“With more than 6 per cent of Uruguay’s GDP and almost 20 per cent of total exports related to livestock production, every effort should be made to eradicate this disease with no borders,” said Myrna Alexander, World Bank Director for Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay, in a statement issued today. “The Bank is signalling its commitment to support this effort.” The Project, to be implemented over a period of two years, will provide technical and financial support to the Government of Uruguay to help contain and mitigate the impact of the outbreak. “With support from the Project, we are confident that Uruguay will rapidly regain the Foot and Mouth Disease-free status (without vaccination) it enjoyed from May 1996 to April 2001,” said Michael Carroll, the World Bank task manager for the Project. The loan will also support training, education and awareness programmes to increase the information about disease prevention to producers and the public.The $18.5 million, fixed-spread loan has a 15-year maturity, including a 5-year grace period.
The draft budget for the ICC prepared by the UN says that if a case were referred to the Court, its first-year expenditures would amount to $30.1 million. The report points out that savings of over $109,000 could be realized if related meetings, such as those of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute which established the Court, are held in New York instead of at The Hague, where the ICC will be based. All budget projections are provisional, according to the report, which states that “it should be clearly understood that these estimates are by their very nature indicative and that the precise level of resource requirements will only emerge in the light of experience and as States parties make decisions as to the size and composition of organizational units which they wish to finance.” It is not yet known when the Court will begin to operate. Under the Rome Statute, the ICC will come into existence once 60 States have ratified the document. Currently, there are 37 parties to the Statute, while a total of 139 countries have signed it.
During the meeting, Dr. Samar called for the UN’s continuing support of her Ministry’s work and specifically for logistical help in setting up her office. Earlier this week, a team from the UN World Health Organization (WHO) met with another woman who was recently appointed to a senior position in the interim government — Dr. Sohila Sediq, Afghan Public Health Minister. Dr. Sediq expressed gratitude for the support WHO had provided to Afghanistan over many years and requested that the agency maintain a strong presence in the country to help strengthen national authorities.Dr. Sediq also highlighted the urgent need to rehabilitate Afghanistan’s health infrastructure, which has suffered from years of destruction and lack of maintenance, as well to ensure a regular supply of medicines and vaccines. In addition, she asked WHO, along with the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), to help reactivate medical training for female health workers, whom she described as a “crucial asset” for Afghanistan’s health system.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is organizing the two-week search for Strontium 90 generators in a 550 square kilometre area of western Georgia. The effort will involve some 80 people, mostly Georgian nationals, as well as radiation experts from the IAEA, India, France, Turkey and the United States, who will set out on horseback, foot and by car.Six highly radioactive Strontium 90 sources, which were used as thermo-electric generators for communication stations in remote areas, have been recovered so far, and the IAEA believes that two more remain at large. The Agency has been working since 1997 to upgrade levels of radiation safety and security in the country, where over 280 radioactive sources have been recovered since the mid-1990s. Some of these sources were discovered on abandoned Soviet military bases and all have been placed in safe storage.The search marks the first operational phase of an action plan to conduct IAEA-supported radiological surveys of selected areas in Georgia. The action plan covers two phases of a campaign to survey selected areas of Georgia with sensitive radiation detectors and instruments to locate so-called “orphan” radiation sources that are outside of regulatory control.”The situation in Georgia may just be an indication of the serious safety and security implications orphaned sources may have elsewhere in the world,” said Abel Gonzalez, IAEA Director of Radiation and Waste Safety. “The IAEA’s work in Georgia is part of a comprehensive plan that includes Agency assistance to States to help them regain control of such orphan sources.”The second phase – an aerial and road survey covering different territory – is scheduled to begin in early September. The objective is to locate and recover other known or suspected orphaned radioactive sources in the country.
“Together with the loss of cameras and seals, the departure of inspectors would practically bring to an end our ability to monitor DPRK’s nuclear programme or assess its nature,” Mohamed ElBaradei, Director General of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said in a letter responding to Pyongyang’s correspondence earlier Friday. “This is one further step away from diffusing the crisis.”The Agency confirmed that Mr. ElBaradei had received a letter from Ri Je Son, Director General of the DPRK’s General Department of Atomic Energy, requesting the immediate removal of IAEA inspectors from the country in light of its decision to lift the “freeze” on its nuclear facilities.In his letter in response, Mr. ElBaradei stressed that notwithstanding the lifting of the freeze under the 1994 Agreed Framework, the presence of inspectors was needed for the immediate installation of containment and surveillance measures. The continuing presence of inspectors was also needed during the loading of the reactor in Nyongbyong and during operation of the reprocessing plant.Mr. ElBaradei said he expected that the DPRK Government would allow inspectors to remain in Nyongbyong and to install the necessary containment and surveillance equipment, such as seals and cameras.The IAEA chief also asked Pyongyang to confirm urgently its concurrence with the requirements of the Safeguards Agreement, advising the authorities to inform him immediately should they have a contrary view so that, if necessary, arrangements could be made for the departure of the Agency’s inspectors.
