In the headlines:

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UN Daily News
Issue DH/6774
Thursday, 6 November 2014
In the headlines:
• Water central to global peace, development, UN
• On International Day, UN urges protection of
• Ebola: UN says experimental vaccine trials in West
• Declining food prices 'very good' for importing
• Urging political resolution, UN agency chief laments
• New global tourism initiative to ‘steer industry onto
deputy chief tells London summit
Africa could begin by January
‘sheer unsustainability’ of Gaza crisis
UN chief welcomes agreement aiming to restore
democracy to Burkina Faso
environment from ravages of war
countries – UN agricultural agency
a truly sustainable path’ – UN
• UN, MasterCard join forces to launch online
donation platform in Italy
• Lebanon: UN envoy expresses regret over
• Libya: UN studying Supreme Court ruling against
• ‘Ageing well must be global priority’, warns UN
• UN expert panel issues guidelines on rights of
Parliament term extension, stalled elections
health agency in new study
Parliament, calls for political consensus
women asylum-seekers, refugees
Water central to global peace, development, UN deputy chief
tells London summit
6 November - The most basic of all human rights – water – is also a central element in
global affairs and the development agenda with wide implications on international peace
and security, the Deputy Secretary-General told participants today the World Water
Summit held in London.
In the Abu Shouk camp for internally
displaced persons (IDP) in Darfur, a child
gets a drink of water. Photo:
UNAMID/Albert González Farran
“Around today’s world, we see how a lack of access to water can fuel conflict and even
threaten peace and stability,” Jan Eliasson pointed out as he delivered the keynote address
on “Tackling the Global Water Challenges: What’s Next?,” to the Summit, which was
organized by The Economist.
The Deputy Secretary-General stressed the need for “hydro-diplomacy, or water
diplomacy” as degraded access to water stemming from climate change, or population pressure risks creating social
tensions, political instability and intensified refugee flows.
The Summit features several presentations and panels including on the challenge of urbanization, sustainable approaches to
agriculture and sanitation and a senior-level discussion on water security.
Participating in the Summit are ministers of water and the environment from Uganda, Singapore, and Mongolia, as well as
representatives of non-governmental organizations, the private sector and several publications.
During his address, the Deputy Secretary-General recalled seeing water used as a weapon of war during the Darfur conflict
in Sudan.
For information media not an official record
UN Daily News
6 November 2014
“On one trip in 2007, to the North of Darfur as we arrived in a village, we were met by a group of women chanting, ‘Water,
water, water.’ The enemy militia had poisoned their well, they said,” Mr. Eliasson told Summit participants.
And most recently, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has also exploited access to water to expand its control
over territory and to subjugate the population. And from Tajikistan to Ethiopia, upstream/downstream tensions related to
large hydroelectric projects remain an issue.
But water tensions are not exclusive to conflict ridden and developing countries alone. In recent years, the world has
witnessed a surge of water-related crises from the dried up eastern basin of the Aral Sea to the unprecedented three-year
drought in California.
In addition, rapid urbanization has put huge pressure on water use and infrastructure, making water an increasingly scarce
and expensive resource, especially for the poor and marginalised.
“Let me share with you some numbers. Demand for water is projected to grow by over 40 per cent by 2050. An estimated
1.8 billion people will soon live in countries or regions with water scarcity,” the Deputy Secretary-General said.
There is good news, however. Thanks to global mobilization inspired by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), two
billion people have benefited from access to improved water sources, a result of smart investments and policies.
“Still, let us remember that 750 million people today do not have access to safe drinking water,” said Mr. Eliasson.
Roughly 80 per cent of global water is discharged in untreated ways into oceans, rivers and lakes. Nearly 2 million children
under the age of five die every year for want of clean water and decent sanitation. One billion people in 22 countries still
defecate in the open, said Mr. Eliasson, adding that the UN on 19 November will celebrate the first ever official World
Toilet Day.
“We want to break the silence and taboo surrounding toilets and open defecation. These words must be natural elements of
the diplomatic discourse on development,” he added.
Recalling that sanitation was “nowhere to be found” in the initial MDGs but is now one of the proposed Sustainable
Development Goals (SDGs) for the period 2015-2030 because “experience has shown that sanitation and sound hygiene
practices are critical drivers of development,” Mr. Eliasson added.
He appealed to the private sector to engage actively with UN Global Compact– the world body’s main corporate
sustainability initiative – which has already committed more than 125 companies to advancing corporate water stewardship
and better sanitation practices.
