News in Brief 24 October 2016 (AM)

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UN Photo/John Isaac

Paris Treaty points way to low-carbon growth: UN Day message

The entry into force of the Paris Agreement on climate change marks humanity's best chance for "greener, cleaner, low-carbon growth," the UN Secretary-General has said.

Ban Ki-moon's comments came in a message for United Nations Day, celebrated annually on 24 October, which marks the day in 1945 that the global organization came into existence.

The Secretary-General pointed out that at a time of record heat, countries have embraced the climate change treaty which enters into force next week.

Mr Ban leaves office at the end of this year having spent a decade at the helm of the United Nations.

He thanked people worldwide for their support and urged them to support UN Secretary-General-designate António Guterres in continuing the organization's mission of peace, sustainable development and human rights.

Afghanistan: "Worrying" increase in opium poppy production

Opium production in Afghanistan rose by 43 per cent this year to 4,800 metric tonnes, reflecting a "worrying reversal" in efforts to combat illicit drugs and their impact on development, health and security.

That's according to the head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), citing figures released on Monday.

The agency attributed higher production to the larger area under opium poppy cultivation, which has also increased.

Last year, 183,000 hectares were under cultivation compared to 201,000 hectares this year, representing a 10 per cent increase.

UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov has urged the international community to support Afghanistan in achieving sustainable development.

Major polio campaign in Iraq

A drive to immunize nearly six million children from polio is underway in Iraq.

The weeklong campaign focuses on children under five-years-old and is being carried out by the country's Ministry of Health with support from the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Polio is a highly infectious viral disease which can cause total paralysis, according to WHO. It mainly affects children under five.

The campaign was launched on Monday and more than 25,000 workers will go from door-to-door to reach 5.8 million youngsters, regardless of their previous immunization status.

It follows 16 previous immunization campaigns conducted in Iraq over the past two years.

Although Iraq was removed from the list of infected countries in 2015, the UN agencies said resurgence remains a risk due to gaps in immunization coverage among displaced populations and those living in hard-to-reach areas and informal settlements.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 2’515″

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