The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health :: Education :: Heritage Stewardship ::
Sustainable Development
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Week ending 17 October 2020 :: Number 337

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 17 Oct 2020

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

We need a common vision to confront the sale and sexual exploitation of children

Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children [to 17 Oct 2020]
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Children/Pages/ChildrenIndex.aspx
Latest News
We need a common vision to confront the sale and sexual exploitation of children
12 October 2020
This year has seen devastation by a pandemic affecting an entire generation, said Mama Fatima Singhateh, the Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children as she presented her first report to the General Assembly. Not only has the pandemic exacerbated the existing plight of the most vulnerable children, it has severely jeopardised the many hard-won achievements, said the expert, who took over the mandate in May 2020.

“It is against the backdrop of these challenging realities and as we mark the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the mandate, that I assume my responsibilities with a sombre reflection on how to fulfil my mandate – one that stands out as uniquely important in that it is one of the few that ensure the promotion and protection of children from the most pernicious human rights abuses,” Singhateh told the General Assembly in New York.

“With the emergence of new forms and manifestation of sexual exploitation of children through communication technologies, the need to tackle online child sexual exploitation and abuse cannot be over-emphasized,” said the expert.

“Access to justice, reparations and rehabilitation of child victims of sale, sexual abuse and sexual exploitation is an important aspect in addressing this scourge. I will work towards strengthening the role of my mandate by advocating for access to child-friendly justice systems, reparations and rehabilitation for child survivors, as well as addressing the underlying causes that prevent accountability and perpetuate impunity,” she said.

“Above all, I will consult children on the realities of their lives as we confront the gravity of the continued practice of sale and sexual exploitation of children worldwide,” added the expert.

“Today more than ever, we need to have a common vision to confront this heinous crime. We should accelerate our commitments under the 2030 Agenda towards a sustainable and resilient recovery ”, Singhateh concluded.

Global Internet Freedom Declines in Shadow of Pandemic

COVID-19 Impacts – Internet Freedom

Report: Global Internet Freedom Declines in Shadow of Pandemic
Press release   Freedom House
October 14, 2020
Freedom on the Net 2020 assesses internet freedom in 65 countries, accounting for 87 percent of internet users worldwide. The report focuses on developments that occurred between June 2019 and May 2020. Detailed country reports, data on 21 internet freedom indicators, and policy recommendations can be found at freedomonthenet.org.

Governments around the world have used the COVID-19 pandemic as cover to expand online surveillance and data collection, censor critical speech, and build new technological systems of social control, according to Freedom on the Net 2020, the latest edition of the annual country-by-country assessment of internet freedom, released today by Freedom House.

The rapid and unchecked rollout of artificial intelligence (AI) and biometric surveillance to address the public health crisis has created new risks for human rights. Smartphone apps for contact tracing or quarantine compliance have been introduced in 54 of the 65 countries assessed in this report. Few countries possess effective mechanisms for protecting personal data against abusive practices by the state or the private sector.

“The pandemic is accelerating society’s reliance on digital technologies at a time when the internet is becoming less and less free,” said Michael J. Abramowitz, president of Freedom House. “Without adequate safeguards for privacy and the rule of law, these technologies can be easily repurposed for political repression.”

Key Global Findings:
:: Internet freedom declined for the 10th consecutive year. Of the 65 countries covered by Freedom on the Net, 26 worsened and 22 registered gains. Myanmar, Kyrgyzstan, India, Ecuador, and Nigeria suffered the largest declines during the coverage period.

:: Internet freedom worsened in the United States for the fourth consecutive year. Amid historic protests against racial injustice and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, growing surveillance by federal and local law enforcement has threatened constitutional freedoms, and several people faced spurious criminal charges for online activity related to the demonstrations. Executive orders on social media regulation, issued during and after the coverage period, imperiled the United States’ long-standing role as a global leader on internet freedom. Moreover, the country’s online sphere was flooded with politicized disinformation, inflammatory content, and dangerous misinformation, notably propagated by President Donald Trump himself.

:: Governments are using the pandemic as a pretext to crack down on free expression and access to information. Authorities censored independent reporting on the virus in 28 countries and arrested online critics in 45 countries. In at least 20 countries, the pandemic was cited as a justification to impose vague or overly broad restrictions on speech. Residents of at least 13 countries experienced internet shutdowns, with governments denying certain population groups access to life-saving information in a cruel form of collective punishment.

:: The public health crisis is laying a foundation for the future surveillance state. In at least 30 countries, governments are invoking the pandemic to engage in mass surveillance in direct partnership with telecommunications providers and other companies. Smartphone apps for contact tracing or quarantine compliance have been introduced in at least 54 countries, with few or no protections against abuse. Authorities are rolling out facial recognition technology and automated decision-making with minimal safeguards to protect privacy or prevent police abuse.

:: “Cyber sovereignty” is on the rise. Russian authorities passed legislation to isolate the country from the global internet during national emergencies, and Iran’s government severed international connections in order to hide a violent police response to mass protests. Legislators in Brazil, Pakistan, and Turkey passed or considered regulations requiring companies to keep user data from leaving the country, effectively granting law enforcement agencies easier access to sensitive information. More recently, the governments of the United States and India ordered bans on popular Chinese-owned apps; while these actions came in response to genuine security and human rights concerns, they were arbitrary and disproportionate, and served to legitimize calls by Chinese officials for each state to oversee its own “national internet.”

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Report
Promote and Build: A Strategic Approach to Digital Authoritarianism
CSIS October 15, 2020 | Erol Yayboke, Samuel Brannen
The Issue
Digital authoritarianism presents overlapping and expanding challenges within autocracies and democracies. The ever evolving tools and techniques of digital authoritarianism transcend boundaries and have over the past decade advanced the interests of authoritarian states while subverting human rights, democratic principles, and more. A new strategic approach is needed to address this broad challenge set. It should be grounded in fundamental principles and framed around promoting resilience while building affirmative alternatives, then executed across the U.S. government and multilateral system.

…To address the question of why digital authoritarianism continues to rise despite ongoing counterefforts and a shared, bipartisan, allied, and multilateral understanding of the problem, CSIS twice convened a bipartisan group of experts and leading voices from the public and private sectors in late spring and early summer 2020. The first discussion focused on current trends in digital authoritarianism and the second on emerging and future trends. The objective of those discussions, accompanying desk research, and analysis has been to provide a set of actionable, politically feasible, and readily achievable recommendations to stem the tide of digital authoritarianism; these are presented at the end of this policy brief.

… Today, digital authoritarianism presents four overlapping challenges:
[1] It is expanding within existing authoritarian-led states such as China, Russia, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. Artificial intelligence, facial recognition, and the Internet of things have increased the ability of authoritarian regimes to surveil and control individual citizens.

[2] Authoritarian regimes are expanding the reach of their digital tools abroad, overtly and covertly increasing surveillance of their own citizens and citizens of other countries. They are also actively using these tools to undermine perceived state and non-state adversaries.

[3] Digital authoritarians are exporting their tools to like-minded regimes both as a means to strengthen ties to these regimes and for commercial benefit. Likewise, tools of control are being commercially exported from democratic countries to partly free or authoritarian countries.

[4] The tools, techniques, and strategies of digital authoritarianism are being adopted within democratic countries by political parties, interest groups, and private companies at the expense of public trust, personal privacy, and other civil liberties.

The focus of this policy brief is on the deployment of these tools by leaders with authoritarian tendencies across the overlapping four areas of the geopolitical challenge set. However, it is important to note that violent extremist groups; sex, child, drug, and arms traffickers; and other non-state actors—including transnational criminal networks with ties to authoritarian regimes—all use similar tools to exploit the Internet for their gain at the expense of others. While each of these tools can be countered to some degree with a series of tactical responses, their continued expansion and evolution, along with the addition of new technologies, makes it an unwinnable offense–defense race. These authoritarian tools should be viewed as enabling an overall vision and strategy that must be countered with a coherent, affirmative, and strategic-level alternative vision…

A New Bretton Woods Moment – Kristalina Georgieva, IMF Managing Director

COVID-19 – Global Economic Impacts/Response

A New Bretton Woods Moment
By Kristalina Georgieva, IMF Managing Director
Washington, DC October 15, 2020
1. Introduction: ‘A sisterhood and brotherhood of humanity’
I first want to thank Dr. Ernest Kwamina Addison for his excellent remarks and contributions as Chairman of the IMF’s Board of Governors.

Reflecting on the dramatic change in the world over the last year, I paid a visit to the Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, where 44 men signed our Articles of Agreement in 1944. Our founders faced two massive tasks: to deal with the immediate devastation caused by the War; and to lay the foundation for a more peaceful and prosperous postwar world.

At the conclusion of the conference John Maynard Keynes captured the significance of international cooperation as hope for the world. “If we can continue…The brotherhood of man will have become more than a phrase”, he said.

As we look forward to welcoming Andorra as our 190th member, the work of the IMF is testament to the values of cooperation and solidarity on which a sisterhood and brotherhood of humanity is built.

