News in Brief 19 May 2021

News in Brief 19 May 2021

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.

UN children’s agency chief urges immediate ceasefire for young Gazans

At least 60 youngsters have been killed in Gaza and another 444 have been injured in clashes with Israel, the head of UN Children’s Fund has said.

In a call for an immediate ceasefire and aid access to “stave off disaster”, UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said that Gaza’s one million children were “reeling” from the conflict and had “nowhere safe to turn”.

Every day that the conflict continues, “children across the State of Palestine and Israel will suffer,” Ms Fore insisted, in her appeal for peace and “a long-term political solution to the broader conflict”.

Ms. Fore also appealed for humanitarian corridors to be set up to deliver fuel, medical items, first-aid kits and COVID-19 vaccines – and to evacuate the sick and wounded.

Meanwhile, the UN relief agency for Palestine refugees, UNRWA, launched an emergency appeal for $38 million amid the continuing violence, to help meet rising needs across Gaza, and parts of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Global trade soars in first quarter, but services still in doldrums

Global trade bounced back to a record high early this year, although service industries are still a shadow of their pre-pandemic selves, UN economists UNCTAD said on Tuesday.

According to new data from UNCTAD, the value of goods traded, surpassed pre-pandemic levels during the first quarter of 2021, up 10 per cent year-on-year.

Exports from East Asian economies have driven this rebound – particularly China, but other developing regions and countries including Russia have seen trade recover more slowly.

This rebound is expected to continue into the second quarter of the year, with the combined value of goods and services reaching $6.6 trillion.

That’s about three per cent higher than pre-pandemic levels during 2019, said UNCTAD’s Global Trade Update, which also predicted that the economies of China and the United States of America will likely be the main drivers of global growth in coming months.

GM mosquitoes could be gamechanger to tackle malaria: WHO

To the deadly issue of malaria now, and new guidance from the UN health agency aimed at health authorities who’re looking to employ the services of genetically modified mosquitoes to eradicate the disease.

If the technology to adapt the winged insects into malaria-free bugs is proven safe, effective and affordable, it could be a valuable new tool to fight malaria which still kills 400,000 people a year, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday.

The technique could also eliminate the risk to millions of other vector-borne diseases, including dengue and Zika, and to respond to this, WHO has issued guidance to ensure that testing is evaluated responsibly.

Although the last two decades have seen more than seven million deaths and 1.5 billion cases of the disease averted, Director of WHO’s Global Malaria Programme Dr Pedro Alonso, highlighted the need for new malaria control tools, amid the increasing threat of insecticide resistance.

Daniel Johnson, UN News. 

  • UNRWA launches $38 million appeal for Palestinians as violence continues
  • Genetically-modified mosquitos, potential anti-malaria asset
  • Global trade back in the back for 1st Quarter of 2021: UNCTAD
Audio Credit
Daniel Johnson, UN News - Geneva
Audio Duration
Photo Credit
UNRWA/Khalil Adwan