Inter Press ServiceConferences – Inter Press Service http://www.ipsnews.net News and Views from the Global South Tue, 11 Dec 2018 20:07:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.7 Radio Migration – the Station with a Different Message about Migrationhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/12/radio-migration-station-different-message-migration/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=radio-migration-station-different-message-migration http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/12/radio-migration-station-different-message-migration/#respond Tue, 11 Dec 2018 19:40:24 +0000 Moez Jemai http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=159180 The topic of migration has been beaming across the airwaves of Marrakech, Morocco, to bring light to the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration conference (GCM) and all its myriad components. Organised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and other international organisations, Radio Migration began broadcasting on Dec. 4, […]

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Radio Migration aims to raise awareness of the importance of the central topic and those in the middle of it: migration and migrants. Courtesy: Radio Migration

By Moez Jemai
MARRAKECH, Morocco, Dec 11 2018 (IPS)

The topic of migration has been beaming across the airwaves of Marrakech, Morocco, to bring light to the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration conference (GCM) and all its myriad components.

Organised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and other international organisations, Radio Migration began broadcasting on Dec. 4, ahead of the conference, covering various side activities and events organised by local and international civil society components, and by migrant rights activists.

Now that the conference is underway—and the Compact has been adopted, as of the morning of Dec. 10—the station’s programmes are focusing on decisions and issues as they happen. It all aims to raise awareness of the importance of the central topic and those in the middle of it: migration and migrants.

“The radio station has a clearly defined focus on migration from a human rights perspective, in order to ensure recognition and dissemination of migrants’ rights,” says the radio station project’s coordinator Mohyi El Ghattass, who notes how the station was given a special dispensation by the government.

“We obtained a formal and temporary authorisation from the Moroccan government, because community radio stations of this country do not yet have licenses to broadcast on FM radio.”

The radio employs 20 people, comprising Maghrebi nationalities from Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco, who received special training on covering thematic migration issues. This team of technicians and journalists has been broadcasting for 8 hours a day while covering a panorama of migration-related events happening around the city both before and during the GCM.

The station’s editorial approach has been to disseminate information that addresses both civil society and government actors to create a positive debate and spur evaluation of the factors involved in order to benefit the overall issue at stake.

The station has also striven to create open dialogue between different parties involved on migration issues by hosting independent experts, official organisations and activists involved in the rights of migrants, as well as discussing causes of migration and how they relate to specific groups such as women and young people.

Such an approach makes for a contrast with much of the reporting about migrants in mainstream media around the world, much of which focuses on stereotypes and negative narratives, says Carolina Gottardo with the Jesuit Refugee Service in Australia, one of the 400 civil society groups that has come to Marrakech to be involved in the conference and its discussion on migration.

One element of this radio station’s operation, which sets it apart from the other 700 registered media at the conference, is the involvement of a number of migrants in the editorial team to ensure the migrants’ concerns both directly influence the station’s programs and are addressed by broadcast content. The station has also opened its shows to several different nationalities to talk about the particularities of migration across different countries.

But the station’s policy of inclusive employment for migrants doesn’t mean those individuals are reassured by the Compact they are reporting on.

“Will the migrant move freely where he wants and with dignity after this? No,” says Armel, a Cameroon migrant and volunteer facilitator at Radio Migration. “For me, nothing will change. The pact itself is written in English, while the majority of migrants are francophones, so we do not control what is in this long text.”

When it comes to ownership of its own message, the station has striven to maintain its independence.

“Independence is a fundamental principle for the success of the radio station achieving its objective of delivering good quality news about its subject matter,” Ghattass says.

This means, he says, the station has avoided political or religious angles influencing its migration coverage, an aspect that many are increasingly concerned about when it comes to how immigration stories are often shaped in the global press.

“Always include the voice of migrants and civil society for fair reporting,” Gottardo says. “Use the term undocumented or irregular migrant rather than illegal—the vast majority of the world’s migrants are regular.”

“I find that, in general, journalists tend to opt for the sensational news rather than to go to the bottom things, Abel says. “And then, the speech can be hateful and does not push for improving the situation of migrants.”

Those involved with the station hope it ultimately underlines the importance and role of community media in defending human rights.

The station became the voice of civil society that is concerned by immigration issues,” says Jalal al-Makhfy, a volunteer radio journalist from another Moroccan station who has been producing a daily talk show that features guests from numerous walks of life related to immigration.

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Study Shows How African Countries are Preparing for Green Developmenthttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/12/study-shows-african-countries-preparing-green-development/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=study-shows-african-countries-preparing-green-development http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/12/study-shows-african-countries-preparing-green-development/#respond Tue, 11 Dec 2018 12:19:45 +0000 Isaiah Esipisu http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=159156 In order for African countries to implement their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), they will require further human capacity building, and there must be involvement of the private sector from the start of the planning process. This is according to preliminary findings of a study on green growth trends and readiness […]

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A wind energy generation plant located in Loiyangalani in northwestern Kenya. The plant is set to be the biggest in Africa, generating 300 MW. Credit: Isaiah Esipisu/IPS

By Isaiah Esipisu
KATOWICE, Poland, Dec 11 2018 (IPS)

In order for African countries to implement their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), they will require further human capacity building, and there must be involvement of the private sector from the start of the planning process.

This is according to preliminary findings of a study on green growth trends and readiness across the continent jointly conducted by the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) in collaboration with the African Development Bank (AfDB).

The NDCs spell out the actions countries intend to take to address climate change, both in terms of adaptation and mitigation, and the SDGs are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.

The early findings of the report titled Green Growth Readiness Assessment in Africa was released on the sidelines of the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24) in Katowice, Poland yesterday Dec. 10. Seven countries; Morocco, Tunisia Senegal Gabon, Rwanda Kenya and Mozambique, were selected for the pilot phase.

The scientists presented the findings as climate talks in Katowice entered the second week of negotiations, a stage where political leaders decide whether or not to adapt recommendations brought forth following the first week of technical engagements.

The report stated that high-level political commitment, appropriate policies and implementation of government strategic plans are the key drivers of green growth among African countries.

“Governments need to look at this [NDCs and SDGs] as commercial business opportunities,” said Dr. Frank Rijsberman, the Director General for GGGI. Surprisingly, he said, “I have asked a number of private investors as to why they do not invest in this sector, and the answer is not lack of finances, instead they say it is because of government policies.”

The need for sound policies was reiterated by Anthony Nyong, Director for Climate Change and Green Growth at the AfDB, who said that there must be an enabling environment for countries to achieve the much-desired green growth.

“After this assessment report, findings will be shared across the board so that countries can learn from each other,” said Nyong.

According to Dr. Pranab Baruah, one of the lead researchers from GGGI, some of the seven countries in the study have demonstrated high level leadership commitment that confirms their willingness to implement a green growth model.

In Kenya, for example, the researchers said that there is a National Climate Change Council that is chaired by the country’s President Uhuru Kenyatta. The council oversees the implementation of the National Climate Change Action Plan and also advises national and sub-national bodies on mainstreaming, legislative and implementation measures for climate change.

Kenya is currently producing the highest amount of geothermal energy in Africa with an output of 534 megawatts (MW), and 84 percent of all electricity installations consist of green energy.

The country is also in the process of constructing the largest wind firm in Africa with a potential capacity of 300 MW.

This is despite the government’s unpopular plan to construct the largest coal plant in sub-Saharan Africa. However, yesterday Kenya’s Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko told IPS  that the government is likely going to reconsider whether to proceed with construction of the coal plant.

But above all, said Baruah, the study found that Kenya’s recent introduction of a green growth curriculum in schools was key to the development of human capacity.

Rwanda is another country whose green growth is spearheaded from the highest political level. While most countries around the world wait for finances for mitigation projects to come from the Green Climate Fund, Rwanda is already mobilising and disbursing funds nationally.

The researchers said that Rwanda has created a 100-million-dollar National Fund for Climate and the Environment (FONERWA) as an instrument for financing the country’s needs on environment, climate change, and green growth.

In the same vein, Senegal is in the process of removing financial barriers for private sector participation through pilot projects. The country has a 200-million-dollar Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Fund (REEF), which provides financial incentives to private sector led pilot projects, such as lengthening the refinancing period for the small businesses.

The study also found that countries require urgent financing readiness, especially with the emergence of Green Climate Fund and that there is an urgent need for the strengthening of policy and planning frameworks for green growth. Countries studied also needed to address weak monitoring and reporting systems and work to enhance wider stakeholder buy-in to the green growth agenda.

 

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Indonesia Commits to Low Carbon Development and a Green Economy at COP24http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/12/indonesia-commits-low-carbon-development-green-economy-cop24/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=indonesia-commits-low-carbon-development-green-economy-cop24 http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/12/indonesia-commits-low-carbon-development-green-economy-cop24/#respond Tue, 11 Dec 2018 09:24:02 +0000 Sohara Mehroze Shachi http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=159150 Although Indonesia has attained decent economic growth of over five percent in the last decade, in order to ensure sustainable growth in the future the switch to renewable energy (RE) will be critical, says the country’s government. “If we don’t focus on low carbon development, we cannot continue this growth,” Bambang Brodjonegoro, Indonesia’s Minister of […]

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A traffic jam, in Indonesia's capital Jakarta. Air pollution in Jarkarta is triple the the maximum “safe” level recommended by the World Health Organisation. The country's government says it is committed to making the switch to renewables. Credit: Alexandra Di Stefano Pironti/IPS

By Sohara Mehroze Shachi
KATOWICE, Poland, Dec 11 2018 (IPS)

Although Indonesia has attained decent economic growth of over five percent in the last decade, in order to ensure sustainable growth in the future the switch to renewable energy (RE) will be critical, says the country’s government.
“If we don’t focus on low carbon development, we cannot continue this growth,” Bambang Brodjonegoro, Indonesia’s Minister of National Development Planning, said yesterday Dec. 10.

He spoke about Indonesia’s shift to a low carbon, climate-friendly development pathway at a high-level panel discussion at the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24), which is currently being held in Katowice, Poland. The panel discussion was organised by the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), in partnership with the Ministry of National Development Planning of the Republic of Indonesia (BAPPENAS).

The latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns of catastrophic climatic impacts if global warming is not kept below 1.5 degrees Celsius. This will include severe impact on food production and increasing risks of climate-related disasters.

But according to Brodjonegoro, the Indonesian government is taking this issue seriously.
“We are fully committed to steer our economy for low carbon development. We will mainstream a low carbon framework in our medium-term development plan,” he said, adding that low carbon development in Indonesia would involve improving environmental quality, attaining energy efficiency, increasing agriculture productivity, improving reforestation and reducing deforestation simultaneously.

There is a large scope for RE development in Indonesia, as most of its potential is unrealised as of now. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) report on Indonesia’s RE prospects, the country has “an estimated 716 GW of theoretical potential for renewable energy-based power generation”. But of its bioenergy potential of 32.7 GW, it has developed a mere 1.8 GW.

