Inter Press ServiceMiddle East & North Africa – Inter Press Service http://www.ipsnews.net News and Views from the Global South Wed, 25 Apr 2018 00:04:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.6 Egyptian Photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid, aka Shawkan, to Receive 2018 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano Press Freedom Prizehttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/04/egyptian-photojournalist-mahmoud-abu-zeid-aka-shawkan-receive-2018-unescoguillermo-cano-press-freedom-prize/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=egyptian-photojournalist-mahmoud-abu-zeid-aka-shawkan-receive-2018-unescoguillermo-cano-press-freedom-prize http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/04/egyptian-photojournalist-mahmoud-abu-zeid-aka-shawkan-receive-2018-unescoguillermo-cano-press-freedom-prize/#respond Mon, 23 Apr 2018 08:29:51 +0000 UNESCO http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=155407 Egyptian photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid, known as Shawkan, has been selected by an independent international jury of media professionals as the laureate of the 2018 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano Press Freedom Prize. Shawkan, a photojournalist, has been in jail since 14 August 2013 when he was arrested while covering a demonstration at Rabaa Al-Adawiya Square in Cairo. […]

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By UNESCO
PARIS, Apr 23 2018 (UNESCO)

Egyptian photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid, known as Shawkan, has been selected by an independent international jury of media professionals as the laureate of the 2018 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano Press Freedom Prize.

“The choice of Mahmoud Abu Zeid pays tribute to his courage, resistance and commitment to freedom of expression,”
Maria Ressa, President of the Jury
Shawkan, a photojournalist, has been in jail since 14 August 2013 when he was arrested while covering a demonstration at Rabaa Al-Adawiya Square in Cairo. In early 2017, the prosecutor in his case reportedly called for the death penalty. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions has qualified his arrest and detention as arbitrary and contrary to the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

“The choice of Mahmoud Abu Zeid pays tribute to his courage, resistance and commitment to freedom of expression,” said Maria Ressa, President of the Jury.

The Prize will be awarded on 2 May on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, celebrated in Ghana this year and whose theme is Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and The Rule of Law.

The Prize (link is external) recognizes a person, organization or institution that has made an outstanding contribution to the defence or promotion of press freedom especially in the face of danger. It is named in honour of Guillermo Cano Isaza, the Colombian journalist who was assassinated in front of the offices of his newspaper El Espectador in Bogotá, Colombia, on 17 December 1986.

Laureates of the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano Prize receive $25,000. The Prize is funded by the Guillermo Cano Isaza Foundation (link is external) (Colombia), the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation (link is external) (Finland), and The Namibia Media Trust.

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UAE calls for global efforts to combat impunity for sexual violence during conflicthttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/04/uae-calls-global-efforts-combat-impunity-sexual-violence-conflict/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=uae-calls-global-efforts-combat-impunity-sexual-violence-conflict http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/04/uae-calls-global-efforts-combat-impunity-sexual-violence-conflict/#respond Wed, 18 Apr 2018 08:00:12 +0000 WAM http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=155345 The UAE has urged the international community to intensify efforts to combat impunity for sexual violence during conflict and reaffirmed its commitment to the UN’s ongoing efforts in addressing these heinous crimes. Lana Zaki Nusseibeh, UAE’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, spoke at the Security Council’s Open Debate on Sexual Violence […]

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UAE calls for global efforts to combat impunity for sexual violence during conflict

By WAM
NEW YORK, Apr 18 2018 (WAM)

The UAE has urged the international community to intensify efforts to combat impunity for sexual violence during conflict and reaffirmed its commitment to the UN’s ongoing efforts in addressing these heinous crimes.

Lana Zaki Nusseibeh, UAE’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, spoke at the Security Council’s Open Debate on Sexual Violence in Conflict, focusing her remarks on prevention through empowerment and gender equality. Ambassador Nusseibeh confirmed that the UAE stands with the UN Secretary-General’s annual report on conflict-related sexual violence, which affirms that women’s physical security is inextricably linked with their political, social, and economic status and rights.

"The UAE believes that smart foreign policy is inclusive foreign policy – one that puts the rights of women front and center and at the heart of our collective response"
Lana Zaki Nusseibeh, UAE's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York


“The importance of gender equality and women’s empowerment cannot be understated in efforts to prevent and respond to these crimes,” stressed Ambassador Nusseibeh. “Gender equality and women’s empowerment – fundamental principles of the UAE’s foreign policy – are core values, which, when woven throughout a society, can prevent violence against women,” she said.

She underscored that although the Council has adopted resolutions recognising that sexual violence is used as a tool of war and a matter of international peace and security, there has been a failure in implementation. She called for strengthening the UN’s response to end these crimes and ensure accountability.

Furthermore, Ambassador Nusseibeh underlined how terrorist groups such as Da’esh have utilised sexual violence to terrorise and displace victims and communities, with civilians living in fear that sexual violence will be used as a weapon of punishment against those who resist Da’esh’s sick world view. In light of these mass atrocities, Ambassador Nusseibeh stated that Member States should be vigilant against the continued risk of the trafficking of women and children who remain under Da’esh’s control.

She also shed light on the alarming plight of the Rohingya population and called on the international community to ensure accountability for these victims – mainly women and girls, but also men and boys – who are unacceptably targeted for their religion or ethnicity.

“The UAE believes that smart foreign policy is inclusive foreign policy – one that puts the rights of women front and center and at the heart of our collective response,” said Nusseibeh. “The UAE will continue to do all that it can to address these crimes, and to continue to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment as a critical element of this agenda,” she concluded.

WAM/Esraa Ismail/Rasha Abubaker

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Sustainable Communities and Climate Change Summit to convene on 22nd Aprilhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/04/sustainable-communities-climate-change-summit-convene-22nd-april/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=sustainable-communities-climate-change-summit-convene-22nd-april http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/04/sustainable-communities-climate-change-summit-convene-22nd-april/#respond Wed, 18 Apr 2018 07:48:48 +0000 WAM http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=155341 Under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, the Sustainable Communities and Climate Change Summit, SCCCS, will be organised by the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, MOCCAE, in partnership with the Dubai Land Department and Majid Al Futtaim, on […]

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Sustainable Communities and Climate Change Summit SCCCS to convene on 22nd April

By WAM
DUBAI, Apr 18 2018 (WAM)

Under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, the Sustainable Communities and Climate Change Summit, SCCCS, will be organised by the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, MOCCAE, in partnership with the Dubai Land Department and Majid Al Futtaim, on 22nd April in Dubai.

The SCCCS 2018 will provide a unique platform to showcase sustainability start-ups, allowing them to pitch their ideas in front of a wide network of supporters. It will also provide an opportunity to launch key regional and global partnerships on sustainable communities and climate change.
The SCCCS is a dedicated platform for stakeholders from different sectors, geographies, and industries to present and discuss major regional and international issues in relation to climate change and other sustainability challenges facing global communities. Over 250 decision-makers and professionals from different cities, national governments, non-governmental organisations, UN bodies, and the private sector will attend this event.

The summit will see a Ministerial Dialogue that will address government responses to challenges and opportunities in relation to climate change and other sustainability issues facing global communities. It will be followed by the Sustainability Leaders Dialogue, where CEOs and leaders from the regional and international private sector will showcase how sustainability can offer investment opportunities, share obstacles faced by those in the sustainability sector and give insight into what businesses can do to become more sustainable.

Another major highlight at the SCCCS will be the Youth Dialogue on Future Skills, which will focus on the importance of “future” skills to prepare youth to future jobs, as well as the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, STEM, for the coming generation. The dialogue will also address the topic of shaping the future for sustainable communities and climate change through the Vision 2021, UAE Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, UAE Green Growth Strategy 2030 and UAE Climate Change Plan 2050.

The SCCCS 2018 will provide a unique platform to showcase sustainability start-ups, allowing them to pitch their ideas in front of a wide network of supporters. It will also provide an opportunity to launch key regional and global partnerships on sustainable communities and climate change.

