Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)
Polio this week as of 17 April 2019
:: Co-chairs of Immunization Management Group (IMG) announced that the global goal set out in 2013 of 126-OPV using countries to introduce 1 dose of IPV in their immunization programme has been achieved.
:: Eminent Islamic religious scholars from Afghanistan and Pakistan came together in Muscat, Oman for the first ever joint Ulama Conference, under the aegis of the Islamic Advisory Group (IAG). for polio eradication The IAG convened religious scholars in a bid to appreciate their value as community leaders and secure bilateral support for polio eradication efforts across the joint poliovirus transmission corridors. At the end of the two-day conference, the scholars issued a joint declaration in support of the polio efforts. Watch the Opening Session here. Read the declaration here.
:: In keeping with the recommendations of the Emergency Committee under the International Health Regulations (IHR), Afghanistan and Pakistan have introduced an all-age polio vaccination for travelers crossing international borders to increase general population immunity the common wild poliovirus transmission corridor. Read more.

Summary of new viruses this week:
:: Afghanistan—three wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1)-positive environmental samples;
:: Pakistan—three WPV1-positive environmental samples;
:: Nigeria—one circulating vaccine-derived type 2 (cVDPV2) case and seven cVDPV2-positive environmental samples.


Joining hands across the border
All travellers crossing the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan are vaccinated against polio, regardless of age
GPEI  16/04/2019
On both sides of the historical 2640-kilometre-long border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, communities maintain close familial ties with each other. The constant year-round cross border movement makes for easy wild poliovirus transmission in the common epidemiological block.

As a new tactic in their joint efforts to defeat poliovirus circulation, Afghanistan and Pakistan have introduced all-age polio vaccination for travellers crossing the international borders in efforts to increase general population immunity against polio and to help stop the cross-border transmission of poliovirus. The official inauguration of the all-age vaccination effort took place on 25 March 2019 at the border crossings in Friendship Gate (Chaman-Spin Boldak) in the south, and in Torkham in the north…

…It is estimated that the Friendship Gate border alone receives a daily foot traffic of 30 000. Travellers include women and men of all ages, from children to the elderly.

Pakistan and Afghanistan first increased the age for polio vaccination at the border in January 2016, from children under five years to those up to 10 years old. The decision was in line with the recommendations of the Emergency Committee under the International Health Regulations (IHR) which declared the global spread of polio a “public health emergency of international concern”,

The all-age vaccination against polio at the border crossings serves a practical implementation of another recommendation of the IHR Committee: that Pakistan and Afghanistan should “further intensify cross­border efforts by significantly improving coordination at the national, regional and local levels to substantially increase vaccination coverage of travelers crossing the border and of high risk cross­border populations.

…As part of the newly introduced all-age vaccination, all people above 10 years of age who are given OPV at the border are issued a special card as proof of vaccination. The card remains valid for one year and exempts regular crossers from receiving the vaccination again. Children under 10 years of age will be vaccinated each time they cross the border.

Before all-age vaccination began at Friendship Gate and Torkham, public officials held extensive communication outreach both sides of the border to publicize the expansion of vaccination activities from children under 10 to all ages. Radio messages were played in regional languages, and community engagement sessions sensitized people who regularly travel across the border. Banners and posters were displayed at prominent locations….



Editor’s Note:
WHO has posted a refreshed emergencies page which presents an updated listing of Grade 3,2,1 emergencies as below.

WHO Grade 3 Emergencies  [to 20 Apr 2019]
Bangladesh – Rohingya crisis
:: Bi‐weekly Situation Report 7 – 11 April 2019

:: Ten new diphtheria cases were reported in week 14, (1 confirmed, 9 suspected), bringing the total number of reported case-patients to 8 545.
:: To gain an understanding of how women and men perceive immunization in camps, WHO organized two focus group discussions.
:: Water Quality Surveillance round 10 has been started in all refugee areas.

Varicella Update
A total of 2161 varicella cases were reported this week via weekly report form (2783 cases in week 13).
Risk Communication
WHO organized, two separate focus group discussions (FGDs), one for only women of all ages, and another of only men of all ages, held at the Camp 14 in Ukhiya of the Cox’s Bazar district. This was to gain an understanding of how women and men perceive immunization in the camps. The questions were kept open-ended to understand perception and attitude related to importance of Immunization, importance of Immunization schedule and compliance, gaps in communication with respect to immunization. Observations from these FGDs revealed that everyone in both the groups had heard about necessity of immunization but did not have clear reasons to believe or act. People opted for it because it is a free service and they trust health workers. Absence of knowledge about relevance of complying with the immunization schedule and dangers of missing out on any vaccine was identified.

