Ebola – DRC+ :: WHO/OCHA Emergencies

Emergencies

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

Last WHO Situation Report published 23 June 2020

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WHO Grade 3 Emergencies [to 15 Aug 2020]

Democratic Republic of the Congo – No new digest announcements identified
Mozambique floods – No new digest announcements identified
Nigeria – No new digest announcements identified
Somalia – No new digest announcements identified
South Sudan – No new digest announcements identified
Syrian Arab Republic – No new digest announcements identified
Yemen – No new digest announcements identified

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WHO Grade 2 Emergencies [to 15 Aug 2020]
Iraq
:: WHO and Ministry of Health launch second phase of COVID-19 awareness-raising campaign
Baghdad, Iraq, 10 August 2020 – Yesterday, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ministry of Health of Iraq launched the second phase of a COVID-19 awareness-raising campaign in the heavily populated, high-risk areas of Thi Qar and Missan, south of Baghdad. The campaign “Your health is important” will be extended later in the month to Basra, Wasit, and to Sulaymaniyah, north of the capital Baghdad…

Measles in Europe
:: Measles and rubella elimination: verification process continues amid COVID-19 pandemic 13-08-2020

Afghanistan – No new digest announcements identified
Angola – 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
Iran floods 2019 – No new digest announcements identified
Libya – No new digest announcements identified
Malawi – 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
HIV in Pakistan – No new digest announcements identified
Sao Tome and Principe Necrotizing Cellulitis (2017) – No new digest announcements identified
Sudan – No new digest announcements identified
Ukraine – No new digest announcements identified
Zimbabwe – No new digest announcements identified

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WHO Grade 1 Emergencies [to 15 Aug 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

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UN OCHA – L3 Emergencies
The UN and its humanitarian partners are currently responding to three ‘L3’ emergencies. This is the global humanitarian system’s classification for the response to the most severe, large-scale humanitarian crises. 
Yemen
:: 12 August 2020 Yemen: COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Monthly Report (July 2020)

Syrian Arab Republic
– No new digest announcements identified

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UN OCHA – Corporate Emergencies
When the USG/ERC declares a Corporate Emergency Response, all OCHA offices, branches and sections provide their full support to response activities both at HQ and in the field.
East Africa Locust Infestation
::  Desert Locust situation update – 14 August 2020

COVID-19
:: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Report 40: occupied Palestinian territory, issued 13 August 2020, information for period: 5 March – 13 August 2020

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The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health :: Education :: Heritage Stewardship ::
Sustainable Development
__________________________________________________
Week ending 8 August 2020 :: Number 328

This weekly digest is intended to aggregate and distill key content from a broad spectrum of practice domains and organization types including key agencies/IGOs, NGOs, governments, academic and research institutions, consortia and collaborations, foundations, and commercial organizations. We also monitor a spectrum of peer-reviewed journals and general media channels. The Sentinel’s geographic scope is global/regional but selected country-level content is included. We recognize that this spectrum/scope yields an indicative and not an exhaustive product. Comments and suggestions should be directed to:

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

PDFThe Sentinel_ period ending 8 Aug 2020

Contents
:: Week in Review  [See selected posts just below]
:: Key Agency/IGO/Governments Watch – Selected Updates from 30+ entities   [see PDF]
:: INGO/Consortia/Joint Initiatives Watch – Media Releases, Major Initiatives, Research:: Foundation/Major Donor Watch -Selected Updates
:: Journal Watch – Key articles

Lebanon – post 4 August 2020

Lebanon

Beirut explosion: Donors pledge aid for Lebanon but want reform
BBC News, 9 Aug 2020
International donors have pledged a quarter of a billion euros in aid for Lebanon five days after the explosion which devastated a swathe of Beirut. But an online donor summit arranged by France called at the same time for reforms to be made….

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Statement by IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva on the International Conference on Support to Beirut and the Lebanese People
August 9, 2020
Washington, DC: Ms. Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), made the following statement today at the end of the high-level “International Conference on Support to Beirut and the Lebanese People” after the August 4 explosion:
“I would like to thank French President Emmanuel Macron for bringing us together just days after the devastating explosion in Beirut and express heartfelt solidarity with the Lebanese people. It is a terrible tragedy, coming at a terrible time. Lebanon has been struggling with profound economic and social challenges, aggravated by a pandemic, but even more so by the shortage of political will to adopt and implement meaningful reforms the people of Lebanon have been calling for. This is the moment for Lebanese policymakers to unite and address the severe economic and social crisis. It is also a moment for the international community to stand by the country and its people – with urgent humanitarian assistance, and support for reforms to pull Lebanon from the brink of economic collapse.

“Over the last months we have been engaged intensely with the Lebanese authorities, as well as with civil society and the international community, on a reform package aimed at addressing the deepening crisis, strengthening governance and accountability, and restoring confidence in the economy. Unfortunately these discussions have yet to yield results.

“We are ready to redouble our efforts. But we need unity of purpose in Lebanon—we need all institutions to come together determined to carry out much needed reforms.

“First, to restore the solvency of public finances and the soundness of the financial system. Current and future generations of Lebanese must not be saddled with more debts than they can ever repay. This is why the IMF requires debt sustainability as a condition for lending. And the financial system must be solvent—those who benefitted from past excessive returns need to share the burden of bank recapitalization, to protect the life savings of the vast majority of ordinary Lebanese depositors.

“Second, to put in place temporary safeguards to avoid continued capital outflows that would further undermine the financial system while reforms are taking hold. This includes adopting legislation to formalize capital controls in the banking system and eliminate the current multiple exchange rate system to help protect Lebanon’s international reserves while reducing rent-seeking and corruption.

“Third, upfront steps to reduce the protracted losses in many state-owned enterprises. There must be more predictability, transparency, and accountability—with comprehensive audits of key institutions, including the central bank.

“Finally, an expanded social safety net has to be in place to protect the most vulnerable people. They must not be asked to bear the brunt of this crisis.

“Commitment to these reforms will unlock billions of dollars for the benefit of the Lebanese people. This is the moment for the country’s policymakers to act decisively. We stand ready to help.”

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Press briefing note on Lebanon – UN OHCHR
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
7 August 2020
This week’s horrific blast in Beirut has brought into sharp focus the need for the international community to step up and help Lebanon and its people at their time of crisis. Only a swift international response and sustained engagement will prevent many more lives being lost.

Four weeks ago, the High Commissioner issued a stark warning that the situation in Lebanon was fast spiralling out of control. Then, she urged the Government, political parties and leaders to enact urgently needed reforms and to address essential needs such as shelter, food, electricity, health and education.

In her statement on July 10, the High Commissioner pointed to the situation of the most vulnerable. Today, every Lebanese is weighing how they will manage going forward after the triple tragedy of the socio-economic crisis, COVID-19 and the ammonium nitrate explosion.

