FAO says Caribbean can make history eradicating hunger

Agriculture-0ecsPUNTA CANA, Dominican Republic, CMC – Head of the United Nations Food and Agricultural agency (FAO) José Graziano da Silva says Latin America and the Caribbean could become the first developing region to completely eradicate hunger, with continued and strengthened implementation of a regional food security plan.

“This region has all the necessary conditions to achieve this, starting with the great political commitment that sustains the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) Food Security, Nutrition and Hunger Eradication Plan,” the Director General said. (more…)

Haiti: UN’s new approach on cholera puts people at heart of response

A shipment of cholera vaccines arrives in Haiti. (Photo via UN/MINUSTAH/Logan Abassi)
A shipment of cholera vaccines arrives in Haiti. (Photo via UN/MINUSTAH/Logan Abassi)

United Nations – The response to cholera in Haiti will be a “long and thorough battle,” but the United Nations will stand by the Haitian people and authorities, Stéphane Dujarric, the Spokesman for the Secretary-General, said on the eve of the launch of the Organization’s new approach to tackling the epidemic in the country.

The new approach was announced last August and will be launched by Secretary-GeneralBan Ki-moon to the UN General Assembly on Thursday, 1 December. It includes rapid interventions in areas where cases are reported and the prevention of future high-risk public health crises.

The new approach on cholera also focuses on people and proposes the establishment of a program of material assistance and support to Haitians directly affected by the disease.

“This is an approach that goes to the root of the problem with long-term investments in the sanitation facilities that the country needs to eradicate cholera; short-term investments to halt the progression of cholera; and, most importantly, putting people and communities affected by cholera at the heart of our efforts,” Mr. Dujarric said in an interview with the UN.

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Security Council recommends former Prime Minister of Portugal Guterres as next UN Secretary-General 

António Guterres

(UNITED NATIONS) 6 October 2016 – The Security Council today formally chose the former Prime Minister of Portugal, António Guterres, as its nominee to be the next Secretary-General of the United Nations for a five-year term when incumbent Ban Ki-moon steps down on 31 December.

The recommendation, made in a resolution adopted in a private meeting by acclamation, now goes to the 193-member General Assembly for formal approval.

‘Bye, bye measles’

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) celebrate the elimination of measles, the first region in the world to accomplish this. (Photo via WHO/PAHO)
The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) celebrate the elimination of measles, the first region in the world to accomplish this. (Photo via WHO/PAHO)
“It is proof of the remarkable success that can be achieved when countries work together in solidarity towards a common goal. It is the result of a commitment made more than two decades ago, in 1994, when the countries of the Americas pledged to end measles circulation by the turn of the 21st century.” – PAHO Director, Carissa Etienne

The region of the Americas is the first in the world to have eliminated measles, a viral disease that can cause severe health problems, the United Nations health agency has declared.

“This is an historic day for our region and indeed the world,” said Carissa F. Etienne, Director of the Pan American Health Organisation of the UN World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) yesterday, noting that the achievement culminates a 22-year effort involving mass vaccination against measles, mumps and rubella throughout the Americas.

“It is proof of the remarkable success that can be achieved when countries work together in solidarity towards a common goal. It is the result of a commitment made more than two decades ago, in 1994, when the countries of the Americas pledged to end measles circulation by the turn of the 21st century,” she added.

The announcement was made during the 55th Directing Council of PAHO/WHO, which is currently under way and is being attended by ministers of health from throughout the Americas.

Measles is the fifth vaccine-preventable disease to be eliminated from the Americas, after the regional eradication of smallpox in 1971, poliomyelitis in 1994, and rubella and congenital rubella syndrome in 2015.

Before mass vaccination was initiated in 1980, measles caused nearly 2.6 million annual deaths worldwide. In the Americas, 101,800 deaths were attributable to measles between 1971 and 1979. A cost-effectiveness study on measles elimination in Latin America and the Caribbean has estimated that with vaccination, 3.2 million measles cases and 16,000 deaths between 2000 and 2020 will have been prevented in the region, WHO said.

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Achieving Global Goals ‘not about ticking boxes,’ Dominica tells UN

Foreign Minister Francine Baron of Dominica (Photo via UN/Manuel Elias)
Foreign Minister Francine Baron of Dominica (Photo via UN/Manuel Elias)
Foreign Minister Maxine Pamela Ometa McClean of Barbados . (Photo via UN/Cia Pak)
Foreign Minister Maxine Pamela Ometa McClean of Barbados . (Photo via UN/Cia Pak)

As the world sharpened its focus on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it must recognise the stakes for small island developing States, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Dominica told the United Nations on Saturday. She noted that the 2030 Agenda must drive action on climate change, environmental protection and access to clean energy, all critical concerns for Caribbean countries.

“Realising the Sustainable Development Goals is not about ticking boxes, but about making a real difference,” said Francine Baron. She stressed that the effects of climate change continued to impact development in her region, as countries were experiencing more severe and prolonged droughts, often times followed by sudden and high volumes of rainfall which resulted in massive soil erosion and catastrophic loss and damage.

“Likewise, the ongoing phenomenon of beach erosion, destruction of coral reefs – so vital to our tourism product and the character of our islands – risk untold damage, to our prized tourism assets,” she said, calling for more urgent and wide-ranging action “to ensure our very survival.”

In this regard, she looked forward to building on the momentum generated by the Paris Agreement ahead of the next meeting of the States Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in Marrakesh next year.

As an example of the urgency of the issue, Ms. Baron noted that Dominica had been painfully reminded of that in 2015, when Tropical Storm Erika had killed 30 of its citizens. That event had caused economic damage estimated at $483 million, the equivalent of 90 per cent of national gross domestic product (GDP), she recalled.

Read more at: United Nations News Centre