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Somalia: Electrifying a hospital for 1.2 million people in Somalia

8 hours 50 min ago
Source: UNOPS Country: Somalia
A new electrical power system for Hargeisa Group Hospital will help save lives and improve the wellbeing of hospital patients.

The European Union (EU) funded the system, which was recently inaugurated by the EU, UNOPS, Hargeisa Group Hospital and Terre Solidali.

Head of the EU Delegation to Somalia, Michele Cervone d'Urso, hailed the timely supp​ort. Highlighting that healthcare is a primary universal need for every person, he pointed out that such crucial support is at the heart of the EU's comprehensive approach to improving people's living standards.​​

​"A healthy community is a productive community, and without reliable electricity the Hargeisa Group Hospital would not be able to render its services​ effectively," he said. "This is why the European Union is passionate and dedicated to supporting such a crucial medical facility that attends to thousands of people in Hargeisa and beyond."​

As part of this project, UNOPS procured and installed two generators and essential electrical materials.

"This new power system now provides uninterrupted electricity to the hospital grid," said Kazuyo Mitsuhashi, UNOPS Programme Analyst. "This will substantially improve both the quality of services provided and the safety of the hospital's patients and visitors."

The new electrical power system is part of a €1.5 million EU-funded project aimed at increasing the efficiency, quality and sustainability of health services provided by the hospital, which serves approximately 1.2 million in the wider area.

Aimed at improving the hospital's facilities, the funding followed a comprehensive approach to the hospital's development and management. It provided: an infrastructure master plan for the hospital, geared towards supporting functional integration of its various departments; the development of small-scale infrastructure interventions; and the procurement of equipment.

Somalia: Food Security & Nutrition Quarterly Brief - Focus on Post Gu 2016 Season Early Warning (Issued June 30 2016)

30 June 2016 - 9:06pm
Source: Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit Country: Somalia

Key Issues

Based on ongoing monitoring activities and the findings of the FSNAU’s rapid field assessment (June 2016) and climate forecasts for 2016 Hagaa (June - July) and Deyr (October - December), the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) projects deterioration of food security conditions in parts of Central and Southern agricultural livelihoods of Somalia in the post-Gu period (July-December 2016).

The foreseen deterioration is attributed to below average Gu harvest outlook as a result of unfavourable Gu rainy season, while Hagaa (June - July) seasonal rains are also expected to be below normal. In addition, next Deyr rainy season (October-December) is likely to be below average in most parts of the country due to likely La Nina event.

  • Flood-affected areas of Hiran and Middle Shabelle are likely to be most affected, particularly during the Hagaa dry season. Similarly, livestock-dependent coastal areas (Coastal Deeh Pastoral and Cowpea Belt) of Central, where poor households mostly own small ruminants, are also likely to see deterioration in their food security situation due to the impact of poor Gu rains and anticipated unfavourable Deyr rainy season this year.

  • On the other hand, recent Gu rains have helped to recover pasture, water and livestock conditions in pastoral areas in the Northwest, including the drought-affected areas of Guban and Northern Inland Pastoral (NIP) livelihoods. The agropastoral areas of Northwest, which were affected by drought over the past two years, are likely to see some improvements due to projected above average Gu-Karan rains (July-September) with a positive impact on major harvest in November. Improved livestock conditions and increased demand during the forthcoming Hajj season (September) are expected to lead to increased livestock prices.

  • However, recovery from the lingering impacts of successive droughts and consequent food security crisis situation will be slow in Guban Pastoral livelihood, where households experienced reduction in livestock herd size due to livestock death and accelerated sales during recent drought. Livestock reproduction in this livelihood is expected to be low in the projection period.

  • Concerns remain regarding the food security situation in the urban areas of Hiran, Bakool and Bay regions, which have been affected by trade blockade over the past two years. Despite relative improvements in food access in recent months, the food security situation in these towns remains volatile.

  • Overall, the 2016 Gu cereal harvest in southern Somalia is expected to be 30 - 50 percent below post war average (1995 - 2015) average. The shortfall is attributed to less planting due to poor rainfall performance, moisture stress, pest infestation and flood damage in riverine areas of Middle Shabelle and Hiran regions. The areas with below average harvest include the major cereal producing regions of Lower Shabelle and Bay, which together normally account for 70-80 percent of the total cereal production in southern regions of Somalia. Off-season harvests are expected in September in flood-affected Middle Shabelle and Hiran as well as riverine areas of Juba and Gedo regions, but their contribution to total production is minimal.

  • The farmers in Cowpea Belt of Central are also likely to collect poor harvest of cereals and cowpea, which is a main crop produced in the livelihood, normally providing 3-4 months of stock to poor farmers. On the other hand, in the agropastoral livelihood of the Northwest, the Gu-Karan harvest is expected to be above average in light of the projected above average Karan rains.

  • Livestock conditions have improved in several pastoral and agropastoral areas of the country, apart from rain-deficit areas, particularly parts of NIP and Guban livelihoods due to the poor Gu rains and anticipated below normal Deyr rains, where livestock conditions are below average. Milk availability is expected to be below normal in most areas over the next six months, especially in the rain-deficit and drought-affected livelihoods of Guban and NIP.

Somalia: Review of durable solutions initiatives in east and Horn of Africa: Good practices, challenges and opportunities in the search of durable solutions

30 June 2016 - 1:47pm
Source: Danish Refugee Council Country: Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Uganda

INTRODUCTION

On the displacement crises in the East and Horn of Africa. 11.7 million people were displaced in the region at the end of February 2016, mostly in Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia.1 Displacement results from a combination of conflicts, climatic and development shocks driven by “poor governance, environmental degradation, food insecurity, and lack of economic opportunities”.2 If the challenge is as much structural as crisis-related, can there be a common response? Is there a common understanding on durable solutions by key actors? This report focuses on the response to forced displacement in four countries: Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and Uganda, and on regional learning.

On a solutions system. All stakeholders interviewed for this review in the region agree that 1) the lack of a common system, 2) unclear coordination, and 3) the missing evidence base, are key structural challenges to finding durable solutions. Over the last decade, stakeholders at the country, regional and global levels have been seeking to unlock solutions through new initiatives and ideas – all of which have been detailed in this report. These initiatives provide fertile ground from which to learn and build a more comprehensive and collaborative agenda in the search for durable solutions in the region. Rather than a lack of vision on durable solutions, there are many visions carried out without a common agenda for coordination and learning. This report explores the junctures at which these initiatives have come together or in some cases, have failed to do so, providing opportunities and entry-points into an actual durable solutions system. The nature and scale of displacement in the region requires attention from all sides, including civil society, private sector and development actors, beyond just humanitarian actors. Global discussions on partnerships, financing and local solutions remind us of the need to learn from concrete examples.

What this report does. This report asks: Is it possible to aim for a strengthened durable solutions system in the East and Horn of Africa? The key drivers of solutions are analyzed based on past programmes, including lessons learnt in order to form the building blocks for future solutions and to unlock barriers to solutions in protracted situations.

