The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health :: Education :: Heritage Stewardship ::
Sustainable Development
Week ending 26 September 2020 :: Number 334

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

PDFThe Sentinel_ period ending 26 Sep 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


Global Governance – United Nations at 75

Sep 21 2020
We, the Heads of State and Government representing the peoples of the world, have gathered on September 21, 2020, to commemorate the seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations. We do so with a sense of awe and deep respect for the founders who created this Organization. There is no other global organization with the legitimacy, convening power and normative impact as the United Nations. No other global organization gives hope to so many people for a better world and can deliver the future we want. The urgency for all countries to come together, to fulfill the promise of the nations united, has rarely been greater.

Born out of the horrors of World War II, the United Nations, as a common endeavor for humanity, was established to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war. Even in times of great global challenges and tension, our Organization has catalyzed decolonization, promoted freedom, shaped norms for international development, and worked to eradicate disease. The United Nations has helped mitigate dozens of conflicts, saved hundreds of thousands of lives through humanitarian action and provided millions of children with the education that every child deserves. It has worked to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, including the equal rights of women and men. The Charter of the United Nations, which is the cornerstone of international law, has declared the principle of sovereign equality of all States, respect of their territorial integrity, political independence and the right to self-determination of peoples. It has affirmed the principles of non-intervention in the internal affairs of States and the resolution of international disputes by peaceful means and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law. It has determined that all states shall refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.

The achievements are many, and we owe the United Nations and its personnel much gratitude and respect, not least to those who have paid the ultimate price in the line of duty. Over the years, more than one million women and men have served under the UN flag in more than 70 peacekeeping operations. Every day, countries, citizens, private sector and civil society representatives use the platform provided by the United Nations to make life better for all of humanity.

However, the United Nations has had its moments of disappointment. Our world is not yet the world our founders envisaged 75 years ago. It is plagued by growing inequality, poverty, hunger, armed conflicts, terrorism, insecurity, climate change, and pandemics. People in different corners of the world are forced to make dangerous journeys in search of refuge and safety. The least developed countries are falling behind, and we still have not achieved complete decolonization. All this calls for greater action, not less. When Member States lend their will and resources to the collective efforts of the Organization, powerful results have been seen. Through the Global Conversation launched by the Secretary-General this year, we have listened to the concerns and aspirations of the people. We are here to respond.

Our challenges are interconnected and can only be addressed through reinvigorated multilateralism. As we meet, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reverberate around our world. In a matter of weeks, the pandemic manifested itself as the largest global challenge in the history of the United Nations. It has not only caused death and serious illness, but also global economic recession, increased poverty, anxiety, and fear. It has put enormous pressure on our societies, economies, and health systems. While none of us have been left untouched, people in vulnerable situations and the most vulnerable countries have been the hardest hit. The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us in the most powerful way that we are closely interconnected and only as strong as our weakest link. Only by working together and in solidarity can we end the pandemic and effectively tackle its consequences. Only together can we build resilience against future pandemics and other global challenges. Multilateralism is not an option but a necessity as we build back better for a more equal, more resilient, and more sustainable world. The United Nations must be at the center of our efforts.

Strengthening international cooperation is in the interest of both nations and peoples. The three pillars of the United Nations – peace and security, development, and human rights – are equally important, interrelated, and interdependent. We have come far in 75 years but much more remains to be done.

We have the tools and now we need to use them. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is our roadmap and its implementation a necessity for our survival. Urgent efforts are required. Therefore, we are not here to celebrate. We are here to take action. Guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter, we are here to ensure the future we want, and the United Nations we need.

* * *

We will leave no one behind. The next ten years, which have been designated as the Decade of Action, will be the most critical of our generation. It is even more important as we build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic. We need a strong UN development system and effective collaboration between the United Nations and the international financial institutions. We support the Secretary-General’s efforts and measures in this regard. We are determined to implement the 2030 Agenda in full and on time. There is no alternative. The peoples have to be at the center of all our efforts. Particular attention must be given to people in vulnerable situations. Humanitarian access to those in need of assistance must be granted without obstacle or delay and in line with the humanitarian principles. We are guided by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, international human right treaties and instruments and will ensure everyone’s human rights and fundamental freedoms.

We will protect our planet. Without more determined action we will continue to impoverish our planet with less biodiversity and fewer natural resources. We will see more environmental threats and climate related challenges, including natural disasters, drought, desertification, food shortages, water scarcity, wildfires, sea-level rise, and depletion of the oceans. The time to act is now. Many countries, not least small island developing states, least developed countries and landlocked developing countries, are already among the most affected. We need to adapt to the circumstances and take transformative measures. We have a historic opportunity to build back better and greener. We need to immediately curb greenhouse gas emissions and achieve sustainable consumption and production patterns in line with applicable State commitments to the Paris Agreement and in line with the 2030 agenda. This cannot wait.

We will promote peace and prevent conflicts. The ongoing armed conflicts and threats against international peace and security must be urgently resolved through peaceful means. We reiterate the importance of abiding by the Charter, principles of international law, and relevant resolutions of the Security Council. International arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament agreements and their architectures need to be upheld. The United Nations must better address all forms and domains of threats. Terrorism and violent extremism conducive to terrorism are serious threats to international peace and security. The diplomatic toolbox of the Charter needs to be used to its full potential, including preventive diplomacy and mediation. We call on the Secretary-General to enhance this toolbox to prevent the outbreak, escalation and recurrence of hostilities on land, at sea, in space and in cyberspace. We fully support and promote the Secretary-General’s initiative for a global ceasefire. International humanitarian law must be fully respected. To build, keep and sustain peace is now one of the main responsibilities of the United Nations.

We will abide by international law and ensure justice. The purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and international law remain timeless, universal and an indispensable foundation for a more peaceful, prosperous and just world. We will abide by the international agreements we have entered into and the commitments we have made. We will continue to promote respect for democracy and human rights, to enhance democratic governance and the rule of law by strengthening transparent and accountable governance and independent judicial institutions.

We will place women and girls at the center. Conflicts will not be resolved, and sustainable development not occur, without the equal and active participation of women at all levels. Human rights can never be fully upheld unless they are also enjoyed by all women and girls. Persistent gender inequalities and abuse, including sexual- and gender-based violence, have deprived us of a more just and better world. We will accelerate action to achieve gender equality, women’s participation, and the empowerment of women and girls in all domains.

We will build trust. Growing inequality within and among countries is jeopardizing our efforts to ensure the future we want. Inequality leads to mistrust between countries, and to people’s mistrust in institutions of governance. It also contributes to acts of xenophobia, racism, intolerance, hate speech and disinformation. We condemn all such acts. We will address the root causes of inequalities, including violence, human rights abuses, corruption, marginalization, discrimination in all its forms, poverty and exclusion, as well as lack of education and employment. It is our responsibility.

We will improve digital cooperation. Digital technologies have profoundly transformed society. They offer unprecedented opportunities and new challenges. When improperly or maliciously used, they can fuel divisions within and between countries, increase insecurity, undermine human rights, and exacerbate inequality. Shaping a shared vision on digital cooperation and a digital future that show the full potential for beneficial technology usage, and addressing digital trust and security, must continue to be a priority as our world is now more than ever relying on digital tools for connectivity and social-economic prosperity. Digital technologies have a potential to accelerate the realization of the 2030 Agenda. We must ensure safe and affordable digital access for all. The United Nations can provide a platform for all stakeholders to participate in such deliberations.

