Pacific 

Around 600,000 Afghan children face death through malnutrition without emergency funds: UNICEF

Speaking in Geneva, UN Children’s Fund spokesperson Christophe Boulierac, likened the humanitarian situation in the war-torn country to “one of the worst disasters on earth”. And he warned that increased violence and last year’s severe drought have left hundreds of thousands of under-fives, critically vulnerable in the west and north of the country. “There are two million children in the country which suffer from acute malnutrition, among them 600,000 children that suffer from severe acute malnutrition,” he said. “A child that suffers from acute severe malnutrition is a child that…

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Europe 

Children in crisis-torn eastern Ukraine ‘too terrified to learn’ amid spike in attacks on schools

Since the start of eastern Ukraine’s five-year conflict, more than 750 educational facilities on both sides have been damaged or destroyed, UNICEF said, explaining that there has been a four-fold increase in attacks on schools during the first four months of the year, compared to the same period in 2018. Between January and April, there were 12 attacks on schools, compared to three incidents during the same period last year. The alarming increase is reminiscent of the violence experienced by schoolchildren and teachers in 2017, when there were more than…

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Pacific 

FROM THE FIELD: Saving the tree kangaroos of Papua New Guinea

Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo | Papua New Guinea’s rare cloud forests are a high elevation rainforest characterised by low-level cloud cover (14 June 2011).  The tree kangaroo which is only found in the rainforests of Australia, West Papua, and PNG is threatened due to hunting and habitat destruction. But now the local and indigenous people of PNG, who typically hunted the marsupial, are acting as custodians of the ancient rainforests by promoting the sustainable use of the land and the management of what is now a conservation area. Ahead of International…

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Europe 

Promoting ‘a healthy sustainable future’, the UN health agency engages young and young at heart to ‘Walk the Talk’

In the lead up to Monday’s 72nd annual World Health Assembly (WHA), the World Health Organization (WHO) gathered people of all ages and abilities for a free walk/run event that ranged from three to eight kilometres.   Health advocates and the general public joined Assembly delegates and the UN family in recognizing the value of healthy lifestyles and the importance of all people having access the health services.   “Today is not only about sport”, said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “It is about promoting health for all”.  Special guest Margaret…

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Pacific 

UN chief calls for ‘enlightened self-interest’ from world leaders to save ‘the whole planet’ from climate change 

“Over the past week, I have witnessed first-hand the impacts of climate change in the Pacific Island States”, the UN chief said in a statement concluding his visit to the region. “They contribute very little to the global climate emergency and yet, they are the ones that are being most affected”.   He did not mince words in saying that for some of them, “climate change is now an existential threat”. Pointing out that entire villages are being relocated, livelihoods destroyed and people becoming sick from climate-related diseases, Mr. Guterres…

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Pacific 

Stop Tuvalu and ‘the world from sinking’ UN chief tells island nation facing existential threat from rising seas

“We must stop Tuvalu from sinking and the world from sinking with Tuvalu”, Secretary-General António Guterres said in a tweet posted during his on-going trip to the South Pacific. Pointing out that Tuvalu is “on the extreme frontlines of the global climate emergency”, he noted that “rising seas threaten to drown this island nation – a sign of what’s in store for us all”. At a joint press conference with Tuvalu’s Prime Minister, Enele Sosene Sopoaga, the UN chief told journalists: “You are on the frontline of the war on…

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Pacific 

‘Climate change is the battle of my life’, UN chief tells students living on the frontline in Fiji

Mr. Guterres was greeted on board the Uto ni Yalo, a traditional emission-free ship built as part of a naval fleet that combines the ancient craft of Pacific shipbuilding with modern materials and green technology. “As Secretary-General, I have many battles”, the UN chief tweeted. “As a grandfather, the battle against climate change is the battle of my life” adding “it’s a battle we’re not winning”. The ship, whose name means “Heart of the Spirit”, has circumnavigated the world twice, sailing over 80,000 nautical miles to countries in the Northern and…

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Pacific 

UN chief lauds Fijians as ‘natural global leaders’ on climate, environment, hails ‘symbiotic relationship’ with land and sea

“Fiji has taken on the sceptics and the deniers” in a loud and clear voice, he said, “and the world is listening”. The Secretary-General outlined that Fiji was the first small island State to preside over the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and in 2017, became the first emerging market to issue a sovereign “green bond”, dedicated to environmental conservation. It introduced an Environment and Climate Adaptation Levy; launched a rural electrification programme to reduce diesel emissions; and has relocated villages and established guidelines on how to support…

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Pacific 

UN chief outlines ‘intertwined challenges’ of climate change, ocean health facing Pacific nations on the ‘frontline’

“The Pacific region is on the frontline of climate change”, he said. “That means you are also our important allies in the fight against it”. The UN chief said that he was there “to see the region’s climate pressures firsthand, and to learn about the work being undertaken by communities here in Fiji and elsewhere to bolster resilience”. Noting that the last four years were the hottest on record, Mr. Guterres highlighted recent ice losses in Greenland and Antarctica, saying that “sea levels will rise a full meter by 2100”.…

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Pacific 

Myanmar: Conflict resolution at ‘total standstill’, military commanders must answer for crimes against humanity

Myanmar has not done enough to resolve the nation’s internal-conflicts or protect human rights, including those of over a million ethnic Rohingya civilians who have been forced into exile, according to FFM Chairperson Marzuki Darusman. “There has been no movement toward a resolution of the crisis”, Mr. Darusman said after a 10-day visit to Bangladesh, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. “The situation is at a total standstill.” There has been no movement toward a resolution of the crisis – Fact-Finding Mission Head  The FFM documented in its 444-page report to the Human Rights…

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