Pacific measles outbreak, EU Aid, Local Faith Actors response, and more.

Posted on 27 November 2019

+ Pacific Measles Epidemic

Samoa's Ministry of Health is appealing for help as the death toll in the measles epidemic reaches 25 people (new stats are out today) - all but one of them children.

Immunisation against measles has been made mandatory under law in Samoa and a mass vaccination campaign is underway, in a country where just 26 percent of the population is fully immunised. This epidemic has also impacted Tonga.

Director General of Health, Leausa Take Naseri said the support from international partners had been tremendous. UNICEF has delivered more than 110,000 vaccines, and Medical Assistance teams from Australia, Tahiti and New Zealand have arrived as well to support Samoa's immunisation programme. 

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi on Friday asked private doctors in the country to step in and assist public medical facilities with caring for the sick. Samoa government's patrol boat has also made an emergency trip to Tutuila/ American Samoa to collect oxygen to address a shortage in Apia.

Many CID member organisations, like Rotary New Zealand World Community Service, are  accepting cash donations. These funds help Rotary's respond to requests from their partners in Apia to support health centres and impacted families, including the bereaved. 

ADRA Samoa is also responding with ADRA network funds being used to provide meals and water to people queuing at the vaccination centres. ADRA is also utilising NZ High Comms funds to provide meals to medical centre staff.

Unless donors have pre-existing logistical arrangements, or are doing family to family/ church to church giving, cash donations to a humanitarian appeal is still the most appropriate way you can help people affected by the epidemic. 

All health centres and medical facilities providing measles vaccinations in Samoa must do so with formal agreement with the Ministry of Health. A number of private clinics have already been reviewed for  providing unauthorised measles vaccinating.

+ Less than 10% EU Aid to Least Developed Countries (LDCs)

Less than 10% of EU aid money reaches the countries where it is most needed, according to a study that found levels of assistance had dropped for the second year running, reports The Guardian.

The EU and its member states remain the biggest development donor group in the world – investing €71.9bn (£61bn) in 2018, more than half of global aid – but its contribution was 5.8% lower than in 2017, the European NGO network, Concord, found in its AidWatch report.

Progress on meeting the UN target of spending 0.7% of gross national income on aid, laid down in 1970, has gone into reverse, said the group. Their research showed that aid decreased to 0.47% of the EU’s combined GNI last year, compared with 0.49% in 2017 and 0.51% in 2016. Only Sweden, Luxembourg, Denmark and the UK met the 0.7% commitment. Aid from five countries – Italy, Greece, Finland, Austria and Lithuania – decreased by 10%.

Looking at where ODA is targeted to countries with the highest need of resources – such as least developed countries (LDCs) – OECD figures show that EU Member States increased ODA from 0.11% of GNI in 2016 to 0.12% in 2017.

This is still almost €5 billion short of meeting the international commitment to invest 0.15 to 0.2% of GNI in this group of countries. The 16 countries among the poorest in the world, currently receive only 8% of EU funding. Around half of this amount is channelled through the European Commission and the European Investment Bank, which report they spent 25% of their ODA on LDCs.

The UN Conference on Trade and Development’s Least developed countries report, also published this week, called on the world’s poorest nations to ensure external finance from all sources is “directed to national development priorities” as the best way to “manage their aid dependency and eventually escape it”.

+ Burkina Faso 'another Syria' as violence soars

Burkina Faso is at the epicentre of a dramatic humanitarian crisis gripping the arid central Sahel region. The World Food Programme has warned of an escalating humanitarian crisis, driven by the long-term impacts of climate crisis and growing extremist violence. The jihadist insurgency that begun in the region in 2015, has forced almost half a million people from their homes. 

World Food Programmes (WFP) executive director, David Beasley this week stated that in Burkina Faso "close to half a million people have been forced from their homes and a third of the country is now a conflict zone. Our teams on the ground are seeing malnutrition levels pushed well past emergency thresholds – this means young children and new mothers are on the brink. If the world is serious about saving lives, the time to act is now.”

