South Africa poised to be key player in humanitarian assistance, says UN relief chief

Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

Pretoria, 29 October 2014 – Learning from the experiences of the Eastern and South Africa region will be vital in global efforts to reform humanitarian action, a top United Nations humanitarian official said today in Pretoria, South Africa, at the opening of the regional consultation for Eastern and Southern Africa of the World Humanitarian Summit.

“Humanitarian needs around the world are growing as a result of conflicts, natural disasters and other factors, said Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs in her remarks at the regional consultation, which South Africa co-hosted with Ethiopia.

“South Africa has the resources and capacity to be a key player in humanitarian assistance on the continent,” she added.

Concluding a two-day visit to South Africa, Ms. Amos, who is also the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, stressed that the humanitarian needs of people should be at the heart of humanitarian response efforts, and not just an afterthought. Continue reading

Doa Nofal

IMG_0039 - CopyI would recommend the UNIC internship program to those who are really willing to learn in a small amount of time as well as working under pressure. Interning at UNIC was my portal to South Africa. Having the chance to go to townships and participate in interesting events and getting to know South Africa more is all owed to UNIC. Although a three months period is not really enough to learn about certain subjects, but I can say that through the hectic schedules and days at UNIC I became a more attentive and keen person to what is happening in the African continent. I also had the opportunity to know how the other UN agencies communicate between each other. Again, I definitely recommend this internship to those who are interested as it is a very rich experience.

South Sudan: UN officials welcome launch in of campaign to end use of child soldiers

Schoolchildren in South Sudan singing during the national launch of the campaign “Children, Not Soldiers.” Photo: UNMISS

Schoolchildren in South Sudan singing during the national launch of the campaign “Children, Not Soldiers.” Photo: UNMISS

South Sudan, 29 October 2014 – The United Nations stands ready to support the Government of South Sudan in its renewed commitment to end the recruitment and use of children in the army, top UN officials declared today as the Organization launched a new initiative in the country.

“It’s encouraging to see that the Government is taking steps to protect the country’s children and the United Nations will continue to support them,” said Leila Zerrougui, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, in a message read during the launch of the Children, Not Soldiers campaign in South Sudan. Continue reading

South Africa poised to be key player in humanitarian assistance, says UN relief chief

Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

South Africa, 29 October 2014 – Learning from the experiences of the Eastern and South Africa region will be vital in global efforts to reform humanitarian action, a top United Nations humanitarian official said today in Pretoria, South Africa, at the opening of the regional consultation for Eastern and Southern Africa of the World Humanitarian Summit.

“Humanitarian needs around the world are growing as a result of conflicts, natural disasters and other factors, saidValerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs in her remarks at the regional consultation, which South Africa co-hosted with Ethiopia.

“South Africa has the resources and capacity to be a key player in humanitarian assistance on the continent,” she added.

Concluding a two-day visit to South Africa, Ms. Amos, who is also the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, stressed that the humanitarian needs of people should be at the heart of humanitarian response efforts, and not just an afterthought. Continue reading

UN applauds donation by Malala Yousafzai for reconstruction of Gaza schools

Malala Yousafzai. UN Photo/JC McIlwaine

Malala Yousafzai. UN Photo/JC McIlwaine

Gaza, 29 October 2014 – As the United Nations ramps up its reconstruction efforts of war-ravaged Gaza, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Malala Yousafzai, has announced a contribution of $50,000 to help with the rebuilding of UN schools heavily damaged during the recent fighting in the enclave.

According to a news statement released today by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Ms. Yousafzai made the announcement as she accepted the prestigious World Children’s Prize in Stockholm, Sweden, commending UNRWA’s “heroic work” in helping the Palestinian children and noting that the needs in the Palestinian territory were “overwhelming.” Continue reading

Massive scale-up of assistance needed for countries impacted by ongoing Syria crisis – UN relief official

John Ging, Operations Director for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) briefs the press. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

John Ging, Operations Director for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) briefs the press. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

New York, 29 October 2014 – The ongoing civil war in Syria and its spillover effects continue to inflict a devastating human and humanitarian toll on neighbouring Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan, a senior United Nations relief official said today, warning that rising numbers of displaced persons, increasing pressure on refugee hosting countries and dwindling international support left the UN “racing against the clock” to meet the needs on the ground.

