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Myanmar: Ceasefire negotiations to resume 22 July

17 July 2015 - 4:29am
Source: Mizzima News Country: Myanmar

By Mizzima

Negotiators representing the Union government and armed ethnic groups will meet in Yangon on 22 July aiming to strike a deal on the official signing of the nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA) a senior adviser at the Myanmar Peace Centre said Thursday according to a report in the Global New Light of Myanmar on 17 July.

The planned talks in Yangon will involve the government’s Union Peace-Making Work Committee and a senior delegation from the ethnic armed groups, said U Hla Maung Shwe, who held talks the previous day with ethnic delegates led by Naw Zipporah Sein in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

According to sources, the meeting next week will run for two days and focus on finalizing the draft NCA and addressing the ethnic side’s demand that the signing process be inclusive of all armed groups, including those currently not officially engaged in the negotiations. The talks will also discuss who should be the NCA signatories, as well as international witnesses.

Myanmar: Election Watchdog Has Big Plans, But Are They Big Enough?

17 July 2015 - 4:12am
Source: Irrawaddy Country: Myanmar

By MOE MYINT / THE IRRAWADDY

RANGOON — A coalition of civil society organizations known as the Election Education and Observation Partners (EEOP) will be deployed at polling stations in more than 100 townships to monitor Burma’s general election on Nov. 8, according to a board of directors member of one of the organizations involved in the effort.

Speaking at an EEOP press conference in Rangoon on Wednesday, New Myanmar Foundation board member Mya Nandar said the effort would cover roughly one-third of Burma’s townships. The scale of the coalition’s coordination is both impressive and illustrative of the challenges to ensuring a free and fair poll later this year, given that the EEOP will field the country’s largest monitoring force and its members will still be absent from two-thirds of Burma’s 330 townships.

The EEOP was founded in 2014, comprising 24 local election monitoring organizations including several ethnic minority associations and community groups that plan to coordinate their observation work in an effort to ensure a credible vote.

Most of those who will be observing the polls will be doing so for the first time, but international election monitoring organizations such as the Carter Center and the Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) have been providing technical support in the lead up to the election.

Cho Mya Oo, joint secretary-2 of the Taunggyi chapter of Cherry Image, an EEOP member, told The Irrawaddy that the upcoming election would be the group’s first time observing elections, with many challenges already presenting themselves.

“One of the key challenges is the disruptions from local authorities. Some groups disturb us even when we are conducting voter list error awareness with the public in that area,” she said, specifically singling out police, Special Branch officers and local administrators as impeding those efforts in some places.

Cherry Image hopes to enlist volunteers to fan out to more than 600 polling stations in Shan State, Cho Mya Oo said.

Om Ki, director of the Chin State-based RID, also an EEOP member, said his group had similarly faced harassment from local authorities in Chin State when it tried to raise awareness about the need for voters to check voter lists for errors and petition to have any inaccuracies corrected.

He added that the EEOP had met with the UEC in Naypyidaw this week and discussed the code of conduct that election observation groups will be expected to follow.

EEOP member Kyi Min Thu of the Public Welfare Network told The Irrawaddy on Wednesday that his network planned to mobilize more than 2,500 people to monitor the election, though he acknowledged that those plans were subject to change within the context of Burma’s fluid political environment.

And while 2,500 sets of eyes may sound like a formidable deterrent against electoral fraud, placing just one of the Public Welfare Network’s observers per poll station would cover just over 5 percent of the 47,000 voting locations that the UEC has said will be open on election day.

The EEOP plans to write a report of its election day findings following the vote, using a yet-to-be-finalized, standardized questionnaire to talk to voters in an attempt to gauge to what extent the election was free and fair, according to Mya Nandar.

The EEOP will have a presence in all seven of Burma’s divisions and six of its states, with only Kachin State unmonitored by the coalition.

Myanmar: Ethnic armies vow to keep peace during election

17 July 2015 - 4:01am
Source: Democratic Voice of Burma Country: Myanmar

By NAW NOREEN

The United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) has vowed that ethnic armed groups will not disturb the upcoming November elections.

Nai Hongsa, deputy-chairman of the UNFC, told DVB on Wednesday that the armed groups will try to avoid violent clashes during the elections, despite ongoing conflict in Karen, Kachin and Shan states.

He also expressed concerns over irregularities in the voter lists.

“The government is leading efforts to hold a general election and we will not disturb it. We have no direct concerns with the polls, but wish for everyone’s voting rights to be ensured and that the elections are held freely and fairly,” said Nai Hongsa.

The Kachin Independence Organisation’s Dr Laja also said the group will prioritise their focus on the nationwide ceasefire, and reiterated his hope for a fair polling process.

“As an ethnic armed group, we have no comment about the elections since we won’t be taking part,” he said. “We are focusing our attention on the ceasefire process but we would like to see democratic, free and fair elections.”

The government’s Union Election Commission has confirmed there will be 1,171 constituencies across the country for the elections, including in Wa and Kokang regions, but it is unlikely polling will take place in these areas.

As of now, there are around 80 registered political parties, the majority of whom are ethnic-based.

Meanwhile, the Karen National Union (KNU) released a statement on Wednesday urging for calm in Karen State, recently rocked by renewed fighting between government forces and the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army.

Saw Thaw Thi Bwe, secretary-1 of the KNU, said the fighting along the new Asia Highway 1 route had affected the local populations’ livelihoods. He added that such clashes could fuel mistrust amongst the various Karen militias.

“We would like to express our concern about the conflict in Karen State,” he said. “As the region is home to various armed organisations, miscommunication can lead to conflict.”

In its statement, the KNU also called for both sides in the current conflict to stand down and find a peaceful solution. It also offered to help mediate negotiations.

Talks surrounding a Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement are ongoing.

Myanmar: UN urges more support for Rohingyas, but state media suggests they are overfed

17 July 2015 - 2:59am
Source: Democratic Voice of Burma Country: Myanmar

A leading UN official has called for more support for the 140,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Arakan State, the majority of whom are Rohingya Muslims. However, on the same day – 16 July – Burmese state media released a report suggesting that IDPs have an excess of UN-supplied rations.

UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection Volker Türk called for “more concerted support to resolve the plight of displaced people in Myanmar [Burma] and those with undetermined citizenship”, the UN’s Reliefweb site reported.

Türk this week concluded a five-day mission to Burma, during which time he visited IDPs camps, as well as the mostly Buddhist city of Sittwe and predominantly Muslim town of Maungdaw,

“Türk heard directly from the affected populations in Rakhine [Arakan] State, where 140,000 people are still internally displaced after the outbreak of inter-communal violence three years ago,” the UN report said, noting that Arakan is one of the least developed states in the country and home to an estimated one million people of undetermined citizenship — predominantly Rohingya.

“This population is affected by restrictions on freedom of movement and access to livelihoods and services such as health and education,” it said.

Meanwhile, Burma’s state-run Global New Light of Myanmar reported an entirely contradictory viewpoint on Thursday, citing sources who allege that “excess relief supplies provided to refugee camps in Rakhine State are being sold at roadside stalls”.

“International organizations, UN agencies and the Rakhine State Government have been supplying Bengali [Rohingya] refugee camps in Sittwe Township with food, kitchenware, clothes, plastic sheets and items for women and children on a monthly basis,” New Light reported.

