UN Radio: Arab Report Focuses on Gap in Knowledge

Published: Tue 21 Oct 2003 08:54 AM
UN Radio: Arab Report Focuses on Gap in Knowledge
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Special Report: WHO, UNICEF AND UNFPA Report Over Half a Million Maternal Deaths in Africa
Special Report: Arab Development Report Highlights Gap In Knowledge
Arab Development Report Focuses on Gap in Knowledge
A report commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) says the Arab countries need to close a growing knowledge gap by promoting education and open intellectual inquiry. The recommendation is made by the authors of the Arab Human Development Report, launched Monday in Amman, Jordan. It is the second of a planned four-part series that analyzes the current state of knowledge in the Arab world. The report, written by a group of distinguished Arab scholars, casts a critical eye on knowledge, freedom and the gender gap. UNDP Spokesman William Orme:
" It's a very candid, very direct, very frank report and its purpose is to catalyze debate and discussion within the Arab world and that is the hope of the authors that this will be accomplished, the first report certainly did that."
UN Undertakes First Humanitarian Mission to Voinjama, Liberia
In Liberia, UN Humanitarian agencies undertook the first assessment mission in four years to the city of Voinjama on the Northern border with Guinea. This mission represents a central part of the UN's ongoing process of progressively providing humanitarian assistance throughout Liberia. Voinjama is the fourth of five humanitarian hubs from which humanitarian assistance will be delivered. UN Spokesman Fred Eckhard said the mission found the city in dire need of assistance:
"One participant described Voinjama as a broken place in need of assistance, where civilians are forced to scavenge for food in the bush. All houses were in a state of disrepair with less than 10 percent of the structures in habitable condition."
Conference of Arab Journalists Emphasizes Role of Media in Post-Conflict
A two-day conference of Arab journalists on the UN and Reconstruction concluded in Amman, Jordan on Monday. It was organized by the UN foundation and was addressed by representatives of the UN and its Agencies. The Director of the UN Media Division, Ahmad Fawzi, says the discussions included lessons learned from Afghanistan, Kosovo and East Timor, and on moving from emergency relief to development and reconstruction:
"What came out from the conference is that rehabilitation and reconstruction is more than bricks and mortar and electricity grids. Reconstruction must also involve the human being and communication is extremely important in this regard, in rebuilding the human spirit in a post-conflict situation."
WFP Delivers Record Two Million Tons of Food to Iraq
The World Food Programme (WFP) has announced that a record two million tons of food have been delivered to Iraq since its emergency operation started on the 1st of April. The agency said it provided up to 500,000 tons of food - or some 20,000 truckloads every month. WFP Executive Director James Morris said this is the largest amount of food assistance ever delivered in a single emergency operation over such a brief period.
WHO Holds Series of Meetings on SARS to Consolidate Available Knowledge
The World Health Organization is holding a series of meetings in Geneva on SARS. The meetings, which will run from the 20th of October through the 1st of November, will address priorities for scientific research, laboratory issues, treatment, and prospects for vaccine development. Professor John Mackenzie says the meetings aim to prepare the world for a possible resurgence of the virus, which was contained in July. One goal is to standardize the test for detecting the SARS virus:
"If you ask me now what's the gold standard method for diagnosing SARS, I would not be able to give it to you. We have methods that we know work very well, but we haven't chosen the gold standard to which all other methods will then be assessed against."
Another key issue to be addressed is lab safety, says Professor Mackenzie, because the only known source of the virus is now in laboratories. In September, a researcher in Singapore was infected with SARS from a lab sample.
FAO Issues Desert Locust Alert
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization warns that desert locust outbreaks in Mauritania, Niger and Sudan may threaten crops. FAO's locust control group says the situation could develop rapidly and requires an immediate boost in the number of surveys, the level of monitoring and preparation for expanded pesticide spraying.

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