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UN Daily News
Thursday, 20 November 2014
Issue DH/6784
In the headlines:
• Ban urges Israeli, Palestinian leaders to stand up to
• Leveraging innovation key to advancing progress
• Iraq: UN envoy sees inclusive political process as
•
extremists on both sides, end surging violence
critical to resolving crisis
• Ban to take up fight against Ebola with heads of all
UN organizations
• UN champions children as ‘fundamental building
blocks,’ marking 25th anniversary of historic treaty
• Security Council adopts first-ever resolution on
‘invaluable role’ of UN police operations
• Anaemic growth for shipping industry amid
‘stumbling’ global economy – UN report
on child rights – UNICEF
UN humanitarian news service to be spun off
• UN agency chief reports on Iran, DPR Korea
nuclear files, measures to curb climate change
• Pope Francis urges concrete action in global
nutrition challenge at UN conference in Rome
• Ban welcomes $9 billion in pledges to Green
Climate Fund at Berlin Conference
• UN rights chief criticizes legal amendment in
Gambia targeting homosexuals
More stories inside
Ban urges Israeli, Palestinian leaders to stand up to extremists
on both sides, end surging violence
20 November - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that he was shocked by the recent
deadly attack on synagogue in East Jerusalem and that “at the delicate and dangerous
juncture” both leaders must show the courage to do everything necessary to end the surging
violence.
A statement issued by the Office of the United Nations Spokesperson in New York this
evening said Mr. Ban today spoke separately by telephone today with Mr. Netanyahu and
Mr. Mahmoud.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. UN
Photo/M. Garten (file photo)
According to the readout, the Secretary-General said he was shocked by the deadly attack of 18 November on a synagogue
in West Jerusalem and the he was “extremely alarmed by the upsurge of violence in recent weeks.”
“The dangerous downward spiral must urgently be reversed,” the UN chief said in his conversations, emphasizing that at
this delicate and dangerous juncture, “courage and responsibility were required from both the President and the Prime
Minister to take a stand that may be contrary to extremists in their own domestic constituencies.”
The readout further notes that the Secretary-General said he hoped the recently announced confidence-building measures
and firm commitments made by both sides at the meeting in Amman, Jordan, to maintain the status quo regarding the holy
sites would be further translated into a de-escalation of tensions.
For information media not an official record
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20 November 2014
“Absent this, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict may quickly morph into a religious conflict, over which the international
community will have limited, if no, leverage,” Mr. Ban warned, according to the readout.
Iraq: UN envoy sees inclusive political process as critical to
resolving crisis
20 November - As Iraq struggles to deal with the increasing security threat of the Islamic
State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) as well as with dire financial and humanitarian
conditions, the United Nations envoy to the country has cited an inclusive political process
as vital to finding comprehensive solutions.
Special Representative for Iraq Nickolay
Mladenov. Photo: UNAMI
In an interview with UN Radio, Nickolay Mladenov, head of the UN Assistance Mission in
Iraq (UNAMI), said that there is “general agreement,” not just in the UN but in Iraq as well,
that the security element of dealing with ISIL is one part of the solution, but is not the
comprehensive solution to the problems facing the country.
“What also needs to happen is a political process, and a political process that allows for the various communities of Iraq to
come back together,” Mr. Mladenov stressed.
“The last decade has seen a lot of violence that has been driven by divisive politics, that [in turn] has been driven by the
communities looking more inwardly rather than working together, and it is time now to address that,” he added.
Indeed, he said, the new Government in Iraq is inclusive of all the political parties, and is embarking on an agenda of
addressing some of the long-standing grievances that exist within Iraqi society, including those related to poverty, security,
participation in decision-making and revenue-sharing.
As such, the UN is working “intensely” with the Government of Iraq, as well as with Kurdish authorities and with various
groups on the ground to find where agreement can be reached on security, political and social solutions, and, ultimately,
pushing for those agreements to be implemented, Mr. Mladenov said.
“Our role really in this process – what I think is fundamentally the role of the United Nations around the world – is to bring
people together, to facilitate dialogue, and to come up with proposals for solutions that could work on the ground, and to
help implement them,” he said.
Asked how he would evaluate the current political process in Iraq, Mr. Mladenov said there is “definite change,” but
stressed that such change takes time.
“We have to acknowledge that in an environment in which the country is struggling with a life-threatening threat, which is
ISIL, with a very difficult financial situation because of the falling oil prices and lack of an approved budget by Parliament,
all of these changes will take time,” he said in the interview.
An encouraging sign, which occurred in the past few days, has been the agreement reached with the Kurdish authorities in
the North of the country to allow the resumption of payments from the federal budget, allowing people to receive their
salaries, the envoy said. In addition, the resumption of the Kurdistan Regional Government providing oil to the federal
Government for export is another positive occurrence, as this helps the Iraqi budget as well, he noted.
In response to a question about the humanitarian situation in the country, Mr. Mladenov emphasized the urgent challenge of
providing shelter, food and fuel to up to 2 million people who have been displaced in Iraq. In that regard, he noted the Iraqi
Government’s decision to increase assistance to the internally displaced people by coming forward with quotas for heating
oil.
Lamenting the lack of financial support as the winter approaches, Mr. Mladenov said the $500 million donation from the
Government of Saudi Arabia is running out. Mobilizing international support for dealing with the internally displaced is a
continuing priority, he said, as is continuing the difficult task of attempting to reach people in ISIL-controlled areas.
