The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health :: Education :: Heritage Stewardship :: Sustainable Development

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Week ending 1 May 2021 :: Number 365

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 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

NEW REPORT: Attacks on Democracy Intensify as Autocracy Spreads in Europe and Eurasia

Governance – Democratic Institutions

NEW REPORT: Attacks on Democracy Intensify as Autocracy Spreads in Europe and Eurasia
Nations in Transit 2021 finds that leaders across the region are undermining democratic institutions to stay in power.
Press release April 28, 2021Elected leaders in Europe and Eurasia are undermining the very institutions that brought them to office, rejecting democratic norms and promoting alternative systems of authoritarian governance, according to Nations in Transit, the annual Freedom House report on the state of democracy in the region.

This year’s edition, Nations in Transit 2021: The Antidemocratic Turn, highlights the extent to which countries like Hungary and Poland, which helped lead the broader transition toward democracy in the 1990s, are showing signs of deepening autocratization. These are not anomalies, but part of a systemic shift toward authoritarianism in Europe and Eurasia that could have global implications. Antidemocratic leaders are learning from one another how to consolidate power and suppress political dissent while avoiding penalties from international institutions.

The overall strength of democracy in the region has declined for 17 consecutive years, according to Nations in Transit, and the number of countries classified as democracies has sunk to its lowest point since the report was first launched in 1995. The leaders who have turned toward antidemocratic forms of governance follow similar strategies: Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in Hungary pioneered a model for repressing independent media that has since spread to Poland and Serbia, the ruling parties of Hungary and Poland are both escalating attacks on the LGBT+ community as well as ethnic and religious minority groups, and all are attempting to weaken the rule of law through attacks on judicial independence…

Key findings:
:: There are fewer democracies in Europe and Eurasia than at any point in the 26-year history of Nations in Transit. Of the 29 countries assessed, 10 were rated as democracies, 10 as hybrid regimes, and nine as authoritarian regimes. No countries changed categories this year.
:: The average democracy score for the region has declined every year since 2005—17 years in a row. Eighteen countries’ democracy scores declined this year, only six countries’ scores improved, and five countries experienced no net change. The spread of authoritarianism continues to outpace democratic progress by a wide margin.
:: The largest declines occurred in Poland (-0.36), which suffered the second-largest single-year drop ever recorded, and in Hungary (-0.25). Both countries’ democracy scores are the lowest they have ever been during the 17-year period of overall decline.
:: The most common regime type in Eurasia remains “consolidated authoritarian.” Armenia is the only semiconsolidated authoritarian regime in Eurasia, while Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine are the only hybrid/transitional regimes in this subregion. There are no democracies in Eurasia.
:: The most common regime type in the Balkans continues to be “hybrid/transitional.” The only exception is Croatia, which is considered a semiconsolidated democracy.
:: Despite having suffered the steepest decline over the past decade, Central Europe remains the best-performing subregion; its most common regime type is “consolidated democracy.” Bulgaria, Poland, and Romania are the only semiconsolidated democracies in Central and Eastern Europe; Hungary is the only hybrid/transitional regime.

Setbacks to democratic reform:
:: Having made progress toward hybrid/transitional regime status in 2019, Armenia regressed over the past year. This is the first time its democracy has lost ground since the 2018 Velvet Revolution.
:: Despite some improvement in the intervening years, Georgia’s democracy has returned to its score from 2011, the last year before the current ruling party replaced an unpopular and increasingly repressive government.
:: Kyrgyzstan’s jarring return to strongman rule has left its score slightly lower than in 2010, the year of its last revolution.
:: In Ukraine, the government’s reform efforts continued to meet with strong resistance from entrenched interests during 2020, resulting in a democracy score that has remained relatively static since the prodemocracy uprising and Russian invasions of 2014.

Reasons for hope:
:: Uzbekistan (+0.11) and North Macedonia (+0.07) experienced the greatest democratic progress in 2020.
:: Bosnia and Herzegovina’s democracy score improved for the first time since 2006, owing to a major step forward for local democratic governance: the first municipal elections in the city of Mostar since 2008.
:: Latvia and Lithuania, historically high performers in Nations in Transit, improved their democracy scores after three years of decline.
:: Slovakia halted two years of democratic decline after voters in 2020 ousted the ruling party, Smer-SD.
:: The report’s Civil Society indicator remained relatively strong in many countries, reflecting civil society’s important contributions to democratic resilience across the region.

Responsible Space Behavior for the New Space Era: Preserving the Province of Humanity

Governance – Space

Responsible Space Behavior for the New Space Era: Preserving the Province of Humanity
Report – RAND Apr 26, 2021 :: 50 pages
Bruce McClintock, Katie Feistel, Douglas C. Ligor, Kathryn O’Connor
PDF: https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/perspectives/PEA800/PEA887-2/RAND_PEA887-2.pdf
Overview
Humans have explored and exploited near-earth space for more than six decades. More recently, the past two decades have seen the start of a New Space Era, characterized by more spacefaring nations and companies and a growing risk of collisions and conflict. Yet the basic treaties and mechanisms that were crafted 50 years ago to govern space activities have only marginally changed.

The calls for more progress on space governance and responsible space behavior are growing louder and coming from a larger group. To help address the gap between current space governance and future needs, the authors of this Perspective summarize the development of space governance and key problem areas, identify challenges and barriers to further progress, and, most importantly, offer recommended first steps on a trajectory toward responsible space behavior norms appropriate for the New Space Era. The authors used a review of relevant literature and official documents, expert workshops, and subject-matter expert interviews and discussions to identify these challenges, barriers, and potential solutions.

[Exceprt]
Conclusion
The context of space activities today is vastly different from that of 1967, when the OST [Outer Space Treat] was signed. The early space domain was dominated by two superpowers. Today, the world has more than 60 spacefaring nations, multiple commercial space operators, and a global economy that is
inextricably linked to space. The Cold War–era architecture for governance is no longer adequate when there are so many more spacefaring actors and the risks of collision and even conflict are growing. There are multiple problems that deserve attention as space becomes more congested and contested and just as many roadblocks to progress that we have summarized as part of a broader information effort. To help address the challenges that humanity faces in space, we offer several key areas for action that our analysis indicates are the most likely to be successful in the near term and are also important for the longer-term development of responsible space norms. It remains to be seen whether there is adequate political will to transcend the short-term gains and focus on ensuring long-term sustainability in space.

