Thank you Mr President. I may I also thank Special Representative Fall and Ms Ghelani of OCHA for briefing the Council today and for all that your respective teams are doing in what is a complicated and difficult region as you’ve both set out.Today I will address issues that affect the region as a whole, the situation in the Anglophone Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon and the impact of Boko Haram in the Lake Chad Basin. I will not address DRC, Burundi or CAR as we have the opportunity to discuss these issues in other Council meetings.Mr Special Representative, the United Kingdom welcomes the holistic approach that you have taken both with this report and to promote peace and stability in Central Africa. An approach that covers the political, humanitarian and human rights situation and addresses root causes is crucial to conflict prevention and resolution. We also welcome UNOCA’s work to drive forward the Women, Peace and Security agenda, under UNSCR 1325.We encourage UNOCA to continue to focus on building the capacity of regional organisations to enable delivery of their early warning mechanisms, conflict prevention and peace-building initiatives.Mr President, I would like to focus now on a country of particular concern in the region and that’s Cameroon.I should start by saying the United Kingdom recognises the many positive contributions Cameroon is making to stability in the region, including their continued commitment to the fight against Boko Haram and the sanctuary that Cameroon offers to refugees from Nigeria and the Central African Republic. However, we are concerned by the reality of the rapidly deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon.In particular, we are concerned about high levels of displacement and take very seriously Reena Ghelani’s warning that this is now one of the fastest growing displacement crises in Africa and reports of human rights violations and abuses perpetrated by armed separatist groups and Government forces, including extra-judicial killings, other killings, abductions, restrictions of movement and access to health and education as described in the Secretary-General’s report. We must always be alert, colleagues, to the risk that the situation escalates, affecting the broader peace and stability of the Central African region, and we have already seen over 30,000 Cameroonians flee into Nigeria. If grievances are not addressed, tensions are likely to increase further.Mr President, these concerns are not new – I raised them in the Council’s discussions in March, as did others. Unfortunately, we have not seen the action needed to address the situation and since March, it has deteriorated further.We welcome President Biya’s recent pledge to address the situation but words alone will not improve things. We strongly urge the Government of Cameroon to take urgent action, including by:· actively addressing the situation through inclusive dialogue with the Anglophone leadership to address the underlying issues;· undertaking confidence-building measures in order to diffuse tensions and build conditions for dialogue. This includes the release of political detainees, and implementing the Government’s own commitments on decentralisation, and the recommendations of the Commission on Bilingualism;· allowing full humanitarian access and access to human rights monitors to all parts of the country – and I would also hope and expect that our own SRSG would have access wherever he wanted to go;· and ensuring accountability for all those responsible for human rights violations and abuses.And clearly Mr President we also call on the armed groups involved to cease their attacks on civilians, allow full humanitarian access, and access to human rights monitors, and to engage with the Government on these issues.The UK, for its part, is committed to supporting Cameroon and I am pleased to announce today that the United Kingdom is contributing $3.1 million to the UN’s response in the Anglophone regions – that’s equivalent to 20% of this year’s flash appeal for the Anglophone crisis – to address immediate humanitarian and medical needs. We strongly encourage other Member States to fund this as an important part of the conflict prevention effort. Preventing a crisis costs significantly less than resolving one.Mr President, we have raised our concerns quietly so far and directly with the Government and we are committed to working with the Government of Cameroon in every way we can to help resolve this situation. But I fear, unless action is taken and the situation improves, concern over the situation in Cameroon is likely to increase amongst Security Council Members and become a more prominent part of our discussions.Mr President in addition to Cameroon I would like to raise our ongoing concern about the humanitarian and security situation in the wider Lake Chad Basin, which continues to deteriorate. The United Kingdom has played its part in providing humanitarian support, as well as significant support particularly to assist the Nigerian security forces in the fight against Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa (ISWA), but this matter needs the ongoing focus and support of the international community.The deteriorating security situation in northeast Nigeria is of particular concern, and one I note shared by the Secretary-General. ISWA has increased the frequency, range and sophistication of their attacks and has attacked forward operating military bases in North East Nigeria. The execution by ISWA of humanitarian workers such as Saifura Khorsa and Hauwa Liman, who were both abducted while providing antenatal care to communities in desperate need is a telling reminder of the brutality of ISWA’s activities.Let me conclude Mr President by reiterating that we have an opportunity together to prevent further conflict, and the inevitable suffering and insecurity, and I hope we can all act to do so.Thank you Mr President.
