News in Brief 28 November 2017 (PM)

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Alanna Armitage, UNFPA’s Regional Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia (second from left), speaking at the Global South Development Expo 2017 in Antalya, Turkey. Photo: UNOSSC

New UN initiative aims to train young leaders in the global south

A new UN partnership aims to empower and train young leaders in the southern hemisphere.

The Youth for South initiative was announced on Tuesday at the Global South-South Development Expo 2017 currently underway in Antalya, Turkey.

It will initially target around 30 to 60 young leaders in six nations.

They will travel to other southern hemisphere countries to learn about specific areas related to sustainable development such as agriculture and rural development, social protection, sustainable energy and youth employment.

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Financial Center for South-South Cooperation, the Union for the Mediterranean and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) are among the initial funding partners of the programme.

Alanna Armitage is UNFPA’s Regional Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

“This initiative is going to help young people, I would say, for two fundamental reasons. First, it is going to bring young people to the table. It is very important that young people’s voice is heard in these national, regional and global fora. Secondly, it is going to, at the personal level, really strengthen young people’s leadership by working specifically with young people and providing them with the skills and opportunities to build their own personal leadership.”

Through the programme, the young leaders will learn to identify and adapt successful solutions in their areas of interest.

They also will receive hands-on training in order to help change their own communities and countries.

UN Iraq envoy condemns “cowardly” terrorist attack

A “cowardly” terrorist attack in Iraq this week has been condemned by the senior UN official in the country.

The incident occurred in a southeastern district of Baghdad on Monday evening and resulted in dozens of civilian casualties.

UN envoy Ján Kubiš has issued a statement expressing his deepest condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government and people of Iraq.

He said the terrorist group ISIL, also known as Daesh, “remains a potent force” in Iraq, despite suffering defeats at the hands of the national security forces.

Mr Kubiš urged citizens to remain vigilant.

He stated that “the terrorists’ cowardly acts to stoke fear among Iraqis who are about to relish the imminent total victory over terrorism will not succeed.”

Yemeni engineer wins UN environmental award

A young engineer from Yemen has been awarded a top UN environmental prize for a project that aims to fight climate change, deadly indoor air pollution and the spread of cholera.

Omer Badokhon, 28, is one of six winners of the inaugural Young Champions of the Earth prize which provides $15,000 in seed funding as well as mentorship to outstanding young people aged 18 to 30 for ideas that protect or restore the environment.

The announcement was made on Tuesday by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) which presents the award together with materials science company Covestro.

Omer’s project concerns the production and purification of biogas, a fuel derived from the breakdown of organic matter.

He is working with an NGO to build prototypes of a device that will facilitate the rapid decomposition of household organic waste to create biogas.

UNEP explained that household organic waste, which includes food scraps, emits the chemical compound methane, a major contributor to climate change and indoor air pollution.

The project will also help to reduce some diseases which are spread or worsened by the dumping of organic waste, such as cholera, which has affected more than a half a million Yemenis this year alone.

The remaining prize winners will be announced at a future date, and represent other regions of the world.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 3’54″

Feature Photo:  Global South-South Development Expo 2017 Panel: South-South Cooperation for People and the Planet.  Antalya, Turkey.  Photo by  UNOSSC