UN Secretary-General Presents 10 Priorities for 2021

Global Governance

UN Secretary-General Presents 10 Priorities for 2021
3 February 2021
:: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres outlined ten priorities for 2021 during a UNGA plenary meeting on 28-29 January 2021.
:: He explained how the 2030 Agenda points the way to a sustainable and inclusive recovery from COVID-19, how humans can “make peace with nature,” and a strategy for increasing women’s rights.
:: The Secretary-General also provided indications of the recommendations he may make to governments in September 2021 for resetting global governance.

UN Secretary-General’s Ten Priorities for 2021 are:
:: Respond to COVID-19
:: Start an inclusive and sustainable economic recovery
:: Make peace with nature
:: Tackle poverty and inequality
:: Reverse the assault on human rights
:: Gender equality, the greatest human rights challenge
:: Heal geopolitical rifts
:: Reverse the erosion of the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime
:: Seize the opportunities of digital technologies while protecting against their growing dangers
:: Launch a reset for the 21st century

Guterres said the first priority is responding to COVID-19, and the “first great moral test” of the year is to make vaccines available and affordable to all, treating them as a global public good. He called for prioritizing vaccine distribution to the most vulnerable in order to prevent mutations from spreading and becoming more deadly, and for more resources for the COVAX facility led by the World Health Organization (WHO).

On economic recovery, Guterres said “the 2030 Agenda points the way.” He stressed the need for investments in health systems, universal health coverage, mental health care, social protection, and safe returns to school. To avoid making developing countries choose between providing basic services and servicing their debts, he called for a “quantum leap in financial support,” including debt relief and an expansion of the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative. He also called for embracing renewable energy and green and resilient infrastructure…

Global Report on Trafficking in Persons :: UNODC 2020

Human Rights – Trafficking in Persons

Share of children among trafficking victims increases, boys five times; COVID-19 seen worsening overall trend in human trafficking, says UNODC Report
Media Release
Vienna 2 February 2021 – The number of children among detected trafficking victims has tripled in the past 15 years, while the share of boys has increased five times. Girls are mainly trafficked for sexual exploitation, while boys are used for forced labour, according to the Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, launched by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) today.

In 2018 about 50,000 human trafficking victims were detected and reported by 148 countries. However, given the hidden nature of this crime, the actual number of victims trafficked is far higher. The Report shows traffickers particularly target the most vulnerable, such as migrants and people without jobs. The COVID-19-induced recession is likely to expose more people to the risk of trafficking.

“Millions of women, children and men worldwide are out of work, out of school and without social support in the continuing COVID-19 crisis, leaving them at greater risk of human trafficking. We need targeted action to stop criminal traffickers from taking advantage of the pandemic to exploit the vulnerable,” said UNODC Executive Director Ghada Waly.

“The UNODC Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2020, coupled with the technical assistance UNODC provides through its global programmes and field network, aims to inform governments’ anti-trafficking responses, end impunity, and support victims as part of integrated efforts to build forward from the pandemic.”…

.

Global Report on Trafficking in Persons
UNODC
2020, 176 pages
PDF: https://www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-analysis/tip/2021/GLOTiP_2020_15jan_web.pdf

The 2020 UNODC Global Report on Trafficking in Persons is the fifth of its kind mandated by the General Assembly through the 2010 United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons. It covers 148 countries and provides an overview of patterns and flows of trafficking in persons at global, regional and national levels, based primarily on trafficking cases detected between 2016 and 2019. As UNODC has been systematically collecting data on trafficking in persons for more than a decade, trend information is presented for a broad range of indicators.

As with previous years, this edition of the Global Report on Trafficking in Persons presents a global picture of the patterns and flows of trafficking (Chapter 1), alongside detailed regional analyses (Chapter 6) and country profiles.

In addition, this Report provides four thematic chapters. Chapter 2 of the Report examines how poor socioeconomic conditions are used by traffickers to recruit and exploit victims. The third chapter expands on patterns of child trafficking and the roles that extreme poverty, social norms and familial backgrounds play in this form of trafficking. Then, the fourth chapter focuses on trafficking for forced labour and explores the specific economic sectors that are more vulnerable to trafficking. Finally, the fifth chapter presents emerging patterns on internet technologies that are used by traffickers to facilitate recruitment and exploitation…

HERITAGE AT RISK. World Report 2016-2019 on Monuments and Sites in Danger

Heritage Stewardship

HERITAGE AT RISK. World Report 2016-2019 on Monuments and Sites in Danger
Machat, Christoph (ed.), Ziesemer, John (ed.) Berlin, hendrik Bäßler verlag,
2020. 173 p., illus. [Eng]
ISBN 978-3-945880-67-8
PDF: http://openarchive.icomos.org/id/eprint/2430/
Abstract
The ICOMOS World Report 2016-2019 on Monuments and Sites in Danger (Heritage at Risk) is the latest volume of what is already a whole series of World Reports started in 2000. It consists of contributions from 23 countries, among them reports from National and international Scientific Committees of ICOMOS, but also, as usual, reports by individual experts, completed by short information on the World Heritage Watch network, founded in 2014, and by press releases on the Europa Nostra programme “The Seven Most Endangered Heritage Sites in Europe” launched in 2013.

