Showing how agriculture is adapting to climate change

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The many ways farmers, fishers, foresters and ranchers around the world are adapting their practices to climate change will go under the spotlight at the Annual Forum of the Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture (GACSA), taking place 15-17 June 2016 at FAO’s Rome headquarters.

Representatives from governments, farmers groups, the private sector, civil society and academia will share solutions, discuss challenges and build partnerships during the event, which will be held under the theme Climate –Smart Agriculture in Action.

Climate change, including the increased frequency and severity of extreme weather events such as floods and droughts, is undermining agriculture and food systems in many parts of the world. GACSA is an independent and voluntary alliance of partners working together to sustainably increase agricultural production to cope with a growing global population, achieve greater resilience for food systems and farming livelihoods and reduce or remove greenhouse gas emissions associated with agriculture, where possible.

Up for discussion at GACSA’s annual forum are topics such as trends in finance and investment related to climate-smart agriculture, as well as country case studies from Costa Rica, France, Ireland, Malawi, Tanzania and Vietnam.

In addition, an “Innovators Pitch” session will see new ideas on climate-smart agriculture presented for discussion by participants.

FAO Deputy Director-General/ Co-ordinator for Natural Resources Maria Helena Semedo will open the event on 15 June.

The media are welcome to attend the event, which will also be webcast.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

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IMF Staff Concludes Visit to Cabo Verde

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An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission, led by Mr. Ulrich Jacoby, visited Cabo Verde from June 7–9, 2016, to hold introductory discussions with the new government which came into office in late April 2016. At the end of the visit, Mr. Jacoby issued the following statement:

“Discussions centered around economic developments, the economic outlook for Cabo Verde, economic challenges and the government’s policy priorities going forward. We also discussed the budget outline for 2016, as well as the preliminary considerations for the broad parameters of the medium-term economic and fiscal outlook. Further discussions will be held during a mission tentatively planned for early Fall 2016 to hold discussions on the Article IV consultation which has been delayed from last year.

“The mission met with Prime Minister Ulisses Correia e Silva, Minister of Finance Olavo Correia, Central Bank Governor Joao Serra, other government officials, development partners, and the private sector.

“The mission thanks the authorities for their openness, excellent cooperation and cordial hospitality, and looks forward to close cooperation in the period ahead.”

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of International Monetary Fund (IMF).

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Readout of the Secretary-General’s meeting with H.E. Mr. Ruhakana Rugunda, Prime Minister of Uganda

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The Secretary-General expressed his gratitude and appreciation for the continued sacrifices made by the Ugandan troops of AMISOM in Somalia, and emphasized the critical importance of AMISOM staying the course against Al-Shabaab for the sake of Somalia and regional security.

He also commended Uganda’s efforts to address the situation in Burundi, underlining that Burundi remains a continuing priority concern for the UN.

Regarding South Sudan, the Secrurity-General urged regional countries to stay fully engaged with the two leaders and impress upon them the need the implement the peace agreement fully and without delay.

The Secretary-General conveyed his concerns about recent allegations of serious human rights violations, including sexual exploitation and abuse, involving Ugandan forces in the Central African Republic. He also raised the case of the opposition leader, Mr Kizza Besigye.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations – Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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Source:: Readout of the Secretary-General’s meeting with H.E. Mr. Ruhakana Rugunda, Prime Minister of Uganda

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IMF Executive Board Completes Fifth Review Under the Extended Credit Facility and Approves US$26.9 Disbursement for Mali

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On June 8, 2016, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the fifth review of Mali’s performance under an economic program supported by an Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement. The Board’s decision enables the disbursement of SDR 19 million (about US$26.9 million), bringing total disbursements under the arrangement to SDR 41 million (about US$58.1 million).

In completing the review, the Executive Board approved the authorities’ request for

a one-year extension of the ECF to December 17, 2017, as well as an augmentation of the resources available under the arrangement by SDR 60 million, bringing the total amount of the arrangement to SDR 98 million (about US$138.8 million). The Board also approved a request for the modification of the performance criteria for June 2016 on gross tax revenue and government bank and market financing.

The ECF arrangement for Mali was approved by the Executive Board on December 18, 2013 for SDR 30 million (about US$42.5 million), see Press Release No. 13/524).

Following the Executive Board’s discussion, Mr. Min Zhu, Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair, made the following statement:

“The Malian authorities continue to make good progress with the implementation of their economic program. Growth is robust and inflation remains low, although security conditions continue to be a challenge.

“The recent strong increase in tax revenue reflects the authorities’ efforts to improve compliance and broaden the tax base. A key challenge going forward is to sustain tax revenue growth, which is needed to help fund priority public expenditures while keeping the public finances on a strong footing. The authorities’ program incorporates several measures to strengthen tax administration further. Increasing the effectiveness of tax audits, reducing exemptions, and reforming the system of incentives for tax inspectors will be important elements.

