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Armed groups responses to the Covid-19 crisis

ODI - 17. Juni 2020 - 0:00
We explore how armed groups across the world have reacted to Covid-19 and the implications this will have on humanitarian responses.
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COVID-19 | A conversation with David Malpass

Devex - 16. Juni 2020 - 19:53
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Draft Short Report from Major Groups and Stakeholders from UNEA5

Women - 16. Juni 2020 - 18:48

Last week, the Women’s Major Group had a strong presence at the online consultations with Major Groups and other Stakeholders and the bureau of Member States for UNEA 5. Representing WMG, Isis Alvarez, Noelene Nabilivou and Neth Dano gave powerful presentations.

Here you may find the Draft short report from MGs Consultation 7th June.

Below you may find excerpts of the document, including a description and WMG’s key requests.

—–

“In preparation for the UN Environmental Assembly 5 (UNEA5), an international online
consultation for major groups and stakeholders was held on 7th June 2020.
The main themes of the consultation was: Tackling Ocean Pollution, Health and
Environment, Ecosystem Restoration, Biodiversity and Development and
Involvement and Implementation. Following public panel discussions and closed
group discussions, the major groups gathered to develop their concrete key requests
on these themes.”

 

WMG Key Requests

Tackling ocean pollution

  • UNEA5 to adopt a mandate to negotiate a legally binding instrument to tackle plastic pollution that covers phase-out/reduction of plastic at the up-stream and middle-stream level, and addresses health impacts of plastic pollution;
  • Address other kinds of ocean pollution such as geoengineering (i.e. synthetic micro-bubbles, ocean fertilisation, marine cloud brightening), deep-sea mining, chemicals/hazardous wastes dumping to the ocean;

Proposals for implementation of the requests:

  • Include the impacted communities and vulnerable populations in the plastic negotiation process (i.e. fish-eaters, communities impacted by fracking activities, petrochemicals industry pollution).
  • Meaningful engagement with the right-holders to assess new technologies

 

Health and Environment: What a post-pandemic recovery looks like

  • Stop bailing out polluters (chemicals industry, airlines, agro-industry, ) and divesting from dirty technology/industry.
  • Admit and emphasize the link between environmental pollution with human health (communicable diseases as well as non-communicable diseases) that affect all populations especially the vulnerable populations (women, children, people with underlying health problems).

Implementation:

  • More work towards planetary health, not only environmental health.
  • Polluters-pay principle need to be strengthened, no fiscal incentives/subsidies for polluters and dirty businesses.
  • Replace agriculture and food production system with decentralised, localized, biodiverse peasant, and women-led agriculture system with agroecology approach.
  • Enforce existing environmental health conventions and agreements (Climate Change, BRS and Minamata Conventions, and SAICM), phase-out harmful chemicals production and use in products and processes, replace with organic and nature-based materials.

 

Ecosystem Restoration, Biodiversity, and Development: How can we have development in harmony with nature?

  • End dirty business practices that destroyed the ecosystem and ecosystem services.
  • Rethink the development paradigm, and development financing, stop funding false solutions.
  • Support interventions using a landscape approach to maintain high biodiversity mix in the ecosystem.

Implementation:

  • Promote and support sustainable economic activities especially in the impacted communities in harmony with nature.
  • Promote and support more investment in real renewable energy (solar, wind, wave).

 

Road to Stockholm+50, UNEP@50 and achieving the SDGs: Involvement and Implementation

  • We are the right-holders. UNEA should recognise the devastating impact of business stakeholder (profit-focused) on rights-holders and the environment. UNEA needs to recognize the conflict of interest of UNEP partnerships with polluters (#nodirtybusiness).
  • Gender-digital UNEA should recognize the gender-digital-divide: fewer women than men have smartphones /access to the internet (OECD) and are affected by the environmental and social impacts of digital tech (energy use, emissions, scammer, etc.).
  • More meaningful We are upset that we have no voice in the town halls next week, this lack of meaningful engagement, limited participations, never facilitates meaningful stakeholders engagement/dialogues with higher delegates.
  • Business stakeholders should also include sustainable solutions providers (recycling industry, alternative delivery system providers, biomaterials packaging etc.).
  • Meaningful engagement and dialogues with high levels delegates, not only between the major groups.
  • Provide more support for sustainable community-led solutions.
  • UNEA should support/facilitate rights-holders to meaningful participation, to assess/evaluate the impact of new technologies.

The post Draft Short Report from Major Groups and Stakeholders from UNEA5 appeared first on Women's Major Group.

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Trade in many developing countries projected to ‘nosedive’, warns UNCTAD

UN ECOSOC - 16. Juni 2020 - 18:09
Trade in many developing countries is expected to take a “nosedive” in the second quarter of 2020, owing to the unprecedented effects of the coronavirus pandemic, UN economists said on Tuesday.
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Middle East and North Africa: The challenge of a long-term strategy for oil exporting countries

OECD - 16. Juni 2020 - 17:30
By Rahmat Poudineh, Senior Research Fellow and Director of Research, the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies This blog is part of a series on tackling COVID-19 in developing countries. Visit the OECD dedicated page to access the OECD’s data, analysis and recommendations on the health, economic, financial and societal impacts of COVID-19 worldwide. There is no single successful strategy to … Continue reading Middle East and North Africa: The challenge of a long-term strategy for oil exporting countries
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Paquete de Políticas del C20 de la gestión 2020

#C20 18 - 16. Juni 2020 - 16:55
 Pulse aquí para descargar el documento
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Syrian refugees resort to ever more desperate measures to resist pandemic impact

UN ECOSOC - 16. Juni 2020 - 15:58
The COVID-19 crisis has caused a dramatic spike in the number of Syrian refugees in need of emergency assistance in the last three months, UN humanitarians said on Tuesday, in an appeal for funding to confront new challenges posed by the health emergency.
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Livelihoods in danger

D+C - 16. Juni 2020 - 11:18
A sociologist assess the background of guerrilla warfare in central India’s forests

Why does violent conflict so often rage in primary forests?
There are several reasons, including the demand for land, timber and other forest products. Moreover, mining companies want to exploit coal, ores and minerals. Powerful interest groups are thus involved, and the local people, who live in the forest, are typically not considered relevant. Indeed, policymakers often find wildlife tourism more important than local people’s welfare. The big issue is always who controls forests and exploits the resources.

