Statement on child safeguarding and reporting – SOS-Kinderdorf International

Statement on child safeguarding and reporting – SOS-Kinderdorf International
Statement – 15 February 2018
Universal child safeguarding policies – children and adults trained to report any safeguarding issues and corruption enables SOS Children’s Villages to act swiftly to protect children
SOS Children’s Villages operates in 135 countries and territories including societies devastated by war, political unrest, epidemics or natural disasters. The organisation employs 40,000 staff and at any one time will have over 84,500 children and young people to which SOS Children’s Villages is either a guardian or child care practitioner and to which it provides housing, education and healthcare. Additionally, over 500,000 children are supported by our family strengthening and emergency response programmes.

Children in SOS Children’s Villages’ care are those who have lost parental care or are at risk of losing it. Often they have experienced violence in their past lives, either at the hands of their families, previous care placements or communities. As an unfortunate consequence, some children in our care can be more easily victimised by further violence. The care we provide is also unique in its model – it is night-and-day, long-term in nature, and this creates a close, family-like setting for the children. The bonds developed between child and caregiver allow for a vulnerable child to heal, to grow and to forge his/her own future in a stable, reliable and loving environment.

There is no doubt, however, that the intense proximity of our care combined with the challenging needs of the children and the difficult circumstances in which we operate means there is greater child safeguarding risk in our work.

In recognition of this inherent risk, we chose to create our own reporting and record-keeping system for child safeguarding in 2008. Our child safeguarding policies are universal. Both children and staff are trained to report any concerns, safeguarding issues and corruption via a range of reporting mechanisms. All trigger dedicated responding and reporting procedures. SOS Children’s Villages annually records all child safeguarding incidents, with special management and monitoring of those deemed critical.

In 2016, we confirmed 37 cases of sexual coercion and abuse across our federation. These were all cases in which a child or young person was compelled to participate in or interact with a sexual activity by an SOS Children’s Villages staff member. When any allegation is reported, we investigate. When a complaint is verified, we act. If an allegation is of a criminal nature, we immediately refer cases to relevant competent authorities. We also inform governments and advise statutory donors according to their requirements. The protection of the children and young people in our care is central to all that we do, and we do not hesitate to suspend staff right away and then terminate contracts when such terrible cases happen.

Our approach has proven effective. In September 2017, following an assessment of current child safeguarding practices, SOS Children’s Villages became one of only four organisations in the child care sector globally to be granted Level 1 Certification by Keeping Children Safe (KCS), a well-respected international child safeguarding organisation that developed the International Child Safeguarding Standards.

Perceptions of Science in America – American Academy of Arts & Sciences

Science – Public Confidence

Perceptions of Science in America – a report from the Public Face of Science initiative
American Academy of Arts & Sciences
2018 :: 44 pages ISBN: 0-87724-120-1
The essential role of the natural and social sciences in everyday life raises a number of questions about how Americans view science, scientists, and the impacts of scientific research. Decades of public opinion surveys provide a useful window into our general attitudes about science, such as confidence in the scientific community and support for science funding, and our views on more specific questions, such as the level of trust in scientists to contribute impartially to public debate. The available data paint a picture of a heterogeneous public whose perceptions are dependent on context and values.

The goal of this report is to increase awareness of these nuances among science communicators, advocates, and researchers so they can better understand their audiences when developing outreach programs, messaging strategies, and educational materials. By identifying gaps in the current understanding, this report underscores the need for additional studies on the influences on attitudes toward science, as well as how those attitudes impact both personal decisions and public support for evidence-based policy. For additional data pertaining to these issues, the reader is encouraged to consult the publications in which the research originally appeared.

This report is the first in a series of publications from the Academy’s Public Face of Science Initiative, a three-year endeavor to learn more about the complex and evolving relationship between scientists and the public. Subsequent reports will highlight the numerous ways that individuals encounter science in their everyday lives and present recommendations for improving the practice of science communication and engagement.

from Perceptions of Science in America
1] Confidence in scientific leaders has remained relatively stable over the last thirty years. (SECTION 1: GENERAL PERCEPTIONS OF SCIENCE)
:: Americans express strong support for public investment in research.
:: A majority of Americans views scientific research as beneficial.
:: Americans support an active role for science and scientists in public life.
:: Americans have varying interpretations of the word “science” and the scientific process; additional research is necessary to understand how these differing inter¬pretations influence perceptions of—and support for—science.

2] Confidence in science varies based on age, race, educational attainment, region, political ideology, and other characteristics. (SECTION 2: DEMOGRAPHIC INFLUENCES ON GENERAL VIEWS OF SCIENCE)
:: Although attitudes toward science are generally positive, the degree of confidence in science varies among demographic groups.
:: For example, U.S. adults without a high-school diploma are less likely than those with a college degree to view science as beneficial.

3] There is no single anti-science population, but more research is needed to understand what drives skepticism about specific science issues. (SECTION 3: CASE STUDIES OF PERCEPTIONS ON SPECIFIC SCIENCE TOPICS)
:: Attitudes toward science are not uniformly associated with one particular demo¬graphic group but instead vary based on the specific science issue.
:: Recent research suggests that underlying factors, such as group identity, can strongly influence perceptions about science.
:: A person’s knowledge of science facts and research is not necessarily predictive of acceptance of the scientific consensus on a particular question. Indeed, for certain subgroups and for certain topics such as climate change, higher levels of science knowledge may even be associated with more-polarized views.
:: More research is needed to determine how cultural experience and group identities shape trust in scientific research, and how to address skepticism of well-established scientific findings.
:: Future studies should include an expanded definition of science literacy that incor¬porates the understanding of the scientific process and the capacity to evaluate conflicting scientific.


Press Release
New Report from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences Examines Americans’ Trust in Science
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Feb. 12, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Amid increasing concern over the extent to which the public values scientific evidence, a new report from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences offers an in-depth examination of the current state of trust in science among Americans.

“Perceptions of Science in America” is the first of a series of reports that will be issued by the Public Face of Science, a project of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The Public Face of Science is a three-year initiative to understand and address various aspects of the evolving relationship between the public and scientists…

“Sustaining public trust in science will require gaining a better understanding of how confidence and skepticism develop in the first place,” said Jonathan F. Fanton, President of the American Academy. “By calling attention to this question, the Public Face of Science project seeks to improve how science is communicated in an increasingly complex information landscape.” A key finding of “Perceptions of Science in America” is that scientists continue to enjoy significant public trust, especially when measured against other professions. Yet the report also identifies potential vulnerabilities. For example, surveys demonstrate that perceptions of science can vary based on age, education, gender, political party, race, and region…

“Overall, it is clear that Americans continue to recognize and value the significant benefits that scientific research brings to society,” said Richard Meserve, another co-chair of the American Academy project and President Emeritus of the Carnegie Institution for Science. “Where fractures have appeared, it is often due to misrepresentations of the scientific consensus. It is imperative that we understand how to counter such misinformation and restore trust in the evidence without making the problem worse…

The Public Face of Science project is supported in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Rita Allen Foundation, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.


Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)
Polio this week as of 14 February 2018 [GPEI]
:: New on Sudan’s surveillance system under the microscope, and a new addition to our ‘Reaching the Hard-to-Reach’ series, on AFP surveillance in challenging areas of Afghanistan, Syria and Nigeria.
:: The 16th International Health Regulations Emergency Committee regarding the international spread of poliovirus recommended that the temporary recommendations to prevent virus spread be extended for a further period of three months.
:: Bill and Melinda Gates released their annual letter, answering the 10 tough questions that they hear most often.