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Asked about the major challenges in Iraq going forward, he said that among them is restoring security to Baghdad and
restoring control in the areas that have been taken over by ISIL; dealing with the financial crisis in the country; and
advancing the political process and the policies of inclusivity that the Government of Iraq is now putting forward.
“That is the long-term guarantee – that’s the insurance policy for any security deterioration in Iraq in the future,” he
concluded.
Ban to take up fight against Ebola with heads of all UN
organizations
20 November - On the eve of a meeting of United Nations agency chiefs to discuss ways to
jointly tackle the Ebola outbreak, the World Bank reported today Liberia’s labour sector
has suffered a huge blow since the start of the crisis, as a “massive effort” was underway in
Mali to halt the spread of the re-emerged virus.
Street sellers at Waterside market in
central Monrovia, where there has seen a
huge drop in customers over the past
months due to the onset of the Ebola
Virus Disease. Photo: UNDP/Carly
Learson (20 November 2014)
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will tomorrow discuss the common effort to counter the
Ebola outbreak with the UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB), made
up of 29 Executive Heads of UN Funds and Programmes, specialized agencies, including
the Bretton Woods Institutions, and related organizations – the World Tourism
Organization and the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Mr. Ban and other CEB members are scheduled to speak to reporters in the early afternoon
in Washington, D.C. where the meeting is taking place at the World Bank headquarters.
Meanwhile, in New York at UN Headquarters tomorrow afternoon, the Security Council has scheduled a meeting to hear a
briefing by Dr. David Nabarro, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Ebola, and Anthony Banbury, head of the UN
Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER).
The World Bank, meanwhile, has reported that 46 percent of those working at the start of the Ebola crisis are no longer
working as of early November 2014, and that self-employed and wage workers have been the hardest hit, while agriculture
is beginning to see returns to work as the harvest approaches.
It will be essential to focus relief efforts not only in areas where the virus is active, which is crucial, but also in those remote
counties where the population was already quite poor, food availability was scarce and is now worsening, markets are
closed, and mobility is extremely limited, according to the World Bank’s findings on the socio-economic impacts of Ebola
on Liberia.
In an assessment of Ebola in Mali issued today, the UN World Health organization (WHO) said that “a massive effort is
currently under way to identify all potential chains of transmission, monitor contacts, and prevent the outbreak from
growing larger” and “at present 338 contacts have been identified and 303 (90 per cent of these have been placed under
daily surveillance.”
WHO said the virus was almost certainly re-introduced into Mali by a 70-year-old Grand Imam from Guinea, who was
admitted to Bamako’s Pasteur Clinic on 25 October and died on 27 October.
On Sierra Leone, the UN health agency said that when Ebola first swept through the Port Loko District, the rash of sudden
inexplicable deaths was so shocking that local people explained it as “a witch plane crash.”
“But as husbands, wives, aunts, uncles and children began to sicken and die they realized this was not a supernatural event
but something very human – that would take human actions to reverse,” it said. “WHO began racing to set up community
care centres” and the first of these centres opened this month.
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UN champions children as ‘fundamental building blocks,’
marking 25th anniversary of historic treaty
20 November - As countries around the world celebrate the 25th anniversary of the
adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the United Nations family today
hailed the landmark treaty as a powerful human rights tool, while taking stock of the longstanding disparities that must be addressed to propel actions for the well-being of all
children into the future.
Opening a high-level meeting this morning at UN Headquarters in New York, the President
of the General Assembly, Sam Kutesa, underscored that the Convention is a collective
commitment to ensure that every child worldwide has the right to a fair start in life, calling
on Member States to safeguard that such rights are fully reflected in the post-2015
development agenda.
Photo: World Bank/Natalia Cieslik
“We must continue investing in the rights of all children across the world – no matter their gender, ethnicity, race, disability
or economic status,” Mr. Kutesa said.
“Children are the fundamental building block for achieving the future we want. Indeed, by strengthening their capacity to
mature into engaged, responsible and productive adults, society as a whole stands to benefit,” he added.
With the 2015 deadline to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) quickly approaching, Mr. Kutesa
stressed that it is equally important to ensure mobilization of the resources that will be required to implement a “truly
transformative” development agenda that puts the welfare of all people, especially children, at the forefront.
Speaking on behalf of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF),
Anthony Lake, highlighted that while millions more children are surviving past their fifth birthday, life is not better for some
17,000 children under five who will die today, mostly due to preventable causes.
“The health and the soul and the intelligence of a society are measured by how the human rights of its youngest – its
smallest children – are recognized everywhere,” Mr. Lake stressed.
Moreover, he noted that, too often, progress regarding the well-being of children has been measured through national
statistical averages, but averages don’t capture every life or see the children being left behind in today’s turbulent times.
This includes children who are forced to flee from their homes to refugee camps, children caught in the crossfire of brutal
and protracted conflicts, children who see their schools used for military purposes, and children who see people around them
falling to the scourge of Ebola, among other problems.
While the humanitarian community may be losing ground to these escalated emergencies, however, it is not “losing heart,”
Mr. Lake noted. The ground that is gained, he said, should still be recognized and even celebrated, as those small and
individual wins are ultimately the primary concern.
“It is our job, our responsibility, our obligation under the Convention to show every child the best of humanity: cooperation,
not conflict; humanity, not hatred; reconciliation, not revenge,” Mr. Lake said.
“That, in the end, is the central message and meaning of the Convention: the importance of preparing today’s children to
become tomorrow’s adults, tomorrow’s leaders.”
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20 November 2014
Speaking next, Ivan Šimonović, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, said that while children have access to a
better standard of life today, great inequalities still persist around the world.
