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World: 2015–2016 El Niño Early action and response for agriculture, food security and nutrition report - Working Draft (26 January 2016) Update #5

29 January 2016 - 11:25am
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization Country: Angola, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Botswana, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Dominica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mongolia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nicaragua, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Timor-Leste, Tonga, United Republic of Tanzania, Vanuatu, Viet Nam, World, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Jan 2016

Background and purpose

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has as its **Strategic Objective 5** to “Increase the resilience of livelihoods to threats and crises”. In support of its national counterparts, FAO aims to address the current and future needs of vulnerable people affected by the 2015‒2016 El Niño event.

It is widely recognized that by striking before a crisis has escalated into an emergency, **disaster losses** can be reduced and emergency response costs significantly decreased. **Early actions** strengthen the resilience of at-risk populations, mitigate the impact of disasters and help communities, governments and national and international humanitarian agencies to respond more effectively and efficiently.

Sea surface temperatures in the El Niño region 3.42 have continued to increase, reaching a record weekly average of 3 °C in the second week of November. However, while most models predict that this El Niño will likely stay above the + 1.5 °C “strong” threshold, it is difficult to assess if the current event will surpass the effects of the 1997–1998 El Niño, as it is a slow onset phenomenon and each occurrence can differ from the others. Even if this El Niño will not be as strong as that of 1997–1998, it will be one of the strongest registered, which is already impacting several regions.

The increase in climate-related disasters from an **El Niño event** is particularly important for FAO’s mandate. A recent ten-year analysis led by its Climate, Energy and Tenure Division showed that 25 percent of all damage caused during natural disasters is in the agriculture sector. In drought alone, agriculture is the single most affected sector, absorbing around 84 percent of all the economic impact (The Impact on Natural Hazards and Disasters on Agriculture, FAO 2015). This report provides a global analysis of the current and expected evolution of El Niño-related disasters and its impact on **agriculture**, food security and **nutrition**.

It aims to give a consolidated outlook of the situation and the early actions being taken by governments, partners and FAO. Countries were selected based on a combination of analysis of the El Niño event and FAO priorities for strengthening the resilience of livelihoods to threats and crises. In view of the rapid evolution of the phenomenon, the report will be subject to regular updates.

Philippines: GPH-MNLF peace process review ends, moves to implementation of peace mechanisms

28 January 2016 - 8:41pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 28 -- The Philippine government (GPH), the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) formally signed on Tuesday (January 26) the Joint Communique that marks the conclusion of the Tripartite Review Process (TRP) of the Implementation of the 1996 GPH-MNLF Final Peace Agreement (FPA) that has run for more than eight years.

“This is an important milestone we have reached as it sets the convergence of the two Bangsamoro peace processes,” explained Secretary Teresita Quintos Deles, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and head of the delegation of the Philippine Government during the two-day 5th Ministerial Level meeting of the TRP.

The Joint Communiqué of the conference stated that the TRP ministerial meeting was held “to define a road map towards the completion of the Review Process and identify ways and means of coordination and collaboration for the implementation of what they agreed upon during the Review Process.”

“What this means is that we have finally finished the eight-year long review of the implementation of the FPA, and we can now move forward towards implementing the agreements reached this time under the TRP,” added OPAPP Undersecretary for Programs Yusuf Jose Lorena.

Specifically, the Joint Communique identified four key areas that the parties agreed to implement:

  • The establishment of the Bangsamoro Development Assistance Fund that will be used for for socio-economic development projects for MNLF communities

  • The agreement on the Co-Management of Strategic Minerals will be referred to the Oversight Committee created by RA 9054 for the continuation of its devolution process.

  • The participation of the MNLF in the Bangsamoro Transition Commission of the envisioned Bangsamoro Parliament; and,

  • The creation of the Tripartite Implementation Monitoring Committee, a body that will oversee the implementation of all points of consensus arrived at by the TRP.

The communiqué was signed by Undersecretary Jose Yusuf Iribani Lorena for the Philippine Government, and Atty. Randolph Parcasio and Muslimin Sema on behalf of the MNLF as principals, along with OIC Secretary General Iyad bin Amin Madani for the 57-nation Islamic organization. OPAPP Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles and Samsula Adju of the MNLF signed as witnesses. (OPAPP)

Philippines: In Dagupan City, evacuation center underway for calamity victims

28 January 2016 - 8:30pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

April M. Montes

DAGUPAN CITY, January 28 (PIA) – A three storey-evacuation center worth P15 million is underway here to house residents from island villages who are displaced by flashfloods and other calamities.

Dagupan Mayor Belen Fernandez said the city government will construct the structure complete with a roof deck to accommodate residents from Salapingao and Pugaro villages who need to relocate in cases of flashfloods and storm surges.

A report of the City Information Office said the project is funded under the Bottom-Up Budgeting (BUB) of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) with counterpart from the city government.

“This is part of the city disaster risk reduction management program of Dagupan which aims to keep the people safe in the island barangays in case a storm surge occurs, considering that Salapingao has no land access and can only be travelled by boat,” Fernandez said.

The entire project costs P15,089,624.96 million. (MCA/AMM/PIA-1, Pangasinan with reports from CIO)

Philippines: 54th IB enjoins rebels to return to mainstream society

28 January 2016 - 12:01pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

KIANGAN, Ifugao, Jan. 28 (PIA) - - The Philippine Army based here enjoins all rebels to join the mainstream and embrace the programs and services of the government that will provide them a better and peaceful life.

In a radio interview, Corporal Sherwin Acson of the 54th Infantry Battalion Civil-Military Operations unit, said the government has many programs for rebels in case they want to surrender.

One of these programs is the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP), a priority program for the promotion of peace and order and development to the people and the country as a whole.

CLIP beneficiaries can avail the following benefits: PhilHealth enrolment; P2, 700 initial supports while processing the needed documents; P15, 000 immediate assistance; free livelihood training and P50, 000 livelihood aid, he explained.

For surrendered firearms, payments range from P2, 000.00 to P214, 000.00 depending on the kind, caliber, model and number of ammunitions or firearms, Acson added.

He informed that any NPA member who intends to surrender can just approach or contact relatives, a trusted person or official in the community who can facilitate their surrender to the government.

Acson assured the safety of all surrenderees including their rights as citizens. The 54th IB in coordination with the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office will provide temporary shelter for them to stay while their papers are being processed,” he stated. (JDP/MBL- PIA CAR, Ifugao)

World: WFP El Niño: Preparedness and Response, Situation Report #2, 28 January 2016

28 January 2016 - 11:59am
Source: World Food Programme Country: Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Somalia, South Africa, World, Zimbabwe

Highlights

  • As the impact of El Nino translates into increased food assistance needs across most areas of WFP’s operations, WFP could be stretched operationally and financially during 2016.

