The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health :: Education :: Heritage Stewardship ::
Sustainable Development
Week ending 29 September 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: The Sentinel_ period ending 29 Sep 2018

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

Universal Human Rights Declaration [70th Anniversary] :: UN Secretary-General Remarks

Human Rights – 70th Anniversary of Universal Declaration

Universal Human Rights Declaration Must Continue Guiding Path to Development, Security, Secretary-General Says at Anniversary Event for Historic Document
26 September 2018
Following are UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ remarks to the high level event marking the seventieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “A Prevention Tool to Achieve Peace and Sustainable Development”, in New York today:

It is indeed a pleasure to be here with all of you to mark the seventieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The rights enshrined in this foundational document belong to everyone, everywhere; they have no physical or [moral] frontier. Human rights are not the sole purview of north, south, east or west; or of developed or developing countries. They are independent of nationality, circumstances, gender or sexual orientation, race, religion or belief. The first article of the Universal Declaration is clear: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”

Human rights are of value in themselves; they are not at the service of any other agenda. And no one ever loses their human rights, no matter what they do.

Over the past 70 years, the concept of human rights set out in the Universal Declaration has had a revolutionary impact. It has permeated policies and Constitutions, from the global level to national and regional frameworks.

In this way, the Universal Declaration has unleashed the power of women’s full participation; it has spurred the fight against racism, xenophobia and intolerance — including the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, as Nelson Mandela told the General Assembly 20 years ago.

The Universal Declaration has heralded movements by groups of all kinds, from indigenous people to people with disabilities, to claim their rights.

There is now broad recognition that, as Kofi Annan said: “The human family will not enjoy development without security, will not enjoy security without development and will not enjoy either without respect for human rights.”

Sadly, we still have a long way to go before respect for human rights is truly universal. Many people around the world still suffer from abuse of their rights. Gender inequality is one of the greatest human rights challenges we face. Refugees and migrants, people who do not conform to gender norms, and minorities of all kinds are frequently targeted for denial and abuse of their rights.

There is still resistance to supporting human rights, often linked to a false dichotomy between those rights and national sovereignty. But, human rights and sovereignty must go hand in hand.

Human rights strengthen States and societies and reinforce sovereignty. We have ample evidence that State-sponsored human rights abuses are a sign of weakness, not strength. They are often precursors to conflict and even to collapse.

I urge all Member States to heed these lessons and to strengthen support for United Nations action on human rights, including the Human Rights Council and the Office of the High Commissioner [for Human Rights]. It is a pleasure to see Michelle, my dear friend, Michelle Bachelet, here today.

And I call on Governments that have not signed or ratified the two human rights Covenants, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to do so urgently.

Every social movement for human rights and solidarity in history has been led by young people. It was the fight for human rights and democracy in my country, under Salazar’s dictatorship, that triggered my own interest in political action.

There is a special place in my heart for young women and men who are speaking out for social justice. On Monday, I launched my new youth strategy, Youth 2030, to bring young people into the centre of our work.

I urge young people to make this space your home, to bring your energy and passion here, to challenge our ways of doing things and to take up the torch for our common humanity. You are the true custodians of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the guarantee that it will not succumb.

I entrust you with keeping it alight for another 70 years, to show us the path to a world of peace, dignity and opportunity for all.

Humanitarian Crisis in Free Fall – Joint NGO Statement on Yemen – 25th September 2018


.Humanitarian Crisis in Free Fall – Joint NGO Statement on Yemen
Tuesday 25th September 2018
Below is a joint NGO statement on Yemen for the 73rd UN General Assembly

After almost four years of conflict, and despite all efforts to halt displacement, hunger and disease, Yemen remains the worst humanitarian crisis on Earth. The suffering inflicted on Yemeni people is entirely man made and will continue to deteriorate rapidly on all fronts without actions to end the violence.

Increased fighting risks pushing the country into utter devastation: The ongoing escalation around the port city of Hodeidah jeopardises the safety of civilians and threatens the channels for critical fuel, food and medical supplies to the rest of the country. It is crucial that this remains open. The lives of millions of Yemeni women, men and children hang on this lifeline.

Civilians continue to bear the brunt: Civilians and civilian infrastructure, such as markets, hospitals, school buses and mills continue to be hit by all parties with impunity, as reported by the UN Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen. Attacks on schools and hospitals continue with over 1,800 schools directly impacted by the conflict, including more than 1,500 that have been damaged or destroyed and 21 used by armed groups.

A lost generation of Yemeni children: Two million children and young people remain out of school, depriving them of an education and exposing them to higher levels of violence and exploitation. Millions of displaced children cannot access education, and ongoing attacks on schools or their use by armed groups mean children’s safety at school cannot be guaranteed.

Populations on the brink of starvation: 17.8 million people, over 60 percent of the population, are food insecure and over 8.4 million of them stand on the brink of starvation; 4.2 million of them children and another million children at risk as food and fuel prices soar across the country. Malnutrition directly threatens lives but also weakens the immune system, leading to people dying from preventable diseases, including cholera and pneumonia. Breast-feeding mothers, children and the elderly remain particularly vulnerable. Half of all Yemeni children are stunted where these children are unable to access the nutrients their bodies need to grow, reducing their ability to learn and thrive.

A struggling economy continues to falter: A crippled economy continues to weaken, with the recent sharp devaluation of the Yemeni Riyal (YER) further constraining peoples’ ability to purchase food and medicine, with many having to make agonising choices between the two and many others left with too little to access either.

Protracted conflict and eroding safety nets has left millions of Yemeni without access to livelihoods or the ability to deal with economic shocks. An estimated 1.2 million public servants, especially in northern governorates, have not been paid their usual salaries in more than two years and a war economy has left millions with very few earning opportunities.

Barriers to access continue: Restrictions to land, sea and air trade routes have led to severely reduced supplies of vital commodities. In addition to uncertainty about the accessibility of Yemen’s ports, particularly Hodeidah, Sana’a’s airport has been closed to commercial flights since August 2016; further restricting the mobility of the Yemeni population. While the new ‘medical airbridge’ agreement is welcome, this is a small concession that continues to leave the majority of Yemeni people without freedom to seek medical treatment overseas.

In addition, 1.4 million people remain in hard-to-reach areas, unable to access vital assistance and support, an increase of 200,000 since February 2018. Escalation in fighting has exacerbated these challenges, with hundreds of thousands displaced in recent months, including close to half a million from Hodeidah since June 2018.

