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ReliefWeb - Updates on Sierra Leone

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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Sierra Leone

    Freetown, Sierra Leone | AFP | Saturday 3/26/2016 - 14:59 GMT

    Police and military arms experts in Sierra Leone began destroying nearly 5,000 "unserviceable weapons" on Saturday in an operation set to last two weeks.

    Among the weapons were AK-47 and M16 assault rifles as well as light machine guns manufactured in Canada, technical field manager Ernest Woest told AFP. There were also home-made shotguns seized from rebels after Sierra Leone's 11-year civil war which ended in 2002, as well as arms surrendered under a government amnesty programme.

    The operation began in two military depots in the capital Freetown on Saturday and will continue in four other towns over the coming fortnight.

    Crowds stood watching at a distance as the weapons were put into specially-designed machines operated by a 10-man team, which literally shredded the guns into hundreds of pieces which will be buried in unmarked spots around the country.

    "It's a relief to get rid of these weapons of death," said Lansana Turay, a local taxi driver who was looking on.

    Launching the operation, Colonel Sahr Sineh, deputy head of the national commission on small arms (SLeNCSA) said "vast quantities" of arms had been assembled from around the country.

    He said British charity Mines Advisory Group (MAG) had provided two South African arms experts to train the 10-man team of local personnel and would "leave behind all the equipment to enable them to carry out the work in the future".

    But the operation drew criticism from some local hunters who said they were not informed their locally-produced weapons would be destroyed.

    "We have not been treated fairly," said 56-year-old Moiwo Kallon from the southern town of Pujehun, who said the community had handed over their weapons three years ago and the authorities had pledged to return them.

    "We have been asking the authorities to return them to us but they told us to wait... Even up to the point of the shredding exercise, they never informed us."

    He said locals used the guns to scare off wild animals and protect crops such as cassava and rice from bush rats and birds. "Wild animals are constantly attacking our sheep and goats, and some people have been killed by lions and we cant do a thing," he sighed

    rmj/mrb/hmw

    © 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: UN Security Council
    Country: Burundi, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Uganda, World

    SC/12304
    7658th Meeting (AM)
    Security Council | Meetings Coverage

    Their Role Often Lauded, Rarely Visible, Says Gender Entity Chief, as Other Briefers Detail Progress, List Challenges

    Women must be placed at the centre of efforts to prevent or resolve conflict in Africa, speakers said today as the Security Council took up the “women, peace and security agenda”, considering the role of women in creating more peaceful and equitable societies on the continent.

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women (UN-Women), noted that the role of women in preventing conflict was often lauded, but rarely visible. However, Women’s Situation Rooms had been established in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Mali, Guinea-Bissau, Uganda and Kenya in the last five years to monitor and prevent election-related violence. In critical electoral periods, the centres trained and deployed female observers and monitors, received and analysed hundreds of complaints, as well as reports of violence or intimidation, and referred violations to the appropriate authorities.

    Citing the 2015 Global Study on Women, Peace and Security, she said countries with lower levels of gender inequality were less likely to resort to force; that women’s security was one of the most reliable indicators of a State’s peacefulness; and that their different spending patterns contributed directly to post-conflict social recovery. Conversely, women were the first to notice attacks on their rights and freedoms, as well as the militarization and radicalization of individuals in their families and communities.

    “Women’s empowerment is our best line of defence against militarism and violent extremism,” she continued. Also, recent research by UN-Women indicated that women and communities had been highly influential in the reintegration of former combatants in Mali. In Kenya, women’s organizations were working to identify and prevent the spread of radicalization in areas where marginalization, poverty and inequality were rampant. In Burundi, hundreds of women mediators were working tirelessly throughout the country to address local conflicts and prevent an escalation of tensions.

    Macharia Kamau (Kenya), Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, recalled that, in 2013, that body had developed a declaration on women’s economic empowerment for peacebuilding, while the Council had adopted various resolutions on women, peace and security since the late 2000s. Yet, the translation of formal commitments into action on the ground had not been as systematic as had been hoped, and high expectations for transformative change had not been fully realized.

    “Women remain a resource that has not been effectively utilized or enabled to build sustainable peace,” he declared. As such, the Commission had outlined its first gender strategy, which it expected to adopt before July, he said, adding that it set out recommendations on strengthening the integration of gender perspectives in all country-specific and strategic engagements. Going forward, the Commission would use its unique leverage to advocate for technical expertise on gender equality and peacebuilding, as well as funding.

    Tayé-Brook Zerihoun, Assistant-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, said that promoting the effective participation of women in conflict mediation and addressing their specific needs in peacemaking efforts had been a priority of his Department since 2010, when its conflict-prevention work had become increasingly inclusive. Since 2012, all United Nations mediation support teams included women, who made up half the number of participants in the Department’s high-level mediation skills training. Nevertheless, unequal access and opportunities for women’s participation in political decision-making processes persisted worldwide, despite concerted efforts to eliminate discrimination and promote women’s empowerment. “Prioritizing prevention and inclusive political solutions has never been more urgent,” he stressed, adding that the African Union and other partners had made notable efforts to ensure that gender was more systematically integrated into electoral processes.

    Tété António, Permanent Observer of the African Union, said that, by choosing to place women at the forefront of its deliberations, the regional bloc had reiterated the continent’s resolve to address all barriers impeding the emancipation of women and girls, and to strengthen both their agency and rights through education, health, participation in decision-making and economic empowerment. “Africa cannot afford to ignore the role of women if we are to realize the vision of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful continent,” he emphasized. In that regard, the African Union had launched a five-year gender, peace and security programme to foster strategies and mechanisms for women’s participation in peace and security.

    Paleki Ayang of the South Sudan Women’s Empowerment Network said the world, and Africa in particular, must move beyond stereotypical images of women as victims during conflict. They were also fighters, peacebuilders, protectors and community leaders. With limited resources and in spite of threats, they organized peace marches, advocated for enhanced peace and security policies and led reconciliation efforts across conflict lines. Conflict-prevention and conflict-resolution strategies would be ineffective without immediately addressing systematic, deliberate and wide-spread sexual violence in South Sudan and the rest of Africa. Urging the Security Council to insist on accountability for atrocities committed by all warring parties, armed groups, security forces and peacekeepers, she said it should also demand that the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission in South Sudan ensure the representation and participation of women.

    In the ensuing debate, Maria Filomena Delgado, Council President for March and Minister for Family and the Promotion of Women of Angola, said reality made it all the more important to take the views of women and children into account in conflict-prevention forums, in peace negotiations and during post-conflict reconstruction efforts.

    Expressing regret that women remained excluded from many mediation and conflict-resolution initiatives, South Africa’s representative said that, in order for more of them to serve as high-level envoys and mediators, there would have to be a systemic shift. The role of women could no longer be limited to certain areas, such as advising on sexual exploitation and abuse, he emphasized.

    Senegal’s representative underscored the unique security challenges confronting some parts of the continent, and called for greater investment in early warning and national emergency response mechanisms so as to ensure the active participation of women and civil society in peace processes.

    Many speakers lamented the dearth of women in peacekeeping activities, with India’s representative pointing out that women constituted less than 4 per cent of signatories to peace agreements and less than 10 per cent of negotiators at peace tables. It had also provided the first-ever Female Formed Police Unit for deployment in Liberia.

    Brazil’s representative noted that women constituted a mere 4 per cent of the 88,000 troops and police currently deployed in United Nations peace operations in Africa.

    Also speaking today was the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, as well as representatives of the United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, China, Ukraine, New Zealand, Malaysia, Venezuela, Japan, France, Russian Federation, Spain, Egypt, Sweden (on behalf of the Nordic countries), Australia, Italy, Ethiopia, Israel, Poland, Canada, Iran (on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement), Belgium, Morocco, Slovakia, Netherlands, Rwanda, Portugal, Turkey, Algeria, Namibia, Thailand, Bangladesh and Indonesia, as well as the European Union and Holy See.

    The meeting began at 10:10 a.m. and ended at 3:40 p.m.

    Briefings

    PHUMZILE MLAMBO-NGCUKA, Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women (UN-Women), noted that the role of women in conflict prevention was often lauded, but rarely visible. In the last five years, however, Women’s Situation Rooms had been established in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Mali, Guinea-Bissau, Uganda and Kenya to monitor and prevent election-related violence, she said, adding that their positive contribution to peaceful elections had led to their replication in a growing number of countries across Africa. In critical electoral periods, the centres trained and deployed female observers and monitors, received and analysed hundreds of complaints and reports of violence or intimidation, and referred violations to the appropriate authorities.

    Recent research by UN-Women indicated that women and communities had been highly influential in the reintegration of former combatants in Mali, she continued. In Kenya, women’s organizations were working to identify and prevent the spread of radicalization in areas where marginalization, poverty and inequality were rampant. In Burundi, hundreds of women mediators were working tirelessly throughout the country to address local conflicts and prevent an escalation of tensions. Citing the 2015 global study on women, peace and security, she said countries with lower levels of gender inequality were less likely to resort to the use of force; that women’s security was one of the most reliable indicators of a State’s peacefulness; and that their different spending patterns contributed directly to post-conflict social recovery.

    Conversely, women were the first to notice attacks on their rights and freedoms, and the militarization and radicalization of individuals in their families and communities, she noted. “Women’s empowerment is our best line of defence against militarism and violent extremism.” Initiatives aimed at revamping and strengthening prevention work at the United Nations must include steps to ensure that Security Council deliberations were more frequently informed by the perspective and analysis of women on the ground; regular consultations with the Counter-Terrorism Committee to ensure that efforts to counter violent extremism did not shut down space and funding for civil society actors. Furthermore, such efforts should feature the inclusion of robust gender analysis in reports received by the Security Council, greater political and financial support for the work of women’s organizations, and emphasis on investing in gender equality in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

    TAYÉ-BROOK ZERIHOUN, Assistant-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, said recent research had established that women’s participation in peace talks not only facilitated the conclusion and implementation of agreements, but also the sustainability of peace. Promoting women’s effective participation in conflict mediation and addressing their specific needs in peacemaking efforts had been a priority of the Department of Political Affairs since 2010, when its conflict-prevention work had become increasingly inclusive, he noted. Since 2012, all United Nations mediation support teams had included women, and women made up half of the participants in the Department’s high-level mediation skills training, which focused on enhancing gender parity and the future character and configuration of international peacemaking.

    He said the Department also continued to implement, with UN-Women, its Joint Strategy on Gender and Mediation, which helped to build mediation capacity for envoys and mediation teams by providing gender expertise and training, while UN-Women strengthened the capacity of regional, national and local women leaders and peace coalitions, and supported access opportunities for women in peace negotiations. Nevertheless, despite the concerted efforts of international and regional organizations, as well as national Governments to eliminate discrimination and promote the empowerment of women, unequal access and opportunities for women’s participation in political decision-making processes persisted worldwide. “Prioritizing prevention and inclusive political solutions has never been more urgent,” he emphasized. Peace processes afforded unique opportunities for promoting the effective participation of women, he said.

