the Universal Declaration which states that ‘All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.’ Political leaders who defy their forbears’ promise ‘to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance.’”

“The Universal Declaration is a commitment, by all States, that they will protect and promote human rights. It is essential that we continue to hold those States to account. But human rights are too important to be left to States alone – too precious to all of us, and to our children.”
“As we enter the 70th anniversary year of the Universal Declaration, it is right that we should honour its achievements and pay tribute to its inspired architects. At the same time, we should be under no illusions: the legacy of the Universal Declaration is facing threats on many fronts. If we let our commitment to uphold human rights drift – if we turn aside when they are abused – they will slowly shrivel and die. If that happens, the cost in human life and misery will be immense, and the whole of humanity will pay a heavy price.”

“Ultimately it is up to us, to ‘we the people,’ for whom this Declaration was written. It is up to me; to you; to everyone in every city, province and country where there is still space to express thoughts, participate in decisions, raise one’s voice. We need to act to promote peace, fight back against discrimination, and to uphold justice.”

“We must organize and mobilise in defence of human decency, in defence of a better common future. We must not stand by, bewildered, as the post-World War II system of values unravels around us. We must take a robust and determined stand: by resolutely supporting the human rights of others, we also stand up for our own rights and those of generations to come.”


UNESCO Commemorates 70th anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights with a focus on freedom of expression
08 December 2017
Events at UNESCO Headquarters focusing on the safety of journalists and human rights in the modern world on 12 December will mark the beginning of the year-long observance to mark the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which informs all of the Organization’s work all year, ev

Donors pledge US$857 million to protect and assist refugees in 2018

Humanitarian Response – Refugee Operations Funding

Donors pledge US$857 million to protect and assist refugees in 2018
05 December 2017
GENEVA – Donor governments on Tuesday pledged an initial US$857 million to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, to fund operations destined to help some 67 million displaced or stateless people worldwide in 2018.

The pledges, made at an annual meeting in Geneva, amount to around 11 per cent of UNHCR’s total 2018 funding needs of over US$7.5 billion. This year’s pledges are considerably higher than those made at end 2016, when US$701 million was pledged.

While today’s pledges do not cover all of next year’s funding needs, they can be seen as a useful indication of the anticipated funding levels and of overall support, allowing the organization to plan and continue operations that provide life-saving assistance and protection, without interruption. These include operations in some of the biggest emergencies around the world such as those in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

While this figure represents the highest level of funds committed by States at this pledging conference, the gap between the funds received and the needs of refugees and other displaced people continues to grow, in a context of new crises and worsening displacement running at record levels.

“A year of no peace and much war is about to end,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. “Refugee crises grow. Refugee needs grow as well.” He stated that UNHCR is often asked what these figures mean and what the impact of funding gaps is. “It means that UNHCR has to prioritize, sometimes mercilessly,” he explained. “This can mean some (refugees) will be left to fend for themselves during the harsh winter months and others won’t get the assistance they need to reintegrate upon return.”…

Human rights and health : WHO Fact Sheet – December 2017

Health – Human Rights

WHO Fact Sheet – Human rights and health
December 2017
Key facts
:: The WHO Constitution (1946) envisages “…the highest attainable standard of health as a fundamental right of every human being.”
:: Understanding health as a human right creates a legal obligation on states to ensure access to timely, acceptable, and affordable health care of appropriate quality as well as to providing for the underlying determinants of health, such as safe and potable water, sanitation, food, housing, health-related information and education, and gender equality.
:: A States’ obligation to support the right to health – including through the allocation of “maximum available resources” to progressively realise this goal – is reviewed through various international human rights mechanisms, such as the Universal Periodic Review, or the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. In many cases, the right to health has been adopted into domestic law or Constitutional law.
:: A rights-based approach to health requires that health policy and programmes must prioritize the needs of those furthest behind first towards greater equity, a principle that has been echoed in the recently adopted 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Universal Health Coverage. (1)
:: The right to health must be enjoyed without discrimination on the grounds of race, age, ethnicity or any other status. Non-discrimination and equality requires states to take steps to redress any discriminatory law, practice or policy.
:: Another feature of rights-based approaches is meaningful participation. Participation means ensuring that national stakeholders – including non-state actors such as non-governmental organizations – are meaningfully involved in all phases of programming: assessment, analysis, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

“The right to the highest attainable standard of health” implies a clear set of legal obligations on states to ensure appropriate conditions for the enjoyment of health for all people without discrimination.

The right to health is one of a set of internationally agreed human rights standards, and is inseparable or ‘indivisible’ from these other rights. This means achieving the right to health is both central to, and dependent upon, the realisation of other human rights, to food, housing, work, education, information, and participation.

The right to health, as with other rights, includes both freedoms and entitlements:
:: Freedoms include the right to control one’s health and body (for example, sexual and reproductive rights) and to be free from interference (for example, free from torture and non-consensual medical treatment and experimentation).
:: Entitlements include the right to a system of health protection that gives everyone an equal opportunity to enjoy the highest attainable level of health.

Focus on disadvantaged populations
Disadvantage and marginalization serve to exclude certain populations in societies from enjoying good health. Three of the world’s most fatal communicable diseases – malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis – disproportionately affect the world’s poorest populations, and in many cases are compounded and exacerbated by other inequalities and inequities including gender, age, sexual orientation or gender identity and migration status. Conversely the burden of non-communicable diseases – often perceived as affecting high-income countries – is increasing disproportionately among lower-income countries and populations, and is largely associated with lifestyle and behaviour factors as well as environmental determinants, such as safe housing, water and sanitation that are inextricably linked to human rights.

A focus on disadvantage also reveals evidence of those who are exposed to greater rates of ill-health and face significant obstacles to accessing quality and affordable healthcare, including indigenous populations. While data collection systems are often ill-equipped to capture data on these groups, reports show that these populations have higher mortality and morbidity rates, due to noncommunicable diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and chronic respiratory disease. These populations may also be the subject of laws and policies that further compound their marginalization and make it harder for them to access healthcare prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and care services.

Violations of human rights in health
Violations or lack of attention to human rights can have serious health consequences. Overt or implicit discrimination in the delivery of health services – both within the health workforce and between health workers and service users – acts as a powerful barrier to health services, and contributes to poor quality care.

Mental ill-health often leads to a denial of dignity and autonomy, including forced treatment or institutionalization, and disregard of individual legal capacity to make decisions. Paradoxically, mental health is still given inadequate attention in public health, in spite of the high levels of violence, poverty and social exclusion that contribute to worse mental and physical health outcomes for people with mental health disorders.

Violations of human rights not only contribute to and exacerbate poor health, but for many, including people with disabilities, indigenous populations, women living with HIV, sex workers, people who use drugs, transgender and intersex people, the health care setting presents a risk of heightened exposure to human rights abuses – including coercive or forced treatment and procedures.

Human rights-based approaches
A human rights-based approach to health provides a set of clear principles for setting and evaluating health policy and service delivery, targeting discriminatory practices and unjust power relations that are at the heart of inequitable health outcomes.

In pursuing a rights-based approach, health policy, strategies and programmes should be designed explicitly to improve the enjoyment of all people to the right to health, with a focus on the furthest behind first. The core principles and standards of a rights-based approach are detailed below.

Core principles of human rights
States and other duty-bearers are answerable for the observance of human rights. However, there is also a growing movement recognising the importance of other non-state actors such as businesses in the respect and protection of human rights. (2)

Equality and non-discrimination
The principle of non-discrimination seeks ‘…to guarantee that human rights are exercised without discrimination of any kind based on race, colour, sex, language, religion, political, or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status such as disability, age, marital and family status, sexual orientation and gender identity, health status, place of residence, economic and social situation’.

Any discrimination, for example in access to health care, as well as in means and entitlements for achieving this access, is prohibited on the basis of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, physical or mental disability, health status (including HIV/AIDS), sexual orientation ,and civil, political, social or other status, which has the intention or effect of impairing the equal enjoyment or exercise of the right to health.

The principle of non-discrimination and equality requires WHO to address discrimination in guidance, policies, and practices, such as relating to the distribution and provision of resources and health services. Non-discrimination and equality are key measures required to address the social determinants affecting the enjoyment of the right to health. Functioning national health information systems and availability of disaggregated data are essential to be able to identify the most vulnerable groups and diverse needs.

Participation requires ensuring that all concerned stakeholders including non-state actors have ownership and control over development processes in all phases of the programming cycle: assessment, analysis, planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation. Participation goes well beyond consultation or a technical addition to project design; it should include explicit strategies to empower citizens, especially the most marginalized, so that their expectations are recognised by the State.

Participation is important to accountability as it provides “…checks and balances which do not allow unitary leadership to exercise power in an arbitrary manner”.

