COVID Vaccines – Refugees

UNHCR urges stronger support for refugee vaccinations in Asia

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

01 June 2021   

[Editor’s text bolding]

With COVID-19 raging in many parts of the world, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is warning about shortages of vaccines in the Asia-Pacific region, including for refugees and asylum-seekers.

We urge immediate and stronger support for the COVAX initiative, a worldwide effort aimed at achieving equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. This is critical to save lives and curb the impact of the virus, particularly in developing nations. These countries host the vast majority of more than 80 million forcibly displaced people in the world. Yet so far, they have benefited from only a fraction of the world’s COVID-19 vaccines.

UNHCR stresses that no one can be left behind in the global effort against the coronavirus. The pandemic will be defeated only when vaccinations become available everywhere on an equitable basis.

We are particularly worried about the situation in the Asia and Pacific region, which in the past two months has experienced the largest increase in the number of cases globally. Over this period, there have been some 38 million recorded COVID-19 cases and more than half a million deaths.

The fragile health systems in many countries in this region have struggled to cope with this recent surge. The lack of hospital beds, oxygen supplies, limited intensive care unit (ICU) capacities and scarce health facilities and services have worsened outcomes for those infected with COVID-19, particularly in India and Nepal. The highly infectious variant of the virus which first emerged in India threatens to rapidly spread in the sub-region, including among refugee populations.

Refugees remain especially vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19. Overcrowded settings, coupled with limited water and sanitation facilities, can contribute to increased infection rates and an exponential spread of the virus.

In Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, where almost 900,000 Rohingya refugees are living in the single largest and most densely populated cluster of refugee camps in the world, the number of cases has increased considerably in the last two months. As of 31 May, there have been over 1,188 cases confirmed among the refugee population, with more than half of these cases recorded in May alone.

We have also seen a worrying increase in the number of COVID-19 cases among refugees and asylum-seekers in Nepal, Iran, Pakistan, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. While efforts are underway to mitigate the spread of the virus, these preventive measures need to be complemented with intensified vaccinations.

Some refugees, including in Nepal, have already received their first vaccine dose with COVAX-provided supplies. Among the Rohingya refugees in the camps in Bangladesh, not a single vaccine has been administered yet given the scarcity of supplies in the country.

The current delays in vaccine shipments, brought about by limited supplies to COVAX, mean that some of the world’s most vulnerable people remain susceptible to the virus.

UNHCR is adding its voice to the calls for countries with surplus doses to donate to COVAX, and for manufacturers to boost supplies to the COVAX facility.

UNHCR’s total financial requirements for COVID include $455m in supplementary needs and $469m in COVID-related activities that are included in its regular budget. To date, including projected contributions, UNHCR has received $252.8m or 27% of these requirements.

Gavi COVAX AMC Summit/Japan – “One World Protected”

Gavi COVAX AMC Summit/Japan – “One World Protected”

World leaders unite to commit to global equitable access for COVID-19 vaccines

News Releases

2 June 2021 

:: The Gavi COVAX AMC Summit “One World Protected” virtual event, hosted today by the Government of Japan and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, raised US$ 2.4 billion from nearly 40 donor governments, the private sector and foundations, exceeding the funding target and bringing the total pledged to the COVAX AMC to US$ 9.6 billion to date

:: Japan demonstrated its commitment to ending the acute phase of the pandemic by pledging US$ 800 million at the Summit, making their total contribution to the COVAX AMC US$ 1 billion. Their leadership made way for other donors to help COVAX fulfill its financial ask

:: The funds raised will enable Gavi to secure 1.8 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines for lower-income countries participating in the COVAX Facility

:: The vaccines, to be delivered in 2021 and early 2022, will enable COVAX to protect almost 30% of the population in 91 AMC economies

:: In addition, five countries made new commitments to donate more than 54 million vaccine doses to lower-income countries, including through COVAX, to bridge short-term supply challenges. This brings the total number of doses shared to more than 132 million

:: Suga Yoshihide, Prime Minister, Japan – “I made the decision on our contribution, hoping to deliver vaccines, a ray of hope, to as many people as possible, and as early as possible, throughout the world, in an equitable manner. It is our responsibility to overcome the current pandemic crisis and prepare for future health crises, thereby leading the world to ‘build back better’.”

:: José Manuel Barroso, Chair, Gavi Board – “Thanks to all our donors, we can now protect not only health care workers, the elderly and other vulnerable people but broader sections of the population, increasing our chances further of bringing the pandemic under control.”

COVID: Joint statement: IMF, WHO, World Bank Group, WTO

COVID: Joint statement: IMF, WHO, World Bank Group, WTO

A new commitment for vaccine equity and defeating the pandemic

Kristalina Georgieva [IMF], Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus [WHO] , David Malpass [World Bank Group] and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala [WTO]

1 June 2021   [Editor’s text bolding]

As preparations are made for the G7 Summit in the UK next week, top of the agenda is how to end the COVID-19 pandemic and secure the global recovery. Urgent challenges face us.

By now it has become abundantly clear there will be no broad-based recovery without an end to the health crisis. Access to vaccination is key to both. 

There has been impressive progress on the vaccination front. Scientists have come up with multiple vaccines in record time. Unprecedented public and private financing has supported vaccine research, development and manufacturing scale-up. But a dangerous gap between richer and poorer nations persists.

In fact, even as some affluent countries are already discussing the rollout of booster shots to their populations, the vast majority of people in developing countries — even front-line health workers — have still not received their first shot. The worst served are low-income nations which have received less than 1 percent of vaccines administered so far. 

Increasingly, a two-track pandemic is developing, with richer countries having access and poorer ones being left behind.

Inequitable vaccine distribution is not only leaving untold millions of people vulnerable to the virus. It is also allowing deadly variants to emerge and ricochet back across the world. As variants continue to spread, even countries with advanced vaccination programs have been forced to reimpose stricter public health measures, and some have implemented travel restrictions. In turn, the ongoing pandemic is leading to deepening divergence in economic fortunes, with negative consequences for all.  

