Scientology volunteers help distribute 78 tonnes of donated food, clothes and other to those who need it in Turkey –

An experience with Scientology Volunteer Ministers in Turkey. 78 tonnes of supplies in hands of those who needed and helped more than 19,000 people

TURKEY, April 20, 2023 /APNEWS / / — On 6 February 2023, at 4:16 in the morning, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck…

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Turning crisis into opportunity: World leaders meet at UN to help drive pandemic recovery
Turning crisis into opportunity: World leaders meet at UN to help drive pandemic recovery

The hybrid (online and in-person) conference, which takes place between 6 and 15 July, will focus on the lessons, successes, shortcomings and plans to emerge from the unprecedented health crisis, and advocate for achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as the best way to build more inclusive, resilient and healthier societies.

“Countries will share and reflect the actions they have been taking to overcome the pandemic, to address its impacts and to build back better”, said Munir Akram, the President of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), which convenes the Forum. “A core issue would be whether and how they are using the SDGs as the blueprint for their response to COVID-19.” 

Helping the most vulnerable

This year, 43 countries will present actions they have taken to improve people’s standard of living, despite the impact of the pandemic; to date, 168 countries have presented their progress on the SDGs since the first Forum, in 2016. 

In the area of climate action, for example, the island nation of Antigua and Barbuda is implementing a $1.3 million project to improve its civil society access to climate financing. In Norway, measures to combat climate change have led to total greenhouse gas emissions dropping to the the lowest level since 1993, and also, Angola’s decision to enact measures aimed at reducing the country’s dependence on oil. 

For many countries, the response to the pandemic has involved investing in their citizens, enhancing social protection systems and labour markets in order to help the most vulnerable populations. 
Egypt’s “Decent Life” scheme aims to improve the lives of millions of poor in rural areas; Denmark inaugurated its “Children First” project, to ensure better conditions for equal opportunities in childhood; and Cyprus has adopted a support package for employees, the self-employed, vulnerable groups and businesses, worth some 2.6 billion Euros. 

Years of progress erased

Despite these welcome initiatives, ECOSOC warns that the pandemic has erased years of progress on some SDGs, and delegates will identify areas that need more attention, and policies likely to have maximum impacts on achieving the Goals. 

Before the onset of the pandemic, progress was already being described as unsatisfactory, with pervasive inequalities, hunger, climate change, lack of access to education, growing unemployment, and extreme poverty

By highlighting these ongoing issues, it is hoped that countries will chart a recovery path that is people-centered and underpinned by economic reform, digital transformation, vaccine equity and climate action. 

Generation Equality: Alongside COVID lies an ‘equally horrific pandemic’ threatening women
Generation Equality: Alongside COVID lies an ‘equally horrific pandemic’ threatening women
As the world grapples unevenly with the effects of COVID-19, “a parallel and equally horrific pandemic” has threatened half the world’s population, the UN chief said on Tuesday, in the lead up to the Generation Equality Forum in France.
On Wednesday, leaders from around the world will gather in Paris and online, in a massive push for gender equality. 

The Forum is a landmark event convened by UN Women, and co-hosted by the governments of Mexico and France, in partnership with youth and civil society, to accelerate gender equality

In the early months of the pandemic, the UN projected that quarantines and lockdowns could lead to a shocking 15 million additional cases of gender-based violence every three months.  

“Sadly, those predictions appear to be coming true”, Secretary-General António Guterres said in an opinion piece for the UK-based Independent newspaper. 

Violence amidst lockdown 

One-in-three women experience violence in her lifetime, said the World Health Organization (WHO), and according to the Spotlight Initiative Global Annual Report, violence increased 83 per cent from 2019 to 2020, while cases reported to the police grew by 64 per cent. 

“From domestic violence to sexual exploitation, trafficking, child marriage, female genital mutilation and online harassment, violent misogyny has thrived in the shadow of the pandemic”, said the UN chief.  

The COVID pandemic has added to an “existing epidemic of violence against women and girls”, he added.  

The pervasiveness of violence against women and girls has led some to believe that it will continue forever.  

“This is as outrageous and self-defeating as it is plain wrong”, said the UN chief, noting that the Organization supported by its partnerships, have demonstrated that “change is possible”. 

At the Generation Equality Forum, the top UN official said he would call on States, companies and individuals to join in a global initiative “to end the fear and insecurity that threaten the health, rights, dignity and lives of so many women and girls”. 

Revealing data 

The Forum is a global movement convened by UN Women, and co-hosted by the Governments of Mexico and France to accelerate equality between women and men, girls and boys. 

To prepare for the discussions, the organizers shared some statistics highlighting where action is most needed. 

Although women make up half of the population, they hold only 20 per cent of its leadership, according to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).  

This underscores the importance of feminist movements to advance women, including in leadership roles. 

And compared to men, women are 24 per cent more likely to lose their jobs and can expect their income to fall by 50 per cent more – making economic justice and rights imperative. 

At the same time, women are 10 per cent less likely than men to have internet access, leaving 433 million women globally on “mute”.  

Action now 

Action must be taken to ensure their equal access to technology and education so their voices can be heard. 

Turning to the climate crisis, women’s environmental activism receives just three per cent of philanthropic environmental funding – a miniscule sum for an enormous challenge. 

The organizers uphold that gender-equitable climate action must be built and the women who are disproportionally impacted by climate change heard. 

From Governments to corporations and youth-led groups to Foundations, forum participants aim to secure concrete, ambitious, and transformative commitments for gender equality, shaped the Action Coalitions, offer the world a roadmap for gender equality. 

 billion fund for renewables among key energy commitments made during UN ministerial forums
$1 billion fund for renewables among key energy commitments made during UN ministerial forums
The IKEA Foundation and The Rockefeller Foundation have announced plans to launch a $1 billion fund to boost access to renewable energy in developing countries – one of the key commitments made during a series of virtual UN ministerial forums this week.
Some 50 ministers outlined their plans to reduce emissions and ensure that all people have access to electricity and clean cooking fuels, as the world transitions away from fossil fuels, towards renewable energy.

Laying the groundwork

The ministerial gatherings laid the groundwork for the UN High-level Dialogue on Energy that will be held on 20 September to accelerate action on the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular, on the energy goal, SDG 7.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres told the Forums: “We are running far behind in the race against time to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 7 by 2030, and net-zero emissions by mid-century.

He called on “every country, city, financial institution and company to raise ambition and submit ‘Energy Compacts’” for the High-level Dialogue.

Globally, nearly 760 million people lack access to electricity and 2.6 billion continue to cook with traditional fuels like wood that not only contribute to carbon emissions but also causes 4 million deaths each year from indoor smoke.

Record pledge

The commitment by the IKEA and Rockefeller Foundations is the largest single philanthropic commitment ever on this issue. A consortium of organizations led by Kenya, Malawi and the Netherlands also advanced a call to action for clean cooking. 

During the Forums, more than 25 commitments were announced as “Energy Compacts” – voluntary actions pledged to achieve clean, affordable energy for all by 2030.

National Energy Compacts were previewed by ministers from Brazil, Denmark, the Dominican Republic, Germany, India, Nauru and the Netherlands.

A Compact setting a regional target of 70% renewable energy in the power matrix for Latin America, was signed onto by Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic and the Inter-American Development Bank, with other countries in the region invited to join.

Big business buy-in

The ambition of governments was met by strong private sector engagement, with tech giant Google reaffirming its commitment to source carbon-free energy for all of its operations in all places, at all times, by 2030.

Joining them were companies from the hard-to-abate cement sector – Ultratech and JK Cement – which made commitments for increased use of renewables and waste heat recovery systems for greater energy efficiency.  India’s largest power supplier, NTPC, pledged to achieve 60GW of renewable energy capacity by 2032.