The Solutions Unit of UNHCR Geneva is planning a “Solutions Library” to consolidate a database of initiatives on Durable Solutions, a step in the right direction. This review provides evidence from a rapidly evolving East African context to feed into the learning on solutions. It argues for the creation of stronger synergies and a learning agenda. If one consensus emerges from all interviews, it is the need to build evidence from communities up, to inform durable solutions as a process to be taken forward gradually, through best practices, lessons learned, and collective thinking.

Somalia: Somalia Livelihood Profiles - June 2016

30 June 2016 - 1:23pm
Source: Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit Country: Somalia

INTRODUCTION 

In Somalia, Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) - a multi-donor project managed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) and FEWS NET are working together to ensure that livelihood products, tools, and skills meet FSNAU’s and FEWS NET’s decision support needs. As a first step, FSNAU and FEWS NET with support from the Food Economy Group (FEG) finalized a revision of the livelihood zone map of Somalia in December 2014/January 2015 (_Ref. the Revision of the Livelihood Zones of Somalia: The Final Consolidation – February 2015_). After careful deliberations over two years, the final number of rural livelihood zones of Somalia has been reduced from 33 to 18 through a process of merging some zones and/or identifying most representative datasets and taking into consideration of overall decision support needs. Subsequently the zonal baseline spreadsheets, the Livelihood Impact Analysis Spreadsheets (LIAS) and the narrative baseline profiles were revised in the light of the new zonal map. This report offers an overview of the Household Economy Analysis methodology and a brief account of its history in the FSNAU, and then a summary analysis of the essential information from the baseline profiles taken together. This is followed by a series of livelihood profiles for each of the eighteen livelihood zones identified in Somalia. 

The livelihood profiles offer an analysis of livelihoods and food security on a geographical basis. The profiles form a useful briefing for a newcomer to these areas who needs to get a grasp of food security conditions. Development planners can also benefit from using the livelihood profiles. One objective of development is to reduce people’s vulnerability to hazards and to increase their capacity to cope. An important first step is to understand who is vulnerable, to which hazards, and why. Likewise, efforts to reduce poverty require an understanding of how the poorest households normally survive in different areas and the reasons for their poverty. In addition, using a baseline livelihood profile, we can explore household capacity to adapt to economic stress, especially failed crop or livestock production; and we can appreciate household activities at different periods in the yearly cycle. 

The profiles are divided into a number of sections: 

The General Livelihood Zone Description offers a general description of the climate, topography, natural resources and local livelihood patterns (livestock rearing, crop production, off-farm income generation etc.). The Markets section contains basic information on the marketing of local production and on any importation of staple food into the zone. There is a section on Conflict, which highlights the important effects that insecurity have had on livelihoods in Somalia. This is followed by a brief description of recent trends in food security over the past four years. The Seasonal Calendar sets out the timing of key activities during the year. This is useful in a variety of ways, e.g. to judge the likely impact of a hazard according to its timing during the year, or to assess whether a particular activity is being undertaken at the normal time in the current year. 

This is followed by two sections that provide the core information on the ‘Household Economy’ of the zone. The Wealth Breakdown section describes four main wealth groups (‘very poor’, ‘poor’, ‘middle’ and ‘better-off’), explaining the differences between these groups and how this affects potential access to food and cash income. The Sources of Food and income and expenditures section examine patterns of food and income access at each level of wealth, relating these to the characteristics of each group. An annual picture is presented, with food expressed as a percentage of 2100 kcals per person per day. Cash income is presented in either absolute or relative terms, depending on when the baseline information was collected and stored. The Expenditure Patterns section is of interest in showing what proportion of their annual cash budget households at the different wealth levels spend on food, on household items, on production inputs, etc. 

Next is a section on the Calendar of major sources of food and income for poor households, highlighting when the main types of food and cash are acquired during the year and how these relate to seasonal expenditure requirements. 

The section on Hazards, response and monitoring variables provides information on the different types of hazard that affect the zone, differentiated by wealth group where this is appropriate; coping strategies available to different types of household in the zone, together with a judgement of the likely effectiveness of the strategies; and finally the table showing Key Parameters for Monitoring suggests the key indicators to monitor in each livelihood zone, based upon an understanding of local livelihood patterns. There is also a population table at the end of each profile that provides an estimate of that livelihood zone’s population broken down by district. 

World: Europe tries to buy its way out of the migration crisis

30 June 2016 - 12:54pm
Source: IRIN Country: Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, World

New “incentives” pile pressure on third countries

By Kristy Siegfried

This week’s European Council meeting was dominated by reactions to Britain’s referendum result, but on Tuesday EU leaders took a decision that has far-reaching consequences for people forced or wishing to migrate from more than a dozen countries in Africa and Asia.

Read the full article on IRIN

World: US: Don’t Fund Child Soldiers Abroad

30 June 2016 - 11:43am
Source: Human Rights Watch Country: Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Myanmar, Nigeria, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, World, Yemen

State Department List Adds Iraq, Excludes Afghanistan

(New York) – The Obama administration should require foreign governments receiving United States military aid to immediately end their use of child soldiers, Human Rights Watch said today. On June 30, 2016, the US State Department issued a new list of countries implicated in the use of child soldiers as part of its annual Trafficking in Persons report. The list of 10 countries includes Burma, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Nigeria, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

The 2008 Child Soldiers Prevention Act prohibits certain forms of US military assistance to countries that either use child soldiers in their national armed forces or support militias or paramilitaries that recruit and use child soldiers. The president can waive the prohibition for national security reasons. Since the law went into effect in 2010, the Obama administration has issued such waivers in 26 of 33 cases, allowing governments using child soldiers to receive hundreds of millions of dollars in US military aid.

“Many of the governments listed by the State Department receive US military aid year after year despite their continued use of children as soldiers,” said Jo Becker, children’s rights advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “President Obama should make clear that countries using child soldiers are going to lose US military support.”

President Obama must decide by the end of September whether to waive the law’s military sanctions for any of the listed governments for fiscal year 2017.

Iraq was added to the list for the first time this year. The Popular Mobilization Forces, a government-recognized paramilitary force under the prime minister’s command, has recruited children as young as 11 to fight against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS. Human Rights Watch has documented that children as young as 15 have been killed while fighting with one of the militia forces making up the Popular Mobilization Forces.

Nigeria was included for the second year in a row, based on the use of child soldiers by the Civilian Joint Task Force, a government-allied force used to fight the armed group Boko Haram. Rwanda, which had been included in 2013 and 2014 but removed in 2015, reappeared after officials recruited child soldiers from a refugee camp. The other countries have been included for at least four years in a row. Several – Congo, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen – have been named every year since the list was first published in 2010.

Afghanistan was omitted from this year’s list, despite evidence that the Afghan Local Police, a government-backed militia engaged in combat operations against the Taliban and other insurgents, recruits and uses children as soldiers.

