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NEWSLETTER Week of March 30th 2017

 

 

 

 

 

NEWSLETTER
Week of March 30th 2017

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Hunger in Africa : our File

March 2017. Nearly 20 million people are threatened by the violent famine in Yemen, Somalia, Nigeria and South Sudan. The ICRC believes that action must be taken within three months to avoid the worst. Here is a collection of articles that will give you a non-exhaustive overview.

 

 

LATEST PUBLISHED ARTICLES

 

 

 

 

Humanitarian & Digital : The major turning point

Discover those 3 publications of this issue on the theme of Humanitarian & Digital : Connectivity is a lifeline for refugees, by Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees | Innovation transforms education for refugee students in Africa by Catherine Wachiaya | The digital transformation of the humanitarian sector by Anja Kaspersen and Charlotte Lindsey-Curtet.

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Pope greets participants in Vatican water conference

03/22/2017. Pope Francis has greeted participants in a Vatican conference on the value and values of water promoted by the Pontifical Council for Culture.

Wednesday, March 22, marks the 25th iteration of World Water Day, instituted by the United Nations in 1992.
The conference is entitled “Watershed: replenishing water values for a thirsty world”.

During his greetings to English speakers at the General Audience, Pope Francis gave a special welcome and encouraged participants in their work.

“I am happy that this meeting is taking place, for it represents yet another stage in the joint commitment of various institutions to raising consciousness about the need to protect water as a treasure belonging to everyone, mindful too of its cultural and religious significance. I especially encourage your efforts in the area of education, through programmes directed to children and young people. Thank you for all that you do and may God bless you!”

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A Study on the Roots of Restraint in War

03/15/2017. The Roots of restraint in war is a two-year research initiative launched by the ICRC to advance its understanding of how norms of restraint develop and spread through State armed forces and non-State armed groups.

Nine academics will investigate sources of influence on the behaviour of combatants in eight armed groups, and explore cases of community self-protection. The findings, implications and recommendations of the research will be published in 2018.

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In talk with top diplomat, bishop stresses church concern for common good

03.23.2017 by Rhina Guidos. The chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace met with the country’s top diplomat, Rex Tillerson, March 23, for a policy-packed 35-minute conversation about immigration, the Middle East, Africa and the role of the Catholic Church’s efforts toward building “the common good.”

“After some small talk about Texas,” the two spoke about the Middle East, about Iraq and Syria, reaching out to Central America and Mexico, and the situation in Africa, said Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, New Mexico, explaining his initial meeting in Washington with Tillerson, the U.S. secretary of state, who, like Bishop Cantu, hails from Texas.

Bishop Cantu said the meeting was about letting Tillerson know “that our only motive is to help build the common good, that we don’t have ulterior motives,” and explaining the bishops’ peace and justice committee’s work in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and the Far East.

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Hunting for the Grand Bargain

03/22/2017 by Louise RedversFixing emergency aid, one committee at a time

Ten months on from the signature of a landmark agreement to reform emergency aid, critics worry that the process of translating 51 separate commitments into action is creating new layers of bureaucracy – the very thing the initiative was supposed to reduce.

Some 48 of the biggest donors and aid agencies, controlling the majority, about $19 billion, of emergency aid spending a year (see chart), agreed to a package of reforms to humanitarian funding dubbed the “Grand Bargain” at the World Humanitarian Summit last May.

The Grand Bargain’s key reforms include: giving more money directly to frontline responders; harmonising requirements for reporting to donors; reducing management costs; being more transparent; allowing for more multi-year funding and cash-based responses; and enhancing engagement between humanitarian and development actors.

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Local aid agencies: still waiting for a bigger share of the funding cake

03/27/2017 on Irin Website by Louise Redvers. Donors and UN agencies who agreed to provide at least one quarter of humanitarian aid funding “as directly as possible” to local NGOs are struggling to deliver on their pledge.

Nearly one year after the commitment made at the World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016, signatories of the so-called Grand Bargain, a package of reforms to emergency aid delivery and financing, have yet to agree on three key points: the definition of “local”, what should be counted in the 25 percent, and how direct is “directly”.

The target is a response to the recognition that a small handful of large UN agencies and international NGOs receive the lion’s share of all international humanitarian funding, leaving local agencies feeling misused, unfairly exposed to risk, and unable to mature institutionally.

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Pope urges EU leaders to ‘blaze the path of a new European humanism’

03/24/2017 by Junno Arocho Esteves. Francis addresses 27 leaders on eve of Treaty of Rome anniversary

Europe must recover the memories and lessons of past tragedies in order to confront the challenges Europeans face today that seek to divide rather than unite humanity, Pope Francis has said.

While the founding fathers of what is now the European Union worked toward a “united and open Europe”, free of the “walls and divisions” erected after World War II, the tragedy of poverty and violence affecting millions of innocent people lingers on, the Pope told European leaders gathered at the Vatican.

“Where generations longed to see the fall of those signs of forced hostility, these days we debate how to keep out the ‘dangers’ of our time, beginning with the long file of women, men and children fleeing war and poverty, seeking only a future for themselves and their loved ones,” he said.

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Syria Is Not Lost Yet

March 15th 2017 by Dr Neil Quilliam. Despite six years of incoherent policy, Western countries can still positively shape Syria’s post-conflict settlement. This may be their last chance.

To many, Western policy towards Syria over the past six years – to the extent there has been coherent action – looks largely a failure. Russia and Iran (and now Turkey) have won both diplomatic and military battles in Syria and now appear in place to shape the eventual outcome in their interests – game over.

But look closer, and Western powers – specifically the US, the EU, the UK and France – still retain some leverage. If applied effectively – and that is a huge if – they could still shape the final political settlement, support an inclusive reconstruction process, tackle extremism and help alleviate the refugee crisis.

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Someday Disposable Drones May Deliver A Payload, Then Vanish

March 2, 2017 by Lucia Maffei

An aircraft flying at night drops a flock of unpowered drones. They carry food, medicines and batteries. After delivering their load on the ground, the drones vaporize into thin air within hours.

Disposable drones that can make precise deliveries before vanishing may look like a product of Stark Industries. But the fictional giant of military technology run by Tony “Iron Man” Stark has nothing to do with them. Instead, the development of “disappearing delivery vehicles” is a project by DARPA, the Department of Defense’s research and development agency.

DARPA, officially called the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, is working with several companies in the field of ephemeral materials to achieve a prototype.

The name of the $8 million program is ICARUS (Inbound, Controlled, Air-Releasable, Unrecoverable Systems), which alludes to the mythological hero who flew too close to the sun by using wings made of wax and feathers. The program aims to mimic the material transience that is depicted in the myth. In fact, finding a balance between the properties of the material to build disposable drones is the main challenge, says Troy Olsson, ICARUS program manager.

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