GOGLA, a global association for the off-grid solar energy industry, committed to delivering improved electricity access for 1 billion people by 2030.

And the Association for Rural Electricity said it would work with the private sector to deliver sustainable electricity services to at least 500 million additional people.

A number of region and city networks said they will be putting commitments on the table for the September Dialogue, with the Basque region of Spain and the City of Ithaca, New York, announcing forward-looking Energy Compacts this week.

Youth leadership

At the Forums, young activists showed that they continue to lead from the front on energy and climate issues, with several strong keynote statements from youth calling on governments to take action.

Water-related disasters throw up complex challenges, threaten lives and jobs
Water-related disasters throw up complex challenges, threaten lives and jobs
The global climate crisis is “exacerbating and intensifying” water-related disasters, jeopardizing lives and livelihoods, the UN chief said on Friday at a major sustainable development symposium.
“For decades, natural disasters, [which] have been one of the major causes of worsening poverty, forcing some 26 million people into poverty each year and reversing developmental gains…are almost always connected to water, whether through floods, storms, droughts, tsunamis or landslides”, Secretary-General António Guterres told the Fifth UN Special Thematic Session on Water and Disasters.  

Dangerous trends 

Over the past two decades, climate-related disasters nearly doubled compared with the preceding twenty years, affecting more than four billion people, according to the top UN official. 

These disasters have claimed the lives of millions and resulted in over $2.97 trillion in economic losses, he said.  

Climate change is altering rainfall patterns, affecting water availability, prolonging periods of drought and heat, and increasing the intensity of cyclones, which can lead to horrific flooding events.  

“These trends create enormous challenges for our efforts to build more sustainable, resilient communities and societies by implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, the UN chief said, warning that they will accelerate over the course of the Decade of Action.  

And by 2030, projections suggest a staggering 50 per cent jump in humanitarian needs stemming from climate-related disasters.  

Upping commitments 

Limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees through Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) – national plans demonstrating commitment to increasingly ambitious climate action – is crucial to achieve a 45 per cent drop in emissions by 2030 and reach ‘net zero’ by 2050. 

However, “we are far off track from meeting these goals”, Mr. Guterres said. 

“Current commitments are insufficient, and emissions continue to rise. Global average temperatures are already 1.2°C above pre-industrial levels”.    

Bearing down on most vulnerable 

At the same time, countries that are most impacted by climate change lack the fiscal space to invest in adaptation and resilience.  

“Last year, cyclones lashed the shores of many countries that were already grappling with serious liquidity crises and debt burdens, made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic”, the UN chief said. 

Underscoring that “adaptation cannot be the forgotten piece of the climate equation”, he has been advocating for rich nations to mobilize $100 billion annually to assist developing countries and calling for 50 per cent of climate finance to be used on building resilience and adaptation. 

“We must ensure that this finance goes to those most in need, particularly small island developing States and least developed countries…on the verge of climate crisis now”, he added. 

UNDP India

Rescue efforts after part of a Himalayan glacier broke away in India’s Uttarakhand province in February, unleashing a torrent of water, rock and debris downstream.

Recover, rebuild stronger 

Prevention and preparedness are essential for responding to and recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.  

This means investing in resilience, meeting water management challenges, and providing water and sanitation services to all, according to the Secretary-General. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic was caused by the type of biological hazard foreseen in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, which emphasizes addressing multiple hazards and interconnected risks”, he recalled, urging everyone to “apply that lens” to policy-making on disaster risk reduction, COVID recovery, and climate adaptation.  

Recovery measures must preserve the environment, ecosystems and biodiversity while reversing the damage that has already been done.    

Invest in the future  

“Investing in resilient infrastructure is an investment in the future”, said the UN chief.  

Although more than 100 States have a disaster risk reduction strategy at least partially aligned to the Sendai Framework, dozens have yet to sign on. 

Noting that “every $1 invested in making infrastructure disaster-resilient saves $4 in reconstruction”, he urged countries and local governments to accelerate implementation. 

In closing, the Secretary-General reminded that disasters derail the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Sendai and the Paris Agreement.  

Describing the UN as a “steadfast partner in tackling water and disaster issues”, he pointed to the Decade for Action and the 2023 Water Conference as opportunities to transform water management and achieve the water-related SDGs. 

Pandemic ‘rolled back’ sustainable development funding for weak economies: UNCTAD
Pandemic ‘rolled back’ sustainable development funding for weak economies: UNCTAD
Financial assistance to the world’s 83 weakest economies fell by 15 per cent in 2020, to $35 billion as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic, UN trade and development experts UNCTAD said on Monday.
According to UNCTAD’s World Investment Report 2021, total foreign direct investment also dropped by more than a third globally, to $1 trillion (from $1.5 trillion in 2019), threatening progress on sustainable development.

This level was last seen in 2005 and it is an urgent problem because foreign direct investment is vital to promoting sustainable development in the world’s poorest regions, said Isabelle Durant, Acting Secretary-General of UNCTAD.

“The (COVID-19) crisis has had an immense negative impact on the most productive types of investment, namely, greenfield investment in industrial and infrastructure projects”, she said. “This means that international production, an engine of global economic growth and development, has been seriously affected.”

European fiscal woes

Regionally, Europe saw foreign direct investment fall 80 per cent last year, while flows to North America fell by 42 per cent, which was attributed to a fall in reinvested earnings.

Other developed economies saw an average drop of 20 per cent, UNCTAD said, while the African continent saw a 16 per cent fall in foreign direct investment – to $40 billion – a level last seen 15 years ago.

Significantly, greenfield project announcements in Africa also tumbled 62 per cent, hurting industrialization prospects, and commodity-exporters were the worst-hit.

Resilient Asia

By contrast, foreign direct investment to developing Asia resisted the worst impacts of the pandemic, driven by China, where capital inflows increased by six per cent, to $149 billion.

Southeast Asia saw a 25 per cent decline but investment to India increased, driven in part by mergers and acquisitions.

Sinking investment in Latin America

This contrasts with Latin America and the Caribbean, where foreign direct investment “plummeted” last year, falling by 45 per cent to $88 billion.

“Many economies on the continent, among the worst affected by the pandemic, are dependent on investment in natural resources and tourism, both of which collapsed”, UNCTAD said.

Development shock

Although foreign investment between wealthier nations fell most in 2020 – by 58 per cent – developing nations have borne the brunt of last year’s overall investment downturn, UNCTAD said.

To highlight this, the UN body pointed to the 42 per cent fall in the number of new greenfield projects among fragile economies and a 14 per cent fall in international project finance deals; the latter are significant because they drive infrastructure growth.

By comparison, developed economies saw a 19 per cent decline in greenfield investment and an eight per cent increase in international project finance, UNCTAD said.

Mixed recovery

Looking ahead, Ms. Durant insisted that although governments were rightly focusing on shaking off the impacts of the pandemic, the real challenge is “not only about reigniting the economy, it is about making the recovery more sustainable and more resilient to future shocks”.

UNCTAD director of investment and enterprise, James Zhan, echoed that message, noting that the coronavirus pandemic had amplified the fragilities of structurally weak economies.

“Investment in various sectors relevant for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially in food, agriculture, health and education, has been falling”, he said. “SDG-related investment needs to be scaled up in the post-pandemic period.”

According to UNCTAD’s latest report, investment to least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, and small island developing states, accounted for only 3.5 per cent of total foreign direct investment in 2020.

Source: UNCTAD

Foreign direct investment inflows, global and by group of economies, 2007–2020 (Billions of dollars and per cent).

It noted that the impact of the pandemic on global foreign direct investment was strongest in the first half of 2020, and that in the second half of the year, “cross-border mergers and acquisitions and international project finance deals largely recovered”.

However, greenfield investment – which UNCTAD insisted is more important for developing countries – “continued its negative trend throughout 2020 and into the first quarter of 2021”.

