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Tuesday’s Daily Brief: climate crisis reports, renewal in Iraq, Zimbabwe’s hunger crisis, Disabilities Day

Only one in five countries has a healthcare strategy to deal with climate change

Protecting people’s health from climate change dangers such as heat stress, storms and tsunamis has never been more important, yet most countries are doing too little about it, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.

In its first global review of more than 100 countries, the UN agency found that while around half of them have developed a strategy on the issue, fewer than one in five is spending enough to implement all of their commitments.

Meanwhile, the World Metereological Organization (WMO) warned that extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and more deadly. In its provisional statement on the State of the Global Climate, released on Tuesday, WMO concludes that concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, which hit record levels last year, also continued to rise in 2019.

Full coverage of the WHO report here and our story on the preliminary WMO findings here.

Protests and civil unrest show ‘renewed sense of patriotism’ in Iraq, UN envoy tells Security Council

After decades of sectarian strife and conflict, “a renewed sense of patriotism has taken hold”, the head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) told the Security Council on Tuesday

Briefing from Baghdad, Special Envoy Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert said that “out of love for their homeland”, thousands of Iraqis have taken to the streets, asking for their country to reach its “full potential for the benefit of all Iraqis”.

“However”, she lamented “they are paying an unimaginable price for their voices to be heard”, pointing out that since 1 October, over 400 people have been killed and more than 19,000 injured.

Here’s our full coverage.

Zimbabwe ‘facing worst hunger crisis in a decade’

Zimbabwe is facing its worst hunger crisis in a decade with half of the population – 7.7 million people – food insecure, the World Food Programme (WFP) said on Tuesday.

The alert follows last week’s warning from a UN-appointed independent rights expert that the country – once seen as the breadbasket of Africa – is in the grip of “man-made starvation”.

Check our story here.

Qatar’s past ‘vital’ to understanding present discrimination: UN independent rights expert

The “inequality and discrimination” confronting certain racial, ethnic and national groups in Qatar is partially influenced by the State’s history of slavery and its contemporary legacies, a UN independent expert said on Tuesday, after concluding an official visit to the country.

Although Special Rapporteur E. Tendayi Achiume commended the Government for its commitment to break from the past and fulfil its international human rights obligations in combatting discrimination and inequality, she maintained that “immense power imbalances” persist.

“Imbalances rooted in the kafala (sponsorship) system that historically structured labour relations and conditions of residency for low-income workers in Qatar” are evident between employers and migrant workers, she observed during her visit between 23 November to 1 December.

The independent rights expert lauded reforms designed to improve conditions for domestic workers, but urged further action, saying that more must be done to protect Qatar’s hundreds of thousands of low-income workers from discrimination.

 “Many people’s enjoyment of human rights is greatly affected by their national origin and nationality”, upheld Ms. Achiume, adding that she had “serious concerns of structural racial discrimination against non-nationals” there.

UN ‘determined to lead by example’ on disability rights: Guterres

The UN is determined to lead by example when it comes to the rights of people with disabilities, Secretary-General António Guterres said in a message to mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which falls on 3 December.

This year, in June, the UN chief launched a Disability Inclusion Strategy, to raise the Organization’s standards and performance. It provides a foundation for sustainable and transformative progress on disability inclusion across the United Nations.

At UN Headquarters in New York, the Day was marked by an official opening ceremony, a panel discussion on new initiatives for disability inclusion, and an event on the theme of ‘sport for all for peace and development’.

In his opening remarks at the opening ceremony, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, President of the UN General Assembly, described sport as an enabler and means of empowerment for people with disabilities, and encouraged UN Member States, the private sector, and civil society to use sports as a “medium to promote the dignity of all people”.

Full story here.

Listen to or download our audio News in Brief for 3 December on SoundCloud:


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