“This is a time to recommit to the vision of the Convention and to its full implementation,” he said. “It is also a time to bring
children and their rights more centrally into our peace, security and development goals. Our future in these areas depends on
our children and on our respect for their rights,” he added.
The Assembly also heard from Leila Zerrougui, Under Secretary-General and Special Representative of the SecretaryGeneral for Children and Armed Conflict; Marta Santos Pais, Assistant Secretary-General and Special Representative of the
Secretary-General on Violence against Children; Kirsten Sandberg, Chair of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child,
which is charged with monitoring the Convention’s implementation; and Maud De Boer-Buquicchio, Special Rapporteur on
the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography.
In addition, Teyise Dlamini from Swaziland spoke as a child representative, as did representatives from various regional
groups.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted by the General Assembly on 20 November 1989 and to date has
been ratified by 194 countries, making it the most widely ratified international human rights treaty. Its adoption marked the
first time that children were explicitly recognized as having specific rights.
Also as part of celebrations marking the anniversary of the Convention’s adoption, UNICEF unveiled at UN Headquarters
earlier today the #IMAGINE project, a musical and technological initiative to highlight the challenges children face the
world over.
The project brings together artist Yoko Ono, music producer and DJ David Guetta, UNICEF Ambassadors – including Katy
Perry, Angélique Kidjo, Daniela Mercury, Priyanka Chopra and Yuna Kim – as well as other supporters in a new interactive
digital experience. The launch of the project was made in conjunction with the agency’s release of its latest State of the
World’s Children report.
Earlier this morning, a high-level panel discussion on the Convention was held at the UN in New York, organized by the
Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children.
Later this afternoon, an interactive panel discussion on the theme of “25 Years of the Convention on the rights of the Child:
is the world a better place for children?” will be held, also at UN Headquarters. The discussion will be chaired by Queen
Silvia of Sweden and Laura Vargas Carrillo of Mexico. Several missions are also holding side events related to the
Convention’s anniversary today.
Security Council adopts first-ever resolution on ‘invaluable role’
of UN police operations
20 November - The United Nations Security Council today adopted the first-ever
resolution focusing on the world body’s policing operations, stressing their invaluable
contribution to peacekeeping, civilian protection and the rule of law, and pledging to give
clear mandates as well as appropriate resources to UN police-related work.
Today’s unanimously adopted resolution stresses the importance of close cooperation and
coordination between the UN Police Components and other elements of peacekeeping
operations and special political missions. It also “urges police-contributing countries to
continue to contribute professional police personnel with the necessary skills equipment
and experience to implement mission mandates.”
MINUSMA Police Unit on patrol in Gao,
Mali. UN Photo/Marco Dormino
At the initiative of Australia, which holds the 15-member body’s Presidency for the month, the Council was briefed by the
Under-Secretary-General for UN Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) Hervé Ladsous on all aspects of UN policing.
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“UN [policing] has seen an unprecedented growth in recent years,” Mr. Ladsous said today, adding that UN police are now
deployed from 91 Member States to 13 peacekeeping operations and four special political missions.
The nature of security and its traditional threats has evolved in recent years. This means the UN POLICE (UNPOL) now
deals with a new reality – terrorism, organized crime, and corruption.
He went on to discuss the image that police must embody to foster trust and provide assistance to host countries on rule of
law and in some cases, where there is less structure, undertake interim police tasks, enforce the law and “support everything
to do with reform”. Sometimes UNPOL even creates national police, he added.
“All of this ultimately calls into play the need for more sophisticated capacity,” Mr. Ladsous explained, emphasizing the
need to increase sophistication for police to be able to deal with modern challenges including greater linguistic skills for
instance in Arabic or French speaking countries.
On bridging the gender gap in UNPOL, he said the ambitious goal of having 20 per cent of women among all police has
been far from complete. “But this is, after all, a reflection of national police.”
“While some are making great strides in gender, others are not. Obviously we are dependent on what Member States provide
us. And increasingly we are deploying units made up entirely of women,” he said.
Women in police are especially important in countries where issues of law and order emerge and where there is a need to
address women’s issues such as in Haiti, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and Liberia.
Also today, the Council heard from three heads of police components of UN missions including from in South Sudan
(UNMISS), Liberia (UNMIL), and the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).
Mr. Luis Miguel Carrilho, Police Commissioner of MINUSCA, said that beyond security, UNPOL participates in rebuilding
trust among the population and its police.
Police activities range from 24-hour patrols, the protection of the freedom of movement, the flow of humanitarian aid and
generally keeping public order. UNPOL has continuously extracted and made safe civilians.
MINUSCA also apprehends criminals who perpetrate serious crimes. Turning to women and security, he commended the
“unprecedented” increase of women in UNPOL and the free training courses offered in Rwanda, Burkina Faso, and
Cameroon.
The presence of women increases a Mission’s ability to establish trusting relationships with the populations and especially
with women who have suffered sexual violence. They feel safer reporting such crimes.
Fred Yiga, Police Commissioner of UNMISS, said that the performance of UN police has clearly emerged as critical to
peacekeeping missions. Police contributing countries must take a closer look at training before deployment to ensure that the
host nation’s needs are met.
He said that in South Sudan, immediate and long-standing challenges need the attention of the Council. True policing has
never been offered to the South Sudanese people in over 50 years and the UN is “holding the mantle” to ensure that the first
time “good policing, true policing” is provided.