Le Rapport mondial 2016-2019 de l’ICOMOS sur les monuments et sites en péril (Heritage at Risk) est le dernier volume de ce qui est déjà toute une série de rapports mondiaux commencés en 2000. Il se compose de contributions de 23 pays, parmi lesquelles des rapports des comités scientifiques nationaux et internationaux de l’ICOMOS, mais aussi, comme d’habitude, des rapports d’experts individuels, complétés par de brèves informations sur le réseau World Heritage Watch, fondé en 2014, et par des communiqués de presse sur le programme Europa Nostra “Les sept sites du patrimoine les plus menacés en Europe” lancé en 2013.

Getty Conservation Institute Releases Free Online Publication: “The Twentieth-Century Historic Thematic Framework: A Tool for Assessing Heritage Places”

Heritage Stewardship – Tools

Getty Conservation Institute Releases Free Online Publication: “The Twentieth-Century Historic Thematic Framework: A Tool for Assessing Heritage Places”
February 04, 2021
LOS ANGELES – Getty Conservation Institute released today “The Twentieth-Century Historic Thematic Framework,” a free online tool for architecture and heritage conservation professionals around the world.

The 20th century was a time of rapid growth, technological advancement and political upheaval, resulting in a proliferation of new buildings, cities, and landscapes. However, the existence of so many potential heritage places from the 20th century can make it difficult for professionals to determine what is significant and why. This publication provides a structure to help users identify and assess 20th century heritage, which is often the first step needed to conserve and sustain these places.
The publication uses broad thinking to identify the principal social, technological, political, and economic drivers that shaped the 20th century globally, and these have been distilled into ten succinct historic themes seen in the diagram below:

The publication is offered for free and can be utilized and adapted by anyone involved in heritage conservation around the world.

Themes
The Framework uses ten succinct themes to organize and define history, helping to identify heritage sites and place them in context:
1. Rapid Urbanization and the Growth of Large Cities
2. Accelerated Scientific and Technological Development
3. Mechanized and Industrialized Agriculture
4. World Trade and Global Corporations
5. Transportation Systems and Mass Communication
6. Internationalization, New Nation-States, and Human Rights
7. Conserving the Natural Environment, Buildings, and Landscapes
8. Popular Culture and Tourism
9. Religious, Educational, and Cultural Institutions
10. War and its Aftermath

Beginning with an overview of the themes, subthemes, and places that exemplify them, readers can quickly navigate to any one theme that is of particular importance to their area of research. Each section concludes with a photo gallery showing a diverse range of buildings, sites, structures, and landscapes that illustrate the issues discussed.

Although globally structured, this framework can be used locally to survey and assess places within the context of the twentieth century and to conduct comparative analyses of places. It can be utilized and adapted by anyone involved in heritage conservation around the world. Our hope is that it will aid many forms of research, analysis, and survey work, and ultimately help sustain and conserve the heritage of the twentieth century.

Commissioned by the Getty Conservation Institute working in collaboration with the ICOMOS Twentieth-Century Heritage International Scientific Committee, this publication is an outcome of the Conservation Institute’s Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative.
Thematic frameworks are already being used to identify and assess heritage places in countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States, and internationally by the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS (the International Council on Monuments and Sites), and other heritage organizations.
This new publication meets a global need by creating a thematic framework for assessing 20th century heritage. Previous Getty initiatives such as the Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative and Keeping It Modern have addressed these issues using international conservation management planning and grant funding, respectively.

Atlas AI Launches Aperture™ – Unlocking Unparalleled Insight to Target Investments and Drive Impact in Emerging Markets

Development – AI

Atlas AI Launches Aperture™ – Unlocking Unparalleled Insight to Target Investments and Drive Impact in Emerging Markets
Feb 04 2021 Press Release
PALO ALTO, CALIFORNIA – Atlas AI today announced the launch of Aperture™, a market and economic intelligence platform unlocking unparalleled insight into demographic, economic and infrastructure conditions across the emerging markets. Aperture integrates Atlas AI’s proprietary data layers into a user-friendly web-based application to enable site selection, market prioritization and network optimization for businesses and investors making high stakes location-based decisions in regions traditionally starved for reliable and timely data. Aperture is available for the full continent of Africa at launch, with plans to expand the software globally later in 2021…

Transforming how billions of dollars are invested for a more sustainable future
Atlas AI bring together world class machine learning talent and deep domain expertise to develop software that allows customers to plan and monitor high stakes investments including infrastructure development initiatives and market expansion programs.

Atlas AI was founded in 2018 as a Public Benefit Corporation by a team of Stanford University Professors – Marshall Burke, Stefano Ermon, and David Lobell – based on their pioneering research at the intersection of Economics, Earth Science, and Computer Science. Marshall, Stefano and David had spent years advancing research on how to apply cutting edge AI techniques to develop better quality and more localized socioeconomic measures in data sparse environments like Sub-Saharan Africa.
Atlas AI resulted from their desire to translate these research techniques into market-ready data sets, and to expand access to insights about economic development in the emerging markets to help solve important societal pro

Launching with four critical lenses on economic development
Atlas AI’s peer-reviewed and validated technology enables the highest quality understanding of conditions across Africa:

Population Dynamics
Understand the demographic data across the continent, we combine public data sets to provide a holistic demographic insight.
Africa (continent wide)
Updated annually Last update: 2020

Economic Conditions
Understand the economic data across the continent, identify trends across key identifies such as Asset wealth, etc
Africa (continent wide)
Updated annually Last update: 2018

Electrification
Understand the infrastructure data across the continent, analyse electrification trends across the continent.
Africa (continent wide)
Updated annually Last update: Dec 2019

Agricultural Productivity
On demand
We provide on-demand crop monitoring and large-scale crop area and yield estimates for current and past growing seasons anywhere at a 10m spatial resolution.

U.S. – Re-engagement/Immigration/Refugees

U.S. – Re-engagement
 Executive Order on Rebuilding and Enhancing Programs to Resettle Refugees and Planning for the Impact of Climate Change on Migration
February 04, 2021 • Presidential Actions

Remarks by President Biden on America’s Place in the World
February 04, 2021 • Speeches and Remarks

Fact Sheet: President Biden to Sign Executive Actions Restoring America’s Place in the World
February 04, 2021 • Statements and Releases

Remarks by President Biden at Signing of Executive Orders Advancing His Priority to Modernize Our Immigration System
February 02, 2021 • Speeches and Remarks

Executive Order on the Establishment of Interagency Task Force on the Reunification of Families
February 02, 2021 • Presidential Actions

Executive Order on Creating a Comprehensive Regional Framework to Address the Causes of Migration, to Manage Migration Throughout North and Central America, and to Provide Safe and Orderly Processing of Asylum Seekers at the United States Border
February 02, 2021 • Presidential Actions

Executive Order on Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans
February 02, 2021 • Presidential Actions

The European Union, UNICEF and UNHCR join efforts to protect children on the move in Central America, Mexico and Southern Africa

Protection – Children on the Move

The European Union, UNICEF and UNHCR join efforts to protect children on the move in Central America, Mexico and Southern Africa
02 February 2021
BRUSSELS/JOHANNESBURG/NAIROBI – The European Union (EU), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency have announced today the launch of the new EU Global Promotion of Best Practices for Children in Migration programme to strengthen child protection systems and provide alternatives to immigration detention.

This multi-country programme, with a total budget of €7.5 million, has received €7 million from the EU and is being implemented across four countries in two regions: El Salvador and Mexico in Latin America; South Africa and Zambia in Southern Africa. Over the course of the 30-month programme, UNICEF and UNHCR will jointly work with national governments; local authorities with portfolios of child protection and social welfare, home affairs and justice; civil society organisations and other stakeholders around three key goals for children.

Firstly, the programme will ensure that the capacity of child protection systems to include gender responsive services and alternative care options to immigration detention is enhanced.

Secondly, that the capacity of frontline actors to detect children on the move suffering from, or at risk of, gender-based violence and to refer them to appropriate alternative family and community care is increased.

And, thirdly, that lessons learned and best practices on programming for children on the move are documented and shared to contribute to strengthened south-south and global cooperation.

Welcoming the launch of the programme, Jutta Urpilainen, European Commissioner for International Partnerships, said: “Children should always be treated first and foremost as children, regardless of their migration status. They have the right to be protected and to live in a safe environment. This includes having access to education, healthcare and sanitation, social and legal services, and psychological support. In partnership with UNICEF and UNHCR, the European Union is reaching out especially to children affected by immigration detention.”

Mohamed M. Malick Fall, Regional Director for UNICEF in Eastern and Southern Africa, said:
“In an era where COVID-19 has jeopardized access to services, these children are now even more vulnerable. Our joint programme will address the impact that immigration detention has on children’s mental and wellbeing; and critically, the increased risks of child rights violations,” he said.

“This project is a crucial opportunity for all actors involved in the protection of children on the move to work better together. These boys and girls face specific risks requiring tailored, gender specific, and child sensitive responses. Children should not be detained,” said Grainne O’Hara, UNHCR’s Director of International Protection.

“Having fled from violence and persecution, children too often face further abuse, neglect and exploitation on their journey or at their destination. With this programme, we hope that safe alternative care arrangements will be strengthened and that children at risk are quickly identified and receive the attention they urgently need,” she said…

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

Coronavirus [COVID-19] – WHO
Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

Weekly Epidemiological and Operational updates
Last update: 23 January 2021
Confirmed cases :: 104 956 439 [week ago: 101 561 219] [two weeks ago: 96 877 399]
Confirmed deaths :: 2 290 488 [week ago: 2 196 9440 [two weeks ago: 2 098 879]
Countries, areas or territories with cases :: 223

Weekly epidemiological update – 2 February 2021
Overview
Globally, just under 3.7 million new cases were reported in the past week, a decline of 13% from last week, and the number of new deaths reported was over 96 000, comparable to the previous week. This brings the cumulative numbers to over 102.1 million reported cases and over 2.2 million deaths globally since the start of the pandemic.
In this edition of the COVID-19 Weekly Epidemiological Update, special focus updates are provided on: COVID-19 and health workers, as well as on SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern.

Weekly operational update on COVID-19 – 1 February 2021
Key Figures
:: WHO-led UN Crisis-Management Team coordinating 23 UN entities across nine areas of work
:: 145 GOARN deployments conducted to support COVID-19 pandemic response
:: 8 540 231 face shields shipped globally
:: 6 713 379 gowns shipped globally
:: 35 821 900 gloves shipped globally
:: 197 343 426 medical masks shipped globally
:: 19 948 965 respirators shipped globally
:: More than 2.5 million people registered on OpenWHO and able to access 25 topical courses in 44 langu

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 03 February 2021
:: The first Polio News edition of 2021 is now out containing the latest programme updates, news and donor information.