Universal, indivisible and interdependent
Human rights are universal and inalienable. They apply equally, to all people, everywhere, without distinction. Human Rights standards – to food, health, education, to be free from torture, inhuman or degrading treatment – are also interrelated. The improvement of one right facilitates advancement of the others. Likewise, the deprivation of one right adversely affects the others.

Core elements of a right to health
Progressive realization using maximum available resources
No matter what level of resources they have at their disposal, progressive realisation requires that governments take immediate steps within their means towards the fulfilment of these rights. Regardless of resource capacity, the elimination of discrimination and improvements in the legal and juridical systems must be acted upon with immediate effect.

States should not allow the existing protection of economic, social, and cultural rights to deteriorate unless there are strong justifications for a retrogressive measure. For example, introducing school fees in secondary education which had formerly been free of charge would constitute a deliberate retrogressive measure. To justify it, a State would have to demonstrate that it adopted the measure only after carefully considering all the options, assessing the impact and fully using its maximum available resources.

Core components of the right to health
The right to health (Article 12) was defined in General Comment 14 of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights – a committee of Independent Experts, responsible for overseeing adherence to the Covenant. (4) The right includes the following core components:

Refers to the need for a sufficient quantity of functioning public health and health care facilities, goods and services, as well as programmes for all. Availability can be measured through the analysis of disaggregated data to different and multiple stratifiers including by age, sex, location and socio-economic status and qualitative surveys to understand coverage gaps and health workforce coverage

Requires that health facilities, goods, and services must be accessible to everyone. Accessibility has four overlapping dimensions:
:: non-discrimination
:: physical accessibility
:: economical accessibility (affordability)
:: information accessibility.

Assessing accessibility may require analysis of barriers – physical financial or otherwise – that exist, and how they may affect the most vulnerable, and call for the establishment or application of clear norms and standards in both law and policy to address these barriers, as well as robust monitoring systems of health-related information and whether this information is reaching all populations.

Relates to respect for medical ethics, culturally appropriate, and sensitivity to gender. Acceptability requires that health facilities, goods, services and programmes are people-centred and cater for the specific needs of diverse population groups and in accordance with international standards of medical ethics for confidentiality and informed consent.

Facilities, goods, and services must be scientifically and medically approved. Quality is a key component of Universal Health Coverage, and includes the experience as well as the perception of health care. Quality health services should be:
:: Safe – avoiding injuries to people for whom the care is intended;
:: Effective – providing evidence-based healthcare services to those who need them;
:: People-centred – providing care that responds to individual preferences, needs and values;
:: Timely – reducing waiting times and sometimes harmful delays.
:: Equitable – providing care that does not vary in quality on account of gender, ethnicity, geographic location, and socio-economic status;
:: Integrated – providing care that makes available the full range of health services throughout the life course;
:: Efficient – maximizing the benefit of available resources and avoiding waste

WHO response
WHO has made a commitment to mainstream human rights into healthcare programmes and policies on national and regional levels by looking at underlying determinants of health as part of a comprehensive approach to health and human rights.

In addition, WHO has been actively strengthening its role in providing technical, intellectual, and political leadership on the right to health including:
:: strengthening the capacity of WHO and its Member States to integrate a human rights-based approach to health;
:: advancing the right to health in international law and international development processes; and
:: advocating for health-related human rights, including the right to health.

Addressing the needs and rights of individuals at different stages across the life course requires taking a comprehensive approach within the broader context of promoting human rights, gender equality, and equity.

As such, WHO promotes a concise and unifying framework that builds on existing approaches in gender, equity, and human rights to generate more accurate and robust solutions to health inequities. The integrated nature of the framework is an opportunity to build on foundational strengths and complementarities between these approaches to create a cohesive and efficient approach to promote health and well-being for all.

1. Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
UN General Assembly. 2015. 21 October. UN Doc. A/RES/70/1.
2. General comment No. 20: Non-discrimination in economic, social and cultural rights
Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. 2009.
3. Guiding principles for business and human rights, Implementing the United Nations “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework
Office of the high Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva, 2011.
CESCR General Comment No. 14: The Right to the Highest Attainable Standard of Health (Art. 12)
CESCR (Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights). 2000. ). 11 August. Doc. E/C.