:: Weekly country updates as of 14 February 2018
:: One wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) positive environmental sample reported from Hilmand province.
Democratic Republic of the Congo:
:: Three cases of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) reported, from Tanganyika province. Somalia: Circulation of vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) in the environment has been confirmed in Banadir province.
:: Circulation of vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) in the environment has been confirmed in Banadir province, Somalia.
Statement of the Sixteenth IHR Emergency Committee Regarding the International Spread of Poliovirus
WHO statement  –  14 February 2018
[Editor’s text bolding]
The sixteenth meeting of the Emergency Committee under the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR) regarding the international spread of poliovirus was convened by the Director General on 7 February 2018 at WHO headquarters with members, advisers and invited member states attending via teleconference…

The Committee unanimously agreed that the risk of international spread of poliovirus remains a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), and recommended the extension of Temporary Recommendations for a further three months.

The Committee considered the following factors in reaching this conclusion:
:: The potential risk of further spread through population movement, whether for family, social or cultural reasons, or in the context of populations displaced by insecurity, returning refugees, or nomadic populations, and the need for international coordination to address these risks, particularly between Afghanistan and Pakistan, Nigeria and its Lake Chad neighbors, and countries bordering the Syrian Arab Republic.
:: The current special and extraordinary context of being closer to polio eradication than ever before in history, with the incidence of WPV1 cases in 2017 the lowest ever recorded.
:: The risk and consequent costs of failure to eradicate globally a highly debilitating vaccine preventable disease. Even though global transmission of WPV1 has fallen dramatically and with it the likelihood of international spread, the consequences and impact of international spread should it occur now would be even more grave and a major set-back to achieving eradication.
:: The risk of global complacency developing as the numbers of polio cases continues to fall and eradication becomes a tangible reality soon.
:: The outbreak of WPV1 (and cVDPV) in Nigeria highlighting that there are high-risk areas where surveillance is compromised by inaccessibility, resulting in ongoing circulation of WPV for several years without detection. The risk of transmission in the Lake Chad sub-region appears considerable.
:: The serious consequences of further international spread for the increasing number of countries in which immunization systems have been weakened or disrupted by conflict and complex emergencies. Populations in these fragile states are vulnerable to outbreaks of polio. Outbreaks in fragile states are exceedingly difficult to control and threaten the completion of global polio eradication during its end stage.
:: The importance of a regional approach and strong cross­border cooperation, as much international spread of polio occurs over land borders, while also recognizing that the risk of distant international spread remains from zones with active poliovirus transmission.
Additionally with respect to cVDPV:
:: cVDPVs also pose a risk for international spread, which without an urgent response with appropriate measures threatens vulnerable populations as noted above;
:: The large number of cases in the Syrian outbreak within a short space of time and close to the international border with Iraq in the context of ongoing population movement because of conflict, considerably heightens the risk of international spread;
:: The ongoing circulation of cVDPV2 in DR Congo, and the Syrian Arab Republic demonstrates significant gaps in population immunity at a critical time in the polio endgame;
:: The ongoing urgency to prevent type 2 cVDPVs following the globally synchronized withdrawal of the type 2 component of the oral poliovirus vaccine in April 2016, noting that population immunity to type 2 polioviruses is rapidly waning in many countries;
:: The ongoing challenges of improving routine immunization in areas affected by insecurity and other emergencies;
:: The global shortage of IPV which poses an additional risk, in that the cohort of children with no type 2 immunity is growing in number in countries affected by the shortage…

Additional considerations
The Committee noted that in all the infected and vulnerable countries, routine immunization was generally quite poor, if not nationally, then in sub-national pockets. The Committee also noted that surveillance in these areas may also be sub-optimal, particularly where access is compromised by conflict. The Committee strongly encourages all these countries to make further efforts to improve routine immunization and strengthen surveillance in such areas, and requested international partners to support these countries in rapidly improving routine immunization coverage to underpin eradication.

The Committee also urged that Nigeria and the Lake Chad countries increase cross border efforts and joint planning and response. Intensified effort is needed to identify and reach vulnerable populations in the sub-region, particularly in the Lake Chad islands. Noting the low number of international travelers being vaccinated in Nigeria, the committee again recommended that the country needs to improve implementation of the Temporary Recommendations regarding traveler vaccination, including reporting of achievements, and requests the secretariat to report back on this aspect of Nigeria’s response to the next Committee meeting. Nigeria should ensure continuing political commitment and take measures to counter fatigue in the fight against polio. Similarly, the DR Congo government needs to regard the current outbreak of cVDPV2 as a public health emergency and pay more attention to prevention of international spread of cVDPV2 from DR Congo, noting that neighboring countries are affected by the global shortage of IPV.

Noting the issues that continue in countries previously subject to Temporary Recommendations such as the Ukraine and Somalia, the Committee requested the secretariat to continue to monitor these and other previously infected countries, and highlight to the Committee issues that pose a risk of international spread. The Committee requested an update on the situation in Somalia at its next meeting.

Based on the current situation regarding WPV1 and cVDPV, and the reports made by Afghanistan, DR Congo, Nigeria, Pakistan, and the Syrian Arab Republic, the Director-General accepted the Committee’s assessment and on 13 February 2018 determined that the situation relating to poliovirus continues to constitute a PHEIC, with respect to WPV1 and cVDPV. The Director-General endorsed the Committee’s recommendations for countries meeting the definition for ‘States infected with WPV1, cVDPV1 or cVDPV3 with potential risk for international spread’, ‘States infected with cVDPV2 with potential risk for international spread’ and for ‘States no longer infected by WPV1 or cVDPV, but which remain vulnerable to re-infection by WPV or cVDPV’ and extended the Temporary Recommendations under the IHR to reduce the risk of the international spread of poliovirus, effective 13 February 2018.
Global Certification Commission – GPEI
Special Meeting of the Global Commission for the Certification of the Eradication of Poliomyelitis (GCC) on Poliovirus Containment
Geneva, Switzerland, 23 – 25 October 2017
Release date [not identified] :: 15 pages
Summary of recommendations

  1. Role of GCC in containment

:: WHO should review GCC’s ToRs at the time of certification of eradication to determine GCC’s role in the post-certification period as the oversight body for containment.

  1. Reduction in the number of PEFs

:: WHO should continue to work with Member States so that only those facilities fulfilling critical national or international functions in countries and complying with secondary and tertiary safeguards (as and when required) enter the containment certification process.
:: Member States should coordinate and communicate closely with facilities to make them aware of the implications of becoming and remaining PEFs.
:: WHO should engage the Regional Directors to raise awareness of containment during the Regional Committee Meetings. This could be explored through the Global Policy Group
:: Countries using PQ polio vaccines are recommended to accept the release certificate issued by the NRA of reference to avoid duplication of testing and use of PV material

  1. Completion of Phase I (Preparation for containment of poliovirus type 2) of GAPIII

:: GCC encourages the establishment of a standardized data collection and verification mechanism.
:: NCC/RCC reports need to clearly indicate where and when activities in Phase I have been completed, based on a standardized data collection and verification mechanism, so that, on the basis of equivalent data quality between regions, the GCC can declare global completion of Phase I.
:: The deadline for completion of Phase I for all PV2 is set at one year after the publication of the Guidance for non-poliovirus facilities to minimize risk of sample collections potentially infectious for polioviruses
:: GCC urges countries affected by ongoing transmission of cVDPV2 to repeat their inventories and destroy, transfer or contain PV2 materials after the outbreak is declared closed.
:: GCC requests RCCs to urge countries to complete the identification, destruction, transfer or containment (Phase I) of WPV1 and WPV3 materials by the end of Phase II.
:: GCC urges countries planning to designate facilities for the retention of WPV1 and WPV3 materials to weigh the risks and benefits of having such facilities and the commitments that will be required to comply with the primary (facility), secondary (population immunity) and tertiary (sanitation and hygiene) safeguards.
:: GCC requests a letter be prepared and distributed via Regional Offices formally acknowledging countries for the completion of Phase I of GAPIII.