“The United States has paid hundreds of millions of dollars to support an Afghan militia that recruits and uses children to fight the Taliban,” Becker said. “Afghanistan should also be on this list and subject to military sanctions.”

Afghanistan was excluded because the State Department determined that the Afghan Local Police fell into a gray area not covered by the Child Soldiers Prevention Act. That decision appears contrary to the plain meaning of the law, Human Rights Watch said. The law covers “governmental armed forces or government-supported armed groups, including paramilitaries, militias, or civil defense forces, that recruit and use child soldiers.” The Afghan Local Police was established under the Afghan interior minister by presidential decree in August 2010, and according to the US Defense Department, is an “integral part” of the Afghanistan security forces.

“There’s no gray area concerning children and the Afghan Local Police,” Becker said. “The Afghan government has failed to rein in the militia’s recruitment of children while the US turns a blind eye.”

In 2015, President Obama gave full or partial waivers to four of the five countries listed that were scheduled recipients of US military aid. Withholding at least a portion of US military aid would provide foreign governments with an incentive to curb child recruitment, Human Rights Watch said.

“President Obama should take a much harder line, and insist that countries that receive US military aid end their use of child soldiers,” Becker said. “Unconditional military aid sends a terrible message that the US knowingly supports countries that use children to fight.”

Somalia: Somalia: Humanitarian Dashboard - May 2016 (issued on 30 June 2016)

30 June 2016 - 10:55am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Somalia

SITUATION OVERVIEW

Provision of humanitarian assistance continued across Somalia, including response to AWD/cholera, drought and flooding. During the first five months of 2016, an estimated 530,900 people were reached with food assistance, 177,500 people with activities aimed at building livelihoods, while 464,400 people received livelihood seasonal inputs such as seeds, tools, fishing equipment, irrigation vouchers and livestock distribution and vaccination. Nearly 120,000 malnourished children under age 5 were admitted into the nutrition programme. Over one million Somalis received basic health services, while 848,200 people were provided with temporary and sustainable access to safe water. Over 80,000 people were assisted with safe sanitation and nearly 400,000 people reached with hygiene promotion activities. Nearly 88,100 people were reached with protection services, while education partners reached 88,700 learners with teaching activities and school feeding programmes. Over 56,300 people benefited from improved housing, land and property rights.

Assistance to people affected by flooding in Belet Weyne district, Hiraan region also continued. Nearly 80 per cent of the 70,000 people displaced by flooding in Belet Weyne district, Hiraan region have returned to their homes. Humanitarian partners rehabilitated damaged infrastructure, including repairs of broken river embankment to mitigate the impact of floods in the future. Since January 2016, more than 10,000 cases of AWD/cholera have been reported in southern and central Somalia. Cases and related deaths have declined in the past few weeks but the hardest hit districts such as Bu’aale, Kismayo and Sakow continue to report cases. Some $1.9 million has been allocated from the UN Central Emergency Relief Fund (CERF) towards AWD/cholera response.

World: Rapport sur le Conseil de paix et de sécurité 81, juin 2016

30 June 2016 - 10:42am
Source: Institute for Security Studies Country: Burundi, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Morocco, Somalia, Western Sahara, World

La 10e réunion consultative conjointe annuelle du CPS de l’Union africaine (UA) et du Conseil de sécurité de l’Organisation des Nations Unies (ONU) a été marquée par des tensions concernant l’ordre du jour.

Les questions liées au financement et à la coordination entre l’ONU et l’UA dans la prévention des crises ont dominé le débat ouvert.

Le CPS veut que les pays membres africains du Conseil de sécurité de l’ONU lui fassent rapport sur la façon dont ils collaborent pour défendre ses décisions.

Le lien entre sécheresse et conflits au Mali ne peut pas être appréhendé par le biais des mécanismes traditionnels de réaction aux crises.

L’UA a été appelée à intervenir en République démocratique du Congo où Joseph Kabila est soupçonné de vouloir prolonger son mandat comme président du pays. Mais pourrait-il y arriver?

Les derniers développements concernant le Sahara occidental représentent une occasion pour l’Afrique de faire valoir sa position dans ce conflit.

Somalia: Roadside bomb kills eight on Somalia minibus: Witnesses

30 June 2016 - 4:54am
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Somalia

Mogadishu, Somalia | AFP | Thursday 6/30/2016 - 08:42 GMT

A roadside bomb ripped apart a minibus just outside Somalia's capital Mogadishu on Thursday, killing at least eight people and injuring several others, a witness said.

"There was a terrible incident, a landmine hit a civilian minibus," said Mohamed Wedow, a witness at the scene.

"At least eight people died and more than 20 others were wounded in the blast."

An AFP journalist at the bomb site at Lafole, some 18 kilometres (11 miles) outside Mogadishu, said the vehicle had been torn apart by the blast.

Witnesses said they believed the blast had been caused by a landmine.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, but Somalia's Al-Qaeda-linked Shabaab has carried out a string of similar attacks.

"Nearly 10 are dead and more than that are wounded, it is terrible," said Abdurahman Hussein, a resident at a nearby village.

He said all the passengers on the bus were either killed or wounded.

Some of those pulled out of wreckage were badly hit and the death toll is feared to rise.

Shabaab jihadists were chased out of Mogadishu in 2011 but remain a dangerous threat in both Somalia and neighbouring Kenya, where they carry out frequent attacks.

They jihadists are fighting to overthrow Somalia's internationally-backed government.

World: Helen Clark: Keynote Address on “Strengthening the Rule of Law to Sustain Peace and Foster Development – Lessons Learned from Eight Years of Support”

30 June 2016 - 2:09am
Source: UN Development Programme Country: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Central African Republic, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Libya, Mali, Somalia, Timor-Leste, Tunisia, World

I am delighted to welcome you to this Annual Meeting on Strengthening the Rule of Law in Crisis-affected and Fragile Contexts.

Allow me to begin by acknowledging members of our high-level panel this morning:

• Her Excellency, Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh, Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations will chair our panel for this session. Ambassador Nusseibeh has been active in promoting the rule of law and transitional justice within the UN system, and has highlighted in particular the challenges women face in accessing justice and participating in the formulation and implementation of the rule of law. We are most grateful for Ambassador Nusseibeh’s support.

• Her Excellency, Sanogo Aminata Malle, Minister of Justice, Human Rights, and Guardian of Seals in Mali. As the former President of the ECOWAS Community Court, Minister Mallé has provided remarkable leadership on the rule of law. Since taking office as a Minister in 2015, Mme Mallé has continued to support work on the rule of law and access to justice in Mali, and we look forward to hearing more about this today.

• Her Excellency Thelma Esperanza Aldana Hernández de López, Attorney-General of Guatemala, has been a courageous and unwavering advocate for the rule of law, transparency, and justice in her country. We thank the Attorney-General for taking the time to share her experiences with us today.

• Advocate Mabedle Lawrence Mushwana, Chairperson of the South African Human Rights Commission, is here representing the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions. As the Global Alliance’s former Chair, he is a key promoter of the work of national human rights institutions globally .

