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World: Global Weather Hazards Summary: April 19 – 25, 2019

Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
Country: Afghanistan, Angola, Belize, Benin, Burundi, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Liberia, Namibia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Panama, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan, World, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Seasonal rainfall deficits continue to strengthen across the Greater Horn of Africa

  1. Seasonal rainfall deficits since October have resulted in significant dryness across Angola, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

  2. Continued below-average rainfall and high temperatures have strengthened moisture deficits in South Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Somalia, and Tanzania.

World: Aperçu du financement humanitaire, Mars 2019

Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Country: Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Cuba, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Iraq, Jordan, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Myanmar, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Philippines, Somalia, South Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, Ukraine, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), World, Yemen, Zimbabwe

L’Aperçu de la situation humanitaire mondiale (GHO), publié le 4 décembre 2018 annonçait des besoins en financement de 21,9 milliards de dollars pour 21 Plans de réponse humanitaire (HRP) et le Plan régional de réponse pour les réfugiés et les migrants du Venezuela (RMRP). À la fin du mois de février, les besoins s’élevaient à 22,42 milliards de dollars et, au 31mars, le montant demandé avait atteint 25,11 milliards de dollars. L’augmentation enregistrée ce mois-ci est principalement due à la demande de 3,32 milliards de dollars pour le HRP de la Syrie qui n’avait pas été inclus dans le calcul des besoins globaux en février, la finalisation du Plan de l’Éthiopie et les besoins associés à la réponse du Cyclone tropical Idai au Mozambique. À la fin du mois de mars, le nombre de personnes dans le besoin est estimé à 140,8 millions, par rapport à 138,8 millions à la fin du mois de février, dans 54 pays.2 Un nombre plus important de personnes sont estimées être dans le besoin en Éthiopie et au Mozambique qu’en février et davantage au Yémen.
Le nombre total de personnes que les plans visent à assister est aujourd’hui de 105,7 millions par rapport à 103,7 millions en février.

L’Appel Éclair pour le Mozambique envisageait une aide à 700 000 des 815 000 personnes affectées par la sécheresse. Ce plan a été révisé suite au passage du Cyclone Idai afin d’aider 1,1 million de personnes de plus. En Éthiopie, 300 000 personnes de plus que le nombre estimé précédemment doivent recevoir une assistance. De même, le nombre de personnes devant recevoir une assistance au Yémen est de 21,4 millions au lieu des 15 millions estimés précédemment. Des millions de personnes au Yémen sont aujourd’hui plus sous l’emprise de la faim, de la maladie et d’une plus grande vulnérabilité qu’il y a un an. En Syrie, le chiffre avancé de 11,2 millions de personnes devant recevoir une assistance a été révisé à la hausse ce mois-ci pour atteindre 11,7 millions de personnes.

World: Logistics Cluster Global ConOps Map (April 2019)

Source: Logistics Cluster
Country: Bangladesh, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Indonesia, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, Vanuat...

World: Logistics Cluster: Global Overview – March 2019

Source: World Food Programme, Logistics Cluster
Country: Bangladesh, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Libya, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, World, Yemen

World: FAO Early Warning Early Action report on food security and agriculture (April – June 2019)

Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Country: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), World, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Overview

The Early Warning Early Action (EWEA) report on food security and agriculture is produced by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). It provides a quarterly forward-looking analysis of major disaster risks to food security and agriculture, specifically highlighting:

• potential new emergencies resulting from imminent disaster threats

• new developments in countries already affected by protracted crises which are likely to cause a further deterioration of food insecurity

This report is part of FAO’s efforts to systematically link early warnings to anticipatory actions. By providing specific early action recommendations for each country, the report aims to prompt FAO and partners to proactively mitigate and/or prevent disasters before they start to adversely impact food security.

High risk

Countries are categorized as “high risk” when there is a high likelihood of a new emergency or a significant deterioration of the current situation with potentially severe effects on agriculture and food security.

On watch

Countries categorized as “on watch” instead have a comparatively more moderate likelihood and/or potential impact, requiring close monitoring.