Areas for Further Research
This Perspective has provided a preliminary look at the status of space norms, hurdles to further progress, and preliminary steps that could be taken to improve space sustainability and governance. The resources available to conduct this research and reporting were limited, and this is by no means a complete analysis of the situation or a comprehensive list of actions. Rather, it is a first step in a longer series of research efforts needed not only to fully understand the problems associated with space sustainability but also to offer solutions. A few, but not all, of the areas in which further research and analysis are needed are discussed in this section.

Further research is needed to study the evolution and structure of governance frameworks for other domains and to consider best practices and approaches for the space domain. This could be framed as a “design brief” that outlines the key characteristics that policies for the New Space Era should contain.

Economic issues, and space resources in particular, are likely to be a central topic of space governance discussions. Although there are clear differences between the space domain and other domains, it would be helpful to examine how property rights in other domains have encouraged more-efficient economic use and environmental stewardship of common-pool resources. Further analysis is needed
(although the field is growing and more analysis is becoming available) to understand the gaps in space law at the international level.

More-detailed technical analysis is needed to understand the issues associated with data trust for SSA. The United States should assess the historic trends in its policies toward space law and governance and determine the best approach for its interests and overall space sustainability.

Lacuna Fund Announces its Second Round of Funding to Support a Community-led Movement Towards Locally Developed and Owned Language Datasets Across Africa

Languages/Datasets/Governance/Research

Lacuna Fund Announces its Second Round of Funding to Support a Community-led Movement Towards Locally Developed and Owned Language Datasets Across Africa
Apr 28 2021 Press Release
Supported projects will produce text and speech datasets for natural language processing (NLP) technologies that will have significant downstream impacts on education, financial inclusion, healthcare, agriculture, communication, and disaster response in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Lacuna Fund announces its second cohort of supported projects, whose teams will create openly accessible text and speech datasets that will fuel natural language processing (NLP) technologies in 29 languages across Africa. Funding recipients will produce training datasets in Eastern, Western, and Southern Africa that will support a range of needs for low resource languages, including machine translation, speech recognition, named entity recognition and part of speech tagging, sentiment analysis, and multi-modal datasets. All datasets produced will be locally developed and owned, and will be openly accessible to the international data community.

With over 50 impressive applications from, or in partnership with, organizations across Africa, there are many more initiatives poised for impact. This movement towards locally developed and owned datasets has only just begun, and with the right support and funding these initiatives will unlock the power of AI to deliver new social sector solutions and increase the presence of African countries on the international data map.

“In South Africa, the government uses chatbots to provide daily updates on COVID,” explains Vukosi Marivate, ABSA Chair of Data Science at University of Pretoria. “Right now, translating those updates to Latin languages is really easy, but the datasets necessary to translate those updates to a range of African languages don’t exist, which means that the government isn’t currently able to communicate with many of its people in their native languages. That is one of the many examples of why we need this work now.”

“The Rockefeller Foundation leverages science, innovation and technology to empower vulnerable families locked out of prosperity to improve their lives and prospects,” says William Asiko, Managing Director and Head of The Rockefeller Foundation’s Africa Regional Office. “We aim to enhance the delivery value to our key audiences through partnerships, meeting them where they are. In meeting the moment, embracing diversity and multiculturalism is precisely the kind of innovative, transformative change we seek to drive impact.”

Lacuna Fund began as a funder collaborative between The Rockefeller Foundation, Google.org, and Canada’s International Development Research Centre, with support from the German development agency GIZ on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) on this call for proposals. It has since evolved into a multi-stakeholder engagement composed of technical experts, thought leaders, local beneficiaries, and end users. Collectively, we are committed to creating and mobilizing training datasets that both solve urgent local problems and lead to a step change in machine learning’s potential worldwide.

See all the projects here.

About Lacuna Fund: Lacuna Fund is the world’s first collaborative effort to provide data scientists, researchers, and social entrepreneurs in low- and middle-income contexts globally with the resources they need to produce training datasets that address urgent problems in their communities. Lacuna Fund launched in July of 2020 with a pooled fund of $4 million to support the creation, expansion, and maintenance of datasets used for training or evaluation of machine learning models, initially in three key sectors: agriculture, health, and languages. Learn more at http://www.lacunafund.org

Global Forest Goals Report 2021 – Realizing the importance of forests in a changing world

Development/Heritage Stewardship – Forests

Global Forest Goals Report 2021 – Realizing the importance of forests in a changing world
United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs
2021 :: 114 pages
Download the report: Full report (8MB)
Overview
The Global Forest Goals Report 2021 is the first evaluation of where the world stands in implementing the United Nations Strategic Plan for Forests 2030, providing a snapshot of actions being taken for forests, while stressing that it is necessary to meet the 2030 deadline in the Plan. The report finds that while the world had been making progress in key areas such as increasing global forest area through afforestation and restoration, these advances are also under threat from the worsening state of our natural environment.

Preface
The United Nations Strategic Plan for Forests 2017-2030 was created with a mission to promote sustainable forest management and enhance the contribution of forests and trees to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. At the heart of the Strategic Plan are six Global Forest Goals and 26 associated targets which are voluntary and universal.

The Plan recognizes that in order to create a world in which forests could provide economic, social, environmental, and cultural benefits for present and future generations, we will, first and foremost, need more forests. Accordingly, the first Global Forest Goal provides for increasing forest area by 3 per cent by 2030.

It is also well recognized that achieving the Global Forest Goals and targets by 2030 will require political commitment and action by all actors, at all levels. Given the cross-sectoral nature of forests, the Plan highlights the need for strengthened cooperation, coordination, coherence and synergies as being essential in enhancing the contribution of forests to sustainable development.

