The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health :: Education :: Heritage Stewardship ::
Sustainable Development
Week ending 28 September 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
GE2P2 Global Foundation – Governance, Evidence, Ethics, Policy, Practice

PDF: The Sentinel_ period ending 28 Sep 2019

:: 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]

“Great Fracture”

“Great Fracture”

Warning against ‘Great Fracture’, Secretary-General Opens Annual General Assembly Debate with Call to Avoid Zero-Sum Politics, Revive United Nations Values
24 September 2019
Amid fears of the largest economies creating two competing worlds — each with its own currency, trade rules, financial norms and zero-sum geopolitics — the United Nations Secretary-General called today upon global leaders gathered for the General Assembly’s annual general debate to maintain a multipolar world in which universal respect for international law and multilateral institutions remains undeniable.

Joint open letter on concerns about the global increase in hate speech __ UN Experts

Free Speech – Hate Speech

Joint open letter on concerns about the global increase in hate speech
23 September 2019
Signed by 26 mandates, see list below [Editor’s text bolding]

We are alarmed by the recent increase in hateful messages and incitement to discrimination and hatred against migrants, minority groups and various ethnic groups, as well as the defenders of their rights, in numerous countries. Hate speech, both online and offline, has exacerbated societal and racial tensions, inciting attacks with deadly consequences around the world. It has become mainstream in political systems worldwide and threatens democratic values, social stability and peace. Hate-fuelled ideas and advocacy coarsen public discourse and weaken the social fabric of countries.

Through international human rights law and principles, States have committed to combatting racial discrimination, racialized violence, and xenophobia. These international human rights standards guarantee equality and non-discrimination rights and require States to take strong action against racist and xenophobic speech and to prohibit advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence.

We are gravely concerned that leaders, senior government officials, politicians and other prominent figures spread fear among the public against migrants or those seen as “the others”, for their own political gain. The demonization of entire groups of people as dangerous or inferior is not new to human history; it has led to catastrophic tragedies in the past. Around the world, we observe that public figures are attempting to stoke ethnic tensions and violence by spreading hate speech targeting the vulnerable. Such rhetoric aims to dehumanise minority groups and other targeted people, and, in the case of migrants, fosters discriminatory discourse about who “deserves” to be part of a community. Furthermore, hateful calls for the suppression of non-normative sexual orientations and gender identities and a limitation of the human rights of LGBT people limit progress towards the eradication of violence and discrimination against LGBT persons in various countries around the world, and a number of discriminatory legal and policy initiatives have been put forward.

The rhetoric of hatred must be countered, as it has real-life consequences. Studies have established a correlation between exposure to hate speech and the number of hate crimes committed. To curb xenophobic attacks on migrants and prevent incitement to discrimination, hatred, hostility and violence against other marginalised groups, we call on public officials and politicians, as well as the media, to assume their collective responsibility to promote societies that are tolerant and inclusive. To achieve this, they must refrain from any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence. They should also denounce swiftly those who incite hatred against migrants, minorities, or other vulnerable groups.

This is not a call for further restriction on freedom of expression, which is under attack worldwide; we call for just the opposite, the promotion of free expression. Freedom of expression serves as a vital tool to counter hate speech, and yet those same public figures who deploy hateful rhetoric often seek to restrict individual rights to speak and respond and defend themselves and their ideas. It is of crucial importance that States ensure that the three-part test for restrictions to freedom of expression – legality, proportionality and necessity –also applies to cases of incitement to hatred. We are concerned about the abuse of “hate speech” as a term to undermine legitimate dissent and urge States to address the core problems addressed by human rights law while promoting rights to privacy, culture, non-discrimination, public protest and peaceful assembly, public participation, freedom of religion and belief, and the freedom of opinion and expression. We urge them to follow the standards adopted in the Rabat Plan of Action and to participate actively in the Istanbul Process to counter the intolerance we see worldwide.

