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  • New violence in South Sudan prevents aid from reaching vulnerable populations
    Source: Norwegian Refugee Council
    Country: South Sudan

    Renewed violence in central and southern Unity State has forced the International Rescue Committee and the Norwegian Refugee Council to suspend plans to return to the area.

    Renewed violence in Unity State in South Sudan keep humanitarian organizations from reaching vulnerable populations. NRC and IRC call for all parties to immediately cease hostilities.

    Renewed violence in central and southern Unity State have forced the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) to suspend plans to return to the area after weeks of extensive negotiations and securing permission with parties to the conflict just a week ago. An estimated 251,000 people living in Koch and Leer Counties in Unity State, South Sudan, have been cut off from regular humanitarian assistance for nearly six months, and nongovernmental organizations fear that communities’ ability to cope is nearing exhaustion.

    This is the second suspension of NRC and IRC activities in Koch and Leer Counties in the last five months. Both agencies have had to suspend their operations since May due to clashes between armed factions.

    “People are running out of time,” said Victor Moses, NRC country director.

    “They have had no regular food assistance, shelter support, or other forms of aid since May. After having experienced so many attacks and such sustained displacement, families’ stocks of supplies are likely to be depleted.”

    The resumption of fighting comes approximately one month after the government of South Sudan and opposition parties signed an Agreement to the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan. The recent fighting joins a growing list of incidents being investigated as potential ceasefire violations by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

    “The people in Koch and Leer Counties have borne the brunt of this conflict since May, and the ongoing unrest is keeping vital aid from reaching them,” said Ronald-Paul Veilleux, South Sudan country director at the International Rescue Committee.

    “All parties to the conflict should uphold a lasting, peaceful solution so that communities in Koch and Leer Counties can recover and eventually prosper.”

    NRC and IRC call on all parties to the conflict to halt hostilities in Unity State so that populations can access the assistance they desperately need. The two organizations further call on the international community to exert its influence to ensure that the peace agreement is fully implemented and that aid agencies enjoy full and unfettered access to all those in need, in accordance with international humanitarian law.

  • Government and humanitarian partners scale up to meet additional immediate relief needs of El Niño-driven crisis
    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Ethiopia Humanitarian Country Team
    Country: Ethiopia

    Due to the El Niño phenomenon, the number of people in need of relief assistance increased to 8.2 million. An additional US$164 million is urgently needed for the remainder of 2015.

    An additional US$164 million urgently needed to address increased food and non-food needs for the remainder of the year

    Addis Ababa, 13 October 2015: The Government of Ethiopia announced yesterday, during a meeting with UN agencies, NGOs, and Donor representatives, that the number of people in need of relief assistance in Ethiopia due to El Niño phenomenon had increased to 8.2 million. An inter-agency assessment conducted last month and led by the government identified an additional 3.6 million people in need of food assistance (from 4.55 million in August) as well as 300,000 children in need of specialized nutritious food and a projected 48,000 more children under five suffering from severe malnutrition.

    An addendum to the joint-Government and humanitarian partners- Humanitarian Requirements Document (HRD) mid-year review was signed to officialise the increase in humanitarian needs. The National Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Committee (NDPPC), the high level national advisory body overseeing the Government response, further requested the government lead a multi-sector, multi-agency annual meher assessment in October (rather than November). This will enable the Government and partners to expedite planning and assistance provision for 2016.

    His Excellency Mr Mitiku Kassa, NDPPC Secretary, explained during the meeting yesterday that the Government committed some 4 billion Ethiopian Birr (US$192 million), to address emergency food and non-food needs as a result of failed spring belg and poor summer kiremt rains caused by the climatic phenomenon known as El Niño. “The El Niño conditions have brought Ethiopia a great challenge, but the Government and Regional States are ready to meet the needs of the people alongside partners in the international community,” said Mr Kassa. He further stated that the Government would continue to allocate resources as necessary to meet the needs of the Ethiopian people. “The challenge we have before us is incredibly serious, and it will take the collective effort of the entire international community to support the Government in preventing the worst effects of El Niño now and well into next year,” said Mr John Aylieff, Acting Humanitarian Coordinator and Country Director for the UN’s World Food Programme.

    Affected areas include southern Tigray, eastern Amhara, Afar, and Siti zone of Somali region, eastern SNNP, East and West Hararge, Arsi and West Arsi, and lower Bale zones of Oromia. Water and pasture shortages decreased livestock production and caused livestock deaths in pastoralist and agro-pastoralist communities. The number of woredas (districts) prioritized for nutrition interventions doubled from 97 in July to 142 in September, and the number of severely malnourished children requiring therapeutic feeding in August reached 43,000 children. This is higher than any month of the 2011 Horn of Africa crisis. “Donors have been generous,” said Mr Paul Handley, OCHA’s Head of Office, “but if we are to meet the significant needs before us today, and more in the months ahead, we need far more support. We count on that generosity to continue,” he said.

