The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health :: Education :: Heritage Stewardship ::
Sustainable Development
Week ending 20 June 2020 :: Number 321

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 20 June 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

UK Prime Minister announces merger of Department for International Development and Foreign Office

Development Governance

UK Prime Minister announces merger of Department for International Development and Foreign Office
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces merger of Department for International Development and Foreign Office.
Updated: 17 June 2020
The Prime Minister has announced that DFID and the FCO will merge, uniting development and diplomacy in one new department that brings together Britain’s international effort.

Work will begin immediately on the merger. The new department – the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office – will be established in early September and will be led by the Foreign Secretary.

The merger is an opportunity for the UK to have even greater impact and influence on the world stage as we recover from the coronavirus pandemic and prepare to hold the G7 presidency and host COP26 next year.

UK aid will be given new prominence within our ambitious international policy. The Foreign Secretary will be empowered to make decisions on aid spending in line with the UK’s priorities overseas, harnessing the skills, expertise and evidence that have earned our reputation as a leader in the international development community.

The UK is the only G7 country to spend 0.7% of GNI on overseas development and the Government remains committed to this target, which is enshrined in law.

Announcing the new department, the Prime Minister said:
:: This is exactly the moment when we must mobilise every one of our national assets, including our aid budget and expertise, to safeguard British interests and values overseas.
:: And the best possible instrument for doing that will be a new department charged with using all the tools of British influence to seize the opportunities ahead…

UNICEF Cryptocurrency Fund announces its largest investment of startups in developing and emerging economies

Development Finance

UNICEF Cryptocurrency Fund announces its largest investment of startups in developing and emerging economies
Among the awardees are companies expanding work to use their technologies to mitigate the hardships of COVID-19 on children and youth

New York, 19 June 2020 – Eight technology companies in developing and emerging economies will receive investment from the UNICEF Cryptocurrency Fund (CryptoFund) to solve local and global challenges.

The CryptoFund will invest 125 ETH in the eight companies – from seven countries – to develop prototypes, pilot, or scale their technologies over six months: Afinidata, Avyantra, Cireha, Ideasis, OS City, StaTwig, Somleng and Utopic.

All investees have previously received up to $100,000 from UNICEF’s Innovation Fund and are now receiving cryptocurrency to continue the development of their open-source and digital public goods.
Within the scope of their technology, several investees are working to mitigate the hardships of COVID-19 on children and youth around the world. They are collaborating with national governments and local partners to send vital messages on COVID-19, track the effectiveness of rice delivery to vulnerable communities, improve children’s literacy through remote learning, treat pandemic and isolation-related anxieties, and other vital solutions.

“We are seeing the digital world come at us more quickly than we could have imagined – and UNICEF must be able to use all of the tools of this new world to help children today and tomorrow,” says Chris Fabian, Senior Adviser, co-Lead, UNICEF Ventures. “The transfer of these funds – to eight companies in seven countries around the world – took less than 20 minutes and cost us less than $20. Almost instant global movement of value, fees of less than 0.00009% of the total amount transferred, and real-time transparency for our donors and supporters are the types of tools we are excited about.”

Afinidata (Guatemala) is further developing its AI-based app to provide parents with personalized early childhood educational activities.
Avyantra (India) is expanding the functionality of its health app which uses data science to support frontline health workers in the early diagnosis of neonatal sepsis.
Cireha (Argentina) is scaling the reach of its accessible app in three countries to help more children with speech impairments communicate using symbols.
Ideasis (Turkey) is transitioning its exposure therapy tool from VR to WebVR to address anxieties and phobias from users’ homes. They will develop new therapy scenarios to address COVID-19 and isolation-related disorders.
OS City (Mexico) is issuing blockchain-based government assets, heading towards issuing 1,000 blockchain IDs to allocate children’s educational diplomas.
StaTwig (India) is piloting its blockchain-based app by partnering with the Government of India to track and improve the delivery of rice and support their effort to secure food for millions living in poverty – a need amplified by the onset of COVID-19.
Somleng (Cambodia) is scaling its low-cost Interactive Voice Response platform by partnering with the Government of Cambodia to send vital information about COVID-19.
Utopic (Chile) is transitioning its learning game from VR to WebVR and empowering educators to assess, track, and help improve children’s reading skills from their homes during COVID-19 containment measures and beyond.

Selected from almost 40 startups that have graduated from the UNICEF Innovation Fund, these eight companies have undergone technical evaluations, quality assessments of their open-source tech solutions, evidence of impact and more. They join three other grantees that received the Fund’s first cryptocurrency investment last year.

Besides funding, investees receive business growth mentorship, product, and technical assistance, open-source and UX and UI development, access to experts and partners, as well as opportunities to showcase their solutions…

Landscape-scale forest loss as a catalyst of population and biodiversity change

Featured Journal Content

19 June 2020 Vol 368, Issue 6497
Research Articles
Landscape-scale forest loss as a catalyst of population and biodiversity change
By Gergana N. Daskalova, Isla H. Myers-Smith, Anne D. Bjorkman, Shane A. Blowes, Sarah R. Supp, Anne E. Magurran, Maria Dornelas
Science19 Jun 2020 : 1341-1347 Restricted Access
Declines in forest cover amplify both gains and losses in plant and animal population abundance and diversity over time.
Land-use change and forest biodiversity
Land-use change by humans, particularly forest loss, is influencing Earth’s biodiversity through time. To assess the influence of forest loss on population and biodiversity change, Daskalova et al. integrated data from more than 6000 time series of species’ abundance, richness, and composition in ecological assemblages around the world. Forest loss leads to both positive and negative responses of populations and biodiversity, and the temporal lags in population and biodiversity change after forest loss can extend up to half a century. Land-use change precipitates divergent population and biodiversity change. This analysis has consequences for projections of human impact, ongoing conservation, and assessments of biodiversity change.

Global biodiversity assessments have highlighted land-use change as a key driver of biodiversity change. However, there is little empirical evidence of how habitat transformations such as forest loss and gain are reshaping biodiversity over time. We quantified how change in forest cover has influenced temporal shifts in populations and ecological assemblages from 6090 globally distributed time series across six taxonomic groups. We found that local-scale increases and decreases in abundance, species richness, and temporal species replacement (turnover) were intensified by as much as 48% after forest loss. Temporal lags in population- and assemblage-level shifts after forest loss extended up to 50 years and increased with species’ generation time. Our findings that forest loss catalyzes population and biodiversity change emphasize the complex biotic consequences of land-use change.