“The fiscal program for 2016 allows for a higher overall deficit, notably to accommodate peace-related needs. The authorities are committed to a gradual fiscal consolidation, consistent with their commitments to meet WAEMU criteria over the medium term. This will help ensure that Mali’s public debt burden remains manageable. Further improvements to public financial management are necessary to support fiscal discipline. It is important in this context that the authorities fully implement the Treasury Single Account, complete the reform of the procurement code, and improve the financial position of the electricity company.

“Fiscal decentralization is central to the peace agreement, and the authorities’ gradual approach is appropriate. The process would need to move in tandem with improvements in the administrative and absorptive capacities at the regional level. Government initiatives to strengthen audit and control mechanisms for the regions to foster transparency and accountability are also important in this regard.

“Efforts to address financial sector weaknesses are ongoing. Priorities include strengthening the balance sheet of the restructured housing bank, reforming the microfinance sector, and further modernizing the framework for anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism.”

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of International Monetary Fund (IMF).

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Outcomes of the JPSM meeting

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The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini- Zuma, commends the governments of Sudan and South Sudan on the outcomes of the recently held ministerial ordinary meeting of the Joint Political and Security Mechanism (JPSM) between the two sides held on 5 June, in Khartoum, and co-chaired by their Ministers of Defense.

The Chairperson notes, with great satisfaction, that the Parties have agreed on far reaching measures on their common border relating to the complete redeployment of their respective forces from the area of the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone (SDBZ) and the reactivation of the various JPSM mechanisms, especially the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism (JBVMM), the Border Ad Hoc Committee and the Technical Border Corridors Committee.

The Chairperson is encouraged by the outcomes of the meeting between the two neighboring states and their commitment to fully implement the Security Arrangements, signed in Addis Ababa, on 27 September 2012. In this regard, she urges the two governments to implement the agreed decisions in accordance with the stated timeframes, to create the necessary conditions for the existence of two viable states at peace with each other, for the good of their peoples.

The Chairperson reiterates the full support and cooperation of the AU Commission, through the AU High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) and the AU Border Programme, for the timely implementation of all the decisions of the JPSM meeting.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of African Union Commission (AUC).

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Source:: Outcomes of the JPSM meeting

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EU funds reliable electrical power for Hargeisa hospital

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Today, the European Union and its partners, Hargeisa Group Hospital, Terre Solidali and United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) inaugurated new electrical power system for Hargeisa hospital which is expected to help save lives and improve general wellbeing of the people by powering the hospital.

EU Ambassador to Somalia hailed the latest support to the people of Somaliland as timely saying healthcare is a primary universal need for every person and that such crucial support is at the heart of the EU comprehensive approach to improving living standards of the people.

“A healthy community is a productive community and without reliable electricity the Hargeisa Group Hospital will not be able to render its services effectively. This is why the European Union is passionate and dedicated at supporting such a crucial medical facility that attends to thousands of people in Hargeisa and beyond,” Head of the EU Delegation to Somalia Ambassador Michele Cervone d’Urso said.

The new support to the hospital included procurement and installation of two generators and essential electrical materials which guarantees the availability of continuous power supply, thereby increasing the quality of services and safety of patients. The EU funded action followed a comprehensive approach to the hospital development and management aimed at addressing all components that would make the hospital a much better facility for all.

The EURO 1.5 Million worth project targeted to improving healthcare by increasing efficiency, quality and sustainability of health services provided by the hospital. It specifically supported the development of an infrastructure master plan for the hospital geared towards supporting functional integration of the various departments of the hospital.

Further, the action supported the development of small-scale infrastructure interventions as well as procurement of equipment for the hospital.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of EU Delegation to Somalia.

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UN child rights experts issue findings on Samoa, Nepal, UK, Slovakia, Pakistan, Gabon, Bulgaria, and Luxembourg

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The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has published its findings on the following countries which it examined during its latest session from 17 May to 3 June in Geneva: Samoa, Nepal, UK, Slovakia, Pakistan, Gabon, Bulgaria, and Luxembourg.

The findings cover how the respective State is doing with regard to children’s rights, detailing positive developments, main areas of concern, and recommendations for action. The finding, officially known as concluding observations, can be found here:
http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/SessionDetails1.aspx?SessionID=987&Lang=en

The Committee on the Rights of the Child is composed of 18 independent experts, who monitor implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified to date by 196 States. They also monitor implementation of the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (OPSC) and the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict (OPAC), ratified by 173 States and 165 States respectively.

