Articles for this Update were compiled by the City Bar's Committee on the United Nations.

'Go and vote,' UN official urges Afghans ahead of upcoming elections

At a press conference in Kabul in advance of Afghanistan's landmark April 5 presidential and provincial Council elections, which will constitute the country's first democratic transfer of power, the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, Jan Kubiš, urged the country's people to vote. "The election will mark yet another indispensable step in moving forward in building democracy, but also in providing the necessary legitimacy to the next leadership," Mr. Kubiš stated. He also emphasized the support of the UN Security Council for the Afghan-led process, seen as critical to the country's stability. Mr. Kubiš noted that the Council encouraged Afghans to "use this chance" to exercise their democratic power.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47488

One year on, Ban calls on remaining States to join UN treaty regulating global arms trade

On the first anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty by the UN General Assembly, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon "welcome[d] the deposit of instruments of ratification by 18 Member States, which brings the number of deposited ratifications to 31" and urged all states that have not done so to ratify the groundbreaking instrument to facilitate its entry into force (which will occur upon receipt of 50 ratifications). The Arms Trade Treaty is the first international treaty to regulate the trade, transfer, and use of conventional arms. Mr. Ban "call[ed] on States, civil society, and international and regional organizations to continue working together to ensure that the ATT can play its full role in helping to reduce needless human suffering and build a safer world for all."

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47485

UN telecom agency launches study to assess status of cybersecurity worldwide

At the World Telecommunication Development Conference in Dubai, the UN International Telecommunications Union, in collaboration with ABI Research, launched the landmark Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI), with the goal to increase global cybersecurity through a comprehensive assessment and comparison of national cybersecurity strategies and best practices. The initiative aims to provide valuable information and to bolster dialogue on the status of the crucial issue of global cybersecurity.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47487

Stepped-up attacks in Central African Republic prompt UN call for more peacekeepers

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) called for an increase of peacekeepers and police to the Central African Republic (CAR), amid "further deterioration of the security situation" in the ongoing violence that has unsettled the country for over a year. OHCHR reported that at least 60 people were killed in Bangui, the country's capital, in recent days in an escalation in attacks between Christian and Muslim armed groups. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has indicated that he will recommend the Security Council to authorize an additional 12,000 UN peacekeeping forces to be deployed to CAR as soon as possible.

With thousands of people killed over the year of the conflict, an estimated half of the country's population is now in need of humanitarian aid and nearly one million have been displaced internally or have fled the country.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47476

South Sudan: harassment of staff draws concern of UN mission

The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) reported an increase in harassment, threats, and travel restrictions on UN personnel in South Sudan amid "extremely fragile" humanitarian conditions in the country. UNMISS has emphasized that these actions violate the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the UN and the Government of South Sudan, through which the country's government is obligated to ensure the security of UN personnel. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed his concern about the situation in South Sudan in a meeting with a delegation of the South Sudan Government and stressed the paramount importance of preventing incidents of harassment against UN personnel.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47483

Saving more lives requires abandoning broken, reactive approach to aid – UN

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) issued a report challenging the methods of conventional humanitarian and development assistance and emphasized an urgent need to focus on prevention and advanced risk assessment, rather than on reaction to crises that arise. "If we have any chance of stopping the suffering, we need to prevent it from happening in the first place; we need to address the root causes of crises, not just the symptoms," Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Kyung-wha Kang stated. Acknowledging the challenges and political implications of such a shift in assistance efforts, the report nonetheless argues that the time is ripe for this shift in light of the upcoming post-2015 global development framework and as "[t]he number of people affected by humanitarian crises has almost doubled over the past decade and is expected to keep rising."

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47470
Report: http://www.unocha.org/saving-lives

UN expert heads to UK to investigate violence against women

By invitation of the government of the United Kingdom, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, Rashida Manjoo, commenced an investigative mission to examine the causes and effects of domestic violence perpetrated within the family, in the community, and by state authorities in the UK. Seeking a comprehensive view of the phenomenon, Ms. Manjoo will "meet with individuals and organizations involved in fighting all aspects related to violence against women," and will visit safe-houses, and meet with government officials, civil society organizations and individual survivors of gender-based violence.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47473

Earth Hour: UN goes dark globally, raising awareness on energy consumption, climate change impacts

The UN encouraged participation in "Earth Hour," an annual global event raising awareness about the need for collaborative global action on climate change and promoting sustainable energy consumption. The UN encouraged all staff around the world to support the annual global initiative organized by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), in which individuals and organizations are encouraged to turn off all lights for one hour at 8:30pm local time. UN Headquarters in New York this year observed the initiative by extinguishing lights between 7:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47464

UN agency urges vigilance amid Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia

A representative from the UN World Health Organization (WHO), Gregory Hartl, issued a statement in Geneva addressing the outbreak of Ebola in Guinea, which has allegedly resulted in 66 deaths. Calling it "an extremely fluid situation," Mr. Hartl warned, "We need to watch this extremely carefully because there is no treatment, there is no cure, and the course of the disease is, more often than not, fatal." In addition to the over 100 suspected and confirmed cases in Guinea, reports out of Sierra Leone and Liberia of cases and deaths consistent with Ebola suggest an epidemiological link with the outbreak in Guinea.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47459

UN rights council approves inquiry into alleged abuses in Sri Lanka war

The United Nations Human Rights Council voted to request the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to commence a "comprehensive investigation" into allegations of war crimes and serious human rights violations allegedly committed by both sides in the Sri Lankan civil war between 1983 and 2009. Actions of the Sri Lankan Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam will be investigated in an effort aimed at "avoiding impunity and ensuring accountability" for the conflict. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay addressed the Council, emphasizing that an impartial, legitimate investigation "is essential to advance the right to truth for all in Sri Lanka and create further opportunities for justice, accountability and redress."

Full story:http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp/html/realfile/story.asp?NewsID=47447

Topic In Focus

Report of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

On March 31, Working Group II of the Nobel-prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability, an extensive report detailing the current impacts of global climate change and assessing future risks. While warning of the global lack of preparation for the risks facing the world due to the quickly changing climate, the report also highlights opportunities to reduce those risks.

The report was released at a conference in Yokohama, Japan, where IPCC Chairperson Rajendra K. Pachauri issued a statement emphasizing that "[t]he world has to take this report seriously because there are implications for security of food supply, impacts of extreme events on morbidity and mortality, severe and irreversible impacts on species, and a risk of crossing various tipping points because of increasing temperatures."

The report is the result of an impressive collaboration by 309 coordinating lead authors and editors, 436 contributing authors, and 1,729 expert and government reviewers. The report is the IPCC's fifth such assessment, and broadens the scope of inquiry to address additional topics that have become relevant to a comprehensive assessment of the forces, effects and challenges surrounding climate change.

The Secretary-General also welcomed the report's findings, and "urge[d] all countries to act swiftly and boldly at every level, to bring ambitious announcements and actions to the Climate Summit on 23 September 2014 and to make every effort needed to reach a global legal climate agreement by 2015."

Report: http://ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg2/

Press release:http://ipcc.ch/pdf/ar5/pr_wg2/140330_pr_wgII_spm_en.pdf

News: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47471


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