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ReliefWeb - Updates

Philippines: UNICEF supplies reach typhoon-affected children; PHP135m still needed to cover children’s needs

Sun, 29 Nov 2020 04:42:13 +0000

Country: Philippines
Source: UN Children's Fund

MANILA, 26 November 2020—More than two weeks after Typhoon Ulysses/Vamco made landfall in the Philippines, children are now benefiting from emergency assistance made possible through the generosity of UNICEF supporters.

On 25 November, UNICEF revised its Super Typhoon Goni/Rolly appeal to include the Typhoon Ulysses Vamco response amounting to PhP250 million. UNICEF joined the assessment mission and revealed concerns for children in WASH, health & nutrition, education and child protection.

UNICEF has received PhP115 million so far from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and from individual donors, including PhP23.1 million in supplies. UNICEF is calling for urgent support to fill the PhP135 million funding shortfall to augment prepositioned supplies and respond to the dangers continuously being faced by children, especially in preparation for weather disturbances forecasted until the end of 2020.

Around PhP6 million in supplies have been received by children and families. These include hygiene kits, water quality testing equipment, generator, electrical pumps, latrines, water purification tablets, teachers & learners kits containing notebooks, crayons, blackboard & chalk, and child friendly space kits containing tents, toys and foam mats. These supplies stand to benefit around 9,000 people.

“During emergencies, children are the most vulnerable. We thank those who have given their time, effort and resources to ease the suffering of children affected by the typhoons and the COVID-19 pandemic. Our work is far from over,” Ms. Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov, UNICEF Philippines Representative, says.

UNICEF has also received additional requests from partners and local governments after Typhoon Ulysses/Vamco. UNICEF is delivering water tanks & bladders, water quality monitoring supplies, water purification tablets, hygiene kits, tarpaulins, oral rehydration salts, ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF), face masks, face shields, and tents for children and families affected in Quezon, Rizal, Laguna and Tuguegarao.

Donate at https://donate.unicef.ph to support UNICEF’s ongoing assistance to the most vulnerable families affected by disasters and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Media contacts

Niko Wieland
Chief of Communication
UNICEF Philippines
Tel: +63 917 867 8366
Email: nmwieland@unicef.org

Marge Francia
Communication Officer
UNICEF Philippines
Tel: +63 917 858 9447

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How Sewing Face Masks is Helping Displaced Women in Yemen

Sun, 29 Nov 2020 03:24:00 +0000

Country: Yemen
Source: International Organization for Migration

Six years of conflict, disease outbreaks and extreme weather conditions have crippled Yemen’s economy. According to the World Bank, more than 40 per cent of Yemeni families have lost their primary source of income over the past four years. Most people who were previously able to live a comfortable life are now struggling to afford their daily necessities.

Among those suffering the fallout of the economic decline are the displaced. No matter how well-off they were before, having to leave behind their homes, jobs and belongings to start over has left millions of people in dire need of all forms of humanitarian assistance.

“My younger brother has a genetic red blood cell disorder called hemolytic anemia and my family cannot afford his medicine. So, I am always looking for ways to help them financially,” said Asmaa Mohammed.

The 20-year-old was originally from Jabal Sabar, in Yemen’s Taizz governorate, and now is displaced.

“I live with my elderly parents, my 14-year-old brother (he’s the one who is sick) and my little sister in Al Waqeer site in Ibb. We have no source of income except whatever humanitarian organizations provide us with,” Asmaa explained.

After COVID-19 broke out in the conflict-stricken country, job opportunities—particularly casual labour—began disappearing. To ensure survival, families have been sharing responsibility amongst their members for providing for their household.

Seeking to empower displaced women with the ability to earn an income, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) partnered with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) to launch a facemask-making project in 35 displacement sites across Ibb and Marib governorates.

“We received a lot of requests from displaced women asking for support to start small projects,” explained Sabah Al Qubati, a member of IOM’s Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) team in Marib. “IOM responded to the call and taught them how to make masks, helping them earn an income while preventing the spread of COVID-19.”

Around 45 women in Ibb and 60 women in Marib took part in this IOM-KSA initiative. The women received training, as well as the tools and materials to make the masks.

“I was happy to hear about the mask-making project. I didn’t know anything about sewing, but I learnt fast,” recalled Asmaa.

IOM camp coordinators asked each woman to make as many masks as they could. So far, the total number of masks across the two governorates tops 32,000. Upon completion of the masks, IOM provided the women with modest incentives for participating.

Asmaa really wanted to help her sick brother, Osama, who is not able to study because of his illness and, sadly but not uncommon in Yemen, works as well.

“I spent nearly eight full days making masks and I was able to produce 150. When I finished, I received an incentive from IOM and bought some goods for my brother so that he can sell them in his kiosk and earn money for his medicine,” added Asmaa.

In the same vein in Marib, Nada was looking for a way to help her family.

“I was looking for any type of work to provide for my children,” said Nada, explaining how she came to participate in the project. “So, I took part in this mask-weaving project. I learned how to make proper masks and I received sewing tools.”

Nada is a displaced mother of three from Hajjah. When her husband was killed in a market eight months ago, her family lost their sole provider. She urgently needed to start earning a living even while dealing with her loss.

Nada understandably was traumatized over her husband’s death. But she knew that she had to be strong for their three young children: Fatema, Jana and Omar. She started by making dresses and school outfits for neighbours, but she was barely scraping by. After joining IOM’s mask-weaving activity, she was able to buy her children food and even some school equipment.

Not so far from Nada’s temporary home in Marib, four-month-pregnant Nabeela lives with her husband Abdo and nine children.

Also, originally from Ibb, Nabeela was displaced with her family three years ago. Her husband has a back injury, which hinders him from working, so she has no choice but to find a way to feed their children.

With nine children to provide for—and a sick husband to care for—Nabeela struggled. Her 18-year-old daughter, like her mother, has lost her own husband—while on the verge of having her first child. The soon-to-be grandmother, who was also expecting another child, was extremely worried about her daughter’s pregnancy, not least of all about paying her medical expenses.

“I made over 700 masks because I am in desperate need of cash. My husband even helped me make them, and I am willing to make more,” Nabeela explained.

“After I received payment for the masks, I was able to buy clothes and school equipment for my children and save some money for my daughter’s delivery,” she added, feeling a bit of relief.

After receiving the masks from the women, IOM distributed them to displaced families who are at greater risk of being infected with COVID-19. During the distributions, IOM teams conducted COVID-19 awareness sessions to share important information with displaced communities on protection measures and how to properly wear the masks.

“After I received payment for the Asmaa, Nada and Nabeela are just three of the women who participated in this project. All of them wish to have a sustained, stable source of income to continue to provide for their families.

And the project isn't over yet; IOM has identified nearly 160 more women in Marib for a second round of training and support. In fact, this activity comes in addition to another mask-making project that IOM and KSrelief partnered on in Marib and Hadramaut through which over 50,000 masks were produced, bringing the total number of masks made with both entities’ support to over 80,000.

Written by Mennatallah Homaid, IOM’s Yemen Media and Communication Assistant

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World: L'ONU publie un guide sur les actions visant à éradiquer les bombes à fragmentation

Sun, 29 Nov 2020 02:47:56 +0000

Country: World
Source: UN News Service

Dix ans après l'entrée en vigueur de la Convention sur l’interdiction des mines antipersonnel, les pays ont tenu la deuxième Conférence d'examen afin de suivre les progrès réalisés dans la mise en œuvre des mesures. L'année dernière, 2 200 personnes sont mortes dans des explosions de mines terrestres et 5 500 ont été blessées.

En février prochain, les États parties devraient tenir la deuxième conférence d'examen du traité sur l'interdiction des mines terrestres.

Les signataires du document se réunissent chaque année pour discuter des progrès réalisés dans l'élimination de ces munitions, dont les bombes à fragmentation.

Répandues sur de vastes zones, ces bombes continuent d'anéantir la vie des civils même après la fin des combats et du conflit.

La Conférence de révision, présidée par le Représentant permanent de la Suisse, Félix Baumann, est soutenue par des organisations internationales et des représentants de la société civile. L'objectif est de revoir le cadre actuel et de convenir d'un plan pour les cinq prochaines années.

Les pays signataires du Traité agissent pour nettoyer les bombes à fragmentation laissées par les conflits et les guerres, en rendant les villes plus s슩res et en aidant les producteurs ruraux à cultiver en toute sécurité.

Un autre plan tout prêt consiste à protéger les enfants qui traversent ces zones, souvent à pied, pour aller à l'école. Les signataires apportent également un soutien aux survivants de ces explosions.

Dans ce guide, l'ONU explique cinq actions visant à éliminer les bombes à fragmentation, qui, rien que l'année dernière, ont tué plus de 2 200 personnes et fait 5 500 blessés.

Que sont les bombes à fragmentation et pourquoi sont-elles si dangereuses ?

Ces bombes sont larguées du haut des airs ou du sol. Elles se répandent au milieu de l'air en libérant des centaines de petites bombes et de petites munitions qui peuvent remplir des zones entières dans une taille équivalente à plusieurs terrains de football.

Par conséquent, toute personne se déplaçant dans ces zones, y compris les civils, court le risque d'être blessée ou tuée par ces engins. Les munitions plus petites n'explosent parfois pas immédiatement et deviennent dormantes sur place et peuvent être détonées de nombreuses années après la fin du conflit.

Les victimes de ces armes sont souvent des civils, y compris des enfants. De nombreux blessés finissent par devoir vivre avec le handicap causé par la bombe pour toujours. De nombreux survivants ont des difficultés à travailler et souffrent de stigmatisation et de discrimination dans leurs communautés.

