News in Brief (AM)
Countries in need of food aid on the rise due to ongoing conflicts
The number of countries in need of food assistance is on the rise because of ongoing conflicts and weather-related shocks, a UN report has found.
The "Crop Prospects and Food Situation" report released by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on Thursday, highlights 39 countries in need of external food aid.
Countries that host refugees like Cameroon and Chad, are cited in report because of the extra burdens they face and the impact of civil conflicts in their region.
Meanwhile, continuing conflict in Syria has led to 9.4 million people requiring food assistance and in war-torn Yemen, that number is expected to go beyond 14 million.
In southern Africa, the number of people requiring outside assistance from January next year through March is expected to significantly increase compared to the same period a year ago.
That's because the effects of the El NiAo weather phenomenon sharply reduced food production there in 2016.
Security Council calls for swift implementation of Libyan political accord
The Security Council has called on all parties in Libya to accelerate the implementation of the UN-backed political agreement signed in Morocco last December.
In a statement to the press, the Council also expressed deep concern over the recent escalation of violence between armed groups in Tripoli.
The appeal follows Tuesday's briefing by the UN special envoy to the country, Martin Kobler, who shared at the time that the accord "stood firm" but that it was "stuck."
The violence in Libya stems from the fall of President Muammar al-Qhadafi in 2011.
The Security Council also called on all parties to immediately heed appeal to cease fighting.
The internationally-backed Government of National Accord arrived in the capital Tripoli in March, breaking months of a political impasse where two rival governments were vying for power.
Meanwhile, militant extremists continue to terrorise large areas of Libya.
States pledge US$700 million to UN refugee agency for 2017
Donor governments have pledged an initial US$700 million to support UNHCR, the UN Refugee agency's operations for 2017.
The pledge was made at a donor meeting in Geneva on Wednesday.
Nearly 69 million people are displaced or stateless worldwide, the agency says.
The funds will also help people fleeing major conflicts like Iraq, Syria, Yemen, South Sudan and Lake Chad region as well as operations in over 100 countries.
UNHCR's budget for all operations for 2017 stands at US$7.3 billion, the agency noted.
Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.
Source: United Nations Radio.