5 things you need to know about forests and the UN

Forests

Ensuring the ‘lungs of the planet’ keep us alive: 5 things you need to know about forests and the UN
United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs
10 May 2019
Forests are vitally important for sustaining life on Earth, and play a major role in the fight against climate change. With the 2019 session of the United Nations Forum on Forests wrapping up on Friday in New York, we delve deeper into the subject, and find out what the UN is doing to safeguard and protect them.

1. Forests are the most cost-effective way to fight climate change
Arguably, protection and enhancing the world’s forests is one of the most cost-effective forms of climate action: forests act as carbon sinks, absorbing roughly 2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide each year. Sustainable forest management can build resilience and help mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Speaking at the 2018 UN climate conference (COP24) in Katowice, Poland, Liu Zhemin, head of the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), said that “forests are central in developing solutions both to mitigate and adapt to climate change, adding that “these terrestrial ecosystems have already removed nearly one third of human-produced carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere. Through sustainable forest management, they could remove much more.”
At this week’s meeting session of the UNFF, it was noted that forest-based climate change mitigation and adaptation actions, if fully implemented, could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by around 15 gigatonnes of CO2 a year by 2050, which could potentially be enough to limit warming to well below 2°C (the target set by the international community in 2015). Today, fossil fuels emit 36 gigatonnes every year.

In addition, as renewable sources increasingly replace fossil fuels, forests will become more and more important as sources of energy: already, forests supply about 40 per cent of global renewable energy in the form of wood fuel – as much as solar, hydroelectric and wind power combined.

2. The goal of zero deforestation is close to being reached
Significant progress has been made in international forest protection over the past 25 years. The rate of net global deforestation has slowed by more than 50 per cent, a credit to global efforts to sustainably manage existing forests, while at the same time engaging in ambitious measures to restore degraded forests and land, and to plant more trees to meet the demand for forest products and services.

The goal of zero net global deforestation is close to being reached, bringing the world one step closer to the UN Strategic Plan for Forest’s target to expand global forest area by 3 per cent by 2030, an area of 120 million hectares, about the size of South Africa.

3. The biggest threat to forests is…agriculture
Many people will be aware of the devastating effects that illegal and unsustainable logging has on forests, but the biggest global driver of deforestation is actually agriculture, because of the extent to which forests are converted to farmland and livestock grazing land: a key challenge is how to manage the ongoing increase in agricultural production, and improve food security, without reducing overall forest areas.

A major UN report on biodiversity, released in May, made headlines around the world with its headline figure of one million species at risk of extinction, warned against the destruction of forests, noting that this “will likely have negative impacts on biodiversity and can threaten food and water security as well as local livelihoods, including by intensifying social conflict.”

4. The UN’s growing role in forest protection
The first time forests came to the forefront of the international agenda was at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, widely regarded as one of the landmark UN conferences. The Summit led to the adoption of Agenda 21, the first significant international action plan for achieving sustainable development, which noted the “major weaknesses in the policies, methods and mechanisms adopted to support and develop the multiple ecological, economic, social and cultural roles of trees, forests and forest lands.”

The Earth Summit also saw the adoption of the Forest Principles which, although non-legally binding, was the first global consensus reached on the sustainable management of forests. The Principles called for all countries to make efforts towards reforestation and forest conservation; enshrined the right of nations to develop forests in keeping with national sustainable development policies; and called for financial resources to be provided for targeted economic policies.

To better co-ordinate international efforts to put the principles into practice, an inter-governmental panel and forum were set up in the 1990s, to be replaced in 2000 by the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF), which meets every year at UN Headquarters in New York to monitor progress on the implementation of the six Global Forest Goals.

The Goals set targets for the sustainable management of forests, and reduction of deforestation and forest degradation, and were developed as part the forest community’s response to the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development, the UN’s overall blueprint for economic progress that protects the environment and humanity.

5. This year’s top priorities: climate change and the real cost of deforestation
One of the key take-aways from the 2019 session of the UN Forest Forum was that, too often, forests are under-valued, because it’s hard to put a clear monetary value on all of the positive contributions they make to the world.

As a result, the true cost of deforestation and forest degradation is not taken into account when policy decisions are made on land use, such as decisions to clear forest land to use for commercial agriculture.

The importance of financing was another important element of the session: sufficient funding is an essential element in ensuring effective action to halt deforestation and forest degradation, promote greater sustainable forest management and increase the world’s forest area: despite the central role forests play in protecting the environment, only 2 per cent of funds available for climate change mitigation are available for efforts to reduce deforestation.

Featured Journal Content :: Nature Volume 569 Issue 7755, 9 May 2019

Featured Journal Content

Nature
Volume 569 Issue 7755, 9 May 2019
http://www.nature.com/nature/current_issue.html
Comment | 08 May 2019
Reboot ethics governance in China
The shocking announcement of genetically modified babies creates an opportunity to overhaul the nation’s science, argue Ruipeng Lei and colleagues.
Ruipeng Lei, Xiaomei Zhai[…] & Renzong Qiu
… China’s scientists and regulators have been going through a period of soul-searching. We, our colleagues and our government agencies, such as the Ministry of Science and Technology and the National Health Commission, have reflected on what the incident says about the culture and regulation of research in China. We’ve also thought about what long-term strategies need to be put in place to strengthen the nation’s governance of science and ethics.
In our view, China is at a crossroads. The government must make substantial changes to protect others from the potential effects of reckless human experimentation. Measures range from closer monitoring of the nation’s hundreds of clinics offering in vitro fertilization (IVF), to incorporating bioethics into education at all levels…