    The Mid-Year Review of Ethiopia’s Humanitarian Requirements Document (HRD), issued on 18 August 2015, listed $432 million in funding requirements with contributions totalling $258 million (or, 55 per cent funding). The September rapid assessment conducted at the end of September highlighted increases in humanitarian need across several life-saving sectors, most notably food assistance, targeted supplementary food (TSF), therapeutic nutrition, emergency water interventions, and agriculture and livelihoods. Factoring in the previous shortfalls with adjusted needs, the 2015 humanitarian requirements were adjusted to $596.4 million, leaving the HRD funded at 43 per cent.

    The on-going effects of the El Niño may further affect the weather patterns this autumn, with Ethiopia’s National Meteorological Agency (NMA) predicting strong rains along the Omo, Shabelle, and Awash rivers. This may impact harvests in some areas and cause flooding during the last quarter of the year.
    In addition to food and nutrition needs, Ethiopia’s Humanitarian Requirements Document outlines emergency requirements in the health, WASH, agriculture and education sectors.

    Most sectors saw the figures of those in need increase.

    The Ethiopia Humanitarian Country Team again calls on all partners to work closely together to address emergency needs whilst safeguarding development gains.

    For further information, please contact:
    David Del Conte, Humanitarian Country Team Spokesman, UN-OCHA email:, Tel.: +251.115.444.155 Mob.: +251.911.216.233 Stephanie Savariaud, Communications Officer, WFP email: Tel.: +, Mob.: +251.911.201.976 Alexandra Westerbeek, Chief Media and External Relations Officer, UNICEF email: Tel.: + Mob: +251.911.255.109

  • Latest Global Emergency Overview highlights humanitarian crises in Chad, Ethiopia, Djibouti, and oPt
    Source: Assessment Capacities Project
    Country: Afghanistan, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Uganda, Ukraine, World, Yemen

    The weekly Global Overview aggregates information from a range of sources and provides the latest updates on and a ranking of current humanitarian crises.

    Chad: Violence continues to fuel large-scale displacement in Lac region. Suicide attacks on 10 October killed 41 people and wounded 48 at a busy Bagasola market and a refugee camp on the town’s periphery. Over 71,000 people who have been displaced since July face urgent shelter, food, WASH and health needs.

    Ethiopia: 8.2 million people are estimated in need of food assistance as drought continues, and the number is expected to increase further in the coming months. Afar region is most severely hit, and pastoralists are particularly affected. The nutrition situation is deteriorating.

    Djibouti: 1,844 Yemenis arrived in Obock between 29 September and 8 October following heavy strikes in Yemen. This is a huge increase compared to the 10–20 arrivals per week in July and August. The new arrivals are urgently in need of shelter. More than 28,300 people have come from Yemen since March, and an 12,000 will be in need of humanitarian aid by the end of the year.

    oPt: 28 Palestinians and seven Israelis have been killed in an escalation of violence since 1 October. Over 1,900 Palestinians and over 60 Israeli civilians are reported to have been injured across the West Bank, Jerusalem, and other parts of Israel.

    Global Emergency Overview Web Interface

  • Expanding social protection offers a faster track to ending hunger - FAO
    Source: Food and Agriculture Organization
    Country: World

    FAO's new report finds that in poor countries, social protection schemes offer an economical way to provide vulnerable people with opportunities to end hunger and to improve livelihoods.

    Programmes proliferate but vast majority of rural poor remain uncovered by social protection

    13 October 2015, Rome -Social protection is emerging as a critical tool in the drive to eradicate hunger, yet the vast majority of the world's rural poor are yet to be covered.

    The State of Food and Agriculture 2015 published by FAO today finds that in poor countries, social protection schemes - such as cash transfers, school feeding and public works - offer an economical way to provide vulnerable people with opportunities to move out of extreme poverty and hunger and to improve their children's health, education and life chances.

    Such programmes currently benefit 2.1 billion people in developing countries in various ways -- including keeping 150 million people out of extreme poverty.

    Expanding such programs in rural areas and linking them to inclusive agricultural growth policies would rapidly reduce the number of poor people, the report says.

    The report was released on the eve of World Food Day (16 October), whose focus is on social protection's role in breaking the cycle of rural poverty.

    "It is urgent that we act to support the most vulnerable people in order to free the world of hunger," said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva.

