Daily Archives: February 9, 2018

The 7th meeting on the confidence-building measures between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (Skopje, 09.02.2017)

On 9 February 2018, in Skopje, Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia held the Seventh round of the consultations on the confidence-building measures (CBMs).

The meeting was a continuation of the friendly and constructive dialogue on different areas of common interest in support of our Governments’ efforts in creating a positive political climate in bilateral relations of the two countries.

Experts from relevant national institutions also contributed to the fruitful and productive discussions.

The agreed areas of cooperation included connectivity projects, police cooperation, European programs, culture, education, civil protection, public administration, health, Diplomatic Academies’ cooperation and launching business initiatives. Cooperation was initiated in the field of seismology, and on MoU on cooperation in civil protection was initialed.

The next meeting will be held in Athens.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic

Poor Rains and Crop Infestation Threaten Deeper Hunger Across Southern Africa

JOHANNESBURG The twin scourges of another prolonged dry spell and an invasive crop-eating worm are set to sharply curtail harvests across southern Africa, driving millions of people � most of them children � into severe hunger, warns the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).

The warning follows an alert by regional food security experts that erratic rainfall, high temperatures and persistent Fall Army Worm infestationare likely to have far-reaching consequences on access to adequate food and nutrition over the next 12-15 months.

The alert, by officials from the 14-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET), UN agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), listed Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Zambia and South Africa as the worst-affected countries.

The dry spell, which started in October, has caused crops to wilt. Pasture has also suffered, threatening the survival of livestock herds.

Even if there is above-average rainfall over coming months, much of the damage to crops is irreversible.

Given that the region has barely emerged from three years of very damaging El NiAo -induced drought, this is a particularly cruel blow, says Brian Bogart, WFP’s Regional Programme Advisor. But it shows how important it is to address the root causes of hunger and malnutrition in the face of changing climatic conditions.

There are now fears for another rise in the number of people in the region needing emergency food and nutrition assistance � this fell from a peak of 40 million during the 2014-2016 El NiAo crisis to 26 million last year.

The humanitarian community is now working with governments, SADC and other partners to assess the extent of the damage and its likely impact on those most at risk in the region.

Source: World Food Programme

Poor Rains and Crop Infestation Threaten Deeper Hunger Across Southern Africa

JOHANNESBURG The twin scourges of another prolonged dry spell and an invasive crop-eating worm are set to sharply curtail harvests across southern Africa, driving millions of people � most of them children � into severe hunger, warns the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).

The warning follows an alert by regional food security experts that erratic rainfall, high temperatures and persistent Fall Army Worm infestationare likely to have far-reaching consequences on access to adequate food and nutrition over the next 12-15 months.

The alert, by officials from the 14-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET), UN agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), listed Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Zambia and South Africa as the worst-affected countries.

The dry spell, which started in October, has caused crops to wilt. Pasture has also suffered, threatening the survival of livestock herds.

Even if there is above-average rainfall over coming months, much of the damage to crops is irreversible.

Given that the region has barely emerged from three years of very damaging El NiAo -induced drought, this is a particularly cruel blow, says Brian Bogart, WFP’s Regional Programme Advisor. But it shows how important it is to address the root causes of hunger and malnutrition in the face of changing climatic conditions.

There are now fears for another rise in the number of people in the region needing emergency food and nutrition assistance � this fell from a peak of 40 million during the 2014-2016 El NiAo crisis to 26 million last year.

The humanitarian community is now working with governments, SADC and other partners to assess the extent of the damage and its likely impact on those most at risk in the region.

Source: World Food Programme

Poor Rains and Crop Infestation Threaten Deeper Hunger Across Southern Africa

JOHANNESBURG The twin scourges of another prolonged dry spell and an invasive crop-eating worm are set to sharply curtail harvests across southern Africa, driving millions of people � most of them children � into severe hunger, warns the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).

The warning follows an alert by regional food security experts that erratic rainfall, high temperatures and persistent Fall Army Worm infestationare likely to have far-reaching consequences on access to adequate food and nutrition over the next 12-15 months.

The alert, by officials from the 14-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET), UN agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), listed Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Zambia and South Africa as the worst-affected countries.

The dry spell, which started in October, has caused crops to wilt. Pasture has also suffered, threatening the survival of livestock herds.

Even if there is above-average rainfall over coming months, much of the damage to crops is irreversible.

Given that the region has barely emerged from three years of very damaging El NiAo -induced drought, this is a particularly cruel blow, says Brian Bogart, WFP’s Regional Programme Advisor. But it shows how important it is to address the root causes of hunger and malnutrition in the face of changing climatic conditions.

There are now fears for another rise in the number of people in the region needing emergency food and nutrition assistance � this fell from a peak of 40 million during the 2014-2016 El NiAo crisis to 26 million last year.

The humanitarian community is now working with governments, SADC and other partners to assess the extent of the damage and its likely impact on those most at risk in the region.

Source: World Food Programme

South Sudan Government Objects to Rules for Peace Talks

South Sudan’s government Friday declined to sign an agreement on rules to facilitate discussion aimed at reviving the country’s collapsed 2015 peace deal.

The government’s delegates refused to approve the Declaration of Principles (DOP), intended to guide a second phase of high-level talks. They cited concerns over the document’s Article 28, which calls for taking punitive measures against individuals who block implementation of the revived peace deal.

The government’s delegates were not obligated to sign the guidelines, South Sudan’s information minister and spokesman Michael Makuei told reporters Friday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where the talks are taking place. He said mediators and facilitators had announced Thursday that the signing of the DOP is optional. So it is up to each party to decide whether to sign.

Makuei said the government delegation wants Article 28 removed from the declaration.

There is no reason for us to sign such a document in which there is a provision which incriminates and which irrelevant and which is not a principle,” the information minister said.

Talks enter fifth day

Meanwhile, rebels of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM IO), loyal to Riek Machar, issued a statement Friday affirming their commitment to ending violence in South Sudan.

They and other opposition groups strongly support Article 28.

The South Sudan parties signed an agreement in December on ceasing hostilities, protecting civilians and providing humanitarian access in South Sudan, but violated it within hours.

The talks entered their fifth day Friday, with the parties reaching another deadlock on the composition of the South Sudan’s transitional National Legislative Assembly. The various opposition groups would like the current assembly dissolved and reconstituted. But the government delegation insisted the assembly should be expanded to accommodate new groups.

Talks will continue

Rajab Mohandis, representing an umbrella group of South Sudan’s civil society at the talks, said negotiations would continue despite the setback by the government delegation.

We are here to negotiate, Mohandis said. By not signing this document [DOP], it doesn’t signal any party pulling out from the process.

Mohandis said the civil society stands ready to encourage good-faith negotiations.

It our hope as the civil society that the parties, with the help of the mediators, will find a common ground on Article 28 and sign the document and continue with negotiations.

Source Voice of America