Policing has generally been done by armed groups whose ethos is that of a soldier in battle. South Sudan is largely a
nomadic society and the policing methods require special skills, policies and equipment, Mr. Yiga added.
Police Commissioner of UNMIL Greg Hinds said the adoption of today’s policing resolution is a significant outcome as it
will provide us with the much needed strategic and practical guidance which will help the police do their work more
effectively.
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20 November 2014
Mr. Hinds thanked the UN for its support to the Ebola crisis in Liberia which remains “crucial in maintaining, peace,
stability and security in these extremely challenging times.”
Some 11 years since the end of the conflict in Liberia and the establishment of the UN Mission there, the legislative
framework for the police remains piecemeal. However, focus on the development of a clear legislative framework at a much
earlier stage would have addressed these organizational and institutional limitations and provided a much stronger
foundation for reform.
The resolution adopted today highlights the importance of building the capacity of the host State, and requests the SecretaryGeneral to consider security sector reform, including reform of policing and other law enforcement institutions, in the
overall strategic planning of UN peace operations.
The resolution also expresses the Council’s intention to consider holding an annual meeting on policing issues with the
heads of police components and requests the Secretary-General to submit a report on the role of policing as an integral part
of peacekeeping and peacebuilding by the end of 2016.
It also urges Member States and international partners to support, upon request, host State efforts to professionalize policing
and other law enforcement agencies, within the context of broader security sector reform.
This is the first time heads of police components of UN missions briefed the Council. Since 2010, the Council has received
an annual briefing by force commanders on cross-cutting operational issues in UN peacekeeping.
Anaemic growth for shipping industry amid ‘stumbling’ global
economy – UN report
20 November - The growth of global seaborne shipping over the past year has reflected the
“stumbling” progress of the world economy, the United Nations trade and development
body announced today as it presented its latest report on the “volatile and gloomy” state of
the shipping industry.
A view from the Port of Doraleh,
Djibouti. UN Photo/Evan Schneider
In its Review of Maritime Transport 2014, the UN Conference on Trade and Development
(UNCTAD) warned that the rate of growth in world fleets was “lower than that observed
during any of the previous 10 years” and that the prospects for the current year suggested
an even lower growth rate – a trend reflecting the downturn of the largest historical
shipping cycle which peaked in 2012.
In addition, noted the report, maritime shipping grew by an average of just 3.8 per cent in 2013, the equivalent of nearly 9.6
billion tons in total volumes. Much of the expansion in seaborne trade was limited to dry cargo flows such as bulk
commodities, which grew by 5.6 per cent while world container port throughput grew by roughly the same amount.
Against that backdrop, UNCTAD reported that 2013 was largely marked by what it described as a “gloomy and volatile”
maritime freight rates market.
“All shipping segments suffered substantially, with freight rates in dry bulk and tanker markets reaching a 10-year low in
2012 and similarly low levels in the liner market,” the agency said.
“Low performance of freight rates was mainly attributable to the poor world economic development, weak or hesitant
demand and persistent supply overcapacity in the global shipping market.”
Maritime transport is considered to be the “backbone” of international trade and the global economy, according to
UNCTAD. Around 80 per cent of global trade by volume and over 70 per cent of global trade by value are carried by sea
and are handled by ports worldwide. These shares are even higher in most developing countries.
The report added that regulations to reduce emissions of toxic substances from burning fuel oil, as well as environmental
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20 November 2014
and other provisions of the draft international code for ships operating in polar waters continued to be negotiated.
Meanwhile, “continued progress” has been made regarding the implementation of the existing framework as well as
programmes covering maritime security including measures against piracy.
Leveraging innovation key to advancing progress on child
rights – UNICEF
20 November - Despite progress in advancing child rights over the past 25 years, including
a marked reduction in the number of children dying before the age of five and increased
access to education and clean water, urgent action is needed to prevent millions of children
from missing out on the benefits of innovation, the United Nations Children's Fund
(UNICEF) said in a new report.
“Inequity is as old as humanity, but so is innovation – and it has always driven humanity’s
progress,” UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said on the release of the agency’s
annual State of the World’s Children report.
Thirty million children can’t go back to
school because of a record number of
conflicts and crises. Photo: UNICEF/Kate
Holt
“In our ever-more connected world, local solutions can have global impact – benefiting
children in every country who still face inequity and injustice every day,” he added.
The special edition of UNICEF's flagship report – whose theme this year is Reimagine the future: Innovation for every child
– comes as the world marks the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by the UN
General Assembly.
The Convention – which has been ratified by 194 countries to date – sets out the civil, political, economic, social, health and
cultural rights of children
Noting that connectivity and collaboration can fuel new global networks to leverage innovation to reach every child,
UNICEF is calling on Governments, development professionals, businesses, activists and communities to work together to
drive new ideas for tackling some of the most pressing problems facing children, as well as to find new ways of scaling up
the best and most promising local innovations.
“For innovation to benefit every child, we have to be more innovative – rethinking the way we foster and fuel new ideas to
solve our oldest problems,” Mr. Lake said.
“The best solutions to our toughest challenges won't come exclusively either from the top down or the grassroots up, or from
one group of nations to another. They will come from new problem-solving networks and communities of innovation that
cross borders and cross sectors to reach the hardest to reach – and they will come from young people, adolescents and
children themselves,” he stressed.
Among the most pressing issues relating to children include the fact that the rights of millions of children are violated every
day, with the poorest 20 per cent of the world's children twice as likely as the richest 20 per cent to die before their fifth
birthday, UNICEF said.
