Asia Pacific

Asian dust storms grow in frequency, wreaking havoc far from home – UN

In “a globalization of environmental problems” dust and sand storms in northeast Asia have grown vastly in frequency and intensity, leading to widespread loss of livestock and crops, disrupted communications, respiratory problems and deaths far from their source, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said today.

UN anti-drugs chief calls for greater financial help for Afghanistan

31 March – The top United Nations official in the fight against illegal drugs today called on the international community to provide more help to tackle the growing drug problem in Afghanistan.

Nepal: UN rights chief hails government's pledge to respect humanitarian laws

A week after Secretary-General Kofi Annan voiced concern at the escalation of fighting in Nepal with its mounting toll of civilian casualties and human rights abuses, the senior United Nations human rights official today hailed the Government's recommitment to its international humanitarian obligations.

Annan urges Myanmar to allow broadest participation in constitutional convention

With Myanmar announcing that it will convene a national convention to draft a new constitution, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today urged the government to lift restrictions on democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and to allow the broadest participation possible.

Upcoming elections must be safe and free, Annan tells Afghanistan conference

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan declared to the opening of an international conference on Afghanistan today that this year's presidential and parliamentary elections will only advance national reconciliation if political parties and candidates can campaign openly and polling can take place safely.

UN health agency seeks to combat dangerous misuse and overuse of medicines

With misuse and overuse accounting for almost half the total global use of medicines with potential severe consequences such as drug resistance and even death, the United Nations health agency today called for multilateral partnerships to set up advocacy and education programmes especially in developing countries.

UN’s agriculture arm calls for funds to dissuade Afghan farmers from opium crop

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today appealed for $60 million to help stimulate Afghanistan’s rural economy so that farmers are deterred from turning to opium production for their income.

UN labour agency discusses repression in Myanmar, China, Colombia, Venezuela

The United Nations labour agency has called on the Government of Myanmar to release three people who were convicted for high treason for contacts with the agency’s representatives,

UN agency warns oxygen-starved ‘dead zones’ in seas threaten marine stocks

Nearly 150 oxygen-starved “dead zones” in the world’s oceans and seas, linked to an excess of nutrients, mainly nitrogen, from synthetic agricultural fertilizers, vehicle and factory emissions and wastes, threaten the survival of marine animals and plants, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) says in a new report.

Afghanistan: UN official hails Karzai's announcement of September elections

The senior United Nations envoy to Afghanistan today hailed an announcement by President Hamid Karzai indicating that elections are now scheduled for September.