Human Development Report 2019 – Beyond income, beyond averages, beyond today: Inequalities in human development in the 21st century

Human Development Report 2019 Beyond income, beyond averages, beyond today: Inequalities in human development in the 21st century
UNDP 2019 :: 366 pages

Press Release
To answer global protests, tackle new inequalities — UN report
2019 Human Development Report says business as usual will not solve new generation of inequalities
Bogota, December 9, 2019 – The demonstrations sweeping across the world today signal that, despite unprecedented progress against poverty, hunger and disease, many societies are not working as they should. The connecting thread, argues a new report from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), is inequality.

“Different triggers are bringing people onto the streets — the cost of a train ticket, the price of petrol, demands for political freedoms, the pursuit of fairness and justice. This is the new face of inequality, and as this Human Development Report sets out, inequality is not beyond solutions,” says UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner.

The 2019 Human Development Report (HDR), entitled “Beyond income, beyond averages, beyond today: inequalities in human development in the 21st Century,” says that just as the gap in basic living standards is narrowing for millions of people, the necessities to thrive have evolved.

A new generation of inequalities is opening up, around education, and around technology and climate change — two seismic shifts that, unchecked, could trigger a ‘new great divergence’ in society of the kind not seen since the Industrial Revolution, according to the report.

In countries with very high human development, for example, subscriptions to fixed broadband are growing 15 times faster and the proportion of adults with tertiary education is growing more than six times faster than in countries with low human development…

…The 2019 Human Development Index (HDI) and its sister index, the 2019 Inequality-Adjusted Human Development Index, set out that the unequal distribution of education, health and living standards stymied countries’ progress. By these measures, 20 per cent of human development progress was lost through inequalities in 2018…

Planning beyond today
Looking beyond today, the report asks how inequality may change in future, looking particularly at two seismic shifts that will shape life up to the 22nd century:

• The climate crisis: As a range of global protests demonstrate, policies crucial to tackling the climate crisis like putting a price on carbon can be mis-managed, increasing perceived and actual inequalities for the less well-off, who spend more of their income on energy-intensive goods and services than their richer neighbours. If revenues from carbon pricing are ‘recycled’ to benefit taxpayers as part of a broader social policy package, the authors argue, then such policies could reduce rather than increase inequality.

• Technological transformation: Technology, including in the form of renewables and energy efficiency, digital finance and digital health solutions, offers a glimpse of how the future of inequality may break from the past, if opportunities can be seized quickly and shared broadly. There is historical precedent for technological revolutions to carve deep, persistent inequalities – the Industrial Revolution not only opened up the great divergence between industrialized countries and those who depended on primary commodities; it also launched production pathways that culminated in the climate crisis.

The change that is coming goes beyond climate, says the report, but a ‘new great divergence’, driven by artificial intelligence and digital technologies, is not inevitable. The HDR recommends social protection policies that would, for example, ensure fair compensation for ‘crowdwork’, investment in lifelong learning to help workers adjust or change to new occupations, and international consensus on how to tax digital activities – all part of building a new, secure and stable digital economy as a force for convergence, not divergence, in human development.

Global Community Renews Commitment to the World’s Poorest Countries with $82 Billion

Development Finance – World Bank Replenishment

Global Community Renews Commitment to the World’s Poorest Countries with $82 Billion
Focus on jobs, gender, fragility, climate, and good governance
STOCKHOLM, December 13, 2019 — A global coalition of development partners announced today their commitment to maintain momentum in the fight against extreme poverty, with $82 billion for the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the poorest. The financing, which includes more than $53 billion for Africa, will help countries invest in the needs of their people, boost economic growth, and bolster resilience to climate shocks and natural disasters…

Two thirds of the world’s poor—almost 500 million people—now live in countries supported by IDA. The funding will allow IDA to reinforce its support to job creation and economic transformation, good governance, and accountable institutions. It will also help countries deal with the challenges posed by climate change, gender inequality, and situations of fragility, conflict, and violence, including in the Sahel, the Lake Chad region, and the Horn of Africa.

IDA will renew its support to facilitate growth and regional integration, including investments in quality infrastructure. The IDA Private Sector Window will continue enabling the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) to mobilize private sector investment in challenging environments, a critical component to meet the scale of financing needed in developing countries.

