This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Warmer weather is not a reason to relax COVID-19 control measures, UN agency urges
UN weather experts on Thursday cautioned that warmer temperatures returning to part of the northern hemisphere should not be seen as a trigger to relax measures to halt the spread of coronavirus.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said in a new report that contrary to popular assumptions about warm weather dampening viral spread, infections rose late last spring.
“There is no evidence” that this year would be any different, WMO maintained, adding that evidence did not support the use of meteorological and air quality factors as a basis for governments to relax COVID controls.
The UN report looked at the potential role of seasonal changes in weather, as respiratory viral infections, such as colds, frequently peak in the autumn and winter in temperate climates.
Natural disasters occurring three times more often than 50 years ago: FAO report
Natural disasters are happening three times more often than 50 years ago and farmers have never faced more hazards than in the past year, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said on Thursday.
In an alert, the UN agency said that new and unprecedented forms of natural disasters are most heavily felt in the agricultural industry – it absorbs a 63 per cent share of the overall impact, compared to other sectors, such as tourism, commerce and industry.
From drought to megafires and unusually large desert locust swarms, the FAO warned that these disasters devastate livelihoods and families, potentially for generations.
Least developed and low to middle income countries have fared worst of all, losing more than $108 billion in damaged crop and livestock production between 2008 and 2018.
Asia was the hardest-hit region, with losses of $49 billion, followed by Africa at $30 billion and Latin America and the Caribbean at $29 billion.
No winners but fewer losers in global economy from COVID than expected
The COVID-19 pandemic seriously impacted all economies around the world last year, with trillions of dollars of lost earnings, but several countries also showed unexpected resilience, too.
That’s the message from UN trade and development experts UNCTAD, who said in a new report on Thursday that 2020 saw an estimated 3.9 per cent drop in global GDP.
That’s 0.4 per cent better than had been forecast and it was largely owing to stronger performances in China and the United States.
Regionally, although Western European economies were affected by the earlier-than-expected second wave of virus, East Asia and Latin America fared “a little better than expected”, UNCTAD said.
Other countries to withstand serious economic downturns were Brazil, Turkey and the United States, thanks to large Government relief measures, and rising commodity and asset prices that spurred growth.
The rebound in raw materials prices also benefited “several” developing African economies, UNCTAD maintained.
For 2021, UNCTAD announced global growth of 4.7 per cent - 0.6 per cent better than an earlier forecast.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.