We will upgrade the United Nations. The world of today is very different from what it was when the United Nations was created 75 years ago. There are more countries, more people, more challenges but also more solutions. Our working methods need to keep pace and adapt. We support the ongoing reforms by the Secretary-General. They are creating a more agile, effective, and accountable organization that can deliver better in the field and adapt to global challenges. We reiterate our call for reforms of three of the principal organs of the United Nations. We commit to instill new life in the discussions on the reform of the Security Council and continue the work to revitalize the General Assembly and strengthen the Economic and Social Council. The review of the peacebuilding architecture has our full support.

We will ensure sustainable financing. Realizing our aspirations will require sustainable and predictable funding of the Organization. We will pay our assessed contribution in full and on time. Measures to better ensure this should be explored. We will further enhance transparency, accountability and efficient use of resources. The full and timely implementation of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development is key for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Joint public-private financing plays a central role in our efforts to make the United Nations deliver better on its purposes.

We will boost partnerships. Today’s challenges require cooperation not only across borders but also across the whole of society. We have to make the United Nations more inclusive and engage with all relevant stakeholders, including regional and sub-regional organizations, non-governmental organizations, civil society, the private sector, academia, and parliamentarians to ensure an effective response to our common challenges.

We will listen to and work with youth. Youth is the missing piece for peace and development. As we benefitted from the foresight of the founders of the United Nations, young people today will have to live with the consequences of our action and inaction. For too long, the voices of youth have been sidelined in discussions about their future. This has to change now through meaningful engagement with youth.

We will be prepared. The COVID-19 pandemic caught us off-guard. It has served as a wake-up call for improving our preparedness for not only health related crises but also other challenges and crises. We need to strengthen international cooperation, coordination, and solidarity. It is important to learn, share experiences and information to reduce risks and make our systems more resilient. While improving our global crisis prevention and response systems, there is an urgent need to accelerate development, production as well as equitable and affordable global access to new vaccines, medicines, and medical equipment. We applaud all healthcare and other frontline workers who put their own safety at risk when saving others, and pledge to put the people at the center of our response.

* * *

What we agree today, will affect the sustainability of our planet as well as the welfare of generations for decades to come. Through reinvigorated global action and by building on the progress achieved in the last 75 years, we are determined to ensure the future we want. To achieve this, we will mobilize resources, strengthen our efforts and show unprecedented political will and leadership. We will work together with partners to strengthen coordination and global governance for the common future of present and coming generations.

We request the Secretary-General to report back before the end of the seventy-fifth session of the General Assembly with recommendations to advance our common agenda and to respond to current and future challenges.

We commit to take this declaration to our citizens, in the true spirit of We the Peoples.

Secretary-General Highlights ‘Essential’ Failure of International Cooperation, in Address to Security Council Meeting on Post-Coronavirus Global Governance

Global Governance – Post-Pandemic

Secretary-General Highlights ‘Essential’ Failure of International Cooperation, in Address to Security Council Meeting on Post-Coronavirus Global Governance
24 September 2020
Countries have largely failed to cooperate in efforts to prevent the global spread of coronavirus, the top United Nations official warned the Security Council during a 24 September videoconference meeting, calling for a rethink of global governance and multilateralism.

“The pandemic is a clear test of international cooperation — a test we have essentially failed,” Secretary-General António Guterres said, attributing the spread of the outbreak and excessive casualties to “a lack of global preparedness, cooperation, unity and solidarity”.

Noting that 2020 marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations founding, he recalled that fragmentation and polarization, without effective mechanisms of multilateral governance 100 years ago, led to the First World War, followed by the second. “Our world is no longer bipolar or unipolar; it is moving towards multipolarity,” he said, further cautioning that conflict, human rights abuses, humanitarian crises and stalled progress on development reinforce each other, while global response is more and more fragmented. The primary responsibility for making global governance work lies with Member States, including those on this Council, he added.

Describing post-pandemic global governance, he emphasized that will entail the establishment of a networked multilateralism based on strong links and cooperation between global and regional organizations, international financial institutions and other global alliances. Citing the strategic partnership between the United Nations and the African Union, he said it is a model to be replicated elsewhere. A new paradigm must also address cross-border challenges, from the climate crisis to rising inequality to cybercrime, involving interest groups, businesses, organizations and entire sectors that are outside traditional concepts of global governance, he said, emphasizing that it must also integrate women, the largest group left out in the cold.

The General Assembly Declaration on the Seventy-fifth Anniversary of the United Nations adopted earlier this week has created space for reflection on the future of multilateral cooperation on the post-COVID world, he said, adding that he will report back with analysis and recommendations. “In a world of interconnected threats, solidarity is self-interest,” he stressed…

The representative of the United States said she was astonished and disgusted by the content of the discussion. “Shame on each of you,” she told fellow members, saying they have taken the opportunity to focus on political grudges rather than the critical issue at hand. COVID-19 remains a threat to the daily lives and livelihoods of billions around the world, she added, noting that her country has been unrelenting in its efforts to combat COVID-19, both at home and abroad. To date, the United States has allocated more than $20 billion to benefit the international response, she said, pointing out that funding provided by generous United States taxpayers is saving lives in more than 120 countries around the world. The United States has also contributed more than $900 million to the United Nations response, by far the most of any country to date, compared with Niger’s $4.6 million, South Africa’s $8.4 million, Indonesia’s $5 million, Viet Nam’s $9.5 million and Tunisia’s $600,000. She went on to state that China’s decision to hide the origins of the virus, minimize its danger and suppress scientific cooperation transformed a local epidemic into a global pandemic. More importantly, those decisions cost hundreds of thousands of lives around the world. Equally troubling is the danger posed by corrupted international organizations, she said, recalling that WHO was for many years considered a centre of science over politics, and data over bias. That reputation lies in tatters today after WHO assisted the Chinese campaign to withhold cooperation and lie to the world, she said, calling for reform of that organization…

Silence in Face of Human Suffering Should Not Be Option in Twenty-First Century, Secretary-General Says, Marking ‘Responsibility to Protect’ Adoption Anniversary

Responsibility to Protect

Silence in Face of Human Suffering Should Not Be Option in Twenty-First Century, Secretary-General Says, Marking ‘Responsibility to Protect’ Adoption Anniversary
24 September 2020
Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video statement for the fifteenth anniversary of the adoption of the responsibility to protect, today:

Fifteen years ago, at the World Summit, at a pivotal moment in our common pursuit of peace, leaders from every region unanimously adopted the responsibility to protect. Unable to prevent the horrific experiences of the previous decade, the world accepted the collective responsibility to do far more to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, and their incitement.

Since this landmark step, significant progress has been made in advancing the conceptualization and operationalization of the responsibility to protect. Yet, there continues to be a gap between words of commitment and the grim reality of vulnerable populations around the world. In far too many countries, we continue to see systematic and grave human rights violations; widespread impunity; hate speech, exclusion and discrimination. These can all increase the risk of atrocity crimes, including war crimes and crimes against humanity.

This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the risks faced by marginalized populations, including ethnic minorities, indigenous peoples, the forcibly displaced and those affected by armed conflict. There remains an urgent need to accelerate efforts to fulfil the aspiration of the responsibility to protect and turn it into a fully fledged reality.

Greater investment in prevention is critical; building a culture of respect for human rights is equally imperative; my Call to Action for Human Rights, in which both objectives are central, can help point the way.

In this century, silence in the face of human suffering should not be an option. Fifteen years on, let us not only reaffirm our commitment to protect populations from atrocity crimes, but live up to the unanimous call for action enshrined by the responsibility to protect.

