UN Radio: UNAIDS Warns Pandemic Is Worsening
UN Radio: UNAIDS Warns Pandemic Is Worsening
UNAIDS Warns Pandemic Is Worsening
Deaths and new cases of HIV/AIDS reached new highs in 2003 and are set to rise further. The UN agency UNAIDS released new global estimates Tuesday, showing that the pandemic was worsening by the day. Executive Director of UNAIDS Dr. Peter Piot says HIV/AIDS continues its stranglehold on sub-Saharan Africa and was advancing across Eastern Europe and Asia:
"The most important finding of the report is that the epidemic continues to deepen, to expand tightening its grip on southern Africa and also threatening south and East Asia. This year more people than ever were infected with HIV - 5 million as compared to 4.8 million new infections last year."
Dr. Piot says the rate of infection is a startling -- 10 people getting HIV/AIDS every minute -- and more people than ever died from AIDS, illustrating the crying need for treatment.
UN Urges End to Violence Against Women and Girls
One in three: That figure sums up the crisis confronting women and girls everywhere, as we mark International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Director of the UN Development Fund for Women Noeleen Heyzer explains that one out of every three girls would experience violence during her lifetime:
"We all know that violence against women has devastated lives; it has destroyed and fractured many of our communities and destroyed the gifts and potential of many girls."
Meanwhile, Secretary-General Kofi Annan issued a global call for action to stop the daily violence and abuse of women and girls. Annan said this age-old scourge is taking on new dimensions in the 21st century -- one of the most alarming being the trafficking in women and girls.
FAO Says World Hunger Back on the Increase
World hunger is back on the increase after falling steadily during the first half of the 1990's. That according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in its annual report on the state of food insecurity in the world. FAO says more than 840 million people were undernourished in the period between 1999-2001-- most of them in developing countries. The food agency says the problem was not so much one of a lack of food, but rather a lack of political will. The report found that countries that successfully fought under-nourishment had significantly higher economic, particularly agricultural, growth, combined with policies targeted at poverty reduction.
Worst Drought in Decades Leaves Tens of Thousands of Somalis in Need: WFP
Tens of thousands of Somalis are in need of assistance as the worst drought in decades has created severe water and food shortages. The UN food agency (WFP) says that as a result it would have to expand its operations in Somalia's northern Sool Plateau. Both people and livestock are in a dire situation as reserves of groundwater are drying up. WFP's representative for Somalia Leo Van der Veldon tells UN Radio the agency has to intervene immediately to prevent widespread malnutrition and stave off a humanitarian disaster:
"WFP urgently needs more funds if we are to continue our planned assistance over the next five months."
Van der Veldon says WFP needs more than $6 million to buy 9 thousand tonnes of food aid.
Annan Warns Cote d'Ivoire Could Slip Back into Conflict
There's clearly a danger that Cote d'Ivoire could slip back into conflict. According to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the political stalemate in the country was created by the withdrawal of the Forces Nouvelles from Cote d'Ivoire's Government of National Reconciliation. And he warned that unless urgent steps were taken to resolve the impasse, the tenuous security situation in the country could deteriorate further:
"Already there are signs that the situation in some parts of the northern provinces controlled by the Forces Nouvelles is degenerating into lawlessness."
Annan said he plans to send an assessment mission to Cote d'Ivoire to review the situation on the ground.
New Security Council Committee to Keep Monitoring Frozen Iraqi Assets
The UN Security
Council has voted to establish a new committee to continue
monitoring the freezing of assets of Saddam Hussein, his
followers, and companies that his regime controlled. This
committee replaces one that monitored sanctions against
Iraq, which ceased to exist last week when the UN
oil-for-food programme for Iraq ended. The resolution says
the new committee's mandate would be kept under review for
possible new tasks, including monitoring the arms embargo.