Article | 08 May 2019
Mapping the world’s free-flowing rivers
A comprehensive assessment of the world’s rivers and their connectivity shows that only 37 per cent of rivers longer than 1,000 kilometres remain free-flowing over their entire length.
G. Grill, B. Lehner[…] & C. Zarfl
Abstract
Free-flowing rivers (FFRs) support diverse, complex and dynamic ecosystems globally, providing important societal and economic services. Infrastructure development threatens the ecosystem processes, biodiversity and services that these rivers support. Here we assess the connectivity status of 12 million kilometres of rivers globally and identify those that remain free-flowing in their entire length. Only 37 per cent of rivers longer than 1,000 kilometres remain free-flowing over their entire length and 23 per cent flow uninterrupted to the ocean. Very long FFRs are largely restricted to remote regions of the Arctic and of the Amazon and Congo basins. In densely populated areas only few very long rivers remain free-flowing, such as the Irrawaddy and Salween. Dams and reservoirs and their up- and downstream propagation of fragmentation and flow regulation are the leading contributors to the loss of river connectivity. By applying a new method to quantify riverine connectivity and map FFRs, we provide a foundation for concerted global and national strategies to maintain or restore them.

Ebola virus disease – Democratic Republic of the Congo

Ebola – DRC

Ebola virus disease – Democratic Republic of the Congo
Disease Outbreak News (DONs)
9 May 2019
The Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak response this past week continues to be hampered by insecurity. On 3 May in Katwa, a Safe and Dignified Burial (SDB) team was violently attacked following the completion of a burial for a deceased EVD case. In Butembo and surrounding health zones, response activities were repeatedly halted due to a number of serious security incidents taking place from 4-6 May. On 8 May, a group of over 50 armed militia infiltrated the city centre. Security forces repelled the attack following intense gunfire in close proximity to staff accommodations. Although activities resumed on 9 May, after almost five consecutive days of suspension, threats of further attacks against EVD response teams and facilities remain prevalent.
These security incidents, and especially the resultant lack of access to EVD affected communities, remain a major impediment to the response, with teams unable to perform robust surveillance nor deliver much needed treatment and immunisations. The ongoing violent attacks sow fear, perpetuate mistrust, and further compound the multitude of challenges already faced by frontline healthcare workers. Without commitment from all groups to cease these attacks, it is unlikely that this EVD outbreak can remain successfully contained in North Kivu and Ituri provinces…

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Struggling with Scale: Ebola’s Lessons for the Next Pandemic
Center for Global Development – Report – May 9, 2019 :: 82 pages
Jeremy Konyndyk
PDF: https://www.cgdev.org/sites/default/files/struggling-scale-ebolas-lessons-next-pandemic.pdf

The next global pandemic is a matter of when, not if. Preparing for this inevitability requires that policy¬makers understand not just the science of limiting dis¬ease transmission or engineering a drug, but also the practical challenges of expanding a response strategy to a regional or global level. Achieving success at such scales is largely an issue of operational, strategic, and policy choices—areas of pandemic preparedness that remain underexplored.

The response to the 2014–2015 Ebola outbreak in West Africa illuminates these challenges and highlights steps toward better preparedness. Ebola was a known disease whose basic transmission pathways and con¬trol strategies were understood. Yet traditional Ebola control strategies were premised on small, non-urban outbreaks, and they rapidly proved inadequate as the disease reached urban environments, forcing policy¬makers to develop new strategies and operational plat-forms for containing the outbreak, which generated unique policy challenges and political pressures. Lack¬ing a blueprint for controlling Ebola at scale, response leaders scrambled to catch up as the disease began threatening the wider West African region.

This report explores the lessons of the Ebola outbreak through the lens of the US and UN policymakers who were forced to construct an unprecedented response in real time. It tells the story of their choices around four major policy challenges:
:: Operationalizing the US government response
:: Balancing the politics and the science of travel restrictions
:: Defining the role of a reluctant military
:: Coordinating complex international partnerships

The report draws on interviews with 19 high-level US and UN policymakers, a desk review of after-action reports, and the author’s own experiences while lead¬ing the response efforts of the US Agency for Interna¬tional Development (USAID).

Emergencies

Emergencies

POLIO
Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)
Polio this week as of 8 May 2019
:: With recent introduction to the immunization coverage activities in Zimbabwe and Mongolia, at least 1 dose of Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) is now available worldwide in 126 countries. IPV consists of inactivated (killed) poliovirus strains of all three poliovirus types, producing antibodies in the blood to all types. In the event of infection, these antibodies prevent the spread of the virus to the central nervous system and protect against paralysis. Read press release here.
[See above for detail]

Summary of new viruses this week:
:: Pakistan — three wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) cases and five WPV1-positive environmental samples
:: Nigeria —one circulating vaccine derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2)-positive environmental sample
:: Niger —one cVDPV2 isolated from a healthy community

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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 11 May 2019]

Democratic Republic of the Congo
:: WHO Adapts Ebola Vaccination Strategy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Account for Insecurity and Community Feedback 7 May 2019 News release Geneva
:: 40: Situation report on the Ebola outbreak in North Kivu 7 May 2019
:: Disease Outbreak News (DONs) Ebola virus disease – Democratic Republic of the Congo
9 May 2019 [See Ebola DRC above for detail]

Syrian Arab Republic
:: Flu season in north-west Syrian Arab Republic 9 May 2019

Nigeria
:: WHO Supports one Million malnourished children in North-east Nigeria Maiduguri, 7 May 2019

Somalia
:: Vaccines are saving millions of lives of children in Somalia: urgent need to scale up routine immunization programme 7 May 2019

Bangladesh – Rohingya crisis – No new digest announcements identified
Mozambique floods – No new digest announcements identified
Myanmar – No new digest announcements identified
South Sudan – No new digest announcements identified
Yemen – No new digest announcements identified

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WHO Grade 2 Emergencies [to 11 May 2019]

Cyclone Idai
:: More than 435.000 children in Sofala province will be protected against measles, polio and rubella during Health Week in Mozambique
Beira, 6 May 2019 – Every year the Ministry of Health of Mozambique launches Health Week in Mozambique, together with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) as main partners. Today, the launch was marked by the constraints following Cyclone Idai in the four most affected provinces: Sofala, Manica, Inhambane and Zambezia.

Libya
:: WHO denounces attack on health workers and ambulance in Libyan capital
Tripoli, 9 May – The World Health Organization today condemned in the strongest terms an attack on an ambulance in Tripoli, Libya, on Wednesday 8 May, that left 3 health workers injured, one severely…

Brazil (in Portugese) – No new digest announcements identified
Cameroon – No new digest announcements identified
Central African Republic – No new digest announcements identified
Ethiopia – No new digest announcements identified
Iraq – No new digest announcements identified
MERS-CoV – No new digest announcements identified
Niger – No new digest announcements identified
occupied Palestinian territory – No new digest announcements identified
Sudan – No new digest announcements identified
Ukraine – No new digest announcements identified
Zimbabwe – No new digest announcements identified

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WHO Grade 1 Emergencies [to 11 May 2019]
Afghanistan – No new digest announcements identified
Chad – No new digest announcements identified
Indonesia – Sulawesi earthquake 2018 – No new digest announcements identified
Kenya – No new digest announcements identified
Lao People’s Democratic Republic – No new digest announcements identified
Mali – No new digest announcements identified
Namibia – viral hepatitis – No new digest announcements identified
Peru – No new digest announcements identified
Philippines – Tyhpoon Mangkhut – No new digest announcements identified
Tanzania – No new digest announcements identified

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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
:: Syria: Situation Report 1: Recent Developments in North-western Syria (as of 10 May 2019)
HIGHLIGHTS
…Conflict has increased in northwest Syria, impacting civilians, civilian infrastructure and service provision in northern Hama and southern Idleb governorates.
…Approximately 180,000 people were displaced between 29 April and 9 May, while 15 health facilities, 16 schools, and 3 IDP settlements are reportedly affected due to hostilities.
…The humanitarian response is scaling up to meet people’s need, in addition to the on-going response

Yemen – No new digest announcements identified

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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.
CYCLONE IDAI and Kenneth
:: Mozambique: “Aid is free and sexual exploitation and abuse are unacceptable 06 May 2019
“From the outset of the Cyclone Idai response, and now as we respond to Cyclone Kenneth, we have broadcasted clear messaging – that aid is free, and that sexual exploitation and abuse are unacceptable – through multiple communications channels”, Humanitarian Coordinator for Mozambique Marcoluigi Corsi said today. “We have trained hundreds of aid workers and volunteers on the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse. However, even in the face of our best efforts to prevent cases from occurring, the reality remains that the risk of sexual exploitation and abuse persists. We have therefore established clear referral pathways to capture and follow-up on any rumor, report or allegation of sexual exploitation and abuse and have clear protocols to fast-track action in response such cases.”…

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The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health :: Education :: Heritage Stewardship ::
Sustainable Development
__________________________________________________
Week ending 4 May 2019

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
Editor
GE2P2 Global Foundation – Governance, Evidence, Ethics, Policy, Practice
david.r.curry@ge2p2center.net

PDF:The Sentinel_ period ending 4 May 2019

Contents
:: 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
:: Journal Watch – Key articles and abstracts from 100+ peer-reviewed journals  [see PDF]

Lancet Editorial :: The erosion of women’s sexual and reproductive rights

Human Rights, Violence, Conflict: Rape As Weapon Of War

Editor’s Note:
In last week’s edition of The Sentinel, we included the UN Security Council’s report on the adoption of a resolution “…Calling upon Belligerents Worldwide to Adopt Concrete Commitments on Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict” [repeated below]. In the general media, there was strong criticism of a softening of the language of the resolution which we did not present. In this week’s The Lancet, the lead editorial provides an analysis and call to action included below.

.

The Lancet
May 04, 2019 Volume 393Number 10183p1773-1910
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/issue/current
Editorial
The erosion of women’s sexual and reproductive rights
The Lancet
The use of rape as a weapon of war is an unconscionable yet common phenomenon. An annual report from the UN Secretary General last month documents active use of sexual violence in 37 current conflicts, including in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Myanmar, Somalia, South Sudan, and Syria. Sexual violence in conflict, which is mostly perpetrated against women and girls, is horrific and devastating to individuals, but also intended to destroy whole communities. Over history, it has usually been done with impunity and with little attention by the international community. Ten years after the UN categorised rape as a weapon of war, acknowledging that it had become “more dangerous to be a woman than a soldier in an armed conflict”, sexual violence in war remains a deep scar on the moral prebity of the international community.

So the news last week that a UN Security Council resolution had been adopted to reaffirm member states’ commitment to combating sexual violence is to be welcomed. Some important features of the 2019 resolution could be seen as gains: a focus on victim-centred approaches; the importance of civil society in pursuing justice; mention of boys and men as victims of sexual violence in conflict; recognition of children born of rape; and the valuable role of UN fact-finding missions. Sadly, the adopted resolution was stripped of its inclusion of formal monitoring and reporting of atrocities, which is an accountability mechanism long called for and needed. The bigger news—that the USA threatened to veto the resolution if it included language on sexual and reproductive health—is extremely alarming.

