Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα United Nations. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων
Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα United Nations. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων

Δευτέρα, 7 Αυγούστου 2017

Σάββατο, 5 Αυγούστου 2017

UN to vote on tougher North Korea sanctions

The U.N. Security Council will vote Saturday on a U.S.-drafted resolution toughening sanctions on North Korea, diplomats said Friday, a proposed ban on certain exports that could deprive Pyongyang of $1 billion in annual revenue.

Russia disappointed at UNSC for not condemning attacks on embassy

United Nations Security Council
Moscow is disappointed that the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has not condemned the recent attack on the Russian embassy in Syria's capital of Damascus, which could encourage new terror acts, the Foreign Ministry said Friday.

Δευτέρα, 23 Φεβρουαρίου 2015

As Malawi reels from devastating floods, UN food agency delivers vital supplies

 UN, 23 February 2015 – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has announced the delivery of a first round of emergency supplies to more than 288,000 people in flood-affected Malawi, providing much needed relief amid continuing rains.

The UN food agency explained in a press release that it had distributed more than 2,700 metric tons of food to 12 districts late last week and delivered more than 200 metric tons of relief items by air to thousands of people cut-off by flood waters.

Incessant rains have severely affected the African country as flood waters have destroyed roads and rendered some areas entirely inaccessible by land.

Malawi is regularly hit by floods and droughts, requiring emergency responses of varying size each year. This year, flooding has caused displacement of over 170,000 people, while an estimated 116,000 households have lost their crops and livestock. In Nsanje district alone, 79 people are confirmed dead with another 153 people still missing.

Moreover, this year’s rains have come ahead of their usual schedule, repeatedly bursting the banks along the Shire and Ruo rivers, and warnings of flash floods remain in place, with more rain forecast for the country's North. With 86 per cent of the population living in rural areas and engaged in farming and livestock rearing, long-term watershed management infrastructures are urgently needed so that even intense flooding is less damaging than this year.

In addition, the press release noted, WFP is currently participating in a joint rapid food security assessment “in order to understand the latest needs on the ground and the required duration of the emergency response” while also providing recommendations on the duration of the ongoing lean season food insecurity response which has already identified nearly 700,000 people in need of food assistance.

Despite the United Nations’ intensive efforts to reach those affected by the devastating flood waters, the WFP continues to face a funding gap of $3.3 million to cover the outstanding food requirements and logistics services to support the entire humanitarian community.

  [un.org]
23/2/15
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Παρασκευή, 13 Φεβρουαρίου 2015

Climate pact blueprint adopted in Geneva

Negotiators in Geneva adopted a climate blueprint on Friday (Feb 13), a symbolic milestone in the fraught UN process that must culminate in a universal pact in Paris in December.
Assembled over the past six days, the 86-page draft plan for limiting man-made global warming was gavelled through at the close of six days of talks, prompting applause from delegates.

"The task of this session has been achieved," UN climate chief Christiana Figueres told reporters ahead of the closing. "We have a text today ..., the formal negotiating text that will be the basis for negotiations for the next few months until we get to Paris", where the final pact will be adopted.

Ever since the 2009 Copenhagen conference failed to deliver a world agreement, the 195 nations gathered under the UN Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC) have been working on a new project for adoption by the end of this year.

Set to be signed at the November 30-December 11 UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP) in Paris, the pact must enter into force by 2020 to further the UN goal of limiting warming to 2°C (3.6°F) over pre-Industrial Revolution levels.

Scientists warn that at current greenhouse gas emission trends, Earth is on track for double that, or more - a recipe for catastrophic droughts, storms, floods and rising sea levels.

Negotiators emerged from the last COP in Lima last December, with a hard-fought framework text that remained hotly contested.

The February 8-13 Geneva talks, one of three special sessions added to this year's official UN climate agenda, was tasked with "streamlining" the Lima document. Instead, the meeting's mandate was changed early on to seeking universal endorsement of the text, which more than doubled since Sunday until all countries were satisfied their views were included.

The process was widely hailed for creating a sense of common purpose and goodwill in a text with universal buy-in. But it also yielded a vast document listing a variety of alternative approaches on most issues - often reflecting country positions that diametrically oppose one another.

And that means hard choices will have to be made in the months to come, starting with the next negotiating round in Bonn in June. "We have now agreed on a negotiating text. It provides us with the basis for moving forward," Elina Bardram, head of the EU delegation, told AFP.

But she added: "We would have wished for more advancement. The introduction of missing elements in the text is an achievement, but it does mean that the tough negotiations lie ahead of us and we are running out of time. We need a step change between now and Paris."

OPTIONS FROM A TO Z

"All the crunch issues are still on the table," added to Climate Action Network spokeswoman Alix Mazounie. "We have options going from A to Z".