Does it add to problems that natural forests are almost by definition remote areas where the state is hardly present? The local people are not connected to networks of influence. Often they speak different languages and have cultures of their own.
Yes, forest communities are mostly disempowered. Where and when the state is present, moreover, it mostly takes sides against them. In India, the officers of the forest department have police powers. They can arrest people and search homes. They are not accountable to those who live in the forests and know that they basically enjoy impunity. Of course, things differ from country to country. But almost everywhere, informal militias, paramilitary outfits or private military-service corporations like DynCorp or Blackwater – now called Academi – play a role.

A decade ago, India’s then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh declared that the Naxalites, Maoist insurgents, were your country’s greatest security threat. His government launched Operation Green Hunt to suppress them. Was it successful? The Naxalites aren’t making headlines anymore.
Well, not having headlines is part of how the security forces manage this conflict. They mostly prefer not to discuss the violence in remote parts of the country at all – unless something has happened that makes them look strong. Violent encounters still occur sometimes. The region that has been most affected by guerrilla warfare is Bastar, a district in Chhatisgarh State, where the military now has a camp every five kilometres. The troops are all over the place, but the villages still have some autonomy and there is clandestine activity. The situation remains tense and Operation Green Hunt is still going on.

Historically, Adivasi tribes populate India’s forests. They speak languages of their own and do not traditionally adhere to Hinduism. Do the Naxalites mobilise people along identity lines?
Well, their presence in central India’s forests became a big issue in the early 2000s, and I don’t think it was Maoist ideology that attracted people as much as the feeling that their livelihoods were threatened. They wanted protection from a predatory state. The Naxalite leaders learned Gondi, the major Adivasi language spoken in Bastar, and the majority of the cadre are now local. Identity politics of that kind may play a role at the grassroots level, but that is not the rebellion’s raison d’être. And even though the current national government demands Hindu dominance, the conflict is not about religion either. On the other hand, Adivasi belief systems are typically linked to natural resources, so any attack on those resources can be read as an attack on the religious faith. However, there are many Adivasi who do not support the Naxalites as well as many members of other marginalised communities who do. Generally speaking, Naxalites have been particularly successful in mobilising Adivasis and Dalits, the members of India’s lowest castes, who were called “untouchables” in colonial times. To some extent, Maoist outfits also reach out successfully to other poor and marginalised communities. India’s stratified society has many of them.

Today, Narendra Modi is India’s prime minister. Does that make a difference?
The answer is both yes and no. On the one hand, all parties are complicit in oppressive action. The Naxalites have a long and violent history that goes back to the late 1960s. They always called for a violent overthrow and mobilised oppressed communities, and were met with ever more violence by the government. There was never any serious attempt by the state to broker peace or to alleviate the grievances that they thrive on. Even the major Communist parties resented them right from the start. On the other hand, the Hindu-chauvinists of the BJP, Modi’s party, are especially intolerant of minorities, including Adivasis and Dalits, even if they have some token leaders among these communities. The BJP is very militaristic in its approach, while the Congress is more divided between a carrot and stick policy. It is primarily the BJP which was responsible for the escalation of violence in Bastar from 2005 on. It was running the state government and had links to very brutal vigilante groups. The Congress-led national government at the time supported them. Today, the Congress is running the state government and the BJP the national one. The atmosphere in the state is a little more free for journalists, civil-society activists et cetera but the war on Adivasi villages continues. Other states – from West Bengal and Odisha in the east to Maharashtra in the west  –have been affected by Naxalite violence, but things never escalated as they did in Bastar.

The scenario looks depressingly bleak. Are there any positive lessons India can teach the world community?
Yes, there are. Sustainable forest management is possible. There has been a lot of good experience with empowering local people who understand the natural environment and know how to exploit forest resources without destroying the ecosystem. If and when the authorities adopt their approaches and support their efforts, the results tend to be very good – without bloodshed or other human-rights violations. It is wrong to think that we must either destroy the environment or not have any development at all. More nuanced approaches are better. The bad news, however, is that our governments – whether at the national or state levels – still believe the choice is binary. It is particularly frightening to see the Modi government once again prioritising industrial growth over everything in the Covid-19 crisis by giving environmental clearance to mines, abolishing protective labour legislation et cetera. The government’s treatment of workers was appalling with millions of workers stranded without food or shelter during the stringent Covid-19 lockdown, many of whom were forced to walk home to their villages, thousands of kilometres away. Modi is siding with the big corporations and the dominant castes. With so many migrant workers returning home to their villages, we need imaginative models for rural development and livelihoods, but the government is oblivious.

Nandini Sundar is a professor of sociology at the Delhi School of Economics and the author of “The burning forest: India’s war on Maoists” (London, 2019: Verso).
Twitter: @nandinisundar
nandinisundar.blogspot.com

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How can Covid-19 be the catalyst to decolonise development research?