“In order to provide the electricity for remote areas, this is a good time to promote renewable energy as this will increase the percentage of renewable energy in our energy mix,” Brodjonegoro said.

According to the minister, a key issue for scaling up RE in Indonesia lies with developing the capacity of stakeholders to meet the needs of different types of investors to access finance.

Bambang Brodjonegoro, Indonesia’s Minister of National Development Planning, said the switch to renewable energy is critical for his country’s sustainable economic growth. He was speaking at a panel discussion held at COP24 in Katowice, Poland. Credit: Sohara Mehroze Shachi/IPS

Dr. Frank Rijsberman, Director General of GGGI, echoed these thoughts, stating that the critical factor for proliferating renewables in Indonesia is whether it can attract private sector investment.

“Both governments and the private sector have not fully incorporated the idea that green growth is not only nice but it is also affordable,” he said. “Businesses should be investing in renewable energy because there is a business opportunity.”
In this regard, he said that blended finance could be a critical path where every dollar investment from donors could catalyse other investments from private sources.

State Secretary for Climate and Environment in Norway Sveinung Rotevatn, was a panelist at the event. He stated that Norway is encouraged by the low carbon development in Indonesia, and is committing substantial funds to reduce deforestation there. According to Global Forest Watch, Indonesia experienced a drop in tree cover loss in 2017, including a 60 percent decline in primary forest loss. The organisaiton said that this could be in part to the 2016 government moratorium on the conversion of peatland.

“As a developed country we see [Norway] as having a responsibility to contribute,” he said. Norway has been working in partnership with Indonesia since 2010.

The future of oil is not bright, and Rotevatn believes the shift in production to gas from coal could be a useful bridge towards a shift to renewables in the long run. He added that resistance in this transition from fossil fuels to renewables is expected.

“In 1991 Norway introduced a carbon tax. Today we consider it a natural thing but implementing it is always hard,” he said. One estimate from the Norwegian environmental agency shows that since Norway reduced emissions in 1991 it continued healthy economic growth.

However, Indonesia has a long way to go in the transition process as over 90 percent of its energy still comes from fossil fuels. But the government is optimistic of its potential to scale up RE.

“We are focusing on incentivising renewable energy production and increasing infrastructure of renewable energy capacity. We have a lot of isolated islands and remote areas which can be utilised,” said Rida Mulyana, Director General of New, Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation (NREEC) at Indonesia’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources.

However, he noted that several challenges remain. One of these is public acceptance, as there is still a need for systematic and sustainable socialisation and education to minimise community resistance to RE projects.

Moreover, affordability of the available clean energy remains an issue, and the cost needs to be reduced for renewables to be a viable option. This is exacerbated by the fact that liquified petroleum gas is still subsidised, which fosters Indonesia’s dependency on fossil fuels.

While Mulayana pointed out financing as a key issue, he also said the government will not provide any subsidy for renewables and it has to compete with other sources of energy.

David Kerins, Senior Energy Economist at the European Investment Bank and another panelist at the event, said although RE projects are becoming more commercially viable, the private sector is yet to jump in on these investment opportunities. So there is a need to promote investment while providing safeguards to investors on the expected benefits.

“The RE energy sector has moved far beyond the situation it was before. Once people see how possible and straight forward it is, private sector can start targeting projects of its own,” he said.

Glenn Pearce-Oroz, Director for Policy and Programmes, Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), one of the attendees of the event, said one of the important next steps will be how to bring along commercial financing for low carbon development.

“Part of what we are seeing is private sector being more and more interested to do business in the green economy. What they are looking for though is clarity of roles and consistency in terms of the markets they are getting into,” he said.

“So the challenge for developing countries is how do you demonstrate that type of consistency and clarity and how do you establish clear rules of the game, good regulatory frameworks, that gives private sector the confidence to come into these markets?” He said Indonesia has the size, dynamism of economy and a lot of favourable elements for attracting private sector investment.

“Green growth as a concept is beginning to take off in different countries,” said Dr. Saleemul Huq, Director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) and a 24-time COP attendee.

“The most important element of any green growth strategy is to make sure it’s nationally determined and nationally owned,” he said, adding that modality of green growth is peculiar to the politics, socio economic conditions and culture of a country.

“Green growth is more of a political process than a technical process. There are vested interests and issues that have to be worked out at the national level,” he said. “The good news is it [green growth] has started to happen.”

 

  • This story has been published with support from Inter Press Service, the Stanley Foundation, Earth Journalism Network and Climate Change Media Partnership.

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Morocco’s Migrant Workers Struggle to Send Money Homehttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/12/moroccos-migrant-workers-struggle-send-money-home/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=moroccos-migrant-workers-struggle-send-money-home http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/12/moroccos-migrant-workers-struggle-send-money-home/#respond Mon, 10 Dec 2018 22:07:44 +0000 Danielle Engolo http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=159142 Morocco may be hosting the United Nation’s historic Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) conference. But when it comes to remittances—migrant employees, entrepreneurs and business owners all face the same challenge in Morocco: sending money legally to their home countries. Remittances is an all-important issue for migrants and their families left in […]

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Last year, global diaspora remittances totalled 650 billion dollars, three times the amount of foreign aid given to developing countries. Credit: Kristin Palitza/IPS

By Danielle Engolo
MARRAKECH, Morocco, Dec 10 2018 (IPS)

Morocco may be hosting the United Nation’s historic Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) conference. But when it comes to remittances—migrant employees, entrepreneurs and business owners all face the same challenge in Morocco: sending money legally to their home countries.

Remittances is an all-important issue for migrants and their families left in the land of their origin, and one of the compact’s 23 objectives. However, Moroccan legislation limits money transfers abroad, in effect preventing migrant workers supporting their families or investing in their home countries.

“I have been working for more than 4 years now in Morocco, but I have never been able to invest in my home country,” says Esther, a Congolese migrant working as a journalist in Morocco. “I cannot help my family, because Moroccan money cannot be sent abroad.”

Last year, global diaspora remittances totalled 650 billion dollars, three times the amount of foreign aid given to developing countries. This continual familial fiscal flow significantly helps reduce poverty, by providing funds for health, education, and the launching of businesses.

Morocco’s own diaspora plays a significant part in its own economy. Money transfers from the Moroccan diaspora reached more than 60 billion dollars in 2015, representing 6 percent of the country’s GDP, according to a 2017 World Bank report.

Nevertheless, if Morocco is aware of the importance of its diaspora’s role in its economy, that isn’t reflected in its financial policy that does not allow the country’s migrant workers to also contribute to the development of their home countries.

Like most migrant workers in Morocco—the majority of whom come from sub-Saharan countries—Esther fell back on informal money transfer networks to sustain her family, giving money to an agent in Morocco.

“Several times I sent some money to my family through these informal networks, but I was never at ease because it is risky,” Esther says. “Most of the time you don’t know the person you are negotiating with. He or she might steal your money.”

She recalls that two years ago, her cousin, also living in Morocco, fell victim to a dishonest money transfer network that he had used before. “My cousin used to make money transfers with a friend of his. But one day, he gave his friend 17,000 dirhams ($1,900) to transfer to his family. The guy vanished.”

Due to such risks, some migrants adopt other strategies, such as annual fiscal pilgrimages, taking the money limit permitted by Moroccan customs. Emilie, a Congolese hairdresser in Casablanca, travels back to her home country every six months to buy merchandise and deposit earnings in a Congo account.

“I have no choice, I have to travel regularly in order to save my earnings at home, knowing that I cannot leave Morocco with a big amount of money,” Emilie says.

But while this option allows migrants to subvert money transfer barriers and the risks of dishonest brokers, it costs much more because of the flight, which for many migrant workers is unaffordable and hence makes the strategy unfeasible.

Unbeknownst to most migrants, a Moroccan law actually does allow people to send a set amount per year—10 000 dirhams (1,050 dollars)—to each member of a person’s immediate family.

But this method requires lots of paperwork and proofs of identity. Also, members of the same family must have the same name and if not the case—a common occurrence among families in sub-Saharan families—the bank will reject a transfer demand or demand additional papers legalized at the embassy.

Often banks simply decline to assist. Observers note how it’s not just migrant workers who are negatively impacted by tight money transfer rules in countries like Morocco that drive people to use illegal money transfer networks: government exchequers lose out on the likes of fees and taxes generated by legal transfer systems.

“Despite these constraints, I think it is a step [in the right direction] to be able to send money, even if it is only for family support,” says Esther, while noting how investment remains a challenge. “I thought about buying an apartment in my country, but it is not possible to send a big amount of money.”

Objective 22 of the GCM’s cooperative framework aims to “Establish mechanisms for the portability of social security entitlements and earned benefits.” Whether that proves good enough for migrant workers in Morocco remains to be seen, now that the compact has officially been adopted as of the morning of Dec. 10.

“If I leave Morocco today and return back to my home country, there will be nothing there for me,” Esther says. “It is really a pity after so many years of work.”

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Global Compact for Migration Backed by Most of the Worldhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/12/global-compact-migration-backed-world/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=global-compact-migration-backed-world http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/12/global-compact-migration-backed-world/#respond Mon, 10 Dec 2018 21:25:29 +0000 Steven Nsamaza http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=159138 Safe, orderly and regular migration received support today, Dec. 10, with the adoption by 164 countries of the first-ever inter-governmentally negotiated agreement to cover all dimensions of international migration. After a few last-minute hitches, including more international tension and argument than was welcome, the intergovernmental conference taking place in the Moroccan city of Marrakech agreed […]

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Today 164 countries agreed to adopt the first-ever inter-governmentally negotiated agreement to cover all dimensions of international migration. Courtesy: Steven Nsamaza

By Steven Nsamaza
MARRAKECH, Morocco, Dec 10 2018 (IPS)

Safe, orderly and regular migration received support today, Dec. 10, with the adoption by 164 countries of the first-ever inter-governmentally negotiated agreement to cover all dimensions of international migration.

After a few last-minute hitches, including more international tension and argument than was welcome, the intergovernmental conference taking place in the Moroccan city of Marrakech agreed to a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM), a proactive document that will guide States on all matters related to migration.

Well timed to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the historic adoption of the GCM was presided over by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres who urged countries to treat the Compact as an obligation to human rights that will benefit all.

“We are not establishing a new right to migrate. No. There is not a right for anyone to go anywhere at any time according to his or her whim,” Guterres said during the official ceremony to adopt the Compact. “What we are establishing is the obligation to respect the human rights of migrants—which of course is absolutely obvious when we at the same time celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It would be unconceivable to exclude migrants from the scope of the Universal Declaration.”

The conference was preceded by increasing concerns about certain U.N. member States not supporting the Compact. Some declined outright to participate and adopt the Compact, while others said their final decision must await further internal deliberation. The United States was the most notable and voluble naysayer, condemning the compact and labelling it a violation of national sovereignty.

“We believe the Compact and the process that led to its adoption, including the New York Declaration, represent an effort by the United Nations to advance global governance at the expense of the sovereign right of States to manage their immigration systems in accordance with their national laws, policies, and interests,” the U.S. government said in a national statement released on the eve of the conference.

