The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health :: Education :: Heritage Stewardship ::
Sustainable Development
Week ending 30 May 2020 :: Number 318

This weekly digest is intended to aggregate and distill key content from a broad spectrum of practice domains and organization types including key agencies/IGOs, NGOs, governments, academic and research institutions, consortia and collaborations, foundations, and commercial organizations. We also monitor a spectrum of peer-reviewed journals and general media channels. The Sentinel’s geographic scope is global/regional but selected country-level content is included. We recognize that this spectrum/scope yields an indicative and not an exhaustive product. Comments and suggestions should be directed to:

David R. Curry
GE2P2 Global Foundation – Governance, Evidence, Ethics, Policy, Practice

PDF:The Sentinel_ period ending 30 May 2020

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

Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict: 20 Years After the Adoption of OPAC

Children – Armed Conflict

Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict: 20 Years After the Adoption of OPAC
Monday, 25 May 2020
Joint Statement by the African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security, the European Parliament Intergroup on Children’s Rights and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) on the involvement of children in armed conflict (OPAC). In this juncture, the African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security, H.E. Smaїl Chergui and the Co-Chair of the European Parliament Intergroup on Children’s Rights, Mr. David Lega join their voices with the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Ms. Virginia Gamba to urge all outstanding Member States to sign and ratify the OPAC and fulfill the promise made to children two decades ago that they would not be involved in armed conflict. The adoption of OPAC was a milestone and within the past 20 years has contributed to releasing more than 145,000 boys and girls from armed forces and armed groups and preventing the recruitment and use of more millions of children.

Since its adoption, the Optional Protocol has become a lighthouse to guide the efforts of States in ending and preventing the involvement of children in armed conflict and to counter the long-lasting effects conflict has on children. “As we mark this anniversary, we must pause and remember what the world was like before OPAC’s adoption,” said the three officials. “We must also take time to note its remarkable achievements and enormous potential for the next decade. Indeed, the Decade of Action calls to accelerate sustainable solutions to the world’s biggest challenges; eradicating the recruitment and use of children allows countries to focus on the actual needs of children such as education, healthcare and future livelihood opportunities.”

While OPAC paved the way for countries to ensure that children were not taking part in hostilities, its relevance and implementation in today’s world continue to be critical, especially as countries are seeking to reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The protection of conflict-affected children should be an active part of the Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus to ensure that the vulnerability of children is addressed before, during and after conflicts. Ending and preventing the recruitment and use of children is only the first step: supporting the sustainable reintegration of released boys and girls into their communities is essential for their future, but also for the future of the entire society.

“As we mark OPAC’s 20th anniversary, we urge Member States that are not yet parties to OPAC to become one, and to do so on behalf of their children and countries future,” said the three officials. “We also urge State Parties that have ratified OPAC to implement the obligations contained in this treaty and ensure that they do not remain dead letters. By ratifying the OPAC, Member States commits to align their legal frameworks with international standards, pursue accountability for violations of children’s fundamental rights and prevent the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict. With only 17 Member States that are yet to become a party to this important treaty, it is evident that universal ratification is more achievable than before,” they said.

“The next twenty years must reflect the translation of OPAC’s commitments into tangible actions. We must ensure that children are not only freed from the threat of recruitment and use but are also provided with options to enjoy a better future and not left without support or subsistence; conflict-affected children need our support in every aspect of their growth. The Optional Protocol should thus remain our beacon and serves to remind us that if children are not allowed to be children and forced into taking part in hostilities, we have not only failed them but have betrayed our own hopes for a brighter future.”

Precision Medicine Vision Statement :: A Product of the World Economic Forum Global Precision Medicine Council

Governance :: Precision Medicine

Precision Medicine Vision Statement :: A Product of the World Economic Forum Global Precision Medicine Council
World Economic Forum
May 2020 :: 46 pages
Executive Summary
The benefits of precision medicine in terms of superior health and healthcare outcomes are increasingly clear, but there are challenges to the equitable and widespread dissemination of precision medicine tools, technologies and solutions.

The World Economic Forum convened more than 40 leaders from the public and private sectors, civil society and academia in a Global Precision Medicine Council (the Council) in 2019 to help shape the governance of precision medicine in the public interest. This document is the Council’s synthesis of the key policy and governance gaps, and its vision for the solutions to overcome them. It should serve as a reference for the greater healthcare community with an interest in helping deliver these benefits on a global basis.

These five governance gaps are:
1) data sharing and interoperability;
2) ethical use of technology;
3) patient and public engagement and trust;
4) access, delivery, value, pricing and reimbursement;
5) responsive regulatory systems.