 

WAM/Nour Salman

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UAE committed to a sustainable future, says Al-Zeyoudihttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/04/uae-committed-sustainable-future-says-al-zeyoudi/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=uae-committed-sustainable-future-says-al-zeyoudi http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/04/uae-committed-sustainable-future-says-al-zeyoudi/#respond Tue, 17 Apr 2018 07:53:41 +0000 WAM http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=155343 Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al-Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, delivered a ministerial address at the Green Business Summit 2018, underlining the numerous sustainability initiatives and environmental programmes being developed and implemented in the UAE. He emphasised that the UAE is well aware of the future impact of climate change and is firmly […]

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UAE committed to a sustainable future, says Al-Zeyoudi

By WAM
ABU DHABI, Apr 17 2018 (WAM)

Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al-Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, delivered a ministerial address at the Green Business Summit 2018, underlining the numerous sustainability initiatives and environmental programmes being developed and implemented in the UAE. He emphasised that the UAE is well aware of the future impact of climate change and is firmly committed to the Paris Agreement. He said that last year the UAE launched its National Climate Change Plan, at the heart of which is the target of generating 27 percent of the country’s energy from clean sources by 2021, and 50 percent by 2050.

The minister also stressed the pivotal role played by the private sector in this transition and how the UAE government is advancing public-private partnerships across numerous sectors to incentivise sustainable practices and support green innovation. He went on to offer a few examples of sustainable initiatives taking place in the UAE, such as DP World’s launch of the Middle East’s largest solar rooftop project.

"Sustainability and green business are the defining issues, the defining themes of our time. It has been roughly two years since the Paris Agreement when the world agreed to cap global emissions to limit climate change and global warming, and it has been two and a half years since the Sustainable Development Goals were ratified by the United Nations. These are rightly seen as seminal moments, a sea-change in our thinking on societies and development. Today we will be asking, how much progress has been made?"
The Green Business Summit 2018 opened in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday with a keynote address by Charles Goddard, The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Asia-Pacific Editorial Director, who welcomed attendees and highlighted the significant opportunities and challenges faced by business leaders, policymakers, and investors as nations around the world strive to adopt sustainable development practices.

Organised by The Economist Events, part of the global English-language weekly newspaper, the first-of-its-kind summit took place at the Rosewood Hotel, Abu Dhabi.

Speaking at the conference, Goddard said, “Sustainability and green business are the defining issues, the defining themes of our time. It has been roughly two years since the Paris Agreement when the world agreed to cap global emissions to limit climate change and global warming, and it has been two and a half years since the Sustainable Development Goals were ratified by the United Nations. These are rightly seen as seminal moments, a sea-change in our thinking on societies and development. Today we will be asking, how much progress has been made?”

Speaking on the subject of green business, he added, “On the important transition of business, there has been some gathering progress in terms of sustainability. Corporate commitments have been made and are beginning to be met. However, despite these positive developments, progress remains fragmented and quite piece-meal. The task ahead is quite daunting.”

Speaking during the first business panel of the day, titled “From responsibility to leadership,” Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary-General of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, EAD, said, “I think we can do more with the private sector, which is why I am here today; it gives us at the Environment Agency a chance to better understand the needs and challenges faced by businesses.”

Commenting on the evolving role of EAD, she added, “It is one thing when government agencies are the only ones responsible for safeguarding the environment, and it is another thing when the private sector shares responsibility for monitoring its impact. Sharing the task of protecting the environment with the private sector increases awareness and understanding of environmental regulation and leads to better outcomes and a cleaner, safer environment for us all this is one of the many ways we can move the needle from compliance to beyond compliance and towards innovation. At the heart of this transition are public-private partnerships, which enable continuous improvement and kick-start innovation.”

Discussing the occasional tension between businesses and environmental protection, Khaleefa Salem Al Mansouri, Under-Secretary of Abu Dhabi’s Department of Economic Development, DED, said, “Sometimes there is a clash between business objectives and maintaining and respecting the environment. However, over the past ten years, we have focused on achieving our economic objectives while at the same time protecting the environment. It is always a challenge, but we are working to find the right formula for businesses and industries to grow while mitigating their impact on the environment.”

Siim Kiisler, Estonia’s Minister of Environment, and Khaled Mohamed Fahmy Abdel Aal, Egypt’s Minister of Environment, hosted a panel discussion on the politics of change. They discussed how policymakers can cultivate sustainable practices through regulatory frameworks and partnerships with the private sector that encourage environmental innovation.

 

WAM/Rola Alghoul/Nour Salman/Tariq alfaham

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Middle East: a Threat to World Peace & Security, Warns UN Chiefhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/04/middle-east-threat-world-peace-security-warns-un-chief/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=middle-east-threat-world-peace-security-warns-un-chief http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/04/middle-east-threat-world-peace-security-warns-un-chief/#comments Fri, 13 Apr 2018 16:47:38 +0000 Antonio Guterres http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=155274 UN Secretary-General António Guterres in an address to the Security Council

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UN Secretary-General António Guterres in an address to the Security Council

By António Guterres
UNITED NATIONS, Apr 13 2018 (IPS)

The situation in the Middle East is in chaos — to such an extent it has become a threat to international peace and security.

The region is facing a true Gordian knot – different fault lines crossing each other and creating a highly volatile situation with risks of escalation, fragmentation and division as far as the eye can see with profound regional and global ramifications.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres. Credit: UN Photo

We see a multiplicity of divides. The first is the memory of the Cold War. But to be precise, it is more than a simple memory.

The Cold War is back — with a vengeance but with a difference. The mechanisms and the safeguards to manage the risks of escalation that existed in the past no longer seem to be present.

Second, the Palestinian-Israeli divide. Third, the Sunni-Shia divide, evident from the Gulf to the Mediterranean. It is important to note that apparent religious divides are normally the result of political or geo-strategic manipulations.

Finally, a wide range of different factors — from opposing attitudes in relation to the role of the Muslim Brotherhood or the status of the Kurds, to the dramatic threats to communities that have been living in the region for millennia and are part of the rich diversity of Middle Eastern societies.

This multiplicity of divides is reflected in a multiplicity of conflicts with different degrees of interconnection, several of them clearly linked to the threat of global terrorism. Many forms of escalation are possible.

We see the wounds of the Palestinian- Israeli conflict deepening once again. The recent violence in Gaza has resulted in many needless deaths and injuries.

I repeat my call for an independent and transparent investigation into these incidents.
I also appeal to those concerned to refrain from any act that could lead to further casualties and, in particular, any measures that could place civilians in harm’s way.

This tragedy underlines the urgency of revitalizing the peace process for a two-state solution that will allow Palestinians and Israelis to live in two democratic states side by side in peace and within secure and recognised borders. I reaffirm the United Nations’ readiness to support these efforts.

In Yemen, we are witnessing the worst humanitarian disaster in today’s world. There is only one pathway to ending the Yemeni conflict and addressing the humanitarian crisis – a negotiated political settlement through inclusive intra-Yemeni dialogue.

My Special Envoy Martin Griffiths is doing everything possible to facilitate that political settlement — and he will brief the Council next week.

In Libya, I encourage all parties to continue to work with my Special Representative Ghassan Salamé, as he engages in the political process with a broad range of Libyan interlocutors across the country to implement the UN Action Plan. It is high time to end the Libyan conflict.

Iraq demonstrates that progress is possible with concerted local, regional and global commitment. With the defeat of Daesh, and after overcoming the risk of fragmentation, the Government of Iraq must now focus on reconstruction, reforms and reconciliation. I hope the upcoming elections will consolidate this progress.

At the recent Paris and Rome conferences, the international community reaffirmed its support for Lebanon’s sovereignty, stability and state security institutions.

It is absolutely essential to avoid a new Israel-Hezbollah conflict that could inevitably result in many more victims and much greater destruction than the last war.

I reiterate the critical importance to act on key principles and commitments on Lebanon, including Security Council resolutions such as 1701, and the policy of disassociation. The dangers of the links to the Syrian conflict are evident in the recent confrontations between Iran and Israel in Syria.

Syria indeed today represents the most serious threat to international peace and security.

In Syria, we see confrontations and proxy wars involving several national armies, a number of armed opposition groups, many national and international militia, foreign fighters from everywhere in the world, and various terrorist organizations.

From the beginning, we have witnessed systematic violations of international humanitarian law, international human rights law, and international law tout court — in utter disregard of the letter and spirit of the United Nations Charter.

For eight long years, the people of Syria have endured suffering upon suffering. I reiterate: there is no military solution to the conflict.

The solution must be political through the Geneva intra-Syrian talks, as stipulated in resolution 2254 of the Security Council, in line with the consistent efforts of my Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura.

Syrians have lived through a litany of horrors: atrocity crimes, sieges, starvation, indiscriminate attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure, the use of chemical weapons, forced displacement, sexual violence, torture, detention and enforced disappearances. The list goes on.

In a moment of hope, the Security Council adopted resolution 2401 demanding that all parties cease hostilities without delay for a durable humanitarian pause.

