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News in Brief 1 February 2023 |


This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.

WMO unveils plans for sustainable international greenhouse gas monitor

A UN-led plan to tackle climate change by radically improving the way heat-trapping atmospheric pollutants are measured all over the planet, is being given serious consideration by governments and the international scientific community meeting in Geneva.

One of the aims of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) initiative is to create a network of ground-based measurement stations that can verify worrying air quality data that’s been flagged by satellites or airplanes.

Today, “there is no comprehensive, timely international exchange of surface and space-based greenhouse gas observations,” WMO said, as it called for “improved (international) collaboration” and in particular data exchange to support the 2015 Paris Agreement, and its pathway for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and building climate resilience.

With more on the proposed monitoring network, here’s Dr. Oksana Tarasova, a Senior Scientific Officer at WMO.

“It’s not just anthropogenic emissions, but what the forests are doing, what the oceans are doing. We need this information to support our mitigations, because we have no time to lose.”

Dr. Tarasova explained that in 2022, WMO reported the largest-ever observed increase of methane “and the reasons of this increase are still not known”. The new greenhouse gas measuring mechanism would help “fill in the gaps” in our knowledge regarding such observations, she said.

Myanmar: Two years since coup, UN aid agency commits to ‘staying and delivering’

Two years since a military coup in Myanmar, UN humanitarians pledged on Wednesday to stay and deliver, amid a growing humanitarian crisis that’s affected the whole country.

According to UN aid coordination office, OCHA, half of Myanmar’s people now live in poverty and 1.5 million are displaced.

A total of 4.5 million have been prioritized for lifesaving assistance and impressive development gains have been wiped out since 2005, the UN agency said.

Problems include “price hikes, severe inflation, movement restrictions, armed conflict and violence”, that have forced many of the most vulnerable people to resort to crisis or emergency coping strategies to buy food and other basic supplies.

Echoing humanitarians’ concern for Myanmar’s people, UN-appointed independent expert Tom Andrews said that a “coordinated international response to the crisis” was needed, ahead of “sham elections” planned for August, he said.

UNAIDS hails bid to end HIV in children in Africa

UNAIDS on Wednesday hailed a joint bid by a dozen African nations and health partners to end AIDS in children by 2030, by ensuring that they have better access to lifesaving HIV medication and testing kits.

Globally, three quarters of adults with HIV receive antiretrovirals for the illness, which if untreated can develop into full-blown AIDS.

But only one in two children gets treatment, and they account for 15 per cent of all AIDS deaths, even though they make up only four per cent of people with HIV.

With more on the Africa initiative, here’s UNAIDS spokesperson, Charlotte Sector:

“Last year alone, 160,000 children were infected with HIV. So, what is happening is that 12 countries are coming together in Africa because six countries in sub-Saharan Africa represent 50 per cent of those new infections. And therefore, there is a global alliance coming together to try and put an end to that.”

In addition to boosting access to HIV medication, the alliance aims to halt transmission of the virus from mother to baby during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding.

In Nigeria, almost one in four mothers pass HIV to their child, said UNAIDS. The UN agency explained that a key way of helping is to map where pregnant women live, so they can get HIV testing kits to find out if they have the disease in the first place.

The 12 African countries in the alliance are: Angola, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Daniel Johnson, UN News.


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