Fight against locust swarms in Africa at critical phase – UN agency

The fight to contain the swarms of locusts devouring pastures and cropland across West Africa has entered a critical phase, the United Nations agriculture agency said today, with extra aircraft arriving to spray pesticides as the number of affected countries swells.

UN Special Envoy arrives in drought-stricken Eritrea to review humanitarian situation

The United Nations Special Envoy monitoring the humanitarian crisis in the drought-stricken Horn of Africa arrives today in Eritrea, just days after a warning went out that September rainfall in the country was inadequate for needed agricultural production.

Insecurity across Darfur, Sudan threatens aid deliveries, warns UN food agency

The United Nations food relief agency warned today that the security situation in Sudan's strife-torn Darfur region is so volatile that it is hampering the delivery and distribution of food aid to the vast population of internally displaced persons (IDPs).

Women call for studies of health impact of environmental degradation

Leading women environmentalists today called for research into the affect of toxic chemicals on the health of women and girls and they urged governments to make funds available to associations of poor women for such environmental projects as water, sanitation and poverty alleviation schemes and ecosystem management.

Côte d'Ivoire, with least-funded appeal for aid, finds 12 new cases of polio

A dozen confirmed cases of polio have turned up in less than a year in Côte d'Ivoire, a West African country where the disease was thought to have been eradicated, the United Nations humanitarian coordination office said today.

UN report finds African governance improving but weaknesses need to be addressed

Although constitutional government is taking root in Africa and the environment for private enterprise is improving, political parties are often weak and ineffective and there still is too much red tape involved in doing business on the continent, according to a new United Nations report released today.

UN mission, Annan urge restraint after violent demonstrations in Côte d'Ivoire

Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Côte d'Ivoire have called for calm after violent demonstrations took place yesterday in Bouaké against two UN sites and the city's business district.

Waiting refugees allowed back into DR Congo - UN agency

After refusing to allow a group of refugees to return to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the country's authorities have reversed their position, opening the border and allowing the first group of 200 back in, the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) announced today.

UN officials welcome election of new President of Somalia

Culminating a two-year negotiation process, Abdullahi Yusuf has been elected as the transitional president of Somalia - a move welcomed today by Secretary-General Kofi Annan and members of the United Nations Security Council, who all said it marks an important step towards the reestablishment of peace and stability in Somalia.

Women preparing for UN Great Lakes summit call for better rights protection

With women in Africa's Great Lakes region comprising both a regional majority and the more vulnerable group on many fronts, their representatives have called on governments in the area to establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to address gender-based crimes and other rights violations.