It need not be this way. That is why we are calling today for a new level of international support for — and implementation of — a stepped up coordinated strategy, backed by new financing, to vaccinate the world.

A recent proposal from IMF staff puts forward a plan with clear targets, pragmatic actions, and at a feasible cost. It builds on and supports the ongoing work of WHO, its partners in the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator initiative and its global vaccine access programme COVAX as well as the work of the World Bank Group, the WTO and many others.

At an estimated $50 billion, it will bring the pandemic to an end faster in the developing world, reduce infections and loss of lives, accelerate the economic recovery, and generate some $9 trillion in additional global output by 2025. It is a win for all — while around 60 percent of the gains will go to emerging markets and developing economies, the remaining 40 percent will benefit the developed world. And this is without taking into account the inestimable benefits on people’s health and lives.

Coronavirus [COVID-19] – WHO

Coronavirus [COVID-19] – WHO

Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

Weekly Epidemiological and Operational updates

Last update: 5 Jun 2021

Confirmed cases ::                         172 242 495    [week ago:   169 118 995]

Confirmed deaths ::                          3 709 397    [week ago:       3 519 175]  

Vaccine doses administered:    1 638 006 899[week ago: 1 546 316 352]

::::::

Weekly epidemiological update on COVID-19 – 1 June 2021

Overview

   In the past week, the number of new COVID-19 cases and deaths continues to decrease, with over 3.5 million new cases and 78 000 new deaths reported globally. Although the number of global cases and deaths continued to decrease for a fifth and fourth consecutive week respectively, case and death incidences remain at high levels and significant increases have been reported in many countries in all regions.

   In this edition, special focus updates are provided on:

:: SARS-CoV-2 Variants of Interest (VOIs) and Variants of Concern (VOCs), including the introduction of new labels for public communications, updates on VOI and VOC classifications and the global geographical distribution of VOCs Alpha (B.1.1.7), Beta (B.1.351), Gamma (P.1) and Delta (B.1.617.2).

:: Lessons learned during the early phases of rolling out COVID-19 vaccines, with a particular focus on low-and-middle income countries (LMICs).

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is screen-shot-2021-06-07-at-12.30.05-am.png

POLIO Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC);WHO/OCHA Emergencies

Emergencies

POLIO
Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)

Polio this week as of 02 June 2021
:: You are invited to the virtual launch of the Polio Eradication Strategy 2022-2026, at an online event on Thursday 10 June 2021 (at 2pm, Central European Summer Time).  More information, including registration details, are available here.
:: Meeting virtually this week at the 74th World Health Assembly (WHA), global health leaders and ministers of health noted the new Global Polio Eradication Initiative Strategic Plan 2022-2026 and highlighted the importance of collective action to achieve success. Read more

Summary of new WPV and cVDPV viruses this week (AFP cases and ES positives):
:: Afghanistan: one cVDPV2 case
:: Pakistan: one cVDPV2 case
:: Nigeria: two cVDPV2 cases and three cVDPV2 positive environmental samples
:: Tajikistan: two cVDPV2 positive environmental samples

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

WHO/OCHA Emergencies

Editor’s Note:
Continuing with this edition, we include information about the last apparent update evident on the WHO emergency country webpages, recognizing almost universal and significant interims since last update regardless of the level of the emergency listed.

WHO Grade 3 Emergencies [to 5 Jun 2021]

Democratic Republic of the Congo – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 3 May 2021]
Mozambique floods – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 3 November 2020]
Nigeria – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 29 Jun 2020]
Somalia – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 13 July 2020]
South Sudan – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 4 February 2020]
Syrian Arab Republic – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 24 October 2020]
Yemen – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 30 June 2020]

::::::

WHO Grade 2 Emergencies [to 5 Jun 2021]
Afghanistan – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 5 July 2020]
Angola – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 16 March 2021]
Burundi – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 04 July 2019]
Burkina Faso – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 21 mai 2021]
Cameroon – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 22 August 2019]
Central African Republic – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 12 June 2018]
Ethiopia – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 22 August 2019]
Iran floods 2019 – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 2 March 2020]
Iraq – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 12 May 2021
Libya – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 7 October 2019]
Malawi – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 22 April 2021
Measles in Europe No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 26-04-2021]
MERS-CoV – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 8 July 2019]
Mozambique – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 03 November 2020]
Myanmar – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 29 March 2021]
NigerNo new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 16 avril 2021]
occupied Palestinian territory – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 4 September 2019]
HIV in Pakistan – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 27 August 2019]
Sao Tome and Principe Necrotizing Cellulitis (2017) – No new digest announcements
Sudan – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 24 June 2020]
Ukraine – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 1 May 2019]
Zimbabwe – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 10 May 2019]

::::::

WHO Grade 1 Emergencies [to 5 Jun 2021]

Chad – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 30 June 2018]
Djibouti – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 25 novembre 2020]
Kenya – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 21 May 2021]
Mali – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 3 May 2017]
Namibia – viral hepatitis – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 20 July 2018]
Tanzania – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 21 October 2019]

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

UN OCHA – Current Emergencies
Current Corporate Emergencies
Ethiopia
Ethiopia – Tigray Region Humanitarian Update Situation Report, 3 June 2021
HIGHLIGHTS
:: Hostilities have largely ceased along the boundary with Eritrea but access to these areas is often denied.
:: Nine aid workers have been killed in Tigray since the start of the conflict, including another NGO worker on 28 May in Adigrat.
:: 21 per cent of the 21,000 children under-5 screened for malnutrition were identified with severe wasting, significantly above the 15 per cent threshold set by WHO..
:: More than 5,400 unaccompanied and separated children have been identified, of whom only 7.5 per cent are placed at temporary alternative care.
:: More than 2.8 million people of the targeted 5.2 million reached with food under the 2021 response plan since late March, including about 650,000 people during the reporting period

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

The Sentinel

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

__________________________________________________

Week ending 29 May 2021 :: Number 369

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

David R. Curry Editor GE2P2 Global Foundation – Governance, Evidence, Ethics, Policy, Practice david.r.curry@ge2p2center.net

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

PDF:

UN OHCHR – Belarus

Press briefing notes on Belarus

Belarus – UN OHCHR

Press briefing notes on Belarus

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Spokesperson: Rupert Colville

Location: Geneva

Date: 25 May 2021

Like so many others, we are shocked by the unlawful arrest and arbitrary detention of the Belarusian journalist Roman Protasevich after the Ryanair plane on which he was travelling was forcibly diverted to the Belarus capital Minsk, apparently under false pretences and with the express purpose of capturing Mr Protasevich.

