The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health :: Education :: Heritage Stewardship ::
Sustainable Development
Week ending 23 May 2020 :: Number 317

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 23 May 2020

:: 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

UNHCR releases new guidelines on loss and deprivation of nationality


GUIDELINES ON STATELESSNESS NO.5: Loss and Deprivation of Nationality under Articles 5-9 of the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness
Distr. GENERAL HCR/GS/20/05 May 2020 Original: English 38 pages


Media Release
UNHCR releases new guidelines on loss and deprivation of nationality
21 May 2020
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has today issued new guidelines on the loss and deprivation of nationality. The guidance is intended to assist governments and policy makers in interpreting relevant international law.

“Decisions to deprive people of nationality have grave and far-reaching consequences not just for the individuals themselves but also for the broader community. It is by no means ideal nor in anyone or any State’s interest for people to be left stateless and on the margins of society,” said UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Gillian Triggs.

“While this is a practice that is increasingly being resorted to in most cases as a punitive measure, we hope this guidance will promote a principled and consistent approach to decision making, mitigating the risk of statelessness arising, in accordance with the law.”

The guidelines contain interpretive guidance on the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, one of two key statelessness treaties which together with the 1954 Convention on the Status of Stateless Persons, provide the legal framework to prevent statelessness from occurring and to protect people who are already stateless. They also contain guidance on complementary international human rights law relevant to deprivation of nationality.

The loss of nationality refers to circumstances where an individual’s nationality may be automatically withdrawn by the operation of the law, for example where national law provides that nationality will be lost in situations of prolonged residence abroad. Deprivation refers to situations where a State actively takes nationality away from its citizens.

With the right to a nationality widely recognized as a fundamental human right, international law prohibits the arbitrary deprivation of nationality, including on racial, ethnic, religious or political grounds.

As a general rule, the 1961 Convention also prohibits the deprivation of nationality where it would leave a person stateless. There are very limited exceptions to this rule, including where nationality has been acquired though misrepresentation or fraud.

In specific circumstances, where countries expressly retained their right to do so when joining the Convention and provisions already exist in national law, behavior inconsistent with the duty of loyalty to the State may also be grounds for exception to the prohibition where, for example, it is seriously prejudicial to a State’s vital interests.

However, governments would still have a duty to determine whether decisions to deprive an individual of nationality would result in statelessness, as well as to ensure that procedural safeguards, such as the right to a fair hearing, are met.

In accordance with its mandate on statelessness, UNHCR provides guidance on relevant international law. The Guidelines on Loss and Deprivation of Nationality are the fifth in a series of guidelines on statelessness issued by the agency.


World Bank Announces $500 Million to Fight Locusts, Preserve Food Security and Protect Livelihoods


World Bank Announces $500 Million to Fight Locusts, Preserve Food Security and Protect Livelihoods
Emergency Financing for Locust Affected Countries will help people recover from losses
WASHINGTON, May 21, 2020 — The World Bank Group approved today a US$500 million program to help countries in Africa and the Middle East fight the locust swarms that are threatening the food security and livelihoods of millions of people.

The Emergency Locust Response Program (ELRP), approved today by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors, will focus on providing immediate assistance to help poor and vulnerable farmers, herders, and rural households overcome one of the worst locust upsurges in decades. ELRP will provide immediate support to affected households through targeted social safety nets like cash transfers, while investing in the medium-term recovery of agriculture and livestock production systems and rural livelihoods in affected countries.

The first countries to be financed under the initial phase of the program are Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda, with a total financing package of US$160 million.

“Locust swarms present a double crisis for countries that are also battling the COVID-19 pandemic,” said World Bank Group President David Malpass. “Together, this food supply emergency combined with the pandemic and economic shutdown in advanced economies places some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people at even greater risk.”

