A World Trade Organisation (WTO) mediator issued new proposals on Monday for opening up services such as telecoms and banking as part of a global trade deal. But the new text, replacing a previous document issued in February, did not set dates for revised offers or final commitments in the services negotiations.
The World Health Organisation's 193 member states on Saturday overcame their deep divisions over intellectual property rules and endorsed a strategy to help improve developing-country access to drugs and medical tests.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu on Tuesday appealed to governments to do more to save Africa from disease. "We cannot lose Africa," Tutu told the 193-nation World Health Assembly. "The cradle of humankind" is threatened by "disease, conflict and destruction".
Insufficient food, climate change and pandemic flu are global crises that could unravel progress in public health, the World Health Organisation's (WHO) director general said on Monday. "These three critical events, these clear threats to international security, have the potential to undo much hard-won progress in public health," WHO director general Margaret Chan said.
The five major nuclear-armed powers said on Friday the Non-Proliferation Treaty was under threat and cited Iran's uranium enrichment campaign in a rare joint call for action to shore up the NPT. Iran says it wants only electricity from enrichment, which can also produce atom bomb fuel if the process is adjusted.
The United Nations Human Rights Council will hold a special session on May 23 to examine how the world's food crisis is undermining the right to food for millions of people, officials said on Friday. The rights to adequate food and freedom from hunger are enshrined in international law as basic, universal human rights.
Diplomats failed to agree on Friday on a follow-up meeting to an acrimonious 2001 conference on racism after two weeks of difficult negotiations between Western and Islamic countries. The meeting was unable to decide on the venue or duration of a conference to chart progress in the fight against racism since the landmark conference in Durban seven years ago.
The United Nations agency charged with relieving world hunger on Friday made an appeal for $256-million more in funds to cope with sharp rises in food prices. The World Food Programme request came on top of another "extraordinary emergency appeal" of $500-million made by the agency in March to top up its 2008 budget.
The United Nations World Food Programme on Friday said two relief flights will be sent to Burma on Saturday, just hours after suspending flights due to "unacceptable restrictions" by the government. Burma has maintained strict limits on foreign involvement in the relief effort, despite calls for it to allow unfettered access to experts.
The United Nations's top human rights official on Wednesday issued a strong condemnation of the killing of opposition political activists in Zimbabwe. "It is hard to get a very precise picture of the full range of the violence, or the exact number of politically motivated extra-judicial killings," said Louise Arbour, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The United Nations independent expert on racism urged South Africa on Friday to bring to justice those responsible for recent xenophobic violence that claimed more than 50 lives this month. "I condemn these acts in the strongest terms," special rapporteur Doudou Diene said as he called on South African authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice.