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World on course for more than 3 degree spike, even if climate commitments are met - UN report

Tue, 26 Nov 2019 19:54:17 +0000

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Source: UN Environment Programme
Country: World

If the world warms by more than 1.5 degrees, we will see more frequent, and intense, climate impacts such as the heatwaves and storms witnessed in recent years.
  • On current unconditional pledges, the world is heading for a 3.2°C temperature rise

  • Technologies and policy knowledge exist to cut emissions, but transformations must begin now

  • G20 nations account for 78 per cent of all emissions, but 15 G20 members have not committed to a timeline for net-zero emissions

Geneva, 26 November 2019 – On the eve of a year in which nations are due to strengthen their Paris climate pledges, a new UN Environment Programme (UNEP) report warns that unless global greenhouse gas emissions fall by 7.6 per cent each year between 2020 and 2030, the world will miss the opportunity to get on track towards the 1.5°C temperature goal of the Paris Agreement.

UNEP’s annual Emissions Gap Report says that even if all current unconditional commitments under the Paris Agreement are implemented, temperatures are expected to rise by 3.2°C, bringing even wider-ranging and more destructive climate impacts. Collective ambition must increase more than fivefold over current levels to deliver the cuts needed over the next decade for the 1.5°C goal.

2020 is a critical year for climate action, with the UN climate change conference in Glasgow aiming to determine the future course of efforts to avert crisis, and countries expected to significantly step up their climate commitments.

"For ten years, the Emissions Gap Report has been sounding the alarm – and for ten years, the world has only increased its emissions,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres. “There has never been a more important time to listen to the science. Failure to heed these warnings and take drastic action to reverse emissions means we will continue to witness deadly and catastrophic heatwaves, storms and pollution.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned that going beyond 1.5°C will increase the frequency and intensity of climate impacts.

“Our collective failure to act early and hard on climate change means we now must deliver deep cuts to emissions – over 7 per cent each year, if we break it down evenly over the next decade,” said Inger Andersen, UNEP’s Executive Director. “This shows that countries simply cannot wait until the end of 2020, when new climate commitments are due, to step up action. They – and every city, region, business and individual – need to act now.”

“We need quick wins to reduce emissions as much as possible in 2020, then stronger Nationally Determined Contributions to kick-start the major transformations of economies and societies. We need to catch up on the years in which we procrastinated,” she added. “If we don’t do this, the 1.5°C goal will be out of reach before 2030.”

G20 nations collectively account for 78 per cent of all emissions, but only five G20 members have committed to a long-term zero emissions target.

In the short-term, developed countries will have to reduce their emissions quicker than developing countries, for reasons of fairness and equity. However, all countries will need to contribute more to collective effects. Developing countries can learn from successful efforts in developed countries; they can even leapfrog them and adopt cleaner technologies at a faster rate.

Crucially, the report says all nations must substantially increase ambition in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), as the Paris commitments are known, in 2020 and follow up with policies and strategies to implement them. Solutions are available to make meeting the Paris goals possible, but they are not being deployed fast enough or at a sufficiently large scale.

Each year, the Emissions Gap Report assesses the gap between anticipated emissions in 2030 and levels consistent with the 1.5°C and 2°C targets of the Paris Agreement. The report finds that greenhouse gas emissions have risen 1.5 per cent per year over the last decade. Emissions in 2018, including from land-use changes such as deforestation, hit a new high of 55.3 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent.

To limit temperatures, annual emissions in 2030 need to be 15 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent lower than current unconditional NDCs imply for the 2°C goal; they need to be 32 gigatonnes lower for the 1.5°C goal. On an annual basis, this means cuts in emissions of 7.6 per cent per year from 2020 to 2030 to meet the 1.5°C goal and 2.7 per cent per year for the 2°C goal.

To deliver on these cuts, the levels of ambition in the NDCs must increase at least fivefold for the 1.5°C goal and threefold for the 2°C.

Climate change can still be limited to 1.5°C, the report says. There is increased understanding of the additional benefits of climate action – such as clean air and a boost to the Sustainable Development Goals. There are many ambitious efforts from governments, cities, businesses and investors. Solutions, and the pressure and will to implement them, are abundant.

As it does each year, the report focuses on the potential of selected sectors to deliver emissions cuts. This year it looks at the energy transition and the potential of efficiency in the use of materials, which can go a long way to closing the emissions gap.

NOTES TO EDITORS

*Embargoed materials are subject to minor revisions with the publication of the official versions

Additional Quotes

Niklas Höhne, founding partner NewClimate Institute

“The transformation is starting small but is expanding fast. We find that in all areas, some actors are taking truly ambitions actions. For example, zero emission targets and targets of 100 per cent renewables are spreading fast, but also commitments for zero emissions in heavy industry start to emerge unthinkable only a few years ago. What is necessary now is a global rollout of the front runner examples.”

John Christensen, Director of UNEP DTU Partnership

"When looking back at the 10 years we have prepared the Emissions Gap Report, it is very disturbing that in spite of the many warnings, global emissions have continued to increase and do not seem to be likely to peak anytime soon.

The reductions required can only be achieved by transforming the energy sector. The good news is that since wind and solar in most places have become the cheapest source of electricity, the main challenges now is to design and implement an integrated, decentralised power system."

About the UN Environment Programme

UNEP is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.

For more information, please contact:

Keishamaza Rukikaire, Head of News & Media, UN Environment Programme, +254717080753
Alejandro Laguna Lopez, Europe Information Officer, UN Environment Programme.

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Red Cross teams providing assistance to earthquake survivors in Albania

Tue, 26 Nov 2019 17:42:26 +0000

Source: International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies
Country: Albania

The 6.4 magnitude quake struck just before 4 a.m., 34 kilometres northwest of Tirana, Albania’s capital, and has killed 16 people and injured more than 600, according to the government.

Tirana/Budapest/Geneva, 26 November 2019 – Albanian Red Cross staff and volunteers are working alongside government search and rescue teams, assisting those injured and displaced in this morning’s deadly earthquake.

The 6.4 magnitude quake struck just before 4 a.m., 34 kilometres northwest of Tirana, Albania’s capital, and has killed 16 people and injured more than 600, according to the government. There are reports of severe damage to infrastructure, and several buildings have collapsed in Thumane and Durres, with people still thought to be trapped inside.

The Albanian Red Cross has deployed doctors, first aiders and 160 volunteers, who are working at hospitals and at a tent camp at the football stadium in Durres, providing medical care, first aid, psychosocial support, food, water, hot drinks, blankets and hygiene items.

Albanian Red Cross spokespersons are available to speak about the impact of the earthquake and their response efforts.

Photos are available here.

Media contacts

In Tirana: Mr Zamir Muca, Public Relations Coordinator zmuca@kksh.org.al,+355 694 092 740

Mr Artur Katuçi, Secretary General, Albanian Red Cross, +355 692 024 030

In Budapest: Corinne Ambler, corinne.ambler@ifrc.org +36 704 306 506

In Geneva: Laura Ngo-Fontaine, laura.ngofontaine@ifrc.org +41 795 704 418

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More than 3.1 million Iraqi children to be vaccinated against polio

Tue, 26 Nov 2019 12:17:10 +0000

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Source: World Health Organization, UN Children's Fund
Country: Iraq

The five-day campaign aims to target children in 65 districts in the governorates of Baghdad, Babylon, Diwaniya, Diyala, Muthanna, Thi-Qar, Missan and Basra.

Baghdad, 26 November 2019 – Health authorities in Iraq, in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF, have launched a campaign to reach more than 3.1 million children under-5 years of age with lifesaving polio vaccine.

The 5-day campaign aims to target children in 65 districts in the governorates of Baghdad, Babylon, Diwaniya, Diyala, Muthanna, Thi-Qar, Missan and Basra.

“Over the years, WHO, the Ministry of Health and UNICEF have worked hard to improve immunization coverage in the country. Therefore, it is important that we keep building on our work by making sure that children are vaccinated against childhood preventable diseases like polio and we keep Iraq polio free,” said Dr Adham Ismail, WHO Representative for Iraq. “During this second phase of the campaign, we want to reach all the children under 5 regardless of their previous vaccination status with oral polio vaccine leaving no one out no matter where they are,” added Dr Adham.

WHO supported the development of microplans to guide the vaccination team day by day, mobilized and trained 1300 supervisors and more than 13 000 vaccinators to carry out the campaign. In addition, it is also paying all the vaccination costs, including transportation and other incentives, to ensure that all children are reached going door-to-door and at fixed centres stationed in health facilities as our strategy.

“These vaccines act as a shield, protecting children and babies from diseases, saving thousands of lives in Iraq each year. UNICEF continues to work hard with our partners to ensure that vaccines reach as many children as possible,” said Hamida Lasseko, UNICEF Representative in Iraq.

UNICEF worked to ensure that beneficiaries are aware of the importance of the vaccination campaign and that vaccines are properly forecasted, stored and managed; it also provided technical support to public health workers as they developed a detailed and up-to-date map of target children, irrespective of whether the children are internally displaced, refugees, returnees or in host communities, or whether they live in urban, rural, official or unofficial settings.

This is the second phase of the polio campaign after the first one conducted in September that reached 2.6 million children. Vaccines remain the most cost-effective preventive measure against vaccine-preventable diseases like polio, WHO, and UNICEF are committed to supporting the health authorities to vaccinate every child in the country.

Related link

National polio immunization days campaign in Iraq

For further information, please contact:

Ms Pauline Loyce Ajello
Mobile: +964 772 987 7288
ajellopa@who.int

Ms Baraa Afif Shaba
Mobile: +964 780 001 0244
Shabab@who.int

Ms Ajyal Manssour Al-Sultany
Mobile: +964 774 089 2878
sultanya@who.int

Mr Innocent Kafembe
UNICEF Communication Specialist
Email: ikafembe@unicef.org
+964 7510150949

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Empowering people living with HIV ‘will end the epidemic’, says AIDS agency chief

Tue, 26 Nov 2019 12:11:49 +0000

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Source: UNAIDS
Country: World

When people living with HIV actively participate in their own care, new infections decline and more affected people access treatment, according to a new report launched by UNAIDS.

Ensuring that people and communities have the power to choose, to know, to thrive and to demand is the key to ending AIDS

Game-changing approaches, such as medicine to prevent HIV (PrEP), integration of contraceptive services with HIV testing, viral load suppression (U = U), harm reduction, and comprehensive sexuality education, give people the power to protect themselves from HIV and, for people living with HIV, the power to thrive

NAIROBI/GENEVA, 26 November 2019—A new report by UNAIDS, Power to the people, released ahead of World AIDS Day, shows that where people and communities living with and affected by HIV are engaged in decision-making and HIV service delivery, new infections decline and more people living with HIV gain access to treatment. When people have the power to choose, to know, to thrive, to demand and to work together, lives are saved, injustices are prevented and dignity is restored.

“When people and communities have power and agency, change happens,” said Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “The solidarity of women, young people, gay men and other men who have sex with men, sex workers, people who use drugs and transgender people has transformed the AIDS epidemic—empowering them will end the epidemic.”

The report was launched in Kenya on 26 November by the Executive Director of UNAIDS, the Cabinet Secretary of Health of Kenya and community representatives. It shows that significant progress has been made, particularly in expanding access to treatment. As of mid-2019, an estimated 24.5 million of the 37.9 million people living with HIV were accessing treatment. As treatment roll-out continues, fewer people are dying of AIDS-related illnesses.

“The partnership between government and civil society, together with the meaningful involvement of communities, has allowed us to significantly reduce new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths,” said Sicily Kariuki, Cabinet Secretary for Health in Kenya. “Communities are the very centre of the AIDS response and are critical to ending AIDS.”

Progress in reducing HIV infections, however, is mixed and 1.7 million people were newly infected with the virus in 2018. New HIV infections declined by 28% from 2010 to 2018 in eastern and southern Africa, the region most affected by HIV. In a promising sign, the incidence rate of HIV among adolescent girls and young women aged between 15 and 24 years in the region declined from 0.8% in 2010 to 0.5% in 2018, a 42% decline. However, young women and girls still bear the brunt of new HIV infections—four out of five new HIV infections among adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa are among girls.

Outside of eastern and southern Africa, new HIV infections have declined by only 4% since 2010. Of increasing concern is the rise of new HIV infections in some regions. The annual number of new HIV infections rose by 29% in eastern Europe and central Asia, by 10% in the Middle East and North Africa and by 7% in Latin America.

“In many parts of the world, significant progress has been made in reducing new HIV infections, reducing AIDS-related deaths and reducing discrimination, especially in eastern and southern Africa, but gender inequality and denial of human rights are leaving many people behind,” said Ms Byanyima. “Social injustices, inequality, denial of citizenship rights and stigma and discrimination are holding back progress against HIV and the Sustainable Development Goals.”

Power together

The report shows that when people and communities have power and agency, change happens. Communities have put rights-based, people-centred principles at the heart of HIV programmes, ensuring that AIDS responses tackle the inequalities and injustices that fuel the epidemic.

Women and girls are the backbone of care support in their families and communities, providing unpaid and often undervalued work in caring for children, the sick, the elderly and the disabled and underpinning fragile social support systems. This must change. The involvement and leadership of communities of women is vital in the response to HIV.

“As a community leader, I am able to relate to people and understand their background better than someone from the outside. I have been living openly with HIV for 25 years, so people come to me with their issues, such as HIV-related stigma, disclosure and adherence. I have never stepped back from this role as I am part of this community,” said Josephine Wanjiru, an HIV community activist Kiandutu, Thika, Kenya.

The power to choose

Women and girls are demanding integrated contraception and HIV and sexually transmitted infection testing, prevention and care options. Almost 40% of adult women and 60% of adolescent girls (aged 15–19 years) in sub-Saharan Africa have unmet needs for modern contraception.

In several countries in sub-Saharan Africa, young women’s uptake of medicine to prevent HIV—pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)—has been shown to be high in projects that integrate PrEP into youth-friendly health services and family planning clinics and when provision of PrEP is separated from treatment services.

Eleven million voluntary medical male circumcisions to prevent HIV have been performed since 2016, 4 million in 2018 alone in the 15 priority countries.

The power to know

The power to know allows people to keep themselves free from HIV or, if living with the virus, keep healthy. However, people are finding out their HIV status too late, sometimes years after they became infected, leading to a delay in starting treatment and facilitating HIV transmission. In Mozambique, for example, the average time for diagnosis after infection for men was four years.

Adherence to effective treatment suppresses the virus to undetectable levels, keeping people healthy and preventing transmission of the virus. Knowing this allows people living with HIV the opportunity to lead normal lives, confident that they are protecting their loved ones, and confronting stigma and discrimination.

HIV self-testing is now helping more people to find out their HIV status in privacy, breaking the barriers of stigma and discrimination and facilitating linkage to treatment.

Knowledge of HIV among young people is alarmingly low in many regions. In countries with recently available survey data, just 23% of young women (aged 15–24 years) and 29% of young men (aged 15–24 years) have comprehensive and correct knowledge of HIV. Studies show that comprehensive sexuality education does not lead to increased sexual activity, sexual risk-taking or higher infection rates for HIV or other sexually transmitted infections.

The power to thrive

The power to thrive is ensuring that people have the right to health, education, work and a standard of living adequate for health and well-being.

New HIV infections among children have declined by 41% since 2010 and nearly 82% of pregnant women living with HIV are on antiretroviral therapy. However, thousands of children are falling between the cracks. Half of all children born with HIV who are not diagnosed early will die before their second birthday, but, globally, only 59% of HIV-exposed children were tested before two months of age.

In 2018, 160 000 children (aged 0–14 years) became newly infected with HIV, and 100 000 children died from an AIDS-related illness. They died either because they weren’t diagnosed, or because of a lack of treatment—a shocking indictment of how children are being left behind.

Gender inequalities, patriarchal norms and practices, violence, discrimination, other rights violations and limited access to sexual and reproductive health services exacerbate the risk of HIV infection among adolescent girls and young women, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Each week, an estimated 6000 young women (aged 15–24 years) are infected with HIV.

In Eswatini, a recent study showed that adolescent girls and young women who experienced gender-based violence were 1.6 times more likely to acquire HIV than those who did not. The same study also showed that the economic empowerment of women and girls helped in reducing new HIV infections among women by more than 25% and increased the probability of young women and girls going back to school and finishing their education.

Key populations are being left behind

Key populations and their partners account for at least 75% of new HIV infections outside of sub-Saharan Africa and are less likely to be on treatment than others. More than one third of key populations do not know their HIV status. Community-led support among gay men and other men who have sex with men is effective in increasing the uptake of PrEP, promoting safer sex, increasing HIV testing rates and supporting treatment adherence.

Transgender people are subjected to discrimination in every sphere of life, including education and employment—only 10% work in the formal economy. But community activism has led to long overdue attention to the rights and realities of transgender people.

Community empowerment activities among sex workers have been shown to increase the odds of condom use with clients by three times and reduce the odds of HIV infection by more than 30%.

The power to demand

The power to demand gives communities and individuals the power to participate in the decisions that affect them. There have been reports of crackdowns, restrictions and even attacks on groups and campaigns supporting key populations. Some governments refuse to recognize, support or engage community organizations in their national responses to HIV and are subsequently missing out on their enormous potential to reach the people most affected by HIV.

People and communities will end AIDS

The work of community-led organizations is unique and powerful and can have a substantial impact on how the world fairs towards ending AIDS. UNAIDS urges all countries to fully support and enable their community-led organizations, ensure they have a seat at all decision-making tables concerning the health and well-being of their community members and remove any barriers to their active engagement in the response to HIV. Only by fully funding and fully supporting the work of community organizations will the end of AIDS become a reality.

UNAIDS

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 UN organizations—UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank—and works closely with global and national partners towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Learn more at unaids.org and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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Deaths rise on central Mediterranean with latest Lampedusa tragedy

Tue, 26 Nov 2019 10:21:16 +0000

Source: International Organization for Migration
Country: Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Libya, Malta, Spain, World

Twenty-one people lost their lives in a shipwreck on 23 November, bringing the total number of deaths recorded in 2019 to 1,136, including 740 in the central Mediterranean, the deadliest crossing.

Rome – Twenty-one people lost their lives in a shipwreck off the coast of Lampedusa, Italy, on Saturday (23/11) when a boat, carrying 170 Europe-bound migrants, capsized 1.6km from the island as it was being escorted by the coast guard.

Five bodies have so far been recovered, and at least 16 others remain missing. The process of victim identification has begun. Recovery efforts have been hampered by poor weather, IOM officials said today.

Among the 149 survivors are 26 minors, some of whom lost their parents in Saturday’s tragedy. They spoke to IOM staff about the dire conditions and abuse they experienced in Libya.

This tragedy comes during an apparent spike in departures from Libya. In the past week, at least 12 boats were either intercepted or rescued in the central Mediterranean. IOM Missing Migrants Project recorded 45 deaths in the central Mediterranean route on 22 and 23 November.

IOM provided assistance to the survivors, as well as 213 other people rescued by the NGO vessel Ocean Viking and brought to Messina, Sicily.

"Events of the past few days prove once more that crossing the Mediterranean is still extremely dangerous,” said Laurence Hart, Director of the IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean.

“On the other hand, migrants' testimonies confirm that the situation in Libya is critical and that many are victims of abuse and violence. Saving lives at sea must still be the number one priority, and now more than ever, it is important to bring rescued migrants to a safe port."

The latest tragedy brings the total number of deaths recorded in the Mediterranean in 2019 to 1,136, including 740 in the central Mediterranean route alone, which remains the planet’s deadliest sea crossing.

According to official figures provided by the Ministry of the Interior, 610 migrants arrived by sea to Italy in four days, between Thursday 21 to Sunday 24 November. The total number of arrivals by sea registered so far is 10,566.

For more information, please contact Safa Msehli at IOM Geneva: Tel: +41794035526, Email: smsehli@iom.int or Flavio Di Giacomo at IOM Rome, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: fdigiacomo@iom.int

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Internally displaced persons in Ukraine urgently need durable solutions

Tue, 26 Nov 2019 09:37:14 +0000

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Source: Norwegian Refugee Council, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Country: Ukraine

UN agencies and NRC convened talks with government authorities, MPs, local authorities and civil society about promoting durable solutions for the 1.4 million registered IDPs.

26 November 2019, Kyiv, Ukraine -- The United Nations Agency for Refugees (UNHCR), in collaboration with the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), convened discussions with central government authorities, members of parliament, local authorities and civil society organizations about promoting durable solutions for the 1.4 million people registered as internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Ukraine.

*"It is important that we continue our efforts to find durable housing solutions for internally displaced persons. The Government's current durable solutions and integration strategy expires in 2020. We need to reflect on what we did so far and commence a dialogue on the strategic approach to durable solutions for IDPs in Ukraine", *stressed Ms. Osnat Lubrani, UN System Resident Coordinator in Ukraine, Humanitarian Coordinator.

Mr. Oleksii Ilyashenko, the Deputy Minister for European Integration at the Ministry for Veterans, Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons of Ukraine stressed the need for a new strategy on durable solutions for IDPs. "*The new government is striving to ensure protection and integration of internally displaced persons. We need to review the approaches established by the previous strategic document and develop a new effective strategy, in cooperation with international organizations, which will concern people living on both sides of the contact line. This is very much in line with the willingness of the President of Ukraine to ensure peace and to protect all citizens of Ukraine".*

To inform development of the new strategy, the NRC presented a Ukrainian translation of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee's Framework on Durable Solutions for IDPs, a document built around international standards and best practices on ending displacement. The framework provides a definition of "durable solution" and articulates indicators for measuring progress.

Kristina Nechayeva, Protection and Advocacy Coordinator of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), said: "Even though each country has its unique circumstances, situations of displacement have much in common across contexts and continents. This understanding of the internal displacement has been compiled by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee, a forum of the UN and non-UN humanitarian partners, in the Framework on Durable Solutions for IDPs."

Participants of the discussion focused on several pressing issues for IDPs, including housing, jobs, pensions, voting rights and social cohesion.

Given the importance of housing for IDPs, the UN Refugee Agency presented the Recommendations on durable housing solutions for IDPs, developed by central and local authorities, non-governmental organizations and IDP communities during the Solidarity Cities Forum in Kharkiv on October 3, 2019.

The document suggests prioritizing budgetary allocation for IDP housing at central and local levels and ensuring that development of housing solutions involves IDPs in decision-making.

Members of Parliament of Ukraine expressed their readiness to take part in developing an updated strategy on durable solutions for IDPs. Ruslan Gorbenko noted, "The rhetoric of the government has changed. The new strategy has to be elaborated in order to bring real results and real changes in people's lives". Nataliia Korolevska said that "everyone who holds a passport of a citizen of Ukraine must have equal access to rights and should not be discriminated against on the basis of registration."

Participants highlighted the importance of hearing the voices of IDP communities and civil society organizations. Tetyana Kutas from the NGO "The 10^th^ of April" said that the coalition of IDPs in southern regions of Ukraine identified housing as a key priority. They cooperate with local authorities in joint search of the best housing options for each IDP household.

***\UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is a global organization dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people. UNHCR has been working in Ukraine since 1994, first, protecting rights of asylum-seekers, stateless persons and later also the rights of conflict-affected citizens of Ukraine. https://www.unhcr.org/ua/. For additional information contact Victoria Andrievska: +380 50 413 8404, andrievs@unhcr.org

NRC, the Norwegian Refugee Council, is an independent humanitarian organisation helping people forced to flee. NRC has started its work in Ukraine in 2014 providing protection and assistance to conflict-affected people in eastern Ukraine, including Internally Displaced People. For additional information contact Kristina Nechayeva: +38 067 828 58 44 or +38 050 468 45 24, kristina.nechayeva@nrc.no

OCHA, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, is the part of the United Nations Secretariat responsible for bringing together humanitarian actors to ensure a coherent response to emergencies. OCHA established its presence in Ukraine shortly after the outbreak of the conflict in 2014. OCHA works with a wide range of humanitarian actors to ensure that relief and protection reach the people in need in a timely and effective manner. For additional information contact Valijon Ranoev: +38 050 422 3943, ranoev@un.org.

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Nuevas políticas en el norte de América Central, México y Estados Unidos dejan el asilo y la seguridad fuera del alcance de los niños

Mon, 25 Nov 2019 19:21:36 +0000

Source: UN Children's Fund
Country: El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, United States of America

Los nuevos acuerdos firmados en materia de asilo significan que los niños desplazados en la región tendrán que buscar protección en los países del norte de América Central, una de las regiones más violentas del mundo.

NUEVA YORK, 25 de noviembre de 2019 – “El acceso de los niños migrantes que se encuentran en el norte de América Central, México y los Estados Unidos a la seguridad y la protección internacional se ha reducido considerablemente debido, en gran medida, a la reciente serie de acuerdos y cambios en las políticas adoptados por los gobiernos de la región. En su conjunto, estos factores están teniendo profundas consecuencias para los niños, muchos de los cuales no disponen de opciones seguras para escapar de la violencia y la extorsión, buscar protección o reunirse con sus familiares en el extranjero.

“Al mismo tiempo, las condiciones de los niños y las familias que viven en el norte de América Central siguen siendo muy graves, justo cuando se están cerrando las vías para una migración segura y regular. A pesar de los esfuerzos que se realizan a nivel nacional, la violencia, la delincuencia organizada, la extorsión, la pobreza y un acceso limitado a la educación y a los servicios sociales de calidad siguen formando parte de la vida cotidiana de millones de personas. En esta región se encuentran algunos de los países más violentos del mundo, donde el acceso a la educación y a otros servicios esenciales también es reducida.

“Los nuevos acuerdos de cooperación que se han firmado en materia de asilo significan esencialmente que los niños que son desplazados en la región se verán obligados a buscar protección en los países del norte de América Central. Sin embargo, debido a la delincuencia organizada y a la violencia, muchas zonas de estos países son inseguras incluso para los propios niños que viven allí, sin mencionar a los que llegan de otros lugares.

“En México, los Protocolos de Protección de Migrantes han provocado un aumento en el número de niños migrantes varados en las zonas fronterizas mientras esperan que sus casos de asilo sean tramitados por el sistema judicial de los Estados Unidos, un proceso que puede tomar meses. En muchas de estas zonas, los niños migrantes y sus familias se enfrentan a la explotación, la violencia y el abuso, y carecen de acceso a servicios esenciales.

“Los efectos combinados de los Protocolos de Protección de Migrantes y los nuevos acuerdos de cooperación en materia de asilo están dejando a los niños en una situación de gran riesgo.

“Miles de niños se encuentran atrapados en un ciclo agotador en el que predomina la violencia y la falta de acceso a servicios esenciales en sus países de origen, el peligro en su recorrido migratorio, la detención y situaciones de limbo legal, la deportación y otra vez vuelta a empezar, un ciclo que está desgarrando el tejido social de las familias y las comunidades. Más de 32.000 niños fueron devueltos de Estados Unidos y México a El Salvador, Guatemala y Honduras entre enero y agosto de 2019, el doble de los 15.711 que fueron devueltos durante el mismo período en 2018.

“UNICEF trabaja sobre el terreno en la región para brindar a los niños migrantes y refugiados protección y servicios esenciales dondequiera que se encuentren. También estamos trabajando con las autoridades y las ONGs para ampliar la capacidad de respuesta a las necesidades de los niños migrantes y refugiados, y para garantizar que el interés superior de cada niño reciba la máxima consideración en los procedimientos de migración. Pero se necesita más apoyo de manera urgente.

“Garantizar el bienestar de los niños migrantes requiere una respuesta colectiva de todos los países involucrados, así como de la comunidad internacional. Este esfuerzo debe incluir varios elementos clave:

“En primer lugar, los gobiernos deben dar prioridad a la protección de los niños –independientemente de quiénes son, de dónde vienen o de cómo han entrado en el territorio– y garantizar el acceso a los procedimientos de asilo de manera segura y oportuna. Esto implica proporcionar acceso al territorio a los niños y a sus familias para que puedan solicitar asilo; garantizar una acogida y una atención adecuadas para los niños y las familias; y reforzar los sistemas nacionales de protección de la infancia para proteger y apoyar a los niños.

“En segundo lugar, la comunidad internacional debe proporcionar ayuda y financiamiento que protejan a los niños de la violencia y aumenten las oportunidades de aprender y prosperar para garantizar que los terceros países sean, de hecho, seguros.

“En tercer lugar, la comunidad internacional debería tomar más medidas para ayudar a abordar las graves necesidades de los niños y las familias migrantes en la región –entre ellas el apoyo psicosocial y las opciones de cuidados alternativos– para evitar la detención y la separación familiar, mientras se fortalece de manera sostenible la protección de los migrantes y los sistemas de asilo a lo largo del corredor que va del norte de América Central a los Estados Unidos.

“Por último, los gobiernos de la región y la comunidad internacional deben unirse para abordar las causas profundas de la expulsión de los niños y las familias de sus comunidades: la pobreza, la violencia y la falta de oportunidades educativas y económicas.

“Si no se toman con urgencia estas acciones, la región podría verse envuelta en una crisis de difícil solución. Las amenazas y las múltiples privaciones están obligando a miles de niños y familias a abandonar sus hogares, pero no hay ningún lugar seguro para ellos. Juntos podemos y debemos hacer que las cosas mejoren para ellos. Podemos ayudar a proporcionar seguridad y oportunidades a los niños, tanto en sus hogares como cuando se encuentran en tránsito”

Contactos de prensa

Christopher Tidey
UNICEF Nueva York
Teléfono: +1 917 340 3017
Correo electrónico: ctidey@unicef.org

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Third group of refugees evacuated to Rwanda from Libya with UNHCR support

Mon, 25 Nov 2019 14:32:09 +0000

Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Country: Eritrea, Ethiopia, Libya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan

As violence in Tripoli intensifies, these evacuations have never been more urgent. We need States to help us get more refugees out of the country much more quickly. - UNHCR

More than 100 vulnerable refugees, including several babies born in detention centres in Libya, have arrived in Rwanda on a humanitarian evacuation flight organised by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.

The group of 116 at Kigali International Airport at 2245 last night (Sunday 24 November). They have been taken to a transit facility in Gashora, where UNHCR is providing them with life-saving assistance, including food, water, medical care, psycho-social support, and accommodation.

“As violence in Tripoli intensifies, these evacuations have never been more urgent”, said Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR Special Envoy for the Central Mediterranean. “But with thousands of refugees still at risk in detention centres and urban areas in Libya, we need States to help us get more refugees out of the country much more quickly.”

The group are mostly from Eritrea, with smaller numbers from Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan and South Sudan.

Around two-thirds of the group are under 18 years old, the vast majority of whom have been separated from their parents and wider family. Among the group are two one month-old babies.

The individuals have been given asylum-seeker status while their cases are assessed and further solutions are pursued, including resettlement, voluntary return to countries of previous asylum, voluntary return to countries of origin where safe to do so and local integration in Rwanda.

Around a quarter of the group were evacuated via the Gathering and Departure Facility in Tripoli.Others were evacuated directly from detention centres and urban areas.

Individuals were identified based on assessments of vulnerability. Due to the limited number of available evacuation and resettlement places, efforts are made to prioritise those most in need, often including unaccompanied children, survivors of torture and other abuses, and people in need of medical treatment, amongst others.

A number of additional humanitarian flights out of Libya are planned during the next few weeks.

UNHCR is grateful for support of Libyan, Rwandan and Nigerien authorities, and from the African Union, through the Emergency Transit Mechanism (ETM). UNHCR also welcomes the recent donation of US$10 million from the European Union towards the Rwanda ETM, helping us move more vulnerable refugees out of Libya and to safety.

Following this evacuation, UNHCR has assisted 2,141 refugees and asylum seekers with solutions out of Libya in 2019 – including the resettlement of 723 individuals. We continue to call for the end of detention of refugees and migrants in Libya as well as more places and faster, more flexible processes to move more refugees away from danger.

Around 4,500 refugees and asylum seekers continue to be held in detention centres in Libya, including people newly-detained after being rescued or intercepted at sea by the Libyan Coast Guard. Together with other vulnerable refugees living in urban areas, they remain at risk of being caught up in the continued clashes or being subjected to horrific forms of harm in the hands of smugglers and traffickers in Libya.

