Friday’s Daily Brief: UN chief in China, counter-terrorism, updates from Bangladesh, Mali and Mozambique

This Friday, we cover: the UN Secretary-General’s message in China for sustainable development; the toll of a second cyclone in Mozambique; what UN officials saw first-hand in the Rohingya refugee camp of Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh; the impact of insecurity on education in Mali; and the importance of information-sharing in the fight against terrorism.

At China’s Belt and Road Forum, Guterres calls for ‘inclusive, sustainable and durable’ development

China’s international trade and economic development plan – known as the Belt and Road Initiative – could contribute to a more equitable, prosperous world, and to reversing the negative impact of climate change, Secretary-General António Guterres said on Friday, speaking in Beijing, China.

Addressing Chinese President Xi Jinping and dozens of other state leaders at the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, Mr. Guterres urged the international community to “come together” in mobilizing resources to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and “to stop runaway climate change.”

Our full coverage here.

New Mozambique storm rips off roofs, brings lashing rain as aid response kicks in

Tropical Cyclone Kenneth swept into northern Mozambique on Thursday evening bringing heavy rain and winds in excess of 225 kilometres per hour (140 miles per hour) after lashing the Comoros islands, where it claimed at least three lives, UN agencies said on Friday.

“Tropical Cyclone Kenneth made landfall in northern Mozambique near the border with Tanzania in an area where no storm since the satellite-era has ever been observed,” said Clare Nullis, spokesperson for the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

Find the full story here.

Future of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh ‘hangs in the balance’ – UNHCR chief

The critical needs of 1.2 million mostly Rohingya refugees in south-eastern Bangladesh were top of the agenda for a fact-finding mission to the region by three senior United Nations officials, who called for continuing support on Friday for them from the international community.

At the end of a joint visit to the country, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock, head of UN migration agency (IOM) António Vitorino, and UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Filippo Grandi, reiterated their commitment to find safe and sustainable solutions for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, as well as helping them to make a safe and dignified return home.

Learn more about what they saw on the ground.

Mali insecurity leaves one in three Mopti schools closed

In Mali, one in three schools in the central Mopti region have been forced to close because of worsening violence that’s affected more than 157,000 children. The warning, from UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), follows the killing of more than 130 people from a village in Bankass a month ago that included 46 youngsters.

Spokesperson Christophe Boulierac told journalists that at least 525 schools are closed in Mopti, out of 866 schools closed nationally: “UNICEF is working closely with the education cluster and the Ministry of Education in order to provide uninterrupted learning for affected children through temporary mechanisms such as informal community learning centres. We are also rolling out innovations such as the training of teachers through tablets.”

Outside the classroom, Mr. Boulierac said that rising prices and the threat of food insecurity linked to a breakdown in State control and the rise in violent extremists have also put additional pressure on families.

Overcome barriers to information-sharing in counter-terror effort, Security Council Committee urges

Countries, organizations and institutions driving the fight against the growing scourge of terrorism need to share more information, and focus more on “financial intelligence”, said the deputy head of the UN Security Council’s counter-terrorism directorate, CTED.

Weixiong Chen, was speaking at the beginning of special meeting organized by the Council on Friday, involving Member States, international and regional organizations and civil society, looking at the nexus between international terrorism and organized crime.

“We must work to overcome inter-institutional barriers to information-sharing among institutions, and interlocutors responsible for countering terrorism, and those responsible for combating organized crime”, he said, adding that “we must also address the current limited use of financial intelligence and limited understanding of the factors and vulnerabilities that could foster the establishment of some forms of cooperation between criminal groups” and terrorist groups, or their affiliates, he added.

The Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee recently adopted an addendum to its guiding principles on foreign terrorist fighters, recalling the “need to intensify and accelerate” exchanging financial information to expose links with organized crime. “Rest assured that CTED will continue to make a full contribution to those efforts”, he added.

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