2023 Digital Therapeutics Alliance Inaugural Summit: DTx Industry Leaders Gather to Transform Global Healthcare

Arlington, VA, March 30, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Digital Therapeutics Alliance (DTA) is hosting its Inaugural Summit on June 7–9, 2023 at the Washington Marriott at Metro Center. Leaders from all facets of the digital therapeutics (DTx) ecosystem, including policymakers, clinicians, and payors, will join DTA members to discuss the challenges and opportunities of DTx integration into the healthcare system and identify optimized policy, reimbursement, and regulatory pathways to accelerate adoption.

The 3–day Summit programming will be facilitated by Andy Molnar, Chief Executive Officer of DTA, and feature keynote presentations, panel discussions, and interactive sessions that cover the advancement of DTx, the impact of healthcare policy, reimbursement and regulatory pathways, clinical evidence requirements, and patient access optimization.

DTA's Chief Executive Officer, Andy Molnar states: "We are here to transform healthcare and deliver a new category of medicine to patients to improve their lives. The 2023 DTA Inaugural Summit brings together the leaders in healthcare innovation that are making these monumental changes. We are building viable frameworks with partners from Capitol Hill, the investment ecosystem, clinicians, health plans, patients, and caregivers."

DTx products use evidence–based, clinically evaluated technologies to optimize clinical and health economic outcomes, deliver high quality therapies to underserved populations, and transform how patients understand, manage, and engage in their healthcare.

Leading into the Summit, US–focused DTA members and staff will convene in Washington D.C. to meet with congressional members and other influential parties to advocate for the Access to Prescription Digital Therapeutics Act (S. 723 and H.R. 1458).This bill seeks to create a new benefit category for digital therapeutics and ensure permanent coverage and reimbursement of DTx products by Medicare and Medicaid.

Everett Crosland, DTA board member and Chief Commercial Officer for Cognito Therapeutics, commented, "Given the rapidly evolving reimbursement environment, DTA's 2023 Inaugural Summit offers the DTx industry an unprecedented opportunity to engage and advocate on the issues that matter most to our companies, patients, providers, and payor partners. I'm excited to speak about the emerging frameworks that are shaping our future."

Event details and registration: 2023 DTA Inaugural Summit

About DTA:

The Digital Therapeutics Alliance (DTA) is a global non–profit trade association of industry leaders and stakeholders with the mission of broadening the understanding, adoption, and integration of digital therapeutics into healthcare. DTA works to enable expanded access to high quality, evidence–based digital therapeutics for patients, clinicians, and payors to improve clinical and health economic outcomes. To learn more, please visit: www.dtxalliance.org and follow us on LinkedIn.


GLOBENEWSWIRE (Distribution ID 8799236)

The Coretec Group Announces Two Upcoming Broadcast Calls

ANN ARBOR, Mich., March 30, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Coretec Group (OTCQB: CRTG), developers of silicon anode active materials for lithium–ion batteries and cyclohexasilane (CHS) for EV, cleantech, and emerging tech applications, today announced that it will host and participate in two upcoming calls – one being a shareholder call addressing shareholder questions, reflecting on recent achievements and demonstrating the path forward, and the second focused on the current battery landscape with energy storage industry leaders.

The shareholder call will take place on Thursday, May 18th at 10:00 am ET and will be led by CEO Matt Kappers and VP of Partnerships and Innovation, Dr. Michelle Tokarz. It will outline advancements made within Coretec's Endurion battery development program for EV application, IP updates, and clear next steps for the Company as it moves forward in the commercialization of its product.

The technology call will center more on industry happenings, hurdles, and advancements related to the manufacturing, supply chain, and commercialization of next generation EV batteries, giving the Endurion team the opportunity to discuss their solution. The Company will share an announcement about this call, which will include members of other organizations and an independent host, in the coming weeks.

Both calls are intended to inform shareholders and partners, and highlight Coretec's suite of technology products, as well as the critical market needs it seeks to address.

The Company will provide call access information via press release and social media in advance of the calls. Please follow on Twitter at @CoretecGroupInc or the Company's LinkedIn page.

About The Coretec Group

The Coretec Group, Inc. is developing a portfolio of engineered silicon to improve energy–focused verticals, including electric vehicle and consumer batteries, solid–state lighting (LEDs), and semiconductors, as well as 3D volumetric displays and printable electronics. The Coretec Group serves the global technology markets in energy, electronics, semiconductor, solar, health, environment, and security.

For more information, please visit thecoretecgroup.com.

Follow The Coretec Group on:

Twitter "" @CoretecGroupInc
LinkedIn "" www.linkedin.com/company/24789881
YouTube "" www.youtube.com/channel/UC1IA9C6PoPd1G4M7B9QiZPQ/featured

Forward–Looking Statements

The statements in this press release that relate to The Coretec Group's expectations with regard to the future impact on the Company's results from operations are forward–looking statements and may involve risks and uncertainties, some of which are beyond our control. Such risks and uncertainties are described in greater detail in our filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Since the information in this press release may contain statements that involve risk and uncertainties and are subject to change at any time, the Company's actual results may differ materially from expected results. We make no commitment to disclose any subsequent revisions to forward–looking statements. This release does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of offers to buy any securities of any entity.

Corporate Contact:

The Coretec Group, Inc.
Lindsay McCarthy
+1 (866) 916–0833

Media Contact:

Spencer Herrmann
FischTank PR
+1 (518) 669–6818

GLOBENEWSWIRE (Distribution ID 8798974)

Vista Equity Partners Completes Acquisition of Duck Creek Technologies

Boston, March 30, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Duck Creek Technologies ("Duck Creek"), the intelligent solutions provider defining the future of property and casualty (P&C) and general insurance, today announced the completion of its acquisition by Vista Equity Partners ("Vista"), a leading global investment firm focused exclusively on enterprise software, data, and technology–enabled businesses, for $19.00 per share, in an all–cash transaction valued at approximately $2.6 billion.

