This is the News in Brief, from the United Nations.
COVID creates ‘opportunities for peace’, despite challenges
The UN chief addressed the Security Council on Wednesday, saying that despite the huge challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, there were “opportunities for peace”.
António Guterres cited his call for a global ceasefire earlier this year, which prompted some positive responses from governments and non-State actors.
However, he said the unprecedented challenges from COVID-19 clearly risk pushing things in the wrong direction, noting that there were three “key dangers” facing peace and security worldwide.
Mr. Guterres pointed to the erosion of public trust in government and authorities overall, the destabilization of the global economic order, and the weakening of the social fabric, as democracy comes under strain. “The pandemic threatens not only hard-won development and peacebuilding gains, but also risks exacerbating conflicts or fomenting new ones. Questions are growing about the effectiveness of health systems, social services, trust in institutions and systems of governance. All of this means that our commitment to sustaining peace is more urgent than ever.”
UN chief urges ‘preservation of peace’ in protest-hit Bolivia
And the UN chief has called for restraint in Bolivia, while election-related unrest enters its second week, with the country reeling from the impact of the pandemic. In a statement issued by his spokesperson, António Guterres reaffirmed the UN’s support for holding transparent, credible and inclusive elections and for authorities there to respect the civil and political rights of all Bolivians.
He also called on protest organizers to “ensure the safe passage of ambulances” and medicines and allow the delivery of essential goods and services.
The protests in the landlocked Latin American country began with opposition figures and protesters demanding that elections go ahead, after they were postponed due to COVID-19. Latest World Health Organization (WHO) figures show Bolivia with over 91,000 positive cases, and more than 3,700 confirmed deaths.
WFP chief pledges emergency food support to Lebanon
And finally, the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) chief, David Beasley announced on Wednesday that 17,500 metric tons of wheat flour and a three-month supply of wheat is on its way to Lebanon, to help replenish the country’s food reserves following last week’s devastating blast in Beirut.
It’s part of a rapid logistics operation that will also involve setting up warehouses and mobile grain storage units. Lebanon is facing a triple shock from the explosion, economic meltdown and the impact of COVID-19.
Mr. Beasley spent three days in Lebanon visiting the Ports of Beirut and Tripoli, witnessing food distributions and the provision of food in communal kitchens run by WFP’s partner, the global Catholic relief organization, Caritas.
He also visited injured WFP staff in the hospital and had meetings with the Lebanese president and top officials where he stressed the agency’s operational autonomy and neutrality. “It is hard to comprehend the sheer scale of the destruction caused by the explosion until you have seen it for yourself.
I am heartbroken”, the WFP chief declared.
Matt Wells, UN News.