The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health :: Education :: Heritage Stewardship ::
Sustainable Development
Week ending 28 April 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 28 April 2018.docx

:: 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

Speech by M. Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic, to the United States Congress

Governance – Leadership

United States of America – Speech by M. Emmanuel Macron, President of the Republic, to the United States Congress
Washington, 25/04/2018
Full text PDF: ]
But we must remember the warning of President Theodore Roosevelt: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, handed on for them to do the same.”

This is an urgent reminder indeed. Because now, going beyond our bilateral ties, beyond our very special relationship, Europe and the United States must face together the global challenges of this century. And we cannot take for granted our transatlantic history and bonds. At the core, our Western values themselves are at risk.

We have to succeed facing these challenges, and we cannot succeed forgetting our principles and our history.

In fact, the 21st century has brought a series of new threats and new challenges that our ancestors might not ever have imagined.

Our strongest beliefs are challenged by the rise of a yet unknown new world order. Our societies are concerned about the future of their children.

All of us gathered here in this noble Chamber, we – elected officials – all share the responsibility to demonstrate that democracy remains the best answer to the questions and doubts that arise today.

Even if the foundations of our progress are disrupted, we must stand firmly and fight to make our principles prevail.

But we bear another responsibility inherited from our collective history. Today, the international community needs to step up our game and build the 21st century world order, based on the perennial principles we established together after World War II.

The rule of law, the fundamental values on which we secured peace for 70 years are now questioned by urgent issues that require our joint action.

Together with our international allies and partners, we are facing inequalities created by globalization; threats to the planet, our common good; attacks on democracies through the rise of illiberalism; and the destabilization of our international community by new powers and criminal states.

All these risks aggrieve our citizens.

Both in the United States and in Europe we are living in a time of anger and fear, because of these current global threats.

But these feelings do not build anything. You can play with fears and anger for a time. But they do not construct anything. Anger only freezes and weakens us. And, as Franklin Delano Roosevelt said during his first inaugural speech, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself”.
Therefore, let me say we have two possible ways ahead.

We can choose isolationism, withdrawal, and nationalism. This is an option. It can be tempting to us as a temporary remedy to our fears.

But closing the door to the world will not stop the evolution of the world. It will not douse, but inflame, the fears of our citizens. We have to keep our eyes wide open to the new risks, right in front of us.

I am convinced that if we decide to open our eyes wider, we will be stronger. We will overcome the dangers. We will not let the rampaging work of extreme nationalism shake a world full of hopes for greater prosperity.

It is a critical moment. If we do not act with urgency as a global community, I am convinced that the international institutions, including the United Nations and NATO, will no longer be able to exercise their mandate and stabilizing influence. We would then inevitably and severely undermine the liberal order we built after World War II.

Other powers, with a stronger strategy and ambition, will then fill the void we would leave empty. Other powers will not hesitate one second to advocate their own model, to shape the 21st century world order.

Personally, if you ask me, I do not share the fascination for new strong powers, the abandonment of freedom, and the illusion of nationalism.

Therefore, distinguished members of Congress, let us push them aside, write our own history and birth the future we want.

We have to shape our common answers to the global threats that we are facing.

The only option then is to strengthen our cooperation. We can build the 21st century world order, based on a new breed of multilateralism. Based on a more effective, accountable, and results-oriented multilateralism. A strong multilateralism.

This requires more than ever the United States’ involvement, as your role was decisive for creating and safeguarding today’s free world. The United States invented this multilateralism. You are the one now who has to help to preserve and reinvent it.

This strong multilateralism will not outshine our national cultures and national identities. It is exactly the other way around. A strong multilateralism will allow our cultures and identities to be respected, to be protected and to flourish freely together.

Why? Because precisely our own culture is based, on both sides of the Atlantic, on this unique taste for freedom, on this unique attachment to liberty and peace. This strong multilateralism is the unique option compatible with our nations, our cultures, our identities.

With the US President, with the support of every 535 members of this joint session, representing the whole American nation, we can actively contribute together to building the 21st-century world order, for our people.

The United States and Europe have a historical role in this respect, because it is the only way to defend what we believe in, to promote our universal values, to express strongly that human rights, the rights of minorities and shared liberty are the true answer to the disorders of the world.

I believe in these rights and values.

I believe that against ignorance, we have education. Against inequalities, development. Against cynicism, trust and good faith. Against fanaticism, culture. Against disease and epidemics, medicine. Against the threats on the planet, science.

I believe in concrete action. I believe the solutions are in our hands.

I believe in the liberation of the individual, and in the freedom and responsibility of everyone to build their own lives and pursue happiness…

…The United States and the American people are an essential part of our confidence in the future, in democracy, in what women and men can accomplish in this world when we are driven by high ideals and an unbreakable trust in humanity and progress.

Today the call we hear is the call of history. This is a time of determination and courage. What we cherish is at stake. What we love is in danger. We have no choice but to prevail.

And together, we shall prevail.

Tackling online disinformation: Commission proposes an EU-wide Code of Practice

Governance – Disinformation

Editor’s Note:
We have read this press release several times and remain startled at its implications…

Tackling online disinformation: Commission proposes an EU-wide Code of Practice
European Commission – Press release Brussels, 26 April 2018
Today, the Commission is proposing measures to tackle disinformation online, including an EU-wide Code of Practice on Disinformation, support for an independent network of fact-checkers, and a series of actions to stimulate quality journalism and promote media literacy.

The recent Facebook/Cambridge Analytica revelations demonstrated exactly how personal data can be exploited in electoral contexts, and are a timely reminder that more is needed to secure resilient democratic processes. Today the European Commission is taking steps forward in the fight against disinformation to ensure the protection of European values and security.

Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip said: “Disinformation is not new as an instrument of political influence. New technologies, especially digital, have expanded its reach via the online environment to undermine our democracy and society. Since online trust is easy to break but difficult to rebuild, industry needs to work together with us on this issue. Online platforms have an important role to play in fighting disinformation campaigns organised by individuals and countries who aim to threaten our democracy.”

Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, said: “We are calling on all actors, in particular platforms and social networks who have a clear responsibility, to act on the basis of an action plan aiming at a common European approach so that citizens are empowered and effectively protected against disinformation. We will closely monitor the progress made and may propose further actions by December, including measures of regulatory nature, should the results prove unsatisfactory.”

Commissioner for the Security Union Sir Julian King said: “The weaponisation of on-line fake news and disinformation poses a serious security threat to our societies. The subversion of trusted channels to peddle pernicious and divisive content requires a clear-eyed response based on increased transparency, traceability and accountability. Internet platforms have a vital role to play in countering the abuse of their infrastructure by hostile actors and in keeping their users, and society, safe.”

Based on the independent report published in March 2018 by the High-Level Group on Fake News and Online Disinformation as well as wider consultations carried out over the past six months, the Commission defines disinformation as “verifiably false or misleading information that is created, presented and disseminated for economic gain or to intentionally deceive the public, and may cause public harm”…

To address these concerns and trends, the Commission is proposing a series of measures to tackle disinformation online. These include:

A Code of Practice on Disinformation: By July, and as a first step, online platforms should develop and follow a common Code of Practice with the aim of:
Ensuring transparency about sponsored content, in particular political advertising, as well as restricting targeting options for political advertising and reducing revenues for purveyors of disinformation;
Providing greater clarity about the functioning of algorithms and enabling third-party verification;
Making it easier for users to discover and access different news sources representing alternative viewpoints;
Introducing measures to identify and close fake accounts and to tackle the issue of automatic bots;
Enabling fact-checkers, researchers and public authorities to continuously monitor online disinformation;

An independent European network of fact-checkers: this will establish common working methods, exchange best practices, and work to achieve the broadest possible coverage of factual corrections across the EU; they will be selected from the EU members of the International Fact Checking Network which follows a strict International Fact Checking NetworkCode of Principles;

A secure European online platform on disinformation to support the network of fact-checkers and relevant academic researchers with cross-border data collection and analysis, as well as access to EU-wide data;

Enhancing media literacy: Higher level of media literacy will help Europeans to identify online disinformation and approach online content with a critical eye.To this end, the Commission will encourage fact-checkers and civil society organisations to provide educational material to schools and educators and organise a European Week of Media Literacy;

Support for Member States in ensuring the resilience of elections against increasingly complex cyber threats, including online disinformation and cyber attacks;

Promotion of voluntary online identification systems to improve the traceability and identification of suppliers of information and promote more trust and reliability in online interactions and in information and its sources;

Support for quality and diversified information: The Commission is calling on Member States to scale up their support of quality journalism to ensure a pluralistic, diverse and sustainable media environment. The Commission will launch a call for proposals in 2018 for the production and dissemination of quality news content on EU affairs through data-driven news media;

A Coordinated Strategic Communication Policy, drafted by the Commission services, combining current and future EU initiatives on online disinformation with those of Member States, will set out outreach activities aimed at countering false narratives about Europe and tackling disinformation within and outside the EU.

Next steps
The Commission will shortly convene a multi-stakeholder forum to provide a framework for efficient cooperation among relevant stakeholders, including online platforms, the advertising industry and major advertisers, and to secure a commitment to coordinate and scale up efforts to tackle disinformation. The forum’s first output should be an EU–wide Code of Practice on Disinformation to be published by July 2018, with a view to having a measurable impact by October 2018.
By December 2018, the Commission will report on the progress made. The report will also examine the need for further action to ensure the continuous monitoring and evaluation of the outlined actions.

Attacks on the Record – The State of Global Press Freedom, 2017–2018

Press/Media Freedom

New Report: Attacks on the Record – The State of Global Press Freedom, 2017–2018
Freedom House
Press Release – April 25, 2018
Press freedom is facing new threats in major democracies as well as in repressive states, where authorities are focusing their efforts on social media and other online platforms after reducing the independence of major print and broadcast outlets.

“Populist leaders today constitute a new and growing challenge to free expression in open societies, and interference from Russia and China has compounded the threat,” said Michael J. Abramowitz, president of Freedom House. “The assault on press freedom is an attack against a core institution of democracy. Elected leaders who try to discredit factual, critical reporting are undermining democratic accountability and reasoned political debate.”

In advance of World Press Freedom Day, Freedom House compiled information from its most recent Freedom in the World, Freedom on the Net, and Nations in Transit research projects and from its in-country programs. The analysis shows that media independence is under pressure in every region of the world, but also that dedicated journalists are still playing a vital role in even the most hostile environments.

While journalists face harassment and arrest in a growing number of countries, their work remains crucial in forcing leaders to answer for their abuses. From South Africa to Russia, courageous reporters have defied powerful interests to bring stories to the public, enabling their audiences to take action. “A free press allows citizens to hold their governments to account and, when necessary, to bring about real change,” Abramowitz said.

