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ReliefWeb - Updates

World: UN75: The Future We Want, The UN We Need: Update on the Work of the Office on the Commemoration of the UN’s 75th Anniversary (September 2020)

Mon, 21 Sep 2020 04:33:50 +0000

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Country: World
Source: United Nations

Please refer to the attached files.

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN’s worldwide consultation reveals a strong call for action on inequalities and climate change, as well as more solidarity

In January 2020, the United Nations launched the global consultation to mark its 75th anniversary. Through surveys and dialogues, it asked people about their hopes and fears for the future – representing the UN’s most ambitious effort to date to understand expectations of international cooperation and of the UN in particular. It is also the largest survey to date on priorities for recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of 21 September 2020, over a million people from all countries and all walks of life had taken part. Their answers provide unique insights into what the public wants at this challenging time for the world. They are released today to coincide with the UN General Assembly’s official commemoration of the 75th anniversary, held under the banner: the future we want, the UN we need. Key findings include:

Priorities for action

  • Across regions, ages and social groups, respondents were broadly united in their priorities for the future.

  • Amid the current COVID-19 crisis, the immediate priority for most respondents is improved access to basic services – healthcare, safe water, sanitation and education, followed by greater international solidarity and increased support to those hardest hit. This includes tackling inequalities and rebuilding a more inclusive economy.

  • Looking to the future, the overwhelming concerns are the climate crisis and the destruction of our natural environment. Other priorities include: ensuring greater respect for human rights, settling conflicts, tackling poverty and reducing corruption.

Perceptions of the UN

  • Over 87% of respondents believe** global cooperation is vital **to deal with today’s challenges, and that the pandemic has made international cooperation more urgent.

  • Seventy-five years after its founding, six in 10 respondents believe the UN has made the world a better place. Looking to the future, 74% see the UN as “essential” in tackling the challenges.

  • However, respondents want the UN to change and innovate: to be more inclusive of the diversity of actors in the 21st century, and to become more transparent, accountable and effective.

“Across this anniversary year, we have engaged in a global conversation. And the results are striking. People are thinking big – they are also expressing an intense yearning for international cooperation and global solidarity. Now is the time to respond to these aspirations and realize these aims. In this 75th anniversary year, we face our own 1945 moment. We must meet that moment. We must show unity like never before to overcome today’s emergency, get the world moving and working and prospering again, and uphold the vision of the Charter.” - United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres


  • In January 2020, the UN Secretary-General launched the UN75 initiative, not as a celebration, but as the world's largest conversation about current global challenges, and the gap between the future we want and where we are headed if current trends continue.

  • The Secretary-General saw UN75 as an opportunity for the UN to listen to the people it serves and identify their priorities and suggestions for enhanced global cooperation. UN75 was initiated to better understand people’s hopes and fears for the future, inviting people everywhere to imagine the future they want and contribute ideas on how to make it a reality, building a better and more sustainable world, for all.

  • Through formal and informal surveys, and dialogues held across the world, the exercise was intended to take stock of global concerns and gain views from across the world on what sort of global cooperation is required. It was also intended to re-imagine what role the United Nations might play in helping to address our global challenges.

  • After the pandemic made in-person gatherings challenging in many parts of the world, the initiative increased its efforts to reach people online, expanding the one-minute survey and social media outreach to shift the dialogues to online settings, where possible. At the same time, it put more emphasis - and resources - on reaching those without internet access: working with UN offices and other partners on the ground, and through telephone and SMS communications.

  • By adding questions on building back better from the pandemic, it was able to conduct the largest and most diverse global survey to date on post-COVID priorities.

  • To date, over 1 million people have taken the one-minute survey in all UN Member and Observer States and more than 1,000 dialogues have been held in 82 countries across the world. In addition, 50,000 in 50 countries took part in independent polling by Edelman and the Pew Research Center, and artificial intelligence analysis of social and traditional media was conducted in 70 countries, along with academic and policy research mappings in all regions.

  • Together, they represent the UN's most ambitious attempt to undertake a global reality check and hear from “we the peoples” on their priorities and suggested solutions to global challenges, providing unique insights into the future we want and the UN we need.

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India: Innovative learning programme brings back joy to tribal students in Odisha

Mon, 21 Sep 2020 03:44:40 +0000

Country: India
Source: UN Children's Fund

Tribal communities in Odisha report a high percentage of dropouts from schools and a near 50 per cent prevalence of underage marriage for girls

Radhika Srivastava

For 14-year-old Tapoi Malik, going to school is a rare privilege. Born to parents who never had any schooling, Tapoi is the youngest of three children. Her elder siblings, a brother and a sister, both dropped out before finishing high school. Tribal communities in Odisha report a high percentage of dropouts from schools and a near 50 per cent prevalence of underage marriage for girls.

“My brother stopped going to school as he has to help my father in the fields, and my sister dropped out, got married and has gone to work in the city,” said Tapoi. “But I love studying and I want to continue,” she said. A student of grade 9 in Daspalla Upper Primary School, a residential school for children from tribal and backward communities in Nayagarh district of Odisha, Tapoi loves Mathematics, Science and Odia.

In late March as schools closed down and children were sent home, Tapoi initially welcomed the break. “I thought we would go back to school after a month. But when the closure continued, I was very sad. I really missed my friends, my lessons and my teachers. The one thing I like the most is studying, but with no one to help me with my lessons at home, I was not able to learn new topics.”

Nevertheless, Tapoi continued revising the coursework that had already been covered in school. “I kept going over what I had already learnt. It was very important for me to spend a few hours with my books and notebooks,” she said.

Tapoi was overjoyed when she got a message from a neighbor that a teacher would be visiting her village to teach children who were enrolled in the tribal school.

The teacher’s visits and lessons were made possible by a unique initiative of the ST and SC Department of the Government of Odisha through the Alternate Mentorship and Learning Programme (ALMP) designed in collaboration with UNICEF and launched during the pandemic to bring schools to the doorstep of disadvantaged children.

“Since Sir started visiting my village, I haven’t missed a single class. I could ask him questions and also revise difficult topics with his help,” said Tapoi.

Tapoi wants to join the police force when she grows up, but for now her only dream is to continue her studies, an aspiration she knows often remains unfulfilled, especially among girls in her community.

She works hard to ensure she has enough time for her classes and studies. “I wake up at 4 a.m. everyday. I help my mother with cooking, cleaning and household work. Once I finish my chores, I sit down to study,” she said.

Tapoi has around 13 students in her village class. Along with the curriculum the students are also taught about staying healthy with nutritious food and physical exercise, staying safe online and hygiene behaviours. Implemented across all 30 districts of Odisha, the ALMP pressed into service around 4,700 teachers to reach out to 0.3 million school going children from Scheduled Tribe and Scheduled Caste communities.

A recently concluded assessment of the programme has shown positive learning outcomes for children. Nearly all students (96 per cent) from Class 10 and 12 said that the classes/sessions have helped them continue with studies in a self-regulatory manner. Students also said the sessions helped to establish a good rapport with these teachers and increased their confidence levels.

Parents, too, have found the initiative useful for their children and expressed confidence that their children will be able to easily reintegrate with regular classes once schools reopen. The assessment found that a majority of teachers were clear about the modality and objectives of the initiative though several found the lack of internet connectivity and access to a smart phone a major challenge as teaching resources and lesson plans are shared through WhatsApp.

Teacher Dwiti Chandra Sahoo from Rayagada has been given the task of teaching children in five villages in his district. “Initially not every child would turn up for the classes. I would then go to their homes to fetch them. We followed a strict safety protocol. All children would have to wear a face cover and also wash their hands with soap and water before the start of the class.”

Dwiti carries carry a soap, drawing sheets and colours along with printed learning resources for the children he teaches. “All these children are first generation learners. Among the grownups in the villages, almost all are uneducated. But the enthusiasm among children as well as parents is very high,” he said.

UNICEF is collaborating with the government to put together a communication plan for students, parents and community members to ensure all children go back to school once schools reopen.

“It is very crucial to ensure children continue to learn even as the schools are closed. The ALMP initiative is an innovative move by the government to reach the most marginalized and vulnerable tribal children of Odisha. We are now working on the next steps to make the ALMP initiative stronger and thus support parents and children resume schooling when schools resume classes.”

