Daily Archives: December 6, 2017

News in Brief 06 December 2017 (PM)

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CAPTION: UN Secretary-General António Guterres. Photo: UN/Mark Garten (file)

“No Plan B” for Middle East Peace Process: UN chief

The UN Secretary-General has reiterated his belief that there is “no alternative” to the two-State solution for Israelis and Palestinians.

António Guterres was addressing reporters at UN Headquarters in New York on Wednesday following the announcement by US President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

“From day one as Secretary-General of the United Nations, I have consistently spoken out against any unilateral measures that would jeopardize the prospect of peace for Israelis and Palestinians. Jerusalem is a final-status issue that must be resolved through direct negotiations between the two parties on the basis of the relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, taking into account the legitimate concerns of both the Palestinian and the Israeli sides. I understand the deep attachment that Jerusalem holds in the hearts of so many people. It has been so for centuries and it will always be. In this moment of great anxiety, I want to make it clear: there is no alternative to the two-State solution. There is no Plan B. It is only by realizing the vision of two States living side by side in peace, security and mutual recognition, with Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and Palestine, and all final status issues resolved permanently through negotiations, that the legitimate aspirations of both peoples will be achieved.”

Italian funding allows UNICEF to continue birth registration project in Ethiopia

A project between Italy and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) aims to ensure the basic rights and protection of more than 800,000 newborns and children in Ethiopia.

The partners have signed a €1 million financing agreement to strengthen civil registration for children in Oromia and the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ regions (SNNP) of the country.

It covers the second phase of a project to reach the remaining 50 per cent of the area targeted, over a 12-month period.

Activities to be implemented include improving the institutional and technical capabilities of regional agencies that register vital events, as well as providing them with modern devices and transportation to better reach remote and disadvantaged areas.

South African tax on sugary drinks welcomed by WHO

A decision by South Africa’s parliament to pass a bill on implementing a tax on sugary beverages has been welcomed by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The bill was passed on Tuesday and the tax is set to come into effect in April.

It is expected to result in a roughly 11 per cent increase in the price of soft drinks.

WHO Representative in South Africa Dr. Rufaro Chatora called it “a brave and powerful step towards promoting the health of the country’s citizens and reducing diet-related noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), such as diabetes”.

The UN agency recommends Governments should introduce effective taxation on sugar-sweetened beverages to help reduce excessive sugar intake.

Globally, more than 30 countries have either introduced a tax or passed legislation to implement such a policy.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 3’36″

New ICAO SAM Plan to coordinate South American air transport cooperation and progress

Montréal and Asunción, 6 December 2017 – Congratulating the States of the ICAO South American (SAM) Region for their recent progress in meeting the targets of the Bogotá Declaration, the President of the ICAO Council, Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, stressed to the assembled SAM Directors General of Civil Aviation (DGCAs) in Asunción, Paraguay yesterday that the new ICAO SAM Plan would serve as their shared strategic resource to integrate air transport development in the years ahead and establish continent-wide conditions to optimize aviation’s connectivity and economic benefits.

“South America’s civil aviation sector has been expanding two times as quickly as its GDP in recent years, which sets the stage to realize some tremendous further progress here,” the President underscored. “Your region now needs a more ambitious and longer-term strategy to continuously augment air transport connectivity and the benefits which derive from it, and that is where the new ICAO SAM Plan comes in.”

The new ICAO SAM Plan focuses on four key priorities for South American air transport: expanded connectivity; the continued and cooperative pursuit of aviation safety performance improvements; the autonomy and strengthening of local national civil aviation authorities; and further emissions and noise mitigation.

“Connectivity advances would include the adoption of air transport liberalization and harmonized consumer protection regulations, in order to better integrate regional air services with the expectations of 21st century passengers,” Dr. Aliu remarked. “And to improve aviation safety still further, ICAO is advocating for the more extensive and effective implementation of State Safety Programmes (SSPs) on the government side, and Safety Management System (SMS) adoption by local industry operators and suppliers.”

