Colombia Launches Partnership to Protect Amazon Rainforest from Deforestation

Heritage Stewardship – Amazon Rainforest

Colombia Launches Partnership to Protect Amazon Rainforest from Deforestation
· Colombia is working with the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 to convene a multistakeholder platform of buyers, producers, international donors, NGOs and civil society organizations to protect the Amazon rainforest
· The platform will initially cover palm oil and is expected to extend to other major commodity-driven causes of deforestation, including beef, dairy and timber
· The government aims to have zero net deforestation in the Amazon by 2020, and to have stopped all natural forest loss by 2030
· More information is available at

Geneva, Switzerland, 28 November 2017 – The Tropical Forest Alliance 2020, an initiative hosted by the World Economic Forum, is joining forces with the Government of Colombia to launch a multistakeholder platform of businesses, civil society organizations and donor agencies to protect over 60 million hectares of Amazon rainforest within its borders from commodity-driven deforestation.

The platform, launched today, is called the TFA 2020 Colombia Alliance and follows the government’s target to have zero net deforestation in the Amazon by 2020.

It will initially cover palm oil and is expected to extend to other major commodity-driven causes of deforestation, including beef, dairy and timber. It will follow principles laid out in TFA 2020’s Commodities and Forests Agenda 2020, which outlines strategies to address deforestation – a major driver of pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity loss. Colombia is home to one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems on Earth, home to about 10% of the world’s species, yet its tropical forests are under threat.

It is supported by a range of stakeholders:
:: Businesses include dairy company Alqueria, retailer Grupo Exito, agricultural firm Poligrow, consumer goods company Unilever, and chemicals and agricultural products company Yara International.
:: Donor countries and organizations include the governments of Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, the United Kingdom, USAID and the World Bank.
:: NGOs and civil society organizations include Climate Focus, Earth Innovation Institute, Fondo Acción, Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), The Nature Conservancy, Proforest, Solidaridad, the South Pole Group, the Wildlife Conservation Society and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

“The TFA 2020 Colombia Alliance will be a platform to join forces towards sustainable agricultural production free of deforestation,” said Colombia’s Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Luis Gilberto Murillo. “The signature of the Palm Oil Zero Deforestation Agreement represents a key effort in bringing down international commitments to the Colombian context, and in employing our National Forest and Carbon Monitoring System from IDEAM as a catalytic tool to identify and prevent deforestation in the production and supply of palm oil in Colombia. We are pleased to have a critical mass or companies and organizations joining these efforts.”

Vidar Helgesen, Norway’s Minister of Climate and Environment, said: “Colombia is at the forefront, and is becoming one of the world leaders on forest preservation and restoration. I commend Colombia for being the first country in Latin-America to join the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020. We are very happy to be taking part in today’s launch of a national coalition of public and private partners committed to promoting sustainable agriculture and zero deforestation supply chains in Colombia.”

Retailer Grupo Éxito was the first company in Colombia to become a TFA 2020 global partner in 2014. Since then, the company have been working on several activities to promote a more sustainable production in Colombia of beef and palm oil, as well to promote reforestation and sustainable gardens in urban areas.

“The launch of the TFA 2020 Colombia Alliance is important as a strengthening mechanism for joint action in Colombia to reach our deforestation goals,” said Mariana Villamizar, Director of Public Relations at Grupo Éxito.

Peterson Foundation and Ford Foundation Launch US 2050

Peterson Foundation and Ford Foundation Launch US 2050
New research initiative to explore the demographic, socioeconomic, and fiscal trends that will define America at mid-century
NEW YORK, Nov. 28, 2017 – Today, the Peter G. Peterson Foundation and the Ford Foundation launched US 2050, an initiative that will engage leading scholars to examine and analyze the multiple demographic, socioeconomic, and fiscal trends that will shape the nation at mid-century.

In the coming decades, a transformational wave of foreseeable demographic changes will create a new American tapestry. Social, economic, and technological changes will reshape the domestic and global economy, and the nation’s fiscal condition will face increasing challenges resulting from a range of factors, including an aging society and a structural mismatch between spending and revenues. These interconnected trends will have significant, but not yet fully understood, implications for the social and financial well-being of Americans. US 2050 will explore these issues and their link to the country’s fiscal and economic health.

“America is rapidly changing and we know that our population, workforce, and economy will look very different by 2050. What isn’t clear is how these shifting trends will impact the opportunities and well-being of Americans,” said Michael A. Peterson, President and CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. “It is time to start thinking seriously today about the critical questions and challenges that will shape our future – and ensure that we deliver a solid fiscal and economic foundation to future generations.”

“It is imperative in order to continue the upward mobility and the fulfillment of the American dream to truly understand the long-term impacts of current fiscal decisions,” said Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation. “The rampant inequality in the United States has been in part a result of short-term decisions that will only deepen without a course correct. US 2050 will hopefully provide the evidence necessary to map out and deliver a more equitable future.”

US 2050 is calling for research papers from economists, political scientists, sociologists, demographers, and other scholars. The research question is: How do the changing demographics of America – including aging, race, ethnicity, and other factors – affect the future fiscal and economic health of the nation, and what are the best policies to prepare for and respond to the challenges and opportunities that this future presents?A distinguished Advisory Committee of academics and policy experts will guide the project, bringing valuable expertise across the key research disciplines. The Committee will be coordinated by the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy at the Brookings Institution, and includes:

Charles Blahous, Mercatus Center
Heather Boushey, Washington Center on Equitable Growth
Susan Collins, Ford School of Public Policy
Robert Doar, American Enterprise Institute
Maria Fitzpatrick, Cornell University
Bradley Hardy, American University
Doug Holtz-Eakin, American Action Forum
Mark Hugo Lopez, Pew Research Center
Ronald Mincy, Columbia University
Alicia Munnell, Boston College
Louise Sheiner, Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy
Margaret Simms, Urban Institute
Karl Smith, Niskanen Center
Michael Strain, American Enterprise Institute
David Wessel, Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy

More information on US 2050 and the call for papers can be found at; deadline for submissions is January 22, 2018.

Spain, Three African Countries and the Global Fund Launch New Debt2Health Initiative – Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia

Health Systems – Governance – National Debt

Spain, Three African Countries and the Global Fund Launch New Debt2Health Initiative
29 November 2017
MADRID – The government of Spain today announced an agreement to waive debts owed by Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia in exchange for investments in domestic health programs supported by the Global Fund.

Signed under the Global Fund’s Debt2Health initiative, the accords will allow Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia to invest a total of 15.5 million euros of their national resources in the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria and to strengthen health systems. In exchange, Spain will cancel outstanding debts amounting to 36 million euros.

The announcement was made by Spain’s Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness and shows Spain’s commitment to global health.

Christoph Benn, Director of External Relations of the Global Fund, said the agreement reinvigorates the partnership between the government of Spain and the Global Fund.
“We are delighted that Spain has joined the Debt2Health initiative,” Dr. Benn said during a signing ceremony held in Madrid.

“Debt2Health is an innovative and powerful mechanism that allows countries to turn debt payments into programs that save lives. Reaching our goal of ending AIDS, TB and malaria as epidemics requires a close partnership between implementing countries, countries that are ready to provide additional financial resources such as Spain, and a multilateral organization such as the Global Fund that can act as a catalyst.”

Debt2Health is an innovative financing mechanism that is designed to encourage domestic financing in health by converting debt repayments into lifesaving investments in health. Under individually negotiated ‘debt swap’ agreements, a creditor nation foregoes repayment of a loan when the beneficiary nation agrees to invest part or all of the freed-up resources into a Global Fund-supported program. To date, debts swapped under Debt2Health agreements total close to 200 million euros with the support of Australia, Germany and Spain.

Specifically, the agreement announced in Madrid will allow Cameroon to invest 9.3 million euros in HIV programs; the Democratic Republic of Congo to invest US$3.4 million in malaria programs; and Ethiopia to invest 3.2 million euros to strengthen its health system.

By cancelling the debts through the Debt2Health program, Spain is assured that the mobilized funds go directly to country-led programs as part of the respective national health strategies, which are supported and monitored by the Global Fund partnership…


Global Fund relaunches debt-to-health swaps after six-year hiatus
Devex | 29 November 2017
The Global Fund on Wednesday announced its first debt-to-health, or D2H, swap since 2011, kicking off a strategy that aims to engage up to five new creditor countries in 2018. “Over the next five years, I aim for at least 10 new D2H agreements that can really complement the resources of the Global Fund,” Christoph Benn, director of external relations at the Global Fund, told Devex…

Emergencies at 2 December 2017

Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)
Polio this week as of 29 November 2017 [GPEI]
:: Both the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) on Polio Eradication in Afghanistan, and in Pakistan, have met this week. The TAGs are reviewing the latest epidemiology, and performing a thorough program review. The outcomes will help advise each country program on improving the planning and implementation of their National Emergency Action Plans.

:: Summary of newly-reported viruses this week:
Afghanistan: one new wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) case, from Nangarhar province.


Syria cVDPV2 outbreak situation report 24: 28 November 2017
Situation update 28 November 2017
:: No new cases of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) were reported this week in Syria. The most recent case (by date of onset) is 9 September 2017 from Mayadeen district.
:: The total number of confirmed cVDPV2 cases remains 70.
:: Outbreak response teams continue to use inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) strategically to boost immunity and additional vaccines are being prepositioned as part of ongoing contingency planning to ensure that the programme is able to respond quickly in areas where there has been recent evidence of virus transmission. Activities will be carried out when the security situation allows.
:: 7751 children aged 2–23 months were reported vaccinated with IPV in Damascus (representing 86% of the administrative target), as part of a subnational campaign aiming to reach children with bOPV and IPV. The campaign also reached more than 14 000 children aged 2–23 months from 5 camps for internally displaced people in Hasakah governorate, hosting populations from Deir Ez-Zor.
:: WHO continues to support the strengthening of active AFP surveillance in outbreak areas. In Ein Eisa IDP camp, Raqqa governorate and Al-Arysha IDP camp in Hasakah governorate, orientation sessions on reporting of AFP cases are being conducted for physicians operating out of camps.


