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Thursday’s Daily Brief: Fragile hope for Yemen, TB and Afghanistan updates, Paris's fresco for sustainable development

Yemen conflict: ‘Fragile’ hopes grow, as violence falls, humanitarian aid rises

There are “small signs” of hope for Yemeni civilians caught up in fighting, following a reduction in violence, coupled with a 20 per cent increase in funding for the UN’s humanitarian response, the Security Council heard on Thursday.

The UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, together with relief chief Mark Lowcock, told members there was “cause for optimism” but still a long way to go, to decisively end more than four years of fighting between the Saudi-led coalition supporting the southern-based, internationally-recognized Government, and Houthi rebels who control the capital, Sana’a, and other key areas.

Airstrikes had “reduced considerably across Yemen”, he said, since the beginning of this month. “This is a very recent and inevitably fragile gain, but it’s a step in the right direction.”

Here’s our full coverage.

Tuberculosis infections declining, but not fast enough among poor

A staggering 1.5 million people died from tuberculosis (TB) last year, the UN health agency said on Thursday, in an appeal for far greater funding and political support to eradicate the curable and preventable disease.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and its latest Global TB Report, around 10 million people developed TB in 2018 and three million sufferers “are not getting the care they need.” Countries where people suffer most are China, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, and South Africa.

Brazil, China, the Russian Federation and Zimbabwe – all of which have high TB burdens have achieved treatment coverage levels of more than 80 per cent, in 2018. Nonetheless, the burden of TB remains high among the poor and marginalized, particularly those with HIV. 

The cost of TB care, coupled with drug resistance and underfunding for research are a few of the obstacles faced when confronting the disease. Our full story here.

Paris: More than 5,000 people paint picture of the SDGs

An interactive painting to promote the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals  (SDGs) is in it’s final display days on the banks of the Seine river in Paris: A 20-meter-long fresco of painted hands, belonging to more than 5,000 people.

For one week in late September, Parisians were invited to choose one color corresponding to the SDG of their choice, dip their hands, and leave prints forming a growing and colourful showcase on the walls along the iconic river’s edges to celebrate the fourth anniversary of the  ambitious 2030 Agenda.

The project, supported by the UN Regional Information Centre (UNRIC) France and Monaco Office, is the work of three street artists who designed and hosted the week-long event.

A video (see below) showcasing the art piece was shown during the UN’s high-level week last month in the SDG Media Zone. Spectators can enjoy the collaborative artwork, located below the  Leopold Sedar-Senghor Bridge, at 11 quai Anatole France in Paris.

Record-high number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan: UN Report

Afghanistan has seen record-high levels of civilian casualties in the third quarter of 2019, stemming mainly from the violence between rival political party supporters, the UN Assistance Mission in the country (UNAMA) revealed in a report published Thursday, which concluded that more must be done to protect the country’s people.

In just the first nine months of 2019 overall, UNAMA counted more than 8,200 civilian casualties- 2,563 killed and 5,676 injured – similar to figures in the corresponding nine-month periods from 2014 onwards. But the last three months, has seen an “unprecedented number of civilian casualties”, UNAMA said.

More in our story here.

New labour research identifies strategies for tackling poverty and inequality

Efforts to increase the availability of decent work and tackle poverty are significantly more effective when job search assistance programmes, are combined with income support.

That’s according to new research conducted by the International Labour Organization (ILO), released on Thursday, which assessed the partnership of so-called “active labour market policies”, such as training, and career advice, with income support for job seekers.

The analysis found that while income support and government assistance programmes both had drawbacks when implemented separately, however “the beneficial effects tend to be unequivocal”, when the two work together.

Listen to or download our audio News in Brief for 17 October on Soundcloud:


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