Syrian Crisis United Nations Response No. 70/26 November 2014

test_syria-300x1501Syria, 26 November 2014 – Aid response still short of meeting the needs, warns Amos

UN Humanitarian Chief Valerie Amos briefed the Security Council on 25 November on the implementation of resolution 2165 on humanitarian access. She noted that since its adoption in July, progress has been made in delivering aid to people most in need throughout Syria. The United Nations has been able to deliver aid to almost all hard-to-reach communities in four Governorates – Aleppo, Idlib, Da’ra and Quneitra, primarily through cross-border convoys. She warned, however, that the response was still not enough. “We continue to fall short of meeting humanitarian needs of all people we aim to reach in Syria”, she added. Ms. Amos urged the Security Council to push for an end to the violence that is destroying the country and destabilizing the region. Continue reading

Ebola: UN crisis response mission opens new office in Mali

Workers build an enclosure at the Mayagba Ebola community care centre construction site in Bombali District, which is among the areas worst affected by the disease in Sierra Leone. Photo: UNICEF/John James

Workers build an enclosure at the Mayagba Ebola community care centre construction site in Bombali District, which is among the areas worst affected by the disease in Sierra Leone. Photo: UNICEF/John James

Guinea, 26 November 2014 – The newest outpost of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) became operational today, while a new head of its Guinea office was named and the World Health Organization reported that the number of cases had stabilized in Guinea, had stabilized or declined in Liberia but may still be on rise in Sierra Leone.

The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors, meanwhile, approved a $70 million project for Côte d’Ivoire to promote the West African country’s pro-active measures to prevent the spread of Ebola. Continue reading

‘Profoundly concerned’ over violence in Libya, Security Council warns of possible sanctions

Civilians walk along Tripoli Street in Misrata, Libya. Photo: UNHCR/Helen Caux

Civilians walk along Tripoli Street in Misrata, Libya. Photo: UNHCR/Helen Caux

Libya, 26 November 2014 – The Security Council today expressed its “profound concern” over the deteriorating situation in Libya and its impact on regional peace and stability, warning of the possibility of sanctions.

In a press statement issued this morning, the Council, recalling resolution 2174 – which it adopted in August and condemns the use of violence against civilians and civilian institutions – emphasized that the Sanctions Committee is prepared to sanction “those who threaten Libya’s peace, stability or security or that obstruct or undermine the successful completion of its political transition.” Continue reading

UN chief appoints panel on creating ‘technology bank’ for world’s poorest nations

Photo: ITU

Photo: ITU

New York, 26 November 2014 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has announced the formation of a High-Level Panel to study the scope and functions of a proposed new “technology bank” and dedicated to helping the world’s least developed countries (LDCs) advance out of poverty, the Organization’s spokesperson confirmed today.

The High-Level Panel – which is to advise on the organizational and operational aspects of the planned “Technology Bank and Science, Technology and Innovation Supporting Mechanism” – will be chaired by Rwanda’s Romain Murenzi, currently Executive Director of the World Academy of Sciences in Trieste, Italy, and includes five women and five men from LDCs and their development partners from the Global North and South. Continue reading

Obesity-related cancers on the rise, especially in developed countries – UN report

A healthy diet can help to alleviate risk factors for a range of chronic diseases linked to obesity. Photo: World Bank/Maria Fleischmann

A healthy diet can help to alleviate risk factors for a range of chronic diseases linked to obesity. Photo: World Bank/Maria Fleischmann

Geneva, 26 November 2014 – Being overweight or obese have become major risk factors for developing cancer, particularly among women and in more developed countries, the specialized cancer agency of the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) reported today.