According to The Guardian, the USA required the removal of references in the resolution to sexual and reproductive health as this could imply it supports abortion. Critics say the move was designed to demonstrate President Trump’s conservative credentials and rouse voters for his re-election. But America playing (and winning) domestic politics in the multilateral space has much graver implications: it is putting women’s lives and health at risk. It also disregards the most fundamental of rights that a woman has over her own body. “It is intolerable and incomprehensible”, France’s Ambassador to the UN François Dellatre is quoted as stating, “that the Security Council is incapable of acknowledging that women and girls who suffered from sexual violence in conflict—and who obviously didn’t choose to become pregnant—should have the right to terminate their pregnancy.”

America’s hard-line stance against abortion rights for women victims of sexual violence in conflict is emblematic of a disturbing trend. The growing spread of conservative views on sexual and reproductive health pose a considerable threat to rights that had been hard-and rights fought and won more than a quarter of a century ago. 2019 marks 25 years since the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo, at which the link between women’s empowerment and sustainable development was established. Women’s reproductive rights were affirmed by the international community for the first time. During the Nairobi Summit in November, 2019, hosted by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to discuss progress on ICPD+25, the many achievements for women’s sexual and reproductive rights will and should be celebrated. But it is the erosion of those rights that now needs the full attention and convening power of the international community of advocates for women and girls.

UNFPA’s own data lend support to the cause for alarm. The latest version of their flagship publication, State of the World’s Population 2019, reported last month that vast numbers of women still lack decision-making power over their own bodies. Women for the first time were surveyed about their ability to make decisions about sexual intercourse with their partner, contraceptive use, and health care. Just 57% of women around the world reported being able to make their own choices in these areas. Autonomy over one’s own body is not just a cornerstone of reproductive rights. The right to choose whether, when, how often, and with whom to get pregnant is foundational to women’s wellbeing, education, status, and participation in society, and it in turn is crucial to the health of families and communities.

A massive outcry about last week’s UN Security Council resolution debacle is certainly warranted. But a better outcome would be for advocates globally to redouble their efforts and form alliances. They must prepare and organise to produce a stronger, more visible, and unified approach against the conservatism that is slowly eroding women’s rights.

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Security Council 8514th Meeting (AM)
Security Council Adopts Resolution Calling upon Belligerents Worldwide to Adopt Concrete Commitments on Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict
Members Pass Resolution 2467 (2019) by 13 Votes in Favour, None against, as China, Russian Federation Abstain
The Security Council called today upon warring parties around the globe to implement concrete commitments to fight what many speakers described as the heinous, barbaric and all-too-often silent phenomenon of sexual violence during conflict…

It’s time for a new era of humanitarian aid – Start Network

Humanitarian Action

It’s time for a new era of humanitarian aid – Start Network
by Helen James
01 May 19
Start Network has today launched a new charity, which is aiming to catalyse a new era of humanitarian aid because its members believe that the global humanitarian system needs urgent reform to meet the challenges posed by today’s crises.

The new charity aims to transform humanitarian response through innovation, fast funding, early action, and localisation, tackling what it believes are the biggest systemic problems the sector faces. Problems including slow and reactive funding, centralised decision-making, and an aversion to change, means that people affected by crises around the world, do not receive the best help fast enough, and needless suffering results.

Until today Start Network has been a consortium hosted by Save the Children UK, since it first was established in 2010. In that time, it has developed impactful programmes with a sophisticated and proven approach, and a compelling vision for the future of humanitarian response. Its impact so far includes:
:: Enabling early action in the face of predictable crises, with the signing of a $1.9million drought insurance policy for Senegal, and 13 per cent of Start Fund activations in 2018 being in anticipation of impending crises.

:: Ensuring localisation to drive more appropriate responses and solutions, with half of Start Fund activations involving local partners, more than 280 equitable partnerships with local and national organisations in the Disasters and Emergencies Preparedness Programme and 100 locally developed innovations supported through Innovation Labs in four countries.

:: Transforming the nature of humanitarian decision-making through a collaborative and fast model, which ensures that millions of the most vulnerable people are helped, people who would otherwise have gone without assistance for weeks, months, or longer.

In becoming independent, Start Network will be better placed to drive the change it believes is needed. This will include:
:: A global risk-based financing facility, that is triggered by different levels of risk, enabling aid agencies to predict and act early, minimising the impact of crises.
:: A dispersed, international network of regional and national collectives of organisations, called “hubs”, that will have more power to define appropriate responses to crises.
:: A global tiered due diligence database, to enable more organisations to access funds directly and to reduce the duplication of existing multiple due diligence systems.

Start Network is made up of more than 40 humanitarian agencies, and it is funded by the governments of the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Netherlands, Jersey, and Germany, in addition to the World Bank and the IKEA Foundation – which is supporting the Start Network to build the infrastructure needed as an independent charity. The move to an independent charity means the Start Network can bring in more members and donors, scaling its work further.

Read more about Start Network’s vision for a new era of humanitarian aid, and watch a video.

Vaccine-preventable diseases and immunisation coverage among migrants and non-migrants worldwide: A scoping review of published literature, 2006 to 2016

Featured Journal Content

Vaccine
Volume 37, Issue 20 Pages 2643-2764 (6 May 2019)
https://www.sciencedirect.com/journal/vaccine/vol/37/issue/20
Research article  Abstract only
Vaccine-preventable diseases and immunisation coverage among migrants and non-migrants worldwide: A scoping review of published literature, 2006 to 2016
Nadia A. Charania, Nina Gaze, Janice Y. Kung, Stephanie Brooks
Pages 2661-2669

Highlights
:: 89% of studies reported higher VPD burden among migrants.
:: 70% of studies reported lower immunisation rates among migrants.
:: Future research needs consensus on employed methodologies and terminology.
:: Research should disaggregate migrant data to better understand migrant health.
:: Calls for more evaluation and reporting of screening and vaccination strategies.