“On Culture and Development” Remarks by World Bank Group Senior VP Mahmoud Mohieldin

Heritage Stewardship

“On Culture and Development” Remarks by World Bank Group Senior VP Mahmoud Mohieldin
30th General Assembly of the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM)
Thursday, November 30, 2017 Rome, Italy

Distinguished delegates, excellencies, and friends, I am delighted to be here today — at the 30th General Assembly of the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property — to talk about the scope of the development challenges embedded in cultural heritage preservation, the World Bank Group’s work in this area, especially in fragile and post-conflict settings, and the programs that we are currently doing in partnership with UNESCO and other development partners to develop global knowledge and improve our effectiveness…

Cultural Heritage in the Context of Global Goals and Conditions
As you know, in 2015, 193 countries endorsed the 17 Sustainable Development Goals — or SDGs — which seek to protect people and the planet, while leaving no one behind, by 2030. These goals are extremely ambitious — ending poverty, hunger, child mortality, improving incomes, etc. — and global economic, environmental, and social conditions won’t make them any easier to attain.

Yet by 2030, and following the current patterns, disasters are projected to cost cities around the world over $300 billion dollars, with the concentration of people and assets in cities making them vulnerable to cascading failures in the wake of a disaster. Conflicts and climate-induced displacement are pushing even more people towards cities. Right now, there are 66 million inhabitants displaced, with roughly one-third of those settling in cities. These numbers are expected to grow significantly in the future, because of climate change.

Cultural landmarks and the historic core of cities are often the victims of collateral damage, during urban battles, or even when deliberately targeted due to their symbolic meaning. Disasters and conflicts not only limit people’s access to their cultural heritage, but also affect their intangible practices and creative industry.

Cultural heritage is a scarce resource, but when used properly, can be a valuable asset for recovery and critical economic growth to reduce poverty and achieve other important social goals. Rebuilding sustainable cities after disasters is an opportunity that should not be missed to: strengthen urban resilience and social inclusion; improve land use planning; rebuild more efficient infrastructure; and conserve cultural heritage to contribute to both economic recovery and reconciliation….

Disasters send us a reminder that investing in cultural heritage conservation can make our heritage resilient and mitigate the damaging effects of disasters. In the medium term, conserving and promoting our unique cultural heritage would also attract sustainable and responsible tourists, encourage the private sector to invest, create jobs, encourage creativity, while protecting the environment.

We can preserve historic monuments and landmarks, while improving cultural amenities and public facilities. Our libraries, museums, theaters, parks, and spaces for performance, art and creativity, both conserve our heritage and help give birth to a creative and entrepreneurial future.

World Bank Group Approach
The World Bank Group has a long history in this area, integrating these approaches into our country partnership strategies, and aligning them with national objectives and the World Bank Group’s twin goals to end poverty and boost shared prosperity in a sustainable manner.
The World Bank’s role in the protection of built cultural heritage dates back to the first reconstruction loan to France after World War II. It is only, however, in the late 1970s and early 1980s that the institution started to engage in cultural heritage conservation in developing countries, such as the pilot rehabilitation of the Hafsia neighborhood in the Tunis medina or the upgrading of Lahore’s historic walled city.

The Bank Group increased lending and technical assistance for cultural heritage in the late 1990s, following the international conference held in Florence in 1999, and now has financed more than 300 lending and non-lending operations that include components in historic city regeneration and cultural preservation…

World Bank Group Cultural Heritage Work in Post-Conflict and Post-Disaster Reconstruction
The Bank’s experience regarding cultural heritage at risk in conflict-affected and post-conflict countries is always part of comprehensive plans, designed in the context of development partnerships. World Bank Group-financed post-conflict or disaster projects often involve several development partners, given the humanitarian, reconstruction and recovery dimensions that are at the core of the activities. They are challenging to implement, as they need to strike a delicate balance between the imperatives of speedy recovery, sustainable development, and improvement of the living conditions, while taking the cultural dimension into account.

Right now, the World Bank Group has a portfolio of about $1 billion dollars in support of cultural heritage conservation and post-disaster/post conflict reconstruction around the world. We are involved in the three phases of post-conflict reconstruction of historic cities: pre-conflict (prevention by strengthening disaster risk management and institutional preparedness), during the conflict (protection) and post-conflict (recovery, maintenance, sustainability, and re-appropriation).

Out projects often utilize the Bank’s extensive experience with disaster management. They underline the importance of community involvement and the need for flexibility. Designs are often adjusted to accommodate local needs and they may also be affected by resurgent conflicts. Despite their inherent difficulties, however, all projects demonstrate the power of cultural heritage in fostering a collective sense of identity, pride, and social cohesion.