Climate-driven risks to the climate mitigation potential of forests
By William R. L. Anderegg, Anna T. Trugman, Grayson Badgley, Christa M. Anderson, Ann Bartuska, Philippe Ciais, Danny Cullenward, Christopher B. Field, Jeremy Freeman, Scott J. Goetz, Jeffrey A. Hicke, Deborah Huntzinger, Robert B. Jackson, John Nickerson, Stephen Pacala, James T. Randerson
Science19 Jun 2020
Risks to mitigation potential of forests
Much recent attention has focused on the potential of trees and forests to mitigate ongoing climate change by acting as sinks for carbon. Anderegg et al. review the growing evidence that forests’ climate mitigation potential is increasingly at risk from a range of adversities that limit forest growth and health. These include physical factors such as drought and fire and biotic factors, including the depredations of insect herbivores and fungal pathogens. Full assessment and quantification of these risks, which themselves are influenced by climate, is key to achieving science-based policy outcomes for effective land and forest management.
Structured Abstract
Forests have considerable potential to help mitigate human-caused climate change and provide society with a broad range of cobenefits. Local, national, and international efforts have developed policies and economic incentives to protect and enhance forest carbon sinks—ranging from the Bonn Challenge to restore deforested areas to the development of forest carbon offset projects around the world. However, these policies do not always account for important ecological and climate-related risks and limits to forest stability (i.e., permanence). Widespread climate-induced forest die-off has been observed in forests globally and creates a dangerous carbon cycle feedback, both by releasing large amounts of carbon stored in forest ecosystems to the atmosphere and by reducing the size of the future forest carbon sink. Climate-driven risks may fundamentally compromise forest carbon stocks and sinks in the 21st century. Understanding and quantifying climate-driven risks to forest stability are crucial components needed to forecast the integrity of forest carbon sinks and the extent to which they can contribute toward the Paris Agreement goal to limit warming well below 2°C. Thus, rigorous scientific assessment of the risks and limitations to widespread deployment of forests as natural climate solutions is urgently needed…

Lower socioeconomic status and the acceleration of aging: An outcome-wide analysis

Featured Journal Content

PNAS – Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Research Article
Lower socioeconomic status and the acceleration of aging: An outcome-wide analysis
Andrew Steptoe and Paola Zaninotto
PNAS first published June 15, 2020.
Lower socioeconomic status (SES) is a determinant of many of the health problems that emerge at older ages. The extent to which lower SES is associated with faster decline in age-related functions and phenotypes independently of health conditions is less clear. This study demonstrates that lower SES (defined by wealth) is related to accelerated decline over 6 to 8 y in 16 outcomes from physical, sensory, physiological, cognitive, emotional, and social domains, independently of diagnosed health conditions, self-rated health, education, and other factors. It provides evidence for the pervasive role of social circumstances on core aging processes and suggests that less affluent sectors of society age more rapidly than more privileged groups.
Aging involves decline in a range of functional abilities and phenotypes, many of which are also associated with socioeconomic status (SES). Here we assessed whether lower SES is a determinant of the rate of decline over 8 y in six domains—physical capability, sensory function, physiological function, cognitive performance, emotional well-being, and social function—in a sample of 5,018 men and women aged 64.44 (SD 8.49) y on average at baseline. Wealth was used as the marker of SES, and all analyses controlled for age, gender, ethnicity, educational attainment, and long-term health conditions. Lower SES was associated with greater adverse changes in physical capability (grip strength, gait speed, and physical activity), sensory function (sight impairment), physiological function (plasma fibrinogen concentration and lung function), cognitive performance (memory, executive function, and processing speed), emotional well-being (enjoyment of life and depressive symptoms), and social function (organizational membership, number of close friends, volunteering, and cultural engagement). Effects were maintained when controlling statistically for other factors such as smoking, marital/partnership status, and self-rated health and were also present when analyses were limited to participants aged ≤75 y. We conclude that lower SES is related to accelerated aging across a broad range of functional abilities and phenotypes independently of the presence of health conditions and that social circumstances impinge on multiple aspects of aging.

The potential impact of COVID-19 in refugee camps in Bangladesh and beyond: A modeling study

Featured Journal Content

PLoS Medicine
(Accessed 20 June 2020)
Research Article
The potential impact of COVID-19 in refugee camps in Bangladesh and beyond: A modeling study
Shaun Truelove, Orit Abrahim, Chiara Altare, Stephen A. Lauer, Krya H. Grantz, Andrew S. Azman, Paul Spiegel
| published 16 Jun 2020 PLOS Medicine
COVID-19 could have even more dire consequences in refugees camps than in general populations. Bangladesh has confirmed COVID-19 cases and hosts almost 1 million Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, with 600,000 concentrated in the Kutupalong-Balukhali Expansion Site (mean age, 21 years; standard deviation [SD], 18 years; 52% female). Projections of the potential COVID-19 burden, epidemic speed, and healthcare needs in such settings are critical for preparedness planning.
Methods and findings
To explore the potential impact of the introduction of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in the Kutupalong-Balukhali Expansion Site, we used a stochastic Susceptible Exposed Infectious Recovered (SEIR) transmission model with parameters derived from emerging literature and age as the primary determinant of infection severity. We considered three scenarios with different assumptions about the transmission potential of SARS-CoV-2. From the simulated infections, we estimated hospitalizations, deaths, and healthcare needs expected, age-adjusted for the Kutupalong-Balukhali Expansion Site age distribution. Our findings suggest that a large-scale outbreak is likely after a single introduction of the virus into the camp, with 61%–92% of simulations leading to at least 1,000 people infected across scenarios. On average, in the first 30 days of the outbreak, we expect 18 (95% prediction interval [PI], 2–65), 54 (95% PI, 3–223), and 370 (95% PI, 4–1,850) people infected in the low, moderate, and high transmission scenarios, respectively. These reach 421,500 (95% PI, 376,300–463,500), 546,800 (95% PI, 499,300–567,000), and 589,800 (95% PI, 578,800–595,600) people infected in 12 months, respectively. Hospitalization needs exceeded the existing hospitalization capacity of 340 beds after 55–136 days, between the low and high transmission scenarios. We estimate 2,040 (95% PI, 1,660–2,500), 2,650 (95% PI, 2,030–3,380), and 2,880 (95% PI, 2,090–3,830) deaths in the low, moderate, and high transmission scenarios, respectively. Due to limited data at the time of analyses, we assumed that age was the primary determinant of infection severity and hospitalization. We expect that comorbidities, limited hospitalization, and intensive care capacity may increase this risk; thus, we may be underestimating the potential burden.
Our findings suggest that a COVID-19 epidemic in a refugee settlement may have profound consequences, requiring large increases in healthcare capacity and infrastructure that may exceed what is currently feasible in these settings. Detailed and realistic planning for the worst case in Kutupalong-Balukhali and all refugee camps worldwide must begin now. Plans should consider novel and radical strategies to reduce infectious contacts and fill health worker gaps while recognizing that refugees may not have access to national health systems.