Abstract
Background
Studies of vaccine-preventable disease (VPD) burden and immunisation coverage among migrants compared to locally-born populations present a mixed picture on whether migrants experience disproportionate VPD rates and immunisation inequities, and what the associated factors are. We conducted a scoping review to explore differences in VPD burden and immunisation coverage between migrants and non-migrants worldwide.
Methods
We followed Arksey and O’Malley’s five stage scoping review method. We searched for empirical, peer-reviewed literature published in English that compared VPD burden and/or immunisation coverage between migrant and non-migrant groups published between 2006 and 2016 using MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, Sociological Abstracts, and Web of Science databases. Relevant information from the studies were charted in Microsoft Excel and results were summarised using a descriptive analytical method.
Results
Forty-five studies met the inclusion criteria (n = 13 reporting on VPD burden; n = 27 reporting on immunisation rates; n = 5 reporting on both). Studies that met the criteria only reported findings from high income countries or high-middle income countries. Accounting for results that were presented according to separate ethnic migrant sub-groups, almost all of the studies comparing VPD burden (n = 17, 89%) reported higher burden among migrants compared to non-migrants, while most studies measuring immunisation rates (n = 26, 70%) noted lower rates among migrants. Numerous factors contributed to these findings, including the influence of migrants’ nativity, socio-economic status, migration background, generation status, residential duration, cultural/personal beliefs, language proficiency and healthcare utilisation.
Conclusions
Considerable variability of study foci and methodologies limited our ability to make definitive conclusions and comparisons, but the literature suggests that migrant populations generally experience higher VPD burden and lower immunisation rates. The findings highlight a number of important considerations for future research and immunisation programme planning. Future research should explore factors that influence VPD burden and immunisation rates, and strategies to overcome barriers to vaccine uptake among migrants.

Indigenous knowledge networks in the face of global change

PNAS – Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
http://www.pnas.org/content/early/
[Accessed 4 May 2019]

Indigenous knowledge networks in the face of global change
Rodrigo Cámara-Leret, Miguel A. Fortuna, and Jordi Bascompte
PNAS first published May 1, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1821843116
Significance
The knowledge of nonliterate societies may vanish in silence jeopardizing indigenous peoples’ livelihoods. Yet, this cultural component is missed by studies on ecosystem services that have historically emphasized the biological dimension. Here we fill this gap by introducing indigenous knowledge networks representing the wisdom of indigenous people on plant species and the services they provide. This approach allows us to assess how knowledge held by 57 Neotropical indigenous communities is structured locally and regionally, how it is influenced by turnover in biological and cultural heritage, and how the progressive loss of biocultural heritage may undermine the resilience of these communities.
Abstract
Indigenous communities rely extensively on plants for food, shelter, and medicine. It is still unknown, however, to what degree their survival is jeopardized by the loss of either plant species or knowledge about their services. To fill this gap, here we introduce indigenous knowledge networks describing the wisdom of indigenous people on plant species and the services they provide. Our results across 57 Neotropical communities show that cultural heritage is as important as plants for preserving indigenous knowledge both locally and regionally. Indeed, knowledge networks collapse as fast when plant species are driven extinct as when cultural diffusion, either within or among communities, is lost. But it is the joint loss of plant species and knowledge that erodes these networks at a much higher rate. Our findings pave the road toward integrative policies that recognize more explicitly the inseparable links between cultural and biological heritage.

ICC – Timbutku Heritage Destruction: Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi transferred to UK prison facility to serve sentence

Heritage Destruction – International Criminal Court

ICC Press Release : 3 May 2019
Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi transferred to UK prison facility to serve sentence
Today, the Presidency of the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced that on 29 August 2018, Mr Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi was transferred to Scotland, United Kingdom, to serve his sentence of imprisonment. The transfer of Mr Al Mahdi was not immediately announced while the Court considered a number of matters related to his safety and security.

The ICC relies on state support at the enforcement of sentence stage and is highly appreciative of the voluntary cooperation of the Scottish and United Kingdom Governments in respect of Mr Al Mahdi.

Mr Al Mahdi was sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment on 27 September 2016, by Trial Chamber VIII, for the war crime of intentionally directing attacks against religious and historic buildings in Timbuktu, Mali, in June and July 2012. Mr Al Mahdi was the first accused to make an admission of guilt at trial before the ICC. He has expressed remorse for his conduct and apologised to victims.

Persons convicted by the ICC serve their sentence in a State designated by the Court from a list of States which have indicated their willingness to allow convicted persons to serve their sentence…

Background: On 27 September 2016, Trial Chamber VIII found Mr Al Mahdi guilty of the war crime consisting in intentionally directing attacks against religious and historic buildings in Timbuktu, Mali, in June and July 2012 and sentenced him to nine years’ imprisonment. Mr Al Mahdi had pleaded guilty at the beginning of the trial. On 17 August 2017, Trial Chamber VIII issued a Reparations Order concluding that Mr Al Mahdi was liable for individual and collective reparations for the community of Timbuktu. Noting that Mr Al Mahdi was indigent, the Chamber encouraged the Trust Funds for Victims to complement the reparations award and directed the TFV to submit a draft implementation plan. On 8 March 2018, the Appeals Chamber confirmed, for the most extent, the Reparations Order. On 4 March 2019, Trial Chamber VIII issued its decision on the Updated Implementation Plan from the Trust Fund for Victims, approving the selection of projects presented by the Trust Fund for Victims in its updated plan, subject to certain conditions.
Further information on this case is available here.

