Cuba has become the world’s first country to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis, “a major victory in our long fight against HIV and sexually transmitted infections, and an important step towards having an AIDS-free generation,” the World Health Organization on 30 June 2015 announced.
United Nations agencies tracking access to water and sanitation targets against the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on 30 June 2015 warned tthat the lack of progress on sanitation threatens to undermine the child survival and health benefits from gains in access to safe drinking water.
According to the Joint Monitoring Programme report, Progress on Sanitation and Drinking Water: 2015 Update and MDG Assessment, released on 30 June by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO), one in every three, or 2.4 billion people on the planet, are still without sanitation facilities – including 946 million people who defecate in the open.
30 June 2015 – While some 16,000 new cases of cholera have been reported in Haiti so far this year, the disease is now under control but it will not be eradicated unless improving water and sanitation conditions are given a higher priority by both the Government and donors, says the outgoing United Nations official tasked with leading the response to the outbreak.
“And in today’s world, in the 21st century, it’s not acceptable to have this huge number of cases of cholera,” Pedro Medrano Rojas said in an interview with the UN News Service, as he wrapped up his assignment as UN Senior Coordinator for the Response to Cholera in Haiti.*
Development cannot be sustainable if it does not address the challenge of climate change, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 29 June 2015 told Member States as he opened a High-Level Event on Climate Change convened in New York by the President of the UN General Assembly, Sam Kutesa.
In a move to calm down European financial markets panicking at the growing risk of Greece leaving the euro, China promised it would hold on to its eurozone debt, saying the Greek debt crisis was Beijing’s problem too.
“Even though Greece is an internal EU affair, the issue concerns China, as a key EU trading partner, but also because it affects the world’s financial stability and economic recovery,” he said during a press conference following the EU-China summit in Brussels.
Today [25 June 2015], something incredible happened in the Netherlands. In a landmark court case, in which NGO Urgenda along with 900 concerned Dutch citizens sued the government for failing to act on climate change, the Dutch court ruled in their favour. It was a brave and necessary verdict.
The Netherlands is widely known for being progressive on social issues (gay marriage, soft drugs etc) but we are unfortunately far from that when it comes to tackling climate change.
The wet and soggy lowlands have been lagging behind on renewables, with only 4% – one of the lowest in Europe.
But today’s verdict is a game-changer in the fight against climate change.
26 June 2015 – Marking the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, top United Nations officials focused on the need for alternative development for farmers who cultivate illicit crops and for leaders to address drug trafficking and drug abuse that pose as obstacles to sustainable development for the world.
‘In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, survivors of conflict are rebuilding their shattered lives one loaf at a time. Their stories’
25 June 2015 – For nearly a decade, the small and dusty town of Dungu, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, has been under attack. But while many women and girls throughout the region have been kidnapped and terrorised by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), others have survived and are now rebuilding their lives.
Sister Angélique Namaika, the 2013 Nansen Refugee Award laureate, has lived in Dungu since 2003. For more than a decade, she has been helping over 2,000 women to overcome their trauma, counter the stigma attached to rape, and learn to live again. With the Nansen prize money, Sister Angélique opened a cooperative bakery on 5 June 2015. I seized the opportunity to go back and see her again.
By Prof. Vandana Shiva*
23 June 2015, TRANSCEND Media Service – Science” is derived from the word score — “to know”. Each of us should know what we are eating, how it was produced and what impact it will have on our health.
The knowledge we need for growing food is the knowledge of biodiversity and living seed, of living soil and the soil food web, of interaction between different species in the agro-ecosystem and of different seasons.
Farmers have been the experts in these fields, as have ecological scientists who study the evolution of micro-organisms, plants and animals, the ecological web and the soil food web.
In industrial agriculture, the knowledge of living systems is totally missing, since industrial agriculture was externally driven by using war chemicals as inputs.
Soil was defined as an empty container for holding synthetic fertilisers and plants were defined as machines running on external inputs.
This meant substituting the ecological functions and services that nature and farmers can provide through renewal of soil fertility, pest and weed control, and seed improvement.
But it also implied ignorance of the destruction of the functions by the toxic chemicals applied to agriculture.
By John Scales Avery*
25 June 2015 – Do our Defense Departments really defend us? Absolutely not! Their very title is a lie. The military-industrial complex sells itself by claiming to defend civilians. It justifies vast and crippling budgets by this claim; but it is a fraud. For the military-industrial complex, the only goal is money and power. Civilians like ourselves are just hostages. We are expendable. We are pawns in the power game, the money game.
Nations possessing nuclear weapons threaten each other with Mutually Assured Destruction, which has the very appropriate acronym MAD.
What does this mean? Does it mean that civilians are being protected? Not at all.