View the full report here:

Ranking Digital Rights – 2018 Corporate Accountability Index

Human Rights – “Digital Rights”

Ranking Digital Rights
New America’s Open Technology Institute
April 2018 :: 148 pages
Funders: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; Ford Foundation; Open Society Foundations; U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor

Executive summary [Excerpts]
The Ranking Digital Rights 2018 Corporate Accountability Index evaluated 22 of the world’s most powerful internet, mobile, and telecommunications companies on their disclosed commitments and policies affecting freedom of expression and privacy. These companies held a combined market capitalization of approximately USD 4.7 trillion. Their products and services are used by a majority of the world’s 4.2 billion internet users…

The 2018 Index evaluated companies on 35 indicators examining disclosed commitments and policies affecting freedom of expression and privacy, including corporate governance and accountability mechanisms. To view in-depth results and data visualizations, download full datasets, and access related resources, news, and updates, please visit:…

If the internet is to be designed, operated, and governed in a way that protects and respects human rights, we must all play our part. Companies, governments, investors, civil society organizations, and individuals—as employees of companies, as citizens of nations, as consumers of products, and as users of a globally interconnected internet—must all take responsibility and act.

Corporate transparency and accountability is incomplete without transparent and accountable governments that fulfill their duty to protect human rights. Meanwhile,
companies should be held responsible for all the ways that their products, services, and business operations affect users’ rights, over which they have any influence or control.

All companies evaluated in the Index can make many changes immediately, even in the absence of legal and policy reform. Detailed recommendations are listed throughout the Index report and in the individual company report cards. They fall under seven broad categories:

1. Strengthen corporate governance. Companies should not only articulate clear commitments to respect users’ freedom of expression and privacy, but also disclose concrete evidence that they have institutionalized these commitments through board and executive oversight, company-wide training, internal reporting, and
whistleblowing programs.

2. Get serious about risk assessment. Companies should implement comprehensive due diligence processes to ensure they can anticipate and mitigate any negative impact that their products, services, and business operations may have on users’ rights.

3. Provide meaningful grievance and remedy mechanisms. Companies should have channels for users and other affected parties to file grievances if their rights have been violated as a result of company actions. Companies should also have clearly disclosed processes for responding to complaints and providing appropriate redress.

4. Be transparent and accountable. Companies should publish regular information and data on their official websites that helps users and other stakeholders
understand the circumstances under which personal information is accessed by third parties, speech is censored or restricted, and access to a service is blocked or

5. Strengthen privacy. Companies should clearly inform users about what happens to their information, minimize collection and use of data to what is necessary
for provision and service, and provide users with maximum control over what information they provide and with whom it is shared.

6. Strengthen security. Companies should disclose credible evidence of their efforts to secure users’ information. Specifically, they should show that they maintain
industry standards of strong encryption and security, conduct security audits, monitor employee access to information, and have an established process for
handling data breaches.

7. Innovate for human rights. Collaborate with government and civil society. Invest in the development of new technologies and business models that strengthen human rights, and maximize individual control and ownership over personal data and content.

World Intellectual Property Day 2018 Celebrates Women’s Accomplishments: New WIPO Figures Show Highest-Ever Rate of Women Inventors, but Gender Gap Persists

Innovation/IP – Gender

World Intellectual Property Day 2018 Celebrates Women’s Accomplishments: New WIPO Figures Show Highest-Ever Rate of Women Inventors, but Gender Gap Persists
Geneva, April 26, 2018
The fields of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and chemistry show the highest rates of women named as inventors in international patent applications filed via WIPO, new figures indicate, as World IP Day 2018 celebrates women driving positive change across the globe.

New data reveal that in total, women were listed in 31 percent of the 243,500 international patent applications published by WIPO in 2017, up from 23 percent a decade WIPO Director General Francis Gurry said these new data show positive trends and underlined this year’s World IP Day theme “Powering Change: Women in Innovation and Creativity.” But he noted that a pronounced gender gap exists.

“Today we celebrate the innovative, creative accomplishments of women around the globe and across history who expand the frontiers of knowledge and culture,” said Mr. Gurry. “However, international patent applications are an important benchmark for measuring innovative activity in the contemporary, global economy – and anything less than full parity between men and women is an obvious cause for concern.”…

The Future of Food: Maximizing Finance for Development in Agricultural Value Chains – World Bank

Development – Agricultural Value Chains

The Future of Food: Maximizing Finance for Development in Agricultural Value Chains
April 24, 2018 :: 4 pages Working Paper
:: To achieve the SDGs, more effort needs to be made to attract private sector investment and make sure it works for developing countries and poor people.
:: Maximizing investment in agricultural value chains can improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of poor people, who rely mainly on agriculture to make a living.
:: Improving the enabling environment for private sector investment, smart use of public financing and promoting responsible investment can help maximize finance for agricultural development
This report highlights financing gaps, identifies a range of potential funding sources, and suggests possible actions to help crowd-in more private investment, while optimizing the use of public resources.
The recommended actions are aligned with the aim to address the market failures that lead to inadequate levels of privately provided goods and services to achieve global development goals. Implementation of MFD in agricultural value chains will require an approach to diagnostics that is more oriented to the private sector, as well as structured, inclusive public-private dialogue to help inform the design of a robust reform and investment program.

Main Messages:
:: Current levels of investment in agricultural value chains are insufficient to achieve key development goals including ending poverty and hunger and boosting shared prosperity through more and better jobs.
:: Crowding-in private investment in the agriculture sector can help achieve development goals and optimize the use of scarce public resources
:: Sources of finance for private sector investments in agricultural value chains are expanding. Sources include own-savings, local and international banks, value chains actors, impact investors, development financing institutions, private sector foundations, and agricultural investment funds.
:: Factors that can help maximize finance for agricultural development include: Improving the enabling environment for the private sector, promoting responsible investment, improving the policy and regulatory environment; using public financing to improve private incentives and to reduce transaction costs and risks—including through blended finance.
:: There is still a critical need for public resources to finance essential public goods and services such as human capital, agricultural research, and complementary public infrastructure.