Using illustrative examples of solutions or analytical frameworks to overcome these five gaps, the Council provides areas of opportunity to accelerate precision medicine approaches globally. The main considerations and recommendations include:
– Increasing awareness of the benefits of data standardization and interoperability and fostering trusted mechanisms of collaboration involving patients to unlock the vast amounts of data needed
– Learning lessons from research efforts that were discriminatory or hurtful and focusing new efforts on inclusivity and representativeness to support ethical technology development
– Building public and patient trust and engagement by encouraging deliberation and mechanisms on if/how genetic and other sensitive health data are accessed or used by commercial companies and law enforcement
– Innovating intellectual property protection regimes for biomarkers and algorithms as part of the process of incentivizing investment in foundational new diagnostics
– Funding and publicly reporting post-market clinical trials and studies for fast-track therapeutics that allow healthcare providers to clearly understand the value of precision medicine treatments and receive payments based on performance
– Designing and implementing consistent and appropriate regulatory frameworks that protect the health information generated from direct-to-consumer genetic services in a way that support the values of patients and participants

Unfortunately, more than half of the world’s population still has no access to precision medicine and is unable to reap the benefits. We must be ever vigilant about increasing the capabilities of many countries and populations to join this global movement towards more personalized and targeted ways of screening, preventing, diagnosing, treating and curing patients with disease. The importance of worldwide access and of addressing these inequities is urgent. With this in mind, the Council aims to contribute positively to the global debate and activity by framing solutions that may be scalable and useful in many settings, as well as by identifying ongoing challenges that remain resistant to solutions in order to focus new creativity on finding appropriate paths forward.

Blockchain Principles Launched to Preserve and Protect User Rights – The Presidio Principles

Technology/Human Rights: Blockchain

Blockchain Principles Launched to Preserve and Protect User Rights – The Presidio Principles
World Economic Forum News 22 May 2020
– 16 user rights make up the newly launched Presidio Principles: the foundational values for a decentralized future
– This ‘Blockchain Bill of Rights’ establishes a global baseline for building blockchain applications that respect participant rights, safeguard data and protect users
– It was developed for over a year by the World Economic Forum Global Blockchain Council, which brings together individuals with varying interests and perspectives on the current state and future of blockchain; it was workshopped globally with technologists and civil society
– Early adopters include public and private sector companies, international organizations, NGOs and civil society and global call issued.

The Presidio Principles
Applications built on top of blockchain-based systems should preserve the following participant rights.

A participant should have access to information that would enable them to:
 Understand how a service is operated, including potential risks of the service, availability of source code, and the rules and standards upon which it is based.
 Understand the potential risks and benefits of a service’s use of blockchain technology.
 Understand system performance expectations and where the responsibility for service delivery lies.
 Understand the rights and obligations of different participants in the system.

A participant should be able to:
 Create, manage, and independently store cryptographic keys.
 Manage consent of data stored in third-party systems.
 Port data between interoperable systems or parts of a system.
 Revoke consent for future data collection.
 Have access to information sufficient to facilitate system interoperability.
 Assess if their data is at risk through appropriate disclosure procedures, which may include, but are not limited to, an examination of audit results, certifications, or source code.
 Have their data protected in accordance with internationally recognized technical security standards.
 Limit data collection to that which is necessary and data use to the purpose for which it was provided.
 Verify – through third-party or self-created tools – that operations have been completed and confirmed in accordance with the system’s rules.
 Access information needed to: (a) understand the system’s governance and rules and (b) pursue effective recourse mechanisms.
 Opt-out of using applications that don’t treat data in accordance with internationally recognized governance and data protection standards.
 Rectify demonstrably false, inaccurate, or incomplete data when necessary.

The Principles include a menu of options for how organizations or individuals can take action. A list of signatories is available to view and self-regulate/hold others accountable.

UNESCO Report :: Museums Around the World in the Face of COVID-19

Heritage Stewardship

UNESCO Report :: Museums Around the World in the Face of COVID-19
May 2020 :: 31 pages
In recent months, the COVID-19 crisis has profoundly affected societies around the world, plunging the global economy into a deep recession.

With the majority of cultural institutions forced to close their doors, the cultural sector has been one of the most affected. Tourism has largely ceased, impacting surrounding communities both socially and economically, and plunging artists and cultural professionals into a state of extreme economic and social fragility. Confined populations, unable to share and celebrate their heritage – notably their intangible cultural heritage – have suffered the loss of fundamental and structuring cultural elements of their daily social and individual lives.

