This is the news in brief from the United Nations.
UNHCR welcomes deal to end latest migrant stand-off in Mediterranean Sea
The chief of UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, Filippo Grandi, gave a guarded welcome to the decision by several European countries to take in 450 migrants who had been stranded at sea for days.
After several days of diplomatic stand-off, the Governments of France, Germany, Italy, Malta, Spain and Portugal, agreed to each take in a share of the migrants and they were able to disembark in Sicily on Tuesday.
The Head of UNHCR said that too little is being done to address the desperation that is driving people to flee across the Mediterranean and that a “ship-by-ship” arrangement is not sustainable.
In June, at a European Union Summit, several Member States had agreed to collaborate and better manage the issue of migrants rescued at sea.
Since the beginning of the year, close to 51,000 migrants and refugees have arrived in Europe via the Mediterranean. Another 1,000 have died attempting the crossing.
Two besieged towns evacuated in Syria
In Syria, a sigh of relief on Thursday for some civilians who have been living under siege for years, as the entire population of both Foah and Kafraya were reportedly evacuated following a local agreement between parties to the conflict.
The two largely Shia pro-Government towns had been besieged by non-state armed groups since October 2015, said the UN Deputy Spokesperson, Farhan Haq, briefing journalists at UN Headquarters in New York.
“The United Nations last provided humanitarian assistance to the besieged areas in September 2017. An estimated 6,900 people were reportedly escorted by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent to the Al-Eiss crossing in southern rural Aleppo Governorate. In addition, 17 medical cases, accompanied by 21 family members, were brought to hospitals in Aleppo city.”
Although the UN was not part of the negotiations for the agreement or its implementation, said Mr. Haq, it stands ready to provide life-saving assistance wherever necessary.
He called for any evacuation of civilians to be safe, voluntary, well-informed and to a place of their own choosing.
Also on Thursday, a UN/Syrian Arab Red Crescent convoy delivered food, nutrition, health, education, water and other critical supplies to 19,500 people in need, in and around Beit Jan, in Rural Damascus governorate. This is the first humanitarian convoy to reach the area, which was besieged since 2013.
International Financial and Trade Institutions in focus
The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) brought together key global trade stakeholders for a high-level policy dialogue on Thursday to discuss International Financial and Trade Institutions.
The dialogue is to focus on trends in the global economy and international trade through the prism of sustainable development.
The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have been taking part, as well as the World Trade Organization, the UN Conference on Trade and Development, and the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, DESA.
Yasmina Guerda, UN News.