WEEK OF MAY 9, 2014

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

Philippines: Six months after typhoon, UN working with communities to rebuild lives

In November 2013, Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines, affecting 14 million people. According to the UN officials in the area, signs of recovery are starting to emerge while progress remains fragile. Haiyan is the biggest typhoon recorded in nearly a century.

The UN humanitarian agencies and their partners in the Philippines are now prioritizing projects on shelter and livelihoods, while continuing to assist the most vulnerable people with assistance and protection services. According to the latest UN figures, funding for housing is part of the humanitarian community's Strategic Response Plan (SRP), which at $788 million, is 56 per cent funded. Meanwhile, in the central part of the country, tens of thousands of rice farmers are starting to bring in their harvests, having received certified rice seeds, fertilizer and tools within weeks of the disaster.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47743

Ukraine: Alarmed by surging violence, UN rights chief urges greater effort to resolve crisis

Continued violence in eastern and southern Ukraine is resulting in additional death and destruction. Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, called on parties to the conflict to find a peaceful resolution, particularly ahead of the May 25th presidential election. She also urged "organized and well-armed" opposition groups to "stop all illegal actions, including detaining people and seizing public buildings in violation of Ukraine's laws and Constitution."

Due to the political crisis in the country, Ukrainian officials have announced that the presidential election scheduled for May of next year will be held later this month. The upcoming polls "represent the best opportunity for Ukraine to begin the process of reconciliation and stabilization," Ms. Pillay said. OHCHR teams are monitoring the human rights situation from five locations in the country and plan to publish their next report on May 15th.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47731

In Abu Dhabi, UN chief warns still 'too many sitting on the fence', urges bold leadership on climate change

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that too many stakeholders are still "sitting on the fence" in the face of the distinctly evident costs and impacts of climate change. He challenged more than 1,000 participants, including 100 Government ministers, at the "Abu Dhabi Ascent" climate conference to help him build persuasive political arguments to convince policymakers that "bold action" is required now. The conference comes ahead of his Climate Summit set for September 23 in New York.

Mr. Ban toured Shams 1, which is the second largest solar power facility in the world. The 100-megawatt plant, which can provide electricity for 20,000 households, is just over a year old, and significantly, its owners have deemed it a commercial success.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47721

Security Council decries deadly terrorist attack in Yemeni capital

The UN Security Council emphasized its support for the President of Yemen, President Abd Rabu Mansour Hadi, and his government, in their efforts to combat terrorism. The 15 Member Council strongly condemned the recent terrorist attack in Sana'a, Yemen, that killed one French citizen, as well as a March attack in which 20 soldiers were killed.

Security Council members have voiced strong support for the political process in Yemen, a process currently in democratic transition. To this end, the Council created a sanctions regime that includes an asset freeze and travel ban against potential 'spoilers' who would obstruct or undermine the successful completion of the political transition.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47728

UN partners with private sector to help local communities map disaster risk

The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) announced that it will partner with California-based Esri, a world leader in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology, to create new technologies that can help communities and cities visualize disaster risk and take action. The new initiative will support the efforts of the 1,800 cities of UNISDR's Making Cities Resilient Campaign to improve land use and urban planning by providing access to the very latest mapping technology and encouraging the development of new apps for urban resilience.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47726

UN agency declares global health emergency to stem potential resurgence of polio

The UN World Health Organization (WHO) warned against the spread of polio in countries where it was once eradicated. Members of the WHO's Emergency Committee meeting in Geneva unanimously agreed that the over-riding priority for all polio-infected countries must be to interrupt wild poliovirus transmission within their borders "as rapidly as possible" through efforts such as supplementary immunization campaigns with oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV), virus surveillance, and routine immunization.

According to WHO officials, Cameroon, Pakistan and Syria pose the greatest risk of exporting the virus to other countries and should ensure that all residents and long-term visitors are vaccinated before traveling. Aiming to reach 22 million children in the Middle East, the UN and its partners re-launched vaccination campaigns in Syria, Iraq and Egypt.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47720

Somalia: Security Council condemns latest terrorist bombing in Mogadishu

The UN Security Council strongly condemned the latest terrorist attack in the Somali capital Mogadishu, which, according to media reports, caused 6 deaths and several injuries. The Islamic insurgent group Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility. News agencies suggest that a former Government official, among those killed in the attack, was the intended target. If the reports are confirmed, this will be latest in a wave of recent attacks against the Somali Government.

