Special Fund for Emergency and Rehabilitation Activities (SFERA) Annual report 2021

Executive summary

The Special Fund for Emergency and Rehabilitation Activities (SFERA) enables the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to take rapid and effective action in response to food and agricultural threats and emergencies.

SFERA has three components:

  • a working capital component to advance funds once a resource partner’s commitment is secured toward the immediate procurement of inputs to protect livelihoods, restart agricultural activities or contribute to an immediate response to a crisis;
  • a revolving fund component to support FAO’s involvement in needs assessment and programme development, early establishment and reinforcement of emergency country team capacities, Level 3 emergency1 preparedness and response activities; and
  • a programme component, which pools resources in support of a programme framework for large-scale emergencies or strategically complements ongoing programmes, including the Agricultural Inputs Response Capacity (AIRC) window as well as the Anticipatory Action (AA) window triggered by corporate early warnings.
    From its inception in 2004 through 31 December 2021, SFERA received USD 335 million.

Under the programme component:

  • USD 154.4 million were allocated to large-scale programmes (e.g. locust response, sudden onset disasters,
    El Niño response, highly pathogenic avian influenza, protracted crises, and COVID-19);
  • USD 68 million were disbursed under the AIRC window; and
  • USD 18.1 million under the AA window.
    Under the revolving fund component:
  • USD 37.2 million were used to set up or reinforce country office emergency response capacities and support needs assessments and programme formulation; and
  • USD 15.8 million were allocated to the Level 3 emergencies preparedness and response window.

Since SFERA’s inception, under its working capital component, USD 494.8 million have been advanced to fund immediate emergency projects, of which USD 22.7 million were advanced over the reporting period. Outstanding advances as at 31 December 2021 amounted to USD 7.3 million.

Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

The United States announces new commitments to respond to the global food security crisis

This week, during the G7 Leaders’ Summit in Germany, President Joe Biden pledged $2.76 billion in additional U.S. government resources to protect the world’s most vulnerable populations from the escalating global food security crisis exacerbated by Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine and the severe drought in the Horn of Africa region. This pledge represents more than half of the over $4.5 billion in additional resources that G7 leaders committed to addressing global food security at the Summit. This funding will support efforts in over 47 countries and regional organizations, saving lives through emergency interventions and mitigating further increases in poverty, hunger, and malnutrition in vulnerable countries affected by high prices of food, fertilizer, and fuel. Funds pledged today will bring the United States’ total investment in the global food security crisis to $5.56 billion since the start of Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine.

GLOBAL HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE

With this funding, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will provide an additional $2 billion for direct food assistance, as well as related health, nutrition, protection, and water, sanitation and hygiene services in countries with high levels of acute food insecurity, reliance on Russian and Ukrainian imports, and vulnerability to price shocks. This funding includes support for countries hosting refugee populations and countries in the Horn of Africa facing a perfect storm of historic drought, COVID-19, and global shocks of food and fertilizer prices that threaten up to 20 million people in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia.

GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE

President Biden also announced that the United States is expanding Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global food security initiative, led by USAID, to eight new countries, including those vulnerable to the effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The expansion brings the list of prioritized countries from 12 to 20. The new target countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia. These countries will be our closest partners in harnessing the power of agriculture to drive economic growth and transform food systems, even as Feed the Future programming continues to improve people’s lives around the world.

President Biden also announced $760 million in additional funding to combat the effects of high food, fuel, and fertilizer prices–now being driven by Putin’s war–in those countries that need it most. USAID will use these resources to bolster Feed the Future and implement the U.S. government’s strategy to mitigate the crisis. Of these resources, $640 million will support bilateral targeted agriculture and food security programs to strengthen agricultural capacity and resilience in more than 40 of the most vulnerable countries–Ukraine, as well as across 24 countries and regions in Africa, 10 countries in Asia, 6 countries and regional presence in Latin America and the Caribbean, and 6 countries in the Middle East. These investments will tackle urgent global fertilizer shortages, purchase resilient seeds, mitigate price shortages for fertilizer, scale-up social safety nets for families suffering from hunger and malnutrition, and avert food and humanitarian crises in the most vulnerable countries. The balance–$120 million–will help finance multilateral efforts to leverage donor investments that help vulnerable countries build their resilience to shocks, strengthen social safety nets, supply chain issues, and climate impacts for near medium food security.