  • Urgent action is needed to enable WFP to sustain its food and nutrition assistance to affected populations and to help reduce their vulnerability to further shocks.

  • The negative impact of El Nino on food security also highlights the necessity of increased investment in disaster-risk reduction, early warning, climate-change adaptation and resilience building.

Situation Update

  • In Eastern Africa, Ethiopia is now facing a major emergency related to what could be the worst drought in 50 years. El Niño has caused drought in northwestern Somalia, while also causing floods in the southern and central areas since October 2015.

  • Widespread drought-induced crop failures have hit several countries in Southern Africa. Most of the region is still in the early stages of the 2015-2016 crop season. WFP is facing numerous funding challenges in all of the affected countries.

  • In Central America, the Dry Corridor – a droughtprone area shared by Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua – suffered significant crop losses in both 2014 and again in 2015. Exacerbated by El Niño, the 2015 drought caused major losses for small producers during the Primera (first) season.

  • Severe drought in Haiti has caused many farmers to lose a significant part of the harvest they depend on to feed their families. According to FEWS Net projections, the number of Haitians facing a crisis level of food insecurity could rise to 1.5 million by March 2016.

  • A Food Security Monitoring Bulletin produced jointly by WFP and the Government of Indonesia found that almost one-third of all provinces and 70 percent of all rice fields were affected by drought which is forecast to continue through January 2016.

  • In the Philippines, drought conditions are expected to remain a problem through the first three months of 2016.

  • In Papua New Guinea, the Government estimates that more than 2.7 million people are affected by prolonged drought and severe frost (FAO).

Malaysia: Dengue Situation Update 483, 26 January 2016

28 January 2016 - 3:45am
Source: World Health Organization Country: Australia, Cambodia, China, French Polynesia (France), Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Viet Nam

Update on the Dengue situation in the Western Pacific Region Northern Hemisphere

China (no updates)
As of 31 December, there were 3,884 cases of dengue reported in 2015 for China, with majority of the cases being reported during September and October. From 1 to 31 December 2015, 62 dengue cases were reported with no associated deaths. The number of cases in the month of December decreased sevenfold compared to the number reported in the previous month (n=470) and lower than the number of cases reported in December 2014 (n=180) (Figure 1).

Malaysia
From 10 to 16 January 2016, there were 3,500 cases of dengue reported, higher than the previous week (n=3,337). The number of cases exceeded the number for the same period in 2015 and exceeded the median number for 2011-2015. From 10 to 16 January 2016 there were 10 dengue deaths reported, bringing the total number of deaths for 2016 to 14, compared to a total of 8 deaths from the same reporting period in 2015.

Philippines (no update)
As of 21 November 2015, there were 169,435 suspected cases of dengue, including 511 deaths, reported in Philippines. This is 59.5% higher compared with the same reporting period in 2014 (n=106,241) (Figure 3). From 15 to 21 November 2015 (week 46), there were 548 suspected cases of dengue reported. (NOTE: Case counts reported here do not represent the final number and will change after inclusion of delayed reports)

Singapore
From 10 to 16 January 2016, 628 dengue cases were reported, higher than the previous week (n=549) and higher than the number reported for the same period in each of the last five years (2011-2015) (Figure 4). From November 2015, weekly case numbers have continued to increase in a trend that is not expected for the season.

Cambodia (no update)
As of 29 December 2015, there were 15,412 cases of dengue, including 38 deaths [CFR=0.2%], reported in Cambodia. The number of cases is decreasing and it follows a similar trend to that observed in 2011 to 2014. In the week ending 29 December 2015, there were 183 cases reported, which is higher than the previous week (n=65) (Figure 5).

Lao PDR As of 15 January 2016, there were 43 cases of dengue and no deaths reported in Lao PDR for 2016. From 9 to 15 January 2016, 15 dengue cases were reported, which is higher than the previous week (n=12) (Figure 6). There is no country level alert for the week ending 15 January 2016.

Viet Nam
As of 31 December 2015, there were 97,476 cases of dengue, including 61 deaths, reported in 54 out of 63 provinces in Viet Nam. The cumulative number of cases reported in 2015 was higher than cases reported in 2014 for the same reporting period and is also higher than the median in 2010-2014 for the same reporting period (Figure 7). In December 2015, there were 17,033 cases reported including 8 deaths. Compared to November (20,910 cases and 10 deaths), the number of cases decreased by 18.5%.

Southern Hemisphere

Australia
As of 31 December 2015, there were 1,682 laboratory-confirmed dengue cases in Australia. In 2015, 79 cases were reported in December. This is lower than the same reporting period of last year (n=107). The number of reported cases was consistent with previous years (n=1720 in 2014) and follows seasonal trend (Figure 8).

Pacific Islands Countries and Areas

French Polynesia
From 1 to 17 January 2016, 120 confirmed dengue cases were reported in French Polynesia (Figure 9) including 12 hospitalizations (3 severe cases). Thirty-eight (38) of the 120 cases were confirmed as DENV-1 infection. Case numbers in weeks 1 and 2 of 2016 substantially exceeded the epidemic threshold.

Papua New Guinea
A total of 170 cases were seen at the Daru Hospital Outpatient department, Daru, Western Province from the 4th of November 2015 to the 8th of January 2016. There were a total of 126 clinical cases and 44 confirmed cases (2 confirmed by PCR as DENV-2). Age of cases ranged between 6 years – 35 years of age with under 5 year olds representing 12 % (21/170) of cases. Seven (7) severe clinical cases were admitted. All have recovered and were discharged.

World: Oportunidades de paz y escenarios de riesgo para 2016

28 January 2016 - 2:26am
Source: School for a Culture of Peace Country: Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cyprus, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Myanmar, Philippines, South Sudan, Thailand, Turkey, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), World, Yemen

Escenarios de riesgo y oportunidades de paz para 2016.

Josep Maria Royo, Investigador de la Escola de Cultura de Pau, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Blog Paz en Construcción El País.

Según un informe de la Escola de Cultura de Pau, de cara a 2016 existen algunos escenarios de riesgo y diversas oportunidades de paz que pueden posibilitar, a corto o medio de plazo, la construcción de la paz o bien conllevar un incremento de la violencia y la inestabilidad, por lo que es imprescindible aumentar el acompañamiento para consolidar los procesos de paz en unos casos, o por otra parte, aumentar la presión en otros para que la situación de inestabilidad actual no se deteriore aún más si cabe.

