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News in Brief 28 September 2022

News in Brief 28 September 2022

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.

UN unveils new measures to tackle mental health issues at work

New global guidelines on preventing work-related mental health problems have been released by the UN, along with practical strategies to help employers and workers alike.

An estimated 12 billion workdays are lost annually owing to depression and anxiety and this costs the global economy nearly $1 trillion, according to the UN health agency, WHO, and the UN labour agency, ILO.

The guidelines - which are available online - recommend actions to tackle some of the issues that lead to mental health problems, such as heavy workloads and negative behaviour.

Recommendations include manager training, to help identify and prevent stressful work environments and to respond to workers in distress.

Bullying and psychological violence that’s also known as “mobbing” are key complaints in the workplace that are associated with mental health problems, WHO and ILO noted.

But they said that discussing or disclosing mental health remains a taboo in work settings globally.

In a survey of one billion people living with a mental disorder in 2019, WHO found that 15 per cent of working-age adults had a mental disorder.

FAO chief urges action to stop food access crisis becoming an availability crisis

The chances of today’s global food access crisis becoming one of food availability tomorrow, remains a real threat without urgent action from the world’s wealthiest nations, the Food and Agriculture agency, FAO, said on Wednesday.

FAO chief Qu Dongyu made the appeal to agriculture ministers from the world’s 20 strongest economies, who’re meeting under the G20 banner in Bali.

Although there have been some improved forecasts for wheat and soybean markets, the outlook for maize, rice and fertilizers is marred by supply constraints and volatility, according to FAO data.

Mr. Qu said that the UN-backed Black Sea Grain Initiative had provided an important step forward in promoting exports from Russia and Ukraine despite the war.

But the agreement “needs to be complemented to improve the food access of most vulnerable countries”, the FAO chief said, pointing to his agency’s Food Import Financing Facility proposal, which is now being coordinated by the International Monetary Fund.

The idea of the financing facility is to provide funds to 62 lower-income food importing countries that are home to almost 1.8 billion people to meet their most urgent needs.

Iran: rights experts’ stay of execution call for activists

To Iran, where top rights experts urged the authorities on Wednesday to halt the executions of two LGBT activists who’ve been sentenced to death.

Zahra Sedighi-Hamadani and Elham Choubdar were prosecuted last month and convicted of “corruption on earth” and “trafficking”.

The women learned on 1 September that a court in the western city of Urmia had signed their death sentence.

In Iran homosexuality and same-sex relations are punishable by death.

The rights experts – who report to the UN Human Rights Council - said that they had expressed their concerns to the Government of Iran but that to date, no response had been received.

“Authorities have an international obligation to ensure that all human rights defenders in Iran can conduct peaceful and legitimate activities without fear of persecution or reprisals, including those working on sensitive issues such as sexual orientation and gender identity,” the rights experts said in a statement.

Daniel Johnson, UN News.

  • G20 Agriculture meeting urges action to stop spiralling food crisis
  • Iran: rights experts’ stay of execution call for two women LGBT activists
  • UN unveils new measures to support mental health at work
Audio Credit
Daniel Johnson, UN News - Geneva
Photo Credit
Zhu Xiaoyi