Weekly News Update May 17 - 21, 2021
Palestine: International Parliamentarian Support
Palestine: Press Conference with Sofiane Mimouni, Abdou Abarry, & Riyad Mansour (18 May 2021)
GLOBAL TRADE’S RECOVERY FROM COVID-19 CRISIS HITS RECORD HIGH
Geneva, 18 May 2021 –
Global trade’s recovery from the COVID-19 crisis hit a record high in the first quarter of 2021, increasing by 10% year-over-year and 4% quarter-over-quarter, according to UNCTAD’s Global Trade Update released on 19 May.
The rebound continued to be largely fuelled by trade in goods. In contrast, trade in services continued to lag behind.
The rebound is expected to continue into Q2 2021, with the value of global trade in goods and services forecast to reach $6.6 trillion. This is equivalent to a year-over-year increase of about 31% relative to the lowest point of 2020 and of about 3% relative to the pre-pandemic levels of 2019.
UNCTAD forecasts trade growth for 2021 at about 16% (in values). Still, the positive outlook is largely dependent on reducing pandemic restrictions, a persisting positive trend in commodity prices, overall restraints from trade protectionist policies, and supportive macroeconomic and fiscal conditions.
Trade recovery remains uneven, the report highlights, especially among developing countries, with exports from East Asia rebounding substantially faster. East Asian economies are also behind the recovery of trade among developing countries (South-South trade). When trade figures from East Asian developing economies are excluded, South-South trade remains below averages.
Among major economies, China's exports continue to register a strong increase not only from 2020 averages but also in relation to pre-pandemic levels. In contrast, exports from Russia remain below 2019 averages.
Journalists with access to the UNCTAD virtual newsroom may download the new UNCTAD Global Trade Update.
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After the lifting of the embargo, documents related to the report will be available on the main UNCTAD website.
For further information or to request interviews with UNCTAD experts, please contact the UNCTAD Press Office (+41 22 917 5549/8033, firstname.lastname@example.org).
Security Council President on Dialogue between members & Secretary-General candidate (18 May 2021)
End Israel-Gaza Conflict - Urge Top UN Officials
United States on the cease-fire between Israel and Gaza- General Assembly Media Stakeout
Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock
Statement on the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel
The current escalation of hostilities has caused immense suffering. I abhor the violence that has killed and injured scores of children and other civilians and caused extensive damage to homes and vital infrastructure.
The hostilities must stop. I echo the Secretary-General’s calls for the parties to stop the aerial and artillery bombardments and the indiscriminate launching of rockets. These acts have brought nothing but death, destruction and widespread trauma throughout the Occupied Palestinian territory and Israel.
The parties must respect international humanitarian law, including the fundamental principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution. All parties must take constant care to spare civilians and civilian objects from harm.
In Gaza, I am deeply troubled by reports of high-frequency Israeli bombardments. There is no safe place in Gaza, where 2 million people have been forcibly isolated from the rest of the world, for over 13 years. The indiscriminate launching of rockets by armed groups towards populated areas in Israel is unacceptable and must end.
The hostilities have displaced over 58,000 Palestinians, many of whom are seeking refuge in UNRWA schools across Gaza. I am concerned about the transmission of COVID-19 between vulnerable people huddled in crowded shelters and the inability of the health-care system to cope.
Damage to vital infrastructure and insufficient fuel supplies have affected water, sanitation and hygiene services for hundreds of thousands of people. Electrical power shortages, and the damage to the Gaza Ministry of Health Central Laboratory, hinder healthcare provision at dozens of centres throughout Gaza.
In order to respond to needs at the scale required, two critical issues must be addressed. First, we need adequate funding to enable a speedy response. The Humanitarian Coordinator, Lynn Hastings, hopes to release some US$14 million from the OPT Humanitarian Fund. I call upon donors to accelerate their contributions to the Fund without delay. This is for immediate needs; the Secretary-General and I will be launching a fuller appeal shortly.
Second, access is paramount. Without this, the humanitarian community is unable to respond to the extent needed. The crossings with Gaza need to be opened and to remain as such for the entrance of essential and humanitarian supplies, including fuel for basic services and supplies to curb the spread of COVID-19. Opening the crossings will also ensure the exit of patients who need life-saving treatment and the entry of special surgical emergency teams to tend to the wounded.
I recognize the efforts undertaken today to open Kerem Shalom crossing, allowing UNRWA fuel trucks to enter Gaza. Regrettably, other essential humanitarian cargo was unable to cross. I call for the sustainable opening of Kerem Shalom crossing for the entry of emergency essential and humanitarian supplies including fuel and the opening of Erez crossing to allow the evacuation of non-essential international staff and the entry of critical international humanitarian staff. I call upon all parties to allow and facilitate rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief for civilians in need.
I call on all parties to the hostilities to agree to a humanitarian pause to allow for emergency humanitarian relief distribution and for civilians to purchase food and water, seek medical care and attend to other emergency needs.
New York, 18 May 2021
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
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Palestine on the current situation - Media Stakeout (20 May 2021) [English & Arabic]