Unfortunately, no such cessation of hostilities ever really took place. That is the bleak panorama of Syria today.

In this panorama, I am outraged by the continued reports of the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

I reiterate my strong condemnation of the use of chemical weapons by any party to the conflict and under any circumstances. Their use is abhorrent and a clear violation of international law.

The seriousness of the recent allegations requires a thorough investigation using impartial, independent and professional expertise.

In this regard, I reaffirm my full support for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons – the OPCW — and its Fact-Finding Mission in undertaking the required investigation into these allegations.

The Fact-Finding Mission should be granted full access, without any restrictions or impediments to perform its activities. I take note that the Syrian government has requested it and committed to facilitate it.

The first team of the OPCW is already in Syria. A second is expected today or tomorrow. But we need to go further.

In a letter to the Council two days ago, I expressed “my deep disappointment that the Security Council was unable to agree upon a dedicated mechanism to attribute responsibility for the use of chemical weapons in Syria”, following the end of the mandate of the Joint Investigative Mechanism, or JIM.

I want to repeat today that the norms against chemical weapons must be upheld.

As I wrote in the same letter: “Ensuring accountability for a confirmed use of chemical weapons is our responsibility, not least to the victims of such attacks.

A lack of accountability emboldens those who would use such weapons by providing them with the reassurance of impunity. This in turn further weakens the norm proscribing the use of chemical weapons and the international disarmament and non-proliferation architecture as a whole.

I urge all Member States to act responsibly in these dangerous circumstances.

I appeal to the Security Council to fulfil its duties and not give up on efforts to agree upon a dedicated, impartial, objective and independent mechanism for attributing responsibility with regard to the use of chemical weapons. I stand ready to support such efforts.”

Increasing tensions and the inability to reach a compromise in the establishment of an accountability mechanism threaten to lead to a full-blown military escalation.

In my contacts with you — especially with the Permanent Members of the Security Council — I have been reiterating my deep concerns about the risks of the current impasse and stressed the need to avoid the situation spiralling out of control.

This is exactly the risk we face today – that things spiral out of control. It is our common duty to stop it.

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UN Secretary-General António Guterres in an address to the Security Council

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Food Is the Answer: Perugia International Journalism Festivalhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/04/food-answer-perugia-international-journalism-festival/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=food-answer-perugia-international-journalism-festival http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/04/food-answer-perugia-international-journalism-festival/#comments Fri, 13 Apr 2018 14:59:00 +0000 IPS World Desk http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=155266 The twelfth International Journalism Festival on April 12-15 has drawn 710 speakers from 50 different countries, becoming the biggest journalism festival in Europe. A panel discussion titled “End poverty, protect the planet, ensure prosperity for all? Food is the answer” took place on the opening day in the Sala del Dottorato hall in the center […]

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Food Is the Answer: Perugia International Journalism Festival

Credit: Riccardo Gregori – Penumbria Studio #ijf18

By IPS World Desk
PERUGIA, Italy, Apr 13 2018 (IPS)

The twelfth International Journalism Festival on April 12-15 has drawn 710 speakers from 50 different countries, becoming the biggest journalism festival in Europe.

A panel discussion titled “End poverty, protect the planet, ensure prosperity for all? Food is the answer” took place on the opening day in the Sala del Dottorato hall in the center of Perugia, held under the auspices of the Barilla Centre for Food and Nutrition (BCFN).

Lucio Caracciolo, President and Director of MacroGeo and Limes, presented a report prepared by the BCFN Foundation in collaboration with MacroGeo and CMCC (Centro euro-Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici). The report “Food & Migration: Understanding the geopolitical nexus in the Euro-Mediterranean” , is a research tool “to explore through a geopolitical perspective, flows and trends of the current and future nexus of migration and food in specific areas, particularly the Mediterranean countries.”

Caracciolo emphasized the deep links between migration flows and food security in the Mediterranean region and how addressing the latter could be part of the solution to the former.

Luca di Leo, Head of Communications at BCFN, highlighted the crucial importance of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the UN, shedding light on the clear linkages between the 17 SDGs and food choices.

The Director General of IPS Farhana Haque Rahman and IPS Data Analyst Maged Srour participated as panellists.

Food systems are facing the enormous challenge of feeding increasingly growing and urbanised populations generally demanding a more environmentally intensive diet, while restoring and preserving ecosystems for the health of the planet.


Haque Rahman spoke about the urgent need to enhance the capacity of developing country journalists for them to be able to write analytical commentary to enhance awareness of communities on food sustainability and climate change and influence the food choices of the general public while also drawing attention of decision makers to take the right measure on policies.

She highlighted media capacity building and training undertaken by IPS on the SDGs in both developed and developing countries. The IPS Director-General shed light on the importance of giving access to ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies) to poor farmers to enable them to better manage planting and marketing their products.

Maged Srour explained the nexus between water and security (the latter in terms of geopolitical security). Srour shared data on water insecurity, specifically in the Mediterranean region, and went on to explain how the increase in variability of water resources also affects the way countries interact.

“Most of the water in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region is actually shared by two or more nations. So, at the moment we also have climate change hitting this area and consequently an increase in water stress. This obviously increases tensions among those states,” he said.

“Climate change, in combination with the increasing population of the world, is definitely a source of instability which could exacerbate migration flows, and could become fertile grounds for extremism and for conflict,” he warned.

The Mediterranean region was at the heart of the panel discussions with most of the speakers discussing the nexus of food security, water security, climate change, migration and geopolitical security in the region.

Ludovica Principato, a researcher at the Barilla Foundation, presented data and in depth analyses on the Food Sustainability Index, which was developed in collaboration between the BCFN Foundation and the Economist Intelligence Unit, to promote knowledge on food sustainability. The index is a global study that measures facts on nutrition, sustainable agriculture and food waste, collecting data from 34 countries across the world.

“Food systems,” said Principato, “are facing the enormous challenge of feeding increasingly growing and urbanised populations generally demanding a more environmentally intensive diet, while restoring and preserving ecosystems for the health of the planet.”

IPS Director General Farhana Haque Rahman spoke about IPS’s work since it was founded in 1964, especially capacity building activities across the world to raise awareness of communities on topics such as food sustainability and climate change. She shed light on the importance of ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies) in the enhancement of sustainable farming and in the overall communication among smallholder farmers to become more productive and consequently climb out of poverty.

Laura Garzoli presented an innovative project which won the 2017 BCFN YES! (Young Earth Solutions) award granted by the BCFN Foundation to encourage innovative projects in the field of food sustainability.

Garzoli’s project, YES!BAT, “promotes Integrated Pest Management strategy to enhance ecosystem services provided by bats in rice agroecosystems”. Employing bat boxes in rice fields, it encourages insect-eating bats into areas where there are few roosting sites.

For those who missed the conference, it was live-streamed and is available here:

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MOCCAE launches smart use of plastics campaignhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/04/moccae-launches-smart-use-plastics-campaign/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=moccae-launches-smart-use-plastics-campaign http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/04/moccae-launches-smart-use-plastics-campaign/#respond Wed, 11 Apr 2018 09:19:39 +0000 WAM http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=155250 The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, MOCCAE, in collaboration with some public and private entities, has launched the ‘Responsible Consumption for Sustainable Future’ awareness campaign, with the theme, ‘Preserving our Environment: Smart Use of Plastic’. Coinciding with Earth Day, the campaign is geared towards raising awareness on green practices that promote the principles of […]

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MOCCAE launches smart use of plastics campaign

By WAM
DUBAI, Apr 11 2018 (WAM)

The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, MOCCAE, in collaboration with some public and private entities, has launched the ‘Responsible Consumption for Sustainable Future’ awareness campaign, with the theme, ‘Preserving our Environment: Smart Use of Plastic’.

Coinciding with Earth Day, the campaign is geared towards raising awareness on green practices that promote the principles of the 3 R’s; Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle, when using and disposing of plastic products at both a corporate-wide or personal levels.

"We all have the responsibility to ensure the smart use of plastic by raising awareness on the principles of the 3 R’s; Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, which in turn will contribute to a better future for our children and future generations"

Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment



Running until 26th April, the campaign takes two approaches, the first approach involves coordination with federal and local government entities that are in direct interaction with consumers, particularly students, and retailers, to raise their awareness of smart plastic use and disposal methods through workshops and seminars.

The second approach directly targets consumers by posting a visual series of global facts and figures in addition to eco-tips on social media.

