ICN2: An Opportunity to Foster the Nutrition Agenda – By Mohamed Ag Bendech* and Richemont Seki*

From 19th to 21st November 2014 in Rome, The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) will co-organize the second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) with the World Health Organisation (WHO), in partnership with several international institutions. This important global event will gather high-level decision and policy makers as well as technical experts from several countries. Continue reading

Secretary-General’s message on the International Day of Older Persons – 1 October 2014

Seniors in conversation at Jongmyo Park, in downtown Seoul, Republic of Korea. UN Photo/Kibae Park

Seniors in conversation at Jongmyo Park, in downtown Seoul, Republic of Korea. UN Photo/Kibae Park

New York, 1 October 2014 – Older persons are playing an increasingly significant role in society as they grow in number and as healthcare improves in some parts of the world.

The number of older persons is expected to more than double, globally, from 841 million people in 2013 to more than 2 billion in 2050. By that year, nearly 8 in 10 of the world’s older population will live in the less developed regions.  Continue reading

As global crises multiply, UN official urges rethink for overstretched humanitarian system

High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres. Photo: UNHCR/Jean-Marc Ferré

High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres. Photo: UNHCR/Jean-Marc Ferré

Geneva, 30 September 2014 – The global humanitarian system has become dangerously overburdened as it faces a widening front of crises and conflicts, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees warned today, as he urged a rethink of how the international community will confront the growing challenges of the 21st century.

“In addition to the ongoing Syria crisis, new conflicts in the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Ukraine and most recently Iraq have caused terrible suffering and massive displacement,” António Guterres told the annual meeting of his agency’s Executive Committee. Continue reading

In West Africa, UN launches strengthened response as Ebola shatters lives, orphans children

Thirteen year-old Francis from Sierra Leone lost his parents, sister and grandmother to Ebola. At least 3,700 children in West Africa have lost one or both parents to the disease since the start of the outbreak. Photo: UNICEF/Jo Dunlop

Thirteen year-old Francis from Sierra Leone lost his parents, sister and grandmother to Ebola. At least 3,700 children in West Africa have lost one or both parents to the disease since the start of the outbreak. Photo: UNICEF/Jo Dunlop

Ghana, 30 September 2014 – Amid a climbing death toll and widespread panic, the Ebola outbreak continues to ravage West Africa leaving thousands of orphaned children in its wake, an official for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned today, as a fortified UN mission arrived in the region to confront and contain the growing crisis.

“Thousands of children are living through the deaths of their mother, father or family members from Ebola. These children urgently need special attention and support; yet many of them feel unwanted and even abandoned,” Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa, said in a news release. Continue reading

At UN meeting, tolerance and education highlighted as critical allies against terrorism

Wide view of the Security Council. UN Photo/JC McIlwaine (file photo)

Wide view of the Security Council. UN Photo/JC McIlwaine (file photo)

New York, 30 September 2014 – The international community must act swiftly and concretely to confront the root causes of violent extremism, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today, underlining the need to address terrorism through more comprehensive and holistic efforts.

“There is no more time to lose. We have to act concertedly and with determination,” Mr. Ban said in a message to an event held by the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) that was delivered by Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman. Continue reading

Head of new UN Ebola emergency response mission arrives in Ghana

On the eve of his departure for Ghana to begin work at the helm of the UN's new Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), mission chief Anthony Banbury speaks with the UN press corps in New York. UN Photo/Yubi Hoffmann

On the eve of his departure for Ghana to begin work at the helm of the UN’s new Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), mission chief Anthony Banbury speaks with the UN press corps in New York. UN Photo/Yubi Hoffmann

Ghana, 29 September 2014 – The head of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) today joined an advance team deployed in Accra, Ghana, to ensure the rapid, effective and coherent action necessary to stop the outbreak, treat the infected, ensure essential services, preserve stability and prevent the spread of the deadly virus.

Anthony Banbury, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, joined an advance team that has been on the ground for the past week to support the initial assessment and establishment of the Mission in all three of the countries affected by Ebola, which has sickened more than 6,500 people and killed over 3,000. Continue reading

Libya: UN envoy hails start of political dialogue aimed at resolving ongoing crisis

Special Representative and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Bernardino Léon. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

Special Representative and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Bernardino Léon. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

Libya, 29 September 2014 – The top United Nations envoy to Libya called today a historic day as the political dialogue aimed at resolving the crisis in the country got under way in the town of Ghadames.

The dialogue, facilitated by the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), comes in the wake of unprecedented violence in recent months between rival armed formations in the country. More than 300,000 people are displaced, and airports, government buildings and other vital infrastructure have been destroyed. Continue reading

UN refugee chief warns against overlooking humanitarian crises in Africa

South Sudanese refugees, many of them women and children, arrive by boat in Ethiopia. Photo: UNHCR/L.F. Godinho

South Sudanese refugees, many of them women and children, arrive by boat in Ethiopia. Photo: UNHCR/L.F. Godinho

Geneva, 29 September 2014 – The United Nations refugee chief today warned the international community about the risks of overlooking the humanitarian crises in Africa, calling for a renewed commitment to preventing conflict and ending protracted displacement.

“With more than 3 million refugees, 12.5 million internally displaced and some 700,000 stateless people in Africa, the continent represents the largest challenge for UNHCR in terms of capacity and financial requirements,” High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres said in Geneva. Continue reading

World needs ‘paradigm shift’ towards sustainable agriculture, UN agency urges

Photo: World Bank/Maria Fleischmann

Photo: World Bank/Maria Fleischmann

Rome, 29 September 2014 – In order to move towards more sustainable agriculture, a broader approach is needed to overhaul the world’s food system, the head of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said today, as he pressed for a global reduction in the quantity of chemicals and water in contemporary agriculture.

Speaking at the opening of the 24th session of the Committee on Agriculture (COAG) in Rome, Director-General José Graziano da Silva called for a “paradigm shift” in global attitudes on agriculture, adding that only by decreasing the amounts of “inputs,” such as water and chemicals, could the sector move towards a more sustainable and productive long-term path. Continue reading

Not a single child untouched by recent Gaza conflict, says UN rights expert

Palestinian children weep at the funeral for their loved ones in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip (15 July 2014). Credit: UNICEF/El Baba

Palestinian children weep at the funeral for their loved ones in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip (15 July 2014). Credit: UNICEF/El Baba

Gaza, 29 September 2014 – There is not a single child who has not been adversely affected by the recent conflict in Gaza, where children suffer from bedwetting, difficulties in sleeping, nightmares, a loss of appetite, and display more aggressive behaviour at school, an independent United Nations human rights expert said today.

At the end of his first mission to the region, Makarim Wibisono, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories, expressed alarm at the terrible cost paid by Palestinian civilians, especially children in Gaza, as a result of Israel’s military operation that lasted 50 days in the summer of this year. Continue reading