With large swathes of the city unfit to live in, the country’s principle port all but destroyed and the health system on its knees, the situation is dire. Victims’ calls for accountability must be heard, including through undertaking an impartial, independent, thorough and transparent investigation into the explosion.

As the city and the country rebuilds, the need to protect the rights of the poorest and most vulnerable through collective action and reform, will be more important than ever.

This tragic event must be a turning point for the country’s leaders to overcome political stalemates and address the grievances of the population first aired during the protests in October 2019.

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UNESCO convenes partners to coordinate support for cultural heritage after the tragic explosion in Beirut
08/7/2020
While reiterating expressions of condolence and solidarity with the people of Lebanon in the wake of the tragic explosions in Beirut on 4 August 2020, UNESCO is taking action and organizing a meeting on 10 August together with the Directorate General of Antiquities in the Ministry of Culture of Lebanon, and its partners – ALIPH, ARC-WH, Blue Shield, ICCROM, ICOM, and ICOMOS – to jointly assess the situation and determine how the international community can support Lebanon in its efforts to safeguard the invaluable cultural heritage of Beirut.

The explosions destroyed a number of cultural assets in Beirut, which are a testimony to the country’s rich culture, identity and history. Important museums and galleries including the Sursock Museum and the Archaeological Museum of the American University in Beirut, as well as the urban cultural heritage districts of Gemmayzeh and Mar-Mikhaël, are among the sites that are reported to be severely damaged. Other galleries such as Malerie Marfa and Galerie Tanit are reported to be completely destroyed.

Culture and heritage are fundamental to societies and give strength and comfort to communities emerging from loss and tragedy. While humanitarian needs are of immediate concern, the protection and rehabilitation of cultural heritage and the prevention of further damage and loss are important for the longer-term recovery of the city and its people. This first coordination meeting aims to identify concrete measures that can be proposed to the Lebanese Government as well as local authorities and institutions in Beirut.

UNESCO stands ready to assist the people of Lebanon as they recover from this tragic incident.

ILO Child Labour Convention achieves universal ratification

Human Rights –Child Labour

ILO Child Labour Convention achieves universal ratification
04 August 2020
All 187 member States of the International Labour Organization (ILO) have ratified the ILO Convention on the Worst Forms of Child Labour, 1999 (No. 182).

GENEVA (ILO News) – For the first time in the ILO’s history, an International Labour Convention has been ratified by all member States. Convention No. 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour achieved universal ratification, following ratification by the Kingdom of Tonga.

The Convention is the most rapidly ratified Convention in the history of the Organization, since its adoption 21 years ago by the International Labour Conference.

“Universal ratification of Convention 182 is an historic first that means that all children now have legal protection against the worst forms of child labour,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder. “It reflects a global commitment that the worst forms of child labour, such as slavery, sexual exploitation, the use of children in armed conflict or other illicit or hazardous work that compromises children’s health, morals or psychological wellbeing, have no place in our society.”…

The ILO estimates that there are 152 million children in child labour , 73 million of whom are in hazardous work. Seventy per cent of all child labour takes place in agriculture and is mostly related to poverty and parents’ difficulties finding decent work.

Convention No. 182 calls for the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including slavery, forced labour and trafficking. It prohibits the use of children in armed conflict, prostitution, pornography and illicit activities such as drug trafficking, and in hazardous work…

“Ending child labour by 2025 in all its forms” is included under Target 8.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals , adopted by all UN Member States in 2015. The global partnership, Alliance 8.7 , for which the ILO provides the Secretariat, brings together over 250 partners and 21 Pathfinder Countries to coordinate, innovate and accelerate progress to end child labour, forced labour, human trafficking and modern slavery. The universal ratification of Convention No. 182 demonstrates the will of all ILO member States to ensure that every child, everywhere, is free from child labour and its worst forms.

This landmark achievement comes just months before the start of the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour in 2021 , to be led by the ILO in collaboration with partners. Its aim is to raise awareness of the issue and to help accelerate the pace of progress.

Biodiversity high on standards agenda – ISO

Heritage Stewardship – Biodiversity

Biodiversity high on standards agenda
A new expert committee on biodiversity just formed.
International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
By Clare Naden on 4 August 2020

Biodiversity ensures life. It creates the air that we breathe, the food that we eat, the medicines that save lives and the water we so badly rely on. But over-exploitation of land and species, intensive farming, pollution and climate change have eroded biodiversity to the point that we are now faced with natural disasters, food and water shortages, zoonoses and more. Strengthening biodiversity, therefore, is fundamental to sustainable development.

Recognizing this, ISO has just formed a committee of experts from all over the world dedicated to developing standards that help organizations do just that. ISO/TC 331, Biodiversity, will be chaired by AFNOR, ISO’s member for France, and intends to provide a holistic approach by bringing together, and expanding on, existing national and international expertise to address biodiversity issues.

Committee Manager Caroline Lhuillery said the work of ISO/TC 331 will help to encourage organizations, including government and business, to embed biodiversity issues into their strategies, decision making and actions.

“Some three-quarters of the world’s land and two-thirds of the marine environment have been significantly modified by human intervention, creating real dangers for our populations,” she said.

“The desire is to turn the tables to create a healthier relationship between our economies and our ecosystems, a relationship that encourages the preservation of biodiversity while creating opportunities for sustainable development. A global approach is needed in order to achieve this.”

Future standards from the committee will include standardized terms and definitions to be used globally, methodologies for impact analysis, frameworks for defining strategies and action plans, monitoring and reporting tools, and more. ISO/TC 331 also intends to develop guidelines on specific biodiversity issues such as ecological engineering, nature-based solutions and relevant technologies.

The new committee’s outputs will be useful to national and local authorities, businesses and other relevant organizations to improve their current activities related to biodiversity and facilitate the development of new products and initiatives.

Use of the future standards will enable organizations to directly contribute to the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 13 (Climate Action), SDG 14 (Life below Water) and SDG 15 (Life on Land). The committee’s work will also indirectly benefit the remaining SDGs, as all human activities depend on biodiversity. Those interested in contributing to ISO/TC 331 should contact their national ISO member.

UN Secretary-General warns of education catastrophe, pointing to UNESCO estimate of 24 million learners at risk of dropping out

COVID-19 Second Order/Third Order Effects – Education

UN Secretary-General warns of education catastrophe, pointing to UNESCO estimate of 24 million learners at risk of dropping out
Press release 08/6/2020
UN Secretary-General António Guterres today launched the Education in the time of COVID-19 and beyond Policy Brief warning that the pandemic has created the most severe disruption in the world’s education systems in history and is threatening a loss of learning that may stretch beyond one generation of students. School closures are also likely to erase decades of progress, according to the Policy Brief, which builds on UNESCO’s data and features recommendations on ways to avert the looming catastrophe.

UNESCO led the drafting of the Secretary-General’s Policy Brief which contains inputs from 15 sister organizations…

The Brief calls for national authorities and the international community to come together to place education at the forefront of recovery agendas and protect investment in education. With this objective, UNESCO will convene a special session of the Global Education Meeting before the end of the year.

