News in Brief 21 December 2015 (AM)

A Security Council resolution endorsing a road map for peace in Syria has been welcomed by a UN human rights body as "a crucial first step" towards ending nearly five years of fighting.

The Commission of Inquiry on Syria, which is investigating human rights violations in the war-torn country, described the resolution as "a very solid platform" towards a political solution for the crisis.

The 15-member Security Council unanimously adopted the resolution on Friday.

It calls for a Syrian-led political process facilitated by the UN and establishment of a "credible, inclusive and non-sectarian governance structure."

The UN estimates that around 250,000 people have died in Syria since the conflict began in March 2011.

UK and UN food agency strengthen partnership

Supporting ongoing and future work on issues such as food security and climate adaptation is the aim of an agreement between the United Kingdom and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The UN agency says the framework will make collaboration easier and save costs by eliminating the need to negotiate individual funding agreements for each new project.

The UK has been one of the UN agency's major donors and has supported many of its projects such as those addressing the illegal timber trade and a lack of comprehensive agricultural data in many parts of the world.

One current project involves implementation of guidelines related to land and property rights in China, Nigeria and Uganda.

Arab region holds first ministerial forum on housing and urban development

Addressing current and future urban challenges in Arab states is the focus of the first Arab Ministerial Forum for Housing and Urban Development taking place this week in Egypt.

The three-day meeting brings together 15 high-level ministerial delegations and representatives from national and regional organizations, in addition to the private sector and civil society groups.

Dr. Joan Clos, head of UN-Habitat, the UN programme that promotes sustainable city growth, says urbanization is now a tool for development and also a source of wealth, social equity and environmental sustainability.

He says the key is to advocate for a process that "delivers the goods and avoids the ailments often connected with urbanization."

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 2'28"

Source: United Nations Radio