New Zealand to help fund fight against measles in the Pacific region

Source: Government of New Zealand
Country: Fiji, New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga, World

Pacific Regional Action Plan for Measles offers immediate preventative action. It allows for the flexibility to respond to additional requests from Pacific nations and offers an efficient way of working regionally.
RT HON WINSTON PETERS

Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced New Zealand will contribute NZ$1 million of funding towards the joint United Nations Fund for Children (UNICEF) and World Health Organisation (WHO) Pacific Regional Action Plan for Measles.

“Prevention through vaccination is the most effective way of avoiding illness and a costly health emergency. New Zealand has collaborated with UNICEF and WHO to identify regional vulnerabilities and opportunities for early interventions to prevent further outbreaks,” Minister Peters said.

“This plan offers immediate preventative action. It allows for the flexibility to respond to additional requests from other Pacific nations and offers an efficient way of working regionally.”

Activities under the plan include targeted vaccination for children up to the age of 5 years of age, supplementary vaccine doses for new mothers and their families to protect babies too young to be vaccinated and increased measles surveillance, public health and epidemiology support to those countries most at risk.

New Zealand’s support to the regional action plan is complementary to funding 200,000 vaccines for Fiji’s current mass vaccination campaign, provision of medical supplies and emergency funding to support the mobilisation of health workers to undertake vaccinations in Tonga and the extensive package of financial, material and personnel support in response to Samoa’s measles outbreak.

Mr Peters is currently in Samoa with Minister of Pacific Peoples, Hon Aupito William Sio.

ENDS


Global effort to strengthen early warning systems expands

Source: World Meteorological Organization
Country: Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Chad, Fiji, France, Germany, Haiti, India, Marshall Islands, Mozambique, Papua New Guinea, Switzerland, Togo, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, World

The Climate Risk Early Warning Systems (CREWS) Initiative, which has invested $42 million in projects in the most vulnerable countries, has received a new contribution of 10 million euros from Germany.
Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States benefit from better weather and climate information

A global initiative to strengthen early warning systems and climate resilience in the most vulnerable countries continues to gain momentum with a new injection of Euro 10 million contribution from Germany.

The Climate Risk Early Warning Systems (CREWS) Initiative, set up in 2015, has invested USD 42 million in projects in Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States and has mobilized an additional USD 130 million from public funds of other development partners.

Thus, Fiji now has an early warning system for flash floods. Advisories are issued for sand storms in Burkina Faso, which is also now generating seasonal forecasts and informing small scale farmers through local radio stations on when to plant their crops. Papua New Guinea issued its first seasonal forecast this year thanks to cooperation with the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

The latest counties that benefit from CREWS support are Afghanistan, Chad and Togo, with projects under preparation for Haiti, as well as additional financing planned for the Pacific and West Africa.

Gerd Müller, German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, said: “We must move from talk to action. The level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is higher than it has ever been. Climate change is already happening. And those suffering the most are the developing countries who, to crown it all, are the ones that have contributed the least to this situation. That is why it is important that affected countries get proper weather forecasts, so they are not caught totally unprepared when droughts or floods occur. If they know, for example, that a storm is on its way, with heavy rainfall, they have a much better chance of being able to prepare for it and can perhaps also receive timely assistance.”

The Minister said that good weather forecasts not only make it possible to respond better to crises at short notice, they also allow more long-term climate analyses to be made. If it is clear that a lengthy drought is coming, then the planning of food supplies can be better organised.

Therefore, the Minister said, “weather forecasts are the first building block in creating a foundation that countries can use to make whatever adjustments are needed to cope with a changing climate. Germany will help them, because the knowledge is already there.”

Carole Dieschbourg Minister for the Environment, Climate and Sustainability of Luxembourg, said the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather means that early warnings to protect lives and property are now more necessary than ever.

She said it was vital to close the capacity gap and ensure that weather forecasts and climate information from powerful supercomputers are made available to vulnerable countries and communities.