At the very core of the pact, countries remain deeply divided on the issue of "differentiation" - how to share responsibility for emissions cuts between rich and poor nations. Developing countries also want their developed counterparts to commit to long-term climate financing, and insist on compensation for climate-change induced losses and damage suffered.

"I don't think there's any doubt that the negotiations are going to get more difficult," said veteran observer Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists. "The first step before you can get to addressing those is to have a common picture of what the agreement is going to look like in terms of what the outline is, what the elements are in it. They have it now."
- AFP/ec

channelnewsasia.com
13/2/15

Δευτέρα, 2 Φεβρουαρίου 2015

21st century ‘hottest’ on record as global warming continues, UN agency warns

UN, 2 February 2015 – Devastating weather patterns and increasing temperatures will last into the foreseeable future as global warming is expected to continue, the United Nations World Meteorological Organization (WMO) confirmed today as it explained that 2014’s ranking as the “hottest year on record” is part of a larger climate trend.

“The overall warming trend is more important than the ranking of an individual year,” WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud clarified today in a press release. “Analysis of the datasets indicates that 2014 was nominally the warmest on record, although there is very little difference between the three hottest years.”

High sea temperatures, the UN agency has said, have contributed to exceptionally heavy rainfall and floods in many countries and extreme drought in others. Twelve major Atlantic storms battered the United Kingdom in early months of 2014, while floods devastated much of the Balkans throughout May. The monthly precipitation over the Pacific side of western Japan for August 2014, meanwhile, was 301 per cent above normal – the highest since area-averaged statistics began in 1946.

At the same time, crippling droughts have struck large swathes of the continental United States while Northeast China and parts of the Yellow River basin did not reach half of the summer average, causing severe drought.

The diverse climate impact which afflicted nations around the planet throughout 2014 were, in fact, consistent with the expectation of a changing climate, Mr. Jarraud continued.
In addition, he warned that 14 of the 15 hottest years recorded have all been in the 21st century, adding the UN agency’s expectation that global warming would continue “given that rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and the increasing heat content of the oceans are committing us to a warmer future.”

Around 93 per cent of the excess energy trapped in the atmosphere by greenhouse gases from fossil fuels and other human activities ends up in the oceans, the WMO press release noted, as it pointed out that global sea-surface temperatures had reached “record levels” in 2014, even in the absence of a “fully developed El Niño” weather pattern. 

High temperatures in 1998 – the hottest year before the 21st century – occurred during a strong El Niño year.

The WMO has released its latest findings regarding its global temperature analysis in advance of climate change negotiations scheduled to be held in Geneva from 8 to 13 February. 

These talks are expected to help pave the way towards the December 2015 conference scheduled in Paris, France, where a new universal UN-backed treaty on climate change will be adopted.
  [un.org]
2/2/15

Σάββατο, 24 Ιανουαρίου 2015

Australia bans waste dumping on Great Barrier Reef

Australia has ordered a ban on dumping dredge waste on most of the Great Barrier Reef, the environment minister said on Saturday (Jan 24), as part of a push to stop the UN declaring the site in danger.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt said he had ordered the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to develop regulations to stop waste from capital dredging being dumped in the park "once and for all". "We are ending a century-old practice of dumping in the marine park," he said, referring to waste created by enlarging shipping channels, berths and marinas.

Conservationists say dumping waste in reef waters damages it by smothering corals and sea grasses and exposing them to poisons and high levels of nutrients.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has threatened to put the reef, which is a World Heritage area, on its danger list. The body has given Australia until Feb 1 to act and Hunt said he would travel to Europe next week to consult on long-term plans for the natural wonder.

Hunt said the government had put together "a strong defence of the management of the Great Barrier Reef ... concluding that it should not be listed as in danger".
The reef also faces threats from climate change, nutrients washing into the sea and the destructive crown-of-thorns starfish, and the government was working on each of them, he added in a statement. But he said water quality was improving, coral-eating starfish were being culled and stricter management regimes have been put in place for shipping and developments, including ports.

"Australians are proud of the reef and it remains one of the great natural wonders of the world," he said. "We are determined to protect and manage the Great Barrier Reef not just for the coming decades, but for coming centuries."

The park where the ban will apply almost totally overlaps with an expanse designated as a World Heritage Area, but it does not include most islands and ports, as well as lakes and other waterways in the heritage area.

Environmental groups have urged the minister to go a step further and prohibit the dumping of dredge soil throughout the World Heritage Area, not just within the marine park.
The ban will now be subject to public consultation, with final approval expected by mid-March.

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Τετάρτη, 21 Ιανουαρίου 2015

UN: Madagascar needs money to continue battle against locust plague


UN, 21 January 2015 – The battle against a plague of locusts in Madagascar is in danger of being lost, as funding to continue efforts against widespread infestations runs out, putting 13 million people at risk of food insecurity, the United Nations agricultural agency said today.

