Home » 31 Mar 2015 Entries posted on “March 2015”

Appeal to protect children in Yemen from escalating violence

The humanitarian crisis particularly affects the most vulnerable which includes children, the elderly, women and the disabled, many of whom rely entirely on humanitarian assistance. Photo: OCHA

The UN Children's Fund, UNICEF is appealing for the protection of children from escalating violence in Yemen. At least 62 children have been killed and 30 injured during fighting in the country over the past week, the agency reports. On Tuesday the UN warned that the situation is “fast-deteriorating” and those involved in conflict must [...]

31 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

News in Brief 31 March 2015 (PM)

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  US pledges US$ 57.4 million to support Palestinians affected by Syria crisis The United States Government has announced a new US$ 57.4 million contribution to enable the UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) to continue aiding people affected by the conflict in Syria. UNRWA says the US is their largest bilateral donor, funding lifesaving [...]

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Campaign launched to eradicate "goat plague"

Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR) pose a huge threat to the livelihood of small farmers and herders. Photo: FAO/Giulio Napolitano

A campaign has been launched to totally eradicate a devastating livestock disease that affects small ruminants like sheep and goats. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) made the announcement at a meeting in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, which is focusing on the disease known as Peste des [...]

31 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

FAO appeals for US$121 million to support livelihoods in Syria

A Syrian Kurdish boy from Mile Village, Kobani, holds a goat near the Syrian border, after shepherds crossed into Turkey with their animals. FAO@PHOTO

Approximately 9.8 million people in Syria need assistance to prevent food insecurity as the conflict continues in the country, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The agency on Tuesday presented an appeal for US$121 million at the Third International Pledging Conference on Syria, which took place in Kuwait City. FAO says the [...]

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Daily News 31 March 2015

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Syrian refugee Shadi was living with a host family in North Lebanon and had returned briefly to Syria to visit family there. Upon returning via an unofficial border crossing, he was injured during an explosion. Photo: UNICEF/NYHQ2012-0221/Kate Brooks

Donors pledge US$3.8 billion to help people in Syria International donors on Tuesday pledged US$3.8 billion at the Third International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria. The UN said the "generous" donor support comes as what it called the "appalling" humanitarian situation inside Syria continues its downwards spiral. Some 12.2 million people, including 5.6 million children, [...]

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FAO targeting total eradication of “devastating” livestock disease

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The world can stamp out a plague that devastates sheep and goats, freeing hundreds of millions of rural families from one of the major risks to their food security and livelihoods. That's according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) which is working with the World Organization for Animal Health on a 15-year campaign [...]

31 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Children killed and injured by landmines in Eastern Ukraine

A young displaced Ukrainian boy. Photo: UNHCR/B. Kinashchuk

At least 109 children are reported to have been injured and 42 killed by landmines and unexploded ordnance in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of eastern Ukraine since March last year, according to the United Nations Children's Fund, UNICEF. However, the number of children killed or injured is expected to be significantly higher as areas [...]

31 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Yemen faces total collapse, warns UN rights chief

Damage caused by fighting in Abyan Governorate, southern Yemen. Photo: OCHA/Eman (file)

The situation in Yemen is "fast-deteriorating" and those involved in conflict must do more to protect civilians as the country approaches "total collapse", the UN's human rights chief said Tuesday. Amid attacks on hospitals and an airstrike at a refugee camp, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein called on "on all [...]

31 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Syrian people are victims of "worst humanitarian crisis of our time"

A Syrian family on the streets in Istanbul in Turkey. Increasing numbers of refugees are seeking shelter in Europe. Photo: UNHCR/S. Baldwin

The Syrian people are victims of the worst humanitarian crisis of our time, according to the UN Secretary-General. Ban Ki-moon was speaking in Kuwait where he is chairing the third humanitarian pledging conference on Syria. Twelve million people are reportedly in need of life-saving aid inside the country as the civil conflict enters its fifth [...]

31 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Refugee "push-back" deaths prompt Bulgaria probe call

Ethnic Yezidis have had to flee persecution in Iraq. Photo: UNHCR/N.Colt

The deaths of two Iraqi men who were refused entry to Bulgaria and then assaulted has prompted calls for a "independent and transparent" probe into the incident. The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said that the men who died were with a group of 12 Yazidi Iraqis, the ethnic minority that's been persecuted by extremists who [...]

31 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

Model UN helps South African student understand global issues

Victor Asiweis (left) interviewed by Derrick Mbatha. UN PHOTO

A South African high school student says that participating in Model UN activities has helped him to better understand the work of the United Nations. Victor Asiwe from Potchefstroom was one of eleven South African students who participated in the Model UN Conference held in Washington D.C. in the United States in March this year. [...]

31 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

"Savagery" of Syria crisis continues as donors meet

A Syrian refugee family in southern Turkey, where more than 20,000 people have fled to so far in early 2014 to escape fighting. UNHCR Photo

International donors are being urged at a meeting in Kuwait to contribute funds to support humanitarian work to deal with what has been described as the "savagery" of the Syria crisis. The UN says more than 200,000 people have died in the four year civil war there and millions are in need of aid. Valerie [...]

31 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

Concerns about ongoing fighting in Idlib and its impact on civilians

Yacoub El Hillo. (UNTV video capture)

The humanitarian situation in Idlib, a city in north-western Syria is deteriorating, according to the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the country. Yacoub El Hillo on Monday said fighting escalated last week between the Government of Syria and non-state armed groups. He said this led to numerous civilian deaths and injuries, and to the displacement of [...]

30 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

News in Brief 30 March 2015 (PM)

UNMISS personnel conducting a security sweep in its Juba camp to rid it of weapons and smuggled goods, including military and police uniforms. Photo: UNMISS/Isaac Bill (file)

UN welcomes deployment of British Royal Air Force aircraft to South Sudan The temporary deployment of a British Royal Air Force C-130 aircraft to South Sudan has been welcomed by the UN Mission in the country, UNMISS. The aircraft, which arrived in Juba on Sunday, will conduct daily flights to Malakal in Upper Nile State. [...]

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Daily News 30 March 2015

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Helen Manvoi sorts through damaged clothing after Cyclone Pam destroyed the roof of her house in Port vila, Vanuatu. Photo: UNDP

UN warns 'secondary emergency' looming in Vanuatu Two weeks after Tropical Cyclone Pam struck Vanuatu, the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for the archipelago warned of a "secondary emergency". While touring the island of Tafea, Ms Osnat Lubrani urged a scale-up in efforts to provide the essentials to people in need. She said the cyclone destroyed [...]

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Funds urgently needed for food security in Syria and neighbouring countries

FAO is helping needy Syrian families. Photo: FAO/Syria

Ahead of an international pledging conference for Syria and neighbouring host countries, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says funds are urgently needed to prevent further deterioration of the food security situation. The conference is scheduled to take place in Kuwait on Tuesday. FAO warned on Monday that the ongoing crisis in Syria has [...]

30 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Nigerian Boko Haram terrorists under spotlight in Security Council

A wide view of the Security Council Chamber. UN Photo/Loey Felipe

Boko Haram terrorists continue their violent attacks and human rights abuses against civilians in north-east Nigeria and neighbouring countries, the Security Council was told on Monday. The terrorists threatened to intensify their activities during general elections that were held over the weekend. The group recently pledged allegiance to the so-called ISIL extremists who have carried [...]

30 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

Forty believed dead in Yemen camp attack, says IOM

Displaced Yemenis are believed to be the primary victims of the attack.
Photo: OCHA/Eman Al-Awami

An apparent airstrike at a camp for people displaced by fighting in Yemen has left 40 people dead, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Monday. IOM spokesperson Joel Millman said that the attack near the town of Harad in the north-west of the country had also injured 200 people, 25 of them "severely". Humanitarian workers with [...]

30 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

"Water for Life Voices" exhibit opens at UN

Josefina Maestu (left) is interviewed by Derrick Mbatha. UN PHOTO

An exhibit showcasing photos and messages of people who have benefited from projects to provide water and sanitation services around the world was unveiled on Monday. The exhibit, entitled "Water for Life Voices" is in the visitors' lobby of the UN Headquarters in New York. It highlights progress that has been made in providing water [...]

30 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

Top UN official calls for “hydro-diplomacy”

Children collecting water in Kallayanpur slum, one of the urban slums in Dhaka, Bangladesh. UN Photo/Kibae Park

Shared water resources have historically brought countries closer together and the international community must continue on that path, says the Deputy Secretary-General. On Monday, a meeting at UN Headquarters in New York was convened to assess the progress made and lessons learned in achieving sustainable management of water and sanitation. It is estimated that 783 [...]

30 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Iraqi government urged to create conditions for stability and reconstruction

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (left) meets with Haider al-Abadi, Prime Minister of the Republic of Iraq

The Government of Iraq has been urged by the UN chief to create conditions for stabilisation and reconstruction alongside national partners and the international community. Ban Ki-moon was in the country's capital, Baghdad, on Monday to meet with Iraqi leadership. He said he was there to underscore the United Nations' "continuing and full support" for [...]

30 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

"Middle-skilled" jobs declining due to computers

Electronic workshop. ILO/Crozet M. (file)

Major shifts in the demand for skills are taking place in the global jobs market, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO). A recent study by the ILO highlights how jobs considered "middle-skilled", like accounting or clerical work, are declining. This is reportedly due to many of these jobs being done by computers. Carla Drysdale [...]

30 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

UN chief congratulates Nigeria on "largely peaceful" elections

Nigeria flag (center). UN Photo/John Isaac

The people and Government of Nigeria have been congratulated by the UN Secretary-General on the "largely peaceful and orderly conduct" of presidential and parliamentary elections. In a statement, Ban Ki-moon also condemned the attacks reportedly carried out by the terrorist group Boko Haram in an attempt to disrupt the polling. Last week, Nigerian President Goodluck [...]

29 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Stability in Arab world to "remain a mirage" without good governance

The view from the press tent as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed the League of Arab States Summit in Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt, on 28 March, 2015. Photo: UN Spokesperson

Without good governance, the rule of law, respect for women's rights and all human rights, long-term political stability will remain a mirage for many Arab states. That's according to the UN Secretary-General, who on Saturday was in Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt, attending the Summit of the League of Arab States. In his remarks, he said he [...]

28 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Earth Hour set to be “record-breaking” celebration

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This year's Earth Hour is set to be a record-breaking celebration of our planet with an unprecedented 172 countries and territories having confirmed their participation. The UN says this includes nations on the climate frontlines like the Philippines, Maldives and Madagascar, as well as key climate actors such as Brazil, the United States and China. [...]

28 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Clean-up in Vanuatu continues following Cyclone Pam

Crop damage caused by Super Cyclone Pam on the Pacific Island of Vanuatu. Photo: UNICEF/Gaelle Sevenier

The clean-up operation is continuing in Vanuatu following the cyclone that devastated the country earlier in the month. The United Nations has launched a near $30 million appeal to support the Pacific island nation as it recovers from the disaster. Daniel Dickinson reports. Duration: 2’34″

28 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

All parties in Yemen urged to protect the country's cultural heritage

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova condemned the killing of two Iraqi journalists in separate incidents in the north of Iraq. Photo: UN

As the conflict escalates in Yemen, the head of the UN cultural agency (UNESCO) has urged all parties to protect the country's cultural heritage. UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova issued her statement on Friday as Saudi Arabia and its allies continued to bomb the capital Sana'a which is controlled by Houthi rebels. Saudi Arabia and other [...]

27 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Libyan peace talks go "well beyond what we have expected"

Head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Bernardino Léon at a press conference during the meeting of Libyan parties at UN Headquarters in Geneva. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

Peace talks to end the crisis in Libya have gone beyond what had been expected, according to the top United Nations envoy. The UN Special Representative Bernardino Léon was speaking in Morocco where Libyan parties have been negotiating to find a political solution to the ongoing conflict in their country. The North African country has [...]

27 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

News in Brief 27 March 2015 (PM)

A Syrian refugee family in southern Turkey, where more than 20,000 people have fled to so far in early 2014 to escape fighting. UNHCR Photo

Pledging conference for Syria to be chaired by UN chief The third pledging conference for Syria which will be held in Kuwait City on Tuesday will be chaired by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq says the Secretary-General is scheduled to travel on Saturday to Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt to participate in [...]

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Millions of people's lives "at stake" in the Middle East

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses Security Council high-level debate on victims of attacks and abuses on ethnic or religious grounds in the Middle East. UN Photo/Loey Felipe

Millions of individual lives and the social fabric of entire countries are at stake in the Middle East, according to the United Nations. A meeting of the Security Council on Friday invited UN officials, government representatives and religious leaders to address the growing issue of attacks and abuses on ethnic and religious grounds in the [...]

27 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

Daily News 27 March 2015

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News in Brief 27 March 2015 (AM)

Damage caused by fighting in Abyan Governorate, southern Yemen. Photo: OCHA/Eman (file)

Warring parties in Yemen urged to show restraint All warring parties in Yemen have been urged by the top UN humanitarian official in the country to show restraint, observe their obligations to protect civilians and allow access for humanitarian assistance to reach those in need. In a statement issued on Friday Johannes Van Der Klaauw, [...]

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Actions to protect people with albinism in Malawi welcomed by UN

OHCHR @ PHOTO

The actions taken by government officials in Malawi to deal with attacks on people with albinism have been welcomed by the United Nations human rights office. Last week, President Peter Mutharika of Malawi issued a statement sharply condemning the attacks on people with albinism. The condition is characterized by a lack of pigment in the [...]

27 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Kidnapping of Congolese refugees condemned by UN Refugee Agency

Congolese refugees. © UNHCR/L.Beck

The kidnapping of Congolese refugees by Ugandan rebels near the border between the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been condemned by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). The agency is calling on the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) to immediately release those who are still in captivity. UNHCR says that 15 [...]

27 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

More than 100 Chiefs of Defence gather at UN for first time

Welcoming ceremony for first detachment of China's peacekeeping infantry battalion to arrive in South Sudan. UN Photo/JC McIlwaine

A "Chiefs of Defence Conference" is welcoming more than 100 military leaders at UN Headquarters for the first time in history, to discuss the changing nature of peacekeeping and ways to improve the UN's work on the ground. That's according to Edmond Mulet, the Assistant Secretary-General for UN Peacekeeping Operations. The United Nations does not [...]

27 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

Tense debate at UN ends in extension of Syria probe

The conflict continues to have a devastating impact on Syrian civilians, the Human Rights Council heard. Photo: WFP/Abeer Etefa (file)

  A high-level UN probe into human rights violations in Syria received a 12-month extension on Friday after overcoming calls of political bias by some member states. Presenting its proposal at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, the United Kingdom said an additional year of investigation was needed as the conflict showed no sign of [...]

27 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Special session on Boko Haram abuses announced at UN rights body

Refugees in Diffa, Niger who fled Boko Haram violence in Nigeria. Photo: OCHA/Franck Kuwonu

The UN's human rights watchdog is to hold a special session on abuses linked to the separatist militia group known as Boko Haram, it announced Friday. The development follows a request from the Algerian delegation on behalf of the African Group, lodged late on Thursday evening with the Human Rights Council secretariat. Boko Haram fighters [...]

27 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Universities in Europe urged to promote more women

Universities in Europe are being urged to promote more women to professorial level. Photo: UNDP (file)

Universities in Europe are being urged to promote more women to professorial level. According to a university teachers union in Ireland, women occupy just 19 per cent of senior academic posts across the continent. Joan Donegan is the Deputy General Secretary of the Irish Federation of University Teachers. Daniel Dickinson asked her what challenges her [...]

27 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

News in Brief 26 March 2015 (PM)

The Secretary-General with H.E. Mr. Mohammad Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, President of Afghanistan. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

Afghan President meets UN Secretary-General President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai of Afghanistan on Thursday visited the United Nations for the first time since becoming the Asian country's leader. The President discussed with the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon the stronger ties that Afghanistan is building in the region as well as the importance of trade and economic [...]

26 Mar 2015 | Posted in | Read More »

Conflict in Syria characterized by "breathtaking levels of savagery"

12-year-old Safaa cries as she tells her story to a UNICEF staff member. Photo: UNICEF (file)

Children are particularly badly affected by the ongoing conflict in Syria which is entering its fifth year. That's what the United Nations humanitarian chief, Valerie Amos told the Security Council during her briefing on Thursday. She said that one year after the Council adopted a resolution demanding that all warring parties stop attacks against civilians, [...]

26 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

UN Calling Asia

Crop damage caused by Super Cyclone Pam on the Pacific Island of Vanuatu. Photo: UNICEF/Gaelle Sevenier

Clean-up in Vanuatu continues following Cyclone Pam The clean-up operation is continuing in Vanuatu following the cyclone that devastated the country earlier in the month. The United Nations has launched an appeal for 30 million US dollars to support the Pacific island nation as it recovers from the disaster. Daniel Dickinson reports. Building violence free [...]

26 Mar 2015 | Posted in UN Calling Asia | Read More »

Women

Around the world there are more than 700 million women who were married before their 18th birthday. Photo: UNICEF

Governments need to openly criticise the practice of child marriage "Governments need to openly criticise the practice of child marriage" according to experts attending a meeting at the United Nations. Around the world there are more than 700 million women who were married before their 18th birthday. The UN Children's Fund, UNICEF says that is [...]

26 Mar 2015 | Posted in Women | Read More »

Nigerians urged to conduct peaceful elections on Saturday

A group of Nigerian refugees rest in the Cameroon town of Mora after fleeing armed attacks. Photo: UNHCR/D. Mbaoire

Nigerian leaders and their supporters have been urged to refrain from violence during general elections due to take place on Saturday. The call has been made by the head of the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA) Mohammed Ibn Chambas. The presidential and parliamentary elections originally scheduled for February 14 but were postponed by the [...]

26 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Warring parties in Yemen urged to ensure protection of civilians

Damage caused by fighting in Abyan Governorate, southern Yemen. Photo: OCHA/Eman (file)

All parties in the conflict in Yemen have been reminded of their obligations to protect civilians as well as humanitarian and UN and personnel. The call has come from UN Secretary-General following the announcement by Saudi Arabia that it has begun military operations in the country. Yemen has been mired in a political and security [...]

26 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Incoming Israeli government urged to show commitment to two-state solution

Outgoing Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry delivers his final briefing to the Security Council. UN Photo/Loey Felipe

The incoming Israeli government has been urged by the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process to quickly demonstrate its commitment to the two-state solution. Robert Serry on Thursday was briefing the Security Council at UN Headquarters in New York on ways to end what he called "the longest ongoing occupation in modern [...]

26 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

UN Daily News 26 March 2015

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House demolished in Gaza following Israeli airstrike in 2012. Photo: OCHA/M. El Halabi (file)

2014 a devastating year for Palestinians in occupied territory Palestinian civilians continue be subjected to threats to their life, physical safety and liberty, according to a report released by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs on Thursday. Entitled, "Fragmented Lives", the report says 2014 witnessed the highest civilian death toll since 1967. It [...]

26 Mar 2015 | Posted in | Read More »

Albinism expert appointed by UN rights watchdog after attacks

Some people with Albinism live in fear of attack, the UN Human Rights Council has heard. UN Photo/Marie Frechon

The international community lent its weight to efforts to stamp out attacks on people with albinism on Thursday by appointing a new UN expert to investigate abuses and promote equality. The development at the Human Rights Council in Geneva follows a growing number of horrific attacks on people born with the condition. Children and adults [...]

26 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Governments urged to join Biological Weapons Convention

Weapons collected in Libya to prevent arms proliferation. Photo: Giovanni Diffidenti

The 23 countries that have not yet joined the Biological Weapons Convention have been urged to do so without delay. The call has come from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his message on the 40th anniversary of the entry into force of the first multilateral disarmament treaty to ban an entire category of weapons of [...]

26 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Senegalese encouraged to eat local foods to develop economy

Woman sells mango and sweet potato jam at the food processing shop in Bantantinnting, Senegal. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

The practice of eating locally grown food has changed the lives of 250,000 people in Senegal, according to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). Many people in the West African country currently rely on expensive, imported food. IFAD says that growing their own food has not only significantly helped the population through what is [...]

26 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

Highest numbers of asylums seekers in 22 years registered in 2014

Displaced women in South Sudan. Estimated number of new asylum applications lodged in industrialized countries throughout the year at 866,000. Photo: UNHCR/Helen Caux

The number of people who fled conflicts and other hardships to apply for asylum in industrialized countries was at a 22-year high last year, according to a report released by the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) on Thursday. The UNHCR's Asylum Trends 2014 puts the estimated number of new asylum applications lodged in industrialized countries throughout [...]

26 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Nepal men urged to end violence against women

Event in Rajbiraj City, Nepal, to promote gender equality. Photo: UNFPA

Men in Nepal are being encouraged by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) to play their role in ending violence against women. Four hundred local people recently gathered in Rajbiraj City in Saptari district to participate in a theatre performance focusing on how to prevent violence against girls in school. It was part of the UN's [...]

26 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

News in Brief 25 March 2015 (PM)

Homepage of web portal for UN70.

Web portal for UN70 unveiled A web portal for the 70th anniversary of the United Nations has been launched in all six official languages. UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq says the website, www.un.org/un70 presents a gateway to the rich history of the UN, its founding, its eight Secretaries-General and its many milestones over the decades. [...]

25 Mar 2015 | Posted in | Read More »

Memorial to Victims of Slavery unveiled at UN

Unveiling of the Permanent Memorial to Honor the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe.

A memorial in honour of the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade was unveiled at UN headquarters in New York on Wednesday. The 25th of March is observed annually as the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. This year's theme is "Women and Slavery" to [...]

25 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Daily News 25 March 2015

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News in Brief 25 March 2015 (AM)

The global community needs to help countries rebuild already fragile health systems, WHO says. Photo: UNMEER/Martine Perret

First trial of Ebola vaccine begins in Guinea The first trial of an Ebola vaccine began this week in Guinea, one of the three West African countries worst affected by the disease. The World Health Organization (WHO) says ring vaccination tests of the VSB-EBOV vaccine, developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada, have been [...]

25 Mar 2015 | Posted in | Read More »

"Outrage must be matched by action" to protect children in conflict

Children attending a class in South Sudan in 2012. The year 2014 was the worst time to be a child living in a violent and insecure country. Photo: UNICEF/G. Cranston (file)

The year 2014 was the worst time to be a child living in a violent and insecure country, according to the United Nations. The organization estimates that 230 million children currently live in conflict zones of which 15 million have been directly affected by violence. The Security Council on Wednesday held a debate on children [...]

25 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

Perpetrators of Iraq "horrors" must face justice, says UN rights expert

The Deputy High Commissioner called on the Iraq government to protect civilians in Mosul, pictured here. Photo: HCR/S. Baldwin

One of the UN's top human rights leaders on Wednesday said it was "painful” to contemplate abuse carried out by ISIS extremists in Iraq, amid evidence that pro-government forces were also responsible for terrible violations. In her office’s report on the strife-hit country, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Flavia Pansieri told the UN Human [...]

25 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Children face mines risk in South Sudan

Demonstration of demine by UNMAS deminer in Ayii area in Magwi County, Eastern Equatoria. Photo: UNMISS/Isaac Billy

Communities in South Sudan are being supported by the UN Mine Action Service to clear remnants of war and identify areas where children's lives are threatened by unexploded ordnance. Toby Lanzer, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in the country, recently travelled to Magwi in Easter Equatoria State. He said mines are a still a "terrible threat" [...]

25 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

Release of detained staff members urged by UN

Gert Danielsen (facing camera), a UN staff member with UNDP, embraces a colleague after his release from captivity in Sana'a, Yemen. UN Photo/UNDP/Noeman Al Sayyad (file)

Governments and non-state actors around the world have been urged to immediately release all United Nations staff members and associated personnel who are being unlawfully detained. The appeal has come from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members observed on 25 March each year. On that [...]

25 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Only 1 in 10 chance of peace in Libya, says UN expert

A busy day on Mizran Street in central Tripoli, the Libyan capital. Photo: UNSMIL/Abbas Toumi

Civilians and human rights defenders in Libya continue to bear the brunt of violence amid signs that the number of fighters in the country may have reached 300,000, the UN said Wednesday. Claudio Cordone, who heads the justice unit of the UN mission in Libya (UNSMIL), said that not one war but several wars were [...]

25 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Architect shares inside look of slavery memorial

A close-up from the memorial on the legacy of slavery. UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz

A permanent memorial to honour the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade will help teach present and future generations about, what the UN has called, "one of the darkest chapters in human history". For over 400 years, more than 15 million men, women and children were taken from Africa as slaves. Rodney Leon, [...]

25 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

South African student sees "bigger world" through Model UN

Derrick Mbatha interviews Tlotlo Tlhankana. UN Photo.

A South African teenager hopes to be a human rights lawyer one day, thanks to her participation in Model UN activities in her school. Model UN is a programme that allows students to learn about diplomacy and the United Nations, and play roles of delegates in simulated United Nations meetings or debates. Tlotlo Tlhankana is [...]

25 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

News in Brief 24 March 2015 (PM)

Security Council Chamber. UN Photo/Loey Felipe

Sanctions against Iran remains in effect as nuclear talks continue The sanctions imposed by the Security Council on Iran will remain in full effect as talks continue to resolve the country's nuclear programme issue. That's what the Chairman of the Security Council Iran Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Roman Oyarzun of Spain, told the Council on Tuesday. [...]

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Insecurity worsening in Mali, says UN rights expert

A checkpoint in Kidal, Mali. Photo: MINUSMA/Blagoje Grujic

Mali is at a "critical" point in its efforts to find peace while massive human rights violations continue there, a UN expert said on Tuesday. Addressing the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Special Rapporteur Suliman Baldo said that armed groups in the north of the county "regularly violated" ceasefires and operated with impunity. The [...]

24 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

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E-commerce opportunities growing in developing world

UNCTAD launched the Information Economy Report 2015: Unlocking the Potential of E-commerce for Developing Countries. Image: UNCTAD

The opportunities for businesses and consumers in the developing world to benefit from e-commerce are growing according to the UN's trade and development agency, UNCTAD. The agency's latest Information Economy Report, released on Tuesday, focuses on the potential opportunities and risks of on-line buying, selling and trading. Sub-Saharan Africa is one area where growth is [...]

24 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

Children "bearing brunt" of Yemen violence, says UNICEF

Children face recruitment by armed groups, UNICEF says. Photo: OCHA

Growing insecurity in Yemen threatens children who are already among the most vulnerable on earth, according to UNICEF. Figures from the UN agency indicate a sharp spike in the number of children killed or maimed in attacks in 2014 compared with a year earlier. The development follows attacks on mosques in Sana’a in recent days [...]

