News

News

NGO Blockchain Pluto Coin to Help Refugees and Hungry Children - 2018-06-27 00:00:00

More than 20 million people in central Africa and others are facing the crisis of starvation. The Pluto reported that more than 20 million people in northeastern Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen etc. go through a “devastating food crisis”.

On this day, the co-founder of The Pluto, JOHNNY WALTER TOVAR TRUJILLO said:

“There are a number of international aid organizations in the world. I have been actively participating in UNICEF, UNHCR etc. and most of the volunteers are dedicated to do their best. However, not everyone is in the right path as we think. Some international aid organizations and individuals are violating the rights of the poor and starving locals for a penny, or a handful of food, instead of actually giving them the help they need. This is the horrible reality. I have vividly witnessed these situations so far.”

Likewise, there have been a controversy in Haiti, in which 200,000 had died recently, due to the sex scandal of a large aid organization that was revealed. This particular organization is a renowned aid organization, which has about 10,000 workers in 90 countries around the world.

“This is really only the tip of the iceberg. Some companies utilize aid organizations for tax evasion. Companies donate a lot of money to aid organizations, but most of it goes back to them. The fund is not allocated to the places that need help. This is the reality. It is not about small companies and groups, but the renowned global companies and huge aid organizations, which are not free from these corruptions.”

Companies contribute large sum of money to aid organizations and make their image better. Also, some countries offer tax benefits in accordance with the amount donated. Consumers purchase products from them, praising them as good companies.

However, it turned out that more companies than expected, have been taking advantage of it.

Companies will make the deal with aid organizations and get the money back. Of course, all the money returned turns into illegal slush funds. Some companies even set up their own aid organizations to make donations.

“In this reality, it is obvious that the fund allocation of aid organizations cannot be transparent. When most people donate, they do it out of good faith. However, after then, the donors cannot be sure of what their donations have been used for. Due to the inappropriate system nowadays, the ones that are affected are the people who need help, and those who donated in good faith. I believe blockchain can be a solution for it. With Pluto Token, the donations that I made can be managed transparently, in terms of how and where it is used for. This is why I had established The Pluto.

The Pluto has already been engaging in cooperative relationship with several organizations and individuals. In the name of The Pluto Alliance, we gather to share information and work together. Until now, it had been difficult for small groups and big groups, groups in Africa and those in the Middle East to mutually cooperate. However, it is possible in The Pluto Alliance. The big groups acquire information, and small groups get supported by the big group. Moreover, the groups in Africa and those in Middle East have been mutually cooperating. All these procedures are transparent, and anyone can participate and monitor. The Pluto Alliance has already been making such meaningful achievements.

Lastly, he said:

“What kind of dream should we share with our children? They are suffering and struggling, even right at this moment. There should be no more greed to take advantage of them. We must make sure that everything is transparent. Now you have to seriously consider my proposal.”

The Pluto website: https://thepluto.org

Telegram Pluto Community: https://t.me/PlutoCommunity

Telegram OFFICIAL CHANNEL: https://t.me/PLUTOOFFICIAL

The Pluto is the first block chain to contribute to the charity (Pluto coin) - 2018-06-26 00:00:00

In the contemporary society, many international organizations have revolutionized the way we solve human problems. As a result, however, they only have a large share of professional data and information, and they exist in closed networks.

In addition, sensitive personal information is at risk of being exposed externally at any time.

Pluto aims to democratize the system of global organizations. Pluto Protocol creates a unique ecosystem for examining and solving the problems facing the world so that users can easily, safely, and precisely contribute to human development.

Pluto is the first block chain to contribute to the charity (Pluto coin). Pluto knows how to support the people in need while complying with the United Nations and international organization’s own laws and regulations.

The block chain can eventually solve difficult problems by expanding the ecosystem to the point of solving human problems.

General Overview

Pluto Protocol is a distributed data exchange block chain with special purpose.

Data written to the Pluto chain is divided into open data that is transparent, and private data that is not exposed externally. Open data is made up of sensitive, personalized information that is used to give you experience in the exchange, review, and alignment of professional organizations.

Pluto Coin (GPPT) automatically donates 10 % of its fees to the foundation when it’s transmitted. General users may vote on the use of funds collected depending on their acquired portion of Pluto coins. (GPPT coin)

Why Pluto?

The problem with humanity requires a democratic and encrypted Pluto Protocol.

The Pluto Protocols utilize encrypted data and a token model with a block chain model to solve the problem of storing basic data. It motivates the protocol to control the data and exchange applications at the same time.

It is a perfect way to ensure that all of the institutional and user requirements are met.

The organization has complete control and sharing of its data, and the user can contribute to human development by exchanging data.

The problems humanity have faced

  • Starvation

About 870 million people around the world are malnourished.

This makes up 12.5 of the world’s population.

  • Refugees

As of 2015, the number of forced immigrant refugees continues to rise, reaching 65.3 million by the end of 2015. the United Nations Refugee Agency has reported 42.5 million force-immigrant refugees worldwide

  • AIDS Orphan

According to UNICEF and the United Nations AIDS Joint Programme on Children (UNAIDS), a child who has lost even one of his/her parents is labeled an orphan. An orphan is relatively rare in developed countries. There are a lot more orphans in countries like Afghanistan that were destroyed in wars and where AIDS deaths are high.

  • Using Child Labor

Almost half of the 152,000,000 children who are victims of child labor are aged between 5–11.Thirty-seven million (24 %) are aged between 15 and 17. High-risk groups in child labor exploitation are most likely to be aged 15–17.

What can Pluto do alongside them?

  • Reveal data
  • Protecting sensitive personal information
  • Problems and limitations with international organizations
  • Sharing work experience
  • Pluto Alliance

Pluto Alliance

Union is the biggest contributor to the sharing of work experience. By sharing the knowledge required within the same group, one group can carry out large-scale projects that cannot be accomplished. For instance, UNICEF and the World Food Organization can work on projects together, or they can carry out certain ticketing projects using one manual. All of this is possible within the Pluto Alliance.

The Pluto website: https://thepluto.org

Telegram Pluto Community: https://t.me/PlutoCommunity

Telegram OFFICIAL CHANNEL: https://t.me/PLUTOOFFICIAL

 

coinspeaker link

Emi Mahmoud appointed UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador - 2018-06-08 00:00:00

GENEVA – UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, today announces the appointment of Sudanese-American slam poet Emtithal (Emi) Mahmoud as a national Goodwill Ambassador (US).

The announcement comes as Mahmoud is preparing to open and perform at TEDxKakumaCamp, the first ever TEDx event to take place at a refugee camp in Kenya on 9 June.

Mahmoud has been supporting UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, since 2016. She helps advocate and raise awareness about refugees through her poetry and performances, including performances at UNHCR’s Nansen award ceremony in Geneva, as well as in Washington, Davos, Uganda and Jordan.

As a former refugee from Sudan, Emi uses her personal experience to share the emotional impact of losing a home, of being forcibly displaced and of the lack of rights of women and refugees.

“I am so honoured to be appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR,” Mahmoud said. “I can’t possibly explain what it is like to flee your home, to leave your memories and loved ones behind, but that is exactly the reality that my parents and millions like them had to deal with and that is the reason why I am here.

“And that’s the reality that new people face every day. I want to use my experience and my ability as an artist, a writer and a performer to help raise awareness and advocate for others, and inspire the world to stand with refugees.”

Mahmoud added: “For me, here in Kenya, opening tomorrow the TedxKakumaCamp – the first ever TEDx event to be held in a refugee camp – I find myself rededicated to the future and can see the positivity, creativity and resilience of refugees. But I know that so much more needs to be done. And I am committed to doing everything I can to help refugees as they build better lives for the future. I have dedicated my life to giving a voice to the voiceless – and working with UNHCR, the world’s leading organization for the most vulnerable people, is exactly how I intend to do that.

“As an advocate for the work of UNHCR, Emi has conveyed powerful messages to global audiences, through her spoken word,” said Melissa Fleming, Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. “This dedicated advocacy has had a truly positive impact on the important mandate to protect displaced persons around the world. From Washington and Davos, to Uganda and the camps of Jordan, Emi has shared her work with a passion and commitment that has had people in tears and given standing ovations. She is a fearless campaigner and we welcome Emi as a new and exciting supporter for the refugee cause.”

Mahmoud has witnessed UNHCR’s frontline work in the field, meeting refugees in Jordan, Uganda and Greece. Mahmoud has also represented UNHCR at various high-profile events, including the Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society in Paris, and the 2017 anniversary event for the #IBelong campaign to end statelessness.

Mahmoud has been a committed supporter of many UNHCR campaigns. She added her voice to UNHCR’s #WithRefugees Campaign and performed at the historic hand in of the petition at the 2016 UN General Assembly in New York.

Message to Staff from UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore on the launch of an independent task force on workplace gender discrimination and harassment - 2018-06-07 00:00:00

NEW YORK, 27 May 2018 – Gender discrimination, harassment and abuse of power have no place in any work environment — especially in an organization like UNICEF, which has always been driven by the core values of respect, inclusivity and caring. 

After hearing from staff members across our organization, I have committed to take action to end discrimination in every UNICEF office and work environment. 

To help do this, and in keeping with my previous messages to you, I am launching an Independent Task Force to review our current practices and provide recommendations to effectively and systematically prevent and address workplace gender-related discrimination, harassment and abuse of power. This represents an important step in our broader journey towards eliminating discrimination and abuse of power of any kind.

This Independent Task Force brings together senior leaders external to UNICEF from across a range of sectors and backgrounds — development, business, non-profit, gender equality and human rights — all with a commitment to, and experience in, shaping positive, inclusive, non-discriminatory and gender-equitable work environments.

I am charging them with making a thorough and unbiased examination of our systems and culture, and providing us with objective and actionable recommendations to implement meaningful changes across our organization.

The Task Force will be led by two Co-Chairs:

Debrework Zewdie is an Ethiopian national who has led strategy, policy implementation and management of development programs at the country, regional, and global levels for international bodies such as the World Bank and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. She was also the founding Vice President of the Society for Women and AIDS in Africa. 

Purnima Mane is from India and is the former President and CEO of Pathfinder International, and former Assistant Secretary-General and UNFPA Deputy Executive Director of Programmes. She also has extensive experience at the country, regional and global levels in her long career in public health policy, practice and advocacy, including at the WHO and the Population Council.

The Task Force’s formulation and work is being supported by a secretariat, led by Principal Advisor, Gender and Development at UNICEF, Anju Malhotra. The secretariat will also serve as liaison and facilitator for the Task Force’s interactions with an Internal Engagement Group composed of UNICEF staff members from various job functions, offices, backgrounds and staff associations who will serve both as a resource and a sounding board. We are in the process of pulling this group together and will make sure that the participants in the Internal Engagement Group are known to all staff.

The Independent Task Force’s terms of reference are posted here. It will work over a period of approximately 6 months to examine our organizational processes, systems, policies, procedures, reporting structures and redress measures. Members will be given full scope to obtain data, staff perspectives and all relevant information for shaping their recommendations.

The Task Force will also be free to consult with experts and resources outside of UNICEF, drawing from the experiences of others. This includes our sister UN agencies and other institutions in the public and private sectors to learn from how they are addressing harassment and discrimination in their workplaces.

The Task Force’s ultimate recommendations will be presented to staff and the Executive Board, and a follow-up Action Plan will be developed and implemented swiftly.

This is an important moment in UNICEF’s 70-year journey, as we — together — translate our organization’s commitment to zero tolerance for discrimination and harassment into a reality across our work environment.

I am so glad to be on this journey with you, as we continue carrying this organization into the future.

Henrietta H. Fore

Executive Director

Annual Session of the Executive Board 2018 - 2018-06-06 00:00:00

As prepared for delivery.

Mr. President,
Members of the Executive Board,
Colleagues and friends

I am pleased to be addressing you this morning at my first Annual Session of the Executive Board.

But first, I am deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life and significant damage caused by the El Fuego volcano, which erupted Sunday in Guatemala. I extend my sincere condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government and people of Guatemala. The United Nations Development Programme stands in solidarity with Guatemala and is currently supporting the national rescue and relief efforts, together with all the rest of UN entities on the ground.

We meet at a moment in time characterized by both huge changes in the world around us, as well as some of the most significant changes in how the UN works – possibly in the last 70 years. Both present challenges, and opportunities.

As I look back over my first year of leading UNDP, I am excited to share with you some of the key areas of work that we have progressed in 12 short months that I believe are moving us onto a promising and future focused trajectory. I would also like to draw your attention to the our new illustrated annual report which highlights many of the transformational results that UNDP has achieved in 2017.

But let me begin by briefly outlining some of key challenges faced:

•    Fourth industrial revolution. We are in the early years of a fourth industrial revolution, which is already impacting societies and will continue to do so in ways that we do not fully grasp. The truth is we still do not know what a mature information economy looks like— and it will be some time before we do. In the meantime countries will need to make choices to prepare for the transformative impact of automation, artificial intelligence and the new digital economies of tomorrow

•    Inequality has soared. It is not just an economic problem; it drags on social mobility and tears at the social fabric. Nor is it an inevitable result of capitalism, or one kind of capitalism or other economic system versus another. There is no “invisible hand” guiding us toward a just world – or to an unjust one. Markets are structured by laws and norms at different levels of society, from the local to the global. If we accept that markets are ultimately governed by social choices we must evolve our governance frameworks and incentives accordingly.

•    Poverty. Despite impressive poverty reductions over recent decades, it remains a persistent challenge globally, not least of which in middle-income countries. Going forward, we must understand two basic features of poverty. First, some have argued that the poor today are much farther away from the poverty line, suggesting that the last mile really will be the most difficult. Second, people fall in and out of poverty. We must take steps to lift people out of poverty and keep them out of it – for example, through effective social protection and insurance systems. Ill health is a major factor pushing people into poverty. That makes universal health coverage a health issue and a development challenge, and that’s why I am very pleased with UNDP’s new MoU with WHO and its ongoing partnership with the Global Fund – the latter enabling us to put some 2 million people across 22 countries on life-saving antiretroviral treatment over the last three years.

•    Climate change. With the landmark Paris agreement, the world embarked on a journey toward a low-carbon future and to limit global warming. The two transitions at play here – one the one hand, moving to a low-carbon society and on the other, adapting to an inevitably warmer and more stressed world – will unfold over the coming decades. UNDP’s $3 billion-plus portfolio supporting 140 countries anticipates these uncertainties and will help countries to mitigate and adapt to climate change and other environmental challenges representing a major contribution to both national and global efforts to address the risks of climate change.

•    Conflict, fragility and displacement. The nature of conflict over recent years has laid bare the development dimensions of conflict and fragility.  That’s why around 40% of our programming takes place in conflict-affected and fragile settings. It is also why Mark Lowcock and I visited the Horn of Africa earlier this year to bring together humanitarian and development efforts towards more collective outcomes and the operationalization of the New Way of Working. And it is why UNDP and UNHCR signed a global agreement to reinforce our efforts at finding durable solutions to protracted displacement.

This is the context in which UNDP must succeed and operate – and, indeed, we are already on the frontlines of these challenges, present in 170 countries and working in concert with partners within and outside the UN. Like so many others, we look to Agenda 2030 and the SDGs to guide us in navigating this complex terrain.

The SDGs frame the key tasks ahead in a way that is understandable and pegged to benchmarks that are mobilizing action -- and not only by governments, but increasingly also by firms, private investors, municipalities and citizens who want to align their work to the sustainable future envisioned in the 2030 Agenda. UNDP’s role is to work with countries and partners, to enable them to map the pathways that will move economies and societies simultaneously across different dimensions, towards sustainability and leaving no-one behind. It speaks to the centrality of UNDP’s advisory and capacity building work in the domain of governance and poverty eradication. The precise focus may vary depending on the development context and setting of the countries we serve – including our work in fragile and crisis contexts.

UNDP’s work, I believe, is mission critical to the SDGs and has different dimensions, from supporting countries to design institutions and public policies that take a systemic approach that is called for by the 2030 Agenda, to bringing the SDGs down to local authorities and people thereby enabling them to make more effective and inclusive choices. “Leaving no one behind” has many implications such as gender equality which continues to be progressively mainstreamed in all our work.  44% of our projects had gender equality as a significant objective in 2017, a significant increase from 29% in 2014.  UNDP builds on this experience and will further strengthen gender mainstreaming in the coming years.  

UNDP’s work is guided by our new Strategic Plan. In approving the 2018-2021 UNDP Strategic Plan, you gave us our license to operate and innovate. Our signature solutions build on the demand of countries and our established competencies in which UNDP has by now accumulated decades of experience.  I think we all share a conviction that this was also a singular opportunity to refocus our work in terms of delivering as One UN. As part of this, and in close partnership with UNICEF, UNFPA and UN Women, UNDP is committed to implementing the common chapter of our strategic plans.

UNDP’s new Strategic Plan builds on its strong performance in 2017, when we:

•    delivered $4.5 billion – a $500 million jump from the year before – and our highest delivery on record alongside improvements in management efficiency;
•    ended the year without a deficit in our institutional budget for the first time in 6 years;
•    received an unqualified audit for the 12th year in a row;
•    retained our top-ranking in the Aid Transparency index as of 2016; and
•    saw the independent Aid Data survey of 125 low and middle income countries rank UNDP first among development partners in 2017 in value for money terms - ‘punching above our financial weight’ in attracting users of our data or analysis.

Nevertheless, our core funding remains perilously low with 2017 core contributions of $612 million slightly below 2016. The significant core/non-core imbalances continue, with 13% core to 87% non-core. This is not sustainable and has real implications for accountability in terms of our mandate, capacity to deliver integrated responses, and organizational sustainability.

Multi-year core commitments are, therefore, especially welcome as they enhance our ability to plan for the future with greater confidence.  In this regard, I am grateful to Canada, Denmark, Belgium, Australia, and New Zealand who have multi-year agreements in place today, and I welcome Sweden joining this list next week. We also look forward to renewing earlier multi-year agreements with Turkey, Netherlands and Switzerland over the course of this year.

I would also like to thank our programme countries for their GLOC - the contributions towards our local offices at country level which support our operations.

While UNDP’s performance in 2017 was impressive on many key performance indicators there is little room for complacency.

We must be an “organization on the move” which is why we have used the past 6 months to implement a number of initiatives and reviews to align our programme and business model with the strategic objectives of the Strategic Plan. Already this year we have:

•    Made real progress with our ongoing business model review which is looking at how we can improve our business processes through simplification, more consistent methods for costing services, streamlining administrative and fiduciary processes to enable faster response to innovations, and most importantly investing in a culture of innovation and client orientation.

•    The business models work is also closely tied to two major reviews of corporate functions (which are almost complete) that will drive a step change in performance across the organization, from policy and program to management services and operations including looking at how we can realign our policy support with the needs of the countries we serve and supply our country offices with the necessary critical mass of expertise to deliver. We are building a ‘global policy network’ to enhance and deepen our SDG expertise at country level with cutting edge knowledge, practice and innovation. Now and in the future, our policy function must better capture the knowledge, innovation and best practice from country, regional and global experience, helping UNDP to achieve global excellence as well as being a thought leader that draws from a truly global network of internal and external expertise.

•    Revised our project management guidelines, achieving an estimated time saving of 33 days per year per programming staff that can now be applied to more productive engagement.

•    Introduced monthly ‘innovation calls’ with UNDP teams across the world to learn lessons from the field and position UNDP at the frontlines of development innovation in the context of SDG implementation.

•    Established a new Country Investment Facility which provides seed money for our country offices to fast track and invest in innovative ideas, diversify partnerships and catalyze scaling up of our programme support. This Facility builds on and mainstreams lessons from the Danish funded Innovation Facility at UNDP and is an additional source of funding for UNDP’s support to countries.

•    Launched a new initiative called 'Project Catalyst' enabling UNDP to have the capacity to scan ‘tomorrow’s world’ in terms of development choices and policies which countries must address today.

•    Embarked on drawing up a new private sector strategy for UNDP reflecting on our experience and best practices while at the same time exploring new financial legal instruments that will allow for new ways of working with partners. The potential for private sector partnerships is significant and growing, but we need to upgrade our approach and tools.   Our work together with the World Bank and the insurance industry through the Insurance Development Forum is but one example of how we engage to reduce risks of the poor by promoting micro insurance policies and markets.