Record high remittances to low- and middle-income countries in 2017 – World Bank

Development – Remittances

Record high remittances to low- and middle-income countries in 2017
WASHINGTON, April 23, 2018 — Remittances to low- and middle-income countries rebounded to a record level in 2017 after two consecutive years of decline, says the World Bank’s latest Migration and Development Brief.

The Bank estimates that officially recorded remittances to low- and middle-income countries reached $466 billion in 2017, an increase of 8.5 percent over $429 billion in 2016. Global remittances, which include flows to high-income countries, grew 7 percent to $613 billion in 2017, from $573 billion in 2016.

The stronger than expected recovery in remittances is driven by growth in Europe, the Russian Federation, and the United States. The rebound in remittances, when valued in U.S. dollars, was helped by higher oil prices and a strengthening of the euro and ruble.

Remittance inflows improved in all regions and the top remittance recipients were India with $69 billion, followed by China ($64 billion), the Philippines ($33 billion), Mexico ($31 billion), Nigeria ($22 billion), and Egypt ($20 billion).

Remittances are expected to continue to increase in 2018, by 4.1 percent to reach $485 billion. Global remittances are expected to grow 4.6 percent to $642 billion in 2018.

Longer-term risks to growth of remittances include stricter immigration policies in many remittance-source countries. Also, de-risking by banks and increased regulation of money transfer operators, both aimed at reducing financial crime, continue to constrain the growth of formal remittances.

The global average cost of sending $200 was 7.1 percent in the first quarter of 2018, more than twice as high as the Sustainable Development Goal target of 3 percent. Sub-Saharan Africa remains the most expensive place to send money to, where the average cost is 9.4 percent. Major barriers to reducing remittance costs are de-risking by banks and exclusive partnerships between national post office systems and money transfer operators. These factors constrain the introduction of more efficient technologies—such as internet and smartphone apps and the use of cryptocurrency and blockchain—in remittance services…

Advancing the ethics of paleogenomics

Featured Journal Content – Heritage Stewardship

27 April 2018 Vol 360, Issue 6387
Policy Forum
Advancing the ethics of paleogenomics
By Jessica Bardill, Alyssa C. Bader, Nanibaa’ A. Garrison, Deborah A. Bolnick, Jennifer A. Raff, Alexa Walker, Ripan S. Malhi, the Summer internship for INdigenous peoples in Genomics (SING) Consortium
Science27 Apr 2018 : 384-385 Full Access
Recent scientific developments have drawn renewed attention to the complex relationships among Indigenous peoples, the scientific community, settler colonial governments, and ancient human remains (1, 2). Increasingly, DNA testing of ancestral remains uncovered in the America s is being used in disputes over these remains (3). However, articulations of ethical principles and practices in paleogenomics have not kept pace (4), even as results of these studies can have negative consequences, undermining or complicating community claims in treaty, repatriation, territorial, or other legal cases. Paleogenomic narratives may also misconstrue or contradict community histories, potentially harming community or individual identities. Paleogenomic data can reveal information about descendant communities that may be stigmatizing, such as genetic susceptibilities to disease. Given the potential consequences for Indigenous communities, it is critical that paleogenomic researchers consider their ethical obligations more carefully than in the past.

Recent technological advances have also enabled paleogenomic studies of DNA from dental calculus, hair, coprolites, and even soil, providing alternatives to destructive analysis of the bones and teeth of ancestors. However, community engagement is still needed in these contexts. Indigenous perspectives on the sacredness of materials from the body and earth should be considered, and paleogenomic studies of these materials can have social, political, and legal consequences for Indigenous communities.

To aid the process of community engagement, we offer these guiding questions for paleogenomic researchers to consider:
:: In the absence of known descendant or culturally affiliated communities, which Indigenous peoples, tied to land where ancestors were buried, will be consulted?
:: Who is the appropriate community body (e.g., tribal council, tribal IRB, elders) or representative (e.g., tribal president, historic preservation officer) to initiate discussions with about paleogenomic analyses?
:: What are potential ethical pitfalls of this research or harms that could affect the community? What cultural concerns of the community, such as destruction of ancestral remains, need to be considered?
:: How will the community benefit from the paleogenomic research?
:: How will the community provide input on study design and interpretation of results? How frequently does the community wish to be contacted during the project?
:: When community members participate directly in the project (e.g., as advisers or laboratory technicians), will they coauthor research publications and presentations? How do communities and individuals wish to be recognized in research products?
:: What happens after the project ends? Who will have access to the data generated? How will remaining samples from ancestors be handled, stored, returned, or reburied?

Because Indigenous communities have diverse practices and views on genomics, the nature and structure of engagement will vary. Although it may not always be obvious how to proceed if different potentially linked communities hold differing views, we believe engaging with Indigenous communities should be as integral to the research process as hypothesis development…

Brussels Syria donor conference fails to go ‘nearly far enough’ :: Joint NGO response

Syria – Donor Conference

Brussels Syria donor conference fails to go ‘nearly far enough’
Joint NGO reactive: CARE, IRC, Mercy Corps, NRC, Save the Children, Oxfam, Humanity and Inclusion, Action Against Hunger, World Vision
Wednesday, 25 April 2018
As the 6th international conference on the Syria crisis concluded today, nine international organisations welcomed the commitments that were made, and noted the following in reaction to its outcomes:

On aid:
Though the crisis is now in its eighth year, the unmet and growing needs of millions of men, women and children mean that donor countries cannot show any sign of fatigue. This conference did not go nearly far enough to provide adequate support to the millions of Syrians who are in need of assistance and are facing an uncertain future.