This report represents a summary and a prioritization of analysis provided by FAO’s corporate and joint multi-agency information and early warning systems:

• Global Information and Early Warning System on Food and Agriculture (GIEWS)

• Food Chain Crisis and Emergency Prevention System (FCC-EMPRES)

• Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) and Cadre Harmonisé

In addition to these, a number of other external sources are consulted. The list of sources is available on page vii.
Countries with ongoing emergency response efforts are not included in the report, unless there are signs of potential significant deterioration. An overview of countries worldwide with humanitarian response plans or emergency plans is provided on page vi.

More details on the risk ranking methodology and the early action recommendations are provided on page ii.

World: Conflict-related sexual violence: Report of the Secretary-General (S/2019/280)

Source: UN Security Council
Country: Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burundi, Central African Republic, Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Myanmar, Nepal, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, World, Yemen

I. Introduction

  1. The present report, which covers the period from January to December 2018, is submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 2106 (2013), in which the Council requested me to report annually on the implementation of resolutions 1820 (2008), 1888 (2009) and 1960 (2010) and to recommend strategic actions.

  2. 2019 marks the 10-year anniversary of the establishment of the mandate and Office of my Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict. Over the past decade, there has been a paradigm shift in the understanding of the scourge of conflict-related sexual violence and its impact on international peace and security, the response required to prevent such crimes and the multidimensional services needed by survivors. While the United Nations increasingly addresses the problem of sexual violence in conflict from an operational or technical perspective through the strengthening of security and justice institutions, it remains essential to recognize and tackle gender inequality as the root cause and driver of sexual violence, including in times of war and peace.

  3. Structural gender inequalities and discrimination are at the heart of the differential impact conflict has on women, men, boys and girls. Preventing sexual violence requires the advancement of substantive gender equality before, during and after conflict, including by ensuring women’s full and effective participation in political, economic and social life and ensuring accessible and responsive justice and security institutions. The mandate of the Office of the Special Representative is firmly rooted within the women and peace and security agenda, with its origin in Security Council resolution 1325 (2000). It is significant, therefore, that in 2018 my Special Representative signed a framework of cooperation with the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. The Framework affirms the ways in which the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the response to conflict-related sexual violence and the broader discourse on women, peace and security and gender equality are linked.

World: Global Weather Hazards Summary: April 12 – 18, 2019

Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
Country: Afghanistan, Angola, Belize, Botswana, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Namibia, Nicaragua, Panama, Somalia, ...

World: Global Nutrition Cluster Annual Report 2018: Achievements, Key Challenges and Ways Forward – January to December 2018

Source: UN Children's Fund, Nutrition Cluster
Country: Bangladesh, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Iraq, Kenya, Mali, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, World, Yemen

In 2018, the GNC continued with the implementation of the 2017- 2018 work plan to achieve the three strategic priorities and two supporting objectives of the 2017-2020 GNC Strategy.

The first strategic priority concerns GNC support to coordination platforms to fulfill their role before, during and after a humanitarian response. In 2018 the GNC experienced a severe staff shortage to effectively support its 18 priority countries, due to a lack of funding for its Rapid Response Team (RRT). By March 2018, the GNC-CT lost all four RRT members that it had maintained for the last 6 years due to a funding shortage. Support to countries was therefore provided remotely or through field visits conducted by the GNC-CT, including the GNC Help Desk Officer. Despite the funding constraints, the GNC-CT managed to provide remote support to 24 country-level coordination platforms - including reviewing response plans and provid- ing guidance and operational support. In addition, three field missions were conducted to Bangladesh, Ethiopia and North Eastern Nigeria by the GNC Coordinator. The GNC also successfully organised global partner calls on Yemen, South Sudan, Niger, Ethiopia and DRC. These calls not only acted as good advocacy and fundraising opportunities, they also provided a platform for sharing the nutrition situation, progress with the response, challenges and key support needs from global partners to support coordination, information management and programme scale-up.

In July 2018, the GNC-CT had to reluctantly bid farewell to the GNC Help Desk Officer and Deputy GNC Coordinator who had to move on to take up other positions. Both colleagues had contributed greatly to the GNC in their roles for 3 years and 5 years respectively. In August 2018, the GNC recruited a GNC Help Desk Officer for technical support in nutrition in emergencies, a new position, one of the two Help Desk positions funded by the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA). The position was created to provide ongoing support and linkages between the clusters at country level and the burgeoning Global Technical Assistance Mechanism for Nutrition (GTAM). In October 2018, the GNC-CT welcomed a new Deputy GNC Coordinator, as well as a UNICEF-funded RRT Information Management Officer (IMO), to the team. Shortly after, in December 2018, the much- needed GNC Help Desk for coordination support also joined the GNC-CT. A recruitment process for one more UNICEF-funded RRT Nutrition Cluster Coordinator (NCC) is ongoing.