    The United Nations had sharpened its prevention tools over the last decade, he said. Its regional presences and cooperation with regional organizations had yielded positive results, and today, about 85 per cent of United Nations mediation involved working closely with regional and subregional organizations. The Organization’s work on elections also underscored the centrality of women’s participation in decision-making processes. Notable efforts had been made by the African Union and other partners to ensure that gender was more systematically integrated into electoral processes, including election observation. It was encouraging to note that the current average rate of women members of Parliament in Africa was slightly above the global average. The case for inclusive preventative democracy was compelling, he said, pointing out that, through early diplomatic initiatives, the active engagement of civil society and the provision of necessary funding, the international community was better positioned to prevent and resolve conflicts while creating the conditions for political stability and sustainable peace.

    MACHARIA KAMAU (Kenya), Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, said women’s participation was crucial to sustainable peacebuilding, stressing that the understanding of their role in such efforts was widely shared. In 2013, the Commission had developed a declaration on women’s economic empowerment for peacebuilding, while the Council had adopted various resolutions on women, peace and security since the late 2000s. Yet, the translation of formal commitments into action on the ground had not been as systematic as would have been hoped, he said, adding that high expectations for transformative change had not been fully delivered.

    “Women remain a resource that has not been effectively utilized or enabled to build sustainable peace,” he said, citing such obstacles as cynical cultural practices that maintained patriarchal attitudes; insufficient political will to implement Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security; militarized approaches to conflict resolution that crowded out organic initiatives; and the absence of gender-sensitive economic recovery. As such, the Commission had outlined its first gender strategy, which it expected to adopt before July, he said, adding that it set out recommendations on strengthening the integration of gender perspectives in all country-specific and strategic engagements.

    Going forward, the Commission would use its unique leverage to advocate for technical expertise on gender equality and peacebuilding, as well as funding, he continued. The combination of commitment on the part of senior leadership, specialized expertise and dedicated financial resources would make a real difference, as had been seen in Burundi, where UN-Women supported a network of 534 women mediators across all municipalities. Placing a personal emphasis on the gender issue, he said that he had seen the ruin that 100 years of colonial and post-colonial policies had wreaked upon women in Kenyan culture and society. “Women remain firmly at the bottom of the rungs of social progress and empowerment,” he said, underlining that a more inclusive future would require that countries respond forcefully to the condition of women in their midst.

    TÉTÉ ANTÓNIO, Permanent Observer of the African Union, recalled the decisive role played by women in the signing of Liberia’s 2003 Accra Peace Agreement, emphasizing: “Africa cannot afford to ignore the role of women if we are to realize the vision of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful continent.” Indeed, the issue of women, peace and security was a priority for the African Union’s Assembly of Heads of State and Government, as well as its Peace and Security Council, he said, noting that the regional body had dedicated 2015 to “women’s empowerment and development towards Agenda 2063”.

    He went on to state that, by choosing to place women at the centre of its deliberations, the African Union had reiterated the continent’s resolve to address all barriers impeding the emancipation of women and girls, and to strengthen both their agency and rights through education, health, participation in decision-making and economic empowerment. It had been the first continental organization to appoint a special envoy on women, peace and security, and sought to strengthen women’s participation, including through the Panel of the Wise.

    Further, the African Union Commission had achieved parity in its leadership and was moving towards 50-50 workforce parity, he said. It had launched a five-year gender, peace and security programme, running through 2020, to foster strategies and mechanisms for women’s participation in peace and security. Going forward, it would be important to increase the proportion of women in police components of peace operations, ensure that the terms of reference for mediation and peacebuilding processes had a clear women’s-participation component, make “women, peace and security” programmes mandatory and invest more in conflict-prevention initiatives.

    PALEKI AYANG, Executive Director of the South Sudan Women’s Empowerment Network, said that the world, and Africa in particular, must move beyond stereotypical images of women as victims in conflict. They were also fighters, peacebuilders, protectors and community leaders. With limited resources and in spite of threats, they organized peace marches, advocated for enhanced peace and security policies and led reconciliation efforts across conflict lines.

    She went on to describe a protection-of-civilians site in South Sudan where ethnic Dinka and Nuer women met to discuss ways to halt violence, emphasizing: “While the men wanted to fight over their tribal differences, women bridged the divide and reduced the tension within the communities.” She urged the Security Council to invest in programmes aimed at increasing women’s inclusion in conflict prevention and resolution strategies, and to promote their meaningful inclusion in elections, including through quotas for women parliamentarians. The Council should also increase support for recruiting more women in national security forces and police, as well as all United Nations peacekeeping missions, and to require consultations with women-led civil society groups in order to advance gender-specific and community priorities.

    She went on to underline that conflict-prevention and conflict-resolution strategies would be ineffective without immediately addressing systematic, deliberate and wide-spread sexual violence in South Sudan and the rest of Africa. The scale of the violence had destroyed the social fabric of South Sudanese communities and threatened to dismantle an already fragile peace. She urged the Security Council to insist on accountability for atrocities committed by all warring parties, armed groups, security forces and peacekeepers. It should also demand that the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission in South Sudan, and other conflict-monitoring mechanisms in the region, ensure the representation and participation of women.

    Statements

    MARIA FILOMENA DELGADO, Council President for March and Minister for Family and the Promotion of Women of Angola, said women and children were the main victims of armed conflicts, and it was, therefore, crucial that their voices be heard in conflict-prevention forums, peace negotiations and post-conflict reconstruction efforts. Institutional mechanisms in Africa must promote an environment that encouraged the participation of women in peace and security, she added, noting that such instruments as the African Charter on the Rights of Women and the African Union Declaration on Gender Equality reflected a renewed awareness of women’s essential role. They had been directly involved in Angola’s post-conflict peacebuilding and reconstruction efforts and the country was sharing its experiences in the Great Lakes region, she said. With strong political will and commitment, women would make a tangible contribution to building a more just and peaceful world.

    MATTHEW RYCROFT (United Kingdom) said gender inequality was not just a women’s issue, but a peace issue. When women’s voices were heard, the chances for lasting peace increased. The voices of women could be powerful, but only if they were in the room at key moments during peace processes. Breaking down the barriers facing women in peace talks required breaking down barriers facing women across society, including keeping girls in school, improving health care and tackling sexual violence. At its heart, it was about ending discrimination against women. The crisis in Burundi provided a heartening example of how powerful women’s organizations could be in mediation efforts, he said, emphasizing that, as the Security Council called upon African leaders to address gender issues, it should itself heed the same call. What signal was sent when the primary body charged with preserving international peace and security only had one woman among its ranks, he asked. Now was the time to appoint a woman as the next Secretary-General of the United Nations.

    MICHELE SISON (United States) said the debate provided an excellent opportunity to take stock of women, peace and security agenda’s implementation in Africa. It should also help more women gain positions of leadership and seats at the negotiating table when issues of peace and security were decided. While some progress had undeniably been made across Africa since the adoption of resolution 1325 (2000), there was still much work to be done, particularly in three areas: first, more should be done to help women overcome systematic obstacles to political participation; second, the international community must address gender-based violence; and third, there must be concerted efforts for concrete successes. Gender-based violence posed a unique challenge to peacebuilding efforts, she said, stressing that gender equality was a security issue. Pointing out that extremists groups were manipulating gender as a means to their ends, she cited research showing that when women were included in peace processes, as in Burundi, Somali and Kenya, it was mainly due to normative pressures from women’s groups and their supporters. That demonstrated that the Council’s words and resolutions had an impact on the ground.

    LUIS BERMÚDEZ (Uruguay) said the number of women in special political missions was limited, urging their greater participation in peace and reconstruction efforts. African States bore the main responsibility in that regard, with national plans driving greater participation by women at all levels, which, in turn, would improve operational efficiency and resolve conflict. At the United Nations, women should be appointed as special representatives, envoys and mediators. Their contribution to peace talks was essential, as seen in Liberia, he said. It had been shown that increasing the number of women in police contingents of peacekeeping missions reduced the undue use of force.

    LIU JIEYI (China) said peacekeeping missions should increase the number of female staff to foster better communication with women and girls. China also advocated a greater role for women in building a culture of inclusiveness, he said, emphasizing that they should be encouraged to engage in all post-conflict reconstruction, disarmament, demobilization and reconstruction efforts. African women should be provided with better skills training and funding for entrepreneurship. China would launch 100 village agriculture projects, build industrial parks and provide training for technical specialists, which would provide new opportunities for African women.

    VOLODYMYR YELCHENKO (Ukraine), associating himself with the European Union, condemned all acts of sexual violence and abuse against women and children, welcoming the International Criminal Court’s decision in the case of former Vice-President Jean-Pierre Bemba of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. During conflict, women were hardly represented at negotiating tables or in community reconstruction efforts, he said, noting that they constituted less than 10 per cent of peace negotiators globally. Welcoming the fact that several African countries had national action plans in place for implementation of resolution 1325 (2000), he commended both the African Union and the United Nations for increasing the number of female military and police officers in peacekeeping missions. Ukraine called for ensuring women’s participation in devising strategies to prevent and respond to such challenges as terrorism and violent extremism, he added.

    CAROLYN SCHWALGER (New Zealand) pointed out that meaningful participation by women in conflict prevention and resolution remained the exception, not the rule. “Including women works,” she said, emphasizing that outdated attitudes and approaches must be challenged. The deployment of trained female election monitors in Senegal, Kenya, Nigeria and the Central African Republic, as well as the nationwide network of women mediators in Burundi, were examples of how women’s participation had made a difference. New Zealand’s own modest contributions included conflict-prevention training, in Ghana last November, by an all-female team from the defence forces. The presence of female personnel empowered local women, ensuring they were not seen only as victims, but also as actors and providers of safety and security. She urged the Council to incorporate the perspectives of women into its work as a matter of course and to encourage their greater participation in all mediation efforts and conflict-prevention processes.

    RAMLAN BIN IBRAHIM (Malaysia) associated himself with the statement to be delivered on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, emphasizing that the important role and potential contribution of women in conflict resolution and prevention could no longer be side-lined or ignored. The situation in Africa provided an opportunity to understand what strategies had worked and which challenges remained to be overcome, in order for women to play a more prominent role in international peace and security. Increasing the meaningful participation of women was crucial to ending current conflicts and preventing future ones. The ability to detect early warning signals and act upon them was critical to conflict-prevention efforts, he said, adding that there was ample evidence that women could provide insights into changing dynamics, particularly at the community and grass-roots levels. Long-term peace and security required placing women at the heart of peacebuilding efforts, including through the establishment of legal frameworks for the protection of their rights.

    FODÉ SECK (Senegal), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said the maintenance of international peace and security could not be achieved without acknowledging the potential contribution of close to half of the world’s population, particularly since they were the main victims of all types of violence. The African Union’s appointment of the Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security was a significant step forward in bolstering the role of women in mediation, promoting a culture of peace and establishing early warning systems. Senegal actively recruited women for its armed and security forces, after having been the first African State to achieve absolute parity in all local and national elected positions. However, the security situation in the West Africa subregion highlighted new challenges that must be taken into account. There was a need to invest more in early warning and national emergency response mechanisms so as to ensure the active participation of women and civil society in peace processes. That would be especially important when combating radicalization, violent extremism and terrorism.