It also noted that despite reports of shortages in the camps, cited sources said that “relief supplies were abundant”, and that such items were being resold at roadside shops in a Rohingya village

Thailand: Our Progress So Far [Infographic]

16 July 2015 - 11:04pm
Source: Jungle Aid Country: Myanmar, Thailand

Myanmar: Myanmar: Unlocking the Potential - A Strategy for High, Sustained, and Inclusive Growth

16 July 2015 - 10:59pm
Source: Asian Development Bank Country: Myanmar

AUTHOR
Findlay, Ronald
Park, Cyn-Young
Verbiest, Jean-Pierre

Speeding up development in Myanmar requires a multipronged but more coherent strategy targeted at strong and resilient growth, employment generation and, ultimately, rapid reduction of poverty.

Recognizing the need to formulate policy strategies for the changes it faces, Myanmar started a multifaceted reform process in 2011. This paper briefly reviews Myanmar’s history and its legacy, examines the economy and some of the main policy reforms undertaken since 2011, assesses development potential, and outlines medium- and long-term growth strategy based on the country’s specific context and international best experiences and practices.

Myanmar: UNHCR's protection chief completes visit to Myanmar with call for more support to Rakhine state

16 July 2015 - 2:48pm
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Myanmar

YANGON, Myanmar, July 16 (UNHCR) – A top official of the UN refugee agency responsible for protection has called for more concerted support to resolve the plight of displaced people in Myanmar and those with undetermined citizenship.

UNHCR's Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Volker Türk, made his remarks at the end of a five-day mission to Myanmar on Monday during which he visited Yangon and the capital Nay Pyi Taw, as well as Sittwe and Maungdaw in Rakhine state.

Rakhine state is one of the least developed in the country. It is home not only to internally displaced people, but also to an estimated 1 million people of undetermined citizenship -- predominantly Rohingya living in the state's northern townships.

This population is affected by restrictions on freedom of movement and access to livelihoods and services such as health and education.

Türk heard directly from the affected populations in Rakhine state, where 140,000 people are still internally displaced after the outbreak of inter-communal violence three years ago.

In a positive development, when breaking the Ramadan fast together with Rakhine and Rohingya community leaders in Maungdaw, he was told that while challenges remain in building trust, the communities have a long history of co-existence.

"We have been living together since before Maungdaw town existed," said one Rohingya leader. His comment was then affirmed by a Rakhine representative.

Travelling to a small village an hour's drive from Maungdaw, Türk saw first-hand the impact of restrictions on the Rohingya population and the harmful effects of their lack of rights associated with citizenship. "Local orders" are in place that prevent them from moving easily from one village to another, greatly limiting their livelihoods. They also lack access to higher educational opportunities. Since June 2012, Rohingya students have been unable to attend Sittwe University – the only university in the state.

In Nay Pyi Taw, he held discussions with U Khin Yi, Minister for Immigration and Population, and other government officials and parliamentarians.

Following up on the issues raised in Bangkok in late May at a regional meeting on irregular migration in the Indian Ocean, Türk discussed the recent "boat crisis" in the region and the long-term situation in Rakhine state. He reiterated UNHCR's readiness to assist all governments in the region, including that of Myanmar, to address the movements of people from Bangladesh and Myanmar.

At the end of his visit, the Assistant High Commissioner shared his findings at a briefing with diplomats and representatives of international organisations in Yangon.

Describing the regional dimension of the maritime movements in the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea, he emphasised that in order to find solutions, it is key to work with all of the communities, together with the authorities, to promote peaceful co-existence in the Rakhine state.

"The future of the country depends on the future of all of its composite parts," Türk said at the briefing, noting that everyone in the country should have the opportunity to benefit from the transformation currently taking place.

By Kasita Rochanakorn in Yangon, Myanmar

World: ADDIS-ABEBA : la FAO et l'UE lancent une initiative pour réduire l'insécurité alimentaire dans 35 pays

16 July 2015 - 2:44pm
Source: UN News Service Country: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gambia, Guatemala, Haiti, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Niger, Pakistan, Rwanda, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Vanuatu, World, Zambia, Zimbabwe

16 juillet 2015 – L'Union européenne et l'Organisation des Nations Unies pour l'alimentation et l'agriculture (FAO) ont lancé un nouveau partenariat visant à renforcer la sécurité alimentaire et nutritionnelle, l'agriculture durable et la résilience dans au moins 35 pays.

Ces programmes ont été annoncés mercredi lors d'une réunion entre le Commissaire de l'UE chargé de la coopération internationale et du développement, Neven Mimica, et le Directeur général de la FAO, José Graziano da Silva, en marge de la troisième Conférence internationale sur le financement du développement.

L'Union européenne contribue à hauteur de 50 millions d'euros et la FAO d'environ 23,5 millions à cette initiative, qui sera pilotée par les pays en fonction de la demande.

« Cette initiative sera décisive pour aider les pays partenaires et les organisations régionales à mobiliser les moyens politiques, techniques et financiers autour du but commun de réduction de l'insécurité alimentaire et nutritionnelle », a affirmé M. Mimica.

« Cette nouvelle phase de notre partenariat avec l'Union européenne permettra de renforcer la capacité de la FAO d'aider les gouvernements à acquérir les données et l'information nécessaires pour élaborer et mettre en œuvre des politiques efficaces dans le but de s'attaquer aux causes profondes de la faim et de développer la résilience aux chocs et aux crises », a souligné de son côté M. Graziano da Silva.

Malgré les progrès réalisés au cours des dernières décennies, selon le dernier rapport des Nations Unies sur l'insécurité alimentaire, environ 800 millions de personnes dans le monde souffrent de la faim, tandis que des millions d'autres encore n'ont pas accès à une alimentation saine.

La nouvelle initiative consiste en deux programmes quinquennaux rattachés entre eux:

• Le mécanisme FIRST (Impact sur la sécurité alimentaire et nutritionnelle, Résilience, Durabilité et Transformation) visant à renforcer les capacités des gouvernements et des administrations régionales en matière de sécurité alimentaire et de nutrition ainsi que de mise en œuvre de politiques agricoles durables, sous la forme d'un appui aux politiques et de développement des capacités.

• Le programme INFORMED (Information pour la sécurité alimentaire et nutritionnelle et la résilience au service des décisions) contribuera à renforcer la résilience face aux crises alimentaires dues aux catastrophes anthropiques et naturelles. Un des moyens d'atteindre ce but est de fournir aux décideurs des informations périodiques, factuelles et en temps utile.

Liste préliminaire des pays où les programmes seront mis en œuvre :

19 pays pour INFORMED : Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cambodge, Djibouti, République démocratique du Congo, Ethiopie, Gambie, Haïti, Kenya, Mauritanie, Myanmar, Pakistan, République centrafricaine, Soudan, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Tadjikistan et Zimbabwe.

27 pays pour FIRST : Bénin, Burkina Faso, Cambodge, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, Djibouti, Fidji, Guatemala, Haïti, Iles Salomon, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritanie, Mozambique, Myanmar, Niger, Ouganda, Pakistan, République-Unie de Tanzanie, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Tchad, Vanuatu, Zambie et Zimbabwe.

World: L’Union européenne et la FAO lancent deux nouveaux programmes à l’appui de la sécurité alimentaire, de l’agriculture durable et de la résilience

16 July 2015 - 7:27am
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization Country: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gambia, Guatemala, Haiti, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Niger, Pakistan, Rwanda, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Vanuatu, World, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Aide aux pays partenaires et aux organismes régionaux pour élaborer des politiques plus énergiques

16 juillet 2015, Addis-Abeba – L'Union européenne et la FAO ont lancé un nouveau partenariat visant à renforcer la sécurité alimentaire et nutritionnelle, l'agriculture durable et la résilience dans au moins 35 pays*.

Les programmes ont annoncés ici hier lors d'une réunion entre le Commissaire de l'UE chargé de la coopération internationale et du développement, Neven Mimica, et le Directeur général de la FAO, José Graziano da Silva, durant la 3ème Conférence internationale sur le financement du développement.

L'Union européenne contribue à hauteur de 50 millions d'euros et la FAO d'environ 23,5 millions à cette initiative, qui sera pilotée par les pays en fonction de la demande.

"Cette initiative sera décisive pour aider les pays partenaires et les organisations régionales à mobiliser les moyens politiques, techniques et financiers autour du but commun de réduction de l'insécurité alimentaire et nutritionnelle. Elle contribuera également à renforcer le partenariat entre l'Union européenne et la FAO", a affirmé M. Mimica.

"Cette nouvelle phase de notre partenariat avec l'Union européenne permettra de renforcer la capacité de la FAO d'aider les gouvernements à acquérir les données et l'information nécessaires pour élaborer et mettre en œuvre des politiques efficaces dans le but de s'attaquer aux causes profondes de la faim et de développer la résilience aux chocs et aux crises", a souligné M. Graziano da Silva.

La nouvelle initiative consiste en deux programmes quinquennaux rattachés entre eux:

  • Le mécanisme FIRST (Impact sur la sécurité alimentaire et nutritionnelle, Résilience, Durabilité et Transformation) visant à renforcer les capacités des gouvernements et des administrations régionales en matière de sécurité alimentaire et de nutrition ainsi que de mise en œuvre de politiques agricoles durables, sous la forme d'un appui aux politiques et de développement des capacités.
  • Le programme INFORMED (Information pour la sécurité alimentaire et nutritionnelle et la résilience au service des décisions) contribuera à renforcer la résilience face aux crises alimentaires dues aux catastrophes anthropiques et naturelles. Un des moyens d'atteindre ce but est de fournir aux décideurs des informations périodiques, factuelles et en temps utile.

Priorités communes de lutte contre la faim et la malnutrition

Malgré les progrès réalisés au cours des dernières décennies, selon le dernier rapport des Nations Unies sur l'insécurité alimentaire, quelque 800 millions de personnes dans le monde sont encore victimes de la faim, tandis que des millions d'autres encore n'ont pas accès à une alimentation saine.

Par ailleurs, ces dernières années, les crises alimentaires – souvent la conséquence de conflits ou de catastrophes naturelles, eux-mêmes dus au changement climatique ou à la volatilité des prix des aliments – ont frappé des populations en nombre toujours croissant, Les personnes vulnérables ont de plus en plus de mal à se procurer de la nourriture en quantité suffisante et à gagner leur vie face à de tels chocs.

Un récent rapport conjoint de la FAO, du Fonds international pour le développement agricole (FIDA) et du Programme alimentaire mondial (PAM) estime qu'il faudra encore 267 milliards de dollars par an pour éradiquer la faim dans le monde d'ici 2030 sous forme d'investissements dans les zones rurales et urbaines ainsi que dans la protection sociale.

Compte tenu de ces enjeux, les différents partenaires des initiatives FIRST et INFORMED reconnaissent la nécessité d'une action coordonnée de l'ensemble des parties prenantes afin d'affronter efficacement les causes profondes de la faim et de la malnutrition.

L'UE contribue à ces initiatives par le biais du programme «Biens publics mondiaux et les défis qui les accompagnent» (GPGC), au titre du budget de l'UE alloué à l'aide au développement (Instrument de développement et de coopération, ou ICD).

L'Union européenne, un des bailleurs de fonds les plus importants de la FAO, a adhéré à l'Organisation en tant que membre en 1991. En 2004, l'UE et la FAO intensifient leur collaboration, devenant des partenaires stratégiques. Ce dernier accord consolide et étend cette coopération de longue date.

  • Liste préliminaire des pays où les programmes seront mis en œuvre:

19 pays pour INFORMED: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cambodge, Djibouti, République démocratique du Congo, Ethiopie, Gambie, Haïti, Kenya, Mauritanie, Myanmar, Pakistan, République centrafricaine, Soudan, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Tadjikistan et Zimbabwe

27 pays pour FIRST: Bénin, Burkina Faso, Cambodge, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, Djibouti, Fiji, Guatemala, Haïti, Iles Salomon, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritanie, Mozambique, Myanmar, Niger, Ouganda, Pakistan, République-Unie de Tanzanie, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Tchad, Vanuatu, Zambie et Zimbabwe

Contacts
Liliane Kambirigi, Chargée de communication
Bureau régional de la FAO pour l'Afrique
(+233) (0)26 232 4303 (à Addis-Abeba pour la Conférence)
liliane.kambirigi@fao.org

Peter Mayer
Relations médias, FAO (Rome)
(+39) 06 570 53304
peter.mayer@fao.org

Alexandre Polack
Porte-parole de la Commission européenne pour la coopération internationale et le développement et l'aide humanitaire
(+32) 460 767 000
alexandre.polack@ec.europa.eu

Sharon Zarb
Chargée de presse pour la coopération internationale et le développement/Bureau EEAS (Bruxelles) (+32) 229 92256
sharon.zarb@ec.europa.eu

World: European Union and FAO launch new programmes to boost food and nutrition security, sustainable agriculture and resilience

16 July 2015 - 5:29am
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization Country: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gambia, Guatemala, Haiti, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Niger, Pakistan, Rwanda, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Vanuatu, World, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Partner countries and regional bodies will receive support to develop stronger policies in these crucial sectors

16 July 2015, Addis Ababa - The European Union and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have launched a new partnership agreement to boost food and nutrition security, sustainable agriculture and resilience in at least 35 countries*.

The new programmes were announced yesteday at a meeting between the European Union Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, and FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva during the 3rd International Conference on Financing for Development, in Ethiopia.

The European Union is contributing €50 million and FAO €23.5 million to this initiative, which will be country led and demand driven.

Commissioner Mimica said: "This initiative will be crucial to support partner countries and regional organizations in pulling together political, technical and financial means towards the common goal of reducing food and nutrition insecurity. It will also contribute to strengthening the partnership between the European Union and FAO."

"This newest phase in our partnership with the European Union will greatly reinforce FAO's ability to engage with governments to help them acquire the data and information they need to develop and implement effective policies aimed at tackling hunger's root causes and building resilience to shocks and crises," said Graziano da Silva.

The new initiative consists of two linked five-year programmes:

The Food and Nutrition Security Impact, Resilience, Sustainability and Transformation (FIRST) facility, which will enhance the capacities of governments and regional administrations to improve food security, nutrition and sustainable agriculture policies and better implement them. This will be done by providing policy assistance and capacity development support. The Information for Nutrition Food Security and Resilience for Decision Making (INFORMED) programme will contribute to strengthening resilience to withstand food crises as a result of human-induced and natural disasters. Providing regular, timely and evidence-based information to decision-makers is one of the means to achieve this goal.

Shared priorities in fighting hunger and malnutrition

Despite the progress made in recent decades, according to the latest UN food insecurity report, around 800 million people in the world still go hungry and millions more do not have access to healthy diets.

Moreover, in recent years an increasing number of people have been affected by food crises, often resulting from conflicts, natural disasters, also due to climate change, or food price volatility. Vulnerable people are finding it increasingly difficult to ensure they have enough food and can earn a living in the face of such shocks.