Overweight and obesity are responsible for an estimated 481,000 – or 3.6 per cent – of all new cancer cases in 2012, and reducing such health issues at the population level could have significant health benefits, according to a new study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Continue reading

UN sounds alarm to end ‘global pandemic’ of violence against women

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka (left) and Chirlane McCray, New York City’s First Lady, after signing an agreement to work together in order to enhance the safety and empowerment of women and girls. Photo: UN Women/Jennifer S. Altman

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka (left) and Chirlane McCray, New York City’s First Lady, after signing an agreement to work together in order to enhance the safety and empowerment of women and girls. Photo: UN Women/Jennifer S. Altman

New York, 25 November 2014 – Violence against women and girls is a global pandemic that destroys lives, fractures communities and holds back development, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said as the world body today marked the International Day to End Violence against Women.

“But violence against women and girls does not emerge from nowhere. It is simply the most extreme example of the political, financial, social and economic oppression of women and girls worldwide,” Mr. Ban said at an Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) event at Headquarters.

Joining Mr. Ban at today’s panel discussion were UN Women Executive-Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka; First Lady of New York, Chirlane McCray, and actor Teri Hatcher, among others. Continue reading

Burundi: UN expert urges defence of human rights activists to promote transparency

Independent Expert on Human Rights Michel Forst. Photo: Jean-Marc Ferré

Independent Expert on Human Rights Michel Forst. Photo: Jean-Marc Ferré

Burundi, 25 November 2014 – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders expressed regret today that defenders in Burundi are deemed to be political opponents, saying that in reality they are activists working to promote and protect human rights and civil liberties.

In a press release issued by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the expert, Michel Forst, emphasized that threats and defamation campaigns by certain media outlets weigh on human rights defenders, who also report a high number of cases of physical threats, anonymous phone calls, assaults, arbitrary arrest and judicial harassment. Continue reading

As number of South Sudanese refugees grows, UN relief official urges support to Ethiopia

South Sudanese refugees in the Gambella Region of Ethiopia. Photo: OCHA/Mohammed Siryon

South Sudanese refugees in the Gambella Region of Ethiopia. Photo: OCHA/Mohammed Siryon

Ethiopia, 25 November 2014 – Following the end of a four-day mission to Ethiopia, a senior United Nations relief official has called for continued international attention to the plight of South Sudanese refugees, warning that the number of refugees could rise substantially if fighting in South Sudan persists.

In a press release issued today by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Ms. Kyung-wha Kang, noted that nearly 194,000 South Sudanese refugees – 90 per cent of them women and children – have arrived in Ethiopia since the conflict in South Sudan began this past December. Continue reading

Syria: humanitarian efforts falling short, UN relief chief warns, calling for end to violence

Under-Secretary-General for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, briefing the Security Council on the humanitarian situation in Syria. UN Photo/Loey Felip

Under-Secretary-General for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, briefing the Security Council on the humanitarian situation in Syria. UN Photo/Loey Felip

Syria, 25 November 2014 – While humanitarians have made some progress in delivering much-needed supplies to the growing numbers of people in conflict-riven Syria, efforts by the United Nations and its partners are still falling short, a top UN relief official has said today, calling on the Security Council to push for an end to the violence that is destroying the country and destabilizing the region.

“This is a conflict that is affecting every Syrian,” said Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, in abriefing to the Security Council this afternoon on the humanitarian situation in Syria. Continue reading

Ebola: December 1 target for response may not be met in some areas of West Africa, UN reports

Ghanaian workers have been assembling 400 motorbikes which Germany will hand over on 1 December 2014 for the Ebola Response. Photo: UNMEER/Simon Ruf

Ghanaian workers have been assembling 400 motorbikes which Germany will hand over on 1 December 2014 for the Ebola Response. Photo: UNMEER/Simon Ruf

Geneva, 25 November 2014 – The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) said today that while Ebola response targets for December 1 in West Africa may be reached in many places, they may not be met in some areas, and confirmed two new cases in Mali amid ramped up efforts to reduce the likelihood that additional cases will be imported from neighbouring Guinea.

“The identification of patient contacts for daily monitoring has reportedly reached 99 per cent,” WHO said. “Based on experiences in Senegal and Nigeria, this achievement could augur well for rapid containment of Mali’s outbreak.” Senegal and Nigeria, which had been affected, are now Ebola-free. Continue reading