The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health :: Education :: Heritage Stewardship ::
Sustainable Development
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Week ending 27 February 2021 :: Number 356

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 27 Feb 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

Hundreds of academics, civil society groups and business leaders join call for UN General Assembly to end anonymous shell companies

Hundreds of academics, civil society groups and business leaders join call for UN General Assembly to end anonymous shell companies
700 signatories from 120 countries ask UNGASS 2021 to set a new global standard on beneficial ownership transparency
24 February 2021
Transparency International today submitted an appeal to the UN General Assembly from more than 700 signatories calling for a new global standard for transparency in company ownership. The appeal comes ahead of the UN General Assembly Special Session Against Corruption, UNGASS 2021, scheduled for June. It asks that UNGASS 2021 commits all countries to set up national, public registers of companies, disclosing the real individuals who own, control or benefit from them.

The signatories include renowned academics and research centres, companies and business executives, civil society groups and activists as well as several government agencies and public officials.

“All parts of our societies around the world have spoken. From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, from indigenous peoples’ groups to tax justice advocates, from distinguished diplomats to multi-national companies, we all agree: anonymous companies are vehicles for corruption and other illicit practices that jeopardise the common good. We are asking country representatives preparing for the UNGASS 2021 to heed this call for urgent action,” said Gillian Dell, Head of Conventions Unit at Transparency International.

Numerous investigative reports and scandals have shown that anonymous companies enable and fuel corruption and other financial crimes. The recent OpenLux investigations highlighted the power of public registers of beneficial ownership for identifying suspicions of money laundering, corruption, tax evasion and other criminal activity…

Petition
The UN General Assembly’s decision to hold a Special Session against Corruption in 2021 created a historic opportunity for the international community to address the global crisis of corruption.

The undersigned groups and individuals are united in the conviction that it is of the utmost urgency for the UNGASS 2021 to put an end to the abuse of anonymous companies and other legal vehicles that facilitate cross-border corruption and other crimes. We are calling on the UNGASS 2021 to commit to making centralised, public beneficial ownership registers a global standard.

Companies that exist only on paper, exploiting our legal systems and concealing their ultimate ownership, are tools for the diversion of critical resources needed to advance sustainable development and collective security.

For decades, as scandal after scandal has demonstrated, anonymous shell companies have been used to divert public funds, channel bribes and conceal ill-gotten gains, as part of corruption and money laundering schemes stretching across borders.

Beneficial ownership information – information on the natural persons who ultimately own, control or benefit from a legal vehicle – enables cross-border enforcement and the tracing of ill-gotten assets for confiscation and return. In public contracting processes, it helps in the detection of conflicts of interest and corruption. It also makes it easier for businesses to carry out due diligence, helps them know who their partners and customers are and meet reporting obligations.

A central, public register of companies and their ultimate beneficial owners – in addition to information on legal ownership and directors – is the most effective and practical way to record such information and facilitate timely access for all stakeholders.

We have come together to address government leaders currently preparing for UNGASS 2021 with one voice and one clear message: The “concise and action-oriented political declaration” to be adopted by the General Assembly should commit all countries to establish central, public registers of beneficial ownership as the new global standard. This should be supplemented with efforts to verify the collected information in order to ensure the accuracy and reliability of beneficial ownership data.

Transparency in company ownership is more than a technical solution to a problem. It is a matter of social justice.

Corruption devastates the lives of billions of people around the world, while its deadliness has become all the more evident during the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate crisis. With only ten years left to achieve the 2030 Agenda targets, we need decisive reforms to ensure that the resources needed to pay for critical public services such as schools and hospitals are not simply misappropriated and hidden away in tax havens or property markets abroad. Centralised, public registers of beneficial ownership as a global standard is precisely that kind of change.

The time for action is now.

The appeal is also available in French, Russian and Spanish.
Signatories listed here

Joint Statement by independent United Nations human rights experts* on human rights responsibilities of armed non-State actors

Human Rights – Armed Non-State Actors

Joint Statement by independent United Nations human rights experts* on human rights responsibilities of armed non-State actors
GENEVA (25 February 2021) – A group of independent United Nations human rights experts* issued the following joint statement, in order to highlight the far-reaching negative human rights impacts of armed non-State actors1 on rights’ holders and human rights defenders.

In view of the pervasiveness of armed non-State actors’ involvement worldwide – during both armed conflict and other situations of violence – we consider it imperative that existing international legal protections be effectively implemented to safeguard the human rights of individuals and groups, irrespective of the status or character of the perpetrator(s). In accordance with the idea that human rights protection devolves with territory (inalienability of human rights),2 victims must be in a position to seek redress for violations or abuses of their rights regardless of the actor at the origin of their grievance.

Common practice of various organs of the United Nations, such as the Security Council, the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council, contributes to gradual closing of the above-mentioned gap in human rights protection.3 Such practice acknowledges that, at a minimum, armed non-State actors exercising either government-like functions or de facto control over territory and population must respect and protect the human rights of individuals and groups. Some special procedures and investigative mechanisms of the Human Rights Council have argued that armed groups have human rights obligations, for instance derived from their capacities4 , and they have detailed the conditions under which these obligations may apply and their extent5 . Others have expressed concern at abuses of human rights by armed non-State actors, and directly called on these actors to cease such conduct6 , such as the recruitment of child soldiers7 and sexual violence8 . Yet others have noted that the presence of armed non-State actors present unique challenges for business enterprises, which are expected to exercise heightened human rights due diligence in conflict-affected contexts in order to meet the business responsibility to respect human rights in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

However, much remains to be accomplished in order to ensure that human rights of individuals and groups are respected, protected and fulfilled, irrespective of the character of the perpetrator(s). We thus strongly call on States to support initiatives/processes/work on this crucial issue, including processes seeking to identify ways of engaging with armed non-State actors, to strengthen accountability and address impunity.

In particular, we make the following recommendations:
States should:
[1] in any territory under their jurisdiction9 , respect their obligation to monitor and prevent violations of human rights committed by armed non-State actors or violations by armed non-State actors empowered to exercise governmental authority or acting with Government acquiescence;
[1] properly investigate all allegations of human rights violations by armed non-State actors, prosecute and punish perpetrators, and ensure adequate reparation and redress to victims, in full compliance international human rights law and standards;
[1] provide appropriate redress, reparations and other assistance to victims, in cases of both direct and indirect responsibility for abuses committed by armed non-State actors, in particular in cases where armed non-state actors are unable or unwilling to meet their responsibilities in this regard.
[1] contribute to and/or support the clarification and codification of human rights responsibilities of armed non-State actors;
[1] evaluate current mechanisms for holding armed non-State actors accountable and identify approaches to effectively address protection and justice gaps and vacuums;
[1] encourage the adoption by armed non-State actors of policies, practices and codes of conduct for human rights protection;
[1] develop guidelines for human rights-based engagement with armed non-State actors.
[1] adopt a gender-sensitive approach and ensure that these recommendations are implemented taking into account the heightened risk of abuse against women and children, including for sexual and gender-based crimes, and child soldier recruitment;
[1] ensure that the experiences of groups with specific vulnerabilities and individuals within these groups, such as migrants, minorities, LGBTI, older persons and persons with disabilities10 , among others, are fully integrated in the implementation of these recommendations.

