World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Great Lakes Region ‘on The Right Track’ To Tackling Political And Other Challenges

Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, countries in Africa’s Great Lakes region are “on the right track”, with leaders pushing forward on political, security and economic cooperation, UN Special Envoy Huang Xia told the Security Council on Monday.

Governments and people across the 13 nations continue to show resilience and determination in the face of the global crisis, he said, while congratulating those which have begun vaccinations through the global solidarity initiative, COVAX.

“These vaccination campaigns have so far allowed for just over a million doses to be administered in the region”, said Mr. Huang, who briefed in French. He urged ambassadors to continue their mobilization “in order to foster more equitable and affordable access to the vaccine, including in areas affected by armed conflict”.

‘Encouraging gestures’

Nearly two million COVID-19 cases have been reported in the Great Lakes Region since the pandemic began, and more than 60,000 people have died. Women have been disproportionately affected by the impacts.

Amidst this difficult context, leaders have continued their engagement in line with a 2013 framework on peace, security and cooperation. The UN, the African Union, regional bloc SADC, as well as the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), an intergovernmental body, are the guarantors of the agreement.

On the political front, Mr. Huang spoke of efforts towards promoting better relations between Rwanda and Uganda, and pointed to recent “encouraging gestures” between Burundi and Rwanda.

The UN Envoy also underlined his commitment to action to find a lasting solution to the continued problem of armed groups operating in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). A regional group that brings together civilian and military experts should be holding its first meeting in the coming weeks.

COVID-19 has only exacerbated the violence, he said, which has hindered development. He welcomed recent verdicts against the heads of armed groups, handed down by national courts in the DRC and by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Meanwhile, elections in some countries were marred by violence, but Mr. Huang told the Council this problem can be resolved through stepping up work on prevention.

“The region seems to be resolutely committed and on the right track to tackle these security, political and economic challenges that are before it”, he said, though adding that the international community’s “tireless support” will still be needed.

UN action plan

Mr Huang updated ambassadors on the UN’s strategy for the region, which was presented to the Council last December and covers peace consolidation, conflict prevention and conflict resolution.

The strategy seeks to leverage the activities of UN entities working there to better assist countries on the path to peace, security and sustainable development.

The UN, together with national authorities, experts, and civil society organizations, will soon draw up a related action plan to identify priorities.

Mr Huang added that his Office will also focus on additional priority issues. These range from supporting political dialogue already underway and co-organizing a high-level workshop on fighting the illegal exploitation of natural resources, a root cause of instability.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


UN: India’s New COVID-19 Wave Is Spreading Like ‘Wildfire’, Warns UN Children’s Fund

7 May 2021 A new wave of COVID-19 infections is spreading like “wildfire” across India, leaving many youngsters destitute, the UN Children’s Fund UNICEF said on Friday. In the last 24 hours, India registered 3,915 coronavirus deaths and 414,188 ... More>>

UN: Decades Of Health Gains At Risk In Brazil Due To COVID-19

Although COVID-19 cases are declining in Brazil, the pandemic is putting decades of public health gains there at risk, the head of the World Health Organization ( WHO ) said on Friday. With global attention and support focused this week ... More>>

UN Report: Myanmar Approaching Point Of Economic Collapse

The turmoil following the military coup in Myanmar, coupled with the impact of COVID-19 could result in up to 25 million people – nearly half of the country’s population, living in poverty by early next year, a United Nations report said on Friday. That ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

Study: Cut Methane Emissions To Avert Global Temperature Rise

6 May 2021 Methane emissions caused by human activity can be reduced by up to 45 per cent this decade, thus helping to keep global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change, according to a UN-backed ... More>>

UN: Learning From COVID-19, Forum To Highlight Critical Role Of Science, Technology And Innovation In Global Challenges

New York, 4 May —To build on the bold innovations in science, technology and innovations that produced life-saving solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN will bring together experts to highlight measures that can broaden the development and deployment ... More>>

What COVID-19 Has Taught Us: “Healthcare Can No Longer Exist Without Technology”

A grandmother in a village in the Gambia should have the same quality of life and access to healthcare they deserve as in New York or London. Photo: InnovaRx Global Health Start-up Works To Bridge Healthcare Gap In The Gambia By: Pavithra Rao As ... More>>