Global perspective Human stories

Friday's Daily Brief: World youth call for climate action and peace, record food needs met in Yemen, exclusive sit down with UN chief

Secretary-General António Guterres rings the Peace Bell at the annual ceremony held at UN headquarters in observance of the International Day of Peace. (20 September).
UN Photo/Kim Haughton
Secretary-General António Guterres rings the Peace Bell at the annual ceremony held at UN headquarters in observance of the International Day of Peace. (20 September).

Friday's Daily Brief: World youth call for climate action and peace, record food needs met in Yemen, exclusive sit down with UN chief

Peace and Security

A recap of Friday’s top stories: Climate emergency threatening peace progress; Guterres urges States bring concrete answers to GA; Migrant shooting in Libya signals danger; Xenophobia attacks rise in South Africa; Record number get UN food aid in Libya.

Climate emergency ‘a new danger’ to peace, youth activists hear ahead of World Day

Students from the UN International School in the UNHQ Visitors' Plaza after attending the Peace Bell Ceremony. Some of these students will be taking part in Friday's Global Climate Strike March in New York City.

Among the efforts to build a sustainably peaceful world", urgent climate action is needed” to curb environmental threats to all our well-being and security, the Secretary-General told the annual peace gathering in New York on Friday, addressing a largely youthful crowd.  

Each 21 September, the General Assembly-mandated International Day of Peace is observed, devoted to “strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples”, with this year’s theme spotlighting climate action as key to that aim.  

“Today peace faces a new danger: the climate emergency, which threatens our security, our livelihoods and our lives”, Secretary-General António Guterres said in his message.  

Read more here.

Guterres urges world leaders to ‘do what is necessary’ for peace and planet in exclusive sit down

Secretary General sits down with newly-appointed head of Global Communications, Melissa Fleming for an exclusive UN News interview ahead of the 74th General Assembly Debates at UN Headquarters in New York. 18 September, 2019.

As global leaders prepare to convene in New York next week to debate the best way forward for the planet, Secretary-General António Guterres  is urging them to “do what is necessary” to ensure that “we are able to solve the dramatic problems we face.”

The UN chief is urging Member States to bring “concrete plans” to the 74th session of the General Assembly, in hopes of bolstering the Paris Agreement on climate change, and the ambitious goals that are the bedrock of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

In a special interview for UN News conducted this week by newly-appointed head of Global Communications, Melissa Fleming, Mr. Guterres lamented that “we are not on track” to meet a 2030 deadline in many aspects, highlighting that the first-ever SDG summit on 24 and 25 September, will inject more momentum.  

Read more here, or click below to listen:


Migrant shooting in Libya, ‘irrefutable’ proof it’s not safe, say agencies

A migrant sits in a patch of light entering through one of only two windows as he tries to warm himself up at a detention centre, located in Libya, 1 February 2017. At the time of UNICEF’s visit, 160 men were being detained there.

The death of a Sudanese man in Libya who was shot after being returned to shore by the coastguard, has been condemned by UN humanitarian agencies, who on Friday reiterated their call for the country’s migrant detention centres to close.

According to the International Organization for Migration, IOM, the man was among more than 100 migrants “resisting being sent back to detention centres”, when shots were fired in the air at Abusitta in Tripoli on Thursday.

Some 5,000 migrant women, children and men are still detained in Libya in conditions described as “inhumane” by IOM.

Refugee safety a priority amid rising xenophobic attacks in South Africa

Zimbabwean men settle down for the night inside a church in central Johannesburg. The church provides shelter to Zimbabwean refugees. (file)

Violence against foreign nationals in South Africa has forced more than 1,500 people to flee their homes, UNHCR said on Friday.

Attacks have left at least 12 people dead, including refugees and South Africans, UNHCR’s Charlie Yaxley told journalists in Geneva.

He said UN staff had also seen a spike in the number of calls to emergency hotlines in recent weeks, after incidents in places including Katlehong near Johannesburg in Gauteng Province.

“People (are) reporting that their homes and businesses have been looted, buildings and property having been set on fire, increased gang activity on the streets and rising incidents of sexual and gender-based violence.  Many refugees are now too afraid to go to work or carry out their day-to-day trade, despite having no alternative sources of income.”

Today, around 800 people have sought safety in community halls in Katlehong but many have said they want to return home to Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, Mr. Yaxley said.

In Yemen, record 12.4 million food-insecure people receive food assistance

Workers stack food assistance in a warehouse in Lahj, Yemen. ( 1 July 2019)

In Yemen a record 12.4 million people have received emergency food assistance amid ongoing fighting.

Announcing the development, the World Food Programme, WFP, said that importing, storing and transporting this amount of aid in a war zone is a major challenge.

It’s calling for $600 million to ensure uninterrupted food assistance for the next six months, warning that without more funding, the agency will have no choice but to reduce food rations to families from next month.

Today, more than four years of clashes between troops loyal to President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi and mainly Houthi opposition forces, more than 20 million Yemenis are food insecure – that’s two-thirds of the population.