Rome, 5 December 2016 (FAO)* – Soil and pulses can make major contributions to the challenge of feeding the world’s growing population and combating climate change, especially when deployed together, according to Soils and Pulses: Symbiosis for Life, a new report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization released on World Soil Day.
Fava beans have been a mainstay of food and agriculture around Rome for millennia. | FAO
“Soils and pulses embody a unique symbiosis that protects the environment, enhances productivity, contributes to adapting to climate change and provides fundamental nutrients to the soil and subsequent crops,” said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva.
Pulses are environmentally resilient crops that deliver high-nutrition foods to people and critical nutrients to biological ecosystems.
5 December 2016 (UNEP)* – A new, USD $60 million global initiative launched at the International Nitrogen Initiative Conference in Melbourne, Australia, aims to spearhead integrated management of the nitrogen cycle for clean water and air, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and better soil and biodiversity protection.
Almost 80% of the air we breathe is made of nitrogen in the form of unreactive N2. This gas stabilizes the atmosphere by ensuring that the oxygen is limited to a safe amount to sustain life on earth. Continue reading →
4 December 2016 – More than 190 countries at a major United Nations conference in Mexico have pledged to step up efforts to integrate biodiversity into the policies of their forests, fisheries, tourism and agriculture sectors.
Tehuacán-Cuicatlán has one of Mexico’s highest rates of biodiversity and endemic species. Photo: Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Reserva de la Biósfera
On 3 December, countries adopted the Cancun Declaration, named after the Mexican city where the 13th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), known as ‘COP13,’ is being held.
Ceuta, Spain (Pressenza)* – Pressenza editor and reporter presented the following communication with the title “Immigration in the media from a perspective of peace and nonviolence” during the VII International Congress on Immigration, Interculturality and Coexistence in the autonomous city of Ceuta.
Juana Pérez Montero during her presentation | Photo: Antonio Sempere, Pressenza
Before we start, we would like to make clear that we will not be speaking as “objective” journalists, as we do not believe that such a thing exists. We know that this idea of objectivity that they teach us at journalism school does not exist – and not just because we might have to work with our employer’s best interests in mind, but because we ourselves are subjects.
3 December 2016 (RT)– For 25 years, from Afghanistan to Syria, we’ve seen the chaos promoted by Washington neocons. Trump will hopefully be an assertive defender of US interests rather than an assertive meddler, says Oxford Crisis Research Institute Director Mark Almond.
**Car bombs hit the central Saadallah al-Jabiri square in Aleppo. | Author: Zyzzzzzy | Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.
In Syria, residential areas in government-held western Aleppo have been under constant shelling from terrorists and rebel militants, with thousands of civilians seeking refuge in government-controlled areas. Tens of thousands have already escaped.
Even those in liberated areas still suffer from a lack of basic necessities, but the UN is holding back from dispatching humanitarian crews to the war-torn city.
Tapachula, Mexico | 2 December 2016 (UNHCR)– To get to school each day, Salvadoran brothers Anderson, 17, and Jairo, 14, had to ride a bus from the territory of one brutal street gang to that of their blood rivals, risking robbery, murder or being corralled into their ranks.
When the gangs stepped up the harassment, shaking down the family’s pizzeria in their hometown in southeast El Salvador, the two boys, their father and elder brother ran for their lives – that’s when things became really complicated.
Noting that the number of children engaged in the worst forms of child labour has decreased and frameworks to tackle contemporary slavery and trafficking have expanded, senior UN officials, including the Secretary-General and the head of the UN labour agency, on 2 December 2016 called for concerted action to save those who remain trapped in extreme exploitation, abuse and violence, including sexual and gender-based violence.
There are still over 11 million women in slavery around the world. We need to take action and #EndSlaveryNow! Photo: ILO
Faced with record displacement due to conflict, the UN moved to reinforce the global refugee protection regime by issuing new guidelines on dealing with people fleeing their country because of war, who are not recognized as refugees by some States.
Two refugee children who have arrived in Democratic Republic of the Congo with a group of more than 400 other refugees from the region around Yei in South Sudan. Photo: UNHCR/Andreas Kirchof
“These guidelines are crucial because most conflicts today target groups of civilians because of their real or perceived ethnic, religious, social or political affiliation. There is no question that those fleeing the devastating effects of armed conflict may indeed be refugees,” said Assistant High Commissioner for Protection Volker Türk, according to briefing notes issued on 2 december 2016 by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva.
With the scale of human suffering in north-eastern Nigeria becoming clearer as the Government has pushed Boko Haram insurgents from more and more areas, the United Nations ON 2 December 2016 launched a $1 billion funding appeal to address the needs of those in crisis, and announced that nearly 75 partner agencies are on standby to respond where areas are accessible
Women pound maize at a so-called ‘widows house’ in Banki, Borno State, northeast Nigeria. In Banki, many women who have become separated from their husbands during the Boko Haram related crisis feel safer living together. Photo: UNICEF/Katerina Vittozzi
as the 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan for Nigeria seeks more than US$1 billion to assist those in crisis in the most affected states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa. Continue reading →
The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Peter de Clercq, on 2 December 2016 appealed for an urgent scale-up in humanitarian assistance, with relief agencies already overstretched as the country faces severe drought conditions, including food and water shortages.
Worsening drought conditions have left hundreds of thousands of Somalis facing severe food and water shortages. Photo: OCHA Somalia
“Drought in Puntland and Somaliland has deepened and spread to southern and central regions of the country […] the situation has become increasingly desperate for vulnerable families in need,” he told a briefing with the international community in Nairobi, highlighting the urgency of responding to the drought situation in Somalia.