Armed non-State actors should:
[1] expressly commit and signify their willingness to respect, protect and fulfil human rights;
[1] implement their human rights responsibilities in their codes of conduct or other internal documents;
[1] ensure proper and genuine accountability within their ranks and organizations for abuses of human rights.

Other stakeholders11 should:
[1] engage directly and concretely with armed non-state actors with the aim to encourage respect for human rights;
[1] if acting as permanent monitoring and reporting mechanisms, ensure that they effectively and transparently assess and report on the compliance of armed non-State actors with human rights;
[1] encourage and support armed non-State actors in adopting and adhering to international human rights standards.

We, United Nations human rights experts, will continue to integrate and recommend the integration of the monitoring and implementation of the human rights responsibilities of armed non-State actors in the exercise of our mandates.

Nothing in this joint statement shall be construed as limiting the human rights obligations of States or as affecting the legal status of armed non-State actors under domestic or international law. Nothing in the present statement shall be understood as calling into question the applicability, and binding character, of rules of international humanitarian law to all parties to armed conflicts – whether they are a State or non-State actor.

.

*This statement has been made jointly by:
Mr. Nils Melzer, Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment;
Ms. Agnes Callamard, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions;
Mr. S. Michael Lynk, Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967;
Ms. Isha Dyfan, Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia;
Mr. David R. Boyd, Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment
Mr. Tomoya Obokata, Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and consequences;
Mr. Thomas Andrews, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar;
Ms. Mama Fatima Singhateh, Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children; Mr. Pedro Arrojo Agudo, Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation;
Ms. Mary Lawlor, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders;
Mr. Livingstone Sewanyana, Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order;
Mr. Michael Fakhri, Special Rapporteur on Right to Food;
Ms. Jelena Aparac (Chair-Rapporteur),
Ms. Lilian Bobea, Mr. Chris Kwaja, Mr. Ravindran Daniel, and Ms. Sorcha MacLeod, Working Group on the use of mercenaries;
Ms. Irene Khan, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of freedom of opinion and expression;
Mr. Javaid Rehman, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran;
Ms. Cecilia Jimenez-Damary, Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons;
Mr. Balakrishnan Rajagopal, Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living;
Mr. Dante Pesce (Chair), Mr. Surya Deva (Vice-Chair), Ms. Elżbieta Karska, Mr. Githu Muigai, Ms. Anita Ramasastry, Working Group on human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises;
Mr. Gerard Quinn, Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities;
Mr. Fernand de Varennes, Special Rapporteur on minority issues;
Ms. Dubravka Simonovic, Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences;
Mr. Ahmed Shaheed, Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief;
Ms. Tlaleng Mofokeng, Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health;
Mr. Diego García-Sayán, Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers;
Mr. Clement Nyaletsossi Voule, Special Rapporteur on the right to peaceful assembly and association;
Mr. Felipe González Morales, Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants;
Ms. Leigh Toomey (Chair-Rapporteur), Ms. Elina Steinerte (Vice-Chair), Ms. Miriam Estrada-Castillo, Mr. Mumba Malila and Mr. Seong-Phil Hong, Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, and Ms. Elizabeth Broderick (Chair), Ms. Melissa Upreti (Vice Chair), Ms. Dorothy Estrada Tanck, Ms. Ivana Radačić and Ms. Meskerem Geset Techane, Working Group on discrimination against women and girls.

Security Council Calls for Increased Global Cooperation to Facilitate COVID-19 Vaccine Access in Conflict Areas, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 2565 (2021)

COVID Vaccines – UN Security Council; UNESCO

Security Council Calls for Increased Global Cooperation to Facilitate COVID-19 Vaccine Access in Conflict Areas, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 2565 (2021)
26 February 2021
SC/14454
The Security Council today announced the adoption of a resolution calling for strengthened international cooperation to facilitate equitable and affordable access to COVID-19 vaccines in armed conflict and post-conflict situations, and during complex humanitarian emergencies.

Acting through its special silence procedure enacted during the pandemic, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 2565 (2021), recognizing the role of extensive immunization against COVID-19 as a global public good for health. It stressed the need to develop international partnerships, particularly to scale-up manufacturing and distribution capabilities, in recognition of differing national contexts.

By other terms, it reiterated its demand for a general and immediate cessation of hostilities in all situations on its agenda, demanding as well that all parties to armed conflicts engage immediately in a durable, extensive, and sustained humanitarian pause to facilitate the equitable, safe and unhindered delivery and distribution of COVID-19 vaccinations in areas of armed conflict.

Reaffirming that these calls do not apply to military operations against Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh), Al-Qaida and Al-Nusra Front, or their associates, the Council demanded that all parties to armed conflicts fully comply with their obligations under international law.

Further, the Council requested the Secretary-General to provide a full assessment of the impediments to vaccine accessibility and the COVID-19 response, including vaccination programmes, in situations of armed conflict and complex humanitarian emergencies — and as necessary, make recommendations to the Council. It expressed its intention to review situations brought to its attention by the Secretary-General where hostilities and armed group activities are impeding COVID 19 vaccination and to consider what further measures may be necessary to ensure such impediments are removed, and hostilities paused to enable vaccination.

It emphasized the urgent need for “solidarity, equity and efficacy”, inviting donation of vaccine doses from developed economies and all those in a position to do so to low- and middle-income countries and other countries in need, particularly through the COVAX Facility — a global mechanism for pooled procurement and equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

[Security Council resolutions are currently adopted through a written procedure vote under temporary, extraordinary and provisional measures implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as set out in a letter (document S/2020/253) by its President for March 2020 (China).]

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UNESCO calls for COVID-19 vaccines to be considered a global public good
24/02/2021
UNESCO’s International Bioethics Committee (IBC) and the World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST) have called for a change of course in current COVID-19 vaccination strategies, urging that vaccines be treated as a global public good to ensure they are made equitably available in all countries, and not only to those who bid the highest for these vaccines. Both committees have a long track record in providing ethical guidance on sensitive issues*.