"We are excited to commence our partnership with Vista Equity Partners and work together to advance the next generation of P&C insurance technology," said Michael Jackowski, Chief Executive Officer of Duck Creek. "With Vista's global network and deep sector expertise, we will be better positioned to support and accelerate the industry's transition to the cloud while continuing to deliver a best–in–class customer experience."

"Duck Creek is a demonstrated leader in the P&C space, delivering innovative solutions that empower carriers to be faster and more nimble in servicing the digital needs of their customers," said Monti Saroya, Senior Managing Director and Co–Head of Vista's Flagship Fund. "We look forward to partnering with Mike and the Duck Creek team as they continue to scale and define the future of P&C insurance technology."

"We're excited to welcome Duck Creek to the Vista ecosystem," said Jeff Wilson, Managing Director at Vista. "Their commitment to excellence and innovation coupled with Vista's experience in driving sustainable growth will take the business to new heights while delivering solutions that help carriers transform their business."

Duck Creek has earned the right to partner with and provide its modern technology solutions to an esteemed list of leading carriers across the globe, including Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance, Hollard Insurance, Northbridge Financial Corporation and Tokio Marine.

With the completion of the transaction, Duck Creek Technologies shares have ceased trading and are no longer listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market.

J.P. Morgan acted as financial advisor to Duck Creek, and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP acted as legal counsel to Duck Creek.

Evercore acted as financial advisor to the Special Committee of the Duck Creek Board of Directors, and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP acted as legal counsel to the Special Committee of the Duck Creek Board of Directors.

RBC Capital Markets acted as financial advisor to Vista, and Kirkland & Ellis LLP acted as legal counsel to Vista.

About Duck Creek Technologies

Duck Creek Technologies is the intelligent solutions provider defining the future of the property and casualty (P&C) and general insurance industry. We are the platform upon which modern insurance systems are built, enabling the industry to capitalize on the power of the cloud to run agile, intelligent, and evergreen operations. Authenticity, purpose, and transparency are core to Duck Creek, and we believe insurance should be there for individuals and businesses when, where, and how they need it most. Our market–leading solutions are available on a standalone basis or as a full suite, and all are available via Duck Creek OnDemand. Visit www.duckcreek.com to learn more. Follow Duck Creek on our social channels for the latest information "" LinkedIn and Twitter.

About Vista Equity Partners

Vista is a leading global investment firm with more than $95 billion in assets under management as of September 30, 2022. The firm exclusively invests in enterprise software, data and technology–enabled organizations across private equity, permanent capital, credit and public equity strategies, bringing an approach that prioritizes creating enduring market value for the benefit of its global ecosystem of investors, companies, customers and employees. Vista's investments are anchored by a sizable long–term capital base, experience in structuring technology–oriented transactions and proven, flexible management techniques that drive sustainable growth. Vista believes the transformative power of technology is the key to an even better future "" a healthier planet, a smarter economy, a diverse and inclusive community and a broader path to prosperity. Further information is available at vistaequitypartners.com. Follow Vista on LinkedIn, @Vista Equity Partners, and on Twitter, @Vista_Equity.

GLOBENEWSWIRE (Distribution ID 8798688)

Malawi: Cyclone Freddy Devastates Communities, Farmers, Heightens Food Insecurity

Malawi’s Department of Disaster Management Affairs shows that 2.2 million people have been affected, with 676 killed and 538 missing after Cyclone Freddy hit Malawi earlier this month. Credit: Red Cross

Malawi’s Department of Disaster Management Affairs shows that 2.2 million people have been affected, with 676 killed and 538 missing after Cyclone Freddy hit Malawi earlier this month. Credit: Red Cross

By Charles Mpaka
SONJEKE, MALAWI, Mar 30 2023 – In Sonjeka village in Mulanje district, which lies on the border with Mozambique in southern Malawi, destroyed crop fields stretch almost interminably after floods ripped through them when Tropical Cyclone Freddy pounded the country.

One of those fields lying in waste with its drying maize stalks flattened to the ground, if not ripped off altogether, belongs to Eliza Mponya.

A field close to a hectare in size, this has been the lifeline for the single mother and her four children.

Not that it gives her all the maize which the family needs for the whole year, but it still gets Mponya and her children enough to carry them close to the next harvesting season.

By her estimation, this year, she would have harvested maize that would have lasted the family until the end of November.

Crops destroyed by Cyclone Freddy, which left at least 676 dead and 650 000 displaced. Credit: Charles Mpaka/IPS

Crops destroyed by Cyclone Freddy, which left at least 676 dead and 650 000 displaced. Credit: Charles Mpaka/IPS

“We had good rains here, and we were lucky because my son found piece work in Mozambique, and we managed some fertiliser through what he earned.

“But now, after all the hard work and just when we were close to reaping the rewards, we have this damage. It’s heartbreaking,” she says.

Malawi is in a mourning period, courtesy of the worst natural disaster to have struck the country in recent memory.

Exactly a year after the battering by tropical storms Ana and Gombe, whose devastation the country is yet to recover from, Tropical Freddy hit rather more brutally.

After barreling through Madagascar and Mozambique, the cyclone stormed into Malawi on March 11, 2023. From the afternoon of March 12, rain poured over 10 of the 13 districts in the southern region of the country for the next 72 hours.

Rivers broke their banks; furious waters gorged through unlikely landscapes, and, beyond anyone’s expectation, several mud avalanches pushed down giant boulders from mountainous areas that, in some cases, swept away entire villages and crushed homes and people below at night.

President Lazarus Chakwera declared it a state of disaster, calling for help, a plea to which both local and the international community have responded generously.

The scale of the destruction is unprecedented in any natural disaster Malawi has experienced. A draft situation report which the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA), a government agency, released on Wednesday, March 29, shows that up to 2.2 million people have been affected thus far; 676 have been killed, and 538 are missing – many of them feared to have been buried in the mudslides and rubble of collapsed buildings or washed away to unknown lands.

At the appropriate time, the police will declare the missing people dead, DoDMA says.