•    Launched a new start-up initiative – 'Project T' – to help test a new UNDP flagship offering to assist governments in mobilizing significant financing by working with investors in order to leverage private capital for the SDGs, building on the excellent experience of our UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF). I see great potential for UNDP to draw on and leverage UNCDF expertise on financial inclusion and local development finance. This is equally relevant to middle-income countries with deep inequalities.

•    Launched a Global Islamic Finance Impact Investment Platform in partnership with the Islamic Development Bank. It forms an integral part of our rapidly growing IFI partnerships around the world, including a significant increase in funding from the World Bank through UNDP, and an array of joined-up initiatives with a variety of IFIs to leverage climate finance.

South-South collaboration will continue to be vital to SDG achievement and increasingly drives and underpins our work in UNDP. In 2017, nearly all country offices reported engagement in aspects of south-south and triangular cooperation.  There is a distinct upward trend in the level of engagement with national governments as well as cooperation with non-State actors such as the private sector, civil society organizations, academic and research institutions in the South.

UNDP has worked with partners to establish an “SSMart for SDGs solution exchange” to help bridge knowledge gaps and scale up access to south-south knowledge. In the leadup to the Buenos Aires Plan of Action (PABA + 40 Conference) in March 2019, UNDP and UNOSSC are working together to facilitate a Global Coalition of Think Tank Networks for South-South Cooperation to collect, analyze and disseminate data and knowledge about patterns, trends, flows, composition and impact of south-south and triangular cooperation.  

UNDP is proud to host UNOSSC as the focal point for South-South and triangular cooperation on a global and UN system-wide basis. The new Strategic Framework for UNOSSC aims to further position the Office to support the efforts of Member States in implementing the 2030 Agenda through demand-driven South-South alliances and partnerships.

UNDP also recognizes the important role of volunteerism in advancing peace and development, and in sustainably promoting national capacities. In 2017, nearly one third of the onsite UN Volunteers were supporting the delivery of UNDP projects and programmes. We greatly value this collaboration with UNV.

UN Reform

For the UN Development System Member States have now agreed a reform package with the Secretary General, and UNDP will play its part in translating the ambition of the resolution into reality. As I have said many times, UNDP is reform-ready and embraces the SG's sense of urgency about the need to reposition the UN development system for the SDG era.

We will provide the kind of integrated policy advice that helps governments chart their own paths to SDG achievement:

•    To working from joint planning and reporting tools like the UNDAF to pooled funding mechanisms like SPOTLIGHT that bring us together around outcomes that cut across UNCT mandates.

•    To open our processes and deliberations to new sets of partners, not least private sector actors and capital markets on which realizing Agenda 2030 will increasingly depend.

•    To greater accountability to Governments where we serve and to ECOSOC at a global level.

•    To harnessing the efficiency gains that can and must be realized as we pool our resources and streamline our presence more and more.

After more than 40 years as the custodian of the RC system, we recognize that the responsibilities and expectations on the shoulders of Resident Coordinators, who must lead this operational repositioning in the field, have evolved. The UN development system’s capacity to deliver on the SDGs relies on an RC with greater authority and more joint and coherent funding for programs at country level, supported by adequate resources in her local RC office and backed by an effective Development Coordination Office at headquarters.

The transition of the RC system from UNDP to the Secretariat is a complex undertaking. The mechanics of transferring 129 RCs to Secretariat contracts, the transition of hundreds of RCO and DOCO staff to new contractual arrangements, ensuring no gaps in leadership of UNDP’s teams at country level, figuring out the new demands for office space to house the separate RC and RC Office, and putting in place a service agreement with the Secretariat for the envisaged operational support needed from UNDP for this new configuration are just a few of the challenges we have ahead of us.

UNDP will establish a temporary Transition Management Team in the Executive Office that will focus exclusively on facilitating and co-ordinating UNDP support to both the UN Secretariat as well as RCs and UNDP RR’s and teams in managing this operation. We also look forward to empowering a new generation of development professionals to assume the UNDP Resident Representative positions and lead our UNDP team and programme support to countries.  We are determined in our efforts to ensure that this transition does not slow UNDP's momentum in implementing our new Strategic Plan. Our capacity to do so will depend on maintaining UNDP’s funding as well as securing the resources for the new RC system to become operational in the Secretariat.

It is our hope that this funding will be secured rapidly if we are going to meet the timetable. Staff transferring to new Secretariat contracts need to make choices quickly and be confident they are moving to a stable platform, office space needs to be identified and rented, legal and financial arrangements need to be put in place to be operational by 1 January.

Let me underline that UNDP's role in supporting the RC and the wider UN system to work in an integrated manner will not stop but change on January 1. Every agency is today, expected to carry its share of inter-agency responsibilities. But UNDP's responsibilities will remain significant. The organization provided the backbone for operational collaboration for decades, from joint premises to managing pay-roll for thousands of staff in the agencies to dealing with the authorities on protocol, tax and visa matters. In its 'integrator' platform function, UNDP is also committed to providing a programmatic support platform where the best of the UN's knowledge can come together to assist Government's in addressing their priority development challenges.

Finally, as UNDP Administrator, I also have a duty of care, towards our staff – both in terms of the change referred to above as well as the overall and long term working conditions. I am pleased that our new HR Director, David Bearfield is now on board and ready to take up his leadership role.

Among the priorities we wish to address is gender parity. Just over 50% of UNDP staff today are women, but we continue to face challenges at the D1 and above levels, where women occupy 39% of positions. We recognize that some gender gaps persist in our workplace in terms of empowerment, opportunities for advancement, and general experience in our offices.  We have recently approved a new Gender Parity Strategy for 2018-2021 and a more detailed implementation plan is being developed, a plan that also aims to drive a cultural change in UNDP. In alignment with the SG’s UN System-Wide Strategy, the new UNDP Strategy sets forth a comprehensive roadmap which aims to enhance the quality of our workplace and make it more gender sensitive.

In addition, over recent months we have also given serious consideration to and reviewed our Harassment, Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Abuse of Authority policies to bring them in line with best-practices. We were pleased to join UNFPA and UNOPS at the joint briefing to the Board on Monday on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and to provide more information on the work we have already done and our plans to continue to drive forward this change process. I will continue to give this issue the highest priority which it deserves in light of what we have learned about our organization during the past years.

In many of the initiatives and changes outlined above we have drawn extensively on  internal and external assessments and recommendations.

•    Evaluations are fundamental to UNDP to promote evidence-based programming, strategic decision-making, learning and effective use of resources:  UNDP has intensified its efforts to strengthen the quality and implementation rate of management responses: as of May, 75% of the planned actions had been completed while 16% were ongoing. And while 74% of all decentralized evaluations were assessed as moderately satisfactory or above in 2017, we can do better and we will strive to increase the quality of our decentralized evaluations. I am grateful to the Director, Indran Naidoo and his team for the ongoing collaboration and support

•    Good news on audit: for the first time, our internal auditors have given us a satisfactory rating on the adequacy and effectiveness of our governance, risk management and control framework for the year 2017. This complements 12 consecutive years of unqualified audit opinions on UNDP’s financial statements. We have also made big improvements on reducing our long outstanding audit observations from 6 to 1.

•    To advance UNDP’s culture of ethics, integrity and accountability, in the last year the organization has strengthened its Policy for Protection Against Retaliation, enhanced its annual Financial Disclosure Programme, and has extended mandatory on-line ethics training to all categories of UNDP personnel.

•    Of the 35 recommendations made to UNDP last year by the Joint Inspection Unit, 20 have been implemented already and we are working on progressing those remaining. We are committed to implementing the JIU recommendations and have included, for the first time, an indicator in our IRRF which tracks the progress made in implementing the JIU recommendations.

•    Also tabled for the Executive Board’s approval are the new country programmes for Kenya, Malawi, and Rwanda.  All new country programmes undergo a thorough quality assurance process to ensure that they are relevant to national priorities; that they embody the aspirations of our Strategic Plan and contribute to its measurable goals; and that they emphasize effectiveness and efficiency, synergies with partners, and credibility of monitoring and evaluation arrangements.

In closing, let me state once more that this an organization on the move – implementing its Strategic Plan, ready for UN reform, driving performance changes across the organization, and looking ahead to the future of development thinking and practice. We are at an inflection point. The task is clear. UNDP’s mandate in the era of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs is more relevant than ever. In presenting to you today UNDP’s performance highlights for 2017 and key milestones of refocusing and aligning our work with the 2018-2021 Strategic Plan, I hope we have demonstrated both the significance and relevance of UNDP to the future success of the UN’s Development System. Together with my team, we stand ready to deliver, but it is a joint endeavor with you as Member States. It is your strategic choices and support to the UN’s Development Programme that will determine the future of this organization. Last week’s adoption of the resolution on UN Development System reform has signaled loud and clear your heightened expectations of all of us in the UN family.

ThePluto token AirDrop Announcement - 2018-06-06 00:00:00

ThePluto token AirDrop Announcement

Today we’re excited to announce the launch of thepluto.org Airdrop with 30,000,000 ThePluto tokens!

Each participant gets rewarded 1,000 GPPT tokens, equivalent to $30 during retail sale price.

What is a ThePluto token Airdrop?

An Airdrop is a well-known way for users to take part in the growing community by completing few simple steps.

Our Airdrop is done via telegram, therefore users can be sure that the action form be user-friendly, and we can efficiently check that the participants actually completed the actions.

When?
From 5 jun 2018

How many?
There are 30,000,000 coins allocated, and they are no longer allocated

How do I participate in the Airdrops as a user?
Search @PlutoAirDropBot on the telegram
Please note that tokens will be sent after the end of the main round of our Token Sale. Also, make sure that you’ve correctly entered your ERC20 wallet.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us in our telegram chat.

