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]

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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

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WHO/OCHA Emergencies

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

WHO Grade 3 Emergencies [to 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]

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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]

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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.

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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.”…

COVID – Multilateral Action

Milestones :: Perspectives :: Research

COVID – Multilateral Action

Global leaders adopt agenda to overcome COVID-19 crisis and avoid future pandemics
Press release 21 May 2021
Leaders of the G20 committed today to a series of actions to accelerate the end of the COVID-19 crisis everywhere and better prepare for future pandemics, at a summit co-hosted by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, as G20 chair.

President Ursula von der Leyen said: “This very first G20 summit on health marks the beginning of a new chapter in global health policy. World leaders strongly committed to multilateralism and global cooperation in health. This means, no export bans, keeping global supply chains open and working to extend production capacity everywhere. If we live up to these principles, the world will be better prepared for pandemics.”

The G20 underlined the importance of increased and diversified manufacturing and recognised the role of intellectual property in ensuring equity, both through voluntary licensing and knowledge transfer, as well as in the context of the flexibilities provided by the TRIPS agreement. In that respect, the EU intends to facilitate the implementation of those flexibilities, in particular the use of compulsory licenses including for exports to all countries that lack manufacturing capacity.*

The EU will come forward with a proposal in the WTO focusing on:
:: clarifying and facilitating the use of compulsory licences in crisis times like this pandemic;
:: supporting the expansion of production;
:: trade facilitation and limiting export restrictions.

All G20 members also acknowledged the need to address the funding gap of the ACT-Accelerator, a global collaboration to accelerate development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines, and launched by the WHO, the European Commission, France and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. And agreed to extend its mandate to the end of 2022.

The leaders further agreed on the need for early warning information, surveillance and trigger systems, which will be interoperable. These will cover new viruses, but also variants. They will enable countries to detect much quicker and to act to nip in the bud outbreaks, before they become pandemics.

G20 clearly stressed the need to ensure equitable access to vaccines and to support low and middle-income countries…

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: 22 May 2021
Confirmed cases :: 165 772 430 [week ago: 161 513 458]
Confirmed deaths :: 3 437 545 [week ago: 3 352 109]
Vaccine doses administered: 1 448 242 899

::::::

Weekly operational update on COVID-19 – 17 May 2021
In this edition of the COVID-19 Weekly Operational Update, highlights of country-level actions and WHO support to countries include:
:: Surge capacity and procurement support in India
:: Strengthening ambulance services as a part of the emergency response in Syria
:: Contact tracing training in Kosovo
:: Fiji boost its COVID-19 testing capabilities
:: Supporting countries in the Americas to cope with oxygen supply and health worker shortages
:: Monitoring implementation of Intra-Action Review recommendations in Indonesia
:: 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 – 18 May 2021
Overview
Globally, in the past week, the number of new cases and deaths continued to decrease, although overall counts for both remained high with just over 4.8 million new cases and nearly 86 000 new deaths reported in the past week. All regions reported a decline in new cases this week with the exception of the Western Pacific where the number of new cases were similar to the previous week.
In this edition, a special focus update is provided on SARS-CoV-2 Variants of Interest (VOIs) and Variants of Concern (VOCs), including updates on the geographic distribution of VOCs B.1.1.7, B.1.351, P.1, and B.1.617.

::::::
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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 19 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’.

Summary of new WPV and cVDPV viruses this week (AFP cases and ES positives):
:: Afghanistan: five cVDPV2 cases
:: Pakistan: one cVDPV2 case
:: China: one cVDPV3 positive environmental sample
:: Liberia: two cVDPV2 positive environmental samples
:: Mali: one cVDPV2 case
:: Nigeria: one cVDPV2 case and one cVDPV2 positive environmental sample

Statement following the Twenty-Eighth IHR Emergency Committee for Polio
21 May 2021 Statement
The twenty-eighth meeting of the Emergency Committee under the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR) on the international spread of poliovirus was convened by the WHO Director-General on 4 May 2021 with Committee members and advisers attending via video conference, supported by the WHO Secretariat.  The Emergency Committee reviewed the data on wild poliovirus (WPV1) and circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses (cVDPV).  The following IHR States Parties provided an update at the video conference on the current situation in their respective countries: Afghanistan, Kenya, Pakistan, Senegal, South Sudan and Tajikistan…