UNDP looks forward to this annual rule of law meeting each year as an opportunity to discuss the results of its work with partners. Over the course of this week’s events, we will engage on access to justice and SDG 16, and on addressing obstacles to establishing the rule of law.

Today marks the official launch of the annual report on our Global Programme for Strengthening the Rule of Law in Crisis-Affected and Fragile Situations. In the preface of that report, I wrote that: “We have learned from the United Nations Charter that the rule of law and human rights form the essential conditions for human dignity and therefore for human development”. This insight underpins UNDP’s work to support countries to strengthen the rule of law.

In my speech this morning, I will refer to the global trends and policy discussions which are guiding our work. I will comment on the critical importance of partnerships in the UN system’s work on the rule of law. For example, the collaboration between UNDP, DPKO, UN Women, OHCHR, UNODC and others through the Global Focal Point arrangement ensures that our efforts are complementary and not competitive.

As the second phase of our Global Programme for Strengthening the Rule of Law in Crisis-Affected and Fragile Situations concluded at the end of last year, I will also share some examples of the impact our efforts have had on strengthening the rule of law, justice, and security in those contexts.

Global trends - the SDGs and Goal 16, peace reviews, and conflict

Since our annual meeting last year the 2030 Agenda has been adopted, providing a comprehensive global framework for advancing sustainable development in the face of the complex challenges our world faces. In adopting this agenda, Member States acknowledged that access to justice was an important element of sustainable development.

SDG 16 commits Member States to “promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all, and build effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels”. A specific target is dedicated to promoting the rule of law, which is seen as an essential condition for building peaceful and inclusive societies.

A number of developments around our world are undermining the rule of law and human development. These include:

  • protracted conflicts and fragility more broadly which are estimated to affect the lives of roughly 1.5 billion people. UNHCR estimates that more than 65 million people are currently forcibly displaced from their homes – the highest number since the end of World War Two. Conflicts are the cause of an estimated eighty per cent of all humanitarian needs. The gap between those needs and the international community’s capacity to respond is widening;

  • growing income inequalities, which impose strains on social cohesion. If left unaddressed, these pressures can pose risks to peace and development in a number of contexts. As well, persistent inequality and marginalization continue to affect women, youth, and other groups in a range of societies; and

  • the menace of organized crime, sexual and gender-based violence, terrorism, and violent extremism continue to blight the lives of many.

Strong and accountable institutions anchored in the rule of law are needed to uphold people’s rights and hold perpetrators of violence and injustice to account. Establishing such institutions is an essential part of peacebuilding after a conflict has ended, and is also highly relevant to the prevention of conflict. In many contexts, disregard for the rule of law is a ticking time bomb for instability, unrest, and conflict.

In April this year, the UN Security Council and the General Assembly adopted far-reaching resolutions on peacebuilding and on the prevention of conflict. These resolutions embrace the concept of “sustaining peace”, and urge that peacebuilding should not be limited to the post-conflict period. They note that the root causes of conflict and violence need to be addressed comprehensively. Accounting for serious human rights violations and tackling impunity are critical to that.

UNDP leads joint system delivery on rule of law and human rights

Advancing the rule of law and sustaining peace is most likely to be achieved when national, international, and UN partners work closely together. The Global Focal Point (GFP) for the Rule of Law in Post-Conflict and other Crisis Situations, established in 2012, enables the UN system itself to deliver joined-up support.

Following the Secretary-General’s call for more flexible use of peacekeeping missions’ budgets to support peacebuilding, the Global Focal Point requested funds for five peacekeeping missions to support multi-agency rule of law activities which were considered essential for delivering on Security Council mandates. The good news is that these five projects have recently secured the support of the Fifth Committee, and around $13 million will be made available for this important work to be carried out by UN Country Teams and Missions.

The GFP arrangement also stands ready to support the Secretary-General’s Human Rights Up Front initiative, which focuses the UN system on the prevention of conflict by identifying and responding to early signs of crisis.

An important source of resourcing for UNDP’s rule of law work in conflict-affected and fragile contexts is the Peacebuilding Fund. In Guatemala, for example, the Fund has supported us to work with victims of conflict and with justice institutions for a number of years. We will hear more about Guatemala’s efforts to address the issues of sexual and gender-based violence today. The recent landmark court decision on the “Sepur Zarco” case, where former members of the security forces were convicted for committing systematic sexual violence against indigenous women, gives hope that by empowering victims and supporting institutions justice will be done.

Elsewhere:

• UNDP’s rule of law expertise is supporting the establishment of transitional justice measures in Libya. • We work closely with SRSG Bangura’s Team of Experts on Sexual Violence in Conflict in a number of countries, including DRC, Mali, and CAR.
• We provide technical support to the work of the Special Rapporteur to the Human Rights Council on the Promotion of Truth, Justice, Reparation, and Guarantees of Non-Recurrence.

The impact of our work

UNDP supports national partners to strengthen the rule of law – including in the most difficult development contexts where people’s needs for safety, security, and justice are urgent. By supporting better access to justice through the use of mobile courts, community-oriented policing, partnering with governments on comprehensive justice and security sector reform, and building the capacity of national counterparts to carry out their mandates, UNDP joins the dots between development and peacebuilding.

In this year’s annual report on our rule of law work in crisis-affected and fragile contexts, we look back over the previous eight years to assess our impact, identify lessons learned, and chart a path forward. Some highlights of our work have included the following:

• In Bosnia and Herzegovina, a key long term UNDP objective was to help consolidate and reform the legal aid system. As a first step, we worked with civil society to set up a network of free legal aid providers as an interim measure until a state-sponsored system could be adopted. Currently the network consists of around twenty providers, and an estimated 22,000 clients received legal aid last year alone. The network has been successful in empowering victims of conflict to engage with the legal system, and in mobilizing the general public to come to terms with the legacy of past violence.

• In Central African Republic, UNDP worked closely with the UN peacekeeping mission (MINUSCA) to hold the 2015 Criminal Sessions — the first to be held in the country since 2010. These sessions were said to be among the most efficient and effective justice processes in the country’s recent history.

We also worked with stakeholders to support the development of a shared vision for the establishment of the Special Criminal Court in CAR. This set the stage for the application of new judicial procedures across the justice system. Our national partners in CAR are well on their way to reforming the justice system overall, and UNDP is proud to be supporting their efforts.

• In Colombia, UNDP supported sixty victims of the long-running conflict to testify before peace negotiators in Havana. Those who testified included women, indigenous peoples, and Afro-descendants who were survivors of sexual violence during the conflict. Since then, UNDP has assisted more than 1,500 people from 936 victim organizations in 22 territories to form a victims’ network to advocate for victims’ needs and participation in the justice system.