Oportunidades de paz

Chipre. El reinicio las negociaciones de paz en 2015 y la confluencia de factores vinculados al proceso –compromiso del liderazgo local; acompañamiento internacional; movilización pro-diálogo de actores no gubernamentales de ambas comunidades de la isla; y resultados tangibles, incluyendo medidas de confianza de peso; entre otros– supone una ventana de oportunidad histórica para la consecución de un acuerdo definitivo, a pesar de los obstáculos coyunturales y de fondo.

Burkina Faso. El país ha puesto fin a la fase de transición abierta tras la caída del régimen de Blaise Compaoré mediante la celebración de las elecciones presidenciales y parlamentarias que habían sido pospuestas tras el fracasado golpe de Estado de septiembre de 2015. Los comicios han devuelto al pueblo burkinés el control de las instituciones políticas tras 18 meses de Gobierno interino, representando para la sociedad burkinesa el comienzo de un nuevo periodo democrático.

Myanmar. Los resultados de las elecciones generales, que han otorgado una abrumadora mayoría al partido opositor NLD de Aung San Suu Kyi y que conducirán a la formación de un nuevo Gobierno sin tutela militar, unidos a la firma de un acuerdo de alto el fuego con ocho organizaciones insurgentes, permiten augurar avances en el camino hacia la democracia y la paz en el país durante 2016.

Tailandia. Durante el 2015 se reanudaron las conversaciones exploratorias entre la junta militar y Mara Patani, una organización que agrupa a los principales grupos armados que operan en el sur del país. La unificación de las demandas por parte del movimiento insurgente y el reconocimiento por parte del Estado de que hace falta el diálogo para resolver el conflicto armado suponen dos condiciones necesarias para la creación de confianza entre las partes.

Procesos de paz. Investigaciones recientes demuestran que los procesos de paz inclusivos desde una perspectiva de género y con la sociedad civil son más sostenibles y tienen más posibilidades de resultar en la firma de acuerdos de paz que aquellos que no lo son. Además, la presencia de mujeres podría contribuir también a la redacción de acuerdos en los que se integren cuestiones de igualdad.

Escenarios de riesgo

Burundi. En los últimos años se ha producido un deterioro significativo de la gobernabilidad en el país. El creciente autoritarismo y la controvertida candidatura del presidente Pierre Nkurunziza junto al clima de violencia política y las violaciones de los derechos humanos son diferentes elementos que revelan la gravedad de la situación y que han situado al país en los últimos meses al borde del conflicto armado.

Malí. En junio del 2015 se logró un acuerdo de paz entre el Gobierno y los movimientos rebeldes árabe-tuareg que operan en la región septentrional, después de tres años y medio de conflicto armado. Sin embargo, la exclusión de los movimientos yihadistas de las negociaciones y la ineficacia de las medidas de securitización para contener su presencia, representan serios obstáculos para lograr el fin de la violencia, pudiendo incluso poner en riesgo la implementación de los acuerdos de paz.

República Democrática del Congo. La proximidad del nuevo ciclo electoral está derivando en una escalada de la violencia política y de la inestabilidad general como consecuencia de los intentos del presidente Kabila para posponer las elecciones presidenciales y así prolongar su mandato, a lo que se unen los fracasos de la operación militar contra las FDLR y de amnistía y retorno del grupo armado M23, que podrían suponer la reactivación del conflicto.

Sudán del Sur. Tras la firma de la paz después de 20 meses de cruenta guerra civil, la falta de apropiación del acuerdo por parte de las partes enfrentadas, las decisiones unilaterales del Gobierno en materias que deberían ser competencias del nuevo Gobierno de Transición aun por crear, las violaciones reiteradas al alto el fuego, así como el surgimiento de nuevos actores armados, están poniendo en serio riesgo las perspectivas de paz en el país.

Venezuela. El contundente triunfo en las elecciones parlamentarias de la oposición ha abierto en el país un nuevo escenario político marcado por la polarización de fuerzas entre el poder Ejecutivo y el Legislativo. Esta nueva situación política, que tras 15 años modifica sustancialmente el poder del chavismo, puede favorecer nuevas tensiones y disputas entre el Gobierno y las fuerzas opositoras que podrían convulsionar aun más la política nacional, ampliar la fragmentación social y propiciar brotes de violencia.

Afganistán. El proceso de negociación entre los talibán y el Gobierno afgano ha sufrido un parón por la crisis interna del movimiento talibán. La división en torno al liderazgo perjudica el futuro de las negociaciones. La apuesta de Ashraf Ghani por dialogar a pesar del aumento de la violencia y de tender la mano a Pakistán, que sigue dando santuario a la cúpula talibán, debilita aún más al ya frágil Gobierno afgano. Asimismo, aunque Pakistán debe formar parte del acuerdo, su deseo de controlar el proceso está enfrentando más a las partes.

Filipinas. Las dificultades y retrasos por parte del Congreso para aprobar la Bangsamoro Basic Law, una suerte de estatuto de autonomía que regula la nueva entidad autónoma de Bangsamoro y concreta los contenidos del histórico acuerdo de paz que firmaron el Gobierno y el MILF en 2014, han provocado una parálisis en el proceso de paz y hacen temer por una fractura interna del MILF y una reanudación de la violencia en Mindanao.

Turquía. El conflicto entre Turquía y el PKK se deterioró gravemente en 2015 de la mano de factores como la urbanización de la guerra, la “sirianización” de la cuestión kurda de Turquía y la irrupción de ISIS en suelo turco, el deterioro del clima social, la regresión democrática y los interrogantes sobre opciones sostenibles de diálogo. Estas dinámicas podrían agravarse en 2016 si no se ponen en marcha urgentemente medidas de confianza y de desescalada de la violencia.

Yemen.La violencia en el país escaló significativamente a partir de marzo de 2015, cuando una coalición internacional liderada por Arabia Saudita decidió intervenir para frenar el avance de las milicias al-houthistas, que a principios de año habían forzado la caída del gobierno. De cara a 2016, la situación amenaza con agravarse dada la creciente complejidad del conflicto armado, el severo impacto de la violencia en la población civil y los obstáculos para una salida política al conflicto.

Amenaza yihadista. ISIS se ha consolidado como un nuevo modelo para el yihadismo internacional y competidor de al-Qaeda, demostrando una mayor capacidad para actuar con una proyección global. Múltiples factores pueden favorecer un aumento de la violencia yihadista en el futuro, entre ellos una intensificación en la pugna entre ISIS y al-Qaeda, una mayor incidencia de acciones armadas de milicianos retornados o “lobos solitarios” y los posibles efectos adversos de la respuesta internacional a ISIS.