A three-year anti-locust programme was launched by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) alongside the Madagascan Government in 2013 in response to a plague that swept the country the previous year. It successfully halted the spread but the risks of relapse are high in the rainy season, which provides ideal breeding conditions, an FAO press release said. 

“Taking action now is critical to ensure the significant efforts made so far, financially and technically, are built upon rather than lost,” said Dominique Burgeon, Director of FAO's Emergency and Rehabilitation Division. “The current campaign is essential to reinforce the decline of the current plague, avoiding any relapse, and then continue towards a full-fledged locust recession.”

The first quarter of the year is especially important because it corresponds to the second phase of breeding. Most locusts present at this time are wingless 'hoppers', which are easier to combat because they are more sensitive to pesticides and slower moving than winged adults. After last year's successes, the FAO warns that hoppers will gather in smaller groups, making them harder to find and requiring more ground and aerial surveys to do so.

Failure to carry out in full the 2013-2016 FAO-Government joint programme would waste the $28.8 million so far mobilised and could trigger a large-scale food-security crisis in the country. A further $10.6 million is needed to complete the campaign, paying for monitoring and spraying operations to the end of the rainy season in May 2015.

The FAO cautions that even a relatively short interruption to monitoring and spraying operations of about two months could significantly erase progress made so far, which includes the surveying of about 30 million hectares - an area almost as large as Japan - and the tackling of locust infestations over more than 1.3 million hectares.

“The costs that will result from ceasing locust control activities will be far greater than the amount spent so far, so it is critical for the international community stay the course and complete the Locust Emergency Response Programme,” said Patrice Takoukam Talla, FAO's Representative in Madagascar.
About 40 per cent of crops in southern Madagascar are at risk from locusts and more than three quarters of the population in the Atsimo Andrefana and Androy regions, where maize and cassava production have declined sharply and rice output remains well below trend, currently face food insecurity, up notably from a year earlier.

Resources raised so far as part of the $39.4 million needed have come from several Governments, a World Bank loan, the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund and the International Fund for Agriculture Development. 
 un.org
21/1/15
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Τετάρτη, 7 Ιανουαρίου 2015

Shell to Pay Approximately $83Mln for Niger Delta Oil Spills

Amnesty International and the Centre for Human Rights and Development (CEHRD) has welcomed an offer by oil giant Shell to pay the Nigerian Bodo community 55 million pounds ($83 million) in compensation for its oil spills in the Niger Delta in 2008, according to a statement issued by Amnesty on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Shell agreed to make an out-of-court settlement of 35 million pounds to 15,600 fishermen and 20 million pounds to the Bodo community for the environmental damage caused by the oil spills, according to the statement.

"While the pay-out is a long awaited victory for the thousands of people who lost their livelihoods in Bodo, it shouldn't have taken six years to get anything close to fair compensation," Amnesty global issues director Audrey Gaughran said in a statement.

Amnesty International and CEHRD have been supporting Nigeria on the spills case since 2008, but court proceedings against the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria only began in 2011.

"The compensation is a step towards justice for the people of Bodo, but justice will be fully achieved when Shell properly cleans up the heavily polluted creeks and swamps so that those who rely on fishing and farming for their income can begin to rebuild their livelihoods," Styvn Obodoekwe of CEHRD said.

Shell has accepted responsibility for the oil spills occurred in the Niger Delta in August and December 2008 but seriously underestimated the volume of oil split. During three-year long legal battle, the company revealed that some of its pipelines were old, contained "major risk and hazard" and needed to be replaced. According to Amnesty, the company did not act on this knowledge to prevent the oil leaks.

Environmental restoration of the area where the oil spills occurred is possible but may take 25 to 30 years, according to the United Nations Environment Program.

 [sputniknews.com]
7/1/15
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Κυριακή, 2 Νοεμβρίου 2014

'Leaders must act', urges Ban, as new UN report warns man's impact on climate may soon be 'irreversible'

UN, 2 November 2014 – Citing “clear and growing” human influence on the climate system, a United Nations report issued today has warned that if left unchecked, climate change will increase the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.

Echoing that dire warning, UN Secretary-General Ban-moon said that if the world maintains its “business as usual” attitude about climate change, the opportunity to keep temperature rise below the internationally agreed target of 2 degrees Celsius, “will slip away within the next decade.”

 
 “With this latest report, science has spoken yet again and with much more clarity. Time is not on our side…leaders must act,” declared the UN chief, in Copenhagen, Denmark on an official visit that included a press conference to launch the final installment of the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

According to a press release from the panel, the so-called “Synthesis Report” confirms that climate change is being registered around the world and warming of the climate system is unequivocal. Since the 1950s many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia.