Les bombes à fragmentation non explosées rendent également la culture des terres très dangereuse, ce qui entrave l'économie et le développement locaux.

Mini Phantthavong du Laos, l'un des pays les plus touchés par ce type d'explosifs, a déclaré qu'il était préoccupé par chaque pas qu'il faisait dans la zone marquée en raison du risque d'accidents dus aux bombes, principalement dans les zones agricoles.

Que fait la communauté internationale ?

En travaillant en étroite collaboration avec la société civile et les organisations internationales, les États ont pu négocier la Convention sur les bombes à sous-munitions, qui est devenue une loi internationale juridiquement contraignante le 1er ao슩t 2010. À ce jour, 110 pays ont adhéré à la Convention et se sont engagés à mettre en œuvre toutes les obligations.

Le document aborde trois grands domaines. Premièrement, les pays qui ont signé le traité visent à prévenir tout dommage causé par les bombes en s'engageant à interdire complètement l'utilisation de ces munitions, leur développement, leur production, leur stockage, leur conservation et leur transfert. Deuxièmement, les mesures d'atténuation de la Convention exigent que ces États détruisent leurs stocks, nettoient les zones contaminées et fournissent une assistance médicale, psychologique et de réadaptation aux victimes. Enfin, le traité prévoit une coopération internationale pour la mise en œuvre de ces obligations.

Comment l'ONU participe-t-elle à ces efforts mondiaux ?

Les Nations Unies soutiennent les partenariats entre les gouvernements et les entités de la société civile qui travaillent à l'élimination de ces munitions dans toutes les régions du monde. Le succès de la promotion universelle est essentiel pour renforcer les normes de la Convention. C'est pourquoi le secrétaire général des Nations unies appelle régulièrement les pays qui n'ont pas encore adhéré au traité à le faire.

Le Bureau des Nations Unies pour les affaires de désarmement à Genève travaille en étroite collaboration avec l'Unité d'appui à l'application de la Convention. Le Bureau opère en dehors de l'ONU et conseille les États parties et ceux qui ne font pas partie du document sur les questions liées aux mesures d'éradication des bombes. Le Bureau des affaires de désarmement organise également des réunions des États parties et des conférences d'examen de la Convention.

Le Service de l'action antimines des Nations Unies (UNMAS), quant à lui, préside le groupe de coordination des agences de l'organisation qui s'occupent de cette question. L'UNMAS est également actif dans la recherche et les activités de déminage afin de réduire les menaces liées aux explosifs. L'année dernière, les démineurs ont aidé à nettoyer les zones infestées de munitions au Soudan du Sud. Ces activités ont été complétées par des activités éducatives visant à promouvoir un comportement s슩r dans les zones minées ainsi qu'un soutien économique, physique et psychologique aux victimes de ces explosifs, y compris les bombes à fragmentation.

Le Fonds des Nations Unies pour l'enfance (UNICEF), travaille à l'élaboration et à la mise en œuvre de programmes éducatifs sur les risques des bombes à fragmentation et aide les survivants en leur fournissant des soins médicaux, des prothèses, un soutien mental et émotionnel et en leur donnant accès à l'éducation. Depuis 2014, l'UNICEF a aidé 24 millions d'enfants dans 25 pays, la plupart dans des régions touchées par des conflits.

Dans le même temps, l'UNICEF a aidé des enfants de plus de dix pays à se remettre de blessures causées par des bombes à fragmentation et d'autres munitions laissées par la guerre.

Quelle différence la Convention fait-elle ?

Jusqu'à présent, les États parties ont collectivement détruit des millions de bombes à fragmentation et une centaine de millions de sous-munitions. En outre, plus de 500 kilomètres carrés de terres ont été débarrassés des restes de ces bombes et rendus aux communautés touchées pour qu'elles les cultivent. Il s'agit d'une étape clé vers la réalisation des Objectifs de développement durable (ODD).

Plusieurs pays signataires de la Convention ont déjà adopté une législation spécifique pour mettre en œuvre les mesures du traité, et beaucoup ont interdit diverses formes d'investissement financier associées aux activités de production de bombes à sous-munitions.

La Haut-Représentante des Nations Unies pour les affaires de désarmement, Izumi Nakamitsu, a déclaré que la mise en œuvre de la Convention a été un succès et qu'il faut s'en féliciter.

Pourquoi est-il nécessaire de parvenir à un monde sans bombes à fragmentation ?

Avec la destruction de chaque bombe, des gens comme Phantthavong du Laos vivront plus en sécurité et sans la menace imminente de ces armes. L'élimination de toutes les bombes à fragmentation libérera le monde d'une source majeure de décès, de blessures et de peur.

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Five things to know about the worldwide effort to eradicate cluster bombs

Sun, 29 Nov 2020 02:37:09 +0000

Country: World
Source: UN Office for Disarmament Affairs

A decade has now passed since an international treaty took effect banning cluster munitions—shells that can blanket wide areas with miniature explosives and cause devastating harm to civilians, even after the fighting ceases.

States that have joined this treaty, called the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), meet every year to discuss their progress towards eliminating these weapons.

This November, States parties will begin the treaty’s second Review Conference, held every five years, under the Presidency of Ambassador Félix Baumann (Switzerland). Joined by international organizations and civil society representatives, these countries will review the Convention’s operation and status and plan for its implementation over the next five years—a process they will complete in February 2021 during the second meeting of the Review Conference.

The States parties to this treaty have worked to clear cluster munitions left behind by conflict, making cities safe again, allowing for farmers to safely cultivate their land, and for children to get to school unharmed. States parties also provide support to surviving victims.

Here are five things you should know about cluster bombs and the world’s work to eliminate them.

1. What are cluster munitions and why are they so dangerous?

A cluster munition consists of a hollow shell that is dropped from the air or fired from the ground. It breaks open in mid-air and releases smaller bombs, or submunitions, that can number in the hundreds and saturate areas as wide as several football fields. This means that everyone in those areas, including civilians, run the risk of being harmed or even killed. The smaller explosive submunitions also sometimes fail to detonate immediately, leaving them capable of killing or maiming at random even long after a conflict has ended.

Victims of these weapons are often civilians, including children. Survivors often face permanent disability, difficulties in earning a living, and stigma or discrimination in their communities. Unexploded cluster munitions that linger after a conflict can make land highly dangerous or impossible to cultivate, impeding local economic and social development.

“With every step that I walk outside of the marked pathway, I am always concerned and scared of UXO [unexploded ordnance, such as cluster munitions]. I hear about the victims of UXO frequently, especially farmers on their farmland,” Mini Phantthavong from Lao People’s Democratic Republic, a country heavily affected by cluster munitions remnants, told the international Cluster Munition Coalition, a global civil society campaign active in this field.

2. What is the international community doing?

Working closely with civil society and international organizations, States negotiated the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM).This treaty became binding international law on 1 August 2010.

To date, 110 States have joined the Convention and committed to implementing all its obligations.

The CCM addresses three major areas. First, States that join the treaty aim to prevent any future harm from cluster munitions by agreeing to a complete ban on their use, development, production, stockpiling, retention and transfer. Second, the CCM’s mitigation measuresrequire these States to destroy their stockpiles, clear areas that are contaminated by cluster munitions, and provide medical, psychological and rehabilitation assistance to survivors of cluster munitions. Third, the treaty calls for international cooperation to implement these provisions.

3. How is the United Nations involved in these global efforts?

The United Nations supports partnerships between Governments and civil society organizations working towards the common goal of eliminating cluster munitions everywhere.

Because progress on universalization is essential to strengthening the Convention’s norms, the United Nations Secretary-General regularly calls on countries that have not yet joined the treaty to consider doing so.

The Geneva office of the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs works closely with the Implementation Support Unit (ISU) of the Convention. The ISU is hosted outside the United Nations and provides technical support and advice to States parties and States not party, serving as the interface between national authorities and the international community on issues related to the implementation of the treaty. The Office for Disarmament Affairs also convenes meetings of States parties and review conferences of the CCM.

The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) chairs the United Nations Inter-Agency Coordination Group on Mine Action and, together with other United Nations agencies engaged in mine action, supports States in implementing the Convention. This implementation work includes survey and clearance activities that mitigate threats from explosive hazards. In 2019, for instance, UNMAS cleared cluster munition strike areas in South Sudan. These activities are complemented by risk education to promote safe behaviour in contaminated areas, as well as physical rehabilitation, socioeconomic and psychological support to victims of explosive ordnance, including cluster munitions.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has central to its mandate the protection and promotion of the rights of children, including through the implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions on Children and Armed Conflict and advocacy for the implementation and universalization of the CCM. In collaboration with its partners, UNICEF supports the development and implementation of explosive ordnance risk education (EORE) and assists survivors of cluster munitions and other explosive weapons by providing medical care, artificial limbs, mental or emotional support, and access to education. Since 2014, UNICEF has supported life-saving explosive-ordnance risk education for 24 million children in 25 countries, mostly in regions affected by ongoing conflicts. During the same period, UNICEF also assisted children in more than 10 countries as they recovered from injuries caused by cluster munitions or explosive remnants of war.

4. What difference does the Convention make?

So far, States parties have collectively destroyed millions of stockpiled cluster munitions and hundred million of submunitions. In addition, over 500 square kilometers of land have been cleared of cluster munitions remnants, thus returning it to affected communities for safe and productive use—a critical step towards achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Furthermore, many States parties have adopted specific laws to implement the CCM,and several have also prohibited various forms of financial investment in cluster munition-related activities.

“The Convention’s implementation has largely been a success and there is much to applaud”, Ms. Nakamitsu, High representative for Disarmament Affairs, said at the Ninth Meeting of States Parties in 2019.