The UK’s creative industries are continuing to grow in the Japanese market, statistics reveal.From Beauty and the Beast and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them topping the Japanese box office, to music releases from UK exports Adele and Ed Sheeran flying high, the love affair that the Japanese have for the UK’s creative industries shows no sign of letting up.As the UK welcomes Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe this week, the government has praised the work that our thriving creative industries sectors produce, making it such a positive global export.Across film, music and video games the UK and Japan share a huge common interest. In 2016 Japan accounted for £325 million of the UK creative industry service exports, up from £226 million in 2015. These are any services that are exported including advertising and marketing.Creative Industry export goods, which includes things like handbags, printed books, paintings and sculptures, to Japan in 2016 were also worth £155 million, which was up from £146 million the year before.Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries Margot James said: The UK’s creative and cultural output is one of our biggest exports and the Japanese market continues to love what we have to offer. From seeing our latest blockbusters on screen, to listening to rip roaring live music acts and playing our latest video games – it’s clear that creative industries love affair between Japan and the UK continues. And that affection is shown in the UK too, with over £100 million of creative industry goods imported into our shores every year. I look forward to seeing this partnership continue to grow for many years to come. In 2017 the box office take for UK films shown in Japan was $424.3 million. Two British films Beauty and the Beast and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them topped the charts with 9.5 million and 5.6 million admissions respectively.Japan’s love of UK music continues to be a success with UK labels earning an estimated £18.5 million from Japan in 2017. It was 5th largest marker in terms of UK revenues behind the USA, Germany, France and Australia. The biggest selling album by a British act was Divide by Ed Sheeran.The UK’s video games industry also has strong links with Japan with UK benefitting from major investment by leading companies including SEGA and Sony Interactive Entertainment.The UK game Overcooked 2 co-developed by Team17 and Ghost Town Games in Wakefield is also proving popular in Japan as it was voted the most recommended game by Nintendo Switch players last August.
This visit offered a great opportunity to explain our work and raise the issue of road safety with a young and very enthusiastic audience. More information about proposals for the A417 can be found on the scheme website where Highways England hold a live monthly web chat. Members of the public can join in and ask questions about the scheme.For more information on the roles and responsibilities of a Highways England traffic officer go to the Traffic Officer web pages.General enquiriesMembers of the public should contact the Highways England customer contact centre on 0300 123 5000.Media enquiriesJournalists should contact the Highways England press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer. The bridge building was designed to be a fun activity for the students while allowing us to start a conversation about the importance of engineering in our everyday lives. Traffic officers Lynne Watkins and Dave Hayett, who normally spend their days patrolling the M5 in Gloucestershire, took time out to visit the primary school as part of a Highways England awareness day.During the visit this week, five and six-year-old pupils got the chance to chat to the traffic officers about their jobs and see their patrol vehicle and the equipment used every day as they patrol England’s major A roads and motorways.Birdlip Primary School teacher, Sue Harding, said: Children in a Traffic Officer vehicle during the visitOn the same day the team behind the A417 Missing Link also attended the school to host a bridge-building exercise with nine and ten-year-olds. The team helped the pupils design and build their own bridge as part of a longer-term STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) Highways England initiative.Mike Goddard, A417 Senior Project Manager said: The A417 is a vital route that helps people get to work, school, visit friends and family. We are working to upgrade this section of road to improve safety, support the economy and ease congestion and pollution, making it more convenient for its regular users and improving the well-being of those who live nearby. The A417 team is currently putting its expertise to use refining proposals for the upgrade to the A417. Known locally as the ‘missing link’ at Air Balloon roundabout, this stretch of single carriageway road between the Brockworth bypass and Cowley roundabout restricts the flow of traffic on a key route which is otherwise a continuous dual carriageway between the M5 at