According to the report, up to 2,000 people are nursing various degrees of injuries, some while still in the over 760 evacuation camps that are hosting over 650,000 that have been displaced in the affected districts.

Up to 405 kilometres of road infrastructure have been damaged, and 63 health facilities and close to a million water and sanitation facilities have been affected.

The worst hit of all sectors, according to the report, is agriculture, the mainstay of Malawi’s economy. Over 2 million farmers have lost their crops and livestock, and over 179,000 hectares of crop fields have been destroyed.

Mponya’s field is among those counted.

Her maize crop would have been ready for harvest sometime towards the end of April. Now floods have harvested it, and Mponya is broken.

“I have never experienced anything like this in my life,” she tells IPS.

On March 23, 2023, the Ministry of Agriculture launched its own assessment of the damage the cyclone has caused to the agriculture sector in the region. It is yet to release its report on the assessment and the interventions that it will undertake to bail out the affected farmers.

However, in effect, the cyclone has worsened the food security situation for millions of people for the year. This comes against the backdrop of the government distributing food to 3.8 million food-insecure households, an exercise meant to see them through to the next harvest, which is now struck by the storm.

In an earlier forecast, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET), a USAID-supported global food security monitoring activity, said the southern region could register a decrease ranging between 30 and 50 percent in the harvest of maize, Malawi’s staple crop and a key factor in the economy.

This, it said, would leave poor households running out of food stocks by end of August instead of October, as it usually happens with most such households in a good harvest year.

FEWSNET cited limited and delayed access to fertiliser for most subsistence farmers who rely on the government’s fertiliser subsidy programme that was rocked by logistical and procurement challenges in this growing season and due to high prices of the commodity on the normal market, which drove the farm input out of reach for most of them.

FEWSNET compiled the report before Cyclone Freddy lashed the country.

Christone Nyondo, a research fellow at MwAPATA Institute, a local independent agricultural policy think-tank, says the cyclone has effectively struck a blow on household food security in the region and the country.

According to Nyondo, families that have lost their food crops will struggle to cope without external help. He, therefore, suggests assistance for the affected farmers to replant short-duration maize varieties.

He further says crops that can still do well when planted under residual moisture should be promoted to provide a short-term coping mechanism for the households as they recover.

However, Nyondo argues that Malawi needs to invest in long-term and enduring disaster-proactive measures considering that these natural shocks will keep occurring in the face of climate change.

According to Nyondo, an agricultural economist, for a long time, Malawi has focused much of its efforts on post-disaster recovery. It is high time the country did a deep rethink of its policies and invest significantly in early warning systems and forward planning based on intelligence gathered from these early warning systems, he says.

“The specific interventions to safeguard food security will vary by season by the nature of the predicted disaster. If the predicted disaster is a widespread drought, then forward planning in terms of strategic investments in irrigation infrastructure will be key,” Nyondo tells IPS via email.

He adds: “But, in any case, we need to invest more in irrigation, storage and other critical infrastructure without waiting for disasters. That’s the surest way of safeguarding our food security. Yes, it will be expensive but it will also be necessary.”

Back in Mulanje district, Mponya has no idea how she will recover.

Unlike some people in her village, she has not suffered any damage to her house or the loss of any member of her family. But she says it is a tragedy of her life that for the first time as a farmer, the 51-year-old will harvest almost nothing from her field after months of toil, leaving her to face a year-long struggle for food.

Asked whether she has a way out, Mponya stares blankly and then says, “I don’t know what to do.”

IPS UN Bureau Report


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The LGBTIQ+ Community Still Oppressed in Venezuela

LGBTIQ+ activists in Caracas protest outside the National Electoral Council, in charge of the civil registry, demanding enforcement of the legal statute that authorizes a change of name for trans, intersex or non-binary people. The agency has delayed compliance with the law for years. CREDIT: Observatory of Violence

LGBTIQ+ activists in Caracas protest outside the National Electoral Council, in charge of the civil registry, demanding enforcement of the legal statute that authorizes a change of name for trans, intersex or non-binary people. The agency has delayed compliance with the law for years. CREDIT: Observatory of Violence

By Humberto Márquez
CARACAS, Mar 30 2023 – The vulnerability and struggles of the LGBTIQ+ community in Venezuela were once again highlighted when the Supreme Court finally annulled the military code statute that punished, with one to three years in prison, members of the military who committed ” acts against nature.”

The Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court ruled that the statute, in force since the last century, “is contrary to the fundamental postulate of progressivity in terms of guaranteeing human rights,” and also “lacks sufficient legal clarity and precision with regard to the conduct it was intended to punish.”

The statute, in the Code of Military Justice, was the only one that still punished homosexuality with jail in Venezuela, and it was overturned on Feb. 16.”In Venezuela LGBTIQ+ people (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transsexuals, intersex, queers and others) must still fight for the right to identity, to equal marriage, to non-discrimination in education, health and housing.” — Tamara Adrián

However, “in Venezuela LGBTIQ+ people (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transsexuals, intersex, queers and others) must still fight for the right to identity, to equal marriage, to non-discrimination in education, healthcare and housing,” transgender activist Tamara Adrián told IPS.

Even the procedure followed to overturn the statute, the second paragraph of article 565 of the Military Code, was an illustration of the continued disdain towards the LGBTIQ+ minority.

Activist Richelle Briceño reminded IPS that civil society organizations had been demanding the annulment of the statute for seven years, receiving no response from the Supreme Court.

“All of a sudden, the Ombudsman’s Office (in Venezuela all branches of power are in the hands of the ruling party) asked the court to overturn that part of the article and in less than 24 hours the decision was made, on Feb. 16,” Briceño observed.

In addition, the Ombudsman’s Office argued that the statute was not used in the last 20 years, but Briceño said that around the year 2016 there were several documented cases.

Different NGOs see the legal ruling as linked with the presentation, the following day, of reports to the United Nations Human Rights Council of serious violations on this question in Venezuela, including the non-recognition of the rights of the LGBTIQ+ community.