East Africa already has 22.5 million severely food insecure people and 10.8 million forcibly displaced people, according to the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The World Bank has estimated that, without broad-scale, coordinated control measures to reduce locust populations and prevent their spread to new areas, potential damages and losses to crop and livestock production and related assets in the greater Horn of Africa, including Yemen, could reach as high as US$8.5 billion by the end of this year. By helping to mobilize a rapid response and more effective locust control measures, anticipated damages and losses will still be an estimated US$2.5 billion. This is why the ELRP will fund measures to protect livelihoods of the poor and vulnerable impacted by the locust crisis.

In addition to protecting livelihoods, physical assets and human capital of affected households, the program will deliver seed packages and other inputs to affected households to help restore farm production and livelihoods as quickly as possible. It will also finance investments to strengthen surveillance and early warning systems so that countries are better prepared to combat future outbreaks.

As of early May 2020, locust swarms have infested 23 countries across East Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. This upsurge is the biggest outbreak faced by some countries in 70 years. Favorable breeding conditions through May will likely result in a new round of swarms in late June and July, coinciding with the start of the harvest season.

The program’s design builds on the strong technical foundation of desert locust management created by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), which is already working with affected countries to ensure locust control operations are done safely and effectively. The World Bank and the FAO will enhance their ongoing collaboration through the program…

The State of the World’s Forests – 2020 :: Forests, Biodiversity and People


The State of the World’s Forests2020 :: Forests, Biodiversity and People
Rome, 2020 :: 214 pages
Forest biological diversity is a broad term that refers to all life forms found within forested areas and the ecological roles they perform. As such, forest biological diversity encompasses not just trees, but the multitude of plants, animals and microorganisms that inhabit forest areas and their associated genetic diversity.

Forest biological diversity can be considered at different levels, including ecosystem, landscape, species, population and genetic. Complex interactions can occur within and between these levels. In
biologically diverse forests, this complexity allows organisms to adapt to continually changing
environmental conditions and to maintain ecosystem functions.

In the annex to Decision II/9 (CBD, n.d.a), the Conference of the Parties to the CBD recognized that:
“Forest biological diversity results from evolutionary processes over thousands and even millions of years which, in themselves, are driven by ecological forces such as climate, fire, competition and disturbance. Furthermore, the diversity of forest ecosystems (in both physical and biological features) results in high levels of adaptation, a feature of forest ecosystems which is an integral component of their biological diversity. Within specific forest ecosystems, the maintenance of ecological processes is dependent upon the maintenance of their biological diversity.”


Media Release
UN report: As the world’s forests continue to shrink, urgent action is needed to safeguard their biodiversity
22 May 2020, Rome/Nairobi – Urgent action is needed to safeguard the biodiversity of the world’s forests amid alarming rates of deforestation and degradation, according to the latest edition of The State of the World’s Forests released today.

Published on the International Day for Biological Diversity (22 May), the report shows that the conservation of the world’s biodiversity is utterly dependent on the way in which we interact with and use the world’s forests.

The report was produced by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in partnership, for the first time, with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and technical input from the UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC).
It highlights that some 420 million hectares of forest have been lost through conversion to other land uses since 1990, although the rate of deforestation has decreased over the past three decades.

The COVID-19 crisis has thrown into sharp focus the importance of conserving and sustainably using nature, recognizing that people’s health is linked to ecosystem health.

Protecting forests is key to this, as they harbour most of the Earth’s terrestrial biodiversity. This report shows that forests contain 60,000 different tree species, 80 percent of amphibian species, 75 percent of bird species, and 68 percent of the Earth’s mammal species.

FAO’s Global Forest Resources Assessment 2020, noted in the report, found that despite a slowing of the rate of deforestation in the last decade, some 10 million hectares are still being lost each year through conversion to agriculture and other land uses.

“Deforestation and forest degradation continue to take place at alarming rates, which contributes significantly to the ongoing loss of biodiversity,” FAO Director-General, QU Dongyu, and the Executive Director of UNEP, Inger Andersen, said in the foreword.

