UN Middle East envoy expresses concern ahead of Gaza march
A senior UN official is urging restraint ahead of mass demonstrations scheduled in Gaza on Friday.
Nikolay Mladenov, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, is monitoring developments related to what has been called the ‘Great Return March.’
The demonstrations began last Friday when thousands of Palestinians marched to Gaza’s border with Israel to protest the blockade on the enclave, resulting in deadly clashes between the protestors and the Israeli security forces.
At least 15 people reportedly were killed and scores injured, leading the UN Secretary-General to call for an independent and transparent investigation into these incidents.
In a statement issued on Thursday, The UN chief has reiterated his call on all sides to refrain from any act that could lead to further violence or place civilians in harm’s way, particularly children.
António Guterres urged parties to avoid confrontation and exercise maximum restraint.
He said: “I particularly urge Israel to exercise extreme caution with the use of force in order to avoid casualties. Civilians must be able to exercise their right to demonstrate peacefully.”
UN-backed study finds world increasingly investing in solar power
Global investment in solar energy jumped 18 per cent last year, reaching nearly $161 billion.
The finding comes in a UN-backed report launched on Thursday.
China was a major driver behind the surge in solar, with some $86.5 billion invested.
The world is “banking on sunshine” due to falling costs for solar electricity and for wind power, to some extent, according to the report.
Investments in renewable energy, such as solar power, lead to more jobs and less pollution, among other benefits, according to Erik Solheim, head of the UN Environment Progamme (UNEP).
His agency published the report jointly with the Frankfurt School-UNEP Collaborating Centre, and Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Rise in grains, dairy push food prices upwards for second month: FAO
“Robust” increases in the price of maize, wheat and dairy products have led to a rise in global food prices for the second consecutive month.
That’s according to the UN agency which monitors the monthly change in the international price of five major food commodity groups: meat, dairy, cereals, vegetable oils and sugar.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said prolonged dryness in the United States and cold wet conditions in parts of Europe contributed to the increase in wheat prices.
The cost of maize was driven by “robust” demand worldwide, as well as “deteriorating crop prospects” in Argentina, while strong global demand also boosted the price of butter, cheese and whole milk powder.
FAO further reported that while worldwide cereal production hit a record level in 2017, early forecasts indicate there will be a decline this year.