“Our assessment finds that the atmosphere and oceans have warmed, the amount of snow and ice has diminished, sea level has risen and the concentration of carbon dioxide has increased to a level unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years,” said Thomas Stocker, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group I, which participated in the compilation of the final report along with two other expert working groups.

Calling the report the “most comprehensive assessment of climate change” ever carried out, the Secretary-General urged worldwide action in light of its stark findings, saying that “even if emissions stopped tomorrow, we will be living with climate change for some time to come.”

Yet, the “good news is that if we act now, we have the means to build a more sustainable world,” he said, explaining that quick and decisive action that draws on many readily available tools and technologies can put the world on the right track. It was a myth that climate action would be costly, he said, stressing that in fact, inaction “will cost much, much more.”

R. K. Pachauri, Chair of the IPCC, underscored that the means to limit climate change are at had. “The solutions are many and allow for continued economic and human development. All we need is the will to change, which we trust will be motivated by knowledge and an understanding of the science of climate change.” 

[un.org]
2/11/14
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Πέμπτη, 23 Οκτωβρίου 2014

Mediterranean, North Atlantic prepares for UN-backed tsunami warning system test -- (Simulations will be carried out between 28 and 30 October)

UN, 23 October 2014 – Some 20 nations with coastlines on the North Atlantic, and Mediterranean and Black Seas are set to participate in a United Nations-supervised tsunami warning exercise to improve their ability to respond to an alert and enhance regional coordination in the event of a disaster.

In a press statement released today, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) – the body coordinating the warning test since its first implementation in 2005 – reported that four tsunami simulations will be carried out between 28 and 30 October in an effort to assess the overall reactivity of countries participating in the Tsunami Early Warning and Mitigation System for the North-eastern Atlantic, the Mediterranean and connected seas (NEAMTWS).

Although tsunamis are not as frequent an occurrence in this area of the globe as they are in the Pacific Ocean, the shores of the Mediterranean and North Atlantic are densely populated prompting concern that tsunami shockwaves could strike and cause widespread damage and fatalities. In 1755, for instance, a tsunami caused by an earthquake in the Azores-Gibraltar Fault Zone destroyed Lisbon, the capital of Portugal. 

Another devastating tsunami swept over Messina, Italy in 1908, claiming tens of thousands of lives. And, more recently, in 2003, an earthquake in Algeria set off a tsunami that struck the shores of Spain's Balearic Islands and the southern coast of France. 

UNESCO noted that due to the short distances they travel in small bodies of water such as the Mediterranean, tsunami occurrences there strike shores with “great speed.”
According to the UN body, the upcoming exercise, named NEAMWave14, is based on a scenario in which four earthquakes unleash two tsunami events in the Mediterranean, one in the Atlantic Ocean, and one in the Black Sea. 

The Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute in Turkey, the National Tsunami Alert Centre in France, the National Observatory of Athens in Greece and the Portuguese Sea and Atmosphere Institute, will send out the alerts, kick-starting the exercise, which set to involve a wide range of countries, including Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Malta, Monaco, Morocco, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. 

“The exercise will be an opportunity to test the efficiency of the communication systems in charge of transmitting tsunami alerts and, in some countries, to ensure that the authorities in charge of public safety are prepared to face such a threat,” UNESCO explained in its press release. 

NEAMTWS is one of four regional systems which are coordinated by UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) globally. Similar systems already exist for the Pacific and Indian oceans and for the Caribbean.
un.org
23/10/14
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Τετάρτη, 22 Οκτωβρίου 2014

In fight against hunger, UN launches initiative targeting threat of desertification

 UN, 22 October 2014 – The growing menace of desertification poses a distinct threat to the world’s agriculture and eco-systems, the United Nations agriculture agency warned today, as it announced a new initiative aimed at curbing the spread of land degradation and building resilience to climate change.

The programme, named Action Against Desertification and launched by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in partnership with the European Union and the African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States (ACP), will devote some €41million to bolstering sustainable land management across the world’s most vulnerable areas in an effort to fight hunger and poverty.


“Desertification and land degradation are very serious challenges. They lead to hunger and poverty, themselves at the root of many conflicts,” FAO Director-General, José Graziano da Silva, said in a press release marking the programme’s launch.

“But recent successes show that these problems are not insurmountable. We can boost food security, improve livelihoods and help people adapt to climate change.”

The FAO reports that more than 70 per cent of people living in drylands and other fragile ecosystems across Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific derive their livelihoods from natural resources. At the same time, an uptick in population growth and climate change has placed increasing pressure on these ecosystems, intensifying degradation and desertification and putting millions of lives at risk.

