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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.

The UN is an international organization, not a government.  As a result, its effectiveness depends on the participation of 193 sovereign member states and the backing of citizens around the world. The United Nations Association of the United States, a program of the United Nations Foundation, works day in and day out to support the mission of the UN by connecting Americans to the work of the UN and advocating for strong US leadership within the UN. 

 

UN Updates: August 1, 2016

UNMISS: The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) is concerned by renewed clashes over the weekend between SPLA and Opposition forces in the Equatorias and other areas of South Sudan, including Nassir in the Upper Nile area. These continued actions are in violation of the peace agreement, signed by all parties in August last year, as well as the subsequent ceasefire declaration of July 11. Meanwhile tensions persist in the capital, Juba. 

Mali: In Mali, the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSMA) reports that on July 30, fighting broke out between the Groupe d’Autodéfense Tuareg Imghad et Alliés (GATIA) and the Coordination des Mouvements de l’Azawad (CMA), in Kidal Region in the vicinity of Touzik. As a precautionary security measure, the Mission has strengthened its positions.

Western Sahara: Over the past weeks, Western Sahara Envoy Christopher Ross has been in frequent contact with the parties and neighbouring states on the need to revive the Western Sahara negotiating process, as well as on the timing of his next visits to the North African region. Now that the Security Council has welcomed the results of the agreement on the UN Mission for Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) and reiterated its call for renewed negotiations, nothing stands in the way of Ross's return to the North African region to pursue his facilitation efforts. A formal proposal is being made to the parties and neighbouring states.

Iraq: Today, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein said he was concerned that innocent people have been - and may continue to be executed in Iraq in reaction to the July 3 bombing in Baghdad that took more than three hundred lives. The High Commissioner said that according to the Iraqi government, 45 death sentences have been carried out since the beginning of 2016 and an estimated 1,200 individuals are on death row. He said the U.N. monitoring has revealed "a consistent failure to respect due process and fair trial standards, including a reliance on torture to extract confessions."

Aleppo: On Sunday, the UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura visited Tehran where he held discussions with Iranian Assistant Foreign Minister Hossein Jaberi Ansari on the means of pushing forward the political settlement for the crisis in Syria. Also, on Sunday, Deputy Special Envoy Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy met with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem and Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad. Ramzy informed the Foreign Minister of the Special Envoy’s intention to reconvene the intra-Syrian Talks towards the end of August, with a focus on the political transition.

The UN remains concerned over the plight of 250,000 to 275,000 people trapped in Aleppo. Reports indicate that intense fighting has continued in the last days, and that many stores have closed as food runs low. Meanwhile, an inter-agency convoy delivered food, health and other emergency items for 71,000 people in need to the hard-to-reach area of Al Houla, in Homs governorate yesterday.

Yemen: Today, the Government of Yemen delegation departed Kuwait after submitting a letter to Special Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, agreeing to the content of a draft peace agreement proposed by the UN to resolve the conflict in Yemen. Cheikh Ahmed said he had agreed with the parties to keep the talks going until they agree on next steps in the coming days, which shall be dedicated to intensive meetings with the Ansar Allah-General People’s Congress delegation, as well as with concerned members of the international community.

Meanwhile, this month the World Food Programme (WFP) succeeded in reaching 55,000 people in a hard-to-reach district of Taiz city, Al Qahira, providing food assistance through food vouchers using a local supplier’s network. WFP launched this innovative way of delivering food assistance earlier this year in Sana’a City. It has since expanded to other parts of Yemen including Aden and Taiz, enabling WFP to reach more than 600,000 people compared to only 120,000 in February.

UNSMIL: For the month of July, the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) documented 12 civilian deaths and 29 injuries during the conduct of hostilities across the country. The Mission documented 5 deaths and 18 people wounded in Benghazi, 4 deaths and 11 wounded in Derna and 3 deaths in Kufra.  

WFP: Today, the WFP reported that it is rapidly scaling up life-saving operations for several African communities suffering from effects of two bad harvests. The agency is assisting the communities in Malawi, Mozambique, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Madagascar, among others. The most recent drought was linked to an intense El Niño weather event.  It was one of the strongest on record. Its peak coincided with the crucial October-December 2015 growing season.  

World Breastfeeding Week: Today is the first day of World Breastfeeding week. More than 170 countries in the world are participating in efforts to support breastfeeding to improve the health of babies around the world.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), breastfeeding is the best way to provide infants with the nutrients they need. WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding starting within one hour after birth until a baby is 6 months old. The agency said breastfeeding continues to be an essential source of nutrition until the age of 2 and beyond. 

 
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