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un-building-350-230The United Nations is the one organization with the vision and reach to address the world’s most pressing challenges. When disaster strikes, the world turns to one organization for hope, help, leadership, and coordi­nation: the United Nations. When there is peace to keep between warring factions, the world asks the UN to mobilize peacekeepers, oversee elections, and create stability. In the face of challenges such as climate change, disease or poverty, the United Nations provides the platform for international cooperation.

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UN Updates: December 16, 2014

*Keywords: SG=Secretary-General, DSG=Deputy Secretary-General

Pakistan: This morning, the SG made remarks at the open meeting of the SC in which he strongly condemned the "bloody attacks" on a school in Peshawar, Pakistan, which has cost the lives of at least 130 people, the vast majority of whom were children. He described the attacks as “an act of horror and rank cowardice to attack defenseless children while they learn,” and added that "the hearts of the world go out to the parents and families who lost loved one in the horrific attack.” He concluded by saying that “no cause could justify such brutality” and that “getting an education is every child’s right. Going to school should not have to be an act of bravery.” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, The Executive Director of UNICEF, Tony Lake, and the UN Special Envoy for Global Education, Gordon Brown, all issued statements as well.

SC: The SG also delivered his remarks on the relationship between the UN and the AU at the open debate in the SC. He said that the SC and the AU Peace and Security Council are working together more than ever and there is increased support for African-led peace operations and their transition into UN peace operations, as we have seen in Mali and the CAR.

Ebola: UNDP today announced that for the first time in Sierra Leone, hazard payments to Ebola Response Workers (ERWs) will be made using mobile money. Sudipto Mukerjee, Country Director for UNDP in the country, stressed that one of the most difficult things about tackling the Ebola crisis had been to getting trained people to come and run centres. In that context, the transition from direct cash to an electronic solution will help to improve overall efficiency, timeliness and security of payments for Ebola workers.  

Lebanon: The Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson, met today in Bkirki, Lebanon, with Bechara Boutros El-Rai, the Maronite Patriarch for Antioch and the East. He said afterwards that he and the Patriarch exchanged views on the refugee situation and the strains that Lebanese society feels. They also discussed the refugee situation throughout the Middle East, including the situation faced by Christians in Syria and Iraq.

Malnutrition: Today, the WFP and the Government of the Russian Federation signed an important strategic partnership agreement that will spearhead joint efforts to end global hunger and malnutrition. Russia has donated a total of 218 trucks to WFP and is also among WFP’s top 20 donors, contributing more than US$60 million this year alone.  

DRC: MONUSCO took note with satisfaction of the sentencing today of Lieutenant-Colonel Bedi Engangel, who is otherwise known as “Colonel 106”, by a military court in South Kivu for crimes against humanity committed between 2005/7 and those crimes include rape. The Head ad interim of the Human Rights Office in the DRC, Abdoul Aziz Thioye, said it was a strong message to perpetrators of serious human rights violations that their crimes will not be unpunished.

ILO: A new study on education and employment, conducted by the ILO and released today, surveys 28 countries worldwide and demonstrates that having a high level of education “serves as a fairly dependable guarantee” towards securing a formal job.“ The report notes that 83 per cent of young people with post-secondary education are in non-vulnerable employment in the 27 low-to-upper middle income countries examined while the number dropped to 75 per cent among low-income countries. Azita Berar Awad, Director of the Employment Policy Department of the ILO, said that the report confirms the role of education in shaping labor market outcomes of young people, and highlights the need for more investments in quality education, from primary through academic levels.

 
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