Active Citizens

Silenced: Women’s Many Layered Struggles for Climate Justice in Nepal

A group aligned with the mayor of Chhayanath Rara Municipality in the Mugu district of Nepal’s Karnali Province physically attacked Aishwarya Malla for simply asking for a budgetary review of the local government. “As a deputy mayor, I have the right to know where the budget is allocated, but the mayor’s team attacked me,” Malla said. “They did it only because I’m a woman, but they forget I’m also an elected representative with a responsibility to serve people, especially women and marginalized sections of our society.”

Decongesting Nigeria’s Prisons: All-Female Lawyers Take the Lead

Nyeche Uche, aged 60, got arrested by Nigeria's cybercrime fighter, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, for stealing. He spent 13 years and eight months in prison while awaiting trial. It took a church who went for prison outreach to refer his case to a legal firm for a pro-bono service over his case in March 2022.

How Vote Reflects Farmers’ View on India’s BJP’s Agrarian Policy Amid Climate Change

On June 4, Ram Das, a 65-year-old farmer from India’s northern state of Haryana, was anxiously waiting for the results of the country’s general elections. It was early morning when he left his home and, along with his fellow villagers, congregated near a tea stall that had a transistor set playing the election results.

From Trauma to Triumph: Kenyan Women’s Courageous Battle Against Female Genital Mutilation

In the heart of Empash village, a fragmented community nestled in Suswa, Narok County, some 62 miles northwest of Nairobi, Naomy Kolian's story unfolds like a gripping saga of pain, resilience, and unyielding determination. It was here, amidst the familiar surroundings of her home, that she was subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM), a brutal tradition that left her with physical and emotional scars. This hidden trauma would linger, haunting her well into adulthood.

New Child Marriages, Cohabitation With a Child Law in Sierra Leone Lauded

“A person shall not contract marriage with a child,” Sierra Leone’s landmark Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2024 says, outlawing, in no uncertain terms, child marriage, giving consent to and attempted child marriage, officiating, attending and promoting child marriage, and use of force or ill-treatment of a child.

Mayurbhanj Kai Chutney: From Forests to Global Food Tables

On a scorching May morning, Gajendra Madhei, a farmer from Mamudiya village, arrives at the local bazaar in Udula, a town in Odisha's Mayurbhanj district. He displays freshly caught red weaver ants, known locally as kai pimpudi, in the bustling tribal market. Thanks to the recent recognition of Mayurbhanj's Kai chutney, or red weaver ant chutney, with a Geographical Indication (GI) tag awarded in January, his business of selling the raw ants has seen a significant surge in profitability.

A Warming Planet is Global, Adaptation is Local & Resilience People-Specific

The summer of 2024 has shattered heat records, starkly illustrating the harsh realities of our warming planet. In India alone, the heatwave has claimed over 100 lives and caused more than 40,000 cases of heatstroke in recent months, according to data from India’s Health Ministry. This extreme weather event has further burdened the poor and vulnerable, exacerbating the social and economic toll of disasters.

Kashmir Frontier Woman Leads the Way in Breaking Down Patriarchy

Smelling the toxic smoke coming from burned powder kegs and helplessly watching fields turn into smoke and ash is traumatic. Rushing to the government's safe houses and leaving your homes, belongings and cattle behind whenever the armies of India and Pakistan trade fire is inexplicable. Then came climate-change-induced weather unpredictability. 

Youth-Led Protests Force Kenyan President’s Hand Over Tax Bill

In a historic first, Kenya's youth have mobilized in large-scale protests to demand that the political establishment listen to them. The Finance Bill 2024, which proposed new taxes across several sectors, was the catalyst for the protests, igniting outrage among a youth demographic that feels betrayed by decades of political promises. These protests, driven by economic and social grievances, escalated dramatically, culminating in clashes with police that led to numerous deaths and widespread unrest.

