Development Health Advice 

UN health emergency committee to re-convene on global threat posed by China coronavirus

Members of the WHO Emergency Committee deliberated until late on Wednesday evening, as they continue to study an outbreak of the new respiratory virus first identified in China, as cases continue to rise.   “There was an excellent discussion during the committee today, but it was also clear that to proceed, we need more information”, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in statement.  “The decision about whether or not to declare a public health emergency of international concern is one I take extremely seriously, and one I am only prepared to make with appropriate consideration of all the evidence.”  Novel coronavirus was first identified in the Chinese…

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Human Rights 

Independent UN rights experts call for ‘immediate investigation’ into alleged Bezos phone hack by Saudi Arabia

The two Special Rapporteurs – who do not speak on behalf of the UN and operate in an independent investigative capacity – said in a statement that they had recently received information suggesting that a WhatsApp account belonging to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was used to deploy digital spyware on the phone of Jeff Bezos, who is also CEO of Amazon, “in an effort to influence, if not silence” the newspaper’s reporting on the Kingdom. “The allegations reinforce other reporting pointing to a pattern of targeted surveillance of perceived opponents and…

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Investments 

Bank Group to host first 2020 Business Opportunity Seminar in March

What: Business Opportunity Seminar When: 11-12 March 2020, 8:00 am-5:00 pm each day Where: African Development Bank – CCIA Building, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire The African Development Bank will host its first 2020 Business Opportunity Seminar (BOS) in March for consultants, producers and suppliers from member countries looking to provide goods and services to the Bank Group projects in Africa. The BOS, to be held at the Bank’s headquarters in Abidjan, offers a one-stop platform to deepen participants’ understanding of the Bank’s strategy and procurement processes. It will also allow closer links between the…

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Human Rights 

Portraits show ‘dignity and humanity’ of Holocaust survivors, 75 years after Auschwitz liberation

While the Nazis had attempted to hide evidence of mass murder, “millions of clothing items and tons of hair told their own appalling story”, the UN chief said, opening an exhibit at UN headquarters in New York marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. The closure of the camps marked the end of the Holocaust itself, but it was just the beginning of efforts to ensure that such crimes never happen again. Understanding our history connects us to the essential human values of truth, respect, justice and compassion – UN…

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Development Health Advice 

Healthcare’s a human right, not ‘a privilege for the rich’ UNAIDS argues at Davos

In a press release issued as the World Economic Forum gets fully underway in Davos, Switzerland, on Tuesday, UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima said that the right to health “is eluding the poor and people trying to lift themselves out of poverty are being crushed by the unacceptably high costs of health care”, with at least half the world’s population unable to access essential health services. “The richest one per cent benefit from cutting-edge science while the poor struggle to get even basic health care,” she added. The independent international…

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Human Rights 

Lebanon: UN rights office calls for de-escalation of protest violence

“Some demonstrators have resorted to using violence to express their grievances, and security forces have responded, at times, with unnecessary or disproportionate use of force”, rights office (OHCHR) Spokesperson, Marta Hurtado, told journalists on Tuesday in Geneva. “We call on actors to do their utmost to de-escalate the situation and upon authorities to deploy efforts to establish a meaningful and inclusive dialogue with all segments of society”. Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned in October, less than two weeks after protests began over a worsening financial crisis, unemployment and widespread political…

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Investments 

Ride the wave of the African Continental Free Trade Area, African Development Bank president Adesina Urges UK investors

Africa is on the cusp of unmatched economic transformation, and the UK must engage in a “partnership of change,” African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina said Tuesday in a keynote address at a UK Parliamentary Symposium. “The Africa of the 21st century is very different. The Africa of the 21st century is new and more confident,” he said. The Symposium was co-organized by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Africa with the Royal African Society, Oxford Brookes University, and the Trade Justice Network under the theme UK-Africa Trade and Brexit.  The Bank’s chief…

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Human Rights 

UN human rights ruling could boost climate change asylum claims

The historic ruling marks the first decision by a UN human rights treaty body based on a complaint filed by an individual seeking protection from the effects of climate change.  Ioane Teitota from the Pacific island nation of Kiribati lodged the complaint in 2015 after being deported from New Zealand when his asylum application was denied.  Mr. Teitota argued that his right to life had been violated, as rising sea levels and other destructive effects of climate change had made his homeland uninhabitable.   He said he was forced to migrate from the island of Tarawa, to New Zealand, due to impacts such as a lack of freshwater due to saltwater intrusion,…

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Development Health Advice 

UN health agency to gauge global threat, as China confirms coronavirus transmission between humans

In a message released on social media, WHO said that the agency’s Director-General, Tedros Ghebreyesus, will “convene an Emergency Committee on the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) under the International Health Regulations”, with the aim of ascertaining “whether the outbreak constitutes a public health emergency of international concern, and what recommendations should be made to manage it”. The Chinese National Health Commission confirmed on Monday that two people in Guangdong province had been infected via human-to-human transmission, raising the potential of the virus spreading more widely. A colour-enhanced image shows cells infected…

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North Africa Science 

Moroccan Agriculture and Rural Development

By Dr. Yossef Ben-Meir Marrakech In recent years, Morocco has put in place the right frameworks for mobilizing rural communities to advance the nation’s sustainable development goals, yet it falls woefully short when it comes to implementation. As someone who has been engaged in rural development in Morocco for the past 26 years, I have analyzed how these frameworks can work together and complement each other. Since 2000, I have led a Moroccan-U.S. civil organization that assists local communities in their identification and management of priority development projects—in agriculture, education,…

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