Civil Society Voices Key to Yemenis’ Push for Peace, Open Society Report Shows

New York, Feb. 11, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Yemeni civil society organizations believe justice and accountability can play a decisive role in establishing a lasting peace in Yemen, according to a new Open Society Foundations report.

A Passage to Justice: Selected Yemeni Civil Society Views of Transitional Justice and Long–Term Accountability in Yemen highlights the leading role of Yemeni civil society in articulating the interplay between peace and justice, as well as the role that justice matters play in the peace process. It focuses on Yemenis' views about accountability for violations committed in the war–torn country since conflict broke out there in 2014.

"Transitional justice is a transit from something to something. I believe transitional justice can help with transiting from wartime to peacetime, from destruction to construction," the report quotes one civil society advocate from Mareb as saying. (Individuals quoted in the report are not identified by name to protect their safety.)

The Biden administration announced last week that it would end support to the Saudi–led war in Yemen. The announcement comes on the heels of other administration action aimed at bringing peace to Yemen, including an announcement to stop sales of precision–guided bombs to the Saudis, and U.S. designation of a special envoy to help negotiate a peace settlement in the war–torn country. But while these measures are welcome, the United States and the international community must also help ensure accountability and back Yemeni civil society's efforts to disrupt the cycle of impunity that threatens to undercut any peace agreement.

"As part of its new push to the end the war, the U.S. must also back Yemeni civil society's efforts to ensure real accountability for the crimes committed, and for the lives destroyed," said Chris Rogers, a senior program officer at the Open Society Human Rights Initiative and an editor of the report. "Because for many Yemenis, it is not U.S. bombs that are the real enemy to lasting peace""it's impunity."

Many civil society leaders interviewed for the report noted that the peace process must be attuned to the concerns and needs of victims of the conflict, now entering its seventh year. "Listening to victims makes us think about peace," one civil society leader from Aden told the report writers.

A peace plan that is sensitive to addressing the needs of victims and their families must consider the social and economic costs of the conflict, in addition to gross human rights abuses and violations. Victims' organizations, family associations, and other civil society organizations must have a way to have their voices included in peace negotiations.

The report also shows that language on accountability and on transitional justice has progressively been de–emphasized in Security Council resolutions and other key instruments since the conflict started in 2014. The report argues for a return of stronger language to Council resolutions. It highlights the important role such language can play in building political support and, at a later stage, the endorsement of an accountability and transitional justice agenda for Yemen.

A Passage to Justice is available for download in English and in Arabic.

The Open Society Foundations, founded by George Soros, are the world's largest private funder of independent groups working for justice, democratic governance, and human rights. We provide thousands of grants every year through a network of national and regional foundations and offices, funding a vast array of projects""many of them now shaped by the challenges of the COVID–19 pandemic.


Madison Realty Capital Completes More Than $1.5 Billion in Transactions in 2020

New York, Feb. 11, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Madison Realty Capital, a fully integrated real estate private equity firm focused on debt and equity investment strategies, today announced it originated more than $1.5 billion in financing, originations and performing and non–performing note purchases in 2020, ranging from $4.9 million to $173 million. The firm closed a total of 23 transactions in major U.S. metropolitan and suburban markets across a variety of real estate asset classes including, multifamily, mixed–use, medical office, office, industrial, condo, hotel, and retail. More than 70% of the total dollar volume was executed with repeat borrowers, reflecting the firm's strong relationships and flexible, customer–centric investment approach. With $5.6 billion of gross assets under management, Madison Realty Capital also continued to expand its platform by launching a new income–oriented $1 billion debt investment vehicle, targeting lighter value–add and core–plus real estate transactions with rates of 4% to 7%.

"Madison Realty Capital delivered a very active 2020, executing over $1.5 billion worth of transactions for our institutional clientele, maintaining low levels of leverage, and expanding our world–class lending platform amid a highly challenging operating environment due to COVID–19," said Josh Zegen, Managing Principal and Co–Founder of Madison Realty Capital. "For more than 16 years, Madison Realty Capital has distinguished itself by providing certainty of execution, strong underwriting capabilities, as well as flexible, efficient and creative financing solutions across market cycles. In 2020, we continued to advance our position as the partner of choice for leading institutional sponsors and top–tier independent developers and I am excited to build on our strong momentum in 2021."

The firm pursues debt investments by originating senior secured loans and mezzanine loans ranging from $5–$500 million and preferred equity investments for the construction, acquisition and refinancing of commercial real estate.

Madison Realty Capital remained an active lender throughout 2020, amidst the COVID–19 pandemic. Notable transactions for the firm include: a $173 million construction loan to MAG Partners for a 479–unit residential rental building in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, a $170 million acquisition of a portfolio of performing and non–performing loans backed by multifamily properties in New York, New Jersey, and Los Angeles, a $165 million loan to Scape North America for the development of a 451–unit multifamily project in Boston's Fenway neighborhood, a $150 million renovation loan to WS Communities for six multifamily redevelopments and a bridge loan for a mixed–use development site in Santa Monica and San Fernando Valley, a $102 million construction loan to Invesca Development Group to finish a 98% complete multifamily project in Pompano Beach, Florida and begin construction for a mixed–use property in Plantation, Florida, a $50 million bridge loan to refinance the Pompano Beach 214–unit luxury rental apartment, retiring its initial construction loan in November, and an $18 million loan to Houston–based medical office development firms for a six–story Class A medical office building located in The Heights neighborhood of Houston, Texas.

Madison Realty Capital brings its comprehensive experience as an owner and developer to its lending business and uses its expertise as a lender to enhance its ownership and development strategies, creating a symbiotic relationship across the business. The firm is a valued partner to both institutional sponsors and leading independent developers, known for speed, flexibility, and certainty of execution in complex situations.

About Madison Realty Capital

Madison Realty Capital is a New York City based real estate private equity firm focused on debt and equity investment strategies with regional offices in key markets including Los Angeles and Dallas. Founded in 2004, MRC has closed on approximately $13 billion of transactions in the multifamily, retail, office, industrial and hotel sectors nationwide. The firm manages investments in the United States on behalf of a global investor base. MRC is a fully integrated firm with over 60 employees across all real estate investment, development, and property management disciplines. Among other industry recognitions, MRC has been named to the Commercial Observer's prestigious "Power 100" list of New York City real estate players and is consistently cited as one of the industry's top construction lenders. To learn more, follow us on LinkedIn and visit www.madisonrealtycapital.com.