On the need to follow through on jobs, education and resettlement commitments:
The promises made in Brussels, whilst welcome, will not keep a child from having to work in Lebanon, nor send every child to school in Jordan unless there are robust mechanisms to ensure that commitments are translated into action.

This includes the commitments to create more than one million jobs for Syrian refugees and to get millions of Syrian children back into school. Women’s role in the workforce, for example, should be turned from a positive slogan to real opportunities that allow families to live with dignity. Furthermore, donors and countries hosting refugees need to ensure that all Syrians have legal protections, and that the most vulnerable have pathways to resettlement, and other refugees have access to other forms of admission such as family reunification.

On protection of Syrian civilians:
Politicians must offer their support, not their sympathy to the Syrian people. Civilians are bearing the brunt of the continuous violence and attacks on hospitals and schools. Countries meeting in Brussels sent a strong message of support by calling for protection of civilians trapped in the conflict and reaffirming that returns of Syrians to and within the country is not possible so long as the conditions for a safe, dignified and voluntary return are not met.

The international community also stressed the importance of unimpeded and sustained access to civilians inside Syria, which is central to any effective delivery of life-saving aid and to enhanced protection.

But donor countries have once again done nothing to increase resettlement beyond the paltry 3 per cent of Syrian refugees they have taken in, favouring instead to leave them in Syria’s neighbouring countries, which are hosting more than five million refugees.

On reconstruction:
We welcome the fact that the conference recognised that reconstruction is not yet appropriate or possible inside Syria, as long as the conflict continues and an inclusive solution has not been reached. In the meantime, donor countries should support longer-term delivery of basic services, access to jobs and livelihoods opportunities, and access to identity documents inside Syria and neighbouring countries, which will help remove future obstacles to recovery.



Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)
Polio this week as of 24 April 2018 [GPEI]
:: In January, children in Raqqa city, Syria, received polio vaccines for the first time in two years as families return to their homes.
:: The GPEI Post-Certification Strategy (PCS), which is aimed at ensuring the availability of core functions to sustain a polio-free world after global certification (such as outbreak response capacity, surveillance, immunization and containment), is now available to read on our website. The PCS will be presented to Member States at the World Health Assembly (WHA) in May.
:: Recommendations and meeting outcomes from the recent Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on immunization (SAGE) meeting are now published. Among other things, the group reviewed and endorsed the main elements of the PCS, and reviewed proposed recommendations relating to global containment and immunization policies for countries hosting polio essential facilities (PEFs).
:: The Polio Oversight Board has released a statement welcoming and actively supporting steps being taken by the international community to prevent and stop sexual misconduct. The full statement may be read here.
Summary of newly-reported viruses this week:
Pakistan: One new wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1)  positive environmental sample has been reported, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo: One case of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) reported, from Haut Katanga province.
Nigeria: Circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) has been confirmed, following isolation of the virus from three environmental samples collected between 10 January and 20 March, from two environmental sites in Jigawa state.
Somalia: Circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 3 (cVDPV3) has been confirmed, following isolation of the virus from four environmental samples collected between 8-22 March, from two environmental sites in Banadir province.


WHO Grade 3 Emergencies  [to 28 April 2018]
:: WHO scales up support to mitigate child malnutrition in Yemen  18 April 2018

WHO Grade 2 Emergencies  [to 28 April 2018]

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
:: Syrian Arab Republic: The Humanitarian Crisis in Syria as of 23 April 2018 [EN/AR]

:: Yemen Humanitarian Update Covering 17 – 23 April 2018 | Issue 12


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.
:: OCHA Somalia Flash Update #2 – Humanitarian impact of heavy rains | 26 April 2018
Editor’s Note:
We will cluster these recent emergencies as below and continue to monitor the WHO webpages for updates and key developments.

MERS-CoV [to 28 April 2018]
Maps and epicurves
:: Epicurve of confirmed global cases of MERS-CoV   png, 213kb  20 April 2018
:: Global map of countries with confirmed cases of MERS-CoV  gif, 2.42Mb  20 April 2018
Yellow Fever  [to 28 April 2018]
:: Dr Tedros, WHO Director-General, launches the EYE Strategy in Africa
26 April 2018
On 10 April 2018, as part of the Eliminate Yellow fever Epidemics (EYE) Strategy regional kick-off meeting in Abuja, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, together with Professor Isaac Folorunso Adewole, Nigeria’s Minister of Health, and other partners called African countries to reinforce their engagement to eliminate yellow fever epidemics by 2026…

The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health :: Education :: Heritage Stewardship ::
Sustainable Development
Week ending 21 April 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 21 April 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

Message of the Secretary General on Venezuela – Organization of American States (OAS)

Message of the Secretary General on Venezuela – Organization of American States (OAS)
April 20, 2018
The Venezuelan people are today experiencing an involuntary exodus, forced upon them by the growing economic and institutional degradation of the country.

The data speaks for itself. According to the International Organization for Migration, in 2015 some 698,000 Venezuelans lived outside of Venezuela. At the end of 2017, there were already 1.6 million. It is very likely that this situation will worsen if the fraudulent elections of May 20 are finally held and, as expected, consolidate the dictatorial power of the current regime.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) already estimates that this year the figure could more than double, even surpassing 3 million people, 10 percent of the total Venezuelan population.

This is already a humanitarian crisis of proportions never seen before in the Americas. It is a moral obligation of all the rest to help the Venezuelan brothers and sisters in this aspect as well.