The manner, through threat of military force, in which Protasevich was abducted from the jurisdiction of another State and brought within that of Belarus was tantamount to an extraordinary rendition. Such abuse of State power against a journalist for exercising functions that are protected under international law is receiving, and deserves, the strongest condemnation.

Penalization of a journalist solely for being critical of the government can never be considered to be a necessary restriction of freedom of expression and is thus a violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Equally, under human rights law, the mere act of organizing a peaceful assembly should never be criminalized under domestic laws, including counterterrorism laws, and the arrest or detention of someone as punishment for the legitimate exercise of their rights to freedom of opinion and expression and freedom of assembly, is considered arbitrary.

We fear for Roman Protasevich’s safety and wish to seek assurances that he is treated humanely and is not subjected to ill treatment or torture. His appearance on state TV last night was not reassuring, given the apparent bruising to his face, and the strong likelihood that his appearance was not voluntary, and his “confession” to serious crimes was forced. Information obtained under coercion cannot be used against Mr Protasevich in any legal proceedings. Such forced confessions are prohibited under the Convention against Torture.

We are also concerned about Mr Protasevich’s girlfriend, Sofia Sapaga, who has also reportedly been arbitrarily arrested.

In addition to the issues relating to Mr Protasevich, the forced landing of the passenger plane in Minsk terrorized passengers on board and exposed them to unnecessary danger, in violation of their human rights.

This astonishing episode constitutes a new phase in the Belarusian authorities campaign of repression against journalists and civil society in general. This arbitrary arrest is a sign of an extremely worrying escalation in the crackdown of dissenting voices, not just of journalists but also of Belarusian human rights defenders and other civil society actors, including those living abroad.

We call for the immediate release of both Roman Protasevich, and Sofia Sapega, both of whom should be allowed to continue to their intended destination in Lithuania.

Human Rights Council Establishes International Commission of Inquiry to Investigate Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel

[OPT] Palestine – Israel

Human Rights Council Establishes International Commission of Inquiry to Investigate Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel
United Nations Human Rights Council 

27/05/2021

The Human Rights Council this afternoon adopted a resolution on ensuring respect for international human rights law and international humanitarian law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel, in which it established an international commission of inquiry to investigate violations of international humanitarian law and all alleged violations and abuses of international human rights law leading up to and since 13 April 2021, and all underlying root causes of recurrent tensions.

The resolution was adopted at the end of a one-day special session of the Human Rights Council on the “grave human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem”.

In the resolution (A/HRC/S-30/L.1), adopted by a vote of 24 in favour, 9 against and 14 abstentions, the Council decides to urgently establish an ongoing independent, international commission of inquiry, to be appointed by the President of the Human Rights Council, to investigate in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel all alleged violations of international humanitarian law and all alleged violations and abuses of international human rights law leading up to and since 13 April 2021, and all underlying root causes of recurrent tensions, instability and protraction of conflict, including systematic discrimination and repression based on national, ethnic, racial or religious identity. 

The Council also calls upon all relevant parties to cooperate fully with the commission of inquiry and to facilitate its access.  It urges all States to refrain from transferring arms when they assess, in accordance with applicable national procedures and international obligations and standards, that there is a clear risk that such arms might be used in the commission or facilitation of serious violations or abuses of international human rights law or serious violations of international humanitarian law.

Pakistan introduced the draft resolution on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Conference.  Israel and the State of Palestine spoke as a concerned countries.

Speaking in general statements or in statements before or after the vote were Austria, Germany, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, Bahamas, Mexico, Venezuela, France, Bulgaria and the Netherlands

…Speakers said people in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank needed their leaders to make courageous steps towards peace.  Some speakers said that the indiscriminate barrage of rockets fired by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad into Israel were completely unacceptable.  Other speakers said the Council must do three things: address the root causes of the conflict; call the situation what it was, apartheid and persecution, that is crimes against humanity; and end impunity by creating a standing mechanism – because the problems were systemic, long-lasting and would not be solved overnight.  It was unconscionable that States including the United States, Germany and Italy still supplied weapons and other military assistance to the Israeli Government, despite the clear risk of serious violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law.  Some speakers, expressing their full solidarity with Israel, said they refused to support any investigation or mechanism that victimised and exonerated Hamas and other violent organizations.  There had been an explosion of anti-Semitism in past weeks, the result of the anti-Semitic vilification of Israel, to which the Council provided cover. 

Speaking were Faysal Mekadad, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of Syria; Sultan bin Saad Al-muraikhi, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Qatar; Sameh Shoukry, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Egypt; and Dato’ Kamarudin Jaffar, Deputy Foreign Minister of Malaysia.

The following countries also took the floor: Argentina, France, Senegal, Nepal, Bulgaria, Argentina, Netherlands, Philippines, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Jordan, Costa Rica, Djibouti, Mali, Brunei Darussalam, Ireland, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Ecuador, Iraq, Chile, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Malta, Viet Nam, Morocco, Australia, Nigeria, Niger, Algeria, Maldives, Albania, Sovereign Order of Malta, South Africa, United Nations Relief and Works Agency, Peru, Timor-Leste, Oman, Liechtenstein, Yemen, Canada, Holy See, Iran, Colombia, Botswana, New Zealand, Luxembourg, Guyana, United Arab Emirates, Hungary, Sri Lanka, Paraguay, Switzerland and Angola.