    "Social protection programs allow households to access more food -- often by increasing what they grow themselves -- and also make their diets more diverse and healthier. These programs can have positive impacts on infant and maternal nutrition, reduce child labor and raise school attendance, all of which increase productivity," he said.

    Breaking out of the hunger trap

    Only about a third of the world's poorest people are covered by any form of social protection. Coverage rates dip even lower in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, regions with the highest incidence of extreme poverty, the report said.

    Without such assistance, many poor and vulnerable people will never have the opportunity to break out of the poverty trap -- in which hunger, illness and lack of education perpetuate poverty for future generations, according to the report.

    Most countries -- even the poorest -- can afford some kind of social protection program. FAO estimates that globally, some $67 billion a year in income supplements, mostly provided by social protection programs, would -- along with other targeted pro-poor investments in agriculture -- allow for the eradication of hunger by 2030. That is less than 0.10 percent of world GDP.

    Understanding social protection

    Currently many extremely poor households are forced to sell off productive assets, put children to work, over-exploit their small landholdings unsustainably, or settle for badly paid jobs.

    Yet basic social transfer schemes offer the poor an opportunity to improve their own productive potential. They also have positive spillover effects on local economies, increasing business opportunities, raising rural wages, and allowing the poorest to acquire or invest in assets.

    In Zambia for example, a pilot cash-grants program led recipient households to greatly increase livestock ownership as well as land under cultivation, input use and ownership of tools such as hoes, sickles and axes, leading to a 50 percent jump in the overall value of locally produced agricultural commodities.

    Beneficiaries also spent more on food, clothing and health-and-hygiene - an amount 25 percent greater than the value of the initial transfer. The wider community also benefited through the increased demand for locally produced goods and services generated by the transfer-every dollar transferred generates an additional 79 cents in income, often for non-beneficiaries providing these goods and services.

    At least 145 countries today provide one or more forms of social assistance, including unconditional cash transfers, meaning outright grants for eligible recipients, conditional cash transfers, usually linked to school attendance or health checkups and, public-works programs that offer guaranteed employment. Other forms include in-kind transfers, including food distribution and school feeding programs.

    Cash means more than spending

    The report stresses that the notion that social protection reduces people's work effort is a myth. Rather, recipients often respond to social protection positively, including improving the nutrition and education of their children, relying more on home production rather than poorly paid wage work and also increasing their participation in existing networks such as funeral societies, a common form of risk management in many traditional communities.

    Social protection schemes can also be transformative over time. One well-designed Bangladeshi programme gave poor rural women livestock and other productive assets, as well as a monthly stipend to cover the period until recipients were able to earn additional incomes.

    The FAO report also cites other successful examples of social protection programs in Ethiopia, Ghana and Lesotho.

    Such findings show how social protection is an investment, rather than a cost. It is also clearly illustrated by Brazil's Bolsa Família, a well-integrated scheme that reaches a quarter of the country's population and costs only 0.5 percent of GDP.

    Still, the report stresses how social protection alone cannot sustainably eradicate hunger and rural poverty. It therefore underscores the importance of combining and coordinating public investment in social protection with public and private investments in the productive sectors of agriculture and rural development. Such actions will ensure inclusive economic growth as a sustainable way to break the cycle of rural poverty.

  • Over US$32.5 million needed to address humanitarian needs in Burundi
    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, UN Country Team in Burundi
    Country: Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia

    Humanitarian agencies in Burundi have revised their plan to ensure adequate measures are in place to assist up to 400,000 Burundians in need.

    President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to run for a controversial third term in office plunged Burundi in its deepest political crisis since the end of its civil war. Rather than consolidating the fragile peace and stability Burundians enjoyed in recent years, these latest elections, considered as not credible by most observers, seem to have further increased mistrust among Burundian stakeholders and put the country in a new uncertainty. As a result of the crisis, a different humanitarian situation has emerged within Burundi and close to 200,000 Burundians have sought asylum in the neighbouring countries. In this context and given the potential for the crisis to continue or even escalate, humanitarian agencies in Burundi have revised their plan to ensure adequate measures are in place to help save lives and alleviate acute suffering through the provision of necessary coordinated protection and assistance for people in need. When the political and security situation improve, partners are also committed to restore self-reliance through recovery activities targeting the most vulnerable people to build their resilience to shock and lay the foundations for durable solutions.

    $32,540,325 is the estimated total funding required to prepare and respond to the humanitarian needs of up to 400,000 Burundians

  • Forced displacement, demolitions in northern Syria
    Source: Amnesty International
    Country: Syrian Arab Republic

    A new Amnesty International report reveals evidence of alarming abuses detailing the deliberate displacement of thousands of civilians and the razing of entire villages.