    RAFAEL DARÍO RAMÍREZ CARREÑO (Venezuela) emphasized that women, including girls, disproportionately suffered the harmful consequences of war perpetrated by armed groups. All efforts to prevent their exposure in violence would be an investment in the future of humankind. Involving women in peace processes represented a strategic opportunity to create the necessary changes that would lead to peace, social equity and justice, he said. Venezuela condemned the violence unleashed by terrorist groups in the Middle East and Africa, he said, noting that women and children had been the primary victims of that violence. It was important to support the participation of women in local peacebuilding initiatives because that would be an important step in addressing their basic needs and security.

    YOSHIFUMI OKAMURA (Japan) said he had found that the best-implemented projects in Africa were always those proposed by women because they were good managers and they were entrepreneurs. They were also brave, standing up for peace, including on the eve of the 2011 crisis in Côte d’Ivoire, when they had marched into the streets of Abidjan banging pans with kitchen utensils and shouting “no” to violence. “When it comes to the role of women in Africa, it is not merely a matter of empowering or protecting women,” he emphasized. “It is a matter of mobilizing their power.” For its part, Japan had underpinned African efforts to establish national action plans on women, peace and security, and had contributed to the informal expert group on that agenda, he said. It would contribute $14 million to both UN-Women and the Office of the Special Representative for Sexual Violence in Conflict in seeking to mobilize the power of African women.

    FRANÇOIS DELATTRE (France) called for a focus on the tools for guaranteeing women’s participation in conflict settlement, noting that their decision-making power must be bolstered by facilitating the participation of civil society. Governments must open the doors to women’s organizations in order to forge sustainable development, he said, urging that the dynamic voice of civil society in Mali be heeded. The African Union should give women greater prominence in its gender, peace and security programme, he said, adding that their role in settling conflicts must be enhanced in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism. Recalling recent events in Mali, Côte d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso, he stressed the need to incorporate the women, peace and security agenda into counter-terrorism strategies. In addition, greater efforts must be made to reintegrate women associated with armed groups into society in order to ensure that they were able to return to their societies and communities.

    EVGENY T. ZAGAYNOV (Russian Federation) said attempts to dictate “settlement recipes” without the consent or request of States were unacceptable. Women had a positive role to play in peace and security matters, he said, emphasizing the importance of the African Union’s five-year peace and security programme in that regard. A balanced approach should be taken to women’s participation in reconstruction. Noting that national action plans in implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) could not be used to assess State gender-promotion policies, he stressed that it was the primary responsibility of States involved in conflict to protect women and afford them equal participation opportunities. Effectiveness in the Council’s work was not always achieved by creating new structures, he said, adding that he was sceptical about creating an informal working group on women, peace and security. The Russian Federation was ready to elaborate effective and tried efforts, and urged the creation of optimum conditions for African women to help resolve conflict.

    ROMÁN OYARZUN MARCHESI (Spain) said that, when women did not participate enough in efforts to resolve conflict, there was an imperfect and unfair peace because part of the population imposed its view on other parts of society. While there had not been a “change in the story” at the United Nations with regard to resolution 1325 (2000), awareness had been raised, notably through resolution 2242 (2015). Most relevant would be the creation of a group of experts on women, peace and security, which would ensure that the Council implemented all relevant resolutions, he said.

    OSAMA ABDELKHALEK MAHMOUD (Egypt) said the significant political momentum created in the Council had bolstered women’s contributions to legal frameworks in Africa, including the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa, although such measures had not been fully exploited nor enjoyed the required level of participation. Egypt supported the Secretary-General’s call to increase women’s participation in peacekeeping, mediation and conflict-prevention missions, because evidence in Liberia, Malawi and the Central African Republic had shown that women ruled effectively. Urging the bridging of gaps between adoption and implementation, he said the role of informal expert groups must be stepped up, since their creation was outlined in resolution 2242 (2015). Noting the persisting weakness in the appointment of women to senior posts within special political missions, he said the related action plans overlooked cultural specificities, which were detrimental to women in conflict prevention and resolution. Egypt would adopt a gender-equality strategy, and the national council responsible for women’s status had fine-tuned an action plan based on resolution 1325 (2000), he said.

    YERZHAN ASHYKBAYEV, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, noting that conflict in Africa had engulfed neighbouring countries, urged closer collaboration among the United Nations, European Union and the African Union, as well as with African subregional organizations and the Secretary-General’s special representatives that address conflict-related violence against women and children. “Hybrid” peacekeeping missions must have clear mandates for civilian protection, especially for women and girls, while gender specialists and gender teams should be integrated into their military and civilian components. Troop- and police-contributing countries should have gender training and deploy more women. More broadly, the international community should offer greater support to African countries to involve women in grass-roots organizations working for a culture of peace. Women also had a critical contribution to make in managing camps for refugees and internally displaced persons.

    ANTONIO DE AGUIAR PATRIOTA (Brazil), listing a number of recent successes by African women, said that such positive trends could not offset the fact that women constituted a mere 4 per cent of the 88,000 troops and police currently deployed in United Nations peacekeeping operations on the continent. Sexual violence in conflict remained a serious concern for vulnerable populations, and despite the strong African commitment to fight sexual and gender-based violence, some of the most despicable crimes against humanity, including rape and sexual slavery, continued to occur in some regions of Africa. Strongly condemning those abhorrent violations, he said that, as the current Chair of the Commission on the Status of Women, he was deeply committed to gender equality in all political and security processes. Brazil’s South-South cooperation with Africa was closely aligned with the women, peace and security agenda, he said, describing several areas of cooperation. In addition, Brazil served as Chair of the Guinea-Bissau Configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission, which valued the role played by women as responsible stakeholders in a sustainable peace for that country.

    SYED AKBARUDDIN (India) pointed out that women constituted less than 4 per cent of signatories to peace agreements and less than 10 per cent of negotiators at peace tables. They made up only 3 per cent of military forces and 10 per cent of police personnel deployed by United Nations peace missions. Emphasizing the need to increase the involvement of women in conflict prevention and resolution, he said that would require, not only normative advice, but also the building of capacity and institutions at the ground level. Therefore, the issue of women, peace and security could not be seen in isolation from the wider societal context involving gender and development issues. India was the leading contributor of troops to United Nations peacekeeping, participating in 48 of its 69 peacekeeping missions, 22 of which were in Africa, he noted, also pointing out that his country had provided the first-ever Female Formed Police Unit for deployment in Liberia. India had also contributed female soldiers as military observers and staff officers, in addition to deploying them with medical units.

    PER THÖRESSON (Sweden), speaking also on behalf of the other Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway), said the recommendations of the Global Study and Security Council resolution 2242 (2015) provided the momentum to move away from ad hoc approaches and include women in all stages of conflict prevention, conflict resolution and peace building. “Any international actor working for peace and security that wants to be relevant in the twenty-first century has to integrate the women, peace and security agenda in a coherent and effective manner,” he emphasized. On the inclusive representation of women in peace processes, he said that would ensure that the needs and interests of society were truly addressed and reflected. As highlighted by the Global Study, indisputable evidence established positive links between women’s participation and the likelihood of peace agreements being signed, he said, stressing that increasing the number and percentage of women mediators was a Nordic priority.

    IOANNIS VRAILAS, Deputy Head of the European Union Delegation, said that, in the period between 1992 and 2011, women had made up less than 4 per cent of signatories to peace agreements and less than 10 per cent of peace negotiators. Yet, the Global Study on the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) had shown that, when women were included in peace processes, the probability of lasting peace grew significantly. The international community must devote more resources towards implementing the women, peace and security agenda, he said, welcoming efforts in Africa to galvanize the role of women in conflict prevention and commending the African Union’s zero-tolerance position on sexual exploitation and abuse in conflict situations, including by forces deployed to protect populations.

    Countering violent extremism, he went on to say, was an integral part of conflict prevention and solution strategies. Women and girls could be part of the problem, serving as foreign fighters or recruiters, but they could also be part of the solution. The need to ensure their participation and leadership in countering terrorism and violent extremism was underscored in resolution 2242 (2015) and the Secretary-General’s subsequent Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism. States, regional and international organizations and the United Nations system must work towards that shared goal, he said, adding that the European Union would allocate more than €100 million by 2020 to gender equality and women’s empowerment, including in Africa.

    GILLIAN BIRD (Australia) commended the ongoing efforts of the United Nations and the African Union to secure women’s full and effective participation in all stages of the prevention, resolution and management of conflicts, and post-conflict reconstruction in Africa. Also commending the United Nations Office for West Africa’s (UNOWA) work on advancing gender equality, he welcomed its commitment to adopt a new regional action plan to implement Council resolution 1325 (2000) and to establish an annual dialogue with leaders in the region. Drawing attention to the High-Level Review on Women, Peace and Security, he underlined that women’s meaningful participation was vital to enhance conflict prevention and conflict resolution. The participation of women required a significant cultural change to ensure that human rights and the protection of civilians were considered to be a system-wide responsibility. As the first and largest donor to UN-Women’s Global Acceleration Instrument on Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action, Australia was pleased that it had already been implemented in Burundi.

    SEBASTIANO CARDI (Italy) said sustainable and lasting peace depended on women’s active involvement in related processes. In Africa, more than elsewhere, there was a strong need, not only for peacekeeping, but for positive engagement in mediation and peacebuilding. To support national reconciliation and post-conflict reconstruction and to combat the rise of violent extremism, he said, women could and must help with such processes. Turning to the inclusion and mainstreaming of gender-based issues, he noted that they should be included in all negotiations. Further, he noted, economically empowered women could contribute more effectively to sustainable development, peace and security. In that regard, their access to quality education and health must be bolstered, and all forms of gender-based violence and discrimination must end, he said, describing the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals as the most precious tools for action for a better future.

    MAHLATSE MMINELE (South Africa) expressed regret that women remained excluded from mediation and conflict-resolution initiatives at the highest levels, noting that systematic cultural exclusion obstructed their full participation. In order for more women to serve as high-level envoys and mediators, a systemic shift was needed. The role of women could no longer be limited to certain areas, such as advising on sexual exploitation and abuse. He emphasized the need to ensure that women had unfettered access to justice, and to that discrimination against them in such areas as land ownership, access to economic opportunity and employment, education and health care was addressed. While Member States had the primary responsibility to end impunity and prosecute perpetrators of sexual violence, he said, the Peacebuilding Commission and Peacebuilding Fund could play an important part in supporting the participation of African women in peace processes.

    BERNARDITO AUZA, Permanent Observer of the Holy See, called attention to Sustainable Development Goal 16, noting that in many countries in Africa, peaceful and inclusive societies remained a distant dream. Women could contribute greatly to realizing it. Expressing appreciation for initiatives promoted by the Security Council and Member States in order to raise awareness of the vital role of women, he stressed the need to translate recognition into action. The Holy See had always been very attentive to the inspiring work of African women in defending the voiceless, preventing the outbreak of communal violence, reinforcing fragile peace and fostering human dignity. Through various initiatives, it aimed to consolidate their contributions in order to build peaceful and inclusive societies. On education, he noted that the Catholic Church was the leading provider of quality education for all in Africa.