Philippines: Philippines, Typhoon Melor: ACTED's continuous WASH emergency response

27 January 2016 - 10:29am
Source: Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development Country: Philippines

On December 14th, typhoon Melor, known in the Philippines under the name of ‘Nona', struck the Philippines, killing 42 people and causing over 1.2 million euros in damage.

Melor first made landfall in Northern Samar, Central Philippines, one of the poorest regions of the country, affecting vulnerable households that were still in the process of recovering from the aftermaths of previous typhoons. Consequently, the population of Northern Samar found itself more weakened than ever, unable to rebuild livelihood, and forced to either leave their homes for evacuation centers or to live in unsanitary conditions.

ACTED teams on the field conduct rapid needs assessment

This human tragedy happened right before Christmas, which means that needs remained unmet, as most actors had shut down for the holidays. ACTED conducted a needs assessment over Christmas targeting the municipalities of Mapanas and Palapag, Northern Samar, both isolated and hard to reach. This rapid assessment showed great needs in terms of shelters, as 100% of the houses have been damaged, as well as water, hygiene and sanitation (WASH) structures and food and livelihood. ACTED is the only present NGO in these two municipalities, which had not received any assistance yet .

ACTED's intervention to respond to the needs

In order to start responding to the population’s needs, ACTED distributed 400 shelter repair kits early January with the support of ShelterBox and is planning to distribute another 500 similar kits next week.

ACTED is however diversifying its activitieso further support the populations of Mapanas and Palapag, and organized a distribution of WASH kits in partnership with UNICEF. Coastal and secluded neighborhoods were prioritized due to the identification of major gaps in terms of water, hygiene and sanitation, such as unsafe or at risk water sources and unavailability or limited access to hygiene materials due to a lack of awareness regarding their significance. Overall, ACTED distributed about 1,000 Jerry Cans and hygiene kits, over 1,000 emergency scan water filters and Aquatabs to potabilize water for almost 3,000 households. Overall, ACTED provided assistance to over 11,300 beneficiaries.

In the coming weeks, ACTED will pursue its emergency response; ACTED is however concerned about transitioning towards development and is accompanying each distribution with awareness raising activities aiming to build up households’ resilience to typhoons, in a country that is ranked third among the world’s most disaster-affected countries.

Philippines: DSWD funds mudcrab project of ‘Yolanda’ survivors

27 January 2016 - 6:53am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

Survivors of Typhoon Yolanda from Barangays Sto Nino, Sagrada, Quezon, and Old Busuanga in Busuanga, Palawan check on their mudcrab pens constructed in mangrove areas in their community.

The construction of the mudcrab pens was funded by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) through its Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), which provided P754,000 under the ‘Yolanda’ Recovery and Rehabilitation Program (YRRP).

Through SLP, some 100 ‘Yolanda’ survivors underwent Skills Training on Mudcrab Fattening and Culturing to equip them the necessary knowledge as they set up their livelihood project.

SLP is a community-based capacity-building program that seeks to improve the socio-economic status of its participants. It is implemented using the Community-Driven Enterprise Development approach which enables participants to contribute to production and labor markets by looking at available resources and accessible markets.

World: The Second Report on the State of the World's Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

27 January 2016 - 5:34am
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization Country: Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chile, China, Comoros, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lesotho, Liberia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Nigeria, Niue (New Zealand), Norway, Oman, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United Republic of Tanzania, United States of America, Uruguay, Viet Nam, World, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Genetic diversity of livestock can help feed a hotter, harsher world

Despite growing interest in safeguarding biodiversity of livestock and poultry,genetic erosion continues

27 January 2016, Rome - Livestock keepers and policy makers worldwide are increasingly interested in harnessing animal biodiversity to improve production and food security on a warmer, more crowded planet, according to a new FAO report issued today. The agency nonetheless warns that many valuable animal breeds continue to be at risk and calls for stronger efforts to use the pool of genetic resources sustainably.

According to The Second Report on the State of the World's Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, some 17 percent (1,458) of the world's farm animal breeds are currently at risk of extinction, while the risk status of many others (58 percent) is simply unknown due to a lack of data on the size and structure of their populations. Nearly 100 livestock breeds have gone extinct between 2000 and 2014.

Country data shows that indiscriminate cross-breeding is considered as the main cause of genetic erosion. Other common threats to animal genetic diversity are the increasing use of non-native breeds, weak policies and institutions regulating the livestock sector, the decline of traditional livestock production systems, and the neglect of breeds considered not competitive enough.

Europe and the Caucasus, and North America are the two areas in the world with the highest proportion of at-risk breeds. In absolute terms, the highest number of at-risk breeds can be found in Europe and the Caucasus.

Both areas are characterized by highly specialized livestock industries that tend to use only a small number of breeds for production.

Why biodiversity matters

Genetic diversity provides the raw material for farmers and pastoralists to improve their breeds and adapt livestock populations to changing environments and changing demands.

"For thousands of years, domesticated animals, like sheep, chickens and camels, have contributed directly to the livelihoods and food security of millions of people," said FAO Director General José Graziano da Silva, "That includes some 70 percent of the world's rural poor today."

"Genetic diversity is a prerequisite for adaptation in the face of future challenges", according to the Director-General, who added that the report will "underpin renewed efforts to ensure that animal genetic resources are used and developed to promote global food security, and remain available for future generations."

Among the future challenges are climate change, emerging diseases, pressure on land and water, and shifting market demands, which make it more important than ever to ensure animal genetic resources are conserved and used sustainably.

Currently, some 38 species and 8,774 separate breeds of domesticated birds and mammals are used in agriculture and food production.

Rise in national gene banks and improved management

A total of 129 countries participated in the new global assessment, which follows nearly a decade after the release of the first global assessment of animal genetic resources in 2007.

"The data we've collected suggests there's been improvement in the number of at-risk breeds since the first assessment," says Beate Scherf, Animal Production Officer at FAO and co-author of the report. "And governments overall have definitely stepped up efforts to halt genetic erosion and more sustainably manage their national livestock breeds."

The study finds that governments are increasingly recognizing the importance of sustainably using and developing the genetic resources embodied in livestock.

When FAO published the first global assessment in 2007, fewer than 10 countries reported having established a gene bank. That number has now risen to 64 countries, and an additional 41 countries are planning to establish such a gene bank, according to the new report.

And these efforts are bearing fruit, experts say: "Over the last decade, countries across Europe have invested heavily in building shared information systems and gene banks as security measures," according to Scherf.

Regional collaborations like the new European Gene Bank Network (EUGENA) are key to managing and improving breeds in the future, she says, and should be supported by in situ conservation of live animals in their natural habitat.

