UN works with DHL to launch quick response team for disasters in Latin America, Caribbean

United Nations partnerships with the private sector aimed at speeding up relief aid for areas in crisis took a further step forward today with the inauguration of a disaster response team (DRT) to cover emergencies in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Colombia: UN refugee agency ‘extremely concerned’ at new violence against civilians

Expressing new alarm at the impact of more than four decades of conflict on Colombia’s civilians, the United Nations refugee agency today voiced “extreme concern” at increasing violence over the past two weeks in the south of the Andean country, where 15 people have been killed, some of them in fighting between irregular armed

Guatemala must do more to assure security, justice – UN rights chief

Although Guatemala has launched important initiatives and made undeniable progress since a peace agreement almost 10 years ago ended decades of civil war, reforms are moving too slowly and there has been no significant advance in combating impunity or eliminating clandestine groups, according to the top United Nations human rights official.

Caribbean officials at UN-organized conference promise to improve rural education

Calling for assistance from regional and international organizations, especially the specialized United Nations agencies, high-level officials from several Caribbean nations have pledged to reduce poverty in rural communities and to open up new opportunities by changing approaches to education and training, the UN agricultural agency said today.

Countries call for wider support for UN agreement to curtail high-seas overfishing

Government representatives attending a conference in New York aimed at improving measures to preserve ocean fish stocks today called for more States to ratify a United Nations agreement aimed at reversing the dramatic declines seen in recent years.

Colombian indigenous leaders flee to Panama after death threats, UN agency reports

Voicing renewed concern at the impact of Colombia’s four decades of civil conflict on its indigenous communities, with smaller groups threatened with extinction, the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) reported today that nearly 50 Wounaan people, seven of them leaders, had fled to neighbouring Panama in fear for their lives.

UN should stay long enough to consolidate Haiti’s progress, mission chief says

The international community must give urgent financial support to the Government of newly elected President Réné Préval of Haiti, who will lack the money to pay State workers in the immediate future, the United Nations Secretary-General’s outgoing Special Representative in that country, Juan Gabriel Valdés, said today.

UN’s agricultural and educational agencies spotlight rural Caribbean poverty

With rural poverty high and the level of rural education low in Caribbean countries, the United Nations agricultural and educational agencies today opened a two-day regional meeting in St. Lucia on nutrition, education and HIV/AIDS.

Annan names coordinator to prepare UN in case of human outbreak of bird flu

Aiming to shore up contingency plans for the operation of United Nations offices in New York in case of an international outbreak of bird flu among humans, Secretary-General Kofi Annan today named Imelda Henkin of the Netherlands as the world body’s new Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Coordinator.

UN health agency provides safe water and disaster training in flooded Suriname

The regional arm of the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) is helping the authorities in Suriname reduce the health risks associated with the torrential rainfall and flooding this month that have displaced up to 20,000 people and left large areas of the country under water.