Cyclone Idai
:: Cyclone-affected communities in Zimbabwe being vaccinated against cholera
Campaign targets nearly 500,000 people in Chimanimani and Chipinge
HARARE, Zimbabwe, 16 April 2019 – An oral cholera vaccine (OCV) campaign targeting some 487,825 people began Tuesday in Zimbabwe in the two districts most affected by cyclone Idai.
During the campaign all residents of Chimanimani and Chipinge districts aged 12 months and older will receive the vaccine to protect them against cholera.
While there have been no reported cases of cholera in the cyclone-affected areas in Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Ministry of Health and Child Care is launching the campaign, with support from UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO), as a proactive, preventative measure.
Funded by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, more than 975 000 OCV doses will be administered in two rounds for full immunity. The second dose will be given approximately two weeks after the first…

Democratic Republic of the Congo
:: 37: Situation report on the Ebola outbreak in North Kivu  16 April 2019
:: Disease Outbreak News (DONs)Ebola virus disease – Democratic Republic of the Congo
11 April 2019
[See Ebola above for detail]

Myanmar  – 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

WHO Grade 2 Emergencies  [to 20 Apr 2019]
Brazil (in Portugese)
:: Últimas notícias – Cerca de 70 milhões de pessoas serão vacinadas durante a Semana de Vacinação nas Américas  18 de abril de 2019

Cameroon  – No new digest announcements identified
Iraq – No new digest announcements identified
Libya – No new digest announcements identified
occupied Palestinian territory  – No new digest announcements identified
Sudan – No new digest announcements identified
Central African Republic  – No new digest announcements identified
Ethiopia – No new digest announcements identified
MERS-CoV – No new digest announcements identified
Niger – No new digest announcements identified
Ukraine – No new digest announcements identified
Zimbabwe – No new digest announcements identified


WHO Grade 1 Emergencies  [to 20 Apr 2019]
Afghanistan – No new digest announcements identified
Chad  – No new digest announcements identified
Indonesia – Sulawesi earthquake 2018  – No new digest announcements identified
Kenya   – No new digest announcements identified
Lao People’s Democratic Republic  – No new digest announcements identified
Mali  – No new digest announcements identified
Namibia – viral hepatitis  – No new digest announcements identified
Peru  – No new digest announcements identified
Philippines – Tyhpoon Mangkhut  – No new digest announcements identified
Tanzania  – No new digest announcements identified


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  
:: Syria: Humanitarian Response in Al Hol camp, Situation report No. 2
Yemen – No new digest announcements identified


UN OCHA – Corporate Emergencies
When the USG/ERC declares a Corporate Emergency Response, all OCHA offices, branches and sections provide their full support to response activities both at HQ and in the field.
:: 20 April 2019   Mozambique: Cyclone Idai & Floods Situation Report No. 16 (A …
:: 18 April 2019   Zimbabwe: Floods Situation Report No. 3, As of 17 April 2019

The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health :: Education :: Heritage Stewardship ::
Sustainable Development
Week ending 13 April 2019

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 13 Apr 2019

:: 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 and abstracts from 100+ peer-reviewed journals  [see PDF]

Secretary-General, at Annual Youth Forum, Says Young People Must Be Partners in Decision-Making, Development to Do What Is Right for Humankind, Planet

Secretary-General, at Annual Youth Forum, Says Young People Must Be Partners in Decision-Making, Development to Do What Is Right for Humankind, Planet
9 April 2019
Following are UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ remarks at the eighth annual Economic and Social Council Youth Forum, in New York today:
Good afternoon to all of you. I am delighted to see so many participants at this eighth annual Economic and Social Council Youth Forum — all committed to ensuring that the youth of today and tomorrow are empowered, included and equal….

Right now, our world is faced with a myriad of tests: a climate crisis; protracted conflicts; unsustainable levels of youth unemployment; growing disparities between rich and poor; a clampdown on dissent; and strong opposition to our march for gender equality. Unless we face our social, economic and environmental challenges head on, we will not achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and the world will not be better. Many lives will be lost and the once in a generation opportunity we have to end poverty and bring lasting prosperity for all on a healthy planet will have been squandered.

