18 February 2014
Twenty-seven states, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), have launched an effort to improve the ability to prevent, detect, respond to and contain outbreaks of dangerous infectious diseases.
The Global Health Security Agenda aims to prevent avoidable epidemics by, for instance, keeping to a minimum the number of labs worldwide that store dangerous microbes and by extending vaccination programs. Another goal is to detect threats early, such as by promoting faster sharing of biological samples. (more…)
Source: CBS News | U.S. announces global partnership to fight infectious diseases
Source: Infection Control Today | Nations Commit to Accelerating Progress Against Infectious Disease Threats
13 February 2014
Over the next two and a half years, the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) will provide technical assistance to Belarus in managing its stocks of obsolete pesticides. The effort is part of a joint plan with the European Union, launched in 2012 throughout the former Soviet Union, to build capacity to minimise the threats from hazardous waste to human health and the environment, as well as to strengthen legislation and build capacity in the management of pesticide containers.
An estimated 200,000 tons of obsolete pesticides (around 40 per cent of the world’s stockpiles) can be found in thousands of unprotected sites in Belarus and the 11 other former Soviet republics, according to the FAO. These sites “pose a serious threat to peoples’ health and the environment”. According to the World Bank, there is significant risk that pesticides could pollute the groundwater in parts of Belarus, affecting well water, along with rivers and other bodies of water in the entire region.
The UN agency will first identify and assess the most highly contaminated sites in the country. In addition to also mobilising resources for risk reduction, the plan also promotes alternatives to the most hazardous chemicals in use.
Source: UN News Centre | UN agency, EU partner to reduce risks from pesticides in Belarus
Source: FAO | FAO and EU to help Belarus reduce risks from dangerous pesticides