01/11/2014

Biodiversity, the Hidden Jewel that Is Being Depleted at an “Alarming Rate”

Biodiversity for food and agriculture is among the earth’s most important resources, says the UN Food and agriculture Organization (FAO)*. It is indispensable: be it the insects that pollinate plants, the microscopic bacteria used for making cheese, the diverse livestock breeds used to make a living in harsh environments, the thousands species of fish, and other aquatic species in our lakes, rivers and oceans, or the thousands of varieties of crops that sustain food security worldwide.
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Source: FAO

Genetic resources are the raw materials that local communities and researchers rely upon to improve the quality and output of food production.Biodiversity and genetic resources are essential for achieving nutritional diversity in diets – a diverse food basket – which is important for human health and development.
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However, they are being lost at an alarming rate.
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Here are just few of the hard facts:

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01/11/2014

Over 620 Million Africans (Two Thirds of Population) Live Without Electricity, and 730 Million Rely on Dangerous Forms of Cooking.

Human Wrongs Watch

London, October 2014 (IEA)* — Increasing access to modern forms of energy is crucial to unlocking faster economic and social development in sub‑Saharan Africa, according to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Africa Energy Outlook, a Special Report in the 2014 World Energy Outlook series.

Source: IEA

Source: IEA

More than 620 million people in the region (two-thirds of the population) live without electricity, and nearly 730 million people rely on dangerous, inefficient forms of cooking.

The use of solid biomass (mainly fuelwood and charcoal) outweighs that of all other fuels combined, and average electricity consumption per capita is not enough to power a single 50-watt light bulb continuously.

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31/10/2014

Five Billion People -Over Two Thirds of World Population– Will Be Living in Cities by 2030

Human Wrongs Watch

More than two-thirds of the world population – an estimated 5 billion people – will be living in cities by 2030, placing increasing amounts of pressure on housing, services, resources and the environment, according to estimates by UN-Habitat on the occasion of the first-ever World Cities Day on 31 October 2014. Over 60 per cent of urban populations will be under the age of 18.

On the first-ever World Cities Day, the UN highlighted the need for sustainable urban planning to make cities more “liveable.” Shown, street traffic in Kathmandu, Nepal. World Bank/Simone D. McCourtie

As the world’s urban areas inevitably expand, growing both in size and in population, they will also need to transition into better planned and better managed environments or risk exacerbating negative trends, the United Nations warned on 31 October 2014.*

Marking the inaugural edition of World Cities Day, a global event aimed at promoting sustainable urban development in cities and towns around the world, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon declared humanity’s future to be an urban one as the world’s population will increasingly become city-dwelling.

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31/10/2014

‘Brothel Closures in Indonesian Cities Could Put Sex Workers in Danger’

Human Wrongs Watch

Surabaya, 30 October 2014 (IRIN)* – Brothel closures in Indonesian cities could put sex workers in danger and hamper HIV prevention efforts, say health experts and outreach workers.
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**Photo: Kyle Knight/IRIN | As Indonesia's red lights go out, HIV and protection concerns rise

**Photo: Kyle Knight/IRIN | As Indonesia’s red lights go out, HIV and protection concerns rise

In 2013 Surabaya’s firebrand mayor closed two of the city’s six red light districts, and in June 2014 she shut down Dolly, one of the largest sex work complexes in Southeast Asia. But while she is running the campaign in the name of public morality, research shows closing brothels puts sex workers at increased risk, and HIV interventions must adjust.

“Now if someone asks us `where is the red light district in Surabaya’, we have to say ‘everywhere’,” Mbak Ida, who was an HIV outreach worker in Dolly for 20 years, told IRIN. Anywhere between 1,000 and 2,000 sex workers used to operate in Dolly alone. But the now-empty alleyways do not mean the sex trade has disappeared, just dispersed.
31/10/2014

Global Media Campaign to End Female Genital Mutilation

Human Wrongs Watch

The practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) must come to a quick end and the global media can play a critical role in making that happen, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 30 October 2014 affirmed during his visit to the Kenyan capital of Nairobi.

At age one, Fatima was subjected to female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) in her village in Afar Region of Ethiopia which has one of the world’s highest prevalence rates. Photo: UNICEF/Kate Holt

Speaking at the launch of the Global Media Campaign against female genital mutilation organized by the Guardian Media Group, the Secretary-General underscored the importance of placing a greater media focus on the issue, which condemns millions of girls and women to the brutal practice each year.

