The number of international tourists reached 1.13 billion in 201, 4, 51 million more than in 2013, on trend for the fifth consecutive year of above average growth since the 2009 economic crisis, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) announced on 27 January 2015.
“Over the past years, tourism has proven to be a surprisingly strong and resilient economic activity and a fundamental contributor to the economic recovery by generating billions of dollars in exports and creating millions of jobs, said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai at the opening of the Spain Global Tourism Forum in Madrid.*
‘A rebel attack six years ago drove Célestine from her home. Last month she was uprooted again, when hundreds of shelters were set ablaze. This is Célestine’s story.’
By Céline Schmitt*
Rain pours down on the scorched ruins of what was, until just a few weeks ago, a refuge for thousands of people displaced inside the volatile North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Dozens of former inhabitants, mainly women and children, gather around us to recount their latest experience of fear and flight.
Congolese women return to see what little is left of Kiwanja settlement. | UNHCR/Frederic Noy
Among them is a woman I’ll call Célestine, a 48-year-old mother of three. Seeking respite from the rain here in Rutshuru, a 70-kilometre drive north of Goma, she holds a small piece of plastic tarpaulin above her head.
Célestine tells us she lived here at the Kiwanja site for six years – ever since the FDLR, a Rwandan rebel group operating out of eastern Congo, forced her from her home in Nyamitwitwi, across the mountains to the west. “The FDLR were raping women, beating up men,” she says. “People fled, and the village was abandoned.”
By Tom Westcott, Bin Jawad, 27 January 2015 (IRIN)*
Six weeks ago, Bin Jawad was a sleepy coastal town, home to a community of oil workers, shepherds and fishermen.
**Photo: Tom Westcott/IRIN | Two soldiers from forces operating under Libya’s Tripoli-based government walking through the deserted streets of Bin Jawad.
Today there is no fishing. The town’s entire population – over 11,000 according to a 2006 census – has left. Houses stand deserted and the streets of this ghost town are littered with the spent shells of anti-aircraft guns. The residents have sought refuge in remote desert encampments or cramped village accommodation nearby.
Bonn, Germany – The Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), which was created to provide policymakers with reliable, independent and credible information on the status of biodiversity, on 19 January 2015 agreed to initiate a set of regional assessments in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific, and Europe and Central Asia. These assessments will be a vital contribution for a planned global assessment to be completed by 2019.
Around 700 delegates from over 270 governments, scientific organizations, civil society and the private sector attended the Platform’s third meeting, which was held from 12 to 17 January in Bonn, Germany.
IPBES Member States present at the meeting adopted a conflict of interest policy and a stakeholder engagement strategy that will support the implementation of the Platform’s work programme and approved the guidance on strategic partnerships and other collaborative arrangements.
Agriculture and food security must be treated as essential components of peace building and conflict resolution, the head of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said during a special meeting of the UN Peacebuilding Commission held at Headquarters on 26 January 2015.
Quinoa – a highly nutritious crop from the Andes has become popular globally. Photo: FAO/Alessia Pierdomenico
“Food security is an important foundation for peace, political stability and sustainable development. In the history of humanity, time and time again we have seen vicious circles linking violence and hunger – and these are conflicts that are not restricted by national borders,” FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said to participants.
Nairobi, 23 January 2015 (IRIN)* – The shocking satellite imagery of the destruction in the northeastern Nigerian town of Baga and nearby villages earlier this month provided graphic evidence of the extent of the crimes by the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram when they stormed in.
**Photo: Human Rights Watch | Satellite imagery of the destruction of Doro Gowon, 3km from Baga | Source: IRIN
It turned the spotlight back to the fact that something terrible had happened in Baga, and hundreds, if not as many as 2,000 people, may have died.
“It’s the power of the image,” Nigerian human rights lawyer Clement Nwankwo told IRIN.
“The reason people questioned whether 2,000 people were killed was because that level of brutality was unimaginable. But the images validate that claim, the number of fatalities could be in that vicinity.”
January 2015, Pressenza — For some it’s their God, for others Democracy. There are those for whom human rights are inalienable and for several others the most Sacred is found within human beings. That thing that cannot be conceded, or sold, or forgotten, something that gives Meaning to life and projects it beyond one’s own existence has without doubt a very special characteristic.
The Green-crowned Brilliant in Costa Rica Photo: UNEP GRID Arendal/Peter Prokosch | Source UN News Centre
Children are sacred for their mothers, love for those in love, big ideals for militants. There are certain things that you cannot blaspheme against because in them there is such a special communion between what is human and the ineffable thing that transcends it.
Women and children make up the vast majority of the latest wave of refugees fleeing violence in northern Nigeria, the United Nations Children’s Fund on 20 January 2015 warned, spotlighting its ongoing efforts to provide basic assistance, including safe water, nutrition, health, education and protection services to affected children in the region.
Children at a primary school in the town of Toro, Bauchi State, Nigeria. Photo: UNICEF/NYHQ2014-0710/Eseibo
“Children are suffering the dire consequences of the conflict in Nigeria, losing their homes, missing out on education and risking their lives,” UNICEF’s Christophe Boulierac told reporters in Geneva.
Boko Haram’s recent attacks on Baga drove a fresh wave of refugees into neighbouring countries, worsening a humanitarian crisis in the region that has already seen 1 million people displaced from their homes and more than 135,000 seeking refuge in Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
Geneva, 20 January 2015 (ILO)* – Unemployment will continue to rise in the coming years, as the global economy has entered a new period combining slower growth, widening inequalities and turbulence, warns a new ILO report.*
“More than 61 million jobs have been lost since the start of the global crisis in 2008 and our projections show that unemployment will continue to rise until the end of the decade. This means the jobs crisis is far from over so there is no place for complacency,” ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said.
The employment situation has improved in the United States and Japan, but remains difficult in a number of advanced economies, particularly in Europe.