“Corporate engagement on sanitation ensures healthy work-forces and societies. Sanitation is also a business opportunity, as
there are millions and millions of people in need,” he said.
Tensions over water will clearly be exacerbated by climate change but “we must not lose site of the opportunities that water
offers as a source of cooperation”. Water can and should drive cooperation and conflict resolutions.
Over 90 per cent of the world’s population lives in countries that share rives and lake basins with potential for shared
management. Almost 450 agreements on international waters were signed between 1820 and 2007.
He called for smarter water management approaches, better waste management to protect rivers and more creative use of
technology to “explore the frontiers” of desalination. Global partnerships are critical as well.
“No single Government can implement the water agenda alone,” the Deputy Secretary-General added.
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UN Daily News
6 November 2014
Ebola: UN says experimental vaccine trials in West Africa could
begin by January
6 November - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today said the Ebola
crisis response “needs to scale up, get better and perform faster,” as the UN health agency
reported that if judged safe, larger scale trials of an experimental vaccine could be taken to
hard-hit West African countries as early as January 2015.
The UN World Health organization (WHO) also said “evidence is mounting that earlier
messages about Ebola virus disease having no treatment, cure, or vaccines are no longer
entirely accurate.”
Clinical trials of this candidate Ebola
vaccine will take place in the US,
Germany, Gabon and Kenya. Photo:
WHO/M. Missioneiro
WHO cited a number of candidate vaccines were undergoing clinical trials as well as the
first clinical trials of therapeutic – possibly curative – transfusions of whole blood or blood
plasma from recovered patients that are scheduled to begin soon in Liberia, in line with WHO technical guidelines.
At the end of a three-day visit to Sierra Leone, WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin today called upon partners all over
the world to work together to address the critical needs of those affected by the health crisis.
In support of a unified efforts being carried out by the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), WFP has to
date provided food assistance to 1.3 million people and is ramping up services to the whole humanitarian effort in Guinea,
Liberia and Sierra Leone.
“What I have learned in Sierra Leone is that the international community has made a lot of progress in meeting the needs of
the victims of this crisis,” Ms. Cousin said. “But we all have more work to do. We need to scale up, we need to get better,
we need to perform faster.”
“We need to ensure that everyone joins together today to make the difference that is required to stop the spread of this
deadly disease,” she said.
Ms. Cousin also praised the courageous men and women battling the disease on the front lines.
“What we don’t hear about are the stories of the men and women who have worked to address the challenges of the crisis,”
she said, “They are the evidence that we can win this battle.”
In Geneva today, WHO welcomed approval by Swissmedic, the Swiss regulatory authority for therapeutic products, for a
second Swiss trial with an experimental Ebola vaccine.
“The trial will be led by the University Hospitals of Geneva,” WHO said in a press release. “If judged safe, larger scale trials
will be taken to African countries as early as January 2015.”
The experimental vaccine will be tested on healthy volunteers, some of whom will be deployed as health care staff in the
fight against the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, according to WHO.
“These trials show an almost unprecedented mobilization on the part of countries, health agencies and industry to pitch in
and help to curb the Ebola epidemic,” said Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, WHO’s Assistant Director-General for Health Systems
and Innovation. “If the vaccines prove to be safe and effective and we move to production and distribution scale-up, this will
be the fastest vaccine roll-out we have had in response to a public health emergency to date.”
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UN Daily News
6 November 2014
WHO also said its study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, provides evidence that supportive care,
especially rehydration and correction of metabolic abnormalities, may contribute to patient survival.
The study analyzed clinical data on 37 confirmed Ebola patients admitted for treatment at hospitals in Conakry, Guinea’s
capital and most densely populated city.
One of the strongest determinants of survival appears to be patient age, WHO said. Patients older than 40 years were nearly
3.5 times more likely to die than those aged less than 40.
Urging political resolution, UN agency chief laments ‘sheer
unsustainability’ of Gaza crisis
6 November - The underlying tensions which have brought Israelis and Palestinians into
regular conflict and subjected Gaza to repeated warfare must be addressed once and for all,
the head of the United Nations agency tasked with assisting Palestinian refugees has urged.
Speaking after addressing the UN General Assembly, Pierre Krähenbühl, CommissionerGeneral for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East
(UNRWA), told UN Radio in an interview that a political resolution to the crisis in the
Middle East is “essential” if the international community seeks to improve “a situation of
extreme hardship for the people in Gaza.”
