News in Brief 19 July 2017 (PM)

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Fekitamoeloa 'Utoikamanu, High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, with UN Deputy Spokesperson, Farhan Haq. Photo: UN-OHRLLS Twitter feed.

Least-Developed "still lagging behind" on SDGs, "despite some progress"

The world's Least-Developed Countries (LDCs) are "still lagging behind" on the timetable for sustainable development outlined in the so-called Istanbul Programme of Action "despite some progress."

That's according to the Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the LDCs, Landlocked Developing Countries, and Small Island Developing States, Fekitamoeloa Katoa 'Utoikamanu.

She was speaking to journalists at UN Headquarters on Wednesday, introducing the 4th edition of the flagship annual report on LDCs, produced by her office.

She said the Istanbul programme objective es for the end of 2020 were focussed on national policies and international support measures to sustain growth, boost trade, mobilize resources and increase productive capacity.

She said some indicators were stalled, or going backwards.

"Average Gross Domestic Product growth in LDCs was 3.8 per cent in 2015, the lowest level recorded for the group in the last two decades. The target growth rate for LDCs by 2020 is 7 per cent. While poverty has been declining in some LDCs it is far from being eradicated. The latest available data shows in about a third of the LDCs, 50 per cent or more of the population were living below US$1.90 per day."

UN chief welcomes Republic of Korea proposal to re-open channels to north

UN chief António Guterres has welcomed a proposal made by the Republic of Korea to re-open military and humanitarian talks with neighbouring North Korea, also known as the DPRK.

The new communication channels would be the first official military-to-military dialogue to take place since 2014, according to news reports.

The Secretary-General told the Security Council in April that the absence of direct communications between north and south "could be dangerous".

Here's UN Deputy Spokesperson, Farhan Haq.

"Reopening and strengthening communication channels, particularly military to military ones, are needed to lower the risk of miscalculation or misunderstanding and reduce tensions in the region."

Appeals chamber of ICC orders new review of Laurent Gbagbo's detention

The appeals chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has ordered a review into the judges' decision in March to keep former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo in detention in the run-up to his trial.

ICC Spokesperson Fadi Al Abdallah said the former President would remain in detention until the original trial chamber's review is complete.

Mr Gbagbo has pleaded not guilty to four charges of crimes against humanity, which allegedly took place after Côte d'Ivoire descended into civil war in 2011.

His trial opened in January last year, and in March, ICC judges denied his appeal for release after six years in detention on the grounds that he could abscond.

Mr Abdallah said the appeals chamber had noted several errors in the judicial decision.

"The trial chamber should have considered the duration of time Mr Gbagbo has spent in detention, alongside the risks being reviewed. And it should have determined whether, all factors being considered, Mr Gbagbo's detention continues to be reasonable."

Matt Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2'50"

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