Author summary
Why was this study done?
:: Forcibly displaced populations, especially those who reside in settlements with high density, poor access to water and sanitation, and limited health services, are especially vulnerable to COVID-19.
:: Bangladesh, which has confirmed COVID-19 cases, hosts almost 900,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar in the Cox’s Bazar district, approximately 600,000 of whom are concentrated in the Kutupalong-Balukhali Expansion Site.
:: The capacity to meet the existing health needs of this population is limited; an outbreak of COVID-19 within this population threatens to severely disrupt an already fragile situation.
:: We conducted this study to estimate the number of people infected, hospitalizations, and deaths that might occur in the Kutupalong-Balukhali Expansion Site to inform ongoing preparedness and response activities by the Bangladesh government, the United Nations agencies, and other national and international actors.

What did the researchers do and find?
:: Using a dynamic model of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) transmission, we simulated how a COVID-19 outbreak could spread within the expansion site according to three possible transmission scenarios (high, moderate, and low).
:: Our results suggest that a large-scale outbreak is very likely in this setting after a single infectious person enters the camp, with 0.5%–91% of the population expected to be infected within the first three months and over 70%–98% during the first year, depending on the transmission scenario, should no effective interventions be put into place.
:: Hospitalization needs may exceed the existing hospitalization capacity of 340 beds 55–136 days after introduction.

What do these findings mean?
:: A COVID-19 epidemic in a high–population density refugee settlement may have profound consequences, requiring increases in healthcare capacity and infrastructure that exceed what is feasible in this setting.
:: As many of the approaches used to prevent and respond to COVID-19 in the most affected areas so far will not be practical in humanitarian settings, novel and untested strategies to protect the most vulnerable population groups should be considered, as well as innovative solutions to fill health workforce gaps.

Editorial :: Global governance for COVID-19 vaccines — The Lancet

Featured Journal Content

The Lancet
Jun 20, 2020 Volume 395 Number 10241 p1883-1948, e107-e111
Global governance for COVID-19 vaccines
The Lancet
The COVID-19 pandemic has uncovered serious gaps in the health-care systems of many nations. In particular, it exposes a fragmented global governance system that does not have the structures to coordinate the pooling and sharing of resources needed to combat pandemics. Since the early days of the pandemic, medical protectionism has emerged as nations scrambled for their own stocks of personal protective equipment and ventilators. COVID-19 vaccines could be the next example. Already there is a danger of a vaccine bidding war, with governments competing for a limited number of doses, well before a vaccine even reaches the market.

Enormous amounts of public money and resources poured into vaccine research and development have resulted in more than 150 COVID-19 vaccine candidates, ten of which are now in clinical trials. The most advanced candidate is AZD1222, first developed by researchers at the University of Oxford with public and philanthropic funds from CEPI and subsequently licensed to AstraZeneca. Last month, the UK Government boosted its national vaccine programme with £65·5 million towards AZD1222. In return, 30 million doses will be reserved for people in the UK by September, as part of an agreement to deliver 100 million doses in total. The US Government too set aside US$1·2 billion to secure 300 million doses of the same vaccine for use in the USA as part of the national programme Operation Warp Speed to accelerate the development, manufacturing, and distribution of COVID-19 medical countermeasures. But neither a nationalist nor a free-market-driven approach will lead to equal access to vaccines.

In June, France, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands formed the Inclusive Vaccine Alliance to persuade pharmaceutical companies to make COVID-19 vaccines accessible and affordable to EU member states. A portion of vaccines will be made available to low-income countries, including in Africa; yet how big this portion will be, which countries will benefit from it, and who will make these decisions are less clear. Many middle-income countries might be left out.

Political leaders, including Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel, and Xi Jinping, have rightly called for COVID-19 vaccines to be a global public good—a people’s vaccine, available to all. At the Global Vaccine Summit on June 4, world leaders including those from the UK, Germany, and Canada, together with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, pledged $750 million to AstraZeneca for 300 million doses of AZD1222 on a no-profit basis, as part of the Gavi Covax Advance Market Commitment. The Serum Institute of India will also produce up to 1 billion doses for low-income and middle-income countries. Covax’s initial aim is to raise $2 billion to accelerate the manufacture of a COVID-19 vaccine on a huge scale and to distribute it according to need, rather than ability to pay.

This commitment is commendable. It delivers a powerful message to governments and vaccine developers that if legally binding, solid measures are put in place, and money pledged, vaccines can be made available and affordable universally. However, many big questions remain. Have the funders agreed to equitable access? How will the vaccines be priced? Will governments commit to sharing vaccines according to fair allocation rules being developed by WHO? Can technology be transferred royalty-free to multiple manufacturers? “The question of who will get priority access to vaccines is core to the global public interest, we need to get the governance of these decisions right, otherwise there will be tremendous resentment and unnecessary deaths, not to mention decreased capacity to get this pandemic under control”, Suerie Moon, co-director of the Global Health Centre at The Graduate Institute (Geneva, Switzerland), told The Lancet. Transparency in such decisions is fundamental.

There is a urgent need for new arrangements at the global level to facilitate the development, finance, production, and equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Controlling the pandemic demands global cooperation. The nationalist and competitive approaches taken by a few high-income countries to get hold of a small supply of vaccines could result in excessive casualties in other parts of the world. Global solidarity is needed instead, and resources must be pooled and shared. Gavi Covax is a step in the right direction.

It is imperative that more governments and pharmaceutical companies agree to shoulder the costs of vaccine research and manufacturing, and to share data and technologies. They need to commit to WHO allocation guidelines and cooperate globally to distribute vaccines fairly to those at greatest risk. A pandemic vaccine needs strong global governance behind it.

Coronavirus [COVID-19]


Coronavirus [COVID-19]
Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)

The Guardian, Sat 20 Jun 2020 08.42 EDT Last modified on Sat 20 Jun 2020 16.18
Coronavirus outbreak
‘The pandemic is accelerating’: WHO warns of dangerous coronavirus phase – video
The World Health Organization has announced the coronavirus pandemic is accelerating and more than 150,000 cases of Covid-19 were reported in one day on Thursday, the highest single-day number so far.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO director general, told reporters in Geneva refugees were particularly at risk from the pandemic and that nearly half of the newly reported cases were in the Americas, with significant numbers from South Asia and the Middle East.
[Video: 02:03]


WHO – Situation report – 152
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)  20 June 2020
Confirmed cases :: 8 525 042
Confirmed deaths :: 456 973
Countries, areas or territories with cases :: 216

WHO Director-General Dr Tedros, in his regular media briefing yesterday, highlighted that today is World Refugee Day and highlighted the risks of COVID-19 for some of the world’s most vulnerable people. He also stressed the shared duty to do everything we can to prevent, detect and respond to transmission of COVID-19 among refugee populations.