Summary of new WPV and cVDPV viruses this week (AFP cases and ES positives):
:: Afghanistan: one WPV1 and 14 cVDPV2 cases and two cVDPV2 positive environmental samples
:: Pakistan: three WPV1 and 18 cVDPV2 positive environmental samples and eight cVDPV2 cases
:: Benin: one cVDPV2 case and two positive environmental samples
:: Nigeria: one cVDPV2 case

::::::
::::::

Editor’s Note:
Continuing with this edition, we include information about the last apparent update evident on the WHO emergency country webpages, recognizing almost universal and significant interims since last update regardless of the level of the emergency listed.

WHO Grade 3 Emergencies [to 6 Feb 2021]

Democratic Republic of the Congo – No new digest announcements [Last apparent update: 12 Jan 2021]
Mozambique floods – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 3 November 2020]
Nigeria – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 29 Jun 2020]
Somalia – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 17 July 2020]
South Sudan – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 4 February 2020]
Syrian Arab Republic – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 24 October 2020]
Yemen – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 30 June 2020]

::::::

WHO Grade 2 Emergencies [to 6 Feb 2021]
Burkina Faso
:: Au Burkina Faso, une lutte soutenue contre le cancer du sein 04 février 2021

Afghanistan – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 5 July 2020]
Angola – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 03 December 2020]
Burundi – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 04 July 2019]
Cameroon – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 22 August 2019]
Central African Republic – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 12 June 2018]
Ethiopia – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 22 August 2019]
Iran floods 2019 – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 12 March 2020]
Iraq – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 16 December 2020]
Libya – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 7 October 2019]
Malawi Floods – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 09 October 2019]
Measles in Europe – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 16-12-2020]
MERS-CoV – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 8 July 2019]
Mozambique – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 03 November 2020]
Myanmar No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: :: 3 January 2021
Niger – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 29 December 2020]
occupied Palestinian territory – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 4 September 2019]
HIV in Pakistan – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 27 August 2019]
Sao Tome and Principe Necrotizing Cellulitis (2017) – No new digest announcements
Sudan – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 24 June 2020]
Ukraine – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 1 May 2019]
Zimbabwe – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 10 May 2019]

::::::

WHO Grade 1 Emergencies [to 6 Feb 2021]

Chad – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 30 June 2018]
Djibouti – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 25 novembre 2020]
Kenya – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 11 December 2020]
Mali – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 3 May 2017]
Namibia – viral hepatitis – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 20 July 2018]
Tanzania – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 21 October 2020]

::::::
::::::

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 Humanitarian Update No. 23 As of 1 February 2021

Yemen – 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.
COVID-19
:: Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19): Weekly Epidemiological Update (2 February 2021)

East Africa Locust Infestation
:: Desert Locust situation update 4 February 2021

::::::
::::::

The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health :: Education :: Heritage Stewardship ::
Sustainable Development
__________________________________________________
Week ending 30 January 2021 :: Number 352

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 30 Jan 2021

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

Risk of Instability, Tension Growing, amid Glaring Inequalities in Global COVID-19 Recovery, Top United Nations Officials Warn Security Council

COVID – Collateral Impacts

Risk of Instability, Tension Growing, amid Glaring Inequalities in Global COVID-19 Recovery, Top United Nations Officials Warn Security Council
25 January 2021 SC/14422
The sweeping and devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are continuing to grow, and so too are the risks of instability and tension amidst glaring inequalities in the global recovery, senior United Nations officials warned today during a Security Council videoconference on the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on international peace and security.

The meeting focused on the implementation of resolution 2532 (2020), adopted on 1 July 2020, in which the Council expressed its support for the Secretary-General’s appeal, made 100 days earlier, for a global ceasefire to help unite efforts to fight COVID-19 in the world’s most vulnerable countries. Through that text, the 15-member organ also called for an immediate 90-day humanitarian pause to enable the safe, unhindered and sustained delivery of life-saving assistance.

Rosemary DiCarlo, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, said that the pandemic’s impact on peace and security has intensified — exacerbating inequality and corruption; breeding misinformation, stigmatization and hate speech; and creating new flashpoints for tension and increased risks of instability. It is hindering diplomatic action and complicated peacemaking efforts, without for the most part affecting the underlying dynamics of armed conflicts. The impact on women, youth and other marginalized groups is particularly alarming, she said.

In some instances, the Secretary-General’s call for a global cessation of hostilities has given new momentum to faltering peace processes, she said, pointing to ceasefires in Libya and Ukraine, ongoing Afghanistan peace negotiations and the start of a disarmament process among insurgent groups in Mozambique. Other places, however, have witnessed a dangerous escalation of tension, including large-scale fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh. Without exception, United Nations missions and the Secretary-General’s special representatives and special envoys have adjusted to the changing reality, embracing new tools such as digital focus groups. At the same time, since the onset of the pandemic, the United Nations has supported 19 elections and one referendum in 18 countries.

Looking ahead, she warned that as the pandemic’s impact grows, so too will the risk of tensions and instability, magnified by inequalities in the global recovery. As rich countries get vaccinated, the developing world — including countries already trapped in conflict and instability — risks being left behind, dealing a severe blow to peace and security.

