This is the News in Brief, from the United Nations.
Guterres: health of Africa ‘hangs in the balance’ from COVID, $200 billion stimulus needed urgently
The health of all those in Africa ‘hangs in the balance’ because of COVID-19 and the world must stand in solidarity with the continent, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Wednesday.
To date, the new coronavirus has claimed more than 2,500 African lives, and many countries have moved swiftly to prevent the spread of infection by deploying health workers, enforcing quarantines and border closures, Mr. Guterres said.
Continued vigilance and preparedness are critical in these “early days” of the pandemic, the UN chief insisted, as he launched a pandemic resilience blueprint for African nations who’ve been hard-hit by falling tourism, lower remittances and less demand for commodities.
“We are calling for international action to strengthen Africa’s health systems, maintain food supplies, avoid a financial crisis, support education, protect jobs, keep households and businesses afloat, and cushion the continent against lost income and export earnings… It will also be essential for African countries to sustain their efforts to silence the guns and address violent extremism – and I welcome African support for my call for a global ceasefire.”
In line with his call for a global fund to get countries back on their feet after COVID, Mr. Guterres said that Africa should receive more than $200 billion in additional support from the international community.
Women remain central to every aspect of the pandemic response and stimulus packages must prioritize “putting cash in their hands”, he said.
Child food insecurity set to rise by 20 per cent because of COVID
Acute malnutrition among under-fives could rise by 20 per cent owing to COVID-19, the World Food Programme (WFP) said on Wednesday.
The UN agency has warned that young malnourished children are especially at risk from the pandemic and plummeting family income.
Because of this, it expects that an additional 10 million children from the world’s poorest countries face not having nearly enough to eat.
Failure to act could cause a devastating loss of life, health and productivity in future generations, said WFP’s Director of Nutrition, Lauren Landis.
Today, 22 million under-fives and pregnant and nursing mothers, rely on specialized food provided by WFP to prevent and treat malnutrition.
The agency is already working with Governments to monitor populations that are vulnerable to COVID-19 and adapting nutrition support where required.
WFP is also ensuring that the production of specialized nutritious foods is not disrupted by trade restrictions, and it is using its presence in remote communities to share infection prevention measures with those beyond the reach of fragile health systems.
Bees, the unsung heroes of sustainable development
Amid concerns over global food security linked to coronavirus travel and border restrictions, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said on Wednesday that it’s a good time to remember that most of the world’s vital food crops depend on bees and other pollinators. That’s the agency’s message to mark World Bee Day, amid clear signs that the winged insects are declining in alarming numbers, mainly from intensive farming practices, agricultural chemicals and higher temperatures associated with climate change.
COVID-19 has also affected beekeepers too, particularly those living in extreme poverty, including women, young people and those with disabilities, and FAO is calling for more action to help all those who work with bees overcome increased challenges.
For its campaign, the agency has highlighted how important bees and beekeepers are, in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - 17 pledges made by the international community to eradicate poverty and inequality by 2030.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.