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First person: COVID-19 stories from the world of work

15. Juli 2020 - 18:21

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our world in ways we could hardly have imagined. Everyone has been affected and everyone has a story to share. At the International Labour Organization, we wanted to hear first-hand from people in the world of work. So, we contacted them and asked:

How has the virus affected their work?
How are their countries responding?
What have they learned from this experience so far?

We spoke to government officials, business owners and essential workers, those working from home and those who have lost their jobs, young people just starting their first job and retirees-turned-volunteers. Their stories paint a gripping picture of how COVID-19 has affected the world of work and what the response has been.

Click on a video to virtually travel from New York to New Zealand, from Dubai to Douala. And come back often as we continue to add more COVID-19 stories from the world of work.

Read more about the ILO’s COVID-19 response:
How are countries responding to the COVID-19 pandemic
The impact of COVID-19 on the informal economy
COVID-19: Action in the Global Garment Industry

Source: ILO

Kategorien: english

Launch of First Online Global Course on Sport and the SDGs

15. Juli 2020 - 17:56

 A new, freely available online course launched this month will help individuals and organizations harness the potential of sport in their work towards sustainable development. 

With more governments and organisations around the world recognising sport as an enabler of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), sport is increasingly being used as a tool to address issues ranging from health and education to employment and conflict resolution. 

But, despite the increasing use of sport and growing perception of its value, individuals and organisations have limited opportunities to learn how to maximise sport’s positive impact. 

To address this gap, the International Platform on Sport and Development, the Australian Government and Commonwealth Secretariat have collaborated to support the development of a free online course on Sport for Sustainable Development. 

Sport for Sustainable Development: Designing effective policies and programmes marks the release of the first ever, free massive open online course focused on Sport for Development. 

Designed to meet the needs of a variety of learners, including government officials, intergovernmental and sports organisations, public policy experts, the private sector and civil society organisations, the course allows learners to explore aspects of programme design and, implementation, and understand how to measure the impact of policies and programmes. The course also allows learners to explore key concepts on sport and gender equality, disability, human rights, social inclusion, peacebuilding and safeguarding. 

Featuring contributions from around the world, the course shares lessons learnt, best practice and top tips from policy makers and practitioners, helping learners to explore different approaches to Sport for Development from those delivering sport-centred programs on a day-to-day basis. 

Recognising the important role that sport can play in promoting learning and meaningful engagement at national, regional and international levels, Fiji’s Dr. Robin Mitchell, President of the Oceania National Olympic Committee (ONOC) and Executive Board Member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), said the course will be a vital addition to the field. 

“This course provides an exciting opportunity for all those in the Pacific and around the world interested in learning how to take action and use sport to make a positive impact. In the Pacific sport is being used by governments, organisations and communities as an enabler of change. Today, more than ever, sport is becoming an important tool to support the communication of information and to teach children, young people and adults. By harnessing the positive power of sport, we have an opportunity to shape the development of ideas, opinions and actions – both at home and abroad. I would encourage anyone interested in learning how they can use sport as a tool to support the advancement of the sustainable development agenda, to sign up for this course.” 

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said: “The longstanding work and engagement of the Commonwealth Secretariat in support of collaboration among our member countries to develop policies and programmes on sport and development have yielded valuable perspectives and practical understanding of how life opportunities for people from all backgrounds can be improved through well-designed and adaptable strategies. 

“Our focus is on extending the benefits of sport to more people, from more diverse backgrounds, more often. This course offers leaders, practitioners, and young people alike superb professional development opportunities to build their skills and develop highly effective policies and programmes which enable the potential of sport as a force for good to be realised fully and inclusively in the countries of the Commonwealth – and more widely.” 

The collaboration between the International Platform on Sport and Development, the Australian Government and the Commonwealth Secretariat to develop the course is underpinned by each organisation’s focus on providing accessible opportunities for learning. 