The statement was presented during an online event on 24 February, which gathered UNESCO’s ethics bodies together with Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, and Professor Jeffrey Sachs from Columbia University.

The IBC-COMEST Statement stresses three key messages:
Firstly, pharmaceutical industries have a responsibility to share the intellectual property acquired with government support to enable manufacturers in all countries to provide access to vaccines for all, which should be considered a global public good. The IBC and COMEST also stress the responsibility of the pharmaceutical industry to invest in factories capable of producing vaccines of the highest possible efficacy and facilitating rapid distribution where needed.

Secondly, the IBC and COMEST say that the vaccine’s benefit to the greatest number of people cannot be considered the sole ethical criterion. Equality, equity, protection from vulnerability, reciprocity and the best interests of children must also be taken into account. Furthermore, decisions on fair distribution and prioritization should be based on the advice of a multidisciplinary group of experts in bioethics, law, economics, and sociology, together with scientists.

Thirdly, the IBC and COMEST consider that vaccination strategies should be based on a non-compulsory, non-punitive model, grounded in information and education, including dialogue with people who may be hesitant about vaccination or hostile to it. Refusing to be vaccinated should not affect the individual’s fundamental rights, specifically his or her right to access healthcare or employment.

Other issues the statement covers include: international cooperation across all different sectors working on COVID-19 to share the benefits of research; the sustainability issues that favour the emergence of zoonotic diseases; trust in science and healthcare authorities; the indispensable need for dialogue between science, ethics, politics and civil society.

Leading Business and Nonprofit Organizations Launch Health Action Alliance to Strengthen and Accelerate COVID-19 Response

COVID 19 – Integrated Response in U.S.

Leading Business and Nonprofit Organizations Launch Health Action Alliance to Strengthen and Accelerate COVID-19 Response
The Ad Council, Business Roundtable, CDC Foundation, de Beaumont Foundation and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation join forces to empower business community, address health inequities

FEBRUARY 18, 2021 WASHINGTON, DC – The Ad Council, Business Roundtable, the CDC Foundation, the de Beaumont Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation today announced the launch of the Health Action Alliance (HAA), a new partnership between leading business, communications and public health organizations to strengthen and accelerate the business community’s response to COVID-19. The Alliance is powered by Meteorite, an impact firm that builds coalitions to improve lives and strengthen communities.

Fortune 500 companies employ more than 28 million people, and small businesses employ nearly 60 million people in the United States. Recent research from Morning Consult shows that 71% of Americans trust their employer to make the right decision about when it’s safe to return to the office. HAA will empower a network of businesses of all shapes and sizes to improve the health of employees and communities by promoting COVID-19 prevention and vaccine education and strengthen public health infrastructure to be better prepared in the future. The Alliance will also work to advance health equity by addressing the needs of disproportionately affected communities.

“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have devastating impacts on the lives and livelihoods of millions of Americans, but as the historic vaccine rollout gets underway, there is increased reason for optimism,” said Joshua Bolten, president & CEO of Business Roundtable. “And the business community has an important role to play in sharing with employees and the broader communities where they operate the importance of vaccination to help defeat the pandemic and lead our country toward a robust economic recovery.”

On its website, healthaction.org, HAA provides free best-in-class tools, resources, training and events for the business community to help companies deliver trusted, fact-based health communications to employees and encourage consumers to make informed decisions about COVID-19 vaccines.

“COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy is the largest and most critical communications issue in our nation’s history, and it’s one that can’t be solved without public health and business working together,” said Lisa Sherman, president and CEO of the Ad Council. “We know that Americans are turning to their employers as one of the most trusted sources of information and action around the COVID crisis—and that the corporate community has a significant role to play in helping us shift from vaccine hesitancy to vaccine confidence.”…

To access these resources and learn more about how businesses can participate, visit www.healthaction.org

COVID-19 vaccine doses shipped by the COVAX Facility head to Ghana, marking beginning of global rollout

 COVAX – Ghana, Cote Ivoire

COVID-19 vaccine doses shipped by the COVAX Facility head to Ghana, marking beginning of global rollout
Press release 02/24/2021
:: COVAX announces 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine licensed to Serum Institute of India have arrived in Accra, Ghana; further deliveries to Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire are expected this week
:: Final first round of allocations for doses of AstraZeneca/Oxford and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, to the majority of countries and economies participating in the COVAX Facility, anticipated to be published in the coming days
:: Beginning of global rollout means that, as readiness criteria are met and doses produced, vaccines will be shipped to Facility participants on a rolling basis

GENEVA/NEW YORK/OSLO, 24 February 2021 – Today, Ghana became the first country outside India to receive COVID-19 vaccine doses shipped via the COVAX Facility. This is a historic step towards our goal to ensure equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines globally, in what will be the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history. The delivery is part of a first wave of arrivals that will continue in the coming days and weeks.

On 23 February, COVAX shipped 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/ Oxford vaccine, from the Serum Institute of India (SII) from Pune, India to Accra, Ghana, arriving on the morning of 24 February.  The arrival in Accra is the first batch shipped and delivered in Africa by the COVAX Facility as part of an unprecedented effort to deliver at least 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2021…

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccinations :: Share of population full vaccinated…

Our World in Data
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccinations
Our World in Data and the SDG-Tracker are collaborative efforts between researchers at the University of Oxford, who are the scientific editors of the website content; and the non-profit organization Global Change Data Lab, who publishes and maintains the website and the data tools that make our work possible. At the University of Oxford we are based at the Oxford Martin Programme on Global Development.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is screen-shot-2021-02-28-at-5.50.04-pm.png

Research and data: Hannah Ritchie, Esteban Ortiz-Ospina, Diana Beltekian, Edouard Mathieu, Joe Hasell, Bobbie Macdonald, Charlie Giattino, and Max Roser
Web development: Breck Yunits, Ernst van Woerden, Daniel Gavrilov, Matthieu Bergel, Shahid Ahmad, Jason Crawford, and Marcel Gerber

 

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 24 February 2021
:: As we head towards International Women’s Day (marked on 8 March), GPEI honours two women who left a mark in polio eradication and in women’s empowerment within the U.N.
:: On 15 February, polio eradication Gender Champion Arancha González Laya, Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation of Spain, visited the Notre Dame des Apôtres hospital in N’Djamena, Chad where she administered polio drops to two newborn children. Read more
“”In a special interview, PolioNews (PN) talks to Holger Knaack (HK), President of Rotary International, about why it is more important than ever to support PolioPlus, Rotary’s polio eradication program, and what lessons it can offer to the global pandemic response.

