UN Projects That 68% Of The World Population To Live In Urban Areas By 2050

The UN has projected that the fifty-five percent of the world’s population which lives in urban areas is expected to increase to 68% by 2050.

The 2018 Revision of World Urbanization Prospects produced by the Population Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) notes that future increases in the size of the world’s urban population are expected to be highly concentrated in just a few countries.

Projections show that urbanization, the gradual shift in residence of the human population from rural to urban areas, combined with the overall growth of the world’s population could add another 2.5 billion people to urban areas by 2050, with close to 90% of this increase taking place in Asia and Africa, according to a new United Nations data set launched on Wednesday.

Together, India, China and Nigeria will account for 35% of the projected growth of the world’s urban population between 2018 and 2050. By 2050, it is projected that India will have added 416 million urban dwellers, China 255 million and Nigeria 189 million.

The urban population of the world has grown rapidly from 751 million in 1950 to 4.2 billion in 2018. Asia, despite its relatively lower level of urbanization, is home to 54% of the world’s urban population, followed by Europe and Africa with 13% each.

Today, the most urbanized regions include Northern America (with 82% of its population living in urban areas in 2018), Latin America and the Caribbean (81%), Europe (74%) and Oceania (68%). The level of urbanization in Asia is now approximating 50%. In contrast, Africa remains mostly rural, with 43% of its population living in urban areas.

Some cities have experienced population decline in recent years. Most of these are located in the low fertility countries of Asia and Europe where overall population sizes are stagnant or declining.

Economic contraction and natural disasters have also contributed to population losses in some cities. A few cities in Japan and the Republic of Korea (for example, Nagasaki and Busan) have experienced population decline between 2000 and 2018.

Several cities in countries of Eastern Europe, such as Poland, Romania, the Russian Federation and Ukraine, have lost population since 2000 as well. In addition to low fertility, emigration has contributed to the lower population size in some of these cities. Globally, fewer cities are projected to see their populations decline from today until 2030, compared to what has occurred during the last two decades.

The rural population of the world has grown slowly since 1950 and is expected to reach its peak in a few years. The global rural population is now close to 3.4 billion and is expected to rise slightly and then decline to 3.1 billion by 2050. Africa and Asia are home to nearly 90% of the world’s rural population in 2018. India has the largest rural population (893 million), followed by China (578 million).

Tokyo is the world’s largest city with an agglomeration of 37 million inhabitants, followed by New Delhi with 29 million, Shanghai with 26 million, and Mexico City and São Paulo, each with around  22 million inhabitants. Today, Cairo, Mumbai, Beijing and Dhaka all have close to 20 million inhabitants.

By 2020, Tokyo’s population is projected to begin to decline, while Delhi is projected to continue growing and to become the most populous city in the world around 2028.

By 2030, the world is projected to have 43 mega cities with more than 10 million inhabitants, most of them in developing regions. However, some of the fastest-growing urban agglomerations are cities with fewer than 1 million inhabitants, many of them located in Asia and Africa. While one in eight people live in 33 mega cities worldwide, close to half of the world’s urban dwellers reside in much smaller settlements with fewer than 500,000 inhabitants.

Understanding the key trends in urbanization likely to unfold over the coming years is crucial to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including efforts to forge a new framework of urban development.

As the world continues to urbanize, sustainable development depends increasingly on the successful management of urban growth, especially in low-income and lower-middle-income countries where the pace of urbanization is projected to be the fastest. Many countries will face challenges in meeting the needs of their growing urban populations, including for housing, transportation, energy systems and other infrastructure, as well as for employment and basic services such as education and healthcare. Integrated policies to improve the lives of both urban and rural dwellers are needed, while strengthening the linkages between urban and rural areas, building on their existing economic, social and environmental ties.

To ensure that the benefits of urbanization are fully shared and inclusive, policies to manage urban growth need to ensure access to infrastructure and social services for all, focusing on the needs of the urban poor and other vulnerable groups for housing, education, health care, decent work and a safe.

UN Condemns Firing Of Rocket Against Israeli Forces

The UN has condemned the firing of rocket against Israeli forces and subsequent response by Israel. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, however, he noted with relief Thursday’s partial normalisation of the situation, according to a UN statement.

“The UN follows with utmost concern reports overnight of missile launches from Syria targeting Israeli positions and retaliatory strikes by the Israel Defense Forces, that followed earlier strikes in Syria on Sunday, May 6”.