In an effort to thwart the costly effects of desertification in Africa, the Action Against Desertification will build on an already existing “flagship programme” – the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative – which supports local communities, Government and civil society in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Gambia, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal with the sustainable management and restoration of their dryland forests and rangelands.

Two-thirds of the African continent is classified as desert or drylands and climate change has led to prolonged periods of drought; over-intensive farming and over-grazing have caused land degradation; and deforestation has turned once fertile land into desert in many areas.

On that note, the FAO-backed programme it will support agro-forestry while also incentivizing the creation of farmer field schools where farmers can learn about the causes of desertification and the best ways to combat and prevent it.

Meanwhile, in both the Caribbean and the Pacific, the new initiative will target the problems of soil loss and degraded natural habitats by helping local communities adopt improved sustainable land and forest management practices. 

un.org
22/10/14
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Τρίτη, 7 Οκτωβρίου 2014

Benefits of investing in protection of biodiversity outweigh financial costs, says UN-backed report

UN, 7 October 2014 – Implementing measures that promote the sustainable use of biodiversity is a worthwhile investment that will bring multiple economic and environmental benefits to countries, according to a United Nations-backed report released today.
The report, released at the 12th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP-12) in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea, found that there is a gap across all countries and regions between investments needed to meet the 20 global biodiversity goals known as the Aichi targets, and the resources currently allocated to this endeavour.

“Even though political commitment is there, we don’t have a good financial investment plan behind it,” said Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, Chair of the High-Level Panel on Global Assessment of Resources for Implementing the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, which authored the report.
“The report will help parties understand how we can develop these financial investment plans.”

The report also highlights benefits in areas such as health and well-being and food security that would benefit from higher investments in biodiversity initiatives. 

Mr. Rodriguez, who is also the Vice President for conservation policy at Conservation International, stressed that countries should not simply think of higher expenditures, but they need to look for innovative ways in which development investments also take into account biodiversity.

“Political coherence is urgently needed at the country level,” Mr. Rodriguez said. “If we see how governments behave it’s quite contradictory. On the one hand, we see agencies promoting development with a high environmental cost, and on the other hand we see environmental agencies trying to repair the damage that development agencies have created. We need governments who are able to break down this kind of silo effect.”
Recommendations in the report include diversifying sources of finance for biodiversity; investing in protecting marine and land ecosystems with the view that this will tackle not just biodiversity issues but also wider development issues such as climate change; and strengthening dialogue between governments, the private sector and civil society on biodiversity initiatives.

“We hope that this report will allow parties to move forward actions at the national level as well as the Convention level that are consistent with the political commitment of the Aichi targets,” Mr. Rodriquez added.
un.org
7/10/14

Δευτέρα, 22 Σεπτεμβρίου 2014

First World Conference on Indigenous Peoples set to open at UN headquarters

UN,  21 September 2014 – The week of high-level events that marks the opening of the United Nations General Assembly's annual general debate kicks off this year with the first World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (WCIP), which opens Monday.

Convened as a high-level plenary meeting of the Assembly, the two-day World Conference is expected to draw over a thousand indigenous and non-indigenous delegates who will have the opportunity to share perspectives and best practices on the realization of their rights, including pursuing the objectives of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted by the General Assembly in 2007.


Indigenous peoples represent remarkable diversity – more than 5,000 distinct groups in some 90 countries, making up more than 5 per cent of the world's population, some 370 million people. These peoples continue to self-identify as distinct peoples with strong links to traditional territories with their own social, economic and political systems as well as unique languages, cultures and beliefs.

The World Conference is expected to result in a concise, action-oriented outcome document on the implementation the rights of indigenous peoples and the promotion of the achievement of internationally agreed development goals, prepared by the President of the General Assembly on the basis of inclusive and open consultations with Member States and indigenous peoples.

Opening remarks at the Conference are expected to be delivered by General Assembly President Sam Kutesa, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, among others.

The opening plenary will also include an opening ceremony involving indigenous peoples and the adoption of the World Conference outcome document.

The meetings will be co-chaired by indigenous representatives from all regions: Pacific, African and Asian, as well as Western and Eastern European, and Latin American and the Caribbean.

[un.org]
21/9/14
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Κυριακή, 21 Σεπτεμβρίου 2014

From Paris to New York, people rally against climate change

World leaders including UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon were on Sunday set to join farmers, fishermen, children and others in demonstrations across the globe to demand action on climate change.

In New York, organisers were expecting some 100,000 to join the People’s Climate March ahead of Tuesday's UN summit, which will bring together 120 world leaders to discuss reducing carbon emissions that threaten the environment.


“You can’t fight climate change sitting on your couch and holding your breath,” said Jamie Henn, a spokesman for 350.org, which organized the New York event with more than a dozen other environmental, labor and social justice groups.

Sunday’s global rally - which is also being held in Berlin, London, Paris, Rio and Melbourne - is aimed at demanding changes that will lead to a world economy run entirely on clean energy.

The UN climate summit will focus on talks towards a pact 200 nations are working on that would rein in the rising greenhouse gas emissions. Negotiators aim to complete that deal in late 2015.

In Paris, activists said the mobilisation would act as a reminder for President François Hollande and his government of the huge responsibility they will shoulder when France hosts the Climate Conference in 2015.

“The climate crisis is already upon us and feeds the economic crisis. This is a silent tragedy, which kills tens of thousands of people every year”, said environmental activist and political figure Nicolas Hulot, who is joining the march.

Organisers have billed the event as the largest gathering focused on climate change since 2009, when tens of thousands of people gathered in Copenhagen in a sometime raucous demonstration that resulted in the detention of 2,000 protesters.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)

[france24.com]
21/9/14

Πέμπτη, 18 Σεπτεμβρίου 2014

Some 22 million displaced by natural disasters in 2013, UN-backed report reveals

UN, 17 September 2014 – A new United Nations-backed report launched today reveals that 22 million people worldwide were displaced in 2013 by disasters sparked largely by earthquakes or climate- and weather-related events – almost three times more than by conflict in the same year. The report, Global Estimates 2014: people displaced by disasters, conducted by the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), shows that the risk of displacement due to disasters has more than doubled over the last four decades–largely due to the growth and concentration of urban populations, particularly in vulnerable countries.

“This increasing trend will continue as more and more people live and work in hazard-prone areas. It is expected to be aggravated in the future by the impacts of climate change,” said Jan Egeland, Secretary-General of the Norwegian Refugee Council, at a Headquarters conference. Launching the report alongside Mr. Egeland, UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said the report was “extremely timely” as it highlights the need for early warning systems and emergency evacuations in today’s world of increasing and intensifying disasters. “The numbers of people who need humanitarian assistance, and the cost of helping them, are skyrocketing. We need to shift our focus to prevention and preparedness in close cooperation with national partners,” said Mr. Eliasson. The report calls for action to be taken to reduce disaster risk and to help communities adapt to changing and more unpredictable weather patterns, to prevent further displacement.
  According to the report, both wealthy and poorer countries are affected, although developing countries bear the brunt, accounting for more than 85 per cent of displacement. But as in previous years the worst affected was Asia, where 19 million people, or 87.1 per cent of the global total, were displaced. In the Philippines, typhoon Haiyan alone displaced 4.1 million people, a million more than in Africa, the Americas, Europe and Oceania combined. 

Seasonal floods also caused significant displacement in sub-Saharan Africa, most notably in Niger, Chad, Sudan and South Sudan – countries with highly vulnerable populations who are also affected by conflict and drought.
Africa’s population is predicted to double by 2050 therefore displacement risk is expected to increase faster than in any other region in the world.
The extent to which populations in the most developed countries are exposed to hazards also led to some of the world’s largest displacements. Typhoon Man-yi in Japan displaced 260,000 people and tornadoes in the United States state of Oklahoma 218,500.
As the world gears up to solidify a post-2015 development agenda, there will also be an opportunity to include the needs and challenges of internally displaced people in negotiations.
“As we prepare for the [Secretary-General’s] climate summit next week the devastating impact of disasters and the massive displacement we see as a result, highlight the need for strong and decisive action to tackle the catastrophic threat of climate change,” Mr. Eliasson said. 
un.org
17/9/14
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Τρίτη, 16 Σεπτεμβρίου 2014

Marking International Day, UN officials hail progress in reducing damage to ozone layer

UN,  16 September 2014 – United Nations officials today hailed the progress made in reducing damage to the ozone layer and the vital role played by one of the most successful environmental treaties in history in phasing out ozone-depleting substances.

“Just over a quarter-century ago, the world united to reverse the rapid depletion of the atmospheric ozone layer, which protects Earth from harmful radiation from space. Today, the ozone layer is well on track to recovery within the next few decades,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his message for the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer.


The Day is observed annually on 16 September, the date of the signing of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, which entered into force in 1989. The Protocol establishes legally binding controls on the national production and consumption of ozone-depleting substances, and enjoys universal ratification by 197 parties.

Recent scientific findings reveal the importance of the Montreal Protocol, said the Secretary-General, noting that without this treaty and associated agreements, atmospheric levels of ozone-depleting substances could have increased ten-fold by 2050.

The Protocol has also significantly contributed to the fight against climate change, as many ozone-depleting substances are powerful greenhouse gases, he added.

“Let us take inspiration from our efforts to preserve the ozone layer. The Montreal Protocol has shown that decisive action by the international community, including the private sector, can achieve transformative results for the common good. Let us learn from this example and apply its lesson to the urgent task of addressing the climate challenge,” Mr. Ban stated.