Homepage : https://thepluto.org
Telegram Pluto Community: https://t.me/PlutoCommunity 
Telegram OFFICIAL CHANNEL : https://t.me/PLUTOOFFICIAL

Spokespeople available for interviews at EDD18 - 2018-06-05 00:00:00

Powerful female spokespeople with disabilities from India and Cambodia available for interviews at the European Development Days in Brussels (5th & 6th June):
  
Nidhi Goyal
• Disability and Gender Rights Activist who advocates for inclusive Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR)

• India’s first-ever disabled stand-up comedian, using comedy to extend her activism 

• First disabled woman to speak at an EDD closing panel as civil society representative (link to event)

 

After being diagnosed with an incurable irreversible eye disorder at age 15, and through her own experience of being a woman with a disability, Nidhi developed an awareness of issues of gender discrimination against women with disabilities
While going blind, a formative experience was when her father’s friend, a doctor, suggested that her father hide her eye disorder from the world because in three years’ time she wouldn’t have lost too much of her sight and he could then, without disclosure, marry her off when she was legal. 
„Once the world knew that a girl was blind, no one would have her; as if marriage is the ultimate goal, as if consent and choice cease to exist if you are a disabled woman. My father didn’t give into the pressure but not all girls or women with disabilities are as fortunate as I am,“ Nidhi says. 
After abandoning her childhood dream of becoming a portrait painter, Nidhi went on to study and receive her postgraduate degree in mass communication 
she then dived into the world of activism to work for the betterment of the situation of women and girls with disabilities who are often invisible to and in society
She became a strong activist for the Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights of women and girls with disabilities, fighting stereotypes of female roles in society
Nidhi started stand-up comedy to create sensitisation about disability, gender and sexuality related issues and became India’s first-ever disabled comedian
Today, she is raising awareness and striving to improve the lives of women and girls with disabilities by working with several organisations and in several roles, e.g. she was appointed to the UN Women Executive Director’s advisory group, and sits on advisory boards of Voice and AWID.
She has recently founded her own organisation “Rising Flame” and works through research, training, campaigns, art, and advocacy

Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions Launches New Website - 2018-06-05 00:00:00

MADISON, Wis. — The Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions (WF), the official philanthropic arm of the World Council recently launched its new website, DoGlobalGood.org and tagline, Do Good. Do Global Good., as a new vehicle for credit unions to participate in the global credit union movement. 


The new tagline for the Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions: “Do Good. Do Global Good”.
"The Worldwide Foundation now has its own platform from which it can offer a unique toolkit for credit unions to participate and engage with the global credit union community, while forwarding their social mission and growing their business,” said Worldwide Foundation Executive Director Mike Reuter. “Our Global Good Toolkit supports World Council credit union international development programs worldwide and changes the lives of individuals and their communities through the credit union difference.”

Credit unions worldwide provide financial empowerment enabling members to make the financial choices to improve their lives. Each tool on the Global Good Toolkit provides an opportunity for a credit union to help members globally, while improving their business and their members’ lives, locally. Each tool supports the needs of a credit union’s heart (social) and their head (business):

Supporter contributions bring contributors together with peers as part of a global movement to work together to solve issues facing the global movement;
The Global Good Card grows membership, especially Millennials, by adopting credit card branding into the product portfolio that provides a quality product and is socially responsible;
The Charitable Donation Account earns income and supports the international movement while not expensing contributions from the profit and loss statement (P&L);
Field Engagements allow credit unions to network with peers, learn new approaches and personally make a difference in the field;
The Gift of Service honors the storied career of a retiring executive or board member by allowing them to continue to leverage their skills to make a positive impact with volunteer service in the international field;
Disaster Relief supports partners with WF to get ahead of the storm by providing relief that will be used when disaster strikes and disrupts the lives of credit unions members and operations.
The Worldwide Foundation’s Case for Support, provides more information showcasing the Global Good Toolkit.

Ongoing conflict leaves nearly half of children in Afghanistan out-of- school - 2018-06-03 00:00:00

KABUL, 3 June 2018 – Nearly half of children aged between 7 and 17 years old – 3.7 million
– in Afghanistan are missing out on school, according to the Out of School Children:
Afghanistan Country Study released today.

The ongoing conflict and worsening security situation across the country – combined with
deeply engrained poverty and discrimination against girls – have pushed the rate of out-of-
school children up for the first time since 2002 levels.

Girls account for 60 per cent of the out-of-school population, putting them at a particular
disadvantage, and compounding gender-based discrimination. In the worse-affected provinces
– including Kandahar, Helmand, Wardak, Paktika, Zabul and Uruzgan – up to 85 per cent of
girls are not going to school.

The study notes that displacement and child marriage also significantly affect a child’s chances
of going to school. While a shortage of female teachers, poor school facilities and insecurity
affecting the delivery of education in conflict affected areas are also factors driving children –
particularly girls – away from the classroom.

“Business as usual is not an option for Afghanistan if we are to fulfil the right to education for
every child,” said Adele Khodr, UNICEF Afghanistan Representative. “When children are not in
school, they are at an increased danger of abuse, exploitation and recruitment," adds Khodr.

While the numbers are concerning, there is also progress and hope. The study notes that
school dropout rates are low, 85 per cent of boys and girls who start primary school go on to
complete the last grade, while 94 per cent of boys, and 90 per cent of girls who start lower
secondary also complete the grades. The challenge is to get children to start school in the first
place.

“We commend the Government of Afghanistan for prioritising and declaring the year 2018 as
the year of education,” said Khodr. ”Now is the time for a renewed commitment to provide girls
and boys with the relevant learning opportunities they need to progress in life and to play a
positive role in society,” Khodr added.

To overcome this challenge, early learning opportunities, community-based education, including
accelerated learning programmes, gives families more control over education by organizing
classes in community buildings and in some cases inside homes. This is especially critical for
girls, as it reduces insecurity on the way to school, such as harassment and conflict related
incidents.

The ‘Afghanistan Living Conditions Survey, 2016-17’, released in May this year, also highlights
significant improvements in adult and youth literacy rates over the past two decades. The
literacy rate for youth (aged 15-24 years) has risen from 31 per cent in 2005 to 54 per cent in
2017.

“Getting girls and boys into school is so much more than sitting in class,” said Khodr. “It’s
about providing routine and stability in life, which is a wise investment given the insecurity
across parts of the country,” she added.

The report calls for continued government and civil society commitment and action to address
the out-of-school children, especially girls, while recognising that strong national data
institutions and capacity take time and investment to develop. In addition to protecting children
and schools from harm, the report identifies four principles to underpin this work:

Targeting provinces with disproportionately high rates of out of school girls, including
working with religious leaders and other groups to advocate for increased education,
especially for girls;
Ensuring girls’ learning facilities meet basic security and health standards, including
toilets, handwashing facilities and safe drinking water;
Recruiting and building the capacity of female teachers; and
Addressing child marriage.

World Day Against Child Labour - 12 June 2018: Generation Safe & Healthy - 2018-05-31 00:00:00

World Day Against Child Labour - 12 June 2018

This year, the World Day Against Child Labour (WDACL) and the World Day for Safety and Health at Work (SafeDay)  shine a spotlight on the global need to improve the safety and health of young workers and end child labour. 

This joint campaign aims to accelerate action to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 8.8 of safe and secure working environments for all workers by 2030 and SDG target 8.7 of ending all forms of child labour by 2025. Achieving these goals for the benefit of the next generation of the global workforce requires a concerted and integrated approach to eliminating child labour and promoting a culture of prevention on occupational safety health

Need for services for 16- and 17-year olds growing quickly: early analysis of newly expanded age of protection - 2018-05-30 00:00:00

On January 1, 2018, Ontario’s child protection legislation was amended to extend child protection services to youth aged 16 and 17, a change that was long advocated for by OACAS and Ontario’s Children’s Aid Societies (CASs). An early analysis by OACAS and Children’s Aid Societies reinforced much of what the child welfare sector has known for decades: this group of youth is sizable and underserved.

To support CASs and help inform provincial training and resource needs, OACAS invited agency staff to participate in a series of virtual focus groups to learn about their experiences working with this new population. Thirty-three Children’s Aid Societies joined the teleconference calls in the early months of 2018.

Between January 1st and March 23rd, 2018, Children’s Aid Societies received referrals for 944 youth in the new age bracket. They also identified an additional 814 youth in existing protection families or files who were previously ineligible for services because of their age. In speaking publicly about the new legislation, Minister of Children and Youth Services, Hon. Michael Coteau previously estimated that as many as 1,600 youth would be helped in its first year of implementation. However, OACAS’s early analysis shows that, in just the first three months of 2018, already more than 1,700 young people have been identified for services.

“What our members are telling us is compelling. Calls are coming in every day,” says Wendy Miller, Senior Manager of Government and Stakeholder Relations at OACAS.

The new youth were referred for services by a variety of stakeholders. The most common referrers, besides self-referral, were police or youth justice related professionals, schools or educational professionals, community members, and mental health service providers. The types of issues that brought these youth into contact with Children’s Aid Societies included, among others, parent-teen or family conflict, abandonment or isolation, homelessness or housing insecurity, and mental or emotional health issues.

Not all youth who are referred to a Children’s Aid Society end up needing protection. Child protection staff use the Eligibility Spectrum to determine whether a child, youth, or family require services. One hundred and sixty-nine of the 16- and 17- year olds referred for services were found not to be in need of protection.

For those requiring protection, Children’s Aid Societies work first and foremost to keep the children and youth safely at home with their families. If this is not possible, they do their best to find someone – for example extended family or a family friend – for the child or youth to stay with. Alternatively, youth aged 16 and 17 are given the option of entering into a Voluntary Youth Services Agreement (VYSA), which allows them to access services and supports through the Children’s Aid Society. Of the youth found to be in need of protection, 72 chose to enter into a VYSA, with many more considering it at the time of the last teleconference. For the youth who opted not to sign a VYSA, they were offered access to a variety of other resources, through the CAS and/or community groups or services.

When asked about the time required on the part of child protection workers to support this new population of youth, the consensus among agency staff was that they require more time, largely because working with older youth can involve more time engaging and building relationships with them. Which is why it is especially critical that the Ontario government ensure Children’s Aid Societies are adequately resourced to address this legislative change.

The Friends of the Inter-American Democratic Charter Call on Venezuelan Government to Restore Constitutional Order - 2018-05-24 00:00:00

The Friends of the Inter-American Democratic Charter express alarm at the breakdown of the constitutional order in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, which has had devastating effects on the Venezuelan people and their human rights.

Alarming food shortages and health crises now affect all sectors of society, particularly the most vulnerable groups. The electoral event held on Sunday, May 20, was neither free nor fair, and thus cannot be recognized as a legitimate expression of the sovereignty of the Venezuelan people.

