News in Brief 11 October 2017 (AM)

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A young girl sits in the shade, while her sister sleeps behind her, at an IDP camp in Baidoa for victims of a drought currently affecting Somalia. UN Photo/Tobin Jones

International Day spotlights challenges and opportunities facing girls

The challenges and opportunities facing girls worldwide are being highlighted by various UN agencies this Wednesday, the International Day of the Girl Child.

It has been celebrated since 2012, and this year the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) is focusing on girls caught in crises and emergencies.

"The world's 1.1 billion girls are a source of power, energy, and creativity – and the millions of girls in emergencies are no exception," the agency said.

Meanwhile, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) is shining the spotlight on five girls who have spoken out about issues affecting them and their peers, such as child marriage, early pregnancy, poverty and access to education.

For example, Hillary from Costa Rica became a mother at just 16, an experience she said robs girls of their childhood.

Now 18, she has finished school and is a youth counsellor and advocate who teaches other young girls about their rights.

General Assembly holds dialogue on migration

2018 "must be a year of action" on commitments to protect refugees and migrants, the UN General Assembly President said on Wednesday.

Miroslav Lajčák was speaking in Geneva during a meeting related to the Global Compact for safe and orderly migration which countries are to adopt next year.

It stems from a meeting of heads of state and government held at UN Headquarters in New York, in September 2016.

Mr Lajčák expressed hope that the informal discussions will highlight strength in diversity while also putting the focus on people.

He said this year had been a "year of commitments" whereas in 2018, the UN needed to step up its work to "create conditions for people to move out of choice, and not necessity."

UN polar initiatives to be showcased at annual Arctic gathering

UN initiatives to address rapid climate change in the Polar regions will be showcased at the Arctic Circle Assembly, taking place this week in the Icelandic capital.

The efforts by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) include the ongoing Year of Polar Prediction, which brings together scientists and forecasting centres to undertake intensive observation and modelling activities in the Arctic and Antarctic.

WMO said the effects of global warming are felt more intensely in the Arctic than anywhere else.

The region is heating twice as rapidly as the rest of the world, resulting in melting glaciers, shrinking sea ice and snow cover.

The Reykjavik event is the largest annual international gathering of its kind, attended by more than 2,000 participants from government and the private sector, as well as scientists, environmentalists and representatives from indigenous communities.

It opens on Friday and runs through Sunday.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 2’52″


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