In addition, almost one in four children in the least developed countries are engaged in child labour, and millions of children
regularly experience discrimination, physical and sexual violence, and abuse and neglect, according to the agency.
The report emphasizes that innovations such as oral rehydration salts and ready-to-use therapeutic foods have helped drive
radical change in the lives of millions of children throughout the past 25 years – and that more innovative products,
processes and partnerships are critical to realizing the rights of those children who are the hardest to reach.
This year's report highlights innovations that are already improving lives in countries around the world. The digital version
of the report includes multimedia and interactive content that invites readers to share their own ideas and innovations.
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Many events are taking place worldwide to commemorate the anniversary of the Convention's adoption. The report launched
today is part of UNICEF's contribution, which also includes hosting a musical celebration at UN Headquarters in New York
tomorrow morning.
UN humanitarian news service to be spun off
20 November - The humanitarian news service IRIN (Integrated Regional Information
Networks), after nearly 20 years as part of the United Nations, announced today that it will
spin off to become an independent, non-profit media venture, with the support of a major
private donor.
Screenshot of IRIN (Integrated Regional
Information Networks) website.
“IRIN is an important resource for humanitarian workers around the world,” said Valerie
Amos, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief
Coordinator, adding that “this is the right time for the service to branch out.
She welcomed the generous commitment from Jynwel Charitable Foundation “which has
helped to secure its future as an independent news service.”
The new IRIN, starting 1 January, 2015, will be made possible with an initial commitment of $25 million which will be
disbursed from the Hong Kong-based Jynwel Charitable Foundation over several years. The new headquarters will be based
in Switzerland, with support from the UK-based Overseas Development Institute’s (ODI) Humanitarian Policy Group.
“IRIN’s transition presents a great opportunity for growth and revitalization,” said Jho Low, Director of Jynwel Charitable
Foundation, adding that “IRIN has done fantastic work for nearly 20 years. It’s time to give it the place on the world stage
that it deserves. I believe in the vision and am excited by the potential.”
Jynwel Charitable Foundation has provided support in global health, conservation and education since 2012. However, the
multi-year commitment to IRIN is the Foundation’s first investment in the humanitarian sector.
“So many people – from those hit by crises to donors – tell us they rely on our insight and analysis,” said Ben Parker, cofounder of IRIN and its interim director, stressing that “this breakthrough will make all the difference and allow us to take
the service to a whole new level of impact and relevance.”
IRIN is an award-winning humanitarian news and analysis service covering the parts of the world often under-reported,
misunderstood or ignored. It started distributing humanitarian news about Central Africa by fax from a small office in
Nairobi in 1995.
Over the years, it has delivered unique reporting from the frontlines of conflicts and natural disasters to 280,000 web visitors
a month and more than 50,000 subscribers in almost every country. Its readership includes UN decision-makers, donor
governments, academics, media and aid workers in the field. Its work is syndicated, republished and cited by news outlets
and journals from around the world.
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UN agency chief reports on Iran, DPR Korea nuclear files,
measures to curb climate change
20 November - The safe and limited use of nuclear energy can help reduce the impact
global energy demand is having on our planet’s volatile climate, the head of the United
Nations nuclear watchdog said today as he launched his agency’s latest report on the issue
and discussed the nuclear programmes of Iran and the Democratic republic of Korea
(DPRK).
IAEA marine experts and Japanese
scientists collect water samples in coastal
waters near the Fukushima Daiichi
Nuclear Power Station. Photo: IAEA/Petr
Pavlicek
Speaking at the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) Board of Governors
meeting this morning in Vienna during which he presented the body’s latest Climate
Change and Nuclear Power report, Director General Yukiya Amano explained that nuclear
energy was bound to play a larger role in national energy programmes worldwide as global
energy demand was “likely to grow dramatically in the coming decades.”
“Along with hydropower and wind, nuclear energy has the lowest life-cycle CO2 emissions,” Mr. Amano said. “As part of a
low-carbon national energy portfolio, it contributes to the mitigation of climate change and can help to reduce concerns over
volatile fuel prices and security of energy supply.”
The launch of Climate Change and Nuclear Power 2014 comes just ahead of the next round of UN climate talks to be held
from 1 to12 December 2014 in Lima, Peru, where countries are expected to negotiate and shape their contribution to
reducing carbon emissions before next year’s flagship meeting in Paris.
In the Peruvian capital, the IAEA will be showcasing its report in an effort to highlight nuclear power’s “contribution to the
global climate change agenda,” the agency noted in a press release, adding that the report discusses nuclear power’s “nonclimatic environmental benefits, such as helping reduce local and regional air pollution” while also being considered in
climate change adaptation measures, such as seawater desalination or hedging against hydropower fluctuations.
In his remarks, Mr. Amano reassured delegates that the report also focussed on the importance of safety and security
measures when utilizing nuclear energy, pointing to his agency’s upcoming project devoted to the decommissioning of
damaged nuclear facilities.
“The aim is to enhance measures to ensure the safe long-term management of spent fuel and nuclear waste from disused
facilities,” he continued, noting that the IAEA was still in the process of compiling its “extensive report” on the Fukushima
Daiichi accident.
He added that the agency continued to assist the Japanese Government in sharing information internationally and that a
recent comparison of results of sea water analysis off Japan’s east coast, carried out by IAEA and Japanese laboratories,
confirmed that data regularly reported by Japan give an accurate picture of the levels of radioactivity in near-shore coastal
waters.
As for the DPRK, Mr. Amano said he remains “seriously concerned” about the country’s nuclear programme. “I call upon
the DPRK to comply fully with its obligations, to cooperate promptly with the Agency, and to resolve all outstanding issues,
including those that have arisen during the absence of Agency inspectors from the country.”