Each of these challenges has one common denominator — the need for those in power to live up to their responsibilities; to do what is right for people and planet alike. That is why I am so pleased to see so many committed young people with us here today. I know you are not a homogenous group and young people are not immune to engaging in the negative trends in our societies. But more often than not, young people in our world today are a lightning rod for change.

You show the courage and persistence that is often lacking among older generations. And you can imagine that I know a little bit about older generations. Because it is your future, your livelihoods, your freedom, your security, your environment, you do not and you must not take no for an answer. In the United Nations, you have a partner that will accompany you on this journey towards a more peaceful, just and prosperous world.

Last September, we launched the United Nations Youth Strategy — and through my Youth Envoy, that is here on my right hand side, with young people and with partners across the United Nations system, we are working hard to translate that Strategy’s promise into tangible change. With this strategy, we aim to ensure the Organization responds better to the needs of young people but especially that we include your contributions to making the Sustainable Development Goals a reality for all. We also aim to increase action to address the needs, build the agency and advance the rights of youth around the world in all its diversity…

Today, young people face high unemployment rates and a prevalent sense of disenfranchisement. Sixty four million young people are unemployed. Some 145 million young workers live in poverty. And some 617 million youth worldwide lack basic mathematics and literacy skills. Young women in particular are too often discriminated against, from health to education, from access to the labour force and access to financing. In some regions, for example, female youth unemployment is almost double that of men.

If we are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, governments, civil society and international partners must scale up their investment in young people — ensuring they are educated, empowered and employed. And we must respond quickly to the challenges that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is presenting — the loss of jobs for many; the demand for new and relevant skills; and the potential weakening of the social contract.

To make sure our work is relevant and effective, we need your ideas, your energy and your creativity. Around the world, young people are striving for peace, justice, inclusion, gender equality and human rights. Last month we saw hundreds of thousands of young people marching for climate action. I count on you to keep up the pressure as we move towards my Climate Action Summit this year and the crucial climate talks next year.

You are also critical to efforts to address hate speech and promote intercultural and interfaith understanding and tolerance. Last week, I was in Tunisia, where I met with students and youth representatives. Two thirds of the Arab world’s people are under the age of 30. Harnessing the dynamism of young people, like the students I met in Tunis, is key to that region’s future. Engaging youth globally is essential for the well being of the entire world. We need your insights and partnership as we work for a better future for all.

This September, world leaders will meet in New York for a series of meetings aimed at catalysing greater ambition, leadership and action to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda. The key messages and outcomes of your discussions this week will be shared with decision makers and policymakers in those meetings.

But that is not enough. We need you to mobilize. We need you to activate your networks. We need you to engage in the youth focused events leading up to September, including Youth Day before the Climate Action Summit. I also recommend your contribution to the 2019 World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth, in Lisbon, in June.

Above all, we need you to both be the change we need and to push world leaders — in governments, in cities, in the private sector — to step up their ambition and to meet their responsibilities; to do what is right for people and planet alike.

ICC judges reject opening of an investigation regarding Afghanistan situation


ICC judges reject opening of an investigation regarding Afghanistan situation
Press Release : 12 April 2019
Today, 12 April 2019, Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (ICC) rejected unanimously the request of the Prosecutor to proceed with an investigation for alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes, on the territory of in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. The judges decided that an investigation into the situation in Afghanistan at this stage would not serve the interests of justice. The Chamber is composed of Judge Antoine Kesia-Mbe Mindua, who will be appending a concurring separate opinion, Judge Tomoko Akane and Judge Rosario Salvatore Aitala…


Statement of the Office of the Prosecutor following the decision of Pre-Trial Chamber II concerning the Situation in Afghanistan
Statement : 12 April 2019
The Prosecutor and her Office have carefully studied the decision of Pre-Trial Chamber II delivered earlier today rejecting the request to authorise an investigation into the situation in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

The Office of the Prosecutor notes that the Judges of Pre-Trial Chamber II are satisfied that there is a reasonable basis to believe that crimes under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court have been committed in Afghanistan, and that the requirements of gravity and complementarity have been met. The Pre-Trial Chamber then refused to authorise an investigation on its assessment of the interests of justice. The Office will further analyse the decision and its implications, and consider all available legal remedies…

State of World Population 2019 – UNFPA

State of World Population 2019
UNFINISHED BUSINESS the pursuit of rights and choices FOR ALL
UNFPA, 2019 :: 180 pages
PDF: https://www.unfpa.org/publications/state-world-population-2019

Press Release
World must work harder to secure sexual and reproductive rights for all, says new UNFPA report
UNITED NATIONS, New York, 10 April 2019—The global reproductive rights movement that began in the 1960s transformed the lives of hundreds of millions of women, empowering them to govern their own bodies and shape their own futures. But despite the gains made over the past 50 years, since the establishment of UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, the world still has a long way to go before rights and choices are claimed by all, according to the State of World Population 2019, released by UNFPA today.

