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  • Author: Leah Zamore, Hanny Megally, Tayseer Alkarim
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: After five years of devastating conflict, Yemen now faces an escalating COVID-19 crisis. The effects of the war have drastically diminished the country’s ability to cope with a pandemic, and the economic impact of the crisis is rapidly becoming devastating as well. If allowed to take hold, COVID-19 threatens the lives of nearly 30 million people who are already suffering through the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Nor is the risk posed by COVID-19’s spread in Yemen limited to Yemenis. A pandemic that recognizes no borders or fault-lines cannot fester anywhere without threatening health security everywhere. Yet the international response so far has been both muted and slow. A new approach is urgently needed—one that aims not only to address the immediate threat that COVID-19 poses, but to tackle the underlying conditions that have left Yemen so uniquely vulnerable to the virus in the first place. This report explains how Yemen became so vulnerable to COVID-19, traces the impact of the pandemic so far, including the risk to vulnerable groups, and offers a critical perspective on the international action necessary to prevent further catastrophe in a country already suffering the world’s worst humanitarian crisis—from renewed pressure for a ceasefire to a dramatically scaled-up humanitarian response.
  • Topic: Conflict, Crisis Management, Humanitarian Crisis, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Yemen
  • Author: Carlos Alvarado Quesada, Michael D. Higgins, Retno Marsudi, Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Winnie Byanyima, Fitsum Assefa Adela, James Love, Mariângela Simão, Alberto Rodriguez, Sarah Cliffe
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: On September 25th, during the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, leaders from around the world came together to call for a fair and equitable approach to the development, production, and distribution of vaccines for COVID-19. This high-level event, hosted by the president of Costa Rica and co-sponsored by the World Health Organization, UNAIDS, and CIC/the Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies, explored ways to ensure universal access to COVID-19 health technologies.
  • Topic: United Nations, Peace, Humanitarian Crisis, governance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Leah Zamore, Knut Gerlach, Ben Oppenheim
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: Describing the coronavirus pandemic as a “global health crisis unlike any in the 75-year history of the United Nations” the UN has in recent days called for the launch of a large-scale, coordinated, and comprehensive multilateral response to combat the virus and its attendant economic and social consequences. It has published a set of action plans that aim to avert the potentially catastrophic impact of the virus, especially on the world’s most vulnerable and impoverished communities.
  • Topic: United Nations, Governance, Reform, Multilateralism, Humanitarian Crisis, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Said Sabir Ibrahimi
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: Afghanistan faces many hurdles in coping with the COVID-19 pandemic: a prolonged armed conflict, a lack of social protection systems, limited healthcare capacity, and insufficient preparedness and coordination mechanisms. The Afghan government has developed a response plan and secured aid from international donors, but effective implementation remains challenging. This briefing by Said Sabir Ibrahimi and Dr. Naqibullah Safi provides an overview of the current state of the COVID-19 response in Afghanistan against the background of the ongoing conflict. It also details the additional challenges that hamper Afghanistan’s ability to deal with the crisis and provides recommendations for mitigating them.
  • Topic: Health Care Policy, Conflict, Crisis Management, Humanitarian Crisis, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, South Asia
  • Author: Paul von Chamier, Nendirmwa Noel, Sarah Cliffe, Leah Zamore
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, policymakers must navigate public perceptions of coronavirus risk and government responses. This task is all the more challenging given press coverage focusing on outliers and extreme views, polarization and disinformation on social media platforms, and the relative dearth of reliable public opinion polling. These constraints notwithstanding, understanding people’s perceptions of the impact of COVID-19 and their priorities emerging from this crisis will be crucial for building back better. This two-part briefing pulls together data from several global, regional, and national polls conducted over the past month and a half to provide a descriptive summary of trends in public opinion towards COVID-19. The first part of the briefing, by Paul von Chamier, Nendirmwa Noel, and Elizabeth Angell, focuses on global polls tracking levels of public trust in government and other institutions, and public perceptions of the trade-offs involved in calibrating lockdown measures. Overall, the results suggest that most people around the world are highly concerned about the pandemic, supportive of a strong government response, and willing to suffer economic losses in order to save lives—although not without limit. The second part, by Leah Zamore and Sarah Cliffe, focuses on polling from low-income countries, especially in Africa, which find similar trends. However, the greater vulnerability of low-income households in those countries and the practical barriers to some social distancing and lockdown measures mean that public support will decline as people experience greater hardships. The briefing suggests that adequate and equitable government support is a vital prerequisite to sustaining trust—and thus the global public health response.