Turning to Iran, Mr. Amano said that while the IAEA continued to verify the non-diversion of nuclear material declared by
Iran under its Safeguards Agreement, the agency was “not in a position to provide credible assurance about the absence of
undeclared nuclear material and activities” in the country. As a result, he said, the IAEA remained unable to conclude that
“all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.”
In addition, Mr. Amano told the Board that the agency remained ready to “accelerate the resolution of all outstanding
issues” under the Framework for Cooperation but still awaited certain clarifications from the Gulf country.
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“Iran has not provided any explanations that enable the agency to clarify the outstanding practical measures, nor has it
proposed any new practical measures in the next step of the Framework for Cooperation, despite several requests from the
agency,” he stated.
“I call upon Iran to increase its cooperation with the Agency and to provide timely access to all relevant information,
documentation, sites, material and personnel.”
Iran’s nuclear programme – which its officials have stated is for peaceful purposes, but some other countries contend is
driven by military ambitions – has been a matter of international concern since the discovery in 2003 that the country had
concealed its nuclear activities for 18 years in breach of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Addressing this issue in a statement attributable to his spokesperson, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlighted the
importance of the resumption of talks between the so-called P5+1 – composed of the United States, Russia, China, United
Kingdom, and France, plus Germany – and the Iranian Government and called on all participants “to demonstrate the
necessary flexibility, wisdom and determination to bring the negotiations to a successful conclusion.”
“The Secretary-General hopes that reaching a mutually-acceptable and comprehensive agreement will restore confidence in
the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme,” declared the statement.
“He is convinced that such an accord can contribute to the strengthening of regional and international peace and security at a
time when global cooperation is needed perhaps more than ever.”
Pope Francis urges concrete action in global nutrition challenge
at UN conference in Rome
20 November - Pope Francis today urged leaders attending a United Nations Food and
Agriculture (FAO) nutrition conference in Rome to view food and nutrition and the
environment as global public issues at a time when nations are more tightly linked with
each other than ever before.
“When solidarity is lacking in one country, it's felt around the world,” the pontiff said
according to an FAO statement.
Pope Francis addresses the Second
International Conference on Nutrition
(ICN2) at FAO Headquarters in Rome.
Photo: FAO/Giulio Napolitano
He told delegates from the 172 nations attending the Second International Conference on
Nutrition (ICN2) to make sure their pledges assure food security to all citizens are put into
concrete practice, saying that the right to a healthy diet was about dignity, not charitable
hand-outs.
Despite there being enough food for everyone, food issues are regularly subject to manipulated information, claims about
national security, corruption and “teary-eyed” evocations of economic crisis, Francis said.
“That is the first challenge we need to overcome,” he said, urging that the rights of the human person need to be embedded
in all aid and development programmes.
The fight against hunger and under-nutrition is being handicapped by “the priority of the market and the pre-eminence of
profit, which have reduced food to a thing to be bought and sold, and subject to speculation,” the pontiff added.
He also highlighted the need to care for the environment and protect the planet. “Humans may forgive but nature does not,”
he said, continuing: “We must care for Mother Nature, so that she does not respond with destruction,” flagging the
upcoming UN climate conference in Lima, Peru COP20 (COP20) and France (COP21) as opportunities for doing so.
Global leaders on Wednesday approved the Rome Declaration on Nutrition and a Framework for Action, embracing
voluntary principles aimed at addressing today's major nutrition challenges and identifying priorities for enhanced
international cooperation on nutrition.
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20 November 2014
Among its priorities are to forge ways to tackle obesity, a growing global health problem even in lower-income countries, to
combat micronutrient deficiencies that affect two billion people worldwide, and assure access of all people to healthy diets
required for development.
“For the first time in history, humanity can say that misery is not fate and that hunger is completely avoidable,” FAO
Director-General José Graziano da Silva said while introducing the pontiff.
Pope Francis has been an outspoken advocate for the poor, saying it is a “God-given right of everyone to have access to
adequate food” and urging everyone to be more conscious of their “food choices,” including waste, to end the “global
scandal” of hunger.
Earlier this month, the Pontiff wrote a letter to global leaders at the G-20 summit in Brisbane, citing malnutrition as the first
of the problems they should seek to solve.
Queen Letizia of Spain, also speaking at ICN2, highlighted the “special importance” of women in ensuring family nutrition.
She also argued that in addition to the moral imperative of tackling hunger, there is an economic one. “Investing in better
nutrition can raise productivity and economic growth, reduce health care costs and promote education,” she said.
Ban welcomes $9 billion in pledges to Green Climate Fund at
Berlin Conference
20 November - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the
pledges of more than $9.3 billion made by Governments towards the initial capitalisation of
the Green Climate Fund (GCF) at the first pledging conference for the mechanism, being
held in Berlin, Germany.
In a statement, the Secretary-General's Spokesperson said that these pledges “will go far to
kick-start” the operationalization of the Fund.
Renewable Energy Solar Panels in
Tokelau. UN Photo/Ariane Rummery (file
photo)
“These developments demonstrate that Governments increasingly understand both the
benefits derived from climate action and the growing risks of delay,” the SecretaryGeneral's spokesperson explained.
The pledge comes on the heels of other significant climate actions such as the United States-China joint announcement to
curb emissions as well as positive commitments reaffirmed by other leaders in recent meetings including at the G20 and the
September UN Climate Summit.