“Recognising the need to increase access to resources and educational opportunities for a wide and varied audience, this course focuses on helping learners to understand how to effectively integrate sport into policies and programmes to advance the SDGs. In an era where the face-to-face delivery of sport has been disrupted and threatened, this course helps audiences to think critically, and understand how to leverage sport, drive innovation and challenge the status-quo,” explained Gunnar Hagstrom from the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and member of the International Platform on Sport and Development Steering Board. 

For more information on the course and to sign up, please visit the International Platform on Sport and Development http://www.sportanddev.org 

The International Platform on Sport and Development, the Australian Government and Commonwealth Secretariat would like to thank all those who contributed to the development of the course, including the Expert Reference Group and the academic team. 

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About The Partners 

The International Platform on Sport and Development 

Sportanddev is the leading hub for organisations and individuals using sport for development to share knowledge, build good practice, coordinate with others and create partnerships. For more information about Sportanddev visit http://www.sportanddev.org 

Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) 

The Australian Government supports sport for development and sports diplomacy programs that strengthen international connections, build safer communities, and facilitate the participation of women, girls and people with disability. For more information about the Australian Government visit https://www.dfat.gov.au/people-to-people/sport/sport-for-development/Pages/sport-for-development 

Commonwealth Secretariat 

The Commonwealth Secretariat supports member countries to achieve development, democracy and peace. The Secretariat’s work helps to grow economies and boost trade, empower young people, and address threats such as climate change, debt and inequality. For more information about the Commonwealth Secretariat visit http://www.thecommonwealth.org 

For more information, please visit: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/sport-for-sustainable-development/1

Source: FutureLearn

Kategorien: english

Empowering youth through sport and promoting resilience during COVID-19

25. Juni 2020 - 22:11

The COVID-19 pandemic is a crisis that the world has not faced in 100 years. It has impacted the global community. The measures taken to contain the spread of the virus have put most socio-economic sectors of life under tremendous strain, including suspension of sport initiatives. People have been asked to stay at home as much as possible and children could not attend school or recreational activities. However, despite the ongoing pandemic people of all ages and abilities have found ways to keep physically fit and have fun during this period. The COVID-19 pandemic has altered every aspect of child, adolescent, and youth life from health and work to education and exercise. Over the long term, the negative mental health effects of the coronavirus could be serious and long-lasting.

Yet, we are not powerless. A “simple” ball can do wonders in keeping us mentally and physically fit, boost our immune system and mood, and have a positive impact on our behavior. In times of physical distancing, what sports can be played? And how can children stay active in times of isolation? Inter Campus sets an example of good practices for children, adolescents and youth on the right to play, at all times. It is a non-profit social project founded and run by the professional Italian Football Club Inter Milan, with activities in 30 countries around the world.

Since 1997 Inter Campus gives back the “Right to Play“ to thousands of children from vulnerable groups of society, using the values of sport and the game of soccer (also called football) as an educational tool. Its philosophy is to contribute to the development of local communities, and to support educational, social and sanitary protection programs carried out by local partners. Moreover, Inter Campus promotes social integration among differing ethnic groups and cultures.  This is very much aligned with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda to leave no one behind and its preamble that recognizes that sport is an enabler of development and peace.

In my conversation with managers of Inter Campus on how they respond to the present pandemic and promote resilience in children and contribute to happy families, Inter Campus explained that they are promoting a basic educational program through virtual proximity by increasing contacts with local mentors and coaches – key figures of the project in the area – who in turn can encourage virtual meetings with families and children. They then share videos of exercises with local referents and coaches, created by Inter Campus technical staff, to be replicated at home using a mobile phone and simple everyday objects that replace the sports material normally available on the pitches. A way to make children feel part of the Inter Campus team and family is giving them alternative solutions and once found, even if physically distant, it is possible to play together.

Inter Campus is also leading social research with the goal of measuring the impact of soccer activities on children’s development, including reducing vulnerabilities and enhancing resilience. An example of how this works is the empowering story of a child in Mexico who lives in an unsafe neighborhood, Ecatepec de Morelos[1], where children are exposed to many risks to their development. Here a child called Inaki, 6 years old, is part of the project and diagnosed with ADHD and depressive tendencies. During this pandemic his father fell ill with COVID 19, exposing the child to a high level of stress. Inaki is following a psychological therapy also supported by Inter Campus staff (Italian and Mexican) that constantly keeps in touch with him and his family, helping them through physical, psychological and social virtual activities. These coping strategies are giving much relief to the child and his family.

Moreover, Inter Campus staff, in accordance with educational guidelines, aims to enhance children’s self-efficacy and self-esteem, culminating in enhancing the overall resiliency in children and adolescents. Resiliency is generally defined as the way one reacts to their environment; specifically, in the face of adverse circumstances. So, this non-profit social project, through its virtual activities, aims to develop Sense of Mastery, Sense of Relatedness and Emotional Reactivity as a fundamental pillar of resiliency in children and adolescents.[2]

Inter Campus opened its first program office in the United States in Queens, one of the most diverse boroughs of New York City, in partnership with a school this year. Many children in that school have lost their parents or their parents have lost their jobs, did not have computers for e-learning, and presently have been deprived from the mental and physical benefits, fun and joy, and pride of being in the soccer team of Inter Campus. Many American parents experience higher level of stress due to the disruptions of their children and teens’ lives under the age of 18 in Queens neighborhood, caused by COVID-19. More than 7 in 10 say managing distance/online learning for their children is a significant source of stress (71%).[3]

The average reported stress level for U.S. adults and children related to the coronavirus pandemic is 5.9. This is significantly higher than the average stress level reported in the 2019 Annual Stress in AmericaTM1 survey, which was 4.9, and marks the first significant increase in average reported stress since the survey began in 2007. This means children and their families are exposed to great psychological problems like anxiety, depression, PTSD, ADHD, as well as social problems due to the lack of relationship with their peers and friends. Hispanics (most of Inter Campus NYC children are of Hispanic Latin origin) are also most likely to say they constantly or often feel stress as a result of the pandemic (37%), as compared with white (32%), black (32%), Native American (31%), and Asian (28%) adults and children.

Management of Inter Campus believes that the future ahead is complex but: “we will not lose hope of being able to help these children and their families with remote support and as soon as possible with the restoration of Inter Campus activities on the soccer pitch”. An example of what is being done to support pupils, where possible, is to organize video calls between Italian project managers, coaches, local coaches and mentors involving children who have technological tools that allow them to actively participate in games (including physical ones) and quizzes. Thus, making children, at least the older and more competent ones, “autonomous” to experience a moment of leisure and sport offers the possibility also for the parents to have a moment of “relief”. This last is of particular importance especially during the currently difficult times parents are experiencing in which they are subjected to stress, fatigue, and worry. Thus, this is another example of how the professional Inter Milan Football Club contributes with its non-profit social project in creating moments of “relief” for the well-being of the whole family.

In fact, soccer and sports in general are key in promoting the well-being of children and preparing them for the future that will likely be altered once the world recovers from the pandemic; a world that may be different from what children, adolescents, and youth have known as “reality” until a few months ago. Football and sport are games and fun tools that have the power to transmit important values. Inter Campus methodology is designed to achieve the entire development of the child and build their personality by paying attention to the physical, social, cognitive and emotional areas. There are exercises designed by coaches to strengthen weaknesses, to develop self-confidence and to build trust in others. Stronger and more aware children, with the help of the reference adults — on the pitch, at school, at home — are and will be more easily able to face difficulties and adapt to changes with a greater positive attitude.

In accordance with the guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO), Inter Campus has recorded a video that complements this article. It demonstrates in simple and pragmatic ways how to provide physical, psychological, and social health support to children and youth by setting good examples for all in mitigating the risks of physical and social inactivity during these months of pandemic and psychological vulnerability.