  1. Acceleration of the implementation of the CCS process

:: WHO should consider an EB request for a WHA 2018 resolution urging countries hosting PEFs to accelerate the appointment of a competent NAC as soon as possible and no later than 31 Dec 2018, processing all CP applications as soon as possible and no later than 30 June 2019. After June 2019, new PEF applications will not be considered unless under exceptional circumstances GCC will review these dates in early 2018.
:: WHO should carry out a risk assessment of designated PEFs’ status to ensure that facilities at highest priority are entered into the CCS process as soon as possible.

  1. Coordination and oversight

:: The WHO secretariat needs to ensure coordination of information exchanges between the ECBS, CAG, CWG, SAGE, IHR EC, CMG, SC and the GCC
:: WHO should determine which group is best placed to advise CWG on requirements associated with secondary and tertiary safeguards.
:: A mechanism needs to be established for the CWG to obtain more frequent technical support from CAG for clarifications on the operationalization of GAPIII.

  1. GCC-CWG capacity

:: GCC requests WHO to expand the CWG membership.

  1. Containment criteria for global certification of eradication

:: The GCC recommends that facilities awarded a CP should begin the CC application process and only if absolutely needed, obtain an ICC for the shortest possible duration.

:: At the time of the declaration of WPV eradication, all facilities retaining WPVs should have a CC, and if not, have a time-limited ICC, with a clear end point for obtaining a CC agreed with the GCC.

  1. Containment breaches: public health management of breaches in PV containment

:: WHO should ensure GCC is also informed.

  1. Verification of compliance with GAPIII

:: The CWG should establish an agreement with NACs to enable verification of containment under routine working circumstances or when breaches or other exceptional situations arise, and to clarify the possible impact of a containment breach on the potential award/status of a containment certificate.

  1. Communication strategy for Certification and Containment

:: GCC encourages WHO to ensure that the new communication officer being recruited by WHO is assigned to cover both areas of Objective 3 of the Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan (PEESP, Certification and Containment)
:: GCC requests WHO to develop a communication strategy as soon as possible addressing Objective 3 of the PEESP
:: GCC recommends ensuring the containment communication strategy encourages risk elimination by destruction of PV materials. It should also address the long term nature of the commitment to host a PEF, including cost and personnel required.
Syria cVDPV2 outbreak situation report 34, 13 February 2018
Situation update 13 February 2018
[Editor’ text bolding]
:: No new cases of cVDPV2 were reported this week. The total number of cVDPV2 cases remains 74. The most recent case (by date of onset of paralysis) is 21 September 2017 from Boukamal district, Deir Ez-Zor governorate.
:: An inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) immunization round has successfully concluded in Damascus and Hasakah governorates, parts of Aleppo governorate and Jurmana district of rural Damascus as part of the second phase of the outbreak response. A total of 233,518 children aged 2-23 months received IPV, representing 71% of the estimated target. Activities are ongoing in accessible areas of Aleppo governorate.
:: A total of 1,456 children under 5 years have received mOPV2 in Hasakah governorate during the IPV vaccination round, as part of special strategies to reach children who were missed by mOPV2 vaccination in January.
:: Independent post campaign monitoring of the IPV campaign is ongoing in all areas that have completed the vaccination round.
:: The Emergency Committee under the International Health Regulations (IHR) was briefed this week on the cVDPV2 outbreak in Syria and the response to date.
   :: An orientation session was held this week with Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) to strengthen the coordination and to refresh training on reporting of vaccine preventable diseases in inaccessible areas. SARC has been supporting the implementation of immunization activities for outbreak response, routine immunization and AFP surveillance. 


WHO Grade 3 Emergencies  [to 17 February 2018]
The Syrian Arab Republic
:: Syria cVDPV2 outbreak situation report 34, 13 February 2018
[See Polio above for detail]

:: WHO moves to contain Nigeria’s Lassa fever outbreak
13 February 2018, ABUJA – The World Health Organization is scaling up its response to an outbreak of Lassa fever in Nigeria, which has spread to 17 states and may have infected up to 450 people in less than five weeks.
From the onset of the outbreak, WHO Nigeria deployed staff from the national and state levels to support the Government of Nigeria’s national Lassa fever Emergency Operations Centre and state surveillance activities. WHO is helping to coordinate health actors and is joining rapid risk assessment teams travelling to hot spots to investigate the outbreak.
Between 1 January and 4 February 2018, nearly 450 suspected cases were reported, of which 132 are laboratory confirmed Lassa fever. Of these, 43 deaths were reported, 37 of which were lab confirmed…

WHO Grade 2 Emergencies  [to 17 February 2018]
No new announcements identified

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. 
:: Iraq: 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan Overview – February 2018 [EN/AR]  Published on 13 Feb 2018
Protection remains the overriding humanitarian priority during 2018

Syrian Arab Republic
:: 16 Feb 2018   Statement attributed to Ali Al-Za’tari, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Syria, on the humanitarian situation in Nashabieh, East Ghouta…

:: 12 Feb 2018   Yemen Humanitarian Update Covering 5 – 11 February 2018

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.
:: 12 Feb 2018  Ethiopia: Humanitarian Response Situation Report No.17 (January 2018)

:: ISCG Situation Update: Rohingya Refugee Crisis, Cox’s Bazar | 11 February 2018

The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health :: Education :: Heritage Stewardship ::
Sustainable Development
Week ending 10 February 2018

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 10 Feb 2018

:: 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

Philippines; Venezuela: Human Rights/Health/Governance/ICC

Philippines; Venezuela: Human Rights/Health/Governance/ICC

Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health [to 27 January 2018]

9 February 2018
Venezuela: Dire living conditions worsening by the day, UN human rights experts warn
(9 February, 2018) – Vast numbers of Venezuelans are starving, deprived of essential medicines, and trying to survive in a situation that is spiralling downwards with no end in sight, according to a group of UN human rights experts*. They made an urgent plea to the government to take action to tackle the crisis, and called on the international community to adopt measures to avoid an unfolding tragedy of immense proportions.

“Millions of people are suffering a lack of food and essential medicines, a shortage of goods including those for personal hygiene, power cuts, and dire housing and living conditions. Conditions are worsening by the day putting many lives at risk,” the experts said in a joint statement.

“2016 estimates pointed to over 50 percent of the population facing extreme poverty, a figure that has undoubtedly increased when taking into account the reported 2,400 percent inflation of 2017.

“Venezuelans are suffering multiple breaches of their human rights,” the experts said. “Many people are suffering from lack of food and malnutrition, while the health situation has reached unbearable levels, especially for patients with chronic and terminal diseases such as diabetes, kidney disease and cancer…


Statement of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Mrs Fatou Bensouda, on opening Preliminary Examinations into the situations in the Philippines and in Venezuela
08 February 2018
Since 2016, I have closely followed the situations in the Republic of the Philippines (“the Philippines”) and in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (“Venezuela”). Both countries are States Parties to the Rome Statute.

Following a careful, independent and impartial review of a number of communications and reports documenting alleged crimes potentially falling within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (“ICC” or “the Court”), I have decided to open a preliminary examination into each situation.

The preliminary examination of the situation in the Philippines will analyse crimes allegedly committed in this State Party since at least 1 July 2016, in the context of the “war on drugs” campaign launched by the Government of the Philippines. Specifically, it has been alleged that since 1 July 2016, thousands of persons have been killed for reasons related to their alleged involvement in illegal drug use or dealing. While some of such killings have reportedly occurred in the context of clashes between or within gangs, it is alleged that many of the reported incidents involved extra-judicial killings in the course of police anti-drug operations.

The preliminary examination of the situation in Venezuela will analyse crimes allegedly committed in this State Party since at least April 2017, in the context of demonstrations and related political unrest. In particular, it has been alleged that State security forces frequently used excessive force to disperse and put down demonstrations, and arrested and detained thousands of actual or perceived members of the opposition, a number of whom would have been allegedly subjected to serious abuse and ill-treatment in detention. It has also been reported that some groups of protestors resorted to violent means, resulting in some members of security forces being injured or killed.