Today we face a new Bretton Woods “moment.” A pandemic that has already cost more than a million lives. An economic calamity that will make the world economy 4.4 % smaller this year and strip an estimated $11 trillion of output by next year. And untold human desperation in the face of huge disruption and rising poverty for the first time in decades.

Once again, we face two massive tasks: to fight the crisis today— and build a better tomorrow.

We know what action must be taken right now. A durable economic recovery is only possible if we beat the pandemic. Health measures must remain a priority—I urge you to support production and distribution of effective therapies and vaccines to ensure that all countries have access.

I also urge you to continue support for workers and businesses until a durable exit from the health crisis.

We have seen global fiscal actions of $12 trillion. Major central banks have expanded balance sheets by $7.5 trillion. These synchronized measures have prevented the destructive macro-financial feedback we saw in previous crises.

But almost all countries are still hurting, especially emerging market and developing economies. And while the global banking system entered the crisis with high capital and liquidity buffers, there is a weak tail of banks in many in emerging markets. We must take measures to prevent the build-up of financial risks over the medium term.

We face what I have called a Long Ascent for the global economy: a climb that will be difficult, uneven, uncertain—and prone to setbacks.

But it is a climb up. And we will have a chance to address some persistent problems — low productivity, slow growth, high inequalities, a looming climate crisis. We can do better than build back the pre-pandemic world – we can build forward to a world that is more resilient, sustainable, and inclusive.

We must seize this new Bretton Woods moment.

2. Building Forward: Three Imperatives
How? I see three imperatives:

First, the right economic policies. What was true at Bretton Woods remains true today. Prudent macroeconomic policies and strong institutions are critical for growth, jobs, and improved living standards.

One size does not fit all—policies must be tailored to individual country needs. Support remains essential for some time—withdrawing it too early risks grave and unwarranted economic harm. The stage of the crisis will determine the appropriate shape of this support, generally broader early on and more targeted as countries begin to recover.

Strong medium-term frameworks for monetary, fiscal and financial policies, as well as reforms to boost trade, competitiveness and productivity can help create confidence for policy action now while building much-needed resilience for the future.

That includes keeping a careful watch on risks presented by elevated public debt. We expect 2021 debt levels to go up significantly – to around 125 percent of GDP in advanced economies, 65 percent of GDP in emerging markets; and 50 percent of GDP in low-income countries.

The Fund is providing debt relief to its poorest members and, with the World Bank, we support extension by the G20 of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative.

Beyond this, where debt is unsustainable, it should be restructured without delay. We should move towards greater debt transparency and enhanced creditor coordination. I am encouraged by G20 discussions on a Common framework for Sovereign Debt Resolution as well as on our call for improving the architecture for sovereign debt resolution, including private sector participation.

We are there for our member countries—supporting their policies.

And policies must be for people —my second imperative.

To reap the full benefits of sound economic policy, we must invest more in people. That means protecting the vulnerable. It also means boosting human and physical capital to underpin growth and resilience.

COVID19 has underscored the importance of strong health systems.

Rising inequality and rapid technological change demand strong education and training systems—to increase opportunity and reduce disparities.

Accelerating gender equality can be a global game-changer. For the most unequal countries, closing the gender gap could increase GDP by an average of 35 percent.

And investing in our young people is investing in our future. They need access to health and education, and also access to the internet—because that gives them access to the digital economy – so critical for growth and development in the future.

Expanding internet access in Sub Saharan Africa by 10 percent of the population could increase real per capita GDP growth by as much as 4 percentage points.

Digitalization also helps with financial inclusion as a powerful tool to help overcome poverty.

Just as the pandemic has shown that we can no longer ignore health precautions, we can no longer afford to ignore climate change—my third imperative.

We focus on climate change because it is macro-critical, posing profound threats to growth and prosperity. It is also people-critical and planet-critical.

In the last decade, direct damage from climate-related disasters adds up to around $1.3 trillion. If we don’t like this health crisis, we will not like the climate crisis one iota.

Our research shows that, with the right mix of green investment and higher carbon prices, we can steer toward zero emissions by 2050 and help create millions of new jobs.

We have an historic opportunity to build a greener world—also a more prosperous and job-rich one. With low interest rates, the right investments today can yield a quadruple dividend tomorrow: avert future losses, spur economic gains, save lives and deliver social and environmental benefits for everyone.

3. The IMF’s Role
At the Fund, we are working tirelessly to support a durable recovery— and a resilient future as countries adapt to structural transformations brought on by climate change, digital acceleration and the rise of the knowledge economy.

Since the pandemic began, we have committed over $100 billion—and we still have substantial resources from our $1 trillion in lending capacity.

We will continue to pay special attention to the urgent needs of emerging markets and low-income countries—especially small and fragile states, helping them to pay doctors and nurses and protect the most vulnerable people and parts of their economies.

Our unprecedented action was only possible thanks to our members’ generous support. The doubling of the New Arrangements to Borrow and a new round of bilateral borrowing arrangements preserves this financial firepower. Members have also stepped up with essential contributions to our Catastrophe Containment – and Relief and Poverty Reduction and Growth—Trusts.

This has allowed us to support our low-income members with debt relief and to triple our concessional lending. We are engaging with members to further boost our concessional lending capacity adapt our lending toolkit and increase support for capacity development.

IMF staff, working day and night, have been magnificent in this crisis. My sincere thanks to them and my Management team.

My deep appreciation also to our Executive Directors – they have been there every step of the way over the past six months.

4. Conclusion: Seize the Moment
The best memorial we can build to those who have lost their lives in this crisis is, in the words of Keynes, “that bigger thing”— building a more sustainable and equitable world.

Our founders did it. It is now our turn. This is our moment!

New WTO report looks at the global intellectual property system and COVID-19

COVID-19 Response – Intellectual Property/TRIPS

New WTO report looks at the global intellectual property system and COVID-19
World Trade Organization 15 October 2020
The WTO Secretariat has published a new information note about how the global intellectual property (IP) system relates to the COVID-19 pandemic and potential contributions it could make to efforts to address it. The note provides an overview of IP-related measures taken by WTO members and other stakeholders since the start of the crisis.

The paper highlights that the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) represents the most comprehensive multilateral agreement on IP, and provides a framework in which much-needed innovation in relation to COVID-19 can be encouraged, shared and disseminated, while balancing rights and obligations.

Under this framework, the way in which the global IP system is designed and implemented can be a significant factor in facilitating access to existing technologies and in supporting the creation, manufacturing and dissemination of new technologies. This includes access to protective equipment, contact tracing software, diagnostics, as well as vaccines and treatments yet to be developed which will be fundamental to effectively respond to the COVID-19 crisis.

The IP system can also support collaboration and cooperation among health technology developers, governments and other stakeholders, and the implementation of a number of initiatives addressing the voluntary sharing and pooling of IP rights (IPRs), thus responding to the spirit of collaboration that is required for the global effort to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic…

Key points
:: A full response to the COVID-19 crisis requires wide access to an extensive array of medical products and other technologies, ranging from protective equipment to contact tracing software, medicines and diagnostics, as well as vaccines and treatments that are yet to be developed. The way in which the intellectual property (IP) system is designed — and how effectively it is put to work — can be a significant factor in facilitating access to existing technologies and in supporting the creation, manufacturing and dissemination of new technologies. This is framed by the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (the TRIPS Agreement) which represents the most comprehensive multilateral agreement on IP.

:: Collaboration and cooperation among health technology developers, governments and other stakeholders can be positively supported by the IP system as well as by guidance on lawful cooperation among competitors under a country’s domestic competition policy regime.

:: From the beginning of the crisis, governments and stakeholders have considered how innovation is promoted, regulated and managed, including through the IP system, and the contribution that this could make to address the pandemic. A number of initiatives have addressed the voluntary sharing and pooling of IP rights (IPRs), thus responding to the spirit of collaboration that is required for any global effort to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. Equally, a range of policy options confirmed under the TRIPS Agreement, as implemented in domestic law, remain available to WTO members as tools to deal with public health issues where needed.

:: For example, the TRIPS Agreement allows compulsory licensing and government use of a patent without the authorization of its owner under a number of conditions aimed at protecting the legitimate interests of the patent holder. All WTO members may grant such licences and government use orders for health technologies, such as medicines, vaccines and diagnostics, as well as any other product or technology needed to address COVID-19. One member has already issued a government use licence for a potential treatment. In some other members, the Parliament has requested the government to issue compulsory licences to ensure access to medicines, vaccines or diagnostics for COVID-19, and others have updated or clarified their laws in the light of the pandemic.

:: The need for an urgent response to the COVID-19 pandemic has led national and regional IP offices to take initiatives to expedite or simplify their administration of the IP system, especially concerning patents and trademarks, and to provide practical support for firms seeking to develop products of potential benefit in combating the pandemic.

:: Transparency and the availability of up-to-date information is an immediate and critical need that embraces both trade and health-related legal and policy areas. Ensuring maximum transparency of legal and policy measures taken by WTO members in the field of IP to address the pandemic is in the mutual interest of all stakeholders. It supports governments and economic operators to keep up to date in a rapidly evolving trade landscape, provides much-needed clarity and enables mutual learning. Updated lists of IP measures undertaken by governments in the context of COVID-19 is available on the WTO’s COVID 19 webpage and the WIPO COVID-19 IP Policy Tracker

Impact of COVID-19 on people’s livelihoods, their health and our food systems – Joint statement by ILO, FAO, IFAD and WHO

COVID-19 Impacts

Impact of COVID-19 on people’s livelihoods, their health and our food systems
Joint statement by ILO, FAO, IFAD and WHO
13 October 2020 [Editor’s text bolding]

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a dramatic loss of human life worldwide and presents an unprecedented challenge to public health, food systems and the world of work. The economic and social disruption caused by the pandemic is devastating: tens of millions of people are at risk of falling into extreme poverty, while the number of undernourished people, currently estimated at nearly 690 million, could increase by up to 132 million by the end of the year.

Millions of enterprises face an existential threat. Nearly half of the world’s 3.3 billion global workforce are at risk of losing their livelihoods. Informal economy workers are particularly vulnerable because the majority lack social protection and access to quality health care and have lost access to productive assets. Without the means to earn an income during lockdowns, many are unable to feed themselves and their families. For most, no income means no food, or, at best, less food and less nutritious food.

The pandemic has been affecting the entire food system and has laid bare its fragility. Border closures, trade restrictions and confinement measures have been preventing farmers from accessing markets, including for buying inputs and selling their produce, and agricultural workers from harvesting crops, thus disrupting domestic and international food supply chains and reducing access to healthy, safe and diverse diets. The pandemic has decimated jobs and placed millions of livelihoods at risk. As breadwinners lose jobs, fall ill and die, the food security and nutrition of millions of women and men are under threat, with those in low-income countries, particularly the most marginalized populations, which include small-scale farmers and indigenous peoples, being hardest hit.

Millions of agricultural workers – waged and self-employed – while feeding the world, regularly face high levels of working poverty, malnutrition and poor health, and suffer from a lack of safety and labour protection as well as other types of abuse. With low and irregular incomes and a lack of social support, many of them are spurred to continue working, often in unsafe conditions, thus exposing themselves and their families to additional risks. Further, when experiencing income losses, they may resort to negative coping strategies, such as distress sale of assets, predatory loans or child labour. Migrant agricultural workers are particularly vulnerable, because they face risks in their transport, working and living conditions and struggle to access support measures put in place by governments. Guaranteeing the safety and health of all agri-food workers – from primary producers to those involved in food processing, transport and retail, including street food vendors – as well as better incomes and protection, will be critical to saving lives and protecting public health, people’s livelihoods and food security.

In the COVID-19 crisis food security, public health, and employment and labour issues, in particular workers’ health and safety, converge. Adhering to workplace safety and health practices and ensuring access to decent work and the protection of labour rights in all industries will be crucial in addressing the human dimension of the crisis. Immediate and purposeful action to save lives and livelihoods should include extending social protection towards universal health coverage and income support for those most affected. These include workers in the informal economy and in poorly protected and low-paid jobs, including youth, older workers, and migrants. Particular attention must be paid to the situation of women, who are over-represented in low-paid jobs and care roles. Different forms of support are key, including cash transfers, child allowances and healthy school meals, shelter and food relief initiatives, support for employment retention and recovery, and financial relief for businesses, including micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. In designing and implementing such measures it is essential that governments work closely with employers and workers.

Countries dealing with existing humanitarian crises or emergencies are particularly exposed to the effects of COVID-19. Responding swiftly to the pandemic, while ensuring that humanitarian and recovery assistance reaches those most in need, is critical.

Now is the time for global solidarity and support, especially with the most vulnerable in our societies, particularly in the emerging and developing world. Only together can we overcome the intertwined health and social and economic impacts of the pandemic and prevent its escalation into a protracted humanitarian and food security catastrophe, with the potential loss of already achieved development gains.

We must recognize this opportunity to build back better, as noted in the Policy Brief issued by the United Nations Secretary-General. We are committed to pooling our expertise and experience to support countries in their crisis response measures and efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. We need to develop long-term sustainable strategies to address the challenges facing the health and agri-food sectors. Priority should be given to addressing underlying food security and malnutrition challenges, tackling rural poverty, in particular through more and better jobs in the rural economy, extending social protection to all, facilitating safe migration pathways and promoting the formalization of the informal economy.

We must rethink the future of our environment and tackle climate change and environmental degradation with ambition and urgency. Only then can we protect the health, livelihoods, food security and nutrition of all people, and ensure that our ‘new normal’ is a better one.

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Policy Brief: The Impact of COVID-19 on Food Security and Nutrition
United Nations
JUNE 2020 :: 23 pages
The COVID-19 pandemic is a health and human crisis threatening the food security and nutrition of millions of people around the world. Hundreds of millions of people were already suffering from hunger and malnutrition before the virus hit and, unless immediate action is taken, we could see a global food emergency. In the longer term, the combined effects of COVID-19 itself, as well as corresponding mitigation measures and the emerging global recession could, without large-scale coordinated action, disrupt the functioning of food systems.
Such disruption can result in consequences for health and nutrition of a severity and scale unseen for more than half a century.

CONCLUSION
The COVID-19 crisis threatens the food security and nutrition of millions of people, many of
whom were already suffering. A large global food emergency is looming. In the longer term,
we face possible disruptions to the functioning of food systems, with severe consequences for
health and nutrition. With concerted action, we can not only avoid some of the worst impacts
but do so in a way that supports a transition to more sustainable food systems that are in better balance with nature and that support healthy diets – and thus better health prospects – for all.

EMERGENCIES :: Coronavirus [COVID-19] (PHEIC)

EMERGENCIES

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

Weekly Epidemiological and Operational updates
last update: 8 October 2020, 20:00 GMT-4
Confirmed cases :: 39 023 292 [week ago: 36 754 395 :: two weeks ago: 34 495 176]
Confirmed deaths :: 1 099 586 [week ago 1 064 838 :: two weeks ago: 1 025 729]
Countries, areas or territories with cases :: 235

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Weekly Epidemiological Update
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
12 October 2020
Global epidemiological situation
Since the last Weekly Epidemiological Update issued on 5 October, over 2.2 million new cases and 39,000 deaths of COVID-19 have been reported across all six WHO regions. This is the highest number of reported cases so far in a single week.
From 30 December through 11 October, over 37 million COVID-19 cases and 1 million deaths have been reported globally. Nearly half of these cases (48%) and deaths (55%) continue to be reported in the Region of the Americas with the United States of America, Brazil and Argentina accounting for the greatest numbers of new cases and deaths in the region…

Key weekly updates
At WHOs Executive Board meeting, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros highlighted some of WHO’s key actions over the course of the pandemic:
:: Publishing the first Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan 4 days later;
:: Producing and shipping the diagnostic tests within a month of declaring the outbreak, with millions of tests distributed to more than 150 countries since then;
:: Publishing more than 400 guidance documents for individuals, communities, schools, businesses, industries, health workers, health facilities and governments;
:: Building country capacity by providing free training in 133 COVID-19 courses on OpenWHO.org;
:: Working closely with governments to write national plans and identify needs, and to match those needs with more than 600 partners and 74 donors through the COVID-19 Partners :: :: :: :: Sending expert missions to more than 130 countries to provide operational and technical support;
:: Sourcing, validating, purchasing and delivering masks, gloves, respirators, gowns, goggles, swabs, tests, reagents, thermometers, oxygen concentrators, ventilators and more, to 177 countries and territories;
:: Enrolling more than 12,000 patients in the WHO Solidarity Therapeutics Trial, in nearly 500 hospitals in 29 countries; and
:: Launching the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator, which is working on diagnostics, treatment, vaccines and health system strengthening. It includes COVAX which is supporting the development of 9 vaccines, with more in the pipeline and aims to fairly distribute 2 billion vaccine doses by the end of 2021…

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WHO appoints co-chairs of Independent Commission on sexual misconduct during the Ebola response in North Kivu and Ituri, the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Emergencies

WHO appoints co-chairs of Independent Commission on sexual misconduct during the Ebola response in North Kivu and Ituri, the Democratic Republic of the Congo
15 October 2020
The World Health Organization has appointed two distinguished leaders to co-chair an Independent Commission on sexual abuse and exploitation during the response to the tenth Ebola Virus Disease epidemic in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The commission will be co-chaired by Her Excellency Aïchatou Mindaoudou, former minister of foreign affairs and of social development of Niger, who has held senior United Nations posts in Côte d’Ivoire and in Darfur.

She will be joined by co-chair Julienne Lusenge of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, an internationally recognized human rights activist and advocate for survivors of sexual violence in conflict.

The role of the Independent Commission will be to swiftly establish the facts, identify and support survivors, ensure that any ongoing abuse has stopped, and hold perpetrators to account.

It will comprise up to seven members, including the co-chairs, with expertise in sexual exploitation and abuse, emergency response, and investigations.

The co-chairs will choose the other members of the Commission, which will be supported by a Secretariat based at WHO.

To support the Independent Commission’s work, the Director-General has decided to use an open process to hire an independent and external organization with experience in conducting similar inquiries.

The tenth epidemic of Ebola Virus Disease in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri – the world’s second largest Ebola outbreak on record – was declared over on 25 June 2020, after persisting for nearly two years in an active conflict zone, and causing 2,300 deaths.

WHO has a zero tolerance policy with regard to sexual exploitation and abuse. We reiterate our strong commitment to preventing and protecting against sexual exploitation and abuse in all our operations around the world.

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POLIO (PHEIC); WHO/OCHA Emergencies

POLIO
Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)

Polio this week as of 14 October 2020
:: Dear polio eradication supporter, last month I was delighted to join a very long-awaited celebration at the WHO African Regional Committee of a global public health milestone… Read more of Polio Oversight Board Chair’s quarterly letter.
::Take a look at the newly published nOPV2 technical brief that provides a quick summary of the key operational considerations for the use of nOPV2 in outbreak response as a quick reference for EPI managers, immunization focal points, and field staff.

Summary of new WPV and cVDPV viruses this week (AFP cases and environmental samples):
:: Afghanistan: one WPV1 case, one WPV1positive environmental sample and 11 cVDPV2 positive environmental samples
:: Pakistan: three WPV1 cases, three WPV1 positive environmental samples and 10 cVDPV2 positive environmental samples
:: Burkina Faso: one cVDPV2 AFP case
:: Côte d’Ivoire: four cVDPV2 cases
:: Guinea: eleven cVDPV2 cases
:: Mali: four cVDPV2 cases
:: Niger: three cVDPV2 AFP cases

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WHO Grade 3 Emergencies [to 17 Oct 2020]

Democratic Republic of the Congo
:: WHO appoints co-chairs of Independent Commission on sexual misconduct during the Ebola response in North Kivu and Ituri, the Democratic Republic of the Congo 15 October 2020
[See Milestones above for detail]

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

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WHO Grade 2 Emergencies [to 17 Oct 2020]
Iraq
:: Hevi Paediatric Teaching Hospital: A story of lifesaving services 14 Oct 2020
…One of the projects nurtured by this approach was the renovation of Hevi Paediatric Teaching Hospital, with a focus on the expansion of the paediatric intensive care unit and the harmonization and maintenance of the paediatric wards in the hospital, built 16 years ago…

Afghanistan – No new digest announcements identified
Angola – No new digest announcements identified
Burkina Faso [in French] – No new digest announcements identified
Burundi – No new digest announcements identified
Cameroon – No new digest announcements identified
Central African Republic – No new digest announcements identified
Ethiopia – No new digest announcements identified
Iran floods 2019 – No new digest announcements identified
Libya – No new digest announcements identified
Malawi Floods – No new digest announcements identified
Measles in Europe – No new digest announcements identified
MERS-CoV – No new digest announcements identified
Mozambique – No new digest announcements identified
Myanmar – No new digest announcements identified
Niger – No new digest announcements identified
occupied Palestinian territory – No new digest announcements identified
HIV in Pakistan – No new digest announcements identified
Sao Tome and Principe Necrotizing Cellulitis (2017) – No new digest announcements identified
Sudan – No new digest announcements identified
Ukraine – No new digest announcements identified
Zimbabwe – No new digest announcements identified

::::::

WHO Grade 1 Emergencies [to 17 Oct 2020]

Chad – No new digest announcements identified
Djibouti – Page not responding at inquiry
Kenya – No new digest announcements identified
Mali – No new digest announcements identified
Namibia – viral hepatitis – No new digest announcements identified
Tanzania – No new digest announcements identified

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UN OCHA – L3 Emergencies
The UN and its humanitarian partners are currently responding to three ‘L3’ emergencies. This is the global humanitarian system’s classification for the response to the most severe, large-scale humanitarian crises. 
Syrian Arab Republic
:: Syrian Arab Republic: North East Syria: Al Hol camp As of 11 October 2020
:: OCHA Syria Flash Update #01 Humanitarian Impact of Wildfires in Coastal Areas As of 11 October 2020

Yemen
:: 14 October 2020 Yemen: COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Monthly Report (September 2020)

::::::

UN OCHA – Corporate Emergencies
When the USG/ERC declares a Corporate Emergency Response, all OCHA offices, branches and sections provide their full support to response activities both at HQ and in the field.
COVID-19
::  Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Report 48: occupied Palestinian territory, issued 15 October 2020, information for period: 5 March – 15 October 2020

East Africa Locust Infestation
:: Desert Locust situation update – 14 October 2020

::::::
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The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health :: Education :: Heritage Stewardship ::
Sustainable Development
__________________________________________________
Week ending 10 October 2020 :: Number 336

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 10 Oct 2020

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

The Nobel Peace Prize 2020 – World Food Programme

The Nobel Peace Prize 2020
Announcement
The need for international solidarity and multilateral cooperation is more conspicuous than ever. The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2020 to the World Food Programme (WFP) for its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.

The World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organisation addressing hunger and promoting food security. In 2019, the WFP provided assistance to close to 100 million people in 88 countries who are victims of acute food insecurity and hunger. In 2015, eradicating hunger was adopted as one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The WFP is the UN’s primary instrument for realising this goal. In recent years, the situation has taken a negative turn. In 2019, 135 million people suffered from acute hunger, the highest number in many years. Most of the increase was caused by war and armed conflict.

The coronavirus pandemic has contributed to a strong upsurge in the number of victims of hunger in the world. In countries such as Yemen, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, South Sudan and Burkina Faso, the combination of violent conflict and the pandemic has led to a dramatic rise in the number of people living on the brink of starvation. In the face of the pandemic, the World Food Programme has demonstrated an impressive ability to intensify its efforts. As the organisation itself has stated, “Until the day we have a medical vaccine, food is the best vaccine against chaos.”

The world is in danger of experiencing a hunger crisis of inconceivable proportions if the World Food Programme and other food assistance organisations do not receive the financial support they have requested.

The link between hunger and armed conflict is a vicious circle: war and conflict can cause food insecurity and hunger, just as hunger and food insecurity can cause latent conflicts to flare up and trigger the use of violence. We will never achieve the goal of zero hunger unless we also put an end to war and armed conflict.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to emphasise that providing assistance to increase food security not only prevents hunger, but can also help to improve prospects for stability and peace. The World Food Programme has taken the lead in combining humanitarian work with peace efforts through pioneering projects in South America, Africa and Asia.

The World Food Programme was an active participant in the diplomatic process that culminated in May 2018 in the UN Security Council’s unanimous adoption of Resolution 2417, which for the first time explicitly addressed the link between conflict and hunger. The Security Council also underscored UN Member States’ obligation to help ensure that food assistance reaches those in need, and condemned the use of starvation as a method of warfare.

With this year’s award, the Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to turn the eyes of the world towards the millions of people who suffer from or face the threat of hunger. The World Food Programme plays a key role in multilateral cooperation on making food security an instrument of peace, and has made a strong contribution towards mobilising UN Member States to combat the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict. The organisation contributes daily to advancing the fraternity of nations referred to in Alfred Nobel’s will. As the UN’s largest specialised agency, the World Food Programme is a modern version of the peace congresses that the Nobel Peace Prize is intended to promote.

The work of the World Food Programme to the benefit of humankind is an endeavour that all the nations of the world should be able to endorse and support.

Oslo, 9 October 2020
::::::

World Food Programme chief lauds front line staff and partners after Nobel Peace Prize win
Award spotlights conflict, climate change and coronavirus as drivers of a deepening global hunger crisis
Peyvand Khorsandi
Oct 9
The World Food Programme has won the Nobel Prize for Peace, it was announced today.

“Every one of the 690 million hungry people in the world today has the right to live peacefully and without hunger,” said WFP’s Executive Director David Beasley, in a statement.

“Today, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has turned the global spotlight on them and on the devastating consequences of conflict.”
He added: “Climate shocks and economic pressures have further compounded their plight. And now, a global pandemic with its brutal impact on economies and communities, is pushing millions more to the brink of starvation.”

In a video message on Twitter, Beasley — who is currently in Niger — paid tribute to WFP staff. “They’re out there in the most difficult, complex places in the world, whether there’s war, conflict, climate extremes, it doesn’t matter,” he said. “They’re out there, and they deserve this award.”

Beasley also added that the Nobel Peace Prize is “poignant tribute to our WFP team members who have made the ultimate sacrifice on the front lines of hunger”.