The Council also reaffirmed that "terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security, and that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable regardless of their motivation, wherever and whenever and by whomsoever committed."

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47719

On World Day, UN cites press freedom as critical to reaching development goals

With the once-in-a-generation succession of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) approaching in 2015, the UN marked World Press Freedom Day with an appeal to all States, societies and individuals to actively defend press freedom as a fundamental right and as an essential contribution to achieving the MDGs.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that the fundamental freedom to receive and impart ideas through any media is threatened – "to the detriment of us all" – noting that journalists are often singled out and face being kidnapped, detained, beaten, or murdered. John Ashe, President of the UN General Assembly, said that freedom of expression and freedom of the press are fundamental rights.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47714

As Central African Republic crisis deepens, UN agency scales up food assistance

The UN World Food Program (WFP) has accelerated its operations in the Central African Republic (CAR) – distributing 60 per cent more food in April than in March – in the midst of an escalating crisis in the country. WFP spokesperson Elisabeth Byrs told reporters that as of April 29, almost 200,000 people had received food assistance, including 24,700 children who were given special nutrients. According to the WFP, 1.6 million people are directly affected by the current crisis and need food assistance.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47710

UN agency honors traditional farming sites in China, Iran, Republic of Korea

The UN Food and Agricultural Agency (FAO) designated the birthplace of jasmine tea and a nearly 3,000 year-old irrigation system as among the "globally important" traditional farming sites land use systems or landscapes. According to the FAO, Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) are considered "models of innovation, sustainability and adaptability, delivering important benefits to the ecosystem." The FAO officially recognized the sites at the April 28-29 meeting of its GIAHS Scientific and Steering Committee.

A few other sites on the list include: Iran's Qanat Irrigation system, an ancient network of farms that have survived for nearly three millennia; Korea's 22-thousand-kilometer system of black stone walls built from volcanic rock; and China's Xinghua Duotian Agrosystem famous for its method of water-land utilization.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47696#.U2meMfldU1I

Topic In Focus

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: Moving Towards 2030

This week in New York a myriad of State actors and NGOs met to discuss the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals ("SDGs"). The agenda included a broad array of topics ranging from water and sanitation for a sustainable world to ending child labor by 2030. The outcome, expected by this summer, will include a list of 10 topics and to be formally introduced by the United Nations General Assembly next year as the "Sustainable Development Goals." The SDGs are intended to be a focus of global attention and resources over the following 15 years.

The current list of goals includes 16 goals and 140 specific targets. Bjorn Lomborg of the Copenhagen Consensus, known for arguing that current efforts to cut carbon emissions to slow climate change cost too much and deliver too little, argues that phasing out fossil fuel subsidies and removing barriers to women's employment are "phenomenal" ideas, likely to deliver benefits that are at least 15 times as great as their costs. Others argue that issues such as climate change are suited for collective action, while eliminating poverty should be undertaken within individual countries rather than through foreign aid.

Skeptics argue that such ambitious goals are unsustainable. Supporters like the notable development economist Jeffrey D. Sachs argue that "such goal-setting has helped draw resources to make progress on intractable problems that were often ignored in the past."

Full story: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/07/business/economy/at-the-un-a-free-for-all-on-
setting-global-goals.html

Open Working Group Agenda: http://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/
3686WorkingDoc_0205_additionalsupporters.pdf

Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform: http://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/owg11.html

UN Committee Recent News

Editorial Publication: New Global Child Support Convention Holds Promise for Millions of Children Worldwide

Two members of the City Bar's United Nations Committee, Ulysses Smith and Menaka Nayer, published an editorial in the Huffington Post on May 2, advocating the City Bar's position supporting implementation of the 2007 Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support. The Convention, signed by the United States, addresses multilateral solutions to the problems of cross-border child-support collection.

Article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ulysses-smith/new-global-child-support-
_b_5254265.html?1399046776


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