This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
More violence in Idlib frames Brussels Syria pledging conference
Foreign ministers from more than 50 countries gathered on Thursday at a joint European Union-UN pledging conference, seeking nearly $9 billion to assist the people of war-torn Syria.
In a recorded message, UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged countries to renew their “financial, humanitarian and political commitments to the Syrian people, and to the countries and communities hosting refugees”.
UN emergency relief chief Mark Lowcock expressed alarm over the deteriorating situation in Idlib, in the country’s north-west, where more than 90 people were killed by shelling and airstrikes last month, nearly half of them children.
Describing the conflict as “one of the great crises of our time”, Mr. Lowcock said a large-scale military assault on Idlib, the last opposition stronghold, “would create the worst humanitarian catastrophe the world has seen in the 21st century”.
Build sustainable societies, by switching to Green initiatives
Turning to the health of the planet, the UN environment agency and the European Union (EU) kicked off a “SWITCH to Green” global initiative on Thursday to support governments in transitioning to more environmentally-friendly economies.
The initiative is based on the understanding that an economy based on sustainable consumption and production patterns is the key to sustainable development.
By unleashing access to green financing, policies, standards and eco-entrepreneurship, the initiative aims to turn environmental challenges into opportunities.
Satya Tripathi, the Head of UN Environment’s New York Office said the plan also “offers multiple benefits like job creation, poverty reduction, economic diversification and income generation.”
Amend drug laws to eliminate racial discrimination, UN experts say
Globally, people of African descent experience discrimination at every stage of the criminal justice system, UN rights experts warned on Thursday.
They are more likely to be stopped, searched, arrested, convicted, and harshly sentenced for drug crimes, the independent experts said in a statement.
They argue that States fighting the world drug problem must acknowledge and amend the devastating impact of their methods on people of African descent.
“The global war on drugs has disproportionately targeted people of African descent and disregarded the massive costs to the dignity, humanity and freedom of individuals,” the experts stressed.
They are calling on countries to address racial discrimination in enforcing drug laws and accept there are stark racial disparities in prosecutions and incarcerations.
Liz Scaffidi, UN News.