SG Leaves for Tehran; Child Survival; Syrian Refugees; Global Fund; Gaza “Unlivable”

SG Leaves for Tehran: SG Ban Ki-moon left today for Tehran, Iran, to attend the 16th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement. His Spokesperson reiterated that the SG “takes seriously his responsibility and that of the United Nations to pursue diplomatic engagement with all of its Member States” and that he will use this opportunity to express to the “clear concerns and expectations of the international community,” such as terrorism, human rights, the crisis in Syria and the country’s nuclear program.

Child Survival: US Ambassador Susan Rice announced today that the US Embassy in India will sponsor a drawing contest for children ages 8-12 across all of India. The contest results will be announced on October 11, on the UN’s International Day of the Girl Child. Ambassador Rice reiterated a global commitment to eliminate preventable child deaths by the year 2035 though the global  Call to Action for Child Survival: A Promise Renewed, launched by the governments of the US, India, and Ethiopia, in collaboration with UNICEF, this past June.

Syrian Refugees: The number of Syrian refugees taking shelter and seeking humanitarian aid in neighboring countries has more than doubled in the past week, UNHCR announced today, warning that a much larger influx of refugees could be expected in the near future. In northern Jordan, the number of refugees entering Za’atri camp has doubled to 10,200 people in the last seven days (compared to 4,500 the previous week), while in Turkey over 3000 Syrians are reported to have crossed the border in the last 24 hours, a further 7000 expected to cross in the coming days.

Global Fund: The Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria announced today that it approved 45 new two-year grants – totaling $419.2 million – to fund essential prevention, treatment and care services to those affected by the three killer diseases. So far, the Fund has approved funding of $22.9 billion for more than 1,000 programs in 151 countries.

Gaza “Unlivable”: Yesterday, Maxwell Gaylard, the senior UN humanitarian official in the occupied Palestinian territory, reported that Gaza’s problems regarding water, electricity, education, and health will only get worse over the coming years unless urgent action is taken. He noted that Gaza will have half a million more people by 2020, its economy only growing slowly, resulting in a shortage of resources for the population.