The Committee will next meet from 13 to 30 September in Geneva to review Estonia, Nauru, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Suriname. More details here: http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/SessionDetails1.aspx?SessionID=1041&Lang=en

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

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Source:: UN child rights experts issue findings on Samoa, Nepal, UK, Slovakia, Pakistan, Gabon, Bulgaria, and Luxembourg

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Doctors Without Borders Response to 2016 United Nations Political Declaration on Ending AIDS

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“We are encouraged to see that with this declaration, governments are committing to almost double the number of people on HIV treatment in the next three and half years, heeding the latest medical recommendations that everyone with HIV should start treatment immediately once diagnosed. The new global HIV treatment goals can only be achieved if the countries that are lagging behind, such as those in West and Central Africa, are given a booster shot, by tripling the pace that people are put on treatment. Every day in our programs in countries like Guinea, Chad and the Democratic Republic of Congo, we see the unnecessary illness and death caused by the neglect of this region.

Today, governments have endorsed UNAIDS’ global “90-90-90” targets, which will underline the importance of making sure people not only know their HIV status and are started on treatment, but that every effort is made to help people stick to their treatment in the long run, with “undetectable” levels of virus in their blood.

To make this declaration a reality, there will need to be a steady source of affordable HIV medicines – treatment that cost $10,000 per person per year 15 years ago today is priced at just $100 per year, thanks to fierce competition among generic medicine producers in countries like India. In this declaration, governments recognize that they must make sure there are no barriers to people’s access to medicines, yet through trade agreements being negotiated in multiple countries, and persistent pressure on India to change its intellectual property rules, the future of affordable medicines is under threat. Landmark discussions are ongoing at the UN on access to medicines to look at how needed medicines can be developed and be affordable to the people who need them.”

–Sharonann Lynch, HIV/TB policy advisor at MSF’s Access Campaign

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Médecins sans frontières (MSF).

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Source:: Doctors Without Borders Response to 2016 United Nations Political Declaration on Ending AIDS

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UNICRI applauds advances in asset recovery – Switzerland returning stolen assets to Tunisia

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On 30 May 2016, the Swiss Ambassador to Tunisia, Her Excellency Rita Adam, delivered to Tunisian authorities a check in the amount of 500,000 Tunisian Dinars, corresponding to approximately US$234,000 dollars. UNICRI views this announcement as a very positive step forward in the recovery of stolen assets and applauds the cooperation and efforts of the Government of Switzerland and the Government of Tunisia. This, combined with other recent developments, including Nigeria’s recent announcement that, over the past year, it has recovered approximately 9.1 billion dollars in stolen illicit assets, shows that asset recovery, while often a lengthy process, is indeed producing results.

UNICRI, in cooperation with the European Union, places particular emphasis on asset recovery, and is working closely with the Governments of Egypt and Tunisia, as well as the countries in which stolen assets have been deposited or otherwise located, to more quickly and efficiently return stolen assets, as well as take additional measures to trace and identify other assets that have yet to be seized.

For the moment, some 901 million dollars in assets belonging to the Egyptian government and its people and to the Tunisian government and its people, remain frozen in bank accounts or have been seized in different countries since the Arab Spring. In light of the pressing development needs in both Egypt and Tunisia, especially for those suffering from limited health and education services, UNICRI encourages all States to take the widest measures possible, as required under the United Convention against Corruption, to facilitate the return of currently frozen assets, as well as to trace, identify and seize other assets suspected of being the product of corruption.

This requires efforts to maximize inter-institutional and international cooperation to ensure that judgements (in penal cases, as well as in non-penal cases) are entered, and are sufficiently detailed, in both Egypt and Tunisia, and to ensure that requests to return assets are acted upon swiftly in those countries where the assets are located. Since the Arab Spring, the best example of efficient asset recovery for Arab Spring countries has been the return, in 2013, of more than 28 million dollars from Lebanon to Tunisia. UNICRI is confident that the combined efforts of Tunisia and Switzerland will produce even more significant results in the near future, and will serve as an example for other States to follow.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations Information Service Vienna (UNIS).

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Outcomes of the Joint Political and Security Mechanism (JPSM) meeting

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The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini- Zuma, commends the governments of Sudan and South Sudan on the outcomes of the recently held ministerial ordinary meeting of the Joint Political and Security Mechanism (JPSM) between the two sides held on 5 June, in Khartoum, and co-chaired by their Ministers of Defense.

The Chairperson notes, with great satisfaction, that the Parties have agreed on far reaching measures on their common border relating to the complete redeployment of their respective forces from the area of the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone (SDBZ) and the reactivation of the various JPSM mechanisms, especially the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism (JBVMM), the Border Ad Hoc Committee and the Technical Border Corridors Committee.