The following non-governmental organizations also took the floor: International Commission of Jurists; European Union of Jewish Students; Human Rights Watch; Al-Haq, Law in the Service of Man; Defence for Children International; International Service for Human Rights; Norwegian Refugee Council; Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom; Institute for NGO Research; Ingenieurs du Monde, United Nations Watch; World Jewish Congress; Amnesty International; Caro Institute for Human Rights Studies; ADALAH, Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel; International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists; and Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling.

Israel spoke in a point of order.

This was the thirtieth special session of the Human Rights Council, which was requested by 69 States, of whom 21 are Member States of the Council and 48 are Observer States…

State of Finance for Nature – Tripling investments in nature-based solutions by 2030

State of Finance for NatureTripling investments in nature-based solutions by 2030

Report – UNITED NATIONS ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME; WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM; ECONOMICS OF LAND DEGRADATION INITIATIVE; VIVID ECONOMICS

27 May 2021 :: 65 pages     ISBN: 978-92-807-3865-0

PDF: https://wedocs.unep.org/xmlui/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/36145/SFN.pdf

Executive Summary [excerpts]

:: Nature loss is at the heart of many societal challenges, while nature-based solutions hold the potential to address interlinked crises: The pace of species extinction, global warming, the growing number of extreme weather events and zoonotic diseases like Covid-19, have further reinforced the need to invest in sustainable action that enhances the resilience of ecosystems and addresses societal challenges, such as food security, climate change, water security, human health and enhanced resilience to disaster risk.

:: Our livelihoods depend on nature. Our collective failure to date to understand that nature underpins our global economic system, will increasingly lead to financial losses. More than half of the world’s total GDP is moderately or highly dependent on nature. Agriculture, food and beverages and construction are the largest sectors that are dependent on nature and these generate USD 8 trillion in gross value added.

:: The integrity of the Earth’s ecosystems has been significantly compromised as a result of human activity and the paradigm that has prioritised short-term economic growth. In order to ensure that humanity does not breach the safety limits of the planetary boundaries, we need a fundamental shift in mindset, transforming our relationship with nature. Currently, the majority of the essential benefits of nature have no financial market value, despite underpinning our current and future prosperity. From government policies related to procurement, taxation, trade and regulation, to the way businesses and financial institutions make decisions on investment, risk and disclosure, it is vital that we hardwire into our economic system the value of nature in a profound way.

:: Knowledge on capital expended and needed for NbS remains limited…

:: The report finds that approximately USD 133 billion/year currently flows into NbS (using 2020 as base year), with public funds making up 86 per cent and private finance 14 per cent…

:: Looking to the future, investment in NbS ought to at least triple in real terms by 2030 and increase four-fold by 2050 if the world is to meet its climate change, biodiversity and land degradation targets…

:: The compilation of data on capital investment in nature across all sectors and for all major economies has proven challenging and the estimates are highly uncertain…

:: The public sector plays a fundamental role in creating opportunities and demand for investment in NbS…

:: NbS poses an opportunity for private sector investment in pursuit of sources of revenue, to reap the benefits of increased resilience, to reduce costs and to enhance reputation and purpose..

Main Report  [excerpt]

1.2 Definition of NBS [p.12]

This report uses the global standard developed by the International Union for the

Conservation of Nature (IUCN) for nature-based solutions. NbS are defined as “Actions

to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural or modified ecosystems, that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, simultaneously providing human wellbeing and biodiversity benefits”. The goal of nature-based solutions is “to support the achievement of society’s development goals and safeguard human well-being in ways that reflect cultural and societal values and enhance the resilience of ecosystems, their capacity for renewal and the provision of services; nature-based solutions are designed to address major societal challenges, such as food security, climate change, water security, human health, disaster risk, social and economic development”.

The following preliminary principles are to be considered with the NbS definition:

  1. NbS embrace nature conservation norms (and principles);
  2. NbS can be implemented alone or in an integrated manner with other solutions to societal

   challenges (such as technological and engineering solutions);

  1. NbS are determined by site-specific natural and cultural contexts that include traditional,

   local and scientific knowledge;

  1. NbS produce societal benefits in a fair and equitable way in a manner that promotes

   transparency and broad participation;

  • NbS maintain biological and cultural diversity and the ability of ecosystems to evolve over time;
  • NbS are applied at a landscape scale;
  • NbS recognize and address the trade-offs between the production of a few immediate economic benefits for development and future options for the production of the full range of ecosystem services; and
  • NbS are an integral part of the overall design of policies, and measures or actions, to address a specific challenge.
  • NbS emphasize solutions. Such solutions address the multifaceted environmental crises and broader societal challenges affecting humanity today, including climate change,  biodiversity loss, land degradation, human health, migration, natural hazards and human-induced disaster, food and water security and biochemical imbalances.

World Health Assembly – 24 May 2021; Opening Statements

Double COVID-19 Vaccine Production, Bolster Primary Health-Care Systems to Prepare for Next Global Emergency, Secretary-General Tells World Health Assembly

24 May 2021   SG/SM/20740

[Excerpt focused on COVID vaccines/vaccination]

   …We are at war with a virus.  We need the logic and urgency of a war economy, to boost the capacity of our weapons.  On Friday, I called on the [Group of 20] (G20) to set up a task force that brings together all countries with vaccine production capacities, the World Health Organization, the ACT-Accelerator partners and international financial institutions, able to deal with the pharmaceutical companies and other key stakeholders.

   It should aim to at least double manufacturing capacity by exploring all options, from voluntary licenses and technology transfers to patent pooling and flexibility on intellectual property rights.  The task force should address equitable global distribution by using the ACT‑Accelerator and its COVAX Facility.  The G20 task force should be co-convened at the highest levels by the major Powers who hold most of the global supply and production capacity, together with the multilateral system.  I am ready to mobilize the entire United Nations system to support this effort…

:::::

Director-General’s opening remarks at the World Health Assembly – 24 May 2021
[Excerpt focused on COVID vaccines/vaccination]
The ongoing vaccine crisis is a scandalous inequity that is perpetuating the pandemic. More than 75% of all vaccines have been administered in just 10 countries. There is no diplomatic way to say it: a small group of countries that make and buy the majority of the world’s vaccines control the fate of the rest of the world.