Looking ahead, UNCTAD said that global foreign direct investment flows were expected to bottom out in 2021 and recover some lost ground, with an increase of about 10 to 15 per cent. But this would still leave levels “some 25 per cent below the 2019 level”.

UN chief: Desertification and drought destabilizing well-being of 3.2 billion people 
UN chief: Desertification and drought destabilizing well-being of 3.2 billion people 

“Humanity is waging a relentless, self-destructive war on nature. Biodiversity is declining, greenhouse gas concentrations are rising, and our pollution can be found from the remotest islands to the highest peaks”, Secretary-General António Guterres said, adding: “We must make peace with nature”. 

Defend ‘greatest ally’ 

The top UN official said that while “land can be our greatest ally”, currently it’s “suffering”. 

Land degradation is harming biodiversity and enabling infectious diseases, such as COVID-19, to emerge, he explained. 

“Restoring degraded land would remove carbon from the atmosphere…help vulnerable communities adapt to climate change…and it could generate an extra $1.4 trillion dollars in agricultural production each year”, Mr. Guterres spelled out. 

And best of all, land restoration is “simple, inexpensive and accessible to all”, he added, calling it “one of the most democratic and pro-poor ways of accelerating progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”. 

Reverse land production, save ecosystems 

To meet an ever-growing demand for food, raw materials, roads and homes, humans have altered nearly three quarters of the earth’s surface, beyond land that is permanently frozen. 

Avoiding, slowing and reversing the loss of productive land and natural ecosystems now, is both urgent and important for a swift recovery from the pandemic and for guaranteeing the long-term survival of people and the planet. 

Restoring degraded land brings economic resilience, creates jobs, raises incomes and increases food security, according to the UN.  

Moreover, it helps biodiversity to recover and locks away carbon, while lessening the impacts of climate change and underpinning a green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“This year marks the start of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration”, reminded the Secretary-General, calling on everyone to “make healthy land central to all our planning”. 

Desertification’s severe repercussions  

Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of the Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCOpointed to the “dramatic impact” that desertification is having on “our common environmental heritages”, posing a “considerable threat” to the health of communities, global peace and sustainable development.   

Having contributed to the collapse of biodiversity and promoting zoonoses – diseases which jump from animals to humans – she called desertification “another reminder” that human health and that of the environment, are “deeply intertwined”.  

Desertification and drought also increase water scarcity, at a time when two billion people still lack access to safe drinking water, said Ms. Azoulay, adding that “over three billion may have to confront a similar situation by 2050”.  

Citing the Secretariat of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, she said that by 2030, the phenomenon is likely to cause 135 million people to migrate worldwide by 2030. 

“These migrations and deprivations are in turn a source of conflict and instability, demonstrating that desertification is also a fundamental challenge to peace”, she stressed.  

Looking ahead 

Underscoring that “working together is crucial”, the UNESCO chief maintained that sustainable progress cannot be achieved without the participation of everyone, “especially the youngest”.  

“Together, let us build a sustainable future so that the fertile lands of the past do not become deserts emptied of their populations and their biodiversity”, she concluded.

© FAO/Petterik Wiggers

Local farmers are helping to restore degraded land in Rwanda.

100 day to anniversary of United Nations “Peace Day”, UN chief urges: Stand up against hatred and care for planet 
100 day to anniversary of United Nations “Peace Day”, UN chief urges: Stand up against hatred and care for planet 

Every year on 21 September, the United Nations invites people around the world to celebrate peace by observing 24 hours of ceasefire and non-violence. On Sunday, the UN chief kicked off the 100-day countdown to the International Day of Peace.

As we strive to heal from the COVID-19 pandemic and reimagine a better future for people and planet, Secretary-General António Guterres introduced this year’s theme: “Recovering better for an equitable and sustainable world.”

Regardless of ethnicity, location or religion, the virus attacks everyone.

Confronting this common enemy, we must remember that we are not each other’s enemy.

To be able to recover from the devastation of the pandemic, we must make peace with one another.

Peace is the foundation of that recovery. The global vaccination effort cannot advance amidst armed conflict”, he said in his countdown message.

Moving forward

Moreover, the top UN official underscored that we cannot build a sustainable, resilient and peaceful world while we are “at war with nature”.

“The world cannot go back to what it was”, he stressed.

The Secretary-General upheld that COVID recovery efforts offer humanity an opportunity to transform its relationship with the environment and the entire planet.

“As we count down to the International Day of Peace, I call on people everywhere to be part of a transformation for peace, by standing up against hatred and discrimination, by caring for the planet, and by showing the global solidarity that is so vital at this time”, he concluded.

Looking back

The International Day of Peace was established by the UN General Assembly in 1981.

Two decades later, in 2001, the Assembly unanimously voted to designate the Day as a period of non-violence and cease-fire.

La OMS quiere acabar con las violaciones de DDHH en la psiquiatría
La OMS quiere acabar con las violaciones de DDHH en la psiquiatría

Los servicios de atención a la salud mental en Europa y en todo el mundo se siguen prestando principalmente en pabellones y hospitales psiquiátricos. Como está documentando The European Times, los abusos de los derechos humanos y las prácticas coercitivas en estos centros son habituales. La Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS), en un nuevo material de orientación publicado esta semana, demuestra que la prestación de una atención de salud mental basada en la comunidad, que respete los derechos humanos y se centre en la recuperación, está resultando satisfactoria y rentable.

Photo: Alan de la Cruz from Pixabay

La atención de salud mental recomendada en las nuevas orientaciones de la OMS debe estar situada en la comunidad y no solo debe abarcar la atención de salud mental, sino también el apoyo para la vida cotidiana, como facilitar el acceso al alojamiento y los vínculos con los servicios de educación y empleo.

Las nuevas “Orientaciones sobre los servicios comunitarios de salud mental: promoción de enfoques centrados en la persona y basados en los derechos” de la OMS afirman además que la atención de la salud mental debe basarse en un enfoque basado en los derechos humanos, tal como recomienda el Plan de Acción Integral de Salud Mental 2020-2030 de la OMS, aprobado por la Asamblea Mundial de la Salud en mayo de 2021.

Se requiere una transición rápida hacia servicios de salud mental rediseñados

“Esta nueva y exhaustiva orientación proporciona un argumento sólido para una transición mucho más rápida de los servicios de salud mental que utilizan la coerción y se centran casi exclusivamente en el uso de la medicación para manejar los síntomas de las condiciones de salud mental, a un enfoque más holístico que tiene en cuenta las circunstancias específicas y los deseos del individuo y ofrece una variedad de enfoques para el tratamiento y el apoyo”, dijo la Dra. Michelle Funk del Departamento de Salud Mental y Uso de Sustancias, quien dirigió el desarrollo de la orientación.

Desde la adopción de la Convención de las Naciones Unidas sobre los Derechos de las Personas con Discapacidad (CDPD) en 2006, un número creciente de países ha tratado de reformar sus leyes, políticas y servicios relacionados con la atención a la salud mental. Todos los países europeos han firmado y ratificado esta Convención. Sin embargo, hasta la fecha, son pocos los países que han establecido los marcos necesarios para cumplir los profundos cambios que exigen las normas internacionales de derechos humanos.

Los informes de todo el mundo ponen de manifiesto que los graves abusos de los derechos humanos y las prácticas coercitivas siguen siendo demasiado comunes en países de todos los niveles de renta. Algunos ejemplos son el ingreso forzoso y el tratamiento forzado; la contención manual, física y química; las condiciones de vida insalubres y los abusos físicos y verbales.

La mayor parte de los presupuestos gubernamentales de salud mental sigue destinándose a los hospitales psiquiátricos

Según las últimas estimaciones de la OMS, los gobiernos destinan menos del 2% de sus presupuestos sanitarios a la salud mental. Además, la mayor parte del gasto declarado en salud mental se destina a los hospitales psiquiátricos, excepto en los países de ingresos altos, donde la cifra ronda el 43%.

La nueva guía, dirigida principalmente a las personas responsables de organizar y gestionar la atención de salud mental, presenta detalles de lo que se requiere en áreas como la legislación, la política y la estrategia de salud mental, la prestación de servicios, la financiación, el desarrollo de la fuerza de trabajo y la participación de la sociedad civil para que los servicios de salud mental cumplan con la CDPD.

Incluye ejemplos de países como Brasil, India, Kenia, Myanmar, Nueva Zelanda, Noruega y el Reino Unido de servicios de salud mental basados en la comunidad que han demostrado buenas prácticas respecto a las prácticas no coercitivas, la inclusión de la comunidad y el respeto de la capacidad legal de las personas (es decir, el derecho a tomar decisiones sobre su tratamiento y su vida).

Los servicios incluyen el apoyo en caso de crisis, los servicios de salud mental prestados dentro de los hospitales generales, los servicios de extensión, los enfoques de vida asistida y el apoyo prestado por los grupos de pares. Se incluye información sobre la financiación y los resultados de las evaluaciones de los servicios presentados. Las comparaciones de costes realizadas indican que los servicios comunitarios presentados producen buenos resultados, son los preferidos por los usuarios y pueden prestarse a un coste comparable al de los servicios generales de salud mental.

“La transformación de la prestación de servicios de salud mental debe, sin embargo, ir acompañada de cambios significativos en el sector social”, dijo Gerard Quinn, Relator Especial de la ONU sobre los Derechos de las Personas con Discapacidad. “Hasta que eso ocurra, continuará la discriminación que impide a las personas con problemas de salud mental llevar una vida plena y productiva”.

UNESCO report highlights need for greater investment, diversity in science
UNESCO report highlights need for greater investment, diversity in science
Although spending on science has risen worldwide, greater investment is needed in the face of growing crises, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has recommended in a new report published on Friday. 
The latest edition of its Science Report, which is published every five years, further reveals that there is still a long way to go before science fully contributes to the goal of achieving a more sustainable future for all people and the planet.  

“Better-endowed science is indispensable. Science must become less unequal, more cooperative and more open. Today’s challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss, decline of ocean health and pandemics are all global. This is why we must mobilize scientists and researchers from all over the world,” said Audrey Azoulay, the UNESCO Director-General. 

More scientists, significant disparities 

During the period from 2014 to 2018, spending on science worldwide increased by nearly 20 per cent, and the number of scientists rose some 13.7 per cent: a trend that was further boosted by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the report. 

But a deeper dive into the data shows significant disparities, as just two countries – the United States and China – accounted for nearly two-thirds of this increase, or roughly 63 per cent. Additionally, four out of five countries fall far behind, investing less than one per cent of their GDP in scientific research. 

The fields of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics have been particularly dynamic, the authors said.  More than 150,000 articles on these topics were published in 2019 alone.   

Research also has surged in lower middle-income countries, rising from just under 13 per cent in 2015, to more than 25 per cent four years later. 

Open access challenge 

However, research in other areas critical to our common global future, such as carbon capture and storage, have received less investment, indicating a long path still lies ahead before science fully contributes to sustainable development.   

Furthermore, although international scientific cooperation has increased over the past five years, open access to research remains a challenge in much of the world, as more than 70 per cent of publications remain largely inaccessible to the majority of researchers. 

The report calls for new models for the circulation and dissemination of scientific knowledge, an issue UNESCO has been working on since 2019. The agency has been preparing a framework for open science ahead of its next General Conference in November, which it hopes will be adopted. 

Shaping tomorrow’s world 

Meanwhile, science needs to become more diverse, according to the report, as just a third of researchers are women. Although parity has been achieved in the life sciences, women account for only 22 per cent of the workforce in AI.  

“We cannot allow the inequalities of society be reproduced, or amplified, by the science of the future”, UNESCO said. 

The report further urges restoration of public confidence in science, reminding that “today’s science contributes to shaping the world of tomorrow, which is why it is essential to prioritize humanity’s common goal of sustainability through ambitious science policy.”

Step up HIV fight, to end AIDS ‘epidemic of inequalities’ by 2030 
Step up HIV fight, to end AIDS ‘epidemic of inequalities’ by 2030 
Although the world has made “great strides” since the first case of AIDS was reported, four decades ago, the UN General Assembly President said on Tuesday that the “tragic reality” is that the most vulnerable remain in jeopardy. 
“They are at greatest risk of being left behind as AIDS remains not just a health issue, but a broader development challenge”, said Volkan Bozkir, kicking off a three-day High-Level Meeting on the continuing epidemic. 

The road well-travelled 

While acknowledging that AIDS-related deaths have been reduced by 61 per cent since the peak in 2004, Mr. Bozkir warned that under-investment has caused many countries to “fall short of the global targets set out five years ago”, to fast-track the international response.  

Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic, conflict and humanitarian emergencies have impeded progress as health systems are under immense strain, and critical services and supply chains are disrupted.  

And climate-based disasters, prevalent in areas with a high HIV burden, pose additional risks to the most vulnerable, triggering stigma and discrimination and further isolating those already marginalized. 

“Put simply: AIDS is an epidemic of inequalities”, he spelled out. “If we are to end AIDS by 2030, we must end inequalities”. 

Girls in HIV crosshairs 

Meeting with world leaders, decision-makers, frontline workers and others, the Assembly chief` pointed to the Decade of Action, saying, “if we are to deliver the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, all Member States must re-commit to ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030”. 

“Ending AIDS is both a pre-requisite and a result of implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), he said.  

Last year women and girls accounted for half of those newly infected with HIV globally. And six out of every seven new HIV infections among those between the ages of 15-19 in sub-Saharan Africa, were girls, he added.  

“This is unacceptable”, he stated, stressing that every female must be free to exercise her human rights, make her own decisions and be treated with dignity and respect. 

Calling quality education “the foundation for a society where women feel safe to take their rightful place in the workplace, public life, politics and decision-making”, Mr. Bozkir said girls needed equal access to the classroom. 

Galvanize efforts 

As the world stands firm in galvanizing action to address the COVID-19 pandemic, the Assembly President said that “now” is the time to “re-commit to our 2030 targets and accelerate our efforts to end AIDS by 2030”.  

He urged the participants to listen to the voices of those affected, health workers and the epidemiologists “who have been ringing the alarm” and to take “urgent action” for equal access to treatment to prevent the 12 million people, who are now living with HIV, from dying of AIDS-related causes 

Resurgence in the balance 

Warning that infection rates are not following the once-promised trajectory, UNAIDS chief Winnie Byanyima said: “AIDS is not over”. 

“An AIDS death every minute is an emergency!”, she stressed, cautioning that amidst the fall-out from the COVID crisis, “we could even see a resurgent pandemic”, urging participants to unblock roads to a cure and end inequalities “that kill”. 

This requires “bold shifts”, including dramatically better access to good medical services.  

“Science moves at the speed of political will”, she reminded. 

Don’t let up 

Ms. Byanyima called for an end to fees surrounding debt restructuring, arguing wealthier governments should “step up not step back” on healthcare funding for low and middle-income States. 

“Keep the fight on, pressure of the power of people is key to ending inequalities and ending AIDS”, she said, maintaining that justice comes primarily through the “tireless efforts” of those who insist on it. 

End ‘intersecting injustices’  

Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed lauded those standing up for human dignity. Recalling that crises, such as pandemics, threaten to bring out the worst in people, she said that pandemics “thrive in, and widen, the fault lines and fractures of society”.  

She also highlighted the need for predictable funding for preventive education and/or medical and psychological care. 