“The change of paradigm means that the underlying conditions and circumstances that lead
to these repeated conflicts in Gaza have to be addressed once and for all,” Mr. Krähenbühl
Commissioner-General of the UN Relief
and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees
in the Near East (UNRWA), Pierre
Krähenbühl (right), briefs the General
Assembly’s Fourth Committee on 4
November 2014. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas
“To think that this is tenable in the future after this level of destruction is really not conceivable for me. And to just allow
the situation to go back to pre-existing conditions under the blockade is not conceivable either so political action is required
by the international community and by the Israelis and the Palestinians to resolve this type of blockade, lift it so that people
can again enjoy freedom of movement, freedom of trade, and to engage in normal economic and social activities,” he added.
Pointing to the challenges faced by UNRWA on the ground, the Commissioner-General lamented the “sheer
unsustainability” of the situation of Palestinian refugees that, he said, “have been now waiting for 65 years for a just and
lasting solution to their plight” but, instead, had been subjected to the conflicts in Syria and Gaza, adding to the overall
uncertainty of their situation.
The recent 51-day conflict between Gaza and Israel saw entire neighbourhoods in the Strip flattened, and almost one-third of
its population uprooted. According to a recent UN assessment, as it stands now, over 100,000 homes were damaged or
destroyed, affecting more than 600,000 people. Many people still lack access to the municipal water network. Blackouts of
up to 18 hours per day are common.
In addition, the violence killed more than 2,100 Palestinians, including more than 500 children, and more than 70 Israelis.
Amid the widespread destruction and advancing winter, UNRWA is facing a shortfall in its general fund, which is used to
finance the agency’s core activities of education, health, protection, relief and social services. The funding gap presently
stands at $56 million, equivalent to one month’s operating costs. While UNRWA has taken measures to reduce its initially
higher deficit, with only two months to go before the end of the year, the Commissioner-General has urged all UN Member
States to find ways to fund the agency’s core work before year-end.
Mr. Krähenbühl acknowledged that UNRWA is already being stretched to its limits as it assisted some 860,000 people
through its food distribution programme while also noting that the agency was sheltering 30,000 displaced people in 18
schools throughout the enclave.
But, he said, an estimated 120,000 people whose homes were entirely destroyed in the conflict were now waiting for funds
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UN Daily News
6 November 2014
promised at the recent Cairo conference to trickle in so that they could finally return home. As a result, he urged the
international community to translate its pledges into “actual cash.”
“Otherwise, we will have people who are going to become increasingly angry, resenting the fact that there is no progress,
and this is very urgent if we are to avoid further tensions in the region,” he warned.
Mr. Krähenbühl celebrated UNRWA’s work, observing that even the closest donors and supporters sometimes
underestimated the agency’s achievements, adding that UNRWA’s development processes had produced “some of the best
indicators – not only in literacy but in development of skills and knowledge.”
He cautioned, however, that the situation on the ground remained unstable and unsustainable and that without a definitive
resolution to the 65-year long crisis, UNRWA’s work was at risk.
“This cannot go on like this, without creating further instability. I think we have created a lot of stability in the region. But
this can be undermined by conflict in too many areas, by occupation that never ends, and this is why we renew our call for
resolute political action, to address once and for all the fate of Palestinian refugees in the region.”
UN chief welcomes agreement aiming to restore democracy to
Burkina Faso
6 November - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the
adoption of a new agreement by Burkinabé stakeholders which would see the West African
country head towards a democratic transition in the wake of the recent constitutional crisis
Billboard promoting peace in
Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso.
Photo: IRIN/Chris Simpson
In a statement attributable to his spokesperson, Mr. Ban congratulated the people of
Burkina Faso on the adoption of an agreement on the principle of a one-year civilian-led
transition, resulting in the holding of democratic elections in November 2015.
“The Secretary-General commends all Burkinabé stakeholders for their sense of
responsibility and for their willingness to engage in constructive dialogue,” said UN
spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric, briefing the press at UN Headquarters this afternoon.
“He further encourages all parties to continue to use dialogue to rapidly reach an agreement on an eminent civilian
personality to lead the transition process.”
Thousands of Burkinabé protesters took to the streets last week in the capital of Ouagadougou, facing off with security
forces outside the presidential palace amid deadly violence that included the ransacking of Government buildings and the
state television headquarters.
Following the violence, former President Blaise Compaoré announced his resignation, ending his 27-year stay in office, and
handed power over to the military.
The Secretary-General also applauded the joint mediation efforts which united the UN, the African Union, the Economic
Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and the Presidents of Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal, in bringing “a smooth
and peaceful transition in Burkina Faso.”