Guterres urged for an immediate halt to all hostile acts and any provocative actions to avoid a new conflagration in the region already embroiled in terrible conflicts with immense suffering of civilians.

The Secretary-General reiterated the UN unwavering support to long term de-escalation efforts, and stability in the Middle East.

He said the UN would continue to advance and support all efforts aimed at further de-escalation in the region.

In this context, Guterres reiterated that the conflict in Syria should be brought to an end with a political solution through the Geneva intra-Syrian talks, as stipulated in resolution 2254 of the Security Council.

The Secretary-General called on the Security Council to remain actively seized of the matter and shoulder its responsibilities under the Charter.

The UN chief said he stood ready to work closely with all its members in this regard.

The UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) has maintained contact with the Syrian Arab Armed Forces and Israel Defense Forces,

UNDOF urged both parties to exercise maximum restraint and abide by their obligations under the Disengagement of Forces Agreement.

Similarly, the UK has condemned Iran for the firing of missiles against Israel, saying it supported Israel’s retaliatory response.

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson in a statement, responding to Iranian airstrikes against Israeli forces said: “We strongly support Israel’s right to defend itself”.

The UK envoy added: “We urge Iran to refrain from further actions which will only lead to increased instability in the region.

“It is crucial to avoid any further escalations, which would be in no one’s interest.

“We also continue to call on Russia to use its influence to press those in Syria to cease their destabilising activity and work towards a broader political settlement”.

Gender Parity Achieved By UN

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres  in statement by his spokeperson Stephane Dujarric revealed that for the fisrt time in histroy the UN has achieved gender parity among the leadership of the organisation around the world.

“The Secretary-General is pleased to announce that for the first time in the history of the United Nations, there is now gender parity among those nominated to fill the position of UN Resident Coordinators – the UN’s team leaders on the ground around the globe.

“These latest appointments also increase the regional diversity of this group, showing that the goals of gender parity and regional diversity can be pursued in parallel,” he said.

Guterres said UN Resident Coordinators were pivotal to the success of the United Nations in supporting countries to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

According to him, increasing the proportion of women in these positions is essential to reflect and respond to the interests of the broad range of people we serve.

“This milestone builds on the achievement in gender parity among the UN Senior Management Team.

“Taken together, that means that the UN’s top leadership both at headquarters and the country-level is now 50-50,” Guterres said.

The Secretary-General said he regarded gender parity at all levels of the UN to be a priority, “not only to improve the effectiveness of our work, but to end the power imbalances that contribute to sexual harassment, exploitation and abuse”.

The Secretary-General said he would continue to press for fast progress on gender parity at all levels across the UN system.

Former UN chief, Adebayo Adedeji, is Dead

The Pioneer Executive Director of the Addis Ababa based United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and undersecretary general of the UN, Prof Adebayo Adedeji, is dead.

He died in Lagos at the age 87 after a protracted illness.

His death, in the late hours of Wednesday, was announced by a family member who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria.

Adedeji was the ECA boss between 1975 -1978, after which he was appointed the UN Undersecretary General. He remained in the ECA post until 1991.

One of Africa’s foremost proponents of regional integration, Adedeji was Nigeria’s post-civil federal commissioner for economic development and reconstruction.

He played key roles in the establishment of the Economic Commission for the West Africa States (ECOWAS). He also inspired the formation of the National Youth Service Corps in 1973 and became the pioneer Chairman.

It was at the ECA that Adedeji was to make a most significant impact on regional integration on the continent.

Beside ECOWAS, Adedeji actively promoted the creation of other regional groupings, including the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA), which later became the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).

Before his death, Adedeji was the director of the African Centre for Development and Strategic Studies, a think-tank NGO based in his hometown, Ijebu Ode, Ogun, Nigeria.

The University of London icon would also be remembered for his contributions to Africa’s economic recovery, some of which was encapsulated in his major address on “The History and Prospects for Regional Integration in Africa”.

Adedeji was also a frontline member of his Ijebu-Ode community and a close associate of Oba Sikiru Adetona, the Awujale of Ijebu land. He was the Asiwaju of Ijebuland(leader) and Bobajiro of the Awujale(chief adviser to the monarch) as well.

The chair of Sikiru Adetona professorial seat at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Prof Ayo Olukotun, expressed shock at the death of Adedeji.