UNICEF inaugurates 2,000th learning center in the Rohingya refugee camp, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

Education – Emergencies/Humanitarian Contexts

Education for Rohingya children in Bangladesh: Geneva Palais Briefing Note
This is a summary of what was said by UNICEF spokesperson Christophe Boulierac – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today’s press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

GENEVA, 3 May 2019 – This week, UNICEF inaugurated the 2,000th learning center in the Rohingya refugee camps of Cox’s Bazar of Bangladesh. More than 180,000 children are now learning in the 2,000 UNICEF-supported learning centres, taught by 4,000 teachers who have been trained by UNICEF partners. These children are aged between 4 to 14 years.

Following the arrival of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya children who were forced to flee for their lives from Myanmar to Bangladesh in August 2017, UNICEF’s initial focus was to scale up access to education and to provide safe learning environments.

Today, UNICEF is focusing on ensuring quality education for Rohingya children.

First, the children of the UNICEF-supported learning centers are now enrolled based on their competency level, whereas previously, they were placed in learning centres according to their age.
Second, in January 2019, UNICEF rolled out a new structured learning programme, known as the Learning Competency Framework and Approach (LCFA).

This Learning Competency Framework and Approach defines learning competencies (along with the approach to achieve them) that are comparable to those that children would achieve through a formal school curriculum. The learning framework covers the following subjects: English and Burmese language, mathematics, life skills and science across levels 1 to 5.

Education of Rohingya children is crucial. The results of a survey completed in December 2018 of 180,000 Rohingya children ages 4 to 14 showed the extent of the need for education. The results indicated that the majority of Rohingya children did not have regular access to education in Myanmar. Thus, they were in need of elementary or basic level education.

More than 90 per cent were shown to have learning competencies at the pre-primary level to grades 1 and 2. Just 4 per cent were at grade levels 3 to 5, and 3 per cent at grades 6 to 8.

There is an urgent need to provide opportunities for adolescents as only 7 per cent of 15 to 18 years old are accessing education.

We are now targeting 45,000 adolescents aged 15 to 18 with foundational skills in literacy and numeracy, and relevant vocational skills…

The Lancet Commissions :: The legal determinants of health: harnessing the power of law for global health and sustainable development

Featured Journal Content

The Lancet
May 04, 2019 Volume 393Number 10183p1773-1910
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/issue/current

The Lancet Commissions
The legal determinants of health: harnessing the power of law for global health and sustainable development
Lawrence O Gostin, John T Monahan, Jenny Kaldor, Mary DeBartolo, Eric A Friedman, Katie Gottschalk, Susan C Kim, Ala Alwan, Agnes Binagwaho, Gian Luca Burci, Luisa Cabal, Katherine DeLand, Timothy Grant Evans, Eric Goosby, Sara Hossain, Howard Koh, Gorik Ooms, Mirta Roses Periago, Rodrigo Uprimny, Alicia Ely Yamin
Key messages
1 Law affects global health in multiple ways, by structuring, perpetuating, and mediating the social determinants of health.
2 Although law has been central to major public health achievements in the past, its capacity to advance global health with justice remains substantially underutilised, particularly among professionals in the fields of health and science.
3 The right to health, a legally binding norm, provides a foundation for advancing global health with justice and should underpin health-related legal reforms.
4 Every human being has a right to affordable, high quality health services. By embedding equity and accountability in all health systems, the law and the rule of law can achieve health coverage that is truly universal—delivering the Sustainable Development Goals’ promise to leave no one behind.
5 Although the ability to enforce compliance with international legal obligations is generally limited, and largely dependent on power dynamics and political will, creative mechanisms can foster compliance and help establish impetus for action.
6 Law can address the pressing health concerns of the 21st century, across diverse areas. From tobacco control, non-communicable diseases, and road safety, to health emergencies, law can implement fair, evidence-based interventions to save lives. The global health community should champion evidence-based legal interventions and build the research case for legal action.
7 Laws that stigmatise or discriminate against marginalised populations are especially harmful and exacerbate health disparities. The global health community must oppose laws that undermine the right to health and to equity.
8 To realise the full potential of law to advance global health with justice, the global health community should build legal capacity and establish a sustained dialogue with legislators, regulators, judges, civil society, and researchers.

Report: – No Time to Wait: Securing the future from drug-resistant infections :: IACG – Interagency Coordination Group on Antimicrobial Resistance

AMR

Press Release
New report calls for urgent action to avert antimicrobial resistance crisis
International organizations unite on critical recommendations to combat drug-resistant infections and prevent staggering number of deaths each year.
New York, 29 April 2019 – The United Nations, international agencies and experts today released a groundbreaking report demanding immediate, coordinated and ambitious action to avert a potentially disastrous drug-resistance crisis.

If no action is taken – warns the UN Ad hoc Interagency Coordinating Group on Antimicrobial Resistance who released the report – drug-resistant diseases could cause 10 million deaths each year by 2050 and damage to the economy as catastrophic as the 2008-2009 global financial crisis. By 2030, antimicrobial resistance could force up to 24 million people into extreme poverty.

Currently, at least 700,000 people die each year due to drug-resistant diseases, including 230,000 people who die from multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. More and more common diseases, including respiratory tract infections, sexually transmitted infections and urinary tract infections, are untreatable; lifesaving medical procedures are becoming much riskier, and our food systems are increasingly precarious.