“One thing is clear: The pandemic has served as a political stress test as much as a structural and public health one,” she said. It has laid how acute crisis can become an opportunity to gain advantage on the battlefield or as a pretext to perpetuate oppression — but it has also confirmed that almost no barrier is insurmountable when there is real political will, supported by the global community, to make and sustain peace. Going forward, the collective and individual engagement of Council members will remain crucial, she said, adding that “recovering better” in the wake of the pandemic will require more political and financial investment in conflict prevention…

COVID-19 shows that we cannot take stability and competent governance for granted – The Elders

Governance – Competence/Stability

COVID-19 shows that we cannot take stability and competent governance for granted
Opinion
Gro Harlem Brundtland, The Elders
28 January 2021
With the Doomsday Clock remaining at just 100 seconds to midnight, Gro Harlem Brundtland warns of an alarmingly high level of existential risk to humanity. Published in Project Syndicate.

Last January, my fellow Elders Mary Robinson and Ban Ki-moon participated in the unveiling of the Doomsday Clock, the annual indicator of global catastrophic risk published by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. In 2020, the clock’s hands moved closer to “midnight” than they have ever been – just 100 seconds away – and they will remain there in 2021.

With an economic rescue plan that is both ambitious and well targeted, US President Joe Biden and his team have demonstrated a clear understanding of the scale and range of action that the current situation requires. A broader reconstruction plan can and must come later; but crisis management remains the order of the day.

It is hardly reassuring that we came no closer to midnight this year. The COVID-19 pandemic has served as a stark and deadly demonstration of the precariousness of our way of life. We have made remarkable progress on vaccines, and a new US administration brings hope of renewed multilateral cooperation. But there is no doubt that the future will be rife with existential threats: new pandemics, the climate crisis, nuclear conflict, and other risks that we cannot ignore.

Post-pandemic political leadership will be a crucial test of the world’s ability to rise to these challenges. Too many of our leaders have been found wanting. The virus has claimed some two million lives and wrought economic devastation worldwide. While mass vaccine rollouts offer some people a glimmer of hope, most of the world’s population will remain unprotected for quite some time.

To be sure, US President Joe Biden’s decision to re-engage with the World Health Organization is a welcome signal of America’s renewed commitment to multilateralism, as is his signing on to the COVAX scheme for equitable vaccine distribution. But WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has warned that unless we do more to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines are produced and distributed according to the principles of universal health coverage (UHC), the result will be a “catastrophic moral failure.”

As a new report by The Elders shows, fully overcoming COVID-19 and equipping ourselves for future health emergencies requires remodeling global public-health policy around three key pillars: preparation for future pandemics; ensuring UHC at national and global levels; and promoting healthier societies through holistic policies and social development.

No part of this agenda is revolutionary or too complicated to deliver quickly and at scale. Some of the countries that have performed well during the pandemic – including Thailand and Vietnam, which have reported barely 100 COVID-19 deaths between them – are already implementing this type of strategy. The challenge, as ever, is to back words with action, and to ensure that our efforts are properly funded and designed not to overlook the needs of the poor and marginalized.

Nowhere is this more essential than vaccination policy. The rapid development of not just one but several vaccines in less than a year is an incredible achievement and a triumph of human ingenuity, innovation, and cooperation. But it would be unpardonable if these precious vaccines were not equitably distributed around the world. In a pandemic, we cannot hope to recover fully or repair our social fabric unless we affirm and apply the principles of multilateralism and solidarity.

One of the most important lessons from the COVID-19 crisis is that short-termism and nationalism have weakened global health policy. It is now clear that national moves toward UHC must go hand in hand with multilateral efforts to strengthen public health systems globally.

To equip these systems for future pandemics, all stakeholders should define pandemic preparedness and response as a “global public good” that necessitates a multilateral approach, with states and global institutions pooling resources, capacity, and expertise. Equally important is support (and respect) for the ongoing work of the WHO and other bodies specifically charged with pandemic preparedness, including the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board (which I co-chair) and the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response.

In economic terms, investing in preparedness to strengthen health security offers excellent value for money. In the case of the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board, an annual global expenditure of around $5 per person could avert a repeat of the COVID-19 disaster, which has already cost the world economy more than $11 trillion. And a similarly high rate of return can be found in UHC reforms, which have been shown to bring countries rapid health, economic, and societal benefits at all income levels.

Governance – Commitments/”Informed Consent” :: Antony J. Blinken, U.S. Secretary of State

Governance – Commitments/”Informed Consent”

Secretary Antony J. Blinken at a Press Availability
Antony J. Blinken, U.S. Secretary of State
Remarks to the Press
Washington, DC January 27, 2021
[Excerpt]
QUESTION: …You’ve talked a lot about restoring U.S. leadership in the world, but allies note that everything that you do could again be overturned in four years, and that this is a cycle that doesn’t instill confidence in the long term in the United States credibility. So how can any one administration, if it can be done, assure the world that the United States can be trusted to keep its commitments?

SECRETARY BLINKEN: So one of the things I’ve done over the last 24 hours is I’ve spent a lot of time on the phone already with our – some of our closest allies and partners in various parts of the world, and that’s continuing. And I can – what I’ve picked up from those conversations already is a very, very strong desire for the United States to be back in the room, back at the table, working with them on the many, many common challenges we face, and that was almost palpable in the conversations I’ve had to date. And I expect to hear more of that in the days ahead.

One of the things, though, to your point, is that when it comes to virtually everything we’re doing – and the President has said this many times – when it comes to foreign policy, it is hard to have a sustainable foreign policy absent the informed consent of the American people. And that informed consent, I think, comes in a couple of ways. One is in a sense it comes from you, because many Americans are reading about, hearing about, listening to what we’re doing thanks to you. And that’s vitally important to make sure that they are fully informed and thinking about and ultimately providing their consent to what we’re doing.