Other countries who bridled against the compact or refused to sign it include Hungary, Australia, Israel, Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Latvia, Italy, Switzerland and Chile.

“It will make an enormous positive impact in the lives of millions of people—migrants themselves, the people they leave behind and the communities that will then host them,” said Louise Arbour, the U.N. Special Representative for International Migration.

“This of course will depend on capturing the spirit of today’s event to move to the implementation of the multiplicity of initiatives that this Global Compact will permit member states to put in place. I am delighted to echo the words of the Secretary-General: it is a wonderful occasion, really a historic moment and a really great achievement for multilateralism.”

The adopted Compact lays out 23 objectives covering all aspects of migration, with each having a general goal and catalogue of possible actions that can be implemented by member states. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has drawn enormous criticism for her decision to welcome hundreds of thousands of refugees from places like Syria and Afghanistan to her country. It is a decision that may well have cost her another term in power as she recently announced she will not seek re-election. However,  Merkel remarked that the adopted Compact is “about nothing less than the foundation of our international cooperation.”

Such potential significance has attracted to the conference, in addition to high-powered diplomats and officials, approximately 400 non-governmental organizations from civil society, the private sector and academia, and over 700 registered press.

The ceremony adopting the Compact also included speaker Cheryl Perera, a prominent representative of migrant communities, and founder of OneChild, a non-governmental organization which seeks to eliminate the commercial sexual exploitation of children abroad. She called for an end to the drivers of irregular migration on the large scale, and for better protection of migrants on the smaller scale.

“We must do better together,” Perera said. “It is important that we involve the private sector, specifically the national airlines, hotels and others to protect children from trafficking.”

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U.N. Remains Defiant Amid Last Minute U-turns on Global Compact for Migrationhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/12/u-n-remains-defiant-amid-last-minute-u-turns-global-compact-migration/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=u-n-remains-defiant-amid-last-minute-u-turns-global-compact-migration http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/12/u-n-remains-defiant-amid-last-minute-u-turns-global-compact-migration/#respond Mon, 10 Dec 2018 10:21:24 +0000 Friday Phiri http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=159114 Amidst negative sentiments and last-minute withdrawals from the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) by some member countries, the United Nations says the regrettable decisions are being fuelled by misinformation. Addressing the media Dec. 9 on the eve of the historic two-day GCM conference in Marrakech, set against the dramatic backdrop of […]

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In refugee camps at Dolo Odo, Ethiopia there is enough food for small markets to operate. One in every 70 people around the world is caught up in a crisis, including the refugee crisis, with more than 130 million people expected to need humanitarian aid next year. Credit: James Jeffrey/IPS

By Friday Phiri
MARRAKECH, Morocco, Dec 10 2018 (IPS)

Amidst negative sentiments and last-minute withdrawals from the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) by some member countries, the United Nations says the regrettable decisions are being fuelled by misinformation.

Addressing the media Dec. 9 on the eve of the historic two-day GCM conference in Marrakech, set against the dramatic backdrop of Morocco’s snow-capped Atlas Mountains, Louise Arbour, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for International Migration, addressed the question of whether the U.N. could have been better engaged with countries to persuade them to come on board.

“I have to tell you, I am not convinced you can persuade those who don’t want to be convinced,” Arbour says. “I am skeptical it would not have turned it into a dialogue of the deaf.”

The GCM is the first-ever inter-governmentally negotiated agreement to cover all dimensions of international migration in a holistic and comprehensive manner, providing a platform for cooperation on migration. Its genesis lies in the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants adopted unanimously by the U.N. General Assembly in 2016. It is the culmination of 18 months of discussions and consultations among Member States, and other actors, including national and local officials, civil society, private and public sectors and migrants themselves.

“It creates no right to migrate; it places no imposition on States; it does not constitute so-called ‘soft’ law—it is not legally binding,” Arbour says. “It expressly permits States to distinguish, as they see fit, between regular and irregular migrants, in accordance with existing international law. This is not my interpretation of the text—it is the text.”

She added that it is surprising there has been so much misinformation about what the Compact is and what its text says, emphasising that “the adoption of the migration compact is a re-affirmation of the values and principles embodied in the U.N. Charter and in international law.”

This was, she conceded, notwithstanding several member States who have already declined to participate, others making last-minute indications they would not adopt the compact, while some have stated their final decision must await further internal deliberation. These include, most notably, the United States. Other countries also include Austria, Australia, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Latvia and Bulgaria, among others.

United Nations Special Representative for International Migration Louise Arbour speaks to the media in Morocco. Courtesy: Global Compact for Migration/CC by 2.0

“It is regrettable whenever any State withdraws from a multilateral process, on a global issue, the outcome of which has generated overwhelming support,” Arbour says. “It is particularly regrettable when a State pulls out from a negotiated agreement in which it actively participated a short time before.”

Arbour emphasised the process of adoption would still go on as planned, with over 150 States registered to attend, joined by over 400 partners from the U.N. system, civil society, private sector and academia.

Even with the adoption of the compact, the unwelcome last-minute withdrawals and negative sentiments around the compact have unsettled several stakeholders from civil society.

Carolina Gottardo, director of the Jesuit Refugee Service in Australia, says the civil society movement is concerned with deliberate false information being peddled about the compact.

“It is your role as media to report facts and ignore political ideology,” Gottardo said during an IPS and U.N. Foundation training session for journalists on the eve of the conference.

The GCM defines 23 objectives covering all aspects of migration. Each objective comprises a general goal and a catalogue of possible actions, drawn from best practices, that States may choose to utilise to implement their national migration priorities.

“Many challenges still stand in the way of implementation – not least the toxic, ill-informed narrative that too often persists when it comes to migrants,” Arbour says.

During an evening reception for U.N. delegates that followed Arbour’s announcement, António Guterres, the U.N. Secretary-General, officially launched the U.N. Network on Migration, an agile and inclusive network of all key stakeholders on migration—U.N. agencies that have migration components, private sector, civil society and others—with the aim of mobilising the full resources and expertise to assist Member States in their endeavour to implement the 23 objectives outlined in the compact. 

He announced that the “the International Organization for Migration (IOM) will play a central role” in the network.

The U.N. chief also expressed confidence in the new network, highlighting some of its core features, saying it would focus on collaboration and have an inclusive structure, while embodying U.N. values, like diversity and an openness to working with all partners, at all levels.

“Your participation in this conference is a clear demonstration of the importance our global community places on the pursuit of the better management of international migration, through a cooperative approach that is grounded in the principles of state sovereignty, responsibility-sharing, non-discrimination and human rights,” Guterres told conference delegates.

But, as many attending the GCM acknowledge, in this age of social media and polarised political posturing, success all too often depends more on message and narrative—one of the main challenges the GCM, and the migration issue in general, faces.

“Report on facts, not political ideology,” Gottardo told journalists. “Avoid dichotomies between ‘good’ or ‘bad’ movements of people.”

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Poor Progress and No Finance Commitments at COP24 in Katowicehttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/12/poor-progress-no-finance-commitments-cop24-katowice/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=poor-progress-no-finance-commitments-cop24-katowice http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/12/poor-progress-no-finance-commitments-cop24-katowice/#respond Sat, 08 Dec 2018 17:13:23 +0000 Isaiah Esipisu http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=159098 Implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change is in limbo as developed countries remain noncommittal to financial obligations at the ongoing negotiations in Katowice, Poland. Professor Seth Osafo, the Advisor to the Africa Group of Negotiators (AGN), said today, Dec. 8, that his colleagues from the developed world were shifting goals to put the […]

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Members of African civil society express their frustrations about the climate change negotiations during a press conference held at COP24 in Katowice, Poland. Credit: Isaiah Esipisu/IPS

By Isaiah Esipisu
KATOWICE, Poland, Dec 8 2018 (IPS)

Implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change is in limbo as developed countries remain noncommittal to financial obligations at the ongoing negotiations in Katowice, Poland.

Professor Seth Osafo, the Advisor to the Africa Group of Negotiators (AGN), said today, Dec. 8, that his colleagues from the developed world were shifting goals to put the burden of financing the implementation of the Paris Agreement on the private sector.

Osafo was addressing the Pan African Parliament and civil society organisations under the umbrella of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) during COP 24.

“A man who is drowning has no luxury of a choice. Africa is drowning and we have no choice, other than using all means to salvage the continent.” -- Augustine Njamshi, the executive director of the Bioresources Development and Conservation Programme in Cameroon.

The Paris Agreement is an agreement reached at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) in Paris, France, where the world’s nations undertook a determined course to reduce climate change. Among the commitments was to keep the increase in global temperatures under 2 degrees Celcius.

Osafo’s concerns were confirmed by Mohamed Nasr, Chair of the AGN. He said that during this past week there had been very little progress with regards to financial commitments from the developed world to address loss and damages related to past injustices, adaptation, gender equality, and the empowerment of women, among other issues. The seeking of a commitment from developed nations on this is being spearheaded by the African team.

“The progress so far is not up to expectations, and if this is the way [negotiations will] go, it means we will not be able to implement what we agreed to in Paris,” said Nasr. “We should not choose parts of the agreement to implement and leave other parts behind,” he told IPS in an interview on Friday.

Despite the challenges, a document for negotiation must be drawn up by tonight.

This past week, negotiators representing different Parties (countries) have been discussing the outline of what is known as the ‘Rulebook’ for the Paris Agreement. This includes the rules, procedures and guidelines that countries should follow to enable them implement the Paris Agreement at national level.

The outcome of the week-long negotiations will then be submitted to ministers of the various countries on Monday for deliberations to decide whether or not to adopt positions taken by technical teams.

“We are hoping that we will finish drafting the rules of implementation today, so that we have a document to show to the ministers when they arrive for political engagements next week,” said Osafo.

In 2017 drought ravaged almost half of Kenya’s 43 counties, with the Turkana region in northern Kenya being the worst affected. The region mostly consists of pastoralists who lost livestock during the drought. Credit: Isaiah Esipisu/IPS

Under the Paris Agreement, developed countries committed to availing 100 billion dollars by 2020 to finance implementation of the accord through the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

However, there have been setbacks. During the Paris negotiations the United States, which is considered to be one of the main polluters of the environment, pledged to deposit three billion dollars to the GCF. Under former President Barrack Obama’s administration, the country delivered one billion dollars. But since President Donald Trump assumed power he has rejected the agreement, adding that climate change is a hoax.

At the Katowice negotiations, the U.S. and the European Union are asking for a Rulebook that will not demand they divulge the exact amounts of money they provide to poorer nations for climate finance, especially to cater for loss and damages.

This has not gone down well with African civil society organisations who have demanded the fulfilment of the pre-2020 climate finance commitments at the onset of the negotiations earlier this week.

“We see a clear intent from the developed country parties to shift their convention obligations on the provision of climate finance to private institutions and, worse still, to developing countries. This is not, and will not be, acceptable,” said Mithika Mwenda, the Executive Director at PACJA.