The video is a powerful message through self-explanatory universal images on how soccer, and in general sport and physical activities, empower children, adolescents and youth, and how children can be messengers for people of all ages on the right behavior to adopt until a treatment or a vaccine for COVID-19 is found.

Yes, this is what a “simple” ball can do!

[1] INEGI 2019
[2] Resiliency Scales for Children & Adolescents – RSCA – by Sandra Prince-Embury. It is a tool to profile personal strengths, as well as vulnerability in teens and children.
[3] American Psychological Association – APA

Source: Dominika Żak on behalf of Inter Campus

Kategorien: english

UNRISD Survey on Responses to Covid-19 and Vulnerable Communities

27. Mai 2020 - 18:13

The Covid-19 pandemic is hitting vulnerable people the hardest. This is already devastating in high-income countries with comprehensive and effective health and welfare systems, but it may well be catastrophic in those without, and especially in low-income and least developed countries. At the same time, these are areas where typically infection rates are currently lower and policies are still taking shape, creating a window of opportunity for informed analysis to provide added value.

This is where the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) survey comes in. With the help of its global network of experts, UNRISD hopes to gather and quickly analyse how well current government policies on Covid-19 in all countries and regions are responding to the needs of vulnerable people. The result will be evidence-based recommendations on how governments can make sure their Covid-19 response policies leave no one behind, while at the same time bearing in mind that there can be no one-size-fits all answers; national and local government policy making in different regions must also respond to different social, economic, political and cultural contexts.

UNRISD is asking all readers to donate 15 minutes of their time to respond to our 12-question survey. Click here to make your contribution.

UNRISD is able to make the survey in EnglishFrench and Spanish.

Resources
Covid-19 blog series which draws on the Institute’s social development research to suggest evidence-based responses to the current crisis.

Source: UNRISD

Kategorien: english

Coronavirus impact on world’s indigenous, goes well beyond health threat

20. Mai 2020 - 19:40

“I am receiving more reports every day from all corners of the globe about how indigenous communities are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and it deeply worries me to see it is not always about health issues”, said José Francisco Cali Tzay.

In a statement Monday, the Special Rapporteur – a Maya Kaqchikel from Guatemala who took up his post on 1 May – urged Governments worldwide to ensure that indigenous peoples have access to information about COVID-19 in their languages.

Cultural considerations

Urgent special measures must also be put in place to ensure availability and access to culturally appropriate medical services, he added, emphasizing that public health facilities are often too scarce in indigenous communities.

The rights to development, self-determination and lands, territories and resources must also be guaranteed, in order for indigenous peoples to manage the crisis and advance sustained development and environmental protection.

Mr. Cali Tzay said that in many countries, states of emergency are exacerbating the marginalisation of indigenous communities – and in the most extreme situations, militarisation of their territories is taking place.

“Indigenous peoples are being denied their freedom of expression and association, while business interests are invading and destroying their lands, territories and resources”, he said.

Riding roughshod

In some countries, he stated, consultations with indigenous peoples – as well as environmental impact assessments – are being abruptly suspended in order to force through megaprojects relating to agribusiness, mining, dams and infrastructure.

Coronavirus Portal & News Updates

Readers can find information and guidance on the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from the UN, World Health Organization and UN agencies here.For daily news updates from UN News, click here.

“Indigenous peoples who lose their lands and livelihoods are pushed further into poverty, higher rates of malnutrition, lack of access to clean water and sanitation, as well as exclusion from medical services, which in turn renders them particularly vulnerable to the disease”, he said.

Indigenous communities that have managed to best resist the COVID-19 pandemic are those that have achieved autonomy and self-government, which allows them to manage their lands, territories and resources, and ensure food security through their traditional crops and traditional medicine, he noted.

“Now, more than ever, Governments worldwide should support indigenous peoples to implement their own plans to protect their communities and participate in the elaboration of nationwide initiatives to ensure these do not discriminate against them”, he said.