Today's actions will provide much needed public finance which is critical to unlocking investments at a much larger scale
from private sources, Mr. Ban said.
The Secretary-General also underscored the importance of climate finance for securing a meaningful, universal climate
agreement in Paris in 2015 and for catalysing action on the ground.
He urged all developed countries that have not yet pledged to the GCF to do so by COP 20 in Lima and encouraged those
developing countries that are in a position to do so, to consider making voluntary contributions to the Fund in Lima.
The Green Climate Fund seeks to make a significant and ambitious contribution to the global efforts towards attaining the
goals set by the international community to combat climate change.
The Fund will contribute to the achievement of the ultimate objective of the United Nations Framework Convention on
Climate Change (UNFCCC). And in the context of sustainable development, it will promote a shift towards low-emission
and climate-resilient development.
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20 November 2014
“The Green Climate Fund is the epicentre that determines the direction of both public and private investment over the next
decades,” said Christiana Figueres, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, describing the capitalization of the Fund as one of the
wisest investments in the 21st century.
Today's pledges were made by 21 countries, including contributions from four developing countries. Their combined
contributions provide for the largest amount the international community has ever mobilized for a dedicated climate finance
mechanism within a timeframe of less than five months.
UN rights chief criticizes legal amendment in Gambia targeting
homosexuals
20 November - The top United Nations human rights official today criticized a recent
amendment to the criminal code of The Gambia that creates a broad and vague offence of
“aggravated homosexuality” punishable by life imprisonment, and expressed alarm at
reports of a wave of arbitrary arrests and detention of individuals perceived to be
homosexual in the country.
The amendment to the criminal code, which was approved by the National Assembly
earlier this year and signed into law by the President of The Gambia, Yahya Jammeh, on 9
October, targets, among others, so-called “serial offenders” – meaning individuals with a
previous conviction for homosexuality – as well as persons living with HIV, and
consensual same-sex partners of persons with disabilities, all of whom could be imprisoned
for life.
High Commissioner for Human Rights
Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein. UN Photo/JeanMarc Ferré
“This law violates fundamental human rights – among them the right to privacy, to freedom from discrimination and
freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention,” said the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, in
a statement issued by his office in Geneva this morning.
“It adds to the stigma and abuses that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people already face in The Gambia,”
he stressed.
Mr. Zeid said the new law replicates a section of the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Act denounced by the former High
Commissioner for Human Rights, the Secretary-General and the African Commission Special Rapporteur on Human Rights
Defenders.
“Governments have a duty to protect people from prejudice, not to add to it. Public hostility towards gay and lesbian people
can never justify violating their fundamental human rights. Instead, it requires increased measures to protect them against
human rights violations,” Mr. Zeid said.
“This has been reaffirmed by UN human rights mechanisms and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights,”
he added.
Since the new law was approved, representatives of The Gambia’s National Intelligence Agency have been reportedly
conducting door-to-door enquiries to identify, arrest and detain individuals believed to be homosexual, and some of those
detained have allegedly also been subjected to violent attacks and mistreatment, Mr. Zeid said. In other countries, similar
laws have also led to an increase in violence against members of the LGBT community, including mob attacks.
“I call on The Gambia to fulfil its international obligations to promote and protect the human rights of all persons without
discrimination, to repeal all provisions of the Criminal Code that criminalize relations between consenting adults and to put
in place an immediate moratorium on arrests on the basis of such laws,” the High Commissioner said.
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In latest report, UN rights office says nearly 1,000 dead amid
shaky Ukraine ceasefire
20 November - Almost 1,000 people have been killed in Ukraine since a tenuous ceasefire
was established there in early September amid efforts to end the violence between armed
rebel groups and the Government, the United Nations Human Rights Office (OHCHR) said
today as it released its latest report on the situation in the country.
A monitor from the Organization for
Security and Co-operation in Europe
(OSCE) Special Monitoring Mission to
Ukraine inspects damage to a building, 9
July 2014. Photo: OSCE/Evgeniy
Maloletka
According to the report, violations of international human rights and humanitarian law
“persist” as the situation in the conflict-affected area in Ukraine’s eastern regions of
Donetsk and Luhansk becomes “increasingly entrenched, with the total breakdown of law
and order and the emergence of parallel governance systems.” The result, continued the
report, has been a simmering conflict which has left 957 people dead in defiance of a 5
September ceasefire.
“The list of victims keeps growing,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad
Al Hussein said in a statement from his Office on the release of the report. “Civilians, including women, children, minorities
and a range of vulnerable individuals and groups continue to suffer the consequences of the political stalemate in Ukraine.”
With an average of 13 people a day being killed by outbursts of fighting and shelling, respect for the ceasefire was “sporadic
at best,” Mr. Zeid added.
In late February 2014, the situation in Ukraine transcended what was initially seen as an internal Ukrainian political crisis
into violent clashes in parts of the country, later reaching full-scale conflict in the east. The situation has since continuously
deteriorated, with serious consequences for the country’s unity, territorial integrity and stability, culminating in the recent 2
November separatist vote described by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as a “breach of the constitution and national law.”
The crisis has also spawned a sharp increase in the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs). In the two-month period
spanning 18 September to 19 November, the number of Ukrainians fleeing the fighting surged from 275,489 to 466,829. As
the bitter cold of winter descends on the country, humanitarian concerns are also rising regarding the living conditions of
those displaced, particularly as the Ukrainian population at large faces a “severe curtailment” of economic, social and
cultural rights.