• In Liberia, UNDP has helped to increase women’s and girls’ awareness of and access to the justice system. Together with UNMIL and UN Women, we have been supporting a Women’s and Child Protection Unit in the police force for many years. In 2009, we supported the establishment of a specialized court and of a crimes unit in the Ministry of Justice to investigate and prosecute sexual and gender-based crimes. These efforts have helped to tackle a culture of impunity for sexual and gender-based crimes, and to align institutions with international standards.

• In Somalia, UNDP has supported measures to bridge the informal and formal justice systems. In a pilot scheme in Puntland, UNDP trained forty judges, prosecutors, and legal aid providers last year on how to incorporate aspects of informal justice mechanisms in the formal justice framework. UNDP also provided training to traditional elders on human rights, and on how to register cases in the formal justice system. 672 cases were heard and resolved by customary elders from October to December last year, including cases on family disputes, minor injuries, and land disagreements.

• In Timor-Leste, UNDP supported the establishment of the Legal Training Centre to train judges, prosecutors, public defenders, and other justice officials, so that they could take over from international experts and specialists. Over the years, more than 150 people have been trained and certified. We commend Timor-Leste for its strong commitment to this work, and encourage the country to sustain and build on it.

• In Tunisia, UNDP supported the Ministry of the Interior to lead a change in policing away from a repressive model to one centered on public service and respect for citizens’ rights. Together UNDP and the Ministry have established six community policing pilot programmes. UNDP also supported the creation of local security committees to bring together civil society, local authorities, and national police representatives to discuss security issues.

From our work in these countries and in other crisis-affected and fragile contexts, UNDP has drawn the following lessons:

• placing people at the center of justice and security reforms and working towards the goals of national partners are crucial for successfully establishing the rule of law and access to justice;

• guaranteeing victims’ participation in transitional justice from the design phase to implementation is vital for ensuring that amends are made for past abuses and for building the conditions for reconciliation;

• building links between formal and informal justice systems widens access to justice; and

• concrete national commitments backed by strong political will are vital for building trust between people and the state and upholding the rule of law.

Conclusion

UNDP looks forward to the next chapter of its rule of law work through its Global Programme for Strengthening the Rule of Law in Crisis-Affected and Fragile Situations. We will continue to focus our efforts strategically – by placing people’s needs at the center of our work, by strengthening institutions to promote and protect access to justice, and by working to create supportive environments for the rule of law. From years of experience we have learned that each of these components is vital, and that success is more likely if we work on them collaboratively with partners rather than in isolation. This helps ensure our programmes have the greatest impact, and helps lay the foundations for sustainable peace in fragile and conflict-affected contexts.

Somalia: Puntland steps up maternity care

30 June 2016 - 1:38am
Source: UN Population Fund Country: Somalia

Twenty junior doctors in Puntland have begun attending a nine-month course on Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric and Neonatal Care (CEmONC), as efforts to reduce maternal mortality intensify. CEmONC includes all basic maternity services and adds obstetric surgical capacity and blood transfusion.

The Puntland State of Somalia Ministry of Health launched the course on June 22 at an event attended by high-level government officials, representatives of the academia, civil society, private sector, professional associations and UN organisations.

At the end of the course, the 20 doctors will receive a diploma certifying them to provide CEmONC services and sign a letter reaffirming their commitment to return to their home districts to serve their own communities.

Puntland Minister of Health Dr. Abdinasir Osman Cuuke said at the launching ceremony that although a lot of work had been done to provide quality training to doctors, a CEmONC training initiative such as this should have been prioritised and implemented earlier. He emphasised the need to ensure quality care for pregnant women.

“I am calling on the international community to continue investing in CEmONC capacity building and in hospitals,” said Dr. Cuuke.

He took note of the achievements that have already been made, including the availability of fully functional regional and district hospitals in Puntland.

The head of UNFPA Garowe sub-office Bakhtior Kadirov stated that the course was being supported under the Joint Health and Nutrition Programme (JHNP), which prioritises quality maternity care.

“No woman should die giving life. A country’s economic health and social harmony is measured in the health of its women,” said Kadirov.

He noted that according to the recent estimates by WHO, UNFPA, UNICEF & UN Population Division, Somalia has one of the highest lifetime risk of maternal deaths in the world, with women facing a 1 in 22 lifetime risk of maternal death. The maternal mortality ratio is estimated at 732 deaths per 100,000 live births.

Kadirov further noted that the medical technology to prevent almost all deaths from common obstetric complications has been available for half a century. “It is relatively simple and inexpensive. Many of the common obstetric complications can be managed before they become emergencies, and almost all can be treated even if they do become emergencies. One of the key interventions is access to emergency obstetric care,” said Kadirov.

The UNFPA head of office also stated that the SDG number 3 calls for achieving universal access to sexual and reproductive health care and reducing global maternal death rates by 2030.

“Equity is at the heart of SDGs, which are based on the concept of leaving no one behind,” noted Kadirov.

According to Kadirov, the Ministry of Health is highly committed to improving maternal health and that in 2015 alone Garowe and Galkayo hospitals assisted 6,128 deliveries, managed 2,392 obstetric complications and performed 422 caesarean sections. More than 10,000 beneficiaries received antenatal and postnatal care, birth counselling and services as a result of integrated community reproductive health outreach campaigns supported by UNFPA. He added that in the same year, three maternity waiting homes assisted more than 1100 deliveries, 8443 returnees and refugees from Yemen received reproductive health related information, counselling and services and that more than 70 fistula repairs were performed.

East Africa University is leading the CEmONC course. The director of the university Sheikh Mohamud Haji thanked the Ministry of Health, UN agencies, civil society and academia for making the training initiative a reality.

Sheikh Haji called on the stakeholders to create opportunities for such comprehensive and advanced training to more health professionals to fully meet the current unmet need for services. He expressed confidence that upon graduating, the trained junior doctors will contribute to improving quality CEmONC coverage in Puntland.

CEmONC training course instructor, Dr. Obsiye Elmi explained that the nine-month course will be on obstetrics in general, with a special focus on CEmONC services, comprising a three-month theoretical programme followed by practical sessions for six months.

The director of the Primary Health Care Department in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Abdirizak Abshir Hersi, congratulated the junior students for their selection into the CEmONC training course, saying many doctors had applied and that it was highly competitive.

Dr. Hersi stated that the Ministry of Health will continue to support the doctors even after graduation to ensure they are well equipped with the necessary tools and resources to use their new skills to their full potential. - See more at: http://somalia.unfpa.org/news/puntland-steps-maternity-care#sthash.D1IiaywT.dpuf

Somalia: Saving the lives of women facing drought

30 June 2016 - 1:37am
Source: UN Population Fund Country: Somalia

Rukiyo Ahmed, 26, discovered she was pregnant just as drought started ravaging her village, Eelbuh in the Puntland State of Somalia. Her household lost all its livestock. The drought became so bad that Rukiyo and her family had to abandon their home and went to seek refugee with extended family members living in the Dangoroyo town, 35 kilometres away from Eelbuh.

“I was so worried that I would have a miscarriage due to the effects of the drought,” said Rukiyo, adding: “We had so little to eat. I became very weak and could barely walk.”