Joint Statement: Managing the COVID-19 infodemic: Promoting healthy behaviours and mitigating the harm from misinformation and disinformation

COVID-19 Response – Infodemic

Joint Statement
Managing the COVID-19 infodemic: Promoting healthy behaviours and mitigating the harm from misinformation and disinformation
23 September 2020 The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is the first pandemic in history in which technology and social media are being used on a massive scale to keep people safe, informed, productive and connected. At the same time, the technology we rely on to keep connected and informed is enabling and amplifying an infodemic that continues to undermine the global response and jeopardizes measures to control the pandemic.

An infodemic is an overabundance of information, both online and offline. It includes deliberate attempts to disseminate wrong information to undermine the public health response and advance alternative agendas of groups or individuals. Mis- and disinformation can be harmful to people’s physical and mental health; increase stigmatization; threaten precious health gains; and lead to poor observance of public health measures, thus reducing their effectiveness and endangering countries’ ability to stop the pandemic.

Misinformation costs lives. Without the appropriate trust and correct information, diagnostic tests go unused, immunization campaigns (or campaigns to promote effective vaccines) will not meet their targets, and the virus will continue to thrive.

Furthermore, disinformation is polarizing public debate on topics related to COVID-19; amplifying hate speech; heightening the risk of conflict, violence and human rights violations; and threatening long-terms prospects for advancing democracy, human rights and social cohesion.

In this context, the UN Secretary- General launched the United Nations Communications Response initiative to combat the spread of mis- and disinformation in April 2020. The UN also issued a Guidance Note on Addressing and Countering COVID-19 related Hate Speech (11 May 2020)…

The Rockefeller Foundation Launches RF Catalytic Capital Inc.

COVID-19 Response – Innovation in Philanthropy

The Rockefeller Foundation Launches RF Catalytic Capital Inc.
Builds on a History of Innovation and Partnerships to Address the World’s Most Pressing Needs

NEW YORK | September 22, 2020 – With the cost of helping the world equitably recover from the Covid-19 pandemic reaching into the trillions–far exceeding the individual reach of both traditional philanthropies and most government–The Rockefeller Foundation today announced the launch of RF Catalytic Capital Inc. (RFCC) to help scale up funding for solutions. Operating as a public charity, RFCC offers a new innovative way for foundations, impact investors, businesses, and governments to combine their resources to address this funding gap and bring about transformational change.

“Covid-19 has exposed and accelerated unprecedented global inequities,” said Dr. Rajiv. J. Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation, “As the newest tool in the Foundation’s innovative-financing toolbox, RFCC marks the next chapter in the institution’s 107-year history”

The Foundation is known for convening unlikely partnerships and sparking innovations for transformative change that lift up hundreds of millions of poor and vulnerable children and families. RFCC builds on the Foundation’s long history of leveraging internal expertise and resources to marshal capital from outside organizations and investors to improve the lives of vulnerable families around the world. It also joins a series of landmark initiatives sparked over the last three years that include:
:: Harnessing innovative financing mechanisms to scale distributed renewables globally;
:: Co-founding the philanthropic collaborative Co-Impact, a model for collaborative philanthropy and social change at scale;
:: Launching the Zero Gap Fund, to channel private investment to help tackle some of the world’s most pressing challenges, such as poverty, hunger, inequality, and climate change; and
:: Supporting Impact Shares to create the groundbreaking NAACP Minority Empowerment ETF, YWCA Women’s Empowerment ETF, and Sustainable Development Goals Global Equity ETF…

“RFCC offers a path forward for foundations, impact investors, and governments to combine their resources to pool resources and bring about the transformational change required to solve the world’s most intractable problems,” said General Counsel and Corporate Secretary María Santos Valentin. “Not only will it help aggregate impact investment and grant capital for the Foundation’s existing and new initiatives, but RFCC will also manage and oversee these projects in a streamlined, cost-effective, flexible manner, and expand our ability to advocate for policy reforms to enhance their impact.”

Sixteen Major [U.S.] Donors and Foundations Commit Unprecedented $156 Million to Support Black, Latinx, Asian and Indigenous Arts Organizations

COVID-19 Impacts – Arts, Heritage Organization Support

Sixteen Major Donors and Foundations Commit Unprecedented $156 Million to Support Black, Latinx, Asian and Indigenous Arts Organizations
“America’s Cultural Treasures” initiative will provide multi-year grants to sustain vital organizations in the face of COVID-19 pandemic
New York, NY (September 24, 2020) — Today, sixteen major donors and foundations announced an unprecedented commitment to a two-pronged national and regional initiative to recognize “America’s Cultural Treasures.” Together, the funders will grant more than $156 million to support Black, Latinx, Asian, and Indigenous arts organizations in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that has devastated America’s arts and culture landscape. The funding includes $85 million from the proceeds of the Ford Foundation’s historic social bond offering announced earlier this year.

The foundations identified grant recipients as “America’s Cultural Treasures” to acknowledge and honor their vital contributions to the diversity of expression and excellence in America, and to bring greater recognition to a group of organizations that have been impactful, despite historically limited resources and funding streams. They, along with others, represent the cultural heritage and creativity of communities that have been historically marginalized, underfunded and under-represented in the narrative of American culture.

Led by an initial investment of $50 million from the Ford Foundation — with leadership support from Bloomberg Philanthropies and Barbara and Amos Hostetter, and additional support from the Abrams Foundation, Alice L. Walton Foundation, and Tom and Lisa Blumenthal— the national component of the initiative will provide $81 million in operational and general support funds to an initial cohort of 20 organizations that are significant national anchors for artistic and cultural diversity in America.

The 20 organizations are: Alaska Native Heritage Center, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Apollo Theater, Arab American National Museum, Ballet Hispánico, Charles H. Wright Museum, Dance Theater of Harlem, East West Players, El Museo del Barrio, Japanese American National Museum, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, Museum of Chinese in America , IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts , National Museum of Mexican Art, Penumbra Theatre, Project Row Houses, Studio Museum in Harlem, Urban Bush Women, and Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience.

National grants will range in size from $1 to 6 million, representing a significant portion of each institution’s operating budget. In addition to the grant funds each grantee will receive up to $100,000 for organizational capacity building — particularly in key areas including digital strategies and other needs…

UN General Assembly – 74/306. Comprehensive and coordinated response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic

UN General Assembly
Resolution: A/RES/74/306
15 September 2020 :: 14 pages
74/306. Comprehensive and coordinated response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic
…6. Calls upon Member States to put in place a whole-of-government and whole-of-society response, outlining both immediate and long-term actions, with a view to sustainably strengthening their health system and social care and support systems, and preparedness and response capacities, engaging with communities and collaborating with relevant stakeholders, and also calls upon Member States to maintain the continued functioning of the health system and strengthening of primary health care in all relevant aspects necessary for an effective public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic and other ongoing epidemics, and the uninterrupted and safe provision of population- and individual-level services, for, inter alia, communicable diseases, including by ensuring the continuation of undisrupted vaccination programmes, neglected tropical disease prevention and control, non-communicable diseases, mental health and mother and child health, and to promote access to safe and affordable drinking water and adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and safe, sufficient and nutritious food and the enjoyment of a diversified, balanced and healthy diet, recognizing in this regard the importance of increased domestic financing and development assistance where needed in the context of achieving universal health coverage;

…11. Calls upon international organizations and other relevant stakeholders to support all countries, upon their request, in the implementation and review of their multisectoral national action plans and in strengthening their health systems to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, and in maintaining the safe provision of all other essential public health functions and services;

12. Urges Member States to enable all countries to have unhindered, timely access to quality, safe, efficacious and affordable diagnosis, therapeutics, medicines and vaccines, and essential health technologies, and their components, as well as equipment, for the COVID-19 response;

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

14. Calls upon Member States, with support from the United Nations system, to coordinate efforts to develop a science- and evidence-based, cooperative and comprehensive approach to allocating scarce resources for combating the COVID-19 pandemic based on public health needs;

15. Encourages Member States to work in partnership with all relevant stakeholders to increase research and development funding for vaccines and medicines, leverage digital technologies, and strengthen scientific international cooperation necessary to combat COVID-19 and to bolster coordination, including with the private sector, towards rapid development, manufacturing and distribution of diagnostics, therapeutics, medicines, including antiviral medicines and medical science-based treatment protocols, and vaccines, and personal protective equipment, and explore ways to consider integrating, as appropriate, safe and evidence-based traditional and complementary medicine services, according to national context and priorities, adhering to the objectives of efficacy, safety, equity, accessibility, and affordability, while taking into account and supporting existing mechanisms, tools and initiatives, such as the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator, and relevant pledging appeals;

…21. Calls upon Member States to ensure protection for those most affected, women, children, youth, persons with disabilities, people living with HIV/AIDS, older persons, indigenous peoples, refugees and internally displaced persons and migrants, and the poor, vulnerable and marginalized segments of the population, and prevent all forms of discrimination, especially in the context of timely, universal, inclusive, equitable and non-discriminatory access to safe, quality, effective and affordable health care and services and medical supplies and equipment, including diagnostics, therapeutics, medicine and vaccines, and to leave no one behind, with an endeavour to reach the furthest behind first, founded on the dignity of the human person and reflecting the principles of equality and non-discrimination;…

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


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

Weekly Epidemiological and Operational updates
last update: 11 September 2020, 20:00 GMT-4
Confirmed cases :: 32 429 965 [week ago: 30 369 778]
Confirmed deaths :: 985 823 [week ago: 948 795]
Weekly Operational Update 
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
25 September 2020 :: 13 pages

Weekly Epidemiological Update 
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
21 September 2020 : 23 pages
Global epidemiological situation
To date, over 30.6 million COVID-19 cases and 950 000 deaths have been reported to WHO.
From 14 through 20 September, there were almost 2 million new cases of COVID-19, which represents a 6% increase compared to the previous week, and the highest number of reported cases in a single week since the beginning of the epidemic. During the same period, there was a 10% decrease in the number of deaths, with 36 764 deaths reported in the past seven days

With the exception of the African Region, an increase in the weekly case incidence was reported across all WHO regions in the last seven days (Table 1, Figure 2). Overall, the Region of the Americas continues to carry the highest burden of COVID-19 globally, accounting for over 38% of all new cases reported in the past seven days, although the region has reported a 22% decrease in new deaths. The WHO European Region showed the greatest rise in deaths in the past week, with a 27% increase compared to the previous week.

The WHO South-East Asia Region has continued to report an increase in new COVID-19 deaths, with over 9000 deaths in the past week, accounting for 25% of all reported deaths and surpassing 100 000 total COVID-19 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. In addition, the region accounts for 35% of new cases reported in the past week. The Eastern Mediterranean and Western Pacific regions have both reported a slight increase in reported cases and deaths over the last three weeks. The African Region continues to show a marked decline with decreases of 12% and 16% in reported cases and deaths respectively in the past week.

Key weekly updates
:: As the world comes together at an unprecedented mostly virtual 75th UN General Assembly from 15-31 September, WHO has three messages to share:
1. Equitable access to COVID-19 tools. WHO calls on world leaders to support the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT)-Accelerator, a unique international collaboration to fast-track the development, production and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines globally, while strengthening health systems.
2. Maintain the momentum towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The pandemic risks unravelling decades of gains made in health and development. According to a recent WHO survey, 90% of countries are experiencing disruptions to essential health services.
3. We must prepare for the next pandemic together, now. A year ago the independent Global Preparedness Monitoring Board warned of the threat of a pandemic, calling for global leaders to take urgent, united action to prepare. Last week, the Board issued its 2020 report, ‘A World in Disorder’, which outlined five urgent actions to be taken: responsible leadership; engaged citizenship; strong and agile systems for health security; sustained investment; and robust global governance of preparedness.

:: WHO Director-General Dr Tedros, in his regular media briefing on Friday, highlighted that this is a critical moment for countries. As cases and deaths have started to spike again, he called upon leaders to put targeted measures in place which can help suppress the spread of the virus and ensure that health systems and workers are protected. Individuals must also practise physical distancing, clean their hands frequently, wear a mask as advised, cough and sneeze safely away from others, avoid crowds, and keep windows and doors open when they can’t meet friends and family outside.

:: WHO has published new guidance on school-related public health measures that examines considerations for school operations, and the measures needed to minimize the risk to students and staff of COVID-19.

:: On 17 September, we celebrated World Patient Safety Day to raise global awareness of the importance of health worker safety and its interlinkages with patient safety. The COVID-19 pandemic has exerted unprecedented pressure on health systems worldwide. Health systems can only function with health workers, and a knowledgeable, skilled and motivated health workforce is critical for the provision of safe care to patients.

:: WHO has released a slide set on ‘What we know about the long-term effects of COVID-19’. Typically people recover from COVID-19 after two to six weeks; however, for some people, including young adults and persons with no underlying medical conditions who were not hospitalized, symptoms may linger or recur for weeks or months following initial recovery. Some patients develop medical complications that may have lasting health effects. Much is still unknown, and more time and research are needed to understand the long-term effects of COVID-19.


WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 – 25 September 2020
:: Today, WHO and our partners are publishing a detailed strategic plan and investment case for the urgent scale-up phase of the ACT Accelerator, building on the success of the start-up phase.
:: By the end of next year, the ACT Accelerator aims to deliver 2 billion doses of vaccine; 245 million courses of treatment; and 500 million diagnostic tests to low- and middle-income countries.
:: The number of countries joining the COVAX facility grows every day. As of today, 67 high-income countries have formally joined and another 34 are expected to sign, joining 92 lower-income countries who are eligible for financial support through Gavi.
:: The current financing gap for the ACT Accelerator stands at 35 billion dollars. Of the 35 billion dollars, 15 billion dollars is needed immediately to exploit the ACT-A progress to fund research and development, scale up manufacturing, secure procurement and strengthen delivery systems.


WHO Emergencies Press Conference on coronavirus disease outbreak – 25 September 2020
Thank you. First of all let me emphasise that countries have autonomy according to their national regulations and legislation to issue emergency use authorisations for any health product and China and other countries have already done so for different products and WHO has emergency use listing provisions and has listed already several products for diagnostics.
We have not yet issued provisions for EUL of vaccines but today I have good news for you because we have just published, put out for comments the draft criteria for assessment of COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use listing or pre-qualification and this will help manufacturers understand the criteria.

This is up for public comments until 8th October – organisations, manufacturers and individuals – because this will help all partners to understand what’s necessary to put a product that’s both safe and effective into the market and what are the elements that will make it eligible for either an emergency use listing by WHO or a pre-qualification. Thank you.

RO The world is approaching one million deaths from COVID-19. Is it unthinkable that two million might die before a vaccine becomes widely available?
FC Thank you, Robin. Dr Ryan will take your question. Thank you.
MR It’s certainly unimaginable but it’s not impossible because if we look at losing a million people in nine months and then we just look at the realities of getting vaccine out there in the next nine months it’s a big task for everyone involved. Mariangela’s just outlined the issues of listening.