Olukotun is also the Secretary-General of the International Relations Society of Nigeria.

“Though elderly, Adedeji would be greatly missed. We, in the international relation society, would have been happier, if he had stayed on for a while longer.

“His death is a rude shock to us. We would have been happier to have him around to influence discussions on alternative strategy, which he championed during his iconic stint at the ECA.

“His contribution to an alternative to Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) cannot be forgotten. His effort led to the adoption of the alternatives by many African countries.

“Adedeji would still have been very relevant today as the continent still searches for economic redirection,” Olukotun said.


Zeid Al-Hussein Allowed To Visit Protest-Hit Region In Ethiopia

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Zeid Al-Hussein has finally been allowed  after been turned down previously, to visit a region in Ethiopia that has been roiled by protests and unrest for the past three years.

This new development comes after the Horn of Africa nation swore in new prime minister Abiy Ahmed, who has pledged reforms in the wake of state repression and violence.

In the Oromiya region that Zeid visited, hundreds of people have been killed in violence since 2015, triggered by demonstrations over land rights that broadened into calls for political freedoms.

In many instances, security forces opened fire on protesters, according to the United Nations.

The choice of 41-year-old Abiy by the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) is seen as an effort by the coalition, in power since 1991, to ease ethnic tensions and appeal to legions of disaffected youth, particularly in regions like Oromiya, where he is from.

Al-Hussein said he met Abiy as well as traditional elders in Oromiya.

He also met recently released opposition politicians and civil society activists during his visit this week.

“When I compare how only a few years ago, it would not have been conceivable that the human rights high commissioner undertakes a visit to Ethiopia,” he said in an interview.

“I (have) been given access in a way that I did not think was possible.”

He said the UN human rights office also signed an agreement to increase cooperation with the government.

During his last visit to Ethiopia a year ago, Al-Hussein urged the government to expand civic space and rights, and requested permission to investigate violence in Oromiya.

The government declined his request.

Since replacing Hailemariam Desalegn, who resigned in February amid unrest threatening the ruling coalition’s tight grip – Abiy has vowed “a new political beginning” including more democratic rights.

The country of 100 million people shares borders with volatile states including Somalia and Sudan.

The government has long been accused by rights groups of using security concerns as an excuse to stifle dissent and the media.

Ethiopia’s 547-seat parliament does not have a single opposition member.

Opposition parties accuse the EPRDF of rigging the 2015 election.

Abiy has spent his first weeks in office traveling the country, including to Oromiya and Amhara, another region where protests have taken place.

Al-Hussein said his office has requested access to Amhara.

Abiy has not lifted a six-month state of emergency announced by the ruling coalition the day after Hailemariam resigned in February.

Analysts say this indicates the challenge he faces in promising reforms publicly while privately persuading the EPRDF to loosen its hold.

Zeid declined to comment on whether the state of emergency should be lifted.

But he said his recommendation to the previous government – “that it needed to open up” – “seems to be happening”.

“I think people believe there is cause for optimism,” he said.

Africa’s Food Security Is Threatened Due To Lack Of Modern Techniques

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has revealed that Africa’s refusal or lack in using modern farming techniques will threaten Africa’s food security.

Josef Kienzle, FAO’s Leader of the Mechanisation task team, said that unless the governments adopt new technologies of farming, the continent will continue relying on food aid.

“There is need for a paradigm shift on intensive crop production since the current methods applied cannot meet the challenges of the new millennium,” Kienzle said during the second conservation agriculture conference in Nairobi.

The FAO official said the use of rudimentary hand tools and little access to mechanization and inputs such as
quality seeds and fertiliser is further complicating agricultural productivity in the continent that has
a high population growth rate.

He said the governments must also consider allocating funds towards the improvement of degraded fertile land, depleted groundwater, pest upsurges, eroded biodiversity, air, water and soil pollution and sustainable
intensification to help increase production.

He noted that the more the annual crop yields continue declining, the more the continent will have of
undernourished people.

He recommended the application of tools that offers minimum mechanical soil disturbance, promotes permanent organic soil cover and diversification of soil crop species grown in sequence.

The FAO official called for the formation of smallholder associations that can be formalized and later
institutionalised and linked with other institutions to help promote information sharing.

“There is need to integrate sustainable mechanization in collaboration with the private sector to enhance
productivity and profitability,” he added.

