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Lebanon UNICEF pledges continued aid one year after conflict

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One year after conflict erupted in southern Lebanon, ongoing political instability and security threats continue to hamper the progress of children there, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said today, pledging ongoing efforts to address their plight. “We can see visible signs of recovery from the 2006 conflict, such as the rebuilding of water reservoirs and children completing their school year,” said Roberto Laurenti, UNICEF Representative in Lebanon, where Israel and Hizbollah fought a war for 34 days.He pointed out that the suffering of children is not always evident but must be addressed. “Emotional recovery takes much longer than rebuilding a bridge, and in a country in chronic crisis, this will be a long-term, ongoing process.” UNICEF noted in a news release that the past several months have seen bombing incidents throughout the country and conflict and resulting displacement in Palestinian refugee camps in the north, provoking a renewed sense of insecurity and anxiety for Lebanon’s children. The agency pledged today to continue helping the children of Lebanon, including through continued efforts to improve water quality in villages, enhance the quality of education, strengthen the primary health care system and foster peace and tolerance by providing opportunities for children and youth to interact with peers from different religious, political and social backgrounds. “Children throughout Lebanon now live their lives under the constant shadow of political instability, and all of us – from humanitarian organizations to families, from the private sector to government decision-makers – need to keep children’s wellbeing in the forefront of our minds. Together we are responsible for their road to the future,” said Mr. Laurenti. The 2006 war, which began on 12 July, killed more than 1,100 people in Lebanon and forced 900,000 to flee their homes in the south of the country, according to the Government of Lebanon. UNICEF was among the agencies rushing aid to thousands of children affected, providing safe drinking water, emergency health and hygiene kits, and essential pediatric medicines, measles and polio vaccinations.The agency also helped to assist families returning to their homes after the hostilities ceased, bolstering water supply systems to benefit more than 300,000 people, vaccinating more than 300,000 children against polio providing learning materials to 400,000 students, and training more than 600 people to help children recover from distress. 12 July 2007One year after conflict erupted in southern Lebanon, ongoing political instability and security threats continue to hamper the progress of children there, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said today, pledging ongoing efforts to address their plight. read more

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UN commission set to adopt safer food standards against diseasecausing contaminants

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Some 500 delegates from about 100 countries and numerous nongovernmental organizations are expected to attend the 3-7 July meeting in Geneva of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, a joint venture of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the UN World Health Organization (WHO). If adopted, the proposals would set standards that would also facilitate international food trade by eliminating unjustified technical barriers.Under consideration are issues that are important to developing and developed countries alike, such as:Maximum limit in fish of lead, which can cause a wide range of disorders, including anemia and hepatic and neurological disorders.Maximum limits in rice, marine bivalve molluscs and cephalopods of cadmium, which can cause kidney damage.Measures to prevent contamination of Brazil nuts with cancer-causing aflatoxins.Measures to prevent and reduce food and feed contamination with highly toxic and carcinogenic Dioxin and Dioxin-like PCB.Some topics on the agenda are likely to cause intense debate such as the establishment of a Task Force on antibiotic resistance in bacteria, a potential threat to human health. The incorrect use of antibiotics in animals can lead to drug resistance in infections in humans who eat their meat. The Task Force would develop a risk assessment policy and strategies to reduce food safety risks associated with antibiotics use.Codex Alimentarius standards form the basis of food legislation in many countries and are recognized as international benchmarks by one of the multilateral agreements of the UN World Trade Organization (WTO). read more

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