The number of attacks in Burkina Faso in the first half of 2019 has also surpassed the total for 2018, with reported civilian deaths four times the total for last year. Schools have been forced to close and, in a country where four out of five people depend on farming for their livelihoods, people are abandoning their fields.

Members of the CID Humanitarian Network have recently been in the Central Sahel to undertake evaluations of their organisational response there.

Mark Mitchell from World Vision New Zealand visited Senegal, Mali and Niger at the end of last month, and has recently written a blog "Welcoming The Stranger". This blog describes the agency and work that countries such as Niger are undertaking to not only manage their own development, but also in responding to their own regional humanitarian need. There are currently 400,000 refugees residing in Niger, but the Niger Minister of Health reiterates that "they are welcome... ...and we will continue to accept them". 

+ Pacific Parliamentary Forum in NZ this week

Emerging political leaders from 15 #Pacific countries & territories are in NZ this week for the Pacific Parliamentary Forum #PPFNZ - a four-day forum that aims to build relationships & enhance Pacific parliamentary democracy. Read more: #nzpol

+ CID intern represents NZ at Youth Parliament in India

We're very proud to announce that long-time CID intern, Eva Maffey (22) is one of two young New Zealanders chosen to join counterparts from across the Commonwealth in Delhi, India for the 10th Commonwealth Youth Parliament.

Eva has worked with many of you over the last few years, and she has been an invaluable member of our team as she juggles studying, youth parliament, UN Youth and much more.

The Youth parliament is an annual event designed to introduce young Commonwealth citizens to the role and purpose of parliaments as democratic institutions and providers of good governance. It gives attendees the opportunity to meet other young people, similarly interested in parliamentary practice and procedure, from across the Commonwealth and to be empowered to shape their own jurisdictions and engage with their local legislature.

Go well Eva!

+ 'Local Faith Actors' localise emergency responses

Local faith Actors (LFAs) have consistently been among the top implementing partners of UN Agencies in undertaking humanitarian response. Despite this recognition, little is known about the role of LFAs in the localisation agenda and the primacy of LFAs’ voices in contextualising the agenda for their communities.

More than 80% of the world’s population professes a religious faith, and international development and humanitarian work takes place within communities deeply influenced by faith.

CAN DO (Church Agencies Network Disaster Operations) a network of Australian church-based agencies with established relationships in the Pacific, is building an evidence base to inform international actors and affirm the significance of LFAs in localised humanitarian response within the Pacific region.

A new paper, written on behalf of CAN DO and published by The Centre For Humanitarian Leadership, represents a critical reflection of the 2017-2018 localised response to the Monaro Volcano eruption in Vanuatu. Key learnings are used to frame future collaborations with Pacific churches.

+ Register now  -  M&E workshops before Xmas

CID, in consultation with MFAT and M&E experts, will deliver a 1-day Monitoring & Evaluation Workshop - Wellington on 11 December and Auckland on 12 December.

MFAT will be doing a presentation at the workshop.

The workshop will be facilitated by Liz Smith and Sandar Duckworth from LITMUS, a leading social research, evaluation and design firm.

The workshop will focus on evaluative thinking and on how to manage and measure outcomes and will have a practical, hands-on approach aimed at strengthening member organisations’ outcomes management capacity. The training will draw on case studies using multi-year, multi-country and multi-sector arrangements, and smaller activities.
Register here to the Wellington workshop

Register here to the Auckland workshop


+ Iran protests lead to multiple deaths

Amnesty International, citing “credible reports”, says it believes at least 106 people in 21 cities have been killed during protests in Iran over a rise in government-set gasoline prices, writes France 24.

Amnesty added that it “believes that the real death toll may be much higher, with some reports suggesting as many as 200 have been killed”.

Speaking to FRANCE 24, Amnesty said Iranian security forces had used “excessive lethal force” to crush the largely peaceful protests. “The patterns that we have seen include security forces using firearms, water cannons, tear gas to disperse protests and beating demonstrators with batons," said Philip Luther, Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa research and advocacy director. "Images of bullet casings left on the ground as well as the shockingly high death toll indicate that live ammunition has been used.”