In situ conservation also recognizes the cultural and environmental value of keeping live populations of diverse animal breeds.

Some 177 countries additionally have appointed National Coordinators and 78 have set up multi-stakeholder advisory groups to aid national efforts to better manage animal genetic resources.

Increasing global trade in animal genetic resources

This comes at a time of expansion in the global trade in breeding animals and livestock semen, often for cross-breeding purposes, with many developing countries emerging as significant importers and some also as exporters of genetic material.

Increasingly, farmers and policy makers in developing countries have embraced imports of genetic material as a way to enhance the productivity of their livestock populations - growing their milk output, for example, or decreasing the time needed for an animal to reach maturity.

But if not well planned, cross-breeding can fail to significantly improve productivity and lead to the loss of valuable characteristics such as the special ability to cope with extremes of temperature, limited water supplies, poor-quality feed, rough terrain, high altitudes and other challenging aspects of the production environment.

Challenges to management of genetic resources

In order to better manage livestock diversity going forward, animal breeds and their production environment need to be better described, according to the report, which shows genetic resources are frequently lost when limited knowledge leads to certain breeds going underused.

More also needs to be done to monitor population trends and emerging threats to diversity, according to the report.

Trendspotting will be critical

Among the major changes to the sector over the last decades has been the rapid expansion of large-scale high-input livestock production systems in parts of the developing world, accompanied by growing pressures on natural resources.

South Asia and Africa -two very resource-constrained regions that are home to many small-scale livestock keepers and a diverse range of animal genetic resources - are projected to become the main centres of growth in meat and milk consumption.

Trends like these are grounds for concern because similar rises in demand in other regions have come with a shift away from small-scale production that supports local genetic diversity to large-scale production that is more likely to use a limited number of breeds and can create major challenges for the sustainable use of animal genetic resources.

Changes in food systems are among trends that should be carefully tracked to predict their impact on demand for particular species and breeds, according to the report, along technology, climate changes and government policies.

Need for greater international collaboration

At the same time, the report stresses that international cooperation remains an area requiring improvement in order to support future livestock biodiversity.

Since 2007, countries have been implementing the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources, the first internationally agreed framework of its kind.

But international collaboration remains relatively underdeveloped among countries implementing the Plan, the report cautions. Cooperation should be stepped up to move beyond the limited number of bilateral and regional research programs that are currently in place.

World: Humanitarian Action for Children 2016 - East Asia and the Pacific

27 January 2016 - 1:04am
Source: UN Children's Fund Country: Cambodia, China, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Viet Nam, World

2016 Requirements: US$4,209,600

East Asia and the Pacific is one of the most hazard-prone regions in the world. In recent years, a series of disasters and conflicts have affected the well-being and protection of vulnerable populations, particularly children. The combination of climate change, deforestation, population growth, urbanization and the unfolding El Niño phenomenon suggests that more frequent and intense disasters are likely to have a greater impact on a larger number of people in 2016. El Niño, which developed in 2015, has already affected a number of countries and is predicted to reach maximum strength in 2016. El Niño has led to irregular rainfall patterns, resulting in drought and severe flooding, particularly in Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Vietnam and the Pacific sub-region. As outlined in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) 2015-2030, emergency preparedness and community resilience are therefore key priorities.In addition, internal armed conflicts and ethnic violence in Myanmar and the Philippines have resulted in the internal and/or cross-border displacement of hundreds of thousands of people, including children. 2 The impact of these humanitarian crises has heavily strained families, communities and social systems, with children and women among the most vulnerable.

Regional humanitarian strategy

In response to monsoon-related floods, typhoons/cyclones, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and the unfolding El Niño phenomenon, the East Asia and the Pacific Regional Office (EAPRO) will continue to provide support in line with the Core Commitments for Children in Humanitarian Action, particularly in the areas of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), nutrition, education and child protection. In line with its focus on equity, UNICEF will reach out to the most vulnerable children and their families, including boys and girls with disabilities, migrant households and ethnic minorities, to fulfil their basic rights in humanitarian action. Through the Regional Office and the 14 country offices, UNICEF will complement government emergency preparedness and response efforts in a tailor-made fashion that will focus on service delivery and/or technical cooperation, depending and building on existing government capacities. Acknowledging that various national governments have gained considerable capacity in emergency response, UNICEF increasingly relies on regional support mechanisms with quality assurance to service multiple countries by pooling resources. Building on the Sendai Framework, as well as the World Humanitarian Summit regional consultations, UNICEF will work on all aspects of DRR, including both natural hazards and conflicts, to reduce the vulnerability of children and build community resilience. In particular, technical support provided to governments via country offices will focus on enhancing emergency preparedness and response through the operationalization of child-centred risk assessment, preparedness systems and humanitarian performance monitoring, with further alignment of humanitarian and development programmes.
With monsoons occurring annually, UNICEF remains focused on increasing investment in preparedness to reduce loss of life and avoid human suffering. UNICEF will also continue to strengthen humanitarian partnerships with regional and sub-regional actors, such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Secretariat for the Pacific Community, the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Regional Network, ASEAN Safe Schools Initiative and climate change adaptation initiatives for WASH, in close collaboration with governments in the region. Finally, UNICEF will continue to build regional knowledge management capacity by documenting best practices and lessons learned in emergency preparedness and response and supporting in-depth studies and research on emerging topics in humanitarian action, such as cash transfer in emergencies.

Results in 2015

As of 31 October 2015, UNICEF had received 11 per cent (US$400,000) of the US$3,594,000 2015 appeal, in addition to US$2.36 million carried forward from 2014. These funds allowed the East Asia and the Pacific Regional Office (EAPRO) to deliver efficient and effective responses to humanitarian crises and further invest in emergency preparedness and DRR, which enabled stronger support to partners and country offices. This included regional support to the response to Cyclone Pam in the Pacific in March 2015. EAPRO enhanced regional and country level capacity in emergency preparedness/DRR and response through regional workshops dedicated to risk assessment and preparedness. Regional debates on the Sendai Framework and the World Humanitarian Summit were facilitated among emergency focal points in all country offices to strengthen regional partnership and share lessons among countries. An innovative partnership with the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency enhanced capacity for UNICEF DRR and emergency preparedness activities in Cambodia, the Pacific sub-region and the Regional Office through the deployment of surge staff. Country offices in Cambodia, Malaysia and Timor-Leste benefited from regional support during emergency preparedness and response trainings with simulation exercises. China, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea received sector-specific technical support, including for drought assessments related to El Niño. In addition, the Regional Rapid Roster Mechanism (RRRM) continued to enhance its capacities and now comprises 80 staff from various sectors that have been trained in emergency response. Although various governments in the region have developed considerable capacity in emergency response, many have requested sector-specific humanitarian support from UNICEF to complement their relief efforts. To this end, the RRRM supported country offices in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Myanmar and the Pacific sub-region for cyclone, flood and drought emergency responses.