Commenting on the campaign, Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said, “Plastic products are an integral part of many industries and sectors in the UAE that are important for our livelihoods. Therefore, we all have the responsibility to ensure the smart use of plastic by raising awareness on the principles of the 3 R’s; Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, which in turn will contribute to a better future for our children and future generations.

“As the UAE’s prudent leadership realises the importance of spreading awareness of rationalising commodities and materials’ consumption, many initiatives have been rolled out over the years to educate the public on the smart practices and benefits of reducing, reusing and recycling plastic products.

“Such initiatives have positioned the UAE as a leader in the GCC in plastic waste recycling, as a survey commissioned by the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association revealed that the UAE scored the highest among other GCC states in terms of residents knowledge of which plastics could be recycled and correctly matching plastic products with the recycle code,” he noted.

Earth Day, celebrated every year on the 22nd April, is held this year with the theme ‘End Plastic Pollution’ to educate, inspire and mobilise communities to better manage their use and disposal of plastics.

 

WAM/Elsadig Idriss/Nour Salman

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Etihad ESCO plans to reduce more than one million tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2030http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/04/etihad-esco-plans-reduce-one-million-tonnes-carbon-dioxide-2030/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=etihad-esco-plans-reduce-one-million-tonnes-carbon-dioxide-2030 http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/04/etihad-esco-plans-reduce-one-million-tonnes-carbon-dioxide-2030/#respond Wed, 11 Apr 2018 08:50:11 +0000 WAM http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=155247 More than one million tonnes of carbon dioxide will be reduced by 2030 and 1.7 TWh of electricity will be saved by the same year in Dubai, according to the new targets revealed by Dubai’s Etihad Energy Services Company (Etihad ESCO). Speaking at the 4th annual RetrofitTech Dubai Summit & Awards, Ali Al-Jassim, CEO of […]

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By WAM
DUBAI, Apr 11 2018 (WAM)

More than one million tonnes of carbon dioxide will be reduced by 2030 and 1.7 TWh of electricity will be saved by the same year in Dubai, according to the new targets revealed by Dubai’s Etihad Energy Services Company (Etihad ESCO).

Speaking at the 4th annual RetrofitTech Dubai Summit & Awards, Ali Al-Jassim, CEO of Etihad ESCO, revealed targets to have 5.6bn imperial gallons of water saved by 2030 through new initiatives. Solar projects were also a key focus of the event which showed that 1,000 kWp will be generated on the rooftops of Dubai World Trade Center as well as 3,000 kWp from solar panels on the roofs of 640 villas in Hatta. Al-Jassim focused on how through such projects, Dubai will become a role model in energy efficiency by implementing cost-effective electricity and water demand saving measures, as well as developing a green service market.

"It is important that we continue raising awareness in Dubai on the benefits of retrofitting and its positive impact on the environment"

Ali Al-Jassim, CEO of Etihad ESCO

He also stated that the partnership with the British University in Dubai, supported by Dubai Supreme Council, is a complete success embracing training programs for executive managers, engineers, technicians and financiers. The program is planned to add the solar sector and reach out to the GCC countries.

DEWA has made 30 per cent energy savings through retrofit projects as well as US$544,520 a year in monetary savings. This was a result of replacement of chiller plants, significant retrofit of HVAC systems and retrofit of seven DEWA buildings in Dubai.

Al-Jassim added, “It is important that we continue raising awareness in Dubai on the benefits of retrofitting and its positive impact on the environment. We are working closely with residential groups, government, commercial entities and industrial organisations to provide support and assistance on education around energy efficiency and sustainability.

“We have launched the Dubai Energy Efficiency Training Program, which is a consortium of three local and international partners who will deliver 19 training sessions, offering 12 certifications for members. Initiatives like these will help educate and motivate people to consider changes in technology that will lead to more energy efficient buildings across the emirate.”

It was also revealed for the first time that Etihad ESCO has signed its first project outside of Dubai in Abu Dhabi to retrofit two industrial facilities.

Another significant announcement was that Etihad ESCO will now manage the building labelling scheme for existing buildings under the leadership of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy and the regulation of Dubai RSB.

The Dubai Supreme Council of Energy has set the goal of reducing energy demand by 30 per cent by 2030 and to retrofit 30,000 buildings by the same year. Retrofitting and refurbishing existing buildings have been identified as core strategies to reduce overall energy demand.

WAM/Tariq alfaham/Hassan Bashir

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UAE named world’s largest humanitarian donor for fifth straight yearhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/04/uae-named-worlds-largest-humanitarian-donor-fifth-straight-year/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=uae-named-worlds-largest-humanitarian-donor-fifth-straight-year http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/04/uae-named-worlds-largest-humanitarian-donor-fifth-straight-year/#respond Mon, 09 Apr 2018 09:07:24 +0000 WAM http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=155248 The UAE has been named the world’s largest donor of development assistance in proportion to its gross national income for the fifth year running, according to the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development. The UAE exceeded the United Nations’ target of 0.7 percent official development assistance in proportion to its […]

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By WAM
ABU DHABI, Apr 9 2018 (WAM)

The UAE has been named the world’s largest donor of development assistance in proportion to its gross national income for the fifth year running, according to the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development.

The UAE exceeded the United Nations’ target of 0.7 percent official development assistance in proportion to its GNI ratio by donating AED19.32 billion, a growth of 18.1 percent over 2016, representing 1.31 percent of its GNI for official development assistance in 2017.

Up to 54 percent of the value of the aid is non refundable grants that are aimed at supporting the developmental plans of the beneficiaries, which totalled 147 countries, 40 of which are among the least developed in different world continents.

The UAE exceeded the United Nations’ target of 0.7 percent official development assistance in proportion to its GNI ratio by donating AED19.32 billion, a growth of 18.1 percent over 2016, representing 1.31 percent of its GNI for official development assistance in 2017.


Asia got AED8.28 billion, or 43 percent of the development aid, followed by Africa which got AED5.44 billion or 28 percent of the support. Yemen got the lion’s share of aid in Asia, receiving AED2.97 billion, which accounts for around one third of the aid channeled to the Asian nations.

More than 94 percent of the support is development aid worth AED18.3 billion, 68 percent of which has been channeled to public aid programmes to help the beneficiaries maintain their balances of payments, ensure financial stability and strengthen infrastructure enterprises, in areas of transportation, health, education and renewable energy.

H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, spoke of the UAE’s legacy of supporting international development efforts and responding to global crises. He credited the country’s leadership for its generous contributions to all international development arenas.

He noted that the UAE has been since its establishment contributing to supporting international sustainable development efforts and humanitarian response to global crises and disasters.

He added that this was based on the humanitarian philosophy of the UAE’s wise leadership, and generous contributions in the past decades to all international development arenas.

The UAE support secured, he said, the lives of millions of people around the world, establishing international peace and security, creating better opportunities and a brighter future for people in developing countries.

The vision and aspirations of our wise leadership to support and assist needy people and countries have established the UAE’s stature as the leading international donor of official development aid and its first place internationally in 2017, after achieving this position for last five years.

For her part, Reem bint Ebrahim Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation, said, the vision and aspirations of “our wise leadership to support and assist needy people and countries have established the UAE’s stature as the world’s leading international donor of official development aid for five years in a row.

“This accomplishment confirms that the UAE is increasing its humanitarian support and response and is playing an effective role in achieving the sustainable development goals of its partner countries, as well as improving the lives of people, in light of the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to promote the values of helping the needy and the concept of giving, which were established by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. It is no surprise that this accomplishment coincides with our celebration of the centennial of Sheikh Zayed and announcement that 2018 is the Year of Zayed.”

She added that these accomplishments are a substantial proof that the UAE has clear visions and plans to improve the intended impact of its assistance, whether to ease the tough humanitarian conditions or to support fragile and weak communities, through projects that comply with the country’s sustainable developmental goals and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which focuses on clear and specific issues, such as combatting hunger and poverty and empowering women and girls.

A key feature of the UAE’s foreign assistance policy is its goal to achieve the sustainable development of countries that receive UAE aid, which will help ensure global peace and prosperity, the minister noted.

