News in Brief 13 March 2017 (PM)

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Opium poppy field in the south of Afghanistan. Photo: IRIN/Abdullah Shaheen

UN anti-drug chief details efforts made to rein in narcotics

The latest efforts of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to counter the world's illegal drug problem have been outlined by the agency's Executive-Director.

Yuri Fedetov spoke at the opening of the 60th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs or CND, in Vienna on Monday.

The CND is the UN's central policy-making body in drug-related matters.

It's also in charge of monitoring the application of three global drug control pacts.

The agency has put in place a concept which it calls "alternative development" focussed on reducing the cultivation of coca, opium poppies and cannabis, while improving the living conditions of marginalized farmers, Mr Fedetov said.

Helping countries bring drug lords to justice is another new initiative UNODC has undertaken.

Recently, the agency teamed up with the World Health Organization (WHO), to treat drug-use disorders as an alternative to penalizing users.

Meanwhile, in a video-message played at the event, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said the anti-drug efforts could help advance progress on the UN Global Goals to wipe out poverty, part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

"I hope the Commission can draw on successful experiences in law enforcement, prevention, health care, human rights and development. Many years ago as Prime Minister of Portugal, I sought the best policies for a comprehensive response. I remain personally committed to progress. You have a chance to deepen reflection on drug policies before the current strategy ends in 2019."

Somalis need solidarity, not violence: UN special envoy urges

Somalis need solidarity, not violence, the UN special envoy for Somalia said in a statement released shortly after two locations in the capital Mogadishu were bombed, reportedly killing a number of civilians.

Michael Keating recalled that the country was already grappling with a severe drought that has already claimed the lives of hundreds of people.

The first suicide attack targeted a training facility for the Somali National Army, his statement read.

The second took place at the gate of a hotel in Mogadishu.

Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the explosion at the hotel.

People continue to flee fighting in western Mosul in Iraq: UN

Approximately 69,000 people have been displaced by the ongoing military operations to retake western Mosul in Iraq, the UN Spokesperson said on Monday citing figures released by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

This number is being further verified and current discrepancies surrounding Iraqi government figures are also being addressed.

Iraqi forces and their allies are fighting to liberate the area from the extremist group ISIL, also known as Daesh, which has held it since mid-2014.

UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric has more.

"Meanwhile, the emergency assistance continues to families on the move and in areas of displacement, as well as inside Mosul, wherever access allows distributions to be undertaken. Over the weekend, emergency packages of food rations, water, and hygiene supplies were distributed among some 13,000 people inside eastern Mosul. Further assistance missions into western Mosul are being planned."

Over 57,000 people have been displaced from western Mosul since the main offensive began on 19 February, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) in Iraq.

Ana Carmo, United Nations.

Duration: 3’22″

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