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

Continued risk of WPV1 international spread
Based on the following factors, the risk of international spread of WPV1 appears to be currently very high:
:: Despite the reported drop in the number of WPV-1 cases, there is geographically widespread transmission in Pakistan and Afghanistan as evidenced by positive environmental samples.
:: Isolation of long chain viruses in both countries indicates the possibility of missed transmission in the hard-to-reach population groups.
:: The ongoing inaccessibility in many provinces of Afghanistan has led to the increase in size of  highly susceptible populations which continues to drive higher transmission; to date about three million children were missed during all the nation-wide rounds in 2020 and 2021 (the highest in southern Afghanistan), and the cohort of missed children continues to rapidly grow (https://polioeradication.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Afghanistan_NEAP_2021.pdf).
:: Inconsistent vaccination campaigns quality in critical areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan, including Karachi, Quetta Block and accessible areas of southern Afghanistan.
:: Ongoing barriers to reach missed children in the core reservoirs of Pakistan and Afghanistan, including refusals to polio vaccination.
:: The complicated context of WPV eradication activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan created by the need to simultaneously respond to cVDPV2 and COVID-19.
:: The second wave of COVID-19 that appears to be currently underway in Pakistan, Afghanistan and many polio-affected countries, making the interventions more complex and difficult.

Rising risk of cVDPV2 international spread:
Based on the following factors, the risk of international spread of cVDPV2 appears to be currently very high:
:: Despite the reported decline in the number of cVDPV2 cases, the risk of international spread of cVDPV2 remains quite high as evidenced by recent importation in Senegal (never infected before) and Kenya (re-importation from Somalia).
:: The most updated analyses performed by the GPLN on international spread (Oct – Dec 2020), indicates cVDPV2 exportation from one country to another on 17 occasions.
:: The cVDPV2 transmission in Afghanistan has spread to areas that have been inaccessible for vaccination campaigns due to local bans for more than two years. This appears to be driving the intense transmission there, with continued high risk of national and international spread.
:: The ever-widening gap in population intestinal mucosal immunity in young children since the withdrawal of OPV2 in 2016.
:: The same factors regarding the COVID-19 pandemic as mentioned above…

…Based on the current situation regarding WPV1 and cVDPV, and the reports provided by affected countries, the Director-General accepted the Committee’s assessment on 21 May 2021 and determined that the situation relating to poliovirus continues to constitute a PHEIC, with respect to WPV1 and cVDPV…

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::::::

WHO/OCHA Emergencies

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

WHO Grade 3 Emergencies [to 22 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 22 May 2021]
Burkina Faso
:: Renforcer les capacités du personnel de santé dans la prise en charge des victimes d…
21 mai 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]
Cameroon – No new digest announcements identified [Last apparent update: 12 March 2020]
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: 512 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 22 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]
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
No new digest announcements identified

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

The Sentinel

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

__________________________________________________

Week ending 15 May 2021 :: Number 367

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:

COVID-19: Make it the Last Pandemic – The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response

COVID-19: Make it the Last Pandemic
The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response
May 2021 :: 86 pages
The Independent Panel was established by the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General in response to the World Health Assembly resolution 73.1. The mission of the Independent Panel is to provide an evidence-based path for the future, grounded in lessons of the present and the past to ensure countries and global institutions, including specifically WHO, effectively address health threats.
Members:
Rt Hon. Helen Clark Co-Chair
H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Co-Chair
Mauricio Cárdenas
Aya Chebbi
Mark Dybul
Michel Kazatchkine
Joanne Liu
Precious Matsoso
David Miliband
Thoraya Obaid
Preeti Sudan
Ernesto Zedillo
Zhong Nanshan

Main Report: COVID-19: Make it the Last Pandemic – PDF, 5.1 MB
From the Introduction
…Seized by the gravity of the crisis, in May 2020 the World Health Assembly requested the Director-general of WHO to initiate an impartial, independent, and comprehensive review of the international health response to COVID-19 and of experiences gained and lessons learned from that, and to make recommendations to improve capacities for the future. The Director-General asked H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the Rt Hon. Helen Clark to convene an independent panel for this purpose and to report to the World Health Assembly in May 2021.

