Climate Change panel’s report; the Sahel; UNAIDS/NEPAD partnership; and more

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report: A future on Earth of more extreme weather and rising seas will require better planning for natural disasters to save lives and limit deepening economic losses, the United Nations said on Wednesday in a major report on the effects of climate change.

The U.N. climate panel said all nations will be vulnerable to the expected increase in heat waves, more intense rains and floods and a probable rise in the intensity of droughts.

The 594-page report, with authors from 62 countries, is the world body’s most up-to-date assessment of climate change risks. Its general message is that enough is known about these risks for policymakers to start making decisions about how to deal with them. It follows the release of the report’s executive summary in November after an extensive review by scientists and government officials and is based on the work of thousands of scientific studies.

The Sahel:
The food and nutrition crisis facing countries in West Africa’s drought-prone Sahel region has continued to deteriorate at an alarming rate despite commendable early response efforts by governments and international aid agencies, OCHA said today.

Mr. Ging underlined the urgent need to accelerate the pace of the response to the crisis. “More than 200,000 children died of malnutrition last year and over one million are threatened with severe acute malnutrition right now,” he said.

At a meeting with representatives from donor countries in Nouakchott, the capital of Mauritania, the humanitarian official encouraged their continued generosity, highlighting the clearly visible and positive lifesaving impact of their funding so far.

UNAIDS/NEPAD partnership:
The United Nations has teamed up with the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Agency to advance sustainable responses to HIV/AIDS, health and development across the continent.

Under a new agreement signed yesterday, the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the Agency will work with partners to support the development of common African positions for the AIDS response, with an emphasis on sustainable financing.

UNAIDS and NEPAD will work together to address constraints in access to HIV medicines, facilitate policies and partnerships to eliminate new HIV infections in children and improve the health of mothers, enhance country ownership and accountability, and encourage South-South cooperation.

: The top United Nations envoy in Afghanistan, Ján Kubiš, said today that the recently renewed mandate of the world body’s mission in the country lends itself to stronger engagement with the Government and society at large to advance peace, development and a host of other goals.

Highlighting the key priorities for the UN, Mr. Kubiš stressed that the Organization will continue to promote peace and reconciliation, coordinate international civilian efforts and provide more coherent support to the Government. The Mission will also place emphasis on enabling and strengthening the role of Afghan institutions.

: The United Nations envoy for Guinea-Bissau today stressed the need for strong international engagement to help the country complete the current political transition and move ahead on priorities such as reforming the security sector and tackling drug trafficking and organized crime.

In a briefing to the Security Council, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Joseph Mutaboba, noted the “challenging” political and security environment related to the country’s current political transition process, aimed at restoring full constitutional order. A major priority in Guinea-Bissau, said Mr. Mutaboba, continues to be security sector reform, “the cornerstone reform without which democracy and stability cannot be consolidated.”

Sudan/ S. Sudan
: Tensions stemming from military clashes in the border area between Sudan and South Sudan appear to be de-escalating as both parties have stated their willingness to meet in the coming days in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to prevent a new eruption of violence, a United Nations spokesperson said today.