In the Venezuelan armed forces, homosexual conduct or acts "against nature" were still punishable by prison sentences of one to three years, until the statute was finally overturned by the Supreme Court in February. CREDIT: Mippci

In the Venezuelan armed forces, homosexual conduct or acts “against nature” were still punishable by prison sentences of one to three years, until the statute was finally overturned by the Supreme Court in February. CREDIT: Mippci

Many pending issues

In Venezuela, “according to current medical protocols, blood donations by people who have sexual relations with people of the same sex are not even accepted,” Natasha Saturno, with the Acción Solidaria NGO, which specializes in health assistance and supplies, told IPS.

“Forty days ago they operated on my son. I brought a dozen blood donors, they were all asked this question, and several were turned away,” she said.

If these restrictions still exist, even further away are the hopes of the LGBTIQ+ community to obtain identity documents that reflect their gender option, to same-sex unions or equal marriage, or to outlaw all forms of discrimination, Saturno said.

Adrián said that “recognizing gender identity or equal marriage with both spouses enjoying the right to exercise maternity or paternity are achievements that are advancing or expanding throughout Latin America, and Venezuela, which has moved forward in civil rights since the 19th century, is now among the laggards.”

The activist, founder in 2022 of the political party United for Dignity, highlighted the progress made on this issue in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay, “with only Guyana, Paraguay, Suriname and Venezuela lagging behind in South America.”

With regard to identity, since 2009 the Civil Registry Law states that “everyone may change their own name, only once, when they are subjected to public ridicule (…) or it does not correspond to their gender, thus affecting the free development of their personality.”

But the rule is not enforced in the case of trans, intersex and non-binary people, with countless procedural obstacles in the way, which is why, frustrated by meaningless paperwork, LGBTIQ+ groups have protested before the Supreme Court, the Ombudsman’s Office and the National Electoral Council, which the civil registry falls under.

Adrián maintained that “we are guided by the opinion of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, which in 2017 recognized the right to identity as essential for the development of personality and non-discrimination in areas such as labor, health and education.”

A demonstration by the LGBTIQ+ community outside the Supreme Court in Caracas demanded the right to same-sex marriage, which is legal in many parts of Latin America but remains a distant dream in Venezuela. CREDIT: Acvi

A demonstration by the LGBTIQ+ community outside the Supreme Court in Caracas demanded the right to same-sex marriage, which is legal in many parts of Latin America but remains a distant dream in Venezuela. CREDIT: Acvi

Victims of violence

LGBTIQ+ people in Venezuela “suffer numerous forms of discrimination and violence, from the family sphere to public spaces,” said Yendri Velásquez, of the recently created Venezuelan Observatory of Violence against this community.

It manifests itself “in psychological violence, very present in the family sphere, beatings, denial of identity, access and use of public spaces – from restaurants to parks -, extortion, bullying based on gender expression, employment discrimination and even murder,” Velásquez said.

He pointed out that in 2021 there were 21 murders of people “just for being gay or lesbian,” and that in the second half of 2022 the Observatory recorded 10 “murders or cases of very serious injuries” with a total of 11 gay, lesbian or transgender victims.

The activists are advocating for norms and policies that help eradicate hate crimes and hate speech, as well as online violence, because through social networks they receive messages as serious as “die”, “kill yourself”, “I hope they kill you” or “you shouldn’t be alive.”

The organizations share these fears and are protesting that the legislature, in the hands of the ruling party, is drafting a law that would curtail and severely restrict the independence and work of non-governmental organizations.

Marches for the rights of the LGBTIQ+ community and against discrimination are growing in size in Venezuela, and groups of European residents and diplomats have even joined in on some occasions. CREDIT: EU

Marches for the rights of the LGBTIQ+ community and against discrimination are growing in size in Venezuela, and groups of European residents and diplomats have even joined in on some occasions. CREDIT: EU

Healthcare as well

For the LGBTIQ+ community, healthcare is a critical issue, in the context of a complex humanitarian emergency that, among other effects, has led to the collapse of health services, with most hospitals suffering from infrastructure and maintenance failures, lack of equipment and supplies, and the migration of health professionals.

Adrián said “there are barriers to entry into health centers, both public and private, for people who are trans or intersex, for their stay in hospitals – sometimes they are treated in the corridors – and for adherence to the treatments.”

An additional problem is that hormones have not been available in Venezuela for 10 years, and users who resort to uncontrolled imports are exposing themselves to significant health risks.

The community was greatly affected by the AIDS epidemic, although in 2001 civil society organizations managed to get the Supreme Court to make it obligatory for the government to provide antiretroviral drugs free of charge.

They were available for years, although Saturno points out that the supply became intermittent starting in 2012.

That year marked the start of the current economic and migration crisis suffered by this oil-producing country of 28 million people, with the loss of four-fifths of GDP and the migration of seven million Venezuelans.

Currently, deliveries are made regularly, according to the NGOs dedicated to monitoring the question, although usually with only one of the treatment schemes prescribed by the Pan American Health Organization, “and not everyone can take the same treatment,” Saturno said.

Some 88,000 HIV/AIDS patients are registered in Venezuela’s master plan on HIV/AIDS that the government and United Nations agencies support. But according to NGO projections, there could be as many as 200,000 HIV-positive people in the country.

The activists also note that the climate marked by the denial of identity and rights for individuals and couples, discrimination, harassment, violence and work handicap, plus health issues, push LGBTIQ+ people to form part of the flow of migrants that has spread across the hemisphere.

Hitachi Energy and Petrofac secure landmark offshore wind agreement worth approximately 13 billion euros

Zurich, Switzerland, March 30, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Hitachi Energy, a global technology leader that is advancing a sustainable energy future for all, and Petrofac, a leading international service provider to the energy industry, have been selected by TenneT, the Dutch–German transmission system operator, to supply multiple offshore and onshore HVDC converter stations and associated infrastructure to accelerate the integration of bulk renewables into European power grids.