5. Why is progress towards a world free of cluster munitions needed?

With every cluster munition destroyed and every meter of land cleared, people like Mr. Phantthavong will be safer in their daily lives from the looming threat of these weapons. Eliminating all cluster bombs will free the world from a significant source of death, injury and fear.

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Des farines infantiles pour lutter contre la malnutrition au Tchad

Sun, 29 Nov 2020 02:07:02 +0000

Countries: Chad, France
Source: World Food Programme

N’Djamena– L’Ambassade de France, la Délégation de l’Union Européenne et le Programme Alimentaire Mondial des Nations Unies (PAM) ont inauguré aujourd’hui une unité de production de farine enrichies réaménagée au sein de l’Hôpital Notre Dame des Apôtres de N’Djaména. À travers un projet d’appui aux femmes productrices d’aliments locaux enrichis, 12 organisations féminines accroissent leurs productions de farines pour les enfants de 6 à 23 mois dans six provinces du Tchad. Les farines infantiles produites localement deviennent ainsi une contribution essentielle à la lutte contre la malnutrition dans le pays.

Les groupements de femmes reçoivent des kits d'équipement et des subventions qui stimulent l'accroissement et la qualité de la production tout en améliorant les infrastructures et l'adoption des bonnes pratiques de production. La multiplication des points de vente et les caravanes de sensibilisation permettent également de rapprocher les ménages des farines composées pour l'alimentation de leurs enfants.

L’unité de production au sein de l’Hôpital Notre Dame des Apôtres de N’Djaména vient appuyer les efforts pour réduire le taux de malnutrition dans la capitale, où la malnutrition aiguë globale est estimée à 12,7% (enquête SMART 2019). Le centre accueille aussi des enfants souffrant de malnutrition aiguë sévère et offre une prise en charge thérapeutique gratuite.

La malnutrition chronique est l’un des principaux problèmes de santé publique au Tchad, avec des effets irréversibles sur les enfants en termes de croissance physique, de développement cognitif et de productivité à l’âge adulte. Selon le rapport de l'étude sur le co슩t de la faim (2016), 56% de la population adulte du Tchad a souffert d'un retard de croissance pendant son enfance. La perte économique annuelle liée à la malnutrition est estimée à 9,5% du Produit Intérieur Brut.

« Il faut prioriser des solutions locales pour mettre fin à la malnutrition au Tchad et nous sommes convaincus que tout commence par la quête d’aliments plus nutritifs pour les tchadiens », a déclaré Claude Jibidar, Représentant du PAM au Tchad. « Il y a des solutions sous nos yeux. C’est pour cela que nous appuyons les groupements de femmes qui produisent une farine fortifiée saine, accessible et culturellement appropriée », a-t-il ajouté.

« La France a financé le PAM à hauteur de deux millions d’euros à travers l’Aide Alimentaire programmée en 2020 dont 1 million d’Euros pour le projet AFORT. Plus d’un tiers des ménages tchadiens sont en situation d’insécurité alimentaire, les enfants sont les plus touchés. Ils souffrent de dysenterie, de malnutrition de diverses formes et du paludisme. Beaucoup en meurent chaque année ou en gardent des séquelles physiques ou mentales irréversibles, a expliqué Son Excellence M. Bertrand Cochery, Ambassadeur de France au Tchad. « L’Ambassade comme le PAM soutient un ensemble de groupements de femmes qui sont maintenant en capacité de produire de la farine enrichie avec des produits plus abordables que les farines importées », a-t-il ajouté.

« L'Union européenne considère la promotion de l’entrepreneuriat de femmes comme l'un des principaux moteurs de l'inclusion sociale et financière. Les femmes sont les véritables investisseurs d'impact social, donnant la priorité à la santé et à l'éducation de la famille » a déclaré M. Niccoló Maracchi, au nom de chargé d’affaires, a.i. de l’Union européenne au Tchad. « Le taux de malnutrition au Tchad est élevé, avec des effets néfastes sur les enfants, les familles et l'économie. Des associations de femmes entrepreneuses ont pris en charge leur propre développement ainsi que celui de leurs enfants en produisant localement une farine enrichie de qualité pour lutter contre la malnutrition. L'UE est fière d’accompagner ces femmes et de les soutenir avec une formation, des équipements et des intrants. »

La production artisanale de farine enrichies est financée par l’Union Européenne et la France et elle est mise en œuvre dans six provinces : le Logone occidental, le Logone oriental, le Moyen Chari, N’Djamena, le Ouaddai et la Tandjile. L’objectif est de contribuer au renforcement de la résilience des ménages les plus vulnérables en améliorant l'accès, la disponibilité, la stabilité et l'utilisation des aliments de complément à haute valeur nutritive pour les enfants de 6 à 23 mois.

Le Programme alimentaire mondial des Nations unies est le lauréat du prix Nobel de la Paix 2020 et la plus grande organisation humanitaire au monde. Nous sauvons des vies dans les situations d'urgence et utilisons l'assistance alimentaire pour construire la paix, la prospérité et favoriser un avenir durable pour les personnes qui se relèvent de conflits, de catastrophes et des impacts du changement climatique.

Contact
Pour plus d’informations, veuillez contacter :

María Gallar, PAM/Tchad, maria.gallar@wfp.org, Mob. +235 66 99 34 90

Tiphaine Walton, PAM/France, Mob. +33 674159209

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CAR: Cérémonie de signature de don pour la nouvelle aide alimentaire en République centrafricaine à travers le Programme Alimentaire Mondial

Sun, 29 Nov 2020 01:51:47 +0000

Countries: Central African Republic, Japan
Source: Government of Japan

Le 26 novembre, la cérémonie de signature de don pour la nouvelle aide alimentaire en République centrafricaine à travers le Programme Alimentaire Mondial s’est tenue à Yaoundé en connexion avec Bangui par vidéoconférence. Le Japon a décidé cette fois-ci d’offrir une assistance alimentaire d’un montant d’environ 1.6 milliard de FCFA. A travers cette aide alimentaire, il est à espérer que s'améliore la situation alimentaire des réfugiés ainsi que des personnes déplacées du fait de l'insécurité en Centrafrique.

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Le Japon octroie une généreuse contribution au PAM pour soutenir les populations affectées par des crises au Tchad

Sun, 29 Nov 2020 01:45:18 +0000

Countries: Central African Republic, Chad, Japan, Nigeria, Sudan
Source: World Food Programme

N’DJAMENA – Le gouvernement japonais, à travers son ambassade, vient d’allouer 1,54 milliards de Francs CFA aux opérations du Programme Alimentaire Mondial des Nations Unies (PAM) au Tchad afin de permettre aux populations affectées par des crises de bénéficier d’un appui en vivres et en transferts monétaires. Cette assistance empêchera les familles les plus vulnérables de recourir à des emprunts d'argent, de nourriture ou de réduire les dépenses liées à l'éducation et à la santé.

Avec une augmentation de l’insécurité dans la région et en pleine pandémie globale de la COVID-19, cette nouvelle contribution bénéficiera à environ 200 000 personnes réfugiés, déplacées et retournées. L’aide alimentaire est crucial pour ces populations qui disposent de ressources limitées pour avoir au moins un repas quotidien.

Le Tchad accueille dans l’actualité la plus grande population de réfugiés au Sahel : 484 000 personnes, dont 55% sont des femmes et 24% sont d’âge scolaire. Ceci inclut 374 000 soudanais à l’est, 97 000 centrafricains au sud et 16 000 nigérians à l’ouest. De plus, il y a 336 000 déplacés internes autour du Lac Tchad et un total de 100 000 retournés (31 000 au Lac et 69 000 au sud). Chaque mois, le PAM fournit une assistance alimentaire et nutritionnelle et à ces populations.

« Grace à ce don, le PAM a acheté, dans les marchés locaux et régionaux, des denrées telles que les céréales, les légumineuses et l’huile végétale traditionnellement utilisées dans le panier d’assistance alimentaire », a indiqué le Représentant du PAM au Tchad, M. Claude Jibidar. « La relation privilégiée entre le PAM et le Japon s’étend au-delà du Tchad. En effet, le Japon est parmi les dix principaux partenaires techniques et financiers du PAM au niveau mondial. Les priorités stratégiques du Japon concernant la réduction de risques liés aux catastrophes, l’autonomisation des femmes et la santé coïncident avec les interventions alimentaires et nutritionnelles du PAM », a-t-il ajoutée.

« Le Japon a toujours accordé de l’importance aux efforts déployés pour sauver des vies au Tchad. C’est la raison pour laquelle le Japon a continué sa coopération avec le PAM au Tchad, et cette collaboration a matérialisé le résultat des discussions de la TICAD (Conférence internationale de Tokyo sur le Développement de l’Afrique). Je suis heureux de continuer l’assistance alimentaire afin d’améliorer les conditions de vie des personnes les plus vulnérables au Tchad, surtout en ce moment difficile causé par la crise du coronavirus. », a souligné l’Ambassadeur du Japon, S.E.M. Osawa Tsutomu.

L’assistance alimentaire et nutritionnelle du PAM est conçue et mise en œuvre en collaboration avec le Gouvernement, les agences des Nations Unies et des ONGs nationales et internationales. Ce vaste réseau de partenaires vise à atteindre les objectifs de sauver des vies et promouvoir la résilience.

Le Programme alimentaire mondial des Nations unies est le lauréat du prix Nobel de la Paix 2020 et la plus grande organisation humanitaire au monde. Nous sauvons des vies dans les situations d'urgence et utilisons l'assistance alimentaire pour construire la paix, la prospérité et favoriser un avenir durable pour les personnes qui se relèvent de conflits, de catastrophes et des impacts du changement climatique.