The aim of this inaugural Global Forest Goals Report 2021 is to present an overview of progress achieved thus far, based on available national and global data. The report highlights where actions are being taken, and where gaps and challenges remain. It also includes a set of success stories that showcase best practices in sustainable forest management. The importance of forests for achieving sustainable development is underpinned by the alignment of the Global Forest Goals with the Sustainable Development Goals. Sustainably managed forests are crucial for eradicating poverty, combatting climate change, conserving biodiversity, protecting watersheds, and building food and energy security. Forests support the livelihoods of some most vulnerable segments of society, especially the rural poor and indigenous peoples…

Global Forest Goal 1
Reverse the loss of forest cover worldwide through sustainable forest management, including
protection, restoration, afforestation and reforestation, and increase efforts to prevent forest
degradation and contribute to the global effort of addressing climate change.
Global Forest Goal 2
Enhance forest-based economic, social and environmental benefits, including by improving the
livelihoods of forest-dependent people.
Global Forest Goal 3
Increase significantly the area of protected forests worldwide and other areas of sustainably managed forests, as well as the proportion of forest products from sustainably managed forests.
Global Forest Goal 4
Mobilize significantly increased, new and additional financial resources from all sources for the implementation of sustainable forest management and strengthen scientific and technical cooperation and partnerships.
Global Forest Goal 5
Promote governance frameworks to implement sustainable forest management, including through the United Nations forest instrument, and enhance the contribution of forests to the 2030 Agenda for
Sustainable Development.
Global Forest Goal 6
Enhance cooperation, coordination, coherence and synergies on forest-related issues at all levels,
including within the United Nations system and across member organizations of the Collaborative
Partnership on Forests, as well as across sectors and relevant stakeholders.

African countries commit to double agricultural productivity as development banks, institutions pledge US$17 billion to increase food security

Africa – Agricultural Productivity/Food Security

African countries commit to double agricultural productivity as development banks, institutions pledge US$17 billion to increase food security
Rome, 30 April 2021 – A coalition of multilateral development banks and development partners has pledged over US$17 billion in financing on Friday during a high-level forum, in a bold bid to address rising hunger on the African continent and to improve food security.

These funds were pledged on the final day of a two-day high-level dialogue – Feeding Africa: leadership to scale up successful innovations. The event was hosted by the Africa Development Bank and the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), in partnership with the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and the CGIAR System Organization, on 29 and 30 April.

In addition, 17 African heads of state signed on to the commitment to boost agricultural production by doubling current productivity levels through the scaling up of agro-technologies, investing in access to markets, and promoting agricultural research and development.

African Development Bank President Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina said: “Let us now create today, a stronger partnership: a partnership for greater scale; a partnership to take technologies and innovations to hundreds of millions of farmers.”

IFAD said it aimed to provide an additional US$1.5 billion to Africa to support national efforts to transform food and agricultural systems over the next three years. IFAD will also invest more in creating the pre-conditions for increased agricultural productivity. The organization is helping to develop a growing pipeline of investments to restore land, create jobs and build resilience to climate change in the Sahel region. This will contribute to the Green Great Wall objectives, and will create 10 million jobs in the region by 2030…

In an additional show of solidarity, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, joining a coalition of development partners, declared that it will invest US$652 million in the next three years. This will support agriculture research and development initiatives in Africa. This funding is expected to empower 300 million farmers with a host of new innovations.

President Macky Sall of Senegal summed up interventions by African heads of state on Thursday with the following seven-point action list:
:: Accelerate agricultural production by taking technologies to scale.
:: Increase investment in research and development.
:: Optimize technology.
:: Improve business language in agriculture to open up to the world.
:: Support access to markets and the installation of basic infrastructure and equipment.
:: Invest in new businesses to transform agricultural produce to support small producers.
:: Create a facility for agricultural transformation.

Comments on OTP ICC Cultural Heritage Policy Submitted

Heritage Stewardship/Protection

Comments on OTP ICC Cultural Heritage Policy Submitted
27 Apr 2021 Blue Shield International
On 16 April 2021, a diverse group of experts, including practicing attorneys, law professors and scholars, archaeologists, and other professionals with extensive expertise and experience in cultural heritage law, ICL and IHL submitted comments to the International Criminal Court’s ICC Office of the Prosecutor’s Draft Policy on Cultural Heritage.

In summary, the Comments emphasized the importance of the OTP’s [Office of the Prosecutor] Draft Policy on Cultural Heritage given the lack of global consensus around priorities, practices, and policies for investigating and prosecuting cultural heritage crimes. The Comment addressed the scope of the Draft Policy and called on the OTP to provide concrete examples within its Policy that demonstrate the broad nature of cultural heritage and crimes that may target it, and better illustrate the full scope of the global problem. They supported the OTP taking a comprehensive and expansive view of the terms ‘cultural heritage’ and ‘cultural property’, including natural and intangible heritage, but noted that the Draft Policy’s current definition may unintentionally exclude certain types of cultural heritage.

Regarding the Court’s Regulatory Framework, the Comments urged the OTP to make full use of applicable treaties, the principles and rules of international law, and jurisprudence concerning cultural heritage and property. The Comments provided notes on the OTP’s approach to natural heritage, and sought further guidance on military necessity and proportionality and their relation to cultural value for both selection and prosecution of crimes. The Comments also encourage consideration of wider international law sources on the crime of pillage and its serious consequences, and urged that the OTP look to ways to prosecute pillage through other provisions of the Rome Statute, especially when it may rise to an attack or act of hostility.

The Comments noted that the Draft Policy lacked discussion on the OTP’s position on reparations for crimes against and affecting cultural heritage and property, and asked for clarification on a number of issues that are particularly critical to successful case selection, investigations, and prosecutions, including the mens rea requirement; the OTP’s assessment of the factors determining gravity; and how the court aims to collect, preserve, and maintain the chain of custody for evidence used in trials, as well as ensure the integrity, quality, comprehensiveness, and relevance of the evidence itself.

The Comments were prepared and submitted by the following individuals:
Helena Arose, Project Director, The Antiquities Coalition
Alessandro Chechi, Senior Researcher, University of Geneva
Emma Cunliffe, Secretariat, Blue Shield International
Brian Daniels, Vice President for Cultural Heritage, Archaeological Institute of America
Tess Davis, Executive Director, The Antiquities Coalition
Haydee Dijkstal, Barrister, 33 Bedford Row
Kristin Hausler, Dorset Senior Fellow, Centre Director, British Institute of International and Comparative Law
Yasaman Nabati Mazloumi, Secretariat, Blue Shield International
James Reap, Professor, University of Georgia
Marc-André Renold, Professor and Director of the Art-Law Centre (CDA), University of Geneva

Children in All Policies 2030: a new initiative to implement the recommendations of the WHO–UNICEF–Lancet Commission

Children in All Policies 2030
Catalysing health and well-being for future generations
The future for 2.4 billion children is under unprecedented threat, yet bad outcomes are not inevitable. We can, across the world, make better choices. CAP-2030 works to centre children’s health and well-being in all policies, to ensure an equitable, sustainable future. We implement the recommendations of the WHO-UNICEF-Lancet Commission by promoting children’s rights and protecting their health through science, advocacy and coalition-building.

.

The Lancet
May 01, 2021 Volume 397 Number 10285 p1597-1682, e11
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/issue/current
Comment
Children in All Policies 2030: a new initiative to implement the recommendations of the WHO–UNICEF–Lancet Commission
Sarah L Dalglish, Anthony Costello, Helen Clark, Awa Coll-Seck
… Our Commission’s report sounded the alarm about stalled progress on the health of children and adolescents. The evidence is incontrovertible: successful societies invest in their children and young people, producing lifelong, intergenerational benefits for health, wellbeing, and the economy.1

We called on governments to work across sectors to deliver children’s entitlements, as specified by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, by leveraging high-level political leadership and engaging communities, families, and children themselves. We drew attention to emerging threats to children, notably, the climate crisis and the insidious commercial exploitation of children through inappropriate marketing of products and services, such as alcohol, tobacco, sugar-sweetened beverages, breastmilk substitutes, and gambling apps, often by exploiting children’s developmental vulnerabilities and social media data…

On April 21, 2021, we launched Children in All Policies 2030 (CAP-2030), with the support of our founding partners WHO, UNICEF, and The Lancet. Our ambition is to join our voices to those of children and young people, activists, civil society institutions, religious groups, UN organisations, politicians, governments, private sector leaders, academics, and others working to centre children’s health and wellbeing in the urgent work of sustainable development. We encourage people to join the movement to preserve children’s future and contribute to CAP-2030 by getting in touch via our website…

Lancet Commission
Panel 1: Recommendations for placing children at the centre of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
:: Heads of state should create a high-level mechanism or assign one overarching department to coordinate work with and for children across sectors, create an enabling environment to enact child-friendly policies, and assess the effect of all policies on children

:: Heads of state and governments should create or designate a monitoring system to track budget allocations to child wellbeing, using this process to mobilise domestic resources, by means of fiscal instruments that benefit the poorest in society, for additional investment

:: Government officials at the relevant ministry, national academics, and research institutions should develop strategies to improve data reporting for SDG indicators measuring child wellbeing, equity, and carbon emissions, using country information systems and citizen-led data and accountability

:: Local government leaders should establish a cross-cutting team to mobilise action for child health and wellbeing, involving civil society, children themselves, and other stakeholders as appropriate

:: UNICEF child-health ambassadors and other global children’s advocates should mobilise governments and communities to adopt child-friendly wellbeing and sustainability policies, and advocate for rapid reductions in carbon emissions to preserve the planet for the next generation

:: Leaders in children’s health, rights, and sustainability should reframe their understanding of the SDGs as being for and about children, and the threat to their future from greenhouse gas emissions, mainly by high-income countries

:: Children should be given high-level platforms to share their concerns and ideas and to claim their rights to a healthy future and planet

:: Country leaders on child health and child rights should push for the adoption of new protocols to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to protect children from harmful commercial practices

:: Country representatives to the UN should work together to create a simplified, effectively multisectoral UN architecture to reduce fragmentation and siloes, and to put action for children at the centre of the SDGs

:: WHO and UNICEF leadership should meet with heads of other UN agencies to plan coordinated action to support countries to enact focused, effective policies to achieve the SDGs, and work with regional bodies to help countries to share progress and best practice

Immunization services begin slow recovery from COVID-19 disruptions, though millions of children remain at risk from deadly diseases – WHO, UNICEF, Gavi

Health – Immunization

Immunization services begin slow recovery from COVID-19 disruptions, though millions of children remain at risk from deadly diseases – WHO, UNICEF, Gavi

Ambitious new global strategy aims to save over 50 million lives through vaccination

GENEVA/NEW YORK, 26 April 2021 — While immunization services have started to recover from disruptions caused by COVID-19, millions of children remain vulnerable to deadly diseases, the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance warned today during World Immunization Week, highlighting the urgent need for a renewed global commitment to improve vaccination access and uptake.

“Vaccines will help us end the COVID-19 pandemic but only if we ensure fair access for all countries, and build strong systems to deliver them,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO’s Director-General. “And if we’re to avoid multiple outbreaks of life-threatening diseases like measles, yellow fever and diphtheria, we must ensure routine vaccination services are protected in every country in the world.”

A WHO survey has found that, despite progress when compared to the situation in 2020, more than one third of respondent countries (37%) still report experiencing disruptions to their routine immunization services.

Mass immunization campaigns are also disrupted. According to new data, 60 of these lifesaving campaigns are currently postponed in 50 countries, putting around 228 million people – mostly children – at risk for diseases such as measles, yellow fever and polio. Over half of the 50 affected countries are in Africa, highlighting protracted inequities in people’s access to critical immunization services…

New global immunization strategy aims to save over 50 million lives

To help tackle these challenges and support the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, WHO UNICEF, Gavi and other partners today launched the Immunization Agenda 2030 (IA2030), an ambitious new global strategy to maximize the lifesaving impact of vaccines through stronger immunization systems.

The Agenda focuses on vaccination throughout life, from infancy through to adolescence and older age. If fully implemented, it will avert an estimated 50 million deaths, according to WHO – 75% of them in low- and lower-middle income countries.