EADI Debating Development Research - 16. Juni 2020 - 11:05
By Melanie Pinet and Carmen Leon-Himmelstine Covid-19 is an unprecedented moment, halting life as we know it. For the global development community, the effects have been profound. Several NGOs have had to scale back or completely stop their operations overseas, while local actors and civil society are rapidly organising to respond to the crisis through …
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Trading to avoid falling behind in the COVID-19 crisis: Lessons from Central America to boost prosperity

OECD - 16. Juni 2020 - 9:44
 By Rodrigo Méndez Maddaleno, Economist at Chief Economist Office, Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) This blog is part of a series on tackling COVID-19 in developing countries. Visit the OECD dedicated page to access the OECD’s data, analysis and recommendations on the health, economic, financial and societal impacts of COVID-19 worldwide. If what and where you export matters, Central … Continue reading Trading to avoid falling behind in the COVID-19 crisis: Lessons from Central America to boost prosperity
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From charity to fair chances: spotlight on Social Protection during COVID-19

INCLUDE Platform - 16. Juni 2020 - 9:27
Update on COVID-19 in Africa

In a single week between the first and second drafts of this news item, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Africa has risen by more than 50,000, from 190,000 on June 8th to over 240,000 on June 15th. To date, Africa has reported surprisingly low infection and mortality rates linked to coronavirus. Low-income and lower-middle income countries make up almost half of the global population but have, until now, accounted for just 2 percent of the global COVID-19 death toll. Subsequently, it has been frequently cited that Africa’s youthful population, along with strict and early lockdown measures in many countries, has led the continent to escape a disastrous pandemic, spurring arguments to relax restrictions, reopen borders and resume business.

A recent World Bank report offers contrastingly sober predictions of shifting epicentres and increasing mortality across the developing world. Using simulations based on local demography and environmental factors, which account for COVID-specific transmission, age and comorbidity patterns, the report suggests that the discrepancy in mortality between rich and poor countries has been vastly misjudged. It highlights that, despite Africa’s population structure with its significant youth bulge, developing countries actually hold twice as many people aged 60+ as high-income countries, because of their enormous overall populations and significant aging in recent years. The report concludes that the seemingly low death toll in low-income countries (majorly in Sub-Saharan Africa) is partly due to unequal data quality, but mostly because the pandemic has not yet run its full course in these parts of the world.

The narrative around lockdowns has therefore increasingly swung into a dilemma between causing economic stagnation, poverty and starvation on the one hand, and the mass spread of COVID-19 on the other. The responses to this dilemma have varied greatly. Some African governments (e.g. Nigeria and South Africa) are gradually allowing their economies to open up in order to restart their economies and mitigate the food and income crises which social protection systems have been unable to abate. Others (e.g. Kenya and Uganda) remain under tighter lockdowns until greater testing can provide greater certainty, and a third group (e.g. Tanzania and Burundi) have maintained a more open approach throughout. It is yet to be seen which strategies will yield the best outcomes for their populations, and which (new) inequalities will emerge as a result.

The CPR Portal monitors the number of new, extended and phased out measures in a range of policy domains – including population restrictions, social protection, trade, health, fiscal, and monetary measures – for multiple African countries. The Portal also examines the different types of institutional collaboration governments have used to manage the pandemic, as well as different degrees of citizen compliance. Since many responses to COVID-19 have been spatially differentiated (focused on cities or devolved responsibilities), the CPR also includes details at the subnational level. A complementary Geopoll survey montors citizen perceptions and experiences of these policy changes. The Evolution of Social Protection during COVID-19

Social protection and social safety net programs – especially cash-based programs – have been promoted worldwide to mitigate the fall-out of lockdown measures, especially for those without the luxury of working from home or the ability to self-isolate. Not only governments have stepped up: GiveDirectly has pledged more funds to its UBI program in response to COVID-19, and even (extra-)ordinary citizens have been distributing food in Nigeria. The what, where, who and how of social protection is being scrutinised in order to reevaluate its purpose and increase its effectiveness.

This edition of INCLUDE’s COVID-19 news item zooms in on recent social protection measures in Africa and what these (could) mean for vulnerable groups of citizens. It reflects on how social protection plays an important role in the immediate response as well as longer-term strategies to reduce poverty and inequality and to mitigate against the impacts of future crises.

Pandemic Responses
  • As of June 12, 49 African countries had introduced COVID-19 related social protection measures, compared to just 6 countries on March 27. The design and structure of these measures (particularly the type, timing and targeting) have varied greatly across the continent. For example, the governments of Namibia and South Africa have implemented emergency grants, Burkina Faso announced cash transfers in early April, and Ghana implemented utility waivers for water and electricity.
  • Despite the apparent effort and improvement, just 2% of the population had received a COVID-19 related cash transfer by June 12th. Moreover, spending per capita on these measures was just $3 in Sub-Saharan Africa compared to, for example, $42 in Latin America, and $58 in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. This is insufficient to compensate for the job and income losses experienced by millions of vulnerable people due to the global crisis.
  • Social assistance, consisting of social cash transfers or other non-contributory measures such as utility waivers, has made up 83% of the social protection response to COVID-19 in Africa, higher than any other region. Social insurance, entailing health insurance, unemployment benefits or other contributory measures, and labour market mechanisms, including wage subsidies, hazard pay or work time support and paid leave, have been less common.
  • Existing government social protection policies form the foundation for additional responses to COVID-19. This has made successful implementation largely contingent on the coverage and adequacy of the systems that are already in place, which vary greatly. For example, the Somalian government had announced its World Bank funded Shock Responsive Social Safety Net in September 2019, which was timely launched in April 2020. Governments across the continent are grappling with the challenge of rapidly expanding existing systems, often not taking into account gender, as women around the world are most vulnerable to risk in health care jobs or forced lockdown situations.
  • Financial constraints of African governments play a major role in the extent to which social protection can be enhanced (in terms of expanding coverage, adequacy or duration). Limited fiscal space has been created through a triple shock involving high debt, constrained foreign aid and a contraction in domestic production. Richer countries and donor organisations should step in to help fill the estimated 2,5 trillion USD needed worldwide to provide sufficient protection for the poor and vulnerable.
The emerging challenges of social protection during COVID-19 The sudden increase in demand for social protection has exposed certain cracks in the system and presented multiple new challenges. First, identifying those who need support typically involves creating or expanding an accurate and representative social registry or database for recipients, which is often lacking in countries with high informality and weak information systems. Governments have taken immediate action to expand their social registries like in Senegal, or to open innovative systems of self-registration like in Kenya and Congo. Non-traditional sources, such as municipal tax registries, mobile phone records of telecom companies, lists of informal market vendors, or public works payrolls, can complement government registries to improve targeting for social protection programs.

