News in Brief 26 December 2017

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Miroslav Lajčák (left), General Assembly President, concludes the main part of the 72nd Session of the General Assembly. Photo: UN/Evan Schneider

UN budget for the biennium 2018-2019

The UN General Assembly on Sunday approved a nearly $5.4 billion budget for the Organization for the biennium 2018-2019.

The programme budget covers UN activities across a range of areas, including, political affairs, international justice and law, regional cooperation for development, human rights and humanitarian affairs and public information.

Also on Sunday, which marked the closing of the "main part" of the seventy-second session of the General Assembly, the 193-member body adopted a number of key resolutions, including reforms in the areas of peace and security, and of management.

Speaking at the closing session, Miroslav Lajčák, the President of the General Assembly, stated that progress is not measured by the number of resolutions adopted, but rather by the impact the United Nations makes on people's lives.

"Our work is not yet done. We have more to do next year. […] To have meaningful outcomes from all these processes we need to talk, and more importantly, to listen, to one another. These agenda items represent global challenges. And multilateralism is the tool we need to solve them."

UNICEF field teams working "around the clock" in storm-ravaged parts of the Philippines

Field teams are working "around the clock" to assess the scale of damage and loss in the wake of tropical storm Tembin which struck the Philippines Friday, 22 December, UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) has said.

According to estimates, over 550,000 people have been affected by the storm and some 2,300 houses have been damaged or destroyed.

At least 164 people are confirmed to have died.

The figures, however, are feared to rise as search and rescue teams continue to look for missing persons buried in the mud or swept away by flood waters.

In its response, UNICEF has placed on the ready humanitarian supplies pre-positioned for the disaster, including water kits, purification tablets, jerry-cans and tents.

In any emergency, children are amongst the most vulnerable and need special protection. Ensuring that their lives are saved and that they are protected is UNICEF's first priority.

Its head of operations in the Philippines, Lotta Sylwander, said that the UN agency "stands ready to support the Government and partners" to address the risks on children's life and health and alleviate suffering of affected communities "as best as it can".

Nigeria: Cholera outbreak in restive Borno state successfully contained, says WHO

A cholera outbreak, which began in August, in Nigeria's conflict-affected Borno state has been successfully contained, the World Health Organization (WHO) has announced.

According to the UN health agency, the feat is a "major accomplishment" in a region hit hard by Boko Haram violence that has displaced millions and driven hundreds of thousands to severe food insecurity.

Joint efforts by a wide range of partners and the leadership of the state Ministry of Health was crucial to achieve the result, WHO added.

The highlight of the response was a massive oral cholera vaccine campaign, which provided some 1.8 million doses to 900,000 people.

In addition, the UN health agency set up an early warning and surveillance system that provided vital data, enabling effective and targeted interventions.

The response also included providing safe chlorinated water, setting up treatment centres and laboratory testing, as well as community outreach on the disease and precautions.

However, with conflict continuing to affect Borno and neighbouring states, future risks of disease outbreak cannot be ruled out.

Its head of programmes in Nigeria, Wondimagegnehu Alemu, therefore, called for continued vigilance for warning signs that could signal another outbreak of cholera or other epidemic-prone diseases.

Vibhu Mishra, United Nations.

Duration: 3'18"

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