Kienzle said that the majority of smallholders in Africa are women due to the fact that rural-urban migration has forced youths out of the farms to look for other means of making a living.

“There is need to incorporate the youths by re-positioning farming as a lucrative business enterprise for them to venture into and supplement production,” he added.

Barack Okoba, FAO Climate Smart Agriculture Officer, revealed that FAO offices in Kenya has developed a messaging system where farmers are sent electronic messages to their mobile phones.

“They receive messages on weather patterns and market information to help them make right decisions,” he added.

He further noted that coaching and mentorship programs have been set up through producer business groups to help attract people into the business.


UN Sets To Eradicate Yellow Fever In Africa By 2026

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) while speaking at the programme’s launch in Nigeria, a priority-target country disclosed that about one billion people in Africa will be vaccinated against yellow fever by 2026.

This according to Ghebreyesus is in line with an ambitious United Nations campaign to eliminate epidemics of the deadly disease on the continent. The mosquito-borne viral disease is a major killer in Africa, where it can spread fast in highly populated areas with devastating consequences.

“With one injection we can protect a person for life against this dangerous-pathogen,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“This unprecedented commitment by countries will ensure that by 2026 Africa is free of yellow fever epidemics.”

A yellow fever outbreak is active in Africa, with hundreds of suspected cases reported after a 7-year-old girl developed fever, vomiting and abdominal pain in August, the WHO said.

Children make up almost half of those targeted.

“Today, the threat of yellow fever looms larger than ever before, especially for thousands of children across Africa,” Stefan Peterson, chief of health at the United Nations children’s agency (UNICEF), said in a statement.

A major vaccination campaign in Angola and Congo in 2016 brought one of the worst outbreaks of the disease in decades under control after more than 400 people died.

One reason the disease is spreading is because more people are moving from rural to urban areas, particularly to slums, said Robin Nandy, UNICEF’s chief of immunisation.

“These areas tend to have high numbers of people living in close proximity with poor hygiene and sanitation – all the conditions that make it ripe for a disease outbreak,” he said.

The virus also poses a serious risk in Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, he said.

The vaccination programme is a joint venture by the WHO, UNICEF, the GAVI global vaccine alliance and more than 50 health partners.


UN Condemns Terror Attack In Somalia

The United Nations Security Council has condemned the terrorist attack which occurred on Sunday that was perpetrated by the Al-Shabaab group against the Ugandan contingent of the AU mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

The UN expressed its disappointment through a statement which partly said;

“The members of the Security Council reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security,”.

The Council underlined the need to bring perpetrators, organisers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism to justice.

The attack reportedly killed and injured a number of soldiers belonging to the AMISOM.

The Council underscored its full support to AMISOM in delivering their mandate to reduce the threat posed by the terrorist group Al-Shabaab and armed opposition groups in Somalia.

The 15-member Council also paid tribute to all international actors working to bring peace and stability in Somalia.

AMISOM is comprised of Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Sierra Leone.

AMISOM is an active, regional peacekeeping mission operated by the AU with the approval of the UN in Somalia.

It is mandated to support transitional governmental structures, implement a national security plan, train the Somali security forces, and to assist in creating a secure environment for the delivery of humanitarian aid.

As part of its duties, AMISOM also supports the Federal Government of Somalia’s forces in their battle against Al-Shabaab militants.

AMISOM was created by the African Union’s Peace and Security Council on Jan. 19, 2007 with an initial six-month mandate.

The duration of AMISOM’s mandate has been extended in each period that it has been up for review, lastly in October 2014.

The maximum allowed strength of AMISOM was 22,126 troops.

UN Warns Against Ongoing Violence In Libya

The United Nations has warned against violence in Libya’s southern city of Sabha, appealing to all parties involved to work towards a ceasefire agreement.

The mission warned that the buildup of armed forces in the south risks further escalation and calls on all parties to work toward a ceasefire agreement, advance dialogue and reconciliation efforts, and refrain from rhetoric that may inflame the situation.

The mission commended the efforts of national and local leaders to solve the conflict peacefully.

Located some 800 km southwest of the capital Tripoli, Sabha has lately been witnessing violent clashes between rival tribes, which have forced hundreds of people to flee their homes.

According to Sabha Medical Centre, the clashes have killed and injured dozens of civilians.

UN-backed Prime Minister Fayez Serraj recently announced the formation of a military force to secure southern Libya.

On March 9, Libya’s eastern-based army ordered nationals from neighbouring African countries in southern Libya to leave or they would be removed by force.

The information officer of the army led by Gen. Khalifa Haftar said in a statement that “The General Command of the Armed Forces of Libya calls on African brothers from neighbouring countries not to be dragged behind the lawless militias and be exploited to destabilise the south”.

Haftar Said: “March 17 is “the deadline for their departure from the Libyan territory. After the date, they will be removed by force.”

The army also called on tribal elders and leaders in southern Libya to “stop social support for all those who help in any way protect or house African nationals, leading to destabilisation of southern Libya”.

It made the appeal after fighting between rival tribes in southern Libya reportedly caused casualties and displaced hundreds of people.

The Sabha medical centre said that recent tribal clashes in the city of Sabha, located some 800 km southwest of capital Tripoli, have killed 10 civilians and injured 30 others.

Immigrants from neighbouring Chad and Niger have been accused of involvement in the tribal conflicts in Sabha.
Hamed Al-Khiali, head of the municipal council of Sabha, said i February that the local airport was occupied by “an armed group that has nothing to do with Libya”.

Al-Khiali said the armed group carried the flags of African countries.

Recently in Tripoli, the UN-backed government announced measures to support its forces in Sabha to fight the so-called “mercenaries”.


Boko Haram Carried Out 60 Attacks In Cameroon In 2017

Islamic terrorist group responsible for several kidnappings and killing in the Northeast and countries across the border, Boko Haram has carried out about 60 attacks in Cameroon in 2017.

This was revealed by the UN Assistant-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Ms Ursula Mueller on her arrival in Chad for a two-day visit to see the humanitarian situation.

She added that Cameroon was the country most impacted by the regional extension of the Boko Haram conflict.

“In 2017, there were more than 60 suicide attacks in the Far North representing a 50 per cent increase compared to 2016.

“Some 3.3 million people need urgent humanitarian assistance. In the Far North, one out of every three people is facing crisis and emergency levels of food insecurity.

“But Cameroon’s Humanitarian Response Plan has only received five per cent of the U.S. 305 million dollars required to respond to the most urgent humanitarian needs,’’ she said.

Mueller is expected to meet with Chadian authorities, humanitarian and development partners as well as impacted populations.

She would visit the Lac region on Saturday to see for herself the humanitarian consequences of the Lake Chad Basin crisis in Chad.

According to her, a third of the population or 4.4 million people need humanitarian assistance in 2018.


Over 20,000 Babies Born On New Year’s Day

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reports that approximately 20,210 babies were born in Nigerian on the New Year’s Day. The births, represented third largest population of newborns in the world on Jan. 1, 2018.

UNICEF also said nearly 386,000 babies would be born worldwide on New Year’s Day, representing some 90 per cent in less developed regions.
The agency reported that Kiribati’s Christmas Island in the Pacific would most likely welcome 2018’s first baby while the U.S., its last.

Globally, over half of these births are estimated to take place in nine countries, according to UNICEF. These are: India, 69,070; China, 44,760; Nigeria, 20,210; Pakistan, 14,910; Indonesia, 13,370; United States, 11,280; Democratic Republic of Congo, 9,400; Ethiopia, 9,020; and Bangladesh, 8,370.

While many babies would survive, some would not make it past their first day, UNICEF regretted.

Stefan Peterson, UNICEF’s Chief of Health, said on Monday that the UN children’s agency was challenging nations around the world to make sure more newborns survive their first days of life. “This New Year, UNICEF’s resolution is to help give every child more than an hour, more than a day, more than a month – more than survival,” Peterson said.

In 2016, an estimated 2,600 children died within the first 24 hours every day of the year, according to the UN agency. UNICEF said that for almost two million newborns, their first week was also their last. In all, 2.6 million children died before the end of their first month, the global children’s agency regretted.

Among those children, more than 80 per cent died from preventable and treatable causes such as premature birth, complications during delivery, and infections like sepsis and pneumonia, UNICEF said. Peterson stressed: “We call on governments and partners to join the fight to save millions of children’s lives by providing proven, low-cost solutions”.

Over the past two decades, the world has seen unprecedented progress in child survival, halving the number of children worldwide who die before their fifth birthday to 5.6 million in 2016. But in spite of these advances, there has been slower progress for newborns, UNICEF noted adding, babies dying in the first month account for 46 per cent of all deaths among children under five.