UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon marked Human Solidarity Day on 20 December 2014 by calling for joint action to craft and take forward a new, inclusive development agenda that eradicates poverty, protects the planet and ensures dignity for all.
Mr. Ban Has a Dream: that the World Eradicates Poverty, Protects the Planet and Ensures Dignity for All
By Uri Avnery*
20 December 2014 — Almost a thousand Israeli personalities have already signed an appeal to European parliaments for their governments to recognize the State of Palestine.
I am honored to be among the signatories, which include former ministers and members of the Knesset, diplomats and generals, artists and businessmen, writers and poets, including Israel’s three outstanding writers Amos Oz, David Grossman and A. B. Yehoshua.
We believe that the independence of the Palestinian people in a state of their own, next to the State of Israel, is the basis for peace, and therefore as important for Israelis as it is for Palestinians. This, by the way, has been my firm conviction ever since the 1948 war.
The extreme right wing, which has ruled Israel in recent years, holds the opposite belief. Since it wants to turn the entire area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River into the “nation-state of the Jewish people”, it totally rejects the setting up of a Palestinian state.
These, then, are the battle lines: Continue reading
90% of World’s Cargo Shipped Every Year Uninspected, Allowing Narcotics, Weapons to Enter Countries Undetected.
An estimated 500 million containers accounting for 90 per cent of the world’s cargo are shipped around the world every year virtually uninspected, allowing consignments of narcotics, weapons and other illegal goods to enter countries undetected, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).*
UNODC has also informed that most containers carry licit goods, but some are being used to smuggle drugs, weapons, even people.
The sheer volume of this international maritime container traffic, the sophisticated and often ingenious concealment methods, along with the diverse routings adopted by illicit drug traffickers and other smugglers, invariably makes successful interdiction difficult.
Something Came Out of Lima: 20 Million Hectares of Degraded Land Will Be Restored in Latin America by 2020
Something came out of Lima climate change meeting: the ground-breaking Initiative 20 X 20, with its bold target of restoring 20 million hectares of degraded land in Latin America and the Caribbean by 2020, was launched during the Second Global Landscape Forum, held in the sidelines of COP 20 which was held in the Peruvian capital on 6 and 7 December 2014.
Initiative 20 x 20 is a country-driven effort supported by the World Resources Institute (WRI) in association with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) based in Colombia, the Tropical Agriculture Center (CATIE) based in Costa Rica, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) reports.*
This new initiative promotes partnerships between countries, the private sector, leading research organizations, and relevant programmes in the Latin America and the Caribbean region with the aim of restoring degraded lands, resulting in increased carbon storage, new reforestation, more productive agriculture, avoided deforestation and land degradation, and improved livelihoods.
Ecological farmers in the Philippines have pooled their expertise and resources and travelled close to 600 km (370 miles) to help farmers in Dolores, Eastern Samar, get back on their feet following Typhoon Hagupit.
Communities were hardest hit in Dolores, where Hagupit (local name ‘Ruby’) first made landfall on 6 December and ripped through the region leaving a trail of damaged homes and devastated fields.
Local authorities there say that none of the region’s farmland escaped the storm’s ferocious onslaught, with rice and corn crops being the most severely affected. For the country as a whole, the damage to agriculture is estimated at PHP1.9 billion (US$42.5 million).
Additionally, earlier phase out of relatively small remaining uses of ODSs, which are currently exempted for reasons of essentiality and criticality to society, would hasten ozone recovery, the report says. Altogether, preventing those emissions can speed up the recovery of the ozone layer by about 11 years.
Amman, 19 December 2014 - “The Syria crisis represents the biggest threat to children of recent times. By the end of 2015, the lives of over 8.6 million children across the region will have been torn apart by violence and forced displacement. That compares to a figure of 7 million just one month ago.*
“Since the outset, and in spite of the enormous security and other challenges posed by a conflict of such scale and brutality, UNICEF and its partners have been delivering clean water, sanitation, education, health and immunization services, and psychosocial care to millions of children and their families.
“This year, as part of the 2015 Syria appeal, UNICEF is renewing its commitment to the survival and protection of children, including those living under the harshest conditions of siege. Continue reading
Bangkok, 18 December 2014 (IRIN)* – This week’s passing into law of Australia’s Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment Act, which comes on the heels of a year of tightened border controls and refugee intake policy changes, could chill regional cooperation.
Experts say it reflects global trends of treating migration as a security problem, and acknowledge that might be an important avenue for Southeast Asian regional policy development.
Since September 2013 Australia has run Operation Sovereign Borders (OSB), a military-led initiative the government describes as an effort to “to combat people-smuggling and protect Australia’s borders”.
Navy ships intercept boats carrying asylum seekers, who are then detained in off-shore processing centres, the conditions of which have been criticized repeatedly, including by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
On International Day, UN Urges Greater Attention to ‘Precarious’ Situation of World’s 232 MillionMigrants
Far too many migrants still live and work in precarious and unjust conditions, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on 18 December 2014 said in a message to mark International Migrants Day.