Under the Rome Statute, national jurisdictions have the primary responsibility to investigate and prosecute those responsible for international crimes. I emphasise that a preliminary examination is not an investigation but a process of examining the information available in order to reach a fully informed determination on whether there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation pursuant to the criteria established by the Rome Statute. Specifically, under article 53(1) of the Rome Statute, I, as Prosecutor, must consider issues of jurisdiction, admissibility and the interests of justice in making this determination.

In conformity with the complementarity principle, which is a cornerstone of the Rome Statute legal system, and within the framework of each preliminary examination, my Office will be engaging with the national authorities concerned with a view to discussing and assessing any relevant investigation and prosecution at the national level.

In the independent and impartial exercise of its mandate, my Office will also give consideration to all submissions and views conveyed to it during the course of each preliminary examination, strictly guided by the requirements of the Rome Statute.

There are no statutory timelines on the length of a preliminary examination. Depending on the facts and circumstances of each situation, I will decide whether to initiate an investigation, subject to judicial review as appropriate; continue to collect information to establish a sufficient factual and legal basis to render a determination; or decline to initiate an investigation if there is no reasonable basis to proceed.

I reiterate that my Office undertakes this work with full independence and impartiality in accordance with its mandate and the applicable legal instruments of the Court. As we do, we hope to count on the full engagement of the relevant national authorities in the Philippines and Venezuela.

The ICC would have jurisdiction over genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes if committed on the respective territories of the Philippines and Venezuela or by their respective nationals since the date when the Statute entered into force in each State, namely since 1 November 2011 in the case of Philippines, and since 1 July 2002, in Venezuela.

Cities of Refuge in the Middle East : Bringing an Urban Lens to the Forced Displacement Challenge – World Bank

Cities of Refuge in the Middle East : Bringing an Urban Lens to the Forced Displacement Challenge
World Bank Group – Policy Note 2017 :: 32 pages
This policy note aims to advance our understanding of urban forced displacement, induced by conflict, by looking at the issue from the perspective of receiving towns and cities. It explores why we need a different approach to addressing urban forced displacement; how to “think differently” about urban forced displacement along the humanitarian-development assistance spectrum; what we can learn from existing urbanization and other relevant experiences to inform humanitarian and development responses; and what “thinking differently” means for local, national, and international development actors. The primary audiences of the note are development and humanitarian practitioners as well as policy makers who are increasingly confronted with the urban dimensions of protracted forced displacement.

Report PDF:

Key Messages [Excerpt]
Forced displacement is among the most pressing challenges in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region.
The number of people forcibly displaced worldwide continues to increase, particularly in MENA, where waves of unrest and conflict have driven a huge increase in displacement. In 2016, there were an estimated 65.6 million people forcibly displaced around the world, of which about one quarter were living in countries across the MENA region. For each refugee displaced in MENA, there are almost five internally displaced people (IDPs).

Contrary to common belief, most of the forcibly displaced live outside of camps.
When thinking of the displaced and providing food, shelter and services, standalone camps run by humanitarian agencies are the most common image. However, only a minority of forcibly displaced people actually live in camps. Today, most of the displaced are in towns and cities, where provision of services, shelter and livelihoods are already well established. This pattern is particularly evident in the already highly urbanized MENA region, where an estimated 80-90 percent of displaced live in towns and cities – significantly above the global average of 60 percent.

Solutions for displacement must target host towns and cities.
The shift in displacement from camps to towns and cities means changing the paradigm for how humanitarian and development agencies work with displaced populations. Instead of providing stand-alone solutions to displaced people in camps or rural areas, the challenge is to support host communities to scale up existing services, shelter and jobs to meet the needs of both the original residents and the displaced.

In towns and cities, targeted assistance to the displaced should be complemented with place-based development approaches that build on existing governance structures and service delivery mechanisms to promote the welfare of all residents, regardless of origin. Approaches that target assistance only for the displaced may heighten social tensions between displaced and host communities and do not help host communities cope with the new needs arising from rapid population growth…

Joint Letters from NGOs/Groups: Yemen; CDC Funding; U.S. International Affairs Budget

Joint Letters from NGOs/Groups

Joint Letter To Secretary Tillerson: Yemen In Crisis
CARE, Global Communities, InterAction, International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps, Norwegian Refugee Council, Oxfam, Refugees International, Save the Children

Yemen, February 6, 2018
The Honorable Rex W. Tillerson, Secretary of State of the United States of America

Dear Secretary Tillerson,
As organizations that provide and advocate for life-saving assistance in Yemen, we write to urge your continued efforts to seek a permanent end to the Saudi-led coalition’s restrictions on humanitarian and commercial access to Yemen’s ports, particularly Hodeidah and Saleef. Furthermore, we urge you to redouble your efforts to mobilize political will and realize a political settlement to Yemen’s deadly conflict.

We applaud your personal diplomatic engagement to address this crisis in recent months, which, combined with public statements from President Trump and the efforts of your colleagues in the Department of State and USAID, has so far helped to prevent the world’s worst humanitarian crisis from significant further deterioration. We appreciate the opportunity to engage directly with senior State Department and USAID officials on the matter and look forward to the next discussion. To truly end the suffering of the Yemeni people, however, critical measures remain to be implemented.

The recently-released Yemen Comprehensive Humanitarian Operations (YCHO), proposed by the Saudi-led coalition, asserts that increasing the capacity of additional ports beyond Hodeidah and rerouting all fuel shipments south to Aden will address the dire humanitarian needs in Yemen. As stated in our November 27th letter to your office, there is no alternative to Hodeidah port for ensuring the adequate delivery of humanitarian and commercial supplies to the northern governorates. Roughly 70 percent of Yemen’s population resides in Northern Yemen; Hodeidah and Saleef ports together receive 80 percent of Yemen’s imports and are much more accessible to the majority of those most in need. We are grateful for the steps that USAID and the State Department have taken to address the most concerning aspects of the YCHO and we are hopeful that, with your ongoing engagement, the plan will strengthen the international community’s impartial and effective humanitarian response.

The fragmentation of the conflict in Yemen has made peace a distant hope, but we remain optimistic that a political settlement between the principal parties to the conflict would create the conditions for the unification of Yemen’s state institutions and the revival of its economy. To achieve this end, we urge you to publicly support the adoption of a new UN Security Council Resolution that demands a ceasefire, unfettered humanitarian and commercial access, and flexibility on all sides to achieve a political resolution to the conflict. We have observed that, by imposing unrealistic, one-sided demands on the Houthis, Resolution 2216 precludes incentives for any of the parties to engage in good faith negotiations. A new Resolution that demonstrates the urgency and commitment of the international community to resolving the conflict could empower the new UN special envoy and catalyze a meaningful peace process.

The United States is uniquely positioned to help bring the conflict in Yemen to a peaceful resolution and prevent further suffering and loss of civilian life. Thank you once again for your swift action to press for fully lifting all blockades on life-saving supplies entering Yemen and working toward a peaceful end to the crisis.

Copies to:
Ambassador Mark Green, USAID Administrator Lt Gen. H.R. McMaster, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Ambassador Nikki Haley, US Permanent Representative to the U.N. John J. Sullivan, US Deputy Secretary of State


Joint Letter on CDC Funding for Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA)

The Honorable Alex Azar
United States Department of Health and Human Services
330 C St SW
Washington, DC 20416

Dear Secretary Azar,
We are writing to express our concern over reports that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) plans to begin dramatically scaling back its activities to support the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), in anticipation of the expiring Ebola supplemental funding at the end of fiscal year 2019. We ask the Administration to reconsider these planned reductions to programs vital to the health and national security of all Americans.

On January 19, the Wall Street Journal published an article entitled CDC to Scale Back Work in Dozens of Foreign Countries Amid Funding Worries. The article details the grave consequences of dramatically downsizing CDC programs in 39 of 49 countries—where the CDC maintains an overseas presence to support global health security activities—as a result of the expiration of the five-year supplemental package that was provided through the US Ebola response. These programs are essential to our national defense, forming critical links in the US prevention, detection, and response chain for outbreaks—in collaboration with the Departments of Defense and State, as well as the U.S. Agency for International Development.