The Friends of the Charter express their strongest condemnation of these serious violations and urge the government of Venezuela to adopt the following measures, in accordance with the Inter-American Democratic Charter and international agreements on human rights:

Respect the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. All authorities, especially President Nicolás Maduro, the National Constituent Assembly, the Supreme Court of Justice, and the Attorney General of the Republic, must show this respect, and all authorities must be elected and appointed in accordance with the 1999 Constitution. The separation and independence of powers, in particular the constitutional powers of the National Assembly elected in December 2015, are a legitimate expression of popular sovereignty and must be respected. To this end, in accordance with the 1999 Constitution and popular sovereignty, the National Constituent Assembly must stop functioning immediately.
Open channels of international humanitarian aid and assistance to respond to the food and medicine shortages in a transparent manner, relying on the church and civil society organizations.
Hold free and fair elections, convened in accordance with the constitution, by a new impartial and independent National Electoral Council, appointed in accordance with the constitutional requirements and procedures by the National Assembly.
Respect and guarantee the human rights of everyone, including political opponents, journalists, and human rights defenders.
Withdraw the letter of resignation to the Organization of American States and re-ratify the American Convention on Human Rights.
Finally, the Friends of the Charter call on other OAS member states to adopt appropriate measures according to the OAS charter and international law, including those proposed by the OAS secretary-general and the Lima Group, to ensure the normalization of democratic institutions in Venezuela as soon as possible. We call on the international community to support the adoption of these measures and to carry out initiatives to support the normalization of democratic institutions in Venezuela.

Diego Abente Brun (Paraguay)
Mariclaire Acosta (Mexico)
Nicolás Ardito Bartletta Vallarino (Panama)
Cecilia Blondet (Peru)
Catalina Botero Marino (Colombia)
Santiago Cantón (Argentina)
Jorge Castañeda (Mexico)
Joe Clark (Canada)
Humberto de la Calle (Colombia)
Alejandro Foxley (Chile) 
John Graham (Canada)
Serena Joseph-Harris (Trinidad & Tobago)
Samuel Lewis (Panama)
John Maisto (USA)
Carlos Mesa (Bolivia)
Sonia Picado (Costa Rica)
Sergio Ramirez (Nicaragua)
Eduardo Stein (Guatemala)
Fernando Tuesta Soldevilla (Peru)
Joaquín Villalobos (El Salvador)
Jennie K. Lincoln (Executive Secretary – Friends of the Inter-American Democratic Charter – The Carter Center)

The Friends of the Inter-American Democratic Charter Formed in 2004, the Friends of the Democratic Charter group is composed of former presidents, prime ministers, and cabinet ministers from the Western Hemisphere who seek to increase the visibility of the Inter-American Democratic Charter and to prevent democratic tensions from erupting into crises. The Friends visit countries to assess democratic tensions, encourage citizens and governments to make use of international resources to defend their democracies and resolve constitutional conflicts, and recommend ways for the OAS to apply the charter in a constructive and preventative manner. The Carter Center serves as secretariat for the Friends.

Heads of UN Office of Counter-Terrorism and UNDP Strengthen Collaboration to Prevent Violent Extremism - 2018-05-23 00:00:00

Oslo, 23 May 2018 – Today, UNDP Oslo Governance Centre (OGC) started a two-day meeting on Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE), entitled ‘Assessing Progress Made, and the Future of Development Approaches to Preventing Violent Extremism’, in partnership with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Oslo, Norway. The sessions will include discussions on lessons learned on the role of the media, women and youth in preventing violent extremism, as well as effective reintegration of disengaged terrorist fighters.

The objective of this global meeting on PVE is to assess progress made on research, programming and policy support since the last meeting held in 2016 and to offer new recommendations aimed at enhancing UNDP’s future efforts and the global drive towards PVE research, policy-development and programmatic interventions as part of the UNDP Global Programme on Development Solutions for the Prevention of Violent Extremism (2017–2020).

The meeting gathered leading policymakers, practitioners, national governments, civil society organizations, multilateral institutions, academics, and think tanks from a wide array of countries.

“Security responses alone are not enough to tackle the root causes of violent extremism. When young people cannot find jobs, experience cycles of conflict and poverty, and see no hope for their future, they are very susceptible to joining extremist groups,” said Mr. Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator. “By working together, the UN’s counter-terrorism and development arms can tackle the complementary issues of risk, response, and prevention of violent extremism, and better support countries in addressing this growing threat and achieving their development aspirations.”

UN assistance in PVE is a demand-driven process with a growing number of Member States from all regions of the world requesting the UN to support them through the sharing of good practices and concrete capacity building projects. More than two thirds of the initiatives of UNOCT are dedicated to addressing the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism. Fifteen UN entities, including UNDP are implementing more than 260 PVE projects in 84 countries.

The UN promotes an “all of society” approach to PVE in order to be more effective and to achieve impact by drawing on the expertise and capacities of civil society organizations, the private sector, think tanks, as well as with governments at national and local levels.

Reiterating that terrorism should not be associated with any religion, ethnicity or race, Mr. Vladimir Voronkov, the head of the Office of Counter-terrorism (UNOCT), said that preventing conflict and sustainable development are the first line of defense against terrorism. He further stressed the need to better coordinate UN efforts in order to avoid overlap and duplication while maximizing the impact of efforts on the ground.

In this regard, Mr. Achim Steiner and Mr. Voronkov signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the margins of the meeting in order to enhance collaboration between UNOCT and UNDP. Concretely, the MOU will improve cooperation in three key strategic areas: information sharing, outreach and support to the development and implementation of National PVE Action Plans to requesting Member States.

Mr. Voronkov praised the support of UNDP’s country teams through indispensable field knowledge and close established relationships with Governments. “I hope through the conclusion of the new Memorandum of Understanding, we will further strengthen our common efforts to support Member States more effectively and make a real difference in the field,” he said.

Mr. Voronkov and Mr. Steiner held joint bilateral meetings with senior Norwegian government officials and paid tribute to the victims of the 2011 terrorist attack.

****

Background information:

· UNDP Second Global Meeting on Preventing Violent Extremism Concept Note

· Journey to Extremism in Africa: Drivers, Incentives and the Tipping Point for Recruitment

· Pathways for Peace: Inclusive Approaches to Preventing Violent Conflict

The United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism was established in June 2017 to provide leadership to the implementation of General Assembly counter-terrorism mandates, to enhance coordination and coherence, and to strengthen the delivery of the United Nations counter-terrorism capacity building assistance to Member States.

Marawi conflict one year on: More than 300,000 Filipinos still displaced, 30,000 children yet to return to school - 2018-05-22 00:00:00

Seven months after the southern Philippines city of Marawi was declared ‘militant free’, hundreds of thousands of Filipinos remain displaced as the government continues its recovery operation—which includes the challenging process of clearing improvised explosive devices from across the city.

More than 350,000 people fled Marawi after fighting broke out on May 23 last year. One year later and just over 23,000 families have been able to return to their homes.

The remaining Marawi residents are either still living with relatives or sheltering in evacuation centres—several of which are schools—in the vicinity of the besieged city.

Many homes and shops in Marawi suffered extensive damage during the fighting, with collapsed buildings, bullet-ridden walls and burnt out cars still visible.

“The children of Marawi are still suffering a year after fighting broke out. They’ve been displaced from their homes in large numbers, and are uncertain about the future, and what will become of their lives. This is no way for a child to live,” Save the Children Philippines CEO Alberto Muyot said.

“Many families have no choice but to live in cramped evacuation centres where they rely on support from aid agencies and the government for food, clean drinking water and basic hygiene items.”

Nearly half of the 62,000 school-aged children who fled Marawi did not re-enroll in school this past year. This is largely because school buildings were occupied by displaced families, their parents couldn’t afford basic learning materials and uniforms, families were staying too far away, or children didn’t feel comfortable in the host school.

Promisingly, however, enrolment for the new school year has begun, with the Department of Education running a major campaign to get children back to class—‘Balik-eskwela sa Marawi’—which translates to ‘Return to school in Marawi’.

“Getting back into the classroom is the absolute best thing for children so they can continue their education and regain a sense of normality and routine. School also gives children the opportunity to be with their friends, to have fun and forget about what they have been through, and offers protection from risks they’re vulnerable to,” Mr Muyot said.

“It’s really important that all parents from Marawi re-enroll their children so they can have the best chance at a brighter future. Sadly we know the longer a child is out of school, the less likely they are to ever go back.”

The massive influx of displaced families from Marawi last May put huge pressure on local schools in host communities, with average class sizes ballooning beyond 45 children. Some schools have also been running two shifts per day to try to cater to the demand.

Save the Children has been responding to the crisis since the beginning and has set up 28 temporary learning spaces in host schools to help cope with the high number of new enrolments. It has also distributed 4,000 back-to-school kits for students and is working with the Department of Education to provide psychosocial support to teachers and children.

The aid agency is also working with the local government and communities to prevent potential exploitation, such as child-trafficking.

The Pluto Protocol - Recent Announcement by UNICEF Australia - 2018-05-14 00:00:00

Following on from the recent announcement by UNICEF Australia, it's interesting to see humanitarian causes looking at cryptocurrency as a tool to support new initiatives.

The Pluto Protocol (https://thepluto.org) is a distributed data exchange block chain with special purpose. The Pluto coin automatically donates 10% of it's fees to the foundation when it's transmitted. General users may vote on the use of funds collected depending on their acquired portion of Pluto coins.