Suivez-nous sur Twitter : @WFP_Chad @WFP_Wafrica @WFP_media @WFP_fr

Contact
Pour plus d’informations, veuillez contacter :

María Gallar, PAM/Tchad, maria.gallar@wfp.org, Mob. +235 66 99 34 90

Tiphaine Walton, PAM/France, Mob. +33 674159209

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Cayman Islands: Tropical Cyclone Eta (AL292020) Wind and Storm Surge Final Event Briefing (18 November 2020)

Sat, 28 Nov 2020 23:44:43 +0000

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Country: Cayman Islands
Source: Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility

Please refer to the attached file.

1 SUMMARY

Tropical Cyclone Eta was the twenty-ninth and most powerful tropical cyclone of the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season. Eta developed from a powerful tropical wave moving across the eastern Caribbean Sea, which evolved into a tropical depression on 31 October. On 1 November, it strengthened into a tropical storm while it was over the central Caribbean Sea.

On 2 November, Tropical Storm Eta rapidly intensified, becoming a major hurricane, and on 3 November it made landfall in Nicaragua as a category 4 hurricane. While moving inland, Eta quickly lost intensity, downgrading to become a tropical depression. On 5 November, it crossed Honduras and on 6 November, it emerged over the northwestern Caribbean Sea. On 7 November Eta regained tropical storm strength in the vicinity of the Cayman Islands. Tropicalstorm-force winds extended over this country. At the moment of writing this report, Nicaragua, the Cayman Islands and The Bahamas North West were the only CCRIF member countries where wind speeds, computed with the CCRIF SPHERA model, were greater than 39 mph (62.7 km/h) due to Hurricane Eta. This report describes the performance of the CCRIF models on the Cayman Islands due to Eta. Other reports will be provided for Nicaragua and The Bahamas.

The final runs of the CCRIF loss model for wind and storm surge produced government losses for the Cayman Islands, which were below the attachment point of this country’s Tropical Cyclone policy. Therefore, no payout under this policy is due.

The Aggregated Deductible Cover (ADC) feature for the Cayman Islands’ Tropical Cyclone policy was not activated because the modelled losses were below 10 per cent of the minimum payment of the policy. Therefore, no payment under the ADC feature is due for the Cayman Islands.

This event briefing is designed to review the modelled losses due to wind and storm surge calculated by CCRIF’s models for affected CCRIF member countries, to be analyzed with respect to members’ Tropical Cyclone policies. A separate report on rainfall impacts on affected CCRIF member countries will be issued if applicable.

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Canary Islands (Spain): Alarming Migrant Situation in Canary Islands Requires Immediate EU Intervention

Sat, 28 Nov 2020 22:55:43 +0000

Countries: Canary Islands (Spain), Spain, World
Source: Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor

The situation in the Canary Islands is becoming increasingly alarming, as this year alone, more than 17,000 migrants have arrived and over 500 have died in the attempt, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor said in a statement today, the EU must urgently intervene to improve the “subhuman conditions” in which 2,300 asylum seekers are currently forced to endure.

The number of people attempting to reach the Canary Islands has significantly increased during 2020. More than 17,000 people have arrived on the islands this year, ten times the number reached in 2019. Together with arrivals, the number of missing persons and deaths in the Atlantic route is increasing. The IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has recorded over 500 deaths, mainly during October and November, compared to 210 last year.

Most of the displaced people who survive the Atlantic route are transferred to the pier in the Gran Canaria island, in an emergency camp set up for medical and police procedures. Even though the Arguineguín port was designed to accommodate about 400 individuals, currently some 2,300 migrants are held there, in what officials called "subhuman conditions". Migrants have been sleeping in tents with no floor, beds or mattresses, detained on the pier for weeks, way longer than the 72 hours permitted under Spanish law. Even Spain’s Defense Minister Margarita Robles recently admitted that the conditions at the pier are “not the most suitable for human beings”.

On Friday, Spain’s Migration Minister, José Luis Escrivá, promised to set up more emergency camps within weeks to host up to 7,000 migrants and "more stable" arrangement for processing new arrivals. Yet Spain is also attempting at limiting the migration flows to the islands in different ways. Authorities have processed deportations without offering legal assistance to the migrants nor clear information in a language they could understand. Minister Escrivá warned that only a small proportion of the arrivals this year would qualify for asylum, and the Spanish government is conducting negotiations with Morocco and Senegal to reduce the arrivals.

The Atlantic route is becoming one of the most dangerous and yet most attempted routes in the world” said Michela Pugliese, legal researcher at Euro-Med Monitor, “As arrivals and tragic deaths are on the rise at the Canary Islands, Spain’s and the EU’s solution needs to go beyond merely providing migrants with temporary tents, to providing them with a safe, dignifying and sustainable refuge.”

Euro-Med Monitor calls on Spain to urgently ameliorate the overcrowded and unsanitary conditions at the Arguineguín port, to increase the number of reception places in alternative to the pier, to quickly transfer a significant number of asylum seekers to the Spanish mainland, and to ensure that migrants have always access to a fair asylum procedure.

Euro-Med Monitor calls on EU member states to immediately provide concrete support to the Canary Islands, in accordance with the 1951 Refugee Convention that acknowledges that “the grant of asylum cannot be achieved without international cooperation”, and to set up search and rescue operations at sea to prevent further shipwrecks in the Atlantic route.

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Statement of the International Support group for Lebanon (25 Nov 2020) [EN/AR]

Sat, 28 Nov 2020 22:39:39 +0000

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Country: Lebanon
Source: Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon

Please refer to the attached file.

The International Support Group for Lebanon notes with growing concern the worsening social and economic crisis in Lebanon and laments the continued delays to the formation of a new government capable of urgently delivering on needed reforms and of countering the deepening distress of the Lebanese people. The ISG underscores again the overriding need for Lebanon’s political leaders to agree to form a government with the capacity and will to implement necessary reforms without further delay. The ISG urges Lebanon’s current care-taker government and members of parliament to fulfill fully their immediate responsibilities, by taking all available programmatic and legislative steps to alleviate the economic stress faced by Lebanese families and businesses. The ISG welcomes France’s intention to hold an international humanitarian and early recovery conference in support of the people of Lebanon by the early December, co-chaired by the United Nations, without detracting from the urgent need for government formation and reforms.

Note to Editors

The International Support Group has brought together the United Nations and the governments of China, France, Germany, Italy, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States, together with the European Union and the Arab League.  It was launched in September 2013 by the UN Secretary-General with former President Michel Sleiman to help mobilize support and assistance for Lebanon’s stability, sovereignty and state institutions.

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Honduras: Tormentas Tropicales Eta e Iota - Nota Informativa al 27 de noviembre de 2020

Sat, 28 Nov 2020 21:24:44 +0000

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Country: Honduras
Sources: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, UN Country Team in Honduras

Please refer to the attached file.

Esta nota informativa es elaborada por la Oficina de la Coordinadora Residente y la Oficina para la Coordinación de Asuntos Humanitarios (OCHA), en colaboración con las agencias, fondos y programas del Sistema de las Naciones Unidas, y Organizaciones miembros del Equipo Humanitario de País (EHP). El enfoque es el trabajo del sistema de Naciones Unidas en la emergencia. No resume el trabajo de otras organizaciones ni del gobierno. Cubre el periodo del 01 al 27 de noviembre de 2020.

RESUMEN DE LA SITUACIÓN

A más de 27 días de los primeros impactos que ocurrieron en el país por las tormentas tropicales Eta e Iota, se reportan casi un centenar de miles de personas albergadas, muchas en condiciones inadecuadas en las zonas del Valle de Sula. San Pedro Sula ha absorbido muchos albergados de los municipios como La Lima, pero se hace evidente la necesidad de desplazar los albergues cerca de sus comunidades. Otros albergues sufren la inseguridad por la amenaza de grupos de maras que controlan las zonas, algunos habitantes han preferido no abandonar sus comunidades por miedo a perder lo poco que ha quedado debido a ello. Algunos albergues han reportado escasez de las necesidades más básicas, como ser, falta de agua y pocas condiciones de saneamiento. Un par de semanas posteriores al impacto de Iota, aún se pueden apreciar algunas zonas del valle bajo agua y el municipio de Omoa reporta derrumbes que soterraron comunidades. El sector de la maquila, mayoritariamente en la zona del Valle de Sula, reporta pérdidas por 70 millones de dólares. En otras zonas del país, como Copán, Santa Bárbara y El Paraíso, se reportan deslizamientos de tierra que han afectado comunidades rurales, decenas de ellas quedando incomunicadas.

RESPUESTA HUMANITARIA

La respuesta humanitaria brindada por el Equipo Humanitario de País (EHP) ante el paso de las tormentas tropicales Eta e Iota, está siendo realizada a través de 29 organizaciones en ocho sectores de atención: agua, saneamiento e higiene, protección, alojamientos temporales, seguridad alimentaria y nutricional, salud, educación, logística y coordinación e información. Al 27 de noviembre se reportan acciones en 93 municipios de 17 departamentos del país.

En el tema de agua, saneamiento e higiene (WASH), gracias a las actividades de 15 organizaciones, se han brindado 295.790 atenciones en 50 municipios del país, entre las cuales la población alcanzada es al menos un 20 por ciento son niñas y niños, un 40 por ciento son mujeres y un 40 por ciento son hombres. Los departamentos con más actividades reportadas en el sector son Cortés, Santa Bárbara, Yoro y Francisco Morazán, donde los municipios con más actividades son San Pedro Sula, El Progreso, Choloma, Florida y Santa Bárbara, sin embargo, el sector está trabajando en 17 departamentos. Entre sus principales actividades se destacan la entrega de cerca de 21.000 kits de alimentos y de 610.000 litros de agua en albergues activados, distribución de equipo de protección personal e insumos de bioseguridad, distribución de filtros de agua y de productos de tratamiento para la misma. Asimismo, las organizaciones del sector realizan actividades de diagnóstico, monitoreo y evaluaciones, campañas de información, capacitaciones y la instalación o rehabilitación de infraestructura sanitaria y puntos de agua públicos, facilitando el acceso a servicios básicos a la población afectada.