IDA’s resources are replenished every three years; this 19th replenishment will cover the period from July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2023. The new funding will support projects that deliver life-changing results, including:
:: Essential health, nutrition, and population services for up to 370 million people;
:: Safe childbirth for up to 80 million women through provision of skilled health personnel;
:: Enhanced access to broadband internet for 50 to 60 million people;
:: Immunizations for up to 140 million children;
:: Better governance in up to 60 countries through improved statistical capacity;
:: An additional 10 GW of renewable energy generation capacity.

To promote greater equity and economic growth, IDA will also tackle broader development challenges, such as enhancing debt sustainability and transparency; harnessing and adapting to transformative digital payment technology; promoting inclusion of those living with disabilities; strengthening the rule of law; and investing in human capital, including efforts to achieve universal health coverage…

World Bank Group Strategy for Fragility, Conflict and Violence [FCV] 2020-2025

World Bank Group Strategy for Fragility, Conflict and Violence [FCV] 2020-2025
December 5, 2019 :: 69 pages
Timeframe: April 2019 – January 2020
Draft Strategy for Fragility, Conflict and Violence (.pdf)

Phase 2 consultations are open until January 16, 2019.

The World Bank Group has released its draft strategy for Fragility, Conflict and Violence (FCV). The objective of the strategy is to address the drivers of FCV in affected countries and their impact on vulnerable populations, with the ultimate goal of contributing to peace and prosperity. To ensure the strategy benefits from a wide range of inputs, the World Bank Group is undertaking global consultations to inform the strategy’s development.

1. By 2030, around half of the world’s extreme poor will live in fragile and conflict-affected situations (FCS). Preventing and mitigating fragility, conflict, and violence (FCV) is central to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the World Bank Group’s (WBG) twin goals of ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity. It will also support the international community’s broader efforts to promote peace and prosperity.

2. The global fragility landscape has worsened significantly. According to Pathways for Peace: Inclusive Approaches to Preventing Violent Conflict, there are more violent conflicts globally than at any time in the past 30 years,6 and the world is also facing the largest forced displacement crisis ever recorded. Rising inequality, lack of opportunity, and exclusion are fueling grievances and perceptions of injustice. Climate change, demographic change, migration, digital transformation, illicit financial flows, and violent extremism are often interconnected, with effects that transcend borders. These factors can increase vulnerability to shocks and crises and create regional spillovers. They can cause lasting and devastating impacts, especially on women, children, and youth, that will be felt for generations. Without swift and effective action, FCV risks could both erode gains made in the fight against poverty and undermine the prospects for progress.

3. The objective of the FCV Strategy is to enhance the WBG’s effectiveness to support countries in addressing the drivers and impacts of FCV and strengthening their resilience, especially for the most vulnerable populations. To this end, the strategy sets out a framework to support countries in addressing diverse challenges across the FCV spectrum. While FCV challenges are often more longstanding and acute in low-income and lower-middle income countries (LICs and LMICs), the strategy also addresses countries at higher levels of income that are affected by high levels of violence, forced displacement shocks, and subnational conflict. The FCV Strategy builds on successive IEG reviews of WBG engagement in FCV settings, portfolio reviews and lessons learned in FCS, to systematically address the root causes of fragility and long-term risks that can drive or exacerbate conflict and violence.

4. This strategy is among the WBG’s contributions to the collective global effort to tackle FCV. While the WBG strives to increase its direct impact on FCV, it also approaches this task with humility. It recognizes the intractable challenges of FCV, and that the full commitment of local and national actors
is imperative to achieve progress. The WBG has prioritized supporting countries’ efforts to mitigate FCV and promote peace, and is committed to deepening partnerships with a diverse set of actors, based on respective complementarities and comparative advantages.

