Ocean Health Holds Key to Reaching All Goals across 2030 Agenda, Experts in Final Lisbon Dialogue Stress amid Calls for Faster Action on Energy, Shipping Reforms

1 Jul

LISBON, 1 July — The sustainable use of oceans cuts across the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, experts and delegates underscored at the eighth Lisbon dialogue, as they identified the interconnections and cross-influences between ocean health and food security, poverty eradication, clean energy, decent work and climate action.

Rewards for Justice – Reward Offer for Information on Foreign Interference in U.S. Elections

1 Jul

The U.S. Department of State’s Rewards for Justice (RFJ) program, which is administered by the Diplomatic Security Service, is offering a reward of up to $10 million for information on foreign interference in U.S. elections.

The reward offer seeks information leading to the identification or location of any foreign person, including a foreign entity, who knowingly engaged or is engaging in foreign election interference, as well as information leading to the prevention, frustration, or favorable resolution of an act of foreign election interference.

Foreign election interference includes certain conduct by a foreign person that violates federal criminal, voting rights, or campaign finance law, or that is performed by any person acting as an agent of or on behalf of, or in coordination with, a foreign government or criminal enterprise. This conduct includes covert, fraudulent, deceptive, or unlawful acts or attempted acts, or knowing use of information acquired by theft, undertaken with the specific intent to influence voters, undermine public confidence in election processes or institutions, or influence, undermine confidence in, or alter the result or reported result of a general or primary federal, states, or local election or caucus. Such conduct could include vote tampering and database intrusions; certain influence, disinformation, and bot farm campaigns; or malicious cyber activities.

This reward offer reflects additional authorities to provide rewards for information on foreign interference in domestic elections provided by the William M. “Mac” Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021.

More information about this reward offer is located on the Rewards for Justice website at www.rewardsforjustice.net .  We encourage anyone with information on foreign interference in U.S. elections to contact the Rewards for Justice office via its Tor-based tips-reporting channel at: he5dybnt7sr6cm32xt77pazmtm65flqy6irivtflruqfc5ep7eiodiad.onion (Tor browser required).

The Rewards for Justice Program is an effective law enforcement tool and is administered by the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service.  Since its inception in 1984, the program has paid in excess of $250 million to more than 125 people across the globe who provided information that helped prevent terrorism, bring terrorist leaders to justice, and resolve threats to U.S. national security. Follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/RFJ_USA .

ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Symposium Building on Lessons Learned from the Women, Peace and Security and the Youth, Peace and Security Agendas

1 Jul

The United States, the European Union, and Singapore co-hosted the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Symposium Building on Lessons Learned from the Women, Peace and Security and the Youth, Peace and Security Agendas June 28-30, 2022.

The in-person symposium, hosted in Honolulu, Hawaii, gathered officials from over thirty-five countries including representatives from the Indo-Pacific region, Africa, and various regional and international civil society organizations, and women, and youth groups.

The symposium highlighted the importance of the Women, Peace and Security and the Youth, Peace and Security Agendas in conflict prevention, mitigation, resolution, and peacebuilding. As a diplomatic body, ARF contributes to conflict prevention in the region by fostering dialogue and promoting preventive diplomacy among its twenty-seven participating countries.

The U.S.-led event, organized by the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs in partnership with the United States Institute for Peace, featured a welcome address by the Governor of Hawaii, David Ige, and sessions moderated by Assistant Secretary of State for Conflict Stabilization and Operations Anne Witkowski and Senior Official Katrina Fotovat from the Secretary’s Office for Global Women’s Issues. The event also featured keynote addresses by Ambassador Lisa Carty, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations for the Economic and Social Council; Air Commodore Christopher Robson, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command J5 Deputy Director for Strategy; and Steven G. Olive, Ph.D., Mission Director, Regional Development Mission for Asia at the U.S. Agency for International Development.

For further information on this event or other upcoming events in the ASEAN Regional Forum, please contact EAP/MLA at EAPMLAoffice-dl@state.gov.

World Bank Board Approves New Fund for Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response (PPR)

1 Jul

The devastating human, economic, and social cost of COVID-19 has highlighted the urgent need for coordinated action to build stronger health systems and mobilize additional resources for pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response (PPR).

The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved the establishment of a financial intermediary fund (FIF) that will finance critical investments to strengthen pandemic PPR capacities at national, regional, and global levels, with a focus on low- and middle-income countries. The fund will bring additional, dedicated resources for PPR, incentivize countries to increase investments, enhance coordination among partners, and serve as a platform for advocacy. The FIF will complement the financing and technical support provided by the World Bank, leverage the strong technical expertise of WHO, and engage other key organizations.

Developed with leadership from the United States, and from Italy and Indonesia as part of their G20 Presidencies, and with broad support from the G20 and beyond, over US$1 billion in financial commitments have already been announced for the FIF, including contributions from the United States, the European Union, Indonesia, Germany, the United Kingdom, Singapore, the Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust.

 “I’m pleased by the broad support from our shareholders for a new Financial Intermediary Fund at the World Bank,” World Bank Group President David Malpass said. “The World Bank is the largest provider of financing for PPR with active operations in over 100 developing countries to strengthen their health systems. The FIF will provide additional, long-term funding to complement the work of existing institutions in supporting low- and middle-income countries and regions to prepare for the next pandemic.”

“Access to financing for pandemic prevention and preparedness is crucial. COVID-19 has exposed major gaps in preparedness capacities, which the Financial Intermediary Fund can address in a coherent manner, as part of the global architecture for health emergency preparedness and response,” said WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “WHO will play a central role in the FIF, providing technical leadership for its work in close collaboration with the World Bank to realize this ambitious vision.”

The goal of the FIF is to provide financing to address critical gaps in pandemic PPR to strengthen country capacity in areas such as disease surveillance, laboratory systems, health workforce, emergency communication and management, and community engagement. It can also help address gaps in strengthening regional and global capacity, for example, by supporting data sharing, regulatory harmonization, and capacity for coordinated development, procurement, distribution and deployment of countermeasures and essential medical supplies.

In the coming weeks, the Bank and WHO will work closely with donors and other partners to develop the detailed scope and design of the FIF. The ongoing discussions will be informed by the extensive inputs provided through stakeholder engagement. The goal is to launch the FIF in fall 2022.

Drawing on its financial and legal platform, program management and operational expertise, and experience in managing FIFs, the World Bank will serve as the FIF’s Trustee and host the Secretariat, which will be staffed by the Bank and WHO. Drawing on its technical expertise, the WHO will also lead on supporting and coordinating the work of the FIF’s technical advisory panel. Implementing entities for FIF-financed projects in addition to the World Bank Group are expected to include WHO, other multilateral development banks and United Nations agencies, as well as other organizations. The FIF will build on the existing global health architecture for PPR, within the context of the International Health Regulations (IHR 2005) and associated monitoring mechanisms, with a central technical role for WHO.

Key principles of the FIF will be to complement the work of existing institutions that provide international financing for PPR, drawing on their comparative advantages and catalyzing funding from private, philanthropic, and bilateral sources. Further, the FIF is expected to incentivize countries to invest more in PPR, serve as an integrator of PPR efforts, and have the flexibility to work through a variety of existing institutions and adjust over time as needs and the institutional landscape evolve. The FIF’s structure will combine inclusivity and agility and operate with high standards of transparency and accountability.