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COVID-19 threatening global peace and security, UN chief warns

Following are UN Secretary-General António Guterres remarks to the Security Council on the COVID-19 pandemic, in New York, today: Thank you for convening this important discussion. The world faces its gravest test since the founding of this Organization. Every country is now grappling with or poised to suffer the devastating consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic: the tens of thousands of lost lives; the broken families; the overwhelmed hospitals; the overworked essential workers. We are all struggling to absorb the unfolding shock: the jobs that have disappeared and businesses that have suffered; the fundamental and drastic shift to our daily lives; and the fear that the worst is still yet to come, especially in the developing world and countries already battered by armed conflict. While the COVID-19 pandemic is first and foremost a health crisis, its implications are much more far-reaching. We are already seeing its ruinous social and economic impacts, as Governments around the wor..

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HRW details devastating impact of COVID-19 on children

COVID-19s Devastating Impact on Children Governments Should Mitigate Harm, Protect Most Vulnerable (New York) – The COVID-19 crisis has a potentially far-reaching, long-term negative impact on children around the world, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The impact is likely to be devastating, even though children who contract COVID-19 appear to have less severe symptoms and lower mortality rates than other age groups. More than 1.5 billion students are out of school. Widespread job and income loss and economic insecurity among families are likely to increase rates of child labor, sexual exploitation, teenage pregnancy, and child marriage. Stresses on families, particularly those living under quarantines and lockdowns, are increasing the incidence of domestic violence. As the global death toll from COVID-19 increases, large numbers of children will be orphaned and vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. “The risks posed by the COVID-19 crisis to children are enormous..

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Save the Children launches its biggest-ever $100 million appeal to protect children from COVID-19

Aid organisation seeks to raise $100 million in urgent race to help save millions of lives Save the Children warns that the global coronavirus pandemic threatens to devastate childrens health and education, and cause unprecedented protection needs. In the largest appeal in its 100-year-history, the agency is aiming to raise $100 million to urgently keep children and their families safe during the global COVID-19 outbreak, the most serious threat to global health and security in modern times. Since the start of the outbreak, Save the Children continues to respond to the needs of communities in countries impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, including in China, the US and across Europe. As the Coronavirus pandemic now accelerates across lower income countries, with new cases expected to reach 10,000 across Africa this week, the agency is warning that failure to act now in countries across south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa could result in the loss of three million peoples lives. Inger Ash..

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“To silence the guns, we must raise the voices for peace”

“To silence the guns, we must raise the voices for peace” Ten days ago, I issued an appeal for an immediate ceasefire in all corners of the globe to reinforce diplomatic action, help create conditions for the delivery of lifesaving aid, and bring hope to places that are among the most vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic. This call was rooted in a fundamental recognition: There should be only one fight in our world today: our shared battle against COVID-19. We know the pandemic is having profound social, economic and political consequences, including relating to international peace and security. We see it, for example, in postponement of elections or limitations on the ability to vote, sustained restrictions on movement, spiraling unemployment and other factors that could contribute to rising discontent and political tensions. In addition, terrorist or extremist groups may take profit from the uncertainty created by the spread of the pandemic. Nonetheless, the global ceasefire app..

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Covid-19 school closures around the world will hit girls hardest

By Stefania Giannini, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education, and Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, Chief Executive Officer, Plan International. As COVID-19 forces school closures in 185 countries, Plan International and UNESCO warn of the potential for increased drop-out rates which will disproportionately affect adolescent girls, further entrench gender gaps in education and lead to increased risk of sexual exploitation, early pregnancy and early and forced marriage. Out of the total population of students enrolled in education globally, UNESCO estimates that over 89% are currently out of school because of COVID-19 closures. This represents 1.54 billion children and youth enrolled in school or university, including nearly 743 million girls. Over 111 million of these girls are living in the worlds least developed countries where getting an education is already a struggle. These are contexts of extreme poverty, economic vulnerability and crisis where gender disparities in education..

