News in Brief 13 June 2017 (PM)

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The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), in partnership with the South Sudan National Mine Action Authority (NMAA), held an event at Nyakuron Cultural Centre in Juba on the occasion of the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action (4 April). UN Photo/JC McIlwaine

Landmines exacerbate humanitarian crises, hinder response

The threats posed by landmines, explosive remnants of war and improvised explosive devices exacerbate humanitarian crises and hinder emergency responses.

That's what the Assistant Secretary-General for Rule of Law and Security Institutions in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), Alexander Zuev, told diplomats at the UN on Tuesday.

The Security Council was holding its first debate on mine action since 1996. Mine action is achieving results in the most difficult operating environments, including Iraq, Mali and South Sudan, Mr. Zuev said.

The strong leadership and coordination role of the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) underpins and advances these achievements, he underscored.

"In Mali, training of peacekeepers enhances their capacity to mitigate the threat posed by improvised explosive devices and saves their lives. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, cleaning explosive remnants of war and other explosive hazards enables the safe movement of conflict-affected communities; in South Sudan the use of explosive protection dogs ensures the protection of civilian sites are free from explosive hazards; in Iraq, vast risk education campaigns and humanitarian clearance of improvised explosive devices allows the safe return of displaced populations and delivery of humanitarian assistance."

Bolivia has tabled a draft resolution that could be adopted later this month if it garners enough votes.

It would be the Council's first stand-alone resolution on mine action.

US$172 million needed to feed people in volatile northern Nigeria

The World Food Programme (WFP) has urgently appealed for US $172 million for its operations in northeast Nigeria, an area riddled by conflict.

Borno, Adamawa and Yobe are the three states most affected by a violent insurgency waged by Boko Haram terrorists since 2009.

More than 5.2 million in those areas are hungry and a third of them are on the brink of famine.

The "lean season" – the period between harvests that lasts from May to August—has started in the West African nation, driving up food prices and depleting the meagre resources of millions of people affected by the conflict.

A funding shortfall has forced WFP to suspend plans to ramp up assistance during the June-August lean season.

The agency now plans to reach only 1.36 million people monthly during the critical period, down from a previous target of 1.8 million.

International partners pledge support to drought-hit Horn of Africa 

International partners have made financial pledges in support of humanitarian response efforts in the drought-hit Horn of Africa following a visit to the region, the UN said on Tuesday.

The joint African Union (AU) and UN delegation concluded a five-day visit to the region in Nairobi, after meeting with drought-affected communities in Ethiopia and Somalia.

The delegation included representatives from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, the African Development Bank, the USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance and the World Bank.

The African Union announced an immediate contribution of US$100,000 for Somalia.

The World Bank will contribute US$50 million to scale up livelihoods and resilience efforts in Somalia, and plans to support the UN in developing a framework for economic recovery.

And Qatar pledged US$10 million in humanitarian assistance to Somalia and an additional US$3 million to Ethiopia.

Ahmed al-Meraiki, the Humanitarian Envoy of the Secretary-General, said that the communities they visited in Somalia and Ethiopia expressed a deep desire to build their own resilience and not rely on aid efforts indefinitely.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 3’43″

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