24 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

News in Brief 24 March 2015 (AM)

Refugees from Central African Republic have been told they can no longer vote in presidential elections later this year. Photo: UNHCR/M.Poletto

UN refugee chief visits refugees in Cameroon Some of the thousands of refugees from Nigeria and the Central African Republic in Cameroon are being visited by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Antonio Guterres has started a two-day visit to Cameroon where more than 74,000 Nigerians have sought refuge to escape attacks by Boko Haram [...]

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Building violence free communities in India

Anuradha Kapoor. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown

Rural and urban communities in India are being told that violence against women is unacceptable. Anuradha Kapoor, Director of Swayam, a women's rights organization based in Kolkata says that positive change is underway but that women need to speak out more on the issue. Ms Kapoor was recently at the UN in New York. Ana [...]

24 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

$30m appeal launched amid Vanuatu devastation

Replanting is a priority in Vanuatu after Cyclone Pam, which caused landslides similar to the one pictured here in March 2014. Photo: Vanuatu Humanitarian Team/OCHA

An estimated 166,000 people are in need of help in Vanuatu 11 days after Cyclone Pam struck, the UN said Tuesday, as it launched a near $30 million appeal for aid. Critical food and water shortages are just two of the problems facing victims of the natural disaster as they start to leave evacuation centres [...]

24 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Bid begins to find trillions for UN's post-2015 goals

Ending poverty by 2030 in places such as Jakarta, Indonesia is one of 17 UN goals. Photo: World Bank/Farhana Asnap

Implementing the UN's sustainable development goals (SDGs) is set to be a vast financial challenge likely to run into trillions of dollars a year. In an effort to help lock down the funds ahead of a key meeting in Addis Ababa in July, economic experts and UN member states have met in Geneva for talks [...]

24 Mar 2015 | Posted in Sustainable Development Goals, Today's News | Read More »

Urgent support needed by crisis–stricken farmers in CAR

Women process cassava for food preparation in Mbaiki, Central African Republic. Photo: FAO/Riccardo Gangale

Farmers in the Central African Republic (CAR) are in urgent need of seeds and tools for the upcoming April planting season, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The agency is warning that these resources are required in order to prevent further deterioration of the livelihoods of vulnerable populations. Some 1.5 million people [...]

24 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

Tuberculosis a "human tragedy"

Tuberculosis face mask. Photo: IRIN/David Gough (file)

Tuberculosis has been described as "a human tragedy" by a senior UN health official. The disease still kills 1.5 million people and affects nine million people around the world every year, On World TB Day  observed on 24 of March each year, the World Health Organization (WHO) is calling for new commitments and action in [...]

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News in Brief 23 March 2015 (PM)

Call for prevention of violence against children in post-2015 development agenda. Photo: UNICEF//Dormino (file)

Call for prevention of violence against children in post-2015 development agenda The importance of including the prevention of violence against children in a post-2015 sustainable development agenda was stressed in a meeting at UN headquarters. The meeting on Monday brought together diplomats, UN officials and activists to share ideas about proposals that are being discussed [...]

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Member States urged to invest in tackling hunger and climate change

Graziano da Silva (center). Photo: FAO

Governments around the world have been urged to invest more in fighting hunger and helping vulnerable countries to adapt to climate change. The appeal was made by the Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) as its Executive Council began its week-long session in Rome on Monday. The FAO's proposed budget for 2016-2017 [...]

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82,000 children are estimated to have been affected by Cyclone Pam. Photo: UNICEF/Crumb

80 per cent of schools in Vanuatu destroyed or damaged by Cyclone Pam Eighty per cent of schools in Vanuatu have been destroyed or damaged by a cyclone that recently hit the Pacific archipelago. That's according to the UN Children's Fund, UNICEF. The schools are not expected to reopen until the end of the month. [...]

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African elephants continue to face threat from poaching

African elephant populations continue to face an immediate threat to their survival from high-levels of poaching for their ivory. Photo: CITES

The survival of African elephants continues to be threatened by poaching, according to the latest figures released on Monday. The figures by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) were presented at the African Elephant Summit in Kasane, Botswana. They have been compiled by the CITES programme for [...]

23 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Hundreds of child soldiers released in South Sudan

More than 350 child soldiers have been released in South Sudan. Photo: UNICEF/Mariantonietta Peru

The release of over 350 children who had been recruited as soldiers in South Sudan has been welcomed by the United Nations. The children, most of whom are younger than 16 years old, had been forced to join a rebel group which had been operating in Jonglei state in the north of the country. It's [...]

23 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

School destroyed during 2014 conflict in Gaza reopened

Student at Khuza'a Elementary school reads a poem at the school reopening ceremony. Photo: UNRWA/Shareef Sarhan

A school that was destroyed during a conflict in Gaza in July last year has been reopened by the UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA). The Khuza'a Elementary Co-ed A &B School, in eastern Khan Younis hosts more than 1,100 students. Its refurbishment was made possible by donations from international partners and Nobel Peace Prize [...]

23 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Peace must be found after Gaza “havoc”, says UN expert

An estimated 400,000 children need psychological support in Gaza, the Human Rights Council heard.  UNICEF/Alessio Romenzi

Israelis, Palestinians and the international community have a responsibility to end the mutual hostility that risks flaring up again and again, a top UN investigator said Monday. Makarim Wibisono, Special Rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, addressed the UN Human Rights Council seven months after violence ended between Israel and Palestinian armed [...]

23 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Depression and eating disorders "should be part of gender debate"

Commission on the Status of Women meeting. UN Photo/Loey Felipe

A young Swedish student attending a UN conference on gender equality in New York says she thinks depression and eating disorders are an important part of the discussion on women's rights. Clara Helgesson believes it's important to understand how mental illnesses affect girls’ education and empowerment in general. Joshua Mmali asked Ms. Helgesson about her [...]

23 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

Sustainable fishing guidelines lend support to women

Women sorting and weighing catch in a amall-scale fishing community in the Philippines.  FAO/18216/J. VILLAMORA

Women who fish for a living are to benefit from new UN guidelines on sustainable fishing. Worldwide, women play a key role in the small-scale fisheries and in some developing countries make up the majority of the work force. The guidelines launched by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) are aimed at promoting food security [...]

23 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

Small businesses in Central Africa to benefit from "financial inclusion"

Central African Republic: Entrepreneurs build businesses through micro-credits. UNDP@PHOTO

Small and medium-sized businesses in the Central Africa region are being held back because they are not able to access funds to grow; that's according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Experts from around the region are meeting in Brazzavile, the capital of the Republic of the Congo on Monday to discuss how to change [...]

23 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

"Climate knowledge for Climate Action"

WMO DAY

The world can overcome the challenge posed by climate change and create safer, more prosperous societies if it arms itself with knowledge. That's one of the messages being delivered by the United Nations on World Meteorological Day marked annually on 23 March. This year's theme is "climate knowledge for climate action." Stephanie Coutrix reports. The theme [...]

23 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Yemen on the brink of "civil war"

The UN Security Council holds an emergency meeting on Yemen
UN Photo/Mark Garten

Yemen stands on the brink of "civil war" according to the senior United Nations official working on the Middle Eastern country. Yemen has faced a political and security crisis that was sparked in 2011 during what is commonly known as the “Arab Spring”. In the latest incident on Friday, two suicide bombers targeted mosques in [...]

22 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

World Water Day highlights need for safe drinking water and sanitation

A young girl sits on a jerry can, as her mother fills up another with water, near the town of Jowhar, Somalia. UN Photo/Tobin Jones

Safe drinking water can be provided to all people by 2030 as envisaged in the sustainable development goals (SDGs) that are being discussed by world leaders. That's the view of the UN Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, on World Water Day which is observed on 22 March each [...]

22 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

Women's coffee-growing film is no run-of-the-mill business

UN Office at Geneva. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

The remarkable story of women transforming their lives by building a coffee company from scratch is the subject of a film by campaigning producer Lesley Chilcott. Respected for her previous titles including "An Inconvenient Truth" and "Waiting For Superman", Chilcott's new film charts how women from a remote village in Costa Rica almost saw their [...]

22 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

Polio signals deteriorating health situation in Syria

Elizabeth Hoff

A resurgence of polio in Syria and an increase in waterborne diseases is signalling a deteriorating health situation in the country according to the World Health Organization (WHO). More than 200,000 people have been killed and over one million have been injured since the crisis started in March 2011. Before the conflict, WHO says Syria [...]

22 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

"Despicable" attacks in Syria condemned by UN chief

UN Secretary-General. Credit: UN File Photo/Amanda Voisard

Attacks targetting Kurdish New Year celebrations have been condemned as despicable by the United Nations Secretary-General. Initial reports suggested that two separate bombings on Friday killed and injured up to 100 people in north-east Syria. Daniel Dickinson reports The attacks in Al-Hasakah City targeted Nowruz celebrations which mark the New Year and the first day [...]

21 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Forests grow as carbon emissions fall

A woman unloading mangrove logs that will be used for charcoal production in Thailand. Photo credit: FAO/J. Koelen

The area covered by forests around the world is on the increase according to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) while carbon emissions are falling. A report by the agency suggests that emissions from forests are down by 25 per cent. Typically, trees absorb carbon dioxide, but when land is cleared and its use [...]

21 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

Kenya emerges as "reference point" for women's empowerment

UNDP KENYA @ PHOTO

Initiatives that are being taken in Kenya to empower women and other disadvantaged sectors of society can serve as lessons for other countries. That's the view of Anne Waiguru, the Cabinet Secretary for Devolution and Planning of the East African country. She is one of the hundreds of women who have gathered in New York [...]

21 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

Tensions remain between UN Mission and DR Congo government

Martin Kobler (centre) having a conversation prior to briefing the Security Council. UN Photo/Loey Felipe

Efforts are under way to mend relations between the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the UN Mission in the country (MONUSCOmart). That's according to the head of MONUSCO. The mission recently suspended its cooperation with the government because of its refusal to replace two military commanders implicated in human rights abuses [...]

21 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

New round of UN-facilitated talks on Libya begin in Morocco

Special Representative and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Bernardino León briefs the press. Photo: UNSMIL

A new round of UN-facilitated talks on Libya has convened in the Moroccan city of Skhirat on Friday. The talks will allow participants to follow up on previous discussions on the formation of a consensual national unity government in Libya. Security arrangements to end fighting and ways to ensure the withdrawal of armed groups from [...]

20 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

News in Brief 20 March 2015 (PM)

Damage to property and infrastructure caused by fighting between Government troops and militants is estimated at 95 per cent in some areas of Yemen. Photo: OCHA/EmanAl-Awami

Terrorist attack in Yemen condemned by UN Terrorist attacks on two mosques during Friday prayers in the Yemeni capital Sana'a, as well as on a government building and mosque in Sa'dah have been condemned by the United Nations. Media reports indicated that more than 140 people were killed and that the suicide bombings were claimed [...]

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Gender discussions wrap up at the UN

IMG_0570

Two weeks of deliberations on how to boost gender equality around the world are coming to an end at the United Nations in New York The international community has been meeting at the Commission on the Status of Women to discuss the Beijing Declaration and other gender issues. The Declaration, signed in 1995, is considered [...]

20 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

News in Brief 20 March 2015 (AM)

Replanting is a priority in Vanuatu after Cyclone Pam, which caused landslides similar to the one pictured here in March 2014. Photo: Vanuatu Humanitarian Team/OCHA

"Extensive" loss of agriculture in Vanuatu Strong winds, heavy rains and floods resulting from Tropical Cyclone Pam have caused extensive damage to agriculture throughout Vanuatu, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The banana crop throughout the Pacific island country has reportedly been almost entirely destroyed, as have most coconuts and much of [...]

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Racial discrimination remains "clear danger" across world

Mourners at a funeral ceremony in Cape Province for those who were killed by the South African police at Langa Township in Uitenhage. UN Photo

Racial discrimination still presents a clear danger to people and communities in all regions, according to the United Nations. On Friday, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is being commemorated under the theme "learning from historical tragedies to combat racial discrimination today". Daniel Dickinson reports. The goal of this year's International Day [...]

20 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Clan chiefs implicated in recruitment of child soldiers in South Sudan conflict

Demobilized child soldiers in the village of Gumuruk, Jonglei State, South Sudan. Photo: UNICEF/Mariantonietta Peru

The recruitment of thousands of child soldiers is just one of the grave problems facing people in South Sudan 15 months since conflict erupted there, the UN children's agency said Friday. In the past month alone, UNICEF said it had received credible and verifiable information that forces aligned with the warring government and opposition parties had [...]

20 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Fears for women and children as fighting displaces 120,000 in Philippines

Displaced Filipina women shelter in the Pagalungan in Mindanao's Maguindanao province. Photo: UNHCR/E.Monato

Fighting in the southern Philippines has forced at least 120,000 people from their homes and the conflict is spreading, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) warned Friday. Eight weeks of clashes between government and separatists have pushed the displaced to seek shelter in schools and public buildings. A further unknown number have already fled to safety [...]

20 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Feminist home gave top UN official means to succeed

Lakshmi Puri. UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

Growing up in a feminist home with supportive parents who wanted to see their daughters succeed is what a top UN official says gave her the opportunity to become a woman of achievement. Lakshmi Puri, who is the Deputy Executive Director of the UN agency dedicated to gender equality—UN Women, grew up in post-independent India. [...]

20 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

"International Day of Happiness" recognizes well-being as universal goal

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says "happy sounds like" Stevie Wonder's song "Signed, Sealed and Delivered".

