News in Brief 25 May 2017 – (AM)

25 May 2017

Children from North Africa “literally dying” to get to Europe: UNICEF

More children are braving the Central Mediterranean route to reach Italy which means that more children are literally dying to get there, the Deputy Executive Director for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Thursday.

Around 26,000 unaccompanied and separated children arrived to Italy last year, but if current trends hold, that record will be smashed in 2017, warned Justin Forsyth.

At least 200 children have died crossing the Mediterranean by boat to Italy so far this year, according to UNICEF’s latest estimates.

The updated child death figures come as leaders of G7 countries gather in Sicily, a major locus for the refugee and migrant crisis in Europe.

The group of seven industrialised nations, which include the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Canada, meet every year to further their economic goals.

On the eve of the summit, children, volunteers, the Italian coastguard, and Italian and UNICEF officials took part in a symbolic rescue of paper boats.

They wanted to commemorate the thousands of children who have risked their lives crossing the Central Mediterranean, and to send a message to the G7 to take action to protect children on the move.

Heads of UN food agencies urge warring parties in South Sudan to cease violence

Heads of the UN food agencies have appealed to warring parties in South Sudan to stop fighting and work together to end famine and severe hunger in the country.

José Graziano da Silva of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and David Beasley of the World Food Programme (WFP) wrapped up a visit to the country on Thursday, where they had visited the areas worst hit by the hunger crisis.

Around 5.5 million people in South Sudan, or almost half the population, do not know where their next meal is coming from.

Of these, around one million people are on the brink of famine.

Graziano da Silva and Beasley stressed that an immediate, massive response is critical, combining emergency food assistance and support for agriculture, livestock and fisheries.

A disaster can still be avoided, but the fighting has to stop now, they added.

Informal trade can give Africa a boost: FAO

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) presented a new report at a conference in Kigali, Rwanda, on Thursday, offering policy guidance on linking Africa's vast but informal cross-border trade to development goals.

According to the new publication, ‘Formalization of informal trade in Africa,’ transactions through informal cross-border trading, which do not comply with local tax and other rules, account for between 20 and 70 per cent of employment in sub-Saharan Africa.

The report suggests putting it on regular footing can lift sustainable prosperity and markedly improve prospects, especially  for women who constitute the largest share of such informal traders, comprising more than half in Western and Central Africa and about 70 percent in Southern Africa.

FAO senior economist and lead author of the report, Suffyan Koroma, said that “Facilitating formalization is the only viable policy option for Africa's transformation agenda to realize its objectives.”

Duration: 3'15"


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