The Pluto team participating in this United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights says - "The Pluto Protocol creates a unique ecosystem for examining and solving the problems facing the world so that users can easily, safely, and precisely contribute to human development. The Pluto is the first block chain to contribute to the charity. The Pluto knows how to support the people in need while complying with the United Nations and international organization's own laws and regulations."

http://issuewire.com/the-pluto-protocol-recent-announcement-by-unicef-australia14-1600490623423352

Eight Ways Your School Can Make Ontario Dress Purple Day Memorable - 2018-05-10 00:00:00

Hold a school assembly to raise awareness among students about the caring adults and community supports that are available to support them when they need help. Invite somebody from the caring community to talk about how they can help children and youth.
Use the Dress Purple Classroom Resources, available on the OACAS website to engage students in Ontario Dress Purple Day. These resources support students to identify networks of support that they can turn to when they need help, which has been shown to be an important prevention tool. The Dress Purple Classroom Resources offer teachers the option of engaging their students in these conversations gradually, just before, or on Ontario Dress Purple Day.
Hold an art show to display student work created using Dress Purple Classroom activities, including Well-being Circles and “Helping Hands”. (See Dress Purple Classroom Resources Lessons 3 and 4.) Share the art work online using the hashtags #IBREAKthesilence #OntarioDressPurpleDAy.
Demonstrate a community that cares for kids in your classroom in an interactive and fun way. All it takes is a ball of purple yarn, a beach ball, and your students. (See “Yarn Web” activity in Dress Purple Classroom Resources Lesson 4)
Host a speaker from your local Children’s Aid Society in the school auditorium. They will talk about the rights of children to safety and well-being, the responsibility of adults to support kids who have a worry or concern, and how Children’s Aid Societies are part of the community that cares for kids.
Host a youth speaker who can speak about breaking the silence and the importance of turning to helping adults for support. Contact your local Children’s Aid Society for suggestions of young people who are motivational speakers.
Hold a purple parade through your community. Design and carry an #IBREAKthesilence – #wecanhelp banner. Ask your school’s local business owners and organizations to join in as part of the community that cares for kids.
Take pictures of school staff and students as they celebrate the community that cares for kids and share them on social media using the hashtags #IBREAKthesilence #OntarioDressPurpleDay.

UNHCR calls on Austrian Government to keep refugee protection at centre of asylum law amendments - 2018-05-09 00:00:00

Vienna, Austria – UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, today published its legal analysis on the draft amendments to the asylum law, calling on the Austrian Government to uphold its commitment to protection sensitive asylum policies.

UNHCR is concerned about several proposed new regulations, including the seizure of cash and electronic devices of asylum-seekers, and a prolonged waiting period for refugees before they are able to apply for Austrian citizenship.

“UNHCR is worried about the recent proposed amendments to Austria’s asylum law, and their potential impact on asylum-seekers and refugees. In addition, despite Austria’s existing solid asylum system containing safeguards against abuse, a number of the draft amendments are seemingly based on the assumption that people are seeking to abuse the asylum system. This risks negatively impacting public discourse and making refugee integration more difficult,” said Christoph Pinter, Head of UNHCR in Austria.

UNHCR is particularly worried about the proposed seizure of cash of up to €840 upon arrival in Austria if an asylum-seeker is carrying more than €120.

“Under the current law, only asylum-seekers with financial difficulties receive financial support. If asylum-seekers have enough resources, it goes without saying that they should provide for themselves. However, there is a big difference between a request to contribute to or provide for food and rent, and the actual confiscation of money through coercive measures,” added Pinter.

“People who have lost almost everything through war or who have been at the mercy of smugglers should not be subjected to such a treatment.”

UNHCR also warns against the proposed far-reaching power of authorities to search for and seize electronic devices. This is a highly intrusive measure that should only be conducted when strictly necessary, with the requisite safeguards, for a limited period of time, with respect to data protection laws and the right to an effective remedy.

UNHCR is further concerned that, despite already having one of the European Union’s tightest nationality laws, in the draft proposal refugees would have to wait at least 10 years instead of the current 6, before being able to apply for Austrian citizenship. UNHCR believes that facilitating access to citizenship, particularly for refugees who have been part of Austrian communities for years, further fosters integration, and contributes to social cohesion.

In the light of the proposed amendments and potential impact on asylum-seekers and refugees, UNHCR is calling on the Austrian Government to reconsider the proposed law amendments, and to take all respective decisions with a focus on refugee protection.

UN urges the world to act now to save lives in West Africa's Sahel - 2018-05-03 00:00:00

DAKAR, 3 May 2018 – Drought, high food prices and conflict are set to drive millions of people into acute hunger and malnutrition in parts of West Africa’s Sahel, if the global community does not act now, three United Nations agencies warned today.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the UN Children’s Agency (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP), said that poor rainfall in pastoralist areas of southern Mauritania, northern Senegal, and parts of Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad in 2017, had ruined livestock and harvest and affected livelihoods, leading to an early onset of the hunger season.  

The Sahel region has also seen increased insecurity and an intensification in armed conflict that is disrupting basic services and livelihoods, affecting social cohesion and forcing tens of thousands to flee their homes.  

Five million people will require food and livelihoods assistance through what is expected to be the worst lean season in four years, according to the latest food security analysis – Cadre Harmonisé – released in March. Assessments show that many families would have exhausted their food reserves in April. Normally, this would happen between June and September.

“We are hearing of people cutting down the number of daily meals and children dropping out of school,” said Abdou Dieng, the Regional Director of WFP for West Africa and Central. “Those are telling signs of a looming disaster that the world cannot continue to ignore.” 

Across the six countries, over 1.6 million children are at risk of severe acute malnutrition this year, 50 per cent more than in the Sahel’s last major nutrition crisis in 2012. Food insecurity, inadequate dietary practices at home for young children and mothers, lack of access to safe water and sanitation, as well as armed conflict and population displacement, cause high levels of malnutrition among children.

“It is tragic that the same mothers are coming back to the clinics year after year with their children for treatment of severe acute malnutrition, this year in even greater numbers” said Marie-Pierre Poirier, UNICEF’s Regional Director for West and Central Africa. “We can break this cycle if we invest now in building resilience – making families, communities and national authorities better equipped to prevent and deal with similar shocks in the future.”

A reduction in pasture availability has led to early transhumance this year, up to four months earlier than usual. This is caused a high concentration of animals, intensified by border crossing restrictions and adverse regulations constraining pastoralists’ movements, which in turn has made a highly insecure region even more fragile.

“Building resilience is at the top of FAO’s agenda. What will help stabilize the Sahel is support for pastoralists and agro-pastoralists, during this lean season and in the future, to cope with shocks that include climate change and conflicts” said Coumba Sow, FAO Sub-Regional Coordinator for Resilience in West Africa and the Sahel.

UNICEF, FAO and WFP have developed a joint response to cover food needs, protect livelihoods and fight malnutrition in the short term to address immediate needs and reduce the impact of the looming crisis. At the same time, longer-term interventions, such as ensuring availability, access and use of local food resources, health other social services to secure the healthy development and growth of children are crucial to make households, communities and national systems more prepared to prevent and deal with similar shocks in the future.

The three UN agencies are calling for urgent support from all partners, including donors, to help mitigate the current and impeding deterioration in the Sahel. WFP needs a total of US$ 284 million for its lean season response to provide food and nutrition assistance, to 3.5 million people. UNICEF requires US$ 264 million to reach 989,000 children at risk of severe acute malnutrition with therapeutic food and to provide access to water and sanitation facilities and education services until the end of the year. FAO needs US$ 128 million, of which US$ 45 million is for urgent activities to prevent the situation from further deteriorating for 2.5 million pastoralist and agro-pastoralists in early departure and high livestock concentration areas.

UNDP and TRINE partner to scale-up private investment in high-impact energy projects - 2018-04-26 00:00:00

New York, 26 April- The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and impact investment platform TRINE announced their first ever partnership in the off-grid solar industry. The primary objective of this partnership is to contribute towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7- affordable and clean energy, and improve the quality of life in rural communities in Sub-Saharan Africa through innovative financing.

Furthermore, UNDP and TRINE are jointly setting-up a new initiative to scale-up private investment in high-impact energy access projects with an initial focus on Kenya, expanding later to Rwanda, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zambia. UNDP will assess and monitor the impacts of projects using UNDP’s Climate Action Impact Tool which offers investors to quantify and track the social and environmental impacts of their investments to make informed decisions.

“We are excited to see a strong commitment from the private sector to invest in initiatives in rural Kenya that will strengthen communities, create jobs and empower women, and at the same time contribute to the country’s climate change targets under the Paris Agreement. The Climate Action Impact Tool will help investors to make informed decisions when selecting projects with highest sustainable development impacts, thereby advancing development and accelerating the implementation of the SDGs,” said Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, UN Assistant Secretary General and Director of UNDP’s Bureau for Policy and Programme Support.
The initiative is expected to unlock investments of 6 Million EUR in off-grid solar energy by the end of 2018 and give 300,000 people access to clean and affordable energy in Sub-Saharan Africa whilst mitigating approximate 84,000 tons of CO2 emissions.

“We are dedicated to giving 66 million people access to clean energy before the end of 2022. One of the barriers in the sector is trust and to prove that the impact created is real and long-lasting. By partnering up with UNDP and use UNDP’s climate action impact tool, we will take a step forward in increasing trust in the sector and make the impact more tangible, which serves our goal of accelerating sustainable investments,” said Sam Manaberi, CEO, TRINE.
UNDP and TRINE believe the private sector can play a key role in providing the needed finance to increase energy access. There is a growing interest from the private sector regarding ways to effectively verify, monitor and report sustainable development impacts of these private sector activities and investments. The partnership is based on the belief that access to verifiable data on sustainable development impacts should result in enhanced trust in investees and investment platforms, while also allowing investors to make better informed investment decisions.

Together with one of the leading companies in the off-grid solar energy sector, BBOXX, who is one of the investees on the platform, UNDP’s Climate Action Impact Tool will be piloted on their Kenya operations.

Access to energy is at the heart of most critical social, economic and environmental challenges we face today, with approximately 1.1 billion people in the world without access to electricity (53% of whom live in Sub-Saharan Africa). TRINE is solving this issue by financing off-grid solar solutions that replace expensive fossil fuels in rural Africa.

"The Climate Action Impact Tool visualizes the contribution of private sector-led climate actions to the Kenya’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) target. The information on climate finance, mitigation, adaptation and socioeconomic well-being of the beneficiaries will therefore feed into the country’s Monitoring, Reporting and Verification on the NDC and SDG implementation progress,” said Dr. Harun M. Warui, National Project Manager from the Low Emission and Climate Resilient Development (LECRD) Project, Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources in Kenya.

Latin America and the Caribbean: a decade lost in ending child marriage - 2018-04-10 00:00:00

PANAMA/NEW YORK, 10 April 2018 - Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) is the only region in the world where the prevalence of child marriage and early unions has not decreased in the last decade, UNICEF’s Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean said today.

Levels of child marriage in Latin America and the Caribbean has remained at around 25 per cent for the past decade, while other areas of the world have seen significant declines, most notably South Asia where levels of child marriage have dropped from nearly 50 per cent to 30 per cent in the past decade.