We know that migrating is not an easy process. That is why we support UNHCR’s efforts to promote the protection of and assistance to Venezuelan refugees.

That is why we also applaud initiatives of other Venezuelans outside their country, such as the Tú País Foundation and the CDEI Foundation to create a space for migrants to adapt in the best possible way to their new situation.

At the OAS we are working on several initiatives. We are supporting a refugee resettlement program in cities in the interior of Brazil, analyzing legal regularization options in Ecuador, Colombia and Peru. Likewise, we are developing a guide for those who migrate by bus to the south and preparing a study on how support initiatives from different countries can be complemented.

Know that you are not alone. We know what Venezuelan migrants are suffering. I want to convey to you all my solidarity and support for the drama you are experiencing and the forced exodus that many are going through…

World Bank Group, UNHCR sign memorandum to establish joint data center on forced displacement

Forced Migration – Data
World Bank Group, UNHCR sign memorandum to establish joint data center on forced displacement
Date: April 20, 2018
World Bank Group Chief Executive Officer Kristalina Georgieva and UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi signed a Memorandum of Understanding today to establish a new Joint Data Center on forced displacement. Set to begin operating later this year, the new Center responds to growing demand for more and better data, to inform a stronger global response to forced displacement and improve policies and programming to help affected people.

Facing historically high levels of forced displacement, currently with about 66 million refugees, internally displaced persons and asylum seekers globally, the Bank Group and UNHCR have been expanding collaboration in recent years, including through a series of joint analytical work in the Horn of Africa, the Lake Chad Basin and the Middle East.

The new Center builds on these efforts, and focuses on the collection, analysis and dissemination of primary microdata. This will enable the two institutions to complement each other’s strengths; UNHCR in protection data, registration and collection, and the Bank Group in household data, policy dialogue and analytical work. The Center will serve as a catalyst to stimulate work across both institutions, as well as to support governments, multi-lateral development banks, private sector, civil society, researchers, and others. Partnerships will be explored with other organizations that have substantive experience in forced displacement data, to further enhance complementarities and synergies.

In terms of scope, the Center will cover demographic and socioeconomic data – detailed information on income, consumption, skills, health, and economic activity among others – that will be anonymized to protect privacy and prevent identifying individuals. Data will encompass refugees, internally displaced persons, stateless people, returnees, asylum-seekers, and host populations…

MDBs Launch New Platform to Coordinate Support for Economic Migration and Forced Displacement

Humanitarian Response : Financing Mechanisms
MDBs Launch New Platform to Coordinate Support for Economic Migration and Forced Displacement
News Release
WASHINGTON, April 20, 2018 — Seven Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) launched a new platform to enhance their collaboration on economic migration and forced displacement today on the margins of the IMF-World Bank Group Spring Meetings. The platform will advance strategic dialogue and operational coordination to maximize the impact of MDBs’ growing engagement in these two areas.

While economic migration and forced displacement are distinct issues and require a different response, each has emerged as a complex development challenge. There are an estimated 250 million international economic migrants worldwide, and roughly 66 million people are forcibly displaced as refugees or internally displaced persons fleeing conflict and persecution.

The new platform represents a strong effort by MDBs to enhance cooperation to address these challenges, in response to a request made by the G7. After presenting a strategic framework for action at the G7 meeting in Bari, Italy, in May 2017, MDBs worked closely together to prepare specific initiatives under the new platform.

Cooperation is ongoing. Since the platform was first announced in October 2017, MDB representatives have met several times to discuss respective approaches, results, and challenges. Four priority areas where there is high potential to increase impact have been identified to serve as the focus of the platform in the initial phase:
:: Refining the common framework for MDB engagement;
:: Advancing cooperation on knowledge, evidence, and data;
:: Ensuring strategic coordination on priority topics in coordination with governments, UN, and other partners; and
:: Deploying better-targeted instruments and products.

Today’s platform launch was attended by representatives of all participating MDBs—African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, European Investment Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank, and the World Bank Group—as well as G7 deputies and strategic partners including the European Commission and UNHCR…

The Global Findex Database 2017: Measuring Financial Inclusion and the Fintech Revolution

Development – Financial Inclusion
The Global Findex Database 2017: Measuring Financial Inclusion and the Fintech Revolution
World Bank – Asli Demirgüç-Kunt, Leora Klapper, Dorothe Singer, Saniya Ansar, Jake Hess
2018 ]April] :: 151 pages
…A growing body of research demonstrates the impact of country advances on significant priorities such as reducing poverty, hunger, and gender inequality. Today, member states at the United Nations are using Global Findex data to track progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals.

Dozens of national governments have adopted policies to expand financial inclusion. These and other global and national efforts are paying off. New Global Findex data reveal that globally the share of adults owning an account is now 69 percent, an increase of seven percentage points since 2014. These numbers translate into 515 million adults who have gained access to financial tools. The 2017 figures on overall account ownership continue the upward trajectory we’ve seen since the Global Findex database was first released—with financial inclusion rising 18 percentage points since 2011, when account ownership was 51 percent.

The 2017 Global Findex data reflect the continued evolution of financial inclusion. Recent progress has been driven by digital payments, government policies, and a new generation of financial services accessed through mobile phones and the internet.

The power of financial technology to expand access to and use of accounts is demonstrated most persuasively in Sub-Saharan Africa, where 21 percent of adults now have a mobile money account—nearly twice the share in 2014 and easily the highest of any region in the world. While mobile money has been centered in East Africa, the 2017 update reveals that it has spread to West Africa and beyond.