The international community must step up to pressure all parties to the conflict to:
:: Comply with their obligations under international law, and take immediate measures to prevent and end grave violations against children;
:: Ensure humanitarian and commercial access of essential goods and services; and
:: Engage all parties to the conflict to find a peaceful, sustainable and implementable political solution that involves women, youth, minority groups and civil society.

Only a political solution can bring the war to an end and reinstate peace in Yemen. All parties must immediately cease hostilities, agree to a comprehensive ceasefire, and cooperate in ‘good faith’ with UN Special Envoy Martin Griffith’s peace process.

Signed by:
Action Against Hunger (ACF)
Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA)
Global Communities
Islamic Relief Worldwide
Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)
Relief International
Save the Children
War Child

The State of Palestine institutes proceedings against the United States of America [Embassy Move to Jerusalem]]

Governance – Siting of Diplomatic Missions

The State of Palestine institutes proceedings against the United States of America
THE HAGUE, 28 September 2018. The State of Palestine today instituted proceedings against the United States of America before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, with respect to a dispute concerning alleged violations of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 18 April 1961 (hereinafter the “Vienna Convention”).

It is recalled in the Application that, on 6 December 2017, the President of the United States recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and announced the relocation of the American Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The American Embassy in Jerusalem was then inaugurated on 14 May 2018.

Palestine contends that it flows from the Vienna Convention that the diplomatic mission of a sending State must be established on the territory of the receiving State. According to Palestine, in view of the special status of Jerusalem, “[t]he relocation of the United States Embassy in Israel to . . . Jerusalem constitutes a breach of the Vienna Convention”.

As basis for the Court’s jurisdiction, the Applicant invokes Article 1 of the Optional Protocol to the Vienna Convention concerning the Compulsory Settlement of Disputes. It notes that Palestine acceded to the Vienna Convention on 2 April 2014 and to the Optional Protocol on 22 March 2018, whereas the United States of America is a party to both these instruments since 13 November 1972….

United Nations, World Bank, and Humanitarian Organizations Launch Innovative Partnership to End Famine

Health – Famine Prevention/Mitigation

United Nations, World Bank, and Humanitarian Organizations Launch Innovative Partnership to End Famine
Global Technology Firms to Provide Expertise on Frontier Technology to Better Predict Famines

WASHINGTON, September 23, 2018—The United Nations, World Bank, International Committee of the Red Cross, Microsoft Corp., Google and Amazon Web Services today announced an unprecedented global partnership to prevent future famines.

The international organizations, with support from leading global technology firms, are launching the Famine Action Mechanism (FAM)—the first global mechanism dedicated to preventing future famines. In the past, responses to these devastating events has often come too late, once many lives have already been lost, incurring high assistance costs. The FAM seeks to change this by moving towards famine prevention, preparedness and early action—interventions that can save more lives and reduce humanitarian costs by as much as 30%. The initiative will use the predictive power of data to trigger funding through appropriate financing instruments, working closely with existing systems.

In 2017, more than 20 million people across north-eastern Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen faced famine or famine-like conditions, the result of a complex intersection of conflict, poverty, climate change and food prices. These conditions continue in many parts of the world today, derailing hard-won development gains in chronically poor countries. Today, 124 million people live in crisis levels of food insecurity, requiring urgent humanitarian assistance for their survival. Over half of them live in areas affected by conflict.

“The Famine Action Mechanism, FAM, is an important new tool that will help to predict and therefore prevent food insecurity and famine before they have a chance to take hold. Crisis prevention saves lives. With the Famine Action Mechanism, we are renewing our pledge to Zero Tolerance for famine and acute food insecurity,” said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.

“The fact that millions of people—many of them children—still suffer from severe malnutrition and famine in the 21st century is a global tragedy,” World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said. “We are forming an unprecedented global coalition to say, ‘no more.’ The Famine Action Mechanism is a preventative approach that knits together innovative technology, early financing, and strong partnerships on the ground in an effort to prevent famine. It will help us deploy our combined resources to protect the poorest and most vulnerable, and it will allow us to refocus our collective attention on the millions of chronically food-insecure people who suffer each year.”

“The ICRC, working on frontlines around the world, sees the deep suffering inflicted by conflict and violence. Famine is often a devastating symptom of protracted war. We are hopeful that new models of collaboration such as this will bring new solutions and reduce food insecurity at scale,” said ICRC President Peter Maurer.

The FAM will promote investments that tackle the root causes of famine at the first warning signs. It will help build vulnerable people’s livelihoods, safety nets and coping mechanisms. In the last decade, the Bank has invested up to $3 billion annually in food security initiatives and will be looking for additional ways to increase these investments in future projects and programs.

The FAM will use state-of-the-art technology to provide more powerful early warning to identify when food crises threaten to turn into famines. These alerts will trigger pre-arranged funding and action plans by donors, humanitarian agencies and governments to generate earlier and more efficient interventions.

“If we can better predict when and where future famines will occur, we can save lives by responding earlier and more effectively,” said Brad Smith, President of Microsoft. “Artificial intelligence and machine learning hold huge promise for forecasting and detecting early signs of food shortages, like crop failures, droughts, natural disasters, and conflicts. Microsoft is proud to join Amazon and Google in developing solutions to address this humanitarian need.”

Google, Microsoft and Amazon Web Services and other technology firms are providing the world’s top expertise to develop a suite of analytical models called “Artemis” that uses advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning to estimate and forecast worsening food security crises in real-time. These forecasts will help guide and promote decision makers to respond earlier.

“Artificial intelligence and other advanced technologies can be a powerful force for good, and we’ve already seen that they have the potential to help farmers identify disease in cassava plants, keep cows healthier and more productive, and integrate overall relief efforts. Google is proud to partner with the World Bank on the Famine Action Mechanism to help prevent future famine in communities around the world,” said Kent Walker, Google’s Senior Vice President of Global Affairs and Chief Legal Officer.

“We are proud to play a role in the FAM initiative, and to work collaboratively to solve one of the world’s most pressing issues,” said Teresa Carlson, Vice President of Worldwide Public Sector, Amazon Web Services, Inc. “Public-private collaborations like this one allow us to collectively bring cutting-edge technology to leading humanitarian organizations, giving them innovative tools to predict and prevent famine, and to ultimately save lives.”

The FAM builds on the World Bank’s experience and commitment to better forecast risks and prevent crises of all types before they occur. In July, the World Bank Group Board endorsed the Global Crisis Risk Platform, a new platform for identifying risks before they become full blown crises. The Platform incorporates prevention and preparedness into client country development strategies and is being used to get ahead of global crises such as famine, Ebola and other natural and man-made disasters.

