This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Ukraine: FAO and EU in $15.5 million bid to tackle food crisis threat
In Ukraine, the country’s farmers and smallholders urgently need more support to avoid a food crisis, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said on Wednesday, as it announced a $15.5 million initiative to help them.
With funding from the European Union, the project will help to keep agricultural production going in Ukraine, after the Russian invasion last February led to the destruction of crops and farm equipment, and disruption to supply chains.
Local and displaced populations in western Ukraine are among those who need help in the short term, amid rising food insecurity, FAO said.
The UN agency also noted that in a recent nationwide assessment, one in four people had reduced or halted agricultural production because of the war.
FAO explained that as the war continues, a large number of households, family farms, individual producers and others have found it increasingly difficult to continue operating.
Major challenges expected in the next few months in crop and livestock farming include low sale prices at market, a lack of fertilizers and pesticides and shortages of fuel or electricity to power equipment.
‘Reach into your hearts’, release prisoners arbitrarily detained
UN Human Rights chief Volker Türk on Wednesday urged governments to “reach into your hearts” and end arbitrary detention.
He called on “governments and all detaining authorities, globally, to amnesty, pardon or simply release all those detained for exercising their rights”.
The High Commissioner for Human Rights urged them to review the detention of environmental and climate activists and of those fighting discrimination, along with anyone “speaking up against abuses and corruption, journalists jailed for doing their essential work, and human rights defenders”.
Freeing them would be in line with the vision of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which is 75 years old this year, Mr. Türk explained, as he highlighted its call for a world in which all people live free and equal, in dignity and rights.
Syria, Palestine, DPRK on new year agenda for Security Council
To the UN Security Council, where five countries joined its ranks as non-permanent members, for the next two years.
Ecuador, Malta, Mozambique, Japan and Switzerland will have their say alongside the five permanent – and veto-wielding members – China, France, Russia, the United States and the United Kingdom.
The remaining members of the 15-strong body are Albania, Brazil, Gabon, Ghana and the United Arab Emirates, who began their terms as non-permanent members at the Council last year.
Japan holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council for January, which will see meetings on several situations of international concern, such as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Palestine, West Africa and the Sahel, and Yemen.
The devastating impact of Syria’s long-running conflict is also on the Council’s agenda, with scheduled political, humanitarian and chemical weapons updates expected from top UN officials.
Council members are also expected to vote on a draft resolution confirming the extension of the Syria cross-border aid delivery mechanism.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.