News in Brief 18 January 2018

18 January 2018

Dialogue and confidence vital to prevent, resolve conflicts, says UN chief

Amid growing concerns over weapons of mass destruction, UN Secretary-General António Guterres called for comprehensive political solutions that include dialogue and negotiation to prevent, mitigate and resolve conflicts.

Speaking at a Security Council session on non-proliferation and confidence-building measures, the UN chief urged the 15-member body to provide leadership by demonstrating unity and continuing to highlight the importance of diplomacy as an essential means for building confidence.

He underscored that amid increasing military budgets and over-accumulation of weapons, confidence-building measures are extremely important to help decrease tensions and avert conflict.

In his remarks, the Secretary-General also reiterated his support for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, saying its preservation is in the interest of the Iranian people and the international community at large.

On the part of the UN, Mr. Guterres said that the world body can play a central role in assisting Member States.

“The United Nations’ position as an ‘honest broker’ allows us to act as a venue in which all parties can engage in dialogue — whether for the development of new norms and values, or to resolve existing disputes and promote understanding.”

Humanitarian situation in war-torn Syria continues to deteriorate

The humanitarian situation in Syria continues to deteriorate with fighting forcing over 200,000 people from their homes in Idlib governorate since 15 December, the UN reported.

According to spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric, the increased hostilities have also had a devastating impact on civilian infrastructure and medical facilities.

Between 5 and 8 January, at least three primary health-care facilities were reportedly rendered inoperable as a result of attacks, and on 17 January, two ambulances were reportedly destroyed and one physician injured by explosive devices in the vicinity of Beir Jia’an.

Mr. Dujarric underscored the need for all parties to the conflict to ensure that civilians and medical facilities are protected:

“The UN reminds all parties of their obligation to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure, including medical facilities and medical workers, as required by the international humanitarian law and international human rights law.”

Climate change impacts worsen extreme weather phenomenon around the world – WMO

2015, 2016 and 2017 have been confirmed as the three warmest years on record, the UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said Thursday, warning that the impacts are evident in damages worth billions of dollars, reversed development gains, and death toll in the tens of thousands.

According to Petteri Taalas, the Secretary-General of WMO, the long-term temperature trend is “far more important” than the ranking of individual years.

“Seventeen of the 18 warmest years on record have all been during this century, and the degree of warming during the past three years has been exceptional,” he said.

At the same time, rising temperatures tell only a small part of the story.

The warmth in 2017 was accompanied by extreme weather in many countries across the globe.

The United States, for instance, had its most expensive year ever in terms of weather and climate disasters, including devastating wild fires in the state of California.

In other countries and regions, hurricanes, cyclones, floods and drought wreaked suffering on millions.

According to WMO, its full report on the state of the climate in 2017 will be issued in March.

The report will provide a comprehensive overview of temperature variability and trends, high-impact events, and long-term indicators of climate change such as increasing carbon dioxide concentrations, Arctic and Antarctic sea ice, sea level rise and ocean acidification.

Audio Credit:
Vibhu Mishra, United Nations
Audio Duration:


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