The world is already feeling the economic and health consequences as crucial medicines become ineffective. Without investment from countries in all income brackets, future generations will face the disastrous impacts of uncontrolled antimicrobial resistance.

Recognizing that human, animal, food and environmental health are closely interconnected, the report calls for a coordinated, multisectoral “One Health” approach.

It recommends countries:
:: prioritize national action plans to scale-up financing and capacity-building efforts;
:: put in place stronger regulatory systems and support awareness programs for responsible and prudent use of antimicrobials by professionals in human, animal and plant health;
:: invest in ambitious research and development for new technologies to combat antimicrobial resistance;
:: urgently phase out the use of critically important antimicrobials as growth promoters in agriculture.

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Report
No Time to Wait: Securing the future from drug-resistant infections
IACG – Interagency Coordination Group on Antimicrobial Resistance
REPORT TO THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS
APRIL 2019 : 28 pages
KEY MESSAGES IN THIS REPORT
Antimicrobial resistance is a global crisis that threatens a century of progress in health and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
:: Antimicrobial (including antibiotic, antiviral, antifungal and antiprotozoal) agents are critical tools for fighting diseases in humans, terrestrial and aquatic animals and plants, but they are becoming ineffective.
:: Alarming levels of resistance have been reported in countries of all income levels, with the result that common diseases are becoming untreatable, and lifesaving medical procedures riskier to perform.
:: Antimicrobial resistance poses a formidable challenge to achieving Universal Health Coverage and threatens progress against many of the Sustainable Development Goals, including in health, food security, clean water and sanitation, responsible consumption and production, and poverty and inequality.
:: Misuse and overuse of existing antimicrobials in humans, animals and plants are accelerating the development and spread of antimicrobial resistance.
:: Inadequate access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene in health care facilities, farms, schools, households and community settings; poor infection and disease prevention; lack of equitable access to affordable and quality-assured antimicrobials, vaccines and diagnostics; and weak health, food and feed production, food safety and waste management systems are increasing the burden of infectious disease in animals and humans and contributing to the emergence and spread of drug-resistant pathogens.

There is no time to wait. Unless the world acts urgently, antimicrobial resistance will have disastrous impact within a generation.
:: Drug-resistant diseases already cause at least 700,000 deaths globally a year, including 230,000 deaths from multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, a figure that could increase to 10 million deaths globally per year by 2050 under the most alarming scenario if no action is taken. Around 2.4 million people could die in high-income countries between 2015 and 2050 without a sustained effort to contain antimicrobial resistance.
:: The economic damage of uncontrolled antimicrobial resistance could be comparable to the shocks experienced during the 2008-2009 global financial crisis as a result of dramatically increased health care expenditures; impact on food and feed production, trade and livelihoods; and increased poverty and inequality.
:: In higher-income countries, a package of simple interventions to address antimicrobial resistance could pay for itself due to costs averted. In lower-income countries, additional but still relatively modest investments are urgently needed.
:: If investments and action are further delayed, the world will have to pay far more in the future to cope with the disastrous impact of uncontrolled antimicrobial resistance.

Because the drivers of antimicrobial resistance lie in humans, animals, plants, food and the environment, a sustained One Health response is essential to engage and unite all stakeholders around a shared vision and goals.
:: National Antimicrobial Resistance Action Plans are at the heart of a multisectoral One Health response, but financing and capacity constraints in many countries need to be urgently addressed to accelerate implementation.
:: Strengthening infection prevention and control in health care facilities and farms using available tools and ensuring access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene in health facilities, farms, schools, household and community settings are central to minimizing disease transmission and the emergence and transmission of antimicrobial resistance in humans, animals, plants, food and the environment.
:: Strengthening surveillance, regulatory frameworks, professional education and oversight of antimicrobial prescription and use, and increasing awareness among all stakeholders are also significant challenges that need to be urgently addressed to ensure the responsible use of antimicrobials and to minimize resistance in humans, animals, plants, food and the environment.
:: Immediately stopping the use of the antimicrobials on the WHO List of Highest Priority Critically Important Antimicrobial Agents for Human Medicine as growth promoters is an essential first step towards completely phasing out the use of antimicrobials for growth promotion.
:: Additional effort, investments and incentives are needed to spur innovation in antimicrobial medicines, diagnostics, vaccines, waste management tools, safe and effective alternatives to antimicrobials and alternative practices, as well as operational and implementation research, in human, animal and plant health.
:: Many people around the world still do not have access to antimicrobials. Ensuring equitable and affordable access to quality antimicrobial agents and their responsible and sustainable use is an essential component of the global response to antimicrobial resistance.
:: Stronger political leadership, advocacy, coordination and accountability are needed at all levels to enable a sustained One Health response to antimicrobial resistance. All stakeholder groups – including governments, civil society and the private sector – need to be engaged and to collaborate in an unprecedented effort across the human, animal, plant, food and feed production and environmental sectors, based on a shared vision and goals.
:: The challenges of antimicrobial resistance are complex and multifaceted, but they are not insurmountable. Implementation of the recommendations in this report will help to save millions of lives, maintain economic and other development gains, and secure the future from drug-resistant diseases.

Emergencies

Emergencies

POLIO
Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)
Polio this week as of 2 May 2019
:: On 30 April 2019, the Polio Endgame Strategy 2019-2023 was launched. The strategy will guide the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and its partners to overcome final hurdles to eradication and stay the course for a polio-free world. Read the statement.
:: Polio News April 2019 is now online, covering all the happenings, news and the latest on polio eradication efforts around the world.

