News in Brief 30 November 2017 (AM)

Put children at centre of global migration agreements: UNICEF

Commitments to protect children should be central to global agreements on migration and refugees.

That’s the opinion expressed by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in a report published on Thursday.

It was launched ahead of a two-day meeting in Mexico next week that will feed into the drafting of a Global Compact for Migration.

The report highlights best practices for the care and protection of refugee and migrant children who UNICEF said are “especially vulnerable” to xenophobia, abuse, sexual exploitation and lack of access to social services.

It also outlines a six-point agenda for action that includes measures such as ending the detention of children seeking refugee status or migrating, and keeping families together as the best way to protect these youngsters.

Globally, 50 million children are on the move, according to UNICEF, 28 million of whom have been displaced by conflict.

Countries call for action against pests and diseases threatening food supply

Urgent action is needed to fight three invasive animal and plant pests and diseases which could threaten global food security.

That’s the message from representatives of more than 20 countries at a meeting in Rome on Thursday, organized by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and its partners.

The objective was to mobilize more support to manage and eradicate fall armyworm; peste des petits ruminants, otherwise known as sheep and goat plague, and banana fusarium wilt.

FAO said together, these rapidly-spreading, cross-border pests and diseases could affect the livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers.

They also have the potential to hinder economic prospects of entire countries and regions, in addition to spreading to new areas.

Fall armyworm, which can feed on over 80 different crops, is native to the Americas. However, it has been affecting smallholder maize farmers across sub-Saharan Africa since last year.

Peste des petits ruminants is a viral disease that kills up to 90 per cent of infected sheep and goats, which are known as small ruminants.

It was first reported in Ivory Coast in 1942, and has spread to more than 70 countries, with 80 per cent of the world’s sheep and goats now at risk.

FAO described banana fusarium wilt as “one of the most destructive banana diseases worldwide.”

A new strain has caused serious losses in Southeast Asia and has recently spread to the Middle East, Mozambique and South Asia.

Asia-Pacific governments meet to accelerate progress for people with disabilities

Representatives from 30 Asia-Pacific countries are meeting in Beijing this week to step up efforts to improve the rights of the 690 million people with disabilities in the region and beyond.

The meeting brings together senior government officials, policymakers, civil society and academia to review progress in implementing a decade-long strategy which began in 2013.

It has been organized by the UN’s regional body, ESCAP, together with the Chinese government.

In her speech at the opening of the ministerial segment on Thursday, UNESCAP chief Shamshad Akhtar pointed out that one in every six people in Asia and the Pacific has a disability, yet they are among the most marginalized groups in society.

Other challenges facing people with disabilities include being underrepresented in political and decision-making processes.

She told participants “In our quest for inclusive growth, we must respond to the call of the 2030 Agenda to leave no one behind. Supporting and including persons with disabilities will be fundamental to translating this ambitious agenda into reality.”

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a plan of action to transform the world, including through eradicating poverty and hunger, and ensuring that all people can fulfill their potential in dignity and equality.

Source: United Nations Radio