UNESCO data shows that nearly 1.6 billion learners in more than 190 countries, 94% of the world’s student population, were affected by the closure of educational institutions at the peak of the crisis, a figure that stands at 1 billion today. As many as 100 countries have yet to announce a date for schools to reopen.

The Policy Brief points to UNESCO’s projections whereby 24 million learners from pre-primary to tertiary education risk not finding their way back to their studies in 2020 following the COVID-19-induced closures. The largest share of learners at risk, 5.9 million, live in South and West Asia. Another 5.3 million students at risk are in sub-Saharan Africa. Both regions faced severe educational challenges even before the pandemic, which is likely to worsen their situation considerably.

According to UNESCO, tertiary education is likely to experience the highest dropout rate and a projected 3.5% decline in enrolment, resulting in 7.9 million fewer students. Pre-primary education is the second worst affected level with a projected 2.8% decline in enrolment, i.e. 5 million fewer children attending. According to these projections, 0.27% of primary and 1.48% of secondary education students, corresponding to 5.2 million girls and 5.7 million boys at both levels, risk dropping out of school.

“These findings emphasize the urgent need to ensure the continuity of learning for all in the face of this unprecedented crisis, in particular the most vulnerable,” says UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay. “The Brief calls to protect investment in education at all levels, and warns that according to UNESCO estimates, the pandemic will increase the gap in funding needed to reach the internationally agreed 2030 Sustainable Development Goal on Education (SDG4) in low and lower-middle income countries by one third, from the already staggering shortfall of USD 148 billion.”..

The Brief makes recommendations in four areas to mitigate the effects of the pandemic:
[1] Suppress transmission of the virus and plan thoroughly for school reopening: this covers health and safety measures, attention to the needs of marginalized children and joint planning and consultation with teachers, parents and communities The UN has issued guidance to help governments in this complex endeavour.

[2] Protect education financing and coordinate for impact: despite public spending constraints, national authorities must protect education budgets and include education in COVID stimulus packages. The international community must protect official development assistance for education. Relieving, postponing and restructuring debt for low and lower-middle income countries is part of the solution to help countries invest in education.

[3] Strengthen the resilience of education systems for equitable and sustainable development: Building back resilience requires a priority focus on equity and inclusion, with measures to address the needs of the most marginalized and vulnerable learners and to ensure that economic strains and gender norms do not prevent girls from returning to school. Risk management capacities need to be reinforced at all levels.

[4] Reimagine education and accelerate positive change in teaching and learning: The scale of innovations made in a short time to ensure learning continuity proves that change can happen quickly. They have set the ground to reimagine education and build systems that are more forward-looking, inclusive, flexible and resilient. Solutions must address learning losses, preventing dropouts, particularly of the most marginalized, and ensuring the social and emotional welfare of students, teachers and staff. Other priorities include better support to the teaching profession, removing barriers to connectivity, investing in digital technologies and flexible learning pathways.

The UN Policy Brief is being launched alongside #SaveOurFuture, a multi-partner campaign led by ten entities, including UNESCO, to raise awareness of the global education emergency and urge increased investment to build better, more inclusive and resilient education systems for the future.
:: Secretary-General’s Policy Brief on Education and COVID-19

UN Experts: Sanctions proving deadly during COVID pandemic, humanitarian exemptions not working

COVID-19 – Humanitarian Exemptions

UN Experts: Sanctions proving deadly during COVID pandemic, humanitarian exemptions not working
Geneva (7 August 2020) – People in countries under sanctions cannot protect themselves against COVID-19 or get life-saving treatment if they fall ill because humanitarian exemptions to the sanctions are not working, UN human rights experts* said today.

“Sanctions are bringing suffering and death in countries like Cuba, Iran, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen,” said Alena Douhan, special rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights. “Sanctions should be lifted – or at a minimum eased – so people can get basics like soap and disinfectants to stay healthy, and so that hospitals can get ventilators and other equipment to keep people alive.”

Nothing has improved, she said, since she called in April for lifting of all unilateral sanctions that prevent sanctioned states from adequately fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, or since the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies made a similar appeal.

“Sanctions that were imposed in the name of delivering human rights are in fact killing people and depriving them of fundamental rights, including the rights to health, to food and to life itself,” said Douhan and other UN experts. Water, soap, and electricity needed by hospitals, fuel for delivering vital goods, and food are all in short supply because of the sanctions.

“We renew our call for sanctioning countries to urgently lift, suspend or minimize their sanctions so that medicine, medical equipment, food and fuel can get through,” the experts said.

They welcomed efforts by many states, intergovernmental organizations and nongovernmental organizations to try to help sanctioned countries fight COVID-19. “We particularly welcome the willingness of the European Union, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Russia, China, the United States and other donors to ship much needed medical supplies.”

However, in place of time-consuming and often costly procedures for getting humanitarian exemptions to sanctions, the UN experts said exemptions should be granted on the presumption that the stated purpose is actually humanitarian, with a burden of proof on others to show it is not.

“To guarantee human rights and solidarity in the course of the pandemic, licenses for delivery of humanitarian aid should be provided in the easiest way – preferably automatically upon request,” Douhan said. “Individuals and humanitarian organizations involved in the delivery of such aid should in no way be subjected to secondary sanctions.”

*The experts: Ms Alena Douhan, Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of the unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights; Mr. Obiora Okafor, the Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity; Ms. Tlaleng Mofokeng, Special Rapporteur on the right to physical and mental health; Mr. Michael Fakhri, Special Rapporteur on the right to food; Ms Agnès Callamard, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

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

EMERGENCIES

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

Situation report – 201
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
8 August 2020

Confirmed cases :: 19 187 943 [week ago: 17 396 943]
Confirmed deaths :: 716 075 [week ago: 635 173]

Highlights [selected]
:: WHO has published guidance on the public health surveillance of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in humans caused by infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). This document combines and supersedes the Global surveillance guidance for COVID-19 caused by human infection with COVID-19 virus: Interim guidance, and Surveillance strategies for COVID-19 human infection: Interim Guidance 10 May 2020.

:: A plane carrying 20 tonnes of trauma and surgical supplies from WHO has landed in Beirut, Lebanon to support the treatment of patients injured by the blast which occurred in the city on 4 August. This latest emergency has occurred at a time of recent civil unrest, economic crisis, the COVID-19 outbreak and heavy refugee burden. “We are in this together, and we are committed to supporting Lebanon in this very difficult time” said Dr Najat Rochdi, UN Resident Coordinator in Lebanon…

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COVID-19 Vaccines – Access/Procurement/Supply

Up to 100 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to be made available for low- and middle-income countries as early as 2021
:: New landmark collaboration between the Serum Institute of India (SII), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to accelerate manufacturing and delivery of up to 100 million doses of future safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for low- and middle-income countries in 2021

:: Vaccines will be priced at maximum US$ 3 per dose and made available to up to 92 countries included in Gavi’s COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC)

:: Dr Seth Berkley: New collaboration will help “ensure we have additional manufacturing capacity to begin producing doses for every country, not just the wealthy few”

Geneva, 7 August 2020 – A new landmark collaboration between SII, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by volume, Gavi and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will accelerate the manufacture and delivery of up to 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) as part of the Gavi COVAX AMC, a mechanism within the COVAX Facility.