The collective good

He added: “The pandemic is teaching us that we need to change. We need to value the collective over the individual and build inclusive societies that respect and protect everyone. It is not only about protecting our health.”

Special Rapporteurs, appointed by the Geneva-based Human Rights Council, are independent experts within the United Nations human rights system who address either country-specific situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world.  Serving on a voluntary basis, they are not UN staff members nor do they receive a salary for their work.

Mr. Cali Tzay was previously the four-term President of the Committee for the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination, which oversees the implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.  The founder of several indigenous organizations in Guatemala, he also once served as his country’s ambassador to Germany.

Source: UN News

Kategorien: english

COVID-19 and Homelessness

20. Mai 2020 - 18:31

The United Nations NGO Working Group to End Homelessness recognizes that people experiencing homelessness are dangerously vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic. The coronavirus has potentially devastating consequences for those living on the streets or in crowded congregate shelters, where they cannot quarantine themselves, wash their hands, or protect themselves as we have all been instructed to do.

As Leilani Farha, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing, noted, “Housing has become the frontline of defense against the coronavirus. Home has rarely been more of a life or death situation.” How does one shelter in place, maintain distance, wash their hands, wear masks or gloves, isolate or quarantine, when one has no home and minimal other resources? We must recognize that those sleeping on our streets are nonetheless a part of our communities, and that we are only as safe and as healthy as our most vulnerable neighbors.

In most societies there is an unprecedented proportion of minorities among those at risk of (or already contracting) the disease, including within the homeless population. Homeless populations are already affected by serious health concerns, which increase vulnerability to the virus; these are often results or reflections of lack of housing and housing inadequacy, associated with food and water insecurity and poverty.

The hidden homeless, rather than being visibly on the street, face housing insecurity/inadequacy. An increasingly common scenario resulting from COVID-19 conditions is that victims of domestic violence and abuse are now confined in close quarters and an exacerbated situation of dependency with their abusers. As mothers with children comprise much of these cases, a gendered response appropriate to families is warranted.

Refugees, international migrants, internally displaced persons, victims of trafficking, and slum dwellers should also be reframed for inclusion within the hidden homeless category. Generally, women and children disproportionately comprise these groups. The hidden homeless face similar challenges for attaining social distance and adequate sanitation during this pandemic, as well as meeting basic needs and securing income.

The facts and moral urgency are clear. Given their extreme vulnerability, we must act to ensure that people who are experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity are protected, their unique challenges confronted, and their specific needs met, during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond. Simply put, we will not be able to control the coronavirus unless public health actions and standards apply to all.

The NGO Working Group to End Homeless calls on the United Nations and its Member States to explicitly include measures for homelessness in all COVID-19 relief efforts, including in humanitarian response plans. In particular, we call for:

● A centralized and coordinated approach led by governments to ensure efficient and equitable deployment of all resources. This approach should include NGOs, faith communities, and other service providers as partners.
● Counts of people on the streets and in communal shelters to establish the appropriate number of isolation/quarantine spaces using creative methods such as hotel rooms, vacant housing, etc.
● As immediately as possible and focusing first on areas with high levels or “hot spots” of street homelessness and in slums, screening of people for COVID-19 symptoms and testing where possible, and movement of people off the streets and out of communal shelters into isolation/quarantine spaces. Ideally, these spaces are self-contained rooms with attached bathrooms.
● Assurance that people on the streets, in communal shelters, and in temporary isolation/quarantine spaces have access to basic needs like food and hygiene items, and supportive social services and healthcare services, including COVID-19 testing.
● The provision of immediate opportunities for affordable, safe, and supported family separation to victims of domestic violence through adequate housing provisions.
● Inclusion of funding for homelessness prevention, such as rental assistance; homelessness services; and long-term permanent housing in any COVID-19 emergency funding packages. When possible, priority should be given to families with children and areas with high eviction rates.
● Engagement in a thorough review of the response to COVID-19 and preparation of plans for future pandemics or national crises which include and address issues related to persons who are most vulnerable, particularly those living without homes. We thank the United Nations, particularly the Economic and Social Council’s Commission for Social Development, for their recent focus on the work of ending homelessness around the world.

