News in Brief 16 March 2017 (PM)

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Commemoration Ceremony and Parade on the occasion of the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers. UN Photo/JC McIlwaine

Abrupt funding cuts undermine impact of longer-term reform efforts: UN

Abrupt funding cuts can force the adoption of ad hoc measures that will undermine the impact of longer-term reform efforts, a Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General has said.

Stephane Dujarric made the remarks following the release of a blueprint of the 2018 US budget by the White House.

The United States contributed 28.57 percent of the overall budget for UN peacekeeping operations in 2016, putting top on the list of donor countries.

Here's Mr Dujarric.

"The budgetary process in the US is complex and lengthy and it needs to be completed. The Secretary-General is grateful for the support the United States has given to the United Nations over the years as the organization's largest financial contributor. The Secretary-General is totally committed to reforming the United Nations and ensuring that it is fit for purpose and delivers results in the most efficient and cost-effective manner."

The UN fully subscribes to the necessity to effectively combat terrorism, but believes that it requires more than military spending, Stephane Dujarric said.

The underlying drivers of terrorism also need to be addressed, he added.

He concluded by saying that the international community is facing enormous global challenges that can only be addressed by a strong and effective multilateral system, of which the United Nations remains the “fundamental pillar”.

Pastoralists and farmers in Kenya suffering from drought need aid

Pastoralists and farmers in northern Kenya whose livestock and crops are suffering from a severe drought urgently need aid, the UN and its humanitarian partners said on Thursday.

The Government declared the drought in the east African nation a "national disaster back in early February, after a preliminary assessment found that 23 counties were affected.

An appeal was launched on Thursday for US $166 million to provide life-saving food, health, water and sanitation services to vulnerable Kenyans over the next ten months.

Siddharth Chatterjee, UN Resident Coordinator in Kenya said half of the country is affected by the drought brought on by a third consecutive year of unreliable rains.

The latest flash appeal complements Kenya’s ongoing nine-month response plan which faces a funding gap of US $108 million, the humanitarian agency, OCHA, said.

Somalia launches a cholera vaccination campaign in high-risk areas

Somalia has launched a cholera vaccination campaign targeting 450,000 people in seven high-risk areas around the country, with the help of the UN.

A representative for the World Health Organization (WHO) in the Horn of Africa country, Ghulam Popal, said the Oral Vaccination Campaign (OVC) is the largest-ever conducted in Africa.

Somalia is currently experiencing a large-scale outbreak of cholera with roughly 11,000 cases and 268 deaths reported in 11 regions since the beginning of 2017.

The campaign will help reduce the number of new cholera cases, interrupt transmission and limit the spread of cholera," he said.

It also comes at a critical time, shortly after an ongoing drought was declared a national disaster by the Somali government.

The country is also facing the possibility of another famine.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 3’19”


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