Archive for ‘Africa’

02/10/2014

Nearly Half the World’s Older Persons Lack Pensions

Human Wrongs Watch

52 per cent of older persons receive a pension, but levels are inadequate and the trend has been worsened by fiscal consolidation, ILO report says.

Source: ILO

Source: ILO

Geneva (ILO)* – Nearly half – 48 per cent – of all people over pensionable age in the world do not receive a pension, and for many of the 52 per cent who do coverage is not adequate, says a new report by the International Labour Organization (ILO).
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As a result, the majority of the world’s older women and men have no income security, have no right to retire and must keep working as long as they can – often in poorly paid, precarious conditions.
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The ILO policy paper “Social Protection for older persons: Key policy trends and statistics” shows that in recent years many middle and low-income countries have been rapidly expanding pension coverage through a mix of contributory and non-contributory, tax-financed social pensions.
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02/10/2014

Five Garbage Patches Occupy 15, 915, 933 Square Kilometers of Ocean

Human Wrongs Watch

The steady build-up of garbage in the world’s oceans is a “tremendous challenge” and a growing threat to the planet’s marine ecosystems with the potential for “significant socio-economic consequences,” the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on 1 October 2014  heard. 

Marine litter affects communities and seas in every region of the world, and negatively impacts biodiversity, fisheries and coastal economies. Photo: UNEP GRID Arendal/Lawrence Hislop

In the final day of the 16th Global Meeting of the Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans, held in Athens, Greece, scientists, policymakers and delegates gathered amid growing global concern over the accumulation of plastic waste in oceans and seas – a problem that could pose an estimated $13 billion in damage to marine life and habitats, and which demands a comprehensive remedy.

01/10/2014

Loss amid the Rubble in Gaza

Human Wrongs Watch 

By Catherine Weibel (UNICEF*) – For a young girl who lost her father and sister in the recent conflict in Gaza, returning to school is one step in a long process of recovery.

© UNICEF Gaza/2014/El Baba

© UNICEF Gaza/2014/El Baba

GAZA, State of Palestine, 30 September 2014 — Ten-year-old Shaima lives in Shuja’iyeh in eastern Gaza City, a crowded neighborhood now mostly reduced to a vast expanse of rubble. The threat of explosive remnants of war looms around every corner.

An estimated 18,000 houses were destroyed in Gaza during the last round of hostilities, which left 506 children dead and more than 3,000 injured. On piles of what once were homes, banners bear the former occupants’ names and phone numbers, in case someone wants to reach them.

At the end of a dusty street filled with sewage, a different kind of banner hangs on a wall. With a life-size image of a smiling man and a little girl, it marks the entrance to the home where they were killed.

01/10/2014

Europe Must Help Combat Hunger, Malnutrition — Failure Will Only Boost Migration, Stoke Conflicts

Human Wrongs Watch

European governments must help combat hunger and malnutrition on a global level, as failure to do so will only boost migration flows and stoke conflicts, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva.

The faces behind the numbers | Source: FAO

The faces behind the numbers | Source: FAO

“Food insecurity and conflict go hand in hand” he said, noting that extreme climatic events, troubles in Africa and the Near East and now the Ebola outbreak in West Africa tend to spill over national borders and into other regions in a globalized world, often through forced migration.*

30/09/2014

‘Devastating’ Effects from Ongoing Destruction of Mangrove Forests

Human Wrongs Watch

The world is losing its mangroves at a faster rate than global deforestation, the United Nations on 29 September 2014 revealed, adding that the destruction of the coastal habitats was costing billions in economic damages and impacting millions of lives.

Mangroves are cut down in Hera, Timor-Leste, 16 km from capital Dili, where frequent trash dumping threatens the area’s natural plant and wildlife. UN Photo/Martine Perret

In a new report launched today at the 16th Global Meeting of the Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans, held in Athens, Greece, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) warned that the deforestation of the planet’s mangroves was exceeding average global forest loss by a rate of three to five times, resulting in economic damages of up to $42 billion annually and exposing ecosystems and coastal habitats to an increased risk of devastation from climate change.*

30/09/2014

The Environment: Very Holistic, Very Dialectic

Human Wrongs Watch

By Johan Galtung*, 29 Sep 2014 – TRANSCEND Media Service – “Trees won’t save the planet” is the title of an article in INYT (21-22 Sep 2014) by Nadine Unger, professor of atmospheric chemistry at Yale University. Her thesis: The conventional wisdom–that planting trees serves carbon capture–is wrong; it is all much more complex.