The number of doses administered globally so far would have been enough to cover all health workers and older people, if they had been distributed equitably. We could have been in a much better situation.

I understand that every government has a duty to protect its own people. I understand that every government wants to vaccinate its entire population. That’s what we want too. And in time, there will be enough supply for everyone, including those at lower risk.

But right now, there is not enough supply. Countries that vaccinate children and other low-risk groups now do so at the expense of health workers and high-risk groups in other countries. That’s the reality.

At the Executive Board meeting in January, I issued a challenge to see vaccination of health workers and older people underway in all countries within the first 100 days of the year. That target was very nearly achieved. But the number of doses available to COVAX remains vastly inadequate.

COVAX works. We have shipped every single one of the 72 million doses we have been able to get our hands on so far to 125 countries and economies. But those doses are sufficient for barely 1 percent of the combined population of those countries.

So today I am calling on Member States to support a massive push to vaccinate at least 10 percent of the population of every country by September, and a “drive to December” to achieve our goal of vaccinating at least 30 percent by the end of the year. This is crucial to stop severe disease and death, keep our health workers safe and reopen our societies and economies…

COVID Global Response – Calls to Action, Joint Statements

Milestones :: Perspectives :: Research

COVID Global Response – Calls to Action, Joint Statements

Secretary-General Asks Private Sector to Fund Vaccine Equity, Help Put Humanity on ‘War Footing’ against COVID-19, at Business Leaders’ Event
27 May 2021 SG/SM/20749

Stressing Africa Has Received 2 Per Cent of COVID-19 Vaccines, Secretary-General Urges Developed Countries to Support Continent’s Pandemic Recovery, in Observance Message
24 May 2021 SG/SM/20737

::::::

No-one is safe until everyone is safe – why we need a global response to COVID-19
Joint Statement – Signatories below
GENEVA, 23 May 2021 – [Editor’s text bolding]
“Equitable vaccine distribution is a humanitarian imperative.

“There is a choice. The world of the next 10 years can be one of greater justice, abundance and dignity. Or it can be one of conflict, insecurity and poverty. We are at a turning point.

“COVID-19 has been a truly global crisis in which we all have shouldered a burden. In many cases this has caused us to reflect on those longer injustices that have perpetuated in parts of the world where the pandemic is yet another layer of misery, instability and unrest. These inequalities have been exposed and exacerbated by the impact of the pandemic, both between and within countries. The effects will be felt on a global scale for years to come.

“The impact of a catastrophe like the COVID-19 pandemic is measured in the tragedy of individual loss and death, as well as the national and global disruption to almost every part of life. No country in the world has been untouched.

“Variants of the virus, potentially more infectious and resistant to vaccines, will continue to threaten us if they are not controlled now. Those of us who have signed this declaration represent organizations with roots in communities across the world. We work closely with those affected by conflict, disaster and famine, and know the immense challenges they face – but also of their resilience even in the worst of situations.

“In 2021, the world economy is facing the worst downturn since 1945. For some countries this will sharply increase poverty and suffering. For others it means hunger and death. The fallout from the pandemic will be with us for a long time to come. There will be a continued economic impact, with all the human suffering that brings. A generation of children, especially girls, have left school and will not return.

“The world is facing the challenge of how to reverse these devastating dynamics with health being a key part of such a response. We advocate here for ‘Health for All’, where each person’s life is valued, and every person’s right to healthcare is upheld. People not only need vaccinations – they need access to healthcare workers who are skilled and equipped to deliver adequate medical support.

“We need to build a world where each community, regardless of where they live, or who they are, has urgent access to vaccinations: not just for COVID-19, but also for the many other diseases that continue to harm and kill. As the pandemic has shown us, in our interdependent world no one is safe until everyone is safe.

“We have a choice: vaccine nationalism or human solidarity.

“Thanks to effective international action, several vaccines have been produced. The World Health Organisation, GAVI and CEPI are leading the COVAX initiative, which is currently the best effort we have to ensure that vaccines reach people around the world. However, COVAX is only intended to cover 20% of the global population– the most vulnerable in lower-income countries – by the end of 2021 and it is not yet clear if it will meet this target. Meanwhile studies show that if we focus only on vaccinating our own populations, the world risks global GDP losses of up to US$9.2 trillion (with half of that cost being incurred by high income countries) this year alone.

“But it is not just a matter of money. In order to achieve wider global vaccination, complex logistical, infrastructure and scaling issues must be addressed. The Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator is focused on providing a means to accelerate the development, manufacturing and distribution of COVID-19 diagnostic and treatment products. The ACT recognizes and aims to address the requirement for information sharing – whether about technology, intellectual property or manufacturing.

“However, more needs to be done. The sharing of information, the transfer of technology and the strengthening of manufacturing processes, to name a few, require the active involvement of States and the private sector.

“We therefore call on world leaders to:
1. Ensure equitable access to vaccines between countries by providing vaccines, sharing knowledge and expertise, and fully funding the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, which is working to provide equitable access to and implementation of COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines.

2. Ensure equitable access to vaccines within countries by ensuring all sectors of the population are included in national distribution and vaccination programs, regardless of who they are or where they live, including stigmatized and marginalized communities for whom access to healthcare might not be straightforward.

3. Support countries financially, politically and technically to ensure that curbing COVID-19 is not a standalone goal, and instead is one important element of a broader health strategy, implemented alongside communities to bring longer-term improvements to people’s health and access to healthcare. We are committed, in our different institutions, to offering all the help we can to support actions by communities and authorities.

“It is time for decisive leadership. Countries and organizations across the world have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to address global inequality and reverse some of the fallout from the past year. In doing so, they will bring hope not only for the poorest in the world, but for us all.”