The Panel has taken a systematic, rigorous and comprehensive approach to its work. It has sought to listen to and learn from a wide range of interlocutors. Since mid-September 2020, the Panel has reviewed extensive literature, conducted original research, heard from experts in 15 round-table discussions and in interviews, received the testimony of people working on the front lines of the pandemic in town-hall-style meetings, and welcomed many submissions from its open invitation to contribute.

The Panel has examined the state of pandemic preparedness prior to COVID-19, the circumstances of the identification of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and the disease it causes, coronavirus disease (COVID-19), and responses globally, regionally and nationally, particularly in the pandemic’s early months. It has also analysed the wide-ranging impact of the pandemic and the ongoing social and economic crisis that it has precipitated.

This report presents the Panel’s findings on what happened, the lessons to be learned from that, and our recommendations for strategic action now to end this pandemic and to ensure that any future infectious disease outbreak does not become a catastrophic pandemic…

[Excerpts; Editor’s selection/text bolding]
[p.14]
The Independent Panel makes the following urgent calls
I. Apply non-pharmaceutical public health measures systematically and rigorously in every country at the scale the epidemiological situation requires. All countries to have an explicit evidence-based strategy agreed at the highest level of government to curb COVID-19 transmission.

II. High income countries with a vaccine pipeline for adequate coverage should, alongside their scale up, commit to provide to the 92 low and middle income countries of the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment, at least one billion vaccine doses no later than 1 September 2021 and more than two billion doses by mid-2022, to be made available through COVAX and other coordinated mechanisms.

III. G7 countries to commit to providing 60% of the US$ 19 billion required for ACT-A in 2021 for vaccines, diagnostics, therapeutics and strengthening health systems with the remainder being mobilised from others in the G20 and other higher income countries. A formula based on ability to pay should be adopted for predictable, sustainable, and equitable financing of such global public goods on an ongoing basis.

IV. The World Trade Organization and WHO to convene major vaccine-producing countries and manufacturers to get agreement on voluntary licensing and technology transfer arrangements for COVID-19 vaccines (including through the Medicines Patent Pool). If actions do not occur within three months, a waiver of intellectual property rights under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights should come into force immediately.

V. Production of and access to COVID-19 tests and therapeutics, including oxygen, should be scaled up urgently in low- and middle income countries with full funding of US$1.7 billion for needs in 2021 and the full utilization of the US$3.7 billion in the Global Fund’s COVID-19 Response Mechanism Phase 2 for procuring tests, strengthening laboratories and running surveillance and tests.

VI. WHO to develop immediately a roadmap for the short-term, and within three months scenarios for the medium- and long-term response to COVID-19, with clear goals, targets and milestones to guide and monitor the implementation of country and global efforts towards ending the COVID-19 pandemic.

[p.45]
5. The Independent Panel’s recommendations for transforming the international system for pandemic preparedness and response
The Panel believes that system-level change is needed to overcome the manifest failure of the international system to prevent, contain, and mitigate the impact of a pandemic. Pandemic preparedness and response have to function at national, regional and global levels, across different sectors of social and economic life, and include government, business and community.

The current pandemic needs to be stopped as quickly as possible. Then measures in the recovery phase must be taken to ensure that such a pandemic never happens again, by building forward better. The lost ground in progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals needs to be made up by redressing the interlocking impacts of the pandemic on health, livelihoods, and inequality.

The Panel’s recommendations follow from the diagnosis we have made of what went wrong at each stage of the pandemic, in preparedness, surveillance and alert and early and sustained response and from our view of the leadership required to transform the system.