A recent report by FAO, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the World Food Programme (WFP) estimates that eradicating world hunger by 2030 will require an estimated additional $267 billion a year in investments in rural and urban areas and in social protection.

Given the challenges, the various partners participating in FIRST and INFORMED initiatives recognize the need for coordinated action by all stakeholders to effectively address the root causes of hunger and malnutrition.

The European Union's contribution to the initiatives comes from the Global Public Good and Challenge (GPGC) programme, under the European Union's budget dedicated to development aid (Development and Cooperation Instrument, or DCI).

The European Union - one of FAO's biggest donors - joined the Organization as a Member 1991. In 2004 the European Union and FAO became strategic partners, deepening their working relationship. This latest agreement strengthens and expands on that long-standing collaboration.

  • Preliminary list of countries in which the programmes will be implemented are:

19 countries for INFORMED: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Central African Republic, Djibouti, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, the Gambia, Haiti, Kenya, Mauritania, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, the Sudan, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.

27 countries for FIRST: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, Cuba, Djibouti, Fiji, Guatemala, Haiti, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, the Niger, Pakistan, Rwanda, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Vanuatu, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Contact
Liliane Kambirigi, Communication Officer
FAO Regional Office for Africa (in Addis Ababa for conference)
(+233) (0)26 232 4303
liliane.kambirigi@fao.org

Peter Mayer
Media Relations (Rome)
(+39) 06 570 53304
peter.mayer@fao.org

Alexandre Polack
European Commission Spokesperson for International Cooperation and Development and Humanitarian Aid
(+32) 460 767 000
alexandre.polack@ec.europa.eu

Sharon Zarb
Press Officer for International Cooperation and Development /EEAS Office (Brussels)
(+32) 229 92256
sharon.zarb@ec.europa.eu

Myanmar: Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Leila Zerrougui, concludes her first visit to Myanmar

16 July 2015 - 5:06am
Source: UN Office of the SRSG for Children and Armed Conflict Country: Myanmar

Yangon, 16 July 2015 – The United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for children and armed conflict, Leila Zerrougui, concluded a five-day visit to Myanmar today. Her first visit to the country, at the invitation of the Government,aimed to assess the impact of the conflict on children in accordance with United Nations Security Council resolution 1612, focusing in particular on the implementation of the Joint Action Plan (JAP) signed in 2012 by the Government and the Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting (CTFMR) to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children by the armed forces of Myanmar (Tatmadaw). The SRSG visited Nay Pyi Taw, Yangon, Mandalay and Myitkyina (Kachin state).

In her high-level meetings with key ministries, SRSG Zerrougui commended the important progress made by the Government in the implementation of the JAP. She welcomed the new directives and mechanisms put in place to address underage recruitment, and noted that since 2012, 646 former child soldiers have been released by the Tatmadaw. The SRSG was encouraged by the openness of Government interlocutors with whom she had frank and constructive discussions.

“Despite this progress,” the SRSG emphasized, “it is critical to close the remaining gaps to protect children and ensure that no one can recruit them.” In this regard, the SRSG pointed to the need to apply robust age assessment within the centralized military recruitment process, and include the prevention of violations against children in the standard military curriculum. “A professional army does not need children within its ranks.”

The SRSG underlined the importance of criminalizing the recruitment and use of children, whether it be committed by civilian brokers or military personnel. She expressed concern about the detention of children who have allegedly ‘deserted’ the army. “These children should never have been recruited in the first place,” she said. “Detain the recruiters, not the children.”

In this context, the SRSG welcomed the intention of the Government to sign the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict in the near future, and to include a chapter on children and armed conflict in the new Child Law.

Reflecting on her meeting with former child soldiers, some of whom are living with long-term physical and emotional scars of conflict, Ms. Zerrougui stressed the need to address the root causes that foster child recruitment, including through increasing access to education and employment opportunities.

The SRSG also took the opportunity to enter into dialogue with several of the seven ethnic armed groupsalso listed for recruitment and use of children*. During her meetings with representatives of ethnic armed groups, the SRSG expressed the hope that the seven listed groups will enter into action plans to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children under 18. She called for access by the United Nations to the conflict-affected areas to negotiate action plans directly, to monitor the situation, and to provide humanitarian services.

The SRSG highlighted the importance of including child protection in the ongoing peace process between the Government and ethnic armed groups. “Addressing common concerns relating to the protection of children can be an entry point for building trust and de-escalating tensions between the parties. In my experience, this has worked well in other peace processes,” she said.

“I am encouraged by the meaningful dialogue I have had during my visit. Now I would like to see the Government translate its expressed commitment into proactive measures to close the gaps and fully implement all provisions of the JAP,” said Ms. Zerrougui. “I call upon all parties to the conflict in Myanmar to immediately stop the recruitment and use of children under 18. By doing so, they will demonstrate their true commitment to peace.”

Background information:

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict serves as the leading UN advocate for the protection and well-being of children affected by conflict. In 2014, the SRSG and UNICEF launched a joint campaign, “Children, Not Soldiers”, which aims to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children by Government security forces by 2016. Myanmar is one of seven countries that are part of this global campaign.

In 2005, the Security Council established a Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism (MRM) to systematically monitor, document and report on grave violations committed against children by parties to a conflict, either by armed forces or armed groups. The six grave violations are killing or maiming of children, recruitment and use of children, attacks against schools or hospitals, sexual violence against children, abduction of children, and denial of humanitarian access for children. The UN Secretary-General lists in his annual report parties who engage in recruitment and use, killing or maiming, sexual violence, attack against schools or hospitals, and/or abductions of children.

  • In addition to the Tatmadaw, there are seven non-state armed groups listed by the United Nations Secretary-General for the recruitment and use of children in Myanmar. They are:
  • Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA)
  • Kachin Independence Army (KIA)
  • Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA)
  • Karen National Liberation Army Peace Council
  • Karenni Army (KA)
  • Shan State Army South (SSA-S)
  • United Wa State Army (UWSA)

The CTFMR was established in Myanmar in 2007 and is co-chaired by the UN Resident Coordinator and the UNICEF Representative. The CTFMR in Myanmar includes relevant UN agencies (ILO, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICEF, OCHA, UN Resident Coordinator’s Office and WFP), Save the Children and World Vision. The CTFMR is mandated to monitor and report on the six grave violations against children in Myanmar, and to provide a coordinated response to grave violations.

In November 2013, UNICEF supported the Myanmar Government to launch a nation-wide campaign to raise awareness of its commitment to end the use and recruitment of children by the Tatmadaw. As part of this campaign, and on behalf of the CTFMR, UNICEF and World Vision are managing two hotlines (09-421166701 and 09-421166702) where anyone can alert and report suspected cases of children being recruited or used by the Tatmadaw.

For more information please contact:
- Mariana Palavra, Communication Specialist, UNICEF Myanmar, +95 9795452618, mpalavra@unicef.org
- Sharon Riggle, Chief of Office, Office of the SRSG for Children and Armed Conflict, riggle@un.org

Myanmar: Scramble to fix Myanmar's error-riddled voters roll

16 July 2015 - 1:25am
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Myanmar

Yangon, Myanmar | AFP | Thursday 7/16/2015 - 05:04 GMT

by Delphine THOUVENOT / Hla-Hla HTAY

"Go and check the voters lists" is the persistent refrain of worried opposition activists on a door-to-door campaign in Myanmar, armed with copies of electoral rolls they say are riddled with errors and could deny many the chance to vote in a historic ballot.

Criss-crossing neighbourhoods, opposition teams and activists have been trying to educate a population devoid of experience in democracy as the former military-ruled nation prepares for its most important election in a generation on November 8.

"We've found many mistakes, wrong names, wrong birth dates," said Thaung Htut, an official with Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition National League for Democracy party (NLD) who fears time is running out to amend the rolls ahead of the crunch polls.

Sitting with colleagues on tiny plastic chairs beside a Buddhist temple, he scans official preliminary voter lists posted on outdoor boards by local authorities as part of a pilot project.

They check the official lists and give residents the forms they need to demand corrections, if they find errors.

Observers say election authorities are genuinely determined to ensure the polls -- the first NLD contested nationwide vote since 1990 -- are credible, as the world watches for a benchmark of democratic progress under the quasi civilian government that took power in 2011.

But the process of computerising more than 30 million voter names for the first time is a major challenge in a country where the electoral system is being built from scratch.

The full rolls should be published nationwide in August and voters have until October to fix any errors.

  • 'Up to 80 percent error rate' -

But even allowing for the goodwill of the reformist government, the NLD is scrambling to ensure the lists are checked early, fearful that huge numbers could be disenfranchised.

Lawmaker Aung San Suu Kyi -- who spent some 15 years under house arrest -- has raised fears that the error rate on preliminary lists is between 30 and 80 percent in certain areas of Yangon, the country's largest and most advanced city.

"How are we going to correct all of these lists in time for the election? And if things are that bad in Rangoon (Yangon), how will they be in the border areas, for example?" she said during a June interview with the Washington Post.

The Nobel laureate has herself gone door-to-door in her rural Kawhmu constituency and the capital Naypyidaw, where she lives during parliamentary sessions, to persuade people to overcome their wariness of the authorities and check the rolls.

On lists posted on the streets in Yangon, a suprising number of voters are listed as born on June 30 -- a date the election commission said is used for people who do not remember their birthdates.

"The dead are on the list but those who are alive are not there," complained Nilar Myint, 53, a resident of Bahan district, after an NLD team had passed through.

Even the country's Union Election Commission has admitted lists have widespread flaws, blaming technical problems and human error in a recent notice in state media.

But they insist there is still time to rectify many of the inaccuracies.

  • Paper files -

While dramatic reforms have taken place in the private sector in Myanmar, the public service remains largely ineffective.

Piles of paper files accumulate in ministries where the idea of digitising records has emerged only recently -- paradoxically in a country swarming to social media. Typewriters can still be seen in some offices.

The electoral commission itself was only established in 2010 starting with a few dozen civil servants.

One of its major tasks was to digitise huge tracts of information held on paper files.

"We started computerising the lists only in November 2014," said Thant Zin Aung, from the electoral commission in Yangon.

Like many others, the former army officer says he was "transferred" to the commission after they started recruiting in 2013.

A television campaign for August subsidised by the US-funded International Foundation for Electoral Systems, which donated half of the commission's 2,000 computers, is set to encourage voters to verify they are on the electoral roll.

The commission has also recently launched a website and Facebook page called "Checkvoterlist" to check registrations online.

One western consultant said officials were battling an unfamiliar system to try and get all the information and changes uploaded in time.

"Data are not updated, they are very inconsistent," the consultant told AFP, on condition of anonymity.

dth-hla/ceb/jta/jg

© 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse

Myanmar: Flood Waters Over Western Rakhine State, Myanmar (15 Jul 2015)

15 July 2015 - 11:18pm
Source: UNOSAT Country: Myanmar

Analysis with SENTINEL-1 Satellite Data Acquired 11 July 2015 and Landsat-8 Satellite Data Acquired 24 February 2015

This map illustrates satellite-detected flood waters in the western part of Rakhine State in the townships of Ann, Kyaukpyu, Toungup and Myebon, Myanmar as imaged by the SENTINEL-1 satellite on 11 July 2015. Heavy rains at the onset of the monsoon season have caused limited flooding. The most affected lands seem to be mainly agricultural and/or paddy fields, many of which are of course frequently inundated at other times as well. This is a preliminary analysis and has not yet been validated in the field. Please send ground feedback to UNITAR-UNOSAT.

World: How AIDS changed everything — MDG6: 15 years, 15 lessons of hope from the AIDS response

14 July 2015 - 3:40pm
Source: UNAIDS Country: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Uganda, World, Zambia, Zimbabwe

UNAIDS announces that the goal of 15 million people on life-saving HIV treatment by 2015 has been met nine months ahead of schedule

The world has exceeded the AIDS targets of Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 6 and is on track to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

ADDIS ABABA/GENEVA, 14 July 2015—The AIDS targets of MDG 6—halting and reversing the spread of HIV—have been achieved and exceeded, according to a new report released today by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). New HIV infections have fallen by 35% and AIDS-related deaths by 41%. The global response to HIV has averted 30 million new HIV infections and nearly 8 million (7.8 million) AIDS-related deaths since 2000, when the MDGs were set.

“The world has delivered on halting and reversing the AIDS epidemic,” said Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations. “Now we must commit to ending the AIDS epidemic as part of the Sustainable Development Goals.”

Released in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on the sidelines of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, the report demonstrates that the response to HIV has been one of the smartest investments in global health and development, generating measurable results for people and economies. It also shows that the world is on track to meet the investment target of US$ 22 billion for the AIDS response by 2015 and that concerted action over the next five years can end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

“Fifteen years ago there was a conspiracy of silence. AIDS was a disease of the “others” and treatment was for the rich and not for the poor,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “We proved them wrong, and today we have 15 million people on treatment—15 million success stories.”

How AIDS changed everything—MDG 6: 15 years, 15 lesson of hope from the AIDS response celebrates the milestone achievement of 15 million people on antiretroviral treatment—an accomplishment deemed impossible when the MDGs were established 15 years ago. It also looks at the incredible impact the AIDS response has had on people’s lives and livelihoods, on families, communities and economies, as well as the remarkable influence the AIDS response has had on many of the other MDGs. The report includes specific lessons to take forward into the SDGs, as well as the urgent need to front-load investments and streamline programmes for a five-year sprint to set the world on an irreversible path to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

Achieving MDG 6: halting and reversing the spread of HIV

In 2000, the world was witnessing an extraordinary number of new HIV infections. Every day, 8500 people were becoming newly infected with the virus and 4300 people were dying of AIDS-related illnesses. How AIDS changed everything describes how, against all odds, huge rises in new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths were halted and reversed.

New HIV infections

In 2000, AIDS began to be taken seriously. Far-sighted global leadership rallied, and the response that ensued made history. Between 2000 and 2014, new HIV infections dropped from 3.1 million to 2 million, a reduction of 35%. Had the world stood back to watch the epidemic unfold, the annual number of new HIV infections is likely to have risen to around 6 million by 2014.

In 2014, the report shows that 83 countries, which account for 83% of all people living with HIV, have halted or reversed their epidemics, including countries with major epidemics, such as India, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

“As a mother living with HIV I did everything in my capacity to ensure my children were born HIV-free, said Abiyot Godana, Case Manager at the Entoto Health Center. “My husband has grabbed my vision of ending AIDS and together we won’t let go of this hope. Our two children are a part of an AIDS-free generation and will continue our legacy.” Ethiopia has made significant progress in preventing new HIV infections among children. In 2000, around 36 000 children became infected with HIV. However, by 2014 that number had dropped by 87%, to 4800, as coverage of antiretroviral therapy to prevent new HIV infections among children increased to 73%.

Stopping new HIV infections among children has been one of the most remarkable successes in the AIDS response. In 2000, around 520 000 children became newly infected with HIV. In the absence of antiretroviral therapy, children were dying in large numbers. This injustice prompted the world to act—ensuring that pregnant women living with HIV had access to medicines to prevent their children from becoming infected with the virus became a top global priority.

The unprecedented action that followed achieved results. Between 2000 and 2014, the percentage of pregnant women living with HIV with access to antiretroviral therapy rose to 73% and new HIV infections among children dropped by 58%.

By 2014, UNAIDS estimates that 85 countries had less than 50 new HIV infections among children per year, and in 2015 Cuba became the first country to be certified by the World Health Organization as having eliminated new HIV infections among children.

AIDS-related deaths

The second, critical measure for determining the success of MDG 6 is progress in halting and reversing the number of AIDS-related deaths. In 2000, AIDS was a death sentence. People who became infected with HIV had just a few years to live and the vast majority of children born with the virus died before they reached their fifth birthday.

Against incredible odds, the pace of antiretroviral therapy scale-up increased, ensuring more people remained alive and well. By 2005, AIDS-related deaths began to reverse, falling by 41% from 2005 to 2014.

Making the impossible, possible—15 million people on HIV treatment

Ensuring access to antiretroviral therapy for 15 million people is an achievement deemed impossible 15 years ago. In 2000, fewer than 1% of people living with HIV in low- and middle-income countries had access to treatment, as the sky-high prices of medicines—around US$ 10 000 per person per year—put them out of reach. The inequity of access and injustice sparked global moral outrage, which created one of the most defining achievements of the response to HIV—massive reductions in the price of life-saving antiretroviral medicines.

By 2014, advocacy, activism, science, political will and a willingness by the pharmaceutical companies has brought the price of medicines for HIV down by 99%, to around US$ 100 per person per year for first-line formulations.

In 2014, 40% of all people living with HIV had access to antiretroviral therapy, a 22-fold increase over the past 14 years. In sub-Saharan Africa, 10.7 million people had access, 6.5 million (61%) of whom were women. Ensuring treatment for 15 million people around the world proves beyond a doubt that treatment can be scaled up even in resource-poor settings.

As access to treatment increased, the world raised the bar and has repeatedly set ambitious targets, culminating in today’s call of ensuring access to treatment for all 36.9 million people living with HIV.

Progress in ensuring access to HIV treatment has, however, been slower for children than for adults. As of 2014, only 32% of the 2.6 million children living with HIV had been diagnosed and only 32% of children living with HIV had access to antiretroviral therapy.

While the price of first-line medicines has reduced significantly, the prices of second and new generation medicines are still much too high and need to be urgently negotiated down.

Knowledge ensures access

How AIDS changed everything includes exciting new information about access to treatment once people know their HIV status. Some 75% of people who know they have the virus are accessing antiretroviral therapy, showing that the majority of people do come forward for treatment and have access once they are diagnosed with HIV.

This emphasizes the urgent need to scale up HIV testing. In 2014, only 54% (19.8 million) of the 36.9 million people who are living with HIV knew that they are living with the virus.

An investment, not a cost

How AIDS changed everything shows how the economic impact is one of the greatest achievements of the response to HIV and one that will continue to yield results in years to come.

“The world went from millions to billions and each dollar invested today is producing a US$ 17 return,” said Mr Sidibé. “If we frontload investments and Fast-Track our efforts over the next five years, we will end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.”

Since 2000, an estimated US$ 187 billion has been invested in the AIDS response, US$ 90 billion of which came from domestic sources. By 2014, around 57% of AIDS investments came from domestic sources and 50 countries invested more than 75% of their responses from their own budgets—a big success for country ownership.

The United States of America has invested more than US$ 59 billion in the AIDS response and is the largest international contributor. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria invests nearly US$ 4 billion each year towards AIDS programmes and has disbursed more than US$ 15.7 billion since its creation in 2002.

The report also shows that the next five years will be critical. Front-loading investments in the fragile five-year window up to 2020 could reduce new HIV infections by 89% and AIDS-related deaths by 81% by 2030.

Current investments in the AIDS response are around US$ 22 billion a year. That would need to be increased by US$ 8–12 billion a year in order to meet the Fast-Track Target of US$ 31.9 billion in 2020. By meeting the 2020 target, the need for resources would begin to permanently decline, reducing to US$ 29.3 billion in 2030 and far less in the future. This would produce benefits of more than US$ 3.2 trillion that extend well beyond 2030.

The report underscores that international assistance, especially for low-income and low-middle-income countries, will be necessary in the short term before sustainable financing can be secured in the long term. Sub-Saharan Africa will require the largest share of global AIDS financing: US$ 15.8 billion in 2020.

Countries that took charge have produced results

Countries that rapidly mounted robust responses to their epidemics saw impressive results. In 1980, life expectancy in Zimbabwe was around 60 years of age. In 2000, when the MDGs were set, life expectancy had dropped to just 44 years of age, largely owing to the impact of the AIDS epidemic. By 2013, however, life expectancy had risen again to 60 years of age as new HIV infections were reduced and access to antiretroviral treatment expanded.

Ethiopia has been particularly affected by the AIDS response, with 73 000 people dying of AIDS-related illnesses in 2000. Concerted efforts by the Ethiopian government have secured a drop of 71% in AIDS-related deaths between the peak in 2005 and 2014.

In Senegal, one of the earliest success stories of the global AIDS response, new HIV infections have declined by more than 87% since 2000. Similarly, Thailand, another success story, has reduced new HIV infections by 71% and AIDS-related deaths by 64%.

South Africa turned around its decline in life expectancy within 10 years, rising from 51 years in 2005 to 61 by the end of 2014, on the back a massive increase in access to antiretroviral therapy. South Africa has the largest HIV treatment programme in the world, with more than 3.1 million people on antiretroviral therapy, funded almost entirely from domestic sources. In the last five years alone, AIDS-related deaths have declined by 58% in South Africa.

Leaving no one behind

Much progress has been made in expanding HIV prevention services for key populations, even though significant gaps remain. Although more than 100 countries criminalize some form of sex work, sex workers continue to report the highest levels of condom use in the world—more than 80% in most regions.

Drug use remains criminalized in most countries, yet many do allow access to needle–syringe programmes and opioid substitution therapy. In 2014, HIV prevalence appears to have declined among people who inject drugs in almost all regions.

However, new HIV infections are rising among men who have sex with men, notably in western Europe and North America, where major declines were previously experienced. This indicates that HIV prevention efforts need to be adapted to respond to the new realities and needs of men who have sex with men.

The number of adult men who have opted for voluntary medical male circumcision to prevent HIV transmission continues to increase. From 2008 to December 2014, about 9.1 million men in 14 priority countries opted to be circumcised. In 2014 alone, 3.2 million men in 14 priority countries were circumcised. Ethiopia and Kenya have both already exceeded their target of 80% coverage.

Tuberculosis (TB) remains a leading cause of death among people living with HIV, accounting for one in five AIDS-related deaths globally. However, between 2004 and 2014, TB deaths declined by 33% thanks to the rapid increase in antiretroviral treatment, which reduces the risk that a person living with HIV will develop TB by 65%.

Some 74 countries reported having laws in place prohibiting discrimination against people living with HIV. However, at present, 61 countries have legislation that allows for the criminalization of HIV non-disclosure, exposure or transmission. In 76 countries, same-sex sexual practices are criminalized. In seven countries they are punishable by death.

