This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Universal education goal unrealistic, warns UNESCO
Nations are not doing enough to ensure that every child goes to school – and stays there - by 2030, a key commitment of the 2030 Global Goals agenda, UNESCO said on Monday.
According to data from the UN’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, one in six youngsters aged between six and 17 will still be out of class in a decade’s time.
Attendance levels are best in primary school, with information from nearly 150 countries showing that 84 per cent of children completed this first educational tier in 2018, up from 70 per cent in 2000.
With an extra push and investment, UNESCO believes that getting all children into primary school “is just possible”, by 2030.
But it warns that as children get older, attendance levels are much lower, with four in 10 children globally expected not to complete secondary education by 2030.
This figure is likely to grow to half of all youngsters in sub-Saharan Africa, where the school-age population is growing faster there than anywhere else, UNESCO says.
New cancer treatments placed on WHO updated essential medicines list
New cancer treatments and drugs that can be swallowed rather than injected are just some of the essential medicines that every country should have, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.
More than 150 countries use the UN agency’s Essential Medicines List, which contains around 460 vital drugs deemed essential to treat public health needs.
The latest update adds 28 products for adults and 23 for children, and it also specifies new uses for 26 already-listed products, based on value for money, evidence and health impact.
According to WHO, the five cancer therapies added to the list are regarded as “the best in terms of survival rates” to treat skin melanomas, lung, blood and prostate cancers.
They include two recently developed immunotherapies - nivolumab and pembrolizumab - that have delivered up to 50 per cent survival rates for advanced melanoma, a skin cancer that until recently was incurable.
Other updates to the list include new oral anticoagulants to prevent stroke as an alternative to warfarin treatment of deep vein thrombosis.
These are “particularly advantageous” for low-income countries, WHO says, as unlike warfarin, they do not require regular monitoring.
The issue of life-threatening bleeding after childbirth was also addressed in this year’s Essential Medicines List update, with the proposal to use carbetocin rather than the currently used therapy, oxytocin, as it doesn’t need refrigerating.
In a related development, WHO has also updated its Essential Diagnostics List, in recognition of the critical, lifesaving importance of finding out what is wrong with patients before it is too late.
While the first list issued last year concentrated on priority diseases – HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, and hepatitis - this year’s list covers more noncommunicable and communicable diseases.
Sudan in spotlight at Human Rights Council as top UN official appeals for dialogue to resolve grievances
And finally, all grievances linked to violence perpetrated against Sudanese protesters by security forces across the country should be investigated independently and justice must be served, a top UN rights official said on Tuesday.
Speaking at the Human Rights Council, Andrew Gilmour, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, welcomed last week’s reported power-sharing deal between the transitional military authority and civilian representatives.
He said that the UN stood ready help the country “strengthen the protection of human rights” as it embraced civilian rule, after mass protests beginning in December last year, that led to the toppling of President Omar al-Bashir four months later.
“We encourage all parties in Sudan to continue to resolve any outstanding issues through dialogue. OHCHR welcomes that the agreement reached last week includes a commitment to conduct an independent investigation into the violence perpetrated against peaceful protesters. More details have emerged about casualties during the mass protests that took place across Sudan on 30 June 2019. It is important that investigations contribute to justice and dignity for all victims of such violence.”
In reply, Sudan’s Osama Hemeida expressed gratitude for regional efforts to resolve tensions inside the country, while also acknowledging the “heroic” and “inspiring popular revolution”, led in particular by young people.
The Sudanese representative then confirmed the imminent release of all political prisoners and many others who had been arrested under state of emergency laws, along with an end to the curfew.
He also noted that the findings of an independent probe into the deaths of protesters at a sit-in outside military headquarters in Khartoum on 3 June would be produced “in the next few days”, while another inquiry into abuses since April was ongoing.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.