There is a need for:
:: Stronger leadership and better coordination at national, regional and international level, including a more focused and independent WHO, a Pandemic Treaty, and a senior Global Health Threats Council.
:: investment in preparedness now, and not when the next crisis hits, more accurate measurement of it, and accountability mechanisms to spur action;
:: an improved system for surveillance and alert at a speed that can combat viruses like SARS-CoV-2, and authority given to WHO to publish information and to dispatch expert missions immediately;
:: a pre-negotiated platform able to produce vaccines, diagnostics, therapeutics and supplies and secure their rapid and equitable delivery as essential global common goods;
:: access to financial resources, both for investments in preparedness and to be able to inject funds immediately at the onset of a potential pandemic.

The Panel calls on Member States to request the United Nations Secretary-General to convene a special session of the United Nations General Assembly to reach agreement on the reforms needed to ensure that the world can prevent the next outbreak of a new pathogen becoming another pandemic…

[p.48]
2. Focus and strengthen the independence, authority and financing of the WHO
The Panel recommends
I. Establish WHO´s financial independence, based on fully unearmarked resources, increase Member States fees to 2/3 of the budget for the WHO base programme and have an organized replenishment process for the remainder of the budget.

II. Strengthen the authority and independence of the Director-General, including by having a single term of office of seven years with no option for re-election. The same rule should be adopted for Regional Directors.

III. Strengthen the governance capacity of the Executive Board, including by establishing a Standing Committee for Emergencies.

IV. Focus WHO’s mandate on normative, policy, and technical guidance, including supporting countries and regions to build capacity for pandemic preparedness and response and for resilient and equitable
health systems.

V. Empower WHO to take a leading, convening, and coordinating role in operational aspects of an emergency response to a pandemic, without, in most circumstances, taking on responsibility for procurement and supplies, while also ensuring other key functions of WHO do not suffer including providing technical advice and support in operational settings.

VI. Resource and equip WHO Country Offices sufficiently to respond to technical requests from national governments to support pandemic preparedness and response, including support to build resilient equitable and accessible health systems, UHC and healthier populations.

VII. Prioritize the quality and performance of staff at each WHO level, and de-politicize recruitment (especially at senior levels) by adhering to criteria of merit and relevant competencies.

[p.52]
4. Establish a new international system for surveillance, validation and alert
The Panel recommends
I. WHO to establish a new global system for surveillance, based on full transparency by all parties, using state-of-the-art digital tools to connect information centres around the world and including animal and environmental health surveillance, with appropriate protections of people’s rights.

II. WHO to be given the explicit authority by the World Health Assembly to publish information about outbreaks with pandemic potential on an immediate basis, without requiring the prior approval of national governments.

III. WHO to be empowered by the World Health Assembly to investigate pathogens with pandemic potential in all countries with short-notice access to relevant sites, provision of samples and standing multientry visas for international epidemic experts to outbreak locations.

IV. Future declarations of a PHEIC by the WHO Director-General should be based on the precautionary principle where warranted, as in the case of respiratory infections. PHEIC declarations should be based on clear, objective, and published criteria. The Emergency Committee advising the WHO Director-General must be fully transparent in its membership and working methods. On the same day that a PHEIC is declared, WHO must provide countries with clear guidance on what action should to be taken and by whom to contain the health threat…

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is screen-shot-2021-05-16-at-3.47.00-pm.png

Background documents represent the Panel’s in-depth research including an authoritative chronology of the early response. Additional background papers will be posted in the month of May 2021.
Background Paper 1: Building on the past – PDF, 952 KB
Background Paper 2a: The authoritative chronology – PDF, 19.9 MB
Background Paper 3: From science to policy – PDF, 1.8 MB
Background Paper 5: Access to vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics – PDF, 3 MB
Background Paper 6: Scaling up vaccination, legal aspects – PDF, 609 KB
Background Paper 7: Access to essential supplies – PDF, 1.3 MB
Background Paper 8: Impact on essential health – PDF, 1.1 MB
Background Paper 9: Social impact – PDF, 1.5 MB
Background Paper 10: Community involvement – PDF, 1 MB
Background Paper 11: Human rights – PDF, 940 KB
Background Paper 13: Economic impact – PDF, 1.4 MB
Background Paper 14: Financing Pandemic Preparedness and Response – PDF, 1.6 MB
Background Paper 15: WHO institutional review – PDF, 1.6 MB
Background Paper 16: International treaties – PDF, 1 MB

ISO’s Action Plan for developing countries 2021-2025

Standards and Development

International Standards Organization

ISO’s Action Plan for developing countries 2021-2025

Designed with members, for members.

