1. Barbados assumes leadership of UNCTAD from Kenya
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta handed over the chairmanship of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to Barbados Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley on Tuesday, during the fifteenth UNCTAD conference held in Bridgetown, Barbados.
UNCTAD’s purpose is to support developing countries gain ‘access to a globalized economy more effectively and fairly’. UNCTAD through its mandate explores many of the human and environmental security concerns that the Commonwealth does too. During the ceremony President Kenyatta handed over the chairmanship and pointed out the importance of multilateralism to solving the world’s ills.
2. British Royal Navy ship HMS Trent deploys to West Africa to support maritime security in the region
HMS Trent, a Royal Navy patrol ship, has deployed to the Gulf of Guinea and will work alongside key allies in the region including Nigeria, Ghana and Gambia. A statement from the British Government expanded on the purposes of the deployment: “HMS Trent, which is the first Royal Navy vessel to operate in the region for three years, will conduct maritime security patrols as well as support partner navies by helping them to develop key maritime skills and develop plans for future operations in the region.”
3. Gunmen kill 20 in Northwest Nigeria
An attack by murderous gunmen in Nigeria’s Sokoto state has resulted in the deaths of 20 people. The gunmen targeted a market and torched cars during the vicious assault that further demonstrates the level of violence being inflicted upon the populations of Nigeria’s Northwest. Idriss Gobir, special adviser to the Sokoto police affairs minister, said the attackers rode on motorcycles and shot sporadically, emphasising the mayhem and nihilism of their cause. Security forces face a gruelling battle for stability in the country, but registered a significant victory on 7 October by rescuing 187 people who had been kidnapped by bandits in the region’s Zamfara state.
4. World Health Organisation (WHO) sanctions use of malaria vaccine in children
In what is seen as a vital step in the ongoing battle against malaria, the WHO have sanctioned the use of a recently developed vaccination for use by children. The recommendation extends to regions with a moderate to high level of transmission of P. falciparum Malaria. The vaccination has been proven safe having trialed it in 800,000 children in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Secretary General of the WHO STATED, “this is a historic moment. The long-awaited malaria vaccine for children is a breakthrough for science, child health, and malaria control. Using this vaccine on top of existing tools to prevent malaria could save tens of thousands of young lives each year.”
5. FPDA nations gather for Bersama Gold exercise
Navies and Air Forces from Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and the United Kingdom have gathered for the biennial Bersama Lima exercise, renamed Bersama Gold in celebration of the FPDA’s 50th anniversary. A total of 2600 personnel, 10 ships, one submarine, six maritime helicopters, three maritime patrol aircraft, 25 fighter aircraft, two support aircraft, and one command and control aircraft will participate in the exercise. The exercise is taking place in international waters off the coast of Malaysia and will see the nations conduct anti-air and anti-submarine exercises, gunnery and manoeuvring drills, as well as a command post exercise on jungle warfare.
The FPDA turns 50 this year and is widely lauded by all nations as a quiet and effective tool for regional defence and enduring defence cooperation. CSG has teamed up with the Singapore Defence Ministry to explore the FPDA at 50 and looks forward to releasing this paper later this year.