The FAM also builds on the United Nations efforts to prioritize prevention, and its efforts to address risks more systematically. It also aligns with the recently adopted Security Council Resolution 2417 on the links between conflict-induced food insecurity and the threat of famine.

The FAM will initially be rolled out in a small group of vulnerable countries building up to ultimately provide global coverage. On October 13, leaders dedicated to this initiative will gather as part of the IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings to discuss further implementation of the FAM.

OECD, IEEE and DQI Announce Platform for Coordinating Digital Intelligence Across Technology and Education Sectors

Education – “Digital Intelligence”

OECD, IEEE and DQI Announce Platform for Coordinating Digital Intelligence Across Technology and Education Sectors
:: Three leading global organizations – OECD, IEEE Standards Association and DQ Institute – announce new platform for digital coordination, Coalition for Digital Intelligence (CDI)

:: CDI will serve as coordinating platform for organizations implementing a common set of standards and definitions for digital intelligence across the technology and education sectors, allowing digital intelligence to be better tracked and understood

:: Digital Intelligence refers to the set of competencies necessary for digital life and includes basic digital skills and digital literacy

Geneva and New York, 26 September 2018 – During the World Economic Forum Sustainable Development Impact Summit in New York, three leading global organizations – the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the IEEE Standards Association and the DQ Institute announced their engagement in the Coalition for Digital Intelligence (CDI). The coalition is a platform for coordinating efforts on raising digital intelligence across the technology and education sectors and is supported by the World Economic Forum.

Every year, the world economy invests billions of dollars in developing digital literacy and digital skills. These efforts are not well coordinated, however, with many companies, governments and organizations running their respective programmes under their own frameworks. There are countless global, national and organizational efforts to create frameworks that classify digital skills and digital literacy.

Consequently, there is no globally shared understanding of what terms like digital skills and digital literacy mean. As used today, they can refer to competencies that range from typing and web-browsing, to using social media platforms, to administering vendor-specific database products to writing software.

Lack of a shared understanding leads to uncoordinated monitoring and reporting. There is no shared baseline understanding of the level of digital skills in the world today and it is difficult to address how to improve and sustain them. CDI is grounded in an agreement that the world could build basic digital skills and digital literacy more efficiently and effectively if there was increased coordination on a common set of definitions and standards.

The DQ Institute, an international think-tank, has used an academically rigorous process to aggregate more than 20 leading frameworks from around the world. The resulting framework, Digital Intelligence (DQ), includes eight comprehensive areas deemed necessary for digital life today. They include not only the technical skills one might expect but also abilities related to digital safety, digital rights and digital emotional intelligence. These capacities allow people to not just use a computer or smartphone, but to deal with modern social and economic challenges such as identity theft, screen addiction, online privacy and the spread of digital misinformation. DQ brings together education agendas of digital literacies, with industry efforts to develop digital skills: encompassing digital citizenship, digital resilience, media and information literacy, job readiness, entrepreneurship, and more. The DQ framework is also built on the OECD’s Education 2030 Learning Framework to create a guide for nations to develop their national education and policies on digital intelligence.

“Technology is only meaningful when it enhances humanness. In the age of AI and hyper-connectivity, Digital Intelligence (DQ) is a comprehensive set of technical, cognitive, social and emotional digital competencies that are grounded in ethics and human values,” said Yuhyun Park, Founder of DQ Institute.

If DQ is to become a global framework that allows for better coordination and the scalability of digital skills training, there must be a way of working across the worlds of education and technology. Both schools and the technology community have a significant role to play in building digital intelligence.
“The development of Digital Intelligence is not ad hoc,” said Melissa Sassi, co-chair of the IEEE Digital Literacy Industry Connections Program. “It should be a paradigm with a focus on technical excellence and deployment though collaboration of many forms around the world. We see the opportunity to enable the build of Digital Intelligence into product and software design from the onset through the use of global standards that include agreed upon common definitions and take into account various contexts. It will also enable improved practices and processes towards the development of indicators and measurement.”

The CDI will serve as a platform for coordinating efforts on raising Digital Intelligence across the technology and education sectors. Initial efforts of the Coalition include institutionalizing the DQ framework, which will be done through a formal adoption process with the OECD and by the development of an IEEE technical standard. The CDI will then help to organize implementation groups around each of these: a multistakeholder coalition of firms to promote and implement the IEEE standard, and a similar group built around a coalition of education ministers to implement the guidelines created by the OECD.

World Bank Group Commits $1 Billion for Battery Storage to Ramp Up Renewable Energy Globally

Development – Power

World Bank Group Commits $1 Billion for Battery Storage to Ramp Up Renewable Energy Globally
New program will mobilize another $4 billion; “game changer” for developing countries
NEW YORK, September 26, 2018 – In a major announcement at the One Planet Summit here today, the World Bank Group committed $1 billion for a new global program to accelerate investments in battery storage for energy systems in developing and middle-income countries. The program is expected to help these countries ramp up their use of renewables – particularly wind and solar power – improve energy security, increase grid stability and expand access to electricity.

The $1 billion in World Bank Group financing is expected to mobilize another $4 billion in concessional climate financing and public and private investments. The program aims to finance 17.5 gigawatt hours (GWh) of battery storage by 2025 – more than triple the 4-5 GWh currently installed in all developing countries.

“For developing countries, this can be a game changer,” said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim. “Battery storage can help countries leapfrog to the next generation of power generation technology, expand energy access, and set the stage for much cleaner, more stable, energy systems.”
Currently, batteries used in energy generation systems are expensive, and most projects are concentrated in developed countries. The “Accelerating Battery Storage for Development” program, in response to demand from countries, will finance and de-risk investments such as utility-scale solar parks with battery storage, off-grid systems – including mini-grids – and stand-alone batteries that can help stabilize and strengthen grids.

The program will also support large-scale demonstration projects for new storage technologies suitable for developing countries’ needs – such as batteries that are long-lasting, resilient to harsh conditions and high temperatures, and that present minimal environmental risks.

“Batteries are critical to decarbonizing the world’s power systems. They allow us to store wind and solar energy and deploy it when it’s needed most to provide people with clean, affordable, round-the-clock power.” Dr. Kim said. “We call on our partners to join us and match the investments we’re making today. We can create new markets for battery storage in countries with high wind and solar potential, growing energy demand, and populations that still live without reliable electricity.”