There’s the issue of scale-up; there’s the issue of funding these vaccines; there’s the issue of distributing these vaccines and then the issues of acceptance and beyond that with the work we
still have to do in controlling this disease.

Remember, we have things we can do now to drive transmission down and drive down the number of deaths. We’re seeing clinical case fatality rates slowly drop, we’re seeing doctors and nurses making better use of oxygen, better use of intensive care, better use of dexamethasone, which again was referred to in the DG’s speech and which the ACT Accelerator will provide a lot of focus on, and other therapeutics as they come online.

One million is a terrible number and I think we need to reflect on that before we start considering a second million. There is a lot that can be done to save lives, both in terms of disease control, existing life-saving measures and the innovations that are coming down the pipe.

The real question is, are we prepared collectively to do what it takes to avoid that number, are we prepared to fully engage in the surveillance and testing and tracing, in managing our own risks at society and community level, governments supporting communities to take that action?

Are we willing to make the investments now that are needed in the ACT Accelerator, especially in COVAX? Because these are, number one, the investments we need to make and the actions
we need to take at all levels of our society, sub-nationally, nationally and internationally. Are we willing to take the multilateral action, the collective global action to take control of this virus rather than this virus controlling our destinies?

If we don’t take those actions and we don’t continue to escalate and evolve the nature and scale and intensity of our co-operation then yes, we will be looking at that number and sadly a number much higher.

So the time for action is now on every single aspect of this strategic approach. The DG has said it again and again and again; not just this, not just test and trace, not just clinical care, not just social distancing, not just hygiene, not just masks, not just vaccines; do it all.

Unless we do it all the numbers you speak about are not only imaginable but unfortunately and sadly very likely.

FC Thank you, Dr Ryan. Dr Aylward has something to add.
BA Thank you very much and thanks for the question, Robin. I think we have to be super-clear; whether another million people die of COVID-19 is not a function of whether or not we have a vaccine. It’s a function of whether or not we put the tools, approaches and knowledge that we have today to work to save lives and prevent transmission; it’s as simple as that.

If we start thinking about it as a function of the vaccine people will unnecessarily and unacceptably die as we wait for a vaccine.

We should not be waiting. We have made incredible progress in terms of reducing mortality from this disease, in terms of preventing the most vulnerable and highest-risk from getting
infected by this disease.

It’s unacceptable, it’s unnecessary and it should be unimaginable and it should not be a function of whether or not we have a vaccine. It’s a function of whether or not we as individuals – as Mike emphasised – do what we can, our part to prevent transmission of this disease.
FC Thank you, Dr Aylward.

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


Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)

Polio this week as of 23 September 2020
:: The GPEI would like to congratulate Dr. Tunji Funsho, Rotary’s Nigeria National PolioPlus Committee Chair for being named one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in the world. Dr. Funsho’s leadership within Rotary and the GPEI partnership has been instrumental in eradicating wild polio in Nigeria and the African region. Read More

:: The World Health Organization has opened a call for nomination of experts to serve on the who polio eradication advisory panel on sabin-ipv and polio vlp vaccine development. Read more

:: “I started working with the Polio Eradication Programme four years ago and I am happy to say that we have made a lot of progress here. This is my neighbourhood; this is where I grew up and this helps me immensely. People here listen to me, especially the women, and I know most of the children by name,” Read more about Samreen, a polio worker in Pakistan.

Summary of new WPV and cVDPV viruses this week (AFP cases and environmental samples):
:: Afghanistan: one WPV1 case, one cVDPV2 case and 20 cVDPV2 positive environmental samples
:: Pakistan: three WPV1 cases, 11 WPV1 positive environmental samples and two cVDPV2 cases
:: Cameroon: one cVDPV2 positive environmental sample
:: Chad: three cVDPV2 cases
:: Guinea: three cVDPV2 cases
:: Nigeria: one cVDPV2 positive environmental sample
:: South Sudan: three cVDPV2 cases


WHO Grade 3 Emergencies [to 26 Sep 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


WHO Grade 2 Emergencies [to 26 Sep 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 Floods – No new digest announcements identified
Measles in Europe – No new digest announcements identified
MERS-CoV – No new digest announcements identified
Mozambique – 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


WHO Grade 1 Emergencies [to 26 Sep 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. 10 – 23 September 2020

– No new digest announcements identified


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.
::  Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Report 45: occupied Palestinian territory, issued 24 September 2020, information for period: 5 March – 24 September 2020

East Africa Locust Infestation
– No new digest announcements identified


The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health :: Education :: Heritage Stewardship ::
Sustainable Development
Week ending 19 September 2020 :: Number 333

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

PDFThe Sentinel_ period ending 19 Sep 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

Rohingya Crisis in its Fourth Year: Challenges in Securing a Sustainable Solution

Rohingya Crisis: Fourth Year

SRSG Pramila Patten Remarks on “Rohingya Crisis in its Fourth Year: Challenges in Securing a Sustainable Solution” 16 September 2020
Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict
16 September, 2020
:: First, allow me to commend the Government and people of Bangladesh for their sustained efforts, since the crisis of 2017, to provide relief and refuge to members of the Rohingya community who fled persecution in Myanmar, and continue to flee – even as we speak.

:: Three years since the mass exodus of Rohingya civilians from Myanmar, their future looks as uncertain as ever.

:: In 2019, the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar reaffirmed what I had witnessed firsthand during my visits to the camps in Cox’s Bazar in 2017 and 2018, where women and girls still bore visible scars from the sexual violence they had endured. The report concluded that: “Rape and sexual violence are part of a deliberate strategy to intimidate, terrorize or punish a civilian population, and are used as a tactic of war.”

Today, the response of Bangladesh to the Rohingya displacement crisis is at an inflection point. While ultimately, the solution to the plight of the Rohingya lies in Myanmar with repatriation remaining a priority solution promoted by Bangladesh, Myanmar appears unwilling to create the conditions needed to encourage refugees to return and repatriations efforts have stalled.

Today more than ever before, the international community must not only maintain support for refugees and their host communities but must also expand the search for solutions in order to alleviate the suffering of the Rohingya population and the overall pressure on Bangladesh.

Our collective efforts must be directed to ensuring the dignity and well-being of the Rohingya today, as well as preserving their hopes and improving prospects for their futures. This means working towards lasting solutions not only in Myanmar itself, but also through study and work opportunities outside of countries of asylum, and third-country pathways for those with the most acute vulnerabilities, including victims of sexual violence.

Repatriation and lasting peace will not be possible without concerted efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice, remove implicated individuals from positions of command responsibility and power, and build public trust in national institutions…

Beyond individual and state accountability, the Fact-Finding Mission recommends the international community embargo Myanmar business interests and impose targeted sanctions against companies tied to the Tatmadaw as this could serve to cut off financial and other support for Myanmar’s armed forces.

Indeed, at an individual level, there may be options to impose sanctions against military officers and their family members residing abroad. The United States has already imposed financial sanctions and visa restrictions on top military leaders and units linked to serious human rights abuses. At this critical juncture, we need the sustained commitment of the international community to hold the perpetrators of these atrocities to account…

In Myanmar and Bangladesh, women and girls face heightened risks of trafficking and sexual exploitation. In Bangladesh, the recent lockdown measures imposed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have adversely affected protection and response efforts, including access to “women-friendly spaces” and gender-based violence case management. COVID-19 should not allow the survivors – or their needs and rights – to be forgotten. Now more than ever, the international community must support refugee-receiving countries to ensure that services, protection, and redress are provided, and to support efforts to re-settle the most vulnerable…

The Rohingya crisis enters its fourth year at a time of unprecedented global disruption caused by a worldwide pandemic that has devastated lives, healthcare systems, economies and societies. Despite these turbulent times, the international community must stand in solidarity with the survivors of grave international crimes to ensure access to justice and redress, which is foundational for recovery, reintegration and peace.