The ozone layer, a fragile shield of gas, protects the Earth from the harmful portion of the sun’s ultraviolet rays, thus helping to preserve life on the planet. A report released last week by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO) found that the ozone layer is on track to recover by the middle of the century.

The assessment by 300 scientists noted that the recovery is attributed to the collective action through the Montreal Protocol, which has led countries to carry out policies to reduce and then phase out their use of ozone-depleting chemicals. At the same time, the report called for the same level of urgency and unity to tackle the challenge of climate change.

Among those celebrating the International Day, whose theme this year is “Ozone Layer Protection: The Mission Goes on,” is the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the other implementing agencies of the Montreal Protocol.

“Today is a great opportunity for us to reflect on the remarkable progress that has been achieved in reducing the damage to the ozone layer. UNIDO is very pleased that our major contribution to the implementation of the Montreal Protocol over the years is now bearing fruit,” said Stephan Sicars, Director of UNIDO’s Montreal Protocol Branch.

Through the promotion of clean production, UNIDO has supported industries to eliminate the use of ozone-depleting substances in manufacturing processes. The agency helps industries to either replace these substances with ozone- and climate-friendly substances, or to redesign their products entirely. UNIDO’s projects and programmes have helped a number of countries introduce new technologies that no longer use the harmful substances.

“The Montreal Protocol has significantly reduced the atmospheric abundance of gases, such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and halons that were once used in products such as refrigerators, spray cans, insulation foam and fire extinguishers,” said Mr. Sicars.

“With full compliance with the Montreal Protocol, the ozone layer is expected to recover to 1980 benchmark levels – the time before significant ozone layer depletion – around the middle of the century. This is great news.”

un.org
16/9/14
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Πέμπτη, 11 Σεπτεμβρίου 2014

UN Says Ozone Layer Might Recover by 2050

The Earth's protective ozone layer may fully recover in the next few decades thanks to harmonized international action against ozone depleting substances, a new assessment by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reads.
"There are positive indications that the ozone layer is on track to recovery towards the middle of the century. The Montreal Protocol - one of the world's most successful environmental treaties - has protected the stratospheric ozone layer and avoided enhanced UV radiation reaching the earth's surface," said UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner in a press-statement Wednesday.

Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion 2014 carried out by 300 scientists has found out that actions taken under the Montreal Protocol are enabling the return of the ozone layer to benchmark 1980 levels, as they led to a significant decrease in substances causing greenhouse effect. Moreover, according to UNEP, the Protocol will have prevented 2 million cases of skin cancer annually by 2030, averted damage to human eyes and immune systems, and protected wildlife and agriculture.
However, the report also warns that the rapid increase in certain substitutes for these substances, which are themselves also potent greenhouse gases, has the potential to undermine the gains.
The stratospheric ozone layer is a fragile shield of gas that protects the Earth from harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of numerous substances that are responsible for its depletion.
The treaty entered into force in 1989 and is ratified by 196 countries, including Russia. Without the Montreal Protocol and associated agreements, atmospheric levels of ozone depleting substances could have increased tenfold by 2050, according to UNEP.
[en.ria.ru]
11/9/14
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  • La couche d’ozone stratosphérique est toujours convalescente, mais les scientifiques espèrent sa guérison avant 2050 dans la plupart des régions et une résorption complète du célèbre « trou dans la couche d’ozone » au-dessus de l’Antarctique vers la fin du siècle.

L’Organisation météorologique mondiale (OMM) et le Programme des Nations unies pour l’environnement (PNUE) ont rendu publiques, mercredi 10 septembre, les conclusions de leur dernier rapport sur la couche d’ozone.

Encourageantes, celles-ci entérinent le succès du protocole de Montréal, adopté en 1987 par la communauté internationale pour protéger l’ozone stratosphérique.

Considéré comme un polluant lorsqu’il s’accumule au niveau du sol, l’ozone revêt au contraire une importance cruciale au sommet de l’atmosphère, où il joue le rôle de filtre à ultraviolets (UV).

UNE STABILISATION DEPUIS LE DÉBUT DES ANNÉES 2000

Les mesures prises dans le cadre du protocole de Montréal ont permis de bannir la plupart des composés chlorés et bromés responsables du célèbre « trou d’ozone » en Antarctique.

Mis à jour tous les quatre ans, le rapport indique que leur concentration atmosphérique a baissé de 10 % à 15 % par rapport au pic de la fin des années 1990.

Seul un composé, le tétrachlorure de carbone (CCl4), atteint des concentrations trop élevées par rapport aux émissions déclarées par les Etats.

Globalement, l’effet positif est cependant déjà tangible puisque les scientifiques notent une stabilisation du fragile bouclier anti-UV depuis le début des années 2000.