Gloucester and the M4 at Swindon.Upgrading this section to dual carriageway will help facilitate 54,000 new homes and 370 hectares of employment land due to be created before 2031, helping people live and work, and businesses to invest in the south west.Mike Goddard added: Children’s learning is always enhanced by real life, hands-on experiences and the children really enjoyed meeting the traffic officers and hearing about the important role they play keeping people safe on the M5. This scheme presents some particular challenges given the route passes through the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, alongside the very challenging topography. Around 30 pupils took part in the session and had a chance to sit in the traffic officers’ vehicle and try out the controls.Highways England traffic officer, Lynne Watkins, said:
Warburtons is to continue its work with young people, following the signing of a formal agreement with Lanarkshire-based Bellshill Academy and North Lanarkshire Council.Pupils from four primary schools, associated with the Academy, have already had the opportunity to learn how to design, create and market a new bread product through the scheme. In addition, they have had the chance to experience the ‘pitching process’ for which they benefited from mentoring from older pupils to perfect their presentation skills.Aileen Strowes, safety & CR manager, Warburtons Scotland, said: “Warburtons Scotland are delighted about the signing of the partnership with Bellshill Academy, and are more than happy to help support the school in line with the Curriculum of Excellence, we look forward to continuing our work with the school to help inspire and educate the pupils in the understanding of the world of business.”The partnership was set up by the Scottish Food and Drink Federation as part of its ‘A Future in Food’ national schools programme.
Free-from bakery business Genius Foods has appointed Liam McHugh as a new director to help strengthen its senior management team.McHugh, who has previously worked for Warburtons and Unilever, has been appointed manufacturing director, and will oversee the development of the manufacturing strategy for the Genius and Livwell brands, both of which produce a range of gluten- and wheat-free bakery products.In addition, he will help to develop the firm’s own-label capability which Genius has said will “achieve the company’s ambitious domestic and international growth targets”.It comes after it was revealed earlier this month that Genius has acquired two bakeries from Finsbury Foods, including United Central Bakeries in Bathgate and Livwell in Hull.Roz Cuschieri, chief executive of Genius, said: “Liam brings a wealth of experience and expertise to Genius. He has an in-depth knowledge of manufacturing processes, change management, people development, plus innovation and is perfectly suited to help drive our expansion plans at home and internationally.”Liam’s appointment reinforces our ambitions to become a truly global brand. He joins a world-class senior management team and will play a pivotal role in Genius’ future.”McHugh said: “Genius is one of the most high-profile, innovative and fast-growing food businesses in the UK. I am delighted to have an opportunity to help the company to continue to grow and expand.”
Geordie Bakers had been bought out of administration, by newly formed company Minhoco 21.The Newcastle-based craft baker had recently moved to a larger site, following a new contract gain.However, delays due to the relocation resulted in the contract being cancelled, and the bakery was left in financial difficulty.Administrators from Pitman Cohen Recoveries LLP were called into advise the business.Minhoco 21 was established in April this year by the founders of fellow Newcastle business The New Zealand Gourmet Pie Company.Read the full story in the next issue of British Baker, out 31 May.
Health experts have called for a more ambitious target on sugar reduction. A study in a BMC Public Health journal has suggested sugar should account for less than 3% of people’s energy intake.This is even more ambitious than the proposal from the World Health Organisation and government advisors, which advised it should account for 5%.The new study examined the relationship between sugar intake and tooth decay in both children and adults.It found that when sugar makes up 10% of energy intake, it induces more dental expenses in the health sector. Report co-author Prof Philip James, a nutrition expert at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and past president of the World Obesity Federation, has outlined the need for action.He suggested that vending machines should be removed in government controlled areas like schools and hospitals.The initial target of 5% of energy intake from free sugars amounts to five to six teaspoons for women, and seven to eight teaspoons for men, based on the average diet.Authors of the study are both part of the Action on Sugar group, which is campaigning for tougher restrictions on sugar consumption in order to tackle obesity.