The World Bank Group is putting $1 billion of its own funds towards this new program and will fundraise another $1 billion in concessional climate funds through channels such as the Climate Investment Funds’ Clean Technology Fund (CTF). The program is expected to raise an additional $3 billion from public and private funds and investors.

The new program will also convene a global think tank on battery storage, bringing together national laboratories, research institutions, development agencies and philanthropies to foster international technological cooperation and training that can develop and adapt new storage solutions tailored for the needs and conditions of developing countries…

WHO calls for protection of humanitarian workers and civilians in Democratic Republic of the Congo

Ebola/DRC – Protection of Humanitarian Workers

WHO calls for protection of humanitarian workers and civilians in Democratic Republic of the Congo
26 September 2018 News Release
The response to the outbreak of Ebola in North Kivu and Ituri provinces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is at a critical juncture, threatened by worsening insecurity, mistrust from affected communities, and extension into previously unaffected areas…

But there is a risk now that hard-won gains may be lost.

First, there has been an increase in frequency and severity of attacks by armed opposition groups. Attacks by armed opposition groups on the town Beni, in North Kivu, where the Ministry of Health and partners have based their response, have occurred with alarming frequency. Most recently a deadly attack on 22 September left 21 dead, including 17 civilians.

As a result, WHO and its UN partners were asked to halt operations in Beni, while the city mourns its dead. As of today, some operations have begun to resume, but even a gap of two days has resulted in health workers not being able to reach contacts of Ebola patients to monitor their health; or investigate alerts of potential cases.

Meanwhile, some families have chosen to care for sick relatives at home, often because they have been misinformed, and because a natural fear of the disease is now being exploited by local politicians.

Others sick with Ebola travel widely to seek alternative care, putting themselves, their families and health workers at risk. This has brought infection to new locations, where teams cannot provide them with access to treatment, or provide protective vaccines to their contacts. These include security red zones which are difficult to access, and to areas bordering Uganda.

WHO calls on all relevant parties, and the governments or groups that have influence over these parties, to help protect responders and civilians.

WHO also calls on governments in surrounding countries to accelerate the preparedness activities which they have begun, with WHO support, to ensure a level of readiness should they face cases of Ebola themselves.


Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)
Polio this week as of 25 September 2018 [GPEI]
:: Featured on Coffee with Polio Experts – Head of WHO Chad Dr Jean-Bosco Ndihokubwayo speaks about the ongoing efforts to reach every child with polio vaccine across Chad.

Summary of new viruses this week:
Afghanistan – – two new wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) positive environmental samples; Pakistan – five new WPV1-positive environmental samples;
Nigeria – three cases of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) and two cVDPV2-positive environmental samples;
Niger – two cVDPV2 cases;
Horn of Africa (Somalia) – three cVDPV3 cases and one cVDPV3 positive environmental sample; and,
Papua New Guinea – two new cVDPV1 cases.
Editor’s Note:
WHO has posted a refreshed emergencies page which presents an updated listing of Grade 3,2,1 emergencies as below.

WHO Grade 3 Emergencies  [to 29 Sep 2018]
Bangladesh – Rohingya crisis
:: Weekly Situation Report 44 -19 September 2018 pdf, 281kb

Democratic Republic of the Congo
:: 08: Situation report on the Ebola outbreak in North Kivu  25 September 2018
:: Disease Outbreak News (DONs)  Ebola virus disease – Democratic Republic of the Congo
27 September 2018
[See Milestones above for detail]

Syrian Arab Republic
:: The only tuberculosis control centre in Aleppo is up and running again  26 September 2018

:: High-Level Event on the Humanitarian Response in Yemen
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization
United Nations General Assembly, 24 September 2018

Nigeria – No new announcements identified
Somalia – No new announcements identified
South Sudan – No new announcements identified

WHO Grade 2 Emergencies  [to 29 Sep 2018]
:: Weekly Situation Report 44 -19 September 2018
:: WHO is scaling up response to a fast-moving cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe’s capital
Harare/Brazzaville 13 September 2018 – The World Health Organization (WHO) is scaling up its response to an outbreak of cholera in Zimbabwe, which is expanding quickly in Harare, the country’s capital with a population of more than two million people…

Cameroon  – No new announcements identified
Central African Republic  – No new announcements identified
Ethiopia – No new announcements identified
Hurricane Irma and Maria in the Caribbean – No new announcements identified
Iraq – No new announcements identified
occupied Palestinian territory – No new announcements identified
Libya – No new announcements identified
MERS-CoV – No new announcements identified
Niger – No new announcements identified
Sao Tome and Principe Necrotizing Cellulitis (2017) – No new announcements identified
South Africa Listeriosis (2017) – No new announcements identified
Sudan – No new announcements identified
Ukraine – No new announcements identified

Outbreaks and Emergencies Bulletin, Week 37: 15 -21 September 2018
The WHO Health Emergencies Programme is currently monitoring 54 events in the AFRO region. This week’s edition covers key ongoing events, including:
:: Ebola virus disease outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
:: Cholera outbreak in Niger
:: Cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe
:: Cholera outbreak in Chad
:: Cholera outbreak in Nigeria

WHO Grade 1 Emergencies  [to 29 Sep 2018]
Angola (in Portuguese)
Lao People’s Democratic Republic
Papua New Guinea
Tropical Cyclone Gira

The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health :: Education :: Heritage Stewardship ::
Sustainable Development
Week ending 22 September 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: The Sentinel_ period ending 22 Sep 2018

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

African Union: Press Statement on the Italian Deputy Prime Minister comments on African Migrants

Migration – Africa, Italy

Italy’s Salvini likens African immigrants to ‘slaves’
September 14, 2018
VIENNA/ROME (Reuters) – Italian far-right leader and Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini likened African immigrants to slaves at a European conference on Thursday, drawing an angry response from Luxembourg’s foreign minister, who cursed at him in frustration…

“I heard someone say we need immigration because the population is aging. I see things completely differently,” Salvini told the session in remarks filmed and posted on his Facebook profile.

“I’m paid by citizens to help our young people start having children again the way they did a few years ago, and not to uproot the best of the African youth to replace Europeans who are not having children anymore… Maybe in Luxembourg there’s this need, in Italy there’s the need to help our kids have kids, not to have new slaves to replace the children we’re not having.”…


African Union: Press Statement on the Italian Deputy Prime Minister comments on African Migrants
Addis Ababa, 18 September 2018: The African Union Commission expresses dismay at the comments made by the Italian Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Matteo Salvini, at a recent conference in Vienna at which he likened African immigrants to slaves. It is the view of the African Union that name-calling will not resolve the migration challenges facing Africa and Europe.