May 2021

   The ISO Action Plan for developing countries is the overall framework for technical assistance and training to support developing country members. Its objective is to empower members to contribute actively to the ISO system and fully realize the benefits of using ISO standards, particularly those addressing social, economic and environmental challenges. Achieving this objective will also make an important contribution to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and ISO’s vision of “making lives easier, safer and better” by 2030.

Strategic context

   The global community is faced with an increasing set of social, economic and environmental challenges. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide an ambitious frame-work for global collective action to address these challenges and achieve a more sustainable future, by supporting inclusive economic growth, the wellbeing of people and the protection of the planet. They present an opportunity and an aspiration to build greener, more inclusive economies and stronger, more resilient societies.

   ISO standards have an essential role to play in making these development goals a reality by enabling free and fair international trade, encouraging innovation and technology development, and fostering trust through the provision of world-class, consensus-based specifications.

   Developing countries can benefit significantly from using ISO standards. At a government level, standards can be used to support public policy and good regulatory practice. At a private-sector level, businesses can use standards to ensure that their processes, products and services are fit for purpose, interchangeable and compatible. Consumers benefit greatly from goods and services developed in line with standards because they can be confident that these are of good quality, safe and environmentally sound. To realize these benefits, it is important that developing countries have the skills and resources to propose new work items and participate in all stages of ISO standards development. ISO recognizes that many of its developing country members need capacity building support to benefit fully from the use of ISO standards in contributing to their countries’ development objectives and advancing the SDGs.

ISO Strategy 2021-2030

Making lives easier, safer and better

   ISO’s ten-year strategy sets out the organization’s vision, mission, goals and priorities to 2030, a time frame that aligns with the SDGs. The strategy aims to ensure that ISO is well positioned within a rapidly changing global context and that ISO standards fulfil their potential in delivering ISO’s vision of “ making lives easier, safer and better ”.

   To realize this vision, and maximize the impact of standards and standardization, ISO has identified three clear goals: ISO standards used everywhere; meeting global needs; and all voices heard. These goals are underpinned by six strategic priorities and an associated set of performance indicators. Recognizing that ISO is only as strong as its members, and that strong national standards bodies (NSBs) are key to its success, one of these strategic priorities is “ to strengthen ISO members through capacity building ”. The ISO Strategy serves as the basis for the ISO Action Plan for developing countries: the overall framework of technical assistance and training support that ISO delivers to its developing country members.

Impact

   Developing countries are empowered to actively contribute to the ISO system, and to benefit fully from the use of ISO standards addressing social, economic and environmental challenges. The ultimate long-term objective of this Action Plan is to empower ISO’s developing country members to contribute actively to the ISO system and fully realize the benefits of using ISO standards that address social, economic and environmental challenges. Meaningful participation of developing countries in international standardization is fundamental to ensuring the global relevance of ISO standards and establishing the right conditions for their effective implementation. Achieving this objective will make an important contribution towards the delivery of the SDGs and ISO’s vision of “ making lives easier, safer and better ” by 2030.

Outcomes

To deliver on the desired long-term impact, two main areas of improvement (outcomes) have been identified for ISO’s developing country members.

  Outcome 1: Increased use of ISO standards and their national adoptions in developing countries to support the UN SDGs, particularly those relating to trade and climate change.

   The Action Plan will build in-country awareness and expertise of ISO standards to encourage their use and adoption among all stakeholders and support the achievement of the UNSDGs. While the Action Plan will seek to promote the use and adoption of ISO standards relating to all 17 SDGs (see Box on page 1), the priority focus is on international trade and climate change.