Timely and safe delivery of social assistance is another major challenge. The provision of social protection comes with additional risks for those delivering and receiving it that need to be mitigated, as shown in this video of the Cash and Learning Platform and its CVA-guidelines. During the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, health care workers lacked sufficient hazard pay which led them to strike. Mobile money is seen as a low-risk method of delivering cash grants in the context of a pandemic, providing that cashing out is done safely. In a webinar by the Betterthancash Alliance, experts of the government and a telecom provider gave insights into how they collaborated with civil society actors to introduce and expand mobile money cash transfers and make sure health care workers were paid sufficiently.

Apart from highlighting opportunities for partnerships in the response to COVID-19, this reveals structural problems regarding decent wages and working conditions for health workers on the front lines of this pandemic, as medical personnel strikes have again been reported in different countries. In the current pandemic, some multinational telecom providers are facilitating the financial inclusion necessary for the scaling up of cash transfer programs, among others in Kenya and the kingdom of Eswatini. Impacts on vulnerable groups

It has proven a challenge for governments to introduce or scale up social protection to meet the needs of people who were already vulnerable as well as those who have been made vulnerable due to this crisis. This includes young workers, the elderly, informal workers, people with disabilities, rural farmers and women. Women have been placed significantly at risk, both economically and socially, through lockdowns due to their overrepresentation in health care, domestic roles (such as home schooling) and informal work, either paid or unpaid. Various policy briefs have offered recommendations for how to make social protection responses more gender-sensitive.

Emergency food and cash measures are widespread, but they do not yet reach informal workers like street vendors or waste pickers that have been directly affected by public health measures that often expose them to police harassment, health risks and loss of livelihoods. Informal workers are often left behind as they are not accounted for in formal social protection, and not targeted by measures for the extreme poor. This exemplifies the need to include the voices of informal workers and those who are left behind in shaping adequate measures.

Africa is often portrayed as a young continent with its elderly population mostly concentrated in villages, where the virus would not reach so easily. This is a potentially dangerous simplification if it informs social policy. COVID-19 poses higher health risks for elderly, especially those with pre-existing (respiratory) conditions. Furthermore, a lockdown may impose increased vulnerabilities on elderly and disabled persons who depend on informal care, informal work or social networks. Social pensions and other targeted programs for elderly and disabled, including health insurance, typically have low coverage in many African countries but could be expanded.

Impacts on inclusive development

The sudden need for expansion of social protection worldwide presents the mixed uncertainty of a challenge and opportunity to create social protection architecture that will last beyond COVID-19 and prevent the loss of lives and livelihoods in future crises. This calls for more flexible social protection programs which can be scaled up and adapted during emergencies, more inclusive modes of targeting and delivery, and more sustainable modes of financing. The argument is made for a human rights-based, instead of charity-based, system of social protection to form the legal foundations of a quick response in a crisis.

The social protection responses of African governments so far have been leaning heavily on the social assistance side. Additional measures to ensure universal access to health care, safety nets in case of unemployment or other livelihoods shocks and working conditions including personal protection equipment and paid sick leave are necessary for a more resilient economy. This entails using the lessons of COVID-19 and building a more inclusive system of social protection that acknowledges vulnerabilities in all layers of society.

Some of the implementation challenges of sustainable social protection can be met by forming partnerships between government, civil society and NGOs and private sector actors such as banks, telecom providers and other companies, to build on knowledge, funds and networks and provide more cohesive and effective responses. Humanitarian actors, who are often experienced with cash grants, emergency registers and delivery, systems could complement national social protection strategies. More comprehensive social protection policies coordinated by governments and supported by civil society actors can be a first step to governing with compassion and building back better.

Stay updated:

Access and abundance of knowledge on ongoing social protection and cash-based interventions:

Read more about social protection:

 

Despite the unprecedented and uncertain global situation, INCLUDE acknowledges the need for strong and valid evidence to drive effective policy action. The news item therefore makes use of what we already know about governance, policy implementation and cooperation in African contexts, particularly during crises and emergencies. Where possible, we draw upon lessons learned in the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak and other relevant experiences of infectious diseases. In preparing the news item, we filter the information available from reliable sources in our network to provide up-to-date and factual insights on the effects of the current pandemic and subsequent policy interventions on inclusive development.

We are open to any input and suggestions that could contribute to this debate. We invite you to send us an email.