The OHCHR document – the seventh produced by the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine – covers the
period between 17 September and 21 October 2014 during which serious human rights abuses by the armed groups were
reported, including torture, arbitrary and incommunicado detention, summary executions, forced labour and sexual violence
as well as the destruction and illegal seizure of property.
At the same time, allegations of cluster munitions use in both urban and rural areas have surfaced. As a result, the report
calls for the urgent and thorough investigation of the claims as well as of all reported violations of international human
rights and humanitarian law.
Nevertheless, the report notes, a number of positive measures have been adopted by the Government in Kiev amid the
pressures of the crisis. Laws on IDPs, on corruption, and on reform of the Office of the Prosecutor have all passed the
country’s legislature while Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko recently signed a decree tasking the Government to
develop a national human rights strategy for Ukraine by 1 January 2015.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights welcomed the decree in his statement accompanying the report, declaring
his hopes that it would place “a greater, sustained emphasis on the promotion and protection of human rights in the country.”
But, Mr. Zeid added, “good laws and policies need to be accompanied by genuine political commitment to implement the.”
“All parties need to make a far more whole-hearted effort to resolve this protracted crisis peacefully and in line with
international human rights laws and standards.”
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20 November 2014
Clean industrialization critical for Africa to ‘leapfrog’ outdated
technologies – Ban
20 November - Africa needs a green, clean industrialization that leapfrogs outdated,
polluting processes and platforms and benefits from new technologies, United Nations
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today as the world body marked Africa
Industrialization Day.
Living amid waste. Photo:
IRIN/Manoocher Deghati
In a statement on the Day, Mr. Ban explained this that year's theme Inclusive and
Sustainable Industrial Development: Agro Industrial Development for Food Security
focuses on the links between agriculture and development.
“Agriculture still accounts for the major share of rural household income and employs over
60 percent of Africa's labour force, particularly women,” the UN chief said.
Low agricultural productivity continues to threaten food security in Africa as a whole. And while many African economies
have shown impressive growth rates in recent years, increased prosperity does not always translated into inclusive wealth
creation.
“Far too often, economic development depends on the extraction of natural resources and on low-skilled labour, which has
resulted in a weak manufacturing base and uneven distribution of wealth,” the Secretary-General said.
Inclusive and sustainable industrialization is a “key stepping stone” towards sustained economic growth, food security and
poverty eradication in Africa, he added.
“I reaffirm the commitment of the United Nations to promote Africa's inclusive and sustainable industrial development to
help ensure an economically prosperous and socially integrated continent,” he pledged.
In his remarks on the Day, President of the General Assembly Sam Kutesa, a native of Uganda, explained today that
accelerating industrialization in Africa goes hand-in-hand with improving productivity and addressing infrastructure deficits,
namely in energy, roads, ports and air connectivity.
“While remarkable progress has been made in production…a lot of the surplus is often wasted due to lack of processing
capacity and marketing,” Mr. Kutesa said.
In recent years, throughout the continent, agriculture has moved to the forefront of the development agenda at both the
regional and national levels. The Africa Union Agenda 2063 lays out a 50-year transformative plan for the modernization of
agriculture and agro-business through scaled-up value addition and productivity.
Mr. Kutesa underscored that investments in agriculture must go beyond improvements of on-farm productivity. He
emphasized that inventions with the private sector are essential in designing and creating industries, jobs and increasing
incomes.
Enhancing cooperation and integration among stakeholders is also essential, as it facilitates better mobilization of resources
for infrastructure development, he added.
Within the framework of the Second Industrial Development Decade for Africa (1991-2000), the UN General Assembly, in
1989, proclaimed 20 November Africa Industrialization Day (resolution 44/237).
Commemorating the Day, the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) will host a symposium in Vienna on 24
November to showcase relevant actions and success stories that promote Africa's industrial development.
The event will bring together representatives from the diplomatic corps, the private sector, non-governmental organizations
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20 November 2014
and other relevant stakeholders.
On World Philosophy Day, UN lauds role of dialogue, diversity in
multicultural world
20 November - The head the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization (UNESCO) today marked the twelfth edition of World Philosophy Day with a
widespread appeal for dialogue in diversity, adding that only by embracing the intellectual
pluralism of our global society can the foundations of a truly global community be laid.
“Philosophy is an invaluable ally that draws on reflexive reasoning and engagement in
dialogue, to open our minds to a wide variety of opinions and views,” said UNESCO
Director-General Irina Bokova in her messasge for the Day, which this year in on the theme
“Social Transformations and Intercultural Dialogue.”
Sculpture "The Thinker" by Auguste
Rodin. World Philosophy Day takes place
every November. Photo: Hans Andersen
“Such a shift of focus is crucial in a world of rising diversity,” Ms. Bokova continued.
“This is both the foundation on which tolerance and peace rest and a means of releasing the creative energy that drives
societies forward, while respecting human rights.
World Philosophy Day has been observed every third Thursday of November since 2002, with the aim of making
philosophical reflection accessible to all – professors and students, scholars and the general public – thereby enlarging the
opportunities and spaces for the stimulation of critical thinking and debate.
This year, the Day is being celebrated with a number of events, including roundtables, debates and concerts, held in Paris,
where UNESCO is headquartered, and at other venues around the world.
In addition, a roundtable discussion in Paris will see the launch of the Philosophy Manual, a South-South Perspective which
UNESCO describes as an innovative tool designed to facilitate the discovery of philosophical texts from Africa, the Arab
region, Asia and the Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean, while also promoting their full understanding through a
critical apparatus which enables easily adapted educational use.
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)
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