News in Brief 15 April 2016 (PM)

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Staffan de Mistura, United Nations Special Envoy for Syria during press conference on the Intra-Syrian Geneva Talks. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

"Safe and unimpeded" access is needed to millions of Syrian civilians

Leaders of the UN's humanitarian agencies have called on the warring parties in Syria to make peace, before the beginning of the sixth year of civil war there.

A quarter of a million people have been killed in the "brutal and senseless" conflict and over half of the population forced from their homes, they say in a joint statement.

Two million people are in areas controlled by ISIL and millions more are in hard-to-reach areas, including besieged locations where aid cannot reach.

In the statement marking five years of war in Syria, the heads of agencies asked for "safe and unimpeded" access to the populations.

Meanwhile, a Syrian government delegation led by UN ambassador Bashar Jaffari said they had had "constructive and fruitful" discussions in Geneva with the UN mediator on Friday, Staffan De Mistura.

It is hoped the third and latest round of UN-mediated peace talks will create a discussion that leads to the "real beginning of a political transition."

FAO continues partnership with Google to track climate change

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has intensified its partnership with Google Maps to help countries track climate change.

Their digital technology taps into high resolution satellite imagery to track land use and monitor forest cover.

FAO and Google established their three-year joint venture at the end of 2015 and spent this past week brainstorming and training staff members at FAO headquarters in Rome.

New climate change project launched to mitigate harmful emissions at sea

An ambitious project has been launched to help mitigate the effects of climate change by promoting energy-efficiency in ship technologies and operations, as well as other innovations.

The four-year project run jointly by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the European Union, will focus on enabling developing countries to effectively implement energy-efficiency measures.

Developing countries play a significant role in the international shipping sector, but often lack the means to make more climate-friendly innovations.

Five so-called Maritime Technology Cooperation Centres, will be established in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America, and the Pacific.

The European Union will fund the centres to the tune of $US 11.3 million, allowing them to lead the way in developing "greener" shipping technologies and operations.

They will also focus on reducing harmful emissions from ships.

Janie Cangelosi, United Nations.

Duration: 2'10"

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