    TEKEDA ALEMU (Ethiopia) said there was no doubt that women were uniquely positioned to nurture a culture of peace, and enhancing their effective participation would have a meaningful impact on preventing and resolving conflict. While the adoption of resolution 1325 (2000) had been significant, the main issue was the progress made towards its implementation, he said, adding that the African Union’s Gender, Peace and Security Programme to increase women’s participation in the promotion of peace and security was a step in the right direction. The adoption of regional action plans to implement relevant United Nations resolutions was also a positive development. With the largest number of female peacekeepers, Ethiopia was working tirelessly to further enhance its contribution in terms of military and police personnel in the coming years.

    DAVID ROET (Israel) noted that violent extremists group such as Al-Shabaab and Boko Haram were destabilizing States across Africa through vicious campaigns of terror that included the abduction of women and children, many of whom were later sold as sex slaves. However, women were also taking their fate into their own hands, he said, adding that across Africa, they were developing innovative platforms for peaceful elections and establishing strong networks of civil society groups. Nevertheless, the number of women involved in peace talks and field-based political missions remained limited. All gender-based barriers must be removed, he emphasized, adding that Israel stood ready to assist African women through programmes run by its Agency for International Development Cooperation, which encouraged and helped women acquire the skills and knowledge they needed to become political leaders.

    ADAM KRZYWOSADZKI (Poland), associating himself with the European Union, said the rising number of women’s associations should be considered an important sign of the rising position of African women. However, more women were needed in United Nations-led activities, especially peacekeeping and peacebuilding operations. For that reason, Poland had decided to earmark at least 15 per cent of its future funding of the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund for women’s specific needs, in particular advancing gender equality in post-conflict situations. Noting that his country planned to sign the Kigali Principles on the Protection of Civilians, he called the strict implementation of a zero-tolerance policy on acts of sexual exploitation and abuse by United Nations peacekeeping personnel.

    MICHAEL GRANT (Canada) said gender equality, empowerment of women and girls as agents of peace and development, full respect for their human rights and protection from sexual violence were prerequisites for sustainable peace and prosperity. He then commended the African Union’s work in advancing the Women, Peace and Security agenda through the creation of policies and mechanisms. Further, he expressed support to the Union’s appointment of a special envoy on the issue with a view to ensure increased and equal participation of women in peace operations. While it was important to include women in high-level processes to prevent and resolve conflicts, it was equally important to empower women at the local level. For its part, Canada supported projects in Africa to address the specific needs of women and girls in conflict and emergencies. The programming included providing access to justice for survivors and holding perpetrators to account.

    GHOLAMALI KHOSHROO (Iran), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that women’s calls for peace had been unfailing and widespread. They played an important role in conflict prevention and resolution, and their participation was crucial to the effectiveness of all peace and security efforts. In Africa, women’s participation in conflict prevention had facilitated a more inclusive appreciation of the causes of conflict, as well as alternative solutions.

    Several key mechanisms had created an enabling environment for women to play a key role in peace and security on the continent, he continued, noting in particular the 2003 Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, and the 2004 Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa. Women across the continent were also playing an unparalleled role in early warning and the prevention of violence, including election-related violence, and they had developed innovative platforms for peaceful elections in several countries.

    BÉNÉDICTE FRANKINET (Belgium), associating herself with the European Union, said women must be able to decide their own future. She welcomed initiatives in Africa to increase the role of women, but expressed disappointment that their participation in conflict prevention, peace processes and post-conflict political transitions was still a major challenge. Gender-mixed representation would guarantee a balanced decision-making process that took the entire population into account. She said her country was providing €2 million for a UN-Women programme in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to support economic empowerment and leadership training for women. In Mali, Belgium co-chaired a group of donors on the gender issue, but regretted the under-representation of women in decision-making since the start of the mediation process. Hopefully, the country’s national women, peace and security action plan for 2015-2017 would address that gap.

    ABDERRAZZAK LAASSEL (Morocco) said the international community was in unanimous agreement on women’s contribution to peacekeeping, mediation and peacebuilding activities. As key members of society, their involvement in such processes truly reflected and addressed the needs and concerns of those in need. Calling attention to the relevant Security Council resolutions, he said they recognized the vital role played by women in maintaining peace and security. Despite that recognition, however, women in Africa continued to face numerous challenges while continuing to take non-confrontational approaches in order to ensure the well-being of all, he said.

    FRANTIŠEK RUŽIČKA (Slovakia) said that, over the last few decades, gender equality and women’s empowerment had become a positive and forward-looking vision of Africa’s development. At the continental level, African leaders had adopted strong instruments, including the Maputo Protocol, Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa and the African Women Decade. Despite the efforts undertaken, however, numerous challenges remained to be addressed, he said. As women continued to suffer disproportionally from conflict, sexual and gender-based violence, as well as violent extremism, it was crucial that Governments accelerate implementation of their commitments. Institutions must be representatives of and responsive to the needs of both men and women, he said, emphasizing that the United Nations approach must be gender-sensitive throughout the planning, design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation phases.

    PAUL MENKVELD (Netherlands) said that enhancing the role of women in conflict prevention and resolution could help counter the rise in violent extremism and the use of sexual violence as a tactic of terror. It was time to put words into action, he said, setting out three pathways to change: an exchange of knowledge and good practices on conflict prevention and women’s participation; support for civil society; and greater protection of women from sexual violence. The hopes and dreams of women in conflict environments had been shared during the October 2015 open debate on women, peace and security, he recalled. It was time to move beyond rhetoric and translate those hopes into practical change, he emphasized.

    EMMANUEL NIBISHAKA (Rwanda) recalled how, in the aftermath of the 1994 genocide, women had immediately involved themselves in rebuilding the country, assuming non-traditional roles in their households and communities. The Government had undertaken a concerted effort, alongside women’s groups, to address the needs of Rwandan women and engage them in national reconstruction and reconciliation. Initiatives to address gender-based violence included one-stop centres offering free services to victims, he said, pointing out that Rwanda now contributed more female police and corrections officers to United Nations peacekeeping missions than any other African country. Despite improvements in the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000), however, challenges remained on several levels, and the international community and Member States would need to do more to sustain past gains, he stressed.

    CRISTINA PUCARINHO (Portugal), noting that women in Africa accounted for more than 50 per cent of the population and workforce, said it was, therefore, unthinkable that peace could ever be achieved and sustained without their involvement and consistent engagement. Women — whether as care providers in families and communities, as community leaders, as religious and traditional leaders, and as political representatives and citizens — could perform critical roles in conflict prevention and as agents of development. The Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries — to which six African countries belonged — had adopted a strategic plan to promote gender equality and empowerment. Its planned activities included preparing national plans for implementation of relevant Security Council resolutions; training and capacity-building in relation to resolution 1325 (2000) focal points; and technical and military cooperation among Member States to implement relevant resolutions.

    LEVENT ELER (Turkey) said the world was facing the largest humanitarian crisis since the Second World War, with an increasing influx of displaced populations and rising challenges for vulnerable populations such as women and girls. Moreover, the horrific acts perpetrated against women and girls by such terrorist organizations as Boko Haram and Da’esh demonstrated the need for a comprehensive strategy to counter violent extremism and terrorism in all their forms and manifestations. In times of conflict and insecurity, African women suffered most as victims of wide-spread sexual and gender-based violence, he noted. Yet, during those very times, they also played a primary role in building and supporting peace. Overall stabilization and development efforts could not succeed in Africa if women lacked security as well as political, economic, social and judicial empowerment, he stressed.

    SABRI BOUKADOUM (Algeria) said that resolution 1325 (2000) reaffirmed the important role of women in conflict prevention and resolution, peace negotiations, peacebuilding, peacekeeping, humanitarian response and post-conflict reconstruction. Preventing violent conflict required cooperation between Governments and local communities and women to resolve disputes through inclusive participation and dialogue. Turning to regional efforts, he noted that the Maputo Protocol and the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa had created a suitable environment for women to play a crucial role in peace and security. Emphasizing the importance of improving synergies between regional, continental and international early warning structures, he noted that the African Union was currently operationalizing the Continental Early Warning System, which could be improved through contributions by women. Furthermore, the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes had provided training for the SADC Regional Peacekeeping Training Centre on understanding gender issues in peace operations.

    WILFRIED I. EMVULA (Namibia) said that, through the adoption of Council resolution 1325 (2000), the conventional impression of women as helpless victims of wars was replaced by the important role of women in fostering peace and security. Namibia had been the first country in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to ratify the region’s protocol on gender and development, doing so in 2009. The country was also one of the largest nations to contribute female troops to the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID). At the global level, it was high time to establish and implement an ambitious but achievable agenda for action on women in armed conflict and to allow an increased role for women in the peace process. Provisions of resolution 1325 (2000) must be framed in State obligations to address structural and systemic gender inequality and discrimination. Protecting women from conflicts and violence would remain a priority for the international community, he said, adding that the emphasis on the role of women as leaders in the peacebuilding process would be equally important.

    VIRACHAI PLASAI (Thailand) said women’s empowerment promoted the type of inclusive development and growth that were key to preventing conflicts and sustaining peace. National efforts, therefore, should focus on ensuring their equal access to education, employment, financing, social security, health care and justice. In times of conflict, strong national institutions must be in place to ensure respect for the rule of law and effective monitoring with a view to minimizing the suffering of women and girls. For its part, his delegation had commissioned the International Peace Institute to conduct evidence-based research on the valuable role played by women in peace and security, with research confirming that processes involving them had a higher percentage of success and sustainability. On the recent initiatives that had taken place in Africa, he welcomed the African Union Commission’s gender, peace and security programme, launched in 2014. Having participated in the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), Thailand recognized that female peacekeepers could effectively engage with local population with a high degree of cultural and gender sensitivity, he said.

    MASUD BIN MOMEN (Bangladesh) stated that, while the protection needs of women remained a foremost concern, it was important to empower and enable them to become instrumental and effective buffers against conflict. It was no surprise that violent extremists and terrorists made it a point to halt women’s empowerment, he said, emphasizing that women’s groups must protest loudly against such trends and engage with other women who, whether forcibly or willingly, were complicit in the misguided agendas of the extremists. As a major troop-contributing country, Bangladesh knew the difference that women peacekeepers could make on the ground, and it was working with the United Nations and others to enhance its participation. Bangladesh was also establishing a peacebuilding centre that would carry out specialized research and training on the role of women in peacebuilding, among other issues.

    MUHAMMAD ANSHOR (Indonesia), calling attention to the 2015 Global Study, said it emphasized that meaningful participation of women was crucial to the effectiveness of all peace and security interventions. Enhancing women’s involvement in conflict prevention and conflict resolution, as well as post-conflict peacebuilding in Africa was an imperative that the United Nations must continue to support, he said. That could be done by enhancing and promoting women’s leadership in peace, security and sustainable development, creating a platform for women across all levels of African societies to exchange, share and harmonize strategies and while building coalitions. In the context of peacekeeping operations, he said women peacekeepers were far better equipped to protect women and girls before, during and after conflict and war. To that end, Indonesia stood committed to increasing the number of its women peacekeepers under United Nations mandates.