Bombardier Reports Full Year 2020 Financial Results, Provides 2021 Guidance and Outlines Actions to Drive Profitability and Productivity

  • 2020 revenues from Business Aircraft activities reached $5.6 billion, growing 3% year–over–year on 114 deliveries, 44 of which were in the fourth quarter, including a record 16 Global 7500 aircraft deliveries
  • 2020 adjusted EBITDA(1) of $200 million from continuing operations; $912 million of reported EBIT, reflects the accounting gains on disposal of the CRJ and aerostructures businesses
  • Fourth Quarter Free Cash Flow(1) (FCF) generation of $523 million from continuing operations before interest and taxes, ahead of plan; cash flow from operating activities of $323 million for the fourth quarter
  • Pro forma cash and cash equivalents(2) of $5.4 billion, including Cash on hand of $1.8 billion at Bombardier Inc. on December 31, 2020 and $3.6 billion of proceeds from the recently closed sale of Transportation once it becomes fully available; Pro–forma net debt(3) of approximately $4.7 billion
  • Company–wide initiative to drive profitability and productivity underway; Targeting savings of approximately $400 million(4) annually by 2023
  • Learjet production to end in Q4 2021, allowing the Company to focus on more profitable Challenger and Global aircraft families; Wichita to become Centre of Excellence for specialized aircraft platforms
  • 2021 outlook(4): Revenues expected to grow organically; Adjusted EBITDA and EBIT(1) expected to increase to greater than $500 million and $100 million respectively, and FCF usage expected to be better than $500 million, including one–time costs and investments
  • Company to host an Investor Day on March 4, 2021

All amounts in this press release are in U.S. dollars, unless otherwise indicated.
Amounts in tables are in millions except per share amounts, unless otherwise indicated.

MONTRÉAL, Feb. 11, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Bombardier (TSX: BBD.B) today reported its fourth quarter and full year 2020 results, provided guidance for 2021 and outlined a number of actions to drive profitability and productivity as the Company focuses exclusively on designing, building and servicing the world's best business jets.

"With our strategic repositioning now complete, we are very excited to embark on our journey as a pure–play business jet company," said ric Martel, President and Chief Executive Officer, Bombardier Inc. "Our unmatched product portfolio, world–class customer services network, and incredibly talented employees give us a strong foundation to build upon. We are encouraged by our momentum in the fourth quarter and are confident in the actions we are taking to navigate through the pandemic and better position the Company for a market recovery."

Overview 2020 Financial Performance

Revenues from Business Aircraft activities reached $5.6 billion in 2020, reflecting a 3% year–over–year improvement, driven by the ramp up in Global 7500 deliveries, which reached a record 16 deliveries in the fourth quarter, partially offset by the significant impact of COVID–19 on other programs and services revenues.

Adjusted full year EBITDA and adjusted EBIT(1) for continuing operations of $200 million and $(211) million, respectively, reflect the impact of the COVID–19 pandemic on deliveries and services, as well as a lower contribution of early Global 7500 units. Reported EBIT of $0.9 billion reflects the accounting gains on disposals of the CRJ and aerostructures businesses.

Fourth quarter free cash flow generation from continuing operations before interest and taxes was $523 million. This was better than expected and notwithstanding a $160 million negative impact made in the quarter due to the winding down of the Company's reverse factoring program. Full year free cash flow usage from continuing operations was $1.9 billion, reflecting pandemic–related disruptions, and including corporate and interest expenses, which will be lower in 2021 given the expected debt paydown and restructuring actions announced today.

Bombardier begins 2021 with pro forma cash and cash equivalents of approximately $5.4 billion, including the proceeds from the recently closed sale of Transportation and a pro forma net debt of approximately $4.7 billion.

Driving Profitability and Productivity

Bombardier has and will be launching a number of actions to improve profitability and cash generation. The goal is to make the organization more efficient and agile, capable of delivering stronger financial performance under the current market conditions, while also establishing a lower cost base to grow from, once the market recovers. With these actions, the Company aims to generate $400 million annually in recurring savings by 2023. Savings are expected to be approximately $100 million in 2021; the Company will take a one–time charge of $50 million this year to support its restructuring actions.

Specific actions include consolidating Bombardier's Global aircraft completion work in Montral; reviewing options for underutilized hangar and industrial space at our Qubec facilities; and reducing its overall workforce by approximately 1,600 positions, including reductions associated with progress on the Global 7500 learning curve. These reductions, together with the completion of previously announced restructuring actions and the divestiture of the electrical wiring interconnection system business in Quertaro, Mexico, should bring the Corporation's global workforce to about 13,000 by year–end.

"Workforce reductions are always very difficult, and we regret seeing talented and dedicated employees leave the company for any reason," said Martel. "But these reductions are absolutely necessary for us to rebuild our company while we continue to navigate through the pandemic."

Bombardier also announced it will end production of Learjet aircraft later this year, allowing the Company to focus on its more profitable Challenger and Global aircraft families and accelerate the expansion of its customer services business.

"With more than 3,000 aircraft delivered since its entry–into–service in 1963, the iconic Learjet aircraft has had a remarkable and lasting impact on business aviation. Passengers all over the world love to fly this exceptional aircraft and count on its unmatched performance and reliability. However, given the increasingly challenging market dynamics, we have made this difficult decision to end Learjet production," explained Martel.

Bombardier will continue to fully support the Learjet fleet well into the future, and to this end, today launched the Learjet RACER remanufacturing program for Learjet 40 and Learjet 45 aircraft. RACER program includes a bundled set of enhancements, including interior and exterior components, new avionics, high–speed connectivity, engine enhancements, and improved aircraft maintenance costs. The RACER remanufacturing program will be offered exclusively through Bombardier's service centre in Wichita, Kansas.

Bombardier's Wichita facility will continue to serve as the Company's primary flight–test centre and be a key part of its global services network. In addition, Bombardier has designated Wichita as the Centre of Excellence for its specialized aircraft business and expects the facility will play a leading role in future special mission modification contracts.

2021 Guidance

With Bombardier's repositioning to a pure–play business aviation company now complete, 2021 will be a transition year as the Company executes its productivity actions, further matures Global 7500 production and begins to address its capital structure.

Revenues from business aircraft activities in 2021 are expected to be better than 2020 based on a gradual economic recovery scenario.

Adjusted EBITDA is expected to increase to greater than $500 million, reflecting ongoing progress on the Global 7500 learning curve, growth in customer services and the partial impact of the cost reduction actions. Adjusted EBIT is expected to be greater than $100 million.

Free cash flow usage in 2021 is expected to be better than $500 million, including one–time outflows related to the closing of the reverse factoring program; residual value guarantees; and the previously mentioned restructuring charge, which collectively are estimated to be approximately $200 million.

Investor Day

Bombardier will host a virtual Investor Day on March 4, 2021, during which the Leadership team will provide updates on its market outlook, debt management strategy and cost reduction actions. Details will be provided in a separate media advisory and posted on the company's website www.ir.bombardier.com at a later date in the near future.

Selected results

RESULTS
For the fiscal years ended December 31 2020 2019 Variance
restated
(5)
Revenues (6) $ 6,487 $ 7,488 (13 ) %
Adjusted EBITDA $ 200 $ 684 (71 ) %
Adjusted EBITDA margin 3.1 % 9.1 % (600) bps
Adjusted EBIT $ (211 ) $ 400 nmf
Adjusted EBIT margin (3.3 ) % 5.3 % (860) bps
EBIT $ 912 $ (520 ) nmf
EBIT margin 14.1 % (6.9 ) % 2100 bps
Net loss from continuing operations $ (170 ) $ (1,541 ) 89 %
Net loss from discontinued operations $ (398 ) $ (66 ) (503 ) %
Net loss $ (568 ) $ (1,607 ) 65 %
Diluted EPS from continuing operations (in dollars) $ (0.08 ) $ (0.65 ) $ 0.57
Diluted EPS from discontinued operations (in dollars) $ (0.29 ) $ (0.11 ) $ (0.18 )
$ (0.37 ) $ (0.76 ) $ 0.39
Adjusted net loss $ (1,115 ) $ (406 ) (175 ) %
Adjusted EPS (in dollars) $ (0.47 ) $ (0.18 ) $ (0.29 )
Cash flows from operating activities
Continuing operations $ (1,672 ) $ (253 ) (561 ) %
Discontinued operations $ (1,149 ) $ (427 ) (169 ) %
$ (2,821 ) $ (680 ) (315 ) %
Net additions to PP&E and intangible assets
Continuing operations $ 221 $ 366 (40 ) %
Discontinued operations $ 133 $ 157 (15 ) %
$ 354 $ 523 (32 ) %
Free cash flow usage
Continuing operations $ (1,893 ) $ (619 ) (206 ) %
Discontinued operations $ (1,282 ) $ (584 ) (120 ) %
$ (3,175 ) $ (1,203 ) (164 ) %
As at December 31 2020 2019 Variance
Cash and cash equivalents excluding Transportation $ 1,779 $ 2,089 (15 ) %
Cash and cash equivalents from Transportation $ 671 $ 540 24 %
$ 2,450 $ 2,629 (7 ) %
Available short–term capital resources(7) $ 3,203 $ 3,925 (18 ) %
Aviation order backlog (in billions of dollars)
Business aircraft $ 10.7 $ 14.4 (26 ) %
Other aviation(8) $ "" $ 1.9 (100 ) %
RESULTS
Fourth quarters ended
December 31
Fiscal years ended
December 31

2020
2019 2020
2019
restated
restated
Revenues $ 2,337 $ 2,412 $ 6,487 $ 7,488
Cost of sales 2,248 2,109 5,971 6,447
Gross margin 89 303 516 1,041
SG&A 117 126 420 557
R&D 144 65 320 156
Share of income of joint ventures and associates "" (56 ) (2 ) (34 )
Other income (7 ) "" (11 ) (38 )
Adjusted EBIT (165 ) 168 (211 ) 400
Special items (598 ) 1,628 (1,123 ) 920
EBIT 433 (1,460 ) 912 (520 )
Financing expense 240 236 1,060 996
Financing income (28 ) (93 ) (27 ) (226 )
EBT 221 (1,603 ) (121 ) (1,290 )
Income taxes 236 (75 ) 49 251
Net loss from continuing operations $ (15 ) $ (1,528 ) $ (170 ) $ (1,541 )
Net loss from discontinued operations $ (322 ) $ (191 ) $ (398 ) $ (66 )
Net loss $ (337 ) $ (1,719 ) $ (568 ) $ (1,607 )
Attributable to
Equity holders of Bombardier Inc. $ (423 ) $ (1,770 ) $ (868 ) $ (1,797 )
NCI $ 86 $ 51 $ 300 $ 190
EPS (in dollars)
Basic and diluted $ (0.18 ) $ (0.74 ) $ (0.37 ) $ (0.76 )
EPS from continuing operations (in dollars)
Basic and diluted $ (0.01 ) $ (0.64 ) $ (0.08 ) $ (0.65 )
As a percentage of total revenues
Gross margin 3.8 % 12.6 % 8.0 % 13.9 %
Adjusted EBIT (7.1 ) % 7.0 % (3.3 ) % 5.3 %
EBIT 18.5 % (60.5 ) % 14.1 % (6.9 ) %


SEGMENTED RESULTS AND HIGHLIGHTS

Aviation

RESULTS
For the fiscal years ended December 31 2020 2019 Variance
Revenues
Business aircraft 5,593 5,417 3 %
Other aviation 895 2,084 (57 ) %
Total Revenues 6,488 7,501 (14 ) %
Aircraft deliveries (in units)
Business aircraft 114 142 (28 )
Commercial aircraft (9) 5 33 (28 )
Adjusted EBITDA $ 286 $ 812 (65 ) %
Adjusted EBITDA margin 4.4 % 10.8 % (640) bps
Adjusted EBIT $ (125 ) $ 531 (124 ) %
Adjusted EBIT margin (1.9 ) % 7.1 % (900) bps
EBIT $ 937 $ 1,194 (22 ) %
EBIT margin 14.4 % 15.9 % (150) bps
Net additions to PP&E and intangible assets $ 221 $ 373 (41 ) %
As at December 31 2020
2019 Variance
Order backlog (in billions of dollars)
Business aircraft $ 10.7 $ 14.4 (26 ) %
Other aviation $ "" $ 1.9 (100 ) %
  • Revenues from Business Aircraft activities reached $5.6 billion in 2020, growing 3% year–over–year driven by the continued ramp up of Global 7500 aircraft deliveries, notwithstanding production rate adjustments on other platforms to align with market conditions and customer requirements in response to the COVID–19 pandemic.
    • Business aircraft manufacturing revenues increased 11% year–over–year, driven by the Global 7500 market shares gains in the extra long–range segment.
    • Services revenues were $988 million, 21% lower year–over–year, as the COVID–19 pandemic drove business jet utilization across the industry lower. The Corporation continues to position itself to capture future growth opportunities in aftermarket services by adding significant new capacity to its global network with major expansion projects underway in Singapore, London, Melbourne and Miami.
  • Business aircraft delivered 114 aircraft including specialized aircraft during the year, comprised of 59 Global, 44 Challenger, and 11 Learjet.
    • Deliveries peaked during the fourth quarter with 44 aircraft delivered, including a record 16 Global 7500 deliveries.
  • Other aviation revenues from commercial aircraft and aerostructures activities, which were divested during the course of the year, were $895 million.
  • Adjusted EBITDA and adjusted EBIT of 4.4% and (1.9)%, respectively, reflect lower aircraft deliveries and services activities, and low contribution of early Global 7500 units as the program continues to progress on its production learning curve, combined with the impact of reshaping a commercial agreement. Reported EBIT of $0.9 billion reflects the accounting gains on disposals of the CRJ and aerostructures businesses.
  • Business aircraft's multi–year backlog totalled $10.7 billion at the end of the year, reflecting higher order activity in the fourth quarter, net of reshaping a commercial agreement reclaiming 12 Global 7500 positions.
    • In December, Bombardier announced a firm order for 10 Challenger 350 aircraft in a transaction valued at $267 million, based on 2020 list prices. The firm commitment from an undisclosed customer represents one of the largest business jet orders of 2020 and underscores the desirability of best–selling Challenger 350 aircraft amid strong interest in business aviation and the enhanced safety it provides.