#####

The Most Reverend Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury
Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross
Bishop Ivan M Abrahams, General Secretary of the World Methodist Council
HE Elder Metropolitan Emmanuel of Chalcedon, Ecumenical Patriarchate
The Reverend Dr Chris Ferguson, General Secretary of the World Communion of Reformed Churches
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General
Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Henrietta H. Fore, Executive Director, UNICEF
The Reverend Dr Martin Junge, General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation
Dr Azza Karam, Secretary-General, Religions for Peace
Francesco Rocca, President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
Rabbi David Rosen, Co-President, Religions for Peace
Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, The Grand Imam of al-Azhar
HE Cardinal Peter Turkson, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, Rome

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

Milestones :: Perspectives :: Research

Coronavirus [COVID-19] – WHO
Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

Weekly Epidemiological and Operational updates
Last update: 29 May 2021
Confirmed cases :: 169 118 995 [week ago: 165 772 430]
Confirmed deaths :: 3 519 175 [week ago: 3 437 545]
Vaccine doses administered: 1 546 316 352 [week ago: 1 448 242 899]

::::::

Weekly operational update on COVID-19 – 24 May 2021
In this edition of the COVID-19 Weekly Operational Update, highlights of country-level actions and WHO support to countries include:
:: Medical supplies reach Indian states and Union Territories
:: Egypt and Philippines receive additional shipments of COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX Facility
:: Strengthening quality assurance and biosafety for SARS-CoV-2 sample collection sites in Azerbaijan
COVID-19 posing unprecedented threat on war-torn Yemen
:: Online training on vaccination to frontline workers in Uruguay
:: WHO EPI-WIN hosted discussion for youth networks on mental health and how ten years of
:: Pandemic Influenza Preparedness (PIP) strengthened capacities to support the COVID-19 response
:: Regular updates on WHO’s resource requirements and funds received to support countries in implementing the COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan 2021, WHO/PAHO procurement of critical supplies, and implementation of the Unity Studies

Weekly epidemiological update on COVID-19 – 25 May 2021
Overview
For the second successive week, the number of COVID-19 cases globally remains at the highest levels since the beginning of the pandemic with over 5.7 million new weekly cases, following nine consecutive weeks of increases. New deaths continue to increase for the seventh consecutive week, with over 93 000 deaths. The South-East Asia Region continues to report marked increases in both case and death incidences.
In this edition, special focus updates are provided on:
:: World Hand Hygiene Day, 5 May 2021
:: WHO partnership with SeroTracker — synthesizing “real-time” seroprevalence data to support global pandemic response
:: SARS-CoV-2 variants

POLIO Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC); WHO/OCHA Emergencies

Emergencies

POLIO
Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)

Polio this week as of 26 May 2021
:: Come and join the virtual launch of the Polio Eradication Strategy 2022-2026, at an online event on Thursday 10 June 2021 (at 2pm, Central European Summer Time).  More information, including registration details, are available here, where you will find the ‘Save the Date’.
:: Understanding gender-related barriers to immunization is essential to achieve polio eradication. But what is gender? What is the difference between gender and sex? How do sex and gender influence health, including immunization? This newly released Q&A examines the links between gender and health, highlighting WHO’s ongoing work to address gender-related barriers to healthcare, advance gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in all their diversity, and achieve health for all.

Summary of new WPV and cVDPV viruses this week (AFP cases and ES positives):
:: Pakistan: one cVDPV2 positive environmental sample
:: Burkina Faso: one cVDPV2 case
:: Congo: one cVDPV2 case
:: DR Congo: five cVDPV2 cases
:: Guinea: one cVDPV2 case
:: Liberia: two cVDPV2 positive environmental samples
:: Madagascar: three cVDPV1 cases and one cVDPV1 positive environmental sample
:: Mali: one cVDPV2 case
:: Tajikistan: two cVDPV2 positive environmental samples

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

WHO/OCHA Emergencies

Editor’s Note:
Continuing with this edition, we include information about the last apparent update evident on the WHO emergency country webpages, recognizing almost universal and significant interims since last update regardless of the level of the emergency listed.

WHO Grade 3 Emergencies [to 29 May 2021]

Democratic Republic of the Congo – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 3 May 2021]
Mozambique floods – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 3 November 2020]
Nigeria – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 29 Jun 2020]
Somalia – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 13 July 2020]
South Sudan – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 4 February 2020]
Syrian Arab Republic – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 24 October 2020]
Yemen – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 30 June 2020]

::::::

WHO Grade 2 Emergencies [to 29 May 2021]
Afghanistan – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 5 July 2020]
Angola – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 16 March 2021]
Burundi – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 04 July 2019]
Burkina Faso – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 21 mai 2021]
Cameroon – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 22 August 2019]
Central African Republic – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 12 June 2018]
Ethiopia – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 22 August 2019]
Iran floods 2019 – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 2 March 2020]
Iraq – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 12 May 2021
Libya – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 7 October 2019]
Malawi – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 22 April 2021
Measles in Europe No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 26-04-2021]
MERS-CoV – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 8 July 2019]
Mozambique – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 03 November 2020]
Myanmar – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 29 March 2021]
NigerNo new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 16 avril 2021]
occupied Palestinian territory – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 4 September 2019]
HIV in Pakistan – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 27 August 2019]
Sao Tome and Principe Necrotizing Cellulitis (2017) – No new digest announcements
Sudan – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 24 June 2020]
Ukraine – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 1 May 2019]
Zimbabwe – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 10 May 2019]

::::::

WHO Grade 1 Emergencies [to 29 May 2021]

Kenya
:: Urgent immunization response launched to tackle polio outbreak in 13 counties
21 May 2021

Chad – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 30 June 2018]
Djibouti – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 25 novembre 2020]
Mali – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 3 May 2017]
Namibia – viral hepatitis – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 20 July 2018]
Tanzania – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 21 October 2019]

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

UN OCHA – Current Emergencies
Current Corporate Emergencies
Ethiopia
Ethiopia – Tigray Region Humanitarian Update Situation Report, 20 May 2021
HIGHLIGHTS
:: Humanitarian needs continue to be grave, exceeding to current capacities.
:: While some areas were accessible, others remain hard to reach due to movement restrictions and ongoing conflict.
:: An alarming number of cases of acute malnutrition among children has been reported.
:: Only about 2 per cent of the targeted 720,000 school children have access to learning opportunities.
:: About US$200 million is needed to respond to humanitarian needs until the end of July.