Digital technology is also transforming the payments landscape. Globally, 52 percent of adults have sent or received digital payments in the past year, up from 42 percent in 2014. Technology giants have moved into the financial sphere, leveraging deep customer knowledge to provide a broad range of financial services. Payments made through their technology platforms are facilitating higher account use in major emerging economies such as China, where 57 percent of account owners are using mobile phones or the internet to make purchases or
pay bills—roughly twice the share in 2014.

Some advances have been made in helping women gain access to financial services. In India three years ago, men were 20 percentage points more likely than women to have an account. Today, India’s gender gap has shrunk to 6 percentage points thanks to a strong government push to increase account ownership through biometric identification cards.

Still, in most of the world women continue to lag well behind men. Globally, 65 percent of women have an account compared with 72 percent of men, a gap of seven percentage points that is all but unchanged since 2011. Nor has equality in account ownership been achieved in other regards. The gap between rich and poor has not improved since 2014: account ownership is 13 percentage points higher among adults living in the wealthiest 60 percent of households within economies than among those in the poorest 40 percent. And urban populations continue to benefit from far broader access to finance than rural communities. In China around 200 million rural adults remain outside the formal financial system…
.Press Release
Financial Inclusion on the Rise, But Gaps Remain, Global Findex Database Shows
515 Million Adults Have Opened Accounts Since 2014
WASHINGTON, April 19, 2018—Financial inclusion is on the rise globally, accelerated by mobile phones and the internet, but gains have been uneven across countries. A new World Bank report on the use of financial services also finds that men remain more likely than women to have an account.

…“In the past few years, we have seen great strides around the world in connecting people to formal financial services,” World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said. “Financial inclusion allows people to save for family needs, borrow to support a business, or build a cushion against an emergency. Having access to financial services is a critical step towards reducing both poverty and inequality, and new data on mobile phone ownership and internet access show unprecedented opportunities to use technology to achieve universal financial inclusion.”

There has been a significant increase in the use of mobile phones and the internet to conduct financial transactions. Between 2014 and 2017, this has contributed to a rise in the share of account owners sending or receiving payments digitally from 67 percent to 76 percent globally, and in the developing world from 57 percent to 70 percent.

Globally, 1.7 billion adults remain unbanked, yet two-thirds of them own a mobile phone that could help them access financial services. Digital technology could take advantage of existing cash transactions to bring people into the financial system, the report finds. For example, paying government wages, pensions, and social benefits directly into accounts could bring formal financial services to up to 100 million more adults globally, including 95 million in developing economies. There are other opportunities to increase account ownership and use through digital payments: more than 200 million unbanked adults who work in the private sector are paid in cash only, as are more than 200 million who receive agricultural payments…

12 Ways Foundations Are Transforming Themselves to Transform Their Impact

Governance – Foundations and Impact
Being the Change
FSG – with funding from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Democracy Fund, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Humanity United, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and The Omidyar Group.
April 2018 :: 80 pages

As foundations adopt new approaches for creating social change, they must also adapt their internal practices.

To achieve meaningful impact at scale, many foundations are aiming to influence the actions and investments of the public and private sectors, as well as address the complex and deeply entrenched conditions that hold social problems in place. To do so, foundations are not only offering grant funding, but are also expanding how they apply their assets, knowledge, skills, networks, and people in new ways.

There is a wealth of information on how to adapt strategies to create impact at scale and to change systems; however, less has been written about what internal practices are needed to make this happen. To find out, we interviewed 114 practitioners representing 50 funders and 8 philanthropic services organizations that have gone through or advised internal transformation. Our interviews yielded surprising commonalities. Whether the foundations had grantmaking budgets of $5 million, $50 million, or $500 million, they agreed that new practices are needed in the areas of staffing philosophy, structure and design, skill development, and supportive culture (see chart on next page).

By experimenting with these practices, foundations hope to foster connectivity, vibrancy, and deep engagement both internally (across all people and parts of their organization) and externally (with grantees, community members, and other partners), ultimately opening up new avenues for impact.

The 12 Ways Foundations Are Transforming Themselves to Transform Their Impact
Redefining capacity needs by:
[1] Viewing staff as impact multipliers, not cost drivers
[2] Designing teams based on functions, not formulas
[3] Using size-based benchmarking as a compass, not ruler

Unlocking new sources of value by:
[4] Coloring outside the lines of classic philanthropic giving
[5] Transforming backoffice support into front-line impact
[6] Busting silos between issues, people, and teams

Reconceiving and nurturing talent by:
[7] Seeking out and supporting five key mindsets
[8] Welcoming and valuing diverse and lived experience
[9] Boosting breadth and depth of professional development

Fostering openness and authenticity by:
[10] Committing to continuous learning and adaptation
[11] Attending to power dynamics with partners
[12] Mirroring internally what is sought

New unique agricultural heritage sites designated – FAO

Heritage Stewardship – Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS)
New unique agricultural heritage sites designated – FAO
19 April 2018, Rome – Thirteen new landscapes were formally celebrated as Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) here today, paying tribute to the ingenious ways that human needs and nature’s resources have been combined to create mutually sustainable livelihoods and ecosystems.

The new sites in this landmark FAO program are in China, Egypt, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Portugal, Spain and Sri Lanka. Their primary production ranges from fruits, vegetables, salt and rice to silk, meat, tea and wasabi.

These systems “reflect a profound harmony between humanity and nature,” FAO Deputy Director-General Maria Helena Semedo said at an international forum in Rome.

Read more about all the new entries here.
To see how stunning these landscapes are, click here.

The new additions bring to 50 the total number of GIAHS worldwide. The programme highlights unique ways that rural communities have over generations forged to foster food security, viable livelihoods, resilient ecosystems and high levels of biodiversity, all while enhancing remarkable beauty.

“The sites are not about a nostalgic past but offer solutions for the present and the future,” Semedo emphasized. “GIAHS is also about innovation and opportunities, including broadening access to new markets and businesses such as eco-labelling, agri-tourism, youth empowerment to add value to our agricultural patrimony.”

Among the new GIAHS sites are the first members from Europe and North America: An agro-sylvo-pastoral system in Barroso, Portugal, a unique way of making salt in Salinas de Añana, Spain, a millennial way of growing muscatel grapes in Axarquía, Spain, and a set of artificially developed farmland in Mexico City (Chinampas) based on oral transmission of traditional techniques widely used during the Aztec civilization.

…Globally important agricultural heritage systems embody managed ecosystems in which water use, soil health and other ecosystem factors are intricately linked, often in ways that require bespoke social governance rules regarding tenure, resource allocation and labor.

Heritage systems bring together the economic, social, environmental and cultural pillars of sustainable development, Semedo noted. Recognizing them also underscores the leading role that smallholder famers – their creators and custodians – play in promoting biodiversity and a host of other shared goals, she added…

Epidemiological findings of major chemical attacks in the Syrian war are consistent with civilian targeting: a short report

Featured Journal Content

Conflict and Health
[Accessed 21 April 2018]
Short report
16 April 2018
Epidemiological findings of major chemical attacks in the Syrian war are consistent with civilian targeting: a short report
Authors: Jose M. Rodriguez-Llanes, Debarati Guha-Sapir, Benjamin-Samuel Schlüter and Madelyn Hsiao-Rei Hicks
Evidence of use of toxic gas chemical weapons in the Syrian war has been reported by governmental and non-governmental international organizations since the war started in March 2011. To date, the profiles of victims of the largest chemical attacks in Syria remain unknown. In this study, we used descriptive epidemiological analysis to describe demographic characteristics of victims of the largest chemical weapons attacks in the Syrian war.

We analysed conflict-related, direct deaths from chemical weapons recorded in non-government-controlled areas by the Violation Documentation Center, occurring from March 18, 2011 to April 10, 2017, with complete information on the victim’s date and place of death, cause and demographic group. ‘Major’ chemical weapons events were defined as events causing ten or more direct deaths.

As of April 10, 2017, a total of 1206 direct deaths meeting inclusion criteria were recorded in the dataset from all chemical weapons attacks regardless of size. Five major chemical weapons attacks caused 1084 of these documented deaths. Civilians comprised the majority (n=1058, 97.6%) of direct deaths from major chemical weapons attacks in Syria and combatants comprised a minority of 2.4% (n=26). In the first three major chemical weapons attacks, which occurred in 2013, children comprised 13%-14% of direct deaths, ranging in numbers from 2 deaths among 14 to 117 deaths among 923. Children comprised higher proportions of direct deaths in later major chemical weapons attacks, forming 21% (n=7) of 33 deaths in the 2016 major attack and 34.8% (n=32) of 92 deaths in the 2017 major attack.

Our finding of an extreme disparity in direct deaths from major chemical weapons attacks in Syria, with 97.6% of victims being civilians and only 2.4% being combatants provides evidence that major chemical weapons attacks were indiscriminate or targeted civilians directly; both violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL). Identifying and quantifying chemical weapons violations requires inter-disciplinary collaboration to inform international policy, humanitarian intervention and legal action.

The Belgian commitment to pharmaceutical quality: a model policy to improve quality assurance of medicines available through humanitarian and development programs

Featured Journal Content

Journal of Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice
[Accessed 21 April 2018]
19 April 2018
The Belgian commitment to pharmaceutical quality: a model policy to improve quality assurance of medicines available through humanitarian and development programs
Authors: Raffaella Ravinetto, Tim Roosen and Catherine Dujardin
Today, a combination of globalization of pharmaceutical production, lack of regulatory harmonization, and weakness of Medicines Regulatory Authorities, creates the “perfect conditions” for poor-quality medicine to circulate in the global market and to penetrate the less-regulated countries. Medicines regulation is the responsibility of the national regulatory authorities in the recipient country, but in the poorer countries, in practice, the responsibility of supply of quality-assured medicines is often taken by Non-Governmental Organizations and other implementers. But with some notable exceptions, many donors lack a pharmaceutical procurement policy with adequate quality requirements; and many implementers lack the skills and expertise needed to orient themselves in the complex web of global pharmaceutical supply. Thus, patients served by humanitarian or development programs may remain exposed to the risk of poor-quality medicines.

When public money is used to purchase medicines for medical programs to be carried out overseas, adequate policies should be in place to assure that the same quality requirements are set that would be required for medicines marketed in the “donor” country.

We will describe here a policy recently adopted in Belgium, i.e. the “Commitment to Quality Assurance for Pharmaceutical Products”, signed in October 2017 by the Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation and 19 Belgian implementing agencies. By signing the new policy, the counterparts committed to ensure quality of medicines in the programs funded by Belgium’s Official Development Assistance, and to build quality-assurance capacity in the recipient countries. Implementers are requested to integrate in their financing applications a section for pharmaceutical quality assurance, with a justified budget. They are also invited to consider how costs could be rationalized and mutualized by aligning the strengths of the various implementers. This model policy has the potential to be considered for adoption by other donors, to help to reduce the current multiple standards in pharmaceutical quality, and to contribute to protect vulnerable communities from the plague of poor-quality medicines.