But the place that, in our system, that informed consent is vitally important is with Congress. The members of Congress are the representatives of the American people. They provide advice and consent to our policies. And I think one of the things you’re going to see from our administration is working as closely as we possibly can with Congress on these issues from the takeoff, not just on the landing. Because ultimately, for these policies to be sustainable, we, I think, need to try to work them as much as we can up front, not at the back end.

There are going to be disagreements. There are going to be places where we’re just in a different place. But I think we stand a better chance in producing the kind of policies that will stand the test of time if we’re working closely up front with Congress. And we’ll see where we get, but I’m determined that we do that.

2020 Corruption Perceptions Index reveals widespread corruption is weakening COVID-19 response, threatening global recovery

Governance/Corruption

2020 Corruption Perceptions Index reveals widespread corruption is weakening COVID-19 response, threatening global recovery
Corruption and COVID-19 worsening democratic backsliding
28 January 2021 Read the report

The 2020 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) released today by Transparency International reveals that persistent corruption is undermining health care systems and contributing to democratic backsliding amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Countries that perform well on the index invest more in health care, are better able to provide universal health coverage and are less likely to violate democratic norms and institutions or the rule of law.

“COVID-19 is not just a health and economic crisis. It is a corruption crisis. And one that we are currently failing to manage,” Delia Ferreira Rubio, Chair of Transparency International said. “The past year has tested governments like no other in memory, and those with higher levels of corruption have been less able to meet the challenge. But even those at the top of the CPI must urgently address their role in perpetuating corruption at home and abroad.”

Global highlights
The 2020 edition of the CPI ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, drawing on 13 expert assessments and surveys of business executives. It uses a scale of zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).
:: Denmark and New Zealand top the index, with 88 points. Syria, Somalia and South Sudan come last, with 14, 12 and 12 points, respectively.

Significant changes
Since 2012, the earliest point of comparison in the current CPI methodology, 26 countries significantly improved their CPI scores, including Ecuador (39), Greece (50), Guyana (41), Myanmar (28) and South Korea (61).

Twenty-two countries significantly decreased their scores, including Bosnia & Herzegovina (35), Guatemala (25), Lebanon (25), Malawi (30), Malta (53) and Poland (56).

Nearly half of countries have been stagnant on the index for almost a decade, indicating stalled government efforts to tackle the root causes of corruption. More than two-thirds score below 50.

COVID-19
Corruption poses a critical threat to citizens’ lives and livelihoods, especially when combined with a public health emergency. Clean public sectors correlate with greater investment in health care. Uruguay, for example, has the highest CPI score in Latin America (71), invests heavily in health care and has a robust epidemiological surveillance system, which has aided its response to COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, like yellow fever and Zika.

In contrast, Bangladesh scores just 26 and invests little in health care while corruption flourishes during COVID-19, ranging from bribery in health clinics to misappropriated aid. Corruption is also pervasive in the procurement of medical supplies. Countries with higher corruption levels also tend to be the worst violators of rule of law and democratic institutions during the COVID-19 crisis. These include Philippines (34), where the response to COVID-19 has been characterised by major attacks on human rights and media freedom.

Continuing a downward trend, the United States achieves its worst score since 2012, with 67 points. In addition to alleged conflicts of interest and abuse of office at the highest level, in 2020 weak oversight of the US$1 trillion COVID-19 relief package raised serious concerns and marked a retreat from longstanding democratic norms promoting accountable government.

Recommendations
The past year highlighted integrity challenges among even the highest-scoring countries, proving that no country is free of corruption. To reduce corruption and better respond to future crises, Transparency International recommends that all governments:
:: Strengthen oversight institutions to ensure resources reach those most in need. Anti-corruption authorities and oversight institutions must have sufficient funds, resources and independence to perform their duties.
:: Ensure open and transparent contracting to combat wrongdoing, identify conflicts of interest and ensure fair pricing.
:: Defend democracy and promote civic space to create the enabling conditions to hold governments accountable.
:: Publish relevant data and guarantee access to information to ensure the public receives easy, accessible, timely and meaningful information.

Stepping up education in emergencies through enhanced cooperation

Education in Emergencies

Stepping up education in emergencies through enhanced cooperation
Press Release – Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs
Bern, 25.01.2021 – The Geneva Global Hub for Education in Emergencies was officially launched on 25 January 2021. During the 2019 Global Refugee Forum held in Geneva, Switzerland pledged to position International Geneva as a global centre for education in emergencies. Over 127 million children in humanitarian crises and conflict regions cannot go to school. More than 40% of the 80 million displaced people are children; the majority of these children have no access to education, resulting in a lack of prospects, increased violence against children and lost generations. The Hub, the development of which Switzerland has played a major role in, aims to change this.

Humanitarian emergencies are on the rise owing to climate change and its consequences; conflicts; and not least COVID-19. Even prior to the coronavirus outbreak, some 258 million school-aged children and young people worldwide were unable to attend school. The situation is worsening because of COVID-19: the UN estimates that a further 24 million children will not find their way back into schooling due to school closures and precarious economic situations. Progress achieved in recent years in the area of education is being rolled back. Last year, UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged the international community not to neglect education, because otherwise a “generational catastrophe” with lasting social and economic ramifications would ensue. Conflicts, irregular migration and displacement are also increasing. On average, refugee situations last 17 years – an entire childhood.