On the journey towards rights and choices, women and girls have faced social and economic barriers every step of the way. A coalition of civil society, activists, and organizations such as UNFPA have been helping tear down those barriers.

The efforts of the reproductive rights movements have dramatically reduced the number of unintended pregnancies and maternal deaths, and have cleared the way for healthier, more productive lives for untold millions, the new UNFPA report says.

The report traces advances in reproductive health on the anniversaries of two important milestones. It has been 50 years since UNFPA began operations in 1969 as the first United Nations agency to address population growth and reproductive health needs. It is also the 25th anniversary of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), where 179 governments called for all people to have access to comprehensive reproductive health care, including voluntary family planning, and safe pregnancy and childbirth services.

Much has been achieved since 1969, says the report. The average number of births per woman was 4.8 then, compared to 2.9 in 1994 and 2.5 today; fertility rate in the least developed countries dropped from 6.8 in 1969, to 5.6 in 1994 and 3.9 in 2019; and the number of women who died from pregnancy-related causes has decreased from 369 per 100,000 live births in 1994, to 216 in 2015. In addition, 24 per cent of women used modern contraceptives in 1969, compared to 52 per cent in 1994 and 58 per cent in 2019.

However, reproductive rights are still out of reach for too many women, including the more than 200 million women who want to prevent a pregnancy but cannot access modern contraceptive information and services.

“Despite the increasing availability of contraceptives over the years, hundreds of millions of women today still have no access to them, and to the reproductive choices that come with them,” said UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem. “Without access, they lack the power to make decisions about their own bodies, including whether or when to become pregnant.”

“The lack of this power—which influences so many other facets of life, from education to income to safety—leaves women unable to shape their own futures,” added Dr. Kanem.

The report includes, for the first time, data on women’s ability to make decisions over three key areas: sexual intercourse with their partner, contraception use and health care. Across the 51 countries where this information is available, only 57 per cent of women who are married or in a relationship are able to make their own choices over all three of these areas.

“I call on world leaders to re-commit to the promises made in Cairo 25 years ago to ensure sexual and reproductive health and rights for all,” said Dr. Kanem. “The world will have a historic opportunity to complete the unfinished business of the ICPD at the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25 to be held in Kenya in November, where governments, activists and stakeholders will rally to protect the gains made so far, and fulfill the promise of the ICPD agenda, so that no one is left behind.”…

Facts and figures from the report:
:: Number of deaths of women from pregnancy-related causes per 100,000 live births, worldwide: 369 in 1994; 216 in 2015.
:: Global modern contraceptive prevalence rate: 24 in 1969; 52 in 1994; 58 in 2019.
:: Global fertility rate, or average number of births per woman: 4.8 in 1969; 2.9 in 1994; 2.5 in 2019.
:: The highest unmet needs for sexual and reproductive health services are among marginalized groups, including minority ethnic groups; young people; unmarried people; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people; people with disabilities; and the rural and urban poor.
:: An estimated 800 million women alive today were married when they were children.
:: Every day, more than 500 women and girls in countries with emergency settings die during pregnancy and childbirth

Drive to mobilise ‘trillions’ through private finance for development ‘completely unrealistic’ – new ODI research

SDGs – Development Finance

Drive to mobilise ‘trillions’ through private finance for development ‘completely unrealistic’ – new ODI research
Press release | 10 April 2019
New report on blended finance finds policy makers have unrealistic expectations about how much private money can be mobilized.

The drive to use aid and other public funds to mobilise trillions of dollars of private investment in developing countries is well off target, new research from the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) has found.

A major new report on the use of blended finance, the term used when public-sector development funds are used to encourage private investments in poorer countries, has found policy makers have unrealistic expectations about how much private money can be mobilised. It also reveals private investment is heavily concentrated in middle-income countries (MICs), with very little going to low-income countries (LICs).