She said she was desperate for a baby. She had suffered two miscarriages before.

“I delivered a dead baby after three days of labour with my first pregnancy and my second baby died right after birth. Both times I was attended to by a traditional birth attendant,” said Rukiyo.New and increased health needs and challenges were experienced as a result of the effects of drought in Puntland and Somaliland where below normal rains or failures were experienced in two consecutive rainy seasons in areas hit by El Nino.

A drought rapid needs assessment in February 2016 in Puntland, which covered the regions of Bari, Nugal and Sanaag, stated that there was an urgent need to health services in the affected areas. The same assessment raised concerns on availability of functioning health facilities in the study areas, which observed to be among the major concerns during a household survey as part of the assessment. Up to 73 percent of the respondents in the study reported lack of access to health facilities. Some health facilities in the assessed villages were closed down because the largest part of villagers moved to other locations, which led to zero access of health services for the families and the communities that had remained. The government of Puntland declared the assessed regions as drought stricken on February 11, 2016 with 213,000 affected and requested humanitarian partners to provide lifesaving assistance to seriously affected communities.

UNFPA, through the coordinated health cluster response, and with funding from the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), supported the provision of maternal health services geared towards addressing high rates of mortality and morbidity. The CERF funds were used to purchase emergency health kits to equip health units and ensure safe delivery for pregnant mothers. The funds were also used for emergency procurement of life saving medicines, consumable and supplies targeting primary health care facilities and support to life saving services, according to Samia Hassan, UNFPA’s humanitarian coordinator in Somalia.

“We aimed at making available emergency reproductive, maternal and new-born health services for 2,300 pregnant women in all drought affected target areas. We also worked on making eemergency referral services available for 400 complicated pregnancies in the target areas,” said Hassan.

Just in February alone and within Bari region, the medical teams deployed by the Ministry of Health, with support of UNFPA reported 57 pregnant women were referred with different complications from areas hit by the drought to Bossaso and Garowe hospitals.

Rukiyo was one of the women that benefited from UNFPA’s response to the drought. She was taken to a Maternal and Child Health facilitity in Dangoroyo by her relatives and received close attention after sharing her medical history with skilled birth attendants at the facility.

When she went into labour, it was found out that her pelvis was too narrow for the baby to pass and the health facility referred her to Garowe Regional Hospital, where she underwent a caesarian section.” Rukiyo gave birth to a healthy boy.

“I now visit the health centre for postnatal care services and I have accessed birth spacing services to She to avoid early pregnancy. I have been advised to deliver in hospital when I pregnant again,” said Rukiyo.

The UN in Somalia says millions of Somalis have endured the pain of living without access to basic services for far too long. Over the last two decades, due to collapse of the health system, the state of the health sector remains in a critical situation with some of the worst health indicators in the world. Some 3.2 million people lack access to emergency health services, while 2.8 million require improved access to water, sanitation and hygiene.

According to UNFPA, during conflicts, natural disasters and other emergencies, sexual and reproductive health needs are easily overlooked – yet these needs are often staggering.

In crisis situations, one in five women of childbearing age, is likely to be pregnant. Without access to reproductive health services, these women face an increased risk of life-threatening complications. Many women also lose access to family planning, exposing them to unwanted pregnancies in perilous conditions. Women and young people also become more vulnerable to sexual violence, exploitation and HIV infection. And the hygiene needs of women and girls are often neglected.

UNFPA works closely with governments, UN agencies, community-based organizations and other partners to ensure that reproductive health is integrated into emergency responses. UNFPA deploys hygiene supplies, obstetric and family planning supplies, trained personnel, and other support to vulnerable populations, and works to ensure the needs of women and young people are served through both an emergency and the reconstruction phase.

Somalia: Clinical Management of Rape rolled out in Somalia

30 June 2016 - 1:36am
Source: UN Population Fund Country: Somalia

Somalia now has a pool of qualified trainers in the Clinical Management of Rape (CMR). The pool of 26 trainers is currently in the process of strengthening the capacities of other CMR service providers.

The CMR task force, chaired by UNFPA and comprising of other UN agencies and NGOs working in Somalia, took a lead to conduct a training of trainers for CMR in February and March this year. The training aimed to harmonise CMR training in Somalia, build the capacity of government officials and service providers in providing quality CMR response, have a pool of trainers doing CMR training in the future and to build the capacity of trainees on CMR protocol.

UNFPA Somalia gender specialist Isatu Sesay-Bayoh explained that the content of the CMR training covers legal, psychosocial, medical and involvement of communities for better collaboration for the help of survivors.

“This training also intended to roll out the CMR protocol, endorsed by the Ministries of Health in three zones in December 2015,” said Sesay-Bayoh.

She said the training has led to CMR service provision to be fully integrated in the service mapping and standard operating procedures (SOPs) developed by the field GBV sub-clusters, and CMR service providers to refer to the service mapping and SOPs to ensure functioning of multi-sectoral referral system.

Gender-Based Violence (GBV) is one of the serious human rights violations taking place in Somalia. According to the GBV Information Management System, which records the reported GBV cases to the service providers, there were 9,582 reported GBV cases in the South Central, Puntland and Somaliland in 2015. Rape is the second most commonly reported type of GBV, which accounts for 19 percent of the total GBV cases, and sexual assaults accounts for 15 percent.

“Given the immediate, as well as long-term negative effects of rape and sexual assaults, medical response as a live-saving measure, is very critical. In fact, CMR is a fundamental component of the comprehensive response needed by survivors of sexual violence,” said Sesay-Bayoh.

The protracted humanitarian crisis situation over the past 20 years has resulted in the collapse of the health sector and a subsequent focus on emergency response interventions to ongoing and recurrent crises. As such, a number of low impact parallel and fragmented systems and structures for health care exist. In this generally constrained environment, medical personnel are neither trained in CMR nor the provision of post-rape treatment drugs.

The situation analysis indicated the current practice, where organizations were providing ad-hoc CMR trainings to health staff using different manuals and conducted by certified and non-certified trainers. There is no systematic follow-up and mentoring of those trained on CMR. This might compromise the quality of CMR services provided to the survivors. Thus, there is an urgent need of establishing systematic, standardised and well-trained pool of individual to do further training. The CMR training conducted as well as endorsement and implementation of CMR protocol are a step forward towards this.

Somalia: Somalia Price Bulletin, June 2016

29 June 2016 - 4:44am
Source: Famine Early Warning System Network Country: Ethiopia, Somalia

Maize, sorghum, rice, and cowpea are the most important staple foods for Somalis. Maize and sorghum are the preferred staple in agriculture areas, while rice is more popular in pastoral and urban areas. Cowpea is an integral component of all households’ diets. Mogadishu is Somalia’s largest market with links to most markets in the country. Baidoa is a significant sorghum producing and consuming area. Qorioley is a large maize production area. Burao, Galkayo, and Dhusamareb are exclusively pastoral where people depend on purchases of domestically produced sorghum and imported rice. Togwajale is a sorghum producing area with links to Ethiopian markets; most cereal flows from Ethiopia pass through this market. Hargeisa is the capital of Somaliland and an important reference market for livestock trade with Ethiopia. Buale, located in an important maize production area in the southern region supplies most nearby markets. El Dhere and Merka are areas of cowpea production: the principal source of income. Bossasso and Kismayo are both port towns and entry points of imports. Beled Weyn connects the south and central regions of the country, and also has linkages with Ethiopia. Belet Hawa is an important cross-border market with Kenya.