Happiness for the entire human family is one of the main goals of the United Nations, according to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The global community is marking the International Day of Happiness on 20 March to recognize the relevance of happiness and well-being as universal goals in the lives of people worldwide. The UN recently launched [...]

20 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

Women "always first to suffer" consequences of conflict'

A line of Syrian refugee women, some carrying children, cross into Jordan from southern Syria. Photo: UNHCR/N. Daoud

Women are always the first to suffer the consequences of a conflict, according to the Director of an organization working on gender issues in Jordan. The UN says there are currently about 750,000 refugees in the country who have fled fighting in Syria. The international community has, this week, been discussing women in conflict zones [...]

20 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

US$28m for Nigeria as humanitarian crisis worsens

Noon Briefing by the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

Twenty-eight million US dollars has been provided by the UN Central Emergency Response Fund to support life-saving relief work for people fleeing violence in Nigeria. More than 1.2 million Nigerians have been driven from their homes, mainly as a result of violence committed by the terrorist group Boko Haram. The UN says that the humanitarian [...]

20 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

A million US dollar grant promotes energy for sustainable development

Photo: UNDP

A million US dollar grant has been launched by the UN to promote leadership and innovative practices in energy for sustainable development According to the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), 1.3 billion people don't have access to modern energy services. The Director of the Division for Public Administration and Development Management there says the [...]

20 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

News in Brief 19 March 2015 (PM)

Mizran Street in central Tripoli, the Libyan capital. Photo: UNSMIL/Abbas Toumi

"Wholly unjustified and reckless" attacks in Libya Recent attacks in Libya are "wholly unjustified and reckless", according to the UN Support Mission in the country, UNSMIL. The UN has expressed deep disappointment that attacks against civilians and key infrastructures continue despite repeated calls to avoid the risk of escalating tensions. Libya's leaders are currently engaged [...]

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UN Calling Asia

Kailash Satyarthi. UN Photo/Prashanth Vishwanathan

Denial of childhood "biggest crime against humanity" The denial of childhood is the "biggest crime against humanity" according to an Indian child rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner. Kailash Satyarthi, who campaigns against child labour, was jointly awarded the prize last year with the Pakistani teenager, Malala Yousafzai. Daniel Dickinson met him at the [...]

19 Mar 2015 | Posted in UN Calling Asia | Read More »

Women

Babatunde Osotimehin. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

Women's skills needed to respond to disasters, says senior UN official Women and girls must be part of the planning and implementation of policies dealing with disaster risk reduction, according to the head of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA). Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, the Executive Director of UNFPA, was in Sendai, Japan, attending the World Conference [...]

19 Mar 2015 | Posted in Women | Read More »

Haiti readies for "important" electoral year

Sandra Honoré addresses the Security Council. UN Photo/Loey Felipe

Haiti is preparing for what a senior UN official is calling an important electoral year. Elections have been called for August by the country's President using special powers after the Haitian parliament became what has been described as "dysfunctional." The Caribbean island is still recovering from an earthquake that hit five years ago, killing 200,000 [...]

19 Mar 2015 | Posted in Caribbean News, Today's Features | Read More »

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News in Brief 19 March 2015 (AM)

The country still needs the international community's help five years after the devastating earthquake, the UN cholera coordinator says.Photo: UN/Logan Abassi

More than a billion people worldwide in inadequate housing A human rights expert has reported that more than a billion people around the world live in inadequate housing. The Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, Leilani Farha, said this includes people who are homeless, without title to land, living with the threat of [...]

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Timely elections "pivotal moment" for DR Congo, says UN envoy

Martin Kobbler. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

Holding timely elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo will be a pivotal moment in the history of the country. That's what the head of the UN Mission in the DR Congo (MONUSCO) told the Security Council during a briefing on Thursday. Martin Kobbler welcomed the publication in January of the global calendar for [...]

19 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

Digital age is well and truly here, says UN patents chief

Francis Gurry. Photo: WIPO/Berrod Emmanuel

Telecoms giants helped create record international patent applications last year – the fifth consecutive year of unprecedented gains, the UN announced on Thursday. Applications for patents – licences which protect manufacturers' inventions – are closely followed by economists because they're seen as a key driver of growth. In 2014 they were dominated by just three [...]

19 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Pakistani government urged to reinstate moratorium on death penalty

UN Photo/Martine Perret

The Government of Pakistan has been urged by the UN to reinstate its moratorium on the death penalty as soon as possible. A moratorium established by the UN in 2007 calls on all countries that maintain the death penalty to suspend it with a view to abolition. After imposing the moratorium for seven years, Pakistan [...]

19 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Food voucher programme launched in CAR

WFP food assistance in Bangui. WFP@PHOTO

One hundred thousand people are to benefit from a food voucher programme launched for the first time by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) in the Central African Republic. The country has endured more than two years of civil war and sectarian violence leaving much of the population dependant on humanitarian aid. WFP says the [...]

19 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Iraq report reveals possible genocide by terrorist group

Ethnic Yezidis have had to flee persecution in Iraq. Photo: UNHCR/N.Colt

Islamic State fighters have committed horrific crimes and could be guilty of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, UN investigators said Thursday. The top-level UN Human Rights Office report documents a wide range of violations carried out since June 2014 – when the terrorist group also known as ISIL entered Iraq. While also blaming [...]

19 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Plant health under the spotlight in Rome

Bactrocera dorsalis, the Oriental fruit fly, is one of world's most destructive agricultural pests. FAO @ PHOTO

Efforts are under way to get the United Nations to declare an international year of plant health, to highlight its importance for food security. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says that pests and diseases can have disastrous consequences on agricultural production. FAO is this week hosting the annual meeting of the Commission on [...]

19 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

The right to health is a human rights issue

Obstetricians providing help to pregnant women in the Philippines. UNFPA @ PHOTO

'The right to health is a human rights issue', according to a senior professor at the University of Philippines. Experts have been meeting at UN headquarters to discuss how women's access to health is disproportionately affected to poverty. Elizabeth Pangalangan at the University of Philippines is a strong advocate for better access to reproductive healthcare [...]

19 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

The long way to power

Villagers read election instructional material provided by United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) . UN Photo/Eric Kanalstein (file Photo)

At the beginning of the year only 22 per cent of all national parliamentarians across the world were female, according to the UN. Women face several obstacles in participating in political life, such as discriminatory laws and cultural barriers, says the director of the Centre for Multiparty Democracy in Kenya. Cathrine Hasselberg reports. Duration: 2’49″

19 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

News in Brief 18 March 2015 (PM)

The Taunono community was completely destroyed when Super Cyclone Pam struck. Photo: UNICEF/UNI181136/Crumb

  Eleven people dead and thousands in need in Vanuatu The Government of Vanuatu has confirmed the death of 11 people due to Cyclone Pam, which hit the country last Friday. With winds reaching over 250 kilometres per hour, more than 3,000 people have sought shelter in 26 evacuation centres. The UN says some of [...]

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Haiti making "measurable gains" towards 2015 elections

Sandra Honoré.  UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

The Government of Haiti has made progress towards the holding of elections critical for the country's stability and development, according to the top UN official in the Caribbean nation. Despite the uncertainty caused by the absence of a functioning Parliament, Haitians are expected to vote by the end of 2015. Stephanie Coutrix reports. The first-round [...]

18 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

"Worrying" signs of backtracking in pivotal year for Myanmar

Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar Yanghee Lee. Photo: UN / Jean-Marc Ferré

Myanmar's authorities have been warned to rapidly address ongoing challenges to the democratic reform process that could undermine the success achieved so far. The call came from the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the country, Yanghee Lee. She presented her first report on the situation in Myanmar to the UN Human [...]

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Situation in CAR fragile but shows "encouraging signs", says Security Council

Ismael Martins. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

The situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) is fragile but showing what UN Security Council members have called "encouraging signs". Council members recently visited the country with the goal of assessing the situation on the ground. The French and Angolan ambassadors shared the Council's conclusions. Stephanie Coutrix reports. It was the first time the [...]

18 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

News in Brief 18 March 2015 (AM)

Former President Mohamed Nasheed addresses the sixty-fourth session of the General Assembly in 2009. UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz

UN concerned about "unfair" trial of former President of Maldives Strong concerns have been expressed by the UN about the hasty and apparently unfair trial of the former President of the Maldives, Mohammed Nasheed. He received a 13-year jail sentence for the unlawful detention of a criminal court judge in 2012. The UN Human Rights [...]

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People urged to start work on disaster risk reduction

Margareta Wahlström. UN PHOTO.

An important step has been taken in the future management of natural and man-made disasters according to the head of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) Margareta Wahlström was speaking at the conclusion of a major world conference on reducing the risk of disasters that has been taking place in the Japanese [...]

18 Mar 2015 | Posted in Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, Today's Features | Read More »

UN chief "horrified by the unscrupulous actions" of smugglers

UN Photo

The actions of people smugglers in the Mediterranean Sea who subject vulnerable migrants to abuse have been described as "horrifying" by the UN Secretary-General. Migrants, asylum seekers and refugees continue to take the dangerous journey on vessels, which are often set on autopilot courses towards the Italian coastline. Ban Ki-moon was in Rome, Italy on [...]

18 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Development slowed down by disasters, says World Bank

UNDP cash-for-work beneficiaries clearing debris in one of the most affected neighbourhoods in Tacloban, Philippines. Photo: RV Mitra/UNDP.

The intensity and frequency of natural disasters across the globe threaten to slow down the development of countries, according to the World Bank. The Bank notes that the impact of disasters on gross domestic product (GDP) is 20 times higher in developing countries than in industrialized nations. Rachel Kyte, the World Bank's Special Envoy for [...]

18 Mar 2015 | Posted in Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, Today's Features | Read More »

Women's skills needed to respond to disasters

Babatunde Osotimehin. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

Women and girls must be part of the planning and implementation of policies dealing with disaster risk reduction, according to the head of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA). Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, the Executive Director of UNFPA was speaking in Sendai, Japan, where he is attending the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction. He said countries [...]

18 Mar 2015 | Posted in Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, Today's Features | Read More »

Sahel’s plight worsens amid fighting, says UN aid chief

Mbera refugee camp, Mauritania, in the Sahel region of Africa. Photo: WFP/Justin Smith

Conflict in Africa's Sahel region is the biggest threat to saving lives in one of the poorest places on earth, according to the UN aid chief in charge there. Robert Piper, who's UN Regional Humanitarian Co-ordinator for Sahel, said that in the last 12 months alone, more than one million people have been displaced by [...]

18 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

"Impact-based warnings" critical to disaster risk reduction

(UNTV video capture)

Giving clear early warnings in disasters that can be understood and acted upon by everyone is critical to reducing the impacts on people, according to the head of the UN weather agency. Michel Jarraud, the Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is attending the Third World Conference on Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan. He [...]

18 Mar 2015 | Posted in Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, Today's Features | Read More »

Global response to HIV/AIDS provides lessons for tackling disasters

UNISDR @ PHOTO

The way the international community has been responding to the HIV/AIDS pandemic over thirty years can provide lessons on how to tackle critical disease outbreaks and other pandemics in the future. That's according to Steven Klaus, Director of the UN Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) Regional Support Team for the Asia and Pacific Region. Nan [...]

18 Mar 2015 | Posted in Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, Today's Features | Read More »

Children affected by disasters set to triple

An child lies injured after an Haiti's devastating 2010 earthquake. Photo: UN Photo/Logan Abassi

The number of children affected by disasters is increasing, according to the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF). The agency says that in the last decades of the 20th century disasters affected 60 million children per year. It's warning that number is set to triple. The agency also points out that while children are more vulnerable to [...]

18 Mar 2015 | Posted in Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction | Read More »

News in Brief 17 March 2015 (PM)

Jamal Benomar. UN Photo/Loey Felipe

Lifting of house arrest of Yemeni politicians welcomed by UN The lifting of house arrest on the Yemeni Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and other cabinet members has been welcomed by the UN. Secessionist Houthi militias in Yemen staged a takeover of the capital Sa’ana in recent weeks, forcing political officials into house [...]

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"Stubborn” Sierra Leone families are hampering ebola fight, says UNICEF

A health worker in Sierra Leone, where unsafe burial practices continue to spread disease. Photo: UNICEF/NYHQ2014-1586/Bindra

Ebola still isn't under control in Sierra Leone and the "very small number" of people who continue to carry out unsafe burials are to blame, according to the UN children's fund (UNICEF). The news comes amid an uptick in the number of people infected with the virus in capital Freetown in recent weeks, one of [...]

17 Mar 2015 | Posted in Ebola Outbreak, Today's Features | Read More »

Fighting in Unity States breaches protection of civilian site in Bentiu

UNMISS evacuation support in Bentiu, Unity State, on 16 April. Photo: UNMISS Military

Fighting on Tuesday in South Sudan near the United Nations compound in the town of Bentiu has been condemned by the UN Mission in the country, UNMISS. An artillery shell landed in the compound, which is currently protecting some 53,000 South Sudanese. Stephanie Coutrix reports. The UN Mission in South Sudan said Tuesday's fighting resulted [...]

17 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

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News in Brief 17 March 2015 (AM)

A wide view of the Security Council meeting on the situation in Sudan and South Sudan. UN Photo/Loey Felipe

  UN peacekeepers and their commanders "sent home" for unsuitable behavior The UN has taken what it has called "drastic measures" to repatriate some peacekeeping units from the African Union-UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) that did not behave suitably while serving the Organization. The admission was made by the head of UN peacekeeping operations, [...]