We extend gratitude to all Member States who have already included homelessness in their COVID-19 relief efforts. A strong and thoughtful response to the intersections of homelessness and COVID-19 will help to ensure that “no one is left behind” even in these challenging times, as we continue to push forward for the achievement of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Source: NGO WORKING GROUP TO END HOMELESSNESS

Kategorien: english

‘Rights and dignity’ of older people must be respected during COVID-19 and beyond

6. Mai 2020 - 16:51

The COVID-19 fatality rate for people over 80-years-old, is five times the global average, the UN Secretary-General said on Friday, launching a new policy initiative to address this and many other challenges faced by the elderly, during and after the biggest public health crisis to hit the world in a century.

“Our response to COVID-19 must respect the rights and dignity of older people”, Secretary-General António Guterres said launching the report.

Against the backdrop of age discrimination, autonomy for older people, disparities in social protection and healthcare – as well as a lack of decision-making power – he maintained that for older persons, the crisis is “exacerbating existing human rights protection gaps and socio-economic challenges”.

“We need to stand up now for older person’s rights”, the UN Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons Rosa Kornfeld-Matte had said. “Pervasive gerontophobia, the fear of age-related self-degeneration and death, nurtures prejudice against older people, discrimination and ultimately the denial of human rights in older age”.

It’s personal

“As an older person myself, with responsibility for an even older mother, I am deeply concerned about the pandemic on a personal level, and about its effects on our communities and societies”, the UN chief shared.

At the same time, he pointed out that older people contribute “immeasurably” to their families and communities – commonly sacrificing their own well-being to care for others, including helping with children and grandchildren: “Our COVID-19 response must be cognizant of all of these matters” and “must respect the rights and dignity of older people.”

Addressing elderly needs

“No person, young or old, is expendable”, underscored Mr. Guterres.

The impact on health and long-term care services for older persons must recognize and confront the particular challenges they face, including their ability to access medical treatment and care.

“Older people have the same rights to life and health as everyone else”, spelled out the UN chief. “Difficult decisions around life-saving medical care must respect the human rights and dignity of all”.

And while physical distancing is crucial, he flagged the need to remember that “we are one community and we all belong to each other”.

Digital technology must be improved to mitigate movement restrictions that can disrupt essential care, support and social inclusion for older persons.

“That is vital to older people who may face great suffering and isolation under lockdowns and other restrictions”, maintained Mr. Guterres.

Beyond the pandemic’s immediate health impact, it is putting older people at “greater risk of poverty, discrimination and isolation”, he said, most likely causing “a particularly devastating impact” on those in developing countries where public health care and social protection services will likely be overwhelmed by the virus.

Moreover, all social, economic and humanitarian responses must take into consideration the needs of older people, particularly in terms of universal health coverage, pensions, jobs and social protection.

“The majority of older people are women, who are more likely to enter this period of their lives in poverty and without access to healthcare”, explained the Secretary-General. “Policies must be targeted at meeting their needs”.

Support the elderly’s response

Older people must not be treated as invisible or powerless but recognized for their diverse experiences and the multiple ways in which they are contributing to overcoming this crisis.

“Many older people depend on an income and are fully engaged in work, in family life, in teaching and learning, and in looking after others,” he argued.

Their agency, participation and responses to the pandemic must be supported and their knowledge and good practices shared as part of the recovery.

“Their voices and leadership count”, stressed the UN chief.

Recovering better together

“To get through this pandemic together, we need a surge in global and national solidarity and the contributions of all members of society, including older people” he asserted.

This requires appropriate legislation at the national level, a push toward an international convention on the human rights of older persons at the global level, and sustainable investment in health, care and social protection systems that ensure the dignity and right of older persons.

