News in Brief 16 May 2016 (AM)

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

Pacific governments head to summit for "once in a lifetime opportunity"

A total of 15 high-level delegations from the Pacific region are heading to next week's first ever World Humanitarian Summit (WHS), hoping to reshape the aid agenda.

The summit in Istanbul, Turkey, takes place from 23-24 May, and is expected to involve more than 20,000 participants from 150 different countries.

Around 200 humanitarian partners from across the Pacific are due to attend, together with Heads of Government from Fiji, Tuvalu, the Cook Islands, Nauru, and Vanuatu.

Sune Gudnitz, Head of the Pacific UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, described it as "once in a lifetime opportunity" for the Pacific to "help reshape" how the humanitarian system works.

He said it was "encouraging" to see such a high level of regional representation, adding that it indicated just how important the underlying issues were to "Pacific islanders and their governments."

Agreement signed to reintegrate Colombian children after decades of war

An agreement has been signed to separate and reintegrate thousands of children who have been living in territory controlled by Colombia's main armed opposition group, FARC, as part of an historic peace settlement.

The UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Leila Zerrougui, travelled to Cuba on Sunday, to witness the signing of the agreement between FARC and the Colombian government.

More than 250,000 children have been affected by the conflict, which has gone on for more than 50 years.

Ms Zerrougui said that the formal deal on rehabilitation "puts the issue of children at the heart of the peace process and promises to change their lives."

She congratulated the negotiating parties, and singled out the supporting role played by others, including the UN Children's Fund, UNICEF.

She added that it was an "opportunity we cannot miss, to give children a present and future they deserve."

New campaign highlights education for children in conflict

A new campaign called "Emergency Lessons" is highlighting the importance of education for children caught up in conflict and disaster zones.

Launched by the UN Children's Fund, UNICEF, in conjunction with the European Union, the social media-driven public awareness campaign aims to reach 20 million Europeans.

Its focus will be on those aged 25 and under, in Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Slovenia Slovakia and the United Kingdom.

#EmergencyLessons will tell the real-life stories of children caught up in war zones like Iraq and Ukraine, or places recovering from major disasters such as the earthquake zones of Nepal.

UNICEF UK Ambassador and film actor, Tom Hiddleston, explained the importance of school, after watching two young Ukrainians taking part in an emergency preparedness video.

"It's teachers, it's protection, it's stability, it's hope. And for children like Jareslav and Nastia who are living through crises and conflict all over the world, school is as vital as food and medicine."

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2'41"

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