Targets to be achieved by 2030 include:

:: Achieve 90% coverage for essential vaccines given in childhood and adolescence[i]

:: Halve the number of children completely missing out on vaccines

:: Complete 500 national or subnational introductions of new or under-utilized vaccines  – such as those for COVID-19, rotavirus, or human papillomavirus (HPV)

Urgent action needed from all immunization stakeholders

To achieve IA2030’s ambitious goals, WHO, UNICEF, Gavi and partners are calling for bold action:

:: World leaders and the global health and development community should make explicit commitments to IA2030 and invest in stronger immunization systems, with tailored approaches for fragile and conflict-affected countries. Immunization is a vital element of an effective health care system, central to pandemic preparedness and response, and key to preventing the burden of multiple epidemics as societies reopen

:: All countries should develop and implement ambitious national immunization plans that align with the IA2030 framework, and increase investments to make immunization services accessible to all

:: Donors and governments should increase investments in vaccine research and innovation, development, and delivery, focused on the needs of underserved populations

:: The pharmaceutical industry and scientists, working with governments and funders, should continue to accelerate vaccine R&D, ensure a continuous supply of affordable vaccines to meet global needs, and apply lessons from COVID-19 to other diseases

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

Milestones :: Perspectives :: Research

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: 1 May 2021
Confirmed cases :: 150 989 419 [week ago: 145 216 414]
Confirmed deaths :: 3 173 576 [week ago: 3 079 390]
Vaccine doses administered: 1 011 457 859

::::::

Weekly operational update on COVID-19 – 26 April 2021
Overview
In this edition of the Weekly Operational Update on COVID-19, highlights of country-level actions and WHO support to Member States include:
:: The delivery of COVID-19 vaccine doses to the Syrian Arab Republic via the COVAX Facility
:: Delivery of life-saving oxygen concentrators to the Philippines
:: A joint technical support mission to Albania
:: One year of the pandemic learning response: benefits and performance of the OpenWHO platform during the pandemic
:: Empowering populations to address the COVID-19 infodemic globally and the Africa Infodemic Response Alliance launch of Viral Facts Africa
:: The Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan (SPRP) 2021 resource requirements and progress made to continue investing in the COVID-19 response and for building the architecture to prepare for, prevent and mitigate future health emergencies
:: Updates on WHO/PAHO procured items, Partners Platform, implementation of the Unity Studies, and select indicators from the COVID-19 Monitoring and Evaluation Framework

Weekly epidemiological update on COVID-19 – 27 April 2021
Overview
Globally, new COVID-19 cases increased for the ninth consecutive week, with nearly 5.7 million new cases reported in the last week – surpassing previous peaks. The number of new deaths increased for the sixth consecutive week, with over 87 000 new deaths reported.
In this edition, a special focus update is provided on SARS-CoV-2 variants.

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 28 April 2021
:: The GPEI has released a position statement on the use of the novel oral polio vaccine type 2 in light of shelf-life of 12 months or less. The purpose of the statement is to assist governments of countries affected by or at risk of cVDPV2 outbreaks optimize the use of deployed nOPV2 stocks.

Summary of new WPV and cVDPV viruses this week (AFP cases and ES positives):
:: Afghanistan: one cVDPV2 case
:: Pakistan: one WPV1 and three cVDPV2 positive environmental samples
:: DR Congo: one cVDPV2 case
:: Liberia: one cVDPV2 case and two cVDPV2 positive environmental samples
:: Madagascar: three cVDPV1 cases and three cVDPV1 positive environmental samples
:: :: Mali: one cVDPV2 case
:: Nigeria: two cVDPV2 cases and one cVDPV2 positive environmental sample
:: Sierra Leone: three cVDPV2 cases
:: South Sudan: one cVDPV2 case
:: Tajikistan: one cVDPV2 case

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

WHO/OCHA Emergencies

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 1 May 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 1 May 2021]
Iraq
:: World Immunization Week – vaccines bring us closer 28 April 2021

Measles in Europe
:: Getting closer together – one vaccination at a time 26-04-2021

Afghanistan – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 5 July 2020]
Angola – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 16 March 2021]
Burkina Faso – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 01 avril 2021]
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: 2 March 2020]
Libya – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 7 October 2019]
Malawi – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 22 April 2021
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: 29 March 2021]
NigerNo new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 16 avril 2021]
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 1 May 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: 23 April 2021
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 2019]

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

UN OCHA – Current Emergencies
System-wide Scale-up Responses
IASC Humanitarian System-Wide Scale-Up Activations and Deactivations
Published Date: 30 April 2021
Currently active Scale-Ups
northern Ethiopia
IASC System-Wide Scale-Up Activated on 28 April 2021.

Current Corporate Emergencies
Northern Ethiopia
:: Ethiopia Humanitarian Bulletin Issue #5 29 March – 23 Apri …
HIGHLIGHTS
:: As of 25 April, Ethiopia counts 252,279 COVID-19 cases, including 59,979 active cases and 3,551 deaths (1.4 per cent case fatality rate).
:: The test positivity rate stands at 25 per cent, while in cities like Dire Dawa and Hawassa, positivity rate is close to 50 per cent. Despite this alarming development, the population is not showing significant behavior change in implementing COVID-19 prevention measures.
:: The complex and unpredictable security situation in several areas of Tigray Region continues to affect the delivery of full-scale humanitarian assistance to affected communities, particularly to those who live in rural areas.

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

The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health :: Education :: Heritage Stewardship :: Sustainable Development

__________________________________________________

Week ending 24 April 2021 :: Number 364

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

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

The UN and its regional partners have a ‘fleeting window’ to cooperate on Myanmar :: Speech  19 Apr 2021 :: Ban Ki-moon

Myanmar

The UN and its regional partners have a ‘fleeting window’ to cooperate on Myanmar

Speech  19 Apr 2021

Highlighting the situation in Myanmar, Ban Ki-moon calls on the UN Security Council to work with regional partners to maintain peace and security.

[Excerpts]

Mr. President,

Today, the international community collectively faces a plethora of monumental challenges. These include, but are not limited to, an ongoing and deadly global pandemic, both longstanding and emerging conflict and security crises, and a deepening climate emergency.

At the same time, the United Nations, and multilateralism more largely, has faced immense difficulties over the past few years in holistically addressing such crises as some countries have unfortunately prioritized nationalism and isolationism over cooperation and partnership.