Despite the challenges posed by this unprecedented crisis, many cultural institutions and professionals
have continued to serve as a source of resilience and support to communities, devising new ways to provide access to culture and education in the context of containment measures. However, it should be noted that these innovations have not addressed the severe economic shortfalls experienced by cultural professionals. Moreover, almost half of the world’s population currently has no access to the Internet, resulting in unequal access to cultural resources.

Museums have been particularly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with nearly 90% of them, or more than 85,000 institutions worldwide, having closed their doors during the crisis. The impact of these closures is not only economic, but also social. Museums play a vital role in our societies. They not only preserve our common heritage, but also provide spaces that promote education, inspiration and dialogue. Based on values of respect and cultural diversity, museums strengthen social cohesion, foster creativity and are conveyors of collective memory. Moreover, their role in the promotion of tourism is a key driver of sustainable economic development, both locally and nationally, which will be essential to overcoming the crisis in the coming months and years.

Faced with this situation, UNESCO launched a study to assess, on the basis of contributions from states and museum professionals, the impact of COVID-19 on museums and museum institutions. This initiative also seeks to understand how the sector has adapted to the constraints imposed by the pandemic and to explore ways of supporting affected institutions in the aftermath of the crisis. This report presents a first assessment of the impact of COVID-19 on the museum sector.


Media Release
Launch of UNESCO Report on museums around the world in the face of COVID-19
UNESCO launched a new Report on Museums Around the World in the Face of COVID-19, fruit of an international survey targeting museums, culture professionals and Member States.

This Report, presenting a first evaluation of the impact of COVID-19 across the museum sector, sheds new light on the key trends of the world’s museums, their reaction in the face of the crisis, their capacity for resilience, and the challenges of accessing culture.

The study reveals that the number of museums is estimated at around 95,000 in 2020, which represents a 60% increase compared to 2012. They are, however, very unevenly distributed across the globe. Museums have been particularly affected by the pandemic, as 90% of them closed their doors during the crisis and, according to the International Council of Museums (ICOM), more than 10% may never reopen. Facing the crisis, museums acted quickly to develop their presence on the Internet. However the digital divide is more evident than ever: only 5% of museums in Africa and the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) were able to propose online content.

“This report not only provides a better understanding of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on museum institutions and the challenges they will face following the health crisis, but also explores the ways to support museums in the aftermath of the crisis,” declared Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO. “There is an urgent need to strengthen policies that support this sector, which plays an essential role in our societies for the dissemination of culture, education, social cohesion and support to the creative economy.”

With a view to gather information on how the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak affects the culture sector, the International Council of Museums (ICOM) launched a global survey to analyze the impact of the quarantine measures. The ICOM report provides information on the situation of museums and their staff, the predicted economic impact, digitization and communication, museum security and the conservation of collections, and the situation of independent museum professionals.
This common reflection and inter-institutional cooperation provides updated data on museums and museum institutions, that are all the more important in this period of global challenge brought about by COVID-19.

COVID-19 :: Recovery “The world needs a #HealthyRecovery”

COVID-19 :: Recovery

The world needs a #HealthyRecovery
On May 26, 2020, over 350 organisations representing over 40 million health professionals and over 4,500 individual health professionals from 90 different countries*, wrote to the G20 leaders calling for a #HealthyRecovery
The letter is supported and promoted by the Global Climate and Health Alliance, Every Breath Matters, and the World Health Organization in service of the global medical and health community.

May 26, 2020
In support of a #HealthyRecovery

Dear President Alberto Fernández, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, President Jair Bolsonaro, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, President Xi Jinping, President Emmanuel Macron, Chancellor Angela Merkel, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Joko Widodo, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, President Vladimir Putin, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, President Cyril Ramaphosa, President Jae-in Moon, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, President Donald Trump, President Charles Michel and President Ursula von der Leyen,
(cc: G20 chief scientific / medical / health advisors)

Health professionals stand united in support of a pragmatic, science-based approach to managing the COVID-19 pandemic. In that same spirit, we also stand united in support of a #HealthyRecovery from this crisis.
We have witnessed first-hand how fragile communities can be when their health, food security and freedom to work are interrupted by a common threat. The layers of this ongoing tragedy are many, and magnified by inequality and underinvestment in public health systems. We have witnessed death, disease and mental distress at levels not seen for decades.

These effects could have been partially mitigated, or possibly even prevented by adequate investments in pandemic preparedness, public health and environmental stewardship. We must learn from these mistakes and come back stronger, healthier and more resilient.