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    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Yemen, Zimbabwe


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    Source: World Health Organization
    Country: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone

    WHO statement
    29 March 2016

    The 9th meeting of the Emergency Committee convened by the WHO Director-General under the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR) regarding the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa took place by teleconference on Tuesday, 29 March 2016 from 12:30 until 15:15 hr.

    The Committee was requested to provide the Director-General with views and perspectives as to whether the event continues to constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) and whether the current Temporary Recommendations should be extended, rescinded or revised. Representatives of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone presented the epidemiological situation, ongoing work to prevent Ebola re-emergence, and capacity to detect and respond rapidly to any new clusters of cases in each country.

    The Committee noted that since its last meeting all three countries have met the criteria for confirming interruption of their original chains of Ebola virus transmission. Specifically, all three countries have now completed the 42 day observation period and additional 90 day enhanced surveillance period since their last case that was linked to the original chain of transmission twice tested negative. Guinea achieved this milestone on 27 March 2016.

    The Committee observed that, as expected, new clusters of Ebola cases continue to occur due to reintroductions of virus as it is cleared from the survivor population, though at decreasing frequency. Twelve such clusters have been detected to date, the most recent of which was reported on 17 March 2016 in Guinea and is ongoing. The Committee was impressed that to date all of these clusters have been detected and responded to rapidly, limiting transmission to at most two generations of cases in the 11 clusters which have now been stopped.

    The Committee provided its view that Ebola transmission in West Africa no longer constitutes an extraordinary event, that the risk of international spread is now low, and that countries currently have the capacity to respond rapidly to new virus emergences. Accordingly, in the Committee’s view the Ebola situation in West Africa no longer constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern and the Temporary Recommendations adopted in response should now be terminated.

    The Committee emphasized that there should be no restrictions on travel and trade with Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, and that any such measures should be lifted immediately.

    As in other areas of sub-Saharan Africa where Ebola virus is present in the ecosystem, and recognizing that new clusters due to re-emergence may occur in the coming months, the Committee reinforced that these countries must maintain the capacity and readiness to prevent, detect and respond to any ongoing and/or new clusters in future. National and international efforts must be intensified to ensure that male survivors can have their semen tested for virus persistence and know their status. Work must continue on the use of Ebola vaccination for intimate and close contacts of those survivors who have persistent virus excretion. Particularly important will be to ensure that communities can rapidly and fully engage in any future response, cases are quickly isolated and managed, local population movement in the affected areas is managed, and appropriate contact lists are shared with border authorities.

    The Committee further emphasized the crucial need for continued international donor and technical support to prevent, detect and respond rapidly to any new Ebola outbreak in West Africa. International support is required in particular to maintain and, where needed, expand diagnostic laboratory and surveillance capacity, sustain vaccination capacity for outbreak response, and continue relevant research and development activities (e.g. on therapeutic options to clear persistent virus excretion). The Committee gave special attention to the need to ensure that sufficient and appropriate clinical care, testing capacity and welfare services are available to all survivors of this extraordinary health crisis.

    Based on the advice of the Emergency Committee, and her own assessment of the situation, the Director-General terminated the Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) regarding the Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa, in accordance with the International Health Regulations (2005). The Director-General terminated the Temporary Recommendations that she had issued in relation to this event, supported the public health advice provided above by the Committee, and reinforced the importance of States Parties immediately lifting any restrictions on travel and trade with these countries. The Director-General thanked the Emergency Committee members and advisors for their service and expert advice, and requested their availability to reconvene if needed.

    Media contacts:

    Melissa Winkler, Tel: +41 797 286 818, mwinkler@who.int

    Gregory Härtl, Tel: +41 22 791 4458, +41 79 203 67 15; E-mail: hartlg@who.int

    Christian Lindmeier, Tel:+ 41 227911948; +41 795006552; Email: lindmeierch@who.int

    Tarik Jašarević: Tel: +41 22 791 5099; Mob: +41 79 367 62 14; E-mail: jasarevict@who.int


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    Source: World Health Organization
    Country: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, World

    **Remarks at a media briefing following the Ninth meeting of the Emergency Committee concerning Ebola. Geneva, Switzerland ** 29 March 2016

    Ladies and gentlemen,

    Thank you for joining us.

    The ninth meeting of the Emergency Committee on Ebola, convened today under the International Health Regulations, has advised me that the Ebola situation in West Africa no longer constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

    Although the response to a cluster of new Ebola cases and deaths is being reported in Guinea, that flare-up currently involves a single chain of transmission. It is the Committee's view that the countries have the capacities and capabilities to manage such flares.

    To date, nearly 1000 contacts related to this flare-up have been identified, of whom 142 are considered at high risk of exposure.

    In making its assessment, the Committee reviewed data on this new cluster of cases together with responses to earlier Ebola flare-ups that occurred after the original chains of transmission were interrupted in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

    The response to each and every one of these flares was immediate and very effectively contained.

    Chains of transmission were tracked, hundreds of contacts were traced and monitored, and the small clusters of cases were rapidly contained.

    As the experts noted during the meeting today, Ebola response capacity in West Africa is strong. The three countries now have the world’s largest pool of expertise in responding to Ebola.

    WHO anticipated further flare-ups. We have kept hundreds of our own experienced staff in the three countries, ready to contribute to the kind of emergency response needed to quickly interrupt transmission chains.

    Our tools are sharper. For the first time in any Ebola outbreak, response teams have access to vaccination as a powerful containment tool.

    In addition, with the number of cases now much smaller, our laboratory partners are able to sequence viruses from individual patients. Sequence data on individual viruses back up the epidemiological detective work needed to define the source of transmission chains with great precision.

    Data from investigations of recent flare-ups indicate that sexual transmission of the virus can occur over a year after full recovery of a male patient.

    The Emergency Committee supported the WHO view that further small clusters of cases can be expected.

    The Committee balanced this likelihood against its assessment that existing national and international response capacity is sufficient to contain new clusters of cases quickly. We can congratulate the three countries for maintaining vigilance and showing no signs of complacency during flare-ups.

    The experts further concluded that the likelihood of international spread by air travel is extremely low.

    I have accepted the Committee’s advice.

    The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is no longer a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. However a high level of vigilance and response capacity must be maintained to ensure the ability of the countries to prevent Ebola infections and to rapidly detect and respond to flare-ups in the future.

    These countries continue to require the full support of international community.

    Professor Steffen will outline in his statement some specific advice from the Committee to Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and the international community.

    I thank the Committee for its diligence and its sound advice over the 20 months since its first meeting.

    I reserve the opportunity to reconvene them in the future as needed to assess progress on Ebola prevention, detection and response in this region.

    I also want to recognize the tremendous leadership in these three countries, the efforts of their people, and the dedication of the international response that have brought the International Public Health Emergency of International Concern to an end.

    Thank you.


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    Source: UN News Service
    Country: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone

    29 mars 2016 – Les récents nouveaux cas d'Ebola apparus la semaine dernière en Guinée ne suscitent pas l'inquiétude de l'Organisation mondiale de la Santé (OMS), a déclaré mardi la Directrice générale de cette agence onusienne, Dr. Margaret Chan, lors d'un point de presse.

    « La neuvième réunion du Comité d'urgence sur Ebola qui a eu lieu aujourd'hui m'a informé que la situation d'Ebola en Afrique de l'Ouest ne constitue plus une urgence de santé publique de portée internationale », a dit Dr. Chan lors de ce point de presse.

    « Bien que quelques nouveaux cas et décès liés à Ebola aient été signalés en Guinée, cette résurgence n'implique qu'une seule chaîne de transmission. Il est de l'avis du Comité que les pays ont les capacités et les moyens de gérer ces résurgences », a-t-elle ajouté, en référence aux trois pays d'Afrique de l'Ouest les plus touchés par l'épidémie d'Ebola, la Guinée, le Libéria, et la Sierra Leone.

    L'OMS avait annoncé la semaine dernière avoir dépêché une équipe de spécialistes dans la préfecture de Nzérékoré, au sud de la Guinée, après que deux nouveaux cas d'Ebola ont été détectés et confirmés dans un village rural.

    Ces nouvelles infections avaient été confirmées le jour même où l'OMS déclarait la fin de la dernière résurgence d'Ebola en Sierra Leone. L'OMS avait dit à cette occasion qu'il fallait s'attendre à des résurgences de la maladie et que les trois pays affectés par Ebola devaient rester en état d'alerte. L'épidémie avait été déclarée terminée en Guinée le 29 décembre 2015.

    « Comme les experts l'ont noté lors de la réunion d'aujourd'hui, la capacité d'intervention concernant Ebola en Afrique de l'Ouest est forte », a dit la Directrice générale de l'OMS.

    Selon le Comité d'urgence, la capacité de réponse nationale et internationale existante est suffisante pour contenir de nouvelles résurgences rapidement. « Nous pouvons féliciter les trois pays pour maintenir leur vigilance et ne montrer aucun signe de complaisance lors des résurgences », a dit Dr. Chan.

    « Les experts ont en outre conclu que la probabilité de propagation internationale par transport aérien est extrêmement faible. J'ai accepté l'avis du Comité », a-t-elle ajouté.

    « L'épidémie d'Ebola en Afrique de l'Ouest n'est plus une urgence de santé publique de portée internationale. Toutefois, un haut niveau de vigilance et de capacité d'intervention doit être maintenu », a-t-elle encore dit. « Ces pays continuent d'avoir besoin du plein appui de la communauté internationale ».

    La pire flambée d'Ebola de l'histoire a commencé en Guinée en décembre 2013 et a fait depuis lors plus de 11.300 morts en Afrique de l'Ouest, principalement en Guinée, au Libéria et en Sierra Leone.


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    Source: World Health Organization
    Country: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, World

    WHO statement
    29 March 2016

    The 9th meeting of the Emergency Committee convened by the WHO Director-General under the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR) regarding the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa took place by teleconference on Tuesday, 29 March 2016 from 12:30 until 15:15 hr.

    The Committee was requested to provide the Director-General with views and perspectives as to whether the event continues to constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) and whether the current Temporary Recommendations should be extended, rescinded or revised. Representatives of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone presented the epidemiological situation, ongoing work to prevent Ebola re-emergence, and capacity to detect and respond rapidly to any new clusters of cases in each country.

    The Committee noted that since its last meeting all three countries have met the criteria for confirming interruption of their original chains of Ebola virus transmission. Specifically, all three countries have now completed the 42 day observation period and additional 90 day enhanced surveillance period since their last case that was linked to the original chain of transmission twice tested negative. Guinea achieved this milestone on 27 March 2016.

    The Committee observed that, as expected, new clusters of Ebola cases continue to occur due to reintroductions of virus as it is cleared from the survivor population, though at decreasing frequency. Twelve such clusters have been detected to date, the most recent of which was reported on 17 March 2016 in Guinea and is ongoing. The Committee was impressed that to date all of these clusters have been detected and responded to rapidly, limiting transmission to at most two generations of cases in the 11 clusters which have now been stopped.