    Syria: US ally’s razing of villages amounts to war crimes

    A fact-finding mission to northern Syria has uncovered a wave of forced displacement and home demolitions amounting to war crimes carried out by the Autonomous Administration led by the Syrian Kurdish political party Partiya Yekîtiya Demokrat (PYD) controlling the area, said Amnesty International in a report published today. The Autonomous Administration is a key ally, on the ground, of the US-led coalition fighting against the armed group calling itself the Islamic State (IS) in Syria.

    ‘We had nowhere else to go’: Forced displacement and demolitions in northern Syria reveals evidence of alarming abuses, including eyewitness accounts and satellite images, detailing the deliberate displacement of thousands of civilians and the razing of entire villages in areas under the control of the Autonomous Administration, often in retaliation for residents’ perceived sympathies with, or ties to, members of IS or other armed groups.

    “By deliberately demolishing civilian homes, in some cases razing and burning entire villages, displacing their inhabitants with no justifiable military grounds, the Autonomous Administration is abusing its authority and brazenly flouting international humanitarian law, in attacks that amount to war crimes,” said Lama Fakih, Senior Crisis Advisor at Amnesty International.

    “In its fight against IS, the Autonomous Administration appears to be trampling all over the rights of civilians who are caught in the middle. We saw extensive displacement and destruction that did not occur as a result of fighting. This report uncovers clear evidence of a deliberate, co-ordinated campaign of collective punishment of civilians in villages previously captured by IS, or where a small minority were suspected of supporting the group.”

    Some civilians said they were threatened with US-led coalition airstrikes if they failed to leave.

    Amnesty International researchers visited 14 towns and villages in al- Hasakeh and al-Raqqa governorates in July and August 2015, to investigate the forced displacement of residents and demolition of homes in areas under the control of the Autonomous Administration.

    Satellite images obtained by Amnesty International illustrate the scale of the demolitions in Husseiniya village, in Tel Hamees countryside. The images show 225 buildings standing in June 2014 but only 14 remaining in June 2015 – a shocking reduction of 93.8%.

    In February 2015, the Autonomous Administration’s military wing, the YPG (the People’s Protection Units), took control of the area, which had been under IS control, and began demolitions, displacing villagers. Researchers visiting Husseiniya saw ruins of destroyed homes and interviewed eyewitnesses.

    “They pulled us out of our homes and began burning the home… they brought the bulldozers... They demolished home after home until the entire village was destroyed,” said one witness.

    In villages south of the town of Suluk, some residents said YPG fighters had accused them of supporting IS and threatened to shoot them if they did not leave. While in some cases residents acknowledged that there had been a handful of IS supporters in their villages the majority were not supporters of the group.

    In other cases, villagers said YPG fighters had ordered them to leave threatening them with US coalition airstrikes if they failed to comply.

    “They told us we had to leave or they would tell the US coalition that we were terrorists and their planes would hit us and our families,” said one resident, Safwan.

    The YPG has justified the forced displacement of civilians by saying it was necessary for the civilians’ own protection or militarily necessary.

    “It is critical that the US-led coalition fighting IS in Syria and all other states supporting the Autonomous Administration, or co-ordinating with it militarily, do not turn a blind eye to such abuses. They must take a public stand condemning forced displacement and unlawful demolitions and ensure their military assistance is not contributing to violations of international humanitarian law,” said Lama Fakih.

    In one particularly vicious attack, YPG fighters poured petrol on a house, threatening to set it alight while the inhabitants were still inside.

    “They started pouring fuel in my in-laws’ house. My mother-in-law was there refusing to leave and they just poured it around her…They found my father-in-law and began hitting him on his hands… I said, ‘Even if you burn my house I will get a tent and pitch it.This is in my place. I will stay in my place,” said Bassma.

    Although the majority of residents affected by these unlawful practices are Arabs and Turkmen, in some cases, for example in the mixed town of Suluk, Kurdish residents have also been barred by the YPG and Asayish, the Autonomous Administration’s police force, from returning to their homes. Elsewhere, for example in Abdi Koy village, a small number of Kurdish residents have also been forcibly displaced by the YPG.

    In an interview with Amnesty International, the head of the Asayish admitted civilians had been forcibly displaced but dismissed these as “isolated incidents”. The spokesperson for the YPG repeated claims that civilians were being moved for their own security. However, many residents said they were forced to leave even though their villages had not been the site of clashes, or were at a distance from the frontline and there was no danger from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) laid by IS. Forcibly displacing civilians without imperative military necessity is a violation of international humanitarian law.

    “The Autonomous Administration must immediately stop the unlawful demolition of civilian homes, compensate all civilians whose homes were unlawfully destroyed, cease unlawful forced displacements, and allow civilians to return and rebuild,” said Lama Fakih.

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  • Amidst rising extremism, women’s role in peace and recovery remains hampered
    Source: UN Women
    Country: World

    A historic review on resolution 1325 has been released at a moment when the rising violent extremism places the subordination of women at the centre of the ideology and war tactics.

    Amidst rising extremism, women’s role in peace and recovery remains hampered and underutilized

    UN Security Council review and new Global Study on landmark resolution 1325, seek ways to accelerate action

    Date : 12 October 2015
    Media Contacts:
    Oisika Chakrabarti, Ph: +1 646 781-4522; Email: oisika.chakrabarti[@]
    Sharon Grobeisen, Ph: +1 646 781-4753; Email: sharon.grobeisen[@]

    (New York, 12 October)—In an unprecedented move, the United Nations Security Council will tomorrow conduct an all-day Open Debate in commemoration of resolution 1325 on women, peace and security presided by a Head of Government or State, with Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy chairing the 13 October proceedings. The historic review is timely, coming at a moment when the world is grappling with rising violent extremism that places the subordination of women at the centre of the ideology and war tactics, and violence and conflict are costing the planet over USD 14 trillion [1]. In direct contrast, striking new research shows that peace endures when women can participate meaningfully in peace talks, and States are more resilient in the face of conflict and extremism when gender equality is prioritized.

    The UN Security Council’s High-level Review on the women, peace and security agenda will commemorate the 15th anniversary of UN Security Council resolution 1325 which recognized for the first time in 2000, the role of gender equality and women’s leadership in international peace and security. This is the third major review conducted by the United Nations this year on international peace and security, complementing the reviews of peace operations and the peacebuilding architecture, and comes only weeks after an unprecedented gathering of world leaders at the 70th session of the UN General Assembly committed to gender equality as central to the new global development roadmap.

    In 2014, 88 per cent of all peace processes with UN engagement included regular consultations with women, a significant rise from 50 per cent in 2011. Prior to the adoption of Security Council resolution 1325, 11 per cent of peace agreements made a reference to women or gender. Since then, this percentage has increased to 27 per cent. Yet, this shows that almost three-quarters of peace agreements over the last 15 years made no mention of women.

    “The evidence shows us unequivocally that women need to be full participants at the peace tables, as negotiators and decision-makers in a much more inclusive process. Women have to be able to control where resources are needed, for example to overcome trauma and the scars of war, or directing practical recovery matters like restitution of property and fields,” said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women. “UN Women is calling for accelerated action to achieve women’s leadership in peace and security with stronger political direction, greatly enhanced financial support and well-targeted spending. This anniversary must mark that threshold moment where words become action.”

    She stressed: “We must not miss the chance to achieve radical change – moving from treating women’s issues as side issues or peripheral to the business of the UN, to making women and girls the missing answer to creating a peaceful and just world. Every day that women are excluded is a day longer to wait for peace. ”

    Global Study

    Coinciding with the review is the launch of Preventing Conflict, Transforming Justice, Securing the Peace: A Global Study on the Implementation of Security Council resolution 1325, a major new report commissioned by the UN Secretary-General in preparation for the 15th anniversary review. The report brings together research which unquestionably demonstrates that women’s empowerment and gender equality contribute to the conclusion of peace talks and sustainable peace, accelerating economic recovery, strengthening protection efforts of peace operations and humanitarian assistance, and countering violent extremism.

    Yet under-investment in gender equality continues, with only 2 per cent of aid to peace and security in fragile States in 2012-2013 targeting gender equality as a principal objective, and only 3 per cent of the military personnel in UN missions being women. The target adopted by the UN Secretary-General five years ago to earmark 15 per cent of all peacebuilding funds to advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women remains unmet by UN entities. This year, the Secretary-General extended this target to emerging areas of peace and security threats, including countering violent extremism. The new Global study was led by independent lead author Radhika Coomaraswamy, former Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict and Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, supported by a high-level advisory group of eminent experts, and managed by a Secretariat hosted by UN Women.