The collaboration will provide upfront capital to SII to help them increase manufacturing capacity now so that, once a vaccine, or vaccines, gains regulatory approval and WHO Prequalification, doses can be produced at scale for distribution to LMIC countries as part of the Gavi COVAX AMC mechanism as early as the first half of 2021.

“Too many times we’ve seen the most vulnerable countries left at the back of the queue when it comes to new treatments, new diagnostics and new vaccines,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. “With COVID-19 vaccines we want things to be different. If only the wealthiest countries in the world are protected, then international trade, commerce and society as a whole will continue to be hit hard as the pandemic continues to rage across the globe. This new collaboration is an important step in our efforts to prevent this from happening, helping to ensure we have additional manufacturing capacity to begin producing doses for every country, not just the wealthy few. We now need other vaccine manufacturers to step up and follow SII’s lead.”

The funding will help de-risk manufacturing by SII for candidate vaccines from AstraZeneca and Novavax, which will be available for procurement if they are successful in attaining full licensure and WHO Prequalification. SII has set a ceiling price of US$ 3 per dose, a price enabled by investments made by partners such as CEPI and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The arrangement also provides an option to secure additional doses if the vaccines pillar of the ACT Accelerator sees a need for it.

“In an attempt to make our fight against COVID-19 stronger and all-embracing; SII has partnered with Gavi and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to advance the manufacturing and delivery of up to 100 million doses of future COVID vaccines for low and middle income countries in 2021,” said Adar Poonawalla, CEO of Serum Institute of India. “The rampant spread of the virus has rendered the entire world in an unimaginable halt of uncertainty. And to ensure maximum immunization coverage and contain the pandemic, it is important to make sure that the most remote and poorest countries of the world have access to affordable cure and preventive measures. Through this association, we seek to ramp up our constant efforts to save the lives of millions of people from this dreadful disease.”

The Gavi COVAX AMC, which is currently seeking at least US$ 2 billion in initial seed funding, will meet at least part of the cost of procurement for the vaccine doses. Last week the Gavi Board agreed upon the final list of 92 countries that will be supported by the AMC. Under the new collaboration, AstraZeneca’s candidate vaccine, if successful, will be available to 57 Gavi-eligible countries. Novavax’s candidate, if successful, will be available to all 92 countries supported by the AMC. These countries align with SII’s licensing agreements with the two partners.

POLIO Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC); WHO/OCHA Emergencies

Emergencies

POLIO
Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)

Polio this week as of 5 August 2020

Summary of new WPV and cVDPV viruses this week (AFP cases and environmental samples):
:: Afghanistan: two WPV1 positive environmental samples
:: Pakistan: three WPV1 cases, 12 WPV1 positive environmental samples and one cVDPV2 positive environmental sample
:: Cameroon: one cVDPV2 case
:: Chad: three cVDPV2 cases
:: Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo): two cVDPV2 cases

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WHO Grade 3 Emergencies [to 8 Aug 2020]

Democratic Republic of the Congo – No new digest announcements identified
Mozambique floods – No new digest announcements identified
Nigeria – No new digest announcements identified
Somalia – No new digest announcements identified
South Sudan – No new digest announcements identified
Syrian Arab Republic – No new digest announcements identified
Yemen – No new digest announcements identified

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WHO Grade 2 Emergencies [to 8 Aug 2020]
Afghanistan – No new digest announcements identified
Angola – 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
Iran floods 2019 – No new digest announcements identified
Iraq – 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
HIV in Pakistan – No new digest announcements identified
Sao Tome and Principe Necrotizing Cellulitis (2017) – No new digest announcements identified
Sudan – No new digest announcements identified
Ukraine – No new digest announcements identified
Zimbabwe – No new digest announcements identified

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WHO Grade 1 Emergencies [to 8 Aug 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

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UN OCHA – L3 Emergencies
The UN and its humanitarian partners are currently responding to three ‘L3’ emergencies. This is the global humanitarian system’s classification for the response to the most severe, large-scale humanitarian crises. 
Syrian Arab Republic
:: Syrian Arab Republic: COVID-19 Response Update No. 08 – 4 August 2020
:: Recent Developments in Northwest Syria – Flash Update – As of 07 August 2020

Yemen
:: 05 August 2020 Yemen Humanitarian Update Issue 07 (July 2020)

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UN OCHA – Corporate Emergencies
When the USG/ERC declares a Corporate Emergency Response, all OCHA offices, branches and sections provide their full support to response activities both at HQ and in the field.
East Africa Locust Infestation
::  Desert Locust situation update – 7 August 2020

COVID-19 – No new digest announcements identified

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::::::

 

The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health :: Education :: Heritage Stewardship ::
Sustainable Development
__________________________________________________
Week ending 1 August 2020 :: Number 327

This weekly digest is intended to aggregate and distill key content from a broad spectrum of practice domains and organization types including key agencies/IGOs, NGOs, governments, academic and research institutions, consortia and collaborations, foundations, and commercial organizations. We also monitor a spectrum of peer-reviewed journals and general media channels. The Sentinel’s geographic scope is global/regional but selected country-level content is included. We recognize that this spectrum/scope yields an indicative and not an exhaustive product. Comments and suggestions should be directed to:

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

PDFThe Sentinel_ period ending 1 Aug 2020

Contents
:: Week in Review  [See selected posts just below]
:: Key Agency/IGO/Governments Watch – Selected Updates from 30+ entities   [see PDF]
:: INGO/Consortia/Joint Initiatives Watch – Media Releases, Major Initiatives, Research:: Foundation/Major Donor Watch -Selected Updates
:: Journal Watch – Key articles

International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement urges all nations to end the nuclear era

Nuclear Era

International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement urges all nations to end the nuclear era
Geneva, 31 July 2020 –Seventy-five years ago, on the morning of August 6, 1945, a B-29 warplane released a terrifying new weapon on Hiroshima.

The nuclear bomb wiped out the city, instantly killing an estimated 70,000 people and leaving tens of thousands more suffering horrific injuries. Three days later, on 9 August, a second nuclear bomb devastated the city of Nagasaki, immediately killing 39,000 people.

By 1950, an estimated 340,000 people had died because of the bombs’ effects, including from illnesses caused by exposure to ionizing radiation. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Japanese Red Cross Society witnessed the unimaginable suffering and devastation, as medical and humanitarian personnel attempted, in near-impossible conditions, to assist the dying and injured.

The 75th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki comes even as the risk of use of nuclear weapons has risen to levels not seen since the end of the Cold War. Military incidents involving nuclear states and their allies have increased in frequency, and nuclear-armed states have made explicit threats to use nuclear weapons.