About Bombardier
Bombardier is a global leader in aviation, creating innovative and game–changing planes. Our products and services provide world–class experiences that set new standards in passenger comfort, energy efficiency, reliability and safety.

Headquartered in Montral, Canada, Bombardier is present in more than 12 countries including its production/engineering sites and its customer support network. The Corporation supports a worldwide fleet of approximately 4,900 aircraft in service with a wide variety of multinational corporations, charter and fractional ownership providers, governments and private individuals.

News and information is available at bombardier.com or follow us on Twitter @Bombardier.

Bombardier, Challenger, Challenger 350, Global, Global 7500, Learjet, Learjet 40 and Learjet 45 are trademarks of Bombardier Inc. or its subsidiaries.

For information

Jessica McDonald
Advisor, Media Relations and Public Affairs
Bombardier Inc.
+1 514 861 9481
Patrick Ghoche
Vice President, Investor Relations
Bombardier Inc.
+1 514 861 5727

Readers are strongly advised to view a more detailed discussion of our results by segment in our Management's Discussion and Analysis and Consolidated financial statements which are posted on our website at ir.bombardier.com.

bps: basis points
nmf: information not meaningful

(1) Non–GAAP financial measures. Refer to the Non–GAAP financial measures and Liquidity and capital resources sections in the MD&A of the Corporation's financial report for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020 for definitions of these metrics and the Analysis of results section thereafter for reconciliations to the most comparable IFRS measures.
(2) Non–GAAP financial measure. Pro–forma cash and cash equivalents includes cash and cash equivalents at Bombardier Inc. (excluding Transportation) of $1.8 billion as of December 31, 2020 and net proceeds of approximately $3.6 billion from the sale of Bombardier Transportation, which assumes the full monetization of Alstom shares worth approximately $600 million, the release of any cash not immediately available and is before the deployment of proceeds against any debt payment.
(3) Non–GAAP financial measure. Pro–forma net debt is defined as Long–term debt of $10.1 billion less cash and cash equivalents at Bombardier Inc. (excluding Transportation) of $1.8 billion as of December 31, 2020 less net proceeds of approximately $3.6 billion from the sale of Bombardier Transportation, which includes approximately $600 million of Alstom shares.
(4) See the forward–looking statements disclaimer at the end of this press release as well as the guidance and forward–looking statements section in the Overview section in the MD&A of the Corporation's financial report for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020, for details regarding the assumptions on which the forward–looking statements are based.
(5) Transportation was classified as discontinued operations as of December 31, 2020. As a result, the results of operations have been restated for comparative periods. Refer to Note 31 – Discontinued operations to our Consolidated financial statements for more details.
(6) Includes continuing operations only.
(7) Defined as cash and cash equivalents including cash and cash equivalents from Transportation plus the undrawn amounts under Transportation's revolving credit facility and our senior secured term loan.
(8) Included the firm orders amounting to $1.1 billion from the aerostructures businesses presented under Assets held for sale as of December 31, 2019. Also included 20 firm orders for CRJ900 as of December 31, 2019. The backlog for the CRJ Series aircraft program amounting to $0.4 billion was removed as a result of the closing of the sale of the CRJ Series aircraft program to MHI on June 1, 2020.
(9) On May 31, 2019, the Corporation completed the sale of the Q Series aircraft program assets, including aftermarket operations and assets, to De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited (formerly Longview Aircraft Company of Canada Limited). On June 1, 2020, the Corporation completed the sale of the regional jet program to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI).

CAUTION REGARDING NON–GAAP MEASURES
This press release is based on reported earnings in accordance with IFRS and on the following non–GAAP financial measures:

Non–GAAP financial measures
Adjusted EBIT EBIT excluding special items. Special items comprise items which do not reflect the Corporation's core performance or where their separate presentation will assist users of the consolidated financial statements in understanding the Corporation's results for the period. Such items include, among others, the impact of restructuring charges, impact of business disposals and significant impairment charges and reversals.
Adjusted EBITDA Adjusted EBIT plus amortization and impairment charges on PP&E and intangible assets.
Adjusted net income (loss) Net income (loss) excluding special items, accretion on net retirement benefit obligations, certain net gains and losses arising from changes in measurement of provisions and of financial instruments carried at FVTP&L and the related tax impacts of these items.
Adjusted EPS EPS calculated based on adjusted net income attributable to equity holders of Bombardier Inc., using the treasury stock method, giving effect to the exercise of all dilutive elements.
Free cash flow (usage) Cash flows from operating activities less net additions to PP&E and intangible assets.

Non–GAAP financial measures are mainly derived from the consolidated financial statements but do not have standardized meanings prescribed by IFRS. The exclusion of certain items from non–GAAP performance measures does not imply that these items are necessarily non–recurring. Other entities in our industry may define the above measures differently than we do. In those cases, it may be difficult to compare the performance of those entities to ours based on these similarly–named non–GAAP measures.

Adjusted EBIT, adjusted EBITDA, adjusted net income (loss) and adjusted EPS
Management uses adjusted EBIT, adjusted EBITDA, adjusted net income (loss) and adjusted EPS for purposes of evaluating underlying business performance. Management believes these non–GAAP earnings measures in addition to IFRS measures provide users of our Financial Report with enhanced understanding of our results and related trends and increases the transparency and clarity of the core results of our business. Adjusted EBIT, adjusted EBITDA, adjusted net income (loss) and adjusted EPS exclude items that do not reflect our core performance or where their exclusion will assist users in understanding our results for the period. For these reasons, a significant number of users of the MD&A analyze our results based on these financial measures. Management believes these measures help users of MD&A to better analyze results, enabling better comparability of our results from one period to another and with peers.

Free cash flow (usage)
Free cash flow is defined as cash flows from operating activities less net additions to PP&E and intangible assets. Management believes that this non–GAAP cash flow measure provides investors with an important perspective on the Corporation's generation of cash available for shareholders, debt repayment, and acquisitions after making the capital investments required to support ongoing business operations and long–term value creation. This non–GAAP cash flow measure does not represent the residual cash flow available for discretionary expenditures as it excludes certain mandatory expenditures such as repayment of maturing debt. Management uses free cash flow as a measure to assess both business performance and overall liquidity generation.