WHO Grade 3 Emergencies  [to 2 December 2017]
The Syrian Arab Republic
:: Beyond the bullets and bombs: Saving the lives of chronic disease patients living in conflict settings
WHO has developed a new health kit to support treatment for chronic disease patients in emergency settings. Three years after the kit’s conceptualization, the first shipment of 6 kits, enough for 60 000 medical treatments, has been delivered cross-border from Turkey to northern Syria.
23 November 2017, Cairo, Egypt – In countries facing ongoing violence, the most direct victims are the people caught in the crossfire who sustain life-threatening trauma injuries. But in the longer term, conflict affects another group of people: those who are unable to access medicines and regular treatment for noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes, cancer, kidney diseases and other chronic conditions…

:: Polio- Situation update 28 November 2017
[See Polio above for detail]

:: WHO delivers medicines as diphtheria spreads in Yemen
News release
27 November 2017 | Sana’a – WHO has delivered medicines to tackle an outbreak of diphtheria in Yemen, warning that sustained humanitarian access is critical to stopping its spread.
The shipment of 1,000 vials of life-saving anti-toxins and 17 tonnes of medical supplies arrived in Sanaa on Monday (November 27) after being stalled by the three-week closure of sea and air ports.
“It is shocking that in 2017, there are children dying of an ancient disease that is vaccine-preventable and can be easily treated,” said Dr Nevio Zagaria, WHO Country Representative in Yemen.
The anti-toxins can help stop the spread of the bacterium to vital organs in patients already infected with diphtheria. But no supplies were available in Yemen before the arrival of the WHO shipment on Monday.
Antibiotics and vaccines are also critical to treating and preventing the highly infectious respiratory disease – both of which are in short supply in Yemen…
Despite the conflict and recent closures, WHO, UNICEF, and partners have continued to work with available supplies, vaccinating 8,500 children under five years in al-Sadah and Yarim districts in Ibb governorate during November.
A vaccination campaign targeting 300,000 children younger than 12 months began on Saturday (November 25). Further vaccination rounds for more than 3 million children and young adults in priority districts are due in December.

:: Iraq: Lifesaving mobile health teams reach people in newly liberated areas of Hawiija, Iraq
27 November 2017 – For more than three years, the people of Hawiija district in Kirkuk governorate, Iraq, were cut off from lifesaving health care and immunization services, leaving many children susceptible to vaccine-preventable diseases.

WHO Grade 2 Emergencies  [to 2 December 2017]
Democratic Republic of the Congo
:: Democratic Republic of the Congo – cholera in Lomami district
22 November 2017 Kinshasa — WHO Country Office in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and health partner ALIMA (Alliance for International Medical Action) signed an financing agreement, US$ 70 000 USD, to support and response to the cholera epidemic in Lomami Province. ALIMA will support the activities of case management for a period of two months. The focus will be on treated water supply, hygiene and increasing community awarenes of the importance of sanitation.

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
:: 30 Nov 2017  Syria Arab Republic: Whole of Syria Shelter/NFI Sector Winter Assistance Update 2 (30 November 2017)
:: Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock: Statement to the Security Council on the humanitarian situation in Syria, 29 November 2017

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 – 30 November 2017

:: 28 Nov 2017  Ethiopia Humanitarian Bulletin Issue 41 | 13 – 26 Nov. 2017
The OCHA-managed Ethiopia Humanitarian Fund (EHF) allocated US$11.35 million under its Reserve Allocation as a bridging response to the critical requirements identified until early 2018.
:: Humanitarian Bulletin Somalia, 01 – 29 November 2017
…Food security needs nearly double five-year average.
…Late Deyr rainfall falls short, risk of fifth poor rains.
…Number of newly displaced people decline in October.
…Plans underway to kick start measles vaccination campaign.
…Additional funding required to support humanitarian assistance.
Editor’s Note:
We will cluster these recent emergencies as below and continue to monitor the WHO webpages for updates and key developments.
Yellow Fever  [to 2 December 2017]
:: 1 December 2017 1.4 million vaccines from global stockpile support yellow fever control in Nigeria
Geneva – The International Coordinating Group (ICG) on vaccine provision for yellow fever has provided 1.4 million vaccine doses for an immunization campaign that starts on Saturday (2 December) to help control an ongoing yellow fever outbreak in Nigeria.
The Government of Nigeria, supported by World Health Organization and partners, is expected to vaccinate 1.3 million people to contain the outbreak in affected areas. The vaccines, funded by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, will be administered in parts of Zamfara state where cases of the deadly disease have been confirmed.
“WHO is working with the Government of Nigeria to address the low immunity among affected populations that is giving rise to cases of yellow fever,” said Dr Wondimagegnehu Alemu, WHO Representative in Nigeria.
The release of 1.4 million doses from the global stockpile builds on earlier efforts in October that reached 874 000 people in Kwara and Kogi states…