« On voit même l’ozone augmenter un peu dans la haute stratosphère, au niveau des latitudes moyennes de l’hémisphère Nord, explique Sophie Godin-Beekmann, chercheuse au CNRS et coauteure du rapport rendu par le PNUE et l’OMM. Au-dessus de l’Antarctique, on n’observe pas encore de franche remontée.»..........................................http://www.lemonde.fr/pollution/article/2014/09/10/la-couche-d-ozone-en-bonne-voie-de-guerison_4485413_1652666.html

11/9/14

Σάββατο, 6 Σεπτεμβρίου 2014

Indian Ocean nations to carry out UN-organized tsunami readiness test


UN, 5 September 2014 – Ten years after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, 24 countries in the region will participate in an exercise organized by the United Nations to test their readiness to address such rare but potentially destructive events. 

The large-scale simulation exercise – known as “IOWAVE14” – is planned for 9 and 10 September, and is organized under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The exercise is intended to test the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System, which was set up in the wake of the catastrophe that struck the area on 26 December 2004.
On that day, an earthquake off the coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra sent waves as high as 30 metres crashing into 14 countries, claiming nearly 230,000 lives and leaving around 2 million people homeless.

Next week’s exercise will comprise two scenarios: the first simulates an earthquake with a magnitude of 9.1 south of Java, Indonesia; the second simulates an earthquake with a magnitude of 9.0 in the Makran Trench south of Iran and Pakistan.
Both scenarios will simulate tsunami waves travelling across the Indian Ocean and be conducted in real time.
“The goal is to measure the capacity and response times of the various stakeholders involved to address such rare but potentially destructive events,” stated a press release from UNESCO.
The agency added that the test is designed to assess the effectiveness of communication flows between the stakeholders involved, country readiness and the efficiency of emergency procedures. 

Several countries will also include public evacuation exercises of coastal populations. An evaluation will be conducted after the exercise to identify gaps and weaknesses so as to improve the Warning and Mitigation System.
The following Indian Ocean Rim countries are participating in the test: Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, France (Réunion), India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Seychelles, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Yemen.
 un.org
5/9/14
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Παρασκευή, 5 Σεπτεμβρίου 2014

Ninety-six percent of Syria’s declared chemical weapons destroyed (UN-OPCW mission chief)

 UN, 4 September 2014 – The Special Coordinator for the Joint Mission of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the United Nations (OPCW-UN) told the Security Council today that 96 percent of Syria’s declared stockpile, including the most dangerous chemicals, had been destroyed and preparation were underway to destroy the remaining 12 production facilities.

“This is a chemical weapons disarmament process, it’s been unique,” said Sigrid Kaag after her final briefing to the Security Council in her capacity as the head of the joint mission dealing with Syria’s chemical weapons, which is winding up its work at the end of September.


“At the same time, we reiterate our strong hope that if this is achieved, that conditions for peace and security and the political process will be centre stage for the benefit of the people of Syria and that of the region, particularly in these days of profound crisis.”

Ms. Kaag told a press conference at UN Headquarters following her closed-door briefing to the Council that the mission had overseen that destruction of 100 percent of “priority chemicals” and 96 percent of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile, but the good offices of the UN Secretary-General on this issue, discussions on monitoring verification, and accurate reporting to the Council will be continued.

She said starting October 1, the OPCW will be in the lead – in partnership with the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNPOS) to begin destroying the 12 remaining chemical weapons facilities – seven so-called hangars and five tunnels.

“All in all, the joint mission has achieved its objectives, has assisted the authorities in Damascus to achieve their goals as a State party, but the residual activities that remain of course are also of importance and interest to the [Security] Council so they have been asked to be briefed on a regular basis as before for a foreseeable period,” Ms. Kaag said.

The Security Council President for September, United States Ambassador Samantha Power, told reporters after the meeting, the Council’s interest in the issue of ridding Syria of chemical weapons will not abate as “Council members noted that the elimination effort is not complete.”

Ms. Power also said some Security Council members raised their concerns about the Syrian Government’s use of chlorine gas, as reported by the UN Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry last month.

In response to a question, the Security Council President said Security Council resolution 2118 (2013) has not yet been fulfilled, “and it won’t be fulfilled until this Council has confidence that the terms of the chemical weapons convention has been met.” In that resolution, the Council endorsed the expeditious destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons programme, with inspections to begin by 1 October, and agreed that in the event of non-compliance, it would impose “Chapter VII” measures.

The removal of the most critical material for destruction began in early January, in line with an agreement brokered by Russia and the United States, by which Syria renounced its chemical weapons material and joined 1992 Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons.

[un.org]
4/9/14
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Οι νεκροί Έλληνες στα μακεδονικά χώματα σάς κοιτούν με οργή

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