Transgender people are not recognized as a separate gender in most countries and are generally absent from public policy formulation and social protection programmes. The world remains far short of achieving its goal of eliminating gender inequalities and gender-based violence and abuse.

Better data

Countries have invested heavily in monitoring and evaluating their responses to HIV. In 2014, 92% of United Nations Member States reported HIV data to UNAIDS. State-of-the-art epidemic monitoring, data collection and reporting have made HIV data the most robust in the world, far more complete than data for any other disease. This has not only enabled the world to have a clear picture of HIV trends, it has also enabled HIV programming to be tailored to the specific dynamics of each country’s epidemic.

Together with How AIDS changed everything, UNAIDS is launching its new data visualization feature AIDSinfo. This innovative visualization tool allows users to view global, regional and national data on HIV through easy-to-use maps, graphs and tables adapted for all devices.

How AIDS changed everything

The UNAIDS book gives a vivid and insightful description of the impact the AIDS response has had on global health and development over the past 15 years and of the incredible importance of the lessons learned for ensuring the success of the SDGs.

How AIDS changed everything—MDG 6: 15 years, 15 lesson of hope from the AIDS response is both a look back on the journey of the last 15 years and a look forward to the future of the AIDS response and the path to ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

The flagship publication from UNAIDS was released at a community event at Zewditu Hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 14 July 2015 by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Minister of Health, Kesetebirhan Admassu of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Executive Director of UNAIDS Michel Sidibé and Abiyot Godana, Case Manager at the Entoto Health Center.

2014/2015* GLOBAL STATISTICS

  • 15 million* people accessing antiretroviral therapy (March 2015)

  • 36.9 million [34.3 million–41.4 million] people globally were living with HIV

  • 2 million [1.9 million–2.2 million] people became newly infected with HIV

  • 1.2 million [1 million–1.5 million] people died from AIDS-related illnesses

THE STORY CONTINUES AT THE WHITETABLEGALLERY.ORG

UNAIDS

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

Contact
UNAIDS Ethiopia
Rahel Gettu
tel. +251 911 502 228
gettur@unaids.org

Contact
UNAIDS Geneva
tel. +41 22 791 3873 / M. +41 79 447 3404
communications@unaids.org

World: Global Emergency Overview Snapshot 8–14 July 2015

14 July 2015 - 1:33pm
Source: Assessment Capacities Project Country: Afghanistan, Angola, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Philippines, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Uganda, Ukraine, World, Yemen

Snapshot 8–14 July 2015

Yemen: More than 1,500 civilians have been killed since conflict began to escalate in March, and airstrikes and fighting continue despite the agreement to a six-day humanitarian pause over 11–17 July. There are now 1.26 million IDPs in the country – a 24% increase since mid-June. Only 20% of the fuel needed is available in the country, which is impacting upon all basic needs.

Honduras: 807,000 people are affected by drought, and a state of emergency has been declared in ten departments in the southwest. El Niño has led to reduced rainfall and is expected to continue to do so throughout 2015. Drought has affected 2.5 million people across Central America.

Madagascar: 579,000 people are severely food insecure in seven southern regions, according to a food security assessment. 200,000 people require immediate food assistance, particularly in the drought-affected regions of Androy and Anosy, where staple food prices have doubled. This year has seen the worst drought conditions in six years.

Global Emergency Overview Web Interface

Myanmar: Dozens of boat migrants found by Myanmar navy: state media

14 July 2015 - 1:10pm
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Bangladesh, Myanmar

Yangon, Myanmar | AFP | Tuesday 7/14/2015 - 08:39 GMT

Myanmar's navy has discovered over a hundred migrants stranded for weeks on a southern island, state media said Tuesday, in the wake of a regional boat crisis earlier this year.

The group of 102 men were picked up by Myanmar's navy off the coast of the country's southernmost Tanintharyi region, according to a report by the Global New Light of Myanmar.

"Some said they were forcibly taken from their country, while others reported having been enticed by human traffickers to work in Malaysia," said the report, which said all of those found had come from Bangladesh.

It said they had been abandoned on the island in early June and were found between the end of June and July 12.

The report contained no details about where they are currently being held.

Thousands of migrants, most of them Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar or economic migrants from Bangladesh, were stranded in Southeast Asian waters in May following a Thai crackdown on people smuggling that led gang bosses to abandon their victims on land and at sea.

The crisis shone a spotlight on the multi-million dollar industry that prays on the desperation of the tens of thousands trying to escape grinding poverty in Bangladesh and persecution in Myanmar.

During the crisis Myanmar navy boats encountered stricken vessels in the Bay of Bengal crammed with nearly 1,000 migrants who had been abandoned by their gang bosses.

Myanmar insisted the vast majority were Bangladeshi migrants, not Rohingya, and they were taken to camps along the border with its western neighbour.

Neither nation initially showed a willingness to accept them and rights groups are concerned some could be pushed to the wrong side of the border.

Bangladesh has since taken back at least 150 migrants whose nationalities were confirmed, but the rest remain in the border camps, their futures undecided.

klm/jta/eb

© 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse

World: Evaluation of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees - Report of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (E/AC.51/2015/5)

14 July 2015 - 1:55am
Source: UN Economic and Social Council Country: Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Myanmar, Somalia, South Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, World, Zambia

Summary

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was founded in 1950 to lead and coordinate international efforts to protect refugee rights and well-being and find solutions to refugee situations. In 2013, there were 51.2 million displaced persons, of whom 42.9 million fell under the mandate of UNHCR. The rise in the number of refugees in recent years has been fuelled by several large-scale crises, coupled with the fact that durable solutions for those in protracted refugee situations have not been achieved at rates commensurate with previous years. Durable solutions are traditionally defined as voluntary return or repatriation, resettlement to a third country and/or local integration into the host country. Efforts to build resilience and self-reliance are interim solutions measures.

The Office of Internal Oversight Services examined the relevance, effectiveness and impact of UNHCR in achieving its mandate with regard to protection, assistance and solutions, with a focus on durable solutions for those in protracted refugee situations. It used a mix of qualitative and quantitative data-collection methods, including surveys, site visits, interviews, an evaluation synthesis, document reviews and secondary programme data analysis.

UNHCR has responded effectively to the growing number of complex emergency situations and generally fulfilled its protection mandate. It has provided lifesaving assistance and asylum to millions, while continuing to advocate increased protection space. Its results are more mixed in less-visible emergencies where there are funding shortfalls.

UNHCR has had fewer successes in achieving durable solutions for persons of concern in protracted refugee situations. Global returns have been declining, while resettlement, which is resource intensive, provides a solution for less than 1 per cent of refugees. Local integration has largely remained elusive, although UNHCR efforts to build resilience and self-reliance for refugees are slowly expanding.

While political factors beyond its direct control, such as lack of political will, funding restrictions and insecure and unstable environments in countries of origin, often limit the achievement of durable solutions, UNHCR has not fully seized opportunities to address those constraints, such as advocating more strategically with host Governments.

UNHCR has not sufficiently expanded upon its humanitarian imperative to support the achievement of durable solutions, including consideration of development elements. It is largely oriented around an emergency response model and its internal structures, including an annual planning and budgeting process, have hampered solutions programming. It has not fully engaged with development partners on solutions and transition programming.

