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Wednesday's Daily Brief: Guterres talks technology for Africa’s development, ‘extinction crisis’ prompts stronger wildlife protection, Greta Thunberg reaches New York, funding shortfalls in Iraq, a positive step for Indigenous women

For Africa, ‘winds of hope are blowing ever stronger,’ says Guterres

African nations have made “significant progress” in developmental efforts in the last few years, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Wednesday, kicking off the Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), taking place in Yokohama.

“I see Africa as a dynamic continent of opportunity where winds of hope are blowing ever stronger,” Mr. Guterres expressed.

Since the last conference in 2016, Africa has seen advancements in areas from sustaining growth, to strengthening governance, to promoting gender equality, the UN chief reported, explaining the potential for technology to work as a catalyst in the continent’s developmental efforts. 

Our full story here.

‘Extinction crisis’ pushes countries to agree stronger protection for global wildlife (CITES)

At-risk wildlife that is facing a “growing extinction crisis” received a boost on Wednesday as countries wrapped up a marathon meeting in Geneva, by agreeing to increased protection measures and more sustainable trade in animals and plants across the globe.

At its latest three-yearly conference, the UN-backed Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) revised the trade rules for dozens of species brought low by unstainable trade linked to overharvesting, overfishing and overhunting. 

With giraffe populations down to just tens of thousands, and certain species of sharks, otters, elephants, rhinos and others in stark decline, Parties to the Convention spoke out on ways to manage wildlife conservation through engagement with indigenous groups, tracking down illegal trade groups, and putting a cap on hunting.

More on the story here.

Youth activist Greta Thunberg reaches New York for climate summit

After a 15-day journey across the Atlantic , 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg anchored in New York Wednesday morning.  To avoid the emissions emitted from a gas-guzzling jet ride, Ms. Thunberg made the trip on a zero-carbon yacht. 

The United Nations will welcome her ashore Wednesday afternoon with a flotilla of 17 sailboats, each branded with a Sustainable Development Goal.

The Swedish teen is scheduled to attend the Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit on 23 September, a meeting of leaders aimed at raising ambition and increasing action on this defining issue of our time.

UNAMI chief sounds alarm of funding shortfall in Iraq 

Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, Special Representative and head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), briefed the Security Council on Wednesday via videoconference, spotlighting funding shortfalls as her utmost concern.

After saluting the “enormous sacrifices” made that led to Iraq’s “freedom and sovereignty”, the Special Representative lamented that both the Funding Facility for Stabilization and the Humanitarian Response Plan are facing enormous financial gaps of $300 and $500 million, respectively.

The UNAMI chief recalled that Iraq’s “daunting challenges” did not arise overnight and “will not be resolved tomorrow” but as Iraqis “press ahead” they need an engaged international community at their side.


A positive step for indigenous women, new bill recognizes rights

In Canada, the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, Dubravka Šimonovic, welcomed a bill banning sexual discrimination from a federal law dealing with indigenous peoples.

Before the bill entered into force on 15 August, provisions within the Indian Act meant women lost their status when they married non-Indigenous men, while men who married non-Indigenous women kept their rights.

“For decades, First Nations women and their descendants have faced sex-based discrimination that has been perpetuated by these provisions, constituting a violation of international and national gender equality standards,” said the UN expert.


Listen to or download our audio News in Brief for 28 August on Soundcloud:


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