Reconciliations of non–GAAP financial measures to the most comparable IFRS financial measures are provided in the tables hereafter, except for the following reconciliations:

  • adjusted EBIT to EBIT "" see the Results of operations tables in the reporting segments and Consolidated results of operations section; and
  • free cash flow usage to cash flows from operating activities "" see and the tables below and the Free cash flow usage table in the Liquidity and capital resources section.
Reconciliation of segment to consolidated results
Fourth quarters ended
December 31

Fiscal years ended
December 31

2020
2019 (1) 2020
2019 (1)
Revenues
Aviation $ 2,337 $ 2,413 $ 6,488 $ 7,501
Transportation(1) 2,076 1,793 7,844 8,269
Corporate and Others "" (1 ) (1 ) (13 )
$ 4,413 $ 4,205 $ 14,331 $ 15,757
Reclassification(1) (2,076 ) (1,793 ) (7,844 ) (8,269 )
$ 2,337 $ 2,412 $ 6,487 $ 7,488
Adjusted EBIT(2)
Aviation $ (149 ) $ 143 $ (125 ) $ 531
Transportation(1) (340 ) (234 ) (610 ) 70
Corporate and Others(3) (16 ) 25 (86 ) (131 )
$ (505 ) $ (66 ) $ (821 ) $ 470
Reclassification(1) 340 234 610 (70 )
$ (165 ) $ 168 $ (211 ) $ 400
Special Items
Aviation $ (628 ) $ 49 $ (1,062 ) $ (663 )
Transportation(1) (4 ) 2 8 48
Corporate and Others 30 1,579 (61 ) 1,583
$ (602 ) $ 1,630 $ (1,115 ) $ 968
Reclassification(1) 4 (2 ) (8 ) (48 )
$ (598 ) $ 1,628 $ (1,123 ) $ 920
EBIT
Aviation $ 479 $ 94 $ 937 $ 1,194
Transportation(1) (336 ) (236 ) (618 ) 22
Corporate and Others(3) (46 ) (1,554 ) (25 ) (1,714 )
$ 97 $ (1,696 ) $ 294 $ (498 )
Reclassification(1) 336 236 618 (22 )
$ 433 $ (1,460 ) $ 912 $ (520 )

Reconciliation of adjusted EBITDA to EBIT (4)
Fourth quarters
ended December 31
Fiscal years
ended December 31
2020 2019 2020 2019
EBIT $ 433 $ (1,460 ) $ 912 $ (520 )
Amortization 164 91 411 283
Impairment charges on PP&E and intangible assets(5) 17 "" 42 1
Special items excluding impairment charges on PP&E and intangible assets(5) (615 ) 1,628 (1,165 ) 920
Adjusted EBITDA $ (1 ) $ 259 $ 200 $ 684

(1) Transportation was classified as discontinued operations as of December 31, 2020. As a result, the results of operations have been restated for comparative periods. Refer to Note 31 – Discontinued operations to our Consolidated financial statements for more details.
(2) Non–GAAP financial measure. Refer to the Non–GAAP financial measures section for a definition of this metric.
(3) Includes share of income from ACLP of $3 million for fiscal year ended December 31, 2020. ($57 million and $37 million for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended December 31, 2019, respectively. The share of net gains from ACLP in the fourth quarter of 2019 includes certain provision reversals within ACLP amounting to approximately $60 million.) On February 12, 2020, Bombardier transferred its remaining interest in ACLP to Airbus and the Government of Qubec.
(4) Includes continuing operations only.
(5) Refer to the Consolidated results of operations section for details regarding special items.

Reconciliation of adjusted net income (loss) to net loss and computation of adjusted EPS(1)
Fourth quarters ended December 31
2020
2019
(per share)
(per share)
Net loss from continuing operations $ (15 ) $ (1,528 )
Adjustments to EBIT related to special items(2) (598 ) $ (0.25 ) 1,628 $ 0.68
Adjustments to net financing expense related to:
Accretion on net retirement benefit obligations 13 0.01 17 $ ""
Net change in provisions arising from changes in interest rates and net loss on certain financial instruments (24 ) (0.01 ) (78 ) (0.03 )
Tax impact of special(2) and other adjusting items 149 0.06 (28 ) (0.01 )
Adjusted net income (loss) (475 ) 11
Preferred share dividends, including taxes 1 (7 )
Adjusted net income (loss) attributable to equity holders of Bombardier Inc. $ (474 ) $ 4
Weighted–average adjusted diluted number of common shares (in thousands) 2,419,541 2,397,868
Adjusted EPS $ (0.20 ) $ 0.00

Reconciliation of adjusted EPS to diluted EPS (in dollars) (1)
Fourth quarters ended December 31
2020
2019
Diluted EPS from continuing operations $ (0.01 ) $ (0.64 )
Impact of special(2) and other adjusting items (0.19 ) 0.64
Adjusted EPS $ (0.20 ) $ 0.00

Reconciliation of adjusted net loss to net loss and computation of adjusted EPS(1)
Fiscal years ended December 31
2020
2019
(per share)
(per share)
Net loss from continuing operations $ (170 ) $ (1,541 )
Adjustments to EBIT related to special items(2) (1,123 ) $ (0.47 ) 920 $ 0.39
Adjustments to net financing expense related to:
Loss on repurchase of long–term debt(2) "" "" 84 0.03
Accretion on net retirement benefit obligations 52 0.02 56 0.02
Net change in provisions arising from changes in interest rates and net loss (gain) on certain financial instruments 159 0.07 (140 ) (0.06 )
Tax impact of special(2) and other adjusting items (33 ) (0.01 ) 215 0.09
Adjusted net loss (1,115 ) (406 )
Preferred share dividends, including taxes (18 ) (21 )
Adjusted net loss attributable to equity holders of Bombardier Inc. $ (1,133 ) $ (427 )
Weighted–average adjusted diluted number of common shares (in thousands) 2,408,209 2,383,987
Adjusted EPS $ (0.47 ) $ (0.18 )

Reconciliation of adjusted EPS to diluted EPS (in dollars)(1)
Fiscal years ended December 31
2020
2019
Diluted EPS from continuing operations $ (0.08 ) $ (0.65 )
Impact of special(2) and other adjusting items (0.39 ) 0.47
Adjusted EPS $ (0.47 ) $ (0.18 )

(1) Includes continuing operations only.
(2) Refer to the Consolidated results of operations section for details regarding special items.

Reconciliation of free cash flow (usage) (1) to cash flows from operating activities
Fourth quarters
ended December 31
Fiscal years
ended December 31
2020 2019 2020 2019
Cash flows from operating activities 323 1,073 $ (2,821 ) $ (680 )
Net additions to PP&E and intangible assets (114 ) (121 ) (354 ) (523 )
Free cash flow (usage) (1) $ 209 $ 952 $ (3,175 ) $ (1,203 )

(1) Non–GAAP financial measure. Refer to the Non–GAAP financial measures section for a definition of this metric.