In LAC child marriage and early unions among indigenous girls, girls living in rural areas, and medium and low-income population groups appear to be higher than those in urban areas and high- income quintiles. In the region non-matrimonial early unions are more frequent than formal, legal marriage.

"What we are seeing in other parts of the world is real progress to protect girls from child marriage, and this is cause for celebration. However, this is not the case in our region where one in four women was married or in union before the age of 18." said Maria Cristina Perceval, UNICEF Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean. “Girls that are forced to marry or enter in union before they turn 18 are deprived of immediate and long-term opportunities that ultimately affect the fulfilment of their rights. The increased risk of sexual violence, early motherhood, school abandonment – in addition to social exclusion from their peer group – is a clear indicator that the girls of LAC are being, and will continue to be, left behind if we do not take action now.”

Worldwide, an estimated 650 million women and girls alive today were married as children, with Latin America and the Caribbean home to around one in ten of those. Without accelerated actions and investment, Latin American and the Caribbean will have the second highest prevalence of child marriage in the world by 2030, behind only Sub-Saharan Africa, and ahead of South Asia, a region that has traditionally had the highest prevalence of child marriage in the world. If current trends continue, almost 20 million more girls in Latin America and the Caribbean will be married in childhood by 2030.

One of the main reasons that child marriage and early unions in LAC have not reduced is related to the equally high (second in the world) adolescent pregnancy rates and risk of sexual violence for girls (1.1 million adolescent girls report having experienced sexual abuse). These combined factors of gender inequality for girls in LAC stunt their options and opportunities.

Poverty also contributes to child marriage and early unions which, combined with gender norms, roles and relations, influence beliefs and decisions that early union is acceptable, even desirable, as a life choice. Additionally, gaps in national legislation can either permit marriage before the age of 18, or include exceptions to allow it with parental consent, legal representative or judicial authority.

“Girls’ equality is restricted in the region through combined impacts of early motherhood and unions, violence and limited life opportunities. We can no longer keep our eyes closed to their lost potential and forgotten rights. That is why, together with our sister agencies UNFPA and UN Women, we have launched a regional programme, calling urgently to end these practices in the region. We invite other partners to join this cause," concluded Perceval.

UNHCR and Israel sign agreement to find solutions for Eritreans and Sudanese - 2018-04-02 00:00:00

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the State of Israel today signed a Framework of Common Understanding to promote solutions for thousands of Eritreans and Sudanese living in Israel. A joint working group will be set up with a series of objectives and a timetable to implement solutions for some 39,000 people over five years. As a result of the Framework of Common Understanding signed today, the Government of Israel will not pursue its non-voluntary relocation policy.

“UNHCR appreciates the collaboration with the Government of Israel to find a way out for thousands of Eritreans and Sudanese. This agreement will ensure that protection is provided to those who need it,” said Volker Türk, UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, who signed the agreement on behalf of UNHCR. From the Israeli side, the agreement was signed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Mr. Arye Machluf Deri, Minister of Internal Affairs.

Under the agreement, UNHCR, with the support of receiving countries, will work to facilitate the departure to third countries to be determined of some 16,000 Eritreans and Sudanese under various programmes, including sponsorship, resettlement, family reunion and labour migration schemes, while others will be receiving a suitable legal status in Israel.

In addition, UNHCR and the State of Israel will design programmes to encourage Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers to move out of the neighbourhoods in South Tel Aviv where they have mostly congregated. Vocational training will also be provided to asylum-seekers for jobs in solar energy, agriculture and irrigation for employment abroad or in Israel.

UNHCR has been working closely with the State of Israel to identify and respond to the protection needs of asylum-seekers in the country. In the past, UNHCR raised concerns about Israel’s non-voluntary Relocation Policy as its monitoring indicated that those relocated have not found adequate safety or a durable solution to their plight in the destination African countries and, as a result, many have subsequently attempted dangerous onward journeys within Africa or to Europe.

According to the information provided by the Population, Immigration and Border Authority (PIBA), by the end of 2017 there were some 26,600 Eritreans and 7,600 Sudanese in Israel. From the start of the relocation programme in December 2013, some 4,500 Eritreans and Sudanese were relocated under the Government’s Policy.

Liberia Ramps Up Resources to Improve Mental Health for Children and Adolescents - 2018-03-30 00:00:00

ATLANTA…Nineteen clinicians specializing in child and adolescent mental health graduated today in Monrovia, Liberia, from a training developed by the Carter Center’s Mental Health Program in partnership with the Liberia Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, and Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection. These graduates, the fourth cohort of clinicians focused on children and youth will provide mental health and psychosocial care in schools, clinics, and other child and youth-centered settings.

These graduates bring the total number of professionals trained to 249 through a collaboration between The Carter Center Mental Health Program in Liberia and the Liberian government to improve access to mental health services in Liberia. Those clinicians now work in primary care facilities, hospitals, daycare centers and schools, across all 15 counties to provide much needed care as the country seeks to strengthen its mental health services. This group of 19 Liberian nurses, and registered midwives completed a free, six-month, Child and Adolescent Post-Basic Mental Health Training Program at Kakata Rural Teacher Training Institute in Margibi County, Liberia. Almost 60 percent of the graduates come from hard-to-reach areas like Grand Kru, Maryland and Rivergee in the Southeast, and Gbarpolu, Cape Mount and Bomi in Central and Western Liberia, respectively.

"Liberia is making a brighter future for all of its citizens by investing in the mental health of adults, children, and adolescents," said former U.S. First Lady and Carter Center Co-founder Rosalynn Carter.

Liberia is on course to reach its goal of expanding access to mental health care to 70 percent of the population within the next few years. In addition to the clinicians, this nation with a current population of 4.6 million has three psychiatrists to meet the needs of at least 300,000 Liberians suffering from mental illnesses.

Graduates of The Carter Center program passed a credentialing exam earlier this month administered by the Liberian Board of Nursing and Midwifery and the Liberia National Physician Assistants Association to practice as licensed mental health clinicians. This allows them to return to their counties of practice as child and adolescent mental health specialists and to practice in primary care settings that focus on children and adolescents, or to begin working in school-based clinics. These graduates also are critical to Liberia's post-Ebola and post-war recovery.

Attendees at the graduation program received congratulatory messages from many Liberian government officials: the acting deputy minister of health of Liberia; Minister of Health Dr. Wilhemina Jallah; the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honorable Bofhal Chambers; and Honorable Jewel Howard-Taylor, Liberia’s vice president. Dr. Najeera Chowdhury, a psychiatrist in the Child and Adolescent Mental section of the WHO’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse in Geneva, also sent a congratulatory message.

Since 2010, mental health clinicians trained by The Carter Center have made a lasting impact in their communities by establishing new services at the ground level. Clinicians have opened 14 clinical practices in prison systems, treated refugees from the Ivory Coast conflict, supported the nation's first mental health consumer organization, worked in Ebola Treatment Units (ETUs), and provided psychosocial supports to individuals and families affected by the Ebola virus. In addition, midwives have been trained to screen for maternal depression. This new cohort of child and adolescent mental health clinicians is assisting in these efforts by providing specialized care to Liberian youth. Over 20 schools now have clinicians in their clinics or have regular visits by mental health clinicians.

"With every group of clinicians trained, there is enthusiasm around how they will contribute to filling gaps in the emerging mental health system. As someone who has worked in child and adolescent mental health for many years, it is personally fulfilling to have child and adolescent health mental health providers in our workforce. We are proud to add to this group that can support children and adolescents all over the country," said Dr. Janice Cooper, a native Liberian and project lead for the Carter Center's mental health initiative in Liberia.

The training is part of a three-year initiative to address the psychological effects of Liberia's Ebola crisis and to promote psychosocial health in the country. The project, Supporting Psychosocial Health and Resilience in Liberia, is funded by the Japan Social Development Fund, a trust fund administered by the World Bank. Through collaborative efforts with the county health teams, the project has supported access to mental health services for over 19,000 beneficiaries in Montserrado (including Monrovia) and Margibi counties.

In addition to promoting long-term health and resilience through the newly credentialed child and adolescent mental health clinicians, the project provided support to respond to the intermediate psychosocial impact of Ebola. The Carter Center, in collaboration with Liberian stakeholders, trained Ebola first responders in self-care, facilitated community healing dialogues for Ebola-affected families, and trained health and social workers to provide community-based mental health care and family psycho-education. These and other efforts through this project offer support and capacity-building for individuals and communities, but especially those affected by Ebola. Six school-based health centers have also been established, with one more currently under construction.

The psychological impact of more than a decade of civil conflict, which ended in 2003, has contributed to a mental health crisis in Liberia that has been intensified by: misconceptions, stigma, and the resulting discrimination surrounding mental illnesses; lack of mental health care training for health professionals; and inadequate supplies of necessary medications. The Ebola crisis exacerbated these needs.

While every Liberian county now has at least three mental health clinicians, there remains a need to build up services in places with immense treatment gaps. The largest concentration of Carter Center-trained clinicians, 81, serves a population of more than 1 million in Montserrado County, where the capital, Monrovia, is located. Remote areas in some counties like Sinoe, Grand Gedeh, Lofa, Maryland and Grand Kru have mental health clinicians leading and shaping mental health services.

The Carter Center's Mental Health Program in Liberia is supported by contributions from individuals, governments, multilaterals, corporations, and foundations such as the UBS Optimus Foundation and the John P. Hussmann Foundation.

###

"Waging Peace. Fighting Disease. Building Hope."
A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to improve life for people in over 80 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; and improving mental health care. The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide.

Geneva Palais briefing note on UNICEF Rohingya Joint Response Plan - 2018-03-16 00:00:00

GENEVA, 16 March 2018 - This is a summary of what was said by Marixie Mercado, UNICEF spokesperson in Geneva – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today's press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

UNICEF’s portion of the Rohingya Joint Response Plan being launched later today is for $113 million to meet the needs of 720,000 children – Rohingya as well as Bangladeshi children in the communities hosting them – through the end of 2018.