It is also important to note that we believe we must work with our partners to build resilience before there is a disaster or conflict. Thus, our work encompasses preventive approaches, to protect cultural heritage through the strengthening of disaster risk management and institutional preparedness.

Our projects are developed at the request of national governments, which often appoint technical units to implement the activities. The local governments and institutions are then best suited to play the coordinating role that can, in turn, be supported by partner NGOs, associations, and private entities…

We know that, to be successful in building these durable global public goods and critical services, we have to work in partnership — with UNESCO, ICCROM and other international agencies, with MDBs, bilateral partners, CSOs, foundations, academic, and many others. These partnerships are even more critical in fragile, conflict-affected, and post-disaster contexts.

To preserve our civilization, we need to listen to lessons of history and culture. Drawing on collective wisdom will help us rebuild better and smarter, to safeguard our precious cultural heritage, so that — together — we can build a world that is more peaceful, prosperous, and more secure.

The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health :: Education :: Heritage Stewardship ::
Sustainable Development
Week ending 2 December 2017

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
GE2P2 Global Foundation – Governance, Evidence, Ethics, Policy, Practice

pdf version:The Sentinel_ period ending 2 December 2017

:: Week in Review  [See selected posts just below]
:: Key Agency/IGO/Governments Watch – Selected Updates from 30+ entities
:: INGO/Consortia/Joint Initiatives Watch – Media Releases, Major Initiatives, Research
:: Foundation/Major Donor Watch -Selected Updates
:: Journal Watch – Key articles and abstracts from 100+ peer-reviewed journals

United Nations leaders call on the Saudi-led coalition to fully lift blockade of Yemeni Red Sea ports

Humanitarian Response – Human Rights Action: Yemen

United Nations leaders call on the Saudi-led coalition to fully lift blockade of Yemeni Red Sea ports
Joint statement by:
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi
UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake
WFP Executive Director David Beasley
IOM Director General William Lacy Swing
Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock.

2 December 2017 Geneva/Rome/New York
The partial lifting of the blockade of Yemen’s Red Sea ports by the Saudi-led coalition in recent days is allowing humanitarian organizations to resume the provision of life-saving assistance to people in desperate need. Given the massive scale of Yemen’s humanitarian crisis, however, all this does is slow the collapse towards a massive humanitarian tragedy costing millions of lives. It does not prevent it. Without the urgent resumption of commercial imports, especially food, fuel and medicines, millions of children, women and men risk mass hunger, disease and death.

Ongoing commercial import restrictions have led to shortages of fuel, food and other essentials, driving up prices and devastating lives and livelihoods. The price of wheat flour has risen by 30 per cent, while the price of fuel has doubled and that of trucked water has skyrocketed by 600 per cent in some locations.

Urban water networks in seven cities have run out of fuel and now depend on humanitarian organizations to fill in the gap. Other cities will shortly be in a similar situation if the blockade is not lifted, which would leave 11 million people without safe water.

In other areas, people are reducing their food consumption to dangerous levels in order to pay for the rising cost of water trucking, or are turning to contaminated water sources to meet their basic needs. This further compounds the risk of disease, especially among children.

Less than half of the health facilities are functioning, and more hospitals and health centers will close should fuel and water supplies not improve. Sewage networks in six main cities are compromised, threatening a renewed spike in the country’s cholera outbreak, which has reached almost 1 million suspected cases and killed over 2,200 people.

Yemen remains on the cusp of one of the largest famines in modern times. Nearly 400,000 children suffer from severe acute malnutrition and face an increased risk of death. More than 8 million people could starve without urgent food assistance coming into Yemen. With 90 per cent of the country’s food imported, the lack of commercial imports through Red Sea ports would alone push a further 3 million people into starvation. The threat of widespread famine in a matter of months is very real.

This imminent catastrophe is entirely avoidable, but it requires immediate action by the coalition. While three ships carrying food have been granted permission to berth at Hudaydah port in recent days, four fuel tankers and ten ships carrying food have all been waiting for permission to enter port. Together, we call on the coalition to urgently open up all Yemeni Red Sea ports fully and to facilitate the entry and free-flow of humanitarian and vital commercial goods.

The United Nations is sending a team to Riyadh to discuss any concerns the coalition and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia may have in relation to these ports. But we need the coalition to urgently grant unimpeded access for imports that are a lifeline for millions of people.