FORWARD–LOOKING STATEMENTS

This press release includes forward–looking statements, which may involve, but are not limited to: statements with respect to our objectives, anticipations and outlook or guidance in respect of various financial and global metrics and sources of contribution thereto, targets, goals, priorities, market and strategies, financial position, financial performance, market position, capabilities, competitive strengths, credit ratings, beliefs, prospects, plans, expectations, anticipations, estimates and intentions; general economic and business outlook, prospects and trends of an industry; customer value; expected demand for products and services; growth strategy; product development, including projected design, characteristics, capacity or performance; expected or scheduled entry–into–service of products and services, orders, deliveries, testing, lead times, certifications and execution of orders in general; competitive position; expectations regarding revenue and backlog mix; the expected impact of the legislative and regulatory environment and legal proceedings; strength of capital profile and balance sheet, creditworthiness, available liquidities and capital resources, expected financial requirements, and ongoing review of strategic and financial alternatives; the introduction of, productivity enhancements, operational efficiencies, cost reduction and restructuring initiatives, and anticipated costs, intended benefits and timing thereof; the anticipated business transition to growth cycle and cash generation; expectations, objectives and strategies regarding debt repayment, refinancing of maturities and interest cost reduction; expectations regarding availability of government assistance programs, compliance with restrictive debt covenants; expectations regarding the declaration and payment of dividends on our preferred shares; intentions and objectives for our programs, assets and operations; and the impact of the COVID–19 pandemic on the foregoing and the effectiveness of plans and measures we have implemented in response thereto; and expectations regarding gradual market and economic recovery in the aftermath of the COVID–19 pandemic. As it relates to the sale of the Transportation business to Alstom, this press release also contains forward–looking statements with respect to the benefits of such transaction, the use of the proceeds derived from the transaction and its impact on our outlook, guidance and targets, operations, infrastructure, opportunities, financial condition, business plan and overall strategy.

Forward–looking statements can generally be identified by the use of forward–looking terminology such as "may", "will", "shall", "can", "expect", "estimate", "intend", "anticipate", "plan", "foresee", "believe", "continue", "maintain" or "align", the negative of these terms, variations of them or similar terminology. Forward–looking statements are presented for the purpose of assisting investors and others in understanding certain key elements of our current objectives, strategic priorities, expectations, outlook and plans, and in obtaining a better understanding of our business and anticipated operating environment. Readers are cautioned that such information may not be appropriate for other purposes.

By their nature, forward–looking statements require management to make assumptions and are subject to important known and unknown risks and uncertainties, which may cause our actual results in future periods to differ materially from forecast results set forth in forward–looking statements. While management considers these assumptions to be reasonable and appropriate based on information currently available, there is risk that they may not be accurate. The assumptions underlying the forward–looking statements made in this press release in relation to the sale of the Transportation business to Alstom discussed herein include the following material assumptions: the realization of the intended benefits from this transaction and the deployment of proceeds towards debt pay down. For additional information, including with respect to other assumptions underlying the forward–looking statements made in this press release, refer to the Guidance and Forward–looking Statements section in the MD&A of our financial report for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020. Given the impact of the changing circumstances surrounding the COVID–19 pandemic and the related response from the Corporation, governments (federal, provincial and municipal), regulatory authorities, businesses, suppliers, customers, counterparties and third–party service providers, there is inherently more uncertainty associated with the Corporation's assumptions as compared to prior years.

Certain factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated in the forward–looking statements include, but are not limited to, risks associated with general economic conditions, risks associated with our business environment (such as risks associated with the financial condition of business aircraft customers; trade policy; increased competition; political instability and force majeure events or global climate change), operational risks (such as risks related to developing new products and services; development of new business ; order backlog; the transition to a pure–play business aviation company; the certification of products and services; the execution of orders; pressures on cash flows and capital expenditures based on seasonality and cyclicality; execution of our strategy, productivity enhancements, operational efficiencies, restructuring and cost reduction initiatives; doing business with partners; product performance warranty and casualty claim losses; regulatory and legal proceedings; environmental, health and safety risks; dependence on certain customers, contracts and suppliers; supply chain risks; human resources; reliance on information systems; reliance on and protection of intellectual property rights; reputation risks; risk management; tax matters; and adequacy of insurance coverage), financing risks (such as risks related to liquidity and access to capital markets; retirement benefit plan risk; exposure to credit risk; substantial debt and interest payment requirements; restrictive debt covenants; reliance on debt management and interest cost reduction strategies; and reliance on government support), market risks (such as foreign currency fluctuations; changing interest rates; increases in commodity prices; and inflation rate fluctuations). For more details, see the Risks and uncertainties section in Other in the MD&A of our financial report for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020. Any one or more of the foregoing factors may be exacerbated by the ongoing COVID–19 outbreak and may have a significantly more severe impact on the Corporation's business, results of operations and financial condition than in the absence of such outbreak. As a result of the current COVID–19 pandemic, additional factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated in the forward–looking statements include, but are not limited to: risks related to the impact and effects of the COVID–19 pandemic on economic conditions and financial markets and the resulting impact on our business, operations, capital resources, liquidity, financial condition, margins, prospects and results; uncertainty regarding the magnitude and length of economic disruption as a result of the COVID–19 outbreak and the resulting effects on the demand environment for our products and services; uncertainty regarding market and economic recovery in the aftermath of the COVID–19 pandemic; emergency measures and restrictions imposed by public health authorities or governments, fiscal and monetary policy responses by governments and financial institutions; disruptions to global supply chain, customers, workforce, counterparties and third–party service providers; further disruptions to operations, orders and deliveries; technology, privacy, cyber security and reputational risks; and other unforeseen adverse events.

Readers are cautioned that the foregoing list of factors that may affect future growth, results and performance is not exhaustive and undue reliance should not be placed on forward–looking statements. Other risks and uncertainties not presently known to us or that we presently believe are not material could also cause actual results or events to differ materially from those expressed or implied in our forward–looking statements. The forward–looking statements set forth herein reflect management's expectations as at the date of this report and are subject to change after such date. Unless otherwise required by applicable securities laws, we expressly disclaim any intention, and assume no obligation to update or revise any forward–looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. The forward–looking statements contained in this press release are expressly qualified by this cautionary statement.


Where do UN Diplomats Hide During Politically-Sensitive Voting?

By Thalif Deen
NEW YORK, Feb 11 2021 – The United Nations, created in 1945 following the devastation caused by World War II, was mandated with one central mission: the maintenance of international peace and security.

But the 76-year-old Organization and its affiliated bodies – including the 193-member General Assembly and the 15-member Security Council— take decisions mostly by open voting, and few, by secret ballot.

But the seriousness of the UN’s far-reaching mandate has been tempered by occasional moments of levity which have rocked the Glass House by the East River— with laughter.

The UN is a rich source of anecdotes—both real and apocryphal– in which the General Assembly (UNGA), the UN’s highest policy-making body, takes center stage, along with the Security Council (UNSC) as a political sidekick.

When UN ambassadors and delegates congregate in the cavernous General Assembly hall at voting time, they have one of three options: either vote for, against, or abstain.

The most intriguing, however, is a fourth option: to be suddenly struck with an urge to rush to the toilet. The frantic attempt to leave your seat vacant — and consequently be counted as “absent”– takes place whenever the issue is politically-sensitive.

When delegates are unable to vote with their conscience– don’t want to incur the wrath of mostly Western aid donors or are taken unawares with no specific instructions from their capitals– they flee their seats.

At a lunch for reporters in his town house bordering Park Avenue in Manhattan, (“this was once owned by Gucci, now owned by Fulci”), Ambassador Francesco Paolo Fulci, an Italian envoy with a sharp sense of humor, described the fourth option as the “toilet factor” in UN voting.

