World News in Brief: ‘Reckless attacks’ on Ukraine nuclear plant must cease, Chibok abductions 10 years on, action against plant pests

A recent spate of “reckless attacks” on the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) in Ukraine must end immediately, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) told the UN Security Council on Monday.

Rafael Grossi told ambassadors that the first direct attacks since the Russian invasion began. earlier this month, on what is Europe’s largest nuclear facility, constituted a “step change increase in risk to nuclear safety and security”.

Although the damage from drone strikes on the Russian-occupied power plant’s Unit 6 reactor building was superficial, it sets “a very dangerous precedent of the successful targeting of the reactor containment”, said the IAEA Director-General.

‘Dangerously close’ to disaster

“We are getting dangerously close to a nuclear accident”, he added, and must “do everything in our power today” to minimize risk.

UN Photo/Loey Felipe

Rafael Mariano Grossi, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), briefs the UN Security Council meeting on Threats to International Peace and Security.

He assured ambassadors that IAEA staff are “continuously present” at the ZNPP and all other nuclear plants across Ukraine.

On Saturday, the so-called “cold shutdown” of all six reactors at the plant was carried out for the first time since late 2022, a move which had long been recommended by the atomic watchdog. The move builds in an extra level of safety were cooling systems to fail. 

In the past 10 days there has been a drone strike on the oxygen and nitrogen production facility, two attacks on the training centre and a drone shot down above the turbine hall of Unit 6.

Both sides have blamed the other for targeting the plant. 

“Let me put it plainly. Two years of war are weighing heavily on nuclear safety” at the plant, he said, and the IAEA’s work remains essential there.

“Despite huge challenges, the IAEA has kept open the indispensable lines of communication and will continue doing so. The support of your nations and of the Council as a whole is a necessity”, he said.

Step up child protection efforts UNICEF urges Nigeria, on 10th anniversary of Chibok abductions

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Monday called on Nigeria to intensify child protection efforts, 10 years on from the mass Chibok abductions in the country’s northeast.

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Some 90 of the girls continue to be held captive, and just last month, another abduction of schoolchildren took place in Kaduna state.

UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Cristian Mundate, said the “kidnapping of the Chibok girls was a wake-up call to the severe risks our children face in their pursuit of education.” With even more recent abductions, she said there is an obvious need for amplified safeguarding of our children’s futures. 

On Monday, UNICEF released the ‘Minimum Standards for Safe Schools (MSSS) Monitoring Report,’ which revealed that only 37 per cent of schools across 10 Nigerian states have early warning systems that can assist in identifying attacks.

This means much remains to be done to ensure Nigerian children can learn in a safe school environment.

Still an ‘unattainable dream’ for many

“Given these alarming statistics, we must address not only the symptoms but also the root causes of this crisis. Education is a fundamental right and a crucial pathway out of poverty. Yet, for too many Nigerian children, it remains an unattainable dream,” Ms. Mundane said.

UNICEF’s analysis examined six areas of concern across Nigerian states relating to school safety – a strong school system, violence against children, natural hazards, conflict, everyday hazards, and safe school infrastructure – and found that only a few had managed to boost standards. 

UNICEF Nigeria is urging governments, partners, and international communities to help secure the right to education in a safe environment for all children.

Thus far, the agency has provided school grants, safety kits, training, and awareness raising to boost the implementation of school safety standards.

UNICEF says this ‘sombre anniversary’ of the Chibok abduction should prompt change so that together, “we can restore trust between educational institutions and the communities they serve, ensuring schools are sanctuaries for learning and growth,” said Ms. Munduate.

© UNICEF/Dawali David

UNICEF is working with the Nigerian government to ensure every child has access to a safe learning environment.

Grower experts mull action to tackle spike in plant pests

A key UN taskforce that tackles plant pests and diseases gathered on Monday to brainstorm new measures to limit “irreversible” damage to the global food supply, as rising global temperatures threaten “unchecked” destruction of crops.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) panel’s work has been complicated by changing weather patterns and warmer growing conditions globally that have changed the geographic distribution and intensity of plant bugs and blight.

Early detection key

Early detection, rapid response and coordinated control efforts worldwide are indispensable, said FAO Director-General QU Dongyu.

The work of the FAO Commission on Phytosanitary Measures includes efforts to eradicate the banana fungus TR4; it has spiked because of climate change and caused yield losses affecting more than 400 million farmers.



  1. What measures are being taken to ensure the safety of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant following these alarming attacks?

    1. To ensure the safety of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant after the recent attacks, increased security measures have been implemented, and continuous monitoring is in place. The International Atomic Energy Agency is working closely with authorities to mitigate risks and prevent further incidents.

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