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"Biggest problem" in Darfur is denial of access to people in need

A UNAMID peacekeeper interacts with a lady during a daily patrol aimed at protecting newly displaced persons at the Zam Zam camp near El Fasher, North Darfur, on 16 March 2015. Photo by Hamid Abdulsalam, UNAMID.

Peace and security in Darfur has not improved during the last year according to the head of UN peacekeeping operations. Hervé Ladsous was briefing the Security Council on Tuesday on the latest developments in the western Sudanese region including the activities of the African Union-UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID). The Mission has been in [...]

17 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

60,000 children need help after Cyclone Pam strike, says UNICEF

A child watches as Cyclone Pam hits Vanuatu. Photo: UNICEF Pacific

Some 60,000 children are believed to need help in Vanuatu as the UN gears up its emergency response to the aftermath of hurricane Pam – one of the most powerful tropical cyclones to make landfall. In addition to flooded schools and hospitals, 250 kilometre an hour winds have caused widespread destruction throughout the already vulnerable [...]

17 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Denial of childhood "biggest crime against humanity"

UN Photo/Prashanth Vishwanathan

The denial of childhood is the "biggest crime against humanity" according to an Indian child rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner. Kailash Satyarthi, who campaigns against child labour, was jointly awarded the prize last year with the Pakistani teenager, Malala Yousafzai. Daniel Dickinson met him at the United Nations in New York and asked [...]

17 Mar 2015 | Posted in 2014 Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi, Today's Features | Read More »

Inability to end impunity for crimes in Syria "lamentable"

UN investigator Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro in Geneva. "Weapons don't fall from the heavens," he said in a call for international actors to help stop the fighting. Photo: UN/Pontus Wallstenn

The inability of the Security Council to act to end impunity for crimes that have been committed in the ongoing conflict in Syria is "lamentable". That's according to Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, Chairman of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, where civil war has claimed more than 200,000 lives. The Commission was established by [...]

17 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

Damning Syria report reveals continuing horrors

Syrian Kurdish refugees cross the border into Turkey after fleeing fighting around the city of Kobane in north-east Syria. Photo: UNHCR/I. Prickett

The latest UN report into the Syrian conflict has revealed that civilians continue to be the deliberate target of barrel bombs, mass executions sexual violence as the conflict enters its fifth year. At the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, UN investigator Paulo Pinheiro criticized the lack of international response before saying that the names [...]

17 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Needs of disabled highlighted in disasters

KerryAnn Ifill. UN PHOTO

The needs of persons with disabilities should be taken into account when strategies are devised to reduce the risk of disasters. That's according to KerryAnn Ifill, President of the Senate of Babados in the Caribbean, who became blind at age five. She is currently in Sendai, Japan, to attend the Third UN World Conference on [...]

17 Mar 2015 | Posted in Caribbean News, Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, Today's Features | Read More »

Making films to break the silence of women in Jordan

Ghada Saba. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown

A filmmaker in Jordan is raising awareness about the lack of women's rights in the region by telling stories which address social problems. Ghada Saba, who is known as a Gender Equality Champion, has produced several documentaries with Jordanian Queen Rania Al Abdullha, which focus on everyday heroes. Ms Saba was in New York attending [...]

17 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

News in Brief 16 March 2015 (PM)

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas (file)

Terrorist attacks in Lahore, Pakistan strongly condemned by UN chief Terrorist attacks on two Christian churches in the Pakistani city of Lahore, in which at least 14 people were reportedly killed, have been strongly condemned by the UN Secretary-General. Ban Ki-moon noted with grave concern that the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attacks during [...]

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Sport empowers women and girls, says head of UN Women

A girl passes a ball during a drill at basketball training session in Mogadishu, Somalia. UN Photo/Tobin Jones

Sport plays an important role in uplifting girls and demonstrating their ability to conquer adversities. That's what the head of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said at the start of a panel discussion on Sport for Women's Empowerment held in New York on Monday. The event, jointly organized with the International Olympic Committee, brought together representatives [...]

16 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

News in Brief 16 March 2015 (AM)

Tens of thousands of children are in urgent need of assistance in Vanuatu after Cyclone Pam ripped through the country. Photo: UNICEF Pacific

  Disasters cost Asia and Pacific US$1.5 trillion over past 45 years The Asia and Pacific region has lost two million lives and more than US$ 1.5 trillion over the past 45 years. That's according to a new report that has been issued by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific [...]

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Leaders of Afghanistan urged to complete appointment of senior officials

Nicholas Haysom. UN Photo/Mark Garten

A diverse and professional administration with strong female representation will be necessary to tackle the many challenges that lie ahead in Afghanistan. That's what the head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said during his briefing to the Security Council on Monday. Nicholas Haysom called on political leaders in Afghanistan to conclude the [...]

16 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

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Detention and torture a "fact of life" in Eritrea, says UN expert

The UN Human Rights Council in Geneva where the US delegation accepted 80 per cent of the 340 recommendations made. UN File Photo/ Pierre Albouy

A top UN investigator has told the UN Human Rights Council that Eritrea needs to address "very clear patterns of violations", while saying that reforms to its restrictive and open-ended national service system would be hugely significant. Mike Smith, who's president of the Commission of Inquiry on Eritrea, made his comments after presenting an interim [...]

16 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

"Gender-bias" in textbooks keeping girls out of science

© UNESCO/Justin Mott

"Gender-bias" in textbooks is keeping girls from pursuing a career in science, maths and technology according to a professor of sociology based in the United States. Rae Lesser Blumberg wrote a study for the UN cultural agency, UNESCO, on how gender-based discrimination in education is driving women and girls away from subjects that they otherwise [...]

16 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

Dutch support disaster reduction with "holistic approach"

Princess Margriet Francisca. UN PHOTO

The Netherlands is supporting countries that are prone to disasters through what it is calling a "holistic approach." That means taking into account the environment of a country and the particular risks it faces whilst working with local people to come up with the best way to prepare for catastrophes. The international community is discussing [...]

16 Mar 2015 | Posted in Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, Today's Features | Read More »

DPRK rejects "fabricated" testimonies in damning UN rights report

Marzuki Darusman. UN PHOTO

A host of UN Member States expressed deep concern at rights violations by Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Monday as a top human rights investigator told the Human Rights Council said that it would be held accountable "sooner or later". UN special rapporteur Marzuki Darusman told delegates in Geneva that "well over 200,000" [...]

16 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Emergency response experts sent to Vanuatu in cyclone aftermath

UNICEF/NYHQ2015-0429/UNICEF Pacific

Emergency response experts are being sent by the UN health agency to Vanuatu. This is following a devastating cyclone that struck the Pacific island nation over the weekend. Cyclone Pam, with winds of more than 250 kilometres per hour and one-metre storm, ravaged Vanuatu on Friday and Saturday. The World Health Organization (WHO) is coordinating [...]

16 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Kenyan farmers turn to "white gold" to fight poverty

Milk has the potential to lift more than a million Kenyan farmers out of poverty. Video Caption: IFAD

Milk has the potential to lift more than a million Kenyan farmers out of poverty, according to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). Kenya’s milk consumption is reportedly the highest in the developing world. And it is smallholder farmers who are producing what the fund says could become Kenya's "white gold." Thanks to training [...]

16 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

"Hollowed out" middle class due to fewer jobs in many industries

Investments in technology impact on number of manufacturing jobs. Photo: World Bank/Graham Crouch

The demand for jobs in sectors such as the service industry, that typically employ so-called "middle-class" workers, is in sharp decline according to the International Labour Organization. But what do fewer middle class jobs mean for the global workforce? The ILO says the result is what it is calling a "hollowed out" middle-class with more [...]

16 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

All hands "on deck" to reduce risk of disasters, says Ban Ki-moon

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon sits down with UN Radio in Sendai, Japan, to discuss disaster risk reduction on 15 March, 2015.

The international community needs to work together to create a new framework on disaster risk reduction according to the UN Secretary-General. Using a nautical term, he said all hands including governments, the business community, and civil society leaders need to be "on deck" to find an approach to deal with natural and man-made disasters. Ban [...]

15 Mar 2015 | Posted in Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, Today's Features | Read More »

Lessons from disasters to shape new policies for better future, says UN chief

A devastating earthquake and tsunami displaced almost half a million people, including 83,000 evacuated from zones near damaged nuclear power plants. Photo: UNICEF/Adam Dean

The global community needs to turn all of the “painful lessons” of disasters into new policies for a better future, according to the UN Secretary-General. Ban Ki-moon was touring the city of Sendai on Sunday, to reflect on the lessons learned from the Great East Japan Earthquake that hit the Tohoku region four years ago. [...]

15 Mar 2015 | Posted in Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, Today's News | Read More »

“Agrocorridors" as economic drivers to boost food security

Farmers dry rice on the road to Hon Don in Vietnam. Photo: FAO/J. M. Micaud

The creation of economic “agrocorridors” can be a strategic tool to draw investments to projects that benefit smallholder farmers, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The UN agency describes these corridors as development programmes that can help promote agriculture in developing countries. To find out more, Sandra Ferrari spoke with Eva Gálvez Nogales, an [...]

15 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

Response to "catastrophic" cyclone Pam underway in Vanuatu

President of Vanuatu, Baldwin Lonsdale, speaking at the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction.

The Pacific Humanitarian Team of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is responding to what it called the "catastrophic impacts of a devastating cyclone" in Vanuatu. During the last two days, cyclone PAM has affected most of the island nation located in the South Pacific Ocean. OCHA said the severe category 5 [...]

14 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Disaster risk reduction is "everybody's business," says UN chief

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe on 14 March, 2015 in Sendai, Japan. UN Photo/Debebe

Disaster risk reduction is in everybody's interest and it's everybody's business, according to the UN Secretary-General. Ban Ki-moon was speaking at the opening of the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, taking place in Sendai, Japan. One of the expected outcomes of the meeting is the adoption of a new framework that will [...]

14 Mar 2015 | Posted in Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, Today's News | Read More »

Commitments on women's rights "not ambitious enough"

International Women's Health Coalition. Photo:  IWHC

A political declaration for gender equality recently adopted at the United Nations is not as strong as it should have been to promote the human rights of women and girls, as feminist groups were largely excluded from negotiations. That's according to the International Women's Health Coalition, an NGO that works on advancing sexual and reproductive [...]

14 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

News in Brief 13 March 2015 (PM)

Libyan parties meet with UN envoy Representatives of Libyan political parties on Friday met with the top UN envoy for Libya, Bernardino Leon in Skhirat, Morocco. They are participating in the UN brokered political dialogue to end factional fighting which has plagued Libya since Muammar al-Qhadafi was overthrown in a popular uprising nearly four years [...]

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"Evidence saves lives", says senior UN official

Countries around the world need to generate evidence. Photo: UNDP/Marta Remoneda (file)

Countries around the world need to generate evidence that shows what is being done to promote development and improve people's lives. That's what the new Chair of the UN Evaluation Group (UNEG) said during the launch of its most recent publication in New York on Friday. The UNEG is an interagency professional network that brings [...]

13 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

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Elimination of death penalty in Suriname and Côte d'Ivoire welcomed by UN. Photo: UN/Staton Winter

Elimination of death penalty in Suriname and Côte d'Ivoire welcomed by UN The adoption by the parliaments of Surname and Côte d'Ivoire of laws to abolish the death penalty has been welcomed by the UN human rights Office. The UN human rights office expressed the hope that the presidents of the two countries will sign [...]

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WHO: keeping hospitals open during natural disasters is key to saving lives

Aftermath of a natural disaster in Kalehe, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in 2014. Photo: OCHA/Maxime Nama (file)

A bid to keep hospitals and health clinics open amid natural disasters and epidemics is key to saving lives, the UN health agency said Friday. The World Health Organization (WHO) initiative is called the safe hospital framework and more than 70 countries have already adopted it. It's to be presented at the Disaster Risk Reduction [...]

13 Mar 2015 | Posted in Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, Today's Features | Read More »

UN unites in call for action on Syria as daily horrors continue

Syrian refugee children walking on a street in the Za'atari camp in northern Jordan. Photo: UNICEF/Simon Ingram

UN chiefs joined together Friday to call for international action on Syria amid reports that children gather in public squares to watch video footage of prisoners being executed by extremists. According to UN children’s agency UNICEF the gruesome spectacle happens in Raqqah and is part of an effort to "desensitise" youngsters to terrible violence. The [...]

13 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Fears of destruction and flooding in Vanuatu over hurricane Pam

Local residents in Port Vila, Vanuatu, stocking up on emergency supplies as Tropical Cyclone Pam approaches. Photo: UNICEF Pacific

A category five hurricane – the most severe – has prompted fears of more destruction when it next makes landfall in the South Pacific. Hurricane Pam is heading for Vanuatu, a relatively sparsely populated collection of island nations off the Australian coast. Pam has already caused damage in Tuvalu and Kiribati and the World Meteorological [...]

13 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

"2015 the start of make or break period for gender equality": UN Women

Phumzile-Mlambo-Ngcuka. UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz (file)

Women around the world have been urged to work hard with men to ensure that their agenda for equality is addressed in a post 2015 development agenda. The call was made by the head of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka at the start of an inter-generational dialogue on gender equality in New York on Friday. The [...]