Monika Nielsen, Chief of Field Office, UNICEF, Odisha

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World: La FAO lance l’initiative Villes vertes en vue de contribuer à transformer les systèmes agroalimentaires, à éliminer la faim et à améliorer la nutrition

Mon, 21 Sep 2020 02:11:15 +0000

Country: World
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Transformer la reprise suite au COVID‐19 en une opportunité pour les villes de devenir plus durables et plus résilientes, et de garantir à tous l’accès à des aliments sains

18 septembre 2020, Rome/New York - La FAO a dévoilé aujourd'hui sa nouvelle initiative Villes vertes et son plan d'action visant à contribuer à la transformation des systèmes agroalimentaires, à l'élimination de la faim et à l'amélioration de la nutrition au sein des villes et autour de celles‐ci, lors de la période suivant la pandémie du COVID‐19. Le lancement a eu lieu à l'occasion de la manifestation de haut-niveau tenue à distance sur le thème «Des villes vertes pour reconstruire en mieux et atteindre les ODD ‐ une initiative nouvelle et efficace», organisée par la FAO lors de la 75eme session de l'Assemblée générale des Nations Unies.

Mettant en évidence le potentiel considérable des villes en matière de réduction des effets de la pandémie du COVID-19 sur la santé et la sécurité alimentaire, et d'atténuation des effets du changement climatique, QU Dongyu, Directeur général de la FAO, a encouragé tous les partenaires à reconnaître la contribution essentielle des villes au projet de reconstruire en mieux, et la nécessité d'entreprendre d'urgence des actions novatrices, globales et coordonnées.

«Nous devons repenser la manière dont les zones urbaines et périurbaines sont conçues et gérées, afin que les villes soient plus vertes, plus résilientes et plus aptes à se régénérer», a‐t‐il affirmé dans son allocution d'ouverture. «Il ne nous reste plus que dix ans pour réaliser les objectifs de développement durable, a‐t‐il ajouté, nous devons changer fondamentalement notre façon de voir les choses et réorganiser notre approche».

Une nouvelle façon de penser

L'Initiative Villes vertes vise à améliorer les moyens d'existence et le bien‐être des populations urbaines et périurbaines d'une centaine de villes à travers le monde au cours des 3 prochaines années (15 métropoles, 40 villes moyennes et 45 petites villes); mille autres villes se joindront à l'initiative d'ici à 2030.

L'initiative est particulièrement axée sur l'amélioration de l'environnement urbain, le renforcement des liens entre zones urbaines et zones rurales et la résilience des systèmes, des services et des populations urbaines face aux chocs externes. Elle permettra de garantir l'accès à un environnement sain et à une alimentation saine à partir de systèmes alimentaires durables, et contribuera à l'adaptation au changement climatique et à l'atténuation de ses effets, ainsi qu'à la gestion durable des ressources.

La nouvelle initiative comprend également la création d'un «Réseau de villes vertes» au sein duquel des villes de toutes tailles (des mégapoles aux villes de taille moyenne et petite) échangeront leurs expériences sur les meilleures pratiques, les réussites et les enseignements, et créeront des opportunités de coopération.

La FAO renforcera l'action menée auprès des autorités locales et nationales, des conseils municipaux, des maires, du secteur privé, des institutions universitaires et des organisations internationales, et s'engagera auprès des habitants des zones urbaines, en particulier les femmes et les jeunes.

«L'initiative que nous lançons aujourd'hui est le fruit d'une nouvelle façon de penser. J'espère que cela vous encouragera à vous joindre à nous et à soutenir l'initiative avec des méthodes de mise en œuvre novatrices!», a conclu le Directeur général de la FAO.

Pourquoi les initiatives de verdissement urbain sont‐elles importantes?

Le monde est de plus en plus urbanisé. D'ici à 2050, près de 70 pour cent de la population mondiale vivra en ville. L'Afrique et l'Asie connaîtront 90 pour cent de cet accroissement. Environ 70 pour cent des disponibilités alimentaires sont consommées par des citadins, et ce nombre augmente régulièrement.

L'accroissement de la population et l'urbanisation rapide occasionnent des modifications de l'alimentation et une demande accrue pour des produits et services de base, ainsi qu'une compétition croissante pour les ressources naturelles afin d'assurer à chacun l'accès à une alimentation saine. Les administrations locales éprouvent de plus en plus de difficultés à répondre aux besoins des populations urbaines et périurbaines. De nouveaux défis liés à la pandémie du COVID‐ 19 sont venus s'ajouter aux difficultés existantes, notamment les perturbations des systèmes alimentaires, la perte d'emploi et l'insécurité alimentaire, ainsi que l'aggravation des conditions de vie pour les plus vulnérables.

De nombreux habitants des zones urbaines et périurbaines sont plus que jamais exposés à l'insécurité alimentaire et nutritionnelle, ainsi qu'aux maladies non transmissibles liées à l'alimentation et à une augmentation des taux d'obésité et de surcharge pondérale.

Actuellement, les villes utilisent près de 80 pour cent de toute l'énergie produite dans le monde. Elles sont responsables de 70 pour cent des déchets produits à l'échelle mondiale et de 70 pour cent environ des émissions mondiales de gaz à effet de serre liées à l'énergie.

Les villes doivent impérativement maintenir des systèmes alimentaires durables et davantage d'espaces verts (y compris consacrés à l'agriculture urbaine et périurbaine et aux forêts) afin d'accroître la résilience face aux effets du changement climatique et du COVID‐19, et de faire en sorte que les problèmes sanitaires ne perturbent pas les réseaux d'approvisionnement et de distribution alimentaires.

A propos de l'événement

Outre l'initiative Villes vertes de la FAO, la manifestation d'aujourd'hui a également mis l'accent sur les initiatives et les programmes visant à intensifier l'innovation et à accélérer l'action, notamment le Pacte de politique alimentaire urbaine de Milan, le Nouveau programme pour les villes, le Centre mondial pour l'alimentation urbaine durable de la ville de Valence, l'Initiative Main dans la main et d'autres partenariats stratégiques.

La manifestation de haut niveau a été réalisée avec la participation d'Achim Steiner, Administrateur du Programme des Nations Unies pour le développement (PNUD), Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Directrice exécutive du Programme des Nations Unies pour les établissements humains (ONUHABITAT), LI Yong, Directeur général de l'Organisation des Nations Unies pour le développement industriel (ONUDI), Jürgen Rigterink, Président par intérim de la Banque européenne pour la reconstruction et le développement (BERD), Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, Président‐directeur général du Fonds pour l'environnement mondial (FEM), Rémy Rioux, Directeur général de l'Agence Française de Développement (un message a été transmis en son nom), et Javier Manzanares, Secrétaire exécutif adjoint du Fonds vert pour le climat, entre autres.

La manifestation comprenait également des témoignages des responsables municipaux du monde entier qui adhèrent à l'Initiative Villes vertes: Daniel Quintero, maire de Medellin (Colombie); Giuseppe Sala, maire de Milan (Italie) (par message vidéo); Manuel de Araujo, maire de Quelimane (Mozambique); Wen Guohui, maire de Guangzhou (République populaire de Chine) (par message vidéo); Souad Abderrahim, maire de Tunis (Tunisie), Bruno Covas, maire de Sao Paulo (Brésil) (par message vidéo), ainsi qu'un message du bureau du maire de New York.


Bureau des relations presse, FAO
(+39) 06 570 53625

Irina Utkina
Relations presse, FAO (Rome)
(+39) 06 570 52542

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World: Combattre les inégalités des émissions de CO2: La justice climatique au cœur de la reprise post COVID-19

Mon, 21 Sep 2020 01:39:26 +0000

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Country: World
Source: Oxfam

Please refer to the attached file.

Les 1 % les plus riches sont responsables de deux fois plus d’émissions que la moitié la plus pauvre de l’humanité

Les 1 % les plus riches de la population mondiale sont responsables de plus du double des émissions de C02 que la moitié la plus pauvre de l’humanité (environ 3,1 milliards de personnes) pendant une période critique de 25 ans qui a connu une croissance sans précédent d’émissions polluantes.