WHO has published ‘Criteria for releasing COVID-19 patients from isolation’ which provides an update to previous guidance. The updated criteria reflect recent findings that patients whose symptoms have resolved may still test positive for the COVID-19 virus for many weeks. Despite this positive test result, these patients are not likely to be infectious and therefore are unlikely to be able to transmit the virus to another person.

WHO has published an Emergency Global Supply Chain System (COVID-19) catalogue. This catalogue lists all medical devices, including personal protective equipment, medical equipment, medical consumables, single use devices, laboratory and test-related devices that may be requested through the COVID-19 Supply Portal.


Ebola – DRC+


Ebola – DRC+
Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)

Ebola Outbreak in DRC 97: 16 June 2020
Situation Update WHO Health Emergencies Programme Page 2
In Ituri, North Kivu and South Kivu provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, no new confirmed cases of EVD have been reported since 27 April 2020.
From 8 to 14 June 2020, an average of 2975 alerts were reported and investigated each day. Of these, an average of 274 alerts were validated as suspected cases each day, requiring specialized care and laboratory testing to rule out EVD. In the past week, there have been a stable number of daily alerts reported throughout active sub-coordinations. Timely testing of suspected cases continues to be provided from eight laboratories. From 8 to 14 June 2020, 3219 samples were tested, including 2513 blood samples from alive, suspected cases; 324 swabs from community deaths; and 382 from re-tested patients. None of them tested positive. The number of samples tested by the laboratories increased by 3% compared to the previous week…

Investigations into the origin of the last cluster of cases in Beni Health Zone are ongoing in
collaboration with the Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale. There are challenges in EVD
response activites due to limited resources given the other local and global emergencies. Maintaining a robust surveillance system in order to detect, isolate, test and treat new suspected cases as early as possible remains crucial. Continued coordination, communication among partners, authorities and communities along with EVD survivor advocacy are also essential.


POLIO – WHO & OCHA Emergencies


Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)

Polio this week as of 16 June 2020
Summary of new viruses this week (AFP cases and ES positives):
:: Afghanistan: four WPV1 cases, two WPV1 and three cVDPV2 positive environmental samples
:: Pakistan: one WPV1 case, 18 WPV1 positive environmental samples and two cVDPV2 cases
:: Côte d’Ivoire: three cVDPV2 cases and two cVDPV2 positive environmental samples
:: Somalia: four cVDPV2 positive environmental samples


WHO Grade 3 Emergencies [to 20 June 2020]

Democratic Republic of the Congo
:: Ebola Outbreak in DRC 97: 16 June 2020
[See Ebola above for detail]

Syrian Arab Republic
WHO airlifts over 80 tons of emergency medical supplies from Iraq to meet increasing health needs in northeast Syria
14 June 2020 – The World Health Organization (WHO) has dispatched more than 80 tons of urgently needed emergency medical supplies to support the health system in northeast Syria. The 3-cargo consignment was airlifted from Erbil in the Kurdistan region of Iraq to Damascus from 10 to 12 June…

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


WHO Grade 2 Emergencies [to 20 June 2020]
:: WHO airlifts over 80 tons of emergency medical supplies from Iraq to meet increasing health needs in northeast Syria
14 June 2020 – The World Health Organization (WHO) has dispatched more than 80 tons of urgently needed emergency medical supplies to support the health system in northeast Syria. The 3-cargo consignment was airlifted from Erbil in the Kurdistan region of Iraq to Damascus from 10 to 12 June…

Angola – No new digest announcements identified
Afghanistan – No new digest announcements identified
Burkina Faso [in French] – No new digest announcements identified
Burundi – 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
Libya – No new digest announcements identified
Malawi – No new digest announcements identified
Measles in Europe – No new digest announcements identified
MERS-CoV – No new digest announcements identified
Myanmar – 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


WHO Grade 1 Emergencies [to 20 June 2020]

Chad – No new digest announcements identified
Djibouti – Page not responding at inquiry
Kenya – No new digest announcements identified
Mali – No new digest announcements identified
Namibia – viral hepatitis – No new digest announcements identified
Tanzania – No new digest announcements identified


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
:: Syrian Arab Republic: COVID-19 Response Update No. 06 – 19 June 2020

:: 18 June 2020 Yemen: COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Monthly Report (May 2020)


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 – No new digest announcements identified
EBOLA OUTBREAK IN THE DRC – No new digest announcements identified


The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health :: Education :: Heritage Stewardship ::
Sustainable Development
Week ending 13 June 2020 :: Number 320

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 13 June 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

Speech :: Multilateralism is not an option, it is the only path :: Mary Robinson, The Elders’


Multilateralism is not an option, it is the only path
11 Jun 2020
Mary Robinson outlines The Elders’ defence of multilateralism at a virtual event to mark the 75th anniversary of the UN Charter.
This speech was delivered at “The UN Charter at 75: Multilateralism in a fragmented world” – A Virtual High-Level Forum to Commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations on 10 June 2020. The event was organised by Singapore in its capacity as Chair of the Forum of Small States (FOSS) in partnership with The Elders.

…It is a pleasure and a privilege to join you virtually for this most timely event.

In these times of grief, anger and despair, it is critical that those of us who believe in the values of justice, human rights and the rule of law continue to speak out.

We need to defend those institutions which provide us with the best hope of realising our collective human potential, and reaffirm our commitment to the abiding promises and values enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations.

Coming from a small state myself, I feel somewhat at home in this company.

So I am profoundly grateful to the Permanent Mission of Singapore and the Forum of Small States for the invitation to address this virtual high-level forum on the seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations.

The crises we are living through at the moment – COVID-19, the associated prospect of sustained economic slowdown and high unemployment, the climate emergency, entrenched and systemic racism, gender inequality and oppression – are all too complex and multi-faceted for any one nation to tackle them on its own.

Multilateralism matters to all states, big or small. We need to see it as a lifesaver, as the UN’s founders envisioned back in 1945 with their determination to “save the world from the scourge of war”.

But in recent years, the system of institutions, regulations and norms built up over the past seventy-five years has been subject to sustained and deliberate attack.

This is myopic and self-harming. A regression from a rules-based system into power-based strategies will not result in a safer, more predictable or propitious environment for any country.

This is why The Elders – the group of independent global leaders founded by Nelson Mandela in 2007, of which I have today the honour to be Chair – have produced a new report on the nature of contemporary multilateralism, and how it can be defended and strengthened both in today’s challenging climate, and in the years and decades ahead.

Our report begins with the recognition that multilateralism and respect for a global rules-based system has underpinned peace, security, health and prosperity across large swathes of the world for the past seventy-five years.

The UN embodies these principles and remains an indispensable actor in facing contemporary existential threats from pandemics to climate change and nuclear proliferation.