13 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

New plan needed to face next decade of natural hazards

Landslide in north-eastern Afghanistan. Photo: UNAMA (file)

The global community needs a plan on how it will build resilience against natural hazards, according to the director of Kenya's National Disaster Operation Centre. Nathan Kigotho, who is in Sendai, Japan for the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, says Kenya is mostly affected by drought. In 2005, a 10-year plan called [...]

13 Mar 2015 | Posted in Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, Today's Features | Read More »

Myanmar authorities urged to release over 100 detained protestors

OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani. UN File Photo

The Government of Myanmar has been urged by the UN human rights office to release over 100 students and other protestors arrested after their participation in a demonstration on Tuesday. The protestors in the central town of Latpadan in the southern Bago region of Myanmar were reportedly calling for reform in the education system. The [...]

13 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Syrian children watch executions in public squares, says UN aid worker

A young Syrian girl living in an informal tented settlement for Syria refugees in Lebanon. Photo: UNICEF/Romenzi

The disturbing spectacle of Syrian youngsters gathering to watch video footage of people being executed are just one of UN children's agency UNICEF's concerns as the conflict enters its fifth year, it said Friday. That's the personal testimony of UNICEF worker Hanaa Singer, who has spent the last year coordinating humanitarian aid in some of [...]

13 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

Experts discuss reducing risks of disasters

Margareta Wahlström, Secretary-General's Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction. UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz (file)

Experts from around the world are gathering in Japan to discuss how countries can better prevent and prepare for natural and man-made disasters. In recent decades Japan has faced a number of disasters resulting from tsunamis and earthquakes, and is expected to be showcased as an example of how to tackle these catastrophes. Ahead of [...]

13 Mar 2015 | Posted in Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, Today's Features | Read More »

Appeal of US$ 400 million to build Haiti's resilience

The IOM and the UN Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) relocating people displaced by the January 2010 earthquake. UN Photo/Logan Abassi (file)

An appeal for US$ 400 million is aiming to strengthen Haiti's resilience, according to the UN Mission in the Caribbean island, MINUSTAH. The funds will be put towards fighting food insecurity and combatting cholera as well as other urgent needs. They will also help to build resilience to natural disasters. Haiti is still recovering from [...]

13 Mar 2015 | Posted in Caribbean News, Today's Features | Read More »

Listening to women's stories as key to ending violence

Women from the Asia-Pacific region. Photo: UN Women/Audrey Pina Liti.

Cultural barriers in the Asia-Pacific region are obstructing the right kind of help reaching victims of violence, according to the director of the Women and Children's Crisis Centre in Tonga. Ofa Guttenbeil-Likiliki was at UN Headquarters to attend the 59th session of the Commission on the Status of Women. She called on Pacific island states [...]

13 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

News in Brief 12 March 2015 (PM)

WHO didn't do enough early on to convince communities that clinics could help defeat the killer disease, according to the independent panel. Photo: UNMEER/Martine Perret

Bravery of Ebola responders praised by UN The bravery of national and international responders in the fight against the Ebola disease has been praised by the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy Dr David Nabarro. He called their sacrifice remarkable and said their selflessness and determination was making the difference in the fight against the deadly disease. [...]

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UN Calling Asia

Farhan Akthar (left) is interviewed by Daniel Dickinson. UN Women/Ryan Brown

Bollywood actor recognizes positive change in gender issues in India A leading Bollywood actor says positive change is happening in India in terms of gender equality. Farhan Akhtar who's also UN Women Goodwill Ambassador for South Asia is in New York to attend the 59th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women. Daniel [...]

12 Mar 2015 | Posted in UN Calling Asia | Read More »

Syrian people "increasingly abandoned" by the world

Tishreen camp for displaced Syrians in Aleppo. Photo: UNICEF/Rashidi

The Syrian people feel increasingly abandoned by the world as they enter the fifth year of civil war in the country, according to the UN Secretary-General. Over 220,000 people have died in the conflict that has pitted the government against a number of different rebel groups. Stephanie Coutrix reports. The conflict in Syria began in March [...]

12 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Refugee agency calls for EU discussion to help desperate migrants

UNHCR staff help a growing number of people crossing the Mediterranean to Italy. Photo: UNHCR/A. Belrhazi

The European Union faces a call by the UN to take action to help migrants as increasing numbers of people die crossing the Mediterranean sea, often in a bid to escape conflict. Among the measures proposed, UN refugee agency chief Antonio Guterres wants a stronger naval rescue mission, more support for the few countries which [...]

12 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

News in Brief 12 March 2015 (AM)

Syrian Kurdish refugees cross into Turkey from Syria near the northern town of Kobane in 2014. Photo: UNHCR/I.Prickett (file)

"Alarmingly deteriorating conditions" in Syria People who have fled the five year-old conflict in Syria are living in what the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, has described as "alarmingly deteriorating conditions". A political solution to the conflict has remained elusive and fighting continues between the government and various rebel groups. UNHCR said 3.9 million Syrian refugees [...]

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Refugee agency challenges EU to act on migrant deaths

Italian coastguards help migrants found at sea near Lampedusa.UNHCR/A.Di Loreto

The UN refugee agency set its sights on the European Union as it unveiled proposals Thursday to save increasing numbers of migrants forced to cross the Mediterranean to escape conflict. In addition to a more robust search and rescue naval operation, UNHCR wants to see more financial support for Italy and Greece, which process the [...]

12 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Women remain "underrepresented" in media

Actress Geena Davis. Photo: UN Women/Catianne Tijerina (file)

Women continue to remain underrepresented in the media across the world according to the UN agency which focuses on gender issues, UN Women. The agency says there has been some improvement over the last decades, but more needs to be done. International experts have been discussing the issue on the sidelines of the UN's Commission [...]

12 Mar 2015 | Posted in Celebrity Partners, Today's News | Read More »

Palestinian refugees in Syria face "extreme deprivation"

Crowd awaits relief aid at Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus. Photo: UNRWA (file)

The real cost of  war on human beings can be seen in a camp for Palestinians in Syria; that's according to the head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA). Pierre Krähenbühl recently visited the Yarmouk camp on the outskirts of Damascus where he said thousands of people are living in "extreme deprivation". The war in Syria [...]

12 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

UN issues "simple advice" to cut deaths from hepatitis B

The new guidelines will help medical experts decide on the right treatment. Photo: PAHO/WHO

Lifesaving advice has been published in a bid to reduce deaths from liver disease – or Hepatitis B – a virus that kills 650,000 people a year, UN health experts announced Thursday. In its first comprehensive offensive against the condition, World Health Organization (WHO) said the new guidelines would make it simpler for medical professionals [...]

12 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

14 million children impacted by conflict in Syria and Iraq

January 2015 in Turkey - more than 1.6 million Syrians have sought refuge in the country. Photo: UNICEF/Yurtsever

Some 14 million children are now suffering from the escalating conflict sweeping across Syria and much of Iraq, UNICEF has said. The conflict in Syria is now entering its fifth year as the government continues to battle insurgents. And insecurity in Iraq is worsening as extremists from the terrorist ISIL tighten their grip on parts [...]

12 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

We're failing children by not investing in them, say rights chiefs

Children face recruitment by armed groups, UNICEF says. Photo: OCHA

Putting children at the heart of policy-making and government spending is the only way to protect their rights, experts at the UN said Thursday. A radical policy shift is required because of persistent reports of child neglect, Human Rights Council president Joachim Ruecker told delegates in Geneva. He said that the Convention on the Rights [...]

12 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

Women

Ellen_Johnson_Sirleaf_UN_March20151

"Gaps" in gender equality persist in Africa 20 years after landmark meeting Significant gaps remain in the realization of gender equality in Africa, 20 years after a landmark meeting to boost women's rights. That's according to Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.President Sirleaf, one of the first women to lead a country in Africa, is at [...]

12 Mar 2015 | Posted in Women | Read More »

Governments urged to tackle child marriage

Around the world there are more than 700 million women who were married before their 18th birthday. Photo: UNICEF

"Governments need to openly criticise the practice of child marriage" according to experts attending a meeting at the United Nations. Around the world there are more than 700 million women who were married before their 18th birthday. The UN Children's Fund, UNICEF says that is a fundamental violation of their human rights. Cathrine Hasselberg reports. [...]

12 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

News in Brief 11 March 2015 (PM)

UN Security Council members arrive in Bangui for two day visit to the Central African Republic (CAR). UN Photo/Dany Balepe

Security Council meets transitional authorities in Central African Republic The transitional government and members of civil society in the Central African Republic have met with members of the United Nations Security Council in the capital Bangui. UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric says the Council delegation, which is on a four-day mission to Africa, also met with [...]

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News in Brief 11 March 2015 (AM)

Medical supplies being loaded onto trucks. Photo: UNICEF/Sulaiman Stephens (file)

Medical supplies delivered to Libya A quarter of a million people in Libya are to benefit from what have been described as "critical" medical supplies that have been delivered by the World Health Organization (WHO). The supplies will allow hospitals in several Libyan cities to treat patients requiring care for trauma injuries and other basic [...]

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WFP offers new hope in fight against Ebola

This plane is bound for Sierra Leone with World Food Programme (WFP) equipment to tackle the Ebola outbreak. Photo: WFP

UN Ebola experts said Wednesday that the killer disease could be stopped in its tracks by the middle of the year as they announced that they're to join forces with the World Food Programme (WFP). The partnership is a first between World Health Organization (WHO) and WFP in Ebola-affected countries. The aim is that health [...]

11 Mar 2015 | Posted in Ebola Outbreak, Today's News | Read More »

Women's equal participation in decision making "a must"

Martin Chungong. UN Photo/Zach Krahmer (file)

Women's equal participation in decision making in all sectors of society "is a must", according to the Secretary-General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) a UN partner organization. Martin Chungong spoke at an event on parliaments for gender equality on the margins of the Commission on the Status of Women. The 59th Session is continuing in [...]

11 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Urgent action urged to stop sexual exploitation of children

Millions of girls and boys worldwide are victims of sexual exploitation. Photo: UNICEF/Giacomo Pirozzi (file)

Governments around the world have been urged by a UN independent expert on children to urgently take action to stop sexual abuse and other forms of exploitation of children. The Special Rapporteur on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography presented her report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Wednesday. [...]

11 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Mobile health clinics helping Syria's "broken" health sector

Mobile Clinic. Photo: UNAMI (file)

The delivery of more than 30 mobile clinics from the World Health Organization (WHO) is providing crucial health services to Syrians in underserved or hard to reach areas. As the conflict in Syria enters its fifth year, WHO says the country has experienced a breakdown of its health sector. It used to have the best [...]

11 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

Old habits die hard for Mexico, says UN torture investigator

Prisoners claimed pre-trial abuse, the UN expert said. Photo: UN/MINUSTAH/Logan Abassi

A top UN human rights investigator has urged Mexico to take steps against "generalised" torture of criminal suspects after saying that abuse happens at a local, state and federal level. Juan Mendez, who's a Special Rapporteur appointed by the UN Human Rights Council, told journalists that it was "very important" for Mexico to realise it [...]

11 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News, UN Radio News Bulletin | Read More »

Violence against women can be ended "within a generation"

Step it up for gender equality. Photo: UNICEF/Gangale

Violence against women can be ended "within a generation" according to delegates attending a United Nations meeting on gender equality. A review by experts on the issue was presented on the margins of the 59th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women taking place in New York. It acknowledges that this violence is [...]

11 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

Young European artists invited to competition on gender equality

Alena Kern, of the UN Women's office in Brussels, Belgium. Photo: Derrick Mbatha

Young artists in Europe are being invited to participate in a comic and cartoon competition on gender equality. The competition was launched on World Day for Social Justice observed in February by UN Women, the UN agency dealing with equality between men and women. It is part of the campaign by UN Women, entitled "Empowering [...]

11 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

International community seeks to strengthen nuclear safety

Fukushima Daiichi. Photo: IAEA

The international community has been meeting at the United Nations in Vienna to discuss how best to improve safety at nuclear power plants. The UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) endorsed the creation of the Nuclear Safety Action Plan following an accident at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi plant in 2011. The nuclear reactor was damaged and [...]

11 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

News in Brief 10 March 2015 (PM)

A Syrian father watches as Turkish medical staff examine his child who has developed breathing difficulties. Photo: UNHCR/A. Branthwaite

Thirty mobile clinics donated by UN health agency to Syria Thirty mobile clinics have been donated by the World Health Organization (WHO) to Syria to alleviate the impact of the conflict on people. The agency said the clinics will boost the delivery of health services to underserved populations and those in hard-to-reach areas. At a [...]

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"Trust deficit" between communities in Sri Lanka, says UN official

Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, briefs reporters at UN Headquarters. UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz

Communities in Sri Lanka need to address what has been described as a "wide trust deficit" between them. That's according to the head of the United Nations Department of Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman who has just returned from a visit to the country. Mr. Feltman told reporters in New York on Tuesday that his visit [...]

10 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

News in Brief 10 March 2015 (AM)

Child soldiers in South Sudan. Photo: UNICEF South Sudan/Marinetta Peru (file)

Recruitment of child soldiers in South Sudan a concern for UN envoy Authorities in South Sudan's Upper Nile State have once again heard the UN's concerns about reports of the recruitment of child soldiers in the country. The concerns were conveyed by the head of the UN Mission in the country, Ellen Margrethe Loej who [...]

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Gender equality "gaps" persist in Africa 20 years after landmark event

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia addresses the High-level Thematic Debate on Advancing Gender Equality. UN Photo/Mark Garten

Significant gaps remain in the realization of gender equality in Africa, 20 years after a landmark meeting to boost women's rights. That's according to Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. President Sirleaf, one of the first women to lead a country in Africa, is at the United Nations to attend the Commission on the Status of [...]