Hitachi Energy and Petrofac were awarded the multi–year framework agreement as part of TenneT's ambitious offshore wind “2GW Program"1, based on high–voltage direct current (HVDC) technology pioneered by Hitachi Energy.

The agreement includes an initial commitment to deploy six record–breaking renewable integration systems, five of which will connect offshore wind farms to the Dutch grid and the sixth to the German grid. Each of these connection systems has a capacity of 2 gigawatts (GW) and a voltage level of 525 kilovolts (kV) – a world–first for offshore wind.

This landmark framework agreement is the largest ever for Hitachi Energy. It confirms the opportunity to innovate how state–of–the–art technology can be deployed effectively and how new business models enable the scale needed for the green energy transition. The framework agreement approach allows Hitachi Energy and Petrofac to plan in advance and increase their workforce and manufacturing capacity timely as well as train people to have the skills needed in the industry while also capturing synergies between successive projects to meet the in–service dates.

Hitachi Energy will supply its HVDC Light converter stations, which convert AC to DC power offshore and DC to AC onshore. Petrofac will undertake the engineering, procurement, construction and installation (EPCI) of the offshore platforms and elements of the onshore converter stations.

The first contract under the framework, for the Ijmuiden Ver Alpha project, was awarded with immediate effect. The second, Nederwiek 1, is expected to be awarded later in the year. The framework also includes projects Doordewind 1, Doordewind 2, Nederwiek 3 and LanWin5, expected to be awarded over a 2024–2026 timeframe.

"This innovative business model will set the course for the integration of a huge amount of offshore wind power and gives visibility of the future. In fact, we are already hiring to expand our global delivery capacity and effectively fulfill these and other orders," said Niklas Persson, Managing Director at Hitachi Energy's Grid Integration business. "We're proud to be part of this journey and, along with our partner Petrofac, we are setting the benchmark for deploying offshore HVDC technology at scale and with speed."

"Today's announcement represents an exciting next step in Petrofac and Hitachi Energy's collaboration. We have already secured key resource and the yard capacity required to expedite the first two projects in TenneT's ground–breaking program," said Sami Iskander, Petrofac's Group Chief Executive. "By combining Petrofac's industry–leading EPCI expertise and Hitachi Energy's well proven technology, we look forward to supporting TenneT to connect larger, more effective wind farms to deliver affordable clean energy for millions of European homes."

"TenneT has the technical know–how, scale, and geographical position to connect wind energy from the North Sea. This is one of the most important infrastructure projects of the century; the green transformation of the energy system is key for the decarbonisation of industry," said Tim Meyerjrgens, COO of TenneT. "Together with our market partners, we are very proud to have achieved another important milestone. Together we secure decisive acceleration of the offshore grid development and set the course for the future European energy landscape."

"The new long–term approach goes hand in hand with a fundamental change in values towards a strong partnership. This approach enables both sides with more flexibility, technological progress, and planning security," said Marco Kuijpers, Director Large Projects Offshore of TenneT. This benefits all parties and secures employment, growth, and the strengthening of supply chains. We can already see that our partners invest in extra resources and facilities."

Hitachi Energy and Petrofac began working together in June 2022, to provide joint grid integration and associated infrastructure solutions to support TenneT's 2GW Program.2

In the same year, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark and Belgium agreed to install at least 65 gigawatts of offshore wind energy combined by 2030 announced with the inter–governmental Esbjerg Declaration.3 At 40 gigawatts, almost two–thirds of this capacity is accounted for by TenneT, with 20 gigawatts each in the German and Dutch North Sea sectors.

1 TenneT's 2GW Program
2 Hitachi Energy and Petrofac to collaborate in growing offshore wind market
3 The Esbjerg Declaration

HVDC website:


About Hitachi Energy Ltd.
Hitachi Energy is a global technology leader that is advancing a sustainable energy future for all. We serve customers in the utility, industry and infrastructure sectors with innovative solutions and services across the value chain. Together with customers and partners, we pioneer technologies and enable the digital transformation required to accelerate the energy transition towards a carbon–neutral future. We are advancing the world's energy system to become more sustainable, flexible and secure whilst balancing social, environmental and economic value. Hitachi Energy has a proven track record and unparalleled installed base in more than 140 countries. Headquartered in Switzerland, we employ around 40,000 people in 90 countries and generate business volumes of approximately $10 billion USD.

About Hitachi, Ltd.
Hitachi drives Social Innovation Business, creating a sustainable society with data and technology. We will solve customers' and society's challenges with Lumada solutions leveraging IT, OT (Operational Technology) and products, under the business structure of Digital Systems & Services, Green Energy & Mobility, Connective Industries and Automotive Systems. Driven by green, digital, and innovation, we aim for growth through collaboration with our customers. The company's consolidated revenues for fiscal year 2021 (ended March 31, 2022) totaled 10,264.6 billion yen ($84,136 million USD), with 853 consolidated subsidiaries and approximately 370,000 employees worldwide. For more information on Hitachi, please visit the company's website at https://www.hitachi.com.

About Petrofac
Petrofac is a leading international service provider to the energy industry, with a diverse client portfolio including many of the world's leading energy companies.

Petrofac designs, builds, manages and maintains oil, gas, refining, petrochemicals and renewable energy infrastructure. Our purpose is to enable our clients to meet the world's evolving energy needs. Our four values – driven, agile, respectful and open – are at the heart of everything we do.

Petrofac's core markets are in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and the UK North Sea, where we have built a long and successful track record of safe, reliable and innovative execution, underpinned by a cost effective and local delivery model with a strong focus on in–country value. We operate in several other significant markets, including India, Southeast Asia and the United States. We have 8,000 employees based across 31 offices globally.