“We have made progress but we really have to do more,” she told a side event at the UN Climate Change Conference on 11 December.

Ingrid Hoven of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development highlighted the role early warnings play in building resilience to climate change. She stressed the high return from such investments, whilst and encouraging comprehensive approaches to climate risk promoted through the InsuResilience initiative, that include early warnings and insurance schemes.

Germany announced an Euro 10 million contribution to the CREWS Trust Fund, in addition to the initial Euro 3 million contributed in 2016.

In support of these efforts, a new Alliance for Hydromet Development, announced on 10 December, will align international efforts to close the capacity gap on early warnings and climate information by 2030. It brings together 12 international organizations providing assistance to developing countries, including the World Bank and World Meteorological Organization.

CREWS was launched by the French Government and four other countries at COP21 in Paris to ensure that Least Developed Countries and small island developing State are able to benefit. Two additional countries have since joined, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

“CREWS is increasingly relevant because of the growing impact of climate change especially on the most vulnerable,” said France’s Ambassador for Climate Change Brigitte Collet. “It is clear we are in a race against the clock,” she said.

She said that an assessment of CREWS showed that more than 44 countries benefit, out of a target of 76 priority LDCs and SIDS. “France will remain committed.”

CREWS allows LDCs and SIDS to draw on the expertise of three partners: the World Bank and its Global Facility for Disaster Risk Reduction and Recovery, the World Meteorological Organization, that also hosts the CREWS Secretariat, and the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction.

In all these countries, WMO has successful identified the most adapted and best available technical advice that is often found in more advanced meteorological agencies to address the needs.

“CREWS is really a success story and is taking real action on the ground,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas. Half of national meteorological and hydrological services worldwide still lack proper multi-hazard early warning systems and impact-based forecasts, he said.

For instance, Tropical Cyclone Idai caused massive loss of life in Mozambique earlier this year because, whilst the storm was accurately forecast, there were insufficient advance warnings about the impacts of the Category 5 winds, huge storm surge and devastating flooding, said Mr Taalas.

By contrast, a major tropical cyclone which hit the Indian coastline in Odisha this year killed 38 people, compared to the 10,000 lives lost in a similar storm in the same location 20 years ago, said UN Disaster Risk Reduction chief Mami Mizutori. Better weather forecasts – and in particular better communication and education - were decisive, she said.

Pacific islands are among CREWS beneficiaries. Four out of the lowest-lying islands in the world are in the Pacific.

“The highest point in the Marshall islands is the landfill,” said Kosi Latu, Director-General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme.

“This puts the scale of the challenge into context. The CREWS project is so important because we are talking about the most vulnerable of the vulnerable. CREWS funding has helped local meteorological services provide weather forecasts and early warnings in simple ways which can be easily understood by local communities.

“The CREWS project enables us to raise the level of consciousness. It has helped to increase the level of understanding of early warning systems in the context of the Pacific,” said Mr Latu.

CREWS has a special gender-sensitive focus because women are often impacted differently than men by climate-related risks and are at the forefront of having action at the local level.


Education Cannot Wait allocates record US$64 million to support education in Chad, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Syria

Source: Education Cannot Wait (ECW)
Country: Chad, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic

Funding will support wider multi-year programmes that support quality inclusive education for marginalized and vulnerable children affected by the protracted crises in the four countries.
11 December 2019, New York – Education Cannot Wait (ECW) has allocated US$64 million in seed funding grants to support four new multi-year resilience programmes in Chad, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Syria. This is the largest new investment announced by the Global Fund for Education in Emergencies to date.

The seed funding will roll out interventions that are part of wider multi-year programmes facilitated by Education Cannot Wait to support quality inclusive education for marginalized and vulnerable girls and boys affected by the protracted crises in the four countries.