It is common knowledge that emigration from Italy in the last two centuries has been the most important case of mass migration in modern European history. During the period from 1861 to 1976, more than 26 million people left the country, principally for other European countries and the Americas. Approximately, one Italian out of four emigrated, and it is on record that Italy has benefited greatly from its huge diaspora through remittances and trade.

The history, geo-politics and future of Africa and Europe are so inter-twined that the two continents cannot wish each other away. The current ‘migration crisis’ in Europe provides an opportunity for Africa and Europe to engage in a dialogue that not only focuses on migration issues, but also on the broader development cooperation between the two continents. Thus, the migration-and-development debate should increasingly take place within the context of the debate on the socio-economic development of the continent, and not as a separate issue that responds to the ‘migration crisis’ in Europe.

In the interests of constructive engagement on the migration debate between the two continents, the African Union requests the Italian Deputy Prime Minister to retract his derogatory statement about African migrants and further urge Italy to emulate and support other European Union member states, like Spain, which have extended support and protection to migrants in distress, irrespective of their origin and legal status, before their admission status is determined.

Further, the Commission wishes to express concern at the increasing number of migrants still finding their way to Europe through dangerous routes, despite the many efforts that the African Union, together with the United Nations and the European Union, has deployed to sensitize African citizens on the danger posed by these movements.

Statement of ICC Prosecutor, Mrs Fatou Bensouda, on opening a Preliminary Examination concerning the alleged deportation of the Rohingya people from Myanmar to Bangladesh

International Criminal Court – Rohingya/Myanmar

Statement : 18 September 2018
Statement of ICC Prosecutor, Mrs Fatou Bensouda, on opening a Preliminary Examination concerning the alleged deportation of the Rohingya people from Myanmar to Bangladesh
[Editor’ text bolding]
Since the end of 2017, my Office has received a number of communications and reports concerning crimes allegedly committed against the Rohingya population in Myanmar and their deportation to Bangladesh.

The review of these communications, which constitutes the first phase of my Office’s preliminary examination activities, shed light on a preliminary legal issue concerning the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (“ICC” or “the Court”), which I deemed appropriate to bring to the attention of the Court’s judges. Having received confirmation from the Judges of Pre-Trial Chamber I that the Court may indeed exercise jurisdiction over the alleged deportation of the Rohingya people from Myanmar to Bangladesh, as well as potentially other crimes under article 7 of the Rome Statute, I have decided to proceed to the next phase of the preliminary examination process and to carry out a full-fledged preliminary examination of the situation at hand.

While Myanmar is not a State Party to the ICC, Bangladesh is. The Court may therefore exercise jurisdiction over conduct to the extent it partly occurred on the territory of Bangladesh. In this context, the preliminary examination may take into account a number of alleged coercive acts having resulted in the forced displacement of the Rohingya people, including deprivation of fundamental rights, killing, sexual violence, enforced disappearance, destruction and looting. My Office will further consider whether other crimes under article 7 of the Rome Statute may be applicable to the situation at hand, such as the crimes of persecution and other inhumane acts.

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. Every preliminary examination requires rigorous evaluation of the information available, thorough factual and legal analysis, and irreproachable assessment of the Rome Statute criteria. This is the least we owe to the victims.

In the independent and impartial exercise of its mandate, my Office also gives 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. Further, under the Rome Statute, national jurisdictions have the primary responsibility to investigate and prosecute those responsible for international crimes. In conformity with the complementarity principle, 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.

Hard Questions With No Easy Answers – M

Hard Questions With No Easy Answers
Julia M. Stasch, President, MacArthur Foundation
September 19, 2018
From time to time, I share my thoughts about how MacArthur is navigating an evolving local, national, and global context. I try to say something new, perhaps insightful, but always with optimism that the world can be a better place.

This time, my focus is on our mission, on our commitment to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world, and I am concerned.

In breathtaking convergence, bedrock values, longstanding alliances, workable regimes, standards of decency and care, scientific consensus, and much more are under attack. As philanthropy rushes to respond to new imperatives, or doubles down on longstanding priorities that matter even more today, I find myself eager for discussion and exchange. As we consider this extraordinary time around the world, in our country, here in Chicago, and even within MacArthur, I want to reach out, connect and learn, and work together on hard questions with no easy answers.

The world is more just when actions are moral, rational, equitable, and fair. MacArthur’s mission of a more just, verdant, and peaceful world leads with justice; without it, universal human dignity, equitable opportunity, and shared prosperity are not possible. Of course, we are not alone in our concern for justice. In one of many examples, a fellow foundation leader has urged us all to reject the seduction of a great America and actively pursue an America that is just.

And yet, how does one forge a path toward justice in a political and policy environment that has unleashed inner demons and accelerated a decline in trust in institutions of all kinds and in those who lead them? Ubiquitous platforms that hold the promise of community, collaboration, and constructive engagement also foster a free market of unbridled rhetoric. Protected by anonymity, and increasingly in the open, people are encouraged to express their hatreds and insecurities, to assert their individual or tribal interests. Antipathy toward others is celebrated as candor, and, in a world of digital intimacy, and even in the public square, we have become strangers without connection.

Some believe that the way to defeat us is to manipulate and divide us. If we do not see humanity in each other, we do not need enemies. We will attack strangers and our neighbors ourselves.

I am wondering if justice is possible without three foundational imperatives: a commitment to the common good; empathy and recognition of our shared humanity; and investment and trust in the institutions of accountability….

[discussion of the three foundational imperatives – see title link above]

Even as I question whether justice is even possible, here at the Foundation we are working to advance what I call the just imperative. It is a formal effort to ensure that our decisions and actions enhance the conditions in which justice can thrive, rejecting or challenging those that reinforce an unjust status quo or produce unjust outcomes. It is the framework through which we, like many others, are trying to live the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion in our internal operations, in our organizational culture, and in every program where we are investing our resources and trying to help bring about change. It is hard work; we will not always get it right. To live our mission of a world that is more just requires that we do it.

Is justice possible? The answer has to be yes, but it is certainly not inevitable, maybe not even probable. So, together we need to increase the odds.