However, the win was “not WFP’s alone”, Beasley said: “We work closely with governments, local and international organizations and private sector partners whose passion for helping the hungry and vulnerable equals ours. We could not possibly help anyone without them.”…

Aga Khan Development Network partners with HRH Prince William to launch prestigious Earthshot prize

Heritage Stewardship

Aga Khan Development Network partners with HRH Prince William to launch prestigious Earthshot prize
:: Five, one million-pound prizes to be awarded each year for the next 10 years, providing at least 50 solutions to the world’s greatest environmental problems by 2030
:: Five Earthshots – universal goals to repair our planet by 2030 – are announced in a new series of short films
:: Nominations to open on 1st November 2020 with an annual global awards ceremony to be held in a different city each year, starting with London in autumn 2021

London, United Kingdom, 8 October 2020 – The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) is partnering with His Royal Highness Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, to launch The Earthshot Prize. The prize aims to find new solutions to environmental crises and the improvement of living standards, particularly for communities who are most at risk from climate change. The goal is to incentivise environmental change while helping repair the planet over the next ten years. The Aga Khan Development Network is a Global Alliance Founding Partner.

Taking inspiration from President John F. Kennedy’s Moonshot, which united millions of people around an organising goal to put man on the moon and catalysed the development of new technology in the 1960s, The Earthshot Prize is centred around five “Earthshots” – simple but ambitious goals for the planet which, if achieved by 2030, will improve the quality of life for all.

The five Earthshots unveiled today are:
;; Protect and restore nature
:: Clean our air
:: Revive our oceans
:: Build a waste-free world
:: Fix our climate

…Prizes could be awarded to a wide range of individuals, teams or collaborations – scientists, activists, economists, community projects, leaders, governments, banks, businesses, cities, and countries – anyone whose workable solutions make a substantial contribution to achieving the Earthshots.
Every year from 2021 until 2030, Prince William, alongside The Earthshot Prize Council, which covers six continents, will award The Earthshot Prize to five winners, one per Earthshot. Sir David Attenborough became the first member of The Earthshot Prize Council last month and spoke with a global list of leaders from the environmental, philanthropic, business, sporting and entertainment worlds.

…Nominations will open on 1 November 2020, with over 100 nominating partners from across the world being invited to submit nominations of those individuals, communities, businesses and organisations who could win The Earthshot Prize. Nominators will include the Global Alliance but also academic and non-profit institutions from across the world who have been selected for their ability to identify the most impactful solutions to the Earthshots.

The 5-stage prize process to select a winner for each Earthshot has been designed in partnership with the Centre for Public Impact and a range of international experts. Nominations will be screened as part of an independent assessment process run by Deloitte, our implementation partner. A distinguished panel of experts will support the judging process, making recommendations to the Prize Council who will select the final winners…

UN at 75 :: UNITED IN THE BUSINESS OF A BETTER WORLD – A Statement from Business Leaders for Renewed Global Cooperation

Governance

UNITED IN THE BUSINESS OF A BETTER WORLD
A Statement from Business Leaders for Renewed Global Cooperation

The 75th anniversary of the United Nations comes at a time of unprecedented disruption and global transformation, serving as a stark reminder that international cooperation must be mobilized across borders, sectors and generations to adapt to changing circumstances. This message emerged loud and clear from the hundreds of thousands of people who participated in global dialogues initiated by the UN this year.

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and converging crises — including climate change, economic uncertainty, social inequality and rising disinformation — public and private institutions need to show they are accountable, ethical, inclusive and transparent. This is the only way to strengthen public trust and achieve a more sustainable future for all.

Over time, the UN has sought to unite stakeholders everywhere to tackle the world’s greatest challenges. Yet our multilateral system is being threatened by those who want to go it alone rather than work together.

We, the business peoples, recognize that peace, justice and strong institutions are beneficial to the long-term viability of our organizations and are foundational for upholding the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In the spirit of renewed global cooperation, we commit to:
:: Demonstrate ethical leadership and good governance through values-based strategies, policies, operations and relationships when engaging with all stakeholders
:: Invest in addressing systemic inequalities and injustices
:: Partner with the UN, Government and civil society to strengthen access to justice, ensure accountability and transparency, provide legal certainty, promote equality and respect human rights

In making that commitment, we also call on Governments to:
:: Protect human rights, ensure peace and security, and uphold the rule of law so that businesses, individuals and societies
:: Create an enabling environment to serve the interests of people and planet, prosperity and purpose, through strengthened international cooperation and national legal frameworks
:: Enhance multilateralism and global governance to combat corruption, build resilience and achieve the SDGs

Now is our opportunity to learn from our collective experiences to realign behind the mission of the UN and steer our world onto a more equitable, inclusive and sustainable path. We are in this together — and we are united in the business of a better world.

[Business organization signatories at title link above]

Lancet COVID-19 Commission Statement on the occasion of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly

Featured Journal Content

Lancet COVID-19 Commission Statement on the occasion of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly
The Lancet COVID-19 Commissioners, Task Force Chairs, and Commission Secretariat
[Editor’s text bolding in red]
Executive summary
The Lancet COVID-19 Commission was launched on July 9, 2020, to assist governments, civil society, and UN institutions in responding effectively to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Commission aims to offer practical solutions to the four main global challenges posed by the pandemic: suppressing the pandemic by means of pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical interventions; overcoming humanitarian emergencies, including poverty, hunger, and mental distress, caused by the pandemic; restructuring public and private finances in the wake of the pandemic; and rebuilding the world economy in an inclusive, resilient, and sustainable way that is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Agreement. Many creative solutions are already being implemented, and a key aim of the Commission is to accelerate their adoption worldwide.

The origins of COVID-19 and averting zoonotic pandemics
The COVID-19 pandemic is the latest—but certainly not the last—emerging infectious disease, preceded by HIV/AIDS, Nipah, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus, H1N1 influenza, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, Zika, Ebola, and others. These diseases are zoonoses, resulting from pathogens being transmitted from animals to humans. To protect against zoonoses, we require new precautions, such as ending deforestation and protecting conservation areas and endangered species. The origins of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) are yet to be definitively determined, but evidence to date supports the view that SARS-CoV-2 is a naturally occurring virus rather than the result of laboratory creation and release. Research into the origins of SARS-CoV-2 should proceed expeditiously, scientifically, and objectively, unhindered by geopolitical agendas and misinformation.

The urgency of suppressing the pandemic
The COVID-19 epidemic can and should be suppressed through non-pharmaceutical interventions, including effective community health services, that cut transmission of the virus, to be followed by the introduction of effective and safe vaccines as rapidly as science permits. Countries should not rely on herd immunity by natural infection to suppress the epidemic. The disease and death that would accompany natural infection rates to reach herd immunity, typically estimated as 40–60% of the population infected, would be unacceptably high. Uncertainty also remains about the duration of acquired immunity from past infections.

The great divide in the outcomes of the epidemic has been the relative success of the Asia–Pacific region compared with western Europe and the Americas. The Asia–Pacific region has largely suppressed transmission and mortality (less than 10 deaths per million). Western Europe and the Americas have had very high transmission and mortality (several hundred deaths per million in several countries). Many low-income countries have suppressed the epidemic, such as Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, and Viet Nam.

To implement non-pharmaceutical interventions, we urge countries to scale up with all urgency their public health workforces, including epidemiologists, public health technicians, nurses, testers, contact tracers, and community health workers. Community health workers can contribute to controlling community spread and protecting vulnerable people in the community, particularly through testing, education on prevention and treatment, and education on the mental health effects of social isolation.

The vexing question of whether to close schools is perhaps the single most challenging non-pharmaceutical intervention. Schools can safely reopen when community transmission is low and school facilities and staff have been appropriately prepared. When it is not safe to open schools, countries and localities should aim to implement online education accessible to all students.

Health professionalism
One reason for failure to suppress the epidemic is a style of political leadership that has been called medical populism; Lasco has described political leaders as “simplifying the pandemic by downplaying its impacts or touting easy solutions or treatments, spectacularizing their responses to crisis, forging divisions between the ‘people’ and dangerous ‘others’, and making medical knowledge claims to support the above”. Lasco makes three cases in point: the US President, Donald Trump, the Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte, and the Brazilian President, Jair Bolsonaro.

We call on governments to prioritise advice from the professional public health community, working in cooperation with international agencies and learning from the best practices of other nations. All countries should combat decisions based on rumour-mongering and misinformation. Leaders should desist from expressing personal viewpoints that are at odds with science.

Addressing the inequities of the epidemic
The COVID-19 pandemic is bringing to light and exacerbating pre-existing social, economic, and political inequalities, including inequalities of wealth, health, wellbeing, social protection, and access to basic needs including food, health care, and schooling. The pandemic is bringing about a sharp increase in income inequality and jobs crises for low-paid workers. Health inequalities also pose major issues in this pandemic; as of December, 2017, half of the world’s population did not have access to essential health services. Vulnerable populations (including the poor, older people, people with previous health conditions, people who are incarcerated, refugees, and Indigenous peoples) are bearing a disproportionate burden of the pandemic.

