This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
UN emergency relief chief warns over fallout of U.S. Yemen Houthi terror label
The United States’ decision to designate Yemen’s Houthis as a terrorist organization will “likely…lead to a large-scale famine…not seen for nearly 40 years”, the UN emergency relief chief said on Thursday.
In his address to the Security Council, Mark Lowcock said that it was not his intention to question the US decision, which was announced last Sunday against Ansar Allah, as the Houthis are formally known.
But he noted that Yemenis were already stockpiling “whatever they can afford”, while humanitarian agencies had long been “unanimously” opposed to the development, fearing that commercial importers of food, fuel and medicines would walk away from the war-torn country.
Their fear is of being caught up in US regulatory action “which would put them out of business or into jail”, the UN official explained, before insisting that aid agencies “simply cannot replace” commercial importers.
Latest UN data indicates that 16 million people will go hungry in Yemen this year, nearly six years after conflict erupted between the Government of President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi and Houthi forces, who control vast stretches of the country.
About 50,000 people “are essentially starving to death in what is essentially a small famine”, Mr. Lowcock told the Security Council, adding that another five million “are just one step behind them”.
Four UN peacekeepers killed, five wounded in attack in Mali
Four UN peacekeepers from Côte d’Ivoire have been killed in Mali and five others wounded, during an attack on Wednesday.
The convoy transporting the blue helmets was struck by an improvised explosive device and the troops then came under attack by unidentified gunmen in the vast Timbuktu region, according to the UN mission in Mali.
In a statement, the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali – or MINUSMA – said that a “robust response” by the peacekeepers forced the assailants to flee, allowing for the wounded to be evacuated by helicopter.
The attack, which has been condemned by the UN Secretary-General, took place on the same day as another assault on UN forces in the Central African Republic, in which a Rwandan peacekeeper was killed.
Countries urged to speed up climate change preparation to protect against shocks
Countries have made some progress in planning for climate change adaptation, but not nearly enough to provide protection against increasing droughts, floods and sea-level rise, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has warned.
New data published by UNEP found that while around three in four nations have some adaptation plans in place, financing to pay for implementation has fallen “far short of what is needed”.
Developing countries need to spend around $70 billion a year on coping measures, but this figure is set to reach at least four times that in 2050, the UN agency said.
Head of UNEP, Inger Andersen, highlighted that climate change impacts “will intensify and hit vulnerable countries and communities the hardest” – even if nations meet the Paris Agreement goals of holding global warming this century to well below two degrees Celsius.
Ms. Andersen recalled the UN Secretary-General’s appeal for a global commitment to put half of all climate finance towards adaptation projects in the next year.
This would provide a “huge step-up” in preparing countries for climate shocks – by helping to implement “everything from early warning systems to resilient water resources (and) nature-based solutions”, she maintained.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.