In January of this year, I travelled to Washington DC with Ban Ki-moon, former UN Secretary-General and today Deputy Chair of The Elders, to participate in the unveiling of the “Doomsday Clock” maintained by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists as a measurement of existential global threats.

The hands of the clock were moved forward to 100 seconds to midnight, the narrowest setting ever since its first unveiling in 1947, because of the acute threats posed to the future of humanity by the climate crisis and the escalation of a new arms race between the nuclear powers.

Even though COVID-19 now rightly commands our attention, these other threats have not gone away.

In recent weeks, we have seen further alarming moves by the United States that weaken the global architecture of arms control and non-proliferation, including its announcement that it intends to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty, and even reports that it has been considering a resumption of nuclear testing.

These decisions demand an urgent and robust response, and no responsible leader can claim that COVID-19 provides an excuse for inaction on the nuclear front. All states should exert whatever pressure they can to convince the US Administration to agree to extend New START for five years; its expiry would mean there was no binding agreement on arms control between the two nuclear superpowers – the US and Russia – and thus a severe risk to global peace.
2020 should have also been the occasion for the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, which had to be postponed due to COVID-19. The NPT is critical both in preventing nuclear proliferation and moving towards the ultimate elimination of all nuclear weapons.

ll parties to the Treaty should not waste the time afforded by this postponement but take concrete steps to meet their obligations on disarmament. Those bearing the heaviest responsibility are of course the five Permanent Members of the UN Security Council, who I regret to say have consistently failed to live up to their obligations on disarmament under Article 6 of the NPT.

It remains inevitable of course that debates on the future of multilateralism need to be reassessed and reframed in light of our collective experiences to date of this devastating pandemic.

COVID-19 knows no borders and pays no heed to national sovereignty. It has swept through every part of the world since the beginning of 2020, leaving a devastating cost; first and foremost in human lives, but also in terms of economic growth, political momentum and social inequality.

This terrible pandemic is a test of our common humanity. We can see how it is exacerbating existing profound socio-economic, racial and gender inequalities, both within and between countries.

Only a coordinated multilateral response can deliver testing and a vaccine at scale, and only a renewed commitment to the values and institutions of the UN can enable us to build back better and protect the rights and dignity of all global citizens.

A global crisis demands a global response. Yet the virus has struck at a time when the multilateral system was already under attack from populists, nationalists and isolationists.

COVID-19 will not be overcome unless states work together, pooling resources and expertise to strengthen health systems, support the vital work of the World Health Organization and encourage a spirit of solidarity.

The initial response of Chinese authorities to obfuscate and dissemble over the origin and scale of the pandemic was regrettable and hindered a prompter and more effective global response. Preventing the emergence and spread of infectious disease is the pre-eminent example of a “global public good”, and merits unprecedented international cooperation by governments and policymakers. In a pandemic, no-one and no country is safe until everyone and every country is safe.

COVID-19 exposes the intersectionality between health, poverty, gender, race, marginalisation and disability. At the same time, many countries whose governments are led by women have been noted to manage the virus better, and many of the jobs which have been revealed to be essential during the pandemic – from health and social care to low-paid services – are predominantly held by women.

It is also noteworthy that many small states, including some countries represented here today, have proven themselves to be more nimble and efficient in their response to COVID-19 than their larger neighbours, often because they have collaborated quickly and effectively in their regions.

It will be essential as we emerge from the crisis and ‘build back better’, that the recovery in all states is aligned, as the Secretary-General has urged, to the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Climate Agreement, and that the commitment to gender equality and parity of decision-making is at its core.

An effective, rules-based multilateral system is the world’s insurance policy against existential threats from pandemics to climate change and nuclear weapons, and we now know the awful cost of failing to provide comprehensive cover.

The network of international covenants and institutions agreed and constructed since the end of the Second World War, with the United Nations at its core, is far from perfect. But it has nevertheless decisively supported the pursuit of peace, security and the protection of human rights, as well as economic and social improvements, around the globe, for over seven decades.

Yet sadly in recent years, the United States – the world’s leading superpower and the country hitherto regarded as a key guarantor of this global rules-based system – has deliberately weakened it across several fronts: from climate change and nuclear non-proliferation to respect for human rights, free trade and health security.

But effective multilateralism is in the national interest of all countries, regardless of size or strength. Cooperating by means of internationally-agreed mechanisms is less costly and more reliable than using unilateral force.

Actions that weaken multilateralism are damaging in themselves, and also embolden other leaders with isolationist or nationalistic leanings. We have already seen instances of leaders using the Covid-19 crisis to weaken democratic safeguards and human rights, in countries as diverse as Hungary, Israel and The Philippines.

The alarming violence across the United States in the wake of the murder of George Floyd serves to remind us that even long-established democracies can be fragile and vulnerable in these times of crisis. Yet it has been heartening to see large marches, both peaceful and diverse, in the United States and around the world against racism in all its forms.

Racism is a stain on the human conscience, and COVID-19 has highlighted how people of colour continue to bear a disproportionate socio-economic burden in health crises which is then exacerbated by systemic discrimination, prejudice and violence from state authorities.

Militarised policing, the targeting of journalists and inflammatory rhetoric from political leaders not only fans the flames of protests, it corrodes citizens’ faith in the institutions of power and justice, and weakens the capacity of responsible politicians to tackle the root causes of the crisis.

Those of us who have never experienced racial discrimination at first-hand have a particular responsibility to react to this suffering with humility, empathy and understanding. The international system as a whole, including the United Nations, must do more to acknowledge the discrimination faced by minority populations around the world and advance concrete solutions to further the cause of equality and justice.

The hard months and years ahead will require determined and principled leadership at every level in every nation. Multilateralism is not an option: it is the only path that can deliver a green, sustainable and equitable recovery.

Statement of the International Criminal Court on recent measures announced by the US

ICC [International Criminal Court] – U.S.

Executive Order on Blocking Property Of Certain Persons Associated With The International Criminal Court
National Security & Defense
Issued on June 11, 2020
…I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, find that the situation with respect to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and its illegitimate assertions of jurisdiction over personnel of the United States and certain of its allies, including the ICC Prosecutor’s investigation into actions allegedly committed by United States military, intelligence, and other personnel in or relating to Afghanistan, threatens to subject current and former United States Government and allied officials to harassment, abuse, and possible arrest. These actions on the part of the ICC, in turn, threaten to infringe upon the sovereignty of the United States and impede the critical national security and foreign policy work of United States Government and allied officials, and thereby threaten the national security and foreign policy of the United States…

… I therefore determine that any attempt by the ICC to investigate, arrest, detain, or prosecute any United States personnel without the consent of the United States, or of personnel of countries that are United States allies and who are not parties to the Rome Statute or have not otherwise consented to ICC jurisdiction, constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States, and I hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat….