For more information on this topic, please contact:

In Kigali: Elise Villechalane villecha@unhcr.org +250 788 315 198
In Tunis: Caroline Gluck gluck@unhcr.org +216 299 25506
In Tunis: Tarik Argaz,argaz@unhcr.org, +216 29 9612 95
In Geneva: Charlie Yaxley,yaxley@unhcr.org, +41 79 580 8702
In New York: Kathryn Mahoney, mahoney@unhcr.org, +1 347 443 7646

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Red Cross responds to humanitarian emergency following deadly Kenyan floods

Mon, 25 Nov 2019 11:48:08 +0000

Source: International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies
Country: Kenya

The IFRC recently released more than 300,000 Swiss francs to help the Kenya Red Cross response. A second emergency response allocation is currently being considered.

Nairobi/Geneva, 25 November 2019—Thousands of people across Kenya have been hit by deadly floods and mudslides. At the epicentre of the current floods, in West Pokot, panic-stricken survivors have deserted their villages after losing their homes, livestock, crops and their loved ones—in what some local residents have described as their worst disaster in memory.

Dr Asha Mohammed, Kenya Red Cross Society Secretary General Designate, said:

“_We’re most worried about families who have been cut off from life-saving support. They are without food, water and may require medical care._ Our teams are doing everything they can to reach these areas, including using boats and treading deep waters to evacuate families in high-risk areas, conducting search and rescue efforts and providing basic health services.”

Kenya Red Cross teams in various parts of the country are supporting the evacuation of families to safer areas. Working alongside the Government of Kenya, Red Cross teams are delivering emergency relief items and essential supplies like household and sanitation items in evacuation centres hosting those who have been displaced by the flooding. Areas affected by flooding so far include Marsabit, Wajir, Mandera, Tana River, Turkana, Elgeiyo Marakwet, Kitui, Meru, Kajiado, Nandi, Kwale, Garissa, Muranga and Busia.

_“The number of people who need urgent help is increasing daily as details of the impact of the disaster continue to emerge. The Red Cross had been already running programmes in some of the affected areas. With these latest worrying developments, we are now scaling up our response programmes,” _said Dr Asha.

As part of the response to floods which began a few weeks ago this month, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) recently released more than 300,000 Swiss francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund to help Kenya Red Cross society support over 14,000 families to cope with the effects of unusually heavy rains for three months. A second emergency response allocation to support Kenya Red Cross is currently being considered.

With a record-breaking temperature rise in the Indian Ocean in the last few weeks, Kenya and other east African countries have been extremely vulnerable to flooding. This latest flooding incident in Kenya follows similar disasters in South Sudan, Tanzania, Somalia and Ethiopia.

“The storm is not yet over. We are concerned that other parts of the country will continue to experience destructive floods this week,” said Dr Asha. “In addition, even after the floods, there are also concerns about their long-term effects. Many people who have lost their crops and livestock will struggle to feed their families. There is also a real risk of outbreaks of waterborne diseases including cholera and malaria.”

Some of the communities that are affected by floods were still reeling from the impact of a crippling drought. They include families in Garissa, Tana River and Turkana. This recurrent cycle erodes the resilience of affected communities gradually.

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UNHCR seeks $10 million for urgent South Sudan flood response

Mon, 25 Nov 2019 08:42:29 +0000

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Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Country: South Sudan, Sudan

The operation will provide core relief items, emergency shelter, WASH assistance and health support to refugees and members of the host community affected by the floods.

Since late August 2019, heavy rains and flooding have devastated areas in South Sudan. Greater Maban County in north-east South Sudan, bordering Sudan, is one of the hardest hit areas. Over 150,000 Sudanese refugees hosted in four refugee camps and an estimated 50,000 South Sudanese host community members living side-by-side in Maban have been badly affected. Flooding has destroyed homes and displaced families from both refugee and host communities. Roads have become impassable, crops have been destroyed and humanitarian operations interrupted. Given the limited infrastructure in South Sudan, the Bunj airstrip—often referred to as the 'lifeline of Maban'—was submerged and heavily damaged. The roads connecting Maban with other parts of the country have been impassable since August. Access roads from Bunj town to the refugee camps and host community areas, as well as roads within the camps, are heavily damaged. Many remain unusable by any vehicle. With the rainy season expected to continue through November, there is a high risk that more flooding will affect these vulnerable families.

  • Estimated population affected: 200,000 people
  • Refugees: 151,962 as of 31 October
  • Host community: 70,000 people

UNHCR is urgently appealing for $10 million to support the response to the flooding in Maban. The operation will provide core relief items, emergency shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) assistance and health support to refugees and members of the host community affected by the floods.

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UN humanitarian chief calls for urgent support to address most acute needs in Sudan

Sun, 24 Nov 2019 16:29:19 +0000

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Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Country: Sudan

The situation is deteriorating for millions of people, as the country strives to address the effects of erratic weather, multiple disease outbreaks and the economic crisis.

Khartoum, 24 November 2019. UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock today called on the international community to act faster to scale up humanitarian support to Sudan. The humanitarian situation is deteriorating for millions of people, particularly in the central and eastern regions, as the country strives to address the effects of erratic weather, multiple disease outbreaks and the economic crisis.

“It is a crucial time for Sudan and we must make sure that people have their most basic needs met. The international community needs urgently to step up its support”, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock said at the end of a two-day mission to Sudan, his first visit to the country since the formation of a transitional government in August 2019.

While conflict is still a major driver of humanitarian needs in Sudan, incidents have significantly reduced in recent years. The deepening economic crisis, the climate crisis and pockets of violence also continue to drive humanitarian needs. More than 8.5 million people require food, nutrition, protection or other assistance to survive and millions of others struggle to make ends meet. These numbers are projected to grow. Years of conflict have left nearly two million people displaced in the Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile areas of Sudan.

During a visit to Kassala, in eastern Sudan, the Emergency Relief Coordinator met local communities who have been affected by recent economic and climate shocks and recurrent disease outbreaks. “The economic crisis has a very direct impact on ordinary people’s lives, particularly for women and girls. They live in an area with ongoing dengue and malaria outbreaks, yet cannot afford to pay for medicines. And recurrent droughts and floods means that they cannot grow enough food”.

In Kassala State, over 400,000 people are in crisis levels of food insecurity and only 13 per cent of the rural communities have access to safe water. Communicable disease outbreaks are proliferating at the same time as the economic situation hampers the Government’s capacity to respond. There are acute shortages of basic medicines and health services across the country.

During meetings with the Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, members of the Government and the Sovereign Council, the humanitarian chief welcomed the country’s commitment to improve access for humanitarian organizations to reach people in need. He acknowledged the positive steps taken thus far. “In the last few days the new Government has taken real and important decisions to improve access, and the situation is already notably better than it has been for years”, said Mr. Lowcock. He noted that reducing administrative procedures are crucial to facilitate movement for aid workers inside the country. The Government is also supporting efforts to access areas still under the control of non-state armed groups. The UN is encouraged by the priority the Government is placing on peace building and conflict resolution across the country.

The humanitarian chief concluded his visit by underscoring the fragility of the situation. “More and faster humanitarian assistance is essential to ensure earlier progress is made in meeting the reasonable aspirations of the people of Sudan", said Mr. Lowcock.

For further information, please contact:

On mission: Saviano Abreu, Local mob: +249 912130340, WhatsApp: +34 628 498 279, deabreuisidoro@un.org
In Sudan: Mary Keller, +249 912174454, kellerm@un.org / Alimbek Tashtankulov, +249 912160361, tashtankulov@un.org
In Geneva: Jens Laerke, +41 79 472 9750, laerke@un.org
In New York: Zoe Paxton, zoe.paxton@un.org
OCHA press releases are available at www.unocha.org or www.reliefweb.int

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Campaign launched to vaccinate 1.7 million Somali children

Sun, 24 Nov 2019 08:29:34 +0000

Source: World Health Organization, UN Children's Fund, Global Polio Eradication Initiative
Country: Somalia

The five-day campaign, running from 24 to 28 November, will target children under the age of five with polio vaccines and children aged six to 59 months with measles vaccines.

MOGADISHU, 24 November 2019 - Health authorities launched today a campaign to vaccinate 1.7 million children against measles and polio in Benaadir, Galguduud, Hirshabelle, Jubaland and South West State, Somalia.

The 5-day campaign, running from 24 to 28 November, will target children under the age of 5 with polio vaccines and children aged 6 to 59 months with measles vaccines. The vaccination campaign, conducted in partnership with the Somali government, World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), also includes a vitamin A supplement for children under 5 to boost their immunity as well as de-worming tablets.