Additionally, at the end of 2018, UNICEF as a CLA signed Project Cooperation Agreements (PCAs) with the International Medical Corps (IMC) to host an RRT Nutrition Cluster Coordinator (NCC) and with World Vision International (WVI) to host an RRT IMO for six months. This was possible thanks to funding from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), a key UNICEF/CLA donor.

World: Aid Workers Kidnapped 2018

Source: Insecurity Insight
Country: Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guatemala, Kenya, Libya, Mali, Mexico, Niger, Nigeria, Peru, Philippines, Somalia, South Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, World, Yemen

Kidnapping data trends

• The number of kidnappings and individual aid workers who were kidnapped peaked in April 2018. July, August and September also recorded high numbers of kidnappings.

• Between February and May, 36 aid workers were kidnapped while travelling in Central and Western Equatoria states in South Sudan. Many incidents occurred when agencies entered previously inaccessible areas where there have been reports of conflict parties accusing aid workers of spying.

• During July and August, 20 aid workers were kidnapped in eastern DRC by armed groups that included the Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda and Mai-Mai.

• In September, 13 Yemeni aid workers were kidnapped by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula militants in Dhale governorate, Yemen. They were freed after local tribal leaders negotiated their release.

• 71 aid workers in Tanzania, Mali, Yemen and South Sudan were released following their abduction, while seven aid workers were killed or tortured by their abductors while in captivity in Afghanistan, CAR, the DRC and Nigeria.

• In the DRC, unidentified gunmen kidnapped three aid workers in North Kivu, two of whom were found dead the following day, while the third was released after two days. In Afghanistan, opposition forces kidnapped and killed one aid worker in Kunduz. In Nigeria, ISIS militants executed two aid workers following their abduction; three others were killed in the initial attack and one aid worker remains in captivity. In CAR, two local aid workers were abducted and tortured allegedly by anti-Balaka fighters while providing vaccinations in Haute-Kotto prefecture.

• Six aid workers were held hostage in Tanzania and Uganda. In Tanzania, casual labourers held five aid workers hostage to enforce their demands for payment for work completed. All were released after several hours of negotiations.

• Ransom demands were made for the release of six aid workers in CAR and the DRC. Five Congolese aid workers were abducted by armed men while travelling in the DRC. Two others were kidnapped and assaulted in the attack, but were released unconditionally. One aid worker was held for three days by members of the Front Populaire pour la Renaissance de Centrafrique in CAR. The aid worker was released after a ransom was paid; it is not clear who paid the ransom.

• Four aid workers were the victims of 'express kidnappings' in Kenya, Peru and Tanzania and forced to withdraw money from ATMs for their release. The aid worker in Kenya was also drugged and the one in Peru was physically assaulted.

• Nearly 50% of kidnapped aid workers are either still in captivity or their status is unknown. Seven are reported as missing in the DRC, Burkina Faso, Cambodia and Guatemala. The lack of precise information on what happened to aid workers following their abduction in Afghanistan, Somalia and Syria means that our overall understanding of the kidnapping threats facing aid workers in these countries remains incomplete.

Uganda: Uganda Refugees & Asylum Seekers as of 31-March-2019

Source: Government of Uganda
Country: Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, India, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, ...

World: Children with chronic diseases need our attention

Source: Médecins Sans Frontières
Country: South Sudan, World

While children with chronic diseases – such as heart disease, diabetes, asthma, and epilepsy – are not the majority of MSF's paediatric patients, the needs of these children equally need attention and treatment. Deputy Medical Director Myrto Schaefer explains in this interview some of the diseases our teams see in children in the contexts we work in, and the challenges we face in trying to treat these kids, often in areas of conflict.