And he jokingly suggested that the only way to resolve the problem is to install portable toilets in the back of the General Assembly hall so that delegates can still cast their votes while contemplating on their toilet seats. But for obvious reasons, there were no takers.

The UN General Assembly in session. Credit: UN Photo/Manuel Elias

Regrettably, the voting habits at the UN were not recorded when the world body commemorated the “International Year of Sanitation” in 2008, highlighting the fact that roughly 2.6 billion people worldwide do not have access to toilets or basic sanitation.

Not surprisingly, UN delegates were excluded from that collective head count because the Secretariat never ran out of toilets. But the joke lingered on.

In most instances, the various regional groups and coalitions—including the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the Group of 77, the Latin American and Caribbean States, the African Union (AU) and the Western European and Others (WEOG)— take decisions behind closed doors ahead of voting.

But even though the “herd mentality” continues in most UN voting, there are rare occasions of an unscheduled vote taking delegates by surprise.

In the 1970s and 80s, the 116-member Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), founded in Belgrade in 1961, was one of the largest and most powerful political coalitions at the UN led by countries such as Yugoslavia, India, Egypt, Ghana, Indonesia, Zambia, Cuba and Sri Lanka.

As a general rule, all 116 countries vote in unison on General Assembly resolutions rarely breaking ranks.

A Sri Lankan ambassador once recounted a message transmitted from his Foreign Ministry in Colombo – primarily directed at newly-arrived delegates which read— “If you are faced with an unscheduled surprise vote, and do not have any instructions from the Foreign Ministry, look to the right to see how Yugoslavia is voting and look to the left to see how India is voting. If both ambassadors are seen bolting from their seats, just follow them to the toilet”.

But NAM was a political power house in the 1970s and 80s. Still, when Sri Lankan President J.R. Jayewardene (JRJ) inherited the chairmanship in February 1978, he was skeptical of NAM which was known to be politically independent, with no strong links to either of the world’s two superpowers at that time, namely the US and the Soviet Union, who were engaged in a longstanding and bitter Cold War.

In an interview with an American news reporter, JRJ downgraded the political myth about “non-alignment” when he infamously declared there were only two “non-aligned countries” in the world: the US and the Soviet Union. All other countries, he argued, were politically aligned either with the US or the Soviets.

The quote was apparently off- the-record and not-for attribution, but the reporter couldn’t resist the temptation of running with it.

In September 1979, when JRJ handed over the chairmanship of NAM to Cuba at a summit meeting in Havana, the Western world and the mainstream media never accepted the fact that a strong pro-Soviet ally like Havana could ever be a “non-aligned” country.

As a result, right throughout Cuba’s chairmanship of NAM (1979-1983), the New York Times, perhaps as part of its editorial policy, never wavered describing NAM as a “so called Non-Aligned Movement” in every news story published in the paper. The “so called” label was dropped only when India took over the chairmanship of NAM in 1983.

When “non-alignment” was a political buzz word and NAM was in full swing, a UN diplomat once recounted the economic progress in Yugoslavia which had produced the Yugo, a small hatchback that arrived in United States in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

According to a report in the New York Times, the Yugo was said to be the first car from a Communist country to reach the American market. Equipped with front-wheel drive and a 55-horsepower engine, it sold at a base price of about $3,990, one of the cheapest in the market.

But when scores of cars kept breaking down in the streets of New York, the Yugo was dubbed “an unaligned car from a non-aligned country.” A political twist perhaps planted by the American automobile industry.

The only thing missing was a bumper sticker which should have read: “The parts falling off this car were made of the finest Yugoslav steel” (a parody of a quote once attributed to a motorist with his broken-down British-made car).

The book is available on Amazon. The link follows:

https://www.rodericgrigson.com/no-comment-by-thalif-deen/

  

COVID-19 Pandemic has Shown Humanity at its Best– & at its Worst

A health worker at a local health centre in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, prepares a vaccine injection. The dispatch of millions of COVID-19 vaccines to Africa started in February. Credit: UNICEF/Sibylle Desjardins

By Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
GENEVA, Feb 11 2021 – WHO and UNICEF have a long, deep and very special relationship. Neither of us could do what we do without the other.

UNICEF’s success is WHO’s success, and we are proud to be your partner on so many issues: Ebola, polio, maternal health, nutrition, infection prevention and control, primary health care – the list is long.

Never has our partnership been more important than it is now. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our world in ways we could never have imagined when it started just over a year ago.

It’s sobering to think that on this day 12 months ago, more than 3000 new cases of COVID-19 were reported to WHO. Yesterday, 3000 cases were reported every 15 minutes. The pandemic has held a mirror up to our world. It has shown humanity at its best and worst.

It has exposed and exploited the fault lines, inequalities, injustices and contradictions of our world, within and between countries. The pandemic has also become a child emergency, with children bearing both its direct and indirect consequences.

Children may be at lower risk of severe disease and death from COVID-19, but they have suffered many of the most severe social and economic consequences, and will bear a large burden of the long-term fallout.

Many children have missed out on months of schooling, and have been exposed to a greater risk of violence. Girls are especially at risk in places where they may never go back to school, as they approach the age when they will go to work or be married.

Since the beginning, UNICEF has been, and will continue to be, an indispensable partner in ensuring that children are a primary consideration in the global response to COVID-19.

Together, we have engaged, empowered and communicated with communities about the risks of COVID-19 and how to stay safe; We have developed joint guidance for the prevention and control of COVID-19 in schools;

We’ve supported health workers with improved infection prevention and control, and we’ve supported them to deliver better care and psycho-social support for patients, their families and communities; We’ve procured and delivered essential supplies;

We’ve provided the joint analytics that are key to an effective pandemic response; We’ve supported countries to maintain essential health services, including in humanitarian settings;

And through the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator and COVAX, we are poised for the largest vaccination campaign in history. Vaccines are the shot in the arm we all need, literally and metaphorically.

But we must also remember that vaccines will complement, not replace, the proven public health measures that countries around the world have used successfully to prevent and contain widespread transmission.

As governments, institutions and individuals, we all have a role to play in stopping this pandemic with the tools we have. The pandemic will subside, but the inequalities that preceded it will still be there.

There’s no vaccine for climate change, poverty or malnutrition. None of these challenges can be met by a single agency. Let me outline three areas in which the partnership between WHO and UNICEF, bilaterally and through the Global Action Plan on Health and Well-Being for All, must become even deeper and stronger as we work together to support countries to respond, recover and rebuild.

First, as we support countries to respond to the pandemic, we must ensure that all people and communities enjoy equitable access to life-saving vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics – rich and poor, urban and rural, citizen and refugee.

A year ago, we were defenceless against this virus. Now we can detect it with rapid diagnostic tests, we can treat it with dexamethasone and oxygen, and we can prevent it with vaccines. The urgency, ambition and resources with which vaccines have been developed must be matched by the same urgency, ambition and resources to distribute them fairly.