10 Mar 2015 | Posted in Ebola Outbreak, Today's Features | Read More »

2.4 million lives saved through "Every Woman Every Child"

Opening of the High-level Event on "Every Woman, Every Child". UN Photo/Mark Garten

Two point four million women and children have been saved since 2010 in 49 countries that have been targeted by a UN initiative called "Every Woman Every Child". The findings come in a report presented at UN Headquarters on Tuesday, entitled "Saving Lives, Protecting Futures." The event was hosted by the UN Secretary-General and attended [...]

10 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

Russia questions strengthened rights remit

Michel Forst addresses the Human Rights Council. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré (file)

Proposals to reinforce the remit of UN investigators received a swift rebuttal from the Russian Federation at the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Tuesday. The Russian delegation's comments follow Special Rapporteur Michel Forst's presentation of his first official report to the UN assembly. In his address, the rapporteur said he envisaged a more in-depth [...]

10 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

Mauritania urged to release civil society activists

Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré (file)

Authorities in Mauritania have been urged by the United Nations to release activists arrested exercising their right to freedom of assembly. The UN human rights office says it has been closely following the judicial proceedings against members of the anti-slavery Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement (IRA). They were arrested and prosecuted after a [...]

10 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Attacks on albino children require immediate action

An Albino student attends school in Niambly, near Duekoue, Côte d'Ivoire. Photo: UNHCR/H. Caux

A series of horrific attacks on children with albinism in east Africa has been condemned by the UN human rights chief who says that many people with the condition now live in "abject fear". Victims as young as 12 months have been kidnapped and mutilated, including a six-year-old boy in Tanzania whose hand was severed [...]

10 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

"Dramatic acceleration" in destruction of Iraq cultural heritage

The UNESCO World Heritage property of Hatra, Iraq. Photo: UNESCO (file)

The destruction of cultural heritage by terrorists in Iraq has dramatically accelerated in recent days according to the UN cultural agency, UNESCO. Extremist groups like ISIL are destroying sites for ideological reasons. There is also evidence that artifacts are being looted and sold to finance terrorism. Stephanie Coutrix has been speaking to Axel Plathe who [...]

10 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

Public procurement in Africa benefitting family farmers

Lunchtime at a school in Ethiopia. Photo: FAO/Giselle Paulino

A development partnership spanning five countries in Africa is providing important lessons on how to promote local, small-scale farm production while fostering food security and social protection. The "Purchase from Africans for Africa programme" or PAA for short is supported by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). It encourages the national authorities to purchase [...]

10 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

Situation in conflict-affected eastern Ukraine "dire"

Nikolai sits in the basement of his apartment in the Kievsky district of Donetsk, Ukraine. Photo: UNHCR/Andrew McConnell

Conditions in eastern Ukraine where pro-Russian separatists are fighting government forces have been described as "dire" by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). The agency says it is extremely concerned about the worsening situation in that part of the country, particularly in the areas not controlled by the Ukrainian government. According to the agency, the number [...]

10 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

"Environmental Gender Index" helping to empower women

A woman planting a shea tree in Ghana to protect riverbanks. Photo: IFAD/Dela Sipitey

A new set of data, called the "Environment Gender Index", shows to what extent countries are integrating women in their environmental work. According to the index, Iceland measured the highest in terms of gender equality and environmental efforts, while Congo got mostly low scores. Lorena Aguilar, a gender advisor at the International Union for Conservation [...]

10 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

Security Council on four-day mission to Africa

Deployment of MINUSCA in September 2014. UN Photo/Catianne Tijerina

Members of the UN Security Council are on Tuesday embarking on a four-day mission to the Central African Republic, Burundi and the headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The mission is taking place during France's presidency of the 15-member Council whose primary responsibility is the maintenance of international peace and security. Derrick [...]

10 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

News in Brief 09 March 2015 (PM)

Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), 9-20 March 2015. CSW Logo.

Governments commit to scale-up investments in women's empowerment Government ministers and representatives on Monday issued a political declaration with action to achieve equality between men and women by 2030. The declaration was issued at the start of the two-week session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women which opened in New York. Governments [...]

9 Mar 2015 | Posted in | Read More »

Women in Afghanistan prove they can equally contribute to society

Women in line to vote during the 5 April 2014 elections in Afghanistan. Photo: UNAMA/Zachary Golestani (file)

Women in Afghanistan need to be recognized as active participants in society not just as victims, according to the UN Mission in the country, UNAMA. The UN says that Afghanistan is on the path to becoming a nation where every woman and girl is empowered to exercise her rights, but many challenges remain. UNAMA recently [...]

9 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

Bollywood actor recognizes positive change in gender issues in India

Farhan Akthar (left) is interviewed by Daniel Dickinson. UN Women/Ryan Brown

A leading Bollywood actor says positive change is happening in India in terms of gender equality. Farhan Akhtar who's also UN Women Goodwill Ambassador for South Asia is in New York to attend the 59th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women. Daniel Dickinson asked him why there are still men in India [...]

9 Mar 2015 | Posted in Celebrity Partners, Today's Features | Read More »

Australia rejects UN torture investigator's findings on asylum seeker policy

Juan Ernesto Méndez, Special Rapporteur on torture. UN Photo/Loey Felipe (file)

Australia defended its policy on detaining asylum-seekers Monday at the UN Human Rights Council, rejecting a high-level report which claimed it was in breach of international norms. In his rebuttal of findings by UN torture investigator Juan Mendez, Australian ambassador John Quinn's insisted that "irregular maritime arrivals" were treated with respect and their human rights [...]

9 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

World faced difficult year, says European Union official

Security Council meets on cooperation between the UN and the European Union. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

The world has faced a difficult year, according to the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. Federica Mogherini, spoke in the Security Council on Monday during a debate about cooperation between the United Nations and regional and sub-regional organizations. She stressed the need for multilateral cooperation to tackle global challenges. Cathrine [...]

9 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

News in Brief 09 March 2015 (AM)

The UNESCO World Heritage property of Hatra, Iraq. Photo: UNESCO/Véronique Dauge

Destruction of cultural heritage by ISIL terrorists in Iraq "a war crime" The continuing destruction of cultural heritage by terrorists in Iraq constitutes a war crime, according to the UN Secretary-General. Ban Ki-moon said he is outraged by reports of the razing of the ancient city of Hatra, a UN cultural agency (UNESCO) World Heritage [...]

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Changing men's mindset required for gender equality, says UN chief

Women in Nepal learn how to grade apples for sale. Photo: IFAD/Shiva Adhikari

Men have a critical role to play in changing mindsets to promote gender equality, according to the UN Secretary-General. Ban Ki-moon spoke at the start of the two-week session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women on Monday. Representatives of governments, civil society organizations and UN entities have gathered at UN headquarters to [...]

9 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Human rights defenders working for gender equality honoured

Step it up for gender equality. Photo: World Bank/Dominic Chavez

Activists working for equality between men and women were honoured at a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday. The UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Flavia Pansieri called on all to join the reflect2protect campaign to raise the profile of women human rights defenders. The campaign marks the 20th [...]

9 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Giving birth while fleeing Nigeria

Kalthouma Abakar, 22, and her newborn daughter arrive in Baga Sola, Chad. UNHCR/Olivier Laban-Mattei

In recent weeks, thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes in northern Nigeria after militants attacked their villages. The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) estimated in February that the violence in the north-east of the country has caused more than 157,000 people to escape into Niger, Cameroon and Chad. Kalthouma Abkar crossed Lake Chad [...]

9 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

"$1 trillion" lost to tax dodges and crime affecting human rights

The UN Human Rights Council in Geneva where the US delegation accepted 80 per cent of the 340 recommendations made. UN File Photo/ Pierre Albouy

Tax dodges, corruption and crime on a huge scale continue to block people's basic human rights, particularly in developing countries, a top UN investigator said Monday. Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky, told the UN's Human Rights Council in Geneva that developing countries lost an estimated $991 billion from so-called illegal financial outflows in 2012 Daniel Johnson has [...]

9 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Global drug situation comes under spotlight

Heroin. Photo: UNODC (file)

The global trends in drugs are due to be discussed by the international community over the coming week. Delegates will meet at the 58th session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs, which is opening in Vienna, Austria on Monday. Daniel Dickinson has more details. The annual meeting of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) is [...]

9 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Progress made on gender equality but "much remains to be done"

Ms. Lakshmi Puri, Deputy Executive Director for UN Women. UN Photo/Loey Felipe

Significant progress has been made in boosting gender equality across the world but much more remains to be done, according to the Deputy Director of the UN Women agency. Gender issues are set to come under the spotlight over the next two weeks as the UN's Commission on the Status of Women holds its 59th [...]

9 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

People march in New York for gender equality

International community urged to progress gender equality
UN Photo/Cathrine Hasselberg

Over a thousand people have taken to the streets of New York City to call for global solidarity in the push towards gender equality. The march comes on International Women’s Day celebrated annually on March 8th and ahead of two weeks' of discussions at the United Nations focusing on the empowerment of women. Daniel Dickinson [...]

8 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

"Heinous" attack in Mali's capital condemned by Security Council

Training on urban combat techniques at the National Guard conducted by MINUSMA UN Police Officers.  UN Photo/Marco Dormino

An attack in Bamako, Mali has been condemned by the Security Council in what it called the "strongest terms". Five people were killed and seven injured, including two international experts working for the United Nations. Members of the Security Council called the attack a "heinous" act. Stephanie Coutrix reports. Media reports indicated on Saturday that [...]

7 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Chinese papermaking art receives international support

Protecting and Developing Traditional Papermaking Skills. Photo: Video caption/World Bank

The traditional art of papermaking in China is being kept alive thanks, in part, to a World Bank project. The technique dates back over 1,000 years and is recognized as an intangible cultural heritage of China. The Bank is now supporting the preservation of ancient papermaking sites and demonstration households, as Diana Chung reports Duration: [...]

7 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

News in Brief 06 March 2015 (PM)

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses journalists at UN Headquarters. UN Photo/Evan Schneider (file image)

Suspension of security cooperation between Israel and Palestine A decision by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to suspend all security coordination with Israel, starting in three months' time, has been highlighted by the UN Secretary-General as a serious concern. Ban Ki-moon is calling on both parties to exercise the utmost restraint. Meanwhile, he has repeated [...]

6 Mar 2015 | Posted in | Read More »

Security Council adopts resolution condemning chemical weapons in Syria

Security Council meeting. UN Photo/Loey Felipe (file)

A resolution condemning the use of chemical weapons in Syria has been adopted by the UN Security Council by a vote of 14 in favour and one abstention. A fact finding mission of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said last December that chlorine gas had most likely been used as a weapon [...]

6 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Daily News 06 March 2015

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Let "50-50 by 2030!" be rallying cry for gender equality, says UN chief

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at the debate on the theme,

Efforts should be intensified to achieve equality between men and women by 2030. That's according to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaking at a high-level debate on gender equality on the eve of International Women's Day. This year the annual celebration comes at a time when the United Nations is reviewing  progress in meeting the Millennium [...]

6 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

Enforced disappearances highlighted in Argentina meeting

Mother of an Argentinean "disappeared" tells her story. UN Photo/Evan Schneider (file)

A group which was created in response to the disappearances of people during a period of dictatorship in Argentina has said that much progress has been made since its inception 35 years ago. The Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances was established by the UN Commission on Human Rights in 1980 to assist families [...]

6 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

News in Brief 06 March 2015 (AM)

Nimrud Lamassu's at the North West Palace of Ashurnasirpal, Iraq. Photo: UNESCO

Destruction of Nimrud in Iraq condemned by UN The destruction of the city of Nimrud in Iraq has been condemned in what has been described as the "strongest possible manner" by the United Nations. The Iraqi government confirmed that the site, which was founded more than 3,300 years ago, was attacked by armed extremists using [...]

6 Mar 2015 | Posted in | Read More »

Eastern Ukraine "in limbo", says UN top political official

Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, briefs the Security Council. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe (file)

Eastern Ukraine appears to be "in limbo" as peace efforts stall, according to the UN's top political affairs official. Jeffrey Feltman was on Friday briefing the Security Council on the conflict in Ukraine. The UN estimates that the death toll since the conflict between government and pro-Russian separatists began in mid-April last year is likely [...]

6 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

70,000 Syrian refugees face aid cut as funds dry up

Syrian refugees number 1.7 million in Turkey.  Photo: UNHCR/O.Laban-Mattei

Some 70,000 displaced Syrians face having their food aid cut off as funds dry up for a UN pilot scheme which provides refugees with electronic cards that they can use to buy essential goods. The problem has surfaced in Turkey, which hosts 1.7 million refugees as the civil war in neighbouring Syria enters its fifth [...]

6 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Millions of people's rights at risk from climate change, says UN expert

Flavia Pansieri had emergency eye surgery earlier this month, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said. Photo: Jean-Marc Ferré

Climate change took centre stage at the UN Human Rights Council where member states heard how it threatens the fundamental rights of millions of people. Among the most vulnerable are communities in low-lying island states who face being forced from their homes by rising sea levels within decades. The discussion at the UN headquarters in [...]

6 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Early detection sought for "zoonotic" diseases in Africa

Technician working in one of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Uganda Virus Research Institute. (Photo: IAEA/M. Warnau)

Health experts across Africa should be able to better track and detect animal diseases that threaten humans as a result of a new project launched by the UN's atomic energy agency, IAEA. Over 20 experts from 13 countries have been meeting in Entebbe, Uganda, to firm up plans to improve regional capacity for the early [...]