The report, ‘Blended finance in the poorest countries: the need for a better approach’, finds that for every $1 of public money invested in this way mobilises just $0.37 of private finance in LICs and just $0.75 in all developing countries.

The report finds only 1% of the total private finance mobilised by the UK government, including through the CDC Group, the UK government’s DFI, was mobilised in the poorest countries during the period 2012 to 2015.

Lead author Samantha Attridge, Senior Research Fellow at ODI, said: ‘Our research shows that an urgent reality check on blended finance is needed. The current approach is not leveraging significant amounts of private investment overall and very little for low-income countries. The “billions to trillions” mantra is completely unrealistic without significant changes to the system.

‘Donors and development finance institutions (DFIs) need to make urgent changes to their business models and risk appetites to get anywhere near the amounts required to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

‘They also need to focus more on supporting developing country governments to build a more conducive investment climate for investable companies and projects. Until they do that, aid spent on blended finance risks diverting much needed resources away from the poorest countries.’’…


Research reports and studies
Blended finance in the poorest countries: the need for a better approach
| April 2019 | Samantha Attridge and Lars Engen
The need to mobilise private finance is at the heart of international discussions on how to finance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and move the needle from ‘billions’ of dollars in development aid to ‘trillions’ of dollars in investment.
With an estimated SDG financing gap of $2.5 trillion a year in developing countries alone, the international development community is placing an increasing emphasis on blended finance. This report aims to provide hard evidence to inform the discussion on the role of blended finance in plugging the SDG financing gap in developing countries.

We found that:
:: Expectations that blended finance can bridge the SDG financing gap are unrealistic: ‘billions-to-billions’ is more plausible than ‘billions to trillions’.
:: The big push on blended finance risks undermining the poverty eradication agenda in the poorest countries.
:: Policy-makers need a better understanding of the poverty and development impact of blended finance, as well as its true costs, to ensure value for money and effective policy-making and allocation of aid.
:: Multilateral development banks and development finance institutions need to collectively adopt a more distinct and tailored approach to blended finance in low-income countries.

Forced Migration Review – March 2019 : Special Issue Theme: Education: needs, rights and access in displacement

Featured Journal Content

Forced Migration Review (FMR)
FMR 60 March 2019
Special Issue Theme: Education: needs, rights and access in displacement
Education is one of the most important aspects of our lives – vital to our development, our understanding and our personal and professional fulfilment throughout life. In times of crisis, however, millions of displaced young people miss out on months or years of education, and this is damaging to them and their families, as well as to their societies, both in the short and long term. This issue of FMR includes 29 articles on Education, and two ‘general’ articles.

Foreword: Education – a humanitarian and development imperative
Manuel Bessler
For far too long, donors and the international community have neglected education in humanitarian response. Switzerland was no exception. Food, water, health and shelter were the usual priorities during emergencies, while education was considered more of a long-term objective to be tackled by national governments and development agencies once a crisis was over.

However, we were wrong. We simply ignored the families’ tendencies to see their children’s education – often interrupted or absent – as a priority need in displacement. We were not sufficiently aware of education’s life-sustaining and protective role during conflict and crisis. We underestimated the impact education can have on peaceful coexistence and misjudged the social and economic consequences of the lack of education during displacement for both host and home countries…

This edition of Forced Migration Review is timely and necessary. In a time of unprecedented displacement, rising hostilities and an increase in protracted conflicts, it is important to recall what is at stake if displaced girls and boys are prevented from going to school. Education is the most powerful means of breaking cycles of vulnerability and poverty, and without education there can be no sustainable development. The young displaced generation has enormous potential for contributing to society. However, greater international commitment is needed to support countries dealing with rising population movements. Eighty-five per cent of refugees live in developing countries that already struggle with over-stretched education systems. We need to provide assistance to countries to ensure that displaced children can access local schools. We need to provide support to national education ministries, teachers and parents so that both displaced and host-community children can learn and grow up in safe, child-friendly environments. We need to find creative solutions to enable children and youth who have missed out on learning to catch up. All this requires the joint action of the humanitarian and development communities, NGOs, multi- and bilateral agencies and the private sector. Switzerland calls on others to follow suit by prioritising education in policy making, funding and action on the ground. The provision of education for displaced children and youth is both an immediate emergency response and an effective way to work towards durable solutions during protracted displacement.

[29 articles on this theme included in this issue]