United Nations

Climate & Environment
UN report: Fivefold increase in disasters related to climate change
UN report: Fivefold increase in disasters related to climate change
Credit: unsplash.com / Chris Gallagher

Disasters related to weather, climate and water have increased fivefold over the past 50 years. In this time period, over 11000 disasters of these kinds have been recorded, connected to 2 million deaths and 3.6 trillion US-dollars in economic losses.

Health
The Nobel Peace Prize 2020 goes to World Food Programme (WFP)
The Nobel Peace Prize 2020 goes to World Food Programme (WFP)
Credit: Courtesy World Food Programme

The Nobel Peace Prize 2020 has been awarded to the United Nation's World Food Programme (WFP) "for its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict".

Regional News • World
Merkel pleads for expanded UN Security Council

On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) invoked its unity and willingness to reform. "In the end, the United Nations can only be as good as its members are united," Merkel said in a video message on Monday evening in New York for the UN anniversary ceremony.

She stated that the UN must continue to develop in order to meet the global challenges of the 21st century.

Regional News • Middle East
U.S. unilaterally declares U.N. sanctions on Iran are back in force
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Credit: Bundesministerium für europäische und internationale Angelegenheiten (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The United States unilaterally proclaimed on Saturday that United Nations sanctions against Iran are back in force. The U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said "Today, the United States welcomes the return of virtually all previously terminated UN sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran."

Pompeo also stated "If UN member states fail to fulfill their obligations to implement these sanctions, the United States is prepared to use our domestic authorities to impose consequences for those failures and ensure that Iran does not reap the benefits of UN-prohibited activity."

In a joint letter to the U.N. Security Council, France, Germany, and United Kingdom said "Any decision or action taken with a view to re-installing [the sanctions] would be incapable of legal effect."

And the Russian foreign ministry stated "The illegitimate initiatives and actions of the United States by definition cannot have international legal consequences for other countries."

Climate & Environment
United Nations members failed to reach goals to safeguard biodiversity, UN reports
United Nations members failed to reach goals to safeguard biodiversity, UN reports
Credit: Andreas Weith / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

According to the United Nations' Global Biodiversity Outlook report, zero of twenty goals that had been established in 2010 with the goal to preserve nature have been met fully.

Six of the 20 goals have been "partially achieved" namely preventing invasive species, conserving protected areas, access to and sharing benefits from genetic resources, biodiversity strategies and action plans, sharing information, and mobilizing resources.

The other targets only show slow progress or move in the opposite direction.

Regional News • Middle East
US pressures Assad with new round of sanctions

The US has introduced new sanctions on the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The sanctions fall under the Caesar Act, which went into effect in June, 2020 and targets industries and entities that deal with the Assad administration, including those in Iran and Russia. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the purpose of the sanctions is to pressure Assad into ending the war, which has entered its ninth year.

Syria is currently facing an economic crisis, with many struggling to find food and other basic goods. Syrian officials have blamed the worsening conditions on American and EU sanctions.

Kelly Craft, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, stated the sanctions are not meant to harm civilians, nor do they target humanitarian efforts.

Regional News • Africa
Sudan: 60+ people killed in armed attack in Darfur region
Sudan: 60+ people killed in armed attack in Darfur region
Credit: Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports an armed attack in the Masteri village near the Darfur region in Sudan. Over 60 people were killed, further 60 wounded. The Sudanese government has not reported nor commented on the attack.

The U.N. statement added that this attack "was one of the latest of a series of security incidents reported over the last week that left several villages and houses burned, markets and shops looted, and infrastructure damaged."

Regional News • Americas • United States
UN human rights offices demands that journalists can cover US protests without being attacked
UN human rights offices demands that journalists can cover US protests without being attacked
Credit: unsplash.com / Mat Reding

The United Nations human rights office has stated that the protests in the United States "must be able to continue without those participating in them and also the people reporting on them, the journalists, risking arbitrary arrest or detention, being subject to unnecessary, disproportionate or discriminatory use of force or suffering other violations of their rights".

