News in Brief 08 November 2017 (PM)

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The former village site of Vunidogoloa. The village was forced to relocate inland due to climate change-induced coastal erosion and flooding. Credit: Nansen Initiative, via UNOCHA

COP23 considers enhanced protection for "climate refugees"

At the ongoing COP23 UN Climate Conference in Bonn, negotiations have started on the way the dialogue will take place at next year's conference in Poland, to accelerate implementation of the Paris Agreement.

On Wednesday, host country, Germany, announced a $58 million pledge for the Adaptation Fund, which supports vulnerable communities in developing countries.

One of the other issues under discussion at COP23 is how to provide better protection for so-called "climate refugees".

With displacement due to natural disasters now amounting to just over 25 million people each year, according to figures from the Norwegian Refugee Council, the poorest and most marginalized are bearing the brunt.

Marine Franck is a climate change officer with the UN refugee agency, UNHCR.

She says special measures are being taken in some countries to provide better protection for those forced to leave their countries of origin due to climate change.

Highlighting humanitarian protection visas, and temporary-stay measures, among others, she said that until all states embrace the same laws, refugee protections will remain inconsistent.

"The purpose now is to harmonize and enhance the use of these instruments by states so we work on this with the platform on disaster-displacement very closely".

Innovative debt-swap initiative in Mozambique unlocks $40 million

An innovative debt-swap initiative between Russia and Mozambique has unlocked a commitment of $40 million, which will be harnessed by the World Food Programme (WFP) it was announced on Wednesday.

Despite Mozambique reaching its Millennium Development Goal of halving the number of hungry people in the country, up to 2015, nearly a quarter of its people still face chronic food insecurity or malnourishment.

Debt-swaps are transactions where a foreign exchange debt owed by a developing country is transferred to another organization.

More details from UN Spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric.

"These funds will be used by WFP to support Mozambique to provide school meals for 150,000 children over the next five years. This debt swap is the largest in WFP's history. In addition to providing debt relief for Mozambique, it will free up new resources for development and support expansion of the National School Feeding Programme."

New safety handbook for banana industry workers launched: FAO

A new handbook aimed at making workers in the global banana industry's lives healthier and safer, was launched on Wednesday, by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), in conjunction with one of the world's major banana producers, Ecuador.

The manual was unveiled at the Third Conference of the World Banana Forum, in Geneva, Switzerland.

Bananas are the most exported fresh fruit in the world, and an essential source of jobs for thousands of rural households in developing countries.

The handbook includes a wide range of guidelines covering topics such as the proper handling, storage and use of agrochemicals; first aid and correct hygiene standards.

It also includes advice on dealing with gender-related violence and other human rights abuses on plantations.

Matt Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2'44"

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