Oxfam publie un nouveau rapport, « Combattre les inégalités des émissions de CO2 », afin de présenter les recherches menées avec le Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), alors que les dirigeant-e-s de la planète se préparent à assister à l’Assemblée générale des Nations Unies pour aborder les défis mondiaux, dont la crise climatique.

Le rapport présente une analyse des émissions liées à la consommation de différents groupes de revenus entre 1990 et 2015 – 25 années au cours desquelles l’humanité a doublé la quantité de dioxyde de carbone émise dans l’atmosphère. En voici les résultats :

  • Les 10 % les plus riches de l’humanité étaient à l’origine de plus de la moitié (52 %) des émissions cumulées entre 1990 et 2015. Les 1 % les plus riches représentaient à eux seuls plus de 15 % des émissions cumulées pendant cette période, soit plus que les émissions totales cumulées de l’ensemble des citoyen-ne-s de l’Union européenne (UE) et deux fois plus que la moitié la plus pauvre de l’humanité (7 %).

  • Au cours de ces 25 années, les 10 % les plus riches de la planète ont consommé un tiers du budget carbone mondial encore disponible pour limiter le réchauffement à 1,5 °C, alors que les 50 % les plus pauvres n’avaient consommé que 4 % du budget carbone. Le budget carbone mondial définit la quantité maximale de dioxyde de carbone pouvant être émise dans l’atmosphère afin de limiter la hausse de la température moyenne dans le monde à 1,5 °C, objectif défini dans l’Accord de Paris, et ainsi d’éviter les pires impacts d’une crise climatique non contrôlée.

  • La période comprise entre 1990 et 2015 a connu une croissance annuelle de près de 60 % des émissions mondiales de CO2. Les 5 % les plus riches étaient responsables de plus d’un tiers (37 %) de la croissance totale des émissions, tandis que la croissance totale des 1 % les plus riches était trois fois plus élevée que celle des 50 % les plus pauvres.

Pour Tim Gore, responsable des politiques climat chez Oxfam et auteur de ce rapport : « La surconsommation d’une minorité aisée alimente la crise climatique, mais ce sont les communautés pauvres et les jeunes qui en paient le prix fort. Ces inégalités extrêmes en matière d’émissions de CO2 sont la conséquence directe d’une croissance économique profondément inégale et à forte intensité de carbone, qui persiste depuis des décennies. »

Les émissions sont susceptibles de remonter en flèche à mesure que les gouvernements commencent à assouplir les mesures de confinement liées à la pandémie de COVID-19. À moins de réduire considérablement ces émissions tous les ans, le budget carbone mondial disponible pour limiter le réchauffement de la planète à 1,5 °C sera complètement épuisé à l’horizon 2030. Les inégalités sont telles que les 10 % les plus riches épuiseraient à eux seuls ce budget d’ici 2033, et ce même si les émissions du reste de la population mondiale devenaient nulles dès demain.

En 2020, nous avons connu un réchauffement climatique mondial de 1 °C et la crise climatique a continué sa progression : des cyclones dévastateurs ont frappé l’Inde et le Bangladesh, d’énormes essaims de criquets ont dévasté les cultures à travers l’Afrique, et l’Australie et les États-Unis ont connu des vagues de chaleur et des incendies sans précédent. Personne n’est à l’abri, mais ce sont les personnes les plus pauvres et marginalisées qui sont les plus touchées. Par exemple, les femmes sont davantage exposées aux violences et aux abus à la suite d’une catastrophe.

D’après les estimations présentées dans le rapport « Combattre les inégalités des émissions de CO2 », il faudrait réduire l’empreinte carbone par habitant-e des 10 % les plus riches à un niveau dix fois plus bas d’ici 2030 pour atteindre l’objectif de maintenir le réchauffement en dessous de 1,5 °C. Cela signifierait une réduction d’un tiers des émissions mondiales annuelles. Le simple fait de ramener l’empreinte des plus riches à la moyenne de l’Union Européenne diminuerait les émissions mondiales de plus d’un quart.

Les gouvernements doivent lutter contre la double crise du changement climatique et des inégalités extrêmes en s’attaquant aux émissions excessives des plus riches et en investissant dans les communautés pauvres et vulnérables. Par exemple, une étude récente montre que les foyers parmi les 10 % les plus riches au monde consomment environ la moitié (45 %) de toute l’énergie associée au transport terrestre, et quelque 75 % de toute l’énergie liée à l’aviation. Le transport représente environ un quart des émissions mondiales actuelles, tandis que les véhicules tout-terrain de loisir (SUV) ont été à l’origine de la plus forte hausse des émissions mondiales de CO2 entre 2010 et 2018.

Selon Tim Gore : « Le simple redémarrage de nos économies telles qu’elles existaient avant la pandémie – dépassées, injustes et polluantes – n’est plus une option viable. Les gouvernements doivent saisir cette occasion afin de transformer nos économies et de construire un avenir plus juste pour toutes et tous.

Ils doivent limiter l’empreinte des hauts revenus en imposant une taxe carbone ou des interdictions sur les biens et services de luxe, comme les SUV et les vols fréquents. Les recettes devraient être investies dans les services publics et les secteurs sobres en carbone pour créer des emplois et lutter contre la pauvreté. »

Notes aux rédactions

Le document « Combattre les inégalités des émissions de CO2 », qui comprend le rapport complet ainsi que les données sur lesquelles il s’appuie, est disponible au lien suivant.

Entre 1990 et 2015, les 50 % les plus pauvres de l’humanité comptaient environ 3,1 milliards de personnes, les 10 % les plus riches comptaient environ 630 millions de personnes, les 5 % les plus riches comptaient environ 315 millions de personnes, et les 1 % les plus riches environ 63 millions de personnes.

En 2015, près de la moitié des émissions des 10 % les plus riches – des personnes ayant un revenu net supérieur à 38 000 dollars – était imputables à la consommation des citoyen-ne-s des États-Unis et de l’Union Européenne, et environ un cinquième provenait de citoyen-ne-s de Chine et d’Inde. Plus d’un tiers des émissions des 1 % les plus riches – des personnes ayant un revenu net supérieur à 109 000 dollars – est imputable à des citoyen-ne-s des États-Unis. Viennent ensuite les résident-e-s du Moyen-Orient et de Chine. Les revenus nets sont calculés en fonction des seuils de revenu pour 2015 et présentés en dollars PPA (parité de pouvoir d’achat – 2011).

Les données présentées dans le rapport sont fondées sur des estimations des émissions dues à la consommation, c’est-à-dire à la fois les émissions produites dans un pays et celles liées aux importations, tout en excluant celles rattachées aux exportations. Nous allouons les émissions liées à la consommation nationale aux ménages de chaque pays selon une relation fonctionnelle entre les revenus et les émissions, en fonction de nouveaux ensembles de données sur la répartition des revenus. Sur la base de nombreuses études, nous partons du principe que les émissions augmentent proportionnellement au niveau de revenu, entre un seuil minimal et un plafond maximal d’émissions. Les estimations des émissions liées à la consommation nationale de 117 pays (entre 1990 et 2015) sont ensuite triées selon une répartition mondiale d’après les revenus. Pour en savoir plus sur la méthodologie utilisée, consultez le rapport.


Pour obtenir de plus amples informations ou organiser des interviews, contactez:

Anna Ratcliff ( / +447796993288)

Noelie Coudurier ( / +33 (0)6 17 34 85 68)

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Pakistan: Renowned pediatricians pledge their support to promote polio vaccination

Mon, 21 Sep 2020 01:33:23 +0000

Country: Pakistan
Source: Government of Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, 18 September 2020 – Senior local health organisations of the country have vowed their full support to the Government in its efforts to end-polio from Pakistan. The office bearers of Pakistan Pediatric Association (PPA), Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) and Pakistan Islamic Medical Association (PIMA) confirmed their support to promote polio vaccination, including routine immunisation in a virtual roundtable meeting organised by the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) for Polio Eradication.

The purpose of the meeting was to share the present Polio situation in the country and explore ways to tackle ongoing challenges, including the promotion of vaccine acceptance among parents and caregivers. Chaired by Dr. Rana Muhammad Safdar, Coordinator of the National Emergency Operations Centre, the meeting was attended by the President and senior leaders of the Pakistan Pediatric Association and its provincial chapters, Pakistan Medical Association, Pakistan Islamic Medical Association and Prof. Dr. Iqbal Ahmad Memon, member of the National Technical Advisory Group for Polio Eradication.

Dr. Safdar briefed the participants about various ongoing initiatives to curb polio from the country including activities to address the negative community perceptions about polio-vaccination interventions. He called upon the leading Pakistani pediatricians to work as positive voices for the programme in support of eradicating polio. He specifically highlighted the role of pediatricians in addressing parents’ concerns and helping reduce refusals.

“Our pediatricians play a big role in convincing parents, especially in marginalised populations, to vaccinate their children. The refusal of polio vaccination will bring no fortune but more deprivation to the child and family and needs to be avoided at all costs,” added Dr. Rana.

Participants also discussed a broad range of issues including social vaccine acceptancy, addressing general perception about the vaccine, restoring confidence in the polio workers, the introduction of mandatory use of vaccine certificate link to Computerised National Identity Card (CNIC), engagement of family physicians and synergy and effective coordination between Afghanistan and Pakistan to implement campaigns.

Prof. Dr. Iqbal Ahmad Memon, a renowned pediatrician from Karachi and the National Technical Advisory Group member, appreciated the Pakistan Polio Eradication programme’s efforts. “I appreciate that the programme has managed to procure polio vaccine to conduct a nationwide campaign amidst COVID-19 related global supply chains challenges. With strong involvement of pediatricians across Pakistan including family physicians and doctors running private clinics, I am confident that there will be a significant increase in vaccine acceptance and demand for vaccination,” said Dr. Memon.

Dr. Shafiq Rehman, from the NEOC, presented the situation of polio in the country. The meeting was attended by Dr. Ghulam Rasool Buriro – President PPA Sindh, Dr. Saleem Paryani – President PPA Karachi, Dr. Ashraf Nizami – President PMA Punjab, Professor Dr. Masood Sadiq – President PPA, Punjab and Dr. Bawar Shah – Secretary PPA Central among others.

The Pakistan Polio Eradication programme will conduct its first National Polio campaign from 21 September after a suspension of four months due to COVID-19, with aim of reaching 40 million under five year of age children. Subsequently, other national and sub-national campaigns will be conducted in coming months to reach under five years of old children to interrupt the poliovirus circulation. These campaigns are intensifying efforts in view of a polio-free country and the world for future generations.


Note to Editors:

Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by poliovirus mainly affecting children under the age of ten years. It invades the nervous system, and can cause paralysis or even death. While there is no cure for polio, vaccination is the most effective way to protect children from this crippling disease. Each time a child under the age of five is vaccinated, their protection against the virus is increased. Repeated immunizations have protected millions of children from polio, allowing almost all countries in the world to become polio free.


For further information, please contact:

Mr. Zulfiqar Babakhel, Media Manager, NEOC, 0345-9165937


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Pakistan: 40 million children to be vaccinated against polio in upcoming nationwide campaign

Mon, 21 Sep 2020 01:31:00 +0000

Country: Pakistan
Source: Government of Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, 18 September 2020 – The nationwide polio campaign will kick off from 21st September until 25th September with the aim of reaching 40 million children across the country with the lifesaving polio vaccine. This will be the first nationwide campaign in Pakistan since February due to a four-month suspension during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The September nationwide polio campaign coincides with the recent news of Africa being certified as polio-free. With this development, Pakistan and neighbouring Afghanistan are now the only remaining strongholds of the virus in the world.

“With the news of Africa being certified as polio free, we are also ramping up our efforts to bring us closer to a polio-free Pakistan. We are consistently reviewing our campaign performance and responding to the needs of the communities we interact with in order to improve our outreach and capacity. Moreover, we are integrating and synergizing systems and services across our polio and immunization programmes to accrue benefits from their respective assets and opportunities and ultimately strengthen the routine immunization of children,” shared Dr. Faisal Sultan, the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health.

Earlier in July and August of this year, smaller case response campaigns were conducted to vaccinate children in high risk districts of the country. The scope of the upcoming campaign is much larger and seeks to vaccinate all Pakistani children under the age of five through door-to-door visits by a cadre of almost 270,000 vaccinators deployed across the entire nation.

As with the previous campaigns in July and August, polio vaccinators have continued to receive comprehensive training on how to vaccinate children safely within the COVID-19 context. This includes thorough prevention measures, such as hand washing, proper use of masks and keeping a safe distance from people during visits. Moreover, the programme has put strict measures in place for all staff following the Government of Pakistan’s set guidelines on COVID-19 preventative measures.

Speaking on the campaign, Dr. Rana Safdar, the Coordinator of the National Emergency Operations Centre of the Pakistan Polio Eradication Programme, urged all parents with children under the age of five to ensure vaccination against this paralytic and sometimes life threatening disease.

“This is an opportune moment for parents to make sure that their children are vaccinated against polio. We have made sure that all safety measures for COVID-19 are in place to protect children, their parents and caregivers as well as our vaccinators. The safety and health of our people will always come first,” he said.

To mitigate the risks associated with widespread presence of the virus, the Pakistan Polio Eradication Programme is planning to conduct back-to-back national vaccination campaigns in the remaining months of 2020 as well. Children will also continue to receive routine immunization services at fixed health centers across the country.


Note to Editors:

Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by poliovirus mainly affecting children under the age of ten years. It invades the nervous system, and can cause paralysis or even death. While there is no cure for polio, vaccination is the most effective way to protect children from this crippling disease. Each time a child under the age of five is vaccinated, their protection against the virus is increased. Repeated immunizations have protected millions of children from polio, allowing almost all countries in the world to become polio free.


For further information, please contact:

Mr. Zulfiqar Babakhel, Media Manager, NEOC, 0345-9165937


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Tonga: MET Office seeks to improve Storm Surge Warnings by consulting communities that were affected by Severe Tropical Cyclone HAROLD

Mon, 21 Sep 2020 01:28:12 +0000

Country: Tonga
Source: Government of Tonga

19th September, 2020 The Tonga Meteorological Services of the Ministry of MEIDECC on September, 18 held a consultation workshop with representatives from coastal areas of Tongatapu to discuss ways to improve the warnings of storm surge or large waves created by tropical cyclones. When Severe Tropical Cyclone HAROLD passed near Tongatapu and ‘Eua in April, it caused storm surge or large waves of up to 14 meters high and inundated up to 300 meters inland in some places. Mostly along the western and northern coasts of Tongatapu and ‘Eua. The storm surges destroyed millions of dollars’ worth of property and infrastructure in what many described as one of the worst storm surges or sea flooding associated with a Tropical Cyclone in living memory.

“Any type of flooding involving the movement of water is extremely dangerous. The global statistics indicates that the most loss of life world wide due to natural disasters is from flooding. Whether it be flooding from heavy rain or sea flooding or flooding by a tsunami, flooding tops the list as being the most dangerous.

Because tropical cyclones are a natural hazard that is defined by the strength of the winds associated, the damage done by waves and storm surges are often not taken seriously and at times does not carry the same weight as when we are talking about wind strength every time we talk about cyclones. We believe our forecasts were accurate and that enough time was given to communities to prepare during Cyclone HAROLD. Government also issued a State of Emergency almost 24hrs before Cyclone HAROLD inflicted its damage on Tongatapu and ‘Eua. On many occasions after a Cyclone event we have come back to the people and asked them how the warnings were during a warning event so we are able to constantly improve on the work that we do in warnings the nation. 99% of the time we are told that the MET Office and the warnings were spot on, However, when you dig down a little further, the actions a lot of people do or don’t do during warning events don’t seem to be going hand in hand with the warnings given by the MET Office. When we see that happening, it is the worst kind of preparedness. There is a perception that Tonga is cyclone ready just because in the last few big cyclones there was no loss of life. From what i saw during Cyclone HAROLD where people were swimming around in their own homes that tell us that there are still many people who either do not take heed of the warnings or they just do not understand the warnings. For those that choose not to follow warnings or choose not to due to their own beliefs there is little we can do. But for those that do follow the warnings but make the wrong decisions we are particularly interested in assisting to ensure that they do know how to react to warnings to save their lives and property. This is particularly important for storm surge because they do not happen often, yet the consequences and the impacts are devastating. What we are starting today is a series of workshops here in Tongatapu and ‘Eua revisiting the happenings during Cyclone HAROLD and how we can improve understanding of storm surge so that people are better prepared next time it happens. From these workshops together with personal interviews with various people and stakeholders we hope to produce a 1hrs film with the assistance of the Tonga Broadcasting Commission to be used in awareness campaigns and to be used in schools through out Tonga”, That was a Statement by the Director of Meteorology, Mr. Ofa Fa’anunu.