    Over the last 15 years since resolution 1325 was adopted, the percentage of women in peace talks has stagnated in single digits, with national dialogues and decisions in conflict-affected countries routinely dominated by a small group of male leaders. Direct consequences are felt on women’s lives: over half of the world’s maternal deaths occur in conflict-affected and fragile States; approximately half of out-of-school children of primary school age live in conflict-affected areas; and girls’ net enrolment rate in primary education is 17 points below the global rate. In conflict-affected settings, the risk of sexual violence, child marriage and HIV infection all increase. In contrast, findings in the Global Study highlight that when women are at the peace tables, their participation increases the probability of a peace agreement lasting at least two years by 20 per cent, and 35 per cent over 15 years. Furthermore, evidence reflected in the study also shows that States that have higher levels of gender equality are less likely to resort to the use of force in relation to engagement with other States – making gender equality a powerful tool of conflict prevention.

    During the Security Council review, UN Women’s Executive Director will also present the main findings of the Secretary-General’s report on women, peace and security. Congolese activist Julienne Lusenge and Iraqi activist Yanar Mohammad, both leaders of prominent women’s organizations in their countries, will give a voice to civil society organizations. UN Member States are expected to bring forth new commitments and actionable plans to accelerate implementation of resolution 1325, ranging from new funding, to legal reforms, investments in women’s leadership as part of post-conflict peacebuilding and recovery, and greater protection of women’s rights in conflict-affected settings. One specific measure that is expected to be announced is the creation of a Global Acceleration Instrument, a special fund that will rapidly disburse financial support to those working on women, peace and security and responding to the sudden onset of armed conflict and humanitarian emergencies. A donor conference is planned for early 2016 to raise resources for this new mechanism.


    UN Women is the UN organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. It stands behind women’s equal participation in all aspects of life, focusing on five priority areas: increasing women’s leadership and participation; ending violence against women; engaging women in all aspects of peace and security processes; enhancing women’s economic empowerment; and making gender equality central to national development planning and budgeting. Since its creation in 2010, UN Women leads coordination on women, peace and security in the UN. The organization currently supports women’s engagement in peace talks in several countries, from Colombia to South Sudan or Syria, women-led peacebuilding initiatives in Burundi, Guinea, Liberia, or Kyrgyzstan, accountability for gender-based crimes all over the world –including through the deployment of experts in investigation of sexual and gender-based violence in support of UN Commissions of Inquiry, the International Criminal Court, and national war crimes courts, relief for women and girls in humanitarian emergencies, from Nepal to the countries neighbouring the civil wars in Syria, Central African Republic, and South Sudan, training for peacekeepers, and women’s access to justice in Somalia or Central African Republic. UN Women also leads the development of monitoring and accountability frameworks for UN entities and Member States and the adoption and implementation of the Secretary-General’s seven-point action plan on gender-responsive peacebuilding.

    For media interviews, information and copies of the report, please contact:
    Oisika Chakrabarti, Ph: +1 646 781-4522; Email: oisika.chakrabarti[@]
    Sharon Grobeisen, Ph: +1 646 781-4753; Email: sharon.grobeisen[@]
    Security Council resolution 1325 events:
    In Focus: 15 years of Security Council resolution 1325: Global Study website:
    Social media: Join the conversation around the High-level Review on women, peace and security on Twitter using the hashtags #1325at15 via @UN_Women

    [1] Institute for Economics and Peace. 2015 Global Peace Index (a com - See more at:

  • WFP and WV launch food relief programme in Malawi
    Source: World Vision
    Country: Malawi

    The programme will provide aid to three million Malawians experiencing acute food shortages due to the combined effects of floods and drought in the last growing season.

    Charles Kabena, World Vision Malawi

    Blantyre, 12 October: In the wake of the food crisis in several countries in Southern Africa, the World Food Programme (WFP) and World Vision Malawi launched the 2015/2016 food relief programme on 9 October 2015. The programme will provide aid to three million Malawians who are experiencing acute food shortage due to the combined effects of a flood and drought experienced in the last growing season.

    The food distribution will be implemented by World Vision Malawi in Chikwawa and Mwanza, Neno, Chitipa and Mangochi districts, whichare amongst the 25 districts where the programme will be implemented. Under the response, each household is receiving a 50 kg bag of maize and two litres of cooking oil with pregnant mothers as well as those nursing children under the age of two receivingan extra 10kg of super cereal soya. In some areas, the programme will be effected through cash transfers whereby households are given money to buy food.

    Speaking during the launchof the programme at Mthumba Primary School, in the area of Traditional Authority Kasisi in Chiwawa, Secretary and Commissioner for the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA), Bernard Sande, hailed WFP and WV for moving swiftly to assist communities affected by drought. DoDMA is a government department that oversees all disaster and response activities in Malawi.

    Sande said the food situation in the country is the worst as it has affected the highest numbers of people estimated at about 2.83 million, according to the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC) report.

    He called on all stakeholders in the programme implementation to ensure utmost transparency and accountability in the distribution process so that all deserving needy people benefit.