Summary of new WPV and cVDPV viruses this week (AFP cases and ES positives):
:: Afghanistan: six cVDPV2 cases
:: Pakistan: one WPV1 and two cVDPV2 cases, six WPV1 and five cVDPV2 positive environmental samples
:: Congo: one cVDPV2 case and one cVDPV2 positive environmental sample
:: Egypt: one cVDPV2 positive environmental sample
:: Ethiopia: one cVDPV2 case
:: Guinea: six cVDPV2 cases
:: Mali: two cVDPV2 cases

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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 27 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]

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WHO Grade 2 Emergencies [to 27 Feb 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 04 février 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: 21 February 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: 11 février 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]

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WHO Grade 1 Emergencies [to 27 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]

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UN OCHA – L3 Emergencies
The UN and its humanitarian partners are currently responding to three ‘L3’ emergencies. This is the global humanitarian system’s classification for the response to the most severe, large-scale humanitarian crises. 
Yemen
::  Yemen: COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Monthly Report (January 2021)
23 February 2021

Syrian Arab Republic – No new digest announcements identified

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UN OCHA – Corporate Emergencies
When the USG/ERC declares a Corporate Emergency Response, all OCHA offices, branches and sections provide their full support to response activities both at HQ and in the field.
East Africa Locust Infestation
:: Desert Locust situation update 23 February 2021

COVID-19
:: Global Humanitarian Response Plan COVID-19 Progress Report: Final Progress Report, 22 February 2021
[See Week in Review above for detail]

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The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health :: Education :: Heritage Stewardship ::
Sustainable Development
__________________________________________________
Week ending 20 February 2021 :: Number 355

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 20 Feb 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

History is made: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala chosen as WTO Director-General

Global Governance

History is made: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala chosen as WTO Director-General
World Trade Organisation News and Events
15 February 2021
WTO members made history today (15 February) when the General Council agreed by consensus to select Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria as the organization’s seventh Director-General.

When she takes office on 1 March, Dr Okonjo-Iweala will become the first woman and the first African to be chosen as Director-General. Her term, renewable, will expire on 31 August 2025.

“This is a very significant moment for the WTO. On behalf of the General Council, I extend our warmest congratulations to Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on her appointment as the WTO’s next Director-General and formally welcome her to this General Council meeting,” said General Council Chair David Walker of New Zealand who, together with co-facilitators Amb. Dacio Castillo (Honduras) and Amb. Harald Aspelund (Iceland) led the nine-month DG selection process…

“I am honoured to have been selected by WTO members as WTO Director-General,” said Dr Okonjo-Iweala. “A strong WTO is vital if we are to recover fully and rapidly from the devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic. I look forward to working with members to shape and implement the policy responses we need to get the global economy going again. Our organization faces a great many challenges but working together we can collectively make the WTO stronger, more agile and better adapted to the realities of today.”…

Acceptance Statement [excerpts]
…1.10.WTO Members have a further responsibility to reject vaccine nationalism and protectionism. They should rather intensify cooperation on promising new vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics. There should be a “third way” to broaden access through facilitating technology transfer within the framework of multilateral rules, so as to encourage research and innovation while at the same time allowing licensing agreements that help scale up manufacturing of medical products. Some pharmaceutical companies are already ahead of the game because they are doing this. Astrazeneca has licensed production in several countries, and has recently declared that it is willing to look at more such arrangements. Johnson & Johnson seems willing to follow suit looking beyond contract manufacturing to licensing agreements. The Serum Institute of India, which is set to manufacture up to 1 billion doses of vaccines, is a good example. Facilitating such arrangements will enable the WTO to support the WHO ACT-Accelerator, especially the COVAX facility to get affordable vaccines quickly to poor countries. Looking beyond this pandemic, the WTO must be proactive in strengthening cooperation with other multilateral and bilateral partners, the private sector, and civil society to set a framework for dealing with problems of the global commons such as this pandemic. The private sector, civil society, and parliamentarians are important partners of the WTO with whom collaboration will be further nurtured going forward…

1.18. Let me conclude by saying that the challenges facing the WTO are numerous and tricky, but they are not insurmountable. There is hope. There is light at the end of the tunnel if we work together in a transparent manner that builds trust, builds bridges, defuses political tensions, and encourages convergence. 1.19.The pandemic and its economic fallout have highlighted the interdependence of countries, the importance of multilateralism, and the need to strengthen collaboration to achieve fair and balanced trade agreements that provide opportunities for all WTO Members, particularly least developed countries and small island states. By working together, we can build trust, and we can achieve a stronger, more relevant, and inclusive trading system. I am passionate about these goals. I am keen to support you to carry out the necessary reforms. I look forward to working closely with all of you in the coming months and years, to help build the WTO that we all want, a WTO that is about people, a WTO that is dynamic, robust, and that provides essential support to economic growth and sustainable development through trade. Once again ladies and gentlemen, I thank you for this opportunity

Five opportunities for children we must seize now – UNICEF

Children in a Post-COVID World

Five opportunities for children we must seize now
Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director
Annual Letter, 2021
An open letter on why I believe we can reimagine a better post-COVID world for every child.
COVID-19 is the first truly global crisis we have seen in our lifetime. No matter where we live, the pandemic affects every person – children most of all. Millions are missing out on basic health services, education and protection simply because they were born into poverty or because of their ethnicity, religion or race. COVID-19 has widened this inequality gap and the social, economic and health impacts of the pandemic will reverberate for years to come, threatening child rights.

But this is not the time to be intimidated or paralyzed by these challenges. As we kick off UNICEF’s 75th anniversary, we are reminded that this organization was created in the midst of another historic crisis in the aftermath of World War II. Back then, it would have been easy to be overwhelmed by the scale of the problems facing children in a war-ravaged world. But we reimagined what was possible. We built new health and welfare systems around the world. We defeated smallpox. We built the United Nations.

History is calling upon us once again. In previous major global crises, from world wars to pandemics, leaders have come together to negotiate deals and pacts, agreeing to build new ways to restore peace, recover and rebuild, and to cooperate.

We need to rally the world behind a practical and concrete plan to protect our children – a promise from our generation to the next to invest in health and education, build more resilient systems and services that can reach all children, and ensure that budget cuts and economic downturns do not harm them.

While we must be clear-eyed about the scale of the challenges facing the world’s children, we can also advance in partnership and solidarity by building on our past, with ambition and confidence in our future.

This is not about a return to the way things were. For hundreds of millions of children around the world, ‘normal’ was never good enough to begin with.