The consultations looked at 4 different areas.

  1. How to improve MET Office warning products

  2. How to use traditional knowledge to better explain scientific or technical forecasts

  3. What would affected communities would like to see in a National Early Warning Policy and

  4. How to improve service delivery

The consultations are being carried out by the MET Office, funded by the Secretariat of the Pacific Environmental Program (SPREP) and assisted by the Tonga Broadcasting Commission.

The workshop was attended by nearly 30 participants from various age groups and gender from various coastal communities in Tongatapu that was affected by Cyclone HAROLD and Staff of the MET Office.


For further information, please contact the Meteorology Division on 35355 or More information is also available at

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Philippines: Borongan CTF-ELCAC’s ‘Cum Dul-ong Serbisyo’ reaches Benowangan, Hebacong villages

Mon, 21 Sep 2020 01:17:19 +0000

Country: Philippines
Source: Government of the Philippines

By PIA w/ 801 IB, PA
Published on September 21, 2020

TACLOBAN CITY, Sept. 20 (PIA) -- The Borongan City Task Force ELCAC in partnership with the 78th Infantry Battalion recently conducted Grand Pulong-Pulong and Serbisyo Caravan in the conflict-affected areas in Borongan City.

The City Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (CTF-ELCAC) of Borongan led by Honorable Jose Ivan Dayan C. Agda, delivered essential government programs and services to the people of hinterland barangays of Benowangan and Hebacong both of Borongan City.

The City Task Force-ELCAC was ably supported by the 801st Infantry (Bantay at Gabay) Brigade and the 78th Infantry (Warrior) Battalion of the Philippine Army.

The activity dubbed “Cum Dul-ong Serbisyo” held on September 18, 2020, at the covered court of Brgy. Benowangan, Borongan City, highlighted the break-out sessions and consultations of the barangay folks with the different local departments of the city government and the response of the City Mayor on the previously identified primary and secondary issues.

During the activity, the barangay resident availed of the different medical and social services: 305 for the medical check-up, 42 recipients for the dental consultation, 47 children were circumcised, 46 had their haircut, and 55 pairs of couple for the mass wedding. The distribution of food packs for the residents of the two (2) barangays culminated the activity.

The gracious attendance of BGen. Camilo Z. Ligayo, Brigade commander of the 801st Infantry (Bantay at Gabay) Brigade, 8th Infantry (Stormtroopers) Division, Philippine Army doubly made the activity meaningful and significant to the residents of Brgy. Benowangan. As the Borongan City mayor said, "BGen Ligayo is the first active army General Officer who has visited Brgy. Benowangan.

The success of the activity with the active participation of the populace signifies the return of the people's trust and confidence to the government and the AFP.

The series of NPA terror acts in Borongan City and the Suribao complex last year, and the recent encounter in the adjacent barangay of Pinanag-an did not discourage the locals from taking a step towards the attainment of a peaceful and progressive community, that is free from NPA intimidation and exploitation. (PIA w/ 801 IB, PA)

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India: Ministry of Home Affairs Disaster Management Division (National Emergency Response Centre) Situation report as on 19th September 2020 at 1800 Hrs.

Mon, 21 Sep 2020 00:48:09 +0000

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Country: India
Source: Government of India

Please refer to the attached file.


Significant Weather Features:

  • Under the influence of likely formation of a Low Pressure Area over Northeast Bay of Bengal, fairly widespread to widespread rainfall with Isolated heavy to very heavy falls likely over Andaman & Nicobar Islands on 19th & 20th; over Odisha, Coastal Andhra Pradesh & Yanam and Telangana during 19th-21st and over Gangetic West Bengal during 20th-22nd September, 2020.

  • Due to convergence of strong moist winds in lower tropospheric levels from Bay of Bengal, fairly widespread to widespread rainfall with heavy to very heavy falls also likely over Sub-Himalayan West Bengal & Northeastern state during 21st-23rd September. Isolated extremely heavy falls also likely over Arunachal Pradesh and Assam & Meghalaya on 22nd and over Sub-Himalayan West Bengal & Sikkim on 22nd & 23rd September, 2020.

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Yemen WASH Cluster COVID-19 Bulletin, 10 September 2020 [EN/AR]

Mon, 21 Sep 2020 00:40:47 +0000

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Country: Yemen
Sources: UN Children's Fund, WASH Cluster

Please refer to the attached files.

WASH is a key preventative measure in reducing the spread of COVID-19 and is one of the principal public health recommendations.

The severity of the current response to COVID-19 poses grave detrimental impacts on WASH service provision and sustainability if not adequately mitigated. Equitable access to WASH commodities and services must be protected and extended for all, without any form of discrimination by nationality, income or ethnicity.

Key Messages:

• A WASH Response is a COVID Response

• Scale up Community prevention; Shielding high-risk persons

• Saving lives starts in communities

• Urgent funds needed for emergency WASH

• Continuing WASH with adapted programing in COVID-19

• Support the Health strategy K

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Pakistan: NDMA Monsoon 2020 Daily Situation Report No. 087 (19 September 2020 1300 hours to 20 September 2020 1300 hours)

Mon, 21 Sep 2020 00:34:48 +0000

Descriptive text is not available for this image

Country: Pakistan
Source: Government of Pakistan

Please refer to the attached file.


3. Flood Relief Activities

a. Relief Camps Established. 196x relief camps established in different parts of Sindh. Currently, 23,629x persons are residing in relief camps established in Sindh.

b. Rescue Activities

(1) 2,333x persons evacuated in District Khushab.

(2) 8,799x persons evacuated in Karachi.

(3) 175x families (1,245 individuals) evacuated by Armed Forces and District Administration from Yousaf Goth, Sarjani Town and adjoining Goths, District Karachi.

(4) 299x persons evacuated using 10x boats in District Dadu by Armed Forces and District Administration.

c. Aviation Activities. NTR.

d. Relief Activities. Consolidated state of relief activities in attached as Annex A.

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Pakistan: Government of Sindh Rehabilitation Department Provincial Disaster Management Authority: Detail of Relief Items Provided W.R.T Monsoon Rains, Dated: 20-09-2020 (11:00 AM)

Mon, 21 Sep 2020 00:32:09 +0000

Descriptive text is not available for this image

Country: Pakistan
Source: Government of Pakistan

Please refer to the attached file.

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World: Transforming power to put women at the heart of peacebuilding: A collection of regional-focused essays on feminist peace and security

Mon, 21 Sep 2020 00:29:04 +0000

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Country: World
Source: Oxfam

Please refer to the attached file.

The twentieth anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) is in October 2020. It is a landmark resolution on women’s role in peacebuilding, but progress on women’s rights and leadership in peace and security decision making continues to fall short.

This discussion paper brings together three regional essays commissioned to explore what needs to happen. What needs to happen to ‘transform power’ to women and communities most affected by crises and conflict so that they shape the decisions that affect their lives? What would a feminist peace and security agenda look like? The essays illustrate how transformative change rarely comes from within the system; rather, it often comes from outside: from disruption by protest, and from women’s, youth, local and grassroots movements.

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World: Carbon emissions of richest 1 percent more than double the emissions of the poorest half of humanity

Mon, 21 Sep 2020 00:01:00 +0000

Country: World
Source: Oxfam

The carbon emissions of the richest one percent are more than double those of the three billion people who made up the poorest half of humanity during a critical 25-year period of unprecedented emissions growth, according to a new Oxfam report published today.

The report, Confronting Carbon Inequality, is based on research conducted with the Stockholm Environment Institute and is released as world leaders prepare to meet at the UN General Assembly to discuss global challenges including the climate crisis.

The report assesses the consumption emissions of different income groups between 1990 and 2015 during which the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere doubled. It found that during this period:

  • The richest 10 percent (approx. 630 million people) accounted for over half (52 percent) of the carbon dioxide emissions. The richest one percent accounted for 15 percent of emissions -- more than twice that of the poorest half of humanity (7 percent).
  • The total increase in emissions of the richest one percent was three times more than the total increase in emissions of the poorest half of the population.

  • The richest 10 percent accounted for one third of the carbon emissions that scientists estimate will cause the 1.5C temperature rise triggering catastrophic irreversible climate change, while the poorest half of humanity emitted just four percent.

Danny Sriskandarajah, Oxfam GB chief executive, said:

"The over-consumption of a wealthy minority is fuelling the climate crisis and putting the planet in peril. No one is immune from the impact but the world's poorest are paying the heaviest price despite contributing least emissions as they battle floods, famines and cyclones."

During 2020, and with the current level of approximately 1C of global heating, climate change has fuelled deadly cyclones in India and Bangladesh, huge locust swarms that have devastated crops across Africa and unprecedented heatwaves and wildfires across Australia and the US. The UK has seen some of its hottest temperatures and worst floods exacerbated by the changing climate.

Carbon emissions risk rapidly rebounding as governments ease Covid-related lockdowns. If emissions do not keep falling year on year and carbon inequality is left unchecked, by 2030 the world could reach the tipping point of 1.5C warming. Carbon inequality is so stark the emissions of just the richest 10 percent would trigger catastrophic climate change by 2033 even if all other emissions were cut to zero.

Governments can tackle both extreme inequality and the climate crisis if they target the excessive emissions of the richest and invest in poor and vulnerable communities. Oxfam is calling for an increase in wealth taxes and new carbon taxes on luxury items - such as private jets and super yachts, as well as carbon-intensive SUVs and frequent flights. The revenue generated should be invested in low-carbon jobs such as in the social care sector and in green public transport as well as used to help poor communities around the world adapt to the changing climate.

Sriskandarajah said: "Extreme carbon inequality is a direct consequence of the decades-long pursuit by governments and businesses of grossly unequal and carbon intensive economic growth whatever the cost. As leaders make decisions about what a post-Covid recovery looks like, they should seize this opportunity to reshape our economy, encourage low carbon living and create a better future for all.

"Climate change is already causing immense hardship for many people. To prevent greater suffering, we need bold and urgent action to radically cut emissions before it's too late."


For further information or to organise interviews - Tania Corbett +44 7824 824359/

Notes to editor

  • The media brief Confronting Carbon Inequality and the full research report and data on which is it based is available HERE
  • In 2015, around half the emissions of the richest 10 percent - people with net income over $38,000 (approx. £29,000) - are linked to citizens in the US and the EU and around a fifth with citizens of China and India. Over a third of the emissions of the richest one percent -- people with net income over $109,000 (approx. £84,000) - are linked to citizens in the US, with the next biggest contributions in that group from people living in the Middle East and China. Net incomes are based on income thresholds for 2015 and represented in $2011 Purchasing Power Parity

  • The research is based on estimations of consumption emissions from fossil fuels i.e. emissions consumed within a country including emissions embodied in imports and excluding emissions embodied in exports. More details on the methodology is available in the research report.

  • In its current #SecondHandSeptember campaign, Oxfam is urging people to take action to reduce the impact of throwaway fashion on people and planet. The textile industry produces more greenhouse gas emissions than the shipping and aviation industries combined. Emissions from new clothes bought in the UK per minute are greater than emissions from driving a car around the world six times.

  • Oxfam is hosting international and intergenerational discussion on carbon inequality at 11:00 GMT on Friday 25 September -- the youth climate movements global day of action. Panellists include Ban Ki-moon, former UN Secretary General and Deputy Chair of The Elders; Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Congress and Hindou Oumarou Ibrahima, environmental activist and President of the Association for Indigenous Women and Peoples of Chad. For more details see here.

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Uganda: Activist turns adversity into a fresh start for refugee women

Sun, 20 Sep 2020 22:57:41 +0000

Countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees

Congolese rights activist Sabuni Francoise Chikunda is the regional winner for Africa for the UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award for her work with fellow refugees in Uganda.

By Catherine Wachiaya in Nairobi, Kenya and Yonna Tukundane in Nakivale, Uganda | 21 September 2020

To the children at the reception centre, the 49-year-old with a ready smile is a dedicated English teacher. To the women who meet every day to make handicrafts and discuss matters of concern at the Kabazana women’s centre, she is their founder and chairperson. And to the hundreds of women in the settlement who have survived sexual and gender-based violence, she is their counsellor and confidante.

“I want to help them forget the things they have gone through so they can start a new life,” says Francoise, as she stands in a field at Nakivale, looking around the vast settlement that hosts some 133,000 refugees.

Turning extreme adversity into a fresh start is deeply personal for Francoise, who reached the settlement in Nakivale in June 2017 at the end of an ordeal of violence and displacement that reached back decades.

During the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, she survived a brutal attack. She subsequently endured violence, torture and rape at the hands of armed militiamen in her native Democratic Republic of the Congo, who kidnapped her and held her as a slave for years.

“I went through a lot ... I lost my home, my family, my job … everything,” she says softly. “I was raped several times. My husband and my four children were killed.”

She managed to flee to Uganda where in just six months – and despite the trauma she had undergone – she became a community leader, a volunteer teacher and a counsellor, thanks to her upbeat personality and positive outlook on life.

Her face lights up as she walks around the now empty classroom at Nakivale where she used to teach English before all lessons were stopped due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I love teaching, it is my hobby. It also keeps me busy,” she says. “The more I teach, the more comfortable I feel.”

Standing in this classroom appears to give her some form of release from the past.

“I treat the children like my own,” she adds. “I don’t have children, so when I’m with them, I’m so happy.”

Her own agonizing ordeal led her to seek out other survivors of violence at the settlement, beginning with a group of just 10 women who would meet at her home. They would share their experiences and – of vital importance – focus on the next steps they needed to take to remake their lives.

Her work is supported by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, through its partner agency, the American Refugee Council, which in 2018 provided Francoise with space to set up the Kabazana Women’s Centre. Since its founding, more than 1,000 women have received training there in various income generating activities, ranging from tailoring to cooking, handicrafts, hairdressing and agriculture.

For her tireless activism, Francoise has been chosen as the regional winner for Africa for UNHCR's Nansen Refugee Award, a prestigious annual prize that honours those who have gone to extraordinary lengths to support forcibly displaced or stateless people.

The as-yet-undisclosed laureate of the award will be announced on 1 October. The prize itself will be presented by UNHCR, in a virtual ceremony on 5 October.

“Day by day, when others see the change and the improvement in these women, they keep coming to the centre,” says Francoise proudly.

As she walks around the settlement, she is joined by a group of women who greet her excitedly. They have not seen her in nearly three months, since she left for the capital, Kampala, for treatment.

Most of them are survivors of violence and beneficiaries of Francoise’s centre. Dressed in vibrant African print outfits, they hug Francoise, laughing loudly as they walk into a friend’s compound.

One of the women, Ntahobari, survived a horrific gang rape while fleeing the Congo in 2016. Separated from her husband and four children, she managed to make it to Uganda and has been in anguish since then. She does not know where her family are or even if they are still alive.

She met Francoise through the women’s centre where she has been helped to stay occupied.

“I don’t think about what happened to me and in those moments, I don’t cry,” she says of the time she spends with the other women.

Francoise understands the need to stay occupied, as she often does herself, to keep the bad memories at bay.

“You know when you are idle, the stress becomes a lot and you keep remembering the things you passed through,” she explains. “But when I’m busy, teaching the women and children, exchanging our experiences, it helps a lot.”

The women have opened various businesses and recently started making wine. But due to the COVID-19 restrictions on movement and subsequent lockdown, they had to adapt quickly and turned the winery into a pharmacy. They now plan to open a clinic.

Among those trained at the women’s centre is Neema Claire, who learned tailoring and hairdressing. Together with Francoise, they saved enough money to start a business, making and renting out wedding dresses and event decorations in the settlement.

“Every weekend we would rent out dresses to two, sometimes even four couples,” she says.

With COVID-19, business has slowed but the women diversified their shop and started a grocery.

Looking ahead, Francoise would like to receive additional funding, materials for tailoring and space to continue working with a growing number of women and girls at the settlement.

“I want to see a change in their lives, socially and economically, while also introducing them to wider opportunities,” she says.

