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Syria: Humanitarian disaster in Idlib ‘unfolding before our eyes’ says top UN relief official

Unabating violence, destruction and a downward sprial in overall conditions for the desperate people trapped in north-western Syria’s Idlib were in the spotlight as the United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator told the Security Council on Tuesday that “we are faced with a humanitarian disaster unfolding before our eyes”.

“There is no denying the facts”, he stated.

Hate speech ‘on notice’ as UN chief launches new plan to ‘identify, prevent and confront’ growing scourge

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has declared war on hate speech, telling Member States on Tuesday, that we all need to “do better at looking out for each other”.

“Hate speech may have gained a foothold, but it is now on notice”, Mr. Guterres said, launching the UN Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech. “We will never stop confronting it”.

While the strategy and action plan are new, it is also rooted in the need to respect the human rights of all, barring any discrimination.

UN oceans treaty ‘essential’ to combat ‘unprecedented pressure’ on the world’s seas – UN chief

The oceans are not only under “unprecedented pressure” due to climate change, but “half of all living coral has been lost in the past 150 years”, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said on Monday, addressing the latest gathering of nations which are party to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

UN cooperation with League of Arab States ‘pivotal’, UN chief tells Security Council

Global problems require global solutions that rely on “essential” partnerships, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres told the Security Council on Thursday, stating that “our cooperation with the League of Arab States is pivotal”. 

“Our two organizations share a common mission:  to prevent conflict, resolve disputes and act in a spirit of solidarity and unity”, he told the meeting on cooperation between the Council and the League (LAS). “We work together to expand economic opportunity, advance respect for all human rights and build political inclusion”, he added.

Conflict prevention, mediation: among ‘most important tools’ to reduce human suffering, Guterres tells Security Council

Conflict prevention and mediation are two of “the most important tools at our disposal to reduce human suffering” United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the Security Council on Wednesday.  

“When we act early, and are united, we can successfully prevent crises from escalating, saving lives and reducing suffering – fulfilling the most fundamental mandate of the United Nations”, he continued. 

One-in-five suffers mental health condition in conflict zones, new UN figures reveal

More than one-in-five people living in conflict-affected areas suffers from a mental illness, according to a new report based on UN figures, prompting the World Health Organization (WHO) to call for increased, sustained investment in mental health services in those zones.

Around 22 per cent of those affected, suffer depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder, according to an analysis of 129 studies published in The Lancet – a United Kingdom-based peer-reviewed medical journal.

It is time to “circle back” and transform the planet

By Joyce Msuya, Acting Executive Director, UN Environment Programme

In India, a young entrepreneur is turning hundreds of tons of flower waste from temples into organic incense sticks, made by women. A simple, cost-effective innovation is helping generate employment, protecting our water bodies and encouraging more research into environment-friendly alternatives. In Burkina Faso, an initiative to repurpose plastic waste into clothes and other items has reduced plastic waste in dumpsites in the city of Koudougou by one-third and improved sanitation.