    World Vision Malawi National Director, Robert Kisyula, assured Government and indeed all beneficiaries that his organisation will do its best to ensure that no lives are lost where they are operating. He further explained that the process of distribution by World Vision uses a computerised system where beneficiaries go through strict verification stages to detect any attempt to defraud the system.

    However, Kisyula expressed sadness that every year, people of Chikwawa and Nsanje oscillate between effects of floods during the rainy season where lives are lost and to droughts where food shortage is the order of the day. Both cases necessitate the provision of food aid, a thing he said required a redefined approach for a long term solution.

    WFP Country Director, Coco Ushiyama, expressed her organisation’s commitment to alleviating hunger in Malawi.

    “At this time of unprecedented global need and specifically in Malawi, despite resource challenges, our commitment to the humanitarian imperative to save lives and livelihoods and to protect food and nutrition security remains stronger than ever,” said Ushiyama.

    In a bid to ensure maximum results, she said WFP had renewed its focus on increasing links with its partners. “In Chikwawa, through partnership with World Vision, beneficiaries of in-kind food and cash assistance will be integrated into irrigation initiatives, village savings and loans groups and community groups making energy saving stoves that offer a source of incomeand conserve the environment as well,” she added.

    “We are seen like beggars but we are not, it is natural disasters such as floods. After the floods this year, we tried to plant crops but drought thwarted our efforts to harvest food, hence we are always asking for assistance,” said Kasisi.

    The launch of the programme signals the start of the relief efforts to be implemented in 25 districts across the country from October 2015 to March 2016, jointly by the Malawi government, WFP and other inter-governmental organisations.

    Other organisations that will serve in other districts include Concern Worldwide, Save the Children and Emmanuel International.

  • 2015 Global Hunger Index released
    Source: Concern Worldwide, Deutsche Welthungerhilfe e. V., International Food Policy Research Institute
    Country: World

    Does armed conflict lead to hunger? Does hunger lead to armed conflict? The latest Global Hunger Index examines these questions, showing the development of the hunger situation at a global, regional and national level.


    Does armed conflict lead to hunger? Does hunger lead to armed conflict? The latest Global Hunger Index has examined these topical questions.

    The Global Hunger Index is a joint report by Welthungerhilfe, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Irish non-governmental organisation Concern Worldwide. Its 10th edition was published on the 12th of October 2015.

    In 2014, around 42,500 people every day left their home countries as they were no longer safe there. The majority of them fled from wars in Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia. Countries at war or where a conflict has recently ended are often the worst-scoring countries in the Global Hunger Index (GHI) with regard to their hunger levels. Access to education is difficult in conflict countries and the spread of stunting and child mortality is significantly higher than in comparable stable countries.

    As such, hunger levels in the Central African Republic, Chad and Zambia are the highest. In the first two countries, people have been living with great instability and armed conflicts for years. Even though it’s not the single cause of war: conflict and hunger are closely connected.

    More figures on hunger in the world:

    In 52 of 117 countries, which are listed in the Global Hunger Index, the hunger situation is 'serious' or 'alarming'.

    No country this year is ranked as 'very alarming'. However, data is missing from, among others, Burundi, Congo, Eritrea, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan, which in previous years have shown high levels of hunger. In addition, many of these countries are affected by armed conflicts.

    In Africa south of the Sahara and in South Asia, the hunger situation is also most critical, even if there have been overall successes in the fight against hunger.

    One in every four children in the world is stunted due to chronic undernutrition.

    9 percent of children, so almost one in 10, is wasted from acute undernutrition.

    Almost half of all deaths of children under five years of age are caused by malnutrition.

    Overall, levels of hunger have fallen by 27 percent since 2000.

    17 countries, including Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Croatia, Kyrgyz Republic, Latvia, Mongolia, Peru, Ukraine and Venezuela, have reduced their scores by 50 percent or more.

    In absolute terms, Rwanda, Angola and Ethiopia saw the biggest improvements in scores between the GHI 2000 and the GHI 2015, but their hunger levels remain high.

    1. Global Hunger Index with improved indicators

    The joint report from Welthungerhilfe, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Irish non-governmental organisation Concern Worldwide shows the development of the hunger situation at a global, regional and national level and examines the reasons for positive and negative developments.

    In 2015, the indicators for measuring the hunger situation were improved. Instead of using the indicator for child underweight, the proportion of those suffering from stunting and those suffering from wasting are taken into account. The first is a sign of chronic undernutrition. The second is a sign of acute undernutrition.

  • Fuel shortage threatens Nepal aid as winter comes
    Source: IRIN
    Country: India, Nepal

    Almost six months after Nepal was devastated by a massive earthquake, relief efforts are literally running on fumes. Tankers are unable to drive across the border from India.

    By Nimisha Jaiswal

    DELHI, 12 October 2015 (IRIN) - Almost six months after Nepal was devastated by a massive earthquake, relief efforts are literally running on fumes. Tankers are unable to drive across the border from India. The country is running out of fuel. Will aid agencies be able to stock up remote, mountainous communities before they are cut off by the first winter snows?

    India blames violent protests in areas of Nepal’s frontier sparked by anger over a new constitution for blocking fuel convoys. Nepali officials accuse India of imposing an unofficial blockade. Political differences aside, the fuel shortage is hurting people, especially those high in the mountains who lost a great deal in the disaster.

    About 9,000 people were killed in the 25 April earthquake and another that followed on 12 May. Some 900,000 houses were destroyed or damaged. Many people still rely on humanitarian agencies for food and shelter, but the fuel shortage means supplies are not being delivered.

    “Our distribution to 224,000 people has practically ground to a halt,” said Iolanda Jaquemet, a spokeswoman for the country's main humanitarian provider, the World Food Programme.

    “You have more than 84,000 people in the affected areas that live high in the mountains,” she said. “This is a particularly critical time to reach them to provide them with food and shelter supplies, before the snow sets in.”

    Jaquemet estimated that these people would be cut off from the world in about three to four weeks, and said WFP was therefore prioritising its diesel reserves to target transport to these areas.

    Constitution problems

    More than 40 people in Nepal have died during protests against the new constitution, which was passed by parliament on 20 September. Many in the Madhesi and Tharu communities oppose the size and borders of seven new provinces created by the constitution, claiming they will now be under–represented in parliament.

    India has also voiced opposition to the new constitution and demanded that Nepal’s government address the concerns of the Madhesi community, which straddles the border. India fears that political unrest in Nepal could spill over into its territory, according to Happymon Jacob, a strategic studies professor at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University.

    “India does have legitimate concerns about the developments in Nepal,” he said. “Given the ethnic linkages between the two countries, socio-political developments in Nepal would have implications for neighbouring Indian states as well.”


    In statements to media and at demonstrations, Nepali protest leaders and politicians have blamed India for the fuel shortage.

    “The tankers are being stopped outside the border," Laxmi Prasad Dhakal, a Nepali home ministry spokesman, told IRIN.

    But Indian officials have denied allegations that it has imposed a blockade and instead blamed Nepal for its poor security.

    In a media briefing on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York earlier this month, Indian foreign ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said his minister, Sushma Swaraj, had told Nepal's foreign minister that allegations of a blockade by India were false. According to Swarup, trucks were waiting at the border, but could not enter Nepal due to poor security.

    Dhakal, however, said his government could guarantee that trucks would have safe passage. "I assure you there won't be any law and order problem on our side," he said.

    According to Jacob, any insensitivity to its recovering neighbour now could cancel gains made during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Nepal, and strengthen anti-India sentiment in the country.

    “By not reaching out to Nepal before the onset of winter, New Delhi would end up undoing the goodwill it created by carrying out massive rescue operations in the country during the recent earthquake,” said Jacob. “New Delhi's policies should not lead to another humanitarian disaster in Nepal.”

    Winter approaching

    The fuel shortage has hit Nepal at a critical time, as winter approaches.

    “I think it’s very unfortunate that the current crisis is taking place when the humanitarian efforts should be at the peak, to reach people at high altitudes at this time,” Jamie McGoldrick, the UN resident coordinator for Nepal, told IRIN.

    McGoldrick said the fuel shortage was threatening deliveries of “winterisation” supplies, including stoves, insulation material and clothing for those living high in the mountains.

    “A continued fuel shortage would lead to paralysis of the operations on land and air."

    Plan International, which is running disaster preparedness and risk reduction programmes in Nepal to compliment the relief effort, said it was also struggling to keep operations going as supplies were stranded at the border because of the fuel shortage.

    “Our suppliers are delayed. There are long queues of trucks at the border transporting relief material,” Paolo Lubrano, the organisation’s deputy emergency response manager, told IRIN. “If the crisis carries on, we will soon be compelled to suspend the response in the most remote areas.”

    Government services are also being affected by fuel rationing, said Dhakal, the foreign ministry spokesman. The government has allocated fuel for essential services including ambulances and hospitals, but the crisis has hit the health sector hard as trucks carrying fuel also transport medical supplies, which are now running out.

    “Things are getting worse and worse," Dhakal said, adding that it wouldn't be long before people would be dying in hospitals due to the lack of supplies.


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