Here are five opportunities for the world’s children revealed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and five lessons on how we can reimagine a better future for them, as reflected in the voices of young people:

1: For vaccines to work, we must build trust

2: Bridging the digital divide can help bring quality education for all

3: COVID-19 has unlocked attention on global youth mental health

4: COVID-19 does not discriminate, but our societies do

5: Climate change is the other planetary crisis that won’t wait

…A final word…
In a public letter I wrote in 2019, I laid out my worries and hopes for the future of children and young people. Little did I know that a year on, a global pandemic would demonstrate, in dramatic fashion, how well-founded these worries would be.

The bad news: As the crisis continues and the economic fallout deepens, we still have difficult days before us. The economic storm is decimating government budgets and reversing decades of development and progress. If we fail to act decisively and quickly, the effects could be felt for generations.

But here’s the good news: We can reverse this trend by harnessing this moment as an unprecedented opportunity to rebuild and reimagine the systems upon which children and young people rely.

So this is a call to action for children, young people and leaders in every sphere of our societies – politicians on the global stage, faith leaders, government policymakers, star athletes, media owners, advocates and each and every one of us.

The international community must support an inclusive recovery that prioritizes investments for children and child rights. On a wide range of issues, from internet safety and privacy, to digital learning, to providing clean water, the private sector must do more to reach and protect children with innovation. And citizens must continue to hold those in power to account and stand up to discrimination and inequality.

This year, as UNICEF celebrates 75 years of reimagining the future for every child, let’s gather behind children and young people with a new spirit of urgency, as we create opportunities, ignite their dreams, and support them across every part of their lives.

COVID-19 will not be the last crisis faced by humanity. So let’s work side by side as partners and friends to emerge from this pandemic stronger than before.

Video: https://youtu.be/nr0j3y9J-x0

Secretary-General, Addressing Security Council, Pledges Full Support for Creating Emergency Task Force to Prepare Global COVID-19 Vaccine Plan

COVID Vaccines – UN Security Council

Secretary-General, Addressing Security Council, Pledges Full Support for Creating Emergency Task Force to Prepare Global COVID-19 Vaccine Plan
17 February 2021
SG/SM/20583
Following are UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ remarks, as delivered, to the Security Council open meeting:  “Equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines in contexts affected by conflict and insecurity”, today:
I thank the United Kingdom for organizing this meeting and for reinforcing my call for a global ceasefire to ease suffering, create space for diplomacy and enable humanitarian access — including for the delivery of vaccines worldwide.

COVID-19 continues its merciless march across the world — upending lives, destroying economies and undermining the Sustainable Development Goals.  The pandemic is exacerbating all the factors that drive instability — hindering our efforts to implement Security Council resolution 2532 (2020) for the cessation of hostilities, conflict prevention and resolution.

Defeating COVID-19, now that we have begun to have the scientific capacity to do so, is more important than ever.  The rollout of COVID-19 vaccines is generating hope.  At this critical moment, vaccine equity is the biggest moral test before the global community.  We must ensure that everybody, everywhere, can be vaccinated as soon as possible.

Yet, progress on vaccinations has been wildly uneven and unfair.  Just 10 countries have administered 75 per cent of all COVID-19 vaccines.  Meanwhile, more than 130 countries have not received a single dose.  Those affected by conflict and insecurity are at particular risk of being left behind.

When pandemic strikes, we are only safe if everyone is safe.  If the virus is allowed to spread like wildfire in the Global South, or parts of it, it will mutate again and again.  New variants could become more transmissible, more deadly and, potentially, threaten the effectiveness of current vaccines and diagnostics.  This can prolong the pandemic significantly, enabling the virus to come back to plague the Global North.  It will also delay the world economic recovery.

We have come together to create the COVAX facility — the one global tool to procure and deliver vaccines for low- and middle-income countries.  COVAX requires to be fully funded.  But we must do even more.  Our efforts need to be comprehensive and well-coordinated everywhere.  The world urgently needs a global vaccination plan to bring together all those with the required power, scientific expertise and production and financial capacities.

 

I believe the G20 is well placed to establish an emergency task force to prepare such a global vaccination plan and coordinate its implementation and financing.  This task force should include all countries in which there is a capacity to develop vaccines or to produce them if licenses are available, together with the WHO [World Health Organization], Gavi, and other relevant technical organizations and the international financial institutions.  The task force would have the capacity to mobilize the pharmaceutical companies and key industry and logistics actors.

I am ready to galvanize the full United Nations System in support of this effort.  The G7 meeting later this week can help create the momentum to mobilize the necessary financial resources.  Together, we can ensure sufficient supply, fair distribution and vaccine confidence.

We can defeat this disease.  We can get our economies running again.  I am convinced it is possible.  Let’s make it happen, together.

UN Security Council session on COVID-19: IFRC warns of combined dangers of mistrust and vaccine inequity
New York, 17 February 2021 – The chief executive of the world’s largest humanitarian network has warned world leaders of the consequences of high levels of mistrust and persistent inequity in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines…
Mr Chapagain went on to share the IFRC’s deep concerns about pervasive inequality and inequity in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines worldwide. According to IFRC analysis, less than 1 per cent of COVID-19 vaccine doses globally have been administered in the 32 countries currently facing severe or very severe humanitarian crises.
Mr Chapagain said: “People trust us for our actions. They look at what we do, and they judge us for what we do not do. They see, clearly, the current high levels of vaccine inequity and inequality. “Equity is not something that happens on its own. History tells us this. Just as we need to ensure that all countries can access vaccines, we also need to make sure that those vaccines reach the arms of all the people who need them. Underserved, alienated, or isolated communities, including those living in areas not under the control of States, as well as detainees, IDPs and refugees, must be integrated in national vaccination efforts. Strong involvement of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and other local impartial organizations in vaccination activities can help ensure that these communities are not left behind.”…
17 February 2021

G7 Leaders’ statement, 19 February 2021

G7 Leaders’ statement, 19 February 2021
European Council Statements and remarks [Editor’s text bolding]
We, the leaders of the Group of Seven, met today and resolved to work together to beat COVID-19 and build back better. Drawing on our strengths and values as democratic, open economies and societies, we will work together and with others to make 2021 a turning point for multilateralism and to shape a recovery that promotes the health and prosperity of our people and planet.

We will intensify cooperation on the health response to COVID-19. The dedication of essential workers everywhere represents the best of humanity, while the rapid discovery of vaccines shows the power of human ingenuity. Working with, and together to strengthen, the World Health Organisation (WHO), and supporting its leading and coordinating role, we will: 
:: accelerate global vaccine development and deployment;
:: work with industry to increase  manufacturing capacity, including through voluntary licensing;
:: improve information sharing,  such as on sequencing new variants; and,
:: promote transparent and responsible practices, and vaccine confidence.

