Libyans ‘yearning for united, sovereign nation,’ UN envoy tells Security Council
Conversations taking place across Libya indicate that citizens are “yearning for a united and sovereign nation,” the top United Nations official in the country told the Security Council in New York on Monday.
UN Special Representative Ghassan Salamé, who heads the UN support mission, UNSMIL, was referring to the National Conference taking place across the country as a way of giving all Libyans a say in shaping the future of their country.
Violence between rival groups has plagued the oil-rich North African nation since shortly after the 2011 overthrow of former leader Muammar Gaddafi.
The National Conference has so far been convened in 27 different locations “without a single security incident,” drawing thousands of participants, Mr. Salamé said.
In total, it will be held in more than 40 locations, including Libyan communities overseas, by the end of June.
“Libyans from all political stripes and segments of society gathered to enter the political conversation, many for the first time with an enthusiasm that could not have been predicted,” Mr. Salamé said, speaking via video-link.
Mr. Salamé added that some points of consensus have begun to crystalize, but to create a truly unified state, it needed to become more decentralized.
UN health agency, partners gear up for Ebola vaccination campaign in DR Congo
Following the recent outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners are gearing up for a major vaccination campaign in high-risk areas.
More than 7,500 doses of the vaccine have already been deployed in the north-western Equator Province, where 46 suspected, probable and confirmed cases have been reported, according to latest figures.
Most cases are located in and around Bikoro - a remote rural town near the Congo River, but four are confirmed in Mbandaka, the provincial capital with a population of over 1 million people.
“Vaccination will be key to controlling this outbreak,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “We are grateful for the support of our partners in making this possible.”
Health workers operating in affected areas are being vaccinated on Monday and community outreach has started to prepare for the so-called ring vaccination process, where contacts are traced and identified.
The UN peacekeeping mission in the country, known as MONUSCO, is also stepping in to help, by operating flights between Mbandaka and Bikoro and setting up a logistics base in Mbandaka airport.
Methamphetamine trafficking in Asia’s Mekong reaches ‘alarming levels’, UN warns
Organized crime gangs in Asia’s Mekong region are increasing the production and trafficking of highly-addictive methamphetamine – commonly known as meth - senior drug policy leaders told a UN-backed regional conference, which opened on Monday in Myanmar’s capital, Nay Pyi Taw.
According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Mekong has long been associated with the production and trafficking of heroin, but that has significantly changed in recent years.
While opium and heroin production have declined, criminal gangs have intensified production and trafficking of both low grade meth and high purity crystal-meth, to “alarming levels”, says the agency.
Several Mekong countries have already passed the total number of seizures for all of last year, just a few months into 2018.
UNODC warned that illicit meth trade from the so-called Golden Triangle – the border areas of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar – has now extended into countries such as Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Malaysia and Indonesia, with the substance being seized in high volumes there.
Jeremy Douglas, UNODC Regional Representative, told the conference that responding to the situation requires “acknowledging some difficult realities,” and agreeing to a new regional strategy.