   International trade is a key catalyst for economic development and poverty reduction, and one of the most important drivers of prosperity, particularly in developing countries. The application of ISO standards reduces technical barriers to trade and increases developing countries’ trade opportunities. The Plan will enable developing countries to use ISO standards effectively to benefit from trade and contribute to their economic development.

   Given the profound threat of climate change, the Plan has also prioritized providing support to developing countries so that they can develop, adopt and apply ISO standards relating to all aspects of climate change mitigation and adaptation.

   Outcome 2: Increased effective participation of ISO’s developing country members at governance and technical levels to enhance the global relevance of ISO standards.

   ISO standards will only be globally relevant and effectively adopted and used if they suffi-ciently represent the views and interests of as many countries as possible. To ensure that developing countries’ interests are fairly represented and provided for, the Action Plan will assist developing countries in participating more effectively at both the governance and technical levels within the ISO system.

Civil Society Statement on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict (2021)

Protection – Civilians in Armed Conflict

Civil Society Statement on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict (2021)

May 2021

[See endorsing organizations at end; Editor’s text-bolding for emphasis]

Over the past year, anniversaries of the conflicts in Syria, Libya, Yemen, and new outbreaks of violence elsewhere, have served as grim reminders of the international community’s lack of meaningful progress to uphold their commitments to protect civilians in armed conflict. The COVID-19 pandemic has interacted with new, ongoing, and protracted conflicts, exacerbating existing inequalities and protection concerns, and contributing to dramatically escalating humanitarian needs including displacement, famine and food insecurity, and desperate medical shortfalls. Civilians living in conflict-zones continue to experience the devastating impacts of conflict-related environmental damage and an increased vulnerability to climate and environmental risks with wide-ranging effects on health and human suffering.

Meanwhile, States continue to use the pandemic and other pretexts to shrink civic space. Dialogue essential to the development of policies, strategies, and plans for protection of civilians too often fails to be adequately representative and inclusive of civil society, despite their voices being essential. This is especially true for vulnerable or marginalized communities and for human rights defenders.

Parties to conflict continue to be blind to the gendered, age-specific, and intersectional vulnerabilities of civilians. In particular, conflicts continue to undermine the rights of women, children, persons with disabilities and minorities, especially when it comes to participating in decisions that impact their lives and communities. Conflict often leads to the widespread use of gender-based violence, undermining of women’s freedom of movement and access to education, health and livelihoods. The deliberate targeting and collateral impact of conflicts on women and girls continues to result in specific gendered harms that must be redressed, requiring the humanitarian system to ensure that there is gender equity in the decision-making structures at all levels. Attacks on educational institutions and their military use result in death, destruction, and loss of education, creating long-term negative consequences for whole communities.

Moreover, the absence of genuine political will to realize accountability for war crimes and other serious violations has deepened a culture of impunity.  As a result, parties to conflict continue to directly violate international humanitarian law (IHL) or enable violations by others and fail to take meaningful practical steps to minimize and respond to civilian harm in conflict.  Parties, including some States who profess to support the protection of civilians agenda are also fueling protection crises around the world, including through the supply of weapons and other forms of military and security assistance. Rather than enhancing the protection of civilians, millions have been forced to flee bombing and fighting and face hunger, starvation and disease as their access to life-saving humanitarian assistance is denied or otherwise impeded.

At the same time, protecting civilians has too often been understood through the prism of compliance with international humanitarian law. This is an incomplete view: compliance with the law is the bare minimum, but current patterns of harm and long-term effects of hostilities highlight the need for policies and practices to effectively prevent, minimize, and respond to civilian harm. The full protection of civilians must become a strategic imperative across scenarios from direct involvement in hostilities to support provided to parties to conflict, and through the full spectrum of UN and other international and regional peace operations. This should entail prioritizing the health and wellbeing of people, supporting political and social structures that ensure justice and dignity, and protecting the environment, and be understood as a wider goal of conflict prevention and response.

