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.*
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.
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.
19 January 2015 — Tonight, an Aurora Borealis graced UNESCO’s Globe in Paris. The Northern Lights, a natural phenomenon only seen in much higher latitudes, were reproduced by artist Kari Kola on the UNESCO Headquarters in celebration of the International Year of Light 2015, which opened with a special event on 19 and 20 January.
“I have been fascinated by light for as long as I can remember”, said Finnish artist Kari Kola. “In Finland, autumns and winters are long and dark. I wanted to teach myself to use light to make most of the darkness that surrounded me during those times of year. When it’s dark 20 hours a day, you can really make a difference with light.”
He chose to represent the Aurora Borealis in a stylistically abstract form through his installation “Light is Here”, bathing the buildings in blues and greens, in contrast with the warmer colors of dawn.
“I was 1 year old when I first saw the Northern Lights, and I’ve seen them every year since. But I have learned most of what I know about light by watching the sunrise.”
Genetic resources have a critical role to play in feeding the world — especially as climate change advances faster than expected — and much more needs to be done to study, preserve and utilize the biological diversity that underpins world food production, according to a new book released by the Rome-based UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on 19 January 2015.
A crop of sorghum in Uruguay, funded by the International Treaty on Plant Genetic resources for Food and Agriculture.
“Time is not on our side” warns the book, Coping with climate change: the roles of genetic resources for food and agriculture. “In the coming decades, millions of people whose livelihoods and food security depend on farming, aquaculture, fishing, forestry and livestock keeping are likely to face unprecedented climatic conditions.”*
Crops, livestock, forest trees and aquatic organisms capable of surviving and producing in a changing climate will be needed.