News in Brief 27 December 2017

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UN Secretary-General António Guterres addresses the press at the Security Council stakeout. (file) UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

UN chief welcomes conduct of second round of presidential election in Liberia

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has welcomed the peaceful conduct of the second round of the presidential election in Liberia.

In a statement from his Spokesperson, Mr. Guterres expressed hope that the will of the Liberian people will be respected and that a seamless transfer of power will take place within constitutional timelines.

"Peaceful, free, transparent and credible elections are a prerequisite for democratic consolidation, sustainable peace and development," he added.

The UN chief also commended the Government, political parties and the people of the Liberia for the orderly poll and reiterated the UN's continued support to the country's efforts towards consolidation of peace and economic development.

Furthermore, it was announced that Mr. Guterres is sending former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo to Liberia from 28 to 30 December as part of the UN's continued good offices engagement in the country.

Mr. Obasanjo is a member of the Secretary-General's High-Level Advisory Board on Mediation.

Severe and growing humanitarian needs across Somalia — UN relief wing

An unprecedented drought has resulted in severe and growing humanitarian needs across Somalia, the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has said.

In a humanitarian bulletin released Wednesday, the UN relief wing said that food security needs are nearly double the five-year average amid limited rains, increased displacement and continuing conflict.

Across the country, some 6.2 million people are in need of aid and protection, and more than half that number require urgent life-saving assistance.

Furthermore, with poor rains forecasted for the upcoming two main crop seasons and fears of drought in early-mid 2018, "life-saving assistance will remain an urgent priority", added the UN.

At the same time, it is vital to address the underlying causes to recurring humanitarian crises.

Development and humanitarian partners are, therefore, pursuing more sustainable mid- to long-term investment to build resilience, and reduce risk and vulnerability, said OCHA.

World will see 1.8 billion tourists every year by 2030 — UN agency

By 2030, 1.8 billion tourists — or just over one in five people in the world — are expected to travel each year, according to the UN World Tourism Organization.

These figures show the impact of tourism, underscoring that this human activity should not be seen as a "secondary" or "complementary" one, said Taleb Rifai, the Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization.

"It's bringing the world together in an incredibly impressive way, making the world smaller, more connected, more informed; therefore, more involved, therefore, more caring world."

At the same time, there are also many problems as a result of tourism, such as pollution, waste, labour-exploitation, prostitution and abuse of children, as well as the looting of natural resources and transfer of heritage and treasures in many regions of the globe.

Like any other human activity, there are advantages and disadvantages to tourism and it is up to the global community to turn those 1.8 billion travellers into opportunities, not disasters, explained Mr. Rifai.

The UN General Assembly had designated 2017 as the "International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development".

Mr. Rifai again:

"We have used this year, International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, to highlight the role that travel and tourism can contribute to sustainable development. And sustainable development is not just about the environment. It is about the environment, it is about community empowerment, it is about the relationship with people, making their lives better. And tourism can contribute that definitely, without doubt."

Vibhu Mishra, United Nations.

Duration 3'26"

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