News in Brief 07 September 2016 (PM)

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A team from the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) .UN Photo/Martine Perret

UN deploys observers on Western Sahara no-man's land to maintain calm

Unarmed military observers have been deployed by the UN on a strip of land that serves as a neutral area in Western Sahara in an effort to de-escalate tensions there.

Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony, is located on the north-west coast of Africa and is bordered by Morocco, Mauritania and Algeria.

For 16 years, members of the Polisario Front fought Morocco for control of the territory before signing a ceasefire in 1991.

A resumption of hostilities would have wider implications for the whole region, warned UN Spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric.

"The situation in the Guerguerat area of Western Sahara, inside the Buffer Strip, remains tense, with road construction activity initiated by Morocco in the area south of the Berm being opposed by Frente Polisario. Despite the ongoing efforts of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara, otherwise known as MINURSO, to de-escalate the situation with the parties, security elements from both Morocco and the Frente Polisario have maintained their positions on the road, approximately 120 metres apart from each other. The UN Mission has deployed unarmed military observers into a position between the parties in an effort to maintain calm."

MINURSO, is responsible for monitoring the ceasefire between the Government of Morocco and the Polisario Front and organizing, if the parties agree, a referendum on self-determination in Western Sahara.

Clashes in Syria's Hama province displaces 100,000

The UN humanitarian agency (OCHA) has expressed concerned over the recent displacement of some 100,000 people in Syria's Hama province.

Fighting between Government forces and non-state armed groups forced people to flee in large numbers between 28 August and 5 September.

On Sunday, food, water, sanitation and other items were delivered to about 15,000 people in a convoy organized by the UN and its humanitarian partners.

The Syrian Arab Red Crescent is working together with the UN to distribute aid.

US$ 15 million funding to spark "new era" in agricultural data collection

A "new era" in agricultural data collection is underway thanks to a US$ 15 million deal signed by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the UN food agency, FAO.

The funds will help boost the capacity of developing countries in tracking key agricultural information that can help them formulate good policies and track their progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs.

SGD goal number 2 aims to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.

The USAID donation will help cover the first phase of the FAO-led project that will run from 2016 to 2021.

Pilot projects will be launched in four developing countries, two in Sub-Saharan Africa, one in Latin America and one in Asia.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2'44"

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