  • Topic: Governance, Public Opinion, Humanitarian Crisis, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Hanny Megally, Leah Zamore, Tayseer Alkarim
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic poses a dire risk to the tens of thousands of people imprisoned in Syria’s archipelago of prisons and detention facilities, many in conditions so ghastly that they constitute crimes against humanity. These facilities function as overcrowded torture chambers by design. Thousands have already died in detention due to such circumstances, and those still living are especially vulnerable to the spread of coronavirus. If COVID-19 is permitted to take hold, the devastation among the prison population will be swift and fatal. Nor will it stop at the prison walls. What can be done to avert a catastrophe that threatens not only the up to 100,000 who may still be alive in detention, but also the war-weary Syrian population at large? This briefing outlines a two-step approach to averting the looming disaster, calling first and foremost for immediate and large-scale prisoner releases, because no prevention or mitigation efforts will succeed unless the challenges presented by overcrowding are addressed. While releases are underway, the living conditions of those who remain imprisoned must be radically transformed to safeguard health and prevent the pandemic from taking hold.
  • Topic: Prisons/Penal Systems, Humanitarian Crisis, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Leah Zamore, Ben Phillips
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: A growing body of evidence shows that the COVID-19 crisis is significantly affecting people’s priorities for the future. With economies around the world suffering the impact of the pandemic, the global public wants governments to adopt bold approaches in response—and polls from a range of countries show that large majorities believe their actions have not been strong enough. In this briefing, Leah Zamore and Ben Phillips examine global polling data to show what kinds of policies—including those previously deemed “radical”—are now garnering widespread support. They find that people want governments to act boldly both in responding to the immediate economic crisis and in fundamentally transforming the social contract moving forward. The briefing examines polling on a range of topics, from wide support for redistributive programs and a rejection of austerity policies, to the growing popularity of measures that check corporate power in favor of workers and consumers.
  • Topic: Governance, Public Opinion, Economy, Humanitarian Crisis, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Leah Zamore, Karina Gerlach, Ben Oppenheim
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: Describing the coronavirus pandemic as a “global health crisis unlike any in the 75-year history of the United Nations” the UN has in recent days called for the launch of a large-scale, coordinated, and comprehensive multilateral response to combat the virus and its attendant economic and social consequences. It has published a set of action plans that aim to avert the potentially catastrophic impact of the virus, especially on the world’s most vulnerable and impoverished communities.
  • Topic: United Nations, Governance, Multilateralism, Humanitarian Crisis, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Sarah Cliffe, Leah Zamore, Nendirmwa Noel
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: As the coronavirus pandemic spreads across the globe, people are also moving in response to the threat of the virus and the actions states have taken to stem its transmission. This memo examines population movements in pandemics and offers relevant policy recommendations. In this policy memo, Sarah Cliffe, Leah Zamore, and Nendirmwa Noel detail the history of population movements during pandemics, provide an overview of the internal and cross-border movements now taking place around the world, and give examples of the restrictions and other measures governments are implementing to to respond. They also supply a number of concrete policy recommendations goverments can take now to improve their management of internal and cross-border movement in the face of COVID-19.
  • Topic: Governance, Conflict, Borders, Humanitarian Crisis, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Scott Guggenheim
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: This policy briefing examines how governments, multilateral organizations, and international financial institutions can leverage existing and new community-based responses to deal more effectively with the health, social, and economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. Governments around the world are stretched to their limits trying to cope with not just the health risks of the COVID-19 virus, but also the economic fallout as people lose their jobs and entire sections of the economy close down. In this policy briefing, Pathfinders adviser Scott Guggenheim argues that governments must harness an underutilized but highly effective tool—traditional community solidarity and volunteerism.
  • Topic: Governance, Food Security, Humanitarian Crisis, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Sarah Cliffe
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank conducted their first virtual Spring Meetings amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This briefing summarizes the discussions, which focused on the economic impact of the pandemic, and provides key takeaways on topics such as debt relief, financing for COVID-19 response, multilateral partnerships, and efforts to support global supply chains. In this readout of the 2020 Spring Meetings, CIC director Sarah Cliffe details the historic—but ring-fenced—debt moratorium and accelerated financing deal that were reached, as well as efforts to inject more global financing through an exceptional issue of IMF Special Drawing Rights. The briefing also covers partnerships between the United Nations and the international financial institutions, including a call for collaboration on global supply chains for medical equipment, agricultural inputs, and other goods and services.