As non-governmental stakeholders, including many that work alongside US government agencies to stop outbreaks at the source, we are alarmed by this news. President Trump has underscored his commitment to promote the GHSA noting, “We cannot have prosperity if we’re not healthy. We will continue our partnership on critical health initiatives.” We would like to express our strong concerns over these harmful cuts to personnel and programs. This infrastructure is critical to protecting against devastating, destabilizing, and debilitating disease threats—whether naturally occurring or deliberate.

The ramifications from such major cuts in our deployed biodefense capability are clear. Not only will CDC be forced to narrow its countries of operation, but the US also stands to lose vital information about epidemic threats garnered on the ground through trusted relationships, real-time surveillance, and research. These cuts also fail to recognize the tremendous success the United States has had in solidifying political and financial support from other countries through the foundation that biodefense programs, deployed disease detectives, research and training partnerships, and other systems or services that the GHSA has built. For the first time, countries are closing health security gaps using standardized metrics. This has allowed for the mobilization of significant contributions from other donor nations and the private sector, as well as increased host government support from low- and middle-income countries themselves.

US investments in global health security and deployed CDC personnel are making America safer today. For example, US investments in surveillance capacity in Cameroon have decreased the disease outbreak response time from 8 weeks to just 24 hours. This rapid response prevents an isolated outbreak from becoming a global catastrophe. Similarly, CDC’s health security personnel and resources were indispensable in averting crisis during the 2017 responses to Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Marburg in Uganda. However, while the foundation that CDC has laid since the West African Ebola outbreak is impressive, it is not yet cemented. Pulling out now from countries like Pakistan and Democratic Republic of the Congo—one of the world’s main hot spots for emerging infectious diseases—risks leaving the world unprepared for the next outbreak.

As it currently stands, most of CDC’s funding for global health security is set to expire in October 2019, without any plan for ensuring deployed capability to stop outbreaks at the source in priority regions remain into the future. History demonstrates that complacency in the wake of successful outbreak interventions leads to a cycle of funding cuts followed by ever more costly outbreaks. This forces the United States to face massive government expenditures and military interventions.
The 2015 Ebola outbreak cost US taxpayers $5.4 billion in emergency supplemental funding, forced several US cities to spend millions in containment, disrupted global business and supply chains, and required the deployment of the US military to mitigate the threat. The World Bank has estimated that a moderate pandemic could cost the global economy roughly $570 billion, or 0.7 percent of global income, and a severe pandemic, like the 1918 influenza pandemic, could cost as much as 5 percent of global gross income, or up to $6 trillion.

As the United States and the world begin to reap the benefits of our investments in better disease preparedness, now is not the time to step back. The ongoing danger that biological threats pose to American health, economic, and national security interests demands dedicated and steady funding for global health security. Congress and the Administration must invest in our deployed global biodefense capability. We stand together in our concerns over looming cuts to CDC, and we urge the Administration to work with Congress to urgently resolve this fiscal crisis. This will require sustained funding—at the annual levels that have been invested since the Ebola crisis—for global health security-related activities at CDC and other agencies involved in health security, in support of the goals of the GHSA.

We would welcome the opportunity for representatives of our organizations to meet with you as soon as possible to discuss this urgent issue. Thank you for your consideration.

The Global Health Security Agenda Consortium, Global Health Council, Next Generation Global Health Security Network, and Global Health Technologies Coalition represent an international membership of over 200 organizations and companies dedicated to achieving a world secure from threats posed by infectious disease.


Over 100 U.S. NGOs Join InterAction Community Letter Supporting U.S. FY 2019 International Affairs Budget
Letter endorsed by NGO alliance calls on Congress to allocate no less than $59.1 billion for International Affairs
WASHINGTON , Feb 8, 2018
In anticipation of the President’s FY2019 budget release, InterAction and more than 100 partner organizations call on Congress to support robust funding for the International Affairs Budget at no less than $59.1 billion. Funding at this level reflects the InterAction community’s guideline for the minimum requirement to protect U.S. global leadership in support of poverty-focused international development and humanitarian assistance. Congress and the American people have consistently supported these investments in American leadership.

Funding for international development and humanitarian assistance programs is essential and must complement other initiatives that work to create a safer and more prosperous world. While global development and humanitarian programs account for less than one percent of the nation’s federal budget, they are instrumental in creating healthy lives and stable communities, as well as buttressing U.S. leadership and interests.

Foreign assistance provided by the U.S. supports life-altering and life-saving programs for millions around the world,” said InterAction president Lindsay Coates. “In order to maintain the progress that has been made and restore American leadership, funding for foreign assistance must remain a priority.”

The InterAction community endorsement letter comes ahead of the organization’s annual publication Choose to Invest, a detailed budget guide that includes funding recommendations and justifications for over 40 key foreign assistance accounts. Choose to Invest also includes opportunities for Congress to invest additional funds to better meet unprecedented global challenges and catalyze American leadership. Choose to Invest for FY2019 is slated for release in mid-March.

Read the InterAction Community Endorsement Letter

United States tax act could lead to repatriation of $2 trillion of overseas investment

Governance/Global Finance – U.S. Tax Legislation Impacts
United States tax act could lead to repatriation of $2 trillion of overseas investment
Geneva, Switzerland, (05 February 2018)
The United States “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” will have significant implications for global FDI patterns. It will affect multinational enterprises and foreign affiliates accounting for almost 50% of global FDI stock, according to a special issue of the UNCTAD Global Investment Trends Monitor.

“The experience from the last tax break on the repatriation of capital in 2005 would indicate that multinationals could bring back up to $2 trillion, leading to sharp reductions in global FDI stocks,” said James Zhan, Director of UNCTAD’s Investment Division.

The United States Government adopted the tax reform bill in December. The changes to the corporate tax regime will significantly affect both investment into the United States and the investment positions of US firms abroad. Almost half of global investment stock is either located in the United States or owned by US multinationals.

The most significant change to the tax regime for multinationals is the shift from a worldwide system (taxing worldwide income) to a territorial system (taxing only income earned at home). Under the old regime, tax liabilities on foreign income became payable only upon repatriation of funds to the United States. As a result, United States multinationals kept their earnings outside their home country.

Measures in the tax reform include a one-off tax on accumulated foreign earnings, freeing the funds to be repatriated. Retained earnings overseas of United States multinationals amount to an estimated $3.2 trillion. The 2005 Homeland Investment Act, the last tax break on funds repatriation, led firms to bring home two thirds of their foreign retained earnings. Funds available for repatriation are today seven times larger than in 2005.

Ultimately, the impact on global investment stocks will depend on the actions of a relatively small number of very large multinationals that, together, hold the bulk of overseas cash. Five high-tech companies alone (Apple, Microsoft, Cisco, Alphabet and Oracle) together hold more than $530 billion in cash overseas – one quarter of the total amount of liquid assets that are estimated to be available for repatriation.

Repatriations could cause a large drop in the outward FDI stock position of the United States, from the current $6.4 trillion to possibly as low as $4.5 trillion, with inverse consequences for inward FDI stocks in other countries. About one quarter of United States outward stock of FDI is located in developing countries. However, it is likely that a large part of the stock located in developing countries is invested in productive assets and therefore not easily repatriated.

“The impact on investment in the developing world remains to be seen. However, developing countries need real investments in productive assets, not cash parked overseas,” said UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi.

The outcomes will also depend on reactions in other countries. The reforms fit in a wider trend of lower corporate income tax rates, which could lead to increased global tax competition.

The removal of the need to keep earnings overseas could lead to structurally lower retained earnings in foreign affiliates of US multinationals. The freeing up of overseas cash might also lead to a further increase in mergers and acquisitions. Finally, stimulus measures for investment in the United States included in the bill could lead to higher inward investment in the United States, and possibly to further re-shoring of manufacturing activity.