The Chairperson is encouraged by the outcomes of the meeting between the two neighboring states and their commitment to fully implement the Security Arrangements, signed in Addis Ababa, on 27 September 2012. In this regard, she urges the two governments to implement the agreed decisions in accordance with the stated timeframes, to create the necessary conditions for the existence of two viable states at peace with each other, for the good of their peoples.

The Chairperson reiterates the full support and cooperation of the AU Commission, through the AU High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) and the AU Border Programme, for the timely implementation of all the decisions of the JPSM meeting.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of African Union Commission (AUC).

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Source:: Outcomes of the Joint Political and Security Mechanism (JPSM) meeting

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Lake Chad: ‘Not a day goes by without a child dying of malnutrition’

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The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says over 9 million people are in urgent need of aid in the Lake Chad region of Africa. More than 2.4 million people have fled their homes in four countries, Niger, Chad, Cameroon and Nigeria because of the conflict between government forces and armed opposition, which has lasted six years.

The situation is now deteriorating further, especially in north-eastern Nigeria, and the ICRC is scaling up its humanitarian activities throughout the region.

“There is a critical shortage of food. We can barely imagine the scale of hunger in some areas where humanitarian aid has not yet reached. Children are suffering especially. Not a day goes by without a child dying of malnutrition,” said the ICRC’s Director of Operations, Dominik Stillhart.

A string of attacks in Niger’s Diffa region during the last few days has led to around 50,000 people fleeing their homes. In north-eastern Nigeria, hundreds of displaced people are still arriving at different locations in search of shelter and food. In many cases, the evolving conflict across the region drives people to flee on multiple occasions, increasing hardship and making life extremely precarious. Most abandon their homes leaving everything behind, and lack the very basic necessities of life.

Since the beginning of the year, the ICRC and the local Red Cross Societies have distributed food to more than 300,000 displaced people and returnees in Nigeria, Cameroon and Niger, while 15,000 displaced people have received emergency shelter in Adamawa and Borno State in Nigeria. With access to health-care limited, ICRC surgical teams are supporting Diffa and Maiduguri hospitals. More than 800 patients, most of them war wounded, have received life-saving emergency treatment since January 2016.

With more and more people arrested due to the conflict, detention services are increasingly under strain. The ICRC visits detainees across the region to monitor treatment and conditions, which includes addressing cases of malnutrition.

“We are one of the few organizations present on the ground, with the capacity to act quickly. Our access to people affected by the conflict is growing, so we are reaching more and more people in desperate need. We have to provide more aid, especially food, otherwise more people will die,” said Mr Stillhart.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

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Lake Chad: ‘Not a day goes by without a child dying of malnutrition’

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The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says over 9 million people are in urgent need of aid in the Lake Chad region of Africa. More than 2.4 million people have fled their homes in four countries, Niger, Chad, Cameroon and Nigeria because of the conflict between government forces and armed opposition, which has lasted six years.

The situation is now deteriorating further, especially in north-eastern Nigeria, and the ICRC is scaling up its humanitarian activities throughout the region.

“There is a critical shortage of food. We can barely imagine the scale of hunger in some areas where humanitarian aid has not yet reached. Children are suffering especially. Not a day goes by without a child dying of malnutrition,” said the ICRC’s Director of Operations, Dominik Stillhart.

A string of attacks in Niger’s Diffa region during the last few days has led to around 50,000 people fleeing their homes. In north-eastern Nigeria, hundreds of displaced people are still arriving at different locations in search of shelter and food. In many cases, the evolving conflict across the region drives people to flee on multiple occasions, increasing hardship and making life extremely precarious. Most abandon their homes leaving everything behind, and lack the very basic necessities of life.

Since the beginning of the year, the ICRC and the local Red Cross Societies have distributed food to more than 300,000 displaced people and returnees in Nigeria, Cameroon and Niger, while 15,000 displaced people have received emergency shelter in Adamawa and Borno State in Nigeria. With access to health-care limited, ICRC surgical teams are supporting Diffa and Maiduguri hospitals. More than 800 patients, most of them war wounded, have received life-saving emergency treatment since January 2016.

With more and more people arrested due to the conflict, detention services are increasingly under strain. The ICRC visits detainees across the region to monitor treatment and conditions, which includes addressing cases of malnutrition.

“We are one of the few organizations present on the ground, with the capacity to act quickly. Our access to people affected by the conflict is growing, so we are reaching more and more people in desperate need. We have to provide more aid, especially food, otherwise more people will die,” said Mr Stillhart.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

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Source:: Lake Chad: ‘Not a day goes by without a child dying of malnutrition’

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