Recent efforts by UNHCR with regard to solutions have been a step in the right direction and it now has an opportunity to systematize those efforts by engaging in stronger advocacy for solutions options, building greater consensus and more strategic partnerships and refining internal structures, processes and staff skills to meet solutions goals. Greater success in this regard will make the critical difference for the growing number of people suffering in prolonged situations.

OIOS makes the following six important recommendations to UNHCR:

(a) Implement a multi-year planning cycle for solutions-related activities and pursue multi-year funding;

(b) Develop advocacy strategies for solutions at the global, regional and operational levels;

(c) Develop a schedule to ensure the conduct of regular, targeted meetings with development actors around a solutions/transition partnership coordination model;

(d) Develop a staff development strategy to strengthen skills for creating, implementing and assessing solutions strategies;

(e) Review existing internal solutions structures to assess whether restructuring could improve effectiveness in programming;

(f) Create an evidence-based portfolio to be used for strengthening and advocating solutions.

Myanmar: Flood Waters Over Northwest Rakhine State, Myanmar (13 Jul 2015)

14 July 2015 - 12:24am
Source: UNOSAT Country: Myanmar

Analysis with RADARSAT-2 Satellite Data Acquired 10 July 2015 and Landsat-8 Satellite Data Acquired 30 January 2015

This map illustrates satellite-detected flood waters in the Northwestern part of Rakhine State in the areas of Maungdaw, Buthidaung, Ponnagyun and Rathedaung Townships of Myanmar as imaged by the Radarsat-2 satellite on 10 July 2015. Heavy rains at the onset of the monsoon season has caused limited flooding, and flood waters seem to have affected roughly 900 hectares of land within the 425 square kilometer analyzed area. The most affected lands seem to be mainly agricultural and/or paddy fields, many of which are of course frequently inundated at other times as well. This is a preliminary analysis and has not yet been validated in the field. Please send ground feedback to UNITAR-UNOSAT.

World: FAO in the Humanitarian Appeals - 2015 mid-year update

13 July 2015 - 11:45am
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization Country: Afghanistan, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Gambia, Guinea, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Republic of Tanzania, World, Yemen

Foreward

In 2015, the world continues to face an unprecedented number of humanitarian crises. Over USD 750 million are required to address the immediate challenges facing agriculture and food security in the countries and regions highlighted in this mid-year review of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ (FAO) participation in the 2015 humanitarian appeals. Even though agriculture is a source of livelihood for 75 percent of the population in most of the affected countries and the FAO appeal only represents a tiny fraction of the overall humanitarian needs, resource partners’ contributions received to date barely cover 20 percent of FAO’s appeal. And the needs are bigger than ever.

Most recently, Nepal’s devastating earthquakes severely impacted farming families.
The deepening food security and nutrition crisis in South Sudan is raising serious concerns and the number of severely food insecure people is expected to escalate from 2.5 million at the beginning of the year to at least 4.6 million by July. The situation is likely to be even worse if the renewed conflict in Greater Upper Nile continues to spiral down.

Globally, conflict and protracted crises are further weakening the resilience of families and communities in the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Sahel, Somalia, Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Together these crises account for about 50 percent of FAO’s total appeal. Millions of people, many of them food insecure and suffering from malnutrition, are fleeing violence in the Central African Republic, Iraq, South Sudan, Syria, and now Burundi. Without assets or livelihoods, they mostly depend on humanitarian assistance for their very survival. These displacements have knock-on effects, often destabilizing neighbouring countries and placing increased pressure on already strained service infrastructure and food availability in camps and host communities.

Building resilient livelihoods is an integral part of FAO’s agriculture and food security interventions and plays an essential role towards peace building and conflict mitigation. Conflicts mainly affect rural populations, heavily impacting food and agricultural production and smallholder livelihoods. The rehabilitation of agriculture, therefore, has a central role to play in building and consolidating peace while contributing to food security and rural development. FAO draws on the many diverse skills of its vast pool of experts to address these challenges. From day one of the response and relief efforts we start to protect and restore the livelihoods of affected populations, helping them to stay on the land and start producing food for their families and communities, building resilience and laying the foundations for longer-term recovery.

A huge effort is needed to increase the resilience of the agriculture-based livelihoods of the most vulnerable populations to ever increasing threats and crises. Our goal is to preserve livelihoods and dignity and to get people back on their feet. We can do it, but we cannot do it alone. We need your support.

Laurent Thomas
Assistant Director-General
Technical Cooperation

China: Asia and the Pacific: Weekly Regional Humanitarian Snapshot (7-13 July 2015)

13 July 2015 - 5:06am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: China, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, India, Indonesia, Kiribati, Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Tuvalu

CHINA

Typhoon Chan-Hom made landfall early on 11 Jul in Zhujiajian Township in the island city of Zhoushan, Zhejiang Province, as a category 1 typhoon before being downgraded to a tropical storm on 12 Jul. Chan-Hom is decreasing intensity as it moves northeast. Some 1.9 million people in nine cities were affected by the storm, including more than 1.1 million evacuated as a precaution. No casualties are reported.

1.1 million people evacuated

Direct economic losses are estimated at 5.86 billion yuan (US$ 940 million), according to the Provincial Flood Control and Drought Prevention Headquarters. The worst hit sector is agriculture with economic losses of 3.62 billion yuan as the typhoon coincided with vegetable harvests. Local government warned of water-logging disasters in some cities and torrents in mountainous regions following the record rainfall brought by the typhoon.

Typhoon Linfa, the eighth typhoon of the season, made landfall in Guangdong Province on 9 Jul, where more than 1.6 million people were affected by rainstorms and 56,000 displaced. No casualties were reported.
Direct losses from the storm were estimated at 1.3 billion yuan (US$ 213 million) according to provincial authorities.

56,000 people displaced

DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF KOREA

Drought conditions persist in the key agricultural provinces. A joint Government-international community assessment reports impact to agricultural production, decreased quality and drying up of water resources and an increase in waterborne diseases.

PHILIPPINES

The inter-tropical convergence zone, which brought moderate to heavy rains that triggered flooding in central Mindanao, also caused strong winds in Basilan and Tawi-Tawi provinces on 2 Jul, leaving some 200 houses damaged.

Meanwhile, water subsided significantly this week in the flood-affected areas in central Mindanao. In Maguindanao province, the majority of the remaining IDPs returned to their places of origin and classes resumed in all 32 affected schools. Local authorities continue to assist the affected families through the distribution of food and NFIs and livelihood assistance for farmers.

200 houses damaged

On 3 Jul, UNHCR reported that about 10,000 people remain displaced in Maguindanao province from the Government’s joint law enforcement operations against the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF). Of these, about 8,500 people are in evacuation centres while others are hosted by friends and relatives.5

10,000 people displaced

MYANMAR

The Government led emergency response operations, including the distribution of relief items and the provision of medical care to flood affected townships in Rakhine State. On 10 Jul, national media reported that the Union Government announced a kyat 3.2 billion (US$ 30,000) package to support reconstruction of destroyed housing and rebuild damaged infrastructure in Rakhine.

INDONESIA

Mount Raung volcano in East Java province has been active for several weeks. The level activity increased on 10 Jul blasting ash and debris into the air.
Airport closures caused mass disruption to travel. Local authorities provided masks and other health supplies; and plans to conduct contingency planning and simulation exercises for the affected districts.

PRECIPITATION FORECAST

In the next three months, there is an extremely high chance of below normal rainfall in Indonesia and Malaysia. Papua New Guinea and western India are also likely to receive less rainfall than average. Meanwhile above average rainfall is likely across the Pacifc, in particular Kiribati, Nauru and Tuvalu.