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Short Global Updates: UNCTAD's Appeal for Development Financing, Latest on Nepal Earthquake, and Religious Liberties in Nicaragua
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Short Global Updates: UNCTAD’s Appeal for Development Financing, Latest on Nepal Earthquake, and Religious Liberties in Nicaragua

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has urged for immediate changes to the global financial system in order to assist the 46 Least Developed Countries.

According to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the economies that are most at risk need immediate foreign investment to improve their economic productivity, prevent excessive debt, and fund a shift towards a low-carbon future.

Rebeca Grynspan, Secretary-General of UNCTAD, emphasized the interconnectedness of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the development of these countries.

The United Nations organization reports that in order to improve social security and employment opportunities, a monetary investment of 45% of each Least Developed Country’s overall economic output will be necessary.

However, several global crises have hindered progress and resulted in the most disadvantaged countries accumulating a debt of $27 billion in 2021.

UNCTAD economists have urged for immediate alleviation of debt and a significant rise in attainable funding for development and climate initiatives in LDCs. This includes grants and loans at low interest rates.

Half of the fatalities and injuries in the Nepal earthquake were children.

According to UNICEF, nearly half of the people who were killed or injured in the recent earthquake that hit western Nepal over the weekend were children.

The most recent statistics from the Government state that a 6.4 magnitude earthquake occurred just before midnight on 3 November, resulting in 153 fatalities and over 338 injuries. Additionally, a 5.8 magnitude aftershock was felt in the affected regions, causing increased anxiety among survivors, especially children.

“Unfortunately, once again, a large number of individuals have perished in this destructive earthquake. The impact on children is especially severe, as they are forced to endure the cold nights without shelter,” stated Alice Akunga, the UNICEF representative for Nepal.

She stated that these kids and their families require urgent assistance with medical care, housing, clean water, nourishment, blankets, and winter clothing.

The United Nations teams are currently present to aid in relief efforts, working together with Government agencies. However, as winter approaches in the Himalayas, there is a pressing need for increased assistance.

Ms. Akunga stated that UNICEF is putting in all efforts, but they require additional assistance to address the necessities of children and women in health, nutrition, education, protection, and water, sanitation and hygiene.

Those assisting those impacted by the situation also have to face challenges such as remote areas, challenging landscapes, and high elevations.

UN agencies and aid partners must rely on helicopters to ferry personnel and relief supplies as there are no roads, Rafeeque Ahmad Siddiqui, Head of Karnali Field Office at UNDP-Nepal, told UN News in an interview.

Listen to the interview here:

Experts from the United Nations are urging for the release of a Catholic bishop in Nicaragua.

On Tuesday, human rights experts designated by the United Nations called for an immediate halt to the arbitrary arrest of Monsignor Rolando José Álvarez, the Bishop of Matagalpa, by Nicaraguan authorities. This request comes after 12 Catholic priests were recently released from detention.

The two Special Rapporteurs expressed great worry over the ongoing and organized instances of harassment by Nicaraguan government officials against individuals belonging to the Catholic Church and other religious groups.

Nazila Ghanea and Irene Khan insist that the Government should promptly and unconditionally release Monsignor Álvarez and safeguard the freedom of religion or belief in the nation.

On August 2nd, the specialists conveyed their serious apprehension through an official correspondence addressed to the Nicaraguan government.

Since 2022, it has been estimated that Nicaraguan authorities have revoked the legal status of over 1,000 non-profit organizations, with more than 320 of those being religious in nature.

In the beginning of this year, the Government revoked the official recognition of the long-standing Central American University (UCA), which is overseen by the Catholic religious group called the Society of Jesus. The Government also seized the university’s buildings, as well as two evangelical Christian universities and another one connected to the Catholic Church.

The specialists emphasized that these actions go against international laws and seem to be a larger effort to suppress various aspects of Nicaraguan civil society, particularly those who speak out against the government.

The independent experts appointed by the Human Rights Council, including Special Rapporteurs, are not considered employees of the UN and do not receive compensation for their duties.