    The Committee provided its view that Ebola transmission in West Africa no longer constitutes an extraordinary event, that the risk of international spread is now low, and that countries currently have the capacity to respond rapidly to new virus emergences. Accordingly, in the Committee’s view the Ebola situation in West Africa no longer constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern and the Temporary Recommendations adopted in response should now be terminated.

    The Committee emphasized that there should be no restrictions on travel and trade with Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, and that any such measures should be lifted immediately.

    As in other areas of sub-Saharan Africa where Ebola virus is present in the ecosystem, and recognizing that new clusters due to re-emergence may occur in the coming months, the Committee reinforced that these countries must maintain the capacity and readiness to prevent, detect and respond to any ongoing and/or new clusters in future. National and international efforts must be intensified to ensure that male survivors can have their semen tested for virus persistence and know their status. Work must continue on the use of Ebola vaccination for intimate and close contacts of those survivors who have persistent virus excretion. Particularly important will be to ensure that communities can rapidly and fully engage in any future response, cases are quickly isolated and managed, local population movement in the affected areas is managed, and appropriate contact lists are shared with border authorities.

    The Committee further emphasized the crucial need for continued international donor and technical support to prevent, detect and respond rapidly to any new Ebola outbreak in West Africa. International support is required in particular to maintain and, where needed, expand diagnostic laboratory and surveillance capacity, sustain vaccination capacity for outbreak response, and continue relevant research and development activities (e.g. on therapeutic options to clear persistent virus excretion). The Committee gave special attention to the need to ensure that sufficient and appropriate clinical care, testing capacity and welfare services are available to all survivors of this extraordinary health crisis.

    Based on the advice of the Emergency Committee, and her own assessment of the situation, the Director-General terminated the Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) regarding the Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa, in accordance with the International Health Regulations (2005). The Director-General terminated the Temporary Recommendations that she had issued in relation to this event, supported the public health advice provided above by the Committee, and reinforced the importance of States Parties immediately lifting any restrictions on travel and trade with these countries. The Director-General thanked the Emergency Committee members and advisors for their service and expert advice, and requested their availability to reconvene if needed.

    Media contacts:

    Melissa Winkler, Tel: +41 797 286 818, mwinkler@who.int

    Gregory Härtl, Tel: +41 22 791 4458, +41 79 203 67 15; E-mail: hartlg@who.int

    Christian Lindmeier, Tel:+ 41 227911948; +41 795006552; Email: lindmeierch@who.int

    Tarik Jašarević: Tel: +41 22 791 5099; Mob: +41 79 367 62 14; E-mail: jasarevict@who.int


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    Source: World Health Organization
    Country: Guinea, Italy, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America

    SUMMARY

    • The International Health Regulations (2005) Emergency Committee regarding Ebola virus disease (EVD) in West Africa met for a ninth time on 29 March. On the basis of the Committee’s advice and her own assessment of the situation, the WHO Director-General declared the end of the Public Health Emergency of International Concern regarding the Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa. The Committee noted that since its last meeting Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone have all met the criteria for confirming interruption of their original chains of Ebola virus transmission. The Committee also noted that, although new clusters of EVD cases continue to occur as expected, including a recent and ongoing cluster in Guinea, all clusters to date have been detected and responded to rapidly.

    • Guinea was declared free of Ebola transmission linked directly to the original outbreak on 29 December 2015. On 17 March 2016 a cluster of 2 confirmed and 3 probable cases of Ebola virus disease was reported from the prefecture of N’Zerekore in south-eastern Guinea. Three further confirmed cases were reported on 21, 26, and 28 March, respectively. All confirmed cases had symptom onset in the sub-prefecture of Koropara. Cases reported on 21 and 26 March were high-risk contacts of the initial case-cluster; the contact status of the case confirmed on 28 March has not yet been reported. All 5 confirmed cases are epidemiologically linked to a chain of 3 probable cases in the subprefecture of Koropara: two females in their late 30s, and one male in his late 50s. All 3 probable cases died between 27 February and 15 March, and were not buried safely. Investigations have determined that the first probable case (a female in her late 30s) had symptom onset on or around 15 February 2016. The source of her infection is being investigated. Viral sequencing data indicate that virus present in the blood of one of the confirmed cases is closely related to virus that circulated in southeastern Guinea in November 2014. 1033 contacts linked to the cluster have been identified so far, 171 of whom are considered to be high risk. All but 10 contacts have been traced. Response efforts have been reinforced by the redeployment of over 30 epidemiologists from western prefectures including the capital, Conakry. In addition, four villages are subject to cerclage measures, whereby individuals must report for regular check-ups and are not permitted to leave the immediate area of the village. Vaccination teams began vaccination of contacts and contacts of contacts on 22 March. Additional cases are likely because of the large number of contacts. One suspect case (reported 30 March) is currently under observation in an Ebola treatment centre.

    • Not including individuals who have been tested as part of ongoing viral persistence studies, over 350 male survivors in Liberia have used semen screening and counselling services. In addition, over 2600 survivors in Sierra Leone have accessed a general health assessment and eye exam.

    • To manage the residual risks of Ebola reintroduction or re-emergence, WHO has supported the implementation of enhanced surveillance systems in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone to alert authorities to cases of febrile illness or death that may be related to EVD. In the week to 27 March, 1512 alerts were reported in Guinea from all of the country’s 34 prefectures. Over the same period, 9 operational laboratories in Guinea tested a total of 434 new and repeat samples from 19 of the country’s 34 prefectures. In Liberia, 861 alerts were reported from all of the country’s 15 counties. The country’s 5 operational laboratories tested 730 new and repeat samples for Ebola virus over the same period. In Sierra Leone 1220 alerts were reported from the country’s 14 districts in the week to 20 March. 911 new and repeat samples were tested for Ebola virus by the country’s 7 operational laboratories in the week to 27 March.


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    Source: World Health Organization
    Country: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, World

    Déclaration lors du point de presse qui a suivi la neuvième réunion du Comité d’urgence concernant le virus Ebola
    Genève, Suisse
    29 mars 2016

    Mesdames et Messieurs,

    Je vous remercie de votre présence.

    La neuvième réunion du Comité d’urgence concernant le virus Ebola, convoquée aujourd’hui au titre du Règlement sanitaire international, m’a informée que la situation en Afrique de l’Ouest ne constituait plus une urgence de santé publique de portée internationale.

    Bien qu’une intervention soit en cours après un groupe de nouveaux cas et de décès notifiés en Guinée, cette résurgence implique actuellement une seule chaîne de transmission. Le Comité pense que les pays ont les capacités et les moyens de gérer ces résurgences.

    À ce jour, près de 1000 contacts liés à cette résurgence ont été identifiés, dont 142 sont considérés comme à haut risque d’avoir été exposés.

    En faisant cette évaluation, le Comité a examiné les données concernant ce nouveau groupe de cas ainsi que les interventions après de précédentes résurgences du virus Ebola faisant suite à l’interruption des chaînes de transmission de départ en Guinée, au Libéria et en Sierra Leone.

    À chaque fois, la riposte contre chacune des résurgences a été immédiate et elles ont été jugulées très efficacement.

    Les chaînes de transmission ont été établies, des centaines de contacts ont été trouvés et suivis, et les petits groupes de cas ont été rapidement contenus.

    Comme les experts l’ont relevé au cours de la réunion d’aujourd’hui, la capacité de riposte au virus Ebola en Afrique de l’Ouest est puissante. Les trois pays disposent désormais du plus grand pool d’experts au monde pour riposter à Ebola.

    L’OMS s’est attendue à de nouvelles résurgences. Nous avons maintenu dans les trois pays des centaines de membres expérimentés de notre personnel, prêts à contribuer au genre d’intervention nécessaire pour interrompre rapidement les chaînes de transmission.

    Nos outils sont plus affutés. Pour la première fois dans l’histoire des flambées d’Ebola, les équipes d’intervention ont accès à la vaccination comme outil puissant pour juguler le virus.

    De plus, avec le nombre désormais beaucoup plus réduit de cas, les laboratoires partenaires sont capables de séquencer les virus isolés à partir des patients individuels. Ces données des séquençages appuient le travail des enquêtes épidémiologiques nécessaires pour définir avec une grande précision l’origine des chaînes de transmission.

    Les données des investigations sur les résurgences récentes indiquent que la transmission sexuelle du virus peut survenir plus d’un an après guérison complète d’un homme.

    Le Comité d’urgence est d’accord avec l’avis de l’OMS indiquant qu’on peut s’attendre à de nouveaux petits groupes de cas.

    Le Comité a mis en balance cette probabilité avec son évaluation selon laquelle les capacités nationales et internationales de riposte sont suffisantes pour endiguer rapidement ces nouveaux groupes de cas. Nous pouvons féliciter les trois pays pour le maintien de leur vigilance et pour le fait de ne montrer aucun signe de relâchement au cours des résurgences.

    Les experts ont également conclu que la probabilité de propagation internationale par les transports aériens est extrêmement faible.

    J’ai accepté l’avis du Comité.

    La flambée de maladie à virus Ebola en Afrique de l’Ouest n’est plus une urgence de santé publique de portée internationale. Toutefois, un niveau élevé de vigilance et de puissants moyens de riposte doivent être maintenus pour garantir la capacité des pays à prévenir les infections à virus Ebola, pour détecter à l’avenir les résurgences et intervenir rapidement.

    Ces pays continuent d’avoir besoin de tout l’appui de la communauté internationale.

    Le professeur Steffen inclura dans sa déclaration certains avis spécifiques donnés par le Comité à la Guinée, au Libéria, à la Sierra Leone et à la communauté internationale.

    Je remercie le Comité pour sa diligence et ses avis judicieux au cours des 20 mois écoulés depuis la première réunion.

    Je me réserve la possibilité de le convoquer de nouveau à l’avenir autant que de besoin pour évaluer les progrès en matière de prévention, de détection du virus Ebola et de riposte dans cette région.

    Je voudrais également rendre hommage au leadership considérable dans ces trois pays, aux efforts de leur population et au dévouement de l’action internationale qui a permis de mettre un terme à cette urgence de santé publique de portée internationale.

    Merci.


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    Source: European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office
    Country: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone

    Situation

    • The 29 March 2016, WHO declared the end of the Public Health Emergency of International Concern regarding the EVD outbreak in West Africa although, as expected, new clusters continue to occur.

    • A new cluster of Ebola cases has been detected in the village of Koropara, near N’Zerekore in Forest Guinea. As of 30 March, there are five confirmed and three probable cases. Out of these, seven have died.

    • On 17 March Human-to-human transmission, linked to the most recent cluster of two cases of EVD first reported from Sierra Leone on 14 January, will be declared to have ended.

    • 14 January marks the end of the EVD transmission linked to the most recent cluster of cases in Liberia.