 

WAM/Hatem Mohamed/Hassan Bashir

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“International Solidarity” at Yemen Donor Conferencehttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/04/international-solidarity-yemen-donor-conference/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=international-solidarity-yemen-donor-conference http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/04/international-solidarity-yemen-donor-conference/#respond Thu, 05 Apr 2018 15:55:56 +0000 Tharanga Yakupitiyage http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=155181 The international community has pledged over two billion dollars towards urgently needed humanitarian assistance to Yemen during a UN event. Convened by the UN along with the Governments of Sweden and Switzerland, a High-Level Pledging Event brought together the international community to support suffering Yemenis facing a seemingly “forgotten war.” “This pledging conference represents a […]

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Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud (second from left) signs a Voluntary Financial Contribution Memorandum between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Nations to the 2018 Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan. Credit: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

By Tharanga Yakupitiyage
UNITED NATIONS, Apr 5 2018 (IPS)

The international community has pledged over two billion dollars towards urgently needed humanitarian assistance to Yemen during a UN event.

Convened by the UN along with the Governments of Sweden and Switzerland, a High-Level Pledging Event brought together the international community to support suffering Yemenis facing a seemingly “forgotten war.”

“This pledging conference represents a remarkable success of international solidarity to the people of Yemen,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

“Yemen’s situation today is catastrophic. But with international support, we can and must prevent this country from becoming a long-term tragedy,” he added.

Forty countries and organizations pledged 2.01 billion dollars towards the 2018 Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan (YHRP) which requested 2.96 billion for lifesaving assistance to 13 million people across the Middle Eastern nation.

Last year’s donor conference raised 1.1 billion dollars in aid.

With the destructive conflict soon entering its fourth year, Yemen has become one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), more than 22 million people, or 75 percent of the population, are in need of humanitarian assistance.

Though both sides are complicit, a Saudi Arabian-imposed blockade has particularly led to severe shortages in food, medicine, and other basic needs.

Approximately 18 million are food-insecure, including over 8 million who are on the brink of famine, and the lack of access to water has led to the world’s largest cholera epidemic.

With the rainy season soon to commence, many are concerned that the number of cholera cases will multiply yet again.

While humanitarian resources are extremely important in saving lives, they are not enough, said Guterres.

“We need unrestricted access everywhere inside Yemen and we need all the parties to the conflict to respect international humanitarian law, and to protect civilians,” he continued.

Both Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden Isabella Lovin and Switzerland’s Vice President Ueli Maurer echoed similar sentiments.

“Humanitarian aid alone cannot be the response to the growing needs of the Yemeni people endangered by the armed conflict,” Maurer said.

In addition to unfettered aid access, the hosts highlighted the need for a political process and a political solution.

Though efforts continue to try to bring warring parties to the negotiating table, attacks persist, terrorizing the people of Yemen.

Most recently, an air strike by the Saudi-led coalition left 12 people dead in the coastal city of Hodeidah. Houthi forces later retaliated by targeting the southern region of Saudi Arabia with a missile.

Groups such as Human Rights Watch and a number of UN experts have pointed to the Saudi-led coalition’s indiscriminate air strikes as disproportionately affecting civilians over the last year.

Meanwhile, among the generous donors at the conference are Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – who have fueled Yemen’s conflict. The two countries donated 930 million dolars, one of the biggest contributions the UN has ever received, prompting the UN Security Council to consider a British proposal praising the Middle Eastern nations.

The move, however, has raised ethical questions among many.

“The Security Council should be naming and shaming everyone,” said Human Rights Watch’s UN Director Louis Charbonneau.

“A statement that condemns one side, the Houthis, but doesn’t even mention the abuses of the other, the Saudi-led coalition, simply nurtures the atmosphere of impunity,” he added.

Guterres called for the full respect for international humanitarian law and an inclusive intra-Yemeni dialogue.

“Millions of people depend for their survival on the decisions we take today,” he concluded.

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4th Islamic Economy Fiqh Forum to discuss impact of digital economy, fourth revolution on Muslims’ lifestylehttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/04/4th-islamic-economy-fiqh-forum-discuss-impact-digital-economy-fourth-revolution-muslims-lifestyle/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=4th-islamic-economy-fiqh-forum-discuss-impact-digital-economy-fourth-revolution-muslims-lifestyle http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/04/4th-islamic-economy-fiqh-forum-discuss-impact-digital-economy-fourth-revolution-muslims-lifestyle/#respond Thu, 05 Apr 2018 12:04:46 +0000 WAM http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=155167 The 4th Islamic Economy Fiqh Forum 2018 will highlight innovation and happiness in the Islamic lifestyle and impact of digital economy and fourth revolution on the Muslims’ life, organisers said today. To be held from the 22nd and 23rd of April, 2018, the Forum is organised the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department (IACAD) and […]

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By WAM
DUBAI, Apr 5 2018 (WAM)

The 4th Islamic Economy Fiqh Forum 2018 will highlight innovation and happiness in the Islamic lifestyle and impact of digital economy and fourth revolution on the Muslims’ life, organisers said today.

"33 research papers will analyse the influence of digital economy, fourth industrial revolution and investment opportunities on the Islamic lifestyle"

Dr. Hamad Al Shaibani, Director General of IACAD
To be held from the 22nd and 23rd of April, 2018, the Forum is organised the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department (IACAD) and the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC) under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council.

Dr. Hamad Al Shaibani, Director General of IACAD, and Chairman of the Forum’s Organising Committee, said the conference will be convened as part of the UAE’s strategy to explore the future opportunities and challenges in the vital sectors, with a focus on the Islamic economy, in order to launch proactive plans that serve the nation’s interest and quest to be among the best countries in the world.

”The forum comes within efforts being exerted by the Government of Dubai and the initiative launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to make the capital ‘World Islamic Economy’, ” he told a press conference held in Dubai to announce details of the event.

Al Shaibani added that 33 research papers will analyse the influence of digital economy, fourth industrial revolution and investment opportunities on the Islamic lifestyle.

Speakers will also spot light on innovative Islamic arts and designs and best practices and their impact on future Islamic museums, economy and architecture.

”Regulations regarding Islamic fashion and dress as well as robotics, media programmes and filmmaking on Islamic perspective will also come under microscope,” he added.

He went to say that family tourism and Islamic culture as well as Islamic financial facilities for this type of tourism will also be discussed.

 

WAM/Tariq alfaham

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EU, IOM advance strategic dialogue on migration challengeshttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/04/eu-iom-advance-strategic-dialogue-migration-challenges/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=eu-iom-advance-strategic-dialogue-migration-challenges http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/04/eu-iom-advance-strategic-dialogue-migration-challenges/#respond Thu, 05 Apr 2018 11:45:25 +0000 WAM http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=155165 Senior officials from the European Union, EU, and the UN’s International Organisation for Migration, IOM, discussed in a meeting on Wednesday in Brussels ways to strengthen cooperation on some of the most pressing European and global migration issues, including better protection of vulnerable migrants, the challenge of managing mixed migration flows, and the Global Compact […]

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EU, IOM advance strategic dialogue on migration challenges

By WAM
BRUSSELS, Apr 5 2018 (WAM)

Senior officials from the European Union, EU, and the UN’s International Organisation for Migration, IOM, discussed in a meeting on Wednesday in Brussels ways to strengthen cooperation on some of the most pressing European and global migration issues, including better protection of vulnerable migrants, the challenge of managing mixed migration flows, and the Global Compact for Migration.

"This is an absolutely critical year for unity in defining migration policy globally. The issues at stake touch all of us, from vast regions, large and small countries, to the most vulnerable of migrants,"

IOM Director-General William Lacy Swing

Ahead of the meeting, IOM Director-General William Lacy Swing welcomed the continued strategic dialogue between IOM and the EU, particularly at a time when migration challenges and opportunities lead the political debate and are a fixture on global and European agendas.

“This is an absolutely critical year for unity in defining migration policy globally. The issues at stake touch all of us, from vast regions, large and small countries, to the most vulnerable of migrants,” said Ambassador Swing.

“We have a historic opportunity to build a system for human mobility where people can move safely, legally and voluntarily, in full respect of their human rights. We particularly need to make headway in addressing the movement of the most vulnerable migrants with specific protection needs,” he added.

This year’s meeting – the fifth of its kind since the launch of the EU-IOM Strategic Cooperation Framework in 2012 – is being hosted by Christian Danielsson, Director-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement at the European Commission (DG NEAR).

The EU-IOM meeting takes place in the lead up to the landmark adoption of a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration in December. Ambassador Swing underlined that the EU and its Member States have the expertise and experience to take a leading role in the negotiations for the Global Compact for Migration.

“We are optimistic that with EU leadership, we will reach an agreement that provides a unifying framework of common principles, commitments and understanding among Member States on all aspects of migration,” said Swing.