Under this troubling backdrop, the role of cooperative regional partnerships between the UN and regional and sub-regional organizations, as envisioned under Chapter VIII of the UN Charter, is all the more critical to help ensure the maintenance of international peace and security.

Particularly, regional and sub-regional organizations have unique and prominent roles to play in enhancing dialogue and confidence building in conflict prevention and its resolution.

In this context, I commend Secretary-General Guterres’ prioritization of prevention, and urge all members of this Council to scale-up their support for his efforts in addressing the root causes of conflict and enhancing the humanitarian-development-peace nexus.

During my decade-long tenure as Secretary-General, I worked tirelessly to enhance cooperation between the UN and regional organizations with a view towards scaling-up conflict prevention and resolution. I worked side-by-side with the ASEAN, AU, LAS, OAS, EU, OSCE, and other key regional organizations, including attending the majority of ASEAN and AU summit meetings during my time.

As a result of their geographical proximity and intimate knowledge of local dynamics, regional and sub-regional organizations are also essential UN partners in providing early warning assessment of atrocity crimes.

Mr. President,

I believe that today’s Security Council debate is well-timed, as both the United Nations and its regional partners now have a fleeting window to cooperate through strong action to halt the ongoing atrocities in Myanmar and prevent a further escalation of violence.

According to rights-monitoring groups, over 700 people including 50 children, have been killed by security forces since the February 1 military takeover of Myanmar.

I condemn the brutal use of lethal force against civilians, and the detention of State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint, as well as thousands of protestors.

The worsening situation in Myanmar represents a pivotal moment to showcase the utility of cooperation between the UN and its regional partners in maintaining peace and security and saving human lives…

Mr. President,

To deal with the Myanmar situation, an effective and regional-led approach requires both unity and action. But, ASEAN has so far been divided in its responses to the situation in Myanmar. The principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign States should not be used as a pretext for inaction in the face of serious human rights abuses.

 

ASEAN must make it clear to the Myanmar military that the current situation is so grave that it cannot be regarded only as an internal matter. The military’s use of lethal force and the gross violations of human rights being perpetrated against the civilians are not compatible with the ASEAN Charter. These actions are clear violations of international law, and constitute a threat to the peace, security and stability of the region.

According to the news report, General Min Aung Hlaing of Myanmar will attend ASEAN special Summit on Myanmar to be held in Indonesia on April 24. I urge ASEAN leaders to take immediate and concerted actions at the Summit. As a minimum, they should agree that a high-level ASEAN delegation will visit Myanmar to engage with all relevant parties.

It is equally vital that this Council moves beyond statements to collective action, as has been stated by countries around the world. After ASEAN special Summit, the Council should monitor the situation closely to take follow-up actions. The UN Security Council cannot neglect its basic obligation to prevent a situation from deteriorating, in which so many innocent people are being killed. As former UN Secretary-General, I urge this Council to take immediate actions to halt the violence and bloodshed, and initiate a process to restore peace and democracy in Myanmar.

In particular, the Permanent Members should focus their attention on actions that can be taken to respond to the situation in Myanmar. The Security Council has the responsibility to protect Myanmar’s civilian population in the context where the atrocities being committed may constitute crimes against humanity.  The Principle of R2P – responsibility to protect – should be seriously considered in ways that are appropriate to the Myanmar context, using a range of tools at the Council’s disposal.

Given the gravity and urgency of the situation, I believe the Secretary-General himself should use his good offices to engage directly with the Myanmar military, to prevent an escalation of violence.

The task ahead is daunting.  It will require the collective and coordinated efforts of the UN, ASEAN and the wider region to avert catastrophe and instead help return Myanmar to the path of a peaceful, democratic transition.

Mr. President,

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, it is now more important than ever to pursue multilateral and multi-layered solutions to the security problems that we face, borne out of robust partnerships with the UN, its Member States, and particularly, regional groups all working together.

As regional conflicts continue to both emerge and deepen, the UN can no longer deal with all of these crises on its own. This is why I believe that a partnership approach can best bear fruit for both conflict prevention and resolution.

Now is the time for this Council and its regional partners to not only act together, but act decisively to prevent the worst in Myanmar and beyond.

I once again thank the Viet Nam Presidency for convening this High-level Open Debate and inviting me to brief the Security Council today.  Again, I count on your strong leadership.

I thank you for your attention and leadership.

Statement from the OAS General Secretariat on Indiscriminate Operations by the Venezuelan Army and Criminal/Terrorist Organizations on the Border with Colombia

Venezuela

Statement from the OAS General Secretariat on Indiscriminate Operations by the Venezuelan Army and Criminal/Terrorist Organizations on the Border with Colombia
April 21, 2021
The General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS) rejects the terms of the notes that the Venezuelan dictatorship has sent to the United Nations Security Council on the tensions and hostilities on the Colombian-Venezuelan border, in the departments of Arauca and Apure.

It is a strategy of deceptive arguments, disinformation and propaganda that seeks to divert the attention of the international community and avoid its own responsibility, something common in the Chavista/Madurista regime. At the same time, the dictatorship intends to blame, without proof or justification, the Government of Colombia for the events that occurred in Venezuelan territory and to tarnish the progress that the country has made toward peace, requesting that the issue be addressed on the occasion of a meeting to discuss issues related to the UN Verification Mission in Colombia.

On the contrary, the events denounced, which include aerial and artillery bombardments and attacks against the civilian population with explosive weapons and looting, are a direct consequence of the indiscriminate operations of the regime’s military apparatus; actions that, in turn, are explained by the complicity of said regime with criminal and terrorist actors who are present in Venezuelan territory enjoying total impunity.

The actions of the dictatorship are part of the systematic forced exodus of Venezuelans and the detachment of the Venezuelan regime from international law and human rights, which has already caused, among other consequences, the departure of more than 5.6 million Venezuelans from their homeland.

The General Secretariat urges the international community to redouble its efforts to address the current displacement of the civilian population in the area of the Departments of Arauca and Apure, in Colombia and Venezuela respectively, which is part of the tragic humanitarian situation that the Venezuelan people are experiencing, and that has produced the most serious refugee crisis ever to have occurred in the Americas.