“If it continues like this, we will be forced to protest or even pull out from the negotiations altogether,” he told IPS.

Augustine Njamshi, the executive director of the Bioresources Development and Conservation Programme in Cameroon, said: “We have no option, but to use all available means to make things happen.”

“A man who is drowning has no luxury of a choice. Africa is drowning and we have no choice, other than using all means to salvage the continent,” he told IPS.

Nasr said that the African negotiators have been forced to send messages through informal discussions with colleagues from the developed world to salvage the situation.

“We are just telling them that if we do not have the components that we have asked for, the package will not be for Africa, and Africa will not be part of it,” he said.

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Get Ready for COP24: Transition to a Sustainable Futurehttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/12/get-ready-cop24-transition-sustainable-future/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=get-ready-cop24-transition-sustainable-future http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/12/get-ready-cop24-transition-sustainable-future/#respond Mon, 03 Dec 2018 14:54:13 +0000 Manuela Matthess http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=159002 Manuela Matthess is advisor on international energy and climate policy at Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) Berlin*

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UNFCCC Secretariat | COP24 opening plenary

By Manuela Matthess
BERLIN, Dec 3 2018 (IPS)

COP24 is the time for governments to act and increase their pledges to prevent global warming ensuring a just transition that leaves no one behind.

The Paris Agreement and the most recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) deliver a clear and potent message: we urgently need to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees celsius if we want to protect our ecosystems as well as the livelihoods of millions of people worldwide.

To prevent severe consequences caused by the devastating effects of climate change, it has become evident and imperative that “business as usual” is not possible anymore. We need a transformation to a zero-carbon world in pretty much all sectors; we need to decarbonize our energy systems, our industries as well as our transport systems, we need to establish sustainable ways to do agriculture, and we need to re-think the way we build cities.

The challenges we are facing are enormous, but they come with endless opportunities as well. For the necessary transformation processes to be successful, they must be managed in a just and inclusive fashion: we need a just transition to a sustainable future!

In December 2018, heads of State will gather for the 24th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24), in Katowice, Poland, to continue discussing ways to implement the Paris Agreement. A just transition will be high up on the political agenda. But what does it encompass?

A just transition is defined by the need to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees celsius, as stated in the Paris Agreement, but in a way that the well-being of all people is protected. The recent IPCC report on 1.5 degrees spotlights the need for early action, once again reinforcing that a rapid transition across all sectors of the economy is necessary to mitigate the most catastrophic risks of climate change.

There is great urgency involved—we only have 12 more years to turn things around! The lives and livelihoods of millions of people, especially in Global South countries, depend on fast action and ambitious climate policies to prevent the worst-possible impacts. For them, climate change is already a harsh reality, even though they have contributed almost nothing to its creation.

A just transition can only be successful if it brings all affected groups to the table. It maximizes climate protection while minimizing the negative impacts of climate change and climate policy on societies, lives and livelihoods. Climate change will influence every sector of our lives.

This includes the employment sector, which will be impacted by climate change as well as by climate change policies. Workers in the fossil industries and their families and communities are at the front line of the transition away from fossil fuels towards renewable energies. Their interests need to be considered in the process.

Structural-change processes always have a strong regional component as sometimes it is coal or oil extraction which serves as the only source of employment in certain parts of a country. Good alternatives must be made available for people who will be affected by the phasing out of coal, oil and gas—even more so because that phase-out needs to happen fast to stop global warming.

Limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius through a just transition of the world economy opens up many opportunities, including possibilities for decent work and quality jobs. Communities least responsible for and most negatively affected by climate change can and must profit from a Just Transition through poverty eradication, sustainable development opportunities and the creation of decent and quality jobs.

There is huge job-creation potential in renewable energies. The jobs of the future need to be green jobs with decent working conditions everywhere in the world. A just transition is a time-limited opportunity to shape the necessary change. If we do not act now, the risks could be uncontrollable, not only for workers and their communities but also for societies, lives and livelihoods of all people worldwide.

A Just Transition starts with a high level of ambition and accelerated climate action. This is the only way to ensure that there is sufficient time to implement the transition in a just way. Currently, countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are not nearly ambitious enough, putting us on a pathway to global warming of 3–4 degrees celsius.

What does that portend? Unbearable extreme weather conditions, sea-level rise that threatens the existence of many people, loss of biodiversity, lack of food security, disappearing coral reefs that are essential to a healthy balance of our ecosystems as well as an increasing number of climate refugees and violent conflicts fuelled by the consequences of climate change. Do you want to live in a world like this?

COP24 is the time for governments to act and increase their pledges to prevent global warming.

* For more information on the international work by FES on the topic visit the dedicated website page.
The link to the original article: https://www.fes-connect.org/spotlight/get-ready-for-cop24-four-things-to-know-about-a-just-transition-to-a-sustainable-future/

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Excerpt:

Manuela Matthess is advisor on international energy and climate policy at Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) Berlin*

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Limiting Climate Change to 1.5 C is not Impossible, Says IPCC Chairhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/12/limiting-climate-change-1-5-c-not-impossible-says-ipcc-chair/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=limiting-climate-change-1-5-c-not-impossible-says-ipcc-chair http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/12/limiting-climate-change-1-5-c-not-impossible-says-ipcc-chair/#respond Mon, 03 Dec 2018 11:13:15 +0000 Lee Hoesung http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=158997 Lee Hoesung was appointed Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2015. He is also the Endowed Chair Professor of economics of climate change, energy and sustainable development in the Republic of Korea*.

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Lee Hoesung was appointed Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2015. He is also the Endowed Chair Professor of economics of climate change, energy and sustainable development in the Republic of Korea*.

By Lee Hoesung
UNITED NATIONS, Dec 3 2018 (IPS)

When governments set a target in December 2015 of limiting global warming to well below 2ºC above pre-industrial levels while pursuing efforts to hold it at 1.5ºC, they invited the IPCC to prepare a report to provide information on this Goal.

Lee Hoesung

They asked the IPCC to assess the impacts of warming of 1.5ºC, the related emissions pathways of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide that would result in warming of that amount, and the differences between warming of 1.5 and 2ºC or higher.

The new IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC shows that it is not impossible to limit warming to 1.5ºC but that doing so will require unprecedented transformations in all aspects of society.

The report shows that this is a worthwhile goal as the impacts of warming of 2ºC on lives, livelihoods and natural ecosystems are much more severe than from warming of 1.5ºC.

The global temperature has already risen about 1ºC from pre-industrial levels. The report shows that because of past emissions up to the present it will continue to warm. But these emissions alone are not enough to take the temperature to 1.5ºC: it is still possible to hold it at that level.

This requires very strong cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases by 2030, for instance by decarbonization of electricity production, and further cuts after that so that emissions fall to net zero by 2050.

Net zero means that any continuing emissions of greenhouse gases, for instance in transport, are compensated by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through measures such as afforestation or other techniques and technologies.

This will be achieved by reducing energy demand, for instance through greater energy efficiency, and changes in energy use, construction, transport, cities and food and diets.

Limiting warming to 1.5ºC is possible in terms of physics; the technology and techniques are there; the question is whether people and societies will support politicians in taking these measures.

What do world leaders need to know about the climate science that will affect the prosperity and well-being of their citizens?

World leaders need to know that the climate is already changing because of emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide from human activities such as energy production and use, transport, and agriculture and other forms of land use.

These changes pose threats to people from increases in extreme weather events such as heatwaves, forest fires, drought, heavy precipitation and floods. The warming climate is causing the sea level to rise.

It is affecting biodiversity and making it harder for species to survive or forcing them to move. These are already affecting people’s lives and livelihoods.

If we carry on emitting greenhouse gases the climate will continue to warm and these threats will get worse. The new IPCC report shows there is even a big difference in risks between warming of 1.5ºC and 2ºC: every bit of warming matters.

The report also shows that it is pursuing policies to address climate change, by reducing emissions and adapting to the changes already underway, can creates a more prosperous and sustainable society by fostering innovation and the green economy and building more resilient communities. Economic development and climate action go hand in hand as sustainable development.

How optimistic are you about our ability to limit global warming to 1.5 C?

The new IPCC report shows it is not impossible, in terms of physics or technology, to limit global warming to 1.5ºC. But the unprecedented transformations in society will require continuing technical innovation and changes in behaviour and lifestyle.

The question is whether individuals and companies are ready to make those changes and encourage politicians to put the conditions in place to create a prosperous and sustainable low-carbon society.

*Originally published by the SDG Media Compact which was launched by the United Nations in September 2018 in collaboration with over 30 founding media organizations –– encompassing more than 100 media and entertainment outlets. The SDG Media Compact seeks to inspire media and entertainment companies around the world to leverage their resources and creative talent to advance the Sustainable Development Goals.

World leaders are meeting at the Climate Conference (COP24) in Katowice, Poland, 2 to 14 December, to finalize the rulebook to implement the 2015 landmark Paris Agreement on climate change. In the agreement, countries committed to take action to limit global warming to well under 2°C this century. At the conference in Poland, the UN will invite people to voice their views and launch a campaign to encourage every day climate action.

The post Limiting Climate Change to 1.5 C is not Impossible, Says IPCC Chair appeared first on Inter Press Service.

Excerpt:

Lee Hoesung was appointed Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2015. He is also the Endowed Chair Professor of economics of climate change, energy and sustainable development in the Republic of Korea*.

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Fostering Green, Made-In-Africa Innovationshttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/11/fostering-green-made-africa-innovations/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=fostering-green-made-africa-innovations http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/11/fostering-green-made-africa-innovations/#respond Fri, 30 Nov 2018 10:39:52 +0000 Emmanuel Hitimana http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=158949 Over 1000 policy makers, experts, investors and financial specialists from across Africa are gathered this week in Kigali, at a week-long Africa Green Growth Forum 2018 to discuss how to foster green, made-in-Africa innovations to meet the needs of the continent.  There is no doubt that green growth is a number one priority for governments […]

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Frank Rijsberman Director-General, Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) speaking in Kigali, at a week-long Africa Green Growth Forum 2018 to discuss how to foster green growth. Courtesy: Emmanuel Hitimana

By Emmanuel Hitimana
KIGALI, Nov 30 2018 (IPS)

Over 1000 policy makers, experts, investors and financial specialists from across Africa are gathered this week in Kigali, at a week-long Africa Green Growth Forum 2018 to discuss how to foster green, made-in-Africa innovations to meet the needs of the continent. 

There is no doubt that green growth is a number one priority for governments but many are mistaken if they believe green growth is more costly, Frank Rijsberman Director-General, Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) told delegates at the high level policy dialogue session.

Rwanda’s new Bugesera airport, will be the first-ever green airport in Africa, and the government’s biggest-ever project. It will have rain water harvesting and cut water use by 50 percent, and will have enough solar panels to make it zero carbon emission facility said Rijsberman.

“Did the airport become expensive by adopting these changes? No. It became cheaper by five million US dollars,” he said.