    • To manage the residual risks of Ebola reintroduction or re-emergence, WHO has supported the implementation of enhanced surveillance systems


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    Source: World Health Organization
    Country: Benin, Germany, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Togo

    1 APRIL 2016 - Lassa fever has killed more than 160 people in West Africa, most of them in Nigeria, since November 2015. Many of these lives could have been saved if a rapid diagnostic test were available so that people could receive treatment early.

    Since November 2015, Nigeria, Benin, Sierra Leone and Togo have reported more than 300 cases of Lassa fever and 164 deaths. Nigeria accounts for the majority of the cases with 266 cases and 138 deaths reported in 22 of the country’s 34 provinces. Benin has recorded 51 cases and 25 deaths, Togo and Sierra Leone each reported 2 cases.

    Diagnosing Lassa fever a difficult task

    Lassa virus is carried by the Mastomys rat, which is found in parts of West Africa. The virus is transmitted to humans from direct contact with infected rats by catching and preparing them for food, or through contact with food or household items contaminated with rat faeces or urine. The virus can also be transmitted through contact with an infected person’s body fluids.

    Around 80% of people who become infected with Lassa virus have no symptoms or they have symptoms that mimic other illnesses, such as malaria, making it difficult to treat them. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, headaches, abdominal pains, sore throat and facial swelling.

    “Without early diagnosis and treatment, 1 in 5 infections result in severe disease, where the virus affects several organs such as the liver, spleen and kidneys,” explains Dr Formenty, expert in haemorrhagic fevers at WHO.

    “We need resources to invest in diagnostics to easily, accurately and safely test for Lassa fever as we do for malaria and HIV. Without a proper diagnosis, many people do not receive the correct treatment and that is why we see so many people with Lassa fever dying each year.”

    Ribavirin has been used successfully in the treatment of confirmed Lassa cases. This drug can treat infected people if it is administered as soon as the first signs appear.

    Germany reports first known Lassa infection outside Africa

    Lassa Fever – Germany

    The first known case of Lassa infection outside of Africa has been reported in Germany. One person, a funeral home employee was infected after direct contact with an American who died of the disease in February 2016. The American was a medical director of a missionary hospital in Togo who was evacuated to Germany where he died.

    “This is the first time that secondary transmission of the infection is reported in Europe,” says Dr Formenty. “The risk for further transmission of Lassa fever in Germany and also West Africa is low and limited to hospital settings caring for the cases, with all contacts accounted for and monitored.”

    WHO continues to monitor the epidemiological situation and conduct risk assessments based on the latest available information.

    WHO and health partners scurry to stop the outbreak

    WHO and partners, including United Nations Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Bernard-Nocht-Institute in Hamburg, Germany and humanitarian partners, are supporting national authorities in the affected countries to take emergency measures in response to the outbreak. These include:

    • Setting up quarantine units in affected areas to isolate and treat patients.

    • Creating contact tracing systems to find those who might have been exposed to the disease.

    • Mobilizing a network of almost 200 community health workers across the country to monitor the contacts.

    • Repositioning and providing Ribavirin, in affected areas, including distributing personal protection equipment and other medical supplies.

    • Sharing information across borders.


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    Source: Assessment Capacities Project
    Country: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, World

    INTRODUCTION

    This report documents the secondary humanitarian problems and impacts of large-scale Ebola outbreak on the different humanitarian sectors, to provide a non-exhaustive plan to help future responders. A large scale Ebola outbreak, in this document, refers to an epidemic with an unprecedented scale, geographical spread and duration.

    Report

    At the beginning of the crisis, the international community perceived the outbreak as a purely public health emergency. The response was oriented towards the containment of the epidemic and treatment of the sick patients. The initial focus was on providing beds for patients and mobilising health practitioners. The livelihoods, education or protection needs of the affected communities, indirectly caused by the outbreak, were left unaddressed.

    The secondary humanitarian problems and impacts of the epidemic were extensive, and threatened the lives and livelihoods of more than 22 million people in the three most affected countries, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. The disruption of public and private services created an “emergency within the emergency”. Humanitarian actors failed to activate their surge capacity, or set up emergency funding and coordination structures, as a result of this perception of the crisis. It took time for the humanitarian community to recognise the complexity of the crisis and respond to the secondary impacts on other sectors. One major lesson learned during this epidemic has been the need to broaden the scope of the humanitarian response during a large-scale Ebola outbreak.

    Suggested use

    The report helps understanding of what the actual secondary impacts and priority needs during a large-scale Ebola outbreak may be, based on lessons learned from the recent outbreak in West Africa. It can be used to understand the specific factors contributin the disruption of services or access to goods. It provides a profile for the decisionmakers of the potential secondary issues and can help to plan programmes appropriately.


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    Source: European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
    Country: Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, French Guiana (France), Guadeloupe (France), Guinea, Liberia, Martinique (France), Micronesia (Federated States of), New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Romania, Saint Martin (France), Sierra Leone, World

    The ECDC Communicable Disease Threats Report (CDTR) is a weekly bulletin for epidemiologists and health professionals on active public health threats. This issue covers the period 27 March to 2 April 2016 and includes updates on Zika virus, haemolytic uraemic syndrome in Romania, diphtheria in Belgium and yellow fever in Angola.


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    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Yemen, Zimbabwe


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    Source: UN Office for West Africa
    Country: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Côte d'Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo

    NOTE D’INFORMATION

    Dakar, 30 Mars 2016- Dans le cadre de sa traditionnelle rencontre thématique « Arbre à Palabres », le Bureau des Nations Unies pour l’Afrique de l’Ouest et le Sahel (UNOWAS) a abrité, le 29 mars 2016, une rencontre sur le thème : « L’Exclusion sociale : l’autre défi de la stabilité, de la paix et de la Sécurité en Afrique de l’Ouest ».

    L’objectif de cette rencontre était d’échanger sur les conséquences de l’exclusion sociale et sur les moyens à mettre en place pour éradiquer ce phénomène et contenir son impact sur la stabilité socio-politique des pays de la sous-région. Ces échanges visaient aussi à formuler un plan pour inclure l’exclusion sociale dans les stratégies de prévention des conflits et de consolidation de la paix.

    Quatre thèmes ont été abordés durant cette session interactive. Il s’agit de : « la problématique d’intégration socio-professionnelle des jeunes, gage d’une stabilité politique et sociale durable », présentée par Hervé Huot Marchand, spécialiste de Programme et coordonnateur régional sur Education, la Formation Technique et Professionnelle (EFTP) du Bureau régional de l’UNESCO à Dakar ; « l’esclavage persistant en Afrique de l’Ouest : le cas du Niger », de Me Hamani Assoumane, juriste, défenseur des droits humains, qui est intervenu depuis Niamey au Niger ; « l’esclavage persistant en Afrique de l’Ouest : le cas de la Mauritanie », une contribution de Mamadou Sarr, secrétaire exécutif du Forum national pour les droits de l’homme (FONADH), qui est intervenu depuis Nouakchott en Mauritanie ; et enfin « l’apatridie en Afrique de l’Ouest », sujet traité par Emmanuelle Mitte, de l’Unité Apatridie du Haut Commissariat des Nations Unies pour les réfugiés (UNHCR).

    Plusieurs recommandations ont été proposées par les participants. Il s’agit, notamment, d’assurer aux jeunes une éducation de base pour leur permettre d’accéder aux emplois disponibles ; de mettre un accent sur la formation des jeunes filles pour résorber la grande disparité de genre dans le secteur de l’éducation ; de mener des activités de sensibilisation auprès des communautés affectées, pour que les victimes d’esclavage puissent saisir les cours et tribunaux pour obtenir justice ; de travailler dans la durée et à l’aide d’actions de sensibilisation et d’éducation, pour un changement de mentalité des communautés concernées par l’esclavage ; et enfin de veiller à la mise en oeuvre de la Déclaration d’Abidjan que les 15 Etats de la CEDEAO ont adopté pour mettre fin à l’apatridie.

    Cette première édition de l’« Arbre à palabres » de l’année 2016 a permis d’explorer de nouvelles pistes pour continuer le débat sous la forme d’un atelier sous-régional, en élargissant cette question importante à d’autres préoccupations telles que l’enregistrement des naissances afin d’obtenir des actes de naissance conférant la personnalité juridique, l’insertion socioprofessionnelle des jeunes, le développement durable et la lutte contre la pauvreté, la lutte contre le terrorisme, et l’équité et l’égalité de genre.

    Une trentaine de participants représentants des organisations de la société civile, des Associations de jeunes, du système des Nations Unies, des chercheurs et d’experts indépendants ont pris part aux échanges dans la salle de conférence d’UNOWAS.

    « L’Arbre à Palabres » est une plateforme périodique d’échanges et de réflexions sur l’état de la gouvernance, les droits de l’homme, l’Etat de droit, la paix et la sécurité en Afrique de l’Ouest et au Sahel.

    Bureau de la Communication et de l’Information Publique
    Kouider Zerrouk, Chef de bureau – (+221) 33-869-8560 / 77- 3324928 – zerrouk@un.org
    Vicky Delore Ndjeuga, Chargé de communication – (+221) 33-869-8544 / 77- 3339414 – ndjeuga@un.org
    Angelita Mendy Diop, Chargée de communication – (+221) 33-869-8547 / 77-450-6181– mendya@un.org


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Sierra Leone

    Freetown, Sierra Leone | AFP | Monday 4/4/2016 - 19:54 GMT

    Ebola survivors jostled with police in Sierra Leone's capital on Monday as they protested perceived government inaction over their care in a health system badly hit by the virus.

    Several hundred protesters in Freetown gathered in the city centre calling for the free health care and scholarships for their children they said had not been delivered.

    Police pushed back male protesters while women and children stood behind barricades waving placards and shouting slogans.

    A smaller protest in the city of Makeni attracted around 100 people, who delivered a petition to local government officials.

    The president of the Ebola Survivors Association in Makeni, Mohamed Conteh, told AFP that planned provisions had "so far not had any impact on our lives."

    "We were promised scholarships for child survivors, free health care, while adults were supposed to be given livelihood skills and other benefits," one demonstrator told AFP.

    The group carried placards that read "our living conditions are deplorable" and "we demand to be cared for."

    Sierra Leone's minister in charge of social welfare was recently sacked and his replacement has yet to take office, delaying already slow work.

    According to Doctors Without Borders (MSF) there are more than 4,000 Ebola survivors living in Sierra Leone, while the virus killed many of country's already limited number of health workers.

    The economy has also suffered from being paralysed for so long, limiting the government's ability to cope, experts say.

    The Ebola virus can stay in semen for at least nine months after a patient has recovered, six months longer than previously thought.

    Scientists are working to establish how long it can persist in other bodily fluids and tissues such as the spinal column and the eye, and for how long it could remain infectious.

    "Ebola survivors are a particularly vulnerable group, who face continuing health challenges such as joint pain, chronic fatigue, and hearing and vision problems," MSF said in a recent report.

    "They also suffer from stigmatisation in their communities and need specific and tailored care."

    A resurgence of Ebola in a rural Guinean community has killed seven people in the last few weeks, and two more cases were confirmed in Liberia last week despite the epidemic being declared over.