Somalia: Somalia Livestock Price Bulletin, June 2016

29 June 2016 - 4:34am
Source: Famine Early Warning System Network Country: Somalia

The livestock sector is central to the economic and cultural life of the Somali people. The sector provides food and income to over 60 percent of the country’s population. Burao and Galkayo are the largest livestock markets in the Horn of Africa especially for export sheep and goats from the Somali region of Ethiopia and parts of southern Somalia. The majority of the livestock exported through Berbera and Bosasso seaports transit or pass through these markets. Burao and Galkayo are two important reference markets for key pastoral livelihood zones of Hawd, Sool Plateau, Nugaal valley, and the Adun in the northeast and central regions. Beled Weyne connects the south and central regions of the country, and is the supply source of export cattle through Bosasso port. Dinsor, Bardera, and Afmadow are important cattle markets in the agro pastoral livelihood zones in southern Somalia. Significant number of the cattle trekked to Garissa, Kenya transit these markets. Afmadow is largest cattle market in southern Somalia. It is the reference market for the largest cattle belt in the Juba valley. It is the main source of the cross border cattle trade to the Garissa, Mombasa, and Nairobi markets in Kenya.

Somalia: East Africa Price Bulletin June 2016

29 June 2016 - 4:24am
Source: Famine Early Warning System Network Country: Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Yemen

Staple Food Markets in East Africa: White maize is the main staple grain consumed in Tanzania, Kenya, and Ethiopia. In Uganda, white maize is grown mainly as a commercial crop for export in the region. Imported rice is a major staple for Djibouti and Somalia, which mainly consume belem—the imported red rice. Tanzania is also a major producer and source of rice in the region while Kenya and Uganda are minor producers. Both red and white sorghum are produced and consumed in the region. This is an important staple in Sudan, Djibouti and Somalia as well as in other marginal agricultural areas of the region. It is also a substitute cereal among the rural poor. Red sorghum is mainly grown in Ethiopia, Sudan, and Somalia, and is the preferred type for households in Djibouti. Beans are an important source of protein and a complementary food crop grown in the high potential agricultural areas of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and Ethiopia. It is consumed across household types. Maize and beans are the most heavily traded commodities in the region. The cooking banana–matoke is the primary staple in Uganda. Uganda is also a main source of cooking and other types of bananas traded in the region especially in Southern Sudan. However, bananas are not traded nearly as heavily as maize or beans.

World: International Media Support (IMS) Annual Report 2015-2016

29 June 2016 - 1:46am
Source: International Media Support Country: Afghanistan, Colombia, Iraq, Nepal, Niger, Pakistan, Somalia, Syrian Arab Republic, Ukraine, World, Yemen

Sustaining Independent Media in Times of Conflict

In a year where the greatest influx of refugees seen by Europe since World War II dominated headlines and pressured government aid budgets, I have been asked on several occasions why support to media development in conflict zones, humanitarian disasters and countries in the midst of democratic transition should be a priority.

The answer is of course that without access to reliable, relevant information, people are not empowered to rebuild their broken societies or to influence future development efforts. We know from more than a decade of support to independent media in conflict that reliable and trustworthy information is the one thing that people caught in instability, armed conflict or humanitarian disasters need. Their survival and their future livelihoods depend on it. Media often becomes polarised during conflict and may disseminate information that exacerbates rather than reduces tension. This is why access to information and support to ethical and professional journalism is so essential.

A Troubled Year for Independent Media

The attack on the French satire magazine Charlie­ Hebdo in January 2015 was the beginning of a severely challenging year for independent media across the world and those working to safeguard it. Conflict and government crackdowns on media and press freedom advocates in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and the Caucasus illustrate only how clearly critical voices are targeted by those wishing to curtail them.

Particularly in the Middle East, the ongoing conflicts in Syria and Iraq and the massive displacement of people had a major impact on the media, shifting audiences and journalists to surrounding countries. Despite the harsh conditions, our partners per­severed. The award-winning Syrian Radio Rozana continued to broadcast to more than 200,000 online listeners inside and outside Syria with the help of 120 correspondents based inside Syria. In Iraqi Kurdistan, the first all-female staffed women’s magazine Zhin forged on, counterbalancing the ­region’s entrenched gender inequality through ­stories on female fighters battling Islamic State and stories on the lives of female refugees.

Encouraging Developments

IMS’ decade-long presence in the Middle East, Asia and Africa has proven that long-term support and building partnerships pays off. The fact that the IMS-founded Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ) and the investigative journalism network SCOOP ­Russia continue to carry out high-quality, high-impact, cross-border journalism­ in two of the world’s most difficult regions is a testament to this. As they ­battle the propaganda machines of some of world’s most repressive regimes, our support contributes to keeping alive these pockets of independent and critical journalism. Further down the line, these agents of change will be key to driving forward democratic reform processes when the tide turns in favour of press freedom.

We also saw encouraging developments throughout the past year. The promise of democratically elected governments in Sri Lanka and Myanmar represent two of the most hopeful examples from a media freedom perspective. Our long-term presence in both countries where we have built trusted partnerships with the media has enabled us to contribute substantially to the countries’ media law reform processes. In both cases we have provided the new governments and media stakeholders with concrete recommendations for next steps of their respective media development reform processes in cooperation with UNESCO.

Locally Anchored Safety Mechanisms

In Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, working as a journalist became increasingly dangerous with targeted attacks by the Taliban and in the case of Bangladesh, a series of deeply worrying murders of bloggers and writers. Despite years of international attention to the grim situation of journalists, we, the international community, have still not adequately succeeded in developing the appropriate protection and safety mechanisms at a national level together with local stakeholders. 95 per cent of journalists killed are local journalists and for this we need sustainable local setups to ­address the ­issue of safety. Nurturing, building and sustaining locally anchored safety mechanisms for journalists – ­modelled in part by the IMS-founded, countrywide safety mechan­ism run by the ­Afghan Journalists’ Safety Committee – will therefore ­continue to be our way forward.

These safety mechanisms rely on the support and cooperation of as many relevant stakeholders as possible in a given country – including authorities and judicial institutions when possible, as our examples from Nepal and Afghanistan show. The UN Plan of Action for the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity also provides a platform on which actors in the field of media can improve information sharing and the coordination of efforts.