[Image credit: International Organisation for Migration, IOM]

 

WAM/Esraa Ismail/Rasha Abubaker

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Dubai Electricity and Water Authority highlights media role in achieving sustainable developmenthttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/04/dubai-electricity-water-authority-highlights-media-role-achieving-sustainable-development/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=dubai-electricity-water-authority-highlights-media-role-achieving-sustainable-development http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/04/dubai-electricity-water-authority-highlights-media-role-achieving-sustainable-development/#respond Wed, 04 Apr 2018 12:38:27 +0000 WAM http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=155168 Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, DEWA, has highlighted the key role that the media plays in highlighting environmentally-friendly practices that contribute to achieving sustainable development and the acceleration of the shift to a green economy. Al Tayer made these remarks during DEWA’s participation as Sustainability Partner in […]

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DEWA highlights media role in achieving sustainable development

By WAM
DUBAI, Apr 4 2018 (WAM)

Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, DEWA, has highlighted the key role that the media plays in highlighting environmentally-friendly practices that contribute to achieving sustainable development and the acceleration of the shift to a green economy.

"The media plays a key role in supporting and enhancing sustainability and spreading a culture of the rational use and conservation of natural resources."
Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, DEWA
Al Tayer made these remarks during DEWA’s participation as Sustainability Partner in the 17th Arab Media Forum, AMF, organised by Dubai Press Club, under the theme ‘Impactful Media Trends’.

He said, “DEWA gives great importance to environmental sustainability and the shift towards renewable and clean energy. This supports the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, which was launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to provide 75% of Dubai’s energy from clean energy sources by 2050.

“Sustainability is a key issue that contributes to enhancing social, economic and environmental development. The forum is an opportunity to connect with Arab and international media organisations. It also provides an interactive platform for media professionals to spread meaningful messages that address sustainability, for which our wise leadership attaches great importance.

“The media plays a key role in supporting and enhancing sustainability and spreading a culture of the rational use and conservation of natural resources. This is done by introducing society members to the principles of responsible and sustainable consumption of resources, and spreading awareness on the best eco-friendly practices, and the importance of conservation of energy and water to make conservation an essential part of people’s daily lives,” added Al Tayer.

 

WAM/Esraa Ismail

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Yemen the World’s Worst Humanitarian Crisis, Says UN Chiefhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/04/yemen-worlds-worst-humanitarian-crisis-says-un-chief/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=yemen-worlds-worst-humanitarian-crisis-says-un-chief http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/04/yemen-worlds-worst-humanitarian-crisis-says-un-chief/#respond Wed, 04 Apr 2018 08:10:17 +0000 Antonio Guterres http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=155143 Secretary-General António Guterres, in his address to the Pledging Conference on Yemen.

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A young boy runs with his tyre past buildings damaged by airstrikes in Saada Old Town. Credit: Giles Clarke/OCHA

By António Guterres
GENEVA, Apr 4 2018 (IPS)

Thank you all for being here today to show your solidarity with the women, men, girls and boys of Yemen. And I want to thank my co-chairs, the Governments of Sweden and Switzerland, for hosting this conference for the second year and for their continued humanitarian commitment.

Yemen is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. As the conflict enters its fourth year, more than 22 million people – three-quarters of the population – need humanitarian aid and protection.

Some 18 million people are food insecure; one million more than when we convened last year. And a horrifying 8.4 million of these people do not know how they will obtain their next meal.

Millions of Yemenis do not have access to safe drinking water. Last year, 1 million people suffered from watery diarrhoea and cholera. Half of all health facilities are shut or not working properly, meaning there is a high risk of another cholera epidemic.

Treatable illnesses become a death sentence when local health services are suspended and it is impossible to travel outside the country. Civilians have been facing indiscriminate attacks, bombing, snipers, unexploded ordnance, cross-fire, kidnapping, rape and arbitrary detention.

Every ten minutes, a child under five dies of preventable causes. And nearly 3 million children under 5 and pregnant or lactating women are acutely malnourished. Nearly half of all children aged between six months and 5 years old are chronically malnourished and suffer from stunting, which causes development delays and reduced ability to learn throughout their entire lives.

Some two million children are out of school, and 2,500 schools have been destroyed or are not being used for their original purpose.

Children are being forcibly recruited to fight, or put to work to support their families. And families across the country are sliding into debt and coping in any way they can. Child marriage rates have escalated; nearly two-thirds of girls are married before the age of 18, and many before they are 15.

Three-quarters of displaced people are women and children, and women and girls among them face an increased risk of sexual and gender-based violence. And the number of women accessing services for gender-based violence has risen by at least 30 per cent, despite social constraints on reporting.

And these facts represent only a snapshot of the devastation.

Yemen’s situation today is catastrophic. But with international support, we can and must prevent this country from becoming a long-term tragedy.

The 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan for Yemen requires $2.96 billion to reach more than 13 million people across the country.

And we have a strong foundation on which to build. The humanitarian operation has expanded dramatically. At the start of last year, partners were reaching 3 million people per month with food assistance. By August, we were reaching more than 7 million people every month.

At the height of the cholera epidemic, more than 1,000 oral rehydration centres and 234 diarrhoea treatment centres were in operation – up from only 25 such centres earlier in this year.

Thanks to humanitarian agencies and our partners, the cholera epidemic has been contained and famine – even if famine is a technical concept that does not really describe the reality as many, many people are hungry – but famine has so far been averted, although there is no room for complacency on either count.

Your generosity made this work possible. But your generosity is well-deserved by the Yemeni people. In my capacity as High Commissioner for Refugees and during more than 10 years, I worked closely with Yemen.

Yemen has always received Somali refugees in big numbers coming to the country, and granting them prima facie refugee status, something that unfortunately, many other countries around the world refused to do, even if their resources and capacities are much larger than the resources and capacities of the Yemeni people.

The Yemeni people has always been extremely generous to those that came to Yemen in search of protection and assistance. And so our generosity is also a duty to match the generosity that Yemenis always have shown to those in need that have been able to seek their protection.

Last year’s donor conference raised $1.1 billion for humanitarian action in Yemen. This year, the United Nations and our partners on the ground are ready to do everything possible to expand our support even further. But we need resources.

Donors have already stepped forward. The governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have generously provided $930 million for the Humanitarian Response Plan. They have also pledged to secure an additional $500 million from the region. And I deeply thank them.

Other donors have contributed some $293 million. This means that we have already met 40 per cent of our requirements for the year.

But the scale of suffering that we see in Yemen requires rapid, full funding for the 2018 response plan. And the plan is prioritized so that every dollar goes where it is urgently needed. I urge all to do whatever it is possible because the Yemeni people needs and deserves it.

My second message here today is that humanitarians must be able to reach the people who need help and to do so without conditions. Humanitarian agencies and their partners need full and unconditional access at all times. But humanitarian agencies report access constraints in 90 percent of districts in Yemen.

All ports must remain open to humanitarian and commercial cargo for the medicines, the food and the fuel needed to deliver them. And Sana’a airport is also a lifeline that must be kept open.

It is vital to provide safe, unimpeded, unrestricted humanitarian access to all parts of the country. And the Yemen Comprehensive Humanitarian Operations Plan recently announced in Riyadh was an important step in this direction.

My final message is possibly the most important of all. We must see action to end the conflict.

This war is causing enormous human suffering to some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world, and there are no humanitarian solutions to humanitarian crises.

A negotiated political settlement through inclusive intra-Yemeni dialogue is the only solution. And I urge all parties to engage with my new Special Envoy, Martin Griffiths, without delay.

And I reiterate my call for full respect for international humanitarian law and the protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure.

Meanwhile, millions of people depend for their survival on the decisions we take today. And I hope you will match your participation here with action, to support humanitarian operations and to move decisively towards lasting peace in Yemen.

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Excerpt:

Secretary-General António Guterres, in his address to the Pledging Conference on Yemen.

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I Am a Migrant: Integrating Through Syrian ‘Hummus’http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/04/migrant-integrating-syrian-hummus/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=migrant-integrating-syrian-hummus http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/04/migrant-integrating-syrian-hummus/#respond Wed, 04 Apr 2018 07:45:46 +0000 Maged Srour http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=155140 Khaled left Syria in 2015, when his country was already in its fourth year of war. He is 27 years old and can clearly remember what his life was like then in Damascus: a happy life, with a happy family, in a happy country. Despite coming from a land now devastated by war, Khaled does […]

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Washington’s Ambiguity Equals De Facto Sanctions On Teheranhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/03/washingtons-ambiguity-equals-de-facto-sanctions-teheran/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=washingtons-ambiguity-equals-de-facto-sanctions-teheran http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/03/washingtons-ambiguity-equals-de-facto-sanctions-teheran/#respond Fri, 30 Mar 2018 14:37:02 +0000 Ann-Kathrin Pohlers http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=155105 Over the last few months, the United States’ rhetoric on the Iran nuclear agreement has been ambiguous, creating an uncertain environment for investors. With John Bolton, President Donald Trump has now appointed a national security adviser who is actively seeking to leave the Iran deal. In December 2017, a new wave of protests swept Iran’s […]

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In 2017, Iran’s oil exports came close to 1 billion barrels. Pictured here are oil fields in West Iran. Credit: Nicholas V.