Additionally, agreements to eliminate existing arsenals are being abandoned as new nuclear weapons are being developed, putting the world on the dangerous path of a new nuclear arms race. These developments add urgency to the international community’s efforts to prohibit and eliminate these unacceptable weapons. The indisputable evidence of their catastrophic impact makes it extremely doubtful that their use could ever comply with international humanitarian law.

“The horror of a nuclear detonation may feel like distant history. But today the risk of nuclear weapons being used again is high. Treaties to reduce nuclear arsenals and risks of proliferation are being abandoned, new types of nuclear weapons are being produced, and serious threats are being made. That’s an arms race, and it’s frightening. We must push all states to ban nuclear weapons and push nuclear weapons states to negotiate, in good faith, steps towards their elimination,” said Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

“The international community would not be able to help all those in need after a nuclear blast. Widespread radiation sickness, a decline in food production, and the tremendous scale of destruction and contamination would make any meaningful humanitarian response insufficient. No nation is prepared to deal with a nuclear confrontation,” said Francesco Rocca, president of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

Proving the wide support for a nuclear-free world, 122 states in July 2017 adopted the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). The treaty will become legally binding for countries that ratify it after 50 do so; to date 40 have. The treaty prohibits the development, testing, production, stockpiling, stationing, transfer, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons. For nuclear-armed states that join the treaty, it provides for a time-bound framework for the verified elimination of their nuclear weapons program.

Mr Maurer and Mr Rocca commended the states that have already joined the TPNW and encouraged all others to follow suit, ensuring the events of 1945 never occur again. The two leaders said it was crucial that the TPNW becomes a new norm of international humanitarian law.

“Not since the end of the Cold War has it been more urgent to call attention to catastrophic consequences and fundamental inhumanity of nuclear weapons. We must signal in a clear and unambiguous manner that their use, under any circumstances, would be unacceptable in humanitarian, moral and legal terms,” said Mr Rocca.

There are over 14,000 nuclear bombs in the world, thousands of which are ready to be launched in an instant. The power of many of those warheads is tens of times greater than the weapons dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

“Weapons with catastrophic humanitarian consequences cannot credibly be viewed as instruments of security,” said Mr Maurer.

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Institutionalisation and deinstitutionalisation of children 2: policy and practice recommendations for global, national, and local actors

Featured Journal Content

The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health
Aug 2020 Volume 4 Number 8 p555-640, e26-e34
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanchi/issue/current

Lancet Group Commission
Institutionalisation and deinstitutionalisation of children 2: policy and practice recommendations for global, national, and local actors
Philip S Goldman,, et al
Summary
Worldwide, millions of children live in institutions, which runs counter to both the UN-recognised right of children to be raised in a family environment, and the findings of our accompanying systematic review of the physical, neurobiological, psychological, and mental health costs of institutionalisation and the benefits of deinstitutionalisation of child welfare systems. In this part of the Commission, international experts in reforming care for children identified evidence-based policy recommendations to promote family-based alternatives to institutionalisation. Family-based care refers to caregiving by extended family or foster, kafalah (the practice of guardianship of orphaned children in Islam), or adoptive family, preferably in close physical proximity to the biological family to facilitate the continued contact of children with important individuals in their life when this is in their best interest. 14 key recommendations are addressed to multinational agencies, national governments, local authorities, and institutions. These recommendations prioritise the role of families in the lives of children to prevent child separation and to strengthen families, to protect children without parental care by providing high-quality family-based alternatives, and to strengthen systems for the protection and care of separated children. Momentum for a shift from institutional to family-based care is growing internationally—our recommendations provide a template for further action and criteria against which progress can be assessed.

Viewpoint
The effects of social deprivation on adolescent development and mental health
Amy Orben, Livia Tomova, Sarah-Jayne Blakemore
Summary
Adolescence (the stage between 10 and 24 years) is a period of life characterised by heightened sensitivity to social stimuli and the increased need for peer interaction. The physical distancing measures mandated globally to contain the spread of COVID-19 are radically reducing adolescents’ opportunities to engage in face-to-face social contact outside their household. In this interdisciplinary Viewpoint, we describe literature from a variety of domains that highlight how social deprivation in adolescence might have far-reaching consequences. Human studies have shown the importance of peer acceptance and peer influence in adolescence. Animal research has shown that social deprivation and isolation have unique effects on brain and behaviour in adolescence compared with other stages of life. However, the decrease in adolescent face-to-face contact might be less detrimental due to widespread access to digital forms of social interaction through technologies such as social media. The findings reviewed highlight how physical distancing might have a disproportionate effect on an age group for whom peer interaction is a vital aspect of development.

 

UNESCO strengthens its database on national laws for the protection of cultural heritage

Heritage Stewardship

UNESCO strengthens its database on national laws for the protection of cultural heritage
27/07/2020
Since 2005 UNESCO has facilitated online access to its database on national legislation for the protection of cultural heritage—NATLAWS, an international, practical tool for combating the illicit traffic in cultural property. This database allows users, particularly lawyers and police, to search a nation’s laws and regulations by keywords, name, country, and year of publication, and contains crucial information such as contacts of national authorities responsible for the export of cultural goods or general information on the ministries responsible. It makes available legislation concerning movable and immovable cultural heritage as well as underwater and intangible cultural heritage among others, and also includes digitalized national legislation from UNESCO’s archives, transmitted by Member States since the 1950s.

In 2019 UNESCO began a project to update the NATLAWS database. This involved scanning all the existing documentation in high-definition, improving the quality of the documents and transforming its interface making it more accessible to users. A comprehensive index of cultural heritage laws has been created and an inventory of missing laws is now underway. This work was made possible thanks to financial support from Sweden and Switzerland .

The NATLAWS database currently includes 3022 laws, decrees and amendments tries, allowing users to easily access the title of the law, but also the content of the document. In addition to facilitating and broadening consultation of national cultural heritage laws, updating of the database also safeguards the institutional memory that these archives represent.

The NATLAWS database can be consulted by clicking here.

UN Human Rights Committee publishes interpretation on the right of peaceful assembly

Human Rights – Peaceful Assembly

UN Human Rights Committee publishes interpretation on the right of peaceful assembly
GENEVA (29 July 2020) — The UN Human Rights Committee today published its interpretation on the right of peaceful assembly, defining the scope of assembly that applies to both physical meetings and virtual or online gatherings, and outlining governments’ obligations.

The UN Human Rights Committee, made up of 18 individual experts who monitor implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), has issued a comprehensive legal guidance, also known as ‘general comment’, on article 21 of ICCPR about fundamental right of peaceful assembly. The general comment was the first major international instrument that was also drafted online, since the experts were unable to meet in person due to the pandemic.