Before COVID-19, air pollution – primarily from traffic, inefficient residential energy use for cooking and heating, coal-fired power plants, the burning of solid waste, and agriculture practices – was already weakening our bodies. It increases the risk of developing, and the severity of: pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, heart disease and strokes, leading to seven million premature deaths each year. Air pollution also causes adverse pregnancy outcomes like low birth weight and asthma, putting further strain on our health care systems.

A truly healthy recovery will not allow pollution to continue to cloud the air we breathe and the water we drink. It will not permit unabated climate change and deforestation, potentially unleashing new health threats upon vulnerable populations.
In a healthy economy and civil society the most vulnerable among us are looked after. Workers have access to well-paying jobs that do not exacerbate pollution or nature degradation; cities prioritise pedestrians, cyclists and public transport, and our rivers and skies are protected and clean. Nature is thriving, our bodies are more resilient to infectious diseases, and nobody is pushed into poverty because of healthcare costs.

To achieve that healthy economy, we must use smarter incentives and disincentives in the service of a healthier, more resilient society. If governments were to make major reforms to current fossil fuel subsidies, shifting the majority towards the production of clean renewable energy, our air would be cleaner and climate emissions massively reduced, powering an economic recovery that would spur global GDP gains of almost 100 trillion US dollars between now and 2050.
As you direct your attention to the post-COVID response, we ask that your chief medical officer and chief scientific advisor are directly involved in the production of all economic stimulus packages, report on the short- and long-term public health repercussions that these may have, and give their stamp of approval.

The enormous investments your governments will make over the coming months in key sectors like health care, transport, energy and agriculture must have health protection and promotion embedded at their core.
What the world needs now is a #HealthyRecovery. Your stimulus plans must be a prescription for just that.

Yours sincerely, the full list of signatories is available HERE.

International community rallies to support open research and science to fight COVID-19

COVID-19 :: R&D Collaboration

International community rallies to support open research and science to fight COVID-19
29 May 2020 News release
WHO and Costa Rica launch landmark COVID-19 Technology Access Pool
Thirty countries and multiple international partners and institutions have signed up to support the COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP) an initiative aimed at making vaccines, tests, treatments and other health technologies to fight COVID-19 accessible to all.

The Pool was first proposed in March by President Carlos Alvarado of Costa Rica, who joined WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus today at the official launch of the initiative.

“The COVID-19 Technology Access Pool will ensure the latest and best science benefits all of humanity,” said President Alvarado of Costa Rica. “Vaccines, tests, diagnostics, treatments and other key tools in the coronavirus response must be made universally available as global public goods”. 

“Global solidarity and collaboration are essential to overcoming COVID-19,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “Based on strong science and open collaboration, this information-sharing platform will help provide equitable access to life-saving technologies around the world.”

The COVID-19 (Technology) Access Pool will be voluntary and based on social solidarity. It will provide a one-stop shop for scientific knowledge, data and intellectual property to be shared equitably by the global community.

The aim is to accelerate the discovery of vaccines, medicines and other technologies through open-science research, and to fast-track product development by mobilizing additional manufacturing capacity. This will help ensure faster and more equitable access to existing and new COVID-19 health products.

There are five key elements to the initiative:
:: Public disclosure of gene sequences and data;
:: Transparency around the publication of all clinical trial results;
:: Governments and other funders are encouraged to include clauses in funding agreements with pharmaceutical companies and other innovators about equitable distribution, affordability and the publication of trial data;
:: Licensing any potential treatment, diagnostic, vaccine or other health technology to the Medicines Patent Pool – a United Nations-backed public health body that works to increase access to, and facilitate the development of, life-saving medicines for low- and middle-income countries.
:: Promotion of open innovation models and technology transfer that increase local manufacturing and supply capacity, including through joining the Open Covid Pledge and the Technology Access Partnership (TAP).

With supportive countries across the globe, C-TAP will serve as a sister initiative to the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator and other initiatives to support efforts to fight COVID-19 worldwide.

WHO, Costa Rica and all the co-sponsor countries have also issued a “Solidarity Call to Action” asking relevant stakeholders to join and support the initiative, with recommended actions for key groups, such as governments, research and development funders, researchers, industry and civil society…

To date, the COVID-19 Technology Access Pool is now supported by the following countries: Argentina, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bhutan, Brazil, Chile, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Honduras, Indonesia, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Mexico, Mozambique, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Panama, Peru, Portugal, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, South Africa, Sri Lanka,Sudan, The Netherlands, Timor-Leste, Uruguay, Zimbabwe,

Other international organizations, partners and experts have also expressed support to the initiative and others can join them using the website.