5. This strategy has greatly benefitted from extensive global consultations held during 2019. The consultations engaged a wide range of partners, including governments, international organizations, global and local civil society, and the private sector. They captured lessons learned and best practices such as: (i) the need to tailor interventions and financing to the distinct FCV challenges faced by a country; (ii) the importance of supporting the most vulnerable and marginalized groups, and addressing the grievances underlying and driving FCV; (iii) the importance of vibrant and inclusive private sector development to support job creation and provide economic opportunities; and (iv) the recognition of the crucial role of partnerships in FCV settings to address the drivers and impacts of FCV…

Safeguarding intangible cultural heritage in emergencies: a priority for the Heritage Emergency Fund – UNESCO

Heritage Stewardship – Emergencies

Safeguarding intangible cultural heritage in emergencies: a priority for the Heritage Emergency Fund – UNESCO
13 December 2019
“Safeguarding intangible cultural heritage in emergencies is not a luxury: it helps address the human dimension of crises, enabling individuals and communities to maintain their sense of identity and dignity, and thus withstand and recover from crises,” said Ernesto Ottone R., UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture at a special event, “Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage in Crises,” which was held on 12 December in Bogotá (Colombia), during the 14th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.

This rationale also underpinned the creation of UNESCO’s Heritage Emergency Fund, which helps secure the safeguarding of living heritage – traditional practices, festivals, rituals and more. Living heritage is central to the life of communities and it comes under particularly serious threat in times of crises such as civil strife, war and disasters, both natural and human-induced.

The event showcased 15 emergency preparedness and response activities concerning living heritage that were conducted in 14 countries with the assistance of the Heritage Emergency Fund. These include the participatory identification of needs with community leaders, Post-Disaster Needs Assessments by cultural experts, emergency interventions and capacity-building for cultural institutions. Such measures help national authorities and local communities recover from emergencies by reviving vital elements of their cultural life.

These activities have also played a key role in the development of the “Operational principles and modalities for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage in emergencies”, which were endorsed by the Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage during its 14th session. The Operational Principles were designed to help guide States Parties to UNESCO’s 2003 Intangible Cultural Heritage Convention, and other national and international stakeholders in ensuring that intangible cultural heritage is effectively engaged, and safeguarded, in times of crises and recovery.

Since its establishment in 2016, the Heritage Emergency Fund has received the support of the Qatar Fund for Development, the Kingdom of Norway, the Government of Canada, the Principality of Monaco, the Republic of Estonia, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the Principality of Andorra, the Republic of Slovakia and the Republic of Serbia.

The Lego Foundation Awards US $100 Million Grant to the International Rescue Committee to Bring Learning through Play to Children Impacted by Crises in Ethiopia and Uganda

The Lego Foundation Awards US $100 Million Grant to the International Rescue Committee to Bring Learning through Play to Children Impacted by Crises in Ethiopia and Uganda
The Lego Foundation
The “PlayMatters” partnership will bring the power of learning through play to nearly one million children, teachers and caregivers.

Billund, Denmark – 10 December 2019- Today, the LEGO Foundation is awarding a US$100 million grant to a consortium led by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to promote play-based, early learning solutions for pre-primary and primary school aged children impacted by the humanitarian crises in East Africa and living in Ethiopia and Uganda. This major initiative, called PlayMatters, will deliver play-based learning to children, strengthening their resilience and building their social, emotional, cognitive, physical and creative skills. The grant will be implemented in partnership with War Child, Plan International, Ubongo, Behavioural Insights Team and Innovations for Poverty Action.

“We are contributing to fulfil the international promise to children, supported by the United Nations, that every child has the right to an education and every refugee should be included in sustainable long-term solutions that help them in their future. We have to do our best to ensure it is realised,” said Thomas Kirk Kristiansen, Chairman of the LEGO Foundation. “Play provides comfort. It helps children to overcome traumatic experiences, and to return to the routine and normalcy of being a child. With this new grant, the LEGO Foundation continues to address a pressing challenge of our time and change the way the world thinks about learning through play and its importance for children in crisis settings.”

Through this initiative, IRC and its partners will work in Ethiopia and Uganda, with the potential of expanding to a third country in East Africa. PlayMatters will improve education outcomes for approximately 800,000 children and reach approximately 10,000 pre-primary and primary school teachers and education personnel and 170,000 primary caregivers, who will receive training to engage in learning through play with children who have faced adversities.