    Although the outbreak -- the worst on record -- has officially claimed more than 11,300 lives since it first began in Guinea, a significant number of deaths are believed to have gone unreported.

    The epidemic was first reported to have spread to Sierra Leone in May 2014.

    rmj-jom/kjl


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    Source: UN Development Programme
    Country: Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Timor-Leste, Togo, World

    INTRODUCTION

    This Annual Report covers activities of the New Deal Implementation Support Facility in 2015, its second year of full operation. As per the original project document, the Facility was designed to support three key deliverables:

    • Deliverable A: Country support, including advisors in New Deal countries, flexible seed funding and secondment of advisors to the g7+ at the global level.

    • Deliverable B: Support for travel to international meetings of the g7+ and the International Dialogue.

    • Deliverable C: A stronger and more capacitated g7+ Secretariat

    In addition, thanks to an earmarked grant from Australia, we have added a fourth deliverable:

    • Deliverable D: SDG Implementation Support.

    Since the inception of the Facility in 2013, many pilot countries have made significant progress. At the same time, several countries have faced serious shocks, such as the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, civil war (South Sudan and Central African Republic), political change (Democratic Republic of Congo) and deterioration of security (Afghanistan), which have slowed down or halted implementation. Such developments impacted the level of activity in some of the New Deal pilot countries in 2014 and 2015. However, over the course of 2015 there has been a strong resurgence of interest amongst beneficiary countries in financing and technical support from the Facility, and going into 2016 there have been many ambitious country workplans submitted for financing.

    In order for us to continue to meet ongoing country demands for support, we are very grateful to our donors for granting no-cost extensions for the Facility through to June 2016 (Denmark, pending the extension/renewal of the New Deal at the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (IDPS) Ministerial Forum in April 2016), and December 2016 (Australia and Finland).

    In early November 2015, Christine Chan joined us as Policy and Partnerships Specialist and New Deal Facility Manager, taking over responsibilities from Christian Lotz, and Claire Leigh, who served in the interim. Christine brings experience of work on implementing the New Deal in Timor-Leste and Liberia since the inaugural International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding held April 2010 in Dili. In early October Karoline Klose joined the team as Policy Analyst with an institution building background, taking over responsibilities from Kristoffer Tangri.

    September saw the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the UN General Assembly, and with it the adoption of Goal 16 on Peace, Justice and Effective Institutions. For the IDPS community this marks the culmination of years of hard work, and coincides with the end of the New Deal pilot period. As we head into 2016, various processes and meetings will consider the role of the IDPS, the International Network on Conflict and Fragility (INCAF) and the New Deal in the new development landscape. We believe the Facility will continue to play a vital role in supporting the g7+ Secretariat and promoting the implementation of the New Deal principles at the country-level in 2016 and beyond.

    This report serves both as a Q4 and annual report for 2015. The report is structured as follows: A short summary of the work of the Facility in individual countries; An overview of the cross-cutting activities and events supported in 2015; Detailed reports on each country where the Facility is active (Deliverable A); Detailed report on the Facility’s support to g7+ travel (Deliverable B); Detailed report on the Facility’s support to strengthening the g7+ Secretariat and g7+ Chair’s Office (Deliverable C); overview of plans to support SDG Implementation in fragile situations (Deliverable D); plus, An overview of expenditure in 2015, and finances available in 2016.

    SUMMARY OF COUNTRY ACTIVITIES

    In pilot countries, a number of new initiatives were supported by the Facility in 2015. In Afghanistan, the first New Deal Assessment was finalized, and the Afghanistan Fragility Assessment Report was presented in Kabul in March 2016 at the g7+ Ministerial Meeting.

    In the Central African Republic (CAR), the Bangui National Forum held in May used the Fragility Matrix – developed with support from the Facility – as a key input, and the Forum’s recommendations included implementation of the New Deal principles, including calling for the development of a full Fragility Assessment and Compact. In DRC, the New National Strategic Plan for Development 2017-21 is being developed, with UNDP technical support to the component “Peacebuilding, stabilization and reconstruction”.

    A recent scoping mission to Guinea led to a roadmap taking into account principles of the New Deal in the implementation of the Post-Ebola Recovery Plan, and the formulation of the next medium-term strategic development framework which includes inclusion, prioritization and monitoring of SDGs. In response to Sierra Leone’s request, UNDP supported the finalization of a National Ebola Recovery Strategy, and how best to integrate New Deal principles into the national and regional strategies of the three affected countries. In addition, Sierra Leone requested support for the popularization and mainstreaming of the SDGs in the Agenda for Prosperity and National Budget, which is being funded in 2016.

    In Somalia the High Level Partnership Forum met in July, being the largest international conference held in the country in decades, setting important agreements, commitments and deadlines. Under Peacebuilding and Statebuilding Goal (PSG) 1, three programmes were presented to kick start support to the implementation of Vision 2016, including the state formation process, the constitutional review, and the electoral process. The Facility provided substantial technical and financial assistance to the setting up of the Aid Coordination Unit, reinforcing its capacities to support coordinated implementation of the Compact. A comprehensive review of aid information management, and an aid mapping exercise were completed. Engagement of the regions in Compact consultations was also supported. For 2016, UNDP will help develop a costed framework for sub-federal engagement in New Deal implementation, support coordination between government and NGOs for improved service delivery, and support the development of a National Development Plan 2017-19 integrating the New Deal principles.

    In South Sudan, a peace agreement between warring factions was signed in August 2015. Preliminary discussions among donors point to the need for a compact similar to the one developed in 2013 to ensure mutual accountability. There may be significant scope for reviving the New Deal in South Sudan in 2016.

    In Timor-Leste, a Second Fragility Assessment was validated in September, and the Facility made a new allocation to support a range of other New Deal Activities going forward, including support to the g7+ Secretariat.

    A mission to Togo to sensitize the government to the New Deal was undertaken in November, and an action plan and a road map for New Deal implementation have been prepared and await finalization. There is interest in carrying out a fragility assessment, to enable the government to ensure peacebuilding and statebuilding concepts are integrated into Agenda 2030 and implementation of the SDGs.


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    Source: World Health Organization
    Country: Angola, Ethiopia, Fiji, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Syrian Arab Republic, World

    GENEVA / 5 April 2016 – The World Health Organization (WHO) and partners need US$ 2.2 billion to provide lifesaving health services to more than 79 million people in more than 30 countries facing protracted emergencies this year, according to WHO’s Humanitarian Response Plans 2016 launched today.

    WHO and health partners are working together to provide urgent health services including essential medicines, vaccines and treatment for diseases such as cholera and measles, often in insecure and extremely difficult settings. Collectively we need US$ 2.2 billion to provide lifesaving health services, of which WHO is appealing for US$ 480 million.

    “The risks to health caused by humanitarian emergencies are at an all-time high,” says Dr Bruce Aylward, Executive Director a.i., Outbreaks and Health Emergencies, WHO. “And the situation is getting worse. The increasing impact of protracted conflict, forced displacement, climate change, unplanned urbanization and demographic changes all mean that humanitarian emergencies are becoming more frequent and severe.”

    In Syria, one of the biggest humanitarian emergencies, WHO and partners are seeking funds to provide 11.5 million people with health services including trauma and mental health care, and to provide vaccines, medicines and surgical supplies to almost 5 million Syrian refugees living in neighbouring countries.

    WHO also needs urgent funds to support 6.8 million people threatened by the worst drought in decades in Ethiopia, with one of the priorities to provide emergency health services to save the lives of more than 400 000 severely malnourished children.

    In addition to more than 30 protracted emergencies, WHO is also responding to sudden onset emergencies, such as Cyclone Winston that impacted Fiji in February 2016, and to infectious disease outbreaks including Zika virus, the remaining risks of Ebola in West Africa and Angola’s worst outbreak of yellow fever in 30 years.

    In one of the most profound transformations in its history, WHO is rolling out a new Health Emergencies Programme that will increase operational capacity in countries and enable a faster, effective and predictable response to all kinds of health emergencies including outbreaks and humanitarian crises.

    For interviews and more information, please contact:
    Tarik Jasarevic jasarevict@who.int
    Mobile: +41 79 367 6214


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    Source: International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies
    Country: Sierra Leone

    This Revised Emergency Appeal seeks a total of 90.5 million Swiss francs (decreased from 94 million Swiss francs) to enable the IFRC to support the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society (SLRCS) to deliver recovery assistance and support to Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)-affected populations (including EVD survivors, orphans and vulnerable children; affected households; Red Cross and community volunteers). With available resources (including bilateral funding) of approximately 62.6m Swiss francs, the net Appeal needs are 27.9m Swiss francs to be implemented over a total timeframe of 24 months. The revised appeal focusses on health and care -- communitybased health (CBH), psychosocial support (PSS), water and sanitation), disaster risk reduction, food security and livelihoods, and National Society development, through community and institutional development strategies.

    The ultimate goal of post-EVD recovery is to re-establish the conditions for a quick return to a healthy society, with viable livelihoods, psychosocial well-being, economic growth, and overall human development that can foster a more inclusive society in the future. However, the immediate priority is to end the epidemic, and address the adverse conditions that enabled a localized epidemic to escalate into a national crisis with regional and global ramifications.

    IFRC also recognises the importance of minimizing the risk of a resurgence in cases by strengthening the health system in Sierra Leone with support of the regional and global disease surveillance networks. Details are available in the Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA)


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    Source: Belgian Technical Cooperation, World Food Programme
    Country: Belgium, Benin, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Sierra Leone, World

    Le soutien belge au PAM tient au fait qu’il reste l’organisme de référence dans la fourniture de l’assistance alimentaire dans des conditions d’urgence.

    De 2014 à 2015, la Belgique a donné plus de 34 millions euros aux projets du PAM.

    En 2015, ces fonds ont notamment permis d’offrir une assistance vitale à ses bénéficiaires dans sept pays. La Belgique soutient notamment des programmes du PAM ayant un caractère innovant, tels que le programme « Achats au service du progrès (P4P) » ou encore le projet mVAM qui porte sur l’analyse et la cartographie mobile de la vulnérabilité. Reconnaissant le caractère essentiel de la logistique humanitaire, la Belgique soutient également le Service aérien humanitaire des Nations Unies (UNHAS), géré par le PAM.

    Pour en savoir plus, lire le rapport Le PAM et la Belgique - Regard sur 2014-2015 (PDF, 8.37 MB).

    Contexte

    Le Programme alimentaire mondial des Nations Unies (PAM) est la plus grande agence humanitaire qui lutte contre la faim dans le monde. Entre 2014 et 2015, le PAM a apporté une assistance alimentaire à quelques 80 millions de personnes dans près de 80 pays. En tant qu’agence de première ligne des Nations Unies luttant contre la faim dans le monde, le PAM est parmi les premiers à répondre aux crises et à intervenir dans les pays en développement, où la prévention de la faim fait partie des priorités. Le PAM dépend entièrement de contributions volontaires pour le financement de ses projets humanitaires et de développement. Des gouvernements tels celui de la Belgique, font partie des principaux donateurs du PAM.

    Cliquez ici pour en savoir plus sur le PAM.


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