“To end AIDS, we need to end the intersecting injustices that drive new HIV infections and prevent people from accessing services”, she said.  

‘Stop blaming, shaming’  

UN Messenger of Peace Charlize Theron agreed that “vulnerable and key populations” most likely to become HIV-positive are least likely to have access to the services they need to survive, which she said, “doesn’t happen by accident…[but] by design”. 

“We need to stop blaming, shaming and discriminating against people in need and start creating the enabling environments that provide real help and hope”, she said pushing for accessible “prevention, treatment and support services…for the most vulnerable”.

Still time to reverse damage to ‘ravaged’ ecosystems, declares UN chief, marking Environment Day 
Still time to reverse damage to ‘ravaged’ ecosystems, declares UN chief, marking Environment Day 
Amidst the triple environmental threat of biodiversity loss, climate disruption and escalating pollution, Secretary-General António Guterres launched “an unprecedented effort to heal the Earth”, on the eve of World Environment Day
Kicking off the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, he said the planet was rapidly reaching a “point of no return”, cutting down forests, polluting rivers and oceans, and ploughing grasslands “into oblivion”. 

“We are ravaging the very ecosystems that underpin our societies”, the UN chief warned in his message for the Day, being marked on Saturday.  

Our degradation of the natural world is destroying the very food, water and resources needed to survive, and already undermining the well-being of 3.2 billion people – or 40 per cent of humanity. 

But fortunately, the Earth is resilient and “we still have time to reverse the damage we have done”, he added. 

Safeguarding the planet 

By restoring ecosystems, he said that “we can drive a transformation that will contribute to the achievement of all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”. 

“Accomplishing these things will not only safeguard the planet’s resources. It will create millions of new jobs by 2030, generate returns of over $7 trillion dollars every year and help eliminate poverty and hunger.” 

‘Global call to action’ 

The UN chief described the decade of restoration as “a global call to action” that will draw together “political support, scientific research and financial muscle to massively scale up restoration”. 

He pointed out that the next 10 years are “our final chance to avert a climate catastrophe, turn back the deadly tide of pollution and end species loss”. 

“Everyone can contribute”, said the Secretary-General. “So, let today be the start of a new decade – one in which we finally make peace with nature and secure a better future for all”. 

Call for new human rights standard 

Meanwhile, UN independent human rights experts have called on the UN to formally recognize that living in a safe, healthy and sustainable environment is “indeed a human right”. 

“Of the UN’s 193 members, 156 have written this right into their constitutions, legislation and regional treaties, and it is time for the United Nations to provide leadership by recognising that every human is entitled to live in a clean environment”, they said in a joint statement marking World Environment Day. 

“The lives of billions of people on this planet would improve if such a right were adopted, respected, protected and fulfilled”, the UN experts added. 

Nearly 50 years after the Stockholm Declaration on the Human Environment, in which Member States declared that people have a fundamental right to “an environment of a quality that permits a life of dignity and well-being,” the time is ripe for concrete action, they said, calling on both the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly to take action. 

 Catalyst for action 

A surge in emerging diseases that jump from animals to humans, such as COVID-19, along with the climate emergency, pervasive toxic pollution and a dramatic loss of biodiversity, have brought the future of the planet to the top of the international agenda.  

The experts said that human rights must be put at the centre of any measures to tackle the environmental crisis. 

“Putting human rights at the heart of these actions clarifies what is at stake, catalyses ambitious action, emphasizes prevention, and above all protects the most vulnerable people on our planet”, they stated.  “We could, for example, truly transform our world by shifting from fossil fuels to renewable energy, creating a circular, waste-free economy, and moving from damaging exploitation of ecosystems to living in harmony with nature”. 

In a world where the global environmental crisis causes more than nine million premature deaths every year and threatens the health and dignity of billions of people, the experts upheld that “the UN can be a catalyst for ambitious action by recognising that everyone, everywhere, has the right to live in a healthy environment”. 

Click here for the names of those who endorsed the statement. 

Special Rapporteurs and independent experts are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a specific human rights theme or a country situation. The y are not UN staff or paid for their work.

COVID crisis to push global unemployment over 200 million mark in 2022
COVID crisis to push global unemployment over 200 million mark in 2022
The economic crisis caused by the COVID pandemic is expected to contribute to global unemployment of more than 200 million people next year, with women and youth workers worst-hit, UN labour experts said on Wednesday.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) also maintained in a new report that although the world’s nations “will emerge” from the ongoing health crisis, “five years of progress towards the eradication of working poverty have been undone” nonetheless.

“We’ve gone backwards, we’ve gone backwards big time,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder. “Working poverty is back to 2015 levels; that means that when the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda was set, we’re back to the starting line.”

The worst-affected regions in the first half of 2021 have been Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe and Central Asia, all victims of uneven recovery.

They’ve seen estimated working-hour losses exceed eight per cent in the first quarter and six per cent in the second quarter, far higher than the global average (of 4.8 and 4.4 per cent respectively).

Women’s roles questioned

Women have been hit “disproportionately” by the crisis, seeing a five per cent employment fall in 2020, compared to 3.9 per cent for men.

“A greater proportion of women also fell out of the labour market, becoming inactive,” ILO said, noting that “additional domestic responsibilities” had resulted from lockdowns which risked a “re-traditionalization” of gender roles.

Youth employment has also continued to suffer the economic downturn, falling 8.7 per cent in 2020, compared with 3.7 per cent for adults.

The most pronounced fall has been in middle-income countries where the consequences of this delay and disruption to the early labour market experience of young people “could last for years”, ILO warned.

$3.20 a day

Pandemic-related disruption has also brought “catastrophic consequences” for the world’s two billion informal sector workers.

Compared to 2019, an additional 108 million workers worldwide are now categorized as “poor” or “extremely poor” – meaning that they and their families live on the equivalent of less than $3.20 per person, per day.

“While signs of economic recovery are appearing as vaccine campaigns are ramped up, the recovery is likely to be uneven and fragile,” Mr Ryder said, as ILO unveiled its forecast that global unemployment will reach 205 million people in 2022, up from 187 million in 2019.

Jobs gap

The Geneva-based organization also projected a “jobs gap” increase of 75 million in 2021, which is likely to fall to 23 million in 2022 – if the pandemic subsides.

The related drop in working-hours, which takes into account the jobs gap and those working fewer hours, amounts to the equivalent of 100 million full-time jobs in 2021 and 26 million in 2022.

© ILO Photo/Kivanc Ozvardar

Young employees at a tech company in Ankara, Turkey, focus on digital marketing and computer services.

“This shortfall in employment and working hours comes on top of persistently high pre-crisis levels of unemployment, labour underutilization and poor working conditions,” ILO said in World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2021, (WESO Trends).

The ILO report maintained that although global employment recovery should accelerate in the second half of 2021, it will likely be an uneven recovery.

Unequal vaccine access is to blame, ILO insisted, in addition to the limited capacity of most developing and emerging economies to support the strong fiscal stimulus measures that have characterised the approach of the world’s wealthiest countries to the COVID-induced downturn.

Decent jobs essential

“Without a deliberate effort to accelerate the creation of decent jobs, and support the most vulnerable members of society and the recovery of the hardest-hit economic sectors, the lingering effects of the pandemic could be with us for years in the form of lost human and economic potential and higher poverty and inequality,” said Mr. Ryder. “We need a comprehensive and co-ordinated strategy, based on human-centred policies, and backed by action and funding. There can be no real recovery without a recovery of decent jobs.”