“Children in these humanitarian crises did not choose to be refugees and it is unacceptable that an entire generation is deprived of quality childhood education. We know that investing in play-based learning interventions is key to addressing toxic stress and trauma for young children in refugee settings as learning through play helps to develop social and emotional skills, builds resilience, and strengthens brain connections essential for future development. Through this new initiative, we will work with teachers in the host communities, focus on innovation to ensure systemic and lasting impact, and share these approaches across aid agencies for replication. The children in these largely forgotten crises in Ethiopia and Uganda deserve the power of learning through play and the hope that it can bring for a bright future,” said John Goodwin, CEO of the LEGO Foundation.

This new initiative addresses the Global Compact for Refugees’ (GCR) request for the international community to support governments to find durable solutions for the crisis, especially as the governments of Ethiopia and Uganda, who have expressed intention to better respond to the challenge. In that regard, the partnership will focus on working closely with the governments of Ethiopia, Uganda, and a third country which have been leaders in the region to integrate refugees into national systems.

“We know that nearly half of all refugees are children, but humanitarian funding still thinks of education as just an add-on. We need big solutions with bold ideas that put education at the forefront of humanitarian response,” said David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee. “With the LEGO Foundation’s investment in play-based learning and the IRC’s expertise in reaching the most vulnerable, this partnership has the potential to reshape education for a generation of refugee children.”…

UNICEF – Despite significant increase in birth registration, a quarter of the world’s children remain ‘invisible’

UNICEF Press release
Despite significant increase in birth registration, a quarter of the world’s children remain ‘invisible’
Proportion of registered births increased almost 20 per cent over past decade, yet 166 million children under-five have never been officially recorded
NEW YORK, 11 December 2019 – The number of children whose births are officially registered has increased significantly worldwide, yet 166 million children under-five, or 1 in 4, remain unregistered, according to a new report released by UNICEF today on its own 73rd birthday.

Birth Registration for Every Child by 2030: Are we on track? – which analyses data from 174 countries – shows that the proportion of children under-five registered globally is up around 20 per cent from 10 years ago – increasing from 63 per cent to 75 per cent.

“We have come a long way but too many children are still slipping through the cracks, uncounted and unaccounted for,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “A child not registered at birth is invisible – nonexistent in the eyes of the government or the law. Without proof of identity, children are often excluded from education, health care and other vital services, and are more vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.”

Global progress is driven largely by great strides in South Asia, particularly in Bangladesh, India and Nepal. In India, the proportion of registered children rose from 41 per cent in 2005-2006 to 80 per cent in 2015-2016. In recent years, UNICEF has worked with the Government of India to prioritize birth registration across states by increasing and improving access to registration centres, training officials and community workers and rolling out public awareness programmes, particularly amongst the most vulnerable communities.

By contrast, the majority of countries in sub-Saharan Africa lag behind the rest of the world, with Ethiopia (3 per cent), Zambia (11 per cent*) and Chad (12 per cent) recording the lowest levels of registered births globally…

Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty

Children – Liberty, Rights

Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty
November 2019 :: 789 pages
PDF of Full Study:
Manfred Nowak, Independent Expert

United Nations High Level Interagency Task Force (UNITF)
Najat MAALLA M’JID – The Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children
Virginia GAMBA – The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
The United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF)
The United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR)
The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
The World Health Organization (WHO)
The International Organization for Migration (IOM)


Press Release
United Nations Task Force calls on Member States to end children’s deprivation of liberty
Geneva/ New York – October 8 – The United Nations Task Force supporting the Global
Study on Children Deprived of Liberty calls on Member States to put an end to children’s
deprivation of liberty, following the submission and presentation of a report by the
Independent Expert to the UN General Assembly.

The Independent Expert’s report highlights that while this year marks the 30th anniversary of
the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, a landmark treaty aiming at
promoting and protecting the rights of children’s worldwide, countless children still suffer
violations of their basic human rights. The UN Task Force further notes that in adopting the
2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Member States made a clear commitment to
leave no child behind and yet, children deprived of liberty continue to be one of the most
vulnerable, invisible and forgotten groups in societies across the globe. The UN Task Force
joins the Independent Expert in calling on States to end the deprivation of liberty of children
or those at most risk as a matter of urgency. The Task Force emphasizes that it is indeed
time to put the most vulnerable first.

