News in Brief 28 August 2017 (PM)

“Ocean unites us”: UN General Assembly President on World Water Week

Safeguarding the ocean and meeting the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on life below water, needs an inclusive and integrated approach.

That’s according to the President of the General Assembly, Peter Thomson, speaking at the opening session of World Water Week, in Sweden, organized by the Stockholm International Water Institute.

He outlined the success of June’s Ocean Conference at UN Headquarters, saying that a strong call to action and integrated work plan was already underway to realize SDG 14, on protecting marine life and environments.

This year’s World Water Week theme focuses on conservation, stressing the need to reduce and reuse water consumption, and waste.

Mr Thomson, who led the Ocean Conference and leaves his post next month, said everyone had something to offer towards the success of the second Ocean Conference, due to take place in 3 years’ time, organized by Portugal and Kenya.

“We must always have an inclusive, integrated approach and never fall back into the failing silos of past status quos. So I commend the World Water Week for bringing us together to discuss the challenges of our time and to appreciate our interconnectedness. North and south, east and west, the ocean unites us and we have to bring humanity back into a relationship of balance and respect with the water.”

“Hellish” journeys of asylum seekers in Central America highlighted by Grandi

More protection must be given to asylum seekers and refugees making “hellish” journeys across Central America to escape violence at home, said the UN Refugee Agency chief on Monday.

UNHCR’s Filippo Grandi is on a five-country tour of the region, talking to governments, refugees, UN staff and NGOs; trying to strengthen the regional responses to displacement.

He said many refugees were threatened by criminal gangs and given an ultimatum to join or flee, often with the complicity of local officials.

Although many are hoping to find sanctuary in the United States, asylum applications are increasingly being made in Mexico and Guatemala.

He said UNHCR was working with governments and partners to try and keep vulnerable refugees safer, and find a long-term solution to the crisis.

“In some respect it’s more like hell than a journey. One of the main objectives for us is to strengthen the protection structures of all these countries, but we also have to look for solutions. Solutions in the countries of asylum; integration of refugees in the communities and societies hosting them, but also addressing the root causes of displacement.”

Deputy chief of UN Mission in South Sudan appointed

The Secretary-General announced the appointment of Alain Noudehou of Benin to be his Deputy Special Representative for the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) on Monday.

Currently the Director of the Executive Office of the UN Development Programme in New York, Mr Noudehou will also serve as UN Resident Coordinator, Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative.

He succeeds Eugene Owusu of Ghana, who completed his assignment last month.

Mr Noudehou previously served as the UN Resident Coordinator and Representative in China, for two years, up to 2016, and UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Zimbabwe.

Source: United Nations Radio