Viet Nam: Vietnam participated in satellite network to track natural disasters

27 January 2016 - 12:01am
Source: Government of Viet Nam Country: Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Viet Nam

Vietnam will be one of the eight Asian countries in collaboration with Japan's Hokkaido and Tohoku Universities to launch a group of miniature satellites which will monitor weather patterns and storms across Asia.

Accordingly, Kokaido and Tohoku University in Japan fund a project which will see several 20-inch cube-shaped satellites, each of which weighs 110 pounds and comes in at 5% the size of a tyical satellite, sent into orbit. These devices will then photograph the earth's surface from a height of 300 to 500 kilometers, relaying information back to emergency responders in the event of a natural disaster. If successful, this satellite network will deliver weather information much faster than current methods.

Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam are participating the project. It is expected that Japan will send 25 of these satellites to the International Space Station (ISS), prepping them before they're launched into orbit by Kibo, Japan's module on the ISS.

Thanh Bình

Philippines: Humanitarian Action for Children 2016 - Philippines

26 January 2016 - 3:30pm
Source: UN Children's Fund Country: Philippines

Total affected population: 3,284,640
Total affected children (under 18): 1,970,784
Total people to be reached in 2016: 66,000
Total children to be reached in 2016: 53,700

2016 programme targets

Nutrition

• 45,000 mothers/caregivers accessed infant and young child counselling for appropriate feeding

• 1,450 children aged 6 to 59 months admitted to SAM programmes

• More than 75 per cent recovery rate for children treated for SAM

Health

• 12,000 children fully covered with the Expanded Programme on Immunization

• 28,000 children under 5 years received vitamin A and de-worming medication

WASH

• 40,000 people accessed safe water and appropriate/adequate sanitation facilities

• 66,000 people informed of sanitation and safe hygiene practices

Child protection

• 75 per cent of reported cases of grave child rights violations verified and responded to

• 3,000 communities, partners and stakeholders educated and informed on child rights and child protection.

• 12,000 conflict-affected and displaced children provided with psychosocial support

Education

• 21,492 children accessed safe learning environments

• 53,700 children provided with learning materials and supplies

• 4,000 adolescents accessed life skills and psychosocial support.

HIV and AIDS

• 3,500 young people demonstrated correct knowledge in sexual health and HIV

Large parts of the Mindanao area remained unstable in 2015, with more than 360,000 people displaced between January and October. The causes of displacement have included chronic insecurity in the Sulu Archipelago, clan feuding, and the aftermath of the 2013 Zamboanga siege. As of late October, more than 4,000 people are displaced and 55 per cent of the displaced are children. The number of displaced persons has increased by 68 per cent since September 2014. The national elections, which are planned for May 2016, may increase the likelihood of insecurity, particularly in regards to the peace process in Mindanao. In addition to conflict and insecurity, the Philippines is prone to natural hazards, including typhoons, earthquake and volcanoes. The response to Typhoon Hagupit, which hit the country in December 2014, continued into 2015. Due to the El Niño weather phenomenon, more typhoons of greater size are predicted for 2016. Although the Government continues to increase its capacity to respond to emergencies, more extreme weather events will likely necessitate UNICEF assistance to complement government efforts.

Humanitarian strategy

UNICEF works in partnership with the Government of the Philippines in both humanitarian preparedness and response. UNICEF is an active participant in the 12 government-led response clusters under the Department of Social Welfare and Development; supports government leadership of the education cluster with the Department of Education; and supports the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), health, nutrition and psychosocial services ‘quad-cluster’ with the Department of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO). UNICEF will employ two broad approaches in its 2016 country humanitarian strategy. The first relates to the ongoing humanitarian situation tied to the chronic conflict in Mindanao, where UNICEF is working at all levels of government, with humanitarian and development partners, and with affected communities to directly respond to the effects of this emergency. The second approach focuses on preparing for and responding to natural hazards and includes the prepositioning of stocks and supplies, as well as working with national and local governments on child-focused hazard mapping, preparedness activities and contingency planning. Wherever possible, UNICEF integrates disaster risk reduction, resilience building and system strengthening into its humanitarian programmes.

Results from 2015

As of 31 October 2015, UNICEF had received 144 per cent (US$15.8 million) of the US$11 million appeal, in addition to the US$17.7 million programmable balance carried forward from 2014. This generous funding has allowed UNICEF to surpass many of its original 2015 targets and preposition additional emergency supplies to respond to sudden deteriorations in the security situation due to conflict or natural hazards. In 2015, the UNICEF WASH programme was able to respond to a number of localized emergencies, such as the displacement of conflict-affected families in Mindanao; a water shortage in Basilan; and the displacement of indigenous families due to conflict in Tanda City and Davao City and in response to Typhoon Koppu. Efforts to reach children with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and Zamboanga in 2015 resulted in the malnutrition screening of 52,719 children aged 6 to 59 months. Of these, 960 children with SAM were admitted to the programme and 420 children were discharged as recovered. Working with local government and civil society organizations, UNICEF provided learning materials and supplies in transitory sites for displaced persons with low school attendance rates in conflict affected Zamboanga City. An ongoing challenge has been the use of schools as evacuation centres for displaced populations. UNICEF has worked to advocate for the priority reconstruction of damaged classrooms to allow schooling to continue and to provide a safe learning environment for children.

Philippines: Immediate Needs and Concerns among Pregnant Women During and after Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda)

26 January 2016 - 8:19am
Source: Public Library of Science Country: Philippines

AUTHORS

Mari Sato Yasuka Nakamura Fumi Atogami Ribeka Horiguchi Raita Tamaki Toyoko Yoshizawa Hitoshi Oshitani

ABSTRACT

Introduction: Pregnant and postpartum women are especially vulnerable to natural disasters. These women suffer from increased risk of physical and mental issues including pregnant related problems. Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda), which hit the Philippines affected a large number of people and caused devastating damages. During and after the typhoon, pregnant women were forced to live in particularly difficult circumstances. The purpose of this study was to determine concerns and problems regarding public health needs and coping mechanisms among pregnant women during and shortly after the typhoon.

Methods: This study employed a cross-sectional design utilizing focus group discussions (FGDs). Participants were 53 women (mean age: 26.6 years old; 42 had children) from four affected communities who were pregnant at the time of the typhoon. FGDs were conducted 4 months after the typhoon, from March 19 to 28, 2014, using semi-structured interviews. Data were analyzed using the qualitative content analysis.