Georgia’s LGBT+ Law Could Lead to Violent Repression, Rights Group Warns

“If this legislation passes, LGBT+ people simply aren’t going to be able to live here.” The warning from Tamar Jakeli, an LGBT+ activist and Director of Tbilisi Pride in Tbilisi, Georgia, is stark, but others in the country’s LGBT+ community agree, accurate.

Peoples’ Climate Vote Shows Global Support for Stronger Climate Action

The global public opinion research on climate change reveals that 80 percent, or four out of five, of people globally want their governments to take stronger action to tackle the climate crisis.

Conflict Deprives Children of Education in Northern Syrian IDP Camps

Twelve-year-old Walid Al-Hussein, displaced from the city of Kafranbel to a camp for internally displaced people (IDP) in northern Idlib on the border with Turkey, has given up his dream of becoming a lawyer. "The distance of schools from our home (in the camp) made me leave education and give up my dream and my mother's dream of becoming a lawyer who defends the rights of the oppressed," Al-Hussein told IPS.

Maggot Farming Creates Entrepreneurs, Saves Farming Costs in Zimbabwe

Three years ago, 43-year-old Benard Munondo was an "ordinary" Zimbabwean teacher at a local primary school, but now he has turned maggots into gold. Thanks to maggot farming, Munondo, who has never owned a home nor driven a car, now has both. In 2020, a week’s training on maggot farming changed his world.

Explainer: Why Is It Important for Venezuela to Adopt Escazú Agreement in the Coming Year?

Venezuela is one of the few countries outside the Escazú Agreement, a treaty in Latin America and the Caribbean ratified by 16 member countries that guarantees access to environmental information, public participation in environmental decisions, and environmental justice.

Lessons From Youth-Focused ‘Future Action Festival’ Ahead of UN Summit of the Future

The world has crossed the halfway point to the end of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) era amid multiple, unprecedented, and significantly destructive global shocks. Two of the most pressing global challenges are the climate crisis and the threat of nuclear armament. Of serious concern is a severe lack of youth engagement on issues of critical global importance. Speaking to IPS during the 2024 UN Civil Society Conference, the outcome of which will inform high-level discussions when the UN hosts hundreds of world leaders, policymakers, experts, and advocates in September at the Summit of the Future in New York, Tadashi Nagai stressed the importance of coalition and movement building and youth engagement to escalate progress towards attainment of the SDGs.

Women Organize to Fight Coastal Erosion in Southeastern Brazil

Coastal erosion has been aggravated by climate change and has already destroyed more than 500 houses in the town of Atafona in southeastern Brazil. Movements led largely by women are working to combat the advance of the sea and generate economic alternatives.

Inclusivity, Impact, and Innovation Needed to Meet SDGs, UN Civil Society Conference Hears

The world is neither on track to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) nor is it leveraging emerging opportunities to effectively address global concerns such as extreme hunger, poverty, conflict, and climate change. Global concerns have outpaced existing structures for international cooperation and coping.

We Should Aim to be at Peace with Nature, Says David Cooper of UN Convention on Biological Diversity

In a world faced with habitat loss and species extinction, climate change, and pollution, it’s crucial that countries develop their national action plans and create a society that lives in harmony with nature, says David Cooper, Acting Executive Secretary of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), in an exclusive interview with IPS.

Another Climate Victory in Europe… and Counting

A group of senior Swiss women recently won a powerful victory offering renewed hope for tackling climate change. Earlier this month, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the government of Switzerland is violating human rights because it isn’t doing enough to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

UN Live’s CEO Katja Iversen Talks About the Power of Popular Culture and ‘Sounds Right’

UN Live’s CEO, Katja Iversen, says the way to engage people in the environment is through popular culture—film, music, gaming, sports, food, and fashion. She is excited about the Sounds Right project, which puts the sounds of nature—bird songs, waves, wind, and rainfall—at the center of a campaign to support those involved in climate action.

‘Toasting the World’s Most Natural Talent’: UN Museum Campaign Recognizes NATURE’s Contributions to Music

Spearheaded by the Museum for the United Nations, a new campaign brings together music and ecology to spark people's interest and engagement in environmental conservation through consciously listening to music.

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