The over 800 million dollar project is being funded through a public private partnership, and is one of many green projects the GGGI is working on with the government of Rwanda. GGGI is also supporting the implementation of the government’s plan for green development of six secondary cities as well as eco-friendly tourism by introducing electric motorbikes or e-motorbikes.

The e-motorbikes will be cheaper than petrol-powered ones demonstrating that green products do not have to be expensive said Josh Whale, the Chief Executive Officer of Ampersand, a company that is building electric vehicles and charging stations in East Africa. Supported by GGGI, it has introduced e-motorbikes into Rwanda and has plans for other electric vehicles.

“Assembling all the e-motorcycles in Rwanda will certainly result in several thousand new jobs and will also green existing jobs. So motorcycle and taxis mechanics will become green jobs,” said Whale.

The Forum is showcasing a number of other green-friendly initiatives that promote  environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive economic growth.

There are many opportunities for green entrepreneurship and private investment in transport, infrastructure and agriculture in Africa, said Rijsberman.

“Involving the private sector more, helping to drive innovation, helping to drive entrepreneurship, creating green jobs has to be a growing part of government green growth strategies,” he says.

During different panels and sessions there were comments about a large gap in youth interests in the environment and green technology and the difficulty accessing funding for innovations that could bring affordable green technologies to Africa.

Academic training is one of the best investments to be made right now said Stephen Rodriques, Rwanda’s Country Director at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). “We have to start preparing the young generation for green jobs,” Rodriques told delegates. “Many of the industries we have now are based on what we call the brown economy, where people are doing things and in ways that are destroying the environment.”

Rodriques also called for investment in innovative green projects and for stakeholders to improve their understanding and use of finance as a tool for climate resilience.

A common issue is quality projects in need of financing while financial institutions say they have the money for quality projects but can’t find them said Pablo Vieira, Global Director at NDC Partnership. This is a coalition of countries and institutions dedicated to strengthening collaboration among nations to help implement countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to reduce carbon emissions under the Paris Agreement.

“We work in 36 countries right now with governments saying they have many projects ready for financing but find it hard to get finance,” said Vieira. Meanwhile financial institutions are looking to finance quality projects.

Acknowledging that governments afford to support all projects, Vieira calls for a new system to help entrepreneurs build quality projects. He also appealed to financial institutions to change their “business as usual” approach for the way environmental funds are delivered.

The forum started on Monday 26 November and is set to close on Friday November 30.

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Asia-Pacific Takes Stock of Ambitious Development Targetshttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/11/asia-pacific-takes-stock-ambitious-development-targets/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=asia-pacific-takes-stock-ambitious-development-targets http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/11/asia-pacific-takes-stock-ambitious-development-targets/#respond Wed, 28 Nov 2018 05:16:58 +0000 Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana and Natalia Kanem 2 http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=158909 Ministers and senior policymakers across Asia and the Pacific are gathered in Bangkok this week to focus on population dynamics at a crucial time for the region. Their goal: to keep people and rights at the heart of the region’s push for sustainable development. They will be considering how successful we have been in balancing […]

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By Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana and Natalia Kanem
BANGKOK, Thailand, Nov 28 2018 (IPS)

Ministers and senior policymakers across Asia and the Pacific are gathered in Bangkok this week to focus on population dynamics at a crucial time for the region. Their goal: to keep people and rights at the heart of the region’s push for sustainable development. They will be considering how successful we have been in balancing economic growth with social imperatives, underpinned by rights and choices for all as enshrined in the landmark Programme of Action stemming from the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development, or ICPD.

In the Programme of Action, diverse views on population, gender equality, sexual and reproductive health, and sustainable development merged into a remarkable global consensus that placed individual dignity and human rights at the heart of development.

Truly revolutionary at the time, ICPD remains all the more urgent and relevant a quarter-century later, in this era of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with its Sustainable Development Goals. Without ICPD we would not have the SDGs, and indeed they go hand in hand. The ICPD is a dedicated vehicle through which we can – and will – address, achieve and fulfill the SDGs.

How well have we responded to trends such as population ageing and international migration? How successful have we been in ensuring optimal sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights for all, including the right to choose when or whether to get married and when or whether to have children, and how many? How well have we done in strengthening gender equality and women’s empowerment, and upholding the rights of the most vulnerable among us? Where should our efforts be refocused to leave no one behind?

Asia and the Pacific has much to celebrate. The region remains the engine of global growth and at the forefront of the global fight against poverty. It is now home to half the world’s middle class. The share of the population living in poverty has dropped considerably although it is still unacceptably high. People are living, longer healthier lives. Rights-based family planning has contributed to considerable economic success and women’s empowerment. And we are on track to achieve universal education by 2030.

Yet for all this growth, considerable injustices remain. On its current trajectory, the region will fall short of achieving the 2030 Agenda. In several areas we are heading in altogether the wrong direction. Inequalities within and between countries are widening. Some 1.2 billion people live in poverty of which 400 million live in extreme poverty. Lack of decent job opportunities and access to essential services are perpetuating injustice across generations.

At the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), we are keen to shine the spotlight on three key issues where regional commitment is vital.

First, we need to respond to the unprecedented population changes unfolding across the Asia-Pacific region. Many countries are facing a rapidly ageing population. The proportion of people above the age of sixty is expected to more than double by 2050. Effectively meeting the needs of an ageing society and ensuring healthy and productive lives must be a priority. This requires a life cycle approach – from pregnancy and childbirth, through adolescence and adulthood, to old age – ensuring that all people are allowed to fulfil their socioeconomic potential, underpinned by individual rights and choices.

Equally, there is a strong case for strengthening Asia-Pacific’s response to international migration. Migrants can, when allowed, contribute significantly to development. However, we know that migrants are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. So, our ambition is for discussions this week to build further momentum in support of safe, orderly and regular migration to fully harness its development benefits.

Second, there is clear evidence the region must spend more on social protection, as well as on health care and education. Today, social protection is the preserve of a few, rather than a right for all. As a result, 60 per cent of our population are at risk of being trapped in vulnerability or pushed into poverty by sickness, disability, unemployment or old age, often underpinned by gender inequality. The “Social Outlook for Asia and the Pacific: Poorly Protected”, which ESCAP will publish later this week, sets out why expanding social protection is the most effective means of reducing poverty, strengthening rights and making vulnerable groups less exposed. Many women, migrants, older persons and rural communities would also benefit. Our evidence suggests it could even end extreme poverty in several countries by 2030.

Third, we need to invest in generating disaggregated data to tell us who is being left behind to ensure our response to population dynamics is targeted and credible. Availability of data on social and demographic issues lag far behind anything related to the economy. Millions of births remain unregistered, leading to the denial of many basic rights, particularly to women and girls. Of the 43 countries which conducted a census between 2005 and 2014, only 16 have reliable data on international migration. With the 2020 round of censuses upon us, we will be redoubling our efforts to close these data gaps by strengthening new partnerships for data capacity and working with governments and other partners to translate data into policy and action.

The Midterm Review of the Asian and Pacific Ministerial Declaration on Population and Development as well as the Committee on Social Development provide the region with an opportunity to speak with one voice on population and development issues. ESCAP and UNFPA stand united in their commitment to supporting their Member States to build and strengthen a regional response to issues that will shape the future for generations to come.

We look to this week’s discussions to galvanize countries behind the ambition and vision that link ICPD and the SDGs and accelerate work to leave no one behind in Asia and the Pacific.

Ms. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana is United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)

Dr. Natalia Kanem is United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

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Q&A: The Arrival of the African Blue Economy as a Real Prospecthttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/11/qa-arrival-african-blue-economy-real-prospect/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=qa-arrival-african-blue-economy-real-prospect http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/11/qa-arrival-african-blue-economy-real-prospect/#respond Mon, 26 Nov 2018 20:19:28 +0000 Nalisha Adams http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=158886 IPS Correspondent Nalisha Adams interviews DR. CYRUS RUSTOMJEE, a former director of economic affairs at the Commonwealth Secretariat, and a senior fellow with Global Economy Programme, Centre for International Governance Innovation.

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Dr Cyrus Rustomjee, a former director of economic affairs at the Commonwealth Secretariat, says there is clearly the will, the determination, the excitement, the collective endeavour at an African level to take the blue economy forward. Credit: Nalisha Adams/IPS

By Nalisha Adams
NAIROBI, Nov 26 2018 (IPS)

The first every global conference to address the twin focuses on both conservation and economic growth of the oceans has fulfilled the broad range of expectations it set out to define.

It could also be starting point for spurring on a whole new range of global development co-ordination challenges harmonising terrestrial and ocean-related laws and treaties.

This is according to Dr. Cyrus Rustomjee, a former director of economic affairs at the Commonwealth Secretariat, and a senior fellow with Global Economy Programme, Centre for International Governance Innovation.

Rustomjee was at the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference in Nairobi, Kenya as some 18,000 participants gathered in the East African nation. The conference hosted by the Kenyan government and co-hosted by Canada and Japan, set out to discuss how to create economic growth that is inclusive and sustainable, how to ensure healthy and productive waters, and how to build safe and resilient communities.

Rustomjee has held various positions for his native South Africa with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. IPS was able to speak to the South African who holds a Ph.D. in Economics and a Masters in Development Economics.

Excerpts of the interview follow:

Inter Press Service (IPS): Can you tell us in terms of this conference what were the expectations that you had coming here.

Cyrus Rustomjee (CR): I think I didn’t want to create expectations for myself about this because it is the inaugural Sustainable Blue Economy Conference. It hasn’t happened before in this way. We have had conferences on the Blue Economy in various parts of the world, we have had global United Nations-driven conferences. We haven’t had one which tries to bring together the conservation and the growth dimensions of the Blue Economy.

In the past they have really been seen as two contending perspectives of the Blue Economy, where as in fact what this conference is saying is that they are part and parcel of a sustainable blue economy. You have to have sustainability of the oceans if you want to harness the wealth or other opportunities from it. But at the same time you can’t continuously focus on conservation because there will be some who will exploit the ocean while others persist simply with conservation.

So the benefits that the ocean offers will be then inequitably shared.

No one wanted to confront this issue at a global level. And to try to discern practical ways to harmonise this and to bring these two strands, which is a common concept together. So I didn’t have any particular expectations. I had a whole lot of questions about the scope and the ambition of the conference. And that has been fully fulfilled. Because I think the scope is enormous, it’s covered a very very wide range of policy issues, a wide range of conceptual issues, it’s brought it science, it’s brought in legal frameworks and transboundary challenges which are part of the unique characteristics of this sustainable blue economy concept.

It really has brought many many countries to the table to discuss, in some sense without preconceived positions, which is very valuable. Which is really saying let us kind of take a step back and then take a collective step forward. And I think that is what is happening at this conference.

IPS: In light of what you have heard, what are your first impressions?

