Thursday’s Daily Brief: Stark childbirth survival figures, Security Council split on Syria, nature-based climate initiatives

19 September 2019

A recap of Thursday’s top stories: One pregnant woman or child dies every 11 seconds; No ceasefire agreement for Syria’s Idlib; Latest Taliban attack in Afghanistan; Dozens of countries rely on food assistance; Nature’s role in climate-change mitigation.

Despite progress in childbirth safety, one woman or baby dies every 11 seconds

Although childbirth survival rates are a “staggering success” compared with the year 2000, one pregnant woman or her child, still dies every 11 seconds from largely preventable causes, UN health experts have revealed.

In a joint appeal for all nations to provide better medical care for all, the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF and WHO, the World Health Organization, outlined several ways to help protect the 2.8 million pregnant women and newborns who die every year.

Read the full story here.

Two draft resolutions, zero consensus on ceasefire in Syria’s Idlib

The UN Security Council on Thursday failed to reach consensus on either of two competing resolutions on a cessation of hostilities in Idlib, Syria, the last province in the war-torn nation that is still largely held by rebel forces.

Belgium, Germany and Kuwait tabled a draft proposing a humanitarian ceasefire, which garnered 12 out of 15 votes.

Permanent members Russia and China used their right to veto, blocking its adoption. Their own resolution, which highlighted terrorism concerns by extremist groups operating inside the region, also failed to pass, with nine members voting against and four abstaining. Our full coverage here.

‘Disproportionate and indiscriminate Taliban attack’

Scores of civilians were killed and injured Thursday in what the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, UNAMA, called a “disproportionate and indiscriminate Taliban attack”.

According to a senior defense ministry official in the capital, a truck bomb detonated near the hospital in Qalat – the main health facility in the Zabul province. Local reports affirmed that many of the victims were doctors and patients.

UNAMA tweeted that the bomb, which was targeting a security facility, caused extensive damage to the hospital “with terrible harm to health workers and patients inside”.

The latest attack comes just two days after the Taliban took responsibility for twin attacks which left dozens dead and many others injured.  

Dozens of countries need food assistance

The Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO, revealed on Thursday that a total of 41 countries are in need of international food assistance.

Citing conflicts as the primary cause of high levels of food insecurity, FAO’s new Crop Prospects and Food Situation report, also points to adverse weather conditions, which have affected agricultural production, reducing food availability and access.

Rainfall shortages and drought are of particular concern as they acutely affect food availability for millions in Africa.

Nature ‘one of most effective ways’ of combatting climate change

Nature is “one of the most effective ways” of combatting climate change and should be part of every country’s climate strategy according to the Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Inger Andersen. 

World leaders will be gathering at the United Nations in New York next week at a Climate Action Summit convened by the UN Secretary-General António Guterres and Ms. Andersen will be there to promote the idea of nature-based solutions to combatting climate change.

Find more on nature’s solutions here.

Listen to or download our audio News in Brief for 9 September, on Soundcloud:

 

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News Tracker: Past Stories on This Issue

Security Council: Two draft resolutions, zero consensus on ceasefire in Syria’s Idlib

The UN Security Council on Thursday failed to reach consensus on either of two competing resolutions on a cessation of hostilities in Idlib, Syria: the last province in the war-torn nation that is still largely held by rebel forces.

Despite progress in childbirth safety, one woman or baby dies every 11 seconds

Childbirth survival rates are now a “staggering success” compared with the year 2000, but one pregnant woman - or her child - still dies every 11 seconds from largely preventable causes, UN health experts said on Thursday.