This is the News in Brief, from the United Nations.
Military operation in northeast Syria could see unintentional release of ISIL affiliates: UN chief
The ongoing Turkish military incursion in northeast Syria could unintentionally lead to the release of scores of people associated with the terrorist group ISIL, the UN Secretary-General has warned.
Kurdish militia and their associates have been holding more than 12,000 suspected ISIL members in prisons in north-east Syria, according to media reports.
António Guterres on Monday called for an immediate de-escalation of the fighting which has generated many civilian casualties and displaced up to 160,000 people in less than a week.
Turkey launched its military offensive last Wednesday, just days after the United States announced it was withdrawing its troops from the region. US forces had long been working with Kurdish militia in northeast Syria to root out ISIL.
International media report that the Kurdish forces, considered terrorists by Turkey, have struck a deal with the Syrian Government which will allow national forces into the area.
The UN chief has underlined the need for sustained and safe humanitarian access to people in need. He also emphasized that civilians must be protected.
Guterres praises UN-led peace talks to end Ecuador’s unrest
The Secretary-General on Sunday welcomed the announcement of the start of a UN-led peace dialogue between the Government of Ecuador and indigenous organizations.
The talks, facilitated by the Episcopal Conference and the United Nations, began late Sunday to reverse President Lenín Moreno’s plans for rises in fuel costs, which ignited an uproar of protests turned violent, with reportedly seven dead and over 1,000 injured in nearly two weeks’ time.
The UN chief calls on “all concerned to commit to inclusive and meaningful talks, and to work in good faith towards a peaceful solution to the pressing challenges facing the country", according to a statement issued by his spokesperson.
The Secretary-General also called on all actors to reduce tensions, refrain from acts of violence and exercise maximum restraint.
Stop the waste: UN food agencies call for action to reduce global hunger
With one-third of food produced for human consumption lost or wasted, and millions still going hungry, the UN’s food-related agencies are shining a spotlight on the issue: on Monday, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) published its annual State of Food and Agriculture report with findings that could lead to a reduction in food loss and waste, and, earlier in October, the World Food Programme (WFP) launched its #StopTheWaste campaign to raise awareness of the problem.
The study contains fresh estimates of the scale of the problem, enabling a better understanding of the challenge, and suggesting possible solutions, by looking into why, and where, loss and waste take place.
Guidance for countries, suggesting policies and interventions that can reduce food loss and waste, is also part of the report. This includes providing incentives for farmers and producers, to make it cost-effective for them to be more efficient and less wasteful.
Natalie Hutchison, UN News.