International Court of Justice – The Court commemorates the 75th anniversary of its inaugural sitting

International Court of Justice

The Court commemorates the 75th anniversary of its inaugural sitting

THE HAGUE, 19 April 2021. The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, today commemorated the 75th anniversary of its inaugural sitting, which took place on 18 April 1946 in the Great Hall of Justice of the Peace Palace in The Hague.

The Court was set up in the aftermath of the Second World War as the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. The Statute of the Court forms an integral part of the Charter of the United Nations, which was signed in San Francisco on 26 June 1945 and came into force on 24 October 1945. The first Members of the Court were elected on 6 February 1946 at the First Session of the General Assembly and the Court held its inaugural sitting at the Peace Palace, The Hague, on 18 April 1946.

… During the first 75 years of the Court’s existence, States have submitted over 140 disputes to it. Over 25 requests for advisory opinions have been referred to the Court by United Nations organs and specialized agencies.

… The Court has demonstrated that it is equipped to tackle cases relating to new areas of international law that have emerged and developed since its first sitting. In recent years, for example, the Court has gotten high marks for the way it has handled scientific and technical aspects of environmental disputes. The docket has also included cases arising under a number of important human rights treaties.

At present, outer space law is one field that is burgeoning. There are lively discussions about the legal framework applicable to many aspects of the cyber world. The drafters of the Court’s Statute could not have envisioned these areas of law, just as I cannot predict the fields of international law that will be blossoming 75 years from now. However, I feel confident that the institution and procedures established in the Statute of the Court and in its Rules will continue to provide fertile ground for the peaceful settlement of inter-State disputes…

Mark Carney, UN Race to Zero campaign and COP26 Presidency launch Net Zero Financial Alliance with world’s biggest banks, Asset Owners,

Climate/Emissions – Finance

Mark Carney, UN Race to Zero campaign and COP26 Presidency launch Net Zero Financial Alliance with world’s biggest banks, Asset Owners,
21 Apr 2021 Press release
Industry-led and UN-convened Net Zero Banking Alliance also announced today, co-launched by the UNEP Finance Initiative and the Financial Services Taskforce of the Sustainable Markets Initiative

:: The Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ), chaired by Mark Carney, UN Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance, unites over 160 firms (together responsible for assets in excess of US$70 trillion[1]) from the leading net zero initiatives across the financial system to accelerate the transition to net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest.

:: All GFANZ member alliances must be accredited by the UN Race to Zero campaign. They must use science-based guidelines to reach net zero emissions, cover all emission scopes, include 2030 interim target setting, and commit to transparent reporting and accounting in line with the UN Race to Zero criteria.

:: 43 banks from 23 countries (with assets of US$28.5 trillion) form the Net-Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA) today – which joins GFANZ – with its members committing to align operational and attributable emissions from their portfolios with pathways to net-zero by 2050 or sooner.
:: The Net-Zero Banking Alliance is convened by the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative and co-launched by the Prince of Wales’ Sustainable Markets Initiative Financial Services Taskforce (FSTF).

…U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry said: “The largest financial players in the world recognize energy transition represents a vast commercial opportunity as well as a planetary imperative. As countries around the world move to decarbonize, the large sums these institutions are dedicating to climate solutions reflect a growing understanding that the transition to a low-carbon global economy will be critical for their business models. To be credible and effective as market signals, these financial commitments should adhere to clear definitions, metrics, and reporting. Ultimately, the transition to this new economy will create a massive number of new jobs and increase our collective ability to tackle climate change.”…

Europe fit for the Digital Age: Commission proposes new rules and actions for excellence and trust in Artificial Intelligence

AI – Governance/Regulation

Europe fit for the Digital Age: Commission proposes new rules and actions for excellence and trust in Artificial Intelligence
Press release 21 April 2021
[Text-bolding from original]
The Commission proposes today new rules and actions aiming to turn Europe into the global hub for trustworthy Artificial Intelligence (AI). The combination of the first-ever legal framework on AI and a new Coordinated Plan with Member States will guarantee the safety and fundamental rights of people and businesses, while strengthening AI uptake, investment and innovation across the EU. New rules on Machinery will complement this approach by adapting safety rules to increase users’ trust in the new, versatile generation of products.

Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for a Europe fit for the Digital Age, said: “On Artificial Intelligence, trust is a must, not a nice to have. With these landmark rules, the EU is spearheading the development of new global norms to make sure AI can be trusted. By setting the standards, we can pave the way to ethical technology worldwide and ensure that the EU remains competitive along the way. Future-proof and innovation-friendly, our rules will intervene where strictly needed: when the safety and fundamental rights of EU citizens are at stake.”…

.

The European approach to trustworthy AI
The new rules will be applied directly in the same way across all Member States based on a future-proof definition of AI. They follow a risk-based approach:

Unacceptable risk: AI systems considered a clear threat to the safety, livelihoods and rights of people will be banned. This includes AI systems or applications that manipulate human behaviour to circumvent users’ free will (e.g. toys using voice assistance encouraging dangerous behaviour of minors) and systems that allow ‘social scoring’ by governments.

High-risk: AI systems identified as high-risk include AI technology used in:
:: Critical infrastructures (e.g. transport), that could put the life and health of citizens at risk;
:: Educational or vocational training, that may determine the access to education and professional course of someone’s life (e.g. scoring of exams);
:: Safety components of products (e.g. AI application in robot-assisted surgery);
:: Employment, workers management and access to self-employment (e.g. CV-sorting software for recruitment procedures);
:: Essential private and public services (e.g. credit scoring denying citizens opportunity to obtain a loan);
:: Law enforcement that may interfere with people’s fundamental rights (e.g. evaluation of the reliability of evidence);
:: Migration, asylum and border control management (e.g. verification of authenticity of travel documents);
:: Administration of justice and democratic processes (e.g. applying the law to a concrete set of facts).

High-risk AI systems will be subject to strict obligations before they can be put on the market:
:: Adequate risk assessment and mitigation systems;
:: High quality of the datasets feeding the system to minimise risks and discriminatory outcomes;
:: Logging of activity to ensure traceability of results;
:: Detailed documentation providing all information necessary on the system and its purpose for authorities to assess its compliance;
:: Clear and adequate information to the user;
:: Appropriate human oversight measures to minimise risk;
:: High level of robustness, security and accuracy.