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UN Daily News
6 November 2014
Lebanon: UN envoy expresses regret over Parliament term
extension, stalled elections
6 November - The United Nations envoy for Lebanon said today that the vote in Lebanon’s
Parliament yesterday to extend its mandate until 2017 had spared the country a “further
serious vacuum,” but, regretfully, elections had been postponed again amid mounting
political insecurity.
“This has spared Lebanon a further serious vacuum in the institutions of the State but it is a
matter of regret that Lebanon, with its strong democratic tradition, remains unable to hold
the parliamentary election,” Derek Plumbly, the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, said
in a statement issued today by his office.
Special Coordinator for Lebanon Derek
Plumbly. UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras
“The United Nations remains ready to support preparations for parliamentary elections in Lebanon at any time,” he added.
According to media reports, the decision to extend the Parliament’s mandate divided the country’s two main political blocs,
with those in favour citing both the deadlock over the presidency and the country’s security situation.
For his part, the envoy said he met with the Speaker of the Lebanese Parliament, Nabih Berri, briefing him on the SecretaryGeneral’s report on UN resolution 1701, which was issued today.
UN resolution 1701 (2006) ended the fighting in Lebanon between Israel and Hizbollah.
“The United Nations Secretary-General in his report again urges Lebanon’s leaders to show the sense of urgency and
flexibility needed to open the way to the election of a President,” Mr. Plumbly said.
Expressing hope that the Lebanese Parliament would elected a President without further delay, the envoy underscored that
“its importance for Lebanon’s unity and the ability of the State to confront present challenges is obvious.
“Hence its importance for all of us, the international community and the Lebanese people alike,” he added.
Meanwhile, with regard to the situation across the Lebanese-Israeli border, the envoy noted that both he and Mr. Berri
“welcomed the continued calm prevailing along the Blue Line and in the south.”
The so-called Blue Line separates Lebanon and Israel.
There has been a presidential vacuum in Lebanon after the term of Michel Sleiman came to an end on 25 May. UN officials
and the Security Council have repeatedly urged the Lebanese Parliament to elect a new leader without delay.
The country has also been dealing with renewed terrorist threats and a growing refugee population resulting from the
conflict in neighbouring Syria.
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6 November 2014
‘Ageing well must be global priority’, warns UN health agency
in new study
6 November - The United Nations health agency warned today that as the world population
aged 60 or older will jump from some 800 million to 2 billion in the next four decades,
soaring levels of chronic illness and diminished wellbeing are poised to become a major
global public health challenge.
An old person posing in front of her
house in Chagas, Mexico, where longlasting impregnated curtains were
installed in order to keep the house free of
the triamatone bugs. Photo: WHO/TDR
/Isaias Montilla
“By 2020, for the first time in history, the number of people aged 60 years and older will
outnumber children younger than 5 years,” the UN World Health Organization (WHO) said
reporting its findings in a series on health and ageing in the medical journal The Lancet.
And “by 2050, the world’s population aged 60 years and older is expected to total 2 billion,
up from 841 million today,” WHO said, noting that 80 percent of these older persons will
be living in low-income and middle-income countries.
WHO attributed the increase in longevity, especially in high-income countries, largely to the decline in deaths from
cardiovascular disease (stroke and ischaemic heart disease), mainly because of simple, cost-effective strategies to reduce
tobacco use and high blood pressure, and improved coverage and effectiveness of health interventions.
However, it said, “although people are living longer, they are not necessarily healthier than before.”
“Unless health systems find effective strategies to address the problems faced by an ageing world population, the growing
burden of chronic disease will greatly affect the quality of life of older people,” WHO said.
“As people across the world live longer, soaring levels of chronic illness and diminished wellbeing are poised to become a
major global public health challenge,” the health agency warned.
“Deep and fundamental reforms of health and social care systems will be required,” said Dr. John Beard, Director of the
Department of Ageing and Life Course at the WHO, and co-leader of the Series with Dr. Ties Boerma and Dr. Somnath
Chatterji, also from WHO.
The long-term burden of illness and diminished wellbeing affects patients, their families, health systems, and economies,
and is forecast to accelerate.
“For example, latest estimates indicate that the number of people with dementia is expected to rise from 44 million now, to
135 million by 2050,” according to WHO.
The responsibility for improving quality of life for the world’s older people goes far beyond the health sector, the doctors
“Strategies are needed that better prevent and manage chronic conditions by extending affordable health care to all older
adults and take into consideration the physical and social environment,” WHO said.