Statement of the International Criminal Court on recent measures announced by the US
10 June 2020
The International Criminal Court (“ICC” or “the Court”) expresses profound regret at the announcement of further threats and coercive actions, including financial measures, against the Court and its officials, made earlier today by the Government of the United States.

The ICC stands firmly by its staff and officials and remains unwavering in its commitment to discharging, independently and impartially, the mandate bestowed upon it by the Rome Statute and the States that are party to it.

These are the latest in a series of unprecedented attacks on the ICC, an independent international judicial institution, as well as on the Rome Statute system of international criminal justice, which reflects the commitment and cooperation of the ICC’s 123 States Parties, representing all regions of the world.

These attacks constitute an escalation and an unacceptable attempt to interfere with the rule of law and the Court’s judicial proceedings. They are announced with the declared aim of influencing the actions of ICC officials in the context of the Court’s independent and objective investigations and impartial judicial proceedings.

An attack on the ICC also represents an attack against the interests of victims of atrocity crimes, for many of whom the Court represents the last hope for justice.

As it continues to meet its mandated responsibilities, the Court relies on the staunch support and cooperation of its States Parties. The Court wishes to recall, in this context, yesterday’s joint statement from the ten ICC States Parties members of the UN Security Council, reconfirming their “unwavering support for the Court as an independent and impartial judicial institution,” as well as the press statement issued earlier today by the President of the Assembly of States Parties.

IOM Releases Global Guidance on International Recruitment and Protection of Migrant Workers

Migrant Workers – Ethical Recruitment

The Montreal Recommendations on Recruitment: A Roadmap towards Better Regulation
International Organization for Migration is
2020 :: 30 pages
This resource presents policymakers and regulators with practical guidance and ideas to improve regulation and oversight of international recruitment and protection of migrant workers. It covers a broad range of themes, including the following: (a) recruitment fees; (b) licensing and registration of labour recruiters; (c) inspections and enforcement; (d) access to grievance mechanisms and dispute resolution; (e) bilateral and multilateral mechanisms; and (f) migrant welfare and assistance. The guidance results from a global conference held in Montreal, Canada, that brought together leading experts and practitioners from more than 30 countries around the world. It reflects an important milestone in global efforts to promote ethical recruitment.


IOM Releases Global Guidance on International Recruitment and Protection of Migrant Workers
2020-06-08 17:58
Geneva — Migrant workers can be vulnerable to abuse and exploitation during migration and employment due to factors including unethical recruitment, migration status, fear of deportation, or the inability to find alternative employment, particularly during the current COVID-19 crisis.

Today (8 June) the International Organization for Migration is publishing new, pioneering guidance for Member States on the regulation of international recruitment and protection of migrant workers.

The Montreal Recommendations on Recruitment: A Roadmap towards Better Regulation provides clear guidance to policymakers on how to protect migrant workers during recruitment, migration, and employment. It is designed to help develop comprehensive, multi-faceted approaches to promote ethical recruitment, enhance transparency and accountability, and improve the migration and employment outcomes for all stakeholders.

“IOM is proud to publish this guidance, at a time when migrant workers around the world face increased vulnerability and risk,” said IOM Deputy Director General Laura Thompson.
“Many industries in the global economy are heavily dependent on migrant workers. Without them, health care services, agri-food production, manufacturing, and retail services would grind to a halt, threatening an already fragile global economy. Yet very often, gaps in migration governance and, in particular, the regulation of recruitment, leave migrant workers vulnerable to exploitation. This guidance is intended to help policy makers fulfill their critical role in addressing these gaps.”

The Montreal Recommendations are the result of a global conference held last year in Quebec, Canada, bringing together senior policy makers, leading experts and practitioners from more than 30 countries around the world, and representatives from Ministries of Labour, Foreign Affairs and Immigration.
They were tasked to co-create guidance to better regulate international recruitment, improve oversight of recruitment industries and enhance protections for migrant workers. The resulting 55 recommendations set out a clear roadmap towards better regulation and migrant worker protection and they are complemented by recent guidance published by IOM to support employers and labour recruiters in their efforts to enhance protections for migrant workers during the COVID-19 crisis.

IOM’s Labour Mobility and Human Development Division helps governments and partners to harness development outcomes of migration by focusing on the protection of migrant workers and seeking to enhance the benefits of labour migration for all parties involved.
The division operates IRIS: Ethical Recruitment — a global multi-stakeholder initiative designed to promote ethical recruitment with the support of governments, civil society, the labour movement, private sector and ethical recruiters.


IRIS: Ethical Recruitment
IRIS is a global initiative that is designed to promote ethical international recruitment. It works by defining and setting a benchmark for ethical recruitment (the IRIS Standard), and through establishing a voluntary certification scheme for ethical labour recruiters, and a compliance and monitoring mechanism. IRIS was created by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and a coalition of partners from government, the private sector and civil society. Through IRIS, IOM also works with governments, the private sector (employers, suppliers, brands etc) and civil society organizations to create the enabling environment for ethical recruitment to become the norm.

UN Action Joins the Call of the Secretary-General for a Global Ceasefire

Global Ceasefire – Sexual Violence in Conflict

11 June, 2020
UN Action Joins the Call of the Secretary-General for a Global Ceasefire
On the occasion of this year’s International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, the member entities of United Nations Action against Sexual Violence in Conflict[1] express their grave concern at the continued use of sexual violence as a tactic of war, terrorism and political repression, and call on all parties to conflicts to commit to ceasing such acts as part of the Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire made in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Women and girls are disproportionately impacted by conflict-related sexual violence. Its perpetration severely affects survivors, their families and their communities causing lasting harm, and undermining efforts to achieve peace as well as just and inclusive societies. We stress the importance of addressing conflict-related sexual violence throughout all conflict prevention, humanitarian response, peacemaking and peacebuilding efforts. Ensuring a survivor-centered approach is crucial to these efforts.

Recognizing that durable peace is not possible without women’s expertise and contributions, we urge all parties and stakeholders to ensure the meaningful participation of women at all levels of decision making whilst immediately putting an end to violence.

UN Action entities stand ready to support comprehensive peace initiatives that ensure women’s equal and meaningful participation, and that fully address the needs and experiences of survivors of conflict-related sexual violence.

As we mark the 20th anniversary of the Women, Peace and Security agenda, UN Action reiterates its commitment to finally putting an end to the scourge of conflict-related sexual violence and to achieving sustainable peace.

1] UN Action against Sexual Violence in Conflict unites the efforts of DPO, DPPA, OCHA, OHCHR, OSRSG-CAAC, IOM, UNAIDS, UNDP, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNODA, UNODC, UN Women and WHO in preventing and responding to conflict-related sexual violence. The network is chaired by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict.