What are paediatric non-communicable diseases (NCDs)?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) an estimated 7 out of 10 deaths worldwide are due to non-communicable diseases (NCD), with over 80 per cent of them occurring in low- and middle-income countries. Although ‘only’ four per cent of deaths will occur in people under the age of 30, the majority of deaths in adults are linked to conditions or behaviours in childhood or adolescence, such as smoking, lack of exercise, poor nutrition or heavy drinking.

Meanwhile, there are chronic diseases that occur in childhood and affect the well-being and the lives of children. Diseases such as rheumatic heart disease, congenital heart disease, type 1 diabetes, asthma; specific cancers such as leukaemia and lymphomas; epilepsy; and diseases of the blood such as Thalassaemia or Sickle Cell Disease. In addition to that, 10-20 per cent of children and adolescents experience some sort of mental disorder.

The term ‘non-communicable diseases’ is a little bit misleading because it suggests that they have no infectious origin. This may be true for many of the diseases we are talking about, but not for all. When we talk about NCDs, very often we mean chronic diseases, irrespective of the origin. They are characterised by their duration.

Why is the topic of paediatric non-communicable diseases emerging now in the context of humanitarian response?

In developing countries, the big challenge with chronic diseases is that we are working in contexts where health systems are often not equipped to deal with them. Particularly in paediatrics, often health systems are so overwhelmed with acute diseases like malaria, respiratory infections or diarrhoea, and already struggle to cope with that. There are often no models to respond to children with chronic diseases in such contexts. This challenge was already brought to light when we trying to respond to kids living with HIV, so it is not new.

Without a healthcare response, chronic disease still exists but is just less visible.

In an emergency, once again, the needs often seem overwhelming, and MSF must first work to avoid death and suffering caused directly by the emergency. But very quickly we also have to assess what the population wants and what their general health needs are beyond the emergency. This includes chronic disease care and continuity of care, in some instances care that was available prior to the emergency. When we started working with Syrian refugees in Lebanon, for example, we quickly released that chronic disease care constituted a big part of what this population really needed.

In conflicts and emergencies, when the priority seems to be to save lives, how can we integrate paediatric non-communicable diseases into our humanitarian response?

It’s true that when deciding where to spend our time, energy and money, there are competing priorities with those diseases that kill immediately. For instance, in South Sudan we are currently treating 48 children with diabetes but in South Sudan what kills exponentially more children is not diabetes but malaria, respiratory diseases, diarrhoea, etcetera. Compared to that, the numbers of diabetes deaths are miniscule, even if every child who presents with diabetes has a 100 per cent certainty of dying if not treated. So why should we invest a lot in diabetes?

In fact, you could argue that diabetes and other chronic diseases affecting children are neglected diseases. So, in this project in South Sudan for example, the big discussion has been: should we treat children with diabetes if we do not know what care they will receive in the long term?

Should we let the child who comes in a diabetic coma die although we have insulin even if we don’t know how to provide quality long-term care? The child might suffer from complications such as blindness in a few years— diabetes has many complications if you don’t control it correctly. Or, should we give the child the chance to survive and invest resources in finding improved models of care and maybe one day she or he will be lucky to have access to better care?

What are the challenges to including paediatric non-communicable disease care in MSF projects?

As mentioned above we don’t see many models of functional integrated chronic care in developing countries, including the necessary continuum of care, and this is particularly lacking in poor, rural settings. Often there is no disease awareness regarding chronic disease, neither by the patient or the caregiver, nor by the health worker. Or by the time the disease is obvious it is often well-progressed and there is no knowledge of how to treat it. Most health workers in these countries have never been trained on any chronic diseases.

There is also a big problem with access to adequate medication. Treating children with chronic disease means availability of specific medication according to the age and adapted to climatic conditions (such as heat); there is a question of cost, and of course of quality and sustainable supply.

Referral to higher levels of care is often not feasible or affordable, and it is questionable whether that care would be helpful at all.
In general, due to a lack of experience and expertise on the ground, mounting a feasible response often requires additional resources. So we need to be inventive and think about how we can equip our teams to respond efficiently to those diseases, but in a “simplified” way. In high-resource settings we usually have a lot of specialists and although drugs might be expensive, they are usually available and the necessary support systems, such as education, are there. In MSF there is no way that we can send all those specialists to our projects, so we need to find good models of care with simplified protocols and support through other channels, such as telemedicine.

