This is the News in Brief from the United Nations
Asia-Pacific trade declines for first time in a decade
Trade in the Asia-Pacific region has declined for the first time since the global economic crisis a decade ago, the UN office for the region, ESCAP, reported on Wednesday.
Total export volume fell by 2.5 per cent this year, while import volume decreased by 3.5 per cent.
Although economies are expected to bounce back in 2020, ESCAP said they are still facing risks related to trade tensions between the United States and China.
The global slowdown in economic growth, combined with the heightened tensions, also affected merchandise trade in the region, particularly for economies closely integrated with China.
The UN office estimated that the tariff war’s impact on gross domestic product (GDP) could reach as much as $400 billion worldwide and $117 billion in the region.
ESCAP chief Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana said the challenge for Asia-Pacific is to increase trade and deepen economic integration to support sustainable development.
She also welcomed the recent “Phase-1 deal” between the US and China, adding that it “should reduce policy uncertainty.”
ESCAP projects that new guarantees under the agreement might boost investor and consumer confidence enough to realize around 1.5 per cent growth next year, mostly in developing countries.
Protect children standing up for fairer world: UNICEF chief
The head of the UN children’s agency, UNICEF, is calling for greater protection for young people standing up for a fairer world.
UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore made the appeal as scores of children and young people worldwide have been taking to the streets in recent months to demand action on issues such as climate change, corruption and inequality.
Ms. Fore observed that some have been jailed, injured or even killed, while schools have been closed and public services interrupted.
She said: “It is therefore a heartbreaking irony that, in standing up for their fundamental rights, many children and adolescents are simultaneously having their rights taken away.”
The UNICEF chief stressed that children’s rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression are enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the most widely ratified human rights treaty in the world.
She said fundamental guarantees for the protection of children must remain applicable everywhere and at all times, including during civil unrest or armed conflict.
More women could soon access lifesaving breast cancer medicine: WHO
An expensive life-saving breast cancer treatment could soon be made more affordable and available to women globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday.
The UN health agency has pre-qualified the biosimilar version of the medicine trastuzumab, meaning that it meets international standards and is thus eligible for procurement, including by low-income countries.
Trastuzumab has shown high efficacy in curing early stage breast cancer and, in some cases, more advanced forms of the disease. As the medicine costs around $20,000, it is out of the reach of many woman and national health care systems.
Biosimilar trastuzumab—which is derived from biological sources, not chemicals— is around 65 per cent cheaper.
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women, according to WHO. In 2018, 2.1 million women contracted the disease, 630,000 of whom died because of late diagnosis and lack of access to affordable treatment.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, described the prequalification of biosimilar trastuzumab as good news for women everywhere.
He said “effective, affordable breast cancer treatment should be a right for all women, not the privilege of a few.”
Dianne Penn, United Nations.