At a time when recent developments, including the COVID-19 pandemic, have created unprecedented challenges to the realisation of article 21, and worldwide protests in support of Black Lives Matter have underlined its importance, the general comment clarifies how the term “peaceful assembly” shall be understood, and sets standards to assist the 173 countries which have ratified ICCPR to fulfil their obligations under the Covenant.

“It is a fundamental human right for individuals to join a peaceful assembly to express themselves, to celebrate, or to air grievances. Together with other rights related to political freedom, it constitutes the very foundation of a democratic society, in which changes can be pursued through discussion and persuasion, rather than use of force,” said Christof Heyns, the member of the Committee who acted as Rapporteur for the drafting of the general comment.

“Everyone, including children, foreign nationals, women, migrant workers, asylum seekers and refugees, can exercise the right of peaceful assembly, which may take many forms: in public and in private spaces, outdoors, indoors and online,” he added.

The Committee also stated that governments have positive obligations under the Covenant to facilitate peaceful assemblies and to protect participants from potential abuse by other members of the public. Governments also have negative duties, such as not to prohibit, restrict, block or disrupt assemblies without compelling justification.

“Generalised references to public order or public safety, or an unspecified risk of potential violence are not solid grounds for governments to prohibit peaceful assemblies,” Heyns said. “Any restriction on participation in peaceful assemblies should be based on a differentiated or individualized assessment of the conduct of participants. Blanket restrictions on participation in peaceful assemblies are not appropriate,” he explained.

The general comment also provided guidance on a number of current issues, including the following: assembly participants have the right to wear masks or hoods to cover their face; governments should not collect personal data to harass or intimidate participants; and Governments also cannot block Internet networks or close down any website because of their roles in organising or soliciting a peaceful assembly.

It also stressed the right of journalists and human rights observers to monitor and document any assembly including violent and unlawful ones.

The full general comment is now available online.

Tourism Restarts: 40% of Destinations Have Now Eased Travel Restrictions

COBVIX-19 – Tourism

Tourism Restarts: 40% of Destinations Have Now Eased Travel Restrictions
UNWTO -World Tourism Organization 30 Jul 2020
The responsible restart of tourism is underway around the world as growing numbers of destinations ease COVID-19 related travel restrictions and adapt to the new reality. According to the latest analysis from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), 40% of all destinations worldwide have now eased the restrictions they placed on international tourism in response to COVID-19.

The United Nations specialized agency for tourism has been monitoring global responses to the pandemic from the start of the crisis. This latest outlook, recorded on 19 July, is up from 22% of destinations that had eased restrictions on travel by 15 June and the 3% previously observed by 15 May. It confirms the trend of a slow but continuous adaptation and responsible restart of international tourism.

At the same time, however, of the 87 destinations that have now eased travel restrictions, just four have completely lifted all restrictions, while 83 have eased them while keeping some measures such as the partial closure of borders in place. This latest edition of the UNWTO Travel Restrictions Report in addition shows that 115 destinations (53% of all destinations worldwide) continue to keep their borders completely closed for tourism.

This way, global tourism can gain people’s trust and confidence, essential foundations as we work together to adapt to the new reality we now face.

Responsible restart is possible
UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “The restart of tourism can be undertaken responsibly and in a way that safeguards public health while also supporting businesses and livelihoods. As destinations continue to ease restrictions on travel, international cooperation is of paramount importance. This way, global tourism can gain people’s trust and confidence, essential foundations as we work together to adapt to the new reality we now face.”…

Refugees and COVID-19: achieving a comprehensive public health response

Featured Journal Content

Bulletin of the World Health Organization
Volume 98, Number 8, August 2020, 509-580
https://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/98/8/en/
EDITORIALS
Refugees and COVID-19: achieving a comprehensive public health response
— Qais Alemi, Carl Stempel, Hafifa Siddiq & Eunice Kim
http://dx.doi.org/10.2471/BLT.20.271080
Millions of refugees worldwide are exposed to violence, family separation, culture loss and exile. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) exposes these populations to a new threat, one that could prove to be more devastating than the events forcing them to flee their homelands.

Refugees are vulnerable to COVID-19,1 as they live in conditions that disproportionately increase their risk of contagion. For example, in densely populated refugee camps, social distancing is challenging and if basic sanitation is lacking, proper hand hygiene is close to impossible.2 Projections in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, which hosts over 600 000 Rohingya refugees, suggest that a COVID-19 outbreak could exhaust medical resources and overwhelm camp hospitals within 58 days, which would lead to a rise in deaths from other infectious diseases, such as malaria.2 Although limited evidence exists on whether infectious diseases increase the risk of COVID-19, the World Health Organization anticipates that people who have both COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis, may have poorer treatment outcomes, especially if tuberculosis treatment is interrupted.3 This prediction is alarming, considering that tuberculosis and malaria are highly prevalent in refugee populations, as are noncommunicable diseases, such as type 2 diabetes,4,5 known to increase susceptibility to severe COVID-19. This situation is compounded by language barriers that refugees face in host communities and their limited access to health care for obtaining health information, testing and treatment, which some may even avoid out of fears of being deported.4

The refugees’ fear of being isolated in quarantines and separated from their families, or even killed to slow the pandemic, can explain why aid workers in Rohingya camps report minimal testing among residents with COVID-19 symptoms.6 COVID-19-related stigmatization adds to this challenge. Fears of refugees in the general public may be compounded by COVID-19 fears, increasing discrimination against these groups. The social stigma associated with COVID-19 may encourage illness concealment, delay early detection and treatment, increase distrust in health authorities, lower the likelihood of compliance and prolong recovery.7
While empirical studies are needed to understand the extent and nature of stigma in refugees with COVID-19, news media reports from refugee-sending countries, such as Iraq, indicate that stigma is a major barrier to prevention and treatment.8

Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has strained the finances of governments, nongovernmental organizations and humanitarian agencies that serve refugees. The economic crisis caused by efforts to contain the pandemic is worsening the refugees’ already precarious situation in informal labour markets. Without access to government support for unemployed citizens, many refugees rely on insufficient cash assistance from humanitarian agencies and many will not have jobs waiting for them when business reopens. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reports that a recent survey in Jordan showed that only 35% of Syrian refugees said they had a secure job to return to after the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions.9 This economic hardship might interact with past trauma exposure to prolong and exacerbate mental health conditions in refugee populations.10 Mental health conditions may also become a barrier to accurate personal risk assessment and use or maintenance of COVID-19-related precautionary practices.7

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed systems of inequality but was met with delayed responses by public health authorities to address the needs of the most vulnerable. Humanitarian agencies serving refugees emphasize the importance of global support for the receiving countries so they can continue their efforts of solidarity, medical care and economic support. Hence, we strongly endorse The Lancet’s guiding principle of public health networks leaving no one behind during the COVID-19 pandemic,11 recommending epidemiologic risk assessments and the timely deployment of outbreak response teams within refugee camps, promoting health education in a culturally sensitive manner and ensuring health care access without refoulment for refugees.

