UN chief launches new disarmament agenda to secure ‘our world and our future’
The UN Secretary-General announced a bold new vision for global disarmament to help eliminate nuclear arsenals and other deadly weapons from a world that he says is just “one mechanical, electronic and human error away” from destruction.
António Guterres unveiled his new agenda, entitled “Securing Our Common Future”, at the University of Geneva, in Switzerland.
He outlined the importance of disarmament to world peace and security:
“Disarmament prevents and ends violence. Disarmament supports sustainable development. And disarmament is true to our values and principles.”
The UN chief noted that his new agenda comes at a time when “arms control has been in the news every day, sometimes in relation to Iran and Syria, sometimes the Korean Peninsula”.
The agenda focuses on the three priorities of weapons of mass destruction, conventional weapons and new battlefield technologies, which, if used maliciously, could help start a new arms race, endangering future generations.
HIV/AIDS costing billions in lost earnings, says new UN report
A new UN report published on Thursday, examines the past and future effects of the global HIV/AIDS epidemic and assesses the economic and social impact of the disease on the workplace.
The report published by the International Labour Organization, or ILO, and UNAIDS, the UN agency dedicated to tackling the virus, says that workers’ deaths attributed to HIV and AIDS are projected to fall to 425,000 worldwide in 2020, down from a high of 1.3 million in 2005.
But the thousands of deaths still due to the disease are “totally avoidable” if treatment can be scaled up and fast tracked, said ILO chief, Guy Ryder.
Noting that people in their late 30s are most affected, the ILO Director-General pointed out that: “This is the age workers are normally at the peak of their productive life.”
This killer disease not only costs lives, but billions in lost earnings, with a projection of $7.2 billion in 2020.
Other “hidden costs,” are also borne by household members, including some 140,000 children who are expected to carry what ILO refers to as the “child-labour level chore burden”.
UN releases new money to combat escalating humanitarian needs in the Sahel
Turning to Africa’s Sahel region, the Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, has released $30 million from the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund to urgently scale up relief efforts.
An acute drought, combined with exceptionally high food prices and worsening insecurity there have escalated humanitarian needs.
Thousands of families have exhausted their food reserves and are cutting back on daily meals.
Up to 1.6 million children are at risk of life-threatening malnutrition, and 5 million people need food and livelihood assistance in what is expected to be the worst lean season in years.
Mr. Lowcock stressed that to avoid a catastrophe, the international community needs to act early to reach the most vulnerable.