‘Simply no scenario’ where humanity can survive on an ocean-free planet
‘Simply no scenario’ where humanity can survive on an ocean-free planet
The world must harness “clear, transformative and actionable solutions” to address the ocean crisis, the President of the UN General Assembly said on Tuesday, opening a meeting to generate momentum towards the 2022 UN Ocean Conference, when public health safety measures allow. 
“Simply speaking, our relationship with our planet’s ocean must change”, Assembly President Volkan Bozkir told a high-level thematic debate on the ocean and Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG14): Life Below Water

Against the backdrop that human activities have threatened to undo the delicate balance of this ecosystem, that supports nutritional, economic and social value to billions the world over, he upheld that there is “simply no scenario” wherein we live on a planet without an ocean. 

Appetite for change 

People do not want to live in “a world of one crisis after the next”, Mr. Bozkir said, preferring instead the “security, sustainability and the peace of mind” that comes with a healthy planet. 

Policy makers too are increasingly aware of how a healthy ocean is integral to a strong economy. 

“We have seen this in countries and cities that have prioritized coastal and marine areas over tourism…in protected wetlands…in efforts to address illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, and regulate shipping and resource extraction”, he said. 

‘Blue recovery’  

New governance, policy and market approaches that incentivize both profit ability and sustainability – for people and planet – provide an opportunity for a “blue recovery” to build resilience, particularly in small island developing States, upheld the Assembly President. 

“Building a sustainable ocean economy is one of the most important tasks and greatest opportunities of our time”, he spelled out, urging governments, industries, civil society and others to “join forces to develop and implement ocean solutions”. 

As the SDG14 targets will be among the first to mature, Mr. Bozkir encouraged everyone to “think ahead” and arrive at the second Ocean Conference in Lisbon, Portugal, with “demonstrable evidence of progress”.  

Rather than wait until the Conference opens to re-discuss these issues, he reminded that the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development has already begun.  

“Let us choose to arrive in Portugal with accomplishments and progress that inspire hope and optimism for a better tomorrow”, he concluded. 

Blue economy ‘bedrock’  

Peter Thomson, Special Envoy on Oceans, emphasized the need to improve our relationship with the sea to one of respect and balance. 

He underscored the importance of delivering on SDG14, saying that “ocean acidification cannot continue unabated” while pointing out that greenhouse gas emission reductions are “required to meet 2030 goals”. 

And while spotlighting progress that is being made on ocean awareness, marine protected area coverage and ocean science, Mr. Thomson highlighted the urgent need to scale up. 

“At the heart of SDG14 is the sustainable blue economy”, Mr. Thomson said, “from nutrition to medicine, from energy to carbon sequestration and pollution-free transportation, the sustainable blue economy is the bedrock of upon which a secure future for humanity can be build. 

‘No silver bullet’ 

In a world dependent on plastic, the UN official said that there was “no silver bullet for the plague of marine plastic pollution”.   

However, he advocated measures to battle the scourge, including by “exponentially” increasing funding for developing countries to invest in waste collection and disposal infrastructure as well as widely implementing systems of reduction, recycling and plastic substitution.     

He concluded by highlighting the interconnectivity of the world, calling it “the fundamental lesson of the COVID-19 pandemic”.  

“We are connected within nature’s nurturing embrace”, he said, upholding that if we poison nature, we are in effect “poisoning ourselves”. 

Saeed Rashid

Plastic pollution in the world’s oceans is threatening marine life

Engaging with the ocean 

From Portugal, Ricardo Serrão Santos, Minister of the Sea, also spoke about the importance of ocean health for human and planetary well-being, pointing to the 2022 goal of “a more inclusive and more connected” engagement with the ocean. 

“We are gathered here today to rekindle the tone of the Conference” next year, he said, elaborating on the need to “scale up ocean action…increasing and improving coordination at all levels…financing and continued monitoring”.   

Mr. Serrão Santos underlined Portugal’s support for science, as being “critical to cross-cutting in every ocean action”. 

Seeking sustainable recovery 

Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Raychelle Omamo, drew attention to the impact of COVID-19, not only in delaying the Conference but also the havoc it has wreaked on jobs in coastal economies an on vulnerable coastal communities.  

“We seek a recovery that will promote sustainable development and harmony between people and the natural resources that sustain us”, she said.  

Masks in the sea became more than jellyfish
Masks in the sea became more than jellyfish

Global Marine Conservation

Divers on the Greek island of Corfu found more used protective masks than jellyfish at sea.

It turns out that the pandemic has exacerbated the problem of garbage in the seas and oceans.

Disposable masks, which are supposed to protect against the virus, often end up in the water. According to environmental groups, almost 2 billion masks were found last year alone.There are many other organizations working on marine conservation and other environmental issues such as biodiversity and global warming. We list them here both as a public service and to spread the word.

A group of divers from the Organization for the Protection of the Ocean regularly clean the sea near Corfu. They find a lot of plastic, but also more and more waste from the COVID crisis.

Currently, about 130 billion disposable masks are used worldwide – per month. The big problem with these preservatives is that once released into the environment, they do not decompose for up to 450 years.

“We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature, and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth.”– Henry Beston (authjor of The Outermost House: A Year of Life On The Great Beach of Cape Cod).

There are many other organizations working on marine conservation and other environmental issues such as biodiversity and global warming, they are deeply committed to marine conservation and founded on the concept that, by sharing the wonders of the ocean and marine life, people will be inspired to protect it. We list part of them here both as a public service and to spread the word.

Blue Frontier Campaign: founded in 2003 by David Helvarg, author of Blue Frontier – Saving America’s Living Seas and 50 Ways to Save the Ocean. Blue Frontier works to support seaweed (marine grassroots) efforts at the local, regional and national level, with an emphasis on bottom up organizing to bring the voice of citizen-activists into national decision-making that will impact our public seas.

Conservation International: a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC and operating in more than 30 countries worldwide to apply innovations in science, economics, policy and community participation to protect the Earth’s plant and animal biodiversity in major tropical wilderness areas and key marine ecosystems.

Deep Sea Conservation Coalition: “The NGOs listed in this document jointly call on the UN General Assembly to adopt a resolution declaring an immediate moratorium on high seas bottom trawling, and to simultaneously initiate a process under the auspices of the UN General Assembly to 1) assess deep sea biodiversity and ecosystems, including populations of fish species, and their vulnerability to deep sea fishing on the high seas; and 2) adopt and implement legally binding regimes to protect deep sea biodiversity from high seas bottom trawling and to conserve and manage bottom fisheries of the high seas consistent with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982), UN Fish Stocks Agreement (FSA 1995), UN FAO Compliance Agreement (1993), Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD 1992), and the UN FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (Code 1995).”

Environmental Defense: a non-profit organization based in New York bringing together experts in science, law and economics to tackle complex environmental issues that affect our oceans, our air, our natural resources, the livability of our man-made environment, and the species with whom we share our world.

European Network on Invasive Alien Species (NOBANIS): a network of common databases on alien and invasive species of the region. By establishing a common portal access to IAS-related data, information and knowledge in the region is facilitated.

Fauna and Flora International (FFI): aims to change the policy and behavior that contribute to biodiversity loss by engaging a wide range of governments and non-governmental organizations, and by raising the profile of biodiversity within the wider global development debate.

Global Coral Reef Alliance (GCRA): a coalition of volunteer scientists, divers, environmentalists and other individuals and organizations, committed to coral reef preservation. Focuses on coral reef restoration, marine diseases and other issues caused by global climate change, environmental stress, and pollution.

Greenpeace International: Greenpeace’s oceans campaign focusing on three major threats to the world’s oceans: overfishing, pirate fishing, whaling, and intensive shrimp aquaculture.

Institute for Ocean Conservation Science: to advance ocean conservation through science. They conduct world-class scientific research that increases knowledge about critical threats to oceans and their inhabitants, provides the foundation for smarter ocean policy, and establishes new frameworks for improved ocean conservation. The Institute’s research focuses on advancing ecosystem-based fisheries management, a strategy which recognizes that the oceans’ problems are interconnected and that species and habitats cannot be successfully managed in isolation; as well as on advancing knowledge about vulnerable and ecologically important marine animals that are understudied. They are dedicated to developing scientific approaches to sustainably manage forage fish, small schooling fish that are food for marine mammals and seabirds but are being depleted from our oceans.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): The IPCC has been established by World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to assess scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant for the understanding of climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.

