Top of the Morning: UNGA Smacks Assad; Yet another Warning on the Sahel Food Crisis

Top stories from DAWNS Digest.

UN General Assembly Rebukes Syria

With movement at the Security Council stalled (because of you-know-who) the action moves elsewhere. This time, the one truly globally inclusive body, the UN Generally Assembly, delivered a Assad a symbolic whooping. “By the time of the vote, over 70 co-sponsors had been listed on the draft. In the end, the final vote was 138 countries in favor, with 12 against and 17 abstentions. Those Member-States that voted against the resolution included the DPRK, Russian Federation, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Cambodia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, China, Belarus, Zimbabwe and Syria. Such a lop-sided vote against Assad’s government closely mirrors the vote in the General Assembly in November to condemn Syria’s human rights abuses, which was 133 in favor and 12 opposed. While the Assembly’s resolution is non-binding, it does send a strong message to Damascus that the vast majority of the world is united against the ongoing violence and places enhanced weight behind the Arab League’s transition plan. (UN Dispatch

Two Top UN Officials Visit the Sahel to Warn of Food Crisis

The UN humanitarian duo is in Niger, and say they need donors to pony up over $500 million more in humanitarian assistance to avert the looming crisis. “United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark and United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator (OCHA) Valerie Amos arrived today in Niamey for a joint two-day visit to draw attention to the looming food and nutrition crisis in Niger and in the Sahel region. One third of Nigeriens suffer from food insecurity and 330,000 children under five are at risk of severe acute malnutrition because of last year’s poor harvest and high food prices. More than one million children under five are at risk in the region. ‘We know what is coming, and we know what to do to save lives. While we cannot stop this crisis from taking place, we are taking steps to avert a catastrophe. Across the Sahel region, international agencies have called for more than US $724 million to support national efforts to respond to the crisis. To date, donors have provided $135 million, and relief activities have already begun. But we need more resources now to prevent a large-scale crisis,’ said Valerie Amos.” (UNDP/OCHA