The measles virus is spread by respiratory transmission and is highly contagious. Up to 90% of people without immunity who are sharing a house with an infected person will catch it. As of 9 November, 3616 suspected measles cases have been reported in Somalia in 2019.

Somalia also continues to respond to a vaccine-derived polio outbreak. Three vaccine-derived polio cases have been confirmed in the country in 2019 and 15 children have been paralysed since the onset of the latest outbreak in 2017.

“One among 7 Somali children dies before their fifth birthday and many of these deaths are preventable by use of vaccines. Although we have made progress over the years to improve routine immunization coverage in the country, there is an urgent need to further scale up the vaccination coverage, especially for measles and polio, by working together with partners, communities and grass-root level organizations. The integrated campaign for measles and polio is expected to improve routine immunization coverage and reach out to those who are missed out during routine immunization programme,” said WHO Representative Dr Mamunur Malik.

The campaign targets particularly children in districts with high concentrations of internally displaced persons and nomadic communities. These population groups often have higher mobility, and so are at increased risk for transmission of these diseases.

“Crowded living conditions, malnutrition and limited access to water and sanitation in the camps and other sites breed disease and put children at grave risk,” said UNICEF Somalia Representative Werner Schultink. “To protect these children, it is critical to reach them with life-saving vaccines.”

The campaign aims to stem the transmission of measles infection and reduce the likelihood of future measles outbreaks in Somalia. Adding polio vaccine to the campaign will also help to bolster protection against polio virus type 1 and 3 among all Somali children.

More than 17 000 skilled community vaccinators, frontline health workers and social mobilizers are implementing the campaign.

Integrated campaigns are important to raise immunity among children and avoid the devastating implications of these entirely preventable diseases on individuals, families, the local economy and health security in the region.

About WHO

The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations whose vision is the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health.

Follow WHO Somalia on Twitter.

About UNICEF

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. Follow UNICEF Somalia on Twitter and Facebook.

About GPEI

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative is a public-private partnership led by national governments and spearheaded by the World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, working towards a future where no child will ever again be paralysed by polio.

For more information, please contact:

Leila Abrar, UNICEF Somalia, Polio Communications for Development Specialist, labrar@unicef.org, +252 636 833 923

Eva Hinds, UNICEF Somalia, Communication Manager, ehinds@unicef.org, +252 613 642 635

Fouzia Bano, WHO Somalia, Communication Officer, banof@who.int, +252 619 235 880

Dr Kamil Mohamed, WHO Somalia Polio Team Lead Email: kamilmo@who.int Cell: +252 613 041 057

Dr Farid, WHO Medical Officer, Email: faridmu@who.int Cell: +252619742132

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Myanmar launches its first-ever Alternative Education Framework

Sun, 24 Nov 2019 04:02:45 +0000

Source: UN Children's Fund
Country: Myanmar

A new alternative education initiative aims at children and youth who have experienced difficulty accessing formal education, including children living in conflict and disaster-affected areas.

NAY PYI TAW, 22 November 2019 – Today, Myanmar launched the country’s first-ever Alternative Education Subsector [Policy] Framework that will guide the design and implementation of alternative education initiatives for out-of-school children.

In his opening address Deputy Minister, U Win Maw Tun, said, “This strategy is in line with the Ministry of Education’s policy of ‘leaving no child behind’ and will also help the nation achieve its goals under the Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan (MSDP) and the National Education Strategic Plan (2016-2021).” The framework builds on initiatives implemented over the past three years. So far, the country has over 17,000 non-formal primary and non-formal middle education learners as well more than 50,000 adult literacy learners.

The new alternative education initiatives outlined in the framework are aimed at children and youth who have experienced difficulty accessing formal education, including children and youth living in remote areas; children and youth in conflict- and disaster-affected areas; children and youth on the move; and children and youth with disabilities and chronic health problems.

“While steady progress has been made in school enrolment, it is estimated that there are still over 2 million children out of school in Myanmar, with significant disparities between states and regions,” said Paul Edwards, UNICEF Deputy Representative to Myanmar.

The new framework aims to strengthen coordination and management of existing alternative education initiatives; improve the quality of the education and expand access to learning; develop research and innovation; and support the implementation of alternative education programmes.

Specifically, the framework focuses on providing children and youth who are out of school with knowledge, skills, attitudes and values for lifelong learning. It will facilitate their access to flexible, non-formal education, which in turn will provide opportunities for them to enter or re-enter formal education or follow other development pathways, such as learning entrepreneurial skills or other life-skills that will prepare them for the workforce.

Since late 2016, UNICEF has been supporting the Department of Alternative Education in the Ministry of Education to develop the Alternative Education Subsector Framework, with financial support from the European Union and Denmark. Simultaneously, UNICEF has continued its support to the delivery of non-formal primary education as well as the piloting of non-formal middle school education in three states, namely, Kachin, Kayah and Rakhine. Based on the positive results of the pilot, the programme is expected to be rolled out across the country.

The launch was attended by members of the Union Parliament, National Education Policy Commission (NEPC) members, National Curriculum Committee (NCC) members, National Accreditation and Quality Assurance Committee members (NAQAC), Director Generals, Rectors, the Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, seniors officials from the Ministry of Education, donor representatives, UN agencies, local and international NGOs, senior government officials from other departments and the working group members who drafted the framework.

“UNICEF is committed to further support the Ministry of Education to deliver alternative education initiatives in Myanmar, for the benefit of all children who, otherwise, would miss out on the opportunity of education,” added Edwards.

Media Contacts

Htet Htet Oo
Communication Officer
UNICEF
Tel: +95 9250075238
Email: hoo@unicef.org

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More than half a million people affected by floods in Somalia

Sat, 23 Nov 2019 10:13:31 +0000

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Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Government of Somalia
Country: Somalia

UN agencies and the Federal Government seek $72.5 million to implement life-saving activities where flooding has destroyed farmland, infrastructure and livelihoods.

Mogadishu, 23 November 2019 — The Federal Government of Somalia and the humanitarian community today launched a Flood Response Plan to seek immediate support for hundreds of thousands of people affected by flooding across the country. The plan calls for US$72.5 million to implement life-saving activities from November 2019 to January 2020.

Flooding caused by heavy rains in Somalia and the Ethiopian highlands has affected over half a million people in Somalia, of whom 370,000 are displaced from their homes. Many of these people were still recovering from the 2016/17 drought.

Since 21 October, the flooding has destroyed farmland and infrastructure and devastated livelihoods in some of the worsthit areas. At least 17 people have died, including two children. Livestock losses have also been reported. “The Government of Somalia is leading the humanitarian response efforts through the inter-ministerial committee,” said Hamza Said Hamza, the Minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management. “The efforts of the national actors and international partners including UN and NGOs are important and well appreciated. But the needs of the affected communities are really huge in regard to shelter, clean water, food, health and protection. That is why we are issuing this plan.”

The floods were triggered by moderate to heavy Deyr seasonal rains that began in early September in many parts of Somalia and the Ethiopian highlands, where the Juba and Shabelle rivers originate. Entire reaches of the two rivers have seen high water levels, resulting in flooding in Hirshabelle, Jubaland and South West states. Flash flooding was also reported in Banadir region, Jowhar, Ceel Cade and Jamame, and some locations in South West State. The worst affected area is Belet Weyne, where overflow from the Shabelle river has displaced 231,000 people from their homes.

“The floods came at a time that 4.8 million Somalis were already in desperate need of assistance due, in part, to climaterelated cycles of drought and flooding,” said Adam Abdelmoula,theHumanitarian CoordinatorforSomalia. “It is important that donors, UN partners, the Federal Government of Somalia and Federal Member State authorities engage in a serious discussion on preventative development interventions.”

Despite expanded assistance, significant gaps remain in the provision of basic services, particularly under WASH, Shelter/NFI, Health and Food Security clusters. Interventions to scale up livelihoods, alongside famine prevention efforts, must be sustained to prevent food insecurity as heavy rains and an increased risk of water-borne diseases are expected to continue in November and December.

The Flood Response Plan is available here.

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Is counter-terrorism killing humanitarian action in Nigeria?