As resources are constrained, agencies and professionals serving refugees should consider giving priority to screening vulnerable subgroups (that is, those with chronic health conditions) to manage comorbidities more effectively, encourage patients to reduce high-risk behaviour, provide treatment and reduce transmission rates.12 Moreover, professionals serving refugees in camps and in host communities should expect that stigma will influence preventive measures and treatment-seeking among refugees, and should therefore consider encouraging care providers and local leaders to dispel fears, misconceptions and the stigma associated with COVID-19. Lastly, overlooking mental health conditions, exacerbated by the socioeconomic hardship caused by this pandemic, will complicate refugees’ integration and increase the uncertainty they endure. Governments, public health professionals and organizations should act now to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in refugees whose vulnerabilities place them at great risk of mortality.
[Citation at title link]

Reset the Table: Meeting the Moment to Transform the U.S. Food System – Rockefeller Foundation

COVID-19 – Food Security/United States

Reset the Table: Meeting the Moment to Transform the U.S. Food System
Rockefeller Foundation July 28. 2020 :: 25 pages
PDF: https://www.rockefellerfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/RF-FoodPolicyPaper_Final2.pdf
Overview
America faces a hunger and nutrition crisis unlike any this country has seen in generations. Today 14 million children are missing meals on a regular basis – a statistic that’s five times worse than before the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s even worse for Latino and Black families, which have seen rates of nutrition insecurity spike to 25% and 30%, respectively.

Looking ahead
Covid-19 has made clear that despite the innovation, entrepreneurship, and dedicated efforts of many players across the supply chain, the overall food system does not promote healthy people, a healthy planet, or an equitable economy. As noted, the deficiencies in the system existed—and were recognized by many—long before Covid-19. And they will remain afterward—with significant implications for our national security, population health, economic prosperity, and our environment—unless we collectively choose to address them.

Working together, we have the opportunity and the obligation to transform the U.S. food system to make it more efficient, equitable, healthy, and resilient, both in good times and bad.

By shifting to a system that better integrates public, private, and philanthropic solutions, this country can better address its intractable and growing nutrition insecurity. By reinvigorating regional systems as part of a better-balanced nationwide food system, we can increase the system’s sustainability and resilience. And by eliminating racial disparities and delivering fair returns and benefits throughout the food supply chain, we can resolve the system’s fundamental inequity.

To make these shifts possible, the system needs to acquire and strengthen a set of capabilities that have not been activated systemwide:
[1] Apply true cost accounting to fully consider the direct and indirect costs of the food system;
[2] Maximize taxpayer value by making sure public purchasing generates public good;
[3] Invest in better coordinated emergency response plans;
[4] Modernize data and technology platforms;
[5] Unify actors across multiple sectors in a collaborative advocacy movement.

While the opportunity to realize this vision has come to us under tragic circumstances, it has also inspired the kind of passion, commitment, and innovation that gives us hope the needed transformation can and will be accomplished.

To do so, stakeholders from across the food system and beyond must come together to drive transformational shifts in systems, policies, and practices. We must collectively meet the moment to address immediate need while laying the foundation for the systemic and structural design of a transformed food system.

As we move forward together to “reset the table” of this country’s food system, we must continue to learn from the innovative operational solutions being seen all across the country and incorporate those lessons in future policies and programs. We must also listen to and learn from the activism and protests against systemic racism triggered by the killing of George Floyd and apply this knowledge to the transformative work that lies ahead.

Over the coming months The Rockefeller Foundation will engage with leaders in the many intersecting fields the food system touches to strengthen efforts to address the challenges and pursue the opportunities described in this paper. We are grateful to—and inspired by—those in the field who are leading the way and others who are taking interest in improving our food system for the first time. We look forward to hearing your voice in the collaborative and sustained effort needed to reset the table and transform the U.S. food system to be what this country and its people need it to be.
Now is the moment.

EMERGENCIES – Novel Coronavirus [COVID-19]

EMERGENCIES

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

Situation report – 194
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
1 August 2020

Confirmed cases :: 17 396 943 [week ago: 15 581 009]
Confirmed deaths :: 675 060 [week ago: 635 173]

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COVID-19 Vaccines – Access/Procurement/ Supply

92 low- and middle-income economies eligible to get access to COVID-19 vaccines through Gavi COVAX AMC
:: Gavi Board agrees scope of COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC), which aims to secure doses of COVID-19 vaccines for 92 low- and middle-income countries and economies at the same time as wealthier nations
:: The Gavi COVAX AMC forms part of the COVAX Facility, a mechanism hosted by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, designed to guarantee rapid, fair and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for every country in the world, rich and poor
:: Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: “We are facing the most severe contraction of the economy since World War Two, and this crisis will have a terrible impact on the poorest and emerging economies.”

Geneva, 31 July 2020 – A total of 92 low- and middle-income countries and economies will be able to access COVID-19 vaccines through Gavi’s COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC), the Gavi Board agreed yesterday. The Board also agreed that the Gavi secretariat will host and administer the COVAX Facility, the umbrella mechanism to which 78 countries have already submitted written expressions of interest.

“We are facing the most severe contraction of the economy since World War Two, and this crisis will have a terrible impact on the poorest and emerging economies,” said Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Chair of the Gavi Board. “These countries will have limited resources to access future COVID-19 vaccines: it is our duty to support them. Without this support the majority of the world’s population will continue to suffer from this disease even after we’ve developed a tool to tackle it. We now can stop this from happening.”

The 92 low- and middle-income countries and economies approved by the Gavi Board will be able to access vaccines through the COVAX AMC, which will also cover at least part of the cost. The COVAX AMC launched the 4th of June at the Global Vaccine Summit draws from the lessons of the successful Pneumococcal AMC. It forms part of the COVAX Facility, a mechanism designed to guarantee rapid, fair and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines worldwide. COVAX will enable countries to have access to the world’s largest and most diverse COVID-19 vaccine portfolio. This means that, even if separate bilateral deals with vaccine manufacturers exist, through the Facility countries stand a far better chance of getting access to the vaccine or vaccines that prove to be most effective.

The high- and middle-income economies that have already submitted expressions of interest in the COVAX Facility will need now to enter into a legally binding agreement to purchase doses through the Facility. This commitment will need to be confirmed in the next month by making upfront financial contributions, enabling the Facility to enter into manufacturer agreements for future vaccine supply.

“We now have the framework in place to ensure that every economy, particularly the poorest nations, don’t get left behind in the race for a COVID-19 vaccine,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. “This disease has spread at lightning speed across the globe, which means nobody is safe until everybody is safe. That’s why we now need support and vital funding to ensure that, once a safe, effective vaccine is ready, we can work on protecting the world and not just the lucky few. Gavi will work with governments, international organisations, manufacturers and civil society organisations to ensure doses get to those who need them.”

