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News in Brief 2 February 2023

News in Brief 2 February 2023

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.

Pope Francis in DR Congo: WFP highlights Africa’s biggest hunger crisis

As crowds in the Democratic Republic of the Congo thronged on Thursday to hear Pope Francis’s message of hope and solidarity on day three of his official visit to Central Africa, UN aid teams warned that they face growing demands and shrinking funds in DRC, which is Africa’s biggest hunger crisis.

Millions of Congolese people face severe food insecurity, particularly in the northeast, where fighting has uprooted millions, the UN World Food Programme, WFP, said.

To help them, the UN agency has appealed to the international community for more than $627 million, for this year’s operations.

In a personal appeal of his own, Pope Francis reportedly urged young Congolese to work for a better future and shun corruption.

“You are part of a greater history, one that calls you to take an active role as a builder of communion, a champion of fraternity, an indomitable dreamer of a more united world,” he said, as he also urged all those at the 80,000-capacity Martyrs’ stadium in Kinshasa, to never succumb “to the persuasive but poisonous temptations of corruption”.

Space safety talks in Geneva urged to push back on arms race threat

To Geneva, where the UN’s top disarmament official has urged countries to continue pushing to prevent an arms race in space.

Izumi Nakamitsu, United Nations High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, told the Working Group on Space Threat Reduction that rules were needed, so that outer space is not monopolized by any one State.

That risk is globally understood, which is why countries from all regions of the world began talking about drawing up norms, rules and principles of responsible behaviours” on space last May, at the request of the UN General Assembly back in 2020.

Amid concerns that a handful of countries have begun testing weapons capable of targeting satellites, and that a lack of regulations exist for privately-funded space activities, the UN disarmament chief insisted that outer space “must be explored and utilized for peaceful purposes and in the interest of maintaining international peace and security and for the benefit of all States”.

The third meeting of the Open-ended working group on reducing space threats continues all week in Geneva.

UN aid teams step up relief for South Sudan’s victims of violence

After violence escalated in South Sudan’s Jonglei and Pibor areas, UN humanitarians have stepped up support to people displaced by the emergency, they said on Thursday.

UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, tweeted that it had distributed relief items to in Pibor town to more than 5,000 people who had to flee their homes, including blankets, plastic sheets, and buckets.

Thousands more have already received humanitarian supplies after being displaced by the violence, which included cattle raiding and the destruction of homes.

In an initial alert about the emergency last month, UN aid coordination office OCHA stressed the importance of protecting civilians and civilian assets - and of having safe and unhindered access to people in need.

Daniel Johnson, UN News.

  • Pope Francis in DR Congo: WFP highlights Africa’s biggest hunger crisis
  • Space security talks in Geneva must be ‘bold and ambitious’: Disarmament chief
  • UN aid teams step up relief for South Sudan’s displaced victims of violence
Audio Credit
Daniel Johnson, UN News - Geneva
Photo Credit
© UNHCR/Hélène Caux