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un-building-350-230The United Nations is the one organization with the vision and reach to address the world’s most pressing challenges. When disaster strikes, the world turns to one organization for hope, help, leadership, and coordi­nation: the United Nations. When there is peace to keep between warring factions, the world asks the UN to mobilize peacekeepers, oversee elections, and create stability. In the face of challenges such as climate change, disease or poverty, the United Nations provides the platform for international cooperation.

The UN is an international organization, not a government.  As a result, its effectiveness depends on the participation of 193 sovereign member states and the backing of citizens around the world. The United Nations Association of the United States, a program of the United Nations Foundation, works day in and day out to support the mission of the UN by connecting Americans to the work of the UN and advocating for strong US leadership within the UN. 




UN Updates: November 15, 2016

SG Travels: The SG, joined by the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Patricia Espinosa, held a press conference this morning in Marrakesh just before the opening of the high-level session of COP22. The SG said that the entry into force of the Paris Agreement shows that every country understands that climate change is happening, and that no country, however resourceful or powerful, is immune from the impacts of climate change.  They also realize that it is in their own national interest to take action now. Asked about US President-elect Donald Trump’s stated intent to back out of the Paris Agreement, the SG said that he believes that Mr. Trump understands that there are market forces already at work on this issue and that we need to harness these forces for the good of the planet and all the species in this planet. The SG then spoke at the official opening of the High-Level segment of COP22, saying that countries have strongly supported the Paris Agreement because they realize their own national interest is best secured by pursuing the common good. Now, he added, we have to translate words into effective policies and actions. The SG then joined all of the heads of delegations at an official lunch hosted by His Majesty King Mohammed VI. The SG and the King are scheduled to hold a bilateral meeting today.

Iraq: The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that more than 56,400 people have now been displaced as the military operations to retake Mosul continue. More than 2,000 displaced people moved towards camps east of Mosul over the past two days.  Three-quarters of all the displaced people are in camps, while others are with host families or in ‘critical’ shelter arrangements, such as unfinished or abandoned buildings, and other informal settlements. The UN and NGO partners continue to assist displaced families, host communities and vulnerable residents in newly retaken areas. Since October 17th, when the military operation began, nearly 114,000 people have been reached by the World Food Programme (WFP) and partners with a one-month food ration. In addition, the Government has provided 10-day food rations to approximately 108,000 people. Meanwhile, a new initiative is being launched today, aiming to help families who have been newly displaced as a result of the Mosul offensive get easier access to accurate and timely information.  An initiative starting in Hasansham camp for displaced Iraqis, newly-built by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is aiming to give families a communications lifeline. One Iraqi radio station, Radio Nawa, will be distributing two thousand small transistor radios, so that people can listen in to a non-partisan information service, take part in radio phone-ins, raise questions or comments, and engage on-air with local and central government officials and the Iraqi security forces.

Syria: An assessment conducted by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Program (WFP) shows that food production in Syria has hit a record low, as widespread insecurity and unfavorable weather conditions in parts of the country continued to hamper access to land, farming supplies and markets. After five years of conflict, the assessment says, many farmers have lost the ability to cope. Rising prices and scarcity of essential inputs such as fertilizers and seeds mean they will have no other option than to abandon food production if they do not receive immediate support. This will likely have grave consequences not only for the food security of farming households but also on food availability in the country, and may ultimately lead to further displacements.

Malaysia: The UN Human Rights Office today called on all sides to stay calm and exercise restraint ahead of this weekend’s planned anti-government protest in Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, voicing concern over reports that organizers have been subjected to threats and harassment. The Office said that police have reportedly advised the public against taking part in the rally. It urges the Government to abide by its international human rights obligations to protect the rights of all Malaysians to gather peacefully and to express their opinions, and to investigate the reports of harassment and intimidation.

Haiti: The UN Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) reports that electoral preparations are ongoing as scheduled for the first electoral round on November 20th, including in the departments affected by Hurricane Matthew. The Mission has today begun deploying its security forces in all of Haiti’s 10 departments in support of the 9,400 Haitian national police officers deployed for the elections. According to the Integrated Security Plan signed yesterday in Port au Prince, the Haitian National Police (HNP) is the first responder and the entity responsible for providing election security, while MINUSTAH's police and military will be in a position to support if necessary.

CVR Event: A day-long event to mark the tenth anniversary of community violence reduction (CVR) programs in peacekeeping will be held tomorrow. A High-Level Panel Discussion on Community Violence Reduction in Peacekeeping and Early Peacebuilding will begin at 10 a.m. in Conference Room 4 with the SG's Chef de Cabinet, Edmond Mulet; the Under-SG for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous; and the Assistant SG for the Rule of Law and Security Institutions in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Dmitry Titov. Community violence reduction programs aim to combat insecurity through mediation and development of alternative livelihoods for youth involved in armed violence.

UNHCR: Yesterday, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) airlifted vital aid to support the hurricane relief effort in Haiti. A UNHCR-chartered cargo plane carrying emergency relief supplies including shelter materials and solar lamps for 80,000 people arrived in Port-au-Prince. The airlift includes 16,000 rolls of heavy duty plastic sheeting to provide emergency shelter and more than 8,500 solar lanterns that will enhance the security of vulnerable families currently living without electricity. In the Bahamas, UNHCR is also responding to the Government’s appeal for help by working with the Bahamas Red Cross to provide urgently needed relief, including tarpaulin, plastic sheeting, blankets, hygiene kits, and portable stoves to nearly 7,000 people impacted by the hurricane.

FAO:new report released by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) finds mounting evidence that food systems may be major conduits of anti-microbial resistance. This evidence points to the need for greater vigilance over the way antibiotics are used on farms and for a giant research leap to rein in farm-driven antimicrobial resistance, especially in livestock production. The livestock sector is expected to account for two-thirds of future growth in antimicrobial usage. 

UNICEF: The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) announced today its first portfolio of investments in technology solutions. The UNICEF Innovation Fund will source and support companies that might be overlooked by traditional investment vehicles. This first portfolio includes start-ups in Nicaragua, Bangladesh, South Africa, Pakistan and Cambodia, with an eye to investing in 20 to 40 additional companies in 2017. The UNICEF Innovation Fund is inviting technology start-ups to apply for investment and become part of this growing portfolio of open source solutions. The next round of applications for investment from the Fund is now open the deadline to apply is January 1st, 2017.

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