The report presents a comprehensive overview of forest biodiversity, including world maps revealing where forests still hold rich communities of fauna and flora, such as the northern Andes and parts of the Congo Basin, and where they have been lost.

Conservation and sustainable use:
In this report, a special study from the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission and the US Forest Service found 34.8 million patches of forests in the world, ranging in size from 1 hectare to 680 million hectares. Greater restoration efforts to reconnect forest fragments are urgently needed.

As FAO and UNEP prepare to lead the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration from 2021 and as countries consider a Global Biodiversity Framework for the future, Qu and Andersen both expressed their commitment for increased global cooperation to restore degraded and damaged ecosystems, combat climate change and safeguard biodiversity.

“To turn the tide on deforestation and the loss of biodiversity, we need transformational change in the way in which we produce and consume food,” said QU and Andersen. “We also need to conserve and manage forests and trees within an integrated landscape approach and we need to repair the damage done through forest restoration efforts.”…

Arts-based approaches to promoting health in sub-Saharan Africa: a scoping review

Featured Journal Content

BMJ Global Health
May 2020 – Volume 5 – 5
Original research
Arts-based approaches to promoting health in sub-Saharan Africa: a scoping review (21 May, 2020)
Christopher Bunn, Chisomo Kalinga, Otiyela Mtema, Sharifa Abdulla, Angel Dillip, John Lwanda, Sally M Mtenga, Jo Sharp, Zoë Strachan, Cindy M Gray
Arts-based approaches to health promotion have been used widely across sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), particularly in public health responses to HIV/AIDS. Such approaches draw on deep-rooted historical traditions of indigenous groups in combination with imported traditions which emerged from colonial engagement. To date, no review has sought to map the locations, health issues, art forms and methods documented by researchers using arts-based approaches in SSA.
Using scoping review methodology, 11 databases spanning biomedicine, arts and humanities and social sciences were searched. Researchers screened search results for papers using predefined criteria. Papers included in the review were read and summarised using a standardised proforma. Descriptive statistics were produced to characterise the location of the studies, art forms used or discussed, and the health issues addressed, and to determine how best to summarise the literature identified.
Searches identified a total of 59 794 records, which reduced to 119 after screening. We identified literature representing 30 (62.5%) of the 48 countries in the SSA region. The papers covered 16 health issues. The majority (84.9%) focused on HIV/AIDS-related work, with Ebola (5.0%) and malaria (3.3%) also receiving attention. Most studies used a single art form (79.0%), but a significant number deployed multiple forms (21.0%). Theatre-based approaches were most common (43.7%), followed by music and song (22.6%), visual arts (other) (9.2%), storytelling (7.6%) and film (5.0%).
Arts-based approaches have been widely deployed in health promotion in SSA, particularly in response to HIV/AIDS. Historically and as evidenced by this review, arts-based approaches have provided a platform to facilitate enquiry, achieved significant reach and in some instances supported demonstrable health-related change. Challenges relating to content, power relations and evaluation have been reported. Future research should focus on broadening application to other conditions, such as non-communicable diseases, and on addressing challenges raised in research to date.

Key questions
What is already known?
:: Arts-based approaches to health improvement have been used across sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), with some studies reporting positive outcomes.
:: No comprehensive scoping review of this work has been produced.
:: A rich array of approaches to using arts in support of health have been pursued in the global north, but the decolonising methodology movement suggests we should be careful not to import these into global south contexts.

What are the new findings?
:: Our review suggests that an overwhelming majority of studies have focused on HIV/AIDS, and that theatre-based approaches were the most common, but music and song, visual arts, storytelling and film have received sustained attention in the research literature.
:: Arts-based approaches have facilitated research enquiry, reach large numbers with health-promoting messages and initiatives, and in some instances supported demonstrable health-related change.
:: Challenges relating to the generation and suitability of content, power relations between researchers and target community and appropriate forms of evaluation have been reported.