Competition within supermarkets has driven down grocery inflation to zero. The latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel, published for the 12 weeks ending 14 September, also show a record low for grocery market growth of 0.3%.Kantar said this was a reflection of the impact of Aldi and Lidl, the market’s competitive response, as well as deflation in some major categories including bread.Aldi has continued to see double-digit growth, with a year-on-year sales increase of 29.1%. Meanwhile, Tesco shows little sign of recovery, as sales remain down by 4.5%, leaving it a market share of 28.8%.Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, said: “Consumers are currently benefiting from intense price competition between the grocers. For the first time ever we’ve seen the average basket of everyday goods bought today costing exactly the same as it did a year ago. “With some staple groceries, such as vegetables, milk and bread, prices are actually falling as the big retailers all compete for a bigger slice of shoppers’ wallets.”Asda has recorded the best results among the big four supermarkets this period and is the only one to increase its market share, now at 17.4%. It has also seen an increase in sales, up 0.8% compared to last year.Grocery inflation has seen its 12th successive fall and now stands at zero for the same 12-week period.
Morrisons has posted its worst results in eight years, as it revealed a profit loss of £792m before tax after taking account of a £1.3bn write down in the value of its supermarkets. Trailing at the bottom of the big-4 supermarkets in terms of sales, the retailer said it planned to close 23 Morrisons M local convenience stores in the next year, as it focused on “improving the customer offer”.The £792m profit plummet for the year to 1 February 2015, compares to a loss of £176m in the year 2013/14.Like for like (LFL) sales were also down 5.9% for the period, while total turnover fell 4.9% to £16.8bn.The retailer has indicated that it does not expect results to improve rapidly this year.This comes as the company welcomed a new man to the helm of the struggling supermarket on 16 March. David Potts, ex Tesco boss, has been tasked with the job of reviewing Morrisons’ strategy to improve results.Tough trading environments Andrew Higginson, chairman, said: “Last year’s trading environment was tough, and we don’t expect any change this year. However, Morrisons is a strong, distinctive business – we own most of our supermarkets, have strong cash flow, and are famous with customers for great-quality fresh food at low prices. This gives us a good platform.“David Potts joins as chief executive next week. Under his leadership, we will focus on building trading momentum and being more like the Morrisons our customers expect. We will invest more into the proposition and put customers at the heart of everything we do. We will listen and respond to our customers, and work hard every day to improve the shopping trip.“Success measures will be simple – more customers buying more from us. More customers means more volume growth which, ultimately, will lead to better like-for-like sales, profitability and shareholder returns.”Trevor Strain, chief financial officer, said: “We are making good progress on the plan to generate £2bn of cash while making £1bn of cost savings to invest in the business, and are determined to keep lowering prices and keep them consistently low for our customers.“Some of the changes at Morrisons are beginning to bite. Although some key measures showed progress, particularly in the final quarter, there is still much more to do.“Today we are providing enhanced disclosure around commercial income and more detail on depreciation. We believe this new financial disclosure is appropriate for shareholders.”
Samworth Brothers has appointed Mark Simester as managing director of malt loaf brand Soreen.Simester is due to take up the role on 8 August, following four years as marketing director at Warburtons, where, among other work, he was involved in the company’s The Muppets crumpet ad campaign.Prior to Warburtons, Simester spent 18 years at Nestlé Confectionery, latterly as head of the chocolate business unit.Samworth Brothers group executive director Richard Marris said: “We are delighted to be welcoming Mark to the business with his outstanding consumer brand track record. In particular, his experience of taking already established, iconic consumer brands and achieving further successes is particularly relevant to Soreen. The brand has gone from strength to strength in recent years, but it still has much more potential.”Phil Marshall, who took on responsibilities as interim managing director for nine months, following the departure of Paul Tripp last year, will continue in his role as operations director, as well as taking on other projects for Samworth Brothers.The malt loaf firm recently expanded its range with the launch of Soreen Loaf Bars.