Taken together, the multi-year programmes aim to mobilize over US$1 billion across the four countries over the next three years to provide about 5 million children and youth with improved access to inclusive, equitable, safe and protective learning environments. “Across the world, the number of children and youth suffering the brunt of wars, disasters and forced displacement is on the rise, as humanitarian crises are lasting longer than ever before. Girls and boys living in the most challenging conditions in Chad, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Syria have been waiting for too long for the hope and protection that only education can offer,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait. “Today, together with our partners, we are taking action to end this interminable wait. We are investing in the opportunity of a brighter future for these children and youth, their communities and their countries.” The multi-year resilience programmes are designed to bridge the gap between emergency response and long-term development. In ensuring no one is left behind, the programmes all have specific focuses on reaching the most marginalized and vulnerable children and youth, such as girls and children with disabilities.

The programmes were developed on the ground in partnership with a wide range of stakeholders – national governments, UN organizations, donors, private sector and civil society. Interventions are designed to provide whole-of-child solutions in protracted crises situations where armed conflict, forced displacement, climate change, poverty, hunger, gender-based violence and discrimination are jeopardizing children’s future and derailing efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Programme interventions include everything from building protective learning spaces, training teachers and expanding school feeding programmes. Specific retention initiatives for girls and boys whose education has been interrupted due to harmful practices such as early marriage and forced recruitment are also included, as well as targeted psychosocial and mental health support to help children and youth cope with the stress and adversity that stems from living through conflict and displacement.


HLA builds new Knowledge Hub

HLA is in the process of building a new knowledge management system that is being branded as the next generation Knowledge Base which supports the knowledge needs of both existing and aspiring humanitarian logistics professionals.

The Knowledge Base is an essential restructuring of the existing HumLog Portal, and as such will continue to be housed on the HLA website. However, it will pull together a considerable amount of relevant resources from within the entire humanitarian logistics space. This is because there are still some gaps in access to knowledge resources. For information sharing, the situation is better already – actors in the community do great work in coordinating the flow of information to ensure awareness and transparency about the situation on the ground, especially during emergencies.

And to ensure that the resources in the Knowledge Base really serve the needs of the professionals, the team behind it are carrying out an assessment to better understand what these needs are. They are well underway with key informant interviews where they collected the views and insights of individuals considered to be experts within the field, and who are already closely involved with the work of the HLA as part of the Advisory Group.

The initial findings show that there are indeed a lot of good public knowledge resources out there, and as such HLA wants to link/connect to and consolidate access to them in one place. The internal knowledge management systems within the big organizations add another dimension. They are great for those who do have access while others out there lack the learning they could gain from that. Therefore, what is lacking currently is an established central source or repository for the entire community, that connects to these resources. At the same time, these experts agree on the sector's need to actively capture and save knowledge. This stems from the high turnover of humanitarian logisticians, especially in the field.  Therefore, the ability to document and then enhance access to key learning from the past will ensure that relevant knowledge is passed on and stays within the community.

As a next step, the team are launching a sector-wide survey targeted at all humanitarian logistics professionals, and those who aspire to be one, to establish what specific contents they have need of, where and how they access resources, and the type and formats of content that they consider to be useful for their work.

The findings from the engagements with these identified group of experts, as well as the survey, will help establish what needs to be a priority for the Knowledge Base. The Knowledge Base, is intended to be, at the very minimum, a portal that links to the resources that the community of professionals needs to work more effectively as humanitarian logisticians.

The intention, is not only to make it much easier for existing humanitarian professionals to find the resources they need. But rather, the resource aims to go further in building the knowledge base for training new entrants – the next generation of professionals – while maintaining quality standards.

In the meantime, the team is already working on a pilot implementation, that will change and grow with the collected feedback and ultimately transform into the Knowledge Base. It is expected to be live by the end of 2019.

The Knowledge Base is an HLA initiative being led by Lothar Weichert, a Doctoral Researcher and Chair of Logistics Management at the WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management.  Especially with the pilot, it has received and continues to receive some significant support from the Geneva based Humanitarian Library’s Shelter Cluster.   

HLA therefore invites all humanitarian logistics and supply chain professionals to respond to the survey and provide those critical insights that help shape the Knowledge Base.