CR: It is only day one. First impressions are that I wasn’t sure to what extent an African voice would come forward. Because it is in this space that the fullest potential of the Blue Economy will reveal itself or not in the years ahead. So Africa has watched the oceans being utilised and has hesitated to utilise the resources of the oceans for a whole host of reasons, including insufficient technology, skills, human resources, legislative frameworks, co-ordination at an inter-continental level and many many other factors.

Whereas I would say many advanced economies particularly have gone surging ahead with the blue economy, whether sustainable or not, I don’t know.

Now Africa has an opportunity to take advantage of all of that. And build on continental momentum to do so in many other areas. For example, we just recently secured a continental free trade arrangement and there are already ingrained in African continent-wide policies and strategies the concept of the Blue Economy. It is the 2063 Agenda [of the African Union]. It is in the 2050 Africa Integrated Maritime Strategy (AIMS) framework. Not it is time to operationalise it in practical ways.

So a big take-away from me is there is clearly the will, the determination, the excitement, the collective endeavour at an African level to take this forward.

I think if there is anything we look back on in, say five years from now, we will look back at two things. One is, this is where the world got together to recognise this concept as a practical mechanism in some sense for operationalising sustainable development fully. Not only in terrestrial activity but across the whole spectrum of what the earth’s surface is.

We started also talking today about the interaction and the interplay between the terrestrial sustainable development framework and the ocean and realising it is actually a single framework…

The second big thing from today is the arrival of the African Blue Economy as a real prospect.

IPS: Kenya says it wants to lead the way in building a sustainable blue economy. With your background in finance and development, can you give us some key take-aways they need to look at?

CR: It’s a difficult one because we are very much in a pioneering state for a continent that has 38 coastal states, and has 31,000 km of coastline, and which also has 13 million square kilometres of exclusive economic zone. It’s a huge, huge environment. [The number of people living along the coast] is high and it’s rising. For a whole host of reasons.

We are at the dawn of the journey. We are at the dawn but in the context where there are many components that is encouraging many african countries have started developing their blue economy strategies and laws and concepts. And they have started to tackle some of the co-ordination issues that come with that, simply-explained ones, co-ordination between the coastal tourism and fisheries sectors, for example, jurisdictional issues between different portfolios, they’ve developed integrated coastal zone management strategies and many have developed marine protected areas and have started working on the challenges in sustaining those.

Many have been in the forefront, globally now, of innovative blue finance [for example the Seychelles issued a Blue Bond last month]. We are seeing a lot more activity at a regional level. We are starting actively to see discussion about how to integrate regional and continental initiatives. In a certain sense the Blue Economy in an African context is an African Blue Economy, not an African-specific national series of Blue Economies.

That is where the full potential of the Blue Economy will arise, rather than at a national level. We are starting to see this is part of the longer-term vision which we will end up realising as a continent.

So there are lots of promises, lots of opportunity and lots of action. But a lot of action is happening at a national level and some critical steps for the future now, in an African context is to build the institutional capacity to share knowledge, experience within the continent and to build the institutions what will quickly bring the inter-continental collaboration needed to realise the Blue Economy.

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Excerpt:

IPS Correspondent Nalisha Adams interviews DR. CYRUS RUSTOMJEE, a former director of economic affairs at the Commonwealth Secretariat, and a senior fellow with Global Economy Programme, Centre for International Governance Innovation.

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‘What Fish Can Do for the WTO’http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/11/fish-can-wto/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=fish-can-wto http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/11/fish-can-wto/#respond Mon, 26 Nov 2018 19:33:09 +0000 Busani Bafana http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=158882 Fish will soon be off the menu, unless global leaders strike a deal ending multi-billion dollar harmful fisheries subsidies blamed for threatening world fish stocks and widening the inequitable use of marine resources. The inaugural Sustainable Blue Economy Conference, which opened in the Kenyan capital today, heard of the urgency for global leaders to reach […]

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Government squads demolish illegal stake net prawn enclosures on the Chilka Lagoon in eastern India in this picture dated 2010. / Credit:Manipadma Jena/IPS

By Busani Bafana
NAIROBI, Nov 26 2018 (IPS)

Fish will soon be off the menu, unless global leaders strike a deal ending multi-billion dollar harmful fisheries subsidies blamed for threatening world fish stocks and widening the inequitable use of marine resources.

The inaugural Sustainable Blue Economy Conference, which opened in the Kenyan capital today, heard of the urgency for global leaders to reach an agreement that will end subsidies to the global fisheries industries, which in 2016 generated value in excess of 360 billion dollars.

Convened by Kenya, co-hosted by Canada and Japan, the conference attracted over 18,000 participants to discuss ways of harnessing the potential of oceans, seas, lakes and rivers in improving livelihood epically of people in developing states. Over 3 billion people worldwide depend on fisheries for food, income and jobs.

The world has rallied around the enormous pressures facing our oceans and waters, from plastic pollution to the impacts of climate change. The conference builds on the momentum of the United Nations’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the 2015 Climate Change Conference in Paris and the U.N. Ocean Conference 2017 “Call to Action”.

However, fisheries subsidies, some introduced more than 50 years ago, have become a sore point in the harvesting, trade and consumption of fish in the oceans, which technically no one owns.

Since 2001, global leaders have been haggling about certain forms of fisheries subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing. Since 2001, negotiations have been on to eliminate subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Global fisheries subsidies are estimated at 20 billion dollars a year.

World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations on fisheries subsidies were launched in 2001 at the Doha Ministerial Conference, with a mandate to “clarify and improve”, existing WTO disciplines on fisheries subsidies. That mandate was elaborated in 2005 at the Hong Kong Ministerial Conference, including a call for prohibiting certain forms of fisheries subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing.

Roberto Zapata Barradas, Chair, WTO Rules Negotiating Group and Mexico’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the WTO says that negotiations have been on to eliminate subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing needs to be reached by December. Credit: Busani Bafana/IPS

Most recently, at the 2017 Buenos Aires Ministerial Conference (MC11), ministers decided on a work programme to conclude the negotiations. They have aimed to adopt, at the 2019 Ministerial Conference, an agreement on fisheries subsidies. The agreement should deliver on Sustainable Development Goal 14.6 on the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

Fishing paradox

Sticking points on the negotiation include the need for including appropriate and effective special and differential treatment for developing country members and least developed country members in the negotiations. While the aim is to stop subsidies that deplete the natural capital of fish stocks, rules for harmful subsidies have to be framed as having the potential to deliver a win-win situation for trade, the environment and development.

Stephen de Boer, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Canada to the WTO, said the agreement is not about maintaining the credibility of the WTO but about fish and tackling development challenges.

“Canada is concerned that we have little time to get this done and there is wider divergence of issues,” de Boer told IPS. “My fear is there is not enough concern about the fish but we are spending too much time on old positions and not showing the flexibility to reach an agreement. Negotiators need to have discussions outside the WTO to the broader public from fisher communities to civil society to put pressure on us.”

An agreement must be reached in December, Roberto Zapata Barradas, Chair, WTO Rules Negotiating Group and Mexico’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the WTO, told IPS.

“I am happy with the level of engagement that the delegates are showing in Geneva,” said Barradas. “There is still a lot of doubts and concerns as to what the outcome is going to be but it is about having a good process to ventilate those positions and trying to find middle ground and areas of convergence.”

Zapata agrees the time to cobble together an agreement is tight but that the 164 WTO members need to be creative in opening the necessary space in Geneva to achieve agreement.

Peter Nyongesa Wekesa, Fisheries Expert at the Secretariat of the 79- member African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) said there are good subsidies that reinforce good management of resources enabling spending on research, stock assessment, training and removing excess capacity from the fisheries like buying back excess vessels in the industry.

“The bad subsidies are those throwing money for fuel, building new vessels to continue catching fish when you know that stocks are not in good shape. These serve no purpose because you are worse off outcome for the same money that you are spending.

“We are looking at the complexity of the countries but we do not want subsidies that support IUU fishing and contribute to over fishing. Fisheries are extremely important to the ACP for food, nutritional security, exports and employment. For some small islands countries fish exports account for 50 percent of their commodities trade.”

Saving fish today for the future

Ernesto Fernandez, from the Pew Charitable Trust, says addressing the challenges of fish resources is the most important step governments could take in 2019 to ensure the livelihoods of millions of people who depend on the fishing trade.

“Instead of saying what WTO should do for fish we might reverse and think what the fish can do for WTO,” Monge said.

Oceans contribute 1.5 trillion dollars per year to the global economy, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimates that 60 million people are directly employed in the fisheries industry many in small-scale operations in developing countries.

The global fish production in 2016 reached an all-time high of 171 million tons, of which 88 percent was for human consumption, said José Graziano da Silva FAO Director-General in the 2018 State of the World Fisheries and Aquaculture report. While the value of global fish exports in 2017 rose to 152 billion dollars with 54 percent originating from developing countries.

2019, deal or no deal?

Should we reach Christmas 2019 without a deal, what next?

“I am not factoring in that possibility. I am fully focused on reaching an agreement,” Zapata told IPS.

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Amidst Rising Hunger, BCFN Forum to Promote Food Sustainabilityhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/11/amidst-rising-hunger-bcfn-forum-promote-food-sustainability/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=amidst-rising-hunger-bcfn-forum-promote-food-sustainability http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/11/amidst-rising-hunger-bcfn-forum-promote-food-sustainability/#respond Mon, 26 Nov 2018 07:33:30 +0000 Stella Paul http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=158858 As 2018 nears its end, the world faces a new wave of food insecurity with the level of hunger being on the rise globally. A record 821 million people are facing chronic food deprivation – a sharp rise from 804 million figure in 2016 – said a report published by the UNFAO earlier this year. […]

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An organic farmer in his sustainable farm in Paro, Bhutan. Credit: Stella Paul/IPS

By Stella Paul
MILAN, Italy, Nov 26 2018 (IPS)

As 2018 nears its end, the world faces a new wave of food insecurity with the level of hunger being on the rise globally. A record 821 million people are facing chronic food deprivation – a sharp rise from 804 million figure in 2016 – said a report published by the UNFAO earlier this year. Along with rising hunger, food security has declined across Africa and South America while undernourishment is on the rise again in Asia, said the report which attributed the changing scenario to climate-related changes, adverse economic conditions and conflict. With this alarming picture as the backdrop, the 9th Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition (BCFN) International Forum on Food and Nutrition in Milan is all set to take off on November 27.

A Diverse, Promising Platform

Founded with the aim to “provide an open space for interdisciplinary discussion on issues of nutrition and sustainability,” the annual 2 day BCFN forum has always drawn food and nutrition experts, policy makers, media leaders and civil society. With a long line of speakers from governments, academia, business, research and media organizations, this year’s forum also appears promising where participants and followers can expect rich and diverse opinions, stories, and ideas, especially on sustainable food –which is the core focus area at this year’s forum. There is also a long list of topics being discussed that include hunger and obesity, optimum use of natural resources, reducing food waste, promoting sustainable diets, and the effects of climate change.