What do the new findings imply?
:: In SSA, arts-based approaches to health promotion have yet to be widely applied by researchers outside of HIV/AIDS, suggesting that future research could develop approaches to non-communicable diseases, neglected tropical diseases and communicable diseases other than HIV/AIDS.
:: There is great scope to develop theories of and methodologies for arts-based approaches to health in SSA that dialogue with, but do not mimic, those developed in the global north.

COVID-19 :: World Health Assembly Action

COVID-19 :: World Health Assembly Action

Editor’s Note:
We present below key text from the COVID-19 Response resolution adopted at World Health Assembly [WHA73] with Editor’s text bolding.


COVID-19 response
A73/CONF./1 Rev.1 18 May 2020

… OP1 Calls for, in the spirit of unity and solidarity, intensification of cooperation and collaboration at all levels to contain, control and mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic;

OP2 Acknowledges the key leadership role of WHO and the fundamental role of the United Nations system in catalysing and coordinating the comprehensive global response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the central efforts of Member States therein;

OP3 Expresses its highest appreciation of and support to the dedication, efforts and sacrifices, above and beyond the call of duty of health professionals, health workers and other relevant frontline workers, as well as the WHO Secretariat, in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic;

OP4 Calls for the universal, timely and equitable access to and fair distribution of all quality, safe, efficacious and affordable essential health technologies and products including their components and precursors required in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic as a global priority, and the urgent removal of unjustified obstacles thereto; consistent with the provisions of relevant international treaties including the provisions of the TRIPS agreement and the flexibilities as confirmed by the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health;

OP5 Reiterates the importance of urgently meeting the needs of low- and middle-income countries in order to fill the gaps to overcome the pandemic through timely and adequate development and humanitarian assistance;

OP6 Recognizes the role of extensive immunization against COVID-19 as a global public good for health in preventing, containing and stopping transmission in order to bring the pandemic to an end, once safe, quality, efficacious, effective, accessible and affordable vaccines are available;…

OP8 CALLS on international organizations and other relevant stakeholders to:
…OP8.2 Work collaboratively at all levels to develop, test, and scale-up production of safe, effective, quality, affordable diagnostics, therapeutics, medicines and vaccines for the COVID-19 response, including, existing mechanisms for voluntary pooling and licensing of patents to facilitate timely, equitable and affordable access to them, consistent with the provisions of relevant international treaties including the provisions of the TRIPS agreement and the flexibilities as confirmed by the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health;

OP9 REQUESTS the Director-General to:
OP9.1 Continue to work with the United Nations Secretary-General and relevant multilateral organizations, including the signatory agencies of the Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-Being, on a comprehensive and coordinated response across the United Nations system to support Member States in their responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in full cooperation with governments, as appropriate, demonstrating leadership on health in the United Nations system, and continue to act as the health cluster lead in the United Nations humanitarian response;

OP9.2 Continue to build and strengthen the capacities of WHO at all levels to fully and effectively perform the functions entrusted to it under the IHR;

OP9.3 Assist and continue to call upon all States’ Parties to take the actions according to the provisions of the IHR, including by providing all necessary support to countries for building, strengthening and maintaining their capacities to fully comply with the IHR;

OP9.5 Assist countries upon request in developing, implementing and adapting relevant national response plans to COVID-19, by developing, disseminating and updating normative products and technical guidance, learning tools, data and scientific evidence for COVID-19 responses, including to counter misinformation and disinformation, as well as malicious cyber activities, and continue to work against substandard and falsified medicines and medical products;

OP9.6 Continue to work closely with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and countries, as part of the One-Health Approach to identify the zoonotic source of the virus and the route of introduction to the human population, including the possible role of intermediate hosts, including through efforts such as scientific and collaborative field missions, which will enable targeted interventions and a research agenda to reduce the risk of similar events as well as to provide guidance on how to prevent SARS-COV2 infection in animals and humans and prevent the establishment of new zoonotic reservoirs, as well as to reduce further risks of emergence and transmission of zoonotic diseases;…