Ambitious action to shift mindsets and invest in robust policies, strategies and practices is urgently required to adequately protect civilians caught in armed conflict:

:: Member States, the UN System, and the international community must recommit to a United Nations of ‘We the Peoples’, and engage conflict-affected communities and local, national, and international civil society in a direct, robust, inclusive, and sustained dialogue on the protection of civilians and measures to minimize civilian harm. Effective protection of civilians can only be conceived and implemented through safe and inclusive dialogue with conflict-affected communities and civil society at all levels. Additionally, the UN, States, and other stakeholders should support nonviolent and community-based protection mechanisms where possible such as political mediation, early warning/early response activities, and unarmed civilian

:: The UN Security Council, Member States, and the UN System must fulfill their commitment to the full protection of civilians, including by promoting and implementing the relevant and applicable legal and policy frameworks. Member States should partner with civil society to develop national policy frameworks that include mechanisms to systematically record casualties, track, analyze, prevent, mitigate, and respond to civilian harm from the actions of their own and those of security partners, including the indirect and reverberating effects of hostilities on critical civilian objects, critical infrastructure and essential services, including health and education, and that ensure principled and sustained dialogue with humanitarian organizations in conflict contexts.

:: The UN Security Council, Member States and all parties to conflict must operate in a manner that preserves and protects space for principled humanitarian action, including by ensuring compliance with international humanitarian and human rights law, as a critical aspect of strengthening the protection of civilians. As conflicts are increasingly defined as protection crises, disproportionately affecting women, girls, and boys, and are compounded by the gendered and age-specific impacts of COVID-19, States must take actions to reinforce the rights of women, children, persons with disabilities and other marginalized groups, and the localization of principled humanitarian response. States and all other parties to conflict must facilitate unhindered access to affected populations, respecting humanitarian principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, and independence. Sanctions and counterterrorism measures must include effective humanitarian exceptions and not limit principled humanitarian action. All actors must redouble efforts to protect humanitarian, education and health workers, and cease attacks on them, particularly in light of COVID-19’s effects and vaccine rollout.

:: The UN Secretary-General, the Security Council, and Member States must redouble efforts to ensure accountability for violations, including by publicly condemning actors who violate international humanitarian law, international human rights law and other applicable legal frameworks. The UN Security Council and Member States must strengthen the implementation of accountability mechanisms. The Secretary-General should reinforce transparent mechanisms, including at the field level, to track, analyze, and publicly report on violations caused by parties to armed conflicts, and make practical recommendations to enhance the protection of civilians and prevent further violations. Critical mechanisms established to help strengthen accountability, such as the list of perpetrators of grave violations of children’s rights included in the Secretary-General’s Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict, must be credible and accurate, free from politicization.

:: Member States should engage constructively in the process to develop a political declaration that would strengthen the protection of civilians from the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects. Such a declaration should commit States to avoid the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas. It should include inclusive humanitarian provisions to assist victims and affected communities including from damage and destruction to infrastructure – including schools and hospitals – and the resulting reverberating effects. This should recognize the particular vulnerability of and specific impacts of explosive weapons on children, the gendered impacts, and particular impacts on persons with disabilities.

:: The UN Secretary-General must work together with the UN Security Council to ensure protection is at the heart of UN peace operations.  Configurations and operations of UN peace operations must prioritize and be driven by analysis of threats against civilians, including threats of sexual and gender-based violence and threats of grave violations against children. The Secretary-General and Member States should ensure a coherent and adequately resourced approach to the protection of civilians, including that distinct capacities for protection, human rights, gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, and child protection are defined and provided across the spectrum of peace operations and in UN Country Teams, and sustained throughout transitions. Peacekeeping operations should continue to strengthen implementation of the UN Department of Peace Operations PoC Policy, mitigate potential harm from their presence or operations, and incorporate local perspectives into protection strategies.

As civil society, we believe in the comprehensive protection of civilians: the protection of civilians from conflict, the protection of civilians during conflict, and the protection of civilians in the devastating and often long aftermath of conflict. Over the past year, the pandemic has further forced the world to confront the protection implications of a global health crisis. Especially in the context of conflict, States and the international community must meaningfully advance the protection of civilians, starting with a recommitment to the critical dictum of “do no harm.”