  • Topic: Governance, Finance, Multilateralism, Crisis Management, Humanitarian Crisis, IMF, COVID-19, Supply
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Leah Zamore, Tayseer Alkarim
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: The humanitarian crisis in northern Syria is on the verge of becoming a COVID-19 catastrophe. A decade of conflict has left the healthcare system in ruins—and millions of displaced people in Idlib province were already suffering due to a lack of shelter and sanitation. Now, with the coronavirus pandemic posed to spread to an area with just 600 doctors and fewer than 50 adult ventilators for four million people, the situation is dire. Why is Idlib the last refuge for internally displaced Syrians, and what can donors, international humanitarian actors, and local organizations do to ensure that they are not left behind as the world grapples with COVID-19? This policy briefing by Tayseer Alkarim, Hanny Megally, and Leah Zamore delves into roots of the humanitarian crisis in Idlib, details the current capacity of the exhausted healthcare system amid the ongoing conflict, and examines what these constraints mean for mounting a response to the spread of the coronavirus. The briefing explains how donors and international humanitarian organizations can take action now to support local institutions, increase testing and treatment capacity, improve availability of PPE and public information, and press for an immediate ceasefire. The plight of Idlib is one of the most complex humanitarian dilemmas of our time, influenced by prolonged conflict, a looming COVID-19 outbreak, and the ongoing failure of the international community to take effective action. A further failure to minimize the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Idlib will cost lives—and risk global health security further by allowing the virus to spread in one of the places that is least-equipped to contain it.
  • Topic: Health, Conflict, Humanitarian Crisis, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria, Idlib
  • Author: Said Sabir Ibrahimi
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: Afghanistan faces many hurdles in coping with the COVID-19 pandemic: a prolonged armed conflict, a lack of social protection systems, limited healthcare capacity, and insufficient preparedness and coordination mechanisms. The Afghan government has developed a response plan and secured aid from international donors, but effective implementation remains challenging. This briefing by Said Sabir Ibrahimi and Dr. Naqibullah Safi provides an overview of the current state of the COVID-19 response in Afghanistan against the background of the ongoing conflict. It also details the additional challenges that hamper Afghanistan’s ability to deal with the crisis and provides recommendations for mitigating them.
  • Topic: Foreign Aid, Conflict, Humanitarian Crisis, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, South Asia
  • Author: Hanny Megally, Elena Naughton
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: Tens of thousands of people have been unlawfully detained by the Syrian government and other parties to the conflict in Syria. In most cases, their fate—and if they are alive, their whereabouts—remains unknown. Many families have been waiting for word of their spouses, children, and other relatives since mass protests first began in 2011. This situation is adversely affecting not only Syrians inside the country—including over 6.5 million who are internally displaced—but also many of the 5.6 million refugees who are likewise desperately seeking answers about family members from abroad. This joint report from the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) and the Center on International Cooperation (CIC) recommends a set of urgent steps that should be taken to assist families in obtaining information about the whereabouts of their loved ones, gaining access to them, and achieving their prompt release. Authored by CIC's Hanny Megally and ICTJ's Elena Naughton, the report details the scope of the detention crisis and argues that answers and coordinated action are needed now. Time is of the essence, as the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be accelerating in Syria, putting those detained in overcrowded and unsanitary prisons at further risk. Any meaningful progress toward a political agreement in Syria will be dependent on more than a negotiated ceasefire or reduction in violence and urgent access to humanitarian assistance. There will be little or no possibility of lasting peace without addressing critical issues, like the question of the missing, detained, abducted, and forcibly disappeared.
  • Topic: Prisons/Penal Systems, Syrian War, Crimes Against Humanity, Humanitarian Crisis, State Abuse
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Céline Monnier
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: COVID-19 is creating a series of crises that increase the risk of conflict worldwide. Beyond the health impact, issues like worsening inequality, food insecurity, human rights abuses, and political tensions can deepen pre-existing social fractures in any country, creating additional layers of grievance. Addressing these risks early on and building resilience to them is key to preventing the potential for violence. But the pandemic also brings new opportunities for peacebuilding. A system-wide implementation of the sustaining peace approach is critical to ensure that United Nations response contributes to decreasing risks for violent conflict in the longer term—including efforts to “build back better.” This report draws on interviews with 25+ individuals across the UN system and member states to highlight some of the key challenges for peacebuilding in the immediate COVID-19 period as well as in the longer term. The report documents how entities across the UN have made positive steps toward implementing a sustaining peace approach, and provides recommendations for deepening these gains across the system.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Inequality, Peace, Humanitarian Crisis, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Leah Zamore
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: Crises In 2016, global policymakers came together to confront a critical policy dilemma: what is, or should be, the role of humanitarian action in a world beset by “permanent emergencies” that do not end, in which the root causes are overwhelmingly structural and political? One major outcome of the summit was the commitment to a “new way of working” based on linking the “triple nexus” of humanitarian, development, and peacebuilding (HDP) efforts. Our new report shares the results of a major independent review of the implementation of this process.
  • Topic: United Nations, Fragile States, Crisis Management, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, Lebanon, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Somalia, Chad