OP9.8 Rapidly, and noting OP2 of RES/74/274 and in consultation with Member States,1 and with inputs from relevant international organizations civil society, and the private sector, as
appropriate, identify and provide options that respect the provisions of relevant international treaties, including the provisions of the TRIPS agreement and the flexibilities as confirmed by the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health to be used in scaling up development, manufacturing and distribution capacities needed for transparent equitable and timely access to quality, safe, affordable and efficacious diagnostics, therapeutics, medicines, and vaccines for the COVID-19 response taking into account existing mechanisms, tools, and initiatives, such as the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) accelerator, and relevant pledging appeals, such as “The Coronavirus Global Response” pledging campaign, for the consideration of the Governing Bodies;…

OP9.10 Initiate, at the earliest appropriate moment, and in consultation with Member States,1 a stepwise process of impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation, including using existing mechanisms,2 as appropriate, to review experience gained and lessons learned from the WHO-coordinated international health response to COVID-19, including (i) the effectiveness of the mechanisms at WHO’s disposal; (ii) the functioning of the IHR and the status of implementation of the relevant recommendations of the previous IHR Review Committees; (iii) WHO’s contribution to United Nations-wide efforts; and (iv) the actions of WHO and their timelines pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic, and make recommendations to improve global pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response capacity, including through strengthening, as appropriate, WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme…

COVID-19: Impacts :: Immunization/Humanitarian Contexts

COVID-19: Impacts

At least 80 million children under one at risk of diseases such as diphtheria, measles and polio as COVID-19 disrupts routine vaccination efforts, warn Gavi, WHO and UNICEF
Agencies call for joint effort to safely deliver routine immunization and proceed with vaccination campaigns against deadly vaccine-preventable diseases.
GENEVA/NEW YORK, 22 May 2020 – COVID 19 is disrupting life-saving immunization services around the world, putting millions of children – in rich and poor countries alike – at risk of diseases like diphtheria, measles and polio. This stark warning comes from the World Health Organization, UNICEF and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance ahead of the Global Vaccine Summit on 4 June, at which world leaders will come together to help maintain immunization programmes and mitigate the impact of the pandemic in lower-income countries.

According to data collected by the World Health Organization, UNICEF, Gavi and the Sabin Vaccine Institute, provision of routine immunization services is substantially hindered in at least 68 countries and is likely to affect approximately 80 million children under the age of 1 living in these countries…

Many countries have temporarily and justifiably suspended preventive mass vaccination campaigns against diseases like cholera, measles, meningitis, polio, tetanus, typhoid and yellow fever, due to risk of transmission and the need to maintain physical distancing during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Measles and polio vaccination campaigns, in particular, have been badly hit, with measles campaigns suspended in 27 countries and polio campaigns put on hold in 38 countries. At least 24 million people in 21 Gavi-supported lower-income countries are at risk of missing out on vaccines against polio, measles, typhoid, yellow fever, cholera, rotavirus, HPV, meningitis A and rubella due to postponed campaigns and introductions of new vaccines…


Interim Guidance Version 1
Inter-Agency Standing Committee :: Developed by ICRC, IFRC, IOM, NRC, UNICEF, UN-HABITAT, UNHCR, WHO in consultation with IASC members
May 2020 :: 29 pages
This Interim Guidance outlines how key public health and social measures needed to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread and the impact of the disease can be adapted for use in low capacity and humanitarian settings. The recommendations outlined here need to be adjusted to the scale of transmission1, context and resources, in order to achieve the objective of managing COVID-19, namely to reduce transmission and facilitate the detection and management of infected and exposed individuals within the population. The Guidance is intended for humanitarian and development actors of all operational levels working with communities, as well as local authorities involved in COVID-19 preparedness and response operations in these settings, in support of national and local governments and plans. Additional considerations for support to residents of urban informal settlements and slums are available in Annex 1.