The UN at Work
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UN Updates: January 10, 2017
Conflict Prevention: In his first time speaking before the Security Council as Secretary-General, António Guterres spoke about the importance of conflict prevention, saying that it has proved very difficult to persuade decision-makers at national and international levels that prevention must be their priority — perhaps because successful prevention does not attract attention. The television cameras are not there when a crisis is avoided, he said.
He told the Security Council that we must rebalance our approach to peace and security. For decades, this has been dominated by responding to conflict. For the future, we need to do far more to prevent war and sustain peace. He said that we must commit to a surge in diplomacy for peace, in partnership with regional organizations, mobilizing the entire range of those with influence, from religious authorities to civil society and the business community. The SG said the UN will launch an initiative to enhance mediation capacity, both at UN Headquarters and in the field, and to support regional and national mediation efforts.
On the margins of today’s Security Council meeting, the SG held a number of bilateral meetings with some of the visiting foreign ministers; those include Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Poland and Sweden.
Syria: Reports continue to be received of deaths and displacement as a result of fighting, which reportedly intensified last month. It is estimated that about 30,000 civilians have fled Al Bab city and surroundings since then, heading mainly towards Azaz, Jarabulus and Menbij districts. An estimated 5,000 to 8,000 civilians are still in Al Bab city, facing difficult conditions under Da’esh control, including severe restrictions on movements. The UN and partners are providing assistance to those who are displaced, including through setting up reception and transit centers to receive and provide basic assistance to all those who need it.
Iraq: OCHA says that the number of people internally displaced as a result of conflict in Mosul city in Iraq is approaching 140,000. Trauma cases remain extremely high, particularly near frontline areas. In the week leading up to January 8, 683 people were referred from eastern Mosul city to hospitals in Erbil and Dahuk. In the previous week, some 817 trauma cases required referrals to hospitals.
Aid distribution by humanitarian partners in eastern Mosul city continues and reached 50,000 people in the first week of the year with ready-to-eat food, water and hygiene items. Hundreds of thousands of displaced and other vulnerable people are receiving a wide range of assistance outside of Mosul itself. Meanwhile, there is no humanitarian access to Da’esh-controlled areas in the western part of the city, and there are increasing humanitarian concerns for the well-being of civilians in those areas.
Afghanistan: Today, the UN Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) condemned the double bombing that took place today in a civilian-populated area in Kabul. The bombings were carried out near the Afghan Parliament during rush hour, reportedly killing dozens of people and leaving many more injured. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack. The Mission says it is continuing to investigate the circumstances around the bombings.
Haiti: The UN Mission there (MINUSTAH) says that all Formed Police Units who were not already vaccinated for Cholera at the time of their arrival in the Mission have now been given the vaccine. A second dose, for those who have not yet had it, is being administered or will be in the coming days. Cholera vaccination is mandatory for all peacekeepers deploying to peacekeeping operations and it is the responsibility of Member States to ensure that their personnel receives all mandatory vaccinations prior to deployment. Should troops deploy to a mission area without the required vaccination, the supporting Mission takes measures to provide them. All costs incurred are deducted from the reimbursement to the troop and police contributing countries.
Tobacco: A new global report from the World Health Organization and the National Cancer Institute of the US, entitled the Economics of Tobacco and Tobacco Control, finds that policies to control tobacco use, including tobacco tax and price increases, can generate significant Government revenues for health and development work, as well as greatly reduce tobacco use. But left unchecked, the tobacco industry and the deadly impact of its products cost the world’s economies more than $1 trillion annually in health-care expenditures and lost productivity. Currently, around 6 million people die annually as a result of tobacco use, mostly in developing countries.
Children: Today, UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) and the US Children’s Fund for UNICEF supported the LEGO Foundation through involvement in a project called #EarlyMomentsMatter. It aims to drive increased awareness about the importance of the first 1,000 days of a child’s life and the impact of early experiences on the developing brain.