The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said a lack of access to clean water in households causes waterborne illnesses that kill more than 1.6 million children each year. The impact is more tragic for girls, who are often forced to drop out of primary school due to inadequate separate and decent sanitation facilities.“This lack of education early in life often consigns girls to poverty or dependence later in life,” UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy said. “By providing clean water and sanitation to the poorest people on the planet, we can reduce poverty and suffering and ensure education for all children.”The Third World Water Forum will bring leaders, technical experts and children together in Japan from 16 to 23 March to seek solutions to water and sanitation issues. During the conference, which coincides with World Water Day on 22 March, UNICEF will work to ensure that children have a voice in solving these problems. It is co-hosting a children’s forum, also in Japan, where approximately 100 youngsters will discuss and present their findings to decision-makers attending the Ministerial Conference.”We all know that fresh water is a scarce resource in many places, often a highly politicized commodity. That’s why it’s crucial that we think of these resources in terms of our children – not only for our own children’s health, but for future generations,” Ms. Bellamy said, urging governments to invest more in clean water and in the protection of scarce water sources.According to UNICEF, millions of children suffer intestinal infections caused by parasites. Each year 19.5 million people are infected with roundworm and whipworm alone, and an estimated 118.9 million children under 15 suffer from schistoomiasis. Parasites consume nutrients, aggravate malnutrition, retard children’s physical development and result in poor school attendance and performance.
Addressing Ministers of Health visiting the UN World Health Organization’s (WHO) regional arm, the 35-member Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in Washington, DC, Mirta Roses said: “Some of the programmes and activities PAHO is working on in the Caribbean would have been unthinkable just five or 10 years ago. Most of this has to do with improvements in transportation and telecommunications infrastructure.”On the other hand, “the Caribbean remains weak in terms of information in a region where services in vital statistics were strong 40 years ago and have now practically disappeared,” she said.Meanwhile, it was imperative that PAHO reinforce the strategy of global technical cooperation with the Caribbean as a whole, as well as with individual Caribbean nations, she said.”We have much more to do, particularly in terms of infrastructure, which is still vulnerable,” she said of a region always at risk of devastation by summer hurricanes.Veta Brown, Barbadian-based Caribbean Program Coordinator at the 100-year-old PAHO, stressed the importance of the integration and coordination of human resources and available financing. “Either because of size or economic capacity, these nations cannot by themselves confront the public health challenges ahead of them,” she said.The ministers making the two-day visit to the world’s oldest international public health organization were John Maginley of Antigua and Barbuda, Ann David Antoine of Grenada and Rupert Emmanuel Herbert of St. Kitts and Nevis.
Several Tajik districts have lost infrastructure, including houses, school buildings, roads and bridges, and UNICEF’s appeal covers health and nutrition, water and environmental sanitation, education and child protection. It received $693,793, and Japan built a school for 530 children in northern Penjikent district.UNICEF has allocated funds for reconstruction of water and sanitation facilities in schools in the affected areas and to pay for promoting hygiene. Future action will include establishing sanitation facilities and water supply systems in affected schools in seven districts. Construction of latrines and water supply systems will be supported by the provision of hygiene promotion materials, as well as peer-to-peer training among the children.In the coming months, UNICEF said, it will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to ensure the survival of children in emergencies. Health kits, hygiene kits, supplementary drugs, vaccines, and other humanitarian health supplies will be made available, along with information, education and communication materials.
“Because ‘ownership’ is central to the new aid strategies, it must include women, who are not only citizens but key stakeholders in their country’s development,” Noeleen Heyzer, the executive director of UNIFEM, said.”We need to look at how to improve women’s ‘ownership’ of the new aid instruments, and how to make governments and donors more accountable to achieving gender equality in their implementation of development programmes,” she said.The conference follows three important events in 2005 that have linked commitments to gender equality with development cooperation goals – the 10-year review of the Beijing Platform for Action that came out of the 1995 women’s conference, the adoption of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the 2005 World Summit.Ms. Heyzer said there has been much progress, including the fact that 120 countries have national gender action plans, 180 have signed the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), and 45 have concrete legislation to end violence against women.But she added that progress had been too slow, and blamed a lack of action to carry through on commitments. “The gender action plans are there but they are not being implemented. The challenge therefore is how to make them part and parcel of national ownership strategies, so that women, as owners too, have their voices reflected in national priorities and decision-making.”In the last decade women have made important gains in linking human development with human rights and human security, but it has become obvious that those gains could be lost and advances reversed, she said.”The new development architecture now taking shape represents an historic opportunity to invest in strategies that actually work. We need to recognize this and commit the resources needed to apply them broadly, especially in the world’s poorest countries,” Ms. Heyzer said, adding. “The stakes for women are high.”
Among those attending were 400 Kenyan troops due to embark on peacekeeping duties in Southern Sudan. Held at the Department of Defence Headquarters in Nairobi, the event also included the participation of students from 14 Nairobi-area schools to salute these troops by preparing for them Messages of Peace for the holiday season.Just over 2,000 cards and letters were presented by the students to Chief of the General Staff, General Jeremiah Mutinda Kianga, at the ceremony.Eric Falt, the Director of the UN Information Centre (UNIC) in Nairobi, which organized the event, underlined Kenya’s importance to UN peacekeeping and promised an even larger contingent of students and messages the following year when the initiative will be extended across the country, affording all Kenyan schoolchildren the opportunity to show their appreciation to Kenyan peacekeepers.Calling this “the first time anyone in Kenya had thanked soldiers for their sacrifices on behalf of peace,” General Kianga thanked both the assembled children and the UN for remembering the troops serving in dangerous missions.