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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.

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UN Updates: October 23, 2014

*Keywords: SG=Secretary-General, DSG=Deputy Secretary-General 

Ebola: Today, the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee presented its conclusions in Geneva and said the primary emphasis must continue to be stopping the transmission of Ebola within the three affected countries with intense transmission. The Committee reiterated its recommendation that there should be no general ban on international travel or trade but stressed that exit screening in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone remains critical for reducing the exportation of Ebola cases. A number of States without Ebola transmission have decided to or are considering cancelling international meetings and mass gatherings. Although the Committee did not recommend such cancellations, it recognized that these “complex decisions” must be decided on a case-by-case basis.

The latest figures from the WHO report a total of 9,936 Ebola cases and 4,877 deaths. Guinea has 61% of the required bed capacity in Ebola treatment units, while Liberia stands at only 23%, and Sierra Leone 29%.

Meanwhile, A New York City doctor who recently returned from treating Ebola patients in Guinea was taken to the hospital today with Ebola-like symptoms. The doctor reported a 103-degree fever and nausea. The New York City Department of Health confirmed that a patient who had recently traveled in Africa was being tested for Ebola at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan. Test results are expected within the next 12 hours.

Iraq: OCHA launched a $2.2 billion appeal in Baghdad today to address the protection and humanitarian needs of 5.2 million people in Iraq. The appeal includes the needs, among others, of 1.8 million Iraqis who have been displaced since January 2014, 1.5 million people within communities hosting many of the displaced, and 1.7 million others living in conflict areas outside Iraqi Government control. An estimated 2.8 million people are in need of food assistance and approximately 800,000 people are in urgent need of emergency shelter assistance. Throughout Iraq, 1.26 million people are in need of some form of winterization assistance.

DRC: MONUSCO said today that the situation in Beni and the surrounding areas remains “tense”. On Wednesday, elements of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) reportedly killed a woman and abducted a man in the village of Kokola. Violent anti-MONUSCO demonstrations over the past days have reportedly resulted in the death of two civilians in Mbau. Two to three peacekeepers and six Congolese soldiers have also been injured. The Mission is ascertaining the facts about the incidents.

Poverty: A new study conducted by the UN Office for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries, and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS) noted that since the adoption of the 2011 Istanbul Programme of Action on sustainable development, LDCs have seen “incremental” economic and social gains. This is mainly because of an increase in public spending and stronger investment and activity in mining, construction, manufacturing and service sectors. The report however cautions that despite the uptick, the LDCs continue to be among the most vulnerable to external shocks, such as economic crises, climate-related events, natural disasters and health-related threats.

Human Rights: Addressing the GA’s Third Committee dealing with social, humanitarian, and cultural issues UN HCHR, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein presented a report on the work of OHCHR between August 2013 and July 2014, under his predecessor, Navi Pillay. Mr. Zeid said that as of July, the Office supported 68 human rights field presences, comprising 13 stand-alone country offices; 12 regional offices; human rights components in 14 United Nations peace missions; and 29 human rights advisers. For the 2014-2015 biennium, $173.5 million was allocated to OHCHR – 87% less than the allocation to the peace and security pillar, and 84 per cent less than the allocation to development, which Mr. Zeid called “not sustainable”.
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