Het bericht From charity to fair chances: spotlight on Social Protection during COVID-19 verscheen eerst op INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english

16.06.2020 Germany helps African countries maintain drought insurance in view of COVID-19

German BMZ - 16. Juni 2020 - 9:00
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the German government assumes premium payments of around 19 million euros for the drought insurance offered by the African Risk Capacity (ARC). This will reliably protect up to 20 million poor and vulnerable people in Africa against drought in the coming agricultural season and mitigate the risk of a compound crisis. ...
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UN Monitor: COVID-19 Round-Up – 15/06/2020

Global Policy Watch - 16. Juni 2020 - 1:52

Download UN Monitor (pdf version).

The UN has released a three phase plan for re-opening the United Nations, releasing information on what the “new normal” will look like for Member States, UN Staff and other stakeholders. The plan indicates:

“During Phase 1, only select activities will be allowed. Maximum occupancy at the Headquarters complex will be capped at 400 people a day, as opposed to the 4,200 limit in normal times. For annex buildings, including DC1 and DC2, maximum occupancy will also be kept to 10 per cent of the usual level. Emphasis will be strictly on those tasks that must be performed on site, with many critical tasks continuing to be done remotely.

During Phases 1 and 2, routine administrative or organizational face-to-face meetings are not permitted. To move into Phase 1, the ‘New York on PAUSE’ executive order must be relaxed. Improvements also must be seen in the local epidemic situation and health care capability, in accordance with city and state recommendations.

In Phase 2, building occupancy will gradually increase to a maximum 1,100 personnel a day at the Headquarters complex, or about 40 per cent of normal levels. For other buildings, 40-50 per cent occupancy will apply. Alternate working arrangements will largely remain in place and many personnel will continue to work remotely. Shifting from Phase 1 to 2 will require a further reduction in the epidemic and strengthening of the health care system in the host city.

Phase 3, which will be a ‘new normal’, would take place when workplace risks are reduced to pre-epidemic levels, and COVID-19 related restrictions are lifted by New York City and State, including those that will allow for the reopening of day-care services and public schools. The Department of Operational Support says it is still too early to outline the work modalities that will be in place under this phase.”

The UN has also announced it will postpone some July meetings, and move others to a virtual format. Acting UN Medical Director Bernhard Lennartz noted that “in-person meetings should continue to be avoided when possible. Events should be virtual whenever possible.” Among the meetings moved to a virtual format will be the 2020 High-level Political Forum (HLPF) scheduled for 7-16 July and the ECOSOC High-level Segment scheduled for 17 July.

The high-level meeting on the 25th Anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women is tentatively scheduled for 1 October and the multi-stakeholder hearing leading up to it is currently scheduled for 21 July in a virtual format.

Upcoming work of the General Assembly

The General Assembly held a virtual Town Hall on the zero draft of the Omnibus Resolution on COVID-19 on 12 June. Virtual informal consultations will follow in the coming weeks and delegations will be invited to submit written statements as well. Read more about the content and process of preparing the zero draft in UN Monitor #16, “All Protocols Observed” here.

The General Assembly, ECOSOC and Security Council will all hold elections for new members by secret ballot at UN Headquarters on 17 June. Each delegation will nominate one representative who will cast the secret ballot in-person at the UN General Assembly Hall in New York. The President of the General Assembly has released more information on the modalities of voting in the time of COVID-19.

The President of the General Assembly has submitted a paper outlining elements for Member State consideration on arrangements for the high-level week of the 75th Session of the General Assembly. These include proposals for recorded video statements from Heads of State and Government, with in-person participation restricted to one NYC-based representative per delegation. At a virtual meeting with Member States the President of the General Assembly outlined the following:

“I propose that the President of the seventy-fifth session of the General Assembly and the Secretary-General of the United Nations would be present in the General Assembly Hall on the 22 September to facilitate the PGA delivering an opening statement and the Secretary-General’s presentation of the report on the work of the Organization.

Heads of State and Government or Ministers would be invited to address the General Debate via pre-recorded video statements. The list of speakers would be managed as per usual practice for the General Debate. In accordance with social and physical distancing guidelines, physical presence of delegations in the General Assembly Hall would be limited to at one delegate from each New York-based delegation to attend the General Debate. This may be extended to two delegates, if possible.

In addition, all persons present would be requested to wear a face covering at all times. Similar arrangements would be put in place for the high-level meetings; including the high-level meeting to commemorate the seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations, scheduled to take place on 21 September 2020.”

More details and decisions are anticipated this month to be announced on the PGA website here.

To mark the commemoration of the signing of the UN Charter, the President of the General Assembly will hold a virtual ceremony on 26 June. As part of the broader 75th Anniversary activities, the meeting will be an opportunity to “take stock of both the successes and lessons learned in implementing the United Nations Charter over the last 75 years, as well as to look ahead and examine how best to collectively overcome current and upcoming challenges”.

A revised zero draft of the Political Declaration on the UN 75th Anniversary has been released. Member States are currently negotiating the zero draft in virtual informal consultations, with plans to release a declaration under silence procedure by the end of June.

The proposed zero-draft of the Ministerial Declaration to be adopted at the 2020 HLPF is currently being circulated by the two co-facilitators, the Permanent Representatives of Bulgaria and of Lebanon. The zero-draft will be basis for discussion June 16 and June 23 at virtual informal negotiations.