The health agency said examples include changing policies to encourage older adults to remain part of the workforce for
longer, emphasising low-cost disease prevention and early detection rather than treatment, making better use of technology
(and training health-care staff in the management of multiple chronic conditions.
“Collectively, we need to look beyond the costs commonly associated with ageing to think about the benefits that an older,
healthier, happier, and more productive older population can bring to society as a whole,” said Dr. Chatterji from WHO’s
Department of Health Statistics and Information Systems.
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6 November 2014
On International Day, UN urges protection of environment from
ravages of war
6 November - From the contamination of land to the plundering of natural resources, the
environment has long been a “silent casualty” of war, United Nations Secretary-General
Ban Ki-moon affirmed today as he warned that the fast-changing dynamic of contemporary
conflict required steadfast solutions for future peacebuilding and sustainable development.
“Armed conflicts are becoming ever more complex, and require solutions that address the
root causes,” Mr. Ban said in his message marking the International Day for Preventing the
Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict.
“Issues of poverty, vulnerability to climate shocks, ethnic marginalization and the
transparent, sustainable and equitable management of natural resources must be considered
within and alongside peace agreements if we are to build more resilient and prosperous
An orphaned gorilla released in its new
habitat, in eastern Democratic Republic
of Congo. Healthy gorilla populations are
becoming increasingly isolated due to
habitat loss and conflict across the region.
Photo: UNEP/GRID-Arendal/Tim Freccia
Established by the UN General Assembly in 2001, the International Day was created to spotlight the tenuous link between
global and regional conflicts and the environment.
According to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), at least 40 per cent of all internal conflicts of the past 60 years have
been linked to the exploitation of natural resources, whether high-value resources such as timber, diamonds, gold and oil, or
scarce resources such as fertile land and water.
In Somalia, for example, it is estimated that the illegal trade in charcoal represents annual revenues of up to $384 million for
insurgents and terrorist groups. Moreover, conflicts involving natural resources have also been found to be twice as likely to
relapse into violence.
In his message for the Day, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for the Democratic Republic of the Congo
(DRC), Martin Kobler, acknowledged that the exploitation of natural resources had, in large part, fuelled the extensive
conflict that has ravaged the African country and taken millions of lives. It is widely suspected that the extraction of
minerals in the DRC – ranging from coltan and cassiterite, which are found in electronic consumer goods, to gold – has been
used to finance the roving bands of militants that have terrorized the country.
As head of the UN stabilizations mission in the DRC, known by the French acronym MONUSCO, Mr. Kobler declared it
“fundamental” that all stakeholders in the country protect the environment in time of war and establish a system for the good
governance of natural resources, adding that future generations would be “grateful for our efforts towards preserving the
beauty and richness of the environment in this beautiful country.”
For his part, the Secretary-General called on the international community to reaffirm its commitment to protecting the
environment from the impacts of war and preventing future conflicts over natural resources, particularly as nations begin to
formulate the upcoming post-2015 sustainable development agenda.
“We must use all of the tools at our disposal, from dialogue and mediation to preventive diplomacy, to keep the
unsustainable exploitation of natural resources from fuelling and financing armed conflict and destabilizing the fragile
foundations of peace,” Mr. Ban concluded.
“Let us develop solutions that meaningfully involve local communities and build on our collective knowledge to advance
good stewardship of the environment as an integral part of peacebuilding and sustainable development.”
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6 November 2014
Against such a backdrop, UNEP has used the opportunity provided by the Day to jointly create a website providing users
with free access to dozens of case studies as well as teaching and training materials on the role of natural resources in
peacebuilding. Since its launch in 2013, the website has served as a global platform for sharing information, experiences and
learning on the links between natural resources, conflict and peace.
The contents of the site were produced as part of a broad collaboration led by Environmental Law Institute (ELI), UNEP,
McGill University and the University of Tokyo, together with 225 researchers and practitioners around the world. Six books
including 150 case studies and other analyses examining experiences from 60 conflict-affected countries and territories are
being released to the platform, with 76 case studies already available online.
Declining food prices 'very good' for importing countries – UN
agricultural agency
6 November - The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization's (FAO) monthly
food price index was stable in October, as sugar and vegetable oil prices rose to offset
declines in dairy and meat prices, the Rome-based agency reported today.
Meat and dairy prices dipped in October
2014 but the global rice harvest is forecast
to decline this year. Photo: FAO/Giulio
The FAO Food Price Index is a trade-weighted index monitoring five commodity group
price indices– cereals, meat, dairy products, vegetable oils, and sugar. In October, it dipped
to 192.3, technically its seventh consecutive monthly decline, but a marginal 0.2 percent
drop from the revised September figure.