Sat, 23 Nov 2019 01:03:00 +0000

Source: Médecins Sans Frontières
Country: Nigeria

Humanitarian organisations were created to reach all of children in need – whichever side of a conflict they live on. But in counter-terrorism operations, humanitarianism is being buried.

by Bertrand Perrochet, Director of Operations, Médecins Sans Frontières

Five children were dying every week in just one of our feeding centres in Borno state during my recent visit to northeastern Nigeria. Many come in too sick and too late to be saved. On average, ten severely malnourished kids were being admitted per day to our intensive care unit in Maiduguri, the capital. I saw my colleagues forced to break the news to families that the war that they fled from had not only destroyed their homes but had literally wasted their children away.

These children are the ones that have a chance of survival. They are the ones that we are allowed to reach. But there are many more outside of the ‘garrison towns’, as the enclaves controlled by the Nigerian military are called. Humanitarians cannot access other areas outside these towns, more than three-quarters of Borno state. Those children, behind what the military defines as enemy lines, are also considered the enemy by virtue of their geographic location. They are condemned as unworthy of receiving care and if humanitarians try to reach them, they could be accused of ‘aiding and abetting’ terrorism.

In counter-terrorism operations such as this one, humanitarianism is being buried together with the children dying in our treatment centres

Humanitarian organisations like ours were created to reach all of these children – whichever side of a conflict they live on. But in counter-terrorism operations such as this one, humanitarianism is being buried together with the children dying in our treatment centres.

That’s because on the one hand, the government controls where we go, who we can talk to and how we operate. In their fight against terrorism, it is ‘with us or against us’. People who cross into the garrison towns are given access to assistance. Those outsides are denied it, with entire communities designated as hostile. Nigeria is not alone in doing this. States fighting terrorism across the globe often try to use humanitarian action as a tool to achieve their military goals, from winning the ‘hearts and minds’ of some communities to purposefully excluding others.

On the other side, we are faced with fragmented armed groups that don’t want talk to us, have indiscriminately assaulted civilians, attacked health structures and kidnapped and killed aid workers.

Eyes remain closed to the needs of more than one million people who don’t find themselves on the UN-backed side of the conflict, in the name of the war on terror.

Humanitarian action is being squeezed by all sides and it is the people in need who pay the price. In navigating this challenging environment, we don’t find many allies.

For its part, the United Nations aid system has decided that saving lives is valuable when it simultaneously builds the state and ensures peace. The problem with this is that it entails choosing sides. The UN mantra may be to ‘leave no one behind’, yet eyes remain closed to the needs of more than one million people who don’t find themselves on the UN-backed side of the conflict, in the name of the war on terror.

We are told by the military that being neutral is not possible in Nigeria because they consider the enemy evil. But wars still have rules. Our concerns are pragmatic. When humanitarian aid is controlled by one party to the conflict – in this case the government of Nigeria - it loses its most essential element: the trust of the population and the willingness of the people with guns to see it as separate from the conflict.

Doctors shouldn’t be forced to make judgements on who is a good or bad patient.

This is not about specific cases where access was requested and then denied. Rather it is how the entire aid system is set up and designed to serve the counter-terrorism operations of one party to the conflict. It’s not the first time we see this – similar approaches were taken in Mosul, Iraq for instance – and I fear it won’t be the last.

Doctors shouldn’t be forced to make judgements on who is a good or bad patient. That is prohibited by both medical ethics and international humanitarian law. Our role should be to treat whoever needs us, across whatever frontlines different groups have drawn. But today before a doctor gets to assess a patient’s needs, a soldier assesses their political allegiance before allowing access to them. Fear of the screening process ensures that the sick and wounded who are entitled to medical care are left behind. And arbitrary screenings mean that even civilians with nothing to hide fear coming forward.

Our ambulance has been hijacked. We are not in control of its destination. Of course, we are still saving lives. But we are only saving the lives of those who can reach us. But the children we see in our feeding centres shouldn’t have to find their way to the ambulance - we should be able to reach them before it is too late.

We need to take back the steering wheel of the ambulance. If we don’t, I fear we will be contributing to the death of humanitarianism.

After discovering the extent of the malnutrition crisis in 2016 in the northeast, we also kept our heads down and treated whoever we could reach. We will continue to try to save lives. But I believe we also need to take back the steering wheel of the ambulance. If we don’t, I fear we will be contributing to the death of humanitarianism. Then the million out of reach today in Nigeria will multiply into millions more in countless global counterterrorism operations of tomorrow.

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Scores of civilians killed and wounded in Yemen's Sa'ada Governorate

Fri, 22 Nov 2019 18:30:33 +0000

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Source: UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen
Country: Yemen

Preliminary field reports indicate that ten civilians have reportedly been killed and a further 18 injured, including a child, in a shelling attack on Al-Raqw market in Monabbih District on 20 November.

Sana’a, 22 November 2019 - Preliminary field reports indicate that ten civilians have reportedly been killed and a further 18 injured, including a child, in a shelling attack on Al-Raqw market in Monabbih District in Sa'ada on 20 November.

“We share our deepest condolences with the families of the killed and injured,” said Ms. Lise Grande, Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen.

“Every death, every injury caused by this conflict is a tragedy,” said Ms. Grande. "What is happening in Yemen doesn't make sense. The fighting needs to end, and end now.”

Humanitarian partners in Monabbih District are supporting the Al Jumhori and Al Talh hospitals to assist the injured. Help is also being provided to the local communities affected by the attack.

Yemen is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis with nearly 80 per cent of the population in need of some form of humanitarian assistance and protection. Ten million people are a step away from famine and starvation and 7 million people are malnourished.

The 2019 Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan (YHRP) requires US$4.2 billion to assist more than 20 million Yemenis including 10 million people who rely entirely on humanitarian assistance to meet their basic needs every month. As of today, the YHRP is 71 per cent funded.

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WFP necesita US$196 millones para brindar asistencia alimentaria a migrantes de Venezuela en 2020

Fri, 22 Nov 2019 13:48:29 +0000

Source: World Food Programme
Country: Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)

Las encuestas de seguridad alimentaria del WFP realizadas este año mostraron que el 54% de los migrantes y refugiados en Colombia y el 23% en Ecuador tienen inseguridad alimentaria moderada o severa.

ROMA – El Programa Mundial de Alimentos de las Naciones Unidas (WFP, por sus siglas en inglés) hizo un llamado urgente a la comunidad internacional para aportar US$196 millones con el fin de asistir al creciente número de migrantes que salen de Venezuela, entre ellos retornados colombianos, a través de sus operaciones de emergencia en Colombia y Ecuador.

Estos fondos son parte del Plan Regional de Respuesta a Refugiados y Migrantes, el más grande en su tipo que se haya implementado en la región. El plan, que tiene un presupuesto total de US$1.350 millones, es una herramienta de coordinación y recaudación de fondos implementado por 137 organizaciones en 17 países de la región para apoyar a 4 millones de migrantes en 2020.

Desde 2018, WFP ha proporcionado comidas calientes en comedores comunitarios, kits de alimentos para personas en tránsito y cupones para cubrir las necesidades alimentarias básicas de más de 1,85 millones de migrantes y comunidades de acogida, principalmente en las zonas fronterizas en Colombia y en 14 provincias en Ecuador.

"A medida que el número de personas en movimiento continúa aumentando sin un final a la vista, también lo hacen los riesgos y las vulnerabilidades que enfrentan los migrantes", dijo Miguel Barreto, Director Regional del WFP para América Latina y el Caribe.

Al mes de noviembre de 2019, unos 4,6 millones de venezolanos habían salido del país, y casi el 80% de ellos se ha establecido en América Latina y el Caribe, según la Plataforma Regional de Coordinación Interagencial. Cerca de 1,5 millones viven en Colombia y 385.000 en Ecuador.

Las encuestas de seguridad alimentaria del WFP realizadas este año mostraron que el 54% de los migrantes y refugiados en Colombia y el 23% en Ecuador tienen inseguridad alimentaria moderada o severa. En Colombia, el 29% pasó un día sin comer en los siete días anteriores a la encuesta, mientras que el 60% redujo la cantidad de comidas al día en Ecuador.

“Seis de cada 10 migrantes nos han dicho que están preocupados por no tener suficientes alimentos", dijo Barreto. "Con el apoyo financiero adicional de nuestros generosos donantes, podremos ampliar nuestra respuesta humanitaria y satisfacer las necesidades urgentes de las personas más vulnerables, especialmente las mujeres y los niños".