“Change can happen through sustained media attention on the damaging public health consequences of FGM, as well as on the abuse of the rights of hundreds of thousands of women and girls around the world,” Ban confirmed.

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31/10/2014

UN Human Rights Expert Urges Reversal of UK Decision to Halt Mediterranean Migrant Rescues

Human Wrongs Watch 

The United Nations human rights expert on migrants on 30 October 2014urged British authorities to reconsider a decision not to support search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean Sea, saying allowing people to die at Europe’s borders just because of their administrative status “is appalling.”

Asylum-seekers and economic migrants take to the seas, waiting out the dangerous journey in the boat’s cramped cargo space. Photo: UNHCR/A. D’Amato

Asylum-seekers and economic migrants take to the seas, waiting out the dangerous journey in the boat’s cramped cargo space. Photo: UNHCR/A. D’Amato

The UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, said in a press release issued in Geneva on 30 October 2014 that “governments that do not support the search and rescue efforts have reduced themselves to the same level as the smugglers.”*

“They are preying on the precariousness of the migrants and asylum seekers, robbing them of their dignity and playing with their lives,” Crépeau said.

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31/10/2014

Countries Pledge to Develop and Implement Youth Policies — Will They… Really?

Human Wrongs Watch

The United Nations-backed Global Forum on Youth Policies, which brought together over 700 participants from over 165 countries, concluded on 30 October 2014 in Azerbaijan with the launch of an outcome document pledging to support countries that are in the process of developing and “elevating” national youth policy.

Source: Youth Policy Forum

Photo: Youth Policy Forum

“I am happy to say that we will be launching a global initiative on youth policies that will be providing technical support and assistance to many governments and countries that are in the process of developing national youth policies,” said the United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth Ahmad Alhendawi, as the Forum wrapped up its work.

The Baku Commitment on Youth Policies agreed to by participants and co-conveners, highlights the principles to guide formulation, implementation and evaluation of youth policy in the 21 century. It calls for greater youth involvement in youth policy monitoring and evaluation.

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31/10/2014

Asia-Pacific ‘Better Poised to Respond to Natural Disasters’

Human Wrongs Watch 

30 October 2014 – Marking a milestone towards better disaster risk management in Asia and the Pacific, a United Nations-backed group of experts agreed this week on core principles for establishing a common basic range of disaster-related statistics.

Aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban, Philippines, 6 December 2013. Photo: OCHA/Gemma Cortes

The Expert Group on Disaster-related Statistics in Asia and the Pacific met for the first time from 27 to 29 October in Sendai, Japan, in a conference led by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia (ESCAP), the Tohoku University and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), in collaboration with the Government of Japan and the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR).*

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30/10/2014

85 Individuals Have the Same Wealth as Half the People on Our Planet– Even It Up!

By OXFAM*, 30 October 2014* – 85 individuals have the same wealth as half the people on our planet. Such extreme economic inequality is standing in the way of ending global poverty, and widening other inequalities like the gap between women and men. It is time to Even it up!

Source: OXFAM

Source: OXFAM

The number of billionaires doubles since financial crisis as inequality spirals out of control

In same period at least a million mothers died in childbirth due to lack of basic health services

Rising inequality could set the fight against poverty back by decades, Oxfam warned on 29 October 2014 as it published a new report showing that the number of billionaires worldwide has more than doubled since the financial crisis.

The report, Even it Up: Time to End Extreme Inequality, details how the richest people in the world have more money than they could ever spend while hundreds of millions live in abject poverty without essential health care or basic education.

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29/10/2014

Understanding Climate Science in 10 Easy Steps

Human Wrongs Watch

By Kat Skeie*, 28 October, 2014 (Greenpeace) – The latest United Nations report on climate change is about to be finalized, written by thousands of scientists. The report is VERY important, but also a bit dull.

Source: Greenpeace

Source: Greenpeace

What we really want to know is: How bad is climate change? And what can we do about it? Using the latest IPCC findings and a few other recent discoveries, here’s our take on what you need to know about climate change and what to do about it.

1. Politicians talk – too little happens

Politicians spend a lot of time talking about reducing greenhouse gas emissions that are causing the planet to heat up. But despite all the chatter, emissions are still growing.

From 2000 to 2010, greenhouse gas emissions grew faster than before. The reason? We keep burning more fossil fuels. The climate scientists’ advice, however, is clear: we need to get rid of man-made carbon emissions entirely.

2. Without action, things will get bad

Source: Greenpeace

Source: Greenpeace

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