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World news in brief: progress on trans fats, update on the war in Ukraine, president of the General Assembly in China


Denmark, Lithuania, Poland, Saudi Arabia and Thailand have received the first ever WHO certificates demonstrating that they have implemented a best practice policy for the elimination of industrially produced trans fatty acids (iTFA), supported by adequate monitoring and enforcement systems.

Trans fats are either industrially produced or naturally occurring, and both are linked to an increased risk of heart attacks and heart disease.

They have “no known health benefits, but enormous health risks,” said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Additionally, fried foods, cakes, and the prepared meals they contain are often high in sugar, fat, and salt.

The WHO set an ambitious goal in 2018: to completely eliminate iTFAs from the global food supply by the end of 2023. Although this goal was not achieved, the UN agency said that Remarkable progress towards this goal had been made in all regions of the world.

In total, 53 countries now have “best practice” policies in place to combat mass-produced trans fats in food. This affects 3.7 billion people, or 46 percent of the world’s population, compared to just 6 percent just five years ago.

Ukraine: new attacks worsen the suffering of winter-weary civilians

Recent attacks in Ukraine are causing additional suffering to civilians already enduring harsh winter conditions, the UN humanitarian affairs office, OCHA, said on Monday.

OCHA cited Ukrainian officials who reported that more than a dozen civilians had been killed or injured in attacks in eastern, central and southern Ukraine over the past three days. Homes, schools, a hospital and energy infrastructure were also affected.

“In the eastern region of Kharkiv, authorities said the shelling had caused damage to homes and electricity networks,” the UN agency said.

“In the southern Kherson region, weekend attacks also damaged homes, as well as educational and telecommunications facilities, according to the region’s governor. »

OCHA and its partners continue to provide emergency humanitarian assistance to populations in these areas.

Convoys bring aid

On Friday, the United Nations humanitarian coordinator in Ukraine, Denise Brown, led a convoy to the Kherson region. The trucks delivered food, medical supplies, winter clothing, solar lights, hygiene items and children’s supplies to approximately 800 people in need.

Another convoy that arrived in the Kharkiv region on Friday brought blankets, bottled water, solar lamps, medical supplies and hygiene kits, supplies for the disabled and construction materials to repair the damaged houses.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine will reach its second year on February 24.

In 2023, the UN and its partners sent more than 107 humanitarian convoys to support some 400,000 residents in frontline areas in the east and south of the country.

General Assembly President Dennis Francis speaks with researchers from the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies.

PGA Spokesperson’s Office

General Assembly President Dennis Francis speaks with researchers from the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies.

General Assembly President calls for new commitment to UN Charter

As the world finds itself at “an inflection point”, countries must reaffirm their commitment to the fundamental principles of the United Nations Charter, the president of the General Assembly in China said on Sunday.

In his keynote speech at the Shanghai Institute of International Studies, Dennis Francis highlighted how the growing impacts of climate change, hunger and multidimensional poverty are hampering efforts to achieve a more secure world , fairer and more sustainable.

At the same time, geopolitical divisions have triggered new conflicts and aggravated pre-existing ones in parts of Africa, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

Mr. Francis said these worrying developments expose the limits of the multilateral system and raise legitimate questions about the relevance and capacity of the United Nations to resolve complex problems.

“They demand that we strengthen our foundations – and reaffirm our commitment to the fundamental principles of the United Nations Charter, which have offered us a guiding light out of the tumultuous past since the founding of the United Nations,” he said. he declares.

He praised China for continuing to play a leading role in global affairs, noting that it was the first country to sign the United Nations Charter, the founding document of the Organization, and that it since then been a “particularly strong support for multilateralism”.

“Since the horrific October 7 attack on Israel, the escalation of violence in the Middle East and the heartbreaking humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip continue to project the worst aspects of the human condition; this is precisely what the Charter was intended to avoid,” Mr. Francis said.

The General Assembly “has been both active and ambitious” in the face of the crisis, he said, resuming its tenth emergency session on the Middle East and adopting two resolutions that received overwhelming support of its 193 members.


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