Myanmar: UN experts request exceptional report on situation of women and girls from northern Rakhine State; Pope Francis Visit

Human Rights – Protection – Accountability

Myanmar: UN experts request exceptional report on situation of women and girls from northern Rakhine State
GENEVA (28 November 2017) – A group of UN experts tasked with monitoring a global treaty on discrimination against women has requested an exceptional report from the Government of Myanmar on the situation of Rohingya women and girls from northern Rakhine State.

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) made the decision at a regular meeting in Geneva last week, setting a six-month deadline for the submission of the report to the UN Secretary General. The request was sent to the Government of Myanmar on Monday, meaning the report should be submitted by 28 May 2018. It is only the fourth time an exceptional report has been requested by the Committee since holding its first session in October 1982.

The Committee, comprised of 23 independent human rights experts drawn from around the world, called on the Government to provide information on a range of issues surrounding alleged instances of violence against women and girls in northern Rakhine State in recent months.
As a party to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, Myanmar is obliged to report to the Committee on its implementation of the treaty.

The Committee requested information concerning cases of sexual violence, including rape, against Rohingya women and girls by State security forces; and to provide details on the number of women and girls who have been killed or have died due to other non-natural causes during the latest outbreak of violence.

It also requested information on investigations, arrests, prosecutions, convictions and sentences or disciplinary measures imposed on perpetrators, including members of the armed forces, found guilty of such crimes.

The Committee also requested information on:
:: the designation of the battalions that have undertaken the clearance operations in Northern Rakhine State since 25 August 2017 and under whose command;
:: the findings of the final report of the Tatmadaw investigation team led by Lieutenant-General Aye Whin concerning the conduct of the armed forces during the security clearance operations;
:: whether instructions have been or are being issued to all branches of the State security forces that torture, gender-based violence, including rape and other forms of sexual violence, expulsions and other human rights violations are prohibited and that those responsible will be prosecuted and punished;
:: the gender-specific measures taken by the State party to rehabilitate and compensate Rohingya women and girls who are victims/survivors of such violence;
:: the remedies available to Rohingya women and girls to claim violations of their rights;
:: the number of Rohingya women and girls currently detained by State security forces;
:: the number of Rohingya women and girls who have died during childbirth;
:: the number of clinics providing obstetric services and the ratio of doctors and midwives to the Rohingya population; and
:: the number of Rohingya families displaced by the violence, disaggregated by sex, and measures taken by the Government to ensure their voluntary and safe return, economic reintegration and compensation for loss of land or property.

The report of the Government shall be made public, and will be reviewed by CEDAW.


Editor’s Note:
We monitored remarks made by Pope Francis during visits last week to Myanmar and then Bangladesh. We provide selected Vatican reports and excerpts from speeches as identified below.

Pope Francis addresses interreligious meeting for peace
01/12/2017 12:30
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday greeted and blessed a group of Rohingya Muslim refugees who fled to Bangladesh from neighboring Myanmar.
The moving meeting took place during an Interreligious and Ecumenical Meeting for Peace in the garden of the Archbishop of Dhaka’s residence.
The meeting, which saw the participation of representatives of different faiths, took place on the second day of the Pope’s Apostolic Journey to Bangladesh.
The 16 Rohingya – 12 men, two women and two young girls – traveled to Dhaka from Cox’s Bazar, the district bordering Myanmar where refugee camps are overflowing with more than 620,000 Rohingya who have fled violence in Myanmar.
One by one, each one of the refugees approached the Pope at the end of the event and through the aid of an interpreter told him their stories and their experiences.
During his address to the religious leaders at the meeting, the Pope said a spirit of openness is fundamental for building a culture of harmony and peace…

Pope speech to authorities and diplomatic corps in Dhaka
30/11/2017 13:19
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday expressed his gratitude to the nation of Bangladesh for providing assistance and shelter to the hundreds of thousands of refugees pouring into the country, he appealed to the international community to address the crisis both on a political and on a material level, and he warned against using God’s name to justify hatred and violence against our fellow human beings.
The Pope’s words came during his address to political leaders, civil society and the diplomatic corps at the President House in Dhaka.
[Excerpts/Editor’s text bolding]:
In recent months, the spirit of generosity and solidarity which is a distinguishing mark of Bangladeshi society has been seen most vividly in its humanitarian outreach to a massive influx of refugees from Rakhine State, providing them with temporary shelter and the basic necessities of life. This has been done at no little sacrifice. It has also been done before the eyes of the whole world. None of us can fail to be aware of the gravity of the situation, the immense toll of human suffering involved, and the precarious living conditions of so many of our brothers and sisters, a majority of whom are women and children, crowded in the refugee camps. It is imperative that the international community take decisive measures to address this grave crisis, not only by working to resolve the political issues that have led to the mass displacement of people, but also by offering immediate material assistance to Bangladesh in its effort to respond effectively to urgent human needs.

