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Thursday’s Daily Brief:  Envoy heads for Bolivia, ICC on Myanmar, dignity for sanitation workers, sterilizing mosquitoes

Women farmers in India have made the shift to organic farming.
UNDP India
Women farmers in India have made the shift to organic farming.

Thursday’s Daily Brief:  Envoy heads for Bolivia, ICC on Myanmar, dignity for sanitation workers, sterilizing mosquitoes


A recap of Thursday’s main stories: UN chief on Bolivian crisis; International Criminal Court to hear Myanmar genocide case; health risks for sanitation workers; farmers’ guidelines to conserve crops; and sterilizing mosquitoes to battle diseases.

Bolivia crisis: UN chief sends envoy to support peace, amidst renewed clashes

Citizens rally at the Plaza San Francisco in La Paz, Bolivia last November during a wave of popular protests following the last national election.

UN chief António Guterres announced on Thursday that he had appointed a Personal Envoy who would be travelling to Bolivia later in the day, to offer support to national leaders, following the departure of former president, Evo Morales. 

“The Secretary-General remains deeply concerned about the developments in Bolivia”, his Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric told reporters in New York. “He reiterates his appeal to all Bolivians to refrain from violence and exercise utmost restraint”, referring to the rising incidents of violence following weeks of protest which began over disputed presidential election results. 

Read more here.

Revealed: danger and squalor for cleaners who remove human waste by hand

A latrine emptier stands inside a pit in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

The plight of sanitation workers in the developing world should be addressed urgently, the UN said on Thursday, warning that their rights, health and dignity are at risk.

Highlighting the dangers for the millions of people who clean toilets, sewers and septic tanks, ahead of World Toilet Day next Tuesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) insisted that while the workforce performs an essential public service, their own health is compromised and they are often shunned.

Here’s our full coverage.

Guidelines for farmers' resilience

Villagers grow rain-fed rice in Beung Kiat Ngong wetlands, Lao People's Democratic Republic. (File)

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) published on Thursday new Voluntary Guidelines to conserve critical crop resources.

Today's food systems are characterized by an "ever-increasing uniformity of crops and varieties on farm", according to Bukar Tijani, FAO Assistant Director-General, for agriculture and consumer protection.

"To be sustainable, farmers must grow the most genetically diverse set of crops and varieties that are suited to their agroecologies, production systems and end-users' preferences", he said.

The new guidelines aim to assure crop diversity and farmers' resilience by establishing a systematic approach to on-farm activities.

More in our story here.

UN mosquito sterilization technology set for global testing, in battle against malaria, dengue

The aedes aegypti mosquito transmits zika, in addition to dengue and chikungunya.

With more than half the world now at risk from mosquito-transmitted dengue fever, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN has taken the lead on a global effort to eradicate the disease – and many others – by measuring the impact of releasing millions of sterilized pests across several continents, it announced on Thursday.

Using a process known as Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) – developed decades ago to target crop-eating insects in the United States – UN researchers have spent the last 10 years adapting it to mosquitoes.

Read our story here.

Listen to or download our audio News in Brief for 14 November on SoundCloud: