News Digest | March 2023

Haiti: Amid rising hunger levels, ‘world cannot wait for disaster before it acts’, WFP warns

© UNICEF | An estimated one million children are out of school in Haiti due to insecurity and other factors.

According to the new Integrated Food Security Phase Classification analysis, half of the world’s population, 4.9 million people are struggling to get food. The number is tripling since 2016 with a substantial rise in the number of extremely hungry people in Haiti. World Bank said that the country is amongst the top ten most affected by food price inflation with eight out of ten Haitians now spending less on meals. Different emergencies have a distinct impact on the nutrition and health of Haitian children who have limited access to nutritious food. Due to malnutrition, they are more vulnerable to diseases like cholera, causing lifelong health problems with poor cognitive development. WFP focuses to enhance national social protection and food systems which are crucial to Haiti’s recovery development and efforts. Although life-saving assistance is an urgent need, Haiti should build long-term resilience for the people as a top priority.

190 million children at risk from water-related crises: UNICEF

© UNICEF/Shehzad Noorani | Displaced children wash their hands outside a public toilet at a camp in Sindh Province, Pakistan.

The study from the historic UN Water Conference highlighted that household access to WASH services, exposure to climate and environmental hazards, and the burden of WASH-attributable deaths among children under five are desperately needed assistance to prevent unnecessary deaths. While the climate and water-related crises are increasing worldwide, nowhere else do the risks compound as seriously for children. Many of the worst affected countries are facing armed conflict, and instability further aggravating children’s access to sanitation and clean water. Almost one-third of children do not have access to basic water at home and two-thirds do not have basic sanitation services across the 10 hotspots. Due to a lack of water and soap at home, three-quarters of children are not able to wash their hands. As a result, these countries carry the biggest burden of child deaths from diseases because of inadequate WASH. Globally, these hotspots rank within the top 25% of 163 countries with the highest risk of environmental and climate threats. OECD defined all 10 countries as extremely fragile with the threats of armed conflicts and toward safe water and sanitation.

Digital technology new source of discrimination against women: Guterres

UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe | UN Secretary-General António Guterres (right) speaks during a Town Hall meeting with Civil Society moderated by Sima Sami Bahous (left), Executive Director of UN-Women.

The Secretary-General said the global backside in women’s and girl’s rights after years of incremental progress. Many of the challenges we face today like the cost-of-living crisis and climate conflicts resulted from a male-dominated world with a male-dominated culture. Mr. Guterres highlighted that digital technology is a predominately male industry and that represents a new source of bias and discrimination. Nowadays, the gender digital divide is the new place of gender inequality as online spaces are not safe for girls and women since they have been targeted and attacked on the internet. The situation must change in the face of the “patriarchal pushback” with the support from the international community to push forward for girls and women. Policymakers must create transformative change by promoting girls’ and women’s equal rights and opportunities to learn by reducing barriers and breaking glass ceilings.

UN’s nuclear agency and food and agriculture wing announce key commitments to tackle global water crisis

With the commitments from the Water Action Agenda, all countries are aiming to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. It was announced at the SDG Media Zone while the main plenary and high-level panels have beenalong the way in other parts of the UN Headquarters campus. The IAEA’s global water analysis laboratory network, known as GloWAL, can help countries to identify the characteristics and nature of water. Apart from the global water crisis, GloWAL will help to solve another major challenge facing the international community such as lagging access to data collection and the technology gap. FAO has submitted seven commitments to the UN Water Conference, to deal with both innovation and policy. The National Water Roadmaps towards the 2030 Agenda, a tool to strengthen collection action at a national level to upgrade cross-sectorial coordination on governance and water management in support of SDGs.

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