UN News interviews a wide range of people from senior news-making officials at Headquarters in New York, to advocates and beneficiaries from across the world who have a stake in helping the UN go about its often life-saving work in the field.
De-escalation zone: The UN peacekeepers trying to stop Gaza war spreading
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8:43As war rages in Gaza, another simmering conflict risks escalating on Israel’s northern border with Lebanon – which is why the UN peacekeeping mission there is so important.UNIFIL – the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon – has three important responsibilities: helping civilians affected by the war, protecting the so-called “Blue Line” that separates both countries and maintaining a channel of communication between them.The task isn’t easy though, amid daily exchanges of fire that have uprooted an estimated 86,000 people in southern Lebanon since 7 October and left three UN “blue helmets” injured and their base damaged. For the latest on how UNIFIL’s peacekeepers are working to prevent violence from spreading, UN News’s Nancy Sarkis sat down with Andrea Tenenti, UNIFIL Spokesperson and Chief of Strategic Communications and Public Information (SCPI).
UNRWA will ‘come to a halt’ in March, warns agency director in Lebanon
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8:12The UN agency for Palestine refugees (UNWRA) serves almost six million Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. UN News’s Khaled Mohamed spoke with Dorothee Klaus, who’s the top official for the agency in Lebanon, which is home to around 250,000 Palestinians.Explaining the dire, immediate impact of funding cuts and the current suspension of aid by many key donors, she said UNRWA operations could ‘come to a halt’ in March.
Dreaming of home, Gazans determined to stay inside shattered enclave
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5:12The UN agency assisting Palestinians, UNRWA, will continue delivering services as best it can to the people of Gaza and will play no part in “pushing” them across the border into Egypt.That’s according to UNRWA Spokesperson Adnan Abu Hasna, who told UN News he hoped there would be no ground operation by Israel inside the now densely populated border town of Rafah, where around 1.5 million are sheltering.Ezzat El-Ferri asked him to explain why it was not feasible to move Gazans across the border to relative safety in Egypt.
FGM costing ‘$1.4 billion per year,’ says global coordinator
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6:51February 6 marks the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, or FGM. In 2024, some 4.4 million girls are still considered at risk from this horrific act of gender-based violence.“Even one mutilation is one too many” said UN chief António Guterres in his message marking the day. According to Dr. Wisal Ahmed, the UN reproductive health agency’s (UNFPA) Global Coordinator for the FGM Trust Fund, health complications due to the barbaric practice add up to around $1.4 billion each year. She told UN News’s Pauline Batista that engaging in “dialogue, having a conversation” is fundamental to end FGM as a practice.
Madagascar prepares for effects of El Niño as humanitarian crisis continues
4:56Thanks to careful forward planning, Madagascar is better prepared now to deal with the impacts of the current El Niño phenomenon and climate change, as the south of the country endures a long-standing humanitarian crisis, says Reena Ghelani, the UN’s Climate Crisis Coordinator for the El Niño response.More people are expected to go hungry in February as the food security situation deteriorates, mainly due to an expected lack of rain as an impact of El Niño. The UN says that more than 262,000 children under five are acutely malnourished across the south.Daniel Dickinson spoke to Ms. Ghali as she visited an irrigation project in the Anosy region.He began by asking her to explain what the El Niño phenomenon is.
UN trade agency assesses economic impact of Gaza devastation
6:02Restoring the social and economic conditions that existed in Gaza before the current conflict will take tens of billions of dollars and several decades, according to the UN trade and development agency, UNCTAD.Its latest report revealed that Gaza’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) declined by $655 million last year, roughly 25 per cent, mainly due to the onset of war following the 7 October terror attacks. UN News’s Khaled Mohamed spoke to Rami Al Azzeh, an economist with the Assistance to the Palestinian People Unit at UNCTAD, who underscored the need for the international community to act now, given the level of destruction.
Organized crime gangs in Southeast Asia grow networks through innovative use of technology
7:48Criminal networks in Southeast Asia are growing their illegal operations in through the innovative use of technology, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).The trafficking of people and drugs as well as money laundering and fraudulent scam activities are being boosted by the use of cryptocurrencies, the dark web, artificial intelligence and social media platforms, as criminals continue to base their operations in parts of the region where the rule of law is weak or non-existent. Laura Gil asked UNODC Regional Representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, Jeremy Douglas, how the landscape of transnational organized crime in the region is being changed by technology.
Small scale, reliable and renewable: Clean electricity is changing lives in Madagascar
10:52According to energy industry experts, we’re in the middle of a massive expansion of renewable energy sources, and it’s likely to continue. At the UN climate conference in Dubai at the end of last year, governments committed to tripling global capacity by 2030, and the International Energy Agency, for one, is bullish about that goal being achieved.But will developing countries benefit? Moritz Brauchle is the managing director of Africa GreenTec Madagascar, a social enterprise which provides sustainable energy solutions to some of the 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa currently living without any access to electricity.He explained to Conor Lennon from UN News the advantages of minigrids and how they are breathing new life into communities that were formerly consigned to darkness once the sun went down.
UNICEF warns of looming ‘learning catastrophe’ in war-torn Sudan
8:48Sudan is “on the brink of a learning catastrophe” as war is preventing 19 million children from continuing their education, which could translate into a staggering $26 billion lifetime earning loss. The warning comes from Mandeep O’Brien, Representative of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Sudan, where rival military forces have been battling since last April. She said UNICEF and partners are working to get schools to re-open safely, where conditions allow, in addition to providing e-learning and psychosocial support for children at camps for internally displaced people (IDPs). Ms. O’Brien told UN News’s Abdelmonem Makki that as conflict rages in places such as Gaza and Ukraine, the world must not forget about Sudan.
‘These are not conditions meant for human beings’: UNRWA official on Gaza visit
7:04No food, water, or health care facilities, no communication with the outside world, and the constant threat of bombardments.These are the desperate conditions under which Gazans are living, says Juliette Touma, the spokesperson for UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees, who visited Gaza in mid-January.On her return, she spoke to Conor Lennon from UN News, and described what she saw in the congested refugee camps of the occupied Palestinian territory.