Decline of Global Extreme Poverty Continues but Has Slowed: World Bank

Development – Poverty Reduction

Decline of Global Extreme Poverty Continues but Has Slowed: World Bank
WASHINGTON, Sept. 19, 2018 Fewer people are living in extreme poverty around the world, but the decline in poverty rates has slowed, raising concerns about achieving the goal of ending poverty by 2030 and pointing to the need for increased pro-poor investments, the World Bank finds.

The percentage of people living in extreme poverty globally fell to a new low of 10 percent in 2015 — the latest number available — down from 11 percent in 2013, reflecting steady but slowing progress, World Bank data show. The number of people living on less than $1.90 a day fell during this period by 68 million to 736 million.

“Over the last 25 years, more than a billion people have lifted themselves out of extreme poverty, and the global poverty rate is now lower than it has ever been in recorded history. This is one of the greatest human achievements of our time,” World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said. “But if we are going to end poverty by 2030, we need much more investment, particularly in building human capital, to help promote the inclusive growth it will take to reach the remaining poor. For their sake, we cannot fail.”

Despite the tremendous progress in reducing extreme poverty, rates remain stubbornly high in low-income countries and those affected by conflict and political upheaval.

The estimates will be published in “Poverty and Shared Prosperity 2018: Piecing Together the Poverty Puzzle,” a report to be released on Oct. 17, End Poverty Day.

Commitment to Development Index 2018


Commitment to Development Index 2018
Center for Global Development – Ian Mitchell , Anita Käppeli , Lee Robinson , Caitlin McKee and Arthur Baker
September 18, 2018 : 6 pages

The Commitment to Development Index ranks 27 of the world’s richest countries on policies that affect more than five billion people living in poorer nations. Because development is about more than foreign aid, the Index covers seven distinct policy areas:

We use thousands of data points across more than a hundred indicators to come up with overall rankings and for each policy component. Countries score well for things like generous and high-quality aid, financial transparency, low barriers to trade for developing countries, and migration policies which are open and promote integration. They also do well for policies that enhance global public goods, for example, robust support for technological research and development, protecting the environment, and contributions to global security like peacekeeping contributions and avoiding arms sales to poor and undemocratic nations.

Like the Sustainable Development Goals, the CDI recognizes development progress is holistic. But while the SDGs focus on outcomes and all nations, the CDI emphasizes how the policies of the richest countries can make a huge difference.

CDI 2018 Results: How Well Are Countries Doing?
Sweden tops this year’s Commitment to Development Index, followed by Denmark. Germany climbs to the podium and shares third place with Finland. Sweden scores well across six out of seven components of the CDI, ranking first on migration, second on environment, and third on aid. It has room for improvement on security, given its substantial arms exports and low contributions to international peacekeeping and sea lanes protection.

Denmark comes second this year, topping the list on security and with the second-best aid score. Finland and Germany share third place. Finland scores consistently well across nearly all components.
Germany scores particularly well on migration and trade, with the most efficient trade logistics and the least restrictions on trade in services. However, Germany could improve its aid quality and its contributions to international security.

European countries lead the way.
European countries take up the first 12 positions on the Index, highlighting European leadership on development issues. France comes seventh this year, with good performance across all components. It is one of the few countries which has increased its aid spending, by 0.05 percent to 0.43 percent of gross national income (GNI). The United Kingdom, in eighth place, is the third G7 country in the top 10, scoring especially well on trade and security. The UK is one of the few countries meeting the international commitment of 0.7 percent of GNI spent on overseas development assistance but ranks in the lower end of the table on technology and migration.

The Netherlands and Luxembourg share position five and Belgium ranks 10th. All three countries have smart policy designs in place: Luxembourg tops the aid component; the Netherlands the trade component; and Belgium the finance component. Portugal, in ninth position, demonstrates that commitment to development isn’t for the richest only.

Despite its contribution to global security, the United States ranks 23rd of 27.
Like last year, the United States scores close to the bottom of the table, performing poorly on finance, aid, and environment, with high greenhouse gas emissions, significant fossil fuel production, and the lowest gasoline taxes. Its best performance is on security as the biggest contributor to global sea lanes protection and a major supporter of international peacekeeping. However, its security score is held back for failing to ratify most International agreements, including the Arms Trade and Nuclear Test Ban treaties. Our trade data predate the recent protectionist trade policies implemented by the US government, resulting in the US scoring above average on trade, with low agricultural subsidies and average tariffs. The US’s stated withdrawal from the Paris agreement only comes into effect in 2020 but will lower the US score further…

1 in 3 children and young people is out of school in countries affected by war or natural disasters – UNICEF

Education – Impacts of War, Disasters

Press release
1 in 3 children and young people is out of school in countries affected by war or natural disasters – UNICEF
Adolescents in emergency countries face grim future with 2 in 5 15-17 year olds never completing primary school
NEW YORK, 19 September 2018 – 1 in 3 children and young people between 5 and 17 years old living in countries affected by conflict or disaster – 104 million – are not in school, a figure that accounts for more than a third of the global out-of-school population, according to a new UNICEF report. In total, 303 million 5-17 year-olds are out of school worldwide.

The report notes 1 in 5 young people aged 15 to 17 years old living in countries affected by conflict or disaster have never entered any school, and 2 in 5 have never completed primary school.
A future stolen: young and out-of-school looks at the education situation of children and young people from pre-primary to upper secondary age across all countries, including those affected by humanitarian emergencies.

“When a country is hit by conflict or disaster, its children and young people are victimized twice,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director. “In the near term, their schools are damaged, destroyed, occupied by military forces or even deliberately attacked, and they join the millions of young people out of school, and as the years progress they seldom return. In the long term they – and the countries they live in – will continue to face perpetuating cycles of poverty.”

With less than 4 per cent of global humanitarian appeals dedicated to education, the report calls for more investment in quality education where children and young people can learn in a safe environment, from pre-primary to upper-secondary, in countries affected by complex humanitarian emergencies and protracted crises.

The report – launched ahead of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly – looks at the global situation of out-of-school children and young people, highlighting that across the world:
:: Nearly 303 million children and young people aged between 5 and 17 years old – around 1 in 5 – are out of school globally.
:: More than half of out-of-school children of primary-school age live in countries affected by emergencies.
:: Poverty remains the most significant barrier to education globally with the poorest primary school age children 4 times more likely to be out of school compared to their peers from the richest households…

UNICEF: World leaders unite under new initiative to provide quality education and training for young people


UNICEF: World leaders unite under new initiative to provide quality education and training for young people
‘Generation Unlimited’ seeks to get every young person prepared for future employment by 2030

NEW YORK, 21 September 2018 – World leaders will launch a new partnership to get every young person into quality education, training or employment by 2030, next week at the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly. Generation Unlimited will tackle the global education and training crisis currently holding back millions of young people and threatening progress and stability.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres; President of Rwanda Paul Kagame; World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, European Union, Ms. Federica Mogherini; UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore; United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth Jayathma Wickramanayake; Unilever CEO Paul Polman; UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Lilly Singh; and global pop group BTS are among the global, business, education and youth leaders behind Generation Unlimited who will unite at a high-level event on Monday 24 September at 12.00pm at the United Nations headquarters in New York City to launch the partnership.