International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) is an informal partnership between Nations and organizations which strives to preserve coral reefs and related ecosystems around the world. Although the Initiative is an informal group whose decisions are not binding on its members, its actions have been pivotal in continuing to highlight globally the importance of coral reefs and related ecosystems to environmental sustainability, food security and social and cultural wellbeing. The work of ICRI is regularly acknowledged in United Nations documents, highlighting the Initiative’s important cooperation, collaboration and advocacy role within the international arena.

International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW): engages communities, government leaders, and like-minded organizations around the world to achieve lasting solutions to pressing animal welfare and conservation challenges-solutions that benefit both animals and people.

International Maritime Organization (IMO) – IMO’s Intervention Convention affirms the right of a coastal State to take measures on the high seas to prevent, mitigate or eliminate danger to its coastline from a maritime casualty. The International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation (OPRC), 1990 provides a global framework for international co-operation in combating major incidents or threats of marine pollution. A protocol to this convention (HNS Protocol) covers marine pollution by hazardous and noxious substances.

IUCN Global Marine Programme provides vital linkages for the Union and its members to all the IUCN activities that deal with marine issues, including projects and initiatives of the Regional offices and the 6 IUCN Commissions. Its co-ordination role is above and beyond the policy development and thematic guidance that it undertakes to provide to assist governments, communities and NGOs alike.

IUCN Invasive Species Specialist Group: a global group of 146 scientific and policy experts on invasive species from 41 countries. ISSG provides advice on threats from invasives and control or eradication methods to IUCN members, conservation practitioners, and policy-makers. The group’s activities focus primarily on invasive species that cause biodiversity loss, with particular attention to those that threaten oceanic islands.

Nature Conservancy: Climate change isn’t a distant threat it is happening now. The past three years were hotter than any other time in recorded history. The Nature Conservancy is focused on innovative solutions that match the urgency of this crisis. We are protecting & restoring forests, improving working lands, helping communities build resilience & working to ensure a clean energy future. Together with supporters like you, we can halt the catastrophic march of climate change so that our communities can thrive & natural places that renew our spirits can endure.

Ocean Conservancy: serves to protect ocean ecosystems and conserve the global abundance and diversity of marine wildlife through science-based advocacy, research, and public education.

Oceana: a non-profit international advocacy organization dedicated to restoring and protecting the world’s oceans through policy advocacy, science, law, and public education.

Ocean Project: an initiative to raise awareness of the importance, value, and sensitivity of the oceans through a network of aquariums, zoos, and conservation organizations.

OceanCare: committed to marine wildlife protection since 1989. Through research and conservation projects, campaigns, environmental education, and involvement in a range of important international committees, OceanCare undertakes concrete steps to improve the situation for wildlife in the world’s oceans. In 2011, OceanCare was granted Special Consultative Status on marine issues with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

Project Aware Foundation: PADI’s foundation established to help conserve underwater environments through a wide variety of activities including education, advocacy, and action.

Project Seahorse: an international and interdisciplinary marine conservation organization comprised of biologists, development specialists, and other professionals committed to conserving and managing seahorses, their relatives and habitats, through research, education, empowering communities, establishing marine-protected areas, managing subsistence fisheries, restructuring international trade, redressing habitat loss.

Polar Bears International: a nonprofit organization dedicated to the worldwide conservation of the polar bear and its habitat through research, stewardship, and education. We provide scientific resources and information on polar bears and their habitat to institutions and the general public worldwide.

Reef Check: a volunteer, community-based monitoring mechanism operating in more than 60 countries designed to measure and maintain the health of coral reefs.

Reef Relief: dedicated to preserve and protect living coral reef ecosystems through local, regional, and global efforts focusing on science to educate the public and advocate policymakers to achieve conservation, protection, and restoration of coral reefs.

ReefBase: created to facilitate sustainable management of coral reefs and related coastal/marine environments, in order to benefit poor people in developing countries whose livelihoods depend on these natural resources.

The Safina Center: Led by ecologist and author Carl Safina, the Safina Center is comprised of StaffFellows and Creative Affiliates who together create a body of scientific and creative works that advance the conservation of wildlife and the environment, and give a voice to nature.

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society: an international non-profit, marine wildlife conservation organization whos mission is to end the destruction of habitat and the slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species. Sea Shepherd uses innovative direct-action tactics to investigate, document, and take action when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas.

Turtle Island Restoration Network: fights to protect endangered sea turtles in ways that make cultural and economic sense to the communities that share the beaches and waters with these gentle creatures. With offices in California and Costa Rica, STRP has been leading the international fight to protect sea turtle populations worldwide.

Seal Conservation Society: a non-profit organization protecting and conserving pinnipeds (seals, sea lions, and walrus) worldwide by monitoring and minimizing threats to pinnipeds, providing comprehensive information on pinniped-related issues to individuals, groups and the media, and by working with other conservation groups, rescue and rehabilitation centers, research establishments, and governments.

Shifting Baselines: a “media project” — a partnership between ocean conservation and Hollywood to help bring attention to the severity of ocean decline.

Sierra Club: the most enduring and influential grassroots environmental organization in the United States. We amplify the power of our 3.5+ million members and supporters to defend everyone’s right to a healthy world.

Society for Conservation Biology (SCB): an international professional organization dedicated to promoting the scientific study of the phenomena that affect the maintenance, loss, and restoration of biological diversity. The Society’s membership comprises a wide range of people interested in the conservation and study of biological diversity: resource managers, educators, government and private conservation workers, and students.

The Species Survival Commission (SSC): “the world’s greatest source of information about species and their conservation needs”. The SSC is a network of some 8,000 volunteer members from almost every country of the world, all working to stop the loss of plants, animals, and their habitats. Members include researchers, government officials, wildlife veterinarians, zoo and botanical institute employees, marine biologists, protected area managers, and experts on plants, birds, mammals, fish, amphibians, reptiles, and invertebrates. SSC produces the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, provides technical and scientific advice to governments, international environmental treaties, and conservation organizations, publishes species Action Plans, and policy guidelines, and implements on-ground conservation projects.

Surfrider Foundation: a non-profit organization that works to protect our oceans, waves, and beaches through its chapters located along the East, West, Gulf, Puerto Rican, and Hawaiian coasts, and with its members in the USA and International Surfrider Foundation chapters and affiliates in Japan, Brazil, Australia, France and Spain.

TRAFFIC: wildlife trade monitoring network that works to ensure that trade in wild plants and animals is not a threat to the conservation of nature. TRAFFIC is a joint programme of WWF and IUCN – The World Conservation Union.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – an international treaty to begin to consider what can be done to reduce global warming and to cope with whatever temperature increases are inevitable. Recently, a number of nations have approved an addition to the treaty: the Kyoto Protocol, which has more powerful (and legally binding) measures. The UNFCCC secretariat supports all institutions involved in the climate change process.

Whale & Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS): an international non-profit working toward the conservation and welfare of all cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) by reducing threats to cetaceans and their habitats and by raising awareness about the need to address the continuing threats to their welfare and survival.

WildAid: The illegal wildlife trade is a multi-billion dollar global industry largely driven by consumer demand in expanding economies. While most wildlife conservation groups focus on scientific studies and anti-poaching efforts, WildAid works to reduce global consumption of wildlife products and to increase local support for conservation efforts. We also work with governments and partners to protect fragile marine reserves from illegal fishing and shark finning, to enhance public and political will for anti-poaching efforts, and to reduce climate change impacts.