He also stressed that all future SAM progress should be aligned with the comprehensive targets and roadmaps established under ICAO’s recently revised Global Plans for aviation safety, efficiency and security, and that ambitions for improved SAM Region compliance and performance will only be obtained through the realization of stronger, more independent, and better resourced civil aviation authorities, and that this represents perhaps the greatest potential area for future improvement.

“Our ICAO Regional Office in Lima, and ICAO’s No Country Left Behind initiative, will be instrumental to your success in establishing the partnerships and resources needed towards these aims, supported by your exemplary cooperation mechanisms such as the Regional Safety Oversight Cooperation System (SRVSOP) and the Caribbean Aviation Safety and Security Oversight System (CASSOS).”

Dr. Aliu also praised South American States for their commitment to the environmental sustainability of civil aviation in the Region.

“The operational improvements introduced are already helping to limit CO2 emissions from international flight activity, and the CO2 emission reduction Action Plans that you have realized are a very concrete sign of your deeper commitments to air transport environmental performance,” he highlighted. “Certainly the inclusion of a high- level environmental objective in the SAM Plan will only strengthen this Regional resolve.”

While in Paraguay for the meeting of Regional DGCAs, President Aliu was pleased to award a Council President Certificate to the President of the State’s civil aviation authority (DINAC), Dr. Luis Manuel Aguirre Martinez. A second Certificate was also awarded to Brigadier Antonio Alarcón, the Head of Uruguay’s CAA, DINACIA. Compliance with ICAO SARPs is crucial to accessing the benefits of international civil aviation connectivity, and the ICAO certificates are designed to recognize States’ progress on being compliant with ICAO global safety standards.

He also met with Paraguay’s Minister of Defence, Mr. Diógenes Martínez, and the State’s Minister of the Technical Secretariat for Economic and Social Development Planning, Mr. José Molinas. Discussions with the Paraguayan Ministers concerned enhanced civil/military cooperation on airspace usage, and how the new SAM Plan would serve to establish a high-level vision to assure improved levels of local political will in support of civil aviation’s many objectives, especially its infrastructure modernization and investment priorities in the face of forecast growth.

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About ICAO

A specialized agency of the United Nations, ICAO was created in 1944 to promote the safe and orderly development of international civil aviation throughout the world. It sets standards and regulations necessary for aviation safety, security, efficiency, capacity and environmental protection, amongst many other priorities. The Organization serves as the forum for cooperation in all fields of civil aviation among its 192 Member States.

ICAO’s South American Regional Office

ICAO’s No Country Left Behind initiative

Contacts

Anthony Philbin

Chief, Communications

aphilbin@icao.int

+1 514-954-8220

+1 438-402-8886 (mobile)

Twitter: @ICAO

William Raillant-Clark

Communications Officer

wraillantclark@icao.int

+1 514-954-6705

+1 514-409-0705 (mobile)

Twitter: @wraillantclark

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/raillantclark/

Myanmar: opium cultivation down 25 per cent, but conflict areas remain 'safe haven' for drug traders

6 December 2017 &#150 The total area of opium poppy cultivation in Myanmar has decreased significantly in 2017 to 41,000 hectares, down 25 per cent from the 55,500 recorded in 2015, a United Nations survey released Wednesday has found.

&#8220Myanmar has taken important steps to address opium cultivation, especially in South Shan where we are running a programme together,&#8221 said Troels Vester, Country Manager of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), emphasizing the importance of sustainable alternatives to opium cultivation.

The Myanmar Opium Survey 2017 released by UNODC finds reductions have been most significant in East Shan with a drop of 37 per cent and South Shan with a drop of 29 per cent.

However, the report also reveals that while progress has been made, North Shan and Kachin states have seen reductions of less than three per cent and seven per cent, which on the ground amounts to a decrease of only 600 hectares in total.