To download the special issue on the United States tax bill, please click here, and to read the latest edition of the UNCTAD Global Investment Trends Monitor, released in January, please click here.

The Equity Impact Vaccines May Have On Averting Deaths And Medical Impoverishment In Developing Countries

Featured Journal Content
Health Affairs
February 2018. Vol. 37, No. 2
Diffusion Of Innovation
Research Article Global Health Policy
The Equity Impact Vaccines May Have On Averting Deaths And Medical Impoverishment In Developing Countries
Angela Y. Chang1, Carlos Riumallo-Herl2, Nicole A. Perales3, Samantha Clark4, Andrew Clark5,
Dagna Constenla6, Tini Garske7, Michael L. Jackson8, Kévin Jean9, Mark Jit10, Edward O. Jones11, Xi Li12, Chutima Suraratdecha13, Olivia Bullock14, Hope Johnson15, Logan Brenzel16, and Stéphane Verguet17
Open Access
With social policies increasingly directed toward enhancing equity through health programs, it is important that methods for estimating the health and economic benefits of these programs by subpopulation be developed, to assess both equity concerns and the programs’ total impact. We estimated the differential health impact (measured as the number of deaths averted) and household economic impact (measured as the number of cases of medical impoverishment averted) of ten antigens and their corresponding vaccines across income quintiles for forty-one low- and middle-income countries. Our analysis indicated that benefits across these vaccines would accrue predominantly in the lowest income quintiles. Policy makers should be informed about the large health and economic distributional impact that vaccines could have, and they should view vaccination policies as potentially important channels for improving health equity. Our results provide insight into the distribution of vaccine-preventable diseases and the health benefits associated with their prevention.


Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)
Polio this week as of 07 February 2018 [GPEI]
:: New on protecting children on the move in Pakistan; and, following the workday of female polio vaccinators in Afghanistan.
:: Watch long-time polio eradicators Hans Everts and Mohammed Mohammedi share their experiences from the frontline of outbreak response and describe the remaining challenges to reaching a polio-free world, in the latest ‘Coffee with Polio Experts’ videos.

:: Weekly country updates as of 07 February 2018
:: Two new cases of wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) have been confirmed in Kandahar province, following advance notification last week. One new WPV1 positive environmental sample collected from Kandahar province
:: Two new WPV1 positive environmental samples collected, from Islamabad and Punjab provinces.
Democratic Republic of the Congo:
:: One new case of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) has been confirmed in Tanganyika province

Syria cVDPV2 outbreak situation report 33, 6 February 2018
Situation update 6 February 2018
:: No new cases of cVDPV2 were reported this week. The total number of cVDPV2 cases remains 74. The most recent case (by date of onset of paralysis) is 21 September 2017 from Boukamal district, Deir Ez-Zor governorate.
:: An IPV vaccination round is currently in progress as part of the second phase of the outbreak response, in Damascus, Hasakah, Aleppo governorates and Jurmana district of rural Damascus. IPV is being delivered through fixed centres.
:: Teams delivering IPV are comprised of two vaccinators and one social mobiliser. In selected fixed sites with a higher proportion of displaced populations from Deir Ez-Zor, social mobilisers have been recruited from the local community to ensure high participation.
:: Children in Hasakah governorate who were missed by mOPV2 vaccination in first round will receive mOPV2 alongside IPV in the second round taking place this week.


WHO Grade 3 Emergencies  [to 10 February 2018]
The Syrian Arab Republic
:: WHO delivers life-saving health supplies to Deir-ez-Zor governorate
7 February 2018 –  The World Health Organization (WHO) dispatched 14 tons of life-saving medicines, anesthetics, antibiotics, emergency medical kits and other treatments to Deir-ez-Zor governorate this week to urgently respond to the critical health needs of people in north-east Syria. The shipment contains more than 303 000 treatments for ill and wounded children, women and men.
:: Syria cVDPV2 outbreak situation report 33, 6 February 2018
[See Polio above for detail]

:: Cancer patients in Yemen face slow death as treatment options diminish  4 February 2018
:: Weekly epidemiology bulletin, 22–28 January 2018 [Cholera]

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
:: 9 Feb 2018  Syrian Arab Republic (Northern Governorates): Displacements to northwest Syria as of February 3, 2018
:: Statement by the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator and UN Representatives in Syria on the impact of the compounded humanitarian crisis in Syria [EN/AR]    Damascus, 6 February 2018

:: 6 Feb 2018   Yemen Humanitarian Update Issue No. 1 | 6 February 2018

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.
:: 6 Feb 2018   Ethiopia Humanitarian Bulletin Issue 46 | 22 January – 4 February 2018

The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health :: Education :: Heritage Stewardship ::
Sustainable Development
Week ending 3 February 2018

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 3 Feb 2018

:: 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

Global and Regional Trends in Women’s Legal Protection Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Harassment

Global and Regional Trends in Women’s Legal Protection Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Harassment
World Bank, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation and the Global Partnership for Education.
FEBRUARY 2018 :: 20 pages
Report PDF:

KEY MESSAGES [Editor’s text bolding]
:: Laws against domestic violence and sexual harassment are important to provide women with legal protection and signal commitment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal target of ending all forms of violence and harmful practices against women and girls by 2030.

:: The share of countries with laws on domestic violence increased from 70.9 percent to 75.9 percent thanks to legal reforms in seven countries over the last four years.

:: Legal protection remains weak for sexual violence as a form of domestic violence, where laws are lacking in more than one in three countries. For economic violence, half of the countries do not have specific legislation. For two in three countries, unmarried intimate partners are not protected under the domestic violence laws. Gaps in legislation are most common in the Middle East and North Africa and in sub-Saharan Africa.

:: More than one billion women lack legal protection against sexual violence by an intimate partner or family member and close to 1.4 billion lack legal protection against domestic economic violence, with little progress over time in both cases. In addition, in many countries, even when married women may be protected against domestic violence, women in unmarried intimate relationships may not be protected.

:: The share of countries with laws on sexual harassment increased from 83.7 percent to 86.5 percent thanks to legal reforms in Cameroon, Chad, Egypt, and Guinea over the last four years.

:: One in five countries do not have appropriate laws against sexual harassment in employment.
The proportion is six in ten countries for sexual harassment in education and four in five countries
for sexual harassment in public spaces. Criminal penalties for sexual harassment are in place in
only two thirds of countries and less than half for sexual harassment in employment.

:: Estimates of the number of women lacking legal protection against sexual harassment in employment, education, and public places are at 362 million, 1.5 billion, and 2.2 billion, respectively. Estimates are higher when based on the lack of criminal penalties for perpetrators.

:: While laws against domestic violence and sexual harassment are not sufficient to end these
forms of abuse, they are an important step that countries can and should take towards ending violence against women and girls.

Press Release
More than 1 billion women lack legal protection against domestic sexual violence, finds World Bank study
WASHINGTON, February 1, 2018 – More than one billion women lack legal protection against domestic sexual violence, says new research from the World Bank.

The study, Global and Regional Trends in Women’s Legal Protection Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Harassment, also found that close to 1.4 billion women lack legal protection against domestic economic violence. Economic abuse entails controlling a woman’s ability to access economic resources (money, education or employment) as a form of intimidation and coercion. In addition, women are often not legally protected against specific types of sexual harassment outside the home, such as at work, school, and in public places.

Violence against women takes many forms, including physical, sexual, emotional, and economic. Violence leads to negative and, at times, dramatic mental and physical health consequences. It leads to increased absenteeism at work and limits mobility, thereby reducing productivity and earnings. It leads girls to drop out of school because going to school puts them at risk of abuse. It affects women’s decision-making ability within the household, including being able to seek services when needed.

“Gender-based violence is a global epidemic that endangers the life of women and girls with a wide range of negative consequences not only for them, but also for their children and communities. Ending this scourge is integral to the development of women’s human capital and unleashing their contribution to economic growth,” said Quentin Wodon, World Bank lead economist and co-author of the study.