Petrofac is quoted on the London Stock Exchange (symbol: PFC). For additional information, please refer to the Petrofac website at www.petrofac.com

Media contacts:
Jocelyn Chang
Global Head of Public Relations & Content Strategy
Hitachi Energy

Sophie Reid
Group Head of Communications


GLOBENEWSWIRE (Distribution ID 8798527)

Education Cannot Wait to Extend Multi-Year Resilience Programme in Colombia: Total Funding Tops US$28 Million

The Government of Colombia expands its educational response to the Venezuelan regional crisis. ECW high-level mission highlights need to expand education response to the world’s largest refugee and displacement crisis. Urgent financial support required to fill US$46.4 million funding gap for the multi-year resilience response.

By External Source
BOGOTÁ, Colombia, Mar 30 2023 (IPS-Partners)

Education Cannot Wait (ECW) Executive Director Yasmine Sherif announced today that ECW intends to continue to expand its investments in Colombia. ECW’s support to the current Multi-Year Resilience Programme exceeds US$12 million, and the Fund has allocated an additional US$12 million for the next three-year phase, which, once approved, will bring the overall investment in Colombia to over US$28 million.

The new Multi-Year Resilience Programme will be developed during the course of 2023 – in close consultation with partners and under the leadership of the Government of Colombia – and submitted to ECW’s Executive Committee for final approval in due course. The catalytic grant funding expands the Multi-Year Resilience Programme in support of the Government of Colombia’s efforts to respond to the interconnected crises of conflict, forced displacement and climate change, and still provide a quality education.

“The National Government seeks to coordinate efforts among various sectors to strengthen actions to guarantee protection and care of Venezuelan families, especially children. Our greatest challenge for the effective integration of this population is to guarantee health, education and food sovereignty for all children, adolescents, and young people, with an emphasis on those in vulnerable conditions,” said Aurora Vergara Figueroa, Minister of Education, Colombia.

The extended programme will advance Colombia’s support for children and adolescents from Venezuela, internally displaced children, and host, indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities impacted by these ongoing crises. The investment closely aligns with the Government of Colombia’s strategy on inclusion and will strengthen the education system at the national level and in regions most affected by forced displacement. The programme will have a strong focus on girls’ education. An estimated US$46.4 million is required to fully fund the current multi-year resilience response in Colombia.

On a high-level mission to Colombia this week, ECW Executive Director Yasmine Sherif called on world leaders to scale up the global response to the education and learning crises in Colombia to leave no child behind and deliver on the targets outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals.

“We must act now to provide the girls and boys impacted by the interconnected crises of conflict, displacement, climate change, poverty and instability with the safety, hope and opportunity of a quality education. The Government of Colombia has taken remarkable measures in providing refugees and migrants from Venezuela with access to life-saving essential services like education. By supporting these efforts across the humanitarian-development-peace nexus, we are creating the foundation to build a more peaceful and more prosperous future not only for the people of Colombia, but also for the refugees and migrants from Venezuela above all,” said Yasmine Sherif, Executive Director of Education Cannot Wait, the United Nations global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises.

The Venezuela regional crisis has triggered the second largest refugee crisis in the world today. Colombia is host to 2.5 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants in need of international protection. The country also has 5.6 million internally displaced people. Indigenous and Afro-Colombian peoples, girls and children with disabilities are also often left behind.

Despite the efforts of the Government of Colombia to extend temporary protection status to Venezuelans in Colombia, children continue to miss out on their human right to a quality education. In 2021, the dropout rate for Colombian children was 3.62% (3.2% for girls and 4.2% for boys). The figure nearly doubles for Venezuelans to 6.4%, and reaches 17% for internally displaced children.

Even when children are able to attend school, the majority are falling behind. Recent analysis indicates that close to 70% of ten-year-olds cannot read or understand a simple text, up from 50% before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down schools across Colombia.

As of November 2022, over half a million Venezuelan children and adolescents have been enrolled in Colombia’s formal education system. ECW investments have reached 107,000 children in Colombia to date. ECW’s Multi-year Resilience Programme in Colombia is delivered by UNICEF and a Save the Children-led NGO consortium including the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), World Vision and Plan International.

“Education is the best engine for creating new life opportunities and personal growth. It allows rebuilding and strengthening the resilience of communities that live in violence and extreme poverty. All the actors around the education system have to act together and bring their best knowledge, their best professionals and, thanks to the investment of ECW, we are achieving great changes in the education of thousands of girls and boys in Colombia,” said Norwegian Refugee Council, Plan International, Save the Children, UNICEF and World Vision in a joint statement.

ECW investments in Colombia provide access to safe and protective formal and non-formal learning environments, mental health and psychosocial support services, specialized services to support the transition into the national education system for children at risk of being left behind, and a variety of actions to strengthen capacities of local and national education authorities in order to support education from early childhood education through secondary school.


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Quo Vadis Republic of Mauritius?

Dr. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim

By Ameenah Gurib-Fakim
PORT LOUIS, Mauritius, Mar 30 2023 – On 12th March 2023, The Republic of Mauritius celebrates 55 years of post-independence history. It would be an understatement to just say that there has been a lot of water under the bridge on our journey to self-determination!.. Indeed, we have made massive progress since we lowered the Union Jack and unfurled our own flag. It was and remains a moment of great pride whenever I see our flag in any international event, I participate in.

We are a small vulnerable island, deprived of natural resources and at the time of independence, we were flanked with a monoculture economy, high unemployment, low education and low income were amongst the major challenges. We had been relegated to being a basket case. Even by Nobel prize winners concluded that because of our isolation from the then major capitals; climate challenges etc. we were doomed at a time when our per capita income hovered around 200USD.

We were more a recipe for disaster than that of a success story. Still over time, with leadership and vision, we proved to the world that another outcome was feasible, but more importantly, that profound transformation was possible, and we succeeded within one single generation.

We became the shining star especially South of the Sahara and our experience brings useful insights into the dynamics and pitfalls of an economic transformation journey. Nonetheless, this transformation has been conducted in such a manner that the economic landscape, society and institutions were modernised simultaneously, albeit at various speeds, taking into consideration the political, human, institutional and economic realities and constraints of the time. The approach was largely inclusive because the major asset then and now remains our diverse, talented population.