To find out what's driving the protest, the LA Times has an analysis here. 

"Analysts say the brutal government reaction reflects growing unity among the country’s political elites, signaling that President Hassan Rouhani’s government — once labeled as relatively moderate — has shifted significantly to the right and is increasingly aligning with the country’s hard-line Islamic religious leaders," writes Melissa Etehad and Rain Mostaghim.  
+ Amnesty International's 'Write for Rights' Fundraiser Screening

An Iranian-Kurdish journalist who wrote an award-winning book on a smartphone while detained on the infamous Manus Island arrived in New Zealand last week.

Amnesty International in New Zealand played a key role in getting Behrouz Boochani here. It's the first time in 6 years he has been able to leave Papua New Guinea, where he has been held by the Australian Government.

He was welcomed at Auckland Airport by Amnesty International CEO in New Zealand, Meg de Ronde and MP Golriz Ghahramam. 

"For Behrouz to be able to appear at Word Christchurch, it's a testament to the human will to survive.

"This is a spark of hope after he has fled violence and persecution, first in Iran and then from Australian authorities," said Meg.

You can join Amnesty International Wellington from 4 pm on Sunday, December 8 to hear about Write for Rights and how you can contribute to Amnesty’s largest annual human rights campaign. This year's focus is on youth human rights defenders. You can write on their behalf and then sit back and enjoy a movie screening from 5 pm about two dreamers and a dog on a journey to bring harmony to both their lives and the land.

More details about this feel-good movie and doing good at the same time can be found here.

+ Talk on cash-transfer programmes - Save the Date!

Oxfam’s Pacific cash advisor, Sandra Hart will deliver a talk to CID members and friends in Auckland and Wellington during the second week of December.

Sandra has been leading Oxfam’s innovative cash projects in Vanuatu. One was a major cash programme for Ambae evacuees on Santo, the second a blockchain pilot project (which we’ve previously discussed) for IDPs in Port Vila.
Final times and venue to be announced, but Sandra will give her talks on the following days:

  • Tues, 10th Dec – AKL (afternoon)
  • Fri, 13th Dec – WLG (afternoon)

Watch this space!

The Wellington Talk on 13th December will be followed by CID Xmas Drinks at Hummingbird on Courtney Place, starting at 5pm.

+ 'Save', others and PM Celebrate 30 years of Child Rights

The 30th anniversary of the signing of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and International Children’s Day on 20 November was celebrated at Parliament by around 80 pre-schoolers hosted by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

The joint celebration was arranged by Save the Children NZ, Barnardos, the Children’s Rights Alliance Aotearoa and OMEP aimed to celebrate all children and their right to be included and have safe healthy lives.

Save the Children welcomed the government's announcement that it would recommit to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)

“We are extremely pleased to hear this news. We thank the Government for listening to this request and committing to ensure child rights are met in our country," said Save the Children's Advocacy Strategy and Research Director, Jacqui Southey
During the event, the Speaker of the House Trevor Mallard opened the new playground in Parliament Grounds which the children had already tried out. He also had a turn on the slide. The children had a fun time and all were entertained by Zappo the magician and Richard Kerr from Pop Up bubbles!

+ The CID Weekly is Proudly Sponsored By
Direct Impact Group supports organisations to maximise their social impact, because changing the world isn't easy, and in dynamic times this work is more important than ever.
+ International Needs Medical trip to Bangladesh

In collaboration with International Needs Bangladesh, Canada and New Zealand, a number of volunteers partnered with local doctors and nurses to bring medical care to hundreds of people in rural villages and schools.  A team of eight New Zealanders and eight Canadian nurses and doctors, worked tirelessly for two weeks to help those in medical need.  Locals came from far and wide to seek medical assistance and help.  Those who needed ongoing treatment and help were referred to local Bangladeshi clinics and doctors who partner with International Needs Bangladesh.


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