We call on States to double their efforts to hold accountable those who have incited or perpetrated violence against migrants and other vulnerable groups. Traditional and social media companies should exercise due diligence to ensure that they do not provide platforms for hate speech and for incitement to hatred and violence. States should actively work towards policies that guarantee the rights to equality and non-discrimination and freedom of expression, as well as the right to live a life free of violence through the promotion of tolerance, diversity and pluralistic views; these are the centre of pluralistic and democratic societies. We believe that these efforts will help make countries safer, and foster the inclusive and peaceful societies that we would all like and deserve to live in.

Signed by:
– the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, Mr. Felipe González Morales;
– the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Mr. David Kaye;
– the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Mr. Ahmed Shaheed;
– the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, Ms E. Tendayi Achiume;
– the Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Mr. Fernand de Varennes;
– the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Mr. Michel Forst;
– the Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, Mr. Victor Madrigal-Borloz;
– the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Ms Dubravka Simonovic;
– the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, Ms Maria Grazia Giammarinaro;
– the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, Mr. Livingstone Sewanyana;
– the Independent expert on human rights and international solidarity, Mr. Obiora C. Okafor;
– the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, Mr. Fabian Salvioli;
– the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Mr. Philip Alston;
– the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Ms Agnes Callamard;
– the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, Ms Fionnuala Ní Aoláin;
– the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and consequences, Ms. Urmila Bhoola;
– the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, Ms Catalina Devandas Aguilar;
– the Working Group on discrimination against women and girls;
– the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises;
– the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent;
– the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia, Ms Rhona Smith;
– the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mr. Javaid Rehman;
– the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Mali, Mr. Alioune Tine;
– the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Ms Yanghee Lee;
– the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, Mr. Michael Lynk;
– the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia, Mr. Bahame Tom Mukirya Nyanduga

The purpose of multilateralism – A framework for democracies in a geopolitically competitive world Will :: Brookings Report


The purpose of multilateralism
A framework for democracies in a geopolitically competitive world
Will Moreland   Brookings Report :: September 2019 :: 31 pages

Across the globe, multilateralism appears in crisis. Skepticism of the benefits of a multilateral order grounded in underlying liberal principles is manifesting throughout the Western world. The United States, the system’s imperfect cornerstone, scorns a growing number of multilateral institutions and norms each day. Within Europe, Brexit and discord over the European Union’s (EU) future is undercutting the EU as a regional multilateral pillar, alongside the supranational bloc’s capacity as a global actor. Simultaneously, a more assertive China and Russia are seeking to reshape multilateralism, challenging the foundational liberal principles that have guided the post-Cold War multilateral order to which the world has become accustomed.

The post-Cold War moment witnessed a tremendous flourishing in multilateral cooperation. Nations employed multilateral architectures with unprecedented success to manage and reduce real shared global problems. Individuals, understandably, are rallying to defend this multilateral order against rising strains. However, multilateralism can only operate in the geopolitical context within which it exists. The unfortunate return of great-power competition, so noticeably dampened during the preceding decades, is eroding the very foundations on which the multilateralism of the post-Cold War era stood.

While the United States is currently the most noticeable disruptor, authoritarian countries are actively contesting the underpinnings of the multilateral order. Russia and China increasingly are working to bring multilateral architectures into closer alignment with their own authoritarian norms. Such a transformation is not in the interests of nations around the globe that seek to maintain democratic governance against the growing reach of authoritarian influence. Globalization’s ties have created deep interconnections and vulnerabilities between democratic and authoritarian states. As states continue to “weaponize” those channels, and China presents a true global economic challenge to the market democracies, the United States and other democratic countries must move toward a conception of multilateralism that defends democratic interests within existing, and even new, architectures.

A relearning of the history of multilateralism is central to this process. Decades ago, multilateral arrangements born amidst post-war hopes of cooperation quickly learned to function in divided environments throughout the Cold War. As great-power competition casts a shadow over today’s multilateral systems, we must recall lessons from beyond the past quarter-century. To meet rising geopolitical challenges, democratic countries ought to approach multilateral architectures through a framework along three complementary lines:
:: Continue to support measured collaboration on shared challenges;
:: Create or revitalize fora to provide for deconfliction and crisis off-ramps; and
:: Compete selectively both within existing institutions and via new ones to better defend democratic values against authoritarian rivals.