Our story had been based on the following foundational stones: political leadership, strong institutions, ethnic diversity, a class of versatile indigenous entrepreneur and a well-structured private sector engaged in dialogues on policy matters. Coupled with this, the balance has been between economic and social objectives, with a strong focus on the human capital, through free education since 1976, free health care, and a minimum basic social safety net for the most vulnerable.

Still the strength of our institutions were a key guarantee for investment, entrepreneurship and innovation. While acknowledging that significant progress has been achieved in the last 50+ years, the global dynamics call for more and more reforms if our country wants to avoid the middle-income trap and join the club of high-income countries within the realm of a changing climate. There are already indications of worrying signals: the average growth rate has been stabilizing at less than 5%, necessary to enable incremental changes, but insufficient to steam up the engine to the next level. Beyond the redesigning and re-engineering of the economic landscape, some implementable reforms will have to be addressed.

The main weaknesses are found in our education system. While we have a 99% enrolment rate at the primary level, but what comes next is disappointing. Let’s take the hypothetical 100 children entering our primary school, 80 will manage to pass their primary school exam to enter secondary school; only 60 will manage to succeed after the first 3 years, 40 will pass the Grade 5 (O-level) exams and with only 20-30 will reach the end of the secondary school cycle. This is in total contradiction to the requirements of a high-income country; one that ambitions to attract High Tech investment. The curriculum needs to move away from being too academic and with little openings for technical and vocational training.

Also, labour market reforms need to ensure flexibility. A diversified economic base only makes sense if it is possible for people to move across sectors. Currently, the stiffness of labour market and employment schemes that go with it, makes it difficult for people to move around. The basic principle must remain the protection of the people as opposed to jobs.

Finally, Mauritius must step up efforts to plug into regional and global value chains. We must continue to build on the regional market and must upgrade our participation in the global value chains, by capturing activities with higher value addition. Our regional market penetration remains weak. In the last decade it has been estimated that Mauritius export to the SADC region amounted to only 1.3% while its imports from the SADC region amounted to 2.5%. Similarly, we still have too big a bias towards our traditional markets to export low value added products.

Competition over concepts rather than over processes will be increasingly necessary to have a meaningful role. To achieve this, increased investment in quality education, innovation, research and development and technology, the appropriate ecosystem for start-ups, is crucial. We are at a crossroad in our economic transformation. The latter can remain a continuous process as we have had a good track record so far. The challenge for our country now lies in combining sustained domestic reforms with efforts required to keep up with international trends to become a global player. This demands that we align all our talents, competence and resources.

Next door to us, a giant is waking up – The African continent and the AfCFTA presents a huge opportunity, for, inter alia, our manufacturing sector, provided we engage with her, like in any relationship, seriously, and not just pay lip service. We have to keep reminding ourselves that the world we embraced in 1968, is now fast mutating. We were born in a bipolar world and now living in an increasingly multipolar world. Our foreign policy must remain agile as it is going to be a rocky road especially as we will have to count the presence of new emerging African middle-income countries that are increasingly catching up with their economic trajectory.

We will only succeed if we manage to navigate through competition, build trust and strengthen our institutions, acknowledge our diversity as strength, ensure meritocracy and by turning challenges into potential opportunities as ONE people and ONE Nation, in Peace, Justice and Liberty.

IPS UN Bureau


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Dr. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim is Former President of the Republic of Mauritius

The Fight for Yemen’s Future Is a Global Responsibility

Credit: Jehad Al-Nahary/Oxfam

By Ferran Puig
SA’ANA, Yemen, Mar 30 2023 – As Yemen enters its ninth year of war, its people are facing a humanitarian crisis of horrifying proportions. In my role as Oxfam’s Yemen Country Director, I have witnessed firsthand the effects of the humanitarian catastrophe, worsened by economic collapse and sharp increases in the cost of food and other essential commodities.

Over 17 million people are experiencing high levels of food insecurity, 75% of whom are women and children. The situation is further aggravated by the global food crisis, leaving millions more at risk of catastrophic hunger. 

The time for global action is now.

The current conflict has its roots in the 2011 Arab Spring, when mass protests led to the ousting of long-serving President Ali Abdullah Saleh. His successor, Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, struggled to address a range of issues, including corruption, unemployment, and food insecurity. In 2014, the Houthi rebel movement, seized control of large parts of the country, including the capital, Sana’a.

In March 2015, a Saudi-led coalition of Arab states, backed by the United States and other Western powers, launched military operations against the Houthis to restore Hadi’s government. The ensuing conflict has led to widespread destruction, civilian casualties, and an unprecedented humanitarian crisis.

The war has also been characterized by numerous violations of international humanitarian law, such as indiscriminate attacks on civilian infrastructure, the use of child soldiers, and the imposition of constraints that hinder the delivery of aid.

This past Sunday, March 26, marked eight years since the conflict in Yemen escalated. The expiration of a temporary UN-brokered truce in October has left the country in a precarious state. While the truce has largely held, the political and economic future of Yemen remains uncertain.

The UN estimated in 2021 that there had already been 337,000 deaths due to the conflict and associated issues like lack of access to food, water, and healthcare. Millions have been displaced and more than 21.6 million people—two-thirds of the population—require humanitarian assistance and protection.

Despite the severity of the crisis, international donors have committed only about a third of the necessary funds for the past few years.

The importance of international aid in humanitarian emergencies cannot be overstated. Such aid provides a lifeline to affected populations, helping them meet their basic needs, rebuild their lives, and restore hope for the future. In times of crisis, international aid can mean the difference between life and death.

Moreover, it can help prevent the spread of conflict and instability by addressing root causes, such as poverty, inequality, and social unrest. As global citizens, we have a moral obligation to support those in need and to promote peace and stability worldwide.

I have seen the exhaustion and desperation of the Yemeni people firsthand. Rising food prices and unpaid salaries mean even basic foodstuffs have been pushed beyond the reach of many Yemeni families.