Organizaciones que trabajan en temas de agua, saneamiento e higiene: GOAL, Compassion International, Misiones de Agua Internacional, NRC, Save the Children, World Vision, CARE, Cruz Roja Hondureña, Plan Internacional, UNICEF, ADRA, Ayuda en Acción, Diakonia, Hábitat para la Humanidad, LWI.

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UNICEF Viet Nam Situation Report No.3 (Floods and Storms) - 17 to 27 November 2020

Sat, 28 Nov 2020 19:47:04 +0000

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Country: Viet Nam
Source: UN Children's Fund

Please refer to the attached file.

Highlights

• From 6 October to 17 November, the central region of Viet Nam has been hit by seven consecutive tropical storms and cyclones which have brought sustained heavy rain resulting in devastating landslides and cascading floods, affecting an estimated 7.7 million people living in the nine provinces, including 2.5 million children.

• Hospitals in Hue, Thanh Hoa, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh and Quang Tri reported a sharp increase in the number of patients diagnosed with melioidosis, or Whitmore's disease, which is transmitted through direct contact with contaminated soil and surface waters. Symptoms include fever, cough, abscesses, and inflammation of the brain and joints, with a 40% death rate. The rise in infections since early October is among male adults involved in clean-up and rescue following the devastating floods in the central region. UNICEF is is liaising with the Ministry of Health on the situation and will take actions as appropriate.

• UNICEF airlifted 10 tons of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) nutrition supplements for children from Supply Division in Copenhagen which arrived in the country on 15 November. Another 50 tons of RUTF are procured and will arrive in the country soon. The RUTF will provide treatment for approximately 4,650 children with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) in six affected provinces, namely Ha Tinh, Quang Binh and Quang Tri, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai and Kon Tum. The supplies will be distributed in commune health centres in these provinces.

• UNICEF has started distribution of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) supplies, including 4,034 ceramic water filters and 51,381 detergent packs and soap bars for approximately 80,000 affected people in Ha Tinh and Quang Binh provinces. UNICEF is also procuring emergency education supplies and 900 early childhood development (ECD) kits, prioritizing the most affected students and schools, with a special focus on remotely located satellite schools.

• UNICEF continues to work closely with national and local counterparts to ensure a coordinated and systemic response to the crisis. The effort includes strengthening disease outbreak and nutrition surveillance systems, developing a comprehensive response plan to reach the affected population with timely, and inclusive and culturally-sensitive messaging promoting life-saving practices on health, nutrition, protection and WASH.

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Colombia: Thematic Series - UnSettlement: Urban displacement in the 21st century

Sat, 28 Nov 2020 18:27:56 +0000

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Country: Colombia
Source: Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre

Please refer to the attached file.

This thematic series explores the scale, nature and dynamics of internal displacement in towns and cities across the world

‘FROM AID TO EMPOWERMENT’: Addressing urban displacement in Colombia’s informal settlements

SUMMARY

IDMC embarked on a research programme in February 2018 to investigate the scale, nature and dynamics of internal displacement in towns and cities across the world.

This study examines the phenomenon in Colombia and analyses the humanitarian response to the needs of urban internally displaced people (IDPs) and their host communities in informal settlements. Research for the study was undertaken in Altos de la Florida, an informal settlement in Soacha on the outskirts of Bogotá, between 2016 and 2019.

KEY FINDINGS

Urban IDPs face protracted vulnerability and high levels of poverty and violence
Internal displacement has played a significant role in urbanisation in Colombia. A large 89 per cent of the historical eight million country’s IDPs have been displaced from rural to urban areas by conflict and violence, and informal settlements have become a refuge of last resort for many. These densely populated areas have high levels of poverty and inequality, inadequate housing and few if any basic services. Urban violence, beyond countries’ armed conflict, has also triggered new and secondary displacement from some settlements, creating a downward spiral of vulnerability and risk.

Intra-urban displacement has a significant humanitarian impact
Violence in informal settlements, caused mainly by gangs and criminal organisations, triggers displacement between urban areas, also known as intra-urban displacement. Illegal armed groups exert social and territorial control over many urban areas in Colombia, and their activities force people, including those already displaced at least once, to flee from one neighbourhood to another. People’s precarious living conditions can also trigger intra-urban displacement.

Prolonged emergency assistance based on individual organisations’ mandates creates aid dependency
Soacha was chosen as the research location for this report because it was the focus of significant international intervention between 2006 and 2018, particularly in Altos de la Florida. Humanitarian efforts were impeded, however, by a lack of community ownership of responses, the result of weakened social cohesion, and a lack of coordination both within the community and with local authorities. Prolonged assistance programmes also helped to create a culture of dependency. Dependency is more likely in communities whose social fabric has been weakened.

A resilience approach in safe environments makes humanitarian responses more effective and sustainable
Community resilience in Altos de la Florida has been strengthened in protective spaces. Interventions combine protection, a top-down approach intended to guarantee individuals’ rights, and a bottom-up approach defined as building individual, family and community capacity through participatory processes. These focus on creating economic opportunities, strengthening social fabric and supporting at-risk groups such as children, young people, women and community leaders.

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Mali: Journée Internationale des Droits de l’enfant à Gao: les défenseurs de la région constatent et s’engagent

Sat, 28 Nov 2020 17:13:37 +0000

Country: Mali
Source: UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali

Le 26 novembre, les enfants de Gao ont célébré la Journée internationale de l’enfant, dans la salle de conférence du Gouvernorat de la Région. Tous les 20 novembre de chaque année, le monde consacre les droits des enfants, à travers la célébration de cette journée. Pour cette édition 2020, les enfants et tous les acteurs régionaux impliqués dans leur protection ont répondu présents.

Parrainée par l’UNICEF, cette cérémonie a essentiellement été marquée par des allocutions. Tour à tour, la Représentante de la Direction Régionale de la Promotion de la Femme, de l'Enfant et de la Famille, de la troisième adjointe au Maire de la ville de Gao, de la Présidente du parlement des enfants de Gao, du Conseiller spécial du Gouverneur de Région et du Chef du Bureau Régional de la MINUSMA, ont pris la parole, et tous ont reconnu les défis qui enfreignent la promotion et la protection des droits et intérêts des enfants. Également présent, le représentant de l’UNICEF, Mahamane Badou DOLOINTHIE, a quant à lui souligné la reconnaissance des droits de l’enfant par les Nations Unies en 1989 dans la Convention sur les droits de l’enfant.

La protection de l’enfance est encore loin d’être atteinte dans la région de Gao, en raison de l’instabilité provoquée par la crise et toujours en vigueur. Face aux autorités régionales, aux représentants des organisations non-gouvernementales à ceux des agences des Nations Unies ainsi qu’à tous les enfants, Mohamed El-Amine SOUEF, Chef du Bureau régional de la MINUSMA, s’est lui aussi exprimé. M. SOUEF a plaidé pour une « responsabilité collective » afin de surmonter les défis que représentent la protection et la promotion des droits des enfants dans la région. « L’envergure de ce phénomène qui vise à enrôler des enfants dans les groupes armés doit mobiliser toute notre attention et une réponse collective appropriée afin de protéger ces enfants forcés de commettre, d’être témoins ou victime de violations et violences graves », a-t-il soutenu, avant d’avertir : « cette situation met en danger le développement physique et affectif de l’enfant et constitue un frein à toute paix pérenne ». Malgré ce constat Fatoumata Abdoulaye Diallo, la Présidente du Parlement des enfants de Gao, affiche un certain optimisme. Elle se réjouit de la mise en place d’un Centre de Transit et d’Orientation à Gao qui héberge actuellement de nombreux enfants qui combattaient au sein de groupes armés.

Tout en saluant l’engagement et les actions concrètes entreprises par les Autorités maliennes en charge de la protection des enfants victimes du conflit armé, le Chef du Bureau de la MINUSMA dans la région de Gao, a tenu à « renouveler la disponibilité de son organisation à accompagner tout effort visant à la protection et à la promotion des droits des enfants au Mali ».

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Mali: 16 jours pour oranger le monde contre les violences faites aux femmes et aux filles

Sat, 28 Nov 2020 17:10:00 +0000

Country: Mali
Source: UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali

Depuis le 25 novembre dernier et jusqu’au 10 décembre prochain, le monde vit au rythme de la lutte contre les violences faites aux femmes et aux filles. Dénommée 16 jours d’activisme cette campagne annuelle est aussi mondiale. Cette année, le thème international est « Orangez le monde : financez, intervenez, prévenez, collectez ! ». La MINUSMA et le Système des Nations Unies ne sont pas en reste et apportent leur soutien à la lutte du Gouvernement, des associations et des ONG contre ce fléau.

Décrétée par l’Assemblée générale de l’ONU en 1991, cette quinzaine permet de mener des actions mondiales en faveur de la prévention et de l’élimination des violences faites aux femmes. Les dates du 25 novembre et du 10 décembre n’ont pas été choisies par hasard. Le 25 novembre est la date à laquelle, en 1960 est survenu l’assassinat brutal des sœurs Mirabel, des militantes des droits des femmes en République Dominicaine. Le 10 décembre quant à elle, est la journée internationale des droits de l’homme.