Regional News • World
UN holds meeting over fears that abandoned tanker off Yemens's coast could release 1.1 million barrels of crude into ocean
UN holds meeting over fears that abandoned tanker off Yemens's coast could release 1.1 million barrels of crude into ocean
Credit: Twitter (Reproduction)

United Nations have met and discussed possible actions to prevent a breach of the FSO Safer tanker that is anchored off Yemen's coast near the port of Hodeida. The 45-year-old tanker has been abandoned, is under the control of the Iran-backed Huthis and carries 1.1 million barrels of crude oil. The UN Security Council fears that in case the tanker explodes or leaks, the oil would destroy the environment and livelihood of tens of thousands of people that depend on fishing in the area.

The UN Security Council has reportedly proposed a plan to conduct repairs on the ship to which the Huthis had previously agreed in 2019, only for the mission to get cancelled in the last minute. In May a leak in the engine room has been repaired alorad but according to the British UN mission "a permanent solution is urgently needed".

Regional News • World
The German Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee calls the new UN agreement for aid to Syria as a "failure of the West all along the line"
Norbert Röttgen in 2021
Norbert Röttgen in 2021 Credit: Wolfgang Henry / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

On Saturday the UN Security Council agreed to continue the humanitarian aid to Syria only in a limited way. Due to the new regulation, only one border crossing for aid deliveries from Turkey to Northern Syria is planned, before there were two. According to aid organizations, this new regulation could endanger the care of millions of people in need.

Norbert Röttgen, the german chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, calls this decision a "failure of the West all along the line".

He further said to the newspaper "Die Welt": "This failure is due to the withdrawal of the United States and the subsequent vacuum that Russia was happy to fill. And it is the utter reluctance of Europeans not to represent their own interests in the region. The consequences of the displacement and killing of civilians by Assad and Putin, now with China's support in the UN Security Council, affect Europe. The displaced persons will seek protection from us through Turkey."

Regional News • Africa
UN official calls for help as Yemen faces "darkest moment I have ever seen" over starvation
Mark Lowcock, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator
Mark Lowcock, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Credit: DFID - UK Department for International Development (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

United Nations secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, Sir Mark Lowcock has stated that he has "worked on Yemen for many years now, seeing many bad moments. This is the darkest moment I have ever seen" as the country battles the Covid-19 pandemic and starvation. People are forced to stay at home and can not afford food anymore. He states that the Yemen operation is in funding danger as donor nations are cutting the money amidst the Covid-19 recession that has hit their own economies. Sir Mark Lowcock stated that "We raised lots of money for it last year. More than $3 billion, and that enabled us to feed 13 million people a month. Now the money has fallen away".

Regional News • World
United Nations release report calling for end of gay and transgender "conversion therapy"

The practice that is used with the intention to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of a person has been subject to a report released by the United Nations. Currently the "conversion therapy" is only banned in five countries around the world with minors often being subjected to the practice, according to the report. The American Medical Association said in a statement that the practice has "no foundation as scientifically valid medical care" and the U.N. says that it "may amount to torture" in their report.

Regional News • Africa
DR Congo: UN experts murder suspect arrested

Militia leader Trésor Mputu Kankonde was arrested on Saturday for his involvement in the killing of two UN experts. United Nations experts Zaida Catalana and Michael Sharp were killed in 2017. They were investigating mass graves in the Democratic Republic of Congo which were a result of the Kamwina Nsapu rebellion between the Kamwina Nsapu militia (Black Ant) and the Congolese security forces.

Regional News • World
Dispute between US and China over the U.N. Security Council Covid-19 resolution

Opposite positions about the World Health Organization are paralyzing the U.N. Security Council decision about Covid-19 crisis.

China thinks the WHOs role is major in the current pandemic crisis management, hence it should be explicitly included in any resolution; while the US remains extremely critical against the WHO since President Donal Trump accused the organization of failure and decided to suspend their funding in April.

Yesterday, Tunisia, Security Council elected member, and France, permanent member, made a joint proposal for a resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire in major conflicts to ease better management of the pandemic.

Climate & Environment
Ozone hole three times the size of Greenland over Arctic has healed

The ozone hole had been three times as big as Greenland and been the biggest one since 2011. The UN World Meteorological Organization has now announced that the hole has healed and is closed now. According to the scientists, the lower air pollution due to the coronavirus had probably nothing to do with it.