We cannot let donors turn their backs on one of the world’s most severe humanitarian crises. It is also past time for world leaders to exert real pressure to bring all sides back to the table so they can bring a permanent end to the conflict. They must also ensure that the voices of the most marginalized—most notably women women—are included and heard.

Yemen’s cost of living crisis is compounded by the worsening global food situation. The country imports 90% of its food, with 42% of its wheat coming from Ukraine. Importers warn that rising global costs will challenge their ability to secure wheat imports into Yemen, potentially pushing millions towards starvation.

The impact on households is profound, forcing families to adopt negative coping mechanisms—such as eating lower quality foods, limiting portion sizes, going into debt to buy food, and borrowing from friends and neighbors—to survive.

As a result, 2.2 million Yemeni children under the age of five are now acutely malnourished.

The international response has been insufficient. Despite the growing need, the World Food Program has been forced to reduce the amount of aid it provides. A high-level pledging event earlier this year co-hosted by the UN and the governments of Sweden and Switzerland concluded with a collective commitment of under a third of the amount needed for 2023 ($1.2 billion of the $4.3 billion required).

At Oxfam, we work in Yemen to provide basic services like clean water, sanitation, cash, and establishing solar energy at household and community levels. However, more must be done.

I call upon the international community to provide adequate funding for life-saving aid, a rescue economic package to stabilize the economy and put money into people’s pockets, and increased efforts to negotiate a lasting comprehensive peace in Yemen.

The situation in Yemen is dire, and the international community must no longer remain passive. As we recall the grim anniversary of eight years of conflict, we must keep in mind the millions of Yemenis who continue to suffer.

It is time for world leaders to come together and take action to bring an end to the conflict and to provide the necessary resources for the people of Yemen to rebuild their lives.

IPS UN Bureau


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Ethiopian Government Must Prioritize Access To Quality Surgery in Post-War Reconstruction

The cumulative needs of injured patients from the war have created a medical crisis. Credit: James Jeffrey/IPS

By Abdo Husen
ADDIS ABABA, Mar 30 2023 – There are about 5 billion people globally who cannot access surgery. In Ethiopia, for every 5,000 needed surgeries per 100,000 people, the country’s health system can only provide 192. Yet, this is Africa’s second largest population, with over 120 million people.

The statistics are worrying. This is further exacerbated by a recently ended two-year war in the northern part of the country that devastated among others, the health sector. There is however an opportunity to build back better as the government institutes post-war reconstruction. This is possible through prioritizing access to surgical care as part of restoring the country’s health system in post-war reconstruction efforts.

Armed conflict increases the demand for health services yet hampers the system’s ability to deliver these services as it disrupts the supply chain, results in direct damage to health facilities, and forces health workers to flee their duty stations. In Ethiopia, unofficial estimates put the proportion of health workers who fled their duty stations at over 90% of the pre-conflict numbers.

Armed conflict increases the demand for health services yet hampers the system’s ability to deliver these services as it disrupts the supply chain, results in direct damage to health facilities, and forces health workers to flee their duty stations

The cumulative needs of injured patients from the war have created a medical crisis. It is a vicious cycle whose victims are innocent civilians. Take for instance patients with open fractures and bullet wounds who require some form of reconstructive surgery. This service is largely unavailable in affected regions, particularly in Tigray. If left untreated, these injuries can result in infections, amputation, permanent disability, or even death.

This was the case for 17-year-old Hakeem* (not his real name). He suffered bone and nerve damages as a casualty of the war. Hakeem was facing the threat of disability from abnormal bone healing and wrist-drop, which is paralysis of the muscles that enable hand function.

Fortunately, he received surgical care that allowed him to return to his daily activities with reduced physical challenges. Not many people have been as lucky. Reports show that over 100,000 people died from lack of access to medical care in war time. This includes lack of access to surgical care.

Additionally, the influx of surgical patients owing to the war has slowed down the already strained health system’s ability to provide non-emergency surgical care. Although not life threatening, these surgical needs have a major impact on improving the quality of life of those in need.

These include cleft lip and cleft palate, which are birth defects that occur when a baby’s lip or mouth do not form properly during pregnancy. Failure to correct this, often results in social and economic exclusion of patients who are often ostracized by their communities for allegations based on false and harmful cultural and religious beliefs including their participation in witchcraft.

Arguably, the Federal Government of Ethiopia has indeed made efforts toward the rehabilitation of health infrastructure in conflict areas. For example, the government’s effort to restore 36 hospitals in Afar and Amhara. There is however much more to be done. Rebuilding the health system will cost the country an estimated 74.1 billion ETB (Approx. US$1.4 billion).

To restore all social service infrastructure- including health facilities damaged by conflicts in the country, the government has allocated 20 billion ETB into the capital budget for the current fiscal year. This is way below the requisite threshold to rebuild the health services alone.

There is indeed urgent need to prioritize surgical care at the forefront of rehabilitation efforts. The Ministry of Health must provide health workers – including specialist surgical and anesthesia workforce with monetary and non-monetary incentives to return to their pre-war duty stations to fill the gaping vacuum in human resourcing.

The federal government must allocate resources towards the rehabilitation and equipping of all health facilities including surgical theatres in northern Ethiopia. This budgetary allocation must be included in the 2023/2024 budget cycle (2016 Ethiopian fiscal year). Critics could argue that there is simply not enough money to this end.

While the government could be cash-strapped to rebuild different sectors of the economy; it is its ultimate responsibility to ensure the life and health of its citizens. It must therefore seek innovative ways to fund reconstruction efforts. One such way could be through leveraging public private partnerships.

Not only will this provide the necessary funds but has the prospect of being an accountability mechanism to ensure lasting peace as a condition of the disbursement of funds or gifts in kind. These would be tangible steps towards reconstruction, alleviating the suffering of Ethiopians who without these services, continue to suffer preventable medical conditions and deaths.


Abdo Husen is a public health specialist by training, Program Lead at Operation Smile Ethiopia, and a 2023 Global Surgery Advocacy Fellow