Describing the Syria crisis and its fallout as “the biggest humanitarian crisis we face today in the world,” John Ging, Operations Director for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), who just returned from a week in the sub-region, told reporters at Headquarters that “in fact, it is a disaster for millions and millions of people…which, sadly and tragically, is only getting worse and worse.” Continue reading

Signs of Ebola decline in Liberia offer ‘glimmer of hope’ – UN

Equipped with UNICEF-developed and Government-approved awareness materials, these girls go door-to-door in West Point, Monrovia, to educate their parents, family members and friends about Ebola and how it can be prevented. Photo: UNICEF/UNI171713/Griggers

Equipped with UNICEF-developed and Government-approved awareness materials, these girls go door-to-door in West Point, Monrovia, to educate their parents, family members and friends about Ebola and how it can be prevented. Photo: UNICEF/UNI171713/Griggers

Geneva, 29 October 2014 – The spread of Ebola in Liberia may be slowing, as demonstrated in the decline in burials and sickbed occupancy rates, as well as a plateau in lab-reported new cases in the West African country hardest hit by the virus, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) reported today, while cautioning against drawing premature conclusions.

“It appears the trend is real in Liberia,” Dr. Bruce Aylward, WHO Assistant Director-General in charge of operational response, told a press conference from the agency’s Geneva headquarters. “There may be a slowing of Ebola there.” Continue reading

Ebola: industry leaders meet to discuss vaccine trials, as UN agencies continue aid push

Clinical trials of this candidate Ebola vaccine will take place in the US, Germany, Gabon and Kenya. Photo: WHO/M. Missioneiro

Clinical trials of this candidate Ebola vaccine will take place in the US, Germany, Gabon and Kenya. Photo: WHO/M. Missioneiro

New York, 24 October 2014 – The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) has convened a meeting with top Government officials from Ebola-affected countries, regulatory agencies, vaccine manufacturers and funding agencies to discuss and agree how best to best fast-track testing and the deployment of vaccines in sufficient numbers to halt the spread of the deadly virus.

WHO said today that these vaccines are expected to have a major impact on further evolution of the epidemic, with trials already underway in the United States and soon to begin in Africa, Germany and Switzerland to determine safety, dosing and efficacy. Continue reading

UN agencies launch new joint initiative targeting elimination of global food waste

FAO, IFAD and WFP joint project “Mainstreaming food loss reduction initiatives for smallholders in food deficit areas” aims to improve food security and income generation through reduction of food losses in food grains and pulses value chains. Photo: FAO/Alessandra Benedetti

FAO, IFAD and WFP joint project “Mainstreaming food loss reduction initiatives for smallholders in food deficit areas” aims to improve food security and income generation through reduction of food losses in food grains and pulses value chains. Photo: FAO/Alessandra Benedetti

Rome, 24 October 2014 – The world wastes enough food to feed an estimated two billion people, the United Nations said today as its three Rome-based food agencies announced the launch of a digital platform designed to take aim at the growing problem of “food loss.”

The new online programme, called the Global Community of Practice (CoP) on Food Loss Reduction, was jointly launched by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP), with the goal of becoming “a global reference point” in the facilitation of information sharing between stakeholders such as public entities, civil society and the private sector. Continue reading

More respect, less criminalization for migrant workers, UN rights expert urges

Migrant workers in India cook a meal. Photo: World Bank/Curt Carnemark

Migrant workers in India cook a meal. Photo: World Bank/Curt Carnemark

New York, 24 October 2014 – The lack of political will to stand up for migrant workers’ rights remains the greatest challenge to the protection of this “very vulnerable” group of human beings, an independent United Nations expert affirmed today.

Speaking before the General Assembly’s Third Committee, which reviews the work accomplished by the UN’s independent human rights experts, Francisco Carrion Mena, Chairperson of the UN Committee on the Rights of Migrant Workers and their Families (CMW), warned that some Member States “mistakenly consider border areas as exempt from human rights obligations.” Continue reading