By Ann-Kathrin Pohlers
UNITED NATIONS, Mar 30 2018 (IPS)

Over the last few months, the United States’ rhetoric on the Iran nuclear agreement has been ambiguous, creating an uncertain environment for investors. With John Bolton, President Donald Trump has now appointed a national security adviser who is actively seeking to leave the Iran deal.

In December 2017, a new wave of protests swept Iran’s cities. As the uprising movement faced repression, more than 25 people ended up dead in a few days. Many of them died in prison; the official story is they all committed suicide.

As these escalations caught most by surprise, there is a significant difference in the Iranian Green Movement. A movement much larger than the recent one, the Green Movement wasn’t as widespread as the December protest and mainly showcased within the city borders of Teheran.

The 2017 unrest, however, took place in small to midsize cities across the country and featured a different demographic. While the Green Movement is considered a middle-class movement, the recent uproar is one of Iran’s working class.

Iran’s economic crisis led many companies to lose money and workers to lose their pensions. The triggering factors for the protests, primarily political and economic, can be linked to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – the Iran nuclear deal.

“Unemployment is a very critical factor in all of this. Then you have Rouhani going to the Parliament and hinting at the new budget and what it would look like,” Trita Parsi, author of ‘Losing an Enemy – Obama, Iran, and the Triumph of Diplomacy,’ told IPS. “You have a tremendous deep frustration in the population with things such as corruption and mismanagement.”

This frustration escalated seven months into moderate President Hassan Rouhani’s second term after he beat the Conservatives in a landslide, even though the Rouhani administration faced accusations they had promised more than the sanctions relief did for the Iranian economy. Surveys show that the promised economic benefits of the deal were significant and so was breaking out of isolation and not finding themselves in a situation in which the risk of war with the United States would be a constant presence.

“That, the deal has achieved,” Parsi said. “The expectations where the economy would go after the deal, however, were not met. Despite that though, there was still strong support for [Hassan Rouhani], partly because the majority opposed the alternative which was a return to conservative rule.”

So it wasn’t the situation Iran which drastically changed, it was the United States’ Iran policy. While the nuclear agreement went into effect under Barack Obama, the new administration takes a two-track approach to the nuclear deal as they renegotiate with allies as well as prepare to withdraw from it.

“If you take a look at Iran’s economy on paper, it looks as if it’s doing quite well. There’s a growth of roughly six and a half percent. Well, that growth is almost entirely because of oil sales. As a result of the deal, they were capable of selling oil again, and it’s probably the only area in which they have been able to go back to the pre-sanction years,” Parsi said. In 2017, Iran’s oil exports came close to one billion barrels. “But oil sales do not create jobs.”

In the absence of job creation, Iran’s unemployment rate continues to increase, especially among young people and particularly among young women. “Combined with the fact that this is a highly educated population, you have a lot of people with two master’s degrees driving the Iranian version of Uber,” Parsi added.

Even though Iran’s economy is growing, its population is still stagnant as job-creating investments aren’t taking place. Companies interested in the Iranian market face the problem that they can’t find financing as none of the major banks are willing to invest as they fear the United States’ withdrawal from the nuclear agreement and new sanctions.

“Many job-creating projects are five to seven years long, and banks are not charities. They want to have some degree of security and certainty that the deal will be in place for that period but they can’t even get four months of security because Donald Trump is constantly saying he will not renew the sanction waivers,” Parsi said.

The waivers temporarily deactivate the sanctions on Iran and are part of the nuclear agreement. Many, Trita Parsi included, expected Trump not to renew them but then the President pushed back the original January deadline for his administration and its European allies to agree on renegotiations to May 12.

“The White House strategy is to infuse uncertainty which is already working because now you see protests in Iran. All they need to do is to continue to constantly make everyone guess if they renew the waivers or not.”

The United States is not the only party to the deal – European banks and entities are as well.

“Those sanctions are targeting countries trading with Iran which means Europe, China, India, and Asia,” according to Parsi. “The question then is will Europe stand firm and continue to honor the deal?”

To do so, Europe would have to revive 1990s-era sanction blocking mechanisms as already suggested by David O’Sullivan, EU ambassador to the United States. This threat, however, will most likely remain empty as it essentially means the United States sanctions Europe and Europe sanctions the United States to block the secondary sanctions on Iran. These blocking mechanism would shield companies from U.S.-imposed fines, but they can’t shield European banks from losing access to the American market. “Would I choose the Iranian over the U.S. market? I would not,” Parsi stated.

And it’s that uncertainty preventing banks and businesses from coming in, in effect imposing de facto sanctions on Iran and paralyzing its economy.

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Global game changers descend on Sharjah for International Government Communication Forum 2018http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/03/global-game-changers-descend-sharjah-international-government-communication-forum-2018/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=global-game-changers-descend-sharjah-international-government-communication-forum-2018 http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/03/global-game-changers-descend-sharjah-international-government-communication-forum-2018/#respond Thu, 29 Mar 2018 09:59:27 +0000 WAM http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=155075 Sean Spicer, former Whitehouse Press Secretary (2017), Nobel Peace Laureate Lech Walesa, former Polish President who played a leading role in the fall of communism in the Eastern Bloc, Sir Timothy Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web and Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia are among the many modern history makers speaking at Sharjah’s International […]

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By WAM
SHARJAH, Mar 29 2018 (WAM)

Sean Spicer, former Whitehouse Press Secretary (2017), Nobel Peace Laureate Lech Walesa, former Polish President who played a leading role in the fall of communism in the Eastern Bloc, Sir Timothy Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web and Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia are among the many modern history makers speaking at Sharjah’s International Government Communication Forum that opened Wednesday.

Held with the support of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, the event is being hosted by the International Government Communication Centre (IGCC), a subsidiary of the Sharjah Government Media Bureau, from March 28th-29th at Expo Centre Sharjah.

The 7th edition of the IGCF, being held under the theme ‘Digital Millennium Where To?, is expected to welcome more than 3,000 communication experts, decision makers, government officials, government communication professionals, civil society organisations media personnel and students of communication and journalism.

Around 40 speakers from 16 countries, including global industry influencers and international policy advisors are taking part in the Forum, presenting sessions on subjects as diverse as ‘Digital Diplomacy in Government Communication’, ‘Media Charisma’ and ‘New Media in Serving Humanitarian Issues’.

The event features 18 panel discussions and inspiring sessions, 6 interactive talks, 4 brainstorming sessions for children and young adults and 7 workshops for journalists, government communication experts and visitors to the Forum.

Launched in 2012 under the directives of the Ruler of Sharjah, the event aims to highlight best practices to achieve more efficient and effective communication between the government and the public – a field in which the Emirate of Sharjah has played a leading regional role in terms of digital integration and smart government.

WAM/Rasha Abubaker

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Chemical Weapons in Syria? Time for Outragehttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/03/chemical-weapons-syria-time-outrage/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=chemical-weapons-syria-time-outrage http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/03/chemical-weapons-syria-time-outrage/#respond Wed, 28 Mar 2018 13:43:33 +0000 Tariq Raheem http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=155060 US Defense Secretary James Mattis dropped a political bombshell last week when he said the U.S. has no evidence to confirm reports that the Syrian government had used the deadly chemical sarin on its citizens. Arguing half-heartedly that he was not rebutting the reports, Mattis told a Pentagon news briefing Friday: “We have other reports […]

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Since the conflict erupted in March 2011, Syria has witnessed unprecedented devastation and displacement. More than 5 million Syrians have fled the country and 6 million are internally displaced. With more than 13 million people in need of assistance, the conflict has caused untold suffering for Syrian men, women and children. Credit UN photo

By Tariq Raheem
NEW YORK, Mar 28 2018 (IPS)

US Defense Secretary James Mattis dropped a political bombshell last week when he said the U.S. has no evidence to confirm reports that the Syrian government had used the deadly chemical sarin on its citizens.