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

The Sentinel

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

__________________________________________________

Week ending 22 May 2021 :: Number 368

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

David R. Curry Editor GE2P2 Global Foundation – Governance, Evidence, Ethics, Policy, Practice david.r.curry@ge2p2center.net

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

PDF:

Global Report on Internal Displacement 2021

Internal Displacement

Global Report on Internal Displacement 2021

IDMC  2021 :: 85 pages

PDF: https://www.internal-displacement.org/sites/default/files/publications/documents/grid2021_idmc.pdf

   IDMC’s Global Report on Internal Displacement is the official repository of data and analysis on internal displacement. This year’s GRID discusses the relationship between climate change, disasters and displacement, and presents good practices from across the globe in advancing policy, displacement risk reduction and effective response.

Key Messages  [Editor’s text bolding]

1 The number of people worldwide living in internal displacement has reached a record 55 million as

of 31 December 2020. More than 85 per cent have fled conflict and violence. Around seven million have been uprooted by disasters but given the incomplete data this is likely to be a significant underestimate.

2 Around 40.5 million new displacements were recorded in 2020, the highest figure in ten years. Disasters triggered over three times more displacements than conflict and violence. These figures were recorded despite the Covid-19 pandemic, when movement restrictions obstructed data collection and fear of infection discouraged people from seeking emergency shelter.

3 Measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 significantly impeded humanitarian efforts globally. The pandemic also heightened internally displaced people’s (IDPs) needs and vulnerabilities, while delaying the search for durable solutions.

4 The UN secretary general called for a global ceasefire to unite against the virus, but conflict continued unabated, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East and North Africa. Persistent conflict continued to force people to flee in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Syria and Afghanistan, while escalating violence and the expansion of extremist groups in Ethiopia, Mozambique and Burkina Faso fuelled some of the world’s fastest growing displacement crises.

5 Weather-related events were responsible for 98 per cent of all disaster displacement recorded in 2020. Intense cyclones, monsoon rains and floods hit highly exposed and densely populated areas in South Asia and East Asia and the Pacific, including China, the Philippines and Bangladesh. The Atlantic hurricane season was the most active on record, and extended rainy seasons across the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa uprooted millions more.

6 The convergence of conflict and disasters led to many people being displaced for a second or even third time, increasing and prolonging their vulnerability. Many of those who fled flooding in Yemen had already been uprooted at least once by conflict. Drought in Somalia drove people to flee from rural to urban areas where they are now at greater risk of eviction and attacks by armed groups.

7 Internal displacement constitutes a significant economic burden for individuals, communities and economies. The global cost of one year of displacement was nearly $20.5 billion in 2020, a figure that covers support for IDPs’ housing, education, health and security needs, and accounts for their loss of income.

8 Persistent misconceptions surround disaster displacement, with serious implications for people, policy and responses. They include that disasters are natural, when human factors have a major role in how they play out; that disaster displacement is short-term, when in reality it often becomes protracted; that climate change will drive mass migration across borders when actually much displacement is small-scale and localised; and that small events are of little concern, when in fact they undermine people’s lives and threaten local development gains.

9 Rising temperatures are increasing the frequency and intensity of weather-related hazards, but climate change is not the only factor that drives displacement risk. A range of social and economic drivers must be addressed in the face of ever more powerful storms and devastating floods.

10 There have been significant advances in the development of national and regional policies on disaster displacement and climate-related migration, and global attention on the issue is growing. A number of countries now recognise the issue. Implementation, and assessing progress in doing so, are the next priorities.

11 When the impacts of climate change, slow-onset environmental change or unsustainable land use make an area uninhabitable, returning after a disaster is not an option. Two alternatives for those displaced are local integration or planned relocation. These solutions require strong local governance and decentralised interventions that include the perspectives of those at risk and support community-led livelihood initiatives.

12 There is an increasing need to connect humanitarian, peacebuilding and sustainable development efforts to prevent and respond to displacement in a changing climate. Disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation and mitigation are key, but more flexible and predictable financing is required.

13 Filling the data gaps is essential if we are to understand how displacement impedes progress on the sustainable development agenda. To paint a clear picture, however, we cannot act at the global level

alone. Disasters and climate impacts are essentially local phenomena, so local authorities and national governments have a key role to play.

Part 1 – Internal displacement in 2020 presents updated data and analysis of internal displacement at the global level. Data and contextual updates are included in the regional overviews and country spotlights.

Part 2 – Internal displacement in a changing climate discusses the importance of sound evidence and promising approaches to addressing disaster displacement and reducing the negative impacts of climate change on IDPs.

ICRC and IFRC adopt the Climate and Environment Charter for Humanitarian Organizations

ICRC and IFRC adopt the Climate and Environment Charter for Humanitarian Organizations

20 May 2021

The Climate and Environment Charter for Humanitarian Organizations is now opened for signature by all humanitarian organizations, following its adoption by the International Committee of the Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The Charter intends to galvanize and steer collective action in response to the dramatic impacts of the climate and environmental crises, in particular for those who will feel their impacts the most.

The Charter is the result of a broad consultative process across the humanitarian sector led by the ICRC and IFRC, with the support of an advisory committee bringing together humanitarian, climate and environment experts. Hundreds of humanitarian professionals and organizations, including UN agencies, international NGOs, RCRC National Societies, and local and national organizations have been consulted on the content of the document and provided feedback on the Charter.

The Charter includes seven high-level commitments to guide the sector’s response to the climate and environmental crises.

First among them is a commitment to step up the humanitarian response to growing needs and help people adapt to the growing impacts of these crises.

Second, the Charter makes a commitment to maximize the environmental sustainability of humanitarian programmes and operations and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while maintaining the ability to provide timely and principled assistance.

These commitments will only be possible by embracing local leadership, increasing the capacity to understand climate and environmental risks, and working together across and beyond the sector to mobilise even more ambitious climate action.