The elimination by 2030 of all forms of violence against women and girls, and of all harmful practices such as child, early and forced marriage, and female genital mutilation, are two of the targets adopted under the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. These targets have intrinsic value, but they also matter for reducing poverty and creating inclusive societies. As just one example, ending sexual harassment in schools can boost educational attainment for girls, leading to higher earnings in adulthood…

UNICEF seeks $3.6 billion in emergency assistance for 48 million children caught up in catastrophic humanitarian crises

Humanitarian Response – Children

UNICEF seeks $3.6 billion in emergency assistance for 48 million children caught up in catastrophic humanitarian crises
NEW YORK/GENEVA, 30 January 2018 – UNICEF appealed today for $3.6 billion to provide lifesaving humanitarian assistance to 48 million children living through conflict, natural disasters and other emergencies in 51 countries in 2018.

Around the world, violent conflict is driving humanitarian needs to critical levels, with children especially vulnerable. Conflicts that have endured for years – such as those in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Nigeria, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen, among other countries – continue to deepen in complexity, bringing new waves of violence, displacement and disruption to children’s lives.

“Children cannot wait for wars to be brought to an end, with crises threatening the immediate survival and long term future of children and young people on a catastrophic scale,” said UNICEF Director of Emergency Programmes, Manuel Fontaine. “Children are the most vulnerable when conflict or disaster causes the collapse of essential services such as healthcare, water and sanitation. Unless the international community takes urgent action to protect and provide life-saving assistance to these children, they face an increasingly bleak future.”

Parties to conflicts are showing a blatant disregard for the lives of children. Children are not only coming under direct attack, but are also being denied basic services as schools, hospitals and civilian infrastructure are damaged or destroyed. Approximately 84 per cent ($3.015 billion) of the 2018 funding appeal is for work in countries affected by humanitarian crises borne of violence and conflict.

The world is becoming a more dangerous place for many children, with almost one in four children now living in a country affected by conflict or disaster. For too many of these children, daily life is a nightmare…

The largest component of UNICEF’s appeal this year is for children and families caught up in the Syria conflict, soon to enter its eighth year. UNICEF is seeking almost $1.3 billion to support 6.9 million Syrian children inside Syria and those living as refugees in neighbouring countries.

Working with partners and with the support of donors, in 2018 UNICEF aims to:
– Provide 35.7 million people with access to safe water;
– Reach 8.9 million children with formal or non-formal basic education;
– Immunize 10 million children against measles;
– Provide psychosocial support to over 3.9 million children;
– Treat 4.2 million children with severe acute malnutrition.

In the first ten months of 2017, as a result of UNICEF’s support:
– 29.9 million people were provided with access to safe water;
– 13.6 million children were vaccinated against measles;
– 5.5 million children accessed some form of education;
– 2.5 million children were treated for severe acute malnutrition;
– 2.8 million children accessed psycho-social support.

Global Partnership for Education launches new public-private initiative to address the data challenge in global education

Education – Global

Global Partnership for Education launches new public-private initiative to address the data challenge in global education

DAKAR, Senegal, February 1, 2018 – In an effort to help developing countries strengthen their collection, management and utilization of education data, high-level representatives from the private sector, international organizations, developing country governments and other partners are coming together at the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) Financing Conference to launch a major new initiative called the Education Data Solutions Roundtable.

The initiative aims to improve developing countries’ capacity to gather accurate, comprehensive and timely data, which is essential to understand where improvements are needed in education systems and where progress is being made.

“More and better data are essential to building effective and resilient education systems that deliver quality schooling at scale,” said Alice Albright, Chief Executive Officer, Global Partnership for Education. “The data challenge is one of our most pressing priorities. Without the right information about the performance of their education systems, including data about the number of children in school and their learning progress, governments are essentially flying blind. That is why most of our grants fund country-level data improvements.”
The new public-private initiative recognizes that the business community, in partnership with other stakeholders in development, can offer innovative solutions, creative thinking and new technology that will drive improvements at community, regional, national and ultimately global levels. The initiative is part of the Global Partnership for Education’s knowledge and exchange work.

UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics (UIS) is a central partner in the initiative. It serves as the statistical office of UNESCO and the primary UN repository for cross-nationally comparable statistics on education covering more than 200 countries and territories…


In Dakar, a Major Mobilization to Finance Education Worldwide
02 February 2018 UNESCO News Release

UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay commended the pledges announced by over 60 countries at the Global Partnership for Education Financing Conference in Dakar (Senegal), co-chaired by France and Senegal, and of which UNESCO is a partner.

“In the face of an education emergency, these commitments represent an investment in the future of millions of children and youth, and a crucial contribution in the implementation of inclusive and equitable quality education, the goal for which UNESCO leads global efforts in the framework of the 2030 Agenda. Education is the key to development and peace, but we are in a situation of massive under-investment. The consequences are well known. We need collective intelligence in action for a long-term political vision that is coherent and financed. UNESCO will be fully engaged in this collective effort, through the mandate that has been entrusted to us by our Member States,” stated the Director-General,

UNESCO estimates an annual financing gap of $39 billion to achieve universal education from early childhood to secondary level in low and middle-income countries by 2030.

3 in 10 young people in conflict or disaster-stricken countries are illiterate – UNICEF

Education – Literacy in Humanitarian/Disaster Contexts

3 in 10 young people in conflict or disaster-stricken countries are illiterate – UNICEF
NEW YORK, 31 January 2018 – Nearly 3 in 10 young people aged between 15 and 24 years old – 59 million – living in countries affected by conflict or disaster are illiterate, triple the global rate, UNICEF said today.

Niger, Chad, South Sudan and Central African Republic – all countries with a long history of instability and high levels of poverty – are home to the highest illiteracy rates among young people with 76 per cent, 69 per cent, 68 per cent and 64 per cent of 15 to 24 year olds, respectively, unable to read or write.

“These numbers are a stark reminder of the tragic impact that crises have on children’s education, their futures, and the stability and growth of their economies and societies,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore. “An uneducated child who grows into an illiterate youth in a country ripped apart by conflict or destroyed by disasters may not have much of a chance.”

This new analysis – calculated using UNESCO’s literacy rates in 27 emergency countries featured in UNICEF’s 2018 Humanitarian Action for Children appeal – is released ahead of this week’s Global Partnership for Education Replenishment Conference in Dakar, Senegal.

The analysis also notes that girls and young women are at the biggest disadvantage when it comes to reading and writing, with 33 per cent of them in emergency countries failing to learn even the basics, compared to 24 per cent of boys.

Yet, despite its role in leveling the playing field for the most vulnerable children and young people, education remains severely underfunded. Currently, only 3.6 per cent of humanitarian funding goes toward providing education for children living in emergencies, making it one of the least funded sectors in humanitarian appeals…

UNICEF urges governments and other partners to take action to tackle the education crisis affecting children and young people in emergencies including by:
– Providing young children with access to quality early education programmes to support their development and set them up to continue learning throughout their childhood;
– Offering illiterate young people the opportunity to learn to read and write and further their education through specially designed alternative and accelerated education programmes;
– Increasing investment in education, particularly for the most disadvantaged children and youth…

Parties committed to a pollution-free Africa through the implementation of the Bamako Convention

Heritage Stewardship – Environment

Parties committed to a pollution-free Africa through the implementation of the Bamako Convention
United Nations Environment Programme [UNEP] News Release
Abidjan, 1 February 2018 – Parties to the Bamako Convention adopted a set of decisions. They also adopted, by consensus, a negotiated Ministerial Declaration through which they reaffirmed their commitment to make Africa a pollution-free continent.

Over 35 countries, experts, private sector, civil society, regional economic bodies participated in the three-days Conference of the Parties to the Bamako Convention on the Ban of the Import into Africa and the Control of Transboundary Movement and Management of Hazardous Wastes within Africa that took place in the Ivorian Capital, Abidjan from 30 to 1 February 2018.