Updates on existing work and meetings

The 75th session of the UN General Assembly is due to open on 15 September and the first quarter of its work is traditionally conducted through six main committees. Elections of the respective committee chairs have been conducted with the following Permanent Representatives (PRs) selected:

First Committee, Disarmament & International Security: PR of Spain, Agustín Santos Maraver
Second Committee, Economic & Financial: PR of Nepal, Amrit Bahadur Rai
Third Committee, Social, Humanitarian & Cultural: PR of Hungary, Katalin Annamária Bogyay
Fourth Committee, Special Political & Decolonization: PR of Botswana, Collen Vixen Kelapile
Fifth Committee, Administrative & Budgetary: PR of Uruguay, Carlos Amorín
Sixth Committee, Legal: PR of Chile, Milenko Esteban Skoknic Tapia

Due to COVID-19, the ECOSOC Youth Plenary and Youth Forum have both been deferred to the 2021 session, with no activities taking place in 2020.

The recent ECOSOC Operational Activities Segment was held 19-22 and 27 May in a virtual format to discuss ongoing reform to the UN Development System, with an emphasis on the ability of the UN to respond to COVID-19 at both the country and regional levels. For more information on the session, read “UN Monitor #15: COVID-19 tests the UN’s response to development challenges” here.

Digital cooperation

On 11 June, the General Assembly held a virtual High-level Thematic Debate on the Impact of Rapid Technological Change on the Sustainable Development Goals and Targets. The virtual meeting served to highlight the efforts made by Member States, the UN system, other multilateral institutions, the private sector and other stakeholders to implement/accelerate progress on Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, while considering the impact of rapid technological changes, such as artificial intelligence.

This meeting was followed by the Launch of the Secretary-General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation – “The State of the Digital World Today and Implementing the Roadmap”, held on 11, 12 and 15 June. These virtual meetings explore implementation of the framework, “in which all stakeholders play a role in advancing a safer, more equitable digital world, one which will lead to a brighter and more prosperous future for all”.

The Roadmap identifies eight action areas:

“Achieving universal connectivity by 2030; Promoting digital public goods to create a more equitable world digital inclusion; Ensuring digital inclusion for all, including the most vulnerable digital capacity-building; Strengthening digital capacity-building digital human rights; Ensuring the protection of human rights in the digital era artificial intelligence; Supporting global cooperation on artificial intelligence digital trust and security; Promoting trust and security in the digital environment digital cooperation; Building a more effective architecture for digital cooperation.”

Ongoing reform and revitalization work at the United Nations

The work of the UN on the Revitalization of the General Assembly has continued virtually. The co-chairs of the Ad-Hoc Working Group on Revitalization, Permanent Representatives of Slovakia and Ghana announced that it held a thematic debate on 9 June on the topic, role and funding of the Office of the PGA and will hold a thematic debate on 16 June to discuss the Secretary-General selection process.

The ECOSOC/HLPF Review process is currently being led by co-facilitators, the Permanent Representatives of Georgia and of Benin. They have circulated a revised draft resolution, to be discussed at an informal virtual meeting on 18 June.

The review process of the UN Human Rights Treaty Body system will be led by co-facilitators Permanent Representatives of Morocco and Switzerland. Following a 4 June expert consultation, the co-facilitators have shared a timeline and modalities for the review process. It will include:

“informal consultation meetings with Member States, in New York, in the beginning of July, and in Geneva during the second half of July”; “dialogues with all relevant stakeholders to seek their contributions, including with OHCHR, treaty bodies, civil society members, National Human Rights Institutions and others”; and “During the month of August, we will draft the report that we will submit to the President of the General Assembly by the end of the current 74th General Assembly.”

The post UN Monitor: COVID-19 Round-Up – 15/06/2020 appeared first on Global Policy Watch.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

Africa beyond Covid-19

ODI - 16. Juni 2020 - 0:00
We discuss how African countries are learning and adapting to accelerate reform in the Covid-19 crisis.
Kategorien: english

From The Pandemic to 2030: Feminists Want System Change

Women - 15. Juni 2020 - 20:33

COVID-19 crisis have brought to light many of the systemic issues that have been widening inequalities, throughout the world. Women, girls and gender non-confirming people have been gravely and disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

Through “From the Pandemic to 2030: Feminists Want System Change” series, the Women’s Major Group seeks to draw attention to the systemic issues faced by women, girls, and gender non-conforming people, which are exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis. The series also includes WMG’s recommendations for a just, equal and sustainable transition to a better future for all, both during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Our briefers including our briefers with more details and references on the issues can be found under each language option.

ENGLISH

Human WellbeingEconomic BenefitsPlanet & ResilienceSustainable EnergyFood Security & HealthLocal ActionCross-cutting Recommendations

ESPAÑOL

El Bienestar HumanoLos Beneficios EconómicosEl Planeta y ResilienciaEnergía SostenibleSeguridad Alimentaria y SaludLa Acción LocalRecomendaciones Transversales

FRANÇAIS

Le Bien-être HumainLes Bénéfices EconomiquesPlanète et RésilienceL’énergie DurableSécurité Alimentaire et SanitaireL’action LocaleRecommandations Transversales

The post From The Pandemic to 2030: Feminists Want System Change appeared first on Women's Major Group.

Kategorien: english

Careers During COVID - with Dr. Christine Sow

Devex - 15. Juni 2020 - 18:09
Kategorien: english

Climate Change and the Future We Want — A UN 75 Consultation

UN Dispatch - 15. Juni 2020 - 17:51
Part 2: A Consultation about Climate Change

The United Nations turns 75 year this year. Rather than celebrate with a diamond jubilee, the United Nations is instead embarking on a listening tour. The UN is seeking feedback from as many people in as many communities as possible, all around three big questions: What Kind of World do We Want to Create? Are We on Track? And What is Needed to Bridge the Gap?

Here in the United States, the United Nations Association is hosting what are called global consultations around these questions. They are gathering groups to solicit input that will be relayed to leadership at the United Nations ahead of a major meeting in September to mark the UN’s anniversary.