6 Mar 2015 | Posted in Ebola Outbreak, Today's Features | Read More »

Empowerment of women highlighted on International Women's Day

The international community marks the International Women's Day on 8 MarchPhoto: UN Women/Fernando Bocanegra

On this International Women's Day, the global community is celebrating the 20th anniversary of a landmark agreement in the struggle for women's rights. According to the United Nations, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action gave a powerful statement of principle: women's rights are human rights. It also provided a road map to gender equality [...]

6 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Citizens march for gender equality on International Women’s Day

Caesarean section can help prevent potential complications but it should only be used for the right reasons, WHO says. UN Photo/Albert Gonzalez Farran

Thousands of people are marching in New York City on Sunday to mark International Women's Day, in what's being called a "global solidarity movement for gender equality". This year's theme is "empowering women, empowering humanity: picture it!” Governments and activists across the world are also commemorating a ground-breaking conference of 1995 in Beijing, which is [...]

6 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Motherhood pay gap shows progress on equality is inadequate, says ILO

Women employees at a private company pack pharmaceuticals in Moldova. World Bank/Victor Neagu

Twenty years after governments pledged more equality for women at a global conference in Beijing, the International Labour Organization (ILO) says they continue to suffer widespread discrimination. Mothers in the workplace are at a clear disadvantage, ILO maintains, with many suffering "wage penalties" when they have children. The UN partner organisation says it could take [...]

6 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

News in Brief 05 March 2015 (PM)

Refugee from Syria in Tyre, South Lebanon. Photo: Kate Brooks/UNRWA Archives

Impact of Syria crisis on neighbouring countries discussed in Lebanon The impact of the crisis in Syria on neighbouring countries was the focus of a meeting on Thursday between the UN and officials from the Lebanese Government. UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos, said additional support is needed for the conflict's refugees, while thanking [...]

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WOMEN: Women's empowerment unfinished business, says ITC chief

Arancha Gonzalez says cutting our tax avoidance by multinationals is one way of eradicating global poverty. UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

Lack of progress on women’s economic rights is the major challenge for the 21st century, according to International Trade Centre chief Arancha Gonzalez. That’s because women are the “poorest of the poor”, so there’s “unfinished business” on gender equality, she insists. Twenty years after pledges were made in Beijing to promote women’s rights, Ms Gonzalez [...]

5 Mar 2015 | Posted in Women | Read More »

Building a lifetime of opportunity for women and girls

Promotion image of The Empowerment Bridge: Building a Lifetime of Opportunity for Women and Girls

Grassroots organisations are key to women's economic empowerment, according to a representative from the private sector speaking at the UN. Private and public sector organizations are meeting in New York to discuss how to help encourage girls and women to pursue their business dreams. The theme of the meeting is 'The Empowerment Bridge' which focuses [...]

5 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

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Ebola vaccine efficacy trial ready to launch in Guinea

The global community needs to help countries rebuild already fragile health systems, WHO says. Photo: UNMEER/Martine Perret

An experimental vaccine is to be tested for its effectiveness to prevent Ebola, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Based on what it called "promising data" from initial clinical trials in late 2014, WHO, the Health Ministry of Guinea and other NGOs will launch the trial in Guinea on 7 March. The vaccine, called [...]

5 Mar 2015 | Posted in Ebola Outbreak, Today's News | Read More »

UN CALLING ASIA: Situation in Golan Heights "challenging", says UN observer force chief

UNDOF peacekeepers patrol Golan Heights. UN Photo/Wolfgang Grebien

The situation in the Golan Heights remains challenging but the new head of the UN observer force in the area is hopeful it will improve. The demilitarized buffer zone between Israel and Syria was established in 1973 after the Arab-Israeli war. The 10,000 strong UN Disengagement Observer Force or UNDOF, is responsible for monitoring the [...]

5 Mar 2015 | Posted in UN Calling Asia | Read More »

News in Brief 05 March 2015 (AM)

The international community marks the International Women's Day on 8 MarchPhoto: UN Women/Fernando Bocanegra

As the international community prepares to mark International Women's Day on 8 March, the UN and its agencies are highlighting the crucial need for gender equality worldwide. Picture a woman on top of the world, says head of WFP Picture this: a woman on top of the world. That's what the Executive Director of the [...]

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Percentage of women in parliament worldwide has nearly doubled in 20 years

2015 marks 20 years since a conference took place in Beijing, China, where a target was set to reach 30 per cent of women in decision making positions. Photo: UNDP (file)

The percentage of women in the world who are members of parliament has nearly doubled in the past 20 years, but political action is needed to overcome the slow pace of progress to equality. That's according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) which held a meeting on Thursday to discuss the findings of its annual analysis [...]

5 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Global food prices drop to 55-month low in February

Combine harvesters work the fields in France. Photo: FAO

Global food prices declined in February to their lowest level since July 2010, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The FAO Food Price Index dropped by one per cent from January and 14 per cent below its level in February last year. The Index is a measure of the monthly change in [...]

5 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

Extremist attacks no excuse for state terror

The UN Human Rights Council in Geneva where the US delegation accepted 80 per cent of the 340 recommendations made. UN File Photo/ Pierre Albouy

The UN human rights chief said Thursday that states must not let their fight against terrorism undermine human rights at what could be a "turning point" in world history. In his speech to the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein spoke out against "brutal" state defence measures which handed a propaganda tool [...]

5 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Congo calls for unity to defeat Boko Haram "scourge"

Civilians in north-eastern Nigeria search for Boko Haram suspects.  Photo: Obinna Anyadike/IRIN

High-level diplomacy continued Thursday at the UN in Geneva at the UN's Human Rights Council, with Congo adding its weight to the call for West African states to unite against Boko Haram separatists. Ambassador Basile Ikouebe described the Nigerian militants as a "scourge" and said they could only defeated by a combined military effort involving [...]

5 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Achieving sustainability through marine sanctuaries

Coral Reef. Photo: World Bank/Carl Gustav

Marine sanctuaries can help heal the world's oceans, according to the Institute for Ocean Conservancy. The organization is co-sponsoring an event at UN Headquarters on Thursday called "One Ocean: Achieving Sustainability Through Sanctuaries". Stephanie Coutrix reports. The event is focusing on the science and research relating to the protection of the world's oceans, which can [...]

5 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Asia and Pacific countries still face challenges in fighting poverty

Access to safe drinking water is still a problem in Asia Pacific. UNDP is working to overcome these challenges. Photo: UNICEF (file)

Countries in the Asia and Pacific region are still facing a lot of challenges in eliminating poverty and promoting development. That's according to Haoliang Xu, the UN Development Programme (UNDP)'s Regional Bureau Director for Asia and the Pacific. He was in New York this week to present the bureau's regional report, entitled: Achieving Development Results [...]

5 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

Reliable data needed to monitor socio economic development

2015 is a landmark year for achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Above, people carry drinking water in Bangladesh. Photo: Mohammad Rakibul Hasan/UNDP(file)

Securing reliable data to monitor development requires "effective, strong, sound" national statistical systems. That's the view of Lenni Montiel, the new UN Assistant Secretary for Economic Development in the UN Department of Economic and Social Development (DESA). Mr. Montiel spoke to Helen Rosengren about some of the vital issues in 2015 which is a landmark [...]

5 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

News in Brief 04 March 2015 (PM)

A boat is rescued in the Mediterranean Sea by the Italian Navy. Photo: UNHCR/A. D'Amato (file)

Unsafe migration by sea addressed by UN agencies Ways to address the high numbers of lives being lost at sea, particularly in the Mediterranean, was the focus of a meeting at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Headquarters in London. Hundreds of people are reported to have died in recent weeks alone on dangerous and unregulated [...]

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"We can do better" to move away from the death penalty

Ivan Šimonović, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

The death penalty is an inhuman and outdated punishment according to a top UN Human Rights official. Assistant Secretary-General Ivan Simonovic was on Wednesday at the UN Human Rights Council which held its high-level panel discussion on the question of the death penalty. Currently, around 160 countries from all regions have either fully abolished the [...]

4 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

News in Brief 04 March 2015 (AM)

Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Yemen Jamal Benomar. UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz (file)

UN-brokered negotiations in Yemen are progressing Progress is being made in Yemen towards peaceful dialogue, according to the Secretary-General's Special Adviser in the country. Jamal Benomar briefed the Security Council on Tuesday, warning that there are extremists within many sides who want  these negotiations to fail. He added that any side that would want to [...]

4 Mar 2015 | Posted in | Read More »

Disaster risk reduction saves lives and cuts losses

Image of Typhoon Haiyan. Photo: OHCA (file)

Investing in risk prevention pays high dividends while saving lives, according to a new UN report on disaster risk reduction. A Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction launched on Wednesday is urging countries to increase their commitments to strengthen their population's resilience. The report says the cost of disasters worldwide has reached an average [...]

4 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

UN-led Libya peace talks to resume in Morocco

Bernardino Léon, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).  UN Photo (file) /Amanda Voisard

A new round of UN-led peace talks aimed at ending Libya's political crisis is set to begin later this week, the Special Envoy for Libya has said. Speaking via video conference, Bernardino León told the Security Council that the major political stakeholders have agreed to meet in Morocco. The talks hope to bring an end [...]

4 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

Daily News 04 March 2015

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UN Daily News 04 March 2015

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News and Features from United Nations Radio.

4 Mar 2015 | Posted in | Read More »

New guidelines recommend reduction of sugar intake

WHO says a further reduction to below 5% or roughly 6 teaspoons of sugar per day would provide additional health benefits. Photo: WHO/C. Black

A new guideline from the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends people reduce their daily intake of sugar to less than 10 per cent of their total energy intake. The agency says a further reduction to below 5 per cent, which is roughly 25 grams or 6 teaspoons per day, would provide additional health benefits. According [...]

4 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

“Life-saving aid” rushed to thousands amid fight for Iraq

World Food Programme is helping with the aid effort in Iraq. © WFP/Mohammed Albahbahani

Heavy fighting between Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and Islamic State has forced thousands of families into Samarra District with little more than what they're wearing, the UN says. The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has responded by organising food and medicines for the displaced people. But there are growing concerns about the [...]

4 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Militia in South Sudan urged to release abducted children

The recruitment and use of children in armed forces and groups is a grave violation of international law - UNICEF/NYHQ2015-0116/Porter

A call has been made for the return of over one hundred children who were abducted in the Wau Shilluk region of South Sudan's Upper Nile State while preparing for examinations two weeks ago. The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) says the abduction of the children who are being forcibly recruited as child soldiers is a [...]

4 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

Women's empowerment is unfinished business, says ITC chief

Arancha Gonzalez says cutting our tax avoidance by multinationals is one way of eradicating global poverty. UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

Lack of progress on women's economic rights is the major challenge for the 21st century, according to International Trade Centre chief Arancha Gonzalez. That's because women are the "poorest of the poor", so there's "unfinished business" on gender equality, she insists. Twenty years after pledges were made in Beijing to promote women's rights, Ms Gonzalez [...]

4 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

East African countries work towards a single currency

IMF Headquarters in Washington, DC. Photo: IMF/Henrik Gschwindt de Gyor

Efforts are under way in East Africa to consolidate regional economic integration that will culminate to a single currency by 2024. That's according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which has published a book laying out all aspects of the financial integration process for Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi. Oral Williams, co-author of the [...]

4 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

News in Brief 03 March 2015 (PM)

Jeffrey Feltman. UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

Democratic elections in Sri Lanka are "inspiring", says top UN official Democratic elections have not only inspired the citizens of Sri Lanka, but also captured the attention of its many friends in the international community, according to the UN's top political affairs official. Jeffrey Feltman on Tuesday wrapped up a visit to Sri Lanka where [...]

3 Mar 2015 | Posted in | Read More »

Hardest phase of Ebola response is now, says UN chief

The temperature of a resident is checked. in Liberia. Photo: UNMEER/Martine Perret

The world is facing the hardest phase of the Ebola response, according to the UN Secretary-General. Ban Ki-moon was on Tuesday in the Belgian capital, Brussels, attending an international Ebola conference organized by the European Union and its key partners. The virus has killed more than 9,700 people in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, the [...]

3 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's News | Read More »

Mobile technology used to inform Tanzanians about Ebola

PHOTO@UNICEF

Mobile phones in Tanzania are being used to provide information about the deadly Ebola virus. This is done under a new initiative of the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) in partnership with the Tanzanian Ministry of Health and Push Mobile, a Tanzanian private company. According to the UN Resident Representative in Tanzania, Alvaro Rodriguez, there are [...]

3 Mar 2015 | Posted in Ebola Outbreak, Today's Features | Read More »

Security Council to impose targeted sanctions for peace in South Sudan

Security Council Chamber. UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz

The Security Council on Tuesday decided to set up a system to impose sanctions on individuals who are regarded as spoilers of the efforts to bring peace to South Sudan. The 15-member Council unanimously adopted a resolution to impose targeted sanctions and an arms embargo to support the peace process in the country. The new [...]

3 Mar 2015 | Posted in Today's Features | Read More »

Daily News 03 March 2015

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Daily News from United Nations Radio.

3 Mar 2015 | Posted in | Read More »

UN Daily News 03 March 2015

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News and Features from United Nations Radio.

3 Mar 2015 | Posted in | Read More »

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