A strategic outlook of competitive multilateralism seeks a rebalance among these three dimensions so that democratic governments are best positioned to strive to avert the specter of conflict without sacrificing their publics’ liberty and prosperity.

Multilateral agencies launch a joint plan to boost global health goals :: Gavi, GFF, Global Fund, UNAIDS, UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNITAID, UN Women, World Bank Group, WFP, WHO

UHC – “Multilateral Agencies”

Multilateral agencies launch a joint plan to boost global health goals
Health, development and humanitarian agencies will collaborate for greater efficiency and more streamlined support to countries to deliver universal health coverage and achieve the health-related Sustainable Development Goals targets

Joint news release: Gavi, The GFF, the Global Fund, UNAIDS, UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNITAID, UN Women, World Bank Group, WFP and WHO.

New York | | 24 September 2019 – Today at the United Nations General Assembly, 12 multilateral agencies launched a joint plan to better support countries over the next 10 years to accelerate progress towards the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Developed over 18 months, Stronger Collaboration, Better Health: Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-being for All outlines how a dozen multilateral health, development and humanitarian agencies will collaborate to be more efficient and provide more streamlined support to countries to deliver universal health coverage and achieve the health-related SDG targets.

Healthy people are essential for sustainable development and for ending poverty, promoting peaceful and inclusive societies as well as protecting the environment. Over the last few decades, significant gains have been made in key areas of health, but the 2030 targets will not be met without redoubled efforts.

“The plan is called, ‘Stronger Collaboration, Better Health’ for a reason,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO. “Although collaboration is the path, impact is the destination. The release of this plan is the beginning, not the end, of that path.”

Universal health coverage is key to meeting the health-related goals and addressing health inequities. If trends continue, up to 5 billion of the world’s population will not be covered by essential health services in 2030, as highlighted in the Universal Health Coverage: Global Monitoring Report, released last week by WHO. To leave no one behind, countries need to address health inequities. Improved collaboration and coordination can help countries tackle complex health challenges and bring innovative solutions.

Together, the 12 agencies contribute nearly one-third of all development assistance to health. Under the Global Action Plan, the agencies commit to strengthening their collaboration to:
:: Engage with countries better to identify priorities, plan and implement together;

:: Accelerate progress in countries through joint actions under 7 accelerator themes, which represent common challenges for many countries and where the agencies’ mandates, expertise and resources offer solutions, namely: 1) Primary health care 2) Sustainable health financing 3) Community and civil society engagement 4) Determinants of health 5) Innovative programming in fragile and vulnerable settings and for disease outbreak responses 6) Research and development, innovation and access, and 7) Data and digital health. They will also work together to advance gender equality and support the delivery of global public goods;

:: Align by harmonizing their operational and financial strategies and policies in support of countries to increase efficiency and reduce the burden on countries; and

:: Account, by reviewing progress and learning together to enhance shared accountability.

Governments are setting priorities, developing implementation plans and intensifying efforts to achieve the health-related SDG targets. Demand from countries for the Global Action Plan is growing. “Achieving the health-related SDG goals is key for Nepal. Strengthening primary health care and enhancing data utilization for evidence-based planning and decision-making are two accelerators that will help bring us closer to achieving the SDG goals,” said Deputy Prime Minister of Nepal, Mr Upendra Yadav.

Through the Global Action Plan, the agencies will help countries deliver on international commitments in addition to the SDGs, such as those made in Astana on primary health care and at the UN General Assembly High-level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage this week in New York.

Coordinated by WHO, the Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-being for All, is in response to a call from Germany, Ghana and Norway, with support from the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, for more effective collaboration and coordination among global health organizations to achieve the health-related SDGs.

16 children, including Greta Thunberg, file landmark complaint to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child

Climate – CRC

16 children, including Greta Thunberg, file landmark complaint to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child
Child petitioners protest lack of government action on climate crisis
NEW YORK, 23 September – Sixteen child petitioners – including Greta Thunberg and Alexandria Villaseñor – from 12 countries around the world today presented a landmark official complaint to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child to protest lack of government action on the climate crisis.

The child petitioners – aged between 8 to 17 – allege that Member States’ failure to tackle the climate crisis constitutes a violation of child rights. They urge the independent body to order Member States to take action to protect children from the devastating impacts of climate change.