Arguing half-heartedly that he was not rebutting the reports, Mattis told a Pentagon news briefing Friday: “We have other reports from the battlefield from people who claim it’s been used. We do not have evidence of it.”

The statement by Mattis made a virtual mockery of a rash of presidential statements and proposed resolutions by the UN Security Council which has routinely accused the Syrian government of continuing to use chemical weapons on civilians, which President Bashar al-Assad had denied.

Nor has the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) made any irrefutable claims on chemical weapons use.

Still, in April, the United States fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at Syria in response to what it said it believed was a chemical weapons attack that killed more than 100 people.

Last month, the Reuters news agency reported that French President Emmanuel Macron warned that “France will strike” if chemical weapons are used against civilians in the Syrian conflict in violation of international treaties, but that he had not yet seen proof this was the case.

Meanwhile, at the 37th session of the Human Rights Council, the UK mission in Geneva accused the Syrian government of using chemical weapons in Eastern Ghouta.

And Western diplomats proclaim that Syrian authorities should not be referred to as a “government” but as a “regime“ even though there is no official listing of such member-states—either as “governments” or “regimes,” any more than procedures for officially demoting a member-state from the 1st to the 2nd grade status.

In the current international scenario, the far right seems to have all the access it needs – specifically in the Western media—to advocate its cause. But regrettably, there are those whose voices are silenced, and who say that the gravity of crimes is not necessarily related to the quantity of decibels they generate on the battlefield or in the mainstream TV channels.

Take for instance two hospitals in Syria: one is bombed and destroyed, human shields or no human shields. A war crime indeed.

Another stands proudly on the horizon but its activity is paralysed by unilateral coercive sanctions: blockage of supply of spare parts make it impossible to get the theatre to operate gravely wounded people; prostheses are no longer available for amputees; electrical supply breaks down because of ban on imports of generators; water is polluted for lack of imported filters and people die in the hospital from water-borne ailments; and no medicines are available for the dying or gravely ill.

Even in the streets, people die or fall gravely ill because of the rocketing prices of basic food stuffs due to the sanctions. But everyone is told this situation is created by bad governance. Or that the Government is preventing access. This may be the case sometimes, especially if fighters can’t be separated from civilians.

The civilized world anticipated it all and the sanctions are benevolent for the civilian population because all accept the “humanitarian exception”. No one of course mentions that the SWIFT international fund transfer system has been blocked preventing Syria from importing these humanitarian supplies or indeed anything else, imposing on it a comprehensive stranglehold, as was the case previously in Iraq.

And chemical weapons of Syria today are reminiscent of the non-existent Iraqi weapons of mass destruction of yesteryear. Are all these wanton deaths not also war crimes?. We are told to believe they are not.

All wars are won in the media and through propaganda, as well as on the battlefield. This is the case also for Syria. The fact is Syria is finally winning the war on the battlefield to regain control over its own territory. As they disentangle the enemy fighters from the civilians, tens of thousands of the latter are taking refuge with the protection of the government.

So the scenario is collapsing. The only possibility of counter-attack that is left is through mobilizing, in the real sense of the word, the media. The fig leaf is human rights which are being violated by all combatants (have you ever heard of squeaky-clean snow white war in human history?) but also by those that are supplying heavy weapons to groups that they heretofore listed as terrorists.

The indictment justifying this? Human rights violation by the other side while the accuser merrily continues imposing his stranglehold on the civilian population for which he “weeps” The crime committed by the winners on the battlefield is to have called into question the geo-strategic objectives of others which the latter believed was within their reach a few years ago.

But the architects of this strategy may take advantage of this change of reality as compared to their expectations to pause and think. Those fighting in the Ghouta against the government are not democratic forces but the reincarnation of those terror groups of El Qaeda and ISIS and no one else. Crocodile tears about these “freedom fighters” seem indeed out of place when they are listed as terrorist organizations in the very countries that now cry for them.

Remember September 11? Would the strategists really want to replicate in Syria the Libyan experience or do they not fear that a new Karzai in Damascus would be disastrous in terms of reinvigorating those very terrorist groups the world has just succeeded in eradicating in Iraq and Syria?

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Jordan, Panama discuss regional and international developmentshttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/03/jordan-panama-discuss-regional-international-developments/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=jordan-panama-discuss-regional-international-developments http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/03/jordan-panama-discuss-regional-international-developments/#respond Wed, 28 Mar 2018 10:34:45 +0000 WAM http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=155078 King Abdullah of Jordan on Tuesday held talks with Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela on relations between the two countries and the current regional and international developments. According to the Jordan News Agency, Petra, the two sides highlighted the need to expand cooperation between Jordan and Panama in all fields, especially in economic, investment, security, […]

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Jordan, Panama discuss regional and international developments

By WAM
AMMAN, Mar 28 2018 (WAM)

King Abdullah of Jordan on Tuesday held talks with Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela on relations between the two countries and the current regional and international developments.

According to the Jordan News Agency, Petra, the two sides highlighted the need to expand cooperation between Jordan and Panama in all fields, especially in economic, investment, security, energy and marine navigation domains.

During the talks, King Abdullah and President Varela reviewed the challenges and crises in the Middle East region and efforts to reach political solutions that restore security and stability for their peoples.

The Jordanian King said efforts should be stepped up to break the stalemate in the peace process between the Palestinians and Israelis to reach a just and lasting peace based on the two-state solution and leading to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

He also stressed the importance of intensifying efforts in the war on terrorism in accordance with a comprehensive approach, and strengthening cooperation between the two countries in this regard, as the threat of terrorism threatens the global security and peace system.

[Image credit: Jordan News Agency, PETRA]

 

WAM/Esraa Ismail

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Founder of ‘Good Country Index’ highlights how nations build strong reputationhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/03/founder-good-country-index-highlights-nations-build-strong-reputation/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=founder-good-country-index-highlights-nations-build-strong-reputation http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/03/founder-good-country-index-highlights-nations-build-strong-reputation/#respond Wed, 28 Mar 2018 10:01:50 +0000 WAM http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=155076 Simon Anholt, British policy advisor and founder of the ‘Good Country Index’, held a workshop on the sidelines of the International Government Communication Forum 2018, IGCF, highlighting the importance of a nation’s reputation and its impact on the country’s presence among advanced nations. The workshop introduced heads and directors of Sharjah government entities and departments […]

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Founder of Good Country Index highlights how nations build strong reputation

By WAM
SHARJAH, Mar 28 2018 (WAM)

Simon Anholt, British policy advisor and founder of the ‘Good Country Index’, held a workshop on the sidelines of the International Government Communication Forum 2018, IGCF, highlighting the importance of a nation’s reputation and its impact on the country’s presence among advanced nations.

The workshop introduced heads and directors of Sharjah government entities and departments to the concept of how nations can build solid reputations that help strengthen their competitive edge on a global scale.

The workshop was attended by Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Sharjah Media Council, Sheikh Majid bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Director of the Department of Suburbs and Villages Affairs, Dr. Abdul Aziz Al Musallam, Head of the Sharjah Institute for Heritage, and Tariq Saeed Allay, Director of the Sharjah Government Media Bureau, SGMB, in addition to a number of heads and directors of government bodies in Sharjah.

The instigator of The Good Country Index and The Good Country movement, among many other international initiatives, talked about a range of topics related to countries’ reputations, stressing their importance to enhancing positive images and maintaining leadership on an international scale.

Anholt outlined the mechanisms used in gathering information that help in ranking a nation as a good country – an index that currently has 50 countries on its list.

Anholt stressed that judging a country and ranking it on the Good Country Index is based on its actions not words. The actions carried out by most countries play a major and crucial role in enhancing their reputation and presence on the list of globally leading and advanced countries. The British expert referred to brands, art, culture, economic exports and scientific advances.

He highlighted the need for countries to come closer to each other by building bridges of cooperation and commercial, diplomatic and cultural exchange to build a good reputation.

He added that studies represent personal impressions from all over the world, affirming that the stereotyping of countries depends on the general global mood and has nothing to do with the classified country itself. The stereotype of a nation is determined by individuals who know it through the image it mirrors to the entire world.

IGCF aims to showcase the best local, Arab and international practices in government communication through a series of interactive sessions, case studies, workshops, and other associated events. The Forum is designed to evaluate and introduce inspirational ideas that can contribute to strengthening communication between the government and its audience, in order to encounter challenges and achieve prosperity.

 

WAM/Esraa Ismail/Rasha Abubaker

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