News in Brief 8 September 2017 (PM)

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Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed addresses the General Assembly informal meeting on the status of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): UN Photo/Evan Schneider

SDGs are "taking hold" across the world: UN Deputy chief

The Sustainable Development Goals are "taking hold" across the world and capturing public imagination, two years after they were agreed by 193 countries.

That's the view of UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, addressing an informal meeting on implementing the 17 global goals in the General Assembly.

The ambitious goals include ending poverty and hunger, while boosting health and education for all.

The Deputy UN chief praised the 65 Member States who've submitted updates on how they're going to realize the goals, but she stressed that overall, the pace of progress is insufficient.

Governments must act faster and on a bigger scale said Ms Mohammed.

"The Sustainable Development Goals have jumped from the General Assembly Hall into communities across the world, and they are taking hold among policy makers and global public awareness, universally, around the world, when we visit, people tell us about what they're doing in a very excited way but also in a challenged one, because in many of these instances it's not an easy one to have across sectors."

Life-saving aid distributed to besieged Syrian towns of Foah, Kafraya

Life-saving aid was distributed on Thursday by UN partner organization, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC), to civilians still besieged in the towns of Foah and Kafraya.

Food, medicine, water and sanitation equipment for around 7,000 was brought in to the two towns, which have been besieged since 2015 by rebel forces.

Last month, UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura said that the mainly Shia residents caught up in the "iconic" sieges, had been "waiting endlessly" for relief, and said that if aid reached the towns it would be a "good sign".

Vital supplies from SARC also reached around 2,000 mostly Palestinian refugees still besieged in Yarmouk Camp.

The humanitarian assistance was provided by the United Nations, Red Cross and Syrian Arab Red Crescent.

International Literacy Day celebrated, with focus on digital tech

International Literacy Day was marked across the UN on Friday, with an online focus.

Adopting the theme of  "Literacy in a Digital World", The UN Cultural Organization UNESCO held a two-day conference, in the French capital, bringing together more than 200 stakeholders from around the world to discuss and examine how digital technology can help close the literacy gap.

Around 750 million people are unable to read and write; 63% of whom are women.

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, said that to be truly empowering, new technologies must be inclusive, and underpin basic respect for human rights and dignity.

"All this gives rise to new questions about the meaning of literacy today", she said at the Paris conference.

"Traditionally, literacy has been considered a set of reading, writing and counting skills" but "the digital world calls for new, higher-level competencies", she added.

Matt Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2'30"

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