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Rights experts call for 2nd UN Decade for people of African descent

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United Nations International Children Education Foundation (UNICEF)

Human rights experts on Wednesday urged the UN General Assembly to declare a second International Decade for People of African Descent starting in 2025 as more action is needed to combat racism and other intolerance.

They stressed that more than ever, the world urgently needed humanity to unite and collaborate in a spirit of equality and non-discrimination.

“This demands political will to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination, inequality and stratification at both the domestic and international levels.

“Achieving this goal means that inequalities within and among countries will need to be drastically decreased, and the legacies of colonialism, apartheid, enslavement and genocide effectively resolved,” they said in a statement.

The General Assembly proclaimed 2015 to 2024 as the International Decade for People of African Descent with actions at the national, regional and global levels.

The objectives include promoting respect, protection and fulfilment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by people of African Descent, and greater knowledge of their diverse heritage, culture and contributions to society.

“The cause of people of African descent for recognition, justice and development is a cause for humanity,” the experts stated.

They said the UN Decade, together with the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, had contributed significantly to combatting racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

“However, there is much more work to be done and the momentum gained must be sustained,” they said.

They urged the General Assembly to consider proclaiming a second International Decade for People of African Descent from 2025 to 2034.

This is with a view to taking further action to address systemic discrimination and legacies of the past to bring about the full recognition, justice, and development for people of African descent worldwide.

The 13 experts were appointed by the UN Human Rights Council and are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.

They issued their appeal on the eve of the International Day for People of African Descent.

In his message for the Day, UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, highlighted “the enormous impact” that both the African continent and people of African descent have had on the development, diversity and richness of world civilisations and cultures, which constitute the common heritage of humankind.

“At the same time, we acknowledge the pervasive discrimination faced by people of African descent around the world, and the many obstacles they face to realising their full human rights,” he said.

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

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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

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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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