Today’s episode is part two of a three part series that gives listeners an inside look into how the UN is commemorating its anniversary. In part one of this series, I moderated a global consultation that discussed those big questions, but using the lens of gender equality. In today’s episode, I moderate a consultation about climate change and the environment.

This episode kicks off with my 15 minutes interview of Julie Cerqueira who is the Executive Director of the U.S. Climate Alliance, which is a coalition of US states committed to climate action. Our conversation focuses on the Paris Agreement and what sub-national groups, like individual states, are doing to advance the climate change agenda in the face of inaction at the federal level.

After that interview concludes, the consultation begins. And for the podcast, I edited this down to include some of the questions and answers discussed.

 

Get the podcast to listen later Apple Podcasts  | Google PodcastsSpotify  |  Stitcher  | Radio Public

The post Climate Change and the Future We Want — A UN 75 Consultation appeared first on UN Dispatch.

Kategorien: english

Job creation: a means or an end?

INCLUDE Platform - 15. Juni 2020 - 16:40

Not all youth employment programmes in fragile and post-conflict settings contribute to peace, even if they create jobs. It is important for funding agencies to decide prior to designing such programmes whether job creation is their main goal or if employment is a mean to achieve peace. To achieve impact beyond employment, there is a need to focus on decent jobs, as well as conduct in-depth analyses of labour markets and the political economy, which must inform programmes’ theories of change and monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) frameworks. Donors should remain open to programme adaptation and encourage iterative learning for improved practice. Finally, connecting the body of knowledge on youth employment programmes and programmes in fragile and post-conflict settings can teach us important lessons on how to design more effective youth employment programmes for peacebuilding in specific fragile contexts.

These were some of the main points raised by Valeria Izzi (PhD) and Marjoke Oosterom (PhD) during the plenary (webinar) session on ‘Promoting Decent Employment for African Youth as a Peacebuilding Strategy’ organized by INCLUDE for the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Sustainable Economic Development Department (DDE) on 9 June.  The objective of this plenary session, which attracted over 50 participants, was to share important reflections and a set of recommendations on youth employment programmes in fragile setting. The presentation was based on the findings from the evidence synthesis paper of the same name by Valeria Izzi prepared within the frame of the ‘Boosting decent employment for Africa’s youth’ partnership between INCLUDE, the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the International Labour Organization (ILO), under the umbrella of the Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth.

Youth employment programmes are commonly used as a tool to promote peacebuilding in post-conflict and fragile settings. Yet, despite their popularity, evidence of impact is scant. The rather disappointing results of these programmes cannot be blamed only on contextual factors and implementation challenges. Programmes have long been based on the assumption of a straightforward correlation between employment and security. However, based on extensive evidence review, it is increasingly evident that a narrow focus on employment status is reductive and that there are other factors at play. To improve youth employment programmes and let them contribute to the peacebuilding process in fragile and post-conflict settings, Drs Izzi and Oosterom shared the following insights and recommendations.

Context analysis

The quality of jobs created matters, as well as who gets which jobs, and how. The assumption that on the macro or regional level the unemployed cause violence is not supported on an individual level, as illustrated by one of the examples in Dr Izzi’s paper and highlighted by Dr Oosterom during the plenary session. In the area where Boko Haram is active, many youth face unemployment, yet only a few join this violent path. Therefore, youth employment programmes must look at the experience of work more broadly, what kinds of jobs are available and what they actually provide participants with (livelihood, prospects, security). To achieve this, we must acknowledge that labour markets are also political arenas, and this should be reflected in the context analysis prior to programme design.

Context analysis (that includes economic, political economy and conflict) is crucial to good programming; yet, so far, youth employment programmes are rarely accompanied by such in-depth analyses. Unfortunately, youth employment programmes can be real assets for political regimes and non-state political actors. Political dynamics interfere with local labour markets and, consequently, youth employment interventions can be used to strengthen the political capital or support base of the ruling party, (former) combatants or other ‘big men’ (as seen in Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia). Youth interventions can feed into the patronage networks of these actors.

Implementing agencies must be mindful that fragility comes in many shapes and forms. The more autocratic regimes (i.e. Egypt, Tunisia, Zimbabwe and, increasingly, Uganda) are more likely to appropriate an intervention (by influencing who gets to participate, who receives grants, where an intervention can operate, or by requiring ‘fees’ from participants). Where power is more diffused, different kinds of problems appear, such as weak institutions. In the case of cyclical violence between communities in Nigerian Middle Belt States, a problem can be that participants are not fairly drawn from different communities, fuelling perceptions that the programme is biased. Adequate context analysis in fragile and post-conflict settings requires expertise on political economy analysis and conflict dynamics. Firstly, it should be determined whether an employment programme is the best solution in the given context or a different type of programming would fit better at that stage. Secondly, once implementation starts, the changing contextual dynamics should be monitored closely. Therefore, in-depth context (economic, political economy and conflict) analysis must take place before programme design, as well as during the implementation phase. 

Programme design and risk analysis

The evidence shows that it is important to distinguish between youth employment programmes in fragile and post-conflict countries and youth employment programmes for peacebuilding. The main goal of the former is job creation, while the latter see employment creation as a means to promote peace. Both types of programmes must be conflict and fragility sensitive, but youth employment programmes for peacebuilding cannot assume that jobs alone will make society more peaceful. To achieve peace, a suite of interventions and approaches is required, including components of governance and peacebuilding. Such interventions need complex design, implementation and MEL frameworks.