El plan regional será implementado en nueve sectores clave: salud, educación, seguridad alimentaria, integración, protección, nutrición, albergue, artículos básicos, y transporte humanitario; y agua, saneamiento e higiene. WFP co-lidera el tema de seguridad alimentaria e intervenciones basadas en efectivo.

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Thousands of Central African refugees to return home from DRC

Fri, 22 Nov 2019 12:04:19 +0000

Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Country: Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo

UNHCR is helping hundreds of refugees living in DRC to return home - launching the first-ever voluntary repatriation programme for about 172,000 people forcibly displaced from CAR since 2013.

By Clarise Neh Mokom Achu in Bangui, Central African Republic and Catherine Wachiaya in Nairobi, Kenya

Hundreds of Central Africans head back to their homeland after years in exile in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

As a boat carrying hundreds of Central African refugees returning from the Democratic Republic of the Congo approaches the port of Bangui, the air is filled with laughter and singing.

Their excitement is palpable as they look towards the shoreline, eager to set foot on their country’s soil, which they have not seen for six to seven years after fleeing conflict.

Guilaine Alaya, 33, points excitedly towards the capital as she hugs her young son by her side. Away since 2013, she and her husband Serge are glad to return home.

“It is our home. We heard there was peace now and we prefer to return and work for our country,” she says happily.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, helped hundreds of refugees living in DRC to return home on 21 November, launching the first-ever voluntary repatriation programme for around 172,000 people forcibly displaced from CAR since 2013.

Some 400 refugees and their belongings left in a convoy of trucks and light vehicles from Mole refugee camp to Zongo in South Ubangi Province in northern DRC. They then continued their journey by boat to the capital Bangui.

The start of the voluntary repatriation programme follows a tripartite agreement signed by UNHCR and the governments of DRC and CAR in July 2019.

Mole and Boyabu camps have some 32,000 Central African refugees, of whom 4,000 have signed up for voluntary repatriation. UNHCR plans to assist some 25,000 people by the end of 2020 through the programme.

Those returning receive a return package that includes some money and basic household items to assist with restarting life back in CAR, including food rations to last the first three months.

Refugees are returning to areas in Bangui and in the regions of Lobaye, Ombella M’poko, la Kemo, Nana Mambere, Mambere Kadei and Sangha-Mbaere, where the security situation has improved over the past two years.

As he sets foot on shore after six years away, Alain Kossi, 35, falls to the ground. Overwhelmed, he bursts into tears of joy, holding his child close.

“The president asked for all Central Africans to come back home,” says the father of seven. “I am proud to be back home.”

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Insecurity hinders access to displaced in north-eastern Burkina Faso

Fri, 22 Nov 2019 12:01:11 +0000

Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Country: Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger

UNHCR is extremely worried about the safety and security of residents and the 26,000 Malian refugees who have been affected by the recent violent militant attacks in Burkina’s Sahel region.

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today's press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and our partners are facing severe challenges in accessing the internally displaced people and refugee populations in Burkina Faso as insecurity grips north-eastern parts of the country.

With almost 500,000 currently displaced, a recent upsurge of violent attacks by militants on military personnel and civilians is forcing thousands more to flee their homes in search of safety. About 300,000 people have been displaced in just the last four months in the country. The number of those displaced could reach 650,000 by the end of the year.

People fleeing the violence report attacks on their villages by extremists who often forcibly recruit male residents at gunpoint, killing those who resist. Militants also stole cattle and other possessions. Terrified of these attacks, residents have left everything behind, many seeking safety in Dori – a town of about 20,000 inhabitants close to the border of Mali and Niger.

We remain extremely worried about the safety and security of residents and the 26,000 Malian refugees who have been affected by the recent violent militant attacks in Burkina’s Sahel region.

The fate of people living in the north-eastern border town of Djibo – including some 7,000 refugees in the Mentao camp, is of special concern to us. Access to the town was cut in early November after a series of militants attacks. Attackers have murdered the mayor, destroyed houses and disrupted daily life.

Inside the Mentao camp, refugees are living in fear. All schools have been closed and humanitarian access to the camp has become increasingly challenging, with the distribution of aid, including food, severely hindered. UNHCR was forced to temporarily relocate its staff from Djibo, to work remotely.

We are working through partners to provide aid to those who are still living in Djibo and also assisting locals and refugees who have arrived in Dori, Bobo Dioulasso and Ouagadougou.

Displaced families are in desperate need of shelter, water and food. Many are sleeping in the open, as renting small brick houses from the local population is expensive. UNHCR is distributing specialized tents - known as refugee housing units (RHU) - which have more ventilation, a lockable door and a small solar panel on the rooftop to provide light or to charge phones.

It is estimated that only 10 per cent of the shelter needs of the displaced people in Burkina Faso is covered at the moment. UNHCR is scaling up its relief efforts with urgently acquiring more shelter to complement the 3,335 already distributed and 1,880 currently being constructed in both Sahel and Centre Nord regions.

For communities and those forced to flee, access to documentation is essential to ensure freedom of movement. UNHCR has facilitated and financed the issuing of identity cards to internally displaced people, as well as birth certificates and other documentation that are essential to prove their identity, move freely or seek assistance.

We are calling for increased efforts to ensure the safety of the civilian population and humanitarian access to all affected in the region. Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger in September this year, adopted the “Bamako Conclusions,” reaffirming their commitments to protect civilians.

Currently, all of Burkina Faso’s 13 regions host people fleeing violence. The Centre-Nord region hosts the largest number of displaced people - more than 196,000 in Sanmatenga province alone - followed by the Sahel region – with almost 133,000 in Soum province.

For more information on this topic, please contact:

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IOM launches voluntary return programme for migrants stranded in Guatemala

Fri, 22 Nov 2019 11:30:27 +0000

Source: International Organization for Migration
Country: Guatemala

IOM will maintain close collaboration with UNHCR and partners for the referral and counter-referral of cases of asylum seekers, as well as people who are presumed to have protection needs.

Guatemala – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has launched a new programme of humanitarian assistance and Assisted Voluntary Return (AVR) in Guatemala that will benefit migrants who voluntarily request to return to their country but do not have the means to do so. The initiative is part of IOM’s response to humanitarian needs of migrants in the region.

“We are opening this opportunity so that migrants can access a voluntary, safe and dignified return based on an informed decision,” said Jorge Peraza, IOM Chief of Mission for El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. “The programme will also provide humanitarian assistance during their return to their countries of origin.”

“The initiative ensures the realization of the human right every person has the right to return to his/her country in dignity. The programme operates in strict accordance with the principle of voluntary consent, since the validity of the right to make a free and informed decision of each migrant person is essential for IOM,” Peraza added.

The AVR programme is based on international human rights standards and the fundamental principles of IOM which include: ensuring the migrant’s informed decision is voluntary; responses centred on migrants’ needs; maintaining confidentiality; promoting intergovernmental and intersectoral alliances and dialogue and the creation of evidence to strengthen decision making.

IOM will maintain close collaboration with the United Nations Agency for Refugees (UNHCR) and its implementing partners for the referral and counter-referral of cases of asylum seekers, as well as people who are presumed to have international protection needs. In addition, it will provide humanitarian assistance, including accommodation, food and medical care among others, to the beneficiaries of the AVR programme, with a focus on respect for fundamental rights.

IOM will also coordinate closely with governments and partners in the countries of origin to ensure a dignified and adequate reception, which includes post-arrival humanitarian assistance and referral to reintegration services. Likewise, it will periodically monitor the cases after return in order to be aware of any possible assistance needs that may arise.

The initiative will contribute to the wider response to the humanitarian needs of hundreds of migrants who have mobilized in the region in mixed flows since October 2018. It will be implemented in Guatemala and Belize until October 2020 and has a funding of USD 10.3 million, granted by the Government of the United States of America.

The AVR programme is part of the IOM's overall objective of upholding and maintaining the human right of every person to a humane, safe and dignified return to their country of origin. The programme also promotes orderly and regular migration, while also complementing the efforts of different sectors and governments in the areas of return, reintegration, prevention of irregular migration, combating trafficking in persons, illegal trafficking of migrants, and the prevention and elimination of discrimination and xenophobia.

For more information, please contact Melissa Vega, at IOM Guatemala, Email: mevega@iom.int, Tel: +502 2414 7410

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