The extraordinary efforts of the Bangladesh Government, with support from the humanitarian community, brought crucial protection and relief to children and families, many of whom had escaped death. The crisis continues – the Rohingya who can, are still fleeing Myanmar, with around 500 new arrivals every week over the past month. And the scale of immediate, basic, life-saving needs, remains immense. For example:

17 million liters of clean water are needed every day;
50,000 latrines are needed – of which over 28,000 are constructed;
Over 200,000 children are still not getting any form of education.
There are new and acute risks. Assessments conducted in November and December 2017 indicated that up to 70 per cent of water points were contaminated with e.coli bacteria. A shock chlorination campaign is now underway. For wells that are contaminated this entails dismantling handpumps and delivering chlorine into the well water -- 30 tube wells have so far been decontaminated. In the coming days and weeks, thousands of volunteers will help to decontaminate water from the 6,000 water points in the camps. They will operate the water points for up to 20 hours a day, chlorinating the jerry cans and buckets people use to collect water.

The Response Plan includes the preparedness work that is going into protecting Rohingya refugees from impending monsoon rains and potential cyclones. Earlier estimates pointed to 100,000 refugees -- almost 60% of whom are children – at risk of flooding and landslides when the rains come. More recent planning estimates show that up to 220,000 are at risk of displacement, family separation and disease.

Preventing the spread of disease is a critical priority.  During the height of the diarrhea outbreak last year, up to 10,000 cases were being reported every week. We are preparing for 40,483 cases over three months. 

Over 1600 latrines have already been decommissioned to prevent contamination and the spread of disease. We have one fully functioning diarrhea treatment center and are setting up four more. We have already set up 10 health centres on higher ground and are building nine more.

Facilities including schools and child friendly spaces and health facilities that are at risk of floods and landslides have been mapped out – these will be reinforced, decommissioned or relocated.  Once the floods begin, it will become even harder for us to reach children and families with assistance, and for them to get to help. UNICEF is setting up temporary emergency shelters to prevent family separation and to ensure quick reunification, if necessary. Supplies will be prepositioned in a logistics unit close to the camps and will be moved to distribution centers via a network of porters who can transport the supplies on their backs if access becomes impossible for trucks.

The Response Plan includes longer-terms needs – most importantly education and protection, notably psychosocial support, for children. Together with partners, we have been able to reach 82,000 children between 4 and 14 years old with rudimentary learning – English, Myanmar and some maths – plus some basic life skills. The plan aims to reach 270,000 children by the end of the year – a huge undertaking, but one that can spell the difference between hope and despair for every single one of those children. We also plan to provide psychosocial support to 350,000 children – about 140,000 of whom we are now reaching. The need for this help, this healing, cannot be underestimated.

This appeal for Rohingya children does not represent a solution or answer to what drove them across the border in the first place, and the longer-term issues they face. It is an appeal to prevent sickness, abuse and death in an environment rife with risk for children; it is an appeal to provide them with a small semblance of normalcy, a little bit of childhood.

Ethiopian gender & disability champion Yetnebersh Nigussie awarded The Spirit of Helen Keller Award 2018 - 2018-03-08 00:00:00

Spirit of Helen Keller Award
New York/London, 8 March 2018: Helen Keller International, a global NGO dedicated to saving and improving the sight and lives of the world’s vulnerable, today announces Yetnebersh Nigussie as the recipient of The Spirit of Helen Keller Award 2018. 

Nigussie is being awarded for her personal journey of determination and compassion and the global voice she gives to raise awareness and advocate for the rights of people with disabilities and inclusive education.

The 36-year old Ethiopian lawyer works for the international disability and development organisation, Light for the World, as Senior Inclusion Advisor. In 2005, Nigussie co-founded the Ethiopian Centre for Disability and Development (ECDD). 

“Yetnebersh’s dedicated work is all one with Helen Keller’s life quest and her commitment to serving the blind and those unseen-- the world’s most vulnerable. We could not think of a more deserving recipient of The Spirit of Helen Keller Award this year,” said Kathy Spahn, President and CEO of Helen Keller International.

Nigussie will accept the award at The Spirit of Helen Keller Gala on 2 May 2018 at Gotham Hall, New York. 

“I’m honoured to have been awarded the prestigious and inspiring Spirit of Helen Keller Award,” said Nigussie. 

“Fighting for the inclusion of people with disabilities is my purpose in life, which makes being recognised for exactly that a dream come true. My heart smiles at the idea of being associated with Helen Keller, who is such an extraordinary woman.”

Announcement of new recognition: ‘Her Abilities Award’, a Light for the World initiative
Inspired by being awarded The Spirit of Helen Keller Award as well as The Right Livelihood Award in 2017, Nigussie announces a new recognition this International Women’s Day.

“I am happy for the recognition I have achieved, but I know there are millions of other women with disabilities out there doing amazing things everyday - without the acknowledgement they deserve.

“So I have been searching for an opportunity to give something back to a community which is so often sidelined or made invisible by society – women with disabilities.

“That is why - on behalf of Light for the World - I am now launching ‘Her Abilities’, an award to truly shine a spotlight on the achievements of so many brilliant women with disabilities.

“The main message of this award is: focus on our 99 abilities, not our one disability!” said Nigussie.

Her Abilities, a Light for the World initiative, inspired and driven forward by Nigussie, is the first global award celebrating achievements of women with disabilities.

“It speaks to Yetnebersh’s great passion and deep caring that she is now establishing an award to recognize others.  These amazing women with disabilities, Helen Keller and Yetnebersh Nigussie, who overcame obstacles and achieved such greatness in their lives, are an inspiration to us all.” said Kathy Spahn.

Carter Center Deploys Expert Mission to Assess Sierra Leone’s Election Process - 2018-03-05 00:00:00

FREETOWN, SIERRA LEONE — The Carter Center has deployed a team of electoral experts to assess the process surrounding Sierra Leone’s March 7 presidential, parliamentary, and local elections.

The Center’s expert mission is limited in scope, focusing on the legal framework, the pre-electoral dynamics, the campaign environment, and electoral dispute resolution. The mission will place specific focus on judicial review of election-related cases, violence prevention initiatives, and the influence of public debates and social media on the electorate. Given the small size of the Center’s team, it will not conduct an assessment of election-day voting and counting procedures. 

The Carter Center established its presence in Freetown in mid-January, and the team has met with representatives of the National Electoral Commission, political parties, civil society organizations, the international community, citizen election observers, and other interlocutors to assess electoral preparations and the pre-electoral environment.

 “Sierra Leone has made important progress since the civil war,” said Field Office Director Larry Garber. "These elections represent an important test of the willingness of all parties to abide by the rules of the game and an opportunity for the international community to learn from Sierra Leone’s experience in responding to specific electoral challenges.

“We support the recent call by the Economic Community of West African States, African Union, United Nations, and the European Union on political parties, their supporters, and other electoral actors to enable peaceful, inclusive, and credible elections."

The Carter Center’s expert mission is the Center’s third in Sierra Leone; it also deployed missions for the 2002 and 2012 elections. It deployed its mission following an invitation from the government of Sierra Leone and has been accredited by the National Election Commission to observe the polls.

The Center conducts election observation activities in accordance with the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and the Code of Conduct that were adopted at the United Nations in 2005 and have been endorsed by more than 50 election observation groups. The Center assesses electoral processes based on the host country’s national legal framework and its obligations for democratic elections contained in regional and international agreements.

###

"Waging Peace. Fighting Disease. Building Hope."
A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to improve life for people in over 80 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; and improving mental health care. The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide.

Over 1,000 refugees evacuated out of Libya by UNHCR - 2018-02-15 00:00:00

Since November, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has evacuated over 1,000 highly vulnerable refugees out of Libya and is looking for durable solutions for them in third countries. On Tuesday, a flight departed from Tripoli bound for, Niamey, Niger, carrying 128 refugees and on Wednesday, a second plane took 150 refugees from Tripoli to Rome, Italy, bringing to 1,084 the total number of refugees evacuated since the beginning of UNHCR’s operation, three months ago.

“These evacuations have provided a new chance at life for more than 1,000 refugees who were detained in Libya and suffered tremendously. By the end of 2018, we hope to evacuate thousands more,” said Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR’s special Envoy for the Central Mediterranean.

With the cooperation of UNHCR’s partners and thanks to the crucial support of the government of Niger, the 128 refugees evacuated to Niger on Tuesday, 13 February, are being accommodated in guesthouses in Niamey, where assistance and psychosocial support are made available pending resettlement or other durable solutions. So far, 770 refugees have been evacuated to Niger, including single mothers, families and unaccompanied and separated children.

The 150 highly vulnerable refugees who were evacuated from Tripoli to Rome on Wednesday included children and women who had been held captive for long periods of time. This was the second evacuation from Libya directly to Italy and could not have happened without the strong commitment of the Italian authorities and the support of the Libyan Government. In total, 312 refugees have been evacuated directly to Italy. Upon arrival in Rome, refugees go through medical checks and are provided with warm clothes and a hot meal before undergoing identification procedures. The refugees are then transferred to various reception facilities.

“These evacuations are the best example of the impact that international solidarity can have on refugees themselves; however, much more needs to be done. Only 16,940 resettlement places have been received so far for the 15 priority countries of asylum along the Central Mediterranean route, including Libya and Niger. We call on all countries to come forth with additional places that will provide a tangible solution for many more refugees who are still in Libya,” added Cochetel.

Please find video B-roll and UNHCR interview of refugee arrivals from Libya to Italy at the following link here.

East Ghouta, another reminder that there is no respite from nightmare for children in Syria - UNICEF - 2018-02-08 00:00:00

NEW YORK, 8 February 2018 – “This week, dozens of children have reportedly been killed and many more injured by extreme and intensifying violence in several parts of Syria.

“The violence shows no sign of abating.

“In East Ghouta alone, hundreds of children are in urgent need of medical evacuation. Four years of siege have crumbled health and other basic services critical to children’s survival and growth. Over the past few months, malnutrition has increased five-fold.

“For children who remain trapped under siege and under wanton, heavy violence across Syria, life is a living nightmare. They are struggling just to stay alive.

“I am heartbroken by what the children of Syria continue to suffer because of actions taken by adults — actions that show total disregard for the protection, safety and wellbeing of children.

“UNICEF joins calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities in Syria. Protection of children must be paramount at all times. Schools, hospitals and playgrounds should be places of safety, never targets.

“Children, wherever they are in Syria, must have access to healthcare. The evacuation of sick and wounded children from besieged areas should be a given, not part of bargaining efforts.”