SDGs, Collaborative Food Action in Focus

The 2-day event is co-hosted by BCFN, in joint collaboration with the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UN SDSN), and is designed to have three sessions. The first session focused on understanding the three paradoxes of food: An obese planet dying of hunger; competition for natural resource among people, animals, and cars; and food loss and food waste. Session two is focused on the role of agriculture, nutrition, and food in migration and development while the third and fine session focuses on solutions towards a sustainable urban food system.

A prawn farmer selling his produce in Can Tho of Vietnam. Credit: Stella Paul/IPS

The Forum also will present the publication Food and Cities, a joint initiative between BCFN and the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact (MUFPP) which highlights effective food policies of various European Cities.

It is estimated that over 50 per cent of the world’s population today live in cities – a number expected to rise to 80% by 2050. If such trend continues undeterred, current food systems cannot meet the growing demand with sustainable development, especially since high levels of greenhouse gas emissions and global warming directly affects food production. Also, rising demand for food will require more water and land which will be in shortage due to raising of animals, grazing and cultivation of fodder.

The MUFPP which has 180 signatory cities worldwide, is an excellent example of collaborative action taken by cities to deal with the food security issues of tomorrow. The BCFN will, therefore, be a window to this global food action.

Food Sustainability and Role of Media

A salient feature of the forum has been its strong focus on the role of media in highlighting food and nutrition issues and also helping create a model for food sustainability, especially in accordance with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. For the second year on, the forum is hosting the Food Sustainability Media Award – an international contest that recognizes journalistic excellence in reporting on food from a different perspective and turning the spotlight on food sustainability. Apart from this, the pool of speakers also has a number of leading voices from media who will share their experiences of covering food and nutrition issues, throwing light on the biggest challenges faced by the global communities as well as the solutions that are working on the ground.

The full agenda of the event can be accessed here

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Airways Aviation Academy teams up with ‘Football for Peace’ in sponsoring the launch of the #FootballSavesLives campaignhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/11/airways-aviation-academy-teams-football-peace-sponsoring-launch-footballsaveslives-campaign/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=airways-aviation-academy-teams-football-peace-sponsoring-launch-footballsaveslives-campaign http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/11/airways-aviation-academy-teams-football-peace-sponsoring-launch-footballsaveslives-campaign/#respond Thu, 22 Nov 2018 16:37:42 +0000 Football for Peace http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=158787 PRESS RELEASE

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PRESS RELEASE

By Football for Peace
Nov 22 2018 (Football for Peace)

Airways Aviation Academy has teamed up with sports charity ‘Football for Peace’ (FfP) Founders British Footballer Kashif Siddiqi and Chilean FIFA Legend Elia Figueroa, to support #FootballSavesLives campaign, aimed at training the next generation of young leaders in how to harness a shared passion for football to bring together their local communities.

FfP will launch the #FootballSavesLives initiative, at a Peace Tournament, to be held on the 22nd November 2018 at the Copper Box Arena in London. HRH Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge will participate in the event which will honour the Young Peace Leaders that have graduated from the City for Peace initiative this year from across the UK.

The new #FootballSavesLives programme aims to train 500 Peace Leaders by 2020 by working in conjunction with local councils, football clubs and schools to train young people aged 15-18 in how to unite their communities on and off the pitch, from running local football tournaments to organising classroom workshops to discuss the issues currently dividing their communities.

Romy Hawatt, Founder of the Airways Aviation Group and also a Founding Member of the Global Sustainability Network ( GSN ) says that “business and governments alike carry a joint and several responsibility to help create safe, tolerant and sustainable societies for the benefit of present and future generations. Worthy initiatives like #FootballSavesLives that contribute towards the empowerment of our youth, the promotion of self-determination, the encouragement of a peaceful community dialogue and the seeking of common ground between us through initiatives like #FootballSavesLives has our commendation and complete support”.

The peace tournament will bring together footballing ambassadors Wilfried Zaha, Mesut Ozil, Louis Saha, John Terry, Bacary Sagna, Lucas Perez and newly trained Young Peace Leaders who have already been through this programme to manage the teams branded as Equality, Diversity, Unity, Friendship, Dialogue from different schools across Newham.

On the day, HRH Prince William will attend a workshop on tolerance and team building, which will be delivered by FfP tutors and attended by Young Peace Leaders. His Royal Highness will then meet the charities Footballing Ambassadors and students who will all then take part in an activity which will break down a wall with footballs in a message against hate and violence to support the #FootballSavesLives campaign.

“With the #FootballSavesLives campaign, we want to encourage all football lovers and peace defenders to support our pledge to train the next generation of Young Peace Leaders to create more peaceful and tolerant communities across the UK. These schools in normal instance, hardly mix let alone play on same teams, the country needs more integration activities”, says FfP co-founder Kashif Siddiqi.

Adding to this, Arsenal player Mesut Ozil said “I am proud to support an initiative which brings people together in the such divided times we are living in”.

ENDS

Football for Peace: An overview of the charity
Football for Peace is a grassroots football movement with diplomatic impact, championing the power of the beautiful game to bring people of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds together on the pitch, while fostering understanding and tolerance off it. Supported by international personalities including Ronaldinho and The Duke of Cambridge, Football for Peace organises Peace Matches, one-off football matches held annually around the world to raise awareness of football diplomacy and promote a message of equality and peace. FfP also provides football and leadership training for youth from different faiths, cultures and backgrounds through a local community programme, Cities for Peace. Futbol Por La Paz (Football for Peace) was established in 2006 by FIFA and Chilean legend Elias Figueroa and co-founded Internationally in 2013 by British South Asian International Footballer, Kashif Siddiqi. More information on footballforpeaceglobal.org.

Airways Aviation Academy overview www.airwaysaviation.com
Airways Aviation is a global Aviation Pilot Training solutions provider for European, Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), Australian, Civil Aviation Safety Agency (CASA) and Montenegro Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Fixed Wing pilot licenses courses.It has established Pilot Training Academies across key locations in Oxford, United Kingdom, Huesca, Spain, Podgorica Montenegro, Gold Coast & Caloundra, Australia. Airways Aviation Head Quartered in Oxford, United Kingdom brings together a global network of singled owned aviation flight schools to offer flight training and an enhanced experience for aspiring pilots from locations around the world.

Global Sustainability Network overview http://gsngoal8.com
The Global Sustainability Network (GSN) is a platform that brings leaders and innovators from each respective sector (Business, Government, Community, Media & Faith) to achieve Goal 8 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). In a span of three years the GSN has over 900 global change makers from around the world. The GSN conducts four main events yearly located at the United Nations Head Quarters in New York, Lambeth Palace or House of Lords in London, The Vatican in Rome and Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Event Partners

Grange Hotels
EFI and Syncoms
Puma
Apco Worldwide
Soccerex
DCD Group
BT Sport
Airways Aviation
Diplomat

Social media

Twitter: @FfP_Global
Facebook: Football For Peace Global
Instagram: ffp_global
#FootballSavesLives

Media queries
For more information about Football for Peace or this campaign, please contact:

FOOTBALL FOR PEACE
info@ffpglobal.org
0207324 2025

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Excerpt:

PRESS RELEASE

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‘Low-batt’ APEC summit back to search for coherencehttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/11/low-batt-apec-summit-back-search-coherence/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=low-batt-apec-summit-back-search-coherence http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/11/low-batt-apec-summit-back-search-coherence/#respond Tue, 20 Nov 2018 07:07:56 +0000 Editor Manila Times http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=158799 For the first time in 29 years, the 21 countries in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum this week could not agree on a declaration to mark the 2018 meeting of leaders in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. In this era of high-tech and high-speed communications, this year’s meeting will probably be described as […]

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By Editor, The Manila Times, Philippines
Nov 20 2018 (Manila Times)

For the first time in 29 years, the 21 countries in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum this week could not agree on a declaration to mark the 2018 meeting of leaders in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

In this era of high-tech and high-speed communications, this year’s meeting will probably be described as a “low-batt” summit because of its perceptible lack of energy and harmony.

Both Presidents Donald Trump of the United States and Vladimir Putin of Russia sent their second-stringers to the summit. Only President Xi Jinping of China was on hand to represent his country.

President Rodrigo Duterte was even initially reported as cutting short his visit to Port Moresby, although he changed his mind and stayed for the meeting of leaders.

The Associated Press described the 2018 summit as an “acrimonious meeting of world leaders” when the leaders failed to agree Sunday on a final communique. That was seen as highlighting the widening divisions between global powers China and the US.

The 21 APEC nations struggled to bridge their differences on the role of the World Trade Organization, which governs international trade. They settled on a statement to be issued, instead, by the meeting’s chair, Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

“The entire world is worried” about tensions between China and the US,” O’Neill told reporters after he confirmed that there would be no communique from leaders.

The problem once again was the differing visions of the future by China and the US. For several summits now, the two nations have offered divergent routes toward the future in their preferred policy on global trade.

Draft versions of the proposed communique at Port Moresby, as reported by AP, showed that the US wanted strong language against unfair trade practices that it accused China of perpetrating. China, on the other hand, wanted a reaffirmation of opposition to protectionism and unilateralism in which, it said, the US was engaging.

The two-day summit in PNG, therefore, wound up underlining the rising rivalry between China and the US for influence in the Pacific. US Vice President Mike Pence and Chinese President Xi Jinping even traded sharp barbs in their speeches.

Pence accused China of luring developing nations into a debt trap through the loans it offered for infrastructure.

Xi said the world was facing a choice between cooperation and confrontation as protectionism and unilateralism grew. He said a trade war would produce “no winners.”

Where this tit-for-tat leaves the Asia-Pacific and APEC is unclear.

This could revive interest in the words of former Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans, who memorably described APEC as “four adjectives in search of meaning.”

As in the beginning, APEC could be engaged again in an acute search for coherence. Ironically, Evans was one of the architects or midwives of APEC when it was born in 1989.

This story was originally published by The Manila Times, Philippines

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2018 World Tolerance Day: Executive Director of the Geneva Centre appeals to decision-makers to sign and endorse 2018 World Conference outcome declarationhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/11/2018-world-tolerance-day-executive-director-geneva-centre-appeals-decision-makers-sign-endorse-2018-world-conference-outcome-declaration/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=2018-world-tolerance-day-executive-director-geneva-centre-appeals-decision-makers-sign-endorse-2018-world-conference-outcome-declaration http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/11/2018-world-tolerance-day-executive-director-geneva-centre-appeals-decision-makers-sign-endorse-2018-world-conference-outcome-declaration/#respond Fri, 16 Nov 2018 07:14:00 +0000 Geneva Centre http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=158694 On the occasion of the 2018 World Tolerance Day, the Geneva Centre’s Executive Director Ambassador Idriss Jazairy has called upon decision-makers worldwide to sign and endorse the declaration “Moving towards greater spiritual convergence worldwide in support of equal citizenship rights.” The latter was adopted as an outcome to the 25 June World Conference entitled “Religions, […]

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By Geneva Centre
GENEVA, Nov 16 2018 (Geneva Centre)

On the occasion of the 2018 World Tolerance Day, the Geneva Centre’s Executive Director Ambassador Idriss Jazairy has called upon decision-makers worldwide to sign and endorse the declaration “Moving towards greater spiritual convergence worldwide in support of equal citizenship rights.”

