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News in Brief 14 September 2023

News in Brief 14 September 2023

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.

Climate inaction puts lives and sustainable development on the line: WMO

A lack of progress towards climate goals is claiming lives and slowing down the global fight against poverty, hunger and deadly diseases, according to the UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

The agency’s “United in Science” report shows how climate science and early warnings can save lives and livelihoods, advance food and water security, clean energy and better health, boosting efforts to achieve all of the Sustainable Development Goals (or SDGs), of which only 15 per cent are on track at the mid-way point of the 2030 Agenda.

After recent deadly flooding in Libya that has claimed thousands of lives, WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas highlighted the UN’s initiative aiming to ensure that everyone on Earth is protected from extreme weather events through early warning systems by the end of 2027. 

Currently, half of the countries worldwide lack such systems, and Prof. Taalas warned that in Sudan, conflict has crippled capacity to forecast hazards:

“I met the Sudan met service director last week in Nairobi and she told [me] that most of the people have escaped Khartoum and they are not able to forecast this kind of high-impact weather events anymore.”

Halt sanctions that threaten people's lives and health: Türk

Exemptions from sanctions on humanitarian grounds need to be much more clearly defined to deliver life-saving medication, food and aid in emergencies, UN rights chief Volker Türk said on Thursday.

He told the Human Rights Council about the negative impact on human rights and sustainable development of sanctions imposed by countries unilaterally.

Such measures include trade embargoes or a block on foreign investment, to force the targeted country to change policy. An example is the longstanding United States trade embargo against Cuba, which for decades has been the object of UN General Assembly resolutions demanding an end to the measures. 

The UN rights chief said that any sanctions need to be limited in time, compliant with international law and subject to appropriate human rights safeguards including independent monitoring. 

Countries should “suspend or lift” any unilateral coercive measures that have a detrimental effect on human rights and which are aggravating humanitarian needs, Mr. Türk said. 

“Sanctions that threaten people's lives and health need to be halted,” he insisted.

New charter on patient safety rights: WHO

The first-ever global charter for patient safety has been agreed at the UN, after the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that unsafe care causes three million deaths a year.

The new charter enshrines the right to safe healthcare and urges governments to work towards this universal goal. 

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stressed that patient safety was a collective responsibility requiring health systems to work “hand-in-hand” with patients, families, and communities. 

“If it’s not safe, it’s not care,” he said. 

According to the UN health agency, an estimated one in every 10 patients experiences harm during treatment.

Although it is recognized that engaging with patients to understand their needs is an important strategy for reducing harm, a WHO survey shows that only 13 per cent of countries have a patient representative on the governing board in most hospitals.

Dominika Tomaszewska-Mortimer, UN News.

  • Climate inaction puts lives and sustainable development on the line: WMO

  • Halt sanctions that threaten people's lives and health: Türk

  • New charter on patient safety rights: WHO
Audio Credit
Dominika Tomaszewska-Mortimer, UN News - Geneva
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© Unsplash/Viktor Lysenko