The COVID-19 infodemic |A call to arms: helping family, friends and communities navigate the COVID-19 infodemic]

Featured Journal Content

Lancet Infectious Diseases
Aug 2020 Volume 20 Number 8 p875-992, e180-e214
http://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/issue/current
Editorial
The COVID-19 infodemic
The Lancet Infectious Diseases
“We’re not just fighting a pandemic; we’re fighting an infodemic,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO’s director-general, at the 2020 Munich Security Conference. Fake news, misinformation, and conspiracy theories have become prevalent in the age of social media and have skyrocketed since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. This situation is extremely concerning because it undermines trust in health institutions and programmes. On June 29, WHO formally began the conversation on the global effects and management of infodemics with its 1st Infodemiology Conference that convened international experts from diverse scientific and political backgrounds.

Immediate and widespread sharing of medical and other scientific information outside of expert circles before it has been thoroughly vetted (eg, preprints) can be dangerous, especially in a pandemic. A pandemic is a rapidly evolving setting, in which researchers and medical professionals are constantly learning and contributing to dynamic adjustments in government policy. Compounding this information vortex is the fact that governments rarely make policy decisions solely on the basis of empirical evidence; political interest is key, and the two are frequently at odds. Governments want to be perceived as being in control and are too quick to provide false reassurances, as Saad Omer, director of the Yale Institute for Global Health, pointed out in one of his Infodemiology Conference talks. Consequently, incoherent government messaging and reversals in recommendations on the basis of newly emerging evidence, for example on whether masks are protective against transmission, can be misconstrued as incompetence. Comparisons have been drawn between solid leadership based on clear communication, empathy, and alignment of science and politics, such as that shown by New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern or German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and shambolic, self-serving, and sometimes deliberately misleading reactions, such as those of US President Donald Trump or Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. Such miscommunication is not helped by mass media, which are often guilty of favouring quick, sensationalist reporting rather than carefully worded scientific messages with a balanced interpretation. The outcome is erosion of public trust and a sense of helplessness, the perfect conditions for the spread of harmful misinformation that begins a vicious circle.

We and many other journals have found ourselves at the centre of the infodemic. Never before has the output of medical journals been subject to such scrutiny. From impartial communicators of peer-reviewed reports, our editorial identities are now conflated with the content that we publish because we are reaching experts and non-experts alike in an emotionally charged global environment. Although we have long worked with authors and media outlets to create factually correct, unbiased stories fit for public consumption, perhaps now is the time for a more proactive response. Journals (including this one) should consider actively countering misinformation about themselves and the work that they publish.

Misinformation confuses by diluting the pool of legitimate information. Conspiracy theories work because they provide the comfort of an explanation in times of uncertainty and anxiety. Their messaging revolves around core emotions and values and hijacks the mental cues that we use to decide whether the source is legitimate and thus trustworthy. The most pervasive and damaging of conspiracy theories incorporate grains of truth. But who benefits from this misinformation? Claire Wardle, co-founder and director of FirstDraft identifies three aspects: financial gain, political gain, and experimental manipulation. The anti-vaccination industry is a notable example of the first: a report from the Centre for Countering Digital Hate shows that wellness and nutritional supplement companies are major backers of, and directly profit from, anti-vaccination campaigns. Worse, anti-vaccination content reaches up to 58 million online followers and is deliberately retained by social media giants, creating a cumulative advertising revenue of US$1 billion. Unfortunately, as a UNICEF analysis of the so-called Peshawar incident of April 22, 2019, shows, hesitancy against one vaccine is quickly transposed onto all vaccines and is excruciatingly difficult to reverse. None of this bodes well for the acceptance of vaccination against COVID-19.

A state of affairs cannot continue where, for example, the very existence of the COVID-19 pandemic is denied. Immediate, coordinated action is needed from the global political, corporate, and scientific community to maintain the integrity and credibility of professional expertise and rebuild public trust.

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Nature Reviews Immunology
Volume 20 Issue 8, August 2020
https://www.nature.com/nri/volumes/20/issues/8
Comment | 02 July 2020
A call to arms: helping family, friends and communities navigate the COVID-19 infodemic
In this Comment, Heidi Larson discusses the COVID-19 ‘infodemic’ and suggests the ways in which scientists can help to mitigate the spread of misinformation.
Heidi J. Larson

POLIO – Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC); WHO/OCHA Emergencies

Emergencies

POLIO
Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)

Polio this week as of 29 July 2020
:: As of March 2020, the programme started a spotlight focus on women leaders that have contributed to the efforts of global polio eradication. The “Women Leaders in Polio Eradication” series aims to highlight women’s leadership and their roles across the polio programme, providing insight into their work and life.
:: Eye on Eradication is a new monthly publication produced by Global Polio Eradication Initiative’s Hub for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Each month, the publication will focus on a different topic related to our collective efforts to eradicate polio from the last two polio-endemic countries: Afghanistan and Pakistan. Take a look at the first edition.

Summary of new WPV and cVDPV viruses this week (AFP cases and environmental samples):
:: Afghanistan: 10 cVDPV2 positive environmental samples
:: Pakistan: 12 WPV1 positive environmental samples, two cVDPV2 cases and five cVDPV2 positive environmental samples
:: Ghana: three cVDPV2 positive environmental samples
:: Chad: Four cVDPV2 cases
:: Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo): two cVDPV2 cases
:: Guinea: eight cVDPV2 cases

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WHO Grade 3 Emergencies [to 1 Aug 2020]

Democratic Republic of the Congo – No new digest announcements identified
Mozambique floods – No new digest announcements identified
Nigeria – No new digest announcements identified
Somalia – No new digest announcements identified
South Sudan – No new digest announcements identified
Syrian Arab Republic – No new digest announcements identified
Yemen – No new digest announcements identified

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WHO Grade 2 Emergencies [to 1 Aug 2020]
Afghanistan – No new digest announcements identified
Angola – 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
Iran floods 2019 – No new digest announcements identified
Iraq – 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
HIV in Pakistan – No new digest announcements identified
Sao Tome and Principe Necrotizing Cellulitis (2017) – No new digest announcements identified
Sudan – No new digest announcements identified
Ukraine – No new digest announcements identified
Zimbabwe – No new digest announcements identified

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WHO Grade 1 Emergencies [to 1 Aug 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

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UN OCHA – L3 Emergencies
The UN and its humanitarian partners are currently responding to three ‘L3’ emergencies. This is the global humanitarian system’s classification for the response to the most severe, large-scale humanitarian crises. 
Syrian Arab Republic
:: Syrian Arab Republic: North East Syria: Al Hol camp (as of 26 July 2020)
:: Recent Developments in Northwest Syria – Situation Report No. 18 – As of 25 July 2020

Yemen – No new digest announcements identified

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UN OCHA – Corporate Emergencies
When the USG/ERC declares a Corporate Emergency Response, all OCHA offices, branches and sections provide their full support to response activities both at HQ and in the field.
East Africa Locust Infestation
::  Desert Locust situation update – 29 July 2020

COVID-19
::  Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Report 38: occupied Palestinian territory, issued 30 July 2020, information for period: 5 March – 30 July 2020

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