In two of Africa’s poorest countries, Somalia and Niger, we are working with local partners to enable the media to become drivers of peace, reconciliation, accountability and citizen participation in the nascent democratic processes taking place. In Somalia, IMS and our Swedish partner, Fojo Media Institute spearheaded a five-year media support strategy for the Somali media sector – the first for the country. In Niger, our programme works to counter the influence of jihadists active in neighbouring countries.

A full section of this year’s annual report which spans from January 2015 to June 2016 is dedicated to our partners’ efforts to counter gender inequality in the media. The conspicuous absence of female voices in media hampers women’s ability to actively influence developments in society and we seek to actively address this issue in all aspects of our work.

Like many other organisations reliant on the support of Nordic governments, IMS was also affected by the decision of Nordic governments to reallocate funds from development aid to cover domestic costs related to the influx of refugees. However, as the achievements in this report show, we are proud of the difference that our determined partners and we continue to make for press freedom and independent media under the most difficult conditions imaginable everywhere in the world.

World: Annual Report 2015-2016

29 June 2016 - 1:46am
Source: International Media Support Country: Afghanistan, Colombia, Iraq, Nepal, Niger, Pakistan, Somalia, Syrian Arab Republic, Ukraine, World, Yemen

Sustaining Independent Media in Times of Conflict

In a year where the greatest influx of refugees seen by Europe since World War II dominated headlines and pressured government aid budgets, I have been asked on several occasions why support to media development in conflict zones, humanitarian disasters and countries in the midst of democratic transition should be a priority.

The answer is of course that without access to reliable, relevant information, people are not empowered to rebuild their broken societies or to influence future development efforts. We know from more than a decade of support to independent media in conflict that reliable and trustworthy information is the one thing that people caught in instability, armed conflict or humanitarian disasters need. Their survival and their future livelihoods depend on it. Media often becomes polarised during conflict and may disseminate information that exacerbates rather than reduces tension. This is why access to information and support to ethical and professional journalism is so essential.

A Troubled Year for Independent Media

The attack on the French satire magazine Charlie­ Hebdo in January 2015 was the beginning of a severely challenging year for independent media across the world and those working to safeguard it. Conflict and government crackdowns on media and press freedom advocates in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and the Caucasus illustrate only how clearly critical voices are targeted by those wishing to curtail them.

Particularly in the Middle East, the ongoing conflicts in Syria and Iraq and the massive displacement of people had a major impact on the media, shifting audiences and journalists to surrounding countries. Despite the harsh conditions, our partners per­severed. The award-winning Syrian Radio Rozana continued to broadcast to more than 200,000 online listeners inside and outside Syria with the help of 120 correspondents based inside Syria. In Iraqi Kurdistan, the first all-female staffed women’s magazine Zhin forged on, counterbalancing the ­region’s entrenched gender inequality through ­stories on female fighters battling Islamic State and stories on the lives of female refugees.

Encouraging Developments

IMS’ decade-long presence in the Middle East, Asia and Africa has proven that long-term support and building partnerships pays off. The fact that the IMS-founded Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ) and the investigative journalism network SCOOP ­Russia continue to carry out high-quality, high-impact, cross-border journalism­ in two of the world’s most difficult regions is a testament to this. As they ­battle the propaganda machines of some of world’s most repressive regimes, our support contributes to keeping alive these pockets of independent and critical journalism. Further down the line, these agents of change will be key to driving forward democratic reform processes when the tide turns in favour of press freedom.

We also saw encouraging developments throughout the past year. The promise of democratically elected governments in Sri Lanka and Myanmar represent two of the most hopeful examples from a media freedom perspective. Our long-term presence in both countries where we have built trusted partnerships with the media has enabled us to contribute substantially to the countries’ media law reform processes. In both cases we have provided the new governments and media stakeholders with concrete recommendations for next steps of their respective media development reform processes in cooperation with UNESCO.

Locally Anchored Safety Mechanisms

In Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, working as a journalist became increasingly dangerous with targeted attacks by the Taliban and in the case of Bangladesh, a series of deeply worrying murders of bloggers and writers. Despite years of international attention to the grim situation of journalists, we, the international community, have still not adequately succeeded in developing the appropriate protection and safety mechanisms at a national level together with local stakeholders. 95 per cent of journalists killed are local journalists and for this we need sustainable local setups to ­address the ­issue of safety. Nurturing, building and sustaining locally anchored safety mechanisms for journalists – ­modelled in part by the IMS-founded, countrywide safety mechan­ism run by the ­Afghan Journalists’ Safety Committee – will therefore ­continue to be our way forward.

These safety mechanisms rely on the support and cooperation of as many relevant stakeholders as possible in a given country – including authorities and judicial institutions when possible, as our examples from Nepal and Afghanistan show. The UN Plan of Action for the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity also provides a platform on which actors in the field of media can improve information sharing and the coordination of efforts.

In two of Africa’s poorest countries, Somalia and Niger, we are working with local partners to enable the media to become drivers of peace, reconciliation, accountability and citizen participation in the nascent democratic processes taking place. In Somalia, IMS and our Swedish partner, Fojo Media Institute spearheaded a five-year media support strategy for the Somali media sector – the first for the country. In Niger, our programme works to counter the influence of jihadists active in neighbouring countries.

A full section of this year’s annual report which spans from January 2015 to June 2016 is dedicated to our partners’ efforts to counter gender inequality in the media. The conspicuous absence of female voices in media hampers women’s ability to actively influence developments in society and we seek to actively address this issue in all aspects of our work.

Like many other organisations reliant on the support of Nordic governments, IMS was also affected by the decision of Nordic governments to reallocate funds from development aid to cover domestic costs related to the influx of refugees. However, as the achievements in this report show, we are proud of the difference that our determined partners and we continue to make for press freedom and independent media under the most difficult conditions imaginable everywhere in the world.

Ethiopia: WFP Ethiopia: Country Brief, May 2016

28 June 2016 - 12:27pm
Source: World Food Programme Country: Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan

Highlights

  • Food consumption among people assisted through relief operations is showing some encouraging trends, but the situation remains critical for 10.2 million people in need of food assistance.

  • WFP currently needs USD 426 million to support 7.6 million drought affected people in 2016, and USD 27 million to provide full rations to refugees hosted in Ethiopia for the rest of 2016.

  • On May 10 2016, the Government of Ethiopia and humanitarian partners released a Prioritisation Statement as a complement to the 2016 Humanitarian Requirements Document (HRD), clarifying acute relief needs and major gaps that require urgent donor support for the rest of 2016.

Somalia: WFP Somalia Country Brief, May 2016

28 June 2016 - 12:23pm
Source: World Food Programme Country: Somalia

Highlights

  • In response to the flooding in Beletweyne, WFP is providing immediate emergency assistance to 10,000 women and children and unconditional in-kind assistance to 30,000 people for one month

  • Although the Gu rains have brought relief to many of the parts affected by drought, communities remain vulnerable and require sustained livelihood assistance to enable recovery

  • WFP requires USD 85.1 million in order to continue providing life-saving humanitarian and livelihood support assistance for the next six months.