The ICRC has also adopted a set of three organizational targets and a roadmap for their implementation:

:: Factoring climate and environmental risks in all programs by 2025.

:: Reducing ICRC’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% by 2030, compared to 2018 levels, including all direct and indirect emissions.

:: Strengthening awareness, understanding and implementation of IHL protecting the environment among States and parties to conflict as a result of the ICRC’s bilateral and multilateral engagement, publications, and legal tools by 2025.

The climate and environmental crises are humanitarian crises. They affect all of us — but they do not affect all of us equally. Those who have contributed least to the problem are often at the highest risk. The Charter is our commitment to do our part to respond to these crises, meet rising needs, and work together to prevent further death and suffering.

Download the Charter here

Download Frequently Asked Questions about the Charter here

Humanitarian organizations can sign the Charter by emailing climatecharter@icrc.org.

Low-Income States Receive 0.3 Per Cent of COVID-19 Vaccines, Secretary-General Warns, Calling on ‘G20’ Nations to Ensure Equal Access, Win War against Virus

COVID

Low-Income States Receive 0.3 Per Cent of COVID-19 Vaccines, Secretary-General Warns, Calling on ‘G20’ Nations to Ensure Equal Access, Win War against Virus

21 May 2021

SG/SM/20734

Following are UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ remarks to the Global Health Summit, held online today:

From the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, I warned that no one is safe until everyone is safe.  I was deeply concerned by the possibility of a dangerous two-speed response.  Sadly, that concern was justified.

Grossly unequal access to vaccines, tests, medicines and supplies, including oxygen, have left poorer countries at the mercy of the virus.  Recent surges of COVID-19 in India, South America and other regions have left people literally gasping for breath before our eyes.  The pandemic is still very much with us, thriving and mutating.  As winter approaches in the global South, I fear the worst is yet to come.

Vaccinating quickly and thoroughly around the world, together with continued public health measures, are the only way to end the pandemic and prevent more dangerous variants from gaining a foothold.  But, so far, more than 82 per cent of the world’s vaccine doses have gone to affluent countries.  Just 0.3 per cent have gone to low-income countries.

The Group of 20 Rome Declaration is a significant step to provide equal access to vaccines.  But, we need a follow-up mechanism, backed by the political will to translate the declaration into a global vaccination plan.  We have many initiatives, but we must make sure that they add instead of subtract.  We must make sure that there is a coordination at those different initiatives, some of them just announced today.

I repeat my call for the G20 to set up a task force that brings together all countries with vaccine production capacities, the World Health Organization, the ACT-Accelerator partners and international financial institutions, able to deal with the pharmaceutical companies and other key stakeholders.  The task force should address equitable global distribution by using the COVAX Facility.

It should aim to at least double manufacturing capacity by exploring all options, from voluntary licenses and technology transfers to patent pooling and flexibility on intellectual property rights.  The G20 task force should be co-convened at the highest levels by the major powers who hold most of the global supply and production capacity, together with the multilateral system.

I am ready to mobilize the entire United Nations System to support this effort.  The task force must also leverage the ACT-Accelerator and its COVAX Facility.

Let’s be clear, we are at war with the virus.  And if you are at war with the virus, we need to deal with our weapons with rules of a war economy, and we are not yet there.  And this is true for vaccines, and it is true for other components in the fight against the virus.  By now, COVAX should have delivered 170 million doses around the world.  But, due to vaccine nationalism, limited production capacity and lack of funding, that figure is just 65 million.

I call on G20 countries to lead by example and contribute their full share of funding.  An investment of billions could end up saving trillions — and saving lives.

A global coordinated effort on vaccines can end this pandemic.  But, it will not help prevent the next.  I fully support last week’s bold recommendations from the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response.  The world needs political commitment at the highest level to take internationally coordinated, cross-cutting measures and transform global pandemic preparedness.

The bedrock of the recovery from COVID-19, and of preventing and addressing future health crises, is universal health coverage and robust primary health care systems.  These are essential to achieve SDG3 and the entire 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

It is time for decisive action.  I urge G20 countries, in collaboration with the United Nations, to assume a strong leadership role in ending this devastating global pandemic.  Together, we can and we must build a healthier, safer, fairer and more sustainable world.  Thank you.

New international expert panel to address the emergence and spread of zoonotic diseases

Zoonotic Disease – One Health

New international expert panel to address the emergence and spread of zoonotic diseases

Geneva/Paris/Rome/Nairobi, 20 May 2021 – International organizations have come together to launch a new One Health High-Level Expert Panel to improve understanding of how diseases with the potential to trigger pandemics, emerge and spread.

The panel will advise four international organizations – the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO); the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE); the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); and the World Health Organization (WHO) – on the development of a long-term global plan of action to avert outbreaks of diseases like H5N1 avian influenza; MERS; Ebola; Zika, and, possibly, COVID-19. Three quarters of all emerging infectious diseases originate in animals.

It will operate under the One Health Approach, which recognizes the links between the health of people, animals, and the environment and highlights the need for specialists in multiple sectors to address any health threats and prevent disruption to agri-food systems.

Key first steps will include systematic analyses of scientific knowledge about the factors that lead to transmission of a disease from animal to human and vice versa; development of risk assessment and surveillance frameworks; identification of capacity gaps as well as agreement on good practices to prevent and prepare for zoonotic outbreaks.

The panel will consider the impact of human activity on the environment and wildlife habitats. Critical areas will include food production and distribution; urbanization and infrastructure development; international travel and trade; activities that lead to biodiversity loss and climate change; and those that put increased pressure on the natural resource base – all of which can lead to the emergence of zoonotic diseases.

The panel will guide development of a dynamic new research agenda and draw up evidence-based recommendations for global, regional, national and local action.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General said: “Human health does not exist in a vacuum, and nor can our efforts to protect and promote it. The close links between human, animal and environmental health demand close collaboration, communication and coordination between the relevant sectors. The High-Level Expert Panel is a much-needed initiative to transform One Health from a concept to concrete policies that safeguard the health of the world’s people.”…