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News in Brief 6 January 2020

News in Brief 6 January 2020

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.

Australia bushfires: UNICEF offers help

Raging bushfires wreaking havoc across Australia have prompted the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, to offer its support to the Australian Government and its partners dealing with the “unprecedented disaster”.

While acknowledging “the selflessness, professionalism and dedication” of first responders and all organizations working on the ground, UNICEF issued a statement on Monday extending its condolences to the children and families affected by the devastating fires.  

The UN agency flagged its experience in providing crucial long-term support to children across the world through the three stages of relief, recovery and rehabilitation, and expressed its “very real desire” to help where needed.

“UNICEF has significant expertise and experience globally in responding to emergencies, including natural disasters”, the statement said. “We know that children are always among the most vulnerable in circumstances such as these”.

New shipping regulation cuts harmful Sulphur oxide emissions

A new global shipping regulation to benefit both human health and the environment came into effect on the first day of this year.

The new rules substantially reduce harmful sulphur oxide emissions, from ships’  fuel oil, lowering the global upper limit from 3.5 per cent to 0.5 percent.

The new limit is part of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from ships, a key environmental treaty under the auspices of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) – the UN specialized agency responsible for developing and adopting standards for preventing pollution from ships, as well as shipping safety and efficiency, and maritime security. 

"IMO 2020", as it is called, mandatorily limits all ships operating outside certain designated Emission Control Areas, where the limit is already 0.1 per cent.

The new limit will mean a 77 per cent drop in overall sulphur emissions from ships that should yield reductions in stroke, asthma, lung cancer, cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases.

Cutting the emissions will also help prevent acid rain and ocean acidification, benefitting crops, forests and aquatic species.

Cambodia: Building collapse leaves dozens dead

And now to Cambodia where a building collapse in the coastal city of Kep left 36 workers dead and another 23 injured.

On Monday, the International Labour Organization (ILO) Country Office for Thailand, Cambodia and Laos, issued a statement saying it was gravely concerned following Friday’s incident.

The UN’s labour agency also extended its deepest sympathy to the families and dependents of those killed and injured.

“This is the most fatal workplace accident in Cambodia in recent years and the second major tragedy of this type in less than seven months after a disastrous building collapse in Sihanouk Ville last June”, the statement read.

ILO called for greater attention to be paid to the risks that thousands of workers face every day and demanded urgent action by authorities to improve safety and health in the workplace.

Liz Scaffidi, UN News.

  • Australia bushfires: UNICEF offers help

  • New shipping regulation cuts harmful sulphur oxide emissions

  • Cambodia: Building collapse leaves dozens dead

Audio Credit
Liz Scaffidi, UN News
Audio Duration
Photo Credit
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services