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Cluster munitions victims soar in 2022, especially in Ukraine



More people were killed or injured by cluster munitions in 2022 than in any other year since an agreement on their use went into force in 2010.

An international coalition pressing for their abolition said in Geneva on Tuesday.

Over the years, there were at least 1,172 victims, 916 of them in Ukraine, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and its sister-organisation, the Cluster Munitions Coalition (ICBL-CMC), reported.

The figure was well up on that for 2021, when there were 149 victims around the world, it said.

The Geneva-based organisation said that 95 per cent of the victims in 2022 were civilians and that both Russia and Ukraine had used the munitions.

They had also been used in Myanmar and Syria during the year.

The munitions also claimed victims in Azerbaijan, Iraq, and Yemen.

“Cluster munitions are abhorrent weapons that are globally banned because they cause both immediate and long-term civilian harm and suffering,’’ Mary Wareham of Human Rights Watch who compiled the report said.

“It’s unconscionable that civilians are still dying from cluster munition attacks 15 years after these weapons were outlawed,’’ she said.

She said this ahead of a conference in Geneva starting on Monday to evaluate the effects of the agreement.

While 124 countries were party to the agreement, Russia, Ukraine and the United States have not signed it, nor have Myanmar and Syria.

Russia and Ukraine made use of old stocks during 2022 and during the past summer the U.S. began supplying Ukraine with new versions of cluster munitions.

Cluster munitions are made up of bomb lets sealed in containers that can be fired from the ground or the air.

They then spread over a wide area, with many failing to detonate on contact and remaining a hazard for years afterwards.

There have been numerous reports of farmers and children being killed or maimed long after the weapons were deployed.


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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