UNICEF has played a vital role in procuring vaccines and preparing countries to deploy them rapidly once they receive them. Together, we have supported 124 countries to perform readiness assessments for vaccination.

But we face significant challenges. More than 130 million doses of vaccine have now been deployed globally, but 75% of them have been in only ten countries that account for 60% of global GDP.

Meanwhile, almost 130 countries, with 2.5 billion people, have yet to administer a single dose. Many of these countries are also struggling to secure the resources for testing, personal protective equipment, oxygen, and medicines.

I have issued a call to action to ensure that by World Health Day on the 7th of April, vaccination of health workers is underway in all countries. UNICEF can play a key role in meeting that challenge. As a trusted advocate, you can use your voice and experience in communities to build acceptance of vaccines;

You can deploy your unparalleled logistics and supply capacities to deliver vaccines to the last mile; You can negotiate the best deals for the communities you serve; And you can mobilize your networks of National Committees to resource this historic effort to save lives and livelihoods.

Second, as we support countries to recover from the pandemic, we must support them to maintain essential health services, including routine immunization for children. The pandemic has shown that we can only meet the major crises of our time with a whole-of-government, whole-of-society approach.

In the same way, the challenges of child development can only be met with a multi-sectoral approach that addresses their access to services, their mental health and well-being, their nutrition, their risk factors for developing NCDs later in life, their educational outcomes, their chances on employment, and their need to be protected from violence.

And third, as we support countries to rebuild from the pandemic, we must invest in primary health care. The pandemic has given us a brutal reminder of the importance of primary health care, as the eyes and ears of every health system, and the foundation of universal health coverage.

Ultimately, our fight is not against a single virus. Our fight is against the inequalities that leave children in some countries exposed to deadly diseases that are easily prevented in others; Our fight is against the inequalities that mean women and their babies die during childbirth in some countries because of complications that are easily prevented in others;

And our fight is to ensure that health is no longer a commodity or a luxury item, but a fundamental human right, and the foundation of the safer, fairer and more sustainable world we all want.

History will not judge us solely by how we ended the COVID-19 pandemic, but what we learned, what we changed, and the future we left our children.

*WHO Director-General in his opening remarks before the UNICEF Executive Board

 


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Give us Access to Tigray to Find Missing Refugees — NRC Pleas

The rugged landscape of Tigray, Ethiopia’s most northern region, stretches away to the north and into Eritrea. The Tigray Region has been rocked by conflict since November 2020, when forces loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front clashed with federal soldiers over the autonomy of the region and the composition of the federal government. (File photo) Credit: James Jeffrey/IPS

The rugged landscape of Tigray, Ethiopia’s most northern region, stretches away to the north and into Eritrea. The Tigray Region has been rocked by conflict since November 2020, when forces loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front clashed with federal soldiers over the autonomy of the region and the composition of the federal government. (File photo) Credit: James Jeffrey/IPS

By Alison Kentish
UNITED NATIONS, Feb 11 2021 – The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has called for unimpeded access to all parts of Ethiopia’s Tigray Region, to locate an estimated 20,000 unaccounted for refugees and assess damage to its Hitsaats Camp which was looted and set alight in early January.

“3,000 of the refugees have been relocated or have been able to move themselves to camps in southern Tigray, but that leaves possibly as many as 20,000 completely unaccounted for and that’s the real problem. We don’t know where those people are,” Jeremy Taylor, NRC’s head of Advocacy, Media and Communications for East Africa and Yemen Region, told IPS. He added that according to satellite imagery, NRC believes that the camps were empty at the time of the looting and burning.

The NRC’s Shimelba and Hitsaats camps provided shelter and food for about 25,000 Eritrean refugees and asylum seekers. The Tigray Region has been rocked by conflict since November 2020, when forces loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front clashed with federal soldiers over the autonomy of the region and the composition of the federal government. Recent satellite imagery received by the NRC shows the camp among buildings looted and burned between Jan. 5 and 8. A school and a health clinic were also damaged.

Operations at the NRC camps stopped in November, at the start of the conflict. The camps house education facilities including eight classrooms, child friendly spaces and Youth Education Pack Centre which provides instruction in literacy and life skills for children separated from their parents. The interruption in services to the displaced coincided with a blackout of the Tigray Region. Telecoms services were cut and roads were blocked.

The NRC has condemned the destruction of its buildings, stating that the “rampage of burning and looting by armed men deepens an already dire crisis for millions of people”. It has called on the government and donor nations to investigate the destruction and hold perpetrators to account.

Taylor said NRC employees fled to their villages and some later travelled to urban areas to send word about the dire situation in Tigray.

“For three months that region has been completely blocked off from the world. The reports that have trickled out speak to extensive violence, extensive conflict and extensive impact on civilians,” he said.

The NRC says three months since the start of the conflict, fighting and tough bureaucratic challenges are impending humanitarian access into Tigray and rendering independent verification of the fate of refugees and facilities impossible.

The World Food Programme (WFP) said on Feb. 6 that it had struck an access deal with the Abiy Ahmed government that would boost transportation capacity and ensure strengthened partnership with the authorities to deliver humanitarian assistance into Tigray.

“WFP has also agreed to provide emergency food relief assistance to up to 1 million people in Tigray and launch a blanket supplementary feeding intervention to assist up to 875,000 nutritionally vulnerable children and pregnant and lactating mothers,” the statement added.

In Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region. Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) says that for three months Ethiopia’s Tigray Region has been completely blocked off from the world. The reports that have trickled out speak to extensive violence, extensive conflict and extensive impact on civilians, the humanitarian agency says. (File photo) Credit: James Jeffrey/IPS

In Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region. Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) says that for three months Ethiopia’s Tigray Region has been completely blocked off from the world. The reports that have trickled out speak to extensive violence, extensive conflict and extensive impact on civilians, the humanitarian agency says. (File photo) Credit: James Jeffrey/IPS

Acknowledging that the food and nutrition security situation is “especially challenging,” the WFP called for “strong partnership between the government and the entire humanitarian community” to quickly heighten response to the humanitarian needs. The NRC says, a good start would be unfettered access to the area for aid agencies.

“Some aid has got in, but it is a trickle of it. It has been patchwork and it has only reached certain parts of the Region – mostly main towns and main roads controlled by the government. It is not being sustained,” said Taylor.

The NRC has welcomed the WFP’s statement, but says while it is indicative of progress, some major challenges remain.

“Until we are able to access all parts of Tigray, until we are able to access the areas where the camps were we just will not be able to know what happened to them and we will not know the full extent of the damage to our facilities because satellite imagery can only show so much,” said Taylor.

The NRC says for Tigray, a response that aligns with the scale and breadth of the crisis has not started. Taylor says humanitarian aid work would require an assessment to people’s location and their needs. For now, the NRC is not able to do that.

“What is needed is complete access to all parts of the region to bring in supplies and people. The real issue here is what happened to the people and that is our main concern.”