The abrupt shift to an online economy came in the context of a deep, pre-existing digital divide in high-quality digital access. We call on all relevant UN agencies to take concrete steps with the digital industry and governments to accelerate universal access to digital services, including public–private financing to extend connectivity to hard-to-reach populations.

Among the most urgent challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic are hunger and food insecurity for poor and vulnerable populations. The pandemic also poses great concerns for mental health, especially for lower-income populations, and there is high inequality in the provision of services for mental health, especially in lower-income and middle-income countries. The gender dimensions of COVID-19 must also be prioritised, in recognition of the documented increase in unplanned pregnancies for teenage and young women, and the increase in gender-based violence.

Data needs
The UN Statistical Commission, working with partner UN institutions and with national statistical agencies, should prepare near-real-time data on highly vulnerable populations and their conditions, with a special focus on infection and death rates, poverty, joblessness, mental health, violence, hunger, forced labour, and other forms of extreme deprivation and abuses of human rights. Urgent surveying should be undertaken to identify humanitarian needs and hunger hotspots, especially among the poor, older people, people living with disabilities, Indigenous peoples, women who are vulnerable, young children, refugees, people who are incarcerated, people working in high-risk jobs (eg, meatpacking plants or guest workers), and other minority populations (including ethnic, racial, and religious minorities).

Meeting the urgent fiscal needs of the developing countries
One of the characteristics of the global crisis is the sharp drop in public revenues at all government levels. The situation for developing countries will become increasingly dire as many countries find themselves facing rising social needs without the means to finance social services. Moreover, many developing countries currently do not have the kinds of social protection programmes that are most urgently needed at this juncture, such as unemployment insurance, income support, and nutrition support.

Some developing countries will require considerable international concessional financing (ie, grants and low-interest, long-term loans) from the international financing institutions, notably the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the multilateral and regional development banks, as well as the orderly restructuring of their sovereign debts to both public and private creditors. Now, more than ever, is the time for countries to meet their commitments to providing 0·7% of gross domestic product as official development aid. Special efforts must be made to fight corruption, to ensure that new aid flows reach the intended beneficiaries.

Global justice in access to safe and effective vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, and equipment
The pharmaceutical industry and academic community, supported by governments, have undertaken a remarkable effort to develop new approaches for the suppression of the pandemic, including vaccines, therapeutics, rapid diagnostics, and treatment regimens. The introduction of new vaccines and therapeutics should follow rigorous testing and evaluation through all clinical phases and must not be subject to dangerous political interference.

In the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have already been breakdowns in the global health governance of vaccine development, even leading to the new term vaccine nationalism. Any new vaccine or therapeutic must be developed and implemented with a view to equitable access across and within countries. No population should be prohibited from accessing a vaccine because of cost or have its access predicated on its participation in clinical trials. We strongly support the multilateral initiative Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator to promote the universal, equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and other tools, and within that initiative, COVAX Facility, the vaccine pillar. Complementary approaches in support of this multilateral initiative would help to strengthen equitable access across and within countries.

Promoting a jobs-based green recovery
Economic recovery plans should support the transition towards sustainable and inclusive societies based on the SDGs and the Paris Climate Agreement. Public investment should be oriented towards sustainable industries and the digital economy, and should spur complementary private investments. Preventing a wave of bankruptcies among small and medium-sized businesses with viable prospects is an important priority. A major goal of the recovery should be an unprecedented commitment to reskilling and upskilling people, including the skills to prepare workers for the digital economy.

The EU Green Deal, long-term budget (2021–27), and new recovery fund marks an exemplary framework for long-term recovery, including mid-century goals on climate safety, energy transition, and circular economy, with a comprehensive €1·8 trillion budget. This approach can serve as an exemplar for other regions. In general, recoveries should be smart (based on digital technologies), inclusive (targeting lower-income households), and sustainable (featuring investments in clean energy and reduced pollution).

Multilateralism and the UN system
Global recovery will be greatly facilitated by cooperation at the regional and international level, both in controlling the epidemic and in adopting new green recovery programmes. We strongly urge the United States, EU, China, Russia, India, Mercosur, the African Union, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, the Caribbean Community, and other nations and regional groupings to put aside rivalries and beggar-thy-neighbour policies (such as trade and financial sanctions) in favour of coordinated regional responses. Trade and financial sanctions, or other isolationist policies, and talk of a new cold war between the United States and China, are dangerous for global recovery and peace.

The COVID-19 pandemic hit during the 75th anniversary year of the UN. The indispensable role of the UN has been evident throughout the course of the pandemic to date, especially for the world’s most vulnerable populations, and yet the UN system is also under attack and international law has been undermined. We strongly support the UN and call on all nations to honour the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and to contribute to the efficacy of the UN multilateral system, including through crucial financing of UN institutions. We call on the United States to reverse its decisions to withdraw from the WHO, the Paris Climate Agreement, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, and the UN Human Rights Council.

We strongly support the unique role of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and multilateral development banks in providing urgent financing and technical assistance for emerging and developing economies. We call on their shareholders to consider scaling up the already unprecedented efforts at securing larger financing for these countries through an increased allocation or more efficient use of special drawing rights, or through debt restructuring when needed. We also urge the more affluent shareholder countries to provide additional concessional resources.

We strongly support the indispensable role of the WHO in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic, and call on all nations to increase, rather than decrease, their funding support and political backing for the work of the WHO at this fraught time. In this regard, we also support the call for an independent analysis of the WHO response, to strengthen the institution and its central, unique role in global public health.

Future work of The Lancet COVID-19 Commission
The Lancet COVID-19 Commission will monitor the global progress in suppressing the pandemic and making an inclusive and sustainable recovery with a new set of metrics that it will regularly publish. The Commission Task Forces will consider in detail many of the complex issues already raised, including the best ways to promote decent jobs and sustainable development. The ten priority actions of the Commission are summarised in panel 1. The next scheduled Statement of the Commission will be in early 2021.

[Panel 1] Ten priority actions
1 Origins: track down the origins of the virus in an open, scientific, and unbiased way not influenced by geopolitical agendas

2 Non-pharmaceutical interventions: suppress the epidemic through the proven package of non-pharmaceutical interventions, as accomplished by several countries including several in the Asia–Pacific region

3 Science-based policy making: base policy making on objective scientific evidence and stop politicians and others in positions of power from subverting clinical trials and other scientific protocols

4 Timely and consistent data: collect and publish timely and internationally consistent data on the state of the pandemic, including humanitarian and economic consequences

5 Justice in access to tools to fight COVID-19: ensure universal access to the tools to fight COVID-19, including test kits, therapeutics, and prospective vaccines

6 Emergency financing: secure access of developing countries to financing from international sources, especially from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank

7 Protect vulnerable groups: direct urgent protection towards vulnerable groups, including older people, people in poverty and hunger, women who are vulnerable, children, people with chronic diseases and disabilities, the homeless, migrants, refugees, Indigenous Peoples, and ethnic and racial minorities

8 Long-term financial reform: prepare for a deep restructuring of global finances, including debt relief, new forms of international financing, and reform of monetary arrangements

9 Green and resilient recovery: economic recovery will be based on public-investment-led growth in green, digital, and inclusive technologies, based on the Sustainable Development Goals

10 Global peace and cooperation: support UN institutions and the UN Charter, resisting any attempts at a new cold war

Fin Times Opinion :: China blurs lines between private and state business

Governance

Financial Times
8 October 2020
Opinion   The FT View
China blurs lines between private and state business
Entrepreneurs are being pressed to support political objectives
The editorial board

This week’s revelation that a former Chinese government official worked in a key role at TikTok raises issues that reach far beyond the wildly popular short-video app itself. It helps to illuminate, more broadly, the changing status of private enterprises in China’s authoritarian state. This is of crucial importance: western businesses and governments have long treated private Chinese businesses more favourably than their state-owned cousins.

The disclosure by the Financial Times that Cai Zheng — who had worked in the Chinese embassy in Tehran — had been responsible for deciding what content to allow on TikTok came after repeated denials by ByteDance, the app’s Beijing-based owner, that the Chinese government has any influence over TikTok’s operations. The news coincides with ByteDance’s efforts to forge a deal with Oracle and Walmart to avoid a US ban on TikTok. President Donald Trump has painted TikTok as a threat to national security since its user data on American people could end up in the hands of China’s government.

Western partners have generally been more relaxed towards private-sector Chinese businesses than to their state counterparts. Partly that reflects the view that state-owned corporations may enjoy access to subsidies and funding that private competitors in the west cannot match. Private companies have also largely been seen as free agents driven, like their western counterparts, by the profit motive, not Chinese Communist party orders.

As the TikTok case shows, this view is increasingly outdated. Recent CCP diktats along with legal provisions are making it much more difficult to tell private and state-owned enterprises apart. This has implications not only for western companies choosing Chinese partners but for trade pacts such as the EU-China bilateral investment treaty, under negotiation since 2013.