Result: Three themes were identified regarding problems and concerns during and after the typhoon: 1) having no ideas what is going to happen during the evacuation, 2) lacking essentials to survive, and 3) being unsure of how to deal with health concerns. Two themes were identified as means of solving issues: 1) finding food for survival and 2) avoiding diseases to save my family. As the pregnant women already had several typhoon experiences without any major problems, they underestimated the catastrophic nature of this typhoon. During the typhoon, the women could not ensure their safety and did not have a strong sense of crisis management. They suffered from hunger, food shortage, and poor sanitation. Moreover, though the women had fear and anxiety regarding their pregnancy, they had no way to resolve these concerns. Pregnant women and their families also suffered from common health problems for which they would usually seek medical services. Under such conditions, the pregnant woman cooperated with others for survival and used their knowledge of disease prevention.

Discussion: Pregnant women experienced difficulties with evacuation, a lack of minimum survival needs, and attending to their own health issues. Pregnant women were also concerned about needs and health issues of their families, particular, when they had small children. Collecting accurate information regarding the disaster and conducting self-sustainable preparation prior to the disaster among pregnant women will help them to protect their pregnancy status, thereby improving their families’ chance of survival during and after disasters.

Philippines: Philippines: Typhoon Melor (Nona) - Who-does What Where (3W) (as of 25 January 2016)

25 January 2016 - 8:02am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Philippines

World: Mainstreaming disaster risk management

25 January 2016 - 7:58am
Source: Governance and Social Development Resource Centre Country: Bangladesh, Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Pakistan, Philippines, Seychelles, Tonga, World

This research report draws on empirical case studies on the mainstreaming of Disaster Risk Management (DRM) to provide insights into the experience of low and middle-income countries in Asia. Most case studies are based on reviews and assessments done by international organisations such as the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

The mainstreaming of Disaster Risk Management (DRM) has been recommended to mitigate the effect of natural hazards and disasters on the development of countries. This applies particularly to low and middle-income countries that are particularly vulnerable to this type of events and tend to divert their limited development resources to deal with disaster events.

Indonesia: Asia and the Pacific: Weekly Regional Humanitarian Snapshot (19 - 25 January 2016)

25 January 2016 - 3:25am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Indonesia, Micronesia (Federated States of), Myanmar, Philippines

INDONESIA

Between 19 and 23 Jan, local authorities reported floods in Sumatra (Jambi and South Sumatra provinces), Java (Central Java and East Java provinces), and Sulawesi (South Sulawesi and North Sulawesi provinces). Following torrential rains, landslides killed three people in Kerinci District, Jambi Province on 20 Jan and one person in Manado Regency, North Sulawesi Province on 21 Jan. This flooding inundated at least 4,900 houses. Local authorities have provided emergency assistance.

Four people killed

4,900 houses inundadated

Following an increase to Alert Level III on 13 Jan, Mount Egon in East Nusa Tenggara has erupted several times. Local authorities have prohibited any activities within three kilometers of the crater, displacing 927 people, who are temporarily relocated to three locations in Mapitara Sub-District. A further 501 people are still to be relocated.

927 people displaced

MICRONESIA

Many parts of Micronesia are entering a period of moderate to severe drought as El Niño impacts continue to be felt. Lower than normal rainfall during the coming months will cause drought to develop in the Mariana Islands and parts of Chuuk state. Drought is already affecting Palau and Yap State. A dry trade-wind pattern will also cause increasingly dry conditions across the Marshall Islands. Below normal rainfall is expected across the region until later in the year.

MYANMAR

Armed clashes reportedly broke out between the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and Reunification Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA) in northern Shan State on 17 Jan, and have not ended.

According to the Myanmar Red Cross Society (MRCS) and local partners, 95 people are displaced and staying in monasteries in Mogoke Town. MRCS, local organizations and community leaders have provided initial assistance. Meanwhile local CSOs, NGOs and the UN provided food, water, warm clothes and shelters to 300 people displaced by similar fighting in Manton Township which occurred on 11 and 12 Jan.

95 people displaced

PHILIPPINES

A lack of rainfall, likely caused by El Niño, strains agriculture and water access in Zamboanga City. The City’s Agriculturist Office reported that, as of 13 Jan, the damage to crops has reached $216,000. Over 500 hectares of land planted with rice, corn, assorted vegetables and bananas has been lost with no chance of recovery. In North Cotabato, authorities declared a state of calamity because of damage to crops amounting to US$5 million.

Philippines: 2,000 ARMM villages to benefit from PAMANA projects

24 January 2016 - 7:36pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

COTABATO CITY, Jan. 25 -- More than 2,000 barangays in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) will receive projects this year under the national government’s Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA) program through the region’s Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD-ARMM).

The projects would be delivered under the PAMANA Community Driven Development (CDD) Expansion and PAMANA MNLF Program. The PAMANA CDD Expansion will target a total of 1,777 barangays in the entire region while the PAMANA MNLF is set to be implemented in 291 pre-identified barangays in 74 ARMM municipalities. Both initiatives are in their last year of implementation.

Rahima Alba, DSWD-ARMM Secretary and concurrent PAMANA program manager, said this year’s PAMANA will be geared towards sustainability of the cooperatives the program has established and supported.

“We want them (beneficiary cooperatives) to continue operating, and for them to have even wider opportunities in their localities. Kahit tapos na ang programa, sila mismo ang magpatuloy ng kanilang pag-unlad (Even if the program ends, they can sustain their development),” Secretary Alba said.

This year, PAMANA CDD will boost its implementation through the Integrated Community Enterprising Market Program. This will augment livelihood opportunities in conflict-affected and conflict-vulnerable communities in three modalities:

Capacity development training, production of inputs and additional capital assistance.

Each barangay would have a total project cost allocation of P300,000.

The PAMANA MNLF program, on the other hand, will provide services to the families of MNLF combatants through healthcare benefits, college scholarships, tech-voc capacity development, and livelihood ventures support. Each identified MNLF cooperative is allotted a project cost ceiling worth P885,000 from DSWD-ARMM.

From January 15 to 18, DSWD-ARMM has conducted an orientation and planning workshop that marked the start of the 2016 project implementation of the program. The event was designed to orient the stakeholders at the provincial level on the new process and mechanisms of implementation of the last cycle of PAMANA.

The program’s provincial teams, provincial social welfare officers, project development officers, provincial focal persons, and special project staff attended the three-day activity spearheaded by the agency’s Regional Project Management Office.

Also present are officials from the PAMANA National Project Management Office, which is under the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPPAP).