The ongoing slight decline in the index is "very good for food importing countries," FAO
senior economist Concepción Calpe said in statement.
Dairy prices fell by 1.9 percent, as butter and milk powder prices dipped due to increased output in Europe, where many
producers are grappling with Russia's ban on cheese imports. The sub-index for dairy products dropped to 184.3, down 3.5
points from September, and 66.8 points, or 26.6 percent down from October 2013.
Meat prices also broadly declined, as pig production recovered in several countries hit by endemic porcine diarrhoea and
growing cattle herds in Australia pushed down beef prices. FAO's Meat Price Index fell by 1.1 percent or 2.3 points from
September to 208.9, still more than 10 percent above its level a year ago.
The Cereal Price Index, which fell sharply over the recent months as global wheat and maize production appeared set for
record harvests, was broadly stable at 178.4 points in October as maize harvest delays in the United States and deteriorating
prospects for Australia's wheat crop led to firmer prices.
Rice prices declined, however, as newly harvested supplies came to market. The cereals sub-index is now down 9.3 percent,
or 18.2 points below the level of one year ago.
Overall, the Food Price Index is at its lowest levels since August 2010.
Meanwhile, the Sugar Price Index rose to 237.6 points, a brisk 4.2 percent increase from the previous month, due largely to
drought in parts of Brazil, leading to reports that the sugarcane crop will be smaller than expected. Despite the month's
gains, international sugar prices remain more than 10 percent below their October 2013 level.
The vegetable oils sub-index rose for the first time since March, clocking in at 163.7 points in October, up 1.0 percent, or
1.6 points from September. Palm oil production slowdowns in Indonesia and Malaysia, combined with a revival in global
import demand, sustained the increase.
FAO's monthly Cereal Supply and Demand Brief also released today trimmed back the Organization's forecast for 2014
world cereal production by about one million tonnes. At 2.5 billion tonnes, the full-year production figure would be 3.7
million tonnes below 2013's record output.
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6 November 2014
Meanwhile, the forecast for global wheat production has been raised, as output from Ukraine is on track to be higher than
previously expected. This growing season's wheat crop is now expected to top last year's record harvest with a total output
of 722.6 million tonnes.
For rice, the forecast for global production remains unchanged at 496.3 million tonnes in milled rice equivalent. This would
be 0.3 percent less than in 2013, and would mark the first decline since 2009.
Global inventories of all the main cereals remain on course to hit a 15-year high, although the forecast was marked down by
2.7 million tonnes from October's projections to 624.7 million tonnes.
This figure is 8.0 percent above the level at the start of the 2014/15 growing season and would raise the global cereal stockto-use ratio to a twelve-year high level of 25.1 percent.
Wheat reserves are projected to rise by 9.3 percent this year, while rice inventories are forecast to fall by 2.0 percent,
reflecting expected inventory drawdowns, especially in major exporting countries such as India and Thailand.
FAO's November brief also observed that global cereal utilization for direct human consumption is set to expand by 0.9
percent - in line with the global population, leaving per capita consumption stable - while utilization for livestock feed is
expected to rise by 2.6 percent.
New global tourism initiative to ‘steer industry onto a truly
sustainable path’ – UN
6 November - Tourism is one of the largest and fastest-growing economic sectors in the
world contributing 9 per cent to global GDP, accounting for one in 11 jobs worldwide and
for 6 per cent of global exports, the United Nations World Tourism Organization
(UNWTO) reported today as it launched a programme aiming to catalyze a shift to more
sustainable tourism.
UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai
(right) with Tourism Minister of
Morocco, Lahcen Haddad, during the
10YFP Sustainable Tourism Programme
launch at the World Travel Market in
London. Photo: UNWTO
The Sustainable Tourism Programme of the Ten-Year Framework of Programmes on
Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns (10YFP) introduced at the World Travel
Market in London this week will be spearheaded by the UNWTO, the Governments of
France, Morocco and the Republic of Korea, with the support of UN Environment
Programme (UNEP).
"This important initiative is about steering the industry onto a truly sustainable path -- one
that echoes to the challenge of our time: namely the fostering of a global Green Economy that thrives on the interest, rather
than the capital," said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner in a statement .
It is estimated that by 2030, there will be 1.8 billion international tourism arrivals annually. If not sustainably managed,
tourism can deplete natural resources leading to water shortages, loss of biodiversity, land degradation and contribute to
climate change and pollution. Tourism’s contribution to global warming is estimated at 5 per cent of global CO2 emissions.