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UNICEF scales up support in 145 countries to keep children learning, as COVID-19 forces schools to close

NEW YORK, 26 March 2020 – As nationwide school closures disrupt education for more than 80 per cent of students worldwide, UNICEF today announced it will significantly scale up support in all countries to help children continue their learning while keeping schools safe. “Schools in the majority of countries worldwide have closed. It is an unprecedented situation and unless we collectively act now to protect children’s education, societies and economies will feel the burden long after we’ve beaten COVID-19. In the most vulnerable communities, the impact will span generations,” said Robert Jenkins, UNICEF Global Chief of Education. “Based on lessons learned with the school closures in response to Ebola, the longer children stay away from school, the less likely they are to ever return. Giving children alternative ways to learn and also by doing so, rebuild a routine, is a critical part of our response,” said Jenkins. To help curb the disruption to children’s education and keep childre..

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Securing sustainable food systems hinges on gender equality

FAO, IFAD and WFP mark International Womens Day 6 March 2020, Rome – The three United Nations’ Rome-based agencies dedicated to food and agriculture called today for bolder action to achieve gender equality and empower women and girls in the agricultural sector and beyond. Securing sustainable global food systems is only possible if women everywhere are empowered and their rights recognized and respected, stressed FAO, IFAD and WFP at an event today marking International Women’s Day (IWD) at FAO headquarters. This year’s IWD – with the theme “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Right’s” – is an opportunity to review global progress on gender equality and women’s empowerment in the 25 years since the Fourth World Conference on Women[1], identify remaining gender gaps, and outline the way forward. “FAO will continue to play its part, in partnership with others, in strengthening gender equality, realizing women’s rights and accelerating their socio-economic empowerment. Only th..

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New analysis reveals how conflict affects girls and boys differently

Children in conflict at highest risk of violence since records began New analysis also reveals how conflict affects girls and boys differently: Nine in ten child victims of sexual violence are girls; Boys are more often killed or maimed, abducted or recruited by armed groups; Boys more likely to be killed in direct warfare, if girls are killed or badly injured it is more likely to be a result of indiscriminate explosive weapons. Wars and conflicts are intensifying and becoming increasingly dangerous for children, according to a new report released by Save the Children. Whilst fewer children are living in conflict-affected areas, those who do face the greatest risk of falling victim to serious violence since systematic records began[i]. The research revealed that some 415 million children worldwide were living in conflict-affected areas in 2018, a slight decrease from the year before. Yet the number of reported grave violations—the worst crimes committed against children—increased, ..

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New caravans of Central Americans fleeing violence

Despite being deported at the Mexican border earlier this year, many Central Americans are embarking on the dangerous journey again in search of safety. Two caravans of people have left San Pedro Sula in Honduras towards Mexico and the US so far this year. Many people in the latest caravan, which departed on 31 January, are reported to have already participated in the first caravan earlier this year and been deported. “I was deported but I decided to run again. I will try to reach the US as many times as necessary because my country is not safe for me,” said Oscar* who has tried to flee from his home country Honduras six times since 2018 due to death threats. “Central Americans are left with an impossible choice; flee again under dangerous circumstances and risk kidnapping, abuse or death at the hands of organised crime groups or stay in their home countries and face life-threatening violence and extreme poverty,” said the Norwegian Refugee Council’s (NRC) Country Director Dominika ..

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Counting the cost 2019: a year of climate breakdown, December 2019

15 climate disasters of 2019 that cost more than $1 billion In 2019 extreme weather driven by climate change killed thousands around the world Christian Aid report identifies 15 events that cost more than $1 billion, with seven events costing more than $10 billion each USA tops list, with China, India and Japan all close behind. Extreme weather, driven by climate change, hit every populated continent in 2019, killing, injuring and displacing millions and causing billions of dollars of economic damage, according to a new report by Christian Aid. Counting the Cost 2019: a year of climate breakdown identifies 15 of the most destructive droughts, floods, fires, typhoons and cyclones of 2019, each of which caused damage of over $1 billion. Seven of the events cost more than $10 billion each. These figures are likely to be underestimates – in some cases they include only insured losses and do not take into account the costs of lost productivity and uninsured losses. All of these billion-..

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