In September, China released a document called “Opinion on Strengthening the United Front Work of the Private Economy in the New Era”. The unwieldy title identified it unmistakably as a communist party brainchild. It called for the realisation of the CCP’s leadership over the private sector, requiring companies to conduct themselves in accordance with its policy objectives and ideologies.

It builds on two laws, the 2016 Cybersecurity Law and the 2017 National Intelligence Law, that require all enterprises to assist with national security and intelligence work, and to keep their assistance secret. Beijing is also insisting that all companies must assist when called upon to further “military-civil fusion”. Under this programme, the CCP is bent on acquiring from all potential sources — including private enterprises — the intellectual property and technology it needs to turn the People’s Liberation Army into a “world-class military” by 2049. The effort is led by China’s president Xi Jinping, who heads the Central Commission for Military-Civil Fusion Development.

Beijing knows well that its private enterprises have played the leading role in its economic transformation. Many of its most successful companies, such as Alibaba and Tencent, remain privately owned. Their dynamism stems in large part from the freedom to chase profits without being lumbered by a welter of Party directives.

But it is no longer possible for China’s trade partners to assume private enterprises are free agents. As western suspicions grow over their true missions, Chinese private companies may find doors closing where once they would have been open. That amounts to an own-goal for China’s development — scored by the country’s own leadership.

Opinion – US presidential election 2020 :: Donald Trump must not be how American democracy dies

Featured Media Content

Financial Times
11 October 2020
Opinion   US presidential election 2020
Donald Trump must not be how American democracy dies
A man born with both a silver spoon and a forked tongue in his mouth has done untold damage to the presidency
Madeleine Albright
The writer is a former US secretary of state and author of ‘Hell and Other Destinations: a 21st Century Memoir’

Upon arriving in New York as a refugee, aged 11, I soon became a proud and grateful American. Later, as a US diplomat, I often pointed to the country’s democratic institutions and venerable electoral process as models. Foreign friends endorsed this assessment. When people looked to the US, they generally liked what they saw.

This month those happy memories feel far away. Due to the antics of a president born with both a silver spoon and a forked tongue in his mouth, American democracy has been visibly and audibly debased. Watching the recent debate between Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, I felt as if I were trapped inside an erupting volcano with a howling dog. A president who claimed to represent law and order refused to abide by the debate rules his own campaign had accepted. He declined, as well, to condemn the forces of racial bigotry, or to promise to abide by the results of the election. Based on his record, none of this was surprising.

Shortly afterwards, Mr Trump and several people close to him tested positive for coronavirus. Again, this was not surprising given the administration’s cavalier attitude towards the pandemic. There followed a grossly inept effort by White House officials to portray their boss as someone who had “beaten” the virus, albeit with the help of an elite medical team and experimental drugs. Mr Trump’s message — that no one should fear the virus — is rebutted by the bones and ashes of 1m dead.

Americans are now choosing a leader for the next four years. There is no grander democratic spectacle, yet this year there is also the potential for catastrophic disruption. Reasons include the challenge of voting safely in a pandemic, the logistical burden of handling a huge number of absentee ballots, the probability that foreign and domestic agents will seek to sway the process by spreading lies, and the president’s own outrageous efforts to undermine public faith in democratic institutions.

By alleging that the election will be rigged against him, Mr Trump is intentionally sowing the seeds of chaos, including the possibility of violent confrontations on election day and a flood of litigation in its wake. Should the outcome be close, the verdict may not be known for weeks and will likely be rejected as fraudulent by one side or the other. No election is conducted flawlessly, and disputes over ballots are common but this time Mr Trump will try to inflate any minor discrepancy into a major conspiracy. There are some on the extreme left capable of thinking in the same way. Ultimately, the controversy may be settled by the Supreme Court, which for Biden supporters is a decidedly unsettling proposition.

It is possible, of course, that the tally will be one-sided enough to make partisan complaints irrelevant. I hope so. But we should prepare for the worst and three facts are worth remembering.

First, procedures for voting have been developed over many years and benefit from the guidance of non-partisan experts: widespread fraud is both extremely unlikely and relatively easy to detect. Second, a few glitches are inevitable but also remediable and should not discredit the whole process. Third, regardless of how honest and efficient the vote count is, allegations of cheating are sure to surface on social media and in partisan elements of the press. With or without real fires, there will be plenty of smoke. It will be up to responsible leaders in both parties and professionals in law, academia and journalism, to help citizens separate facts from exaggerations and lies. The more prepared we are for efforts to confuse, the better we can counter them.

I am often asked how long it will take to repair the damage done by the current administration to the US’s global standing. Certainly, the country cannot undo the experience of being represented by Mr Trump. Just as a herd of elephants leaves behind traces of its passage, so will the Trump team.

Mr Biden, if elected, will inherit a country diminished by his predecessor’s search for “greatness” in all the wrong places. The new president’s task will be daunting: to reassure allies; reassert leadership on climate change and world health; forge effective coalitions to check the ambitions of China, Russia and Iran; and re-establish the US’s identity as a champion of democracy.

Are Mr Biden and his team up to the job? With help from those who still wish the US well, the answer is surely yes. Will they have the chance? That depends on how US citizens have come to view the purpose and character of their nation. Does their vision bear any resemblance to the confident, outward-looking country that welcomed my family to its shores in 1948? Or has time so narrowed the popular perspective and muddied our capacity to discern truth from lies that the US I fell in love with has faded into history? For better or worse, we will soon know the answer.

COVID-19 inducing ‘widespread despair’ among refugees, UNHCR appeals for urgent support for mental health

COVID-19 Impacts

COVID-19 inducing ‘widespread despair’ among refugees, UNHCR appeals for urgent support for mental health
10 Oct 2020
The consequences of the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, deteriorating socio-economic conditions, protracted displacement and the critical shortfall in solutions to displacement are leading to widespread despair among refugees, warns UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency today.

Joining the World Health Organization in observing World Mental Health Day today, UNHCR is urging the international community to prioritize and boost essential mental health programs for refugees and those internally displaced.

“The need to support mental health assistance for displaced populations was critical before the pandemic but now we are dealing with an emergency and a picture of widespread despair,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi.

“Many refugees tell us they see their futures crumbling. The issues that drove them from their countries remain unresolved and they can’t return home. Many who have survived in exile by eking out a living in the informal economy have lost their jobs. They are also anxious about their health and that of their families, not knowing when the pandemic will end and how they can really protect themselves. They see a lack of solutions and lack hope in the future.”

Alarmingly, some field reports have pointed to a rise in suicide attempts since the onset of the pandemic, including among those living in protracted situations of displacement. The number of suicide attempts among refugees in Uganda increased significantly with 210 attempts reported this year compared to 129 last year. In Lebanon, calls to the UNHCR National Call Center from refugees thinking about suicide or self-harm also increased in the past few months.

“There is growing desperation in the calls to helplines from refugees who are afraid or who tell us they don’t see a way out,” said Grandi.

The consequences of the pandemic are also affecting the availability of assistance with the
overwhelming majority of the world’s refugees, 85 per cent, hosted in developing regions.

“We need urgent investments to be made in mental health and psychosocial support programs for those displaced and their local, host communities. If we don’t address their wellbeing now in a holistic way, the effects may be irreversible and last for generations. Within the wider package of assistance, attention to mental health is essential to support the development of resilient, mentally healthy societies.”…

The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health :: Education :: Heritage Stewardship ::
Sustainable Development
__________________________________________________
Week ending 3 October 2020 :: Number 335

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 3 Oct 2020

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

A Time for Renewal: Calling for a Strengthened Multilateral System – The Elders

Global Governance

A Time for Renewal: Calling for a Strengthened Multilateral System
18 September 2020 The Elders
Mary Robinson, Ban Ki-moon, Hina Jilani, Ricardo Lagos, Graça Machel and Juan Manuel Santos join global leaders to call for decisive action to defend and rejuvenate multilateralism, in an open letter to Heads of Governments.

Excellencies,
As former ministers of government and United Nations officials, we are deeply concerned that the institutional framework of global governance, with the United Nations at its core, must do more to provide the guidance, leadership and decisions required to ensure human safety, security and sustainable development in our interdependent world.

From climate change to human rights, gender and racial equality, and from sustainable development to international peace and security – the international community should honor its commitments to the UN’s founding Charter, Agenda 2030 and the Paris Agreement. There is a crying need for a stronger, more accountable, inclusive multilateral system that encompasses renewed intergovernmental initiatives with the full participation of civil society and key stakeholders.

COVID-19 has underscored humanity’s shared vulnerability, with disproportionate impacts on women and girls. The devastating consequences of the pandemic are felt first and foremost in the loss of human lives, but also in economic costs and deepening social inequality.

Recovery from the COVID19 pandemic and institutional retooling go hand in hand. They both call for national leadership and effective global cooperation.