“As tourism continues to grow, so too will the pressures on the environment and wildlife. Without proper management and
protection, as well as investments in greening the sector, ecosystems and thousands of magnificent species will suffer,” Mr.
Steiner said.
UNEP’s 2011 Green Economy Report revealed that under a “business-as-usual” scenario, projected tourism growth rates to
2050 will result in increases in energy consumption by 154 per cent, greenhouse gas emissions by 131 per cent, water
consumption by 152 per cent, and solid waste disposal by 251 per cent.
UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai said, “As the leading organization for tourism, the World Tourism Organization
seeks to maximize tourism’s contribution to development while minimizing its negative impacts.”
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6 November 2014
Already, in the Galapagos Islands and Palau, visitors pay an entry tax to protected areas, which are sometimes referred to as
‘green fees.’ The revenues generated from these fees - which in Palau’s case is $1.3 million annually since 2009 – are used
to support conservation and sustainable human development.
The 10YFP Sustainable Tourism Programme will aim to achieve major shifts in tourism policies and stimulate greater
sustainability within the tourism supply chain. A collaborative initiative, the programme aims to improve resource
efficiency, management effectiveness, and the use of new technologies to promote sustainable consumption and production
patterns in this key sector.
Meanwhile, the three countries leading the initiative have already taken steps to promote sustainable tourism. As the most
visited tourism destination in the world receiving 85 million tourists a year, France recognizes sustainable tourism as
fundamental to preserving its heritage.
And Morocco is hoping to capitalize on its natural and cultural advantages in a way that will yield the most sustainable
social and economic benefits to all Moroccans. The Government of the Republic of Korea has already integrated principles
of sustainability into its tourism policies and is accelerating programme implementation nationally.
The 10YFP was established after Heads of State, meeting at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20)
conference in 2012, agreed that sustainable consumption production was a cornerstone of development, and an important
contributor to poverty alleviation and the transition to low-carbon green economies.
UN, MasterCard join forces to launch online donation platform
in Italy
6 November - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), MasterCard and the
Italian postal service are launching the world’s first online donation platform that will allow
Italians to automatically make micro-donations to support school meal projects in
developing countries every time they use their card.
“Activation is simple,” WFP said in its announcement. “By registering on the platform,
card holders will be able to activate micro-donations, deciding the amount of each donation
– starting from a minimum of .10 euros [about 12 cents] for every purchase offline and
School girls at Ibn Sina school in Gaza
enjoying their WFP in-school snack.
Photo: WFP/Eman Mohammed
“This exciting collaboration allows Poste Italiane MasterCard cardholders to contribute to
micro-donations every time they use their card to buy something - for the first time in Italy - and from launch will immediate
help raise important funding to support school meal projects in developing countries,” it said.
To support the launch, new research looked into the donation habits of Italians and found that Italians are strong supporters
of charitable contributions, especially for causes relating to scientific and medical research (32 per cent), hunger in
developing countries (17 per cent) and humanitarian emergencies (17 per cent) followed by the support to the poor in Italy,
medical care and animal protection.
“Italians now have a simple way to join the UN World Food Programme to provide a nutritious meal to the 20 million
school children we feed every day,” said Elisabeth Rasmusson, WFP’s Assistant Executive Director.
“We are honoured that Poste Italiane and MasterCard have chosen WFP for this initiative, and I want to encourage everyone
to do their part in building a world with zero hunger.”
WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and
working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. In 2013, WFP assisted more than 80 million people in
75 countries.
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6 November 2014
Libya: UN studying Supreme Court ruling against Parliament,
calls for political consensus
6 November - The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) said today that it
is closely monitoring the situation in the North African country, following a Supreme Court
ruling that declared the national Parliament unconstitutional.
In a statement to the press, UNSMIL emphasized the need for political consensus at this
“critical moment” and called on all parties to place the national interest above all other
Shoppers at a market in the Libyan
capital Tripoli. Photo: UNSMIL/Abbas
The Mission said it is reviewing the decision made by the Supreme Court and in turn
rejected by the Parliament, while it consuls closely with Libyan stakeholders across the
political spectrum, as well as with international partners.
The Libyan Parliament, elected on 25 June, was welcomed by the United Nations mission in the hopes that the politicians
could lead the nation away from the strife characterized by violence in Tripoli and Benghazi.
Parliamentarians were seen as leading the efforts to create an inclusive political dialogue and in “taking the necessary steps
to safeguard the security, safety, unity and sovereignty of Libya,” the Mission stated at the time.