In addition, to successfully address chronic diseases, the patient and/or caregiver need to understand and develop ownership of how to deal with the disease. This requires patient education which has to be age- and patient-adapted. Overall, MSF is still very far from this.

If we decide to get further involved, we can have a big role to play here: identifying the gaps, finding better-adapted solutions and pushing for them.

Why is MSF discussing treating paediatric non-communicable diseases now?

For sure, children with non-communicable or chronic diseases are not the majority of our patients, but they do exist and there are a number of chronic conditions we could potentially address. We have started addressing some of these, such as Thalassaemia or epilepsy for example, but we still have a very long way to go. And we almost never talk about these patients and their needs. The last time we talked about chronic diseases in children was when addressing HIV. The topic of chronic diseases is too quickly put into the “too hard” basket. But we are well-placed to take up this challenge. Of course it will need investment and commitment. We have a lot to learn, from our patients and their families, from health workers, and from others working in this field.

World: Global Humanitarian Overview 2019 Monthly Funding Update – March 2019

Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Country: Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Cuba, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Iraq, Jordan, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Myanmar, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Philippines, Somalia, South Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, Ukraine, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), World, Yemen, Zimbabwe

The Global Humanitarian Overview published on 4 December announced funding requirements of $21.9 billion for 21 Humanitarian Response Plans and the Venezuela Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan (RMPP). By the end of February, requirements had reached $22.42 billion and as at 31 March the amount requested had risen to $25.11 billion. The escalation this month is principally due to the requirement of $3.32 billion for the Syria HRP, which was not part of the calculation of overall requirements in February; the finalization of the Ethiopia plan; and the requirements for Tropical Cyclone Idai response in Mozambique.

As at the end of March, 140.8 million people, as against to 138.8 million at the end of February, are estimated to be in need in 54 countries.

More people are calculated to be in need in Ethiopia and Mozambique than in February, and more in Yemen.

The overall number of people the plans aim to assist is now 105.7 million as compared to 103.7 million in February. The Flash Appeal for Mozambique envisaged aiding 700,000 of the 815,000 drought affected people. That plan has been revised, following the passage of Cyclone Idai, to aid a further 1.1 million people. In Ethiopia, 300,000 people over and above the number estimated previously are to receive assistance. In addition, the number of people to receive assistance in Yemen has increased to 21.4 million people, rather than the 15 million previously estimated. Millions of people in Yemen are now hungrier, sicker and more vulnerable than a year ago. In Syria, the figure of 11.2 million people to receive assistance put forth in February has been revised this month to 11.7 million.

World: Opening Remarks by Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director, At opening of Sanitation and Water for All Sector Ministers’ Meeting San José, Costa Rica, April 4, 2019

Source: UN Children's Fund
Country: Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lebanon, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Togo, World

First, my thanks to the Government of Costa Rica for hosting this event — and for this country’s ongoing commitment to sanitation and water for all.

On behalf of everyone at UNICEF — especially our dedicated WASH staff in over 100 countries around the world — we appreciate this opportunity to galvanize support for this important issue.

But we also have an opportunity — and an obligation — to discuss new approaches and set clear priorities.

Because despite our great progress, new UNICEF and WHO data shows that over two billion people still lack access to safely managed water services. That 4.4 billion lack safely managed sanitation. And 1.4 billion lack basic handwashing facilities at home.

The risks are huge.

Risks to children’s health, when over 700 children under the age of five die from diarrhoea caused by poor sanitation, hygiene and water every day.

Risks to maternal health, when millions of mothers who give birth in health facilities without basic water, sanitation and hygiene are at risk of infection and disease.

Risks to education, when girls are kept home because of a lack of separate toilets or hygiene facilities in schools.

Risks to growth, because parents can’t prepare healthy meals for their children without safe water — and children’s bodies can’t retain nutrients.

And risks to entire economies. According to the World Health Organization, poor sanitation results in an estimated global GDP loss of $260 billion annually, because of health costs and productivity losses.

We must do better.

UNICEF has set an ambitious goal. By 2021, we’re aiming for 60 million more people gaining access to safe drinking water. And 250 million fewer people practicing open defecation.

To help get there, more progress is urgently needed in three areas — WASH in health care facilities, WASH in conflict, and bringing more private sector expertise, products and financing into our work.

