News in Brief 02 December 2015 (AM)

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Bonded child labourer, Pakistan. Photo: ILO/M.Crozet

"End this outrage" of modern slavery, urges UN chief

Modern slavery is an "outrage" that needs to end.

That's according to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a message to mark the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery.

Nearly 21 million people continue to be enslaved today he said, in many forms ranging from sex-trafficking victims to child labourers.

He said with so many humanitarian crises driving people from their homes, up to 60 million are currently vulnerable to enslavement.

He urged governments and private donors to back The United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery.

Countries commit to new "early warning systems" to fight climate change

A group of countries attending the UN's COP21 climate change conference in Paris have agreed to provide more than US$80 million to fund new early warning systems.

The governments of Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Luxembourg and The Netherlands hope that the investment will help protect countries most at risk from severe weather events.

According to the World Meteorological Organization, more than 80 per cent of the world's least developed countries have only a basic early warning system.

The Climate Risk Early Warnings Systems initiative is supported by a range of UN bodies, and aims to raise more than US$100 million by 2020.

Release disaster funding before crises hit

Releasing disaster funding before crises hit would "transform" the response of humanitarian organizations and save lives, said the World Food Programme (WFP) on Wednesday.

Launching a forecast-based approach known as FoodSECuRE, WFP said it was time to move from a reactive model to a proactive one.

WFP said that it had already started a pilot project in Uganda along with the Red Cross to anticipate climate-related disasters, which they hope will save lives and money, as well as improving resilience.

One FoodSECuRE analysis in Sudan and Niger, indicates that humanitarian costs could be lowered by as much as 50 per cent.

Germany makes 250 million euro commitment to world's children

Germany has announced that it will make a 250 million euro contribution to the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) this year, an increase of 100 million on last year.

UNICEF said that the extra funding would help reach millions of children caught up in the most volatile conflict zones, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Ukraine.

German minister Gerd Mueller, said that up to 246 million children were facing a hostile winter of "inconceivable suffering and injustice" and needed the support of the whole international community.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2'23"

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