Idriss Jazairy

The latter was adopted as an outcome to the 25 June World Conference entitled “Religions, Creeds and Value Systems: Joining Forces to Enhance Equal Citizenship Rights” held under the Patronage of HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan at the United Nations Office at Geneva. More than 50 Eminent Dignitaries and renowned world leaders from all over the world have signed the World Conference outcome Declaration.

In this connection, the Geneva Centre’s Executive Director stated that in several regions of the world “we have witnessed a steep rise in xenophobia, racism, bigotry and intolerance. Distortion and abuse of religions and faiths – for the purpose of carrying out odious crimes and implementing policies justifying marginalization, exclusion and racism – are being carried out. Altogether, national unity is being undermined in many societies in the MENA region and in Europe.”

Therefore, extremist violence in the MENA region and the populist surge in the developed world has “side-lined global cooperation in favour of protectionist and populist ideas that have gained stronger ground and acceptance among decision-makers.”

To roll-back these ominous trends, religious leaders and international decision-makers must harness their collective energy “to addressing religious intolerance in the pursuit of equal citizenship rights and in the promotion of global citizenship.” “They must capitalize on the convergence between religions, creeds and value systems” – he said – “to mitigate the marginalization of religious and ethnic minorities worldwide. They must remain committed to promoting not only tolerance but full empathy for ‘the Other’ which is another name for peace. The language of peace must prevail over the language of hatred and fear of the Other.”

The Geneva Centre’s Executive Director added that it is high time that all parties join hands to initiate a global effort to ensure that our equally shared humanity is reflected in equal citizenship rights. He therefore called upon decision-makers worldwide to endorse the Declaration on “Moving towards greater spiritual convergence worldwide in support of equal citizenship rights.”

I strongly appeal to international decision-makers to implement the three follow-up actions of the World Conference outcome declaration. The declaration calls for the periodical holding of an annual World Summit on Equal Citizenship Rights, the setting-up of an International Task-Force to review measures implemented by UN member States to promote equal citizenship as well as the inclusion of a special item in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) state report to monitor the implementation of these measures. The World Conference outcome declaration underlines therefore that equal citizenship rights is the gateway to world peace,” Ambassador Jazairy said.

In this context, he praised the decision of the European Centre for Peace and Development – UN University of peace to unanimously adopt a resolution at the XIV International Conference on “A New Human Concept of Security” held on 26 October in Belgrade endorsing the World Conference outcome Declaration.

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G20 Women’s Summit Pushes for Rural Women’s Rightshttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/g20-womens-summit-pushes-rural-womens-rights/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=g20-womens-summit-pushes-rural-womens-rights http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/g20-womens-summit-pushes-rural-womens-rights/#respond Fri, 05 Oct 2018 14:52:59 +0000 Daniel Gutman http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=158026 Rural women play a key role in food production, but face discrimination when it comes to access to land or are subjected to child marriage, the so-called affinity group on gender parity within the G20 concluded during a meeting in the Argentine capital. The situation of rural women was one of the four themes of […]

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Going Full Circle for Growth and the Planethttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/going-full-circle-growth-planet/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=going-full-circle-growth-planet http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/going-full-circle-growth-planet/#respond Fri, 05 Oct 2018 14:04:02 +0000 Li Yong and Hong Joo Hahm http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=158017 LI Yong is Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)

Hong Joo Hahm is Officer-in-Charge of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)

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LI Yong is Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
Hong Joo Hahm is Officer-in-Charge of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)

By Li Yong and Hong Joo Hahm
Oct 5 2018 (IPS)

The business case for making our economy more sustainable is clear. Globally, transitioning to a circular economy – where materials are reused, re-manufactured or recycled-could significantly reduce carbon emissions and deliver over US$1 trillion in material cost savings by 2025.(1) The benefits for Asia and the Pacific would be huge. But to make this happen, the region needs to reconcile its need for economic growth with its ambition for sustainable business.

LI Yong

Today, the way we consume is wasteful. We extract resources, use them to produce goods and services, often wastefully, and then sell them and discard them. However, resources can only stretch so far. By 2050, the global population will reach 10 billion. In the next decade, 2.5 billion new middle-class consumers will enter the fray. If we are to meet their demands and protect the planet, we must disconnect prosperity and well-being from inefficient resource use and extraction. And create a circular economy, making the shift to extending product lifetimes, reusing and recycling in order to turn waste into wealth.

These imperatives underpin the 5th Green Industry Conference held in Bangkok this week, hosted by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in partnership with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Royal Thai government. High-level policymakers, captains of industry and scientists gathered to discuss solutions on how to engineer waste and pollution out of our economy, keep products and materials in use for longer and regenerate the natural system in which we live.

The goal is to embed sustainability into industries which we depend on for our jobs, prosperity and well-being. Action in Asia and the Pacific could make a major difference. Sixty percent of the world’s fastmoving consumer goods are manufactured in the region. Five Asia-Pacific countries account for over half of the plastic in the world’s oceans. The region’s material footprint per unit of Gross Domestic Product is twice the world average and the amount of solid waste generated by Asian cities is expected to double by 2025.

Hong Joo Hahm

If companies could build circular supply chains to reduce material use and increase the rate of reuse, repair, remanufacture and recycling – powered by renewable energy – the value of materials could be maximized. This would cushion businesses, manufacturing industries in particular, from the volatility of commodity prices by decoupling production from finite supplies of primary resources. This is increasingly important as many elements vital for industrial production could become scarce in the coming decades.

With these goals in mind, the United Nations is working with governments and businesses to support innovation and upgrade production technologies to use less materials, energy and water. UNIDO is engaged across industrial sectors, from food production to textiles, from automotive to construction. Over the past twenty-five years, its network of Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production Centres has helped thousands of businesses to “green” their processes and their products. The Global Cleantech initiative has supported entrepreneurs to produce greener building materials. Industrial renewable energy use is being accelerated by the Global Network of Sustainable Energy Centres. New business models such as chemical leasing help reduce chemical emissions. And the creation of eco-industrial parks has contributed to the sustainable development of our towns and cities.

In Asia and the Pacific, the UN is intensifying its efforts to reducing and banning single use plastics. The Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy is implementing programmes to reduce plastics consumption, marine litter and electronics waste, and encourage sustainable procurement practices. UNESCAP is identifying opportunities in Asian cities to return plastic resources into the production cycle by linking waste pickers in the informal economy with local authorities to recover plastic waste and reduce pollution.

The 5t h Green Industry Conference is an opportunity to give scale to these efforts. The gap between our ambition for sustainability and many business practices is significant. So it’s essential for best practice to be shared, common approaches coordinated, and success stories replicated. We need to learn from each other’s businesses to innovate, sharpen our rules and increase consumer awareness. Let’s step up our efforts to build a circular economy in Asia and the Pacific.

(1) World Economic Forum, Towards the Circula r Economy. Available from http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_ENV_TowardsCircularEconomy_Report_2014.pdf

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Excerpt:

LI Yong is Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)

Hong Joo Hahm is Officer-in-Charge of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)

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Alarm raised over Digital Security Acthttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/09/alarm-raised-digital-security-act/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=alarm-raised-digital-security-act http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/09/alarm-raised-digital-security-act/#respond Tue, 25 Sep 2018 09:25:35 +0000 Editor Dailystar http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=157806 The Right to Information Forum (RTI Forum) has expressed deep concerns over the passage of the Digital Security Act 2018 by the Parliament as some of its provisions have been given undue precedence over those of the Right to Information Act 2009. The forum believes that The Digital Security Act, in its present form, will […]

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Illustration: Amiya Halder

By Editor, The Daily Star, Bangladesh
Sep 25 2018 (The Daily Star, Bangladesh)

The Right to Information Forum (RTI Forum) has expressed deep concerns over the passage of the Digital Security Act 2018 by the Parliament as some of its provisions have been given undue precedence over those of the Right to Information Act 2009.

The forum believes that The Digital Security Act, in its present form, will grossly restrict the scope of people’s access to information under the RTI Act which has been widely held as one of the best opportunities created by the government in empowering people to promote transparency and accountability.

In a statement yesterday, the RTI Forum observed that some provisions of the Official Secrets Act 1921 have been included in the Digital Security Act 2018 which directly undermines Section 3 of the RTI Act. Section 3 stipulates that the RTI Act will prevail over any Act that may create obstacles in providing information or is conflicting with provisions of the RTI law.

The Digital Security Act not only contradicts parts of the RTI Act, but also raises questions about the government’s capacity to be consistent in law-making, the forum observed.

It also lamented that the Digital Security Act creates wide opportunities to restrict the space for raising informed public opinions and ensuring transparency and accountability of public institutions, reducing corruption, and establishing good governance as outlined in the preamble of the RTI Act 2009.

The forum further observed that the Digital Security Act is clearly inconsistent with the fundamental constitutional rights to freedom of speech and expression as per Article 39 of the Constitution and, therefore, undermines democracy and human rights, which are among the fundamental principles of state policy.

Bangladesh’s commitment under Sustainable Development Goal 16.10, that obliges the government to promote free flow of information, will also become nationally and internationally questionable, the forum further added.

The RTI Forum, a coalition of more than 45 organisations, played a pivotal role in the enactment of the right to information law in 2009 and has been supporting the government its implementation and promotion since then.

Meanwhile, journalist’s organisation Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU) yesterday expressed grave concerns over the Digital Security Act 2018 as well, saying that some harsh and objectionable provisions in the law would create obstructions in the way of independent journalism.

They also criticised the government for passing the law, while ignoring the concerns and recommendations of journalists.

The organisation urged the government to review the law with the light of the journalists’ recommendations and revoke the objectionable provisions from the law.

In a statement, DRU president Saiful Islam and its joint secretary Moin Uddin Khan said that journalists had been expressing concerns over some provisions ever since the draft was approved in the cabinet meeting.

Journalist leaders demanded to scrap the much-debated provisions from the law after meeting with the ministers concerned and also sent their recommendations to parliamentary standing committee.

“The government also assured the journalists that there would be no such harsh provisions. But the bill was passed in the parliament ignoring the concerns and recommendations of journalists,” the statement added.

The DRU observed that the existence of the RTI Act beside Official Secrets Act is conflicting and enabling the police to exercise unfettered power — to search, seize and arrest anyone without a warrant – may create the risk of harassment for journalists.

“Such provisions are against basic human rights and democracy,” the statement added.

In the meantime, rights body Human Rights Support Society (HRSS) expressed solidarity with the human chain programme called by the Sampadak Parishad (Editors’ Council) that will be formed in front of Jatiya Press Club on September 29.

The organisation requested President Abdul Hamid not to approve the law and urged him to return it for a review.

This story was originally published by The Daily Star, Bangladesh

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