Globally, 48% of refugee children do not attend school. Approximately 127 million of those children without school access live in countries affected by emergency situations. In addition to creating prospects, access to education offers hope and protection to children, who are the most vulnerable in crises. Nevertheless, education is one of the sectors that receives the least recognition and funding in humanitarian disasters.

Launch of the Geneva Global Hub for Education in Emergencies
Based on its humanitarian tradition and with a particular emphasis on protection and education, Switzerland pledged to establish Geneva as a global hub for education in emergencies on the occasion of the 2019 Global Refugee Forum in Geneva. With regard to education in emergencies, International Geneva has the hitherto untapped potential of a platform that promotes cross-sectoral cooperation with a view to creating educational opportunities on the ground for young people affected by crises and displacement. As a result, the Geneva Global Hub for Education in Emergencies was officially launched on 25 January 2021.

International Geneva – host to the United Nations Office at Geneva, 38 international organisations, the permanent representations of 177 UN member states, 750 NGOs, and leading academic institutions – offers added value for education in emergency situations. The Geneva Global Hub for Education in Emergencies (a virtual and physical platform) brings together actors who are directly involved in the education sector as well as organisations active in areas such as protection, healthcare, peacebuilding and human rights. This winning combination of thematic expertise has the power to contribute towards significantly improving the educational situation of young people affected by crises, conflicts and displacement.

The Hub pursues the following objectives:
1. Facilitating inclusive education for children and young people in emergencies by strengthening the cooperation of International Geneva actors.
2. Raising awareness among governments and partner organisations to ensure that education is considered one of the highest priorities before, during and after emergencies and protracted crises.
3. Improving the effectiveness of operational measures in the area of education in emergencies through better data, innovative research and solutions that provide access to quality education while developing resilient education systems.

Education is a priority of Switzerland’s international cooperation
Switzerland’s International Cooperation Strategy 2021–24, which is derived from the foreign policy strategy, accords great importance to education. Conflicts, natural disasters, displacement and irregular migration are set to rise in the coming years. Protecting the most vulnerable population groups in crisis and displacement contexts and safeguarding the provision of quality basic services – in particular education and healthcare – is one of the four main objectives of the current international cooperation strategy. It is in Switzerland’s interests to reduce the causes of displacement and irregular migration and to guarantee quality basic services on the ground.

The Geneva Global Hub for Education in Emergencies, whose activities cut across thematic areas, offers the opportunity to bring about change with regard to the protection and education of children affected by crises and displacement.

Economic Inclusion Programs Now Benefit 92 Million People Worldwide

Development

Economic Inclusion Programs Now Benefit 92 Million People Worldwide
Unprecedented surge in these programs seen in 2020, World Bank report says
WASHINGTON, Jan. 26, 2021 — Economic inclusion programs, which help boost income and assets of the world’s poorest, are on the rise in 75 countries, reaching approximately 20 million poor and vulnerable households, and benefitting nearly 92 million individuals. This surge comes at a crucial time, as more than 700 million people around the world face extreme poverty, a number on the rise for the first time in two decades.

According to the World Bank’s newly published “State of Economic Inclusion (SEI) Report 2020: The Potential to Scale,” economic inclusion programs —usually a combination of cash or in-kind transfers, skills training or coaching, access to finance, and links to market support— are fast becoming a critical instrument in many governments’ large-scale anti-poverty strategies. And they are likely to continue, especially in areas affected by conflict, climate change, and shocks, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“One of the most stubborn challenges we face in development is positively transforming the lives of the extreme poor and vulnerable— a problem exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mari Pangestu, World Bank Group Managing Director. “This report presents—for the first time—a systematic review of economic inclusion programs around the world, and sheds light on how governments can best invest in social protection, jobs, and financial inclusion, to help the poor build a better future for themselves.”

The SEI Report is a result of a unique collaboration under the Partnership for Economic Inclusion (PEI). PEI is a dedicated platform to support the adoption and adaptation of national economic inclusion programs working with a variety of stakeholders, including national governments and bilateral, multilateral, non-governmental, research, and private sector organizations…

The report examines over 200 programs, across 75 countries. It finds that governments around the world are increasingly scaling up economic inclusion initiatives through social safety nets. In-depth case studies covering the Sahel, Bangladesh, Peru and India highlight the evolution of economic inclusion programs, and how they are addressing challenges such as urbanization, gaps in human capital accumulation, adaptations to shock, and technological change.

The implications of COVID-19 feature broadly in the report, which looks at the fallout of the pandemic at the household as well as institutional level…

Coronavirus [COVID-19] – WHO Weekly Epidemiological and Operational updates

Emergencies

Coronavirus [COVID-19] – WHO
Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

Weekly Epidemiological and Operational updates
Last update: 30 January 2021
Confirmed cases :: 101 561 219 [week ago: 96 877 399] [two weeks ago: 92 506 811
Confirmed deaths :: 2 196 944 [week ago: 2 098 879] [two weeks ago: 2 001 773]
Countries, areas or territories with cases :: 223

White House – U.S.: Memorandum on Restoring Trust in Government Through Scientific Integrity and Evidence-Based Policymaking

White House [U.S.]