…In a world where religion is often – scandalously – misused to foment division, such a witness to its reconciling and unifying power is all the more necessary. This was seen in a particularly eloquent way in the common reaction of indignation that followed last year’s brutal terrorist attack here in Dhaka, and in the clear message sent by the nation’s religious authorities that the most holy name of God can never be invoked to justify hatred and violence against our fellow human beings…

Pope Francis addresses Myanmar’s leaders
28/11/2017 12:15
Official English-language translation of Pope Francis’ address Myanmar’s government authorities, civil societies, and the diplomatic corps in the capital Nay Pyi Taw.
[Excerpts; Editor’s text bolding]
I would also like my visit to embrace the entire population of Myanmar and to offer a word of encouragement to all those who are working to build a just, reconciled and inclusive social order. Myanmar has been blessed with great natural beauty and resources, yet its greatest treasure is its people, who have suffered greatly, and continue to suffer, from civil conflict and hostilities that have lasted all too long and created deep divisions. As the nation now works to restore peace, the healing of those wounds must be a paramount political and spiritual priority. I can only express appreciation for the efforts of the Government to take up this challenge, especially through the Panglong Peace Conference, which brings together representatives of the various groups in an attempt to end violence, to build trust and to ensure respect for the rights of all who call this land their home.

Indeed, the arduous process of peacebuilding and national reconciliation can only advance through a commitment to justice and respect for human rights. The wisdom of the ancients defined justice precisely as a steadfast will to give each person his due, while the prophets of old saw justice as the basis of all true and lasting peace. These insights, confirmed by the tragic experience of two world wars, led to the establishment of the United Nations and the universal declaration of human rights as the basis for the international community’s efforts to promote justice, peace and human development worldwide, and to resolve conflicts through dialogue, not the use of force. In this sense, the presence of the diplomatic corps in our midst testifies not only to Myanmar’s place in the concert of nations, but also to the country’s commitment to uphold and pursue those foundational principles. The future of Myanmar must be peace, a peace based on respect for the dignity and rights of each member of society, respect for each ethnic group and its identity, respect for the rule of law, and respect for a democratic order that enables each individual and every group – none excluded – to offer its legitimate contribution to the common good.

In the great work of national reconciliation and integration, Myanmar’s religious communities have a privileged role to play. Religious differences need not be a source of division and distrust, but rather a force for unity, forgiveness, tolerance and wise nation-building…

Global Humanitarian Appeal Hits Record $22.5 Billion, Aiming to Reach 91 Million People with Assistance in 2018

Humanitarian Response – Funding / Scale / Global Humanitarian Overview 2018

Global Humanitarian Appeal Hits Record $22.5 Billion, Aiming to Reach 91 Million People with Assistance in 2018
The UN-coordinated response plans for 2018 are based on the world’s most comprehensive, authoritative and evidence-based assessment of humanitarian needs

(Geneva, 1 December 2017) – Some 136 million people across the world need humanitarian aid and protection due to protracted conflicts, natural disasters, epidemics and displacement. In response to people’s most urgent needs, UN-coordinated humanitarian response plans launched today in Geneva aim to reach 91 million of the most vulnerable people with food, shelter, health care, emergency education, protection and other basic assistance in 2018.

This will require a record US$22.5 billion in funding, slightly more than the $22.2 billion appeal launched for 2017.

“Humanitarians can only respond to the growing needs with the generous support of our donors. Investing in coordinated response plans is a sound choice. It delivers tangible and measurable results, and has a proven track record of success,” said Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, launching the Global Humanitarian Overview 2018.

In 2017, humanitarian agencies reached tens of millions of people in need, saving millions of lives, and donors provided record levels of funding to Humanitarian Response Plans – nearly $13 billion by the end of November 2017. Together, aid groups and humanitarian donors helped stave off famines in South Sudan, Somalia, north-east Nigeria and Yemen and stepped up to provide rapid assistance to refugees fleeing from violence in Myanmar.