Although justice has been delayed, it must not be denied, particularly to a community that has been described as “one of the most persecuted people on earth”.
Thank you.

Venezuela: UN report urges accountability for crimes against humanity – OAS

Governance – Justice: Venezuela

Venezuela: UN report urges accountability for crimes against humanity
GENEVA (16 September 2020) – Human Rights Council
The Venezuelan State must hold to account those responsible for extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions and torture, and prevent further acts of this nature from taking place, the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela said in its first report, published today.

The Mission investigated 223 cases, of which 48 are included as in-depth case studies in the 411-page report. It reviewed an additional 2,891 cases to corroborate patterns of violations and crimes.

While recognising the nature of the crisis and tensions in the country, and the responsibilities of the State to maintain public order, the Mission found the Government, State agents, and groups working with them had committed egregious violations. It identified patterns of violations and crimes that were highly coordinated pursuant to State policies, and part of a widespread and systematic course of conduct, thus amounting to crimes against humanity.

The Mission found that high-level State authorities held and exercised power and oversight over the security forces and intelligence agencies identified in the report as responsible for these violations. President Maduro and the Ministers of the Interior and of Defence were aware of the crimes. They gave orders, coordinated activities and supplied resources in furtherance of the plans and policies under which the crimes were committed.

“The Mission found reasonable grounds to believe that Venezuelan authorities and security forces have since 2014 planned and executed serious human rights violations, some of which – including arbitrary killings and the systematic use of torture – amount to crimes against humanity,” said Marta Valiñas, chairperson of the Mission…


Statement from the OAS General Secretariat on the UN Report on Crimes against Humanity in Venezuela
Organization of American States
Press Releases Sep 16, 2020
The General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS) expresses its support to the United Nations Human Rights Council for the publication of the report of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, published on September 16, 2020.

In this report, the Venezuelan regime is urged to account for flagrant and systematic violations of human rights, which qualify as crimes against humanity. This is based on the evidence collected by the mission that verifies that the highest authorities of the State exercised control over those who carried out said violations, and that Nicolás Maduro and the Ministers of the Interior and Defense were aware of the crimes, having issued the orders, coordinated activities and supported actions by which these crimes were committed. The violations confirmed include: extrajudicial executions, forced disappearances, arrests and torture for political reasons, violence against protesters and the complicity of a judicial power reluctant to investigate the facts substantively. All of this suggests a pattern of widespread and systematic actions of repression and violations of human rights as State policies that constitute crimes against humanity. The report concludes by recommending that the International Criminal Court consider the possibility of taking legal action against those responsible.

The General Secretariat supports and echoes these recommendations. These, as well as the corroborated crimes, are consistent with what is contained in the Report of the General Secretariat of the OAS and the Panel of Independent International Experts on the Possible Commission of Crimes against Humanity in Venezuela of May 30, 2018. Al In this regard, the OAS report also identifies the chain of command for these crimes, 11 officials for their immediate political responsibility and another 146 subordinates for executing orders. In an unprecedented initiative, and based on the OAS Report, 6 States Parties to the Rome Statute referred the case of Venezuela to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court and requested an investigation on September 26, 2018.

The recommendations made today by the Human Rights Council are also consistent with the report on Venezuela issued on June 22, 2018 by the then-United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. It maintains that “given that the State does not seem to have the capacity or the will to prosecute those responsible for the serious human rights violations, there are solid reasons to consider a greater involvement of the International Criminal Court in this matter.”

In this regard, while the General Secretariat expresses its approval of the report, we cannot fail to point out the delays in demanding accountability. In dealing with human rights, the speed of the actions of the organizations dedicated to their defense is urgent. It is literally a matter of life and death.

The General Secretariat wants to add some data that allow for a complete understanding of the origin, execution, and political consequences of these crimes. Venezuela is today a failed and fragmented State, both in its territorial and administrative dimensions. Responsibility for these crimes extends to foreign operators and agents, especially Cubans who operate in Venezuela in tasks of repression, torture and intelligence, as has been pointed out by victims of the regime.

For these reasons, we cannot fail to mention our concern about the presence of representatives of the Maduro dictatorship in the United Nations Human Rights Council. The inconsistency could not be more glaring in light of the report just presented by the Council itself. We urge the international community to act on this.

Likewise, the international community must stop granting the regime options to legitimize itself through clearly fraudulent elections, as certain international actors have done, acting in coordination with local political actors who are accomplices of the dictatorship. It is absurd to think that criminals against humanity who suppress and eliminate opposition and dissent can organize free and fair elections. It is also absurd to say that those who participate in the elections can be considered as fragmented opposition; collaboration with the dictatorship makes them part of the dictatorship, not of the opposition.

Therefore, this report must lead the international community to act in a joint and coordinated manner to exert the corresponding pressure, bring criminals to justice and free the Venezuelan people from so much oppression.

It is not a time for ambiguity, it is a time for justice; it is not time to find terms of coexistence with the Venezuelan dictatorship, it is time to reestablish democracy in the country.

Major progress in UNESCO’s development of a global normative instrument on the ethics of AI

Governance – Ethics: Artificial Intelligence

Major progress in UNESCO’s development of a global normative instrument on the ethics of AI
UNESCO in March this year asked 24 leading experts with multidisciplinary experience in the ethics of artificial intelligence to develop a draft recommendation on the ethics of AI. UNESCO then launched a wide process of consultations to obtain the many points of view of stakeholders. This involved experts from 155 countries, members of the public (through a global online survey), United Nations agencies, major stakeholders from the sector such as Google, Facebook and Microsoft, and the world of academe with the University of Stanford and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The resulting draft recommendation was today submitted to UNESCO’s 193 Member States. Negotiations are planned ahead of its planned final adoption by Member States at the Organization’s General Conference in November 2021

The draft recommendation submitted to the international community establishes a number of over-arching concepts:
:: Proportionality: AI technologies must not exceed what is necessary to achieve legitimate aims or objectives, and should be appropriate to the context.
:: Human oversight and determination: humans are ethically and legally responsible for all stages in the life-cycle of AI systems.
:: Stewardship of the environment and peace: throughout their life-cycle, AI systems must contribute to the peaceful interconnectedness of all living creatures with each other and respect the natural environment, notably with regard to the extraction of raw materials
:: Gender-inclusion: AI technologies must not reproduce the gender inequalities found in the real world, notably with regard to salaries, representation, access, and stereotyping. Political actions, including measures of positive discrimination, are required to avoid these major pitfalls.

UNESCO will assist governments and civil society players (corporations, members of the public etc.) in developing concrete awareness-raising campaigns and ethical impact assessment tools for AI in all fields…


Outcome document: first draft of the Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence
Corporate author: Ad Hoc Expert Group (AHEG) for the Preparation of a Draft text of a Recommendation the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence [6]
Document code: SHS/BIO/AHEG-AI/2020/4 REV.2
7 Sep 2020 Collation: 23 pages

A World in Disorder :: Global Preparedness Monitoring Board – Annual Report 2020

“A World in Disorder”

A World in Disorder. Global Preparedness Monitoring Board – Annual Report 2020
World Health Organization 2020 :: 52 pages
Never before has the world been so clearly forewarned of the dangers of a devastating pandemic, nor previously had the knowledge, resources and technologies to deal with such a threat. Yet, never before has the world witnessed a pandemic of such widespread and destructive social and economic impact.

