Oct 162014
 

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, October 16, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Government has decided to contribute an additional SEK 100 million in humanitarian support to efforts to combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

The new funds are to be channelled through the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency for planning and implementing medical care efforts and coordinating voluntary Swedish health workers. The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency will also contribute in other relevant ways, such as with logistical assistance.

“Sweden is now responding to the UN request for more personnel and other resources. The number of people infected in West Africa is doubling every two to three weeks. Sweden has many competent people who want and are able to contribute effectively the fight against Ebola. It is essential that all actors do their utmost. Ebola is now a global security issue,” says Minister for International Development Cooperation Isabella Lövin.

In addition to health workers, other personnel, materials (for example trucks) and logistical assistance have also been requested for the construction of accommodation for international relief workers and personnel involved in the UN-led efforts.

Swedish humanitarian support to combat the Ebola outbreak now amounts to SEK 239.3 million.

“Many people want to help, and the Government has now approved a number of decisions to step up Sweden’s efforts. A key issue is that Swedish personnel who want to go are granted leave from work, and here I think the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions has sent positive signals that people are to be granted leave,” says Minister for Public Health Gabriel Wikström.

Oct 162014
 

ROME, Italy, October 16, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Nine out of ten of the world’s 570 million farms are managed by families, making the family farm the predominant of agriculture, and consequently a potentially crucial agent of change in achieving sustainable food security and in eradicating hunger in the future, according to a new U.N. report released today.

Family farms produce about 80 percent of the world’s food. Their prevalence and output mean they “are vital to the solution of the hunger problem” afflicting more than 800 million people, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva wrote in the introduction to FAO’s new State of Food and Agriculture 2014 report.

Family farms are also the custodians of about 75 percent of all agricultural resources in the world, and are therefore key to improved ecological and resource sustainability. They are also among the most vulnerable to the effects of resource depletion and climate change.

While evidence shows impressive yields on land managed by family farmers, many smaller farms are unable to produce enough to provide decent livelihoods for the families.

Family farming is thus faced with a triple challenge: yield growth to meet the world’s need for food security and better nutrition; environmental sustainability to protect the planet and to secure their own productive capacity; and productivity growth and livelihood diversification to lift themselves out of poverty and hunger. According to the SOFA report, all these challenges mean that family farmers must innovate.

“In all cases, family farmers need to be protagonists of innovation as only this way can they take ownership of the process and ensure that the solutions offered respond to their needs,” Graziano da Silva said. “Family farming is a key component of the healthy food systems we need to lead healthier lives.”

The report calls for the public sector, working with farmers, civil society organizations and the private sector, to improve innovation systems for agriculture. Agricultural innovation systems include all the institutions and actors that support farmers in developing and adopting better ways of working in today’s increasingly complex world. Innovation capacity must be promoted at various levels, with incentives for farmers, researchers, advisory service providers and integrated value chains to interact and create networks and partnerships to share information, SOFA says.

Policy makers must also consider the diversity of family farms in terms of size, technologies used, and integration into markets, as well as their ecological and socio-economic settings. This diversity means that farmers need different things from an innovation system. Still, all farms need better governance, macroeconomic stability, physical and institutional market infrastructure, education as well as basic agricultural research, according to SOFA.

Public investment in agricultural research as well as extension and advisory services – which should be designed to be more participatory – must be increased to emphasize sustainable intensification and closing the yield and labor productivity gaps characterizing farm sectors in many developing nations.

Although agricultural research by private companies is increasing, public-sector investment remains indispensable to ensure research in areas of little interest to the private sector – such as basic research, orphan crops or sustainable production practices. Such research constitutes a public good with many potential beneficiaries.

Family farms are vital

The FAO report offers a rich set of new details about family farms. Most family farms are small. Eighty-four percent of the world’s farms are less than two hectares in size. However, farm sizes vary widely. Indeed, farms larger than 50 hectares – including many family farms – occupy two-thirds of the world’s agricultural land.

In many high-income and upper-middle-income countries, large farms, responsible for most agricultural production, account for most farm land. But in most low- and lower-middle-income countries, small and medium-sized farms occupy most farm land and produce most of the food.

Small farms produce a higher share of the world’s food relative to the share of land they use, as they tend to have higher yields than larger farms within the same countries and agro-ecological settings.

However, the higher productivity of land on family farms involves lower labor productivity, which perpetuates poverty and hinders development. Much of the world’s food production involves of unpaid labor by family members.

The report emphasizes that it is imperative to boost output per worker, especially in low-income countries, in order to lift farm incomes and expand rural economic welfare in general.

Currently, farm sizes are becoming smaller and smaller in most developing countries, where many smallholder farm households derive the bulk of their income from off-farm activities.

Policies should aim to increase access to inputs such as seeds and fertilizers as well as to markets and credit, according to SOFA.

Effective and inclusive producer organizations can support innovation by members, helping them gain access to markets, and facilitating linkages with others in the innovation system, besides ensuring that family farms have a voice in policy making, the report emphasizes.

To encourage family farmers to invest in sustainable agricultural practices, which often have high start-up costs and long pay-off periods, authorities should seek to provide an enabling environment for innovation.

Policies meant to catalyze innovation will need to go beyond technology transfer, according to SOFA. They must also be inclusive and tailored to local contexts, so that farmers have ownership of innovation, and take gender and intergenerational issues into consideration, involving youth in the future of the agricultural sector.

Oct 162014
 

MOGADISHU, Somalia, October 16, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia (SRSG), Nicholas Kay, condemned last night’s bomb attack outside a popular restaurant in Mogadishu resulting in the death and injury of many people.

“I strongly condemn last night’s cowardly terrorist attack. I am appalled by the complete disregard for the lives of ordinary Somalis, including children and passers-by. Such crimes violate the most basic principles of humanity. The perpetrators need to be brought to justice swiftly.” SRSG Kay said.

“The United Nations remains determined in our support for the Somali people as they work to realise their hope for a peaceful and stable future.” he added.

SRSG Kay extends his sincere condolences to the families and friends of all those who have suffered as a result of last night’s attacks.

Oct 162014
 

MOGADISHU, Somalia, October 16, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia (SRSG), Nicholas Kay, condemned last night’s bomb attack outside a popular restaurant in Mogadishu resulting in the death and injury of many people.

“I strongly condemn last night’s cowardly terrorist attack. I am appalled by the complete disregard for the lives of ordinary Somalis, including children and passers-by. Such crimes violate the most basic principles of humanity. The perpetrators need to be brought to justice swiftly.” SRSG Kay said.

“The United Nations remains determined in our support for the Somali people as they work to realise their hope for a peaceful and stable future.” he added.

SRSG Kay extends his sincere condolences to the families and friends of all those who have suffered as a result of last night’s attacks.

Oct 162014
 

NEW YORK, October 16, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — On 14 October 2014, the members of the Security Council heard briefings by Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the United Nations Mission for Emergency Ebola Response (UNMEER) Anthony Banbury, as well as Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous and Assistant-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Tayé-Brook Zerihoun.

The members of the Security Council reiterated their grave concern about the unprecedented extent of the Ebola outbreak in Africa, which constitutes a threat to international peace and security, as well as the impact of the Ebola virus on West Africa, in particular, Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

The members of the Security Council recognized the strenuous efforts made by the Member States of the region, especially Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, to lead the ground-level response against the Ebola outbreak, as well as to address the wider political, security, socioeconomic and humanitarian impact of the Ebola outbreak on communities. The members of the Security Council affirmed the importance of preparedness by all Member States to detect, prevent, respond to, isolate and mitigate suspected cases of Ebola within and across borders. They also recalled the International Health Regulations (2005), which aim to improve the capacity of all countries to detect, assess, notify and respond to public health threats.

The members of the Security Council welcomed the swift establishment on 19 September 2014 by United Nations General Assembly resolution 69/1 of UNMEER. They expressed their appreciation for the efforts undertaken by the Mission to provide overall leadership and direction to the operational work of the United Nations System, as mandated by the United Nations General Assembly. They requested that the Secretary-General help to ensure that all relevant United Nations System entities, including the United Nations peacekeeping operations and special political missions in West Africa, within their existing mandates and capacities, collaborate closely and urgently to respond to UNMEER’s requests and to provide immediate Ebola response assistance to the governments of the three most affected countries.

The members of the Security Council reiterated their deep and abiding admiration for the the first-line responders to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, including national health and humanitarian relief workers, educators, and those providing burial services, as well as international health and humanitarian relief workers contributed by the Member States of diverse regions and non-governmental and inter-governmental organizations. The members of the Security Council expressed their condolences to the families of the victims of the Ebola outbreak, including national and international first-line responders, and wished swift recovery to those infected. They also underscored the critical importance of putting in place necessary arrangements, including medical evacuation capacities and treatment and transport provisions, to facilitate the immediate and unhindered deployment of health and humanitarian relief workers in the affected countries.

The members of the Security Council called on the governments of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to continue to strengthen coordination with all national, regional and international actors, including bilateral partners and multilateral organizations, including the Mano River Union, African Union, Economic Community of West African States, European Union, World Bank Group and the United Nations System, in order to more fully and efficiently utilize all Ebola response assistance.

The members of the Security Council stressed that the response of the international community to the Ebola outbreak has failed to date to adequately address the magnitude of the outbreak and its effects. In this regard, they urged all Member States, and bilateral partners and multilateral organizations, to accelerate and dramatically expand the provision of resources and financial and material assistance, including mobile laboratories; field hospitals; dedicated and trained clinical personnel and services in Ebola Treatment Units and isolation units; therapies, vaccines and diagnostics to treat patients and limit or prevent further Ebola infection or transmission; and personal protective equipment for first-line responders. They further urged Member States and all relevant actors to provide logistical, aeromedical, transport and construction capabilities for the Ebola response. They called on Member States, especially in the region, to facilitate immediately the delivery of such assistance, to the most affected countries.

The members of the Security Council strongly urged Member States, as well as airlines and shipping companies, while applying appropriate public health protocols, to maintain trade and transport links with the most affected countries to enable the timely utilization of all efforts aimed at containing the Ebola outbreak within and across borders of the region. They expressed their continued concern about the detrimental effect of the isolation of the affected countries as a result of trade and travel restrictions imposed on and to the affected countries, as well as acts of discrimination against the nationals of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Oct 162014
 

NEW YORK, October 16, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — On 14 October 2014, the members of the Security Council heard briefings by Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the United Nations Mission for Emergency Ebola Response (UNMEER) Anthony Banbury, as well as Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous and Assistant-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Tayé-Brook Zerihoun.

The members of the Security Council reiterated their grave concern about the unprecedented extent of the Ebola outbreak in Africa, which constitutes a threat to international peace and security, as well as the impact of the Ebola virus on West Africa, in particular, Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

The members of the Security Council recognized the strenuous efforts made by the Member States of the region, especially Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, to lead the ground-level response against the Ebola outbreak, as well as to address the wider political, security, socioeconomic and humanitarian impact of the Ebola outbreak on communities. The members of the Security Council affirmed the importance of preparedness by all Member States to detect, prevent, respond to, isolate and mitigate suspected cases of Ebola within and across borders. They also recalled the International Health Regulations (2005), which aim to improve the capacity of all countries to detect, assess, notify and respond to public health threats.

The members of the Security Council welcomed the swift establishment on 19 September 2014 by United Nations General Assembly resolution 69/1 of UNMEER. They expressed their appreciation for the efforts undertaken by the Mission to provide overall leadership and direction to the operational work of the United Nations System, as mandated by the United Nations General Assembly. They requested that the Secretary-General help to ensure that all relevant United Nations System entities, including the United Nations peacekeeping operations and special political missions in West Africa, within their existing mandates and capacities, collaborate closely and urgently to respond to UNMEER’s requests and to provide immediate Ebola response assistance to the governments of the three most affected countries.

The members of the Security Council reiterated their deep and abiding admiration for the the first-line responders to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, including national health and humanitarian relief workers, educators, and those providing burial services, as well as international health and humanitarian relief workers contributed by the Member States of diverse regions and non-governmental and inter-governmental organizations. The members of the Security Council expressed their condolences to the families of the victims of the Ebola outbreak, including national and international first-line responders, and wished swift recovery to those infected. They also underscored the critical importance of putting in place necessary arrangements, including medical evacuation capacities and treatment and transport provisions, to facilitate the immediate and unhindered deployment of health and humanitarian relief workers in the affected countries.

The members of the Security Council called on the governments of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to continue to strengthen coordination with all national, regional and international actors, including bilateral partners and multilateral organizations, including the Mano River Union, African Union, Economic Community of West African States, European Union, World Bank Group and the United Nations System, in order to more fully and efficiently utilize all Ebola response assistance.

The members of the Security Council stressed that the response of the international community to the Ebola outbreak has failed to date to adequately address the magnitude of the outbreak and its effects. In this regard, they urged all Member States, and bilateral partners and multilateral organizations, to accelerate and dramatically expand the provision of resources and financial and material assistance, including mobile laboratories; field hospitals; dedicated and trained clinical personnel and services in Ebola Treatment Units and isolation units; therapies, vaccines and diagnostics to treat patients and limit or prevent further Ebola infection or transmission; and personal protective equipment for first-line responders. They further urged Member States and all relevant actors to provide logistical, aeromedical, transport and construction capabilities for the Ebola response. They called on Member States, especially in the region, to facilitate immediately the delivery of such assistance, to the most affected countries.

The members of the Security Council strongly urged Member States, as well as airlines and shipping companies, while applying appropriate public health protocols, to maintain trade and transport links with the most affected countries to enable the timely utilization of all efforts aimed at containing the Ebola outbreak within and across borders of the region. They expressed their continued concern about the detrimental effect of the isolation of the affected countries as a result of trade and travel restrictions imposed on and to the affected countries, as well as acts of discrimination against the nationals of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.