This is the News in Brief from the United Nations
Millions of lives at risk from lack of basic water facilities
Millions of lives are at risk from a lack of basic water facilities.
This is one of the findings of a first-of-its-kind assessment from the World Health Organization (WHO) and UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), which contains an appeal to countries to do more to prevent the spread of treatable infections that can turn deadly, if not washed or flushed away.
The report also finds that one in five health care facilities has no toilet or latrine, a problem that affects at least 1.5 billion people.
Those in the world’s poorest countries are the most vulnerable, since almost half of facilities in Least Developed Countries do not offer basic water services.
17 million women there, give birth in health centres with inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene supplies.
Daniel Johnson from UN News asked Maggie Montgomery, WHO’s Technical Officer, what she expects to happen, now that the report has been released.
First of all, I think that we can expect that at the national level, countries take a look at this data and start to ask why their country is doing so poorly. There’s a World Health Assembly Resolution for the first time which very squarely places this issue within the Ministry of Health mandate, so all of a sudden ministries of health are going to have to pay attention to the fact that, not only are their services sub-standard, but they’re making commitments about developing national action plans, about funding this work, about regularly monitoring and reporting back, not only to WHO, but also their own constituencies about what they’re doing to improve the situation.
UN chief pays tribute to Egypt’s role in avoiding escalation of violence in Gaza
UN Secretary-General António Guterres has paid tribute to Egypt’s role in avoiding a “dramatic” escalation of violence in Gaza.
At a press conference held in Cairo on Wednesday, Mr. Guterres said that Egypt is a “fundamental partner for the UN in relation to peace and security in the region,” whose commitment has created the conditions for more effective humanitarian aid to Gaza, and is playing an ‘integral part” in forging unity between the two main Palestinian factions.
The UN chief said that everything must be done to guarantee that there will be two States in Palestine and Israel, living together in peace and security, and that the UN will work with Egypt to achieve that objective.
Haiti ‘at the crossroads between peacekeeping and development’
Haiti stands “at the crossroads between peacekeeping and development”, Michele Bachelet, the UN human rights chief, said in a briefing to the Security Council on Wednesday.
The UN’s current mission in Haiti is due to end in the next six months, and is expected to be replaced by a special political mission, and Ms. Bachelet encouraged the Council to provide the people of Haiti with the necessary support to “strengthen institutions, fight against impunity, and promote and protect human rights as a foundation to stability and development.”
Although the human rights situation in Haiti has improved since 2004, when UN Peacekeepers were first deployed in the country, Ms. Bachelet said that serious structural challenges persist, including social grievances, corruption and weak institutions.
Conor Lennon, UN News.