“I feel so good for healing my fellow refugees in these tough times,” she adds with a smile. “I have taught them to be independent and I am so proud.”

The Nansen Refugee Award is named in honour of Norwegian explorer and humanitarian Fridtjof Nansen, the first High Commissioner for Refugees and Nobel Prize winner, who was appointed by the League of Nations in 1921. It aims to showcase his values of perseverance and commitment in the face of adversity.

You can read about the other regional winners of the UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award here.

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Jordanian scientist finds winning formula to get kids reading

Sun, 20 Sep 2020 22:48:53 +0000

Countries: Jordan, Syrian Arab Republic
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees

Rana Dajani is regional winner for MENA of the UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award for her programme to get children reading for pleasure, that has since gone global.

By Peter Murtaugh in Richmond, Virginia, USA | 21 September 2020 |

Dr. Rana Dajani had recently returned to her home country of Jordan in 2006 after five years abroad, when she was struck by an observation that sparked her irrepressible curiosity: why did so few Jordanian children read for pleasure?

While most would have briefly pondered the question before carrying on with their lives, Dajani’s inquiring mind was unable to let it go. As an accomplished molecular biologist who has studied and worked at some of the world’s leading academic institutions, including Harvard and Yale, she began to research the issue more closely.

“I started asking questions, making observations, digging through the literature,” said Dajani, who is currently in the United States of America where she was teaching when Jordan’s airports closed in March due to COVID-19, leaving her unable to return home.

Speaking quickly, as if her words sometimes struggled to keep up with her train of thought, Dajani added: “I realized that the way for a child to fall in love with reading is by having a role model, a parent who’s reading aloud to the child.”

Armed with this insight, she said it was the values of her Muslim upbringing that forced her to act on what she had learnt – not just for the benefit of her own children, but as many children as she could reach.

“I felt this huge responsibility, that I had to do something for the children around me. And I felt if I didn’t, then this would be on me because I had the solution. I couldn’t sleep. I had to do something.”

That was how the We Love Reading project was born, which today is active in 56 countries worldwide, has trained over 7,000 – mostly women – volunteer readers, and has brought the joy of reading to nearly half a million children, including tens of thousands of young refugees in Jordan and beyond.

For her work in promoting reading and education among refugees, host communities and others, Dajani has been chosen as the regional winner for the Middle East and North Africa for UNHCR’s Nansen Refugee Award, a prestigious annual prize that honours those who have gone to extraordinary lengths to help forcibly displaced and stateless people.

The as-yet-undisclosed global laureate of the award will be announced on 1 October. The prize itself will be presented by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, in a virtual ceremony on 5 October.

Back in 2006, We Love Reading began with a single weekly session at which Dajani read aloud to the neighbourhood children at her local mosque. But all the while, she was thinking of ways to expand the initiative to every neighbourhood in the country.

“After three years of tinkering … I had reduced the programme to the most simple formula where it was still effective and still impactful,” Dajani said. “We Love Reading became a training programme, where we would train adults and youth from age 16 to 100 years old.”

“We train them how to read aloud as an art, because most of them have never been read aloud to, so they don’t know how to do it to make it fun,” she continued. “And we train them also on how to start a reading aloud session in their neighborhood.”

Those that receive the training are known as reading ambassadors, who are then encouraged to establish reading sessions in their own neighbourhoods on a purely voluntary basis and promote the scheme by word of mouth.

In this way, Dajani says, the programme has become a grassroots movement in which participants feel a sense of ownership and empowerment, with more than 4,400 sessions currently being held worldwide.

“They are responsible for it. They run it. They own it,” Dajani explained. “That’s the ‘secret sauce’ of We Love Reading: how people take up the programme and run with it wherever they are.”

The scheme has proved particularly effective in refugee settings in Jordan, which currently hosts more than 658,000 registered Syrian refugees, having a positive impact on both refugee children and adult volunteers. Following this success, the model has been replicated at Kule refugee camp in Ethiopia.

“Most refugees don’t know what’s going to happen in the future … and this impacts their mental health,” Dajani said. “We Love Reading gives them a purpose, something that is tangible and … a sense of agency. The sense of control is so important for building resilience and improving the positive mentality.”

That was the case for Latifa Al-Laham, a 55-year-old Syrian refugee from Damascus who fled the conflict to Jordan in 2013. Having left school after sixth grade, she had avoided books and reading most of her adult life. But after completing the training in January, not only has she begun regularly reading to her own grandchildren and her neighbours’ kids, she has also become an avid reader herself.

“Reading has made the kids love me more, and I also set aside special time to read for myself before sunset once I’ve finished cooking,” Latifa said. “I’m a different person after the training. It gave me the power and confidence to become someone different. Even at my age, you can change your life.”

While Dajani admits that she is surprised by the global popularity of We Love Reading, she said its success is driving her to work even harder to bring the benefits of a love of reading to more children.

“I never really believed it would reach where it is today, but I dreamt it. And this is a testament that we need to dream and … we need to believe in ourselves, because nothing is impossible,” she said.

The Nansen Refugee Award is named in honour of Norwegian explorer and humanitarian Fridtjof Nansen, the first High Commissioner for Refugees and Nobel Prize winner, who was appointed by the League of Nations in 1921. It aims to showcase his values of perseverance and commitment in the face of adversity.

You can read about the other regional winners of the UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award here.

Additional reporting by Charlie Dunmore and Lilly Carlisle in Amman, Jordan.

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Afghan sports coach helps young refugees find a path to school in Iran

Sun, 20 Sep 2020 22:37:56 +0000

Countries: Afghanistan, Iran (Islamic Republic of)
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees

Football coach and youth counsellor Rozma Ghafouri is the regional winner for Asia for UNHCR’s annual Nansen Refugee Award for her work empowering Afghan refugee girls.

By Farha Bhoyroo in Shiraz, Iran | 21 September 2020 |

Standing on the sidelines of a football pitch, whistle in hand, Rozma Ghafouri watches a group of young Afghan girls dribble the ball. One of them slows as she reaches the goal, adjusts her stance, and knocks the ball into the back of the net. Her teammates erupt into cheers and Rozma blows the whistle to signal the end of the match.As the girls pack away their training kit, Rozma approaches the bench where the newest members of the team are sitting. She congratulates them on their progress, encourages them to come to the next practice, and gently asks them about their lives at home.

“Sport is the best way I have found to help children in a vulnerable situation to open up. After every practice, I speak to them about everything and anything until they feel comfortable to talk to me about the issues they are facing at home,” says Rozma.

The 29-year-old is not just the team coach but a fellow Afghan. She draws on her own at-times harsh childhood to get young refugees and undocumented Afghans aged between 11 and 15, out of work and back into school.

“I used to see Afghan children working instead of playing. They wore used work clothes instead of being in uniforms. They weren’t smiling,” recalls Rozma. “Through sports activities, we are able to get many of these children to forget their challenges.”

Rozma and her family fled Afghanistan 23 years ago. After working as a labourer for much of her childhood, she founded the Youth Initiative Fund in the Islamic Republic of Iran’s southern city of Shiraz in 2015 to help at-risk children.

With the backing of UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and its Iranian government counterpart, the Bureau for Aliens and Foreign Immigrants’ Affairs (BAFIA), the project now helps some 400 children a year, many of them out-of-school girls, through inclusion in sports and social activities, enrollment in literacy and numeracy courses and counselling with their families. Seeing what an impact the project has had on Afghan children’s lives in Shiraz, UNHCR and BAFIA are in the process of duplicating it in other provinces of Iran.

Every day, volunteers with the Youth Initiative – who include Afghans and Iranians – go door to door in the neighbourhoods of Shiraz that are mostly populated by Afghans to talk to the parents of children who have either never gone to school or have had to drop out. Rozma and the team build a relationship with the parents and seek permission for their children to come to sports practice every week.

As the parents see the positive change that sports activities led by Rozma have on their children, they become more willing to listen to her pleas to let them go to school.

“It is difficult to try to convince parents who are most worried about putting food on the table that their children should be allowed to just be children and go to school,” she says, recalling the countless times she has had doors slammed in her face.

While both boys and girls must often work to help their families, girls face the added challenge of cultural norms which view it as unnecessary for daughters to be educated. Some in the Afghan community are also pressured into early marriage.