In particular, all remote biometric identification systems are considered high risk and subject to strict requirements. Their live use in publicly accessible spaces for law enforcement purposes is prohibited in principle. Narrow exceptions are strictly defined and regulated (such as where strictly necessary to search for a missing child, to prevent a specific and imminent terrorist threat or to detect, locate, identify or prosecute a perpetrator or suspect of a serious criminal offence). Such use is subject to authorisation by a judicial or other independent body and to appropriate limits in time, geographic reach and the data bases searched.

Limited risk, i.e. AI systems with specific transparency obligations: When using AI systems such as chatbots, users should be aware that they are interacting with a machine so they can take an informed decision to continue or step back.

Minimal risk: The legal proposal allows the free use of applications such as AI-enabled video games or spam filters. The vast majority of AI systems fall into this category. The draft Regulation does not intervene here, as these AI systems represent only minimal or no risk for citizens’ rights or safety.

In terms of governance, the Commission proposes that national competent market surveillance authorities supervise the new rules, while the creation of a European Artificial Intelligence Board will facilitate their implementation, as well as drive the development of standards for AI. Additionally, voluntary codes of conduct are proposed for non-high-risk AI, as well as regulatory sandboxes to facilitate responsible innovation…

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

Milestones :: Perspectives :: Research

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: 24 April 2021
Confirmed cases :: 145 216 414 [week ago: 134 139 501]
Confirmed deaths :: 3 079 390 [week ago: 2 992 193]
Countries, areas or territories with cases :: 223

::::::

Statement on the seventh meeting of the International Health Regulations (2005) Emergency Committee regarding the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic
19 April 2021 Statement
The seventh meeting of the Emergency Committee convened by the WHO Director-General under the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR) regarding the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) took place on Thursday, 15 April 2021 from 12:00 to 16:30 Geneva time (CEST)…

The Committee recognized WHO’s and States Parties’ progress in implementing the previous advice and Temporary Recommendations from the 6th meeting of the Emergency Committee. The Committee congratulated the mission team and the report from the WHO-convened Global Study of Origins of SARS-CoV-2 and encouraged implementation of the recommendations published in the Mission report.

The Committee remains concerned that the world will not exit the pandemic unless, and until, all countries have access to appropriate supplies of diagnostics, treatments and vaccines, irrespective of their ability to pay and the capacity and financial resources to rapidly and effectively vaccinate their populations. Inequities within and among all countries is slowing the return to normal social and economic life. The Committee provided the following advice to the Director-General accordingly.

The Director-General determined that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to constitute a PHEIC. He accepted the advice of the Committee to WHO and issued the Committee’s advice to States Parties as Temporary Recommendations under the IHR. 

The Emergency Committee will be reconvened within three months or earlier, at the discretion of the Director-General. The Director-General thanked the Committee for its work.

::::::

Weekly operational update on COVID-19 – 19 April 2021
Overview
In this edition of the Weekly Operational Update on COVID-19, highlights of country-level actions and WHO support to Member States include:
:: Training critical care nurses for COVID-19 in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem
:: Health for all in India during the COVID-19 pandemic
:: Supporting monitoring health inequities and minimizing health service disruptions in Nigeria
:: COVAX Facility delivers COVID-19 vaccine doses to Brunei Darussalam
:: Workshop and technical dialogue on COVID-19 surveillance, testing and contact tracing in the Czech Republic
:: Addressing mental health needs amidst the COVID-19 pandemic in Nepal
:: Updates from the UN Crisis Management Team meeting and the Global Health Cluster
:: Advancing health emergency preparedness in cities and urban settings in COVID-19 and beyond
:: The Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan (SPRP) 2021 resource requirements and progress made to continue investing in the COVID-19 response and for building the architecture to prepare for, prevent and mitigate future health emergencies
:: Updates on WHO/PAHO procured items, Partners Platform, implementation of the Unity Studies, and select indicators from the COVID-19 Monitoring and Evaluation Framework

Weekly epidemiological update on COVID-19 – 20 April 2021
Overview
Globally, new COVID-19 cases rose for the eighth consecutive week, with over 5.2 million new cases reported in the last week. The number of new deaths increased for the fifth consecutive week, increasing by 8% compared to last week, with over 83 000 new deaths reported. While all regions except the European Region reported an increase in incident cases in the last week, the largest increase continues to be reported by the South-East Asia Region, largely driven by India, followed by the Western Pacific Region.
In this edition, special focus updates are provided on:
:: WHO COVID-19 global rapid risk assessment
:: Pandemic influenza surveillance—drawing a parallel with the COVID-19 pandemic
:: SARS-CoV-2 variants

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 21 April 2021
:: The GPEI has made available reports from the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) meetings for Pakistan and Afghanistan which were held virtually in February and March this year.

Summary of new WPV and cVDPV viruses this week (AFP cases and ES positives):
:: Afghanistan: three cVDPV2 positive environmental samples
:: Pakistan: three WPV1 and one cVDPV2 positive environmental sample
:: Benin: one cVDPV2 positive environmental sample
:: Iran: one cVDPV2 positive environmental sample
:: Sierra Leone: three cVDPV2 positive environmental samples
:: Tajikistan: two cVDPV2 positive environmental samples

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

WHO/OCHA Emergencies

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 24 Apr 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 24 Apr 2021]
Malawi
:: Boosting equity to malaria prevention in Malawi through vaccination 22 April 2021

Afghanistan – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 5 July 2020]
Angola – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 16 March 2021]
Burkina Faso – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 01 avril 2021]
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: 2 March 2020]
Iraq No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 11 April 2021]
Libya – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 7 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: 29 March 2021]
NigerNo new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 16 avril 2021]
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 24 Apr 2021]

Kenya
:: Kenya Third Wave Response: A time to synergize and re-energize 23 April 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]
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 – Current Emergencies
COVID-19 – No new unique digest announcements identified

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

The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health :: Education :: Heritage Stewardship :: Sustainable Development

__________________________________________________

Week ending 17 April 2021 :: Number 363

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

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