Children around the world are deprived of their liberty in closed institutions, psychiatric
centres or detention facilities, sometimes together with adults. Furthermore, children are
detained for national security, armed conflict or migration-related reasons. They are denied
family care and access to justice, often unable to challenge the legality of their detention.

These children are exposed to further human rights violations, enduring cruel, inhumane
and/or degrading conditions. Furthermore, they are often denied the right to education,
and health care, and do not benefit from tailored and long-term rehabilitation and
reintegration support. Deprivation of liberty has a destructive impact on children’s physical
and mental development, and often compounds trauma they have suffered.

The UN Task Force believes that the presentation of the report creates a unique momentum
to learn from children and Member States’ experiences. The UN Task Force member
organizations express their strong commitment to work together with Member States, civil
society and children themselves to end children’s deprivation of liberty and safeguard their
rights as enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international
standards, and further re-affirmed in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

In December 2014 the United Nations General Assembly (A/RES/69/157, paragraph 52d)
invited the UN Secretary-General to commission an in-depth global study on children
deprived of liberty. In October 2016, Professor Manfred Nowak was designated as the
Independent Expert to lead the Global Study development. The Independent Expert
submitted his final report on the Study (A/74/136) to the General Assembly during its
seventy-fourth session and presents his main findings, conclusions and recommendations to
the Third Committee of the General Assembly on 8 October 2019.


UNGA – A/74/136
Promotion and protection of the rights of children
11 July 2019
A. General recommendations [p.18]
98. The Independent Expert strongly recommends that States make all efforts to significantly reduce the number of children held in places of detention and prevent deprivation of liberty before it occurs, including addressing the root causes and pathways leading to deprivation of liberty in a systemic and holistic manner.

99. To address the root causes of deprivation of liberty of children, States should invest significant resources to reduce inequalities and support families to empower them to foster the physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development of their children, including children with disabilities.

100. In all decisions that may lead to the detention of children, the Independent Expert calls upon States to most rigorously apply the requirement of article 37 (b) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child that deprivation of liberty shall be applied only as a measure of last resort in exceptional cases, and that the views of children shall be heard and taken duly into account.

101. The Independent Expert calls upon States to repeal all laws and policies that permit the deprivation of liberty of children on the basis of an actual, or perceived, impairment.

102. If detention is unavoidable under the particular circumstances of a case, it shall be applied only for the shortest appropriate period of time. States have an obligation to apply child-friendly conditions, without any discrimination. Children shall not be exposed to neglect, violence, sexual abuse or exploitation, ill-treatment, torture and inhuman conditions of detention. States should ensure that children have access to essential services aimed at their rehabilitation and reintegration into society, including education, vocational training, family contacts, sports and recreation, adequate nutrition, housing and health care. Health services in detention shall be of a standard equivalent to that available in the community at large.

103. Since children have the right under article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child to actively participate in all matters directly affecting their lives, they shall be empowered to influence decisions relating to their treatment and enjoyment of such essential services and have the right to effective remedies, as well as to lodge complaints to an independent and impartial authority on any grievances and human rights violations during detention. Furthermore, States are strongly encouraged to ratify the third Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communications procedure, enabling children to further seek redress for violations of their rights.

104. States are strongly encouraged to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and to establish independent and effective national preventive mechanisms with a particular expertise, to conduct visits to places where
children are, or may be, deprived of liberty.

105. States should enhance the capacity, by means of investing in human resources, awareness-raising and systematic education and training, of all professionals who work with and for children in decisions leading to their deprivation of liberty, and those who are responsible for their well -being while in detention. This applies to the police, judges, prosecutors, prison guards, psychiatrists, medical personnel, psychologists, educators, probation officers, social workers, child protection and welfare officers, asylum and migration personnel and any other individuals in contact with children at risk of
deprivation, or deprived, of liberty.

106. States are strongly encouraged to establish an appropriate system of data collection at the national level, involving all relevant ministries and other State agencies, coordinated by a focal point. Whenever possible, data on children should be obtained directly from them in accordance with the principle of informed consent and self-identification. When necessary, such information should be supplemented by data concerning their parents or primary caregivers.