It is recommended that youth employment programmes implemented in post-conflict and fragile settings distinguish between two different types and levels of impact: impact on employment and peacebuilding and impact on programme participants and society at large (see Table 1). The 2016 report ‘Jobs aid peace’, which conducted an extensive literature review with the meta-analysis of over 400 programmes implemented by four main multilateral agencies  in post-conflict and other fragile settings between 2005 and 2015, revealed that most evaluations of youth employment for peacebuilding programmes are able to only assess the impact of employment on participants ([A] in Table 1) and ignore the possibility of deadweight loss effect (where programme outcomes are no different from what would have happened without the programme); substitution effect (where workers hired in a subsidised job are simply substituting for unsubsidised workers, who would otherwise have been hired); or displacement effect (where a firm with subsidised workers increases output, but displaces/reduces output by firms that do not have subsidised workers). These programmes simply assumed that the jobs created would have a catalytic effect on making society more peaceful. However, what should also be considered in official evaluations is how impact on participants actually translates into impact on society in terms of peacebuilding in fragile contexts and whether the programme has any unintended negative effects. This can be done by preparing a detailed risk analysis of the programme capture and other negative externalities, such as reinforcing existing grievances.

Table 1. Different levels of impact of youth employment programmes in post-conflict and fragile settings[i]

On programme participants Beyond programme participants Employment impact [A] The programme makes participants better off in terms of employment [B] The programme has a positive net impact on employment Peacebuilding impact [C] The programme reduces participants’ involvement in violence, and/or strengthens their contribution to peace [D] The programme makes society more peaceful

 

Clear criteria and transparent processes for the selection of the participants/beneficiaries in youth employment programmes is equally important. One of the fundamental weaknesses of youth employment programmes is their broad selection criteria (e.g. ‘vulnerable youth’, ‘youth at risk’), which can apply to the majority of youth. In practice, jobs created through youth employment programmes have the capacity to reach only a limited number of beneficiaries and are at risk of being captured by local political elites. Participatory selection methods are one of viable and recommended options, although checks and balances must be improved to avoid the possibility of the programme being hijacked for political and patronage purpose. Although a clear and transparent selection process will not guarantee the success of the programme, it will minimize the risk of unintended consequences.

Monitoring, evaluation and learning

Developing a clear theory of change that links programme activities and impact (on participants and society), based on adequate economic, political economy and conflict analysis, is necessary. The common flaw in youth employment for peacebuilding programmes is a weak link between the assumptions made in the theory of change and the indicators in the MEL framework. Adequate peacebuilding indicators are often missing in MEL, which ultimately provides very little information on how the programme is progressing towards assumed goals. It is recommended that programme designers learn what type of peacebuilding indicators have been used, and work, in other programmes implemented in fragile and post-conflict settings and apply them to the MEL framework for youth employment for peacebuilding programmes. Such cross-programme learning can be done, for instance, by incorporating a conflict specialist within the evaluation team or increasing exchanges between different thematic departments. The attribution of intended changes assumed in the theory of change should also be approached more critically by conducting counterfactual thinking analysis, which takes into consideration other possible explanations for this change.

To prove and improve programmes, donors and implementing agencies should encourage learning and adaptive programming. It must be clear from the start what it is that you want to learn from programme implementation and that there is a room to share both good and bad practices. This is also an opportunity to bring youth voices to the fore and to strengthen local institutions that are related to the world of work through multi-stakeholder dialogue. As an increased number of funding agencies encourage learning, working with like-minded partners will facilitate exchanges. Ultimately, an iterative learning processes should be used to contribute to improving practices in general.

Finally, to assess whether the programme actually made a difference, MEL should be conducted a few years after the end of the activities.

These recommendations are based on the synthesis of available evidence on youth employment and peacebuilding programmes in Africa. However, although the specifics may differ, the underlying principles also apply to other regions of the world. Youth employment remains a challenge globally (also in the North) and the programmes addressing it are at risk of being captured for political purposes everywhere. With the latest crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of countries have started funds explicitly targeting youth. These programmes, especially those implemented in fragile settings, run the risk of being used by regimes to strengthen their political position and network. Therefore, funding agencies must be mindful of such a possibility, conduct appropriate risk analysis, and develop appropriate mitigation measures.

 

[i] Izzi, V. (2020). Promoting decent employment for African youth as a peacebuilding strategy. INCLUDE’s Evidence Synthesis Paper Series no 4/2020. Available at: https://includeplatform.net/publications/promoting-decent-employment-for-african-youth-as-a-peacebuilding-strategy/ ; adopted from Brück, T., Ferguson, N.T.N, Izzi, V. and Stojetz, W. (2016). Jobs Aid Peace: A Review of the Theory and Practice of the Impact of Employment Programs on Peace in Fragile and Conflict-affected Countries. Berlin: International Security and Development Center. Available at: https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—ed_emp/—emp_ent/—ifp_crisis/documents/publication/wcms_633429.pdf

Het bericht Job creation: a means or an end? verscheen eerst op INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english

AID TALKS Webinar | Cancel Debt in Asia Pacific

Reality of Aid - 15. Juni 2020 - 15:42

Cancel Debt in Asia Pacific to Tackle Covid-19 Health and Economic Crisis   JUNE 25, 2020 4PM Manila / 6PM Sydney REGISTER NOW: https://bit.ly/AidTalks_CancelDebt MORE INFO HERE: https://www.facebook.com/events/597177160931480/ *The Aid Talks webinar will also be live streamed on YouTube and available after the event. With potential impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic on sovereign debt for the poorest countries in the Asia Pacific region there is a growing regional and international call for the cancellation of all […]

The post AID TALKS Webinar | Cancel Debt in Asia Pacific appeared first on Reality of Aid.

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