Au Mali, la situation reste préoccupante…

La Mission de paix des Nations Unies au Mali, la MINUSMA, est dotée d’une Unité Genre et d’un Bureau de Protection de la Femme. Ces deux entités travaillent quotidiennement, à travers des formations, des appuis techniques et logistiques et des plaidoyers, à la fois pour lutter contre les violences basées sur le genre (VBG), y compris les violences sexuelles liées au conflit. Elles agissent aussi pour une meilleure prise en compte de la dimension genre dans les différents processus en cours au Mali et dans le cadre de l’exécution du Mandat de la Mission.

Le 26 novembre dernier, invités du point de presse bimensuel en ligne de la MINUSMA, animé par son porte-parole Olivier Salgado, Catherine Andela, Cheffe de l’Unité Genre et Oshcard Kouadio, Chef par intérim du Bureau de la Protection des Femmes, ont dépeint un tableau de la situation des VBG au Mali et de la contribution de la MINUSMA pour y faire face.

Répondant aux questions des journalistes, Mme Andela a illustré l’ampleur des violences contre les femmes au Mali par quatre données statistiques sérieuses provenant du système de Gestion des informations sur les VBG (GBVIMS). Pour l’année 2019, ce sont 2021 cas de violences basées sur le genre qui ont été rapportés. En 2020 ce chiffre a augmenté de 47%, le portant à 2981 cas. Au cours de cette même année, 4617 incidents ont été enregistrés, dont 36% sont des violences sexuelles, et 99% de personnes survivantes sont des femmes, dont 45% d’entre elles, des filles de moins de 18 ans. Ces données sont disponibles dans le rapport du Secrétaire Général 2019 publié sur le site de la MINUSMA, et le rapport à venir qui sortira en janvier 2020.

La MINUSMA apporte son soutien à la lutte

En rappelant le thème national de la campagne « Investissons dans la lutte contre les VBG pour une participation inclusive au développement », Oshcard Kouadio a exposé quelques actions coordonnées et fédérées de la MINUSMA, menées à l’échelle nationale. Il s’agit notamment des formations des Forces de Défense et de Sécurité du Mali (FDSM) pour l’accueil des victimes et le suivi de leurs plaintes, la désignation et la formation de points focaux dans les commissariats et légions de gendarmerie du pays, ou encore, le soutien au Gouvernement et aux leaders de la lutte. Il a aussi fait mention de l’appui aux organisations de la sociétés civile à travers le financement d’un débat télévisé sur le thème national de la campagne et animé par quatre organisations de défense des droits des femmes.

M. Kouadio a également rappelé que dans ce cadre, Joane ADAMSON, la Représentante spéciale adjointe du Secrétaire général de l’ONU et Cheffe du Pilier politique de la MINUSMA, a participé à la cérémonie d’appui à la campagne nationale, le 26 novembre dernier au ministère de la Promotion de la Femme, de l’Enfant et de la Famille. Mme ADAMSON a officiellement remis à la Ministre Bintou Founé SAMAKE, un lot de matériel promotionnel comprenant des trophées, des T-Shirts, des sacs ou encore des casquettes… Répondant aux journalistes sur une questions concernant la loi contre les VBG, M. Kouadio a rappelé l’initiative coordonnée par le Ministère de la Promotion de la Femme, de l’Enfant et de la Famille et celui de la Justice pour ce projet de loi, qui bénéficie de l’appui de la MINUSMA. Celui-ci consistant à garantir des actions de sensibilisation aux organisations de la société civile et un plaidoyer auprès des ministères.

La responsable de l’Unité Genre, Mme ANDELA a elle aussi rappelé les réalisations palpables de la MINUSMA menées notamment dans le centre du Mali. Dans la région de Mopti, son unité a appuyé techniquement et financièrement l’APDF (Association pour le Progrès et la Défense des Femmes Maliennes) dans le cadre d’un projet de sensibilisation des populations au VBG. Il s’agit d’une émission radio qui fait intervenir des spécialistes en genre, en psychologie, et médecine. En partenariat avec la Direction régionale de la Promotion de la Femme, de l’Enfant et de la Famille des séances de sensibilisation sur les VBG et les voies de recours ont été organisées. L’une à l’intention des enseignants et des élèves de l’école secondaire Robert Cisse à Mopti et l’autre, à l’endroit de 100 adolescentes non-scolarisées qui sont vendeuses ambulantes ou aide-ménagères.

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Greece: Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Miltiadis Varvitsiotis’ remarks at the EU-Southern Neighbourhood Ministerial Conference (Athens, 26 November 2020)

Sat, 28 Nov 2020 16:12:03 +0000

Countries: Greece, Turkey
Source: Government of Greece

“Just as we share a common sea, we must follow common rules. Turkey constantly violates International Law as well as stability and security in the region. We cannot allow anyone to be a bully in our neighbourhood,” Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Miltiadis Varvitsiotis underscored in his remarks during today’s EU-Southern Neighbourhood Ministerial Conference, which was held online. He added that Greece is the one showing the way of cooperation, as was demonstrated by the two agreements it signed on delimitation of maritime zones with Italy and Egypt.

“Today, Greece honours its historical and traditional ties with the countries of the Mediterranean, firmly supporting a new era of cooperation and attaching great importance to the southern dimension of the European neighbourhood policy,” the Alternate Minister said. He also highlighted that “the strong relations between the EU and the countries of the Mediterranean have the momentum to evolve into a strategic partnership” that will bring benefits in a number of sectors – especially during the pandemic – including tourism, trade and investments. Moreover, he stressed the need for closer cooperation among the Mediterranean countries to combat climate change, noting that the European Green Deal provides the right coherent institutional framework for joint action.

The strategic objective of today’s Conference and tomorrow’s regional Forum – which are being hosted in Barcelona – is to jumpstart and strengthen cooperation between the European Union and third countries of the Mediterranean.

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World: The 2020 pandemic has challenged press freedom in Africa

Sat, 28 Nov 2020 16:09:24 +0000

Country: World
Source: Reporters sans Frontières

In partnership with Cartooning for Peace, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) presents a summary of infringements of press freedom in Africa arising from the coronavirus epidemic. RSF calls on the continent’s governments to learn the lessons of the 2020 health crisis, which has seen growing brutality towards journalists, media outlets struggling financially, a lack of transparency and repressive legislation, and to refrain from further undermining the production of independent news and information which has been sorely tested on the continent.

**Sharp rise in abuses **

On 24 March, Tholi Totali Glody, a journalist with the Alfajiri TV, a flagship TV station in Haut-Katanga province in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), was chased by the police and knocked off his motorcycle after explaining that he was reporting on compliance with the lockdown imposed by the provincial governor. He ended up in hospital with a broken leg in plaster.

A few days later in South Africa, Azarrah Karrim, a *News24 *reporter, was filming compliance with the lockdown when she came under fire from rubber bullets fired by the police. When she complained, police officers joked: “They missed you? What a waste!”

When not being physically attacked as they cover the epidemic, journalists are often arrested. Kufre Carter, a journalist with the local radio station *XL 106.9 FM *in south-western Nigeria, was arrested on 27 April by the State Security Service, a unit responsible for domestic security and counter-terrorism. He was accused of conspiracy and defamation and spent a month in custody for criticizing the local authorities’ handling of the health crisis.

At the time of writing, Dieudonné Niyonsenga, who runs the Rwandan YouTube news channel Ishema TV*, *remains the only African journalist in prison for violating the country’s COVID-19 lockdown regulations. At the time of his arrest he was reporting on the effects of the lockdown on the population and investigating allegations of rape committed by soldiers enforcing the lockdown.

Some were forced to flee to escape the worst. Eugene Dube, editor of the Swati Newsweek website, fled Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) after questioning the authorities’ handling of the epidemic. In Africa’s last absolute monarchy, any criticism of King Mswati may be treated as “high treason”, punishable by the death penalty.

Paul Nthoba, editor of the South African community newspaper *Mohokare News, *fled to Lesotho after he was threatened and assaulted by police during a lockdown enforcement operation. It was the first time in post-apartheid South Africa that a journalist had been forced to flee abroad as a result of his work.

At the height of the crisis between 15 March and 15 May, three times as many journalists were assaulted (23) and arbitrarily arrested (31) in sub-Saharan Africa compared with the same period in 2019, according to RSF’s #Tracker_19 tool for monitoring and evaluating the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on journalism. It recorded 109 infringements of press freedom on the continent since the start of the health crisis. Of the 48 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, 29 have seen at least one breach of freedom of news and information on the subject. However, Nigeria (15 cases), Zimbabwe (14) and Uganda (12) together account for 38 per cent of the registered violations.

“This thorough report is a telling sign of the great hostility and mistrust towards African journalists and media outlets, which are too often regarded as enemies rather than allies in the fight against the coronavirus,” said Arnaud Froger, the head of RSF’s Africa desk.

“In response to uncertainty and the unknown, many governments have chosen strong-arm tactics, preferring the bludgeon to the pen, and censorship to investigating the truth of the epidemic. Crackdowns, the withholding of information and the criminalization of journalism are inadequate responses to the tremendous challenges facing us in this epidemic.

“We call on the countries of the continent to draw the lessons from this year’s health crisis, including the increasingly indispensable role played by journalists in providing access to reliable and high-quality news and information, by guaranteeing them greater freedom, protection, financial support and broad and transparent access to public data.”

Censorship and news blackout

In some countries the health crisis has aggravated the severe threats and pressures that already weighed on journalists before the epidemic. Since 2016 Tanzania, whose president John Magufuli has just been re-elected for a second term, has fallen 53 places in the World Press Freedom Index (to 124 of 180 countries). In April the president decided to stop publishing details about the infection in the country while referring in his speeches to a “Western plot”.