*See also: Joint Statement: NGOs Call for Action to Strengthen the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict (May 2020): http://bit.ly/NGO-PoCstatement-2020

Endorsing organizations:

Action Against Hunger

Airwars

Article36

CARE

Center for Civilians in Conflict

Childfund Alliance

Control Arms

Every Casualty Counts

Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect

Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack

Humanity & Inclusion – Handicap International

Human Rights Watch

Interaction

The International Network on Explosive Weapons

International Rescue Committee

Nonviolent Peaceforce

Norwegian Refugee Council

Oxfam

PAX

Plan International

Refugees International

Save the Children

War Child

Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict

Women’s Refugee Commission

World Vision International

ICRC position on autonomous weapon systems

Conflict – Governance/Control of Autonomous Weapon Systems

ICRC position on autonomous weapon systems

With a view to supporting current efforts to establish internationally agreed limits on autonomous weapon systems to address the concern they raise, ICRC recommends that States adopt new legally binding rules.

12 May 2021

The ICRC’s concerns about autonomous weapon systems

Autonomous weapon systems select and apply force to targets without human intervention. After initial activation or launch by a person, an autonomous weapon system self-initiates or triggers a strike in response to information from the environment received through sensors and on the basis of a generalized “target profile”. This means that the user does not choose, or even know, the specific target(s) and the precise timing and/or location of the resulting application(s) of force.

The use of autonomous weapon systems entails risks due to the difficulties in anticipating and limiting their effects. This loss of human control and judgement in the use of force and weapons raises serious concerns from humanitarian, legal and ethical perspectives.

The process by which autonomous weapon systems function:

:: brings risks of harm for those affected by armed conflict, both civilians and combatants, as well as dangers of conflict escalation

:: raises challenges for compliance with international law, including international humanitarian law, notably, the rules on the conduct of hostilities for the protection of civilians

:: raises fundamental ethical concerns for humanity, in effect substituting human decisions about life and death with sensor, software and machine processes.

The ICRC’s recommendations to States for the regulation of autonomous weapon systems

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has, since 2015, urged States to establish internationally agreed limits on autonomous weapon systems to ensure civilian protection, compliance with international humanitarian law, and ethical acceptability.

With a view to supporting current efforts to establish international limits on autonomous weapon systems that address the risks they raise, the ICRC recommends that States adopt new legally binding rules.

In particular:

[1] Unpredictable autonomous weapon systems should be expressly ruled out, notably because of their indiscriminate effects. This would best be achieved with a prohibition on autonomous weapon systems that are designed or used in a manner such that their effects cannot be sufficiently understood, predicted and explained.

[2] In light of ethical considerations to safeguard humanity, and to uphold international humanitarian law rules for the protection of civilians and combatants hors de combat, use of autonomous weapon systems to target human beings should be ruled out. This would best be achieved through a prohibition on autonomous weapon systems that are designed or used to apply force against persons.

[3] In order to protect civilians and civilian objects, uphold the rules of international humanitarian law and safeguard humanity, the design and use of autonomous weapon systems that would not be prohibited should be regulated, including through a combination of:

   :: limits on the types of target, such as constraining them to objects that are military objectives by nature

   :: limits on the duration, geographical scope and scale of use, including to enable human judgement and control in relation to a specific attack

   :: limits on situations of use, such as constraining them to situations where civilians or civilian objects are not present

   :: requirements for human–machine interaction, notably to ensure effective human supervision, and timely intervention and deactivation.

The ICRC supports initiatives by States aimed at establishing international limits on autonomous weapon systems that aim at effectively addressing concerns raised by these weapons, such as efforts pursued in the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons to agree on aspects of a normative and operational framework. Considering the speed of development in autonomous weapon systems’ technology and use, it is critical that internationally agreed limits be established in a timely manner. Beyond new legal rules, these limits may also include common policy standards and good practice guidance, which can be complementary and mutually reinforcing. To this end, and within the scope of its mandate and expertise, the ICRC stands ready to work in collaboration with relevant stakeholders at international and national levels, including representatives of governments, armed forces, the scientific and technical community, and industry.

Geneva, 12 May 2021