We reaffirm our support for all pillars of the Access to COVID-19 Tools  Accelerator (ACT-A), its COVAX facility, and affordable and equitable access to vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics, reflecting the role of extensive immunisation as a global public good. Today, with increased financial commitments of over four billion USD to ACT-A and COVAX, collective G7 support totals seven and a half billion USD. We invite all partners, including the G20 and International Financial Institutions, to join us in increasing support to ACT-A, including to increase developing countries’ access to WHO-approved vaccines through the COVAX facility.

COVID-19 shows that the world needs stronger defences against future risks to global health security. We will work with the WHO, G20 and others, especially through the Global Health  Summit in Rome, to bolster global health and health security architecture for pandemic preparedness, including through health financing and rapid response mechanisms, by strengthening the “One Health” approach and Universal Health Coverage, and exploring the  potential value of a global health treaty.

We have provided unprecedented support for our economies over the past year totalling over $6 trillion across the G7. We will continue to support our economies to protect jobs and  support a strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive recovery. We reaffirm our support to  the most vulnerable countries, our commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals, and  our partnership with Africa, including to support a resilient recovery. We will work through  the G20 and with the International Financial Institutions to strengthen support for countries’ responses by exploring all available tools, including through full and transparent implementation of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative and the Common Framework.

Recovery from COVID-19 must build back better for all. Looking to UNFCCC COP26 and CBD COP15, we will put our global ambitions on climate change and the reversal of biodiversity  loss at the centre of our plans. We will make progress on mitigation, adaptation and finance  in accordance with the Paris Agreement and deliver a green transformation and clean energy  transitions that cut emissions and create good jobs on a path to net zero no later than 2050.  We are committed to levelling up our economies so that no geographic region or person, irrespective of gender or ethnicity, is left behind.

We will: champion open economies and societies; promote global economic resilience; harness the digital economy with data free  flow with trust; cooperate on a modernised, freer and fairer rules-based multilateral trading  system that reflects our values and delivers balanced growth with a reformed World Trade Organisation at its centre; and, strive to reach a consensus-based solution on international taxation by mid-2021 within the framework of the OECD. With the aim of supporting a fair  and mutually beneficial global economic system for all people, we will engage with others,  especially G20 countries including large economies such as China. As Leaders, we will consult  with each other on collective approaches to address non-market oriented policies and practices, and we will cooperate with others to address important global issues that impact all countries.

We resolve to agree concrete action on these priorities at the G7 Summit in the United Kingdom in June, and we support the commitment of Japan to hold the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 in a safe and secure manner this summer as a symbol of global unity in overcoming COVID-19.

A renewed multilateralism fit for the 21st century: the EU’s agenda

Multilateralism – EU

Speech by President von der Leyen at the Special Edition 2021 of the Munich Security Conference
European Commission Speech 19 February 2021
[Excerpt]
…This is also true, when it comes to the digital world and the impact it has on our democracies. And this is my second example. The storming on the U.S. Capitol was a turning point for our discussion on the impact social media have on our democracies. This is what happens when words incite action. In a world where polarising opinions are the most likely to be heard, it is only a short step from crude conspiracy theories to the death of police officers.

In December, the Commission launched the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act – our new framework for the digital market. Of course, imposing democratic limits on the uncontrolled power of the big tech companies alone will not stop political violence. But it is an important step. At its most basic, we want to make sure that what is illegal offline is also illegal online. And we want clear requirements that internet firms take responsibility for the content they distribute, promote and remove. Because we just cannot leave decisions, which have a huge impact on our democracies, to computer programmes without any human supervision or to the board rooms in Silicon Valley. The latest decision of Facebook regarding Australia is just another proof for that.

Today, I want to invite our American friends to join our initiatives. Together, we could create a digital economy rulebook that is valid worldwide. A set of rules based on our values: human rights and pluralism, inclusion and the protection of privacy. We need to join forces and protect these values with all our energy…

::::::

A renewed multilateralism fit for the 21st century: the EU’s agenda
European Commission 17 February 2021
The Commission and the High Representative put forward a new strategy to strengthen the EU’s contribution to rules-based multilateralism. The Joint Communication lays out the EU’s expectations of and ambitions for the multilateral system.
Today, the Commission and the High Representative put forward a new strategy to strengthen the EU’s contribution to rules-based multilateralism. The Joint Communication lays out the EU’s expectations of and ambitions for the multilateral system. Today’s proposal suggests to make use of all tools at the EU’s disposal, including its extensive political, diplomatic and financial support to promote global peace and security, defend human rights and international law, and to promote multilateral solutions to global challenges.

High Representative of the Union for Foreign and Security Policy/Vice-President for a Stronger Europe in the World, Josep Borrell, said: “Multilateralism matters because it works. But we cannot be ‘multilateralists’ alone. At a time of growing scepticism, we must demonstrate the benefit and relevance of the multilateral system. We will build stronger, more diverse and inclusive partnerships to lead its modernisation and shape global responses to the challenges of the 21st century, some of which threaten the very existence of humanity.”

Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, said: “The EU has been and will continue to be the best ally of multilateralism and its institutions. However, the more complex global environment calls us to be more united, coherent, focused, and better leverage our collective Team Europe strength. This new strategy spells out our ambition on inclusive multilateralism, our strong commitment to renew it and it will be underpinned by specific actions.”

Defining and defending EU priorities and values in the multilateral system
The challenges of the 21st century call for more, not less, multilateral governance and rules-based international cooperation. The EU has defined clear strategic priorities on issues that no country can face alone: peace and security, human rights and the rule of law, sustainable development, public health, or climate. Now, it needs to advance these priorities multilaterally in a strategic approach to ensure a safer world and a sustainable, inclusive global recovery.

The EU must step up its leadership and ‘deliver as one’ to ‘succeed as one’. To this end, the EU will advance more efficient coordination mechanisms around joint priorities and making better use of its collective strength, including building on the Team Europe approach. Its democratic and unique regulatory strengths are assets to help build a better world, while its security and defence structures support global efforts to keep, sustain and build international peace and security.

Modernising the multilateral system
To ensure the global multilateral system is ‘fit for purpose’ to address today’s challenges, the EU will continue to support the UN Secretary-General’s reform efforts. It will promote the modernisation of key institutions such as the World Health Organisation and the World Trade Organisation. It will also spearhead the development of new global norms and the establishment of cooperation platforms in areas such as taxation, the digital sphere or Artificial Intelligence.

A stronger Europe through partnership
To change the multilateral landscape, we need a new generation of partnerships. The EU will build new alliances with third countries, reinforce cooperation with multilateral and regional organisations, as well as other stakeholders, especially those with whom it shares democratic values and, with others, it will seek a common ground issue by issue. It will support partner countries in engaging more effectively in the multilateral system and ensure systematic follow-up of bilateral commitments with partners to advance multilateral objectives. EU aims to build a more inclusive multilateralism. It is important to engage also with civil society as well as the private sector, social and other stakeholders.

Next steps
The Commission and the High Representative invite the European Parliament and the Council to endorse the approach and to work together on these priorities.

Background
To respond successfully to global crises, threats and challenges, the international community needs an efficient multilateral system, founded on universal rules and values. The UN remains at the core of the multilateral system. The EU and its Member States are the largest financial donors to the UN system, to the Bretton Woods institutions, and many other international fora. They provide almost one quarter of all financial contributions to the UN’s funds and programmes, whilst the EU Member States also provide almost one fourth of the UN’s regular budget. At the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, EU Member States hold over a quarter of voting power close to a third of financial contributions come from the EU and its Member States.

The EU works very closely with and in other international organisations and entities, such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organisation, the Council of Europe, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Finally, the EU seeks closer cooperation with other regional and multinational groupings such as the African Union, the Organisation of the African, Caribbean and Pacific States, the Association of South-East Asian Nations or the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States to address common challenges and to work together at the international level.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccinations

Our World in Data
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccinations
Our World in Data and the SDG-Tracker are collaborative efforts between researchers at the University of Oxford, who are the scientific editors of the website content; and the non-profit organization Global Change Data Lab, who publishes and maintains the website and the data tools that make our work possible. At the University of Oxford we are based at the Oxford Martin Programme on Global Development.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is screen-shot-2021-02-21-at-12.16.46-pm.png

 

Research and data: Hannah Ritchie, Esteban Ortiz-Ospina, Diana Beltekian, Edouard Mathieu, Joe Hasell, Bobbie Macdonald, Charlie Giattino, and Max Roser
Web development: Breck Yunits, Ernst van Woerden, Daniel Gavrilov, Matthieu Bergel, Shahid Ahmad, Jason Crawford, and Marcel Gerber

 

Emergencies

Emergencies

POLIO
Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)

Polio this week as of 17 February 2021
:: “The polio programme brought women out into the workforce in an unprecedented way, says Dr. Olayinka. “Women were powerful mobilizers, particularly older, respected women and could enter any home. The polio programme was one of the first programmes bringing the women out, training them how to speak to other women and community members, which gave them a standing in the community. They also received some stipends which empowered them a bit financially.” Read more in our latest “Women Leaders in Polio Eradication” series.

Summary of new WPV and cVDPV viruses this week (AFP cases and ES positives):
:: Afghanistan: 1 cVDPV2 case and five cVDPV2 positive environmental samples
:: Pakistan: four WPV1 positive environmental samples
:: Côte d’Ivoire: one cVDPV2 case
:: Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo): two cVDPV2 cases
:: Egypt: two cVDPV2 positive environmental samples
:: Ethiopia: three cVDPV2 cases
:: Kenya: one cVDPV2 positive environmental sample
:: Mali: one cVDPV2 case
:: Sudan: one cVDPV2 case and three cVDPV2 positive environmental samples
:: Tajikistan: one cVDPV2 case

::::::

Statement of the Twenty-Seventh Polio IHR Emergency Committee
19 February 2021 Statement
[Excerpts]
The twenty-seventh meeting of the Emergency Committee under the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR) on the international spread of poliovirus was convened by the WHO Director-General on 1 February 2021 with committee members and advisers attending via video conference, supported by the WHO Secretariat.  The Emergency Committee reviewed the data on wild poliovirus (WPV1) and circulating vaccine derived polioviruses (cVDPV).  The following IHR States Parties provided an update at the video conference on the current situation in their respective countries: Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, the Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Sierra Leone and Pakistan and Tajikistan…

…COVID-19
The committee was concerned that COVID-19 continues to have an impact on polio eradication at many levels.  Many of the polio affected countries are currently experiencing a second wave of COVID-19, notably Malaysia, Pakistan and Nigeria. Although resumption of SIAs is now a major focus of the polio program the effect of the pause in 2020 and the current second wave will hamper this resumption. There are ongoing signs of the impact of COVID-19 on surveillance, particularly with slow shipment and handling and reporting of samples for polio testing.   All these factors serve to heighten the risk of polio transmission.

The committee noted that since the beginning of the pandemic, the value of polio-funded staff and assets contributed to the COVID-19 response in more than 50 countries is estimated at USD $104 million. In view of the overwhelming public health imperative to end the COVID-19 pandemic, the POB has committed to the polio program’s continued support for the next phase of COVID-19 response, COVID-19 vaccine introduction and delivery, through existing assets, infrastructure and expertise in key geographies.

Conclusion
The Committee unanimously agreed that the risk of international spread of poliovirus remains a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) and recommended the extension of Temporary Recommendations for a further three months.  The Committee recognizes the concerns regarding the lengthy duration of the polio PHEIC, but concludes that the current situation is extraordinary, with clear ongoing and increasing risk of international spread and ongoing need for coordinated international response. The Committee considered the following factors in reaching this conclusion:

…Additional considerations
The committee welcomed the Emergency Use Listing of novel OPV2 but cautioned there was much to be done before the new vacccine could be expected to have a significant impact globally on the spread of cVDPV2. The phased replacement during 2021 of Sabin OPV2 with novel OPV2 is expected to substantially reduce the source of cVDPV2 emergence, transmission and subsequent risk of international spread.  Full licensure and pre-qualification of nOPV2 is not expected before 2022; therefore all countries at risk of cVDPV2 outbreak should consider preparing for novel OPV2 use under Emergency Use Listing procedure.

The committee welcomed the progress being made in individual countries that were facing huge challenges with both polio and COVID-19.  COVID-19 is also likely to continue to have a significant adverse impact on stopping polio transmission throughout 2021, with diversion of resources, barriers to successful polio campaign implementation and the consequential growing immunity gap.  However, the committee urged countries to look for where synergies can be built between polio and COVID -19 control, such as countering vaccine hesitancy, expanding and sharing testing resources, and vaccine management.  Countries also needed to make sure that local lockdowns and border restrictions were implemented in such a way as to avoid hampering specimen shipment and testing, particularly in West Africa where there are already constraints in lab capacity.  As testing for COVID-19 is strengthened, this should be done so as to strengthen lab capacity for other infectious diseases such as polio.  The committee urges affected countries to strengthen cross border cooperation as this appeared to be inconsistently carried out.