“As we look to recover better, we will need ambition and vision to build more inclusive, sustainable and age-friendly societies that are fit for the future”, concluded the Secretary-General.

Source: UN News

Kategorien: english

COVID-19: New UNDP data dashboards reveal huge disparities among countries

3. Mai 2020 - 22:13

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today released two new data dashboards that highlight the huge disparities in countries’ abilities to cope with and recover from the COVID-19 crisis.

The pandemic is more than a global health emergency. It is a systemic human development crisis, already affecting the economic and social dimensions of development in unprecedented ways. Policies to reduce vulnerabilities and build capacities to tackle crises, both in the short and long term, are vital if individuals and societies are to better weather and recover from shocks like this.

Preparedness of countries to respond to COVID-19

UNDP’s Dashboard 1 on Preparedness presents indicators for 189 countries – including level of development, inequalities,  the capacity of a healthcare system and internet connectivity– to assess how well a nation can respond to the multiple impacts of a crisis like COVID-19. 

While every society is vulnerable to crises, their abilities to respond differs significantly around the world.

For example, the most developed countries – those in the very high human development category- have on average 55 hospital beds, over 30 physicians, and 81 nurses per 10,000 people, compared to 7 hospital beds, 2.5 physicians, and 6 nurses in a least developed country.

And with widespread lockdowns, the digital divide has become more significant than ever. 6.5 billion people around the globe – 85.5 percent of the global population – still don’t have access to reliable broadband internet, which limits their ability to work and continue their education.

Vulnerabilities of countries in crisis like COVID-19

Preparedness is one thing. But, once a crisis hits, how vulnerable are countries to the fallout? UNDP’s Dashboard 2 on Vulnerabilities present indicators that reflect countries’ susceptibility to the effects of this crisis.

Those already living in poverty are particularly at risk. Despite recent progress in poverty reduction, about one in four people still live in multidimensional poverty or are vulnerable to it, and more than 40 percent of the global population does not have any social protection. 

The COVID-19 pandemic also reminds us that disruptions in one place are contagious, triggering problems elsewhere. For example, in some countries, like Kyrgyzstan, a significant part of their GDP comes from remittances. While places as diverse as Montenegro, Maldives and Cabo Verde, rely heavily on tourism (almost 60% of GDP in the Maldives for example), which is being hit very hard by travel bans and lockdowns.  

Source: UNDP

Kategorien: english

COVID-19: A wake-up call to strengthen social protection systems

25. April 2020 - 18:27

Governments, together with social partners and other stakeholders, should use the COVID-19 crisis  as a wake-up call to strengthen their social protection systems, says the International Labour Organization.

An analysis shows that countries that have effective health and social protection systems in place and that provide universal coverage, are better equipped to protect their populations from the threats to their livelihoods posed by COVID-19. However, countries that lack a robust health and social protection system will need to develop policies and interventions in an ad hoc way, which is likely to lead to a limited and delayed response.

“The pandemic has exposed serious gaps in social protection systems around the world, particularly for some categories of workers, such as part-time workers, temporary workers and self-employed workers, many of them in the informal economy,” says Shahra Razavi, Director of the ILO’s Social Protection Department. “Social protection must be seen as an investment and not as an additional cost. It plays a vital role as a social buffer and economic stabilizer.”

In addition to the tragic loss of human life, the pandemic is likely to increase poverty and inequality, with particularly adverse effects for older persons, persons with disabilities and chronic diseases, migrant workers and forcibly displaced people says the report, Social protection responses to the COVID-19 crisis: Country responses and policy considerations .

Many countries have implemented national social protection policy responses to the crisis, which have addressed a broad range of areas. They have extended sickness benefits financed from general taxation to workers who would not otherwise be entitled; used their unemployment protection schemes to support enterprises in retaining workers through short-time work schemes, provided unemployment benefits to laid-off workers, including those who would otherwise not be eligible for unemployment insurance, and provided income support to families. Others have provided in-kind benefits, such as food items or meals or cash transfers to ensure access to food.

Between 1 February and 17 April 2020, 108 countries and territories announced at least 548 social protection measures to lessen the devastating impact of lost jobs and livelihoods.

Around one fifth (19.3 per cent) are related to special social allowances/grants, closely followed by measures relating to unemployment protection (15.7 per cent), health (9.5 per cent) and the allocation of food (9.1 per cent).

More than two-thirds of countries in Europe and Central Asia have implemented social protection measures in response to the pandemic, more than half of countries in the Americas and almost half of countries in Asia. In Africa more than one third of countries have already done so, and about one third of Arab States.

The report points out that insufficient social and health coverage not only endangers the countries concerned but the entire international community. In such cases, countries should be offered urgent international support so they can adopt emergency measures to step up the capacities of their health and social protection systems – including ensuring access to health care and income support.

Source: ILO

Kategorien: english

COVID-19: WHO, UNICEF and UNDP partner with WhatsApp

25. April 2020 - 18:08

WhatsApp announced the launch of two initiatives in support of the global fight against the Coronavirus pandemic: the global launch of the WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme, the World Health Organization and UNICEF, and a $1m donation to the Poynter Institute’s International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN).

The WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub provides simple, actionable guidance for health workers, educators, community leaders, nonprofits, local governments and local businesses that rely on WhatsApp to communicate. The site also offers general tips and resources for users around the world to reduce the spread of rumors and connect with accurate health information.

These recommendations provide quick guidance on how small groups can make the most of WhatsApp features, and will be distributed by UNDP to those coordinating local efforts. In addition, WhatsApp is working with the WHO and UNICEF to provide messaging hotlines for people around the world to use directly. These hotlines will provide reliable information and will be listed on the WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub.

“Getting up to date information about COVID-19 to local communities around the world is a critical piece of the international community’s efforts to stem the spread of the virus,” said Achim Steiner, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). “Partnerships with private sector companies like WhatsApp will help get this vital, real time information from the World Health Organization and local health officials to billions of users around the globe.”

To date, WhatsApp has worked with a number of national health ministries and NGOs to provide factual information to users via text in countries including Singapore, Israel, South Africa, Brazil, and Indonesia. As these efforts continue, the hub will be updated with the latest resources. 

WhatsApp’s $1m grant to the IFCN will support fact-checking for the #CoronaVirusFacts Alliance, which spans more than 100 local organizations in at least 45 countries. Over the last year, WhatsApp has worked to bring over a dozen fact-checking organizations directly onto WhatsApp so they can crowdsource and report on rumors that may be circulating on various messaging services including WhatsApp or SMS. The grant will support training to use the advanced features within WhatsApp Business, including the WhatsApp Business API. Expanding the presence of these IFCN certified fact-checking organizations will help ensure local communities are aware and responding to potential harmful rumors.

“We know that our users are reaching out on WhatsApp more than ever at this time of crisis, whether it’s to friends and loved ones, doctors to patients, or teachers to students. We wanted to provide a simple resource that can help connect people at this time,” said Will Cathcart, Head of WhatsApp. “We are also pleased to be able to partner with the Poynter Institute to help grow the amount of fact-checking organizations on WhatsApp and to support their life saving work to debunk rumors. We will also continue to work directly with health ministries around the world for them to provide updates right within WhatsApp.”

“The timely donation from WhatsApp will help the fact-checks published by the CoronaVirusFacts Alliance to reach wider audiences and, in consequence, help people sort facts from fiction during this avalanche of information that WHO called an ‘infodemic’,” said Baybars Orsek, Director of IFCN. “The International Fact-Checking Network also looks forward to discovering ways to understand the spread of health related hoaxes on WhatsApp in different formats and to make tools available for fact-checkers to detect and debunk misinformation on the messaging app.”

Source: UNDP

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