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News in Brief 20 July 2023

News in Brief 20 July 2023

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations

UN in Ukraine condemns attacks on Odesa Port

The UN’s top official in Ukraine has condemned the latest attacks by Russian forces on the Black Sea port of Odesa. 

Resident Coordinator in the country, Denise Brown, said that she was horrified by the images of attacks by Russian forces, particularly given how much the world’s poorest countries rely on grain transported from Ukraine.

Attacks that target civilian infrastructure are “inhumane”, contravene international humanitarian law and should end immediately, said Ms. Brown.

The development follows Russia’s decision earlier this week to terminate the UN-brokered accord commonly known as the Black Sea Initiative.

Over the past year it has facilitated the export of more than 30 million tonnes of Ukrainian grain to global markets via Black Sea ports, including Odesa. 

parallel accord between the UN and Russia on grain and fertilizer exports was also signed, known as the Memorandum of Understanding.

Speaking in New York on Wednesday, UN Spokesperson for the Secretary-General Stephane Dujarric underscored the Organisation’s commitment to the resumption of grain transports. 

“The Secretary-General will continue whatever he can do to ensure that global markets have access to Ukrainian and Russian food as well as fertilizer. This is just too important for a fight against global hunger.”

Mr. Dujarric explained that the UN was continuing its efforts towards fulfilling obligations detailed in the Memorandum of Understanding with Russia. But he also indicated that the UN chief was not in a position to offer security guarantees. 

UNHCR: Rohingya refugees face more hunger after latest ration cuts

Rohingya refugees from Myanmar now living in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh face further hunger after the second cut to their food rations in three months.

The news from the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) follows a decision to cut food assistance by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) because of funding shortfalls.

In March, the value of food vouchers for camp residents was reduced from $12 per person a month to $10, and in June, this was reduced to just $8, the equivalent of 27 cents per day.  

This second round of cuts comes just weeks after thousands of refugees lost their temporary homes to Cyclone Mocha and after the major fire at Cox’s Bazar earlier this year. 

Dom Scalpelli, WFP’s Country Director, said that the cuts were a last resort and that donors have not provided sufficient funding.

UNHCR said that more humanitarian agencies have been forced to intervene in only the most critical cases of need at Cox’s Bazar, meaning that basic needs go unmet in the camp.

The vast complex of settlements is home to more than one million people including many hundreds of thousands of ethnic Rohingya who fled a military crackdown in Myanmar in 2017, that former UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein described as a textbook example of ethnic cleansing. 

UNODC partner with Royal Foundation to combat illegal wildlife crime 

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has announced a new partnership with The Royal Foundation of the Prince and Princess of Wales, to end the illegal wildlife trade. 

The agreement will see The Royal Foundation and UNODC combine their resources and expertise to protect at-risk species.

Established under the ‘United for Wildlife’ initiative, the agreement brings public, private and non-profit sectors together, to identify and investigate wildlife crime and make it impossible for traffickers to exploit vulnerabilities in global systems.

Ghada Waly, Executive Director of UNODC, said that the illegal wildlife trade is worth $20 billion a year, and that urgent action is needed to prevent thousands of species being driven to extinction, disrupting vital ecosystems.

Caitlin Kelly, UN News.

  • UN condemns attacks on Odesa Port
  • UNHCR: Rohingya refugees face more hunger as aid cuts bite
  • UNODC partners with Royal Foundation to combat illegal wildlife crime
Audio Credit
Caitlin Kelly, UN News - Geneva
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Odessa Mayor's Office