July Digital News Recap

The UN High Commissioner for @Refugees, Filippo Grandi, declared his disappointment at a number of tragic events involving refugees this month. Up to 150 refugees were killed when two boats sunk off the coast of Libya, making it one of the most deadly episodes in the Mediterranean Sea this year. Just a few weeks before, around 80 were estimated to have been killed in a similar accident near the Tunisian coast. On July 2nd, more than 50 were killed when an airstrike hit a detention centre in Tajoura.

The UNHCR has been working to relocate detained refugees from a number of detention centres throughout the North Africa region. Living condition are generally dire at the centres, with poor sanitation and services.

Amina J Mohammed, the Deputy-Secretary General of the UN, was in Afghanistan for a two-day “solidarity mission”, focussed on women, peace and security. She led an all-women delegation of UN officials who met President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, held discussions with groups of women, and were hosted by Afghanistan’s First Lady, Rula Ghani. They also met religious leaders, who have a crucial role to play in bolstering the peace process.

Under the Taliban’s rule, women were banned from attending school, work or even speaking publicly or leaving the house without a man. Today, Afghanistan remains one of the most restricted countries in the world to be a woman, with violence another significant problem. Enabling women to participate in the country’s peace-building processes can help to increase the chances of achieving peace while also empowering women at the same time. UNFPA (UN’s Population Fund) is running a series of support programmes and services for women of reproductive age and families, as well as tackling gender based violence (GBV).

Phumzile Mlambo, the Executive Director of UN Women, tweeted her congratulations to Ursula von der Leyen upon her election as president of the European Commission. It is the first time the position has been held as a woman. Speaking at the Commissions headquarters, the president-elect said that she wanted Europe to be the first climate-neutral continent in the world, proposing a new green deal to make the EU carbon neutral by 2050. She also spoke on gender equality, and said that she would propose to add violence against women to the list of EU crimes. Mrs von der Leyen is currently the German Minister of Defence. She will take up her new role in October.

In Ethiopia, more than 350 million trees were planted in one day as part of a move to counter against deforestation and climate change. The planting is part of the country’s Green Legacy Initiative, which aims to plant 4 billion trees in the country this summer by encouraging every citizen to plant more than 40 seedlings. Planting trees is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to tackle climate change. Numerous African countries have recently engaged in similar campaigns including Kenya who has recently launched the “Greening Kenya Initiative” with support from the UN Environment Programme. The Deputy Secretary-General, Amina J Mohammed tweeted about Ethiopia’s achievement.

The effects of climate change are already causing problems in many countries. The Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, was in Saint Lucia where he met with fisherfolk and learnt of the problems they are experiencing in the face of climate change. Sargassum is a type of algae that can cause disruptment to ecosystems. Changes to climate and pollution have caused it to move across the oceans, causing damage to locals despite there innocence in the causing of environmental changes like this one.

The work of the United Nations is more easily achieved with widespread support and action. The use of social platforms, such as Twitter, by UN staffers to share their experiences, work and promote awareness is thus valuable to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and ultimately greater prosperity for all.

One comment to “July Digital News Recap”
  1. This is a brilliant overview of the UN’s activity in making the world a more prosperous, safer, and more just world for everyone, everywhere. Please keep these coming, on a regular basis.

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