In the worsening climate, in which self-censorship became the rule in order to avoid trouble, the news blackout made coverage of the epidemic and its effects almost impossible for Tanzanian journalists, as RSF pointed out in a report a few weeks ago.

Several news outlets, including the country’s leading Swahili-language newspaper Mwananchi, were closed down after publishing stories about Covid-19. Others were forced to broadcast apologies after carrying reports on the subject which angered the authorities.

In countries where independent news and information is closely monitored or banned altogether, coronavirus has been subjected to censorship. The government of the world’s longest serving leader, Teodoro Obiang, president of Equatorial Guinea for the past 40 years, suspended “Buenos días Guinea” (Good morning Guinea), a popular Spanish-language programme broadcast by the country’s only commercial station *Asonga TV *which is owned by the president’s brother. The programme’s seven journalists were laid off after it aired a report on violence carried out by soldiers enforcing the lockdown.

Investigative journalism brings threats and retaliation

After braving censorship or lack of transparency in investigating the reality of the pandemic in their countries, some journalists have been targeted for major retaliation. In early April, journalist Andjouza Abouheir of *La Gazette des Comores *in the Indian Ocean nation of Comoros, exposed the reality behind a mystery that raised doubts among the archipelago’s citizens: The country reports no coronavirus cases. The reason, the journalist’s investigation showed, is that samples from the first suspected cases were not tested. Her revelation angered the authorities. They tried to identify her sources and even threatened to prosecute her for publishing information without going through “official channels.”

The government did not follow through on those threats. But other journalists have been gaoled following their revelations. In Zimbabwe, investigative journalist Hopewell Chin’ono spent nearly six weeks behind bars. Officially charged for a tweet which mentioned an anti-corruption demonstration planned for late July, he had just covered a case involving overbilling for medical equipment to be used against Covid-19. A number of well-connected figures were involved, and the health minister was dismissed.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, caution can border on self-censorship. “Information on the diversion of public funds for combating the coronavirus has circulated in newsrooms,” says Tshivis Tshivauadi, secretary-general of Journalist in Danger, a Congolese press-freedom NGO and RSF partner organization. “But journalists who dare to publish this information would risk prosecution.” Congolese media law, adopted in 1996, sets out prison terms, and even capital punishment, for some press crimes.

Emergency measures and oppressive laws

Decriminalization of press offenses on the continent remains a distant goal. Meanwhile, many countries have yielded to the temptation to adopt draconian information laws. These laws have proven ineffective against the spread of disinformation, far-fetched notions and conspiracy theories about the coronavirus. Yet, they significantly threaten to create grave risks for journalism, especially if they outlast the public health crisis. In March, South Africa amended its law on disaster management, which now sets penalties of up to six months in prison for spreading fake news.

Tanzania, the African country that has toughened its laws more than any other during this period, published in July a new regulation that drastically restricts freedom of information. Prohibitions now include publishing “information with regards to the outbreak of a deadly or contagious diseases in the country or elsewhere without the approval of the respective authorities.” Violations carry penalties of up to one year in prison and fines of up 1700 euros. A few weeks later, Tanzanian media were prohibited from broadcasting any foreign content without prior government authorization.

Devastated media, an existential crisis for information independence

The final consequence of the public health crisis, and perhaps the most serious one for African journalism, is that the already fragile news ecosystem has never been so overwhelmed. In Senegal, a report commissioned by the Press Publishing and Circulation Council reported a 70 per cent revenue loss for the written press during the first four months of the pandemic, 54 per cent for television networks and 40 per cent for radio stations and news sites. Throughout the continent, the bottom line is alarming. In Kenya, “Three hundred journalist jobs have been eliminated, newspapers are printing far fewer pages and some audio-visual media have replaced news programmes with music broadcasts,” says Eric Oduor, secretary-general of the Kenyan journalists’ union. In Nigeria, some journalists are supplementing their incomes by farming and raising chickens in order to meet their families’ needs.

Government support has been rare and insufficient. In Cameroon, 20 newspaper owners organized a “day without the press” on 4 May to call attention to the situation. Nine of the ten demands that led to the action focused on the sector’s economic fragility, worsened by the public health crisis and the absence of official support.

“*With this public health crisis, the sustainability of media organizations becomes not only a major factor in the future of public debate and democratic societies but an indispensable condition for guaranteeing the right to information,” *said Assane Diagne, director of RSF’s West Africa office. “*The public health crisis poses an existential threat to independent information production in Africa. This calls for re-imagining the media ecosystem on a continent where public subsidies are too rare and where the web giants scoop up a great part of the revenue generated by journalism.”*

In South Africa, where the information sector is among the hardest hit by the economic crisis brought on by the pandemic, the South African National Editors’ Forum reports that nearly 700 journalists have lost their jobs, and that about 80 publications have closed. “This devastation is unprecedented in its scope,” Sbu Ngalwa, the Forum’s president, told RSF. “It will be impossible to recover completely, but we do not want to belong to the generation that let the media die.”

Overview by the numbers

Since 14 March in sub-Saharan Africa, RSF has registered:

  • 109 press freedom violations linked to the public health crisis;
  • 40 arbitrary arrests of journalists;
  • 26 attacks, of which 24 were committed by security forces;
  • 14 sanctions or convictions of journalists or media organizations;
  • 19 restrictive measures;
  • 10 threats and intimidation;
  • 29 countries involved;
  • Nigeria (15 cases), Zimbabwe (14) and Uganda (12) together account for 38 per cent of the registered violations.

RSF belongs to a consortium of organizations with ARTICLE 19, Deutsche Welle Akademie, Fondation Hirondelle, Free Press Unlimited, International Media Support, and UNESCO for the project COVID-19 Response in Africa: Together for Reliable Information. Funded by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO), this project is aiming at fostering and supporting journalism in Subsaharan Africa amid the Covid-19 sanitarian crisis.

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World: UN Warns of an Impending Famine With Millions in Danger of Starvation

Sat, 28 Nov 2020 16:03:52 +0000

Countries: Afghanistan, Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Nigeria, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), World, Yemen
Source: Inter Press Service

UNITED NATIONS, Nov 27 2020 (IPS) - The numbers are staggering— as reflected in the ongoing coronavirus pandemic which has triggered a new round of food shortages, famine and starvation.

According to the Rome-based World Food Programme (WFP) 690 million people do not have enough to eat. while130 million additional people risk being pushed to the brink of starvation by the end of the year.

“Hunger is an outrage in a world of plenty. An empty stomach is a gaping hole in the heart of a society,” Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said last week pointing out that famine is looming in several countries.

Striking a personal note, Guterres said he could have never imagined that hunger would rise again during his time in office as Secretary-General.

The WFP singled out 10 countries with the worst food crises in 2019: Yemen, Congo, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Syria, Sudan, Nigeria and Haiti. The list is expected to increase by end of this year.

WFP Executive Director David Beasley told a meeting of the U.N. Security Council last April: “There are no famines yet. But I must warn you that if we don’t prepare and act now – to secure access, avoid funding shortfalls and disruptions to trade – we could be facing multiple famines of biblical proportions within a short few months.”

Against this grim scenario, resetting the future of food is possible, say the Barilla Foundation and Food Tank, which are jointly sponsoring an international online dialogue December 1 to “present concrete solutions to rethink our food systems– from farm to fork.”

The discussions are expected to help set the stage for the United Nations Food System Summit to be held in 2021.

The spread of COVID-19 has demonstrated the fragility of global food systems, “but it also offers opportunities to transform the way we produce, distribute and consume food.”

Guido Barilla, Chairman, Barilla Group and Barilla Foundation, said: “We need a positive movement to accelerate, empower, refine, and design a more sustainable future, and raising awareness in people – companies, citizens, institutions- that another future is possible.”

Danielle Nierenberg, President and Founder of Food Tank, told IPS the pandemic has had a huge impact on the world’s food and agricultural systems.

“Ironically, there will be record yields for many grains this year, but the disruptions in the supply chain caused by the pandemic as well as the global climate crisis and increasing conflict in several countries is leading to a hunger pandemic as well,” she pointed out.

Hunger, as many experts have pointed out, is not because the world doesn’t produce enough food, but a problem of distribution that has been exacerbated by concerns over health and lack of national leadership and political will in many countries, including the United States, to ensure that no one goes hungry, said Nierenberg.

Jeffrey Sachs, Professor and Director of the Center for Sustainable Development, Columbia University and Director, U.N. Sustainable Development Solutions Network, said: “Changing the food system is a complex challenge, but the first step is to know where we want to go, and that’s toward a healthy diet produced with sustainable agriculture.”

Abby Maxman, Oxfam America’s President & CEO, told IPS COVID-19 is the final straw for millions of people already struggling with the impacts of conflict, inequality, and climate change.

“The pandemic is fuelling hunger in the world’s worst hunger hotspots such as Venezuela and South Sudan, and it is creating new epicentres of hunger in countries such as India, South Africa, and Brazil where millions of people who were barely managing have been tipped over the edge by the pandemic,” she said.

She also pointed out that COVID-19 has exposed the weaknesses of a food system which prioritizes the profits of big food and agriculture companies over the needs of food producers and workers.

“We’re hearing the same refrain all around the world – families are very worried as they are forced to make impossible decisions – do they risk catching the disease as they go out to earn money to buy food? Or stay home and watch their children go hungry?”

It’s not actually a choice for most. Governments must contain the spread of this deadly disease but it is equally vital they take action to stop the pandemic killing as many – if not more – people from hunger, said Maxman.

