World Wildlife Day, marked on 3 March 2015, is an opportunity to celebrate the many beautiful and varied forms of wild fauna and flora and to raise awareness of the multitude of benefits that conservation provides to people. At the same time, the Day reminds us of the urgent need to step up the fight against wildlife crime, which has wide-ranging economic, environmental and social impacts.*
A white tiger in Nandankan Wildlife Sanctuary in Bhubaneshwar, India. UN Photo/John Isaac
Globally wildlife crime is conservatively estimated to be worth around $8 to $10 billion annually.
Wildlife has an intrinsic value and contributes to the ecological, genetic, social, economic, scientific, educational, cultural, recreational and aesthetic aspects of sustainable development and human well-being.
For these reasons, all member States, the United Nations system and other international organizations, as well as civil society, non-governmental organizations and individuals, are invited to observe and to get involved in this global celebration of wildlife.
Local communities can play a positive role in helping to curb illegal wildlife trade.
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1 March 2015 – The United Nations agency leading the world’s HIV/AIDS response has kicked off the 2015 global edition of Zero Discrimination Day as part of the Organization’s wider effort to spur solidarity towards ending discrimination.
Zero Discrimination Day is a chance to celebrate diversity and to reject discrimination. Credits: UNAids.
“Discrimination is a violation of human rights and must not go unchallenged,” United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon declared in a press release issued for the Day. “Everyone has the right to live with respect and dignity.”*
This year’s theme Open Up, Reach Out encourages all members of the international community to unite under the banner of diversity and celebrate each other’s difference in an authoritative rejection of discrimination in all its forms.
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By Pepe Escobar*
27 February 2015 (RT)* - Winston Churchill once said, “I feel lonely without a war.” He also badly missed the loss of empire. Churchill’s successor – the ‘Empire of Chaos’ – now faces the same quandary. Some wars – as in Ukraine, by proxy – are not going so well.
**BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) | Author: Cflm001 (talk) | Wikimedia Commons
And the loss of empire increasingly manifests itself in myriad moves by selected players aiming towards a multipolar world.
So no wonder US ‘Think Tankland’ is going bonkers, releasing wacky CIA-tinted “forecasts” where Russia is bound to disintegrate, and China is turning into a communist dictatorship. So much (imperial) wishful thinking, so little time to prolong hegemony.
The acronym that all these “forecasts” dare not reveal is BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa). BRICS is worse than the plague as far as the ‘Masters of the Universe’ that really control the current – rigged – world system are concerned. True, the BRICS are facing multiple problems.
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A World Health Organization-led treaty that aims to achieve a tobacco-free world has dramatically curbed tobacco use worldwide since its entry into force 10 years ago on 27 February 2015, but “the war on tobacco is far from over” with the tobacco industry still spending billions to promote products that are expected to kill some 8 million people each year by 2030, the United Nations health agency said.
A man smokes on the side of the road as a bus passes in Nepal. Photo: World Bank/Aisha Faquir | Source: UN
The WHO Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) entered into force on February 27, 2005, enacting a set of universal standards stating the dangers of tobacco and limiting its use in all forms worldwide.
The treaty is the first international treaty negotiated under the WHO’s auspices, and has become one of the fastest endorsed by the United Nations to date, with 180 Parties, covering 90 per cent of the world’s population.
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Despite its comprehensive approach to tackling modern forms of slavery, the Government of Belgium must further sharpen its focus on proper victim detection and identification, a United Nations independent expert declared on 26 February 2015.
Forced labour often means unpaid wages, excessively long work hours without rest days, confiscation of ID documents, little freedom of movement, deception, intimidation and physical or sexual violence. ILO/A. Khemka
“Belgium’s multi-disciplinary approach to tackling modern forms of slavery, which brings together various stakeholders at policy and operational level is an example of good practice,” stated Urmila Bhoola, the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and its consequences, in a press release.*
“However, potential victims, including children and other vulnerable groups, are not always detected, identified and referred to the appropriate structures, which leaves them susceptible to abuse and exploitation.”
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Geneva – European policymakers, healthcare workers, and parents must step up their efforts to vaccinate children against measles amid an ongoing outbreak across the continent, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) on 25 February 2015 said, warning that a recent resurgence in the disease threatened Europe’s goal of eliminating measles by the end of 2015.*
Photo: WHO/F. Guerrero
According to UN data, over 22,000 cases of the virus have surfaced across Europe during the 2014 to 2015 biennium with the outbreak spreading to seven countries. This comes despite a 50 per cent drop from 2013 to 2014.
“When we consider that over the past two decades we have seen a reduction of 96 per cent in the number of measles cases in the European region, and that we are just a step away from eliminating the disease, we are taken aback by these numbers,” Dr. Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe, affirmed in a press release.
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The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) on 23 February 2015 called for all countries to switch by 2020 to new ‘smart’ syringes that cannot be used more than once as an “absolutely critical” stop to protect millions of people from deadly infections acquired through unsafe injections.
“Adoption of safety-engineered syringes is absolutely critical to protecting people worldwide from becoming infected with HIV, hepatitis and other diseases. This should be an urgent priority for all countries,” Dr. Gottfried Hirnschall, Director of the WHO HIV/AIDS Department, said in the announcement by the UN health agency.*
A 2014 study sponsored by WHO, which focused on the most recent available data, estimated that in 2010, up to 1.7 million people were infected with hepatitis B virus, up to 315,000 with hepatitis C virus and as many as 33,800 with HIV through an unsafe injection.
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