UN chief raises alarm over missile launches from Syria and retaliatory strikes by Israel Defense Forces
UN chief António Guterres has expressed his “utmost concern” over missile launches from Syria targeting Israeli positions and retaliatory strikes by the Israel Defense Forces, urging all sides to cease military operations.
His Spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric, said that Mr. Guterres also called on the Security Council to “shoulder its responsibility” under the UN Charter.
He said the Secretary-General stood ready to work closely with all Council members in this regard.
In a statement, the UN chief also urged all actors to cease any provocative actions to avoid further conflict across a region which is already embroiled in terrible conflicts which have caused immense civilian suffering.
At least 23 people were killed in Syria, including five Syrian soldiers in the most recent strikes overnight, according to media reports.
New FAO guidelines on forest concessions
The Food and Agriculture Organization, or FAO, has published its first ever voluntary guidelines for so-called forest concessions in the tropics to make them more transparent, accountable and inclusive.
Forest concessions are legal instruments allowing local communities and businesses to use forests and their resources in return for payment or services.
While these policies have existed in many of the world’s poorest nations for decades, and generated jobs and income for people in remote areas, they have often been subject to abuse.
In some cases, they have led to increased corruption and bribery, as well as deforestation.
FAO hopes that the new guidelines will curb deforestation, combat climate change and benefit local communities.
Eva Muller, the Director of the Forestry Policy and Resources Division at FAO, said that well-managed forest concessions can improve lives.
“If well managed, forest concessions can have multiple socioeconomic and environmental benefits and increase the value of standing forests for present and future generations,” she said.
Violence at Afghan voter registration centres ‘an assault on democracy’ – Head of UN Mission
Deadly attacks targeting voter registration centres in Afghanistan “are nothing less than an assault on democracy”, the Head of the UN Assistance Mission in country, UNAMA, has said.
According to the UN Mission, 23 election-related security incidents have taken place since voter registration began on 14 April, resulting in 271 civilian deaths and injuries.
Seventy-five per cent of these attacks took place at schools or mosques that are doubling up as election-related facilities.
Parliamentary elections are scheduled in October.
Tadamichi Yamamoto, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Afghanistan and Head of UNAMA, said that the violence should “remind everyone that efforts toward peace in Afghanistan cannot be set aside”.
“The way forward must not rely on a military solution but rather a democratic process, and I once again urge the Taliban to take up President Ashraf Ghani’s peace offer, participate in the elections, and start direct talks with the Government,” said the UNAMA chief.