Press briefing note on Yemen – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights


Press briefing note on Yemen
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
12 June 2020
We are alarmed at the desperate situation in Yemen, where the healthcare system is on the brink of collapse, and are fearful that countless lives will be lost not only to COVID-19 but as a result of malaria, cholera, dengue fever and other diseases. We urge international donors to provide immediate relief to help the millions who have already endured five years of warfare.

We echo the concerns of the UN Secretary-General who said on June 2 that it is now a race against time for Yemen. Already, four out of every five people, 24 million people in all, need lifesaving aid in what remains the world’s largest humanitarian crisis.

More than 30 of the 41 UN-supported programmes in Yemen will close in the coming weeks if additional funds are not secured. Now, more than ever, the country needs the outside world’s help.

Our Office has received reports of hospitals turning away sick people, some of whom were struggling for breath and with a high fever. There are simply no beds, little equipment, few staff and next to no medicine. Sanitation and clean water are also in short supply.

The country has officially recorded more than 500 cases of COVID-19. However, official reports are lagging far behind actual infections, especially in areas controlled by the de facto authorities in the north. The overall case fatality rate is over 20 percent.

Many functioning health centres lack basic equipment to treat COVID-19. Health workers have no protective gear, and most are receiving no salaries, resulting in health workers not reporting to duty.
We call on the parties to the conflict to agree on an immediate ceasefire, abide by their obligations under international law and take every possible measure to protect Yemenis and ensure their access to medical treatment and information to contain the spread of the current deadly outbreaks in Yemen. And we urge them to allow unhindered access and the delivery of much needed humanitarian assistance to civilians across Yemen.

New UNICEF, NBIM guidance to help businesses prioritize child rights in global supply chains

Child Labour – Global Supply Chains

New UNICEF, NBIM guidance to help businesses prioritize child rights in global supply chains
As the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic threatens livelihoods across the globe, newly released guidance supports companies to improve their impact on children in the garment and footwear supply chain
GENEVA, 10 June 2020 – A new guidance released today by UNICEF and Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM) will help clothing and footwear companies better address children’s rights in their global supply chains.

Released ahead of World Day Against Child Labour, the guidance tool is the result of a partnership between UNICEF and NBIM, which manages the assets of the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global. It involved leading apparel and footwear companies including Adidas, H&M and VF Corporation.

“As the socio-economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic threaten the livelihoods of millions of workers in global supply chains, children’s rights must be at the heart of business action,” said UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Charlotte Petri Gornitzka. “We have an opportunity to re-imagine the post-COVID world and build a better garment and footwear sector that supports the right of every child.”

The guidance tool provides practical steps for companies to embed children’s rights in their sustainability strategies and approaches. It calls on companies to gather evidence on how children are impacted; identify bottlenecks; and take proactive steps to integrate children’s rights into their supply chain management systems. It also includes specific metrics, which support the measurement of and reporting on children’s rights outcomes over time.

More specifically, the guidance calls on companies to:
:: Assess child rights risks and business preparedness to address them;
:: Integrate child rights into policies and management systems;
:: Get internal buy-in and engage key decision-makers;
:: Strengthen supplier capacity to address child rights and root causes;
:: Monitor and measure outcomes and progress;
:: Engage stakeholders, workers and implement grievance processes;
:: Report on outcomes and progress;
:: Collaborate and invest in multi-stakeholder initiatives;
:: Support governments and advocate for children’s rights.

…NBIM Chief Corporate Governance Officer Carine Smith Ihenacho [said]. “Children must be at the heart of companies’ sustainability efforts as they are among the most vulnerable members of society and the basis for future prosperity. It is our hope that the guidance tool and our partnership with UNICEF will contribute to improved market practices and greater respect for children’s rights across the sector.”

COVID-19 to Plunge Global Economy into Worst Recession since World War II

COVID-19 – Global Economy

COVID-19 to Plunge Global Economy into Worst Recession since World War II
Per Capita Incomes to Shrink in All Regions
WASHINGTON, June 8, 2020 — The swift and massive shock of the coronavirus pandemic and shutdown measures to contain it have plunged the global economy into a severe contraction. According to World Bank forecasts, the global economy will shrink by 5.2% this year.[1] That would represent the deepest recession since the Second World War, with the largest fraction of economies experiencing declines in per capita output since 1870, the World Bank says in its June 2020 Global Economic Prospects.

Economic activity among advanced economies is anticipated to shrink 7% in 2020 as domestic demand and supply, trade, and finance have been severely disrupted. Emerging market and developing economies (EMDEs) are expected to shrink by 2.5% this year, their first contraction as a group in at least sixty years. Per capita incomes are expected to decline by 3.6%, which will tip millions of people into extreme poverty this year.

The blow is hitting hardest in countries where the pandemic has been the most severe and where there is heavy reliance on global trade, tourism, commodity exports, and external financing. While the magnitude of disruption will vary from region to region, all EMDEs have vulnerabilities that are magnified by external shocks. Moreover, interruptions in schooling and primary healthcare access are likely to have lasting impacts on human capital development.

“This is a deeply sobering outlook, with the crisis likely to leave long-lasting scars and pose major global challenges,” said World Bank Group Vice President for Equitable Growth, Finance and Institutions, Ceyla Pazarbasioglu. “Our first order of business is to address the global health and economic emergency. Beyond that, the global community must unite to find ways to rebuild as robust a recovery as possible to prevent more people from falling into poverty and unemployment.”

Under the baseline forecast—which assumes that the pandemic recedes sufficiently to allow the lifting of domestic mitigation measures by mid-year in advanced economies and a bit later in EMDEs, that adverse global spillovers ease during the second half of the year, and that dislocations in financial markets are not long-lasting — global growth is forecast to rebound to 4.2% in 2021, as advanced economies grow 3.9% and EMDEs bounce back by 4.6%. However, the outlook is highly uncertain and downside risks are predominant, including the possibility of a more protracted pandemic, financial upheaval, and retreat from global trade and supply linkages. A downside scenario could lead the global economy to shrink by as much as 8% this year, followed by a sluggish recovery in 2021 of just over 1%, with output in EMDEs contracting by almost 5% this year.

The U.S. economy is forecast to contract 6.1% this year, reflecting the disruptions associated with pandemic-control measures. Euro Area output is expected to shrink 9.1% in 2020 as widespread outbreaks took a heavy toll on activity. Japan’s economy is anticipated to shrink 6.1% as preventive measures have slowed economic activity…

Five Foundations Commit $1.7+ Billion to Nonprofit Organizations in Wake of Pandemic

COVID-19 – Response from Major Foundations

Five Foundations Commit $1.7+ Billion to Nonprofit Organizations in Wake of Pandemic
June 11, 2020 | Press Release
Today, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation announced a joint commitment to increase their payouts to nonprofit organizations with more than $1.7 billion within the next three years to help stabilize and sustain a nonprofit sector facing devastating economic effects due to the global pandemic and the epidemic of social injustice. This financial commitment represents new funding above the previously approved budgets by each foundation’s board. Each foundation will determine priorities for the distribution of the new funds based on its grantmaking guidelines and priorities.