The Advisory Board of the Barilla Foundation, described as an independent foundation that works on proposing concrete actions to solve issues around global food systems, has proposed a strategy to transform the food systems through shared and systemic solutions and a global collective commitment.

The online international dialogue is expected to highlight the critical role of farmers in feeding the world and managing natural resources, food business in progressing towards the 2030 Agenda, and chefs in re-designing food experiences. The prospects of technology and innovation, the role of food as prevention and the most recent policy developments, including the EU Farm to Fork Strategy, will also be discussed.

Asked if the availability of two vaccines by early next year will contribute to alleviate or end the food emergency, Nierenberg told IPS that while the vaccines are promising and will health ensure the health of millions and millions of people, the pandemic has shown us how fragile our food and economic systems are–it exposed a lot of cracks that were already there, but that have grown wider since the pandemic.

“We’ll need more than vaccines to make sure that food is considered a human right and that people around the globe have access to a living wage and safe, affordable, and accessible food,” she declared.

Oxfam America’s Maxman told IPS the exciting news about vaccines is providing hope of getting out of this global nightmare, but the scientific breakthrough is only part of the equation.

Equally important, she said, is making sure every single person on this planet can get it as soon as possible. But at the moment, rich countries, including the US, are already hoarding more than half of the vaccines to be developed by the companies with the leading five vaccine candidates.

“With only 4% of the world’s population, the US has already reserved almost 50% of the Pfizer’s total expected supply in 2021. That’s why Oxfam is calling for a people’s vaccine: a global public good, freely and fairly available to all, prioritizing those most in need here at home and around the world”.

To protect everyone no matter their wealth or nationality, corporations with the leading candidates for an effective COVID-19 vaccine must commit to openly sharing their vaccine technology to enable billions of doses to be made as soon as possible at the lowest possible price, Maxman declared.

Asked about the impact of waste, obesity and overconsumption, Nierenberg said: “I think NOW is the time for a real resetting of the food system”.

“It’s clear that agriculture needed to be revolutionized pre-pandemic—and we can’t return to the way things were”.

These unprecedented challenges, she noted, provide enormous opportunities to create a food system that can’t be broken—one that is truly regenerative and restorative, and that leaves no one behind.

“We can’t go back to “normal.” Normal left us vulnerable, and this crisis has widened the cracks in a food system already in need of repair. But this is our time to pivot. Right now, we can develop long-lasting solutions to nourish both people and the planet,” declared Nierenberg, recipient of the 2020 Julia Child Award and who spent two years volunteering for the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic.

Maxman said: “The global food system is broken. We must rebuild a fairer, more resilient, and more sustainable food system”.

The fact that eight of the biggest food and drink companies paid out over $18 billion to shareholders even as the pandemic was spreading across the globe illustrates just how broken our food system is, she noted.

“In the short-term, governments need to make sure that local food systems can continue to function, people can access and afford to buy nutritious food, and producers can continue to grow and produce the food needed for local communities”.

But as countries recover from the crisis, governments must prioritize investing in small-scale producers, ensuring that women food producers do not face discrimination, taking steps to make sure food producers can adapt to climate change, and demanding that big food and beverage companies pay workers a living wage, she declared.

The writer can be contacted at thalifdeen@ips.org

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World: Overcoming the Digital Gap and Food Insecurity: a Complementary Target

Sat, 28 Nov 2020 15:57:27 +0000

Country: World
Source: Inter Press Service

ROME, Nov 27 2020 (IPS) - Overcoming the digital gap to face food insecurity with the use of artificial intelligence practices in agriculture is part of a growing debate that seeks to simultaneously safeguard natural resources and address the difficulties generated by climate change and the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In recent times, multinational high-tech companies, such as IBM and Microsoft from the U.S., international institutions, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and ethical and spiritual references, such as the Pontifical Academy for Life, have devoted their efforts and work towards this objective.

Artificial intelligence technologies can play an important role in transforming food systems by performing tasks that are otherwise conducted by people such as planting and harvesting. This can help to increase productivity, improve working conditions and use natural resources more efficiently with better knowledge and planning management.

These technologies are beginning to be applied in areas of agricultural robotics, soil and crop monitoring, and predictive analytics, to name a few.

In the context of climate change, population growth and the depletion of natural resources, this technological advance can also contribute to the preservation of soils and water, a fact that gains greater relevance in the attempt to achieve food security in a sustainable way.

“I am convinced that we will continue to transform our food systems to feed the world thanks to digital agriculture,” said FAO Director-General QU Dongyu, while stressing that digital technologies “must be accessible to all.”

The ethical value of technological development has received strong attention from Pope Francis. Moreover, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, argued that “we must feed all people, but not necessarily all should eat the same.”

He added that the protection of biological diversity (human, vegetal and animal), “should occupy the center of our attention and should guide the entire process, from the ethical phase of design to the ways in which they are proposed and disseminated in different social and cultural contexts.”

According to the president of Microsoft, Brad Smith, “technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning tools will be especially useful as we work to address the issues of hunger and food insecurity, especially in a world that must face climate change, as they can foresee problems and respond with critical resources that help prevent future famines and save lives.”

In this regard, according to figures published by FAO, there are currently 690 million people who are going hungry, and by the end of 2020, as a result of the effects of COVID-19, the figure could increase by 130 million.

IBM´s vice president, John Kelly, recalled that “only if we put people, their interests and their values at the center of our thinking about the future of technology can we emerge stronger in the face of global challenges such as the pandemic and food security.”

In February, the Pontifical Academy for Life, in collaboration with FAO, Microsoft, IBM and the Italian government, among others, launched a call to build the ethics of artificial intelligence based on principles such as transparency and inclusion.

The purpose of this, is that these systems can be easily explained. They can take into account human beings, while providing the best possible conditions to express themselves and develop impartially, thus avoiding that only a few benefit from them.

To achieve this, the current digital gap must be overcome. At present, 6 billion people do not have a broadband connection, 4 billion cannot access the internet, 2 billion do not have mobile phones and 400 million do not have a digital signal at all.

The use of artificial intelligence tools is part of the action promoted by an important group of countries for the establishment of an International Platform for Digital Food and Agriculture, a forum of multiple parties interested in identifying and defining the possible benefits and risks of digitization of the food and agriculture sector.

In January 2020, 71 Ministers of Agriculture from different countries formally promoted this initiative, which encourages the combination of forums that are dedicated to agriculture with those that focus their attention on the digital economy. In turn, the initiative proposes to support governments in the development of voluntary practices and guidelines for the application of digital technologies in agriculture.

In a similar direction, FAO and Google recently launched a new big data tool for rural producers and other figures in the agriculture sector. It enables the transmission of images from a satellite in quasi-real time, with analytical functionality and on a planetary basis, in order to allow the detection, quantification and monitoring of changes and trends in the land surface, thus simplifying access to relevant information for small producers.

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Argentina: Scholarships help poor youth stay in school

Sat, 28 Nov 2020 15:53:26 +0000

Country: Argentina
Source: Salesian Missions

St. Giovanni Bosco and St. Domenico Savio Parish offers Educational Integration Scholarships program that helps youth from poor families gain an education

(MissionNewswire) The Salesian St. Giovanni Bosco and St. Domenico Savio Parish, located in Cordoba, Argentina, has been offering an Educational Integration Scholarships program since 2007 in collaboration with the BBVA Group. The goal is to support adolescents between 12 and 19 years old whose families have a low level of income and are unable to financially support their education. These scholarships ensure youth have a chance to gain an education and stay in school until completion.

Education can pose a dilemma for many poor youth. They need an education for upward economic mobility and the achievement of social equity, but in many places, they can not access a quality education due to the cost.

The Educational Integration Scholarships program addresses this inequality by providing financial assistance to young people in vulnerable situations so that they can continue their studies. Furthermore, it assigns each student a tutor who has the responsibility to provide direct support to the student.

Mariel is one of the volunteer tutors who offers student support through St. Giovanni Bosco and St. Domenico Savio Parish. Youth who attend this school support program come from the slums of El Tropezón. Mariel noted that some of the scholarship money is used to help youth purchase books, photocopies and school materials, as well as items for personal hygiene, snacks and transport costs to and from school.

“Aid in many ways is an incentive, especially for the older ones. Most of the purchases are made by the mothers, but the older ones organize themselves with their purchases, plan, calculate and analyze,” said Mariel.

This year, due to the pandemic and forced isolation, many families have been left without income. Children and youth have stopped attending school because of closures, so the scholarship funding was aimed mainly at the purchase of food for their survival during these challenging times.

Students have also struggled with getting their homework completed during the pandemic. Many of these youth and their families have relatively old phones that are shared among the whole family. The internet may reach them only intermittently, and many of them do not know how to handle computer programs or tools such as Word, Excel or Google Drive. This has made remote learning nearly impossible for some.

Salesian missionaries are working to address these challenges. Volunteers like Mariel have stepped up as well. She noted she is doing everything in her power to help children continue their studies. She keeps in touch with families by phone, pays attention to deadlines for reporting expenses, gives them the tools to do their homework and helps them.

Salesian programs across Argentina are primarily focused on education. Salesian primary and secondary education in the country prepares youth for technical, vocational or university studies. Other programs help meet the basic needs of poor youth and their families by providing shelter, proper nutrition and medical care, as well as helping youth to engage in their education and have hope for the future.

More than a quarter of the people in Argentina live in conditions of poverty with no formal employment and poor-quality education, according to the World Bank. The country’s high school dropout rate is close to 37 percent and youth account for a third of those unemployed. Almost 12 percent of children aged 5 to 17 are working instead of being in school and 20 percent need government assistance. Many face malnutrition, a lack of clean water and sewage, and inadequate housing.

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