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News in Brief 14 August 2020

News in Brief 14 August 2020

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.

UNDP to support economic recovery in Beirut

Some 100,000 people are estimated to have lost their jobs due to the Beirut blast, a senior official with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) told journalists on Friday.

Rekha Das, UNDP Chief Technical Advisor for Syria Crisis Response, outlined how the agency will support economic recovery in the hardest hit areas of the city.

Lebanon was already confronting a crippling economic crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic before the devastating explosion on 4 August.

Ms. Das reported that more than 5,000 factories shut down in 2019 and nearly 800 restaurants closed this year, adding to unemployment and poverty.

“UNDP’s priority is to support economic recovery and social protection with the revival of businesses and livelihoods. We will create employment, provide cash grants and loans for restarting small and medium-sized enterprises in a sustainable way: not least for the many, many women who have lost their livelihoods.”

Ms. Das said UNDP is working alongside humanitarians on immediate response, including to clear debris from the blast, among other priority actions.

Secretary-General welcomes UAE-Israel accord

The UN Secretary-General has welcomed a joint statement issued on Thursday by the United States, Israel and the United Arab Emirates which suspends Israeli plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.

In a statement issued by his Spokesperson, António Guterres said “annexation would effectively close the door for a renewal of negotiations and destroy the prospect of a viable Palestinian State and the two-State solution.”

Mr. Guterres expressed hope that the accord “will create an opportunity for Israeli and Palestinian leaders to re-engage in meaningful negotiations” leading towards a two-State solution.

The UN chief also underscored the importance of realizing peace in the Middle East as the region confronts what he described as the “grave threats” of COVID-19 and radicalization.

WFP warns of food insecurity in DR Congo

Turning now to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where millions of lives could be lost due to conflict and COVID-19 unless countries step up their support, the World Food Programme (WFP) warned on Friday.

The DRC has a population of around 100 million and four in 10 people are food insecure, with more than 15 million suffering “crisis” or “emergency” hunger. Meanwhile, some 3.4 million children are suffering acute malnutrition.

WFP said malnutrition is particularly pervasive in the volatile east of the country, where decades of brutal fighting between armed groups has uprooted millions.

The UN agency will require an additional $172 million dollars to implement its emergency operation in the DRC over the next six months.

Last year, WFP reached a record 6.9 million Congolese. The aim is to assist 8.6 million people this year, including nearly one million hardest hit by the pandemic.

Dianne Penn, UN News.

  • UNDP to support economic recovery in Beirut
  • UN chief welcomes UAE-Israel deal to end West Bank annexations
  • WFP warns of food insecurity in DR Congo 
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Dianne Penn, UN News
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