For her dedication to helping young Afghans in Iran, Rozma has been chosen as the regional winner for Asia for UNHCR’s Nansen Refugee Award, a prestigious annual prize that honours those who have gone to extraordinary lengths to help forcibly displaced or stateless people.

This year’s award laureate will be announced on 1 October and the prize will be presented by UNHCR at a virtual ceremony on 5 October.

Rozma was nearly six years old when the Taliban overran her hometown in the north-east Afghan province of Kapisa and she fled the country with her parents and four siblings. In Iran, she was safe, but during her first years in exile, the family barely had enough to live on, let alone to cover school fees.

“I remember being seven years old and realizing that I wouldn’t be going to school like other children because I needed to make money,” says Rozma. “The most difficult work I remember doing was on a farm with the unbearable smell of the pesticides and the scorching sun burning the top of my head.”

She and her siblings also worked at a brick factory where the family lived in a cramped side-room with no toilets. Even when she finally started school several years later, she had to continue doing part-time jobs in the evenings to help pay for her uniform, books, and transport.

In between homework, household chores and those jobs, Rozma needed an activity to brighten her days.

“I never liked dolls. All I wanted to do was play football, but I was not allowed to because I was a girl,” she says. “My father would say that girls are not made for football and that instead I should learn to sew.”

It was thanks to her mother that, after she had done her chores, she was allowed to run outside to kick a football around with her sisters and the other children in the neighbourhood.

Among beneficiaries of the project that Rozma set up are 28-year-old Nazi and her daughter Nazanin, 12, who both now attend sports sessions. “Thanks to the Youth Initiative, my daughter gets to have a childhood, to play, to socialize with other children, to dream…. These are things I was never able to do,” says Nazi.

Rozma could not be happier that football is gradually becoming more accepted in the Afghan community as a sport for girls. Rozma’s sisters were even invited to play in an all-girls football team in their native Afghanistan.

“I dream of a world where Afghan girls and boys have the same opportunities to succeed, wherever they are in the world and no matter the obstacles on their path,” she says “Sports can be a powerful tool in making this happen.”

The Nansen Refugee Award is named in honour of Norwegian explorer, humanitarian and Nobel Peace Prize winner Fridtjof Nansen, the first High Commissioner for Refugees, who was appointed by the League of Nations in 1921. It aims to showcase his values of perseverance and commitment in the face of adversity.

You can read about the other regional winners of the UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award here.

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Afghanistan: Natural Resources Management

Sun, 20 Sep 2020 22:15:20 +0000

Country: Afghanistan
Source: Danish Committee for Aid to Afghan Refugees

DACAAR is implementing Natural Resources Management (NRM) activities in Nangarhar province of Afghanistan with funds from DANIDA. The programme consists of vegetable production, orchard establishment, fruit- and non-fruit trees nurseries, wheat production, kiwifruit vineyard and construction of small-scale irrigation structures.

20 male farmers were trained on orchard management while 20 female farmers received training in vegetable cultivation through Farmer Field Schools. Women can now grow, harvest and sell their harvest and make an income. The programme aims are to increase productivity and the incomes of the families.

“From the beginning, the farmers have shown great interest in our NRM activities in Nangarhar province. Most of the farmers who were trained in our Farmer Field Schools are gaining good income now and are keen to share their learning and experiences with other fellow farmers.” said Aziz Rahman Abubakar, DACAAR NRM specialist.

DACAAR’s new video shows the satisfaction of two of our beneficiaries, who received training in orchard management and vegetable cultivation in Jalalabad province.

Support to Sustainable Reintegration of Returnees, IDPs and Vulnerable Host Communities in Afghanistan
Project Date: 2018- 2020
Total Number of Beneficiaries: 191,592
Total Male: 93,886 (49%)
Total Female: 97,706 (51%)
Thematic Areas: Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) , Small-Scale Enterprise Development (SSED), Women’s Empowerment (WE) and Natural Recourses Management (NRM)
Provinces: Balkh, Kabul, Kunar, Kunduz and Nangarhar

By: Zohal Nasrat
Contributions: Dagmar Ruehrig, Irshad Alamyar

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2020 Yemen Contingency Plan - September 2020

Sun, 20 Sep 2020 19:54:38 +0000

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Country: Yemen
Sources: UN Children's Fund, WASH Cluster

Please refer to the attached file.


Yemen faces complex and multi-dimensional humanitarian challenges, including ongoing displacement as a result of conflict and recurrent natural disasters. This plan intends to ensure adequate preparedness for a timely, appropriate and principled humanitarian response to rapid onset large-scale displacements or other unpredictable emergencies.

The objective of the plan is to outline the immediate humanitarian response requirements to assist people who may be affected by potential shifts in conflict dynamics in all hubs across the country for a period of up to six months (June to December 2020). Shifting frontlines, changes in control and extreme weather events may result in increased humanitarian needs, which will necessitate a timely scaled-up response.

This plan outlines the preparedness and response efforts planned. It covers displacement due to conflict and natural disasters with the aim of addressing the increased needs of the affected population based on two scenarios – (1) mostly likely and (2) worst case. The most likely scenario assumes that there are no major changes in conflict dynamics, rates of displacement remain the same and that heavy rainfall and flooding will occur within the next six months.

This contingency plan does not cover COVID- 19 preparedness and response as this is addressed separately through the National Preparedness and Response Plan that has been developed jointly with the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation and the humanitarian community led by WHO. Furthermore, this contingency plan will not be costed due to current funding gaps addressed by the ongoing prioritization process.

Based on conflict dynamics and projected displacement figures and destinations, a total of 32,400 HH or approximately 226,800 individuals are expected to be displaced under the most likely scenario due to minor escalations of hostilities around main frontlines in Al Dhale’e, Al Hudaydah, Al Jawf, Marib and Taiz, in addition to minor displacement due to heavy rainfall and associated floods.

Under the worst-case scenario, an estimated 148,950 HH or approximately 1,042,650 individuals are expected to be displaced, majority of which due to significant escalation around Marib frontline, in addition to Al Dhale’e, Sana’a, Taiz, Al Jawf, as well as major impact of cyclones in the south.

In Hudaydah, an estimated 160,600 households of approximately 1,124,200 individuals are expected under this scenario to be displaced due to increased conflict in Hudaydah and Hajjah governorates, collapse of the Stockholm Agreement, and the occurrence of a natural disaster.

For preparedness planning purposes, humanitarian partners will plan for the most likely scenario, with the exception of Marib, where partners highlighted the need to plan for the worst-case scenario.

Accordingly, partners and clusters are to plan for a total of 83,400 HH (out of which 55,000 are projected to be displaced from Marib to various areas in southern Yemen).

The 2020 Yemen Contingency Plan aims to ensure the continuity of delivering lifesaving assistance to affected people in need (within 72 hours) and to continue for up to 30 days or until regular operations are established. The immediate response will rely on existing, pre-positioned humanitarian supplies. This may require partners to scale-up in line with the Contingency Plan. Activities foreseen in this plan fall within the framework of the 2020 Humanitarian Response Plan Extension with a focus on the most urgent needs to be addressed as a result of projected developments under the most likely scenario.

This plan is not exhaustive or predictive. It is based on available information and aims to contribute to a more coordinated and effective humanitarian response among humanitarian actors in Yemen. This plan is a living document, with scenariorelated displacement figures and response plans updated regularly should the situation on the ground change significantly.

All coordination bodies involved in the plan will regularly monitor developments, needs and response efforts on the ground.

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Yemen - Preparedness Plan: Marib (September 2020)

Sun, 20 Sep 2020 19:46:00 +0000

Descriptive text is not available for this image

Country: Yemen
Sources: UN Children's Fund, WASH Cluster

Please refer to the attached Infographic.

Worst Case scenario: 55,000 HH

Escalation in military operations causing major shifts in Sirwah front. Fighting moves further from Al Jawaf towards Raghwan district and Alrowaik area leading to the cut-off of the main Marib – Seiyon road near Safer petroleum facility and consequently encircling Marib city. Hostilities including missile attacks on targets in the city will cause a major displacement from Marib to southern Governorates including Shabwah and Hadramot. An estimated 55,000 families ware estimated to be displaced from Marib City to neighboring southern Governorates.

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