Generally, in the aggregate, funds will cover grantmaking aligned with each foundation’s mission, including racial equity and social justice, arts and culture, higher education, human services, climate solutions, and other areas to provide financial support to communities that are most vulnerable and hardest hit by the impact of COVID-19…


Equals Change Blog
Extraordinary Times, Extraordinary Measures
Darren Walker, President, Ford Foundation
11 June 2020
We are experiencing the unprecedented. The world we knew before COVID-19 has been permanently upended. Our lives—our histories—are forever split in two: before coronavirus and after.

Today’s crisis reveals fundamental truths about what it is to be human, to live and to die, and to share our lives with others…

…The Ford Foundation recognizes that this once-in-a-century crisis—and the overwhelming need to emerge from it with a more just and equitable society—requires a once-in-a-century response.

As foundations, our standard practice is to spend the five percent of our endowments each year as required by law to support the financial viability of the institution into the future. We will not spend down our assets but, as I’ve written previously, we cannot limit ourselves to this five percent. We must explore and expand new ways to deploy all of our assets—including the other 95 percent—in the fight for justice.

Given these intersecting, cascading crises, Ford’s Trustees and I have concluded that we cannot and will not merely pay out what we would in a normal year. We cannot and will not allow this economic crisis to decrease our grantmaking next year or going forward. We cannot do the minimum when faced with maximum threat.

If we fail to act, civil society will suffer irreparable damage—and so will the health and vitality of our most vulnerable communities, and the future of our democracy.

And so, today we’re announcing that, for the first time in Ford’s history, the Board of Trustees has authorized up to $1 billion—financed through the sale of bonds—to help stabilize and strengthen the nonprofit sector. This is only possible because of the board’s unwavering, unstinting support, energy and commitment, which serves as a source of inspiration to all of us at Ford, that this is possible, and for that I want to express my deepest gratitude.

With this new source of funding, the foundation will make strategic investments in the individuals and organizations that are not just fighting against inequality and injustice but preparing to lead us through a post-coronavirus recovery.

A Call To Unleash Every Resource
Historically, foundations have issued debt for building acquisition and construction projects—as we recently did to renovate our New York headquarters. Never has debt been used as a tool for expanding philanthropic grantmaking.

This changes now.

A number of US foundations—including the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation—have joined us and, collectively, our joint commitment to additional grantmaking will add more than $1.7 billion to the nonprofit sector. I’m enormously grateful to the presidents of those foundations who have my admiration and affection: Elizabeth Alexander, Ed Henry, John Palfrey and La June Montgomery Tabron who have dedicated countless hours to our collective action. They are the very best examples of foundation leaders with bold and ambitious visions for their organizations.

If more foundations take this brave step, our sector could generate untold billions of dollars to rescue nonprofits. We could ensure that civil society emerges from this pandemic and economic collapse more resilient and effective than ever.

Philanthropy has a special responsibility. Given our resources, we can support programs and initiatives that others might consider a financial burden. We can, will, and must invest in organizations that attack the roots of systemic inequality this virus has laid bare. And as we fund these vital recovery efforts, we must reimagine our systems—reimagine our democracy, our economy, our culture for the better.

In another tumultuous and violent year, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., shared his concern with friend Harry Belafonte that, despite the progress they had seen, America and its systems were still “a burning house.”

When asked what to do about it, Dr. King said, “I guess we’re just going to have to become firemen.”

I return to this exchange often. It clarifies that, despite the scale and complexity of the problems we face, we still share a universal imperative—to become firefighters for justice. To do, whatever it is we do, for justice.

At this moment, it is not enough to douse the “burning house” in front of us. It is not sufficient to lend a hose and then move on. We must, further, think, and act, like firefighters. We must make it our mission to save lives—to rush in where others turn away, take brave and extraordinary action, and attend to the emergency at hand.

We must stop the forces of destruction at their source with every tool and resource we have at our disposal. We must assess the damage caused by these inequalities and set the conditions in which we can build something new.

The lifting will be heavy. It will require humility and selflessness, listening and elevating the lived experience over ego and abstract expertise, and the moral courage to stand up for the rights and dignity of every human life. It will demand that the privileged among us not only give something back, but also give something up.

We live in a culture that makes these things hard—but what makes doing them worthwhile and meaningful is the hope that doing them now will create a better tomorrow. And that hope is the oxygen that allows our movements and institutions and democracy to breathe free.

Ultimately, we need hope—a hope born not from idealism or naivete, but from a stubborn, determined recognition of what we owe each other, and the actions we take today and every day, will bring us closer to the future we seek. We need hope that united—on the other side—we will realize justice for all.

Coronavirus [COVID-19]


Coronavirus [COVID-19]
Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)

WHO – Situation report – 145
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)  13 June 2020
Confirmed cases :: 7 553 182
Confirmed deaths :: 423 349
Countries, areas or territories with cases :: 216

As of 13 June 10am (CEST), Chinese authorities reported to WHO 12 new confirmed cases, among them 6 in Beijing. After 10am (CEST), Chinese authorities reported additional information about an ongoing investigation of further cases in Beijing. Information about the investigation in Beijing will be made available separately and additional cases reported in subsequent Situation Reports.

:: WHO COVID-19 Webpage:
:: Daily WHO situation reports here:
:: WHO Coronavirus disease (COVID-2019) daily press briefings here:


WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 – 12 June 2020
12 June 2020
…As the pandemic accelerates in low- and middle-income countries, WHO is especially concerned about its impact on people who already struggle to access health services – often women, children and adolescents.
The indirect effects of COVID-19 on these groups may be greater than the number of deaths due to the virus itself.
Because the pandemic has overwhelmed health systems in many places, women may have a heightened risk of dying from complications of pregnancy and childbirth.
WHO has developed guidance for health facilities and community activities on maintaining essential services, including for women, newborns, children and adolescents.
This includes ensuring women and children can use services with appropriate infection prevention and control measures, and respectful maternal and newborn care.
WHO has also carefully investigated the risks of women transmitting COVID-19 to their babies during breastfeeding.
We know that children are at relatively low-risk of COVID-19, but are at high risk of numerous other diseases and conditions that breastfeeding prevents.
Based on the available evidence, WHO’s advice is that the benefits of breastfeeding outweigh any potential risks of transmission of COVID-19…