The report reconfirms the link between conflict and opium in Myanmar, and that insecure areas with active insurgencies continue to cultivate and produce at levels similar to 2015.

&#8220As long as significant parts of Shan and Kachin remain unstable and basically autonomous from the rest of the country and region, the environment will remain a safe haven for those who run the drug trade,&#8221 said UNODC Regional Representative Jeremy Douglas.

The decline in opium cultivation occurs against the backdrop of a changing regional drug market that has seen a fall in opium and heroin prices over recent years, as most countries in East and Southeast Asia report a shift toward synthetic drugs and especially methamphetamine.

UNODC says there is still a huge amount of work to be done and sustained support will be critical to its efforts.

AUDIO: Myanmar peace process and heroin production interlinked: UNODC

New Analysis: 1 in 12 Children Face “Bleaker Prospects” Than Their Parents. Here’s Why

The future doesn’t look so bright for 180 million children.

Despite major improvements in child well-being around the world over the last 20 years, a recent UNICEF analysis found that children in 37 countries face “bleaker prospects” than their parents in escaping poverty, getting a basic education and avoiding violent death.

“While the last generation has seen vast, unprecedented gains in living standards for most of the world’s children, the fact that a forgotten minority of children have been excluded from this – through no fault of their own or those of their families – is a travesty,” Laurence Chandy, UNICEF director of data, research and policy, said in a press release.

In 2015, the UN celebrated the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – the predecessor to the current Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – as the “most successful anti-poverty movement in history.” A 15-year collaborative push by nations and international organizations lifted more than one billion people out of extreme poverty, almost halved the proportion of people suffering from hunger and enrolled more children in primary school than ever before.

“Yet for all the remarkable gains, I am keenly aware that inequalities persist and that progress has been uneven,” then-UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wrote in the UN’s final report of the MDGs.

In 14 countries, the share of people living in extreme poverty (on less than $1.90 a day) has increased, mostly as a result of unrest, conflict or poor governance. Major conflicts in CAR, Iraq, Libya, South Sudan, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen have also caused an increase in violent deaths among children under 19. Meanwhile, financial crises, rapid population growth and conflicts have led to decreased primary school enrollment in 21 countries.

At least one of the three key indicators – escaping poverty, getting a basic education and avoiding violent death – were found to be declining in: Benin, Bolivia, Cameroon, Central African Republic (CAR), Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Guatemala, Guyana, Guinea-Bissau, Jordan, Iraq, Kiribati, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, Paraguay, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Solomon Islands, South Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tonga, United Republic of Tanzania, Ukraine, Vanuatu, Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Three of the 37 countries – CAR, Syria and Yemen – saw a decline in two of the indicators, but South Sudan was the only country in which prospects for children were found to be declining in all three aspects.

The thing is, children are keenly aware of what issues are making the greatest impact on their well-being and futures.

In a separate UNICEF study, 9- to 18-year olds in all of the 14 countries surveyed identified poverty, poor education and terrorism as the foremost issues they wanted global leaders to work on. Also across all 14 countries, violence against children were the respondents’ greatest worry, with 67 percent saying they worried “a lot.”

Sadly, nearly half of the children surveyed are not optimistic that adults and world leaders will make good decisions for children.

“In a time of rapid technological change leading to huge gains in living standards, it is perverse that hundreds of millions are seeing living standards actually decline, creating a sense of injustice among them and failure among those entrusted with their care,” Chandy said. “No wonder they feel their voices are unheard and their futures uncertain.”

There was leeway for uneven progress in many of the MDG targets, but the SDGs put forth ambitious goals for 2030, like “end poverty in all its forms everywhere,” “ensure inclusive and quality education for all” and “end abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against children.”

As the global community tries to accelerate progress toward the SDGs, this latest report shows there is no room to leave anyone behind – especially children, who either will be the beneficiaries of a sustainable future, or will have to pick up the pieces.

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