The committee also noted the risk of vaccine hesitancy could be exacerbated during the pandemic, so that adverse events during the development or future deployment of any COVID-19 vaccine could compound the existing issues around polio vaccines, particularly but not only in Pakistan.  Conversely, vaccine issues arising out of novel OPV2 or trivalent OPV use could adversely affect any future COVID-19 vaccine deployment.  The committee urged countries with particular issues around vaccine hesitancy to make preparations now to avert situations of greater vaccine refusals through education campaigns, activities to counter misinformation and rumors and wherever possible provide incentives to target populations such as multi-antigen campaigns and offering other health and wellbeing services (vitamins, anti-worming medication, soap etc).

The committee was also very concerned about the polio program funding gap which is developing in 2021 and beyond, noting several countries in Africa had been adversely affected by funding constraints.  The committee called on donors to maintain funding of polio eradication activities, as the potential for reversal of progress appears high, with many years of work undone easily and swiftly if WPV1 spreads outside the endemic countries.

Noting the serious situation in Afghanistan, the committee welcomed the recent agreement regarding mosque to mosque vaccination campaign activities but urged using multiple vaccines to avoid outbreaks of other vaccine preventable diseases such as measles.

Based on the current situation regarding WPV1 and cVDPV, and the reports provided by affected countries, the Director-General accepted the Committee’s assessment and on 19 February 2021 determined that the situation relating to poliovirus continues to constitute a PHEIC, with respect to WPV1 and cVDPV… 

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

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 20 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 20 Feb 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 04 février 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: 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: 11 février 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 20 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 Response Update No. 15 – 16 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.
East Africa Locust Infestation
:: Desert Locust situation update 16 February 2021

COVID-19 – No new digest announcements identified

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

The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health :: Education :: Heritage Stewardship ::
Sustainable Development
__________________________________________________
Week ending 13 February 2021 :: Number 354

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 13 Feb 2021

Contents
:: Week in Review  [See selected posts just below]
:: Key Agency/IGO/Governments Watch – Selected Updates from 30+ entities   [see PDF]
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UNHCR and IOM welcome Colombia’s decision to regularize Venezuelan refugees and migrants

UNHCR and IOM welcome Colombia’s decision to regularize Venezuelan refugees and migrants
UNHCR–IOM Joint Press Release
8 Feb 2021
BOGOTA/GENEVA – UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency and IOM, the International Organization for Migration, today praised Colombia’s initiative to provide ten-year temporary protection status to Venezuelans in the country.

Colombia is host to 1.7 million Venezuelans, which represent more than 37 per cent of the estimated 4.6 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants in Latin America and the Caribbean. More than half of the Venezuelan population in Colombia lack regular status, affecting their ability to access essential services, protection and assistance.

“This bold humanitarian gesture serves as an example for the region and the rest of the world. It is a life-changing gesture for the 1.7 million displaced Venezuelans who will now benefit from added protection, security and stability while they are away from home,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi who is currently in Colombia, assessing humanitarian needs.

“We applaud Colombia for its extraordinary generosity and its commitment to ensure protection for displaced Venezuelans. This decision serves as a model of pragmatism and humanity.”

With the COVID-19 pandemic compounding needs throughout the region, many Venezuelan refugees and migrants, as well as local communities, struggle to survive as they face worsening poverty, job losses, evictions, hunger, and a lack of food and access to medical treatment.

The Temporary Protection Status will also provide access to basic services including the national health system and COVID-19 vaccination plans. Regularization is also key to long-term solutions, including access to the job market, which in turn serves to lessen the dependency of people on humanitarian assistance while also contributing to the country’s post COVID-19 socio-economic recovery.

“The regularization of Venezuelan refugees and migrants in Colombia through the provision of a generous temporary protection status is a key to facilitating their socio-economic integration and access to the national health system and COVID-19 vaccination campaigns,” said IOM Director General António Vitorino.

“The Government of Colombia has once again shown both great solidarity and leadership. Its decision serves as an example to the world.”

The implementation of such a large-scale initiative will require a significant investment in time, logistics and resources. IOM and UNHCR, as co-leaders of the Regional Inter-agency Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela (R4V), and in coordination with their 159 partners, stand ready to contribute with their technical expertise, field presence, logistical capacity and resources to support the roll-out of this important initiative…

INGO joint Statement on the Unfolding Crisis in Myanmar

Myanmar

INGO joint Statement on the Unfolding Crisis in Myanmar
12. February 2021
As international NGOs working in Myanmar, we support the fulfilment of human rights and all people’s equal, democratic participation. We are deeply concerned about the military seizure of power in the country in light of the potential immediate and longer-term impacts on the safety, rights and wellbeing of people across Myanmar, particularly those already experiencing vulnerability and marginalization.

We remain committed to working with and supporting our civil society partners; from local community groups to national civil society networks. Most of our work in Myanmar is carried out with our partners, supporting communities with urgently needed assistance to meet their immediate basic needs, and with programmes that build greater resilience over the longer term.

However:
We are concerned that the current situation undermines recent progress to enable local communities to participate in and influence decisions that impact their lives and the full enjoyment of their rights. We call on all stakeholders to respect the fundamental human rights of all people in Myanmar, including freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of speech, and free flow of information, and to refrain from all forms of violence against peaceful protestors, journalists and media workers.

We have been working to support the safety, health and livelihoods of communities across Myanmar during the COVID-19 pandemic and we have seen the very real challenges so many are facing first hand as sources of income have vanished and health care capacity is stretched. We are concerned that the recent events in Myanmar will undo efforts to contain the disease and that existing vulnerabilities will increase in severity.

We believe NGOs play a critical role in providing assistance and services in these challenging times. We call upon all relevant authorities to ensure humanitarian access for national and international stakeholders.

We hope all relevant parties inside Myanmar, and concerned countries in the region and around the
world, contribute to a swift and peaceful resolution to the crisis and to the uncertainty that the Myanmar people face.

List of signatories
Action Against Hunger
ActionAid
AVI
BBC Media Action
The Border Consortium
CARE International in Myanmar
CDN-ZOA
Centre for Development and Environment Community Partners International
Cord
Danish Refugee Council
Democracy Reporting International
Energy and Poverty Research Group
Finnish Refugee Council
HelpAge
Helvetas
Humanity & Inclusion
Johanniter International Assistance
The Lutheran World Federation
MA-UK
Médecins du Monde France
Mercy Corps
Norwegian Refugee Council
Norwegian People’s Aid
Oxfam International
People in Need
Save the Children International
SWISSAID
Trócaire
World Vision International
Welthungerhilfe
Yangon Film School