“Change needs to happen now if we are to avoid the worst consequences. The climate crisis is not just the weather. It means also, lack of food and lack of water, places that are unliveable and refugees because of it. It is scary,” said Greta Thunberg.

The complaint was filed through the Third Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, a voluntary mechanism which allows children or adults on their behalf to appeal directly to the United Nations for help if a country that has ratified the Protocol fails to provide a remedy for a rights violation.

Announced at a press conference hosted at UNICEF Headquarters in New York, the complaint aims to inspire the urgent action needed to curb global heating and mitigate the impact of the climate crisis.

“Thirty years ago, world leaders made a historic commitment to the world’s children by adopting the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Today, the world’s children are holding the world accountable to that commitment,” said UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Charlotte Petri Gornitzka. “We fully support children exercising their rights and taking a stand. Climate change will impact every single one of them. It’s no wonder they are uniting to fight back.”…

Nine multilateral development banks (MDBs) will increase anual global climate action investments to USD175 billion by 2025

Development – Multilateral Development Banks – Climate Finance

Nine multilateral development banks (MDBs) announced plans to increase global climate action investments they support each year to USD175 billion by 2025.
Asian Development Bank
African Development Bank
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
European Develop Bank
IDB Group
Islamic Development Bank
New Development Bank
World Bank Group

High Level MDB Statement
Multilateral Development Banks have been at the forefront of supporting our clients’ efforts to pursue ambitious climate action for more than a decade. In light of growing climate change impacts, including on the poorest and most vulnerable, each of our institutions is taking urgent action to help our clients adapt to and mitigate climate risks.

These actions include:
ACTION 1: Each institution has individually committed to support increased climate finance levels over time:
:: Given the growth in climate finance support each of us has achieved to date, we expect our individual efforts to collectively total at least USD$65 billion annually by 2025, with $50 billion for low and middle income economies, 50 percent above current levels.1
:: We expect our collective efforts to double the total level of adaptation finance provided to clients to USD$18 billion annually by 2025, compared to current levels. This responds to the urgent need to scale-up support for climate resilience in client projects and for enhanced systemic resilience.

ACTION 2: Based on current trends, we expect our collective efforts to also result in a further $40 billion of climate investments mobilized annually by 2025 from private sector investors, including through the increased provision of technical assistance, use of guarantees, and other de-risking instruments.

ACTION 3: Commit to helping our clients deliver on the goals of the Paris Agreement. At COP25 we will present key elements of our common framework, which defines clear principles each institution will incorporate, starting from 2021, in ways reflective of their unique client base and operations. Principles for intermediated financing activities are still under development and will be presented by the time of COP26.

ACTION 4: Develop a new transparency framework to report on both the impact of each MDB’s activities and how these are helping clients meet and exceed commitments they have made, to be presented at COP25. This framework will be informed by consultations with multiple stakeholders, with the objective of broadening its use across the financial sector, beyond MDBs.

ACTION 5: Each institution will take actions to help clients move away from the use of fossil fuels by:
:: Sharing at COP25 principles that can help our public and private sector clients design and implement long-term low GHG emissions and climate resilient strategies that grow in ambition over time. This approach should help governments assess their individual progress on their climate commitments and help bridge the gap between the countries’ current efforts and the long-term goals of signatories to the Paris Agreement.
:: Continue working with national development banks and other financial institutions, to develop, by COP26, financing and policy strategies supporting a just transition that promotes economic diversification and inclusion.

In all of our actions, we will focus on building and strengthening partnerships that enhance support for clients. Specifically, we will accelerate dissemination of international best practices on climate risk disclosure across the financial sector. We will continue to work with commercial bank partners and DFIs, in particular with the members of the IDFC, and through the Climate Action in Financial Institutions Initiative and regional initiatives. Our work with national governments, the private sector, the donor community, civil society organizations, and global climate funds, such as the GCF, GEF and CIF, will remain key for countries to achieve ambitious transformation in line with their Paris Agreement commitments.

1 Climate finance commitments are made by each institution individually, and any reporting on collective totals in no way implies an obligation to help another institution achieve their commitments.