The common message from all Parties has been that urgent actions and effective mechanisms should be developed at national and regional levels to effectively implement the Bamako Convention.

While Parties committed to secure total ban of imports to Africa and control of transboundary movement of hazardous wastes, they also reaffirmed to take concrete actions for effective implementation of adopted decisions at past and present conference.

“The Bamako convention is an important instrument which demonstrates the will of Africans to protect their health and environment. It is an instrument that can help us have a Continent free of all forms of pollution. However, to achieve the objectives of the Convention, we need to double our efforts and continue to create more initiatives, “said H.E. Anne Desire Oulotto, Minister of Sanitation, Environment and Sustainable Development of Cote d’Ivoire and President of the COP-2 of The Bamako convention.

“We should give this Convention all the necessary support and resources so it can play its role in achieving an Africa without pollution,” she added.

Parties also reaffirmed their support for the environmentally sound management of chemicals and wastes through effective implementation of the Bamako Convention. They reiterated the need to align the Bamako convention to other global chemicals conventions, especially Basel Convention…

WHO-WIPO-WTO Technical Symposium on Sustainable Development Goals: Innovative technologies to promote healthy lives and well-being*

Development – Health Technologies/Innovation/Collaboration

WHO-WIPO-WTO Technical Symposium on Sustainable Development Goals: Innovative technologies to promote healthy lives and well-being*
Date of the event: 26 February 2018 (09:00 to 17:15)
Location: Geneva, Switzerland (WHO Headquarters, Executive Board Room)
The event is open to Geneva-based delegations to WHO, WIPO and WTO, representatives of international and philanthropic organizations, experts on intellectual property and trade, civil society organizations and interested individuals and organizations.
The provisional programme of the event is available here.
Further details about the Symposium can be accessed here.
The post-2015 Agenda for Sustainable Development sets out an ambitious plan for action: to reach and empower the most vulnerable and take action in areas of critical importance for humanity and the planet. The Sustainable Development Goals usher in a new era of global development that seeks to leave no one behind. Achievement of the SDGs will require a delicate choreography of interplay between all stakeholders.

Access to, and innovation in, health technologies is a requisite element for ensuring progress toward universal health coverage and achievement of the SDGs, namely SDG 3 Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. Scientific progress, advances in health technologies and improved trade have contributed to unprecedented improvements in health outcomes. However, gains in life expectancy and quality of life are unequally distributed between low-, middle-, and high-income countries. Troubling inequalities in the burden of disease are, in part, attributed to the disparate access to health technologies. As a fundamental human right, the right of everyone to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health obliges governments to ensure appropriate access to essential medicines.

The seventh technical symposium organized by WHO, WIPO, WTO will discuss challenges and opportunities for the international community to ensure that innovative technologies are developed and reach patients in order to realize the right to health and the health-related SDGs. The Symposium will offer a forum for an evidence-based exchange of views and experiences of the various stakeholders and representatives of the relevant sectors. Innovative, inclusive, and multi-stakeholder initiatives and partnerships that research, develop and facilitate access to novel, needs-based health technologies will be highlighted. The exchange will provide the basis for discussion and allow participants to achieve a better understanding of the benefits, drawbacks, and impact of the various available options.

The joint technical symposia convened by WHO, WIPO and WTO build on the collaborative work undertaken by the three agencies to enhance capacity, including the trilateral study “Promoting Access to Medical Technologies and Innovation.”

Infectious Disease Risk and Vaccination in Northern Syria after 5 Years of Civil War: The MSF Experience

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PLOS Currents: Disasters
[Accessed 3 February 2018]
Research Article
Infectious Disease Risk and Vaccination in Northern Syria after 5 Years of Civil War: The MSF Experience
February 2, 2018 ·
Alan de Lima Pereira, Rosamund Southgate, Hikmet Ahmed, Penelope O’Connor, Vanessa Cramond, Annick Lenglet
Introduction: In 2015, following an influx of population into Kobanê in northern Syria, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in collaboration with the Kobanê Health Administration (KHA) initiated primary healthcare activities. A vaccination coverage survey and vaccine-preventable disease (VPD) risk analysis were undertaken to clarify the VPD risk and vaccination needs. This was followed by a measles Supplementary Immunization Activity (SIA). We describe the methods and results used for this prioritisation activity around vaccination in Kobanê in 2015.
Methods: We implemented a pre-SIA survey in 135 randomly-selected households in Kobanê using a vaccination history questionnaire for all children <5 years. We conducted a VPD Risk Analysis using MSF ‘Preventive Vaccination in Humanitarian Emergencies’ guidance to prioritize antigens with the highest public health threat for mass vaccination activities. A Measles SIA was then implemented and followed by vaccine coverage survey in 282 randomly-selected households targeting children <5 years.
Results: The pre-SIA survey showed that 168/212 children (79.3%; 95%CI=72.7-84.6%) had received one vaccine or more in their lifetime. Forty-three children (20.3%; 95%CI: 15.1-26.6%) had received all vaccines due by their age; only one was <12 months old and this child had received all vaccinations outside of Syria. The VPD Risk Analysis prioritised measles, Haemophilus Influenza type B (Hib) and Pneumococcus vaccinations. In the measles SIA, 3410 children aged 6-59 months were vaccinated. The use of multiple small vaccination sites to reduce risks associated with crowds in this active conflict setting was noted as a lesson learnt. The post-SIA survey estimated 82% (95%CI: 76.9-85.9%; n=229/280) measles vaccination coverage in children 6-59 months.
Discussion: As a result of the conflict in Syria, the progressive collapse of the health care system in Kobanê has resulted in low vaccine coverage rates, particularly in younger age groups. The repeated displacements of the population, attacks on health institutions and exodus of healthcare workers, challenge the resumption of routine immunization in this conflict setting and limit the use of SIAs to ensure sustainable immunity to VPDs. We have shown that the risk for several VPDs in Kobanê remains high.
Conclusion: We call on all health actors and the international community to work towards re-establishment of routine immunisation activities as a priority to ensure that children who have had no access to vaccination in the last five years are adequately protected for VPDs as soon as possible.

Productivity losses due to premature mortality from cancer in Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS): A population-based comparison

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Cancer Epidemiology
Volume 53, April 2018, Pages 27–34
Research Reports
Descriptive patterns and trends
Productivity losses due to premature mortality from cancer in Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS): A population-based comparison
:: Lost productivity can be a complementary measure of cancer burden.
:: Lost productivity due to cancer in BRICS is significant − $46.3 billion annually.
:: China had the largest total productivity loss, due to population size.
:: South Africa had the highest cost per cancer death, and India the lowest.
:: Country differences highlight the need for localised cancer control strategies.
Over two-thirds of the world’s cancer deaths occur in economically developing countries; however, the societal costs of cancer have rarely been assessed in these settings. Our aim was to estimate the value of productivity lost in 2012 due to cancer-related premature mortality in the major developing economies of Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, China and South Africa (BRICS).
We applied an incidence-based method using the human capital approach. We used annual adult cancer deaths from GLOBOCAN2012 to estimate the years of productive life lost between cancer death and pensionable age in each country, valued using national and international data for wages, and workforce statistics. Sensitivity analyses examined various methodological assumptions.
The total cost of lost productivity due to premature cancer mortality in the BRICS countries in 2012 was $46·3 billion, representing 0·33% of their combined gross domestic product. The largest total productivity loss was in China ($28 billion), while South Africa had the highest cost per cancer death ($101,000). Total productivity losses were greatest for lung cancer in Brazil, the Russian Federation and South Africa; liver cancer in China; and lip and oral cavity cancers in India.
Locally-tailored strategies are required to reduce the economic burden of cancer in developing economies. Focussing on tobacco control, vaccination programs and cancer screening, combined with access to adequate treatment, could yield significant gains for both public health and economic performance of the BRICS countries.