**The General Sherman Tree is thought to be the world's largest tree by volume. | Source: Sherman Tree | Author: Jim Bahn | Wikimedia Commons.

**The General Sherman Tree is thought to be the world’s largest tree by volume. | Source: Sherman Tree | Author: Jim Bahn | Wikimedia Commons.

Photosynthesis is only one factor. Another factor for global warming is how much of the solar energy is absorbed by the earth’s surface and how much is reflected. Trees, being dark, absorb; the net balance may be chilling in the tropics and warming elsewhere.

But there is more to it. Trees emit VOCs, “volatile organic compounds”, for their own protection. Mixing with pollution from cars and industry “an even more harmful cocktail of airborne toxic chemicals is created”, producing methane and ozone. Research at Yale seems to indicate that this affects global climate on a scale similar to surface color and carbon storage capacity.”

Trees and soil also breathe oxygen and release CO2. The Amazon forest produces oxygen during the day and reabsorbs at night; a closed system. Moreover, eventually trees die or burn and “the carbons finds its way back into the atmosphere”.

29/09/2014

Less Chemicls, More Agro-ecology, Climate-smart Agriculture, Bio-technology and GMO to Feed Nine Billion People

Human Wrongs Watch

Rome — In order to move towards more sustainable agriculture, a broader approach is needed to overhaul the world’s food system, the head of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on 29 September 2014  said, as he pressed for a global reduction in the quantity of chemicals and water in contemporary agriculture.

Photo: World Bank/Maria Fleischmann | Source: FAO

Speaking at the opening of the 24th session of the Committee on Agriculture (COAG) in Rome, Director-General José Graziano da Silva called for a “paradigm shift” in global attitudes on agriculture, adding that only by decreasing the amounts of “inputs,” such as water and chemicals, could the sector move towards a more sustainable and productive long-term path.

“We cannot rely on an input-intensive model to increase production,” Graziano da Silva declared. “The solutions of the past have shown their limits.”

Pointing to options such as agro-ecology, climate-smart agriculture, biotechnology and the use of genetically modified organisms, the Director-General emphasized that global food production would need to grow by 60 per cent by 2050 in order to meet the expected demand from an anticipated world population of nine billion.

29/09/2014

“It’s the Devil’s Excrement” – Where Fossil Fuels Lurk, Corruption Creeps

Human Wrongs Watch

By Marina Lou* – 29 September, 2014, Greenpeace – When it comes to resource extraction and the political process — the issue is a global one. Have a look at some of the recent coal-ruption stories that have been breaking all around the world.

Photo: Greenpeace

Photo: Greenpeace

Australia

In the state of New South Wales, an independent corruption inquiry has revealed questionable dealings between the founder of the Australian coal mining giant Whitehaven Coal, the owner of the Maules Creek mine and the state government.

The sheer volume of political figures involved in a trail of political donations resulted in Australia’s national broadcaster, the ABC, publishing its own infographic.

The federal senator for the Greens Party in Australia has called for a national commission against corruption, citing as a case study that the approval process for Whitehaven Mine at Maules Creek was corrupt from the beginning.

29/09/2014

A Permanent Memorial to Slave Trade at UN Called ‘The Ark of Return’

Human Wrongs Watch

General view of the Island of Gorée, Senegal, which was from the 15th to the 19th century, the largest slave-trading centre on the African coast. Photo: UNESCO/Dominique Roger

On 26 September 2014, at a high level ceremony on the margins of the UN General Assembly, the representatives of six nations – The Netherlands, New Zealand, Qatar, Senegal, Jamaica and Spain – marked the financing of The Ark of Return, the new memorial which is expected to be unveiled on the grounds of the UN’s Headquarters in New York in the beginning of 2015.

28/09/2014

517 Million International Tourists in Only Six Months

Human Wrongs Watch

International tourist arrivals grew by 4.6% in the first half of 2014 according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. Destinations worldwide received some 517 million international tourists between January and June 2014, 22 million more than in the same period of 2013, the UN World Tourism Organization (WTO) reported ahead of the celebration of the World Tourism Day on 27 September 2014.

Source: WTO

Source: WTO

Growth was strongest in the Americas (+6%) followed by Asia and the Pacific and Europe (both at +5%). By subregion, South Asia and Northern Europe (both +8%) were the best performers, together with North-East Asia and Southern Mediterranean Europe (both +7%).*

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