News in Brief PM)

Billions at stake in more sustainable oceans: UNCTAD

Billions of dollars are at stake in helping to create a more sustainable fishing industry in the world's seas and oceans.

That's the assessment of the UN Trade and Development organization or UNCTAD's Lucas Assuncao, speaking at a briefing in Geneva, on the upcoming UN Ocean Conference at UN Headquarters.

The conference between 5 and 9 June, aims to be a game-changer that will reverse the decline in the health of the ocean, which the UN describes as a "solutions-focused" event including stakeholders from around the world.

Mr Assuncao runs the Trade, Environment, Climate Change and Sustainable Development Branch in the UNCTAD Trade Division.

Harmful fishing subsidies that contribute to overfishing, are estimated to be as high as US$35 billion he said, adding that global fishing represents a market valued at US$146 billion each year.

"Countries are not only going to New York to consider issuing a political signal towards more sustainable ways of harvesting fisheries products, but are very concerned about this considerable market."

Drought-response "top priority" for Somalia conference

A concerted international response to Somalia's drought, which has displaced around 680,000 since last November, is "the top priority" going into a major conference on the Horn of Africa country, starting on Thursday in London.

That's according to the head of UNSOM, the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia, Michael Keating.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is also in the UK capital to attend the Somalia conference.

Speaking beforehand, Mr Keating outlined the wide-ranging agenda, which will bring together heads of state and ministers from across East Africa, together with international organizations.

"The objective is to provide an opportunity for the new government of Somalia to set out its priorities and then therefore to be a discussion about the partnership that needs to happen between Somalia and the international community in a number of areas. And those areas include not just drought response, which is the top priority at the moment, but also trying to invest in the economic future of the country so we don't have another drought."

14 cases of cholera now confirmed in Yemen

At least 14 cases of life-threatening cholera have been confirmed in several parts of Yemen.

The UN estimates that more than nearly 19 million Yemenis are in need of humanitarian assistance, and around three million displaced, following years of conflict between government forces and Houthi rebels.

The cholera cases have all been recorded since 27 April, said UN Spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric.

"The UN and partners are taking immediate steps to assist the Ministry of Health contain the outbreak of cholera. This includes re-opening 26 diarrheal treatment centres across 15 governoratesIt is vital that pledges made by Donors in last month's pledging conference are distributed immediately so that the UN and partners can continue essential and life-saving operations and respond to the urgent needs of the Yemeni people."

Source: United Nations Radio