Howard Cafugauan, OPAPP assistant secretary for Special Programs, said by the end of 2015, a total of 5,659 households were covered with health insurance, 400 beneficiaries received study grants, and 5,115 households – specifically those displaced by the 2008 conflict brought about by the rejection of the Memorandum of Agreement on the Ancestral Domain – were provided with shelters.

PAMANA is a project aimed at making citizens become stronger agents of peace and development in the region and in the country. This is the current administration’s peace and development framework anchored on promoting inclusive growth and lasting peace. (PAMANA)

Philippines: BBL passage will change Mindanao’s violent narrative – Deles

24 January 2016 - 7:33pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

MANILA, Jan. 25 -- The much-awaited passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) will not only improve the fate of the Bangsamoro region but will also change the discourse on Mindanao as it will signal the closing of the armed conflict with the largest Moro rebel group in the country, said Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Secretary Teresita Quintos Deles.

“Yung kailangan siguro sa panahong ito talaga yung big picture ang tinitingnan. ‘Yung farsightedness… dahil sa totoo lang itong batas na ito hindi lang pang ngayon [but] it will [also] affect the future of the Bangsamoro (What we need to see at this point in time is the big picture. The farsightedness… because, in reality, this law is not only for the present but it will also affect the future of the Bangsamoro),” Deles said in an interview on national television.

"Mapapalitan na natin ang narrative nitong lugar na ito from one of distrust, despair, violence to one na meron kang bagong opportunities [and] new hopes (We can change the narrative of this place from one of distrust, despair, violence to one with opportunities [and] new hopes)," she added. "[The two peace] parties and a large constituency, church leaders, civil society, even business leaders have come to a consensus on this, not to mention [that the] international community is so ready."

Deles emphasized that the passage of the BBL should not be passed on to the next administration, but rather the final decision and action to the Mindanao armed conflict depends on the current Congress and the political will of the legislators.

"[M]as nakasalalay dito sa mga nakaupo mismo ngayon na sila ang kailangan talagang magpasya na... umabot na [tayo sa] mahabang panahon, [kaya] hindi lang ito yung sinasabing minadali. Ang tagal nila [at] andaming consultations nangyari [kaya] halos lahat na ng tanong ay nandiyan na (It really rests on the incumbent political leaders we have today to decide... this has gone on for such a long time, that is why they can't say that there has been any railroading. It has been so long and various consultations have been made to ensure that all questions are answered)."

Despite the limited timeframe of Congress for BBL passage, Deles remains positive that it can still be done under the Aquino administration. "[W]e will keep on pushing and not give up hope on this. It's a very tight window but those who know the legislative process said that it is still possible."

Cagayan de Oro City Representative Rufus Rodriguez, who serves as chairman of the ad hoc committee on the BBL, announced earlier that the House agreed to vote on the bill on 27 January.

During the course of the interview, the OPAPP secretary was also asked about the re-opening of the Senate probe on the Mamasapano incident.

Deles welcomed the motion of Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile to reopen the Mamasapano investigation at the committee level to put closure on the issue.

“[W]e will respect Senator Enrile na siya yung nagtulak nito na mayroon nga siyang mga tanong na inaasahan nating makakatulong sa pag-intindi sa nangyari (We will respect Senator Enrile who is pushing for this because he still has questions that would help in making us understand what really happened),” she said.

“Kung kailangan buksan [dahil] may mga issue pang pag-uusapan, may mga tanong, i-focus doon (If we are going to open because there are issues still to be addressed, all questions should focus there). [I am hoping that] it will be factual and it will help to [give the] big picture of what really happened.”

She reminded lawmakers that the BBL passage should not be affected with the Mamasapano probe re-opening and that the remaining session days would be used to focus on important bills currently pending for legislation. (OPAPP)

Philippines: Of disasters and childbirths: A mother’s experience

24 January 2016 - 2:55am
Source: UN Population Fund Country: Philippines

Darlene Niña Amar of Catarman, Northern Samar will never be able to look back to the day her two children were born without recalling the horrid events that went along with them. On both occasions, she and her newborns survived major natural disasters.

Last 14 December, 24-year-old Darlene gave birth at home in Barangay Old Rizal in the municipality of Catarman in Northern Samar as Typhoon Melor (locally known as Nona), with an equivalent strength of a Category 4 typhoon, made landfall over the province.

Darlene was already experiencing contractions early that day and was just waiting for her husband to come home so they can go to the nearest birthing facility, which is a 15-minute tricycle ride from their house. By noon, however, the wind began to pick up strength and there was heavy downpour, making it impossible for them to get a tricycle.

They stayed home, hoping the wind and rain would soon subside so they can go to the health center. The typhoon, however, did not relent and battered even their house, tearing a part of the wall on the second floor. Darlene’s mother-in-law and sister-in-law scrambled to drain the rainwater that flowed into their house from the torn wall. As everyone dealt with the chaos, Darlene tried her best to keep calm as she lay on the floor while her labour pains grew intense.

But childbirth happens even at the most precarious situation and not even Darlene’s attempt to remain calm could delay it. At around 3 p.m., her new baby – a girl – came out. Fortunately, Darlene was surrounded by family who assisted her, although everyone was terrified at the situation.

“My sister-in-law grabbed a towel to wrap my baby and my husband ran out of the house to get a midwife who cut the baby’s umbilical cord with a pair of scissors. My baby and I got wet from the water dripping from the ceiling,” Darlene narrated as UNFPA staff visited her in her house.

Giving birth in an emergency setting is nothing new to Darlene. Three years ago, she was just discharged from a birthing center a day after she delivered her first child when the 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck the Samar island in central Philippines on 31 August 2012. Luckily, the mother and child were moved to a safer ground unscathed.

Looking back at both childbirth experiences, Darlene recognizes the importance of having a birthing facility and skilled birth attendant at the time of delivery, especially during an emergency. “It is much better at the health center because the medical staff know what to do. The facility is also clean and there are medical equipment and supplies that they can use for safe deliveries,” she said.

Darlene was one of the 5,700 pregnant and lactating women affected by Typhoon Melor from the municipalities of Catarman, Biri and Laoang in Northern Samar who received dignity kits from UNFPA. Dignity kits contain basic hygiene supplies such as soap, sanitary napkins, underwear, bath towel, and malong, among others.

The kits are part of UNFPA’s prepositioned reproductive health supplies for emergency assistance made possible through the funding support from the Government of Australia. These prepositioned kits allow UNFPA to quickly respond to the needs of pregnant and lactating women in the aftermath of a disaster.

For more information, contact:

Arlene Calaguian Alano, Communications Officer
Tel: +63 2 901 0306 E-mail: alano@unfpa.org