Global Sustainability Report; Syria; North Korea; Sahel; and more

Global Sustainability Panel’s report: Presenting the report prepared by his High-level Panel on Global Sustainability to the General Assembly, the SG said the team’s recommendations address three main topics – empowering people to make sustainable choices; working towards a sustainable economy; and strengthening institutional governance.

The Secretary-General highlighted the “nexus approach” of the report that underlines the fact that food, water and energy security are inextricably linked and must be pursued together. He stressed that the recommendations that can be acted on immediately should be included in the outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Developed (Rio+20) to be held in Brazil in June.

Mr. Ban also noted that some of the recommendations relate to initiatives that he has already set in motion, including the Sustainable Energy for All initiative and a sustainable development strategy for the UN system. Others will be included in a new sustainable development index or set of indicators for sustainable development goals, he added.

: Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan plans to send a mission to the Syrian capital to discuss with the regime of President Bashar Assad the possibility of allowing monitors into the country.

Addressing reporters in Geneva, Annan said he plans to return to Syria after he sends the mission this weekend to prepare talks for him. The mission will also discuss practical steps to implement Annan’s proposals to end the violence and killing.

North Korea:
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to reconsider its decision to launch a so-called “application satellite” next month and fully comply with relevant Security Council resolutions.

North Korea reportedly announced today that it plans to carry out the launch in April to mark the 100th birthday of its late leader, Kim Il-sung.

The Sahel:
UNICEF is warning that more than a million children below the age of five in the Sahel are facing a disaster amid the ongoing food crisis in the drought-prone region of Africa.

They are among the some 15 million people estimated to be at risk of food insecurity in countries in the Sahel, including 5.4 million people in Niger, three million in Mali, 1.7 million in Burkina Faso and 3.6 million in Chad, as well as hundreds of thousands in Senegal, the Gambia, and Mauritania, according to UN figures. The agency noted that it has so far received $24 million against an emergency appeal of $119 million for 2012.

Commission on Narcotic Drugs:
A UN panel today agreed on a set of measures to prevent the use of illicit drugs and strengthen national and regional responses, including using treatment instead of incarceration to stem a worrying global trend in the abuse of narcotics.

Wrapping up its week-long 55th session in Vienna, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), adopted 12 resolutions, including on the treatment, rehabilitation and social reintegration of drug-dependent prisoners; treatment as an alternative to incarceration; and preventing death from overdose.

The commission, which is made up of 53 member States, underlined the need for gender-specific interventions and called for the promotion of drug prevention, treatment and care for female drug addicts. It also called for more evidence-based strategies to prevent the use of illicit drugs, especially among young people.

: The United Nations human rights office today welcomed the prosecution of a retired Brazilian army colonel for disappearances during the country’s military dictatorship as a “first and crucial step” in fighting the impunity that surrounds that period.

Prosecutors in Brazil announced this week that they will charge Sebastião Curió Rodrigues de Moura with aggravated kidnapping in relation to the disappearance of five members of the Araguaia guerrilla movement who were detained in 1974. The charges must still be approved by a judge before the case can go to trial.

This is the first time that Brazil is prosecuting human rights violations committed during the military dictatorship period, according to OHCHR. Previous attempts have been blocked by interpretations of the 1979 amnesty law.