Memorandum on Restoring Trust in Government Through Scientific Integrity and Evidence-Based Policymaking
January 27, 2021 • Presidential Actions
It is the policy of my Administration to make evidence-based decisions guided by the best available science and data.  Scientific and technological information, data, and evidence are central to the development and iterative improvement of sound policies, and to the delivery of equitable programs, across every area of government.  Scientific findings should never be distorted or influenced by political considerations.  When scientific or technological information is considered in policy decisions, it should be subjected to well-established scientific processes, including peer review where feasible and appropriate, with appropriate protections for privacy.  Improper political interference in the work of Federal scientists or other scientists who support the work of the Federal Government and in the communication of scientific facts undermines the welfare of the Nation, contributes to systemic inequities and injustices, and violates the trust that the public places in government to best serve its collective interests…

Remarks by President Biden on the Fight to Contain the COVID-19 Pandemic
January 26, 2021 • Speeches and Remarks

Fact Sheet: President Biden Announces New Steps to Boost Vaccine Supply and Increase Transparency for States, Tribes, and Territories
January 26, 2021 • Statements and Releases
….The President is taking the following actions today:
:: An Increase in Weekly Vaccine Supply to States, Tribes and Territories: The Biden-Harris Administration will increase overall, weekly vaccine supply to states, Tribes and territories from 8.6 million doses to a minimum of 10 million doses. This increase of 1.4 million doses per week will allow millions more Americans to get vaccinated sooner than previously anticipated. The Administration is committing to maintaining this as the minimum supply level for the next three weeks.
:: Increased transparency for States, Tribes, and Territories to Help Their Vaccination Efforts: The Biden-Harris Administration is taking action to provide states, Tribes and territories with a reliable three-week supply look-ahead. The Department of Health and Human Services will provide allocation estimates for the upcoming three weeks as opposed to the one week look-ahead that they previously received. This increased transparency will give state and local leaders greater certainty around supply so that they can plan their vaccination efforts and administer vaccines effectively and efficiently.
:: Purchase 200 Million Additional Doses to Be Delivered This Summer, Double the Nation’s Vaccine Supply: President Biden directed his COVID-19 Response Coordinator to work with HHS to increase our total vaccine supply for the American people.  The Biden-Harris Administration is working to purchase an additional 100 million doses of each of the two Food and Drug Administration-authorized vaccines – Pfizer and Moderna.  This increases the total vaccine order for the U.S. by 50%, from 400 million to 600 million with these additional doses expected to deliver this summer. With these additional doses, the U.S. will have enough vaccine to fully vaccinate 300 million Americans by the end of this summer.

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 27 January 2021
:: Meeting virtually at this week’s WHO Executive Board (EB), global health leaders and ministers of health urged for concerted and emergency efforts to finally rid the world of polio, noting a global and collective responsibility to finish the disease once and for all. Delegates also reiterated their support for the sustainable transitioning of polio assets, recognizing that successful polio transition and polio eradication are twin goals. Read more

Summary of new WPV and cVDPV viruses this week (AFP cases and ES positives):
:: Pakistan: 9 WPV1 positive environmental samples and six cVDPV2 cases
:: Afghanistan: 18 cVDPV2 positive environmental samples
:: Burkina Faso: three cVDPV2 cases
:: Mali: seven cVDPV2 cases
:: Yemen: one cVDPV1 case

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Editor’s Note:
Continuing with this edition, we include information about the last apparent update evident on the WHO emergency country webpages, recognizing almost universal and significant interims since last update regardless of the level of the emergency listed.

WHO Grade 3 Emergencies [to 30 Jan 2021]

Democratic Republic of the Congo – No new digest announcements [Last apparent update: 12 Jan 2021]
Mozambique floods – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 3 November 2020]
Nigeria – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 29 Jun 2020]
Somalia – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 17 July 2020]
South Sudan – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 4 February 2020]
Syrian Arab Republic – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 24 October 2020]
Yemen – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 30 June 2020]

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WHO Grade 2 Emergencies [to 30 Jan 2021]
Afghanistan – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 5 July 2020]
Angola – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 03 December 2020]
Burkina Faso – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 17 décembre 2020]
Burundi – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 04 July 2019]
Cameroon – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 22 August 2019]
Central African Republic – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 12 June 2018]
Ethiopia – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 22 August 2019]
Iran floods 2019 – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 12 March 2020]
Iraq – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 16 December 2020]
Libya – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 7 October 2019]
Malawi Floods – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 09 October 2019]
Measles in Europe – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 16-12-2020]
MERS-CoV – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 8 July 2019]
Mozambique – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 03 November 2020]
Myanmar No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: :: 3 January 2021
Niger – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 29 December 2020]
occupied Palestinian territory – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 4 September 2019]
HIV in Pakistan – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 27 August 2019]
Sao Tome and Principe Necrotizing Cellulitis (2017) – No new digest announcements
Sudan – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 24 June 2020]
Ukraine – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 1 May 2019]
Zimbabwe – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 10 May 2019]

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WHO Grade 1 Emergencies [to 30 Jan 2021]

Chad – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 30 June 2018]
Djibouti – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 25 novembre 2020]
Kenya – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 11 December 2020]
Mali – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 3 May 2017]
Namibia – viral hepatitis – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 20 July 2018]
Tanzania – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 21 October 2020]

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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: Recent Developments in Northwestern Syria Situation Report No. 24 – As of 26 January 2021

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.
COVID-19
:: Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19): Weekly Epidemiological Update (27 January 2021)

East Africa Locust Infestation
:: Desert Locust situation update – 26 January 2021

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