News in Brief 14 September 2016 (PM)

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UN peacekeepers in Liberia. Photo: UNMIL/Staton Winter

Mandate extended for UN mission in Liberia, amid stability concerns

The mandate for the UN's mission in Liberia (UNMIL) was extended by the Security Council on Wednesday, amid continuing concerns over long-term stability.

The Council resolution authorizes a force of more than 1800 military and other personnel to remain until the end of December.

The mission was established in 2003 following years of civil war and conflict in the West African country.

A review will be carried out by 15 December on possibly withdrawing the force, to make way for a different kind of UN presence.

The resolution expresses concern that the Liberian government has not demonstrated sufficient progress" in moving towards "well-functioning, accountable and responsive national institutions".

Council members stressed that "lasting stability" could only be achieved through effective rule of law and national reconciliation, and stressed that the responsibility for transparent and fair elections next year, rests with the Liberian authorities.

More democracy is key to achieving SDGs, say parliamentarians

A fairer and sustainable world will only be possible if there is more democracy worldwide, according to the UN-partner organization, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).

The IPU is marking the International Day of Democracy on Thursday, calling on political leaders to "strengthen connections" between the globally-agreed Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, and better democratic institutions.

Adopting the theme "Democracy 2030" the IPU said that parliaments had a "crucial role to play into translating the sustainable development agenda into concrete national action."

It's a year since the 17 SDGs were adopted by 193 countries at the opening of the 70th session of the UN General Assembly.

Unresolved conflict, occupation, "key constraints" to Palestine development

The continued occupation of Palestine and unresolved conflict with Israel are "key constraints" to greater socio-economic development across the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

That's one of the conclusions in the latest report issued by the Office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO).

The report said that being dependent on Israel for freedom of movement, access to natural resources and capital, compounded internal political problems and slow development.

Together this served to "inhibit the Palestinian government from adequately delivering services to its people," according to UNSCO.

The report argues that "unlocking the Palestinian economy by lifting restrictions should be a priority."

It also highlights the dire state of the Gaza strip, which suffers from the "illicit arms build-up and militant activity by Hamas" and a deteriorating humanitarian situation "exacerbated" by the "highly restrictive closure regime".

The report calls for a "predictable and uninterrupted supply of construction material" to rebuild Gaza.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2’32″

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