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UN humanitarian operations continue in Niger amid coup



UN humanitarian operations continue in Niger amid coup

The United Nations and partners continue their humanitarian assistance in Niger regardless of Wednesday’s coup that ousted President Mohamed Bazoum, UN officials in Niger said on Friday.

“The United Nations in Niger … would like to confirm that humanitarian assistance and (the) development and peace program continue in the country,” said Nicole Kouassi, acting UN resident coordinator and humanitarian coordinator in Niger.

UN humanitarian assistance flights, however, are suspended due to the closure of the Nigerian air space, she told reporters at the UN Headquarters in New York via a video link from Niamey, the Nigerian capital.

Humanitarian and development partners remain committed to supporting the vulnerable population who are affected by a combination of climate, economic and security shocks, she said.

Right before the coup, 4.3 million Nigerians needed humanitarian assistance.

Some 3.3 million people were in acute food insecurity, the majority of whom were women and children, she said.

Kouassi, who is also the representative of the UN Development Programme in Niger, called for more funds as the UN humanitarian response plan for Niger, which requires 583 million U.S. dollars, is only 32 per cent funded.

She said the situation in the country remains calm and the UN staff face no security threats, with all UN staff members accounted for and no accidents related to UN staff, vehicles or other resources.

According to Kouassi, the UN team in Niger is not in contact with the military as it does not have a political mandate.

Even if contact with the Nigerian military is required, no engagement is expected until after a summit of the Economic Community of West African States on Sunday and on the condition that the country team receives instructions from the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel.

Jean-Noel Gentile, the representative of the World Food Programme (WFP) in Niger, also confirmed that the programme’s humanitarian operations continued with cash and food assistance to Nigerians.

The closure of the Nigerian borders has temporarily affected logistical support to operations in neighboring Chad for Sudanese refugees, and the WFP is working on alternative routes to Chad, he told the same press briefing.


IMF/World Bank meetings to hold in Marrakech despite devastating Moroccan earthquake



IMF/World Bank

The managements of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), together with Moroccan authorities have agreed to hold their 2023 Annual Meetings in Marrakech despite recent devastating earthquake in the country.

This is contained in a joint statement signed by World Bank President, Ajay Banga; IMF Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva; and Kingdom of Morocco Minister of Economy and Finance, Nadia Fettah Alaoui.

They however said that the meetings, scheduled between Oct. 9 and Oct. 15, would hold by “adapting the content to the circumstances”.

“Since the devastating earthquake in Morocco on Sept. 8, the World Bank and the IMF staff have worked in close coordination with the Moroccan authorities and a team of experts to thoroughly assess Marrakech’s capacity to host the 2023 Annual Meetings.

“In undertaking this assessment, key considerations were that the meetings would not disrupt vital relief and reconstruction efforts, and that the safety of the participants can be assured.

“Based on a careful review of the findings, the Managements of the World Bank and IMF, together with the Moroccan authorities, have agreed to proceed with holding the 2023 Annual Meetings in Marrakech from October 9 to 15,” they said.

According to them, the meetings would be conducted in a way that does not hamper the relief efforts, and respects the victims and Moroccan people.

“At this very difficult time, we believe that the annual meetings also provide an opportunity for the international community to stand by Morocco and its people, who have once again shown resilience in the face of tragedy.

“We also remain committed to ensuring the safety of all participants,” they said.

The World Bank plays a key role in the global efforts to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity.

Working in more than 100 countries, the bank provides financing, advice, and other solutions that enable countries to address the most urgent challenges of development.

The IMF is a global organisation that works to achieve sustainable growth and prosperity for all of its 190 member countries.

It does so by supporting economic policies that promote financial stability and monetary cooperation, which are essential to increasing productivity, job creation, and economic well-being.

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Zelensky among leaders arriving in New York for high-level UN summit



Volodymyr Zelensky

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is among the world leaders descending on New York on Monday as the United Nations prepares to kick off a high-level summit.

The summit is aimed at rescuing its largely ignored Sustainable Development Goals for economic growth.

The UN General Assembly in New York, would formally start on Tuesday and will last a week.

It is set to focus on dusting off its 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aimed at avoiding poverty, hunger, poor education and poor health care, among other things.

In 2015, the countries of the world set themselves these central goals for global development with the key aim of ending hunger and extreme poverty by 2030.

However, the pandemic, the Ukraine war and a debt crisis in poor countries are among the setbacks that have left the UN well off its target.

According to the UN, if things continue as they are, 575 million people will still be living in great poverty and more than 600 million in hunger in 2030.

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