Coordinating System-Wide Eefforts to Respond to COVID-19 - IASC Newsletter No. 06 - 2020

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Click here to read the Sixth edition of the IASC Newsletter, where we take a look at:

  • An Overview of the Humanitarian Impact of the COVID-19 Crisis
  • System-Wide Emergency Procedures Activated to Scale-up the Respond to the COVID-19 Crisis
  • The Global Humanitarian Response Plan
  • Strengthening Logistics Support to be Able to Stay and Deliver
  • Funding Flexibility
  • IASC latest guidance, including the IASC's Interim Guidance on Public Health and Social Measures for COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Operations in Low Capacity and Humanitarian Settings, and the IASC Light Guidance on Collective Outcomes
  • IASC latest briefings and Peer-2-Peer webinars

An Overview of the Humanitarian Impact of the COVID-19 Crisis\ The rapid spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has disrupted billions of lives, destabilized the global economy and exacerbated people's vulnerabilities. Nine months into the pandemic, there have been 33 million confirmed cases including almost a million deaths. Despite the easing of public health measures in some parts of the world, the outbreak is accelerating in many fragile and conflict-affected countries across the globe. |

| "This pandemic is unlike anything we have dealt with in our lifetime.\ This is not business as usual. Extraordinary measures are needed."

-- Mark Lowcock |

| The pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on women and girls. It has exacerbated pre-existing inequalities, resulted in alarming health and economic impacts for women and increased reports of gender-based violence (GBV). |

| In some cases, public health measures intended to address the pandemic, such as lockdowns and quarantines, have unintentionally forced women and girls into isolation in unsafe environments. A recent UN Policy Brief on the Impact of COVID-19 on women reports that all of these impacts are "amplified in contexts of fragility, conflict, and emergencies where social cohesion is already undermined and institutional capacity and services are limited." |

| "For many women and girls, the threat looms largest where they should be safest.\ In their own homes."

- UN Secretary-General, Mr. Antonio Guterres, 5 April 2020

| According to UNFPA estimates, **an additional 15 million cases of GBV are expected worldwide for every three months **that COVID-19 lockdowns continue.

In an attempt to address these concerns, the IASC has agreed on minimum standards for integrating gender equality into both preparedness and response planning, and cluster/sector programme priorities, to ensure a gender-integrated response.\

| IASC Interim Guidance on Gender Alert for COVID-19 Outbreak |

| The crisis has also heightened the protection risks and challenges faced by Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). Available evidence from the Global Protection Cluster, COVID-19 Protection Risks & Responses Situation Report 7, released in August, indicates that attacks against civilians, including IDPs, have increased by 2.5 per cent since the pandemic began. Eighty per cent of Protection Clusters' and UNHCR's operations are reporting escalating conflict, stigmatization and increasing cases of violence, including attacks on civilians and humanitarians. |

| The situation is equally stark for people on the move, whose health, livelihoods and protection rights have been compromised. UN Sustainable Development Group (UNSDG) Policy brief on COVID-19 and People on the Move (June 2020), indicates that crowded living and working conditions as well as compromised access to health services have greatly increased the risk of exposure by asylum seekers, migrants and refugees to the virus. Risks have been compounded with the closure of borders, with asylum seekers unable to cross international borders, migrants forced to return to their home countries and refugees sent back to face the risk of persecution.\

| UNSDG Policy Brief |

| Latest Global Protection Cluster Report on IDPs |

| The secondary impacts of the crisis in fragile countries are getting more pronounced on public services, including health and education. Mr. Mark Lowcock, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and the Emergency Relief Coordinator, noted in his briefing to the UN Security Council on 9 September that health care institutions are switching priorities and resources to try to tackle the virus. Attention to COVID-19 has compromised the ability to deliver on other important health services, including immunizations. Immunization campaigns are being disrupted or delayed, and lockdowns have reduced the availability of vaccines, drugs and other health supplies. Adding to this, the economic impact of COVID-19 is being felt most by those who are marginally employed such as wage laborers, small agricultural producers, workers in the informal sectors, and migrants. Similarly, micro, medium, and small enterprises are being hit hard as they tend to be less resilient to economic shocks.\

| View the full briefing here |