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World News in Brief: Emergency funds for Sudan refugees, democracy prevails in Guatemala, climate change in Iraq

The funds will be used to build shelters, offer cash assistance, build water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, and support onward transportation for new arrivals who are staying in overcrowded transit sites, said the UN Spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric, briefing reporters on Monday.

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We are anticipating that thousands of additional people may cross the borders into South Sudan from Sudan over the next six months, stressing a system that is already under stress”, he said.

Exodus continues

More than 60,000 people have arrived in South Sudan during the past month, following the outbreak of clashes between Government troops and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militia fighters in and around Wad Medani, Sudan’s second-largest city.

In all, around half a million people have crossed into South Sudan since mid-April 2023, when the rival armies began fighting following the collapse of their longstanding alliance, stretching back to the brutal conflict in Darfur during the early 2000s. 

The UN warned last week that amid “horrific abuses” against civilians around 25 million Sudanese will need humanitarian support through this year, but intensifying fighting is making aid delivery nearly impossible.

“The war has unleashed the world’s largest displacement crisis, uprooting the lives of seven million”, warned Mr. Griffiths.

Guatemala: Guterres congratulates new president, says ‘democratic will’ has prevailed

Secretary-General António Guterres on Monday congratulated the newly sworn-in President of Guatemala, following months of legal manoeuvres reportedly aimed at preventing him from taking office.

President Bernardo Arévalo won the election in August by a clear margin but the country’s attorney general sought to invalidate his win through months of legal procedures.

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The swearing in was reportedly delayed by ten hours on Sunday, and after finally taking office, President Arévalo acknowledged the country’s large indigenous population which around 40 per cent of Guatemalans belong to.

Indigenous groups supported the president strongly during the turbulent post-election months, and in his inauguration speech, he reportedly said that there can’t be democracy without social justice, and social justice will not prevail without democracy.

Speaking to reporters at the regular daily briefing in New York, Stéphane Dujarric spoke on behalf of the Secretary-General:

He welcomes that the democratic will of voters has been respected and notes the President’s declared commitments to advancing peace, social justice, human development, transparency, and democratic reform.”

Mr. Guterres “reaffirms that the United Nations stands ready to accompany Guatemala and Guatemalans in these efforts”, Mr. Dujarric added.

WFP signs agreement to support climate adaptation in Iraq’s Basrah region

A new climate change adaptation initiative is due to get underway in southern Iraq, after the Basrah Gas Company (BGC) and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) signed an agreement on Monday in support of local farmers in the Al Zubair district of the regional capital.

The initiative is designed to increase incomes and boost agricultural production.

The project will introduce tested solutions to combat desertification and support water conservation in the farming sector. WFP and BGC will collaborate closely with the Directorate of Agriculture, the Farmers’ Association, and local farmers in the implementation phase, the UN agency said in a press release.

The initiative will train farmers on applying smart agriculture techniques, modern farming methods such as so-called “soilless farming” and water-saving irrigation systems.

Empowering women in the field

The project will also focus on empowering female farmers by building capacity and self-employment in cooperation with the designated local authorities in the district.

This collaboration, which was finalized during the COP28 climate change conference in Dubai last month, comes at a critical moment for global transformative climate action.

“Our strategic approach in Al-Zubair aligns with the urgent need to combat the effects of climate change in southern Iraq. Al-Zubair district is one of the regions in Basrah most affected by climate change. There are frequent sandstorms, heatwaves, water scarcity, pollution, and salinity,” said WFP Country Director and Representative for Iraq Ally-Raza Qureshi.

“This project underscores our joint commitment to promoting sustainable livelihoods, community cohesion, and effective adaptation strategies for the evolving agricultural landscape in Basrah.”

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