Without urgent investment in education and skills training, the rapidly growing global population of adolescents and young people – which will reach 2 billion by 2030 – will continue to be unprepared and unskilled for the future workforce. And with more than 200 million young people of lower- and upper-secondary school age currently missing out on school, instead of contributing to equitable progress, young people – especially the most disadvantaged – could face futures of compounding deprivation and discrimination.

Generation Unlimited – which forms part of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Youth 2030 Strategy – will complement and build on existing programmes that support adolescents and young people. The partnership platform will focus on three key areas: secondary-age education; skills for learning, employability and decent work; and empowerment. A Youth Challenge taking place in 16 countries worldwide this year calls for applications from young people to create solutions that will support the three key pillars of Generation Unlimited…

What A Waste 2.0 : A Global Snapshot on Solid Waste Management to 2050

Heritage Stewardship – Waste as “Heritage” Challenge

What A Waste 2.0 : A Global Snapshot on Solid Waste Management to 2050
World Bank Group :: Kaza, Silpa, Yao, Lisa C., Bhada-Tata, Perinaz, Van Woerden, Frank
Book :: 2018-09-20 :: 296 pages
By 2050, the world is expected to generate 3.40 billion tonnes of waste annually, increasing drastically from today’s 2.01 billion tonnes. What a Waste presents national and urban waste management data from around the world and highlights the need for urgent action. The publication provides a snapshot on how waste generation and management varies across income levels and regions, and shares good practices globally. Solid waste management is one of the most important urban services, yet it is complex and expensive, accounting for approximately 20% of municipal budgets in low-income countries and 10% of municipal budgets in high-income countries. Costly and complex waste operations must compete for funding with other priorities such as clean water and other utilities, education, and healthcare.
Waste management is often managed by local authorities with limited resources and limited capacities in planning, contract management and operational monitoring. These factors make sustainable waste management a complicated proposition on the path of economic development and most low and middle-income countries and their cities are struggling to address the challenges. Waste management data is critical to creating policy and planning for the local context. Understanding how much waste is generated—especially with rapid urbanization and population growth—as well as the types of waste being generated allows for local governments to select appropriate management methods and plan for future demand. It allows governments to design a system with a suitable number of vehicles, establish efficient routes, set targets for diversion of waste, track progress, and adapt as consumption patterns change.
With accurate data, governments can realistically allocate budget and land, assess relevant technologies, and consider strategic partners for service provision such as the private sector or non-governmental organizations. The publication strives to provide the latest and most realistic information available to empower citizens and governments around the world to take action and address the pressing global crisis of waste.

Press Release
Global Waste to Grow by 70 Percent by 2050 Unless Urgent Action is Taken: World Bank Report
WASHINGTON, September 20, 2018—Without urgent action, global waste will increase by 70 percent on current levels by 2050, according to the World Bank’s new What a Waste 2.0: A Global Snapshot of Solid Waste Management to 2050 report.

Driven by rapid urbanization and growing populations, global annual waste generation is expected to jump to 3.4 billion tonnes over the next 30 years, up from 2.01 billion tonnes in 2016, the report finds.
Although they only account for 16 percent of the world’s population, high-income countries combined are generating more than one-third (34 percent) of the world’s waste. The East Asia and Pacific region is responsible for generating close to a quarter (23 percent) of all waste. And by 2050, waste generation in Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to more than triple from current levels, while South Asia will more than double its waste stream.

Plastics are especially problematic. If not collected and managed properly, they will contaminate and affect waterways and ecosystems for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. In 2016, the world generated 242 million tonnes of plastic waste, or 12 percent of all solid waste, according to the report.
What a Waste 2.0 stresses that solid waste management is critical for sustainable, healthy, and inclusive cities and communities, yet it is often overlooked, particularly in low-income countries. While more than one-third of waste in high-income countries is recovered through recycling and composting, only 4 percent of waste in low-income countries is recycled.

Based on the volume of waste generated, its composition, and how the waste is being managed, it is estimated that 1.6 billion tonnes of carbon-dioxide-equivalent were generated from the treatment and disposal of waste in 2016 – representing about 5 percent of global emissions.

“Mismanagement of waste is harming human health and local environments while adding to the climate challenge,” said Laura Tuck, Vice President for Sustainable Development, World Bank. “Unfortunately, it is often the poorest in society who are adversely impacted by inadequate waste management. It doesn’t have to be this way. Our resources need to be used and then reused continuously so that they don’t end up in landfills.”…

World Bank Brief
Solid Waste Management
September 20, 2018
The World Bank finances and advises on solid waste management projects using a diverse suite of products and services, including traditional loans, results-based financing, development policy financing, and technical advisory. World Bank-financed waste management projects address the entire lifecycle of waste—from generation to collection and transportation, and finally treatment and disposal.

Objectives that guide the Bank’s solid waste management projects and investments include:
Infrastructure: The World Bank provides capital investments to build or upgrade waste sorting and treatment facilities, close dumps, construct or refurbish landfills, and provide bins, dumpsters, trucks, and transfer stations.
Legal structures and institutions: Projects advise on sound policy measures and coordinated institutions for the municipal waste management sector.

Financial sustainability: Through the design of taxes and fee structures, and long-term planning, projects help governments improve waste cost containment and recovery.

Citizen engagement: Behavior change and public participation is key to a functional waste system. The World Bank supports designing incentives and awareness systems to motivate waste reduction, source-separation and reuse.

Social inclusion: Resource recovery in most developing countries relies heavily on informal workers, who collect, sort, and recycle 15%–20% of generated waste. Projects address waste picker livelihoods through strategies such as integration into the formal system, as well as the provision of safe working conditions, social safety nets, child labor restrictions, and education.