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed a collective failure to take pandemic prevention, preparedness and response seriously and prioritize it accordingly. It has demonstrated the fragility of highly interconnected economies and social systems, and the fragility of trust. It has exploited and exacerbated the fissures within societies and among nations. It has exploited inequalities, reminding us in no uncertain terms that there is no health security without social security. COVID-19 has taken advantage of a world in disorder…

…In issuing its warning in last year’s inaugural report, the GPMB stressed the inadequacy of systems and financing required to detect and respond to health emergencies. As COVID-19 has proven, these systems remain dangerously deficient and under-resourced. This pandemic has also called out the human dimensions of health security, the actions of leaders and citizens that are so critical to vigorous preparedness and response.
Our report this year highlights responsible leadership and citizenship, as well as the adequacy of systems and resources, as key factors for success. It puts a special emphasis on the factor that binds these four elements together into an effective whole: the principles and values of governance that ensure the right choices, decisions and actions are taken at the right time. It points out that none are safe until all are safe and calls for a renewed commitment to multilateralism and to WHO and the multilateral system…

…The pandemic is far from over. Some countries have been relatively successful in suppressing the virus, protecting their populations, saving millions of lives. Others have not. Close to a million lives have been lost to COVID-19. The devastating economic and societal impact of COVID-19 reminds us, yet again, of the centrality of investment in pandemic preparedness to human security, and the need to reconsider how national security budgets are spent.

We have already learned many crucial lessons that demand immediate action if we are to say with any confidence, “never again”. But learning without action is pointless, and unsustained commitment is futile. As we warned in our last report, “For too long, we have allowed a cycle of panic and neglect when it comes to pandemics: we ramp up efforts when there is a serious threat, then quickly forget about them when the threat subsides.”
Again, we say: “It is well past time to act.” And we identify the commitments and actions leaders and citizens must take – boldly, decisively, immediately, and with new energy animated by the grim recognition that inaction kills.

H.E. Gro Harlem Brundtland
Co-Chair, Former Prime Minister, Norway, and Former Director- General, World Health Organization
Mr Elhadj As Sy
Co-Chair, Chair, Kofi Annan Foundation Board, and Former Secretary-General, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

In our 2019 Annual Report, ‘A World at Risk’, we warned of the very real threat of ‘a rapidly spreading pandemic due to a lethal respiratory pathogen’2, and the need for determined political leadership at national and global levels. We called for seven urgent actions to prepare the world for health emergencies:
– Heads of government must commit and invest
– Countries and regional organizations must lead by example
– All countries must build strong systems
-Countries, donors and multilateral institutions must be prepared for the worst
– Financing institutions must link preparedness with financial risk planning
– Development assistance funders must create incentives and increase funding for preparedness
– The United Nations must strengthen coordination mechanisms

Progress in implementing these actions has been limited. It is not as if the world has lacked the opportunity to take these steps. There have been numerous calls for action in these areas over the last decade, yet none have generated the changes needed. Financial and political investments in preparedness have been insufficient, and we are all paying the price.

Conclusion & commitment
The COVID-19 pandemic is providing a harsh test of the world’s preparedness. The Board concludes that little progress has been made on any of the actions called for in last year’s report and that this lack of leadership is exacerbating the pandemic. Failure to learn the lessons of COVID-19 or to act on them with the necessary resources and commitment will mean that the next pandemic, which is sure to come, will be even more damaging.

We recognize that the GPMB must also change. Our monitoring and advocacy for preparedness must better reflect the contribution of sectors other than health, the importance of social protection, and be based on improved and predictive measures of preparedness.

GPMB Commitment
As the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board, we pledge to support good governance of global health security by fulfilling our mandate to independently monitor preparedness across all sectors and stakeholders, report regularly on progress, and continuously advocate for effective action.

A humanitarian crisis at sea: all United Nations Member States must resolve the crew change crisis

Humanitarian Crisis: Seafarers

A humanitarian crisis at sea: all United Nations Member States must resolve the crew change crisis
IMO International Maritime Organization
UN agencies and programmes involved in the maritime sector, human rights, trade, travel and transportation have called on all UN Member States, through a joint statement, to take urgent action to resolve the humanitarian crew change crisis faced by the world’s seafarers.

Trapped on their ships due to travel restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 300,000 seafarers cannot be repatriated, and an equal number of unemployed seafarers ashore cannot work, because they are unable to board ships.

Those on board have had their contracts extended, sometimes beyond 17 months, and are facing fatigue and physical and mental health issues. The International Maritime Organization (IMO), International Labour Organization (ILO) and International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) have received thousands of urgent calls for help from seafarers and their families.

The maritime shipping sector faces a humanitarian crisis. The Joint Statement calls on all Governments to immediately recognize seafarers as key workers, and to take swift and effective action to eliminate obstacles to crew changes, so as to address the humanitarian crisis faced by the shipping sector, ensure maritime safety and facilitate economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Statement warns that the rights of seafarers, as enshrined in the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC 2006), as amended, and other international instruments, have not been fully respected by all governments, mostly importantly the maximum period of service on board (11 months) and also their rights to shore leave, annual leave, repatriation, and access to medical care onboard and ashore.
The current rise in seafarer fatigue threatens the safety of maritime navigation..

It is therefore essential that all governments urgently recognize seafarers as key workers and take immediate, concrete action to eliminate obstacles to crew changes, so addressing this humanitarian crisis, ensuring maritime safety and sustainable shipping, and facilitating economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Joint Statement outlines a series of 15 different and related measures that Governments must take, including:
:: designating seafarers as ʺkey workersʺ providing an essential service, to facilitate safe and unhindered embarkation and disembarkation from their ships;
:: undertaking national consultations involving all relevant ministries, agencies and departments, to identify obstacles to crew changes, and establish and implement measurable, time-bound plans to increase the rate of such crew changes;
:: implementing protocols for crew changes, drawing upon the latest version of the Recommended framework of protocols for ensuring safe ship crew changes and travel during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic;
:: refraining from authorising any new extension of seafarers’ employment agreements beyond the maximum period of 11 months, in accordance with the MLC, 2006; and
:: facilitating the diversion of ships from their normal trading routes to ports where crew changes are permitted.

Impact of COVID-19 on multidimensional child poverty – Save the Children, UNICEF

COVID-19 Impact: Child Poverty

Impact of COVID-19 on multidimensional child poverty
Save the Children, UNICEF
Technical Note – September 2020
Child poverty is more than the lack of monetary means. Although measures such as household income are important, they provide only a partial view of the plight of children living in poverty. Therefore to understand the full extent of child poverty as well as the impact of COVID-19 on it, we must look at children’s ability to access health, education, nutrition, water and sanitation and housing services.

Approximately 150 million additional children are living in multidimensional poverty – without access to these essential services – due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the analysis jointly carried out by Save the Children and UNICEF. Using data on access to education, healthcare, housing, nutrition, sanitation and water from more than 70 countries, the authors find that around 45 per cent of children were severely deprived of at least one of these critical needs before the coronavirus pandemic even hit. And although the current data paint a dire picture, the situation for children living in multidimensional poverty is likely to worsen unless national governments and the international community step up to soften the blow.

[Technical Note excerpt]
…The situation in health is a bit more complicated. Health services (whether they are immunization,
preventive, or curative) have been disrupted to varying degrees in different countries. We have
information on this from periodic country office reporting against an evolving questionnaire to assess the socio-economic impact of the pandemic as well as disruption of social services

We also have information on the determinants of the probability that children will or will not be immunized based on their background characteristics. For children who had attained the age to be fully immunized before the pandemic struck, their immunization is not taken away. However, for children who were less than 12 months of age and should have been immunized during the first half of this year, we can combine the information on service disruption and probability of being vaccinated, to estimate how many additional children should be considered severely and moderately deprived of vaccination. In order to maximize the use of prior information, this probability is combined for each child depending on whether they have already received some vaccination prior to their first birthday to obtain a ranking of children from the most likely to the least likely to be immunized.

Both the likelihood they would be severely or moderately deprived is estimated, at the level of the prevailing national immunization rate. This would yield the “pre-COVID” likely rate of deprivation. This
number is used as a baseline among the younger cohort. Then, the country specific rate of disruption of immunization services is used to estimate the percentage and number of additional children deprived in immunization based on the ranking of likelihood of being immunized.

For instance, if services declined by 10 %, the immunization rate (nationally) would also decline and the incidence of deprivation in health due to immunization would go up. For each country a range, based on country-specific data or from neighboring countries with similar COVID-19 incidence, is estimated using a minimum and maximum estimation of service disruption…

COVID-19 Vaccines: Allocation – WHO SAGE

WHO SAGE values framework for the allocation and prioritization of COVID-19 vaccination, 14 September 2020
World Health Organization
14 September 2020 :: 13 pages
PDF: WHO-2019-nCoV-SAGE_Framework-Allocation_and_prioritization-2020.1-eng.pdf
Executive Summary
This Values Framework offers guidance globally on the allocation of COVID-19 vaccines between countries, and to offer guidance nationally on the prioritization of groups for vaccination within countries while supply is limited. The Framework is intended to be helpful to policy makers and expert advisors at the global, regional and national level as they make allocation and prioritization decisions about COVID-19 vaccines. This document has been endorsed by the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE).

The Framework articulates the overall goal of COVID-19 vaccine deployment, provides six core principles that should guide distribution and twelve objectives that further specify the six principles (Table 1). To provide recommendations for allocating vaccines between countries and prioritizing groups for vaccination within each country, the Values Framework needs to be complemented with information about specific characteristics of available vaccine or vaccines, the benefit-risk assessment for different population groups, the amount and pace of vaccine supply, and the current state of the epidemiology, clinical management, and economic and social impact of the pandemic. Hence, the final vaccination strategy will be defined by the characteristics of vaccine products as they become available.

SAGE is currently engaged in the process of applying the Values Framework to emerging evidence on specific vaccines, and the evolving epidemiology and economic impact of the pandemic. The first stage of this process was the identification of populations and sub-populations which would be appropriate target groups for prioritization under the various values-based objectives in the Framework (Table 2), before data on Phase 3 vaccine performance are not yet available. Specific priority group recommendations for specific vaccines will be made as vaccine products become authorized for use; initial vaccine specific policy recommendations are expected in the final quarter of 2020 or early 2021, depending on timing of and findings from phase 3 vaccine trials.

The Framework also complements the principles on equitable access and fair allocation of COVID-19 health products developed for the ACT Accelerator COVAX facility.

Framework Goals and Principles at a Glance
Overarching goal
COVID-19 vaccines must be a global public good. The overarching goal is for COVID-19 vaccines to contribute significantly to the equitable protection and promotion of human well-being among all people of the world.

Human Well-Being
Protect and promote human well-being including health, social and economic security, human rights and civil liberties, and child development.
Equal Respect
Recognize and treat all human beings as having equal moral status and their interests as deserving of equal moral consideration.
Global Equity
Ensure equity in vaccine access and benefit globally among people living in all countries, particularly those living in low-and middle-income countries.
National Equity
Ensure equity in vaccine access and benefit within countries for groups experiencing greater burdens from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Honor obligations of reciprocity to those individuals and groups within countries who bear significant additional risks and burdens of COVID-19 response for the benefit of society.
Make global decisions about vaccine allocation and national decisions about vaccine prioritization through transparent processes that are based on shared values, best available scientific evidence, and appropriate representation and input by affected parties.

Coronavirus [COVID-19] – PHEIC


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

Weekly Epidemiological and Operational updates
last update: 11 September 2020, 20:00 GMT-4
Confirmed cases :: 30 369 778 [week ago: 28 329 790]
Confirmed deaths :: 948 795 [week ago: 911 877]

Weekly Epidemiological Update 
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
14 September 2020
Global epidemiological situation
In the week from 7 through 13 September, there were over 1.8 million new cases of COVID-19, comparable to the previous seven days (Table 1); while deaths increased slightly as compared to the previous week, with over 40 600 deaths reported.
The Region of the Americas has consistently registered the greatest number of reported cases for many weeks. It continues to account for nearly half of the global total of cases even as cases have declined in the reporting week. The African Region also showed a decline in reported cases this week and was the only region to report a decline in deaths.
The European region reported the third-highest number of new cases, amounting to 16% of the global total, and is the region with the second-highest cumulative number of cases per million population (5 172 cases per million population).
In recent weeks schools have been re-opening in a number of countries throughout the six WHO regions. WHO has published both a Question and Answer and guidance on considerations for school-related public health measures in the context of COVID-19…


WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 – 18 September 2020
18 September 2020
:: COVID-19 has shown that collectively, the world was woefully under prepared.
:: In its new report, the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board lays out the key lessons the world must learn from the pandemic and the concrete actions we can take to protect ourselves.
:: With the right political and financial commitment and investment now, we can prevent and mitigate future pandemics.
:: This is a critical moment for countries and we ask leaders to put targeted measures in place that we know can suppress the spread and ensure that health systems and workers are protected.
:: For people also, we ask you to continue to do the basics.




Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)

Polio this week as of 17 September 2020
:: The Polio Oversight Board (POB) held its second meeting of the year virtually to discuss the programme’s financial requirements for 2021, to receive an update on the recommendations of the GPEI Governance Review and to consider a proposal to develop a new polio programme strategy. Read more on the meeting [10 pages].

:: When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the acute challenges it posed to both polio and immunization activities presented an unprecedented opportunity to coordinate and reimagine collaboration. Given the new context, the focus of the work shifted to develop an interim Programme of Work for Integrated Actions in the context of COVID-19 (iPOW). The draft iPOW summarizes the current level of integration between GPEI and EPI and, more importantly, identifies critical actions across key priority areas of work to drive synergies and materialize efficiency gains by building on initiatives accelerated by COVID-19 to ensure a successful resumption of all immunization activities. iPOW is open for stakeholder consultation until October 1st, 2020.

:: The GPEI established an nOPV2 Working Group to manage and coordinate the rapid and effective rollout of nOPV2. The group includes representatives from each of the GPEI partner organizations and focuses on research, regulatory, supply, communications, policy, and implementation readiness activities. Take a look at an updated information sheet detailing the structures and linkages of the Working Group.

Summary of new WPV and cVDPV viruses this week (AFP cases and environmental samples):
:: Afghanistan: two WPV1 cases, one WPV1 positive environmental sample and ninecVDPV2 cases
:: Pakistan: two WPV1 cases, eight WPV1 positive environmental samples and sevencVDPV2 cases
:: Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo): nine cVDPV2 cases
:: Somalia: one cVDPV2 case and two positive environmental samples
:: Sudan: one cVDPV2 case
:: Mali: one cVDPV2 positive environmental sample
:: Central African Republic: one cVDPV2 case