This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Yemen: end food diversions to save lives, urges WFP chief
Children are dying needlessly every day and the humanitarian situation in Yemen is “dire”, the head of the World Food Programme, WFP, told the Security Council on Monday.
David Beasley said that despite the “immense suffering of the 20 million Yemenis who do not have enough to eat”, the UN agency continues to face “fierce resistance” to doing its core job, namely, keeping people alive.
“The World Food Programme is being prevented from feeding the hungriest in Yemen,” he asserted, explaining that the UN food assistance is being diverted mostly in areas controlled by Houthi rebels, “at the expense of hungry children, women and men”.
Mr. Beasley said some aid would have to be suspended within days, unless assurances are given to stop the diversions.
“In Yemen we are fortunate enough to have the money we need, we just don’t have the access. We don’t make this decision lightly. I am begging the Houthis, and all of those concerned to do all within your power to do all within your power to let us do what we do best, save lives.”
India to replace China as most populous nation: new UN report
Meanwhile, a new UN population report predicts that by the year 2050, there will be some 9.7 billion people living on the planet.
And yet, the overall growth rate continues to fall, and more and more countries will have to adapt to ageing populations.
The World Population Prospects 2019 report estimates that over the next 30 years, today’s global population of 7.7 billion will increase by two billion, and, by the end of the century, the earth will have to sustain some 11 billion people.
India is set to replace China as the most populous country and the population in sub-Saharan Africa will double.
“Many of the fastest growing populations are in the poorest countries, where population growth brings additional challenges”, said Liu Zhenmin, the UN chief of Economic and Social Affairs.
Plastic pollution: 10-fold increase in 40 years
Turning to the effects of climate change on the oceans, Secretary-General António Guterres opening the 29th Meeting of States Parties to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea with a warning that marine life is not only under “unprecedented pressure” but that “half of all living coral has been lost in the past 150 years”.
He pointed out that, “conflicting demands from industry, fishing, shipping, mining and tourism” are creating “unsustainable levels” of stress on marine and coastal ecosystems.
“In the past four decades, plastic pollution in the sea has increased ten-fold”, he said, and “a third of fish stocks are now overexploited”.
To address these challenges, Mr. Guterres spelled out that “we must act across an array of sectors”. And he called the UN Law of the Sea Convention “one of our best tools” to do so.
“Over the past quarter-century, the Convention, as the constitution for our oceans, has achieved nearly universal acceptance. It has given us a comprehensive framework for the peaceful, cooperative and sustainable use of seas, oceans and their resources. And it has provided a foundation for the progressive development of the Law of the Sea”.
Liz Scaffidi, UN News