“With this unprecedented level of humanitarian need, we at Save the Children have a lot to do. As NGOs we are working hard to find quicker and more effective ways to use every dollar donated well,” said Helle Thorning-Schmidt, CEO of Save the Children International. “But we also need governments and institutions to take a longer term approach by tackling the cause of these crises as well as the symptoms. By brokering peace agreements, investing in education, helping communities build resilience to climate shocks, and speaking up when people are persecuted. Without this, we will continue to see a record level of suffering.”

For 2018, needs will remain at exceptionally high levels in Nigeria, South Sudan, the Syria region and Yemen, which is likely to remain the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

In some countries needs will fall, but still remain significant, including Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Iraq, Mali, and Ukraine. But at the same time, needs are rising substantially in Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Libya and Somalia.

The Global Humanitarian Overview 2018 document is available through or

Disability gaps in educational attainment and literacy – World Bank Group

Education/Literacy – Disability Gap

Disability gaps in educational attainment and literacy
World Bank Group: Male, Chata; Wodon, Quentin T..
2017/12/01 :: 16 pages
This note provides an analysis of gaps in educational opportunities for children with disabilities. It also measures the impact at the margin of exclusion related to various typesof disabilities on education outcomes for children. Four main outcomes are considered: whether children ever enroll in school, whether they complete their primary education, whether they complete their secondary education, and whether they are literate. The analysis is implementedusing the most recent census data available for a total of 19 countries.

This note provides an analysis of gaps in educational opportunities for children with disabilities. It also measures the impact at the margin of exclusion related to various types of disabilities on education outcomes for children. Four main outcomes are considered: whether children ever enroll in school, whether they complete their primary education, whether they complete their secondary education, and whether they are literate. The analysis is implemented using the most recent census data available for a total of 19 countries.

Key findings are as follows:
:: The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) call for ensuring inclusive and quality education for
all and promoting lifelong learning (Goal 4). The SDGs explicitly mention equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities. Unfortunately, gaps in education outcomes between children with and without disabilities have been increasing over time.

:: For children without disabilities, completion rates at the primary level have increased substantially over the last few decades. Smaller gains have been observed for children with disabilities. As a result, the gap in primary completion rates between children with and without
disabilities has increased over time from a few percentage points a few decades ago to 17.6 points for boys and 15.4 points for girls in the latest available census data.

:: Many children with disabilities are never enrolled in school. Among children aged 11, the likelihood of having ever enrolled in school was 13 percentage points lower for children with disabilities versus children without disabilities at the time of the latest available census data. As for primary education, the disability gap in ever enrolling has increased over time.

:: Large gains in secondary completion rates have also been achieved for boys and girls without disabilities, but gains are again smaller for children with disabilities, leading to disability gaps in completion rates of 14.5 points for boys and 10.4 points for girls.

:: The last indicator considered for the analysis of trends over time is literacy. In part, as a result of differentiated trends in educational attainment by disability status, the disability gaps for literacy also grew over time, reaching 16.2 points for boys and 15.5 points for girls.

:: When looking through regression analysis at the marginal effects of exclusion associated with disabilities, findings are similar to the results from simple statistical comparisons. Across the 19 countries, the average reductions at the margin for children with disabilities in the probabilities of ever enrolling in school, completing primary schooling, completing secondary schooling, and being literate are estimated at 11.9 points, 16.8 points, 13.9 points, and 16.4 points respectively.

:: The marginal effects on education outcomes of exclusion related to disabilities are often larger than the effects of other child or household characteristics. For example, the marginal effect of a disability is often larger than that of the quintile of wealth of the child’s household.

:: Overall, the analysis demonstrates that children with disabilities are being left behind by global efforts to improve education opportunities for all. The rising gaps between children with and without disabilities in developing countries call for stronger policies and interventions to achieve the target of inclusive education adopted under the Sustainable Development Goals.

The 19 countries included in the report are: Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Malawi, Mexico, Mozambique, Peru, South Africa, South Sudan, Vietnam, and Zambia.

Press Release
Education: Children with disabilities are being left behind, says World Bank/GPE report
WASHINGTON, December 1, 2017 – Children with disabilities are being left behind by global efforts to improve education opportunities for all, as gaps between children with and without disabilities have increased dramatically in developing countries, according to new research from the World Bank and the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) released ahead of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

The study, Disability Gaps in Educational Attainment and Literacy, found that primary school completion for children with disabilities in 19 developing countries* is just 48 percent, and as many as three in ten children with disabilities have never been in school. The study, based on analysis of census data, also found that literacy rates and secondary school completion lag considerably behind: Only six in ten children with disabilities can read and write, and only a third complete secondary school….