The flag of the United Nations flutters in Bonn, Germany. File/Reuters
The UN Security Council unanimously adopted four resolutions on Monday, with its 15 members voting by email for the first time because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Members voted to keep troops in Sudan’s restive Darfur region until the end of May and maintain the UN political mission in Somalia until June 30.
They extended the mandate of the UN panel of experts monitoring sanctions against North Korea until April 30, 2021, and they stressed the importance of supporting the UN’s far-flung peacekeeping operations.
The UN’s most powerful body has been meeting by video because of COVID-19, which has hit New York City, where the UN has its headquarters, exceedingly hard. The last council meeting in the headquarters complex was on March 12, when a resolution was adopted extending the mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan and welcoming "encouraging developments” toward peace.
A resolution sponsored by the United Kingdom and Germany extends the joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur known as UNAMID until May 31 when the council said it will decide on "the responsible draw-down and exit” of UNAMID. The council said it also intends to establish "a follow-on presence to UNAMID” at the same time.
The Darfur conflict began in 2003 when ethnic Africans rebelled, accusing the Arab-dominated Sudanese government of discrimination. The government in Khartoum was accused of retaliating by arming local nomadic Arab tribes and unleashing them on civilian populations — a charge it denies. In recent years, as the result of a successful government military campaign, the rebellion has been reduced to a single rebel faction.
There has been pressure, including from the Trump administration, to scale down the UNAMID force in response to reduced fighting and security conditions. It was established in 2007 and was one of the UN's most expensive operations, with a ceiling of 15,845 military personnel and 3,403 police in June 2016.
With the disease tearing around the globe and three billion people locked down, countries are desperate to find ways to stop its terrifying spread and deal with a shock that could surpass the Great Depression.
The policy report released on Thursday said other critical missions for the region's governments should be bridging the digital divide and upholding human rights and good governance practices.
The World Health Organization says its survey, conducted between June and August in 130 countries, is the first to detail the "devastating impact” of COVID-19 on access to mental health services.
Most people recover within a few weeks, and monkeypox has only been fatal in rare cases.
It is noteworthy that the World Health Organization (WHO) warned of the seriousness of the disease after it was detected in a number of countries, and the organisation called for a strong tracing of contacts of the infected cases.
Meteorologists had warned that heavy rainfall and hail were expected in western and central Germany on Friday, with storms producing wind gusts up to 130 kph (81 mph). Storms on Thursday had already disrupted traffic, uprooted trees that toppled onto rail tracks and roads, and flooded hundreds of basements in western Germany.
These included Muhammadu Buhari, President of Nigeria; Jo?o Lourenço, President of Angola; Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, Vice President of Ghana; Mohamed Hussein Robley, Prime Minister of Somalia, and His Royal Highness Prince Turki Al Faisal bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud.