Yearbook of the United Nations, 2008. Part 3, Economic and social questions. Chapter 13, Health, food and nutrition
In 2008, the United Nations continued to promote human health and food security, coordinate food aid and support research in nutrition. At the end of the year, about 33.4 million people were living with HIV/aids, and an estimated 2.7 million people had become infected with the virus. Deaths due to aids-related illnesses were estimated at 2 million. The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/aids (UNAIDS) issued the 2008 Report on the global aids epidemic—the most comprehensive global assessment of the HIV/aids response ever assembled. The report confirmed that out of the 147 countries which had documented their progress in implementing the 2001 Declaration of Commitment on HIV/ aids, many had made considerable gains in addressing their national epidemics. Increases in financing for HIV programmes in low and middle-income countries resulted in progress in reducing aids deaths and preventing new infections. In June, the General Assembly held a high-level meeting to review the progress achieved in realizing the Declaration of Commitment and the Political Declaration on HIV/aids. In 2008, the United Nations focused on sickle-cell anaemia as a public health issue. According to World Health Organization (WHO) estimates, some 100 million people carried the sickle-cell trait, and at least 500,000 children were born each year with the most severe form of the disease. Major disparities persisted between countries of the North and countries of the South with respect to management of the disease. In a December resolution, the General Assembly urged Member States and the UN system to promote health-care services, training and technology-transfer programmes to improve the lives of those affected, and to raise awareness of the disease on 19 June of each year. The Conference of the Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, at its third session in November, established a working group to develop guidelines for implementation of article 14, dealing with demand reduction. The Intergovernmental Negotiating Body on a Protocol on Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products held its first and second sessions, at which it negotiated the objectives, scope and outline of a draft protocol. In May, the Secretary-General advised the United Nations to take a strong stance on the issue of second-hand smoke, and in a November resolution the General Assembly banned smoking and tobacco sales at UN Headquarters. A WHO report to the General Assembly on the Decade to Roll Back Malaria in Developing Countries, Particularly in Africa (2001–2010) noted that at least 29 out of 109 countries around the world were on course to meet targets for reducing the burden caused by malaria by 2010. In February, the Secretary-General appointed Ray Chambers (United States) as his first Special Envoy for Malaria. The Assembly in a December resolution expressed concern about the continued morbidity and mortality attributed to malaria. It noted that more efforts were needed if the malaria and MDG targets for 2010 and 2015 were to be reached. In May, the World Health Assembly adopted a resolution urging Member States, international organizations and stakeholders to prioritize the implementation of a global strategy and plan of action on public health, innovation and intellectual property. Also adopted were resolutions on monitoring the achievement of the health-related MDGs and implementation of the International Health Regulations. The General Assembly debated the issue of global road safety in March. During the deliberations, the Russian Federation presented an initiative to host the first global high-level conference on road safety in 2009 in Moscow. In a related resolution, the Assembly commended WHO for working with the UN regional commissions to coordinate road safety issues in the UN system and the World Bank for establishing the Global Road Safety Facility—the first funding mechanism to support capacity-building for road safety. In 2008, the World Food Programme (WFP) distributed 3.9 million metric tons of food aid, assisting 102.1 million hungry people in 78 countries. During the year, WFP faced challenges such as turmoil in international financial systems, extreme weather, political upheaval and complex emergencies in Afghanistan, Somalia and the Sudan. WFP succeeded in scaling up assistance to vulnerable populations hit by soaring food and fuel prices. The complexity of WFP emergency operations was exemplified by its response to Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar, for which WFP provided $154 million of relief for 1.1 million victims. Donor contributions in 2008 reached a record $5 billion. In 2008, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAQ) continued to address the world food crisis. In June, FAQ held a high-level conference on “World Food Security: the Challenges of Climate Change and Bio-Energy”. The conference adopted a Declaration that called on the international community to increase assistance for developing countries, in particular the least developed countries and those most negatively affected by high food prices. In April, the Secretary-General established the High-level Task Force on the Global Food Security Crisis, which brought together relevant parts of the UN system and Bretton Woods institutions to produce a unified response to the food price crisis.
Yearbook of the United Nations, 2008. v. 62; Vol. 62
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