UNCTAD Report; Syria; Libya; UN Refugee Agency; DR Congo

UNCTAD report: The world needs “a global new deal” to break the mold of economic thought that led to the international financial crisis, the head of the UN agency tasked with promoting trade and development says today. In a newly released report entitled Development-led globalization: Towards sustainable and inclusive development paths, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) urges the international community to take decisive steps towards reforming global finance into a system allowing for more stable and inclusive economic progress.  In an effort to counter the growing disparities, the agency has suggested multiple policy measures and reforms to support living standards in developing countries and build their resilience to external shocks.

UNICEF today sounded the alarm about the plight of children caught up in the bloodshed in Syria, where nearly 11 months of violence have led to the deaths and injuries of hundreds of young people. “There are reports of children being arbitrarily arrested, tortured and sexually abused while in detention,” the agency said in a statement. UNICEF also said it does not have access to the affected areas of Homs and cannot confirm the impact of the attacks there, but there are credible reports, including from international media inside the city, that children are caught up in the violence.

A new UN food voucher scheme aims to help vulnerable families in the Libyan port city of Benghazi get the food they need while also boosting the local economy in the wake of the conflict that wracked the country last year. The WFP plans to reach up to 10,000 families by the end of the three-month project, which may also be expanded to the capital, Tripoli, and other areas of the North African nation.

Under the scheme, families will be able to exchange WFP vouchers for food they choose in selected shops.  Libya’s interim authorities, the National Transitional Council (NTC), are working to respond to the immediate needs of the people following last October’s uprising that led to the toppling of the Qadhafi regime.

UN Refugee Agency:
The UN refugee agency reported today that it has embarked on the implementation of a set of strategies to conclude three of Africa’s long-standing refugee crises that involved helping people uprooted by old conflicts in Angola, Liberia and Rwanda.

The strategies, which were first announced by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in 2009, will entail finding permanent solutions for as many Angolan, Liberian and Rwandan refugees as possible, in their countries of origin or asylum, according to Adrian Edwards, the agency’s spokesperson in Geneva. Solutions include scaling up voluntary repatriation, as well as providing assistance packages to help former refugees reintegrate, or securing an alternative legal status that would allow them to continue to reside in countries of asylum.

The top United Nations envoy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) today stressed the need for all parties to use legal means and dialogue to settle differences in the aftermath of recent elections so as to advance stability and peace in the country.

In his briefing to the Security Council, Roger Meece, the SG’s Special Representative for the DRC, said: “While it is essential that government authorities ensure that all Congolese citizens fully enjoy their rights of freedom of expression and other rights, violent confrontations will not resolve any problems and only tend to propagate further violence.”  The vast African nation has experienced a tense political climate since the presidential and legislative elections held late last year.