Yet even before the beginning of the pandemic, multilateralism was under threat and weakened by withdrawals from important treaties and forums, budget cuts and the failure to uphold international law.

As the international community commemorates the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, this is a time not only to celebrate past achievements, but also to take stock of the need for reforms that strengthen the Organization. We therefore call on world leaders, meeting virtually this September 21, to:
[1] Recognize the need to support the indispensable role of the United Nations, while at the same time strengthen and reform the legal and institutional machinery of the UN system; and to
[2] Call for a dedicated intergovernmental process to pursue this goal in the follow-up to the UN75 Political Declaration.

There is an urgent need for an explicit recognition by global leaders that we are at a turning point and must act decisively to defend and rejuvenate multilateralism.

As we address a weakened global order, this is not a time for governments to remain idle, but rather to scale up their commitments and actions for a world that is fairer, more inclusive and sustainable. Let future generations look back on 2020 as the year when humanity, its leaders and decision makers recognized the need for a shared future of dignity, hope and prosperity for all. And let us use this 75th anniversary of the United Nations as an opportunity to inspire and speed up the actions so urgently needed to honor the principles and vision enshrined in the United Nations Charter.

Sincerely,
Maria Elena Agüero, Secretary General of the Club de Madrid
Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State and former UN Ambassador, United States of America
Celso Amorim, former Foreign Minister, Brazil
Jan Peter Balkenende, Prime Minister of The Netherlands (2002-2010)
Ban Ki-moon, Eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations, Deputy Chair of The Elders and member
of WLA-Club de Madrid
Joyce Banda, President of Malawi (2012-2014)
Carol Bellamy, former Executive Director of UNICEF
Valdis Birkavs, former Prime Minister of Latvia (1993-1994)
Irina Bokova, former Director-General of UNESCO
Maria Eugenia Brizuela de Avila, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, El Salvador
Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (2007-2010)
John Bruton, Prime Minister of the Republic of Ireland (1994-1997)
Micheline Calmy-Rey, President of Switzerland (2007 and 2011)
Fernando Henrique Cardoso, President of Brazil (1995-2003)
Aníbal Cavaco Silva, former Prime Minister (1985-1995) and President (2006-2016) of Portugal
Helen Clark, Prime Minister of New Zealand (1999-2008)
Isabel de St. Malo, former Vice-President of Panama
Jan Eliasson, former Foreign Minister of Sweden, President of the UN General Assembly, and UN
Deputy Secretary-General
Maria Fernanda Espinosa, President of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly, former Minister of
Foreign Affairs and Minister of National Defence, Ecuador
Dalia Grybauskaitė, President of Lithuania (2009-2019)
Tarja Halonen, President of Finland (2000-2012)
Seung-Soo Han, Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea (2008-2009)
Ameerah Haq, former United Nations Under-Secretary-General for the Department of Field Support
Noeleen Heyser, former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for
Asia and the Pacific
Hina Jilani, Advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, former Special Representative of the UN
Secretary-General on Human Rights Defenders
Ivo Josipovic, President of Croatia (2010-2015)
Yoriko Kawaguchi, former Minister of the Environment, former Minister for Foreign Affairs, Japan
Rima Khalaf, former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for
Western Asia
Horst Köhler, President of Germany (2004-2010)
Aleksander Kwaśniewski, President of Poland (1995-2005)
Ricardo Lagos, President of Chile (2000-2006)
Zlatko Lagumdzija, Prime Minister of Bosnia & Herzegovina (2001-2002)
Susana Malcorra, former Foreign Minister, Argentina
Graça Machel, former Education Minister, Mozambique
Juan E. Méndez, former Special Advisor to the Secretary General on the Prevention of Genocide, former
Special Rapporteur on Torture
Carlos Mesa, President of Bolivia (2003-2005)
James Michel, President of Seychelles (2004-2016)
Federica Mogherini, former High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security
Policy and former Vice-President of the European Commission
Roza Otunbayeva, President of Kyrgyzstan (2010-2011)
Andres Pastrana, President of Colombia (1998-2002)
Navi Pillay, former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Oscar Ribas Reig, Prime Minister of Andorra (1982-1984, 1990-1994)
Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Petre Roman, Prime Minister of Romania (1989-1991)
Kevin Rudd, Prime Minister of Australia (2007 – 2010)
Juan Manuel Santos, former President of Colombia, 2016 Nobel Peace Laureate
Jenny Shipley, Prime Minister of New Zealand (1997-1999)
Danilo Türk, President of Slovenia (2007-2012)
Margot Wallström, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sweden, former UN Special Representative on
Sexual Violence in Conflict

::::::

The Elders COVID-19 Multilateralism
The need for principled global leadership and cooperation has never been more important
02 Oct 2020
As COVID-19 continues to hit our societies at great cost, the need for far-sighted, innovative and principled global leadership and cooperation has never been more important.

In normal times, the annual opening of the UN General Assembly is an occasion for leaders to gather in New York for formal and informal discussions. This year, we have instead seen a “virtual UNGA”, but this has not prevented Elders’ voices from being part of the debate.

Mary Robinson, Ban Ki-moon, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Hina Jilani and Juan Manuel Santos all took part in a number of virtual discussions as part of the UN75 Global Governance Forum on critical issues including climate change, collective security and human rights.

Many members of The Elders, myself included, also joined other global leaders to use the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the founding of the UN to call for decisive action to defend and rejuvenate multilateralism, in an open letter to Heads of Governments.

In addition to her work as an Elder, Gro Brundtland also co-chairs the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board, which released its new report on pandemic preparedness in September, ‘A World in Disorder’. To this end, perhaps a new international agreement is necessary between WHO member states, and under the WHO’s umbrella, to develop a programme to deal with pandemics that would be approved by the parties every one or two years. This could be similar to the COP series of annual climate summits where signatories to the Paris Climate Agreement evaluate past and future activities.

Globalisation has changed the way infectious diseases spread throughout the world, and what once may have taken years to spread now happens in a matter of weeks.

Yet we lack an effective system of global governance that can respond to these threats at speed and at scale, particularly when the forces of populism, nationalism and isolationism still occupy influential positions of global power.

However, even before the pandemic, multilateral institutions were being weakened by narrow and self-serving leadership, states’ withdrawals from international treaties and the failure to uphold international law. And yet, threats like the climate crisis and COVID-19 know no borders and have an impact on virtually every country in the world.

Only by placing human rights, sustainability and justice at the core of the global response can we hope to effectively tackle COVID-19 and other existential threats, and this is only possible by strengthening and revitalising the multilateral system.

Stay safe,
Ricardo Lagos
Former President of Chile; tenacious fighter for democracy and human rights; implemented health reform; and reduced economic inequality while diversifying Chile’s external trade in the era of globalisation.

Historic UN Summit on Biodiversity sets stage for a global movement toward a green recovery from COVID-19

Heritage Stewardship – Biodiversity

Historic UN Summit on Biodiversity sets stage for a global movement toward a green recovery from COVID-19
New York, 30 September 2020 — Recognizing that the continued deterioration and degradation of the world’s natural ecosystems were having major impacts on the lives and livelihoods of people everywhere, world leaders called for increased resolve to protect biodiversity at the UN today.

A record number of countries – nearly 150 countries and 72 Heads of State and Government -addressed the first ever Summit held on biodiversity to build political momentum towards the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, to be adopted at COP15 in Kunming, China next year.

The Summit comes on the heels of the Leader’s Pledge on Monday, which saw 74 countries commit to preserving biodiversity, sending “a united signal to step up global ambition for biodiversity and to commit to matching our collective ambition for nature, climate and people with the scale of the crisis at hand.”

“The degradation of local and regional ecosystems, unsustainable agricultural practices, and the exploitation of natural resources, are putting critical pressure on world ecosystems,” said President of the General Assembly Volkan Bozkir, who presided over the Summit. “Clearly, we must heed the lessons we have learned and respect the world in which we live.”

He added, “A green recovery, with an emphasis on protecting biodiversity, can address these concerns, mitigate risks, and build a more sustainable, resilient world. Doing so can help unlock an estimated US$10 trillion in business opportunities, create 395 million jobs by 2030 and encourage a greener economy.”

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said biodiversity and ecosystems are essential for human progress and prosperity. “By living in harmony with nature, we can avert the worst impacts of climate change and recharge biodiversity for the benefit of people and the planet.”

“Let me be clear,” he added. “Degradation of nature is not purely an environmental issue. It spans economics, health, social justice and human rights. Neglecting our precious resources can exacerbate geopolitical tensions and conflicts. Yet, too often environmental health is overlooked or downplayed by other government sectors. This Summit is our opportunity to show the world that there is another way. We have to change course and transform our relationship with the natural world.”

In addition to leaders, the Summit heard from HRH Prince Charles, who called for a new “Marshall Plan” or a “blue-green recovery’ and indigenous leaders who, as defenders of biodiversity, spoke about the need to allow indigenous people to use their traditional knowledge to preserve, protect and manage nature…