Source: US Agency for International Development

MLB Power Rankings: The Dodgers Are Finally Dethroned

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Sports Illustrated

By Nick Selbe For the first time all season, we have a new No. 1 team. Plus, two AL West teams enter the top five. The Angels and Reds each threw no-hitters last week. The former served as a symbolic step forward and made the club’s shortcomings of the recent past feel ever so distant. The latter was pulled off by a team in the midst of a historically awful start, in front of an announced crowd of just over 10,000, and, remarkably, resulted in a loss. If there’s a lesson to be learned from these true statements, it’s this: baseball, like life, has a sick sense of humor sometimes. Here’s Week 5… Continue reading “MLB Power Rankings: The Dodgers Are Finally Dethroned”

Delegates in Fifth Committee Consider Cost Savings, Efficiency, as Supply Chain Chief Unveils Plan to Revamp Operational Logistics Support for Peackeeping Missions

Delegates in the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budget) today asked for details on cost savings and efficiency as the Organization’s top official for supply chain management unveiled the Secretariat’s plan to restructure the way the Department of Operational Support manages and delivers equipment and services to peacekeeping missions around the world.

Christian Saunders, Assistant Secretary-General for Supply Chain Management, gave Member States a comprehensive briefing on the new Strategic Deployment Solutions concept, which revamps the existing Strategic Deployment Stocks concept to more effectively and efficiently deliver supplies and services to these missions. At the same time, it would not increase the portion of the United Nations Logistics Base budget related to these activities.

With the new supply chain plan, the United Nations Logistics Base in Brindisi, Italy, could even expand its services to meet the equipment and services needs of special political missions and humanitarian operations, Mr. Saunders said. The logistics base is also known as the United Nations Global Service Centre. “It will make the UN more efficient across the board,” he said. “And it will give Member States much better return on their investment.”

For example, one problem the new concept would tackle is the depreciation, and even obsolescence, of peacekeeping operations equipment, such as bulldozers and other earth-moving equipment, used at missions. Rather than remaining unused with a mission after it accomplished its job, the equipment would be brought back to a central location, refurbished, and then sent out to another mission as needed, he said. That would provide for more effective and cost-efficient use of equipment.

The Department would also gain better pricing by placing orders for vehicles, vaccines, and even blood well in advance through a central buying mechanism rather than waiting for each mission to place and pay for an order.

When the floor was opened for questions, the representative of Italy asked for more details about the factors affecting the project’s estimated implementation time of three to five years. Mr. Saunders said many factors could impact the timeline and explained that the Department would begin the application of the new supply chain system with one or two of the 40 categories of supplies, perhaps engineering and medical supplies.

Responding to the delegate of Mexico’s question on the financial implications, he said the only implications would be those as described. During his presentation, Mr. Saunders had mentioned the reclassification of a P4 Logistics Officer post to a P5 Senior Logistics Officer post, and the creation of one P4 post of Movement Control Officer. This person would manage additional Strategic Deployment Solutions elements and the increased workload of inbound-outbound shipments. Costs would not increase for the clients or the missions.

To the speaker for the United States’ query about how savings will be tracked and reported to Member States, and how a baseline cost — on which to base such savings — will be presented, Mr. Saunders said the costs and accompanying savings can be tracked but the process has become more complicated as inflation has increased prices. The data will be tracked and the Global Service Centre will initially track a few solutions and present the results to the Fifth Committee. He noted that the peacekeeping missions, not the United Nations Logistics Base, will accrue the savings. The missions will also save time through more efficient deliveries.

The representative of Japan, noting the interconnectivity and similarity of stocks in Brindisi, Entebbe and various missions, asked how strategic deployment, regional deployment and mission stocks will be balanced. Mr. Saunders said these missions and Brindisi and Entebbe will work hand-in-hand to improve equipment delivery. For example, the placement of stocks in regional warehouses, like Entebbe, can then be used to more quickly supply missions in remote locales. These remote missions can then reduce their stocks, resulting in less waste and obsolescence.

Responding to the United Kingdom’s delegate on how expansion of a client base will impact efficiency, Mr. Saunders said the United Nations aims to reduce duplication. To do so, the Organization must be considered as one family. An example of how Strategic Deployment Solutions have already supported the entire United Nations family is in Ukraine, he said, where it has provided armoured vehicles to many United Nations agencies, enabling them to implement their programmes quickly. Vehicles in Brindisi were driven by volunteer drivers to the Polish border. Some were brought back; others remained. He said the presentation of a progress report on the Strategic Deployment Solutions concept to the Fifth Committee after 48 months will be important and create value.

The representative of Cameroon, speaking for the African Group, highlighted the importance of stock management, as this issue is connected to those of supply, personnel and sustainable development. Also spotlighting the importance of circularity, which allows for economies of scale and the efficient use of resources, he pointed out that a recent field visit revealed that the cost of shipping certain vehicles to Central Africa from Brindisi exceeds the cost of those vehicles. He said cost-benefit discussions will be followed going forward.

On that point, Mr. Saunders said the use of regional warehouses will allow greater purchases from local and regional vendors, a more efficient use of resources. This will also reduce the transfer of goods over long distances, which will curb the pollution created by ships and aircraft.

The speaker of Iraq thanked the Assistant Secretary-General for his proposal and expressed hope that the same will guide the Fifth Committee to allocate proper resources for the United Nations Logistics Base and other United Nations entities.

Giovanna Ceglie, Director of the United Nations Global Service Centre, pointed out that the resources requested to implement the Strategic Deployment Stocks concept — namely, the creation of a new P4 position and the reclassification of an existing P4 position to a P5 position — will also serve other purposes. The new P4 position is required to implement a digital transformation of supply-chain operations. Much of this is currently done manually, and such transformation is necessary for critical operations such as budget expenditure, contract governance, compliance procedures and automatic shipment planning, she explained. The P5 position reflects the increase in skill required to adopt innovative strategic deployment solutions and to redesign comprehensive sourcing solutions. She added that this reclassification is also needed to improve the structure of the section, which has been lopsided for a number of years.

The Fifth Committee will reconvene at 3 p.m. on Thursday, 12 May, to fill a vacancy in the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), discuss the financial situation of the United Nations, and consider other peacekeeping financing issues.

Source: UN General Assembly

Offense awakens, returns to slumber as Tigers split doubleheader vs. A’s

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The Detroit News

DETROIT — Baseball has an odd way of sorting things out sometimes. The Tigers ended a couple of aggravating streaks in the first of two games against the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday. First, the 6-0 victory snapped a six-game losing streak. Second, the two runs they scored in the fifth inning ended a streak of 28 straight scoreless frames. “It felt good to win today,” said Tigers starter Tarik Skubal, who pitched seven scoreless innings. “All I was trying to do was give us a chance to win. Their guy (Frankie Montas) is really good. To be be able to hang in there and score some runs later felt … Continue reading “Offense awakens, returns to slumber as Tigers split doubleheader vs. A’s”

Offense awakens as Tigers snap 6-game skid in Game 1 vs. Athletics

Published by
The Detroit News

DETROIT — Baseball has an odd way of sorting things out sometimes. The Tigers ended a couple of aggravating streaks in the first of two games against the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday. First, the 6-0 victory snapped a six-game losing streak. Second, the two runs they scored in the fifth inning ended a streak of 28 straight scoreless frames. But the way the Tigers ended the scoring drought made you think the Baseball Gods were having a little fun with it. And why wouldn’t they in a game where the Tigers were the visiting team in their own ballpark? This game, originally scheduled to be played as… Continue reading “Offense awakens as Tigers snap 6-game skid in Game 1 vs. Athletics”