Summary of new viruses this week:
:: Afghanistan— one wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) case;
:: Pakistan — two WPV1 cases and 11 WPV1-positive environmental samples;
:: Nigeria— one cVDPV2-positive environmental sample

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The Polio Endgame Strategy 2019-2023
GPEI statement on the strategy to achieve and sustain a polio-free world
30/04/2019
Today, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) launched the Polio Endgame Strategy 2019-2023, which will guide the programme and its partners to overcome the final hurdles to eradication and move toward sustaining a polio-free future.

The new plan hones in on addressing today’s most pressing obstacles to end poliovirus transmission imminently, integrate polio programme resources into health and development programmes globally, and certify the world polio-free. In addition to building on the programme’s core strategies to expand access to vaccination and improve surveillance around the world, the 2019-2023 Endgame Strategy offers responsive and innovative solutions tailored to communities’ needs. These include establishing a regional hub in Amman, Jordan to enhance coordinated support to Afghanistan and Pakistan and creating permanent Rapid Response Teams to accelerate the programme’s response to outbreaks.

The programme will also work to improve immunisation coverage and support basic development needs through strengthened collaboration with immunisation partners such as Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the humanitarian and emergency response communities.

To reach its goals and achieve eradication, the Endgame Strategy requires a US$4.2 billion budget, of which US$3.27 billion is to be raised by the GPEI. In support of the Strategy and to encourage additional commitments, a pledging event will be hosted this November at the Reaching the Last Mile Forum in Abu Dhabi, a gathering of leaders from across the global health space held once every two years. The pledging event will be hosted by the GPEI, with the support of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, a longtime champion of the polio programme.

The 2019-2023 Endgame Strategy builds on the 2013-2018 Strategic Plan, which brought the world to the brink of polio eradication. Despite this impressive progress, the last steps to eradication have proved to be the most difficult.

Wild poliovirus transmission continues in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus outbreaks are ongoing in several countries across Africa and Asia. To overcome these challenges, the new Strategy must be fully implemented with sufficient resources and commitments from governments, donors, multilateral organisations, and local communities.

The Polio Endgame Strategy 2019-2023 will be discussed at the upcoming 2019 World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland during the week of 20 May.

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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 4 May 2019]

Democratic Republic of the Congo
:: Ebola situation worsening while support lags 30 April 2019
:: 39: Situation report on the Ebola outbreak in North Kivu 30 April 2019
:: Disease Outbreak News (DONs) Ebola virus disease – Democratic Republic of the Congo
2 May 2019
[See Ebola DRC above for detail]

Syrian Arab Republic
:: WHO condemns the attack on three health facilities in north-west Syrian Arab Republic
3 May 2019 The World Health Organization (WHO) strongly condemns the consecutive reported attacks on three health facilities in north-west Syria on 28 and 30 April. The attacks resulted in damage to infrastructure, putting them out of service.
Of the three attacked facilities, two were hospitals located in northern Hama providing life-saving medical services to thousands of vulnerable populations affected by increased hostilities over the past weeks…

Nigeria
:: Braving the waves to reach underserved populations with immunization services in the Niger Delta 28 April 2019
…“The difficulty of accessing healthcare services is due to suboptimal and expensive coastal and waterway transportation from the distant communities to healthcare centers, hence, innovative strategies are being employed to reach the underserved and vulnerable population with vaccination and other health interventions especially during Supplemental Immunization Activities (SIAs)”, says Dr Edmund Egbe, WHO State Coordinator in Bayelsa…

South Sudan
:: South Sudan intensifies efforts to control an ongoing measles outbreak 29 April 2019
…To date, more than 310 582 children aged 6 months – 15 years have been vaccinated.
South Sudan is among the countries experiencing an upsurge of measles cases. Since the beginning of 2019, measles outbreaks have been confirmed in 11 counties and three Protection of Civilian sites (POCs) housing displaced populations, affecting over 908 children and claiming at least seven lives…

Bangladesh – Rohingya crisis – No new digest announcements identified
Cyclone Idai – No new digest announcements identified
Myanmar – No new digest announcements identified
Somalia – No new digest announcements identified
Yemen – No new digest announcements identified

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WHO Grade 2 Emergencies [to 4 May 2019]

Libya
:: WHO Libya teams saving lives on Tripoli’s front lines 30 April 2019
…WHO Libya has deployed 3 teams with different specialties, including general surgeons, orthopedic surgeons, a vascular surgeon and anaesthesiologists, to 3 hospitals receiving the wounded from the front lines.

Brazil (in Portugese) – No new digest announcements identified
Cameroon – No new digest announcements identified
Central African Republic – No new digest announcements identified
Ethiopia – No new digest announcements identified
Iraq – No new digest announcements identified
MERS-CoV – No new digest announcements identified
Niger – No new digest announcements identified
occupied Palestinian territory – No new digest announcements identified
Sudan – No new digest announcements identified
Ukraine – No new digest announcements identified
Zimbabwe – No new digest announcements identified

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WHO Grade 1 Emergencies [to 4 May 2019]
Afghanistan – No new digest announcements identified
Chad – No new digest announcements identified
Indonesia – Sulawesi earthquake 2018 – No new digest announcements identified
Kenya – No new digest announcements identified
Lao People’s Democratic Republic – No new digest announcements identified
Mali – No new digest announcements identified
Namibia – viral hepatitis – No new digest announcements identified
Peru – No new digest announcements identified
Philippines – Tyhpoon Mangkhut – No new digest announcements identified
Tanzania – No new digest announcements identified

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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 – No new digest announcements identified
Yemen – No new digest announcements identified

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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.
CYCLONE IDAI and Kenneth
:: 28 Apr 2019
CERF allocates US$13M to provide a lifeline to people hit by Tropical Cyclone Kenneth in Comoros and Mozambique