First — WASH in health care facilities.

According to a new report UNICEF and WHO released yesterday, one in four health care facilities lacks basic water services. Putting an estimated two billion people at increased risk of infection.

Consider the birth of a baby. Every birth should be supported by a safe pair of hands, washed with soap and water, using sterile equipment, in a clean environment.

Consider also the plight of mothers in the least-developed countries. Seventeen million of them give birth in health centres with inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene every year. Putting them at risk of maternal sepsis.

The report includes eight specific actions that governments can take to improve WASH services in these facilities. From establishing national plans and targets — to improving infrastructure — to working directly with communities to create demand.

The bottom line is this. Improving WASH services is a solvable problem with a high return on investment. And it represents one more step towards improving primary health care services for all people, no matter where they live.

The second priority is WASH in conflicts.

In Lebanon last year, local mayors told me that water is the number-one issue they face. Water systems are straining to meet communities’ needs with the influx of Syrian refugees. Just one example of many where existing water systems are strained by humanitarian crises.

In fact, one in four children in the world is living in a country affected by conflict or disaster. We know that children living in fragile and conflict-affected countries are twice as likely to lack basic sanitation — and four times as likely to lack basic drinking water.

And unsafe water can be as deadly as bullets or bombs. Children under 15 are almost three times more likely to die from diseases linked to unsafe water and sanitation — like diarrhoea or cholera — than from direct violence.

We’re also seeing access to water being used as a weapon of war. Direct and deliberate attacks on water systems are all too common in conflict. When the flow of clean water stops, children are forced to rely on unsafe sources.

A new UNICEF advisory published last month calls for an immediate end to attacks on water and sanitation infrastructure and personnel.

And it calls for investments in these countries’ WASH sectors that will serve not only immediate humanitarian needs — but the long-term development of sustainable water systems.

At UNICEF, we’re taking this long-term view across all of our emergency WASH programmes.

From building dams in Somalia to improve rainwater-harvesting and water security.

To providing emergency water and sanitation to almost 300,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

To our work in South Sudan, training local women to install water taps, build new latrines with separate facilities for men and women, and ensure that these facilities are well-lit with street lamps.

Step by step, we’re not only improving WASH services in the midst of crisis — we’re building the lasting, resilient systems these communities need to support development in the decades ahead.

My third point is about working with the private sector across our water and sanitation programming.

This includes market development to meet consumer demand — and even potential employment for local populations.

In East Africa, UNICEF has partnered with the LIXIL Corporation and governments across the region to expand the availability of affordable, state-of-the-art toilet pans that use little water.

In Somalia, we’re working with the EU, local government, and businesses and investors to develop public-private partnerships focused on pipelines and reservoirs…drilling and testing boreholes…and supporting better water-system management and maintenance.

And in Bangladesh, Sanitation Market Systems — or “SanMarkS” — is bringing together public, private and development partners to reach more households with improved sanitation. Manufacturing firms are producing low-cost latrine parts and working with local companies to market and install them. So far, 95,000 latrines have been sold, and more than 500 local people are installing and marketing them.

As we move forward, let’s also be inspired by the impressive progress that so many countries and regions have made in recent years.

The progress of South Asia — which has seen the greatest increase in the use of toilets over than last decade than at any time in history.

The progress of Ethiopia, Nepal and Cambodia — all on track to eliminating open defecation by 2030. If not earlier.

The progress of Niger, Kenya, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Togo and Mozambique. All have national roadmaps to deliver total access to sanitation, in every community.

The work in Ghana to bring together the World Bank, the government of the Netherlands and Ghana’s Apex Bank to develop a microfinance mechanism to provide loans to communities to build low-cost toilets.

And the progress we see in the co-operative efforts among governments to learn from one another. As Nigeria has been working closely with India to learn from that country’s Swachh Bharat Mission for total sanitation. An important reminder that we all have much to learn from each other’s progress.

As these successes prove, there is no excuse for failing to act.

So let’s combine our ideas and efforts. Let’s learn from one another. Let’s hold each other accountable for our commitments. And let’s make the coming decade one of action, results and progress for this critical sector. Thank you.

Media Contacts

Najwa Mekki
UNICEF New York
Tel: +1 917 209 1804
Email: nmekki@unicef.org

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