Climate change and the environment: Projects promote environmentally sound waste disposal. They support greenhouse gas mitigation through food loss and waste reduction, organic waste diversion, and the adoption of disposal technologies that capture biogas and landfill gas. Waste projects also support resilience by reducing waste disposal in waterways and safeguarding infrastructure against flooding.

Health and safety: The World Bank’s work in municipal waste management improves public health and livelihoods by reducing open burning, mitigating pest and disease vector spread, and preventing crime and violence.

Knowledge creation: The World Bank helps governments plan and explore locally appropriate solutions through technical expertise, and data and analytics.

The World Bank’s waste management engagement spans multiple development areas, including energy, environmental sustainability, food and agriculture, health and population, social protection, transportation, urban development, and water.

Since 2000, the World Bank has committed over $4.7 billion to more than 340 solid waste management programs in all six regions of World Bank engagement…

World Bank engagement in solid waste management is supported through valuable partnerships, including funding from the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, Korean Green Growth Trust Fund, and the Global Partnership on Output-Based Aid (GPOBA), as well as collaboration on capacity building and knowledge sharing through a memorandum of understanding with the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA).

Why Brazil’s National Museum Fire Was a Devastating Blow to South America’s Cultural Heritage

Heritage Stewardship – Governance/Indigenous Culture

Why Brazil’s National Museum Fire Was a Devastating Blow to South America’s Cultural Heritage
The collection of more than 20 million artifacts included the oldest fossil found in the Americas and a trove of indigenous literature
By Meilan Solly
September 4, 2018

A towering inferno of smoke and flames dominated the Rio de Janeiro skyline on Sunday night, signaling the abrupt demise of Brazil’s National Museum, a 200-year-old institution that housed a priceless repository of South America’s cultural heritage.

Scholars, soldiers and firefighters braved the flames in hopes of retrieving a portion of the museum’s collection of more than 20 million artifacts. The impressive archives represented fields ranging from anthropology to ethnology, art history and zoology.

According to BBC Brasil’s Julia Carneiro, some artifacts were successfully salvaged—zoologist Paulo Buckup, for one, managed to escape with “a few thousand” mollusk specimens—but a local official speculates to the Guardian’s Sam Jones and Dom Phillips that up to 90 percent of the museum’s collections could have been destroyed by the flames.

The fire broke out around 7:30 p.m. local time, roughly two hours after the museum had closed for the day. In a statement, Rio de Janeiro fire department spokesperson Roberto Robadey said that 80 firefighters battled the blaze, bringing it under control around midnight. Initial progress was hampered by two fire hydrants that lacked enough pressure to fight the flames, forcing the crew to siphon water from a nearby pond…

Culture minister Sérgio Sa Leitão said “the tragedy could have been avoided” but “the problems of the National Museum have been piling up over time,” according to a translation of his statement by the Guardian. “This tragedy serves as a lesson,” Sá Leitão continued, adding that “Brazil needs to take better care of its cultural heritage and the collections of its museums.”

As National Geographic’s Michael Greshko writes, underfunding may have doomed the beloved cultural institution: Since 2014, the National Museum has failed to receive its full annual budget of $128,000. This year, the museum received just $13,000. Financial shortfalls were so dire that in late 2017, curators were forced to rely on crowdfunding to support the repair of a popular exhibition hall that had been infested with termites.

On Monday, several hundred protesters gathered at the museum’s gates, calling for authorities to reveal the extent of the damage and promise to rebuild. According to the Associated Press’ Peter Prengaman and Sarah DiLorenzo, when the protestors attempted to see the damage, police held them back using pepper spray, tear gas and batons.

2018 should have been a triumphant year for the National Museum. On June 6, the institution celebrated the bicentennial of its founding, marking the event with commemorative medals and promises to overcome financial woes that had left 10 of the building’s 30 dilapidated exhibition halls closed to the public. The museum was recently granted $5 million for a planned renovation, but the funds—which provided for the installation of an up-to-date fire prevention system—were only scheduled for distribution in October. “Look at the irony. The money is now there, but we ran out of time,” museum director Alexander Kellner told reporters at the scene.

Officials say they will designate $2.4 million for the extensive rebuilding process that lies ahead. Cultural institutions around the world, from the Louvre to the Smithsonian Institution, have offered their condolences and support as the campaign moves forward. Still, much of the chaos wrought by the inferno is irreversible…

WHO launches first investment case to save up to 30 million lives

Health – Governance :: Finance

WHO launches first investment case to save up to 30 million lives
News Release 19 September 2018
WHO today published its first investment case, setting out the transformative impacts on global health and sustainable development that a fully-financed WHO could deliver over the next five years.

The investment case describes how WHO, working together with its Member States and partners, will help to save up to 30 million lives, add up to 100 million years of healthy living to the world’s population and add up to 4 per cent of economic growth in low and middle-income countries by 2023.

Achieving these results would require an investment of $14.1 billion from 2019 to 2023, representing a 14% increase in WHO’s base budget* over the previous five-year period. These investments would help achieve the “triple billion” targets of WHO’s General Programme of Work: 1 billion more people benefitting from universal health coverage; 1 billion more people better protected from health emergencies; and 1 billion more people enjoying better health and well-being.

“This is the first time we have estimated the results we could achieve and the impact we could deliver with the right resources,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “Our investment case isn’t only about investing in an institution, it’s about investing in people, and in the healthier, safer, fairer world we all want.”

The investment case shows how a stronger, more efficient, and results-oriented WHO will serve and guide governments and partners in their efforts to improve the health of their populations. It highlights new mechanisms to measure success, ensuring a strict model of accountability, and sets ambitious targets for savings and efficiencies.

“WHO is the only international organization that enjoys universal political legitimacy on global health matters,” Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, says in the investment case.

The document highlights the vital work WHO does in providing up-to-date, evidence-based health guidance to support countries in improving the health of their population.

“As it embarks on its eighth decade, the World Health Organization is as essential and central as ever,” said Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda. “It has a unique role in developing new norms and standards, and sharing life-saving tools and technologies.”

The investment case also emphasizes WHO’s focus on equity, gender and rights-based approaches that aim to close gaps in health service coverage and empower individuals and communities to ensure no one is left behind.

“WHO’s leadership is essential to placing UHC at the forefront of the global development agenda,” said Dr Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group.

The investment case outlines WHO’s critical role as a partner, convener, and driving force in coordinating efforts across the global health arena.

“We look forward to working with the World Health Organization, governments and partners around the world to build strong primary health systems as an essential step to achieving health for all,” said Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

:: Download the full investment case
:: Background technical paper
:: WHO’s General Programme of Work