The country has been embroiled in some of the worst fighting since the 2011 uprising that ousted former leader Muammar
al-Qadhafi and set it on a path to democratic transition.
Today, the UNSMIL reiterated its commitment to Libya’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. The UN also
reiterated the need for everyone to act responsibly and “desist from taking any action that would escalate the existing
polarisation” or result in a further deterioration of security.
In accordance with its mandate, the Mission said it remains committed to working with all parties to help Libya overcome
the current political and security crisis. UNSMIL emphasises the urgent need for all parties to forge consensus on political
arrangements regarding the transition.
In this regard, Special Representative of the Secretary-General Bernardino Leon will confer with all the main stakeholders
on the way forward.
UN expert panel issues guidelines on rights of women asylumseekers, refugees
6 November - The United Nations committee tasked with monitoring implementation of
the global treaty to end all forms of discrimination against women has published a set of
guidelines today to ensure that the challenges faced by women in situations of displacement
and statelessness are addressed and their rights enforced.
In a General Recommendation issued today, the Committee on the Elimination of
Discrimination against Women suggests practical measures to improve respect for women’s
rights, such as ensuring that women are able to lodge independent asylum applications and Internally displaced women hold their
be heard separately, even if they are part of a family seeking asylum, and providing victims ration tickets while waiting for a World
Food Programme distribution in
of trafficking access to procedures on seeking asylum without discrimination.
Mastura, West Darfur, Sudan. Photo:
UNHCR/Helen Caux
“Displacement arising from armed conflict, gender-related persecution and other serious
human rights violations that affect women compounds existing challenges to the elimination of discrimination against
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6 November 2014
women,” the paper states.
Noting that there are numerous reasons why women are compelled to leave their homes and seek asylum in other countries,
General Recommendation No. 32, on the “gender-related dimensions of refugees status, asylum, nationality and
statelessness of women,” says that in addition to discrimination against women amounting to persecution, women
experience violations of their rights throughout the displacement cycle.
In a press release, Dubravka Simonovic, a member of the Committee, said the experiences of displacement, asylum-seeking,
integration, return or re-settlement are often rife with violations of an individual’s human rights, particularly for women and
girls. This includes asylum procedures that fail to take into account the special situation or needs of women, thus possibly
impeding proper determination of their claims.
For example, asylum authorities may interview only the male “head of household,” may not provide same-sex interviewers
and interpreters to allow women to present their claims in a safe and gender-sensitive environment, or may interview women
asylum seekers in the presence of their husbands or male family members who may in fact be the source of their complaints.
For women fleeing gender-related forms of persecution such as gender-based violence, it is crucial to identify and
understand these forms of persecution, the paper notes. In practice, however, these are often assessed through the lens of
male experiences, which can result in claims to refugee status not being properly assessed or even to rejection of claims, the
Committee said.
“Violence against one of the major forms of persecution experienced by women in the context of refugee status
and asylum,” the General Recommendation states. It goes on to note that States who have ratified the Convention have an
obligation to “protect women from being exposed to a real, personal and foreseeable risk of serious forms of
discrimination..., including gender-based violence, irrespective of whether such consequences would take place outside the
territorial boundaries of the sending State party.”
The Committee also recommends that States parties fully integrate a gender-sensitive approach in asylum claims, and
consider “adding sex and/or gender as well as for reasons of being lesbian, bisexual or transgender, to the list of grounds for
refugee status in their national asylum legislation.”
In addition, the Committee notes in the General Recommendation that seemingly neutral nationality requirements – such as
economic self-sufficiency or property ownership – can also discriminate against women because women have more
difficulty in meeting those requirements.
The Committee, which comprises 23 independent experts on women’s rights from around the world, is mandated to ensure
compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) , which was
adopted by the UN General Assembly almost 35 years ago and is often described as an international bill of rights for
women. Specifically, the Convention defines what constitutes discrimination against women and sets up an agenda for
national action to end such discrimination.
The Committee’s General Recommendations provide authoritative guidance to States on legislative, policy and other
appropriate measures to ensure the implementation of their obligations under the Convention.
The recommendations are made by the Committee on any issue affecting women to which it believes the States parties
should devote more attention. As of January 2014, the Committee has adopted 30 such recommendations.
Tomorrow, the Committee is scheduled to wrap up its current session, which is being held in Geneva, Switzerland.
The UN Daily News is prepared at UN Headquarters in New York by the News Services Section
of the News and Media Division, Department of Public Information (DPI)