World Resources Institute: environmental think tank working to move human society to live in ways that protect Earth’s environment and its capacity to provide for the needs and aspirations of current and future generations. WRI provides objective information and practical proposals for policy and institutional change that will foster environmentally sound, socially equitable development for.

World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA): WSPA works with more than 449 member organisations to raise the standards of animal welfare throughout the world. Our vision is a world in which the welfare of animals is understood and respected by everyone, and protected by effective legislation.

World Wildlife Fund: WWF’s Endangered Seas Program works in more than 40 countries to campaign, lobby, develop and advocate solutions, commission and publish impartial data, advise, and champion the conservation of the marine environment and sustainable livelihoods.

UN chief calls for a global partnership to address COVID, climate change and achieve SDG’s
UN chief calls for a global partnership to address COVID, climate change and achieve SDG’s
Speaking in a key international partnerships summit, António Guterres said that if governments embrace together the goals of phasing out coal, enhancing climate commitments, and investing in the Global Goals, there is an opportunity to rise to ‘the biggest challenge of our lives’.
The world needs a global partnership to beat COVID-19, achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and address climate change, said the UN Secretary General in a video message for the opening day of the 2021 P4G summit in Seoul, Republic of Korea.

The Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030 (P4G) event aims to boost market-based partnerships and rally high-level political and private sector action. It brings together Heads of State, CEOs, and civil society leaders around a shared action agenda to mobilize investments for tangible impact.

The emissions gap

António Guterres expressed that although there are commitments to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, there is “still much to do” to close the emissions gap and achieve the SDGs.

He reaffirmed his call to all main emitters to present new Nationally Determined Contributions, commit to net zero emissions by 2050, and, ‘most importantly’, put in place policies and programs towards achieving that goal.

“Tackling climate change head-on will help protect the most vulnerable people from the next crisis while sustaining a job-rich recovery from the pandemic”, he said, reminding that the first priority right now is stopping plans for new coal plants and phase-out of coal use by 2040.

On that note, the Secretary General commended the Government of the Republic of Korea for announcing that it will stop all international coal finance and encouraged other government and private sector entities to do the same.

UN News/Conor Lennon

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) banners outside the United Nations Headquarters in New York. 20 September 2019.

The finance and adaptation gaps

Mr. Guterres also expressed his concern about the ‘finance and adaption gaps’. He said that developed countries have yet to deliver on the 100-billion-dollar annual commitment to climate action efforts and supporting vulnerable communities that are already suffering the consequences of global warming.

He also explained that one in three people globally are still not adequately covered by early warning systems, and women and girls, who make up 80 percent of those displaced by the climate emergency, are still often excluded from decisions to address the climate crisis.

“We urgently need a breakthrough on adaptation and resilience”, he added, asking all donor countries to significantly enhance their financial commitments.

In his message, the UN chief highlighted the importance of financing the ‘infrastructure of tomorrow’ by supporting developing countries in a just transition to sustainable energy and a circular economy while helping them to diversify their economies.

“In short, we need a global partnership for green, inclusive, sustainable development”, he underscored.

A common goal

Mr. Guterres warned that there is no global partnership if some are left “struggling to survive” and said that this was true for COVID and the distribution of vaccines as well as the climate emergency.

“In this quest, the Republic of Korea is a leading partner”, he said, commending the government for its 2050 net-zero pledge and the Korean Green New Deal.

He stressed that if governments embrace the same goals, there will be an opportunity for a real partnership that will equip us to “rise to the biggest challenge of our lives”.

Use Africa’s rich heritage as ‘catalyst’ for transformation, urges Guterres 
Use Africa’s rich heritage as ‘catalyst’ for transformation, urges Guterres 
A call to use Africa’s rich cultural and natural heritage as a catalyst for growth and transformation is “the right appeal at the right time”, the UN chief told a three-day forum on the continent’s future held online on Wednesday. 
Opening the 2021 Africa Dialogue Series, Secretary-General António Guterres said that the discussions highlight “the importance of arts, culture and heritage in building the Africa we want”. 

“I welcome your focus on cultural identity”, he added. 

New social contract 

Against the backdrop of a global spread of hate and intolerance, the UN chief stressed that “we must not only defend diversity but invest in it”. 

“Societies today are multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural”, he reminded. “This is a richness, not a threat”. 

To ensure that every community feels its culture and identity is being respected, Mr. Guterres underscored that better ways must be found to “redress the ills of he past that have bred mistrust and division”. 

He asserted that an emphasis on culture, heritage and shared values can help “build unity and common purpose”, which could also help overcome disruption due to COVID, and foster peaceful, sustainable development.  

“We need to move towards sustainable economic growth that protects the environment, promotes human rights and strengthens the social contract…[and] a stronger sense of solidarity and multilateral cooperation to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”, he said. 

Pursue ‘solidarity’ 

As the impacts of the pandemic continue, the Secretary-General called for “clear solidarity” with the continent. 

He said it was “unacceptable” that vaccines are still not fully available across Africa, citing it as the reason why Africa is “dramatically lagging” in shot distribution.  

“I have been insisting with the G20 countries to create a global vaccination plan to reach everybody everywhere and…an emergency taskforce…to make sure that we are able to double the production of vaccines and at the same time to have a network of distribution”, the UN chief explained.  

Mr. Guterres said he was also concerned to see 6 per cent projected growth in the international economy but only 3.2 per cent for Africa.  

“It is absolutely essential that African countries receive the financial support they need at the present moment to protect their citizens and to be able to relaunch their economies”, calling for “effective debt relief [to] be put at the disposal of African countries”. 

Transformative agenda 

The Special Adviser on Africa, Cristina Duarte, urged participants to “seize the opportunities” provided by COVID to “change our mindset” and approach Africa’s development with “forward-thinking”.  

She saw it as an opportunity for an African cultural renaissance, inculcating “the spirit of Pan Africanism, tapping into Africa’s deep well of rich heritage and culture to ensure that our destiny is built and owned by us”. 

Understanding that culture goes beyond artistic demonstrations and entails a deep feeling of belonging to a community ready to exercise ownership of its own development, the UN official called it “a trigger of sustainable development”.  

Bridging the gap 

The Special Adviser drew attention to a widening divide each time a global milestone or major development is realized.  

“The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines is just a new example, that follows the digital divide, the energy divide, and a long etcetera”, she said.  

Ms. Duarte concluded by saying: “This is our opportunity to put an end to a vicious cycle by promoting far-reaching transitions that, based on the spirit of global solidarity, enable a transformation in all areas of development”.  

‘Key’ development driver 

General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir said that the societal impact of culture “cannot be overstated”.  

“Culture shapes our identities…gives meaning, purpose and a sense of belonging…and is imperative for social cohesion”, he elaborated.  

During an Assembly meeting last week, the President said that Member States showcased best practices to leverage cultural and creative industries in recovery plans to support the delivery of the SDGs and hailed it as is “a key driver of sustainable development” with the unique ability to shift human behaviour.

Africa essential for sustainable development, poverty reduction and peace
Africa essential for sustainable development, poverty reduction and peace
Africa’s rich, diverse cultural and natural heritage, is important for sustainable development, poverty reduction, and “building and maintaining peace”, the UN chief said on Tuesday, marking the international day celebrating the continent. 
“This year’s Africa Day highlights arts, culture and heritage as levers for building the Africa we want”, Secretary-General António Guterres     said in his commemorative message.  

“This year’s Africa Day highlights arts, culture and heritage as levers for building the Africa we want”, Secretary-General António Guterres  said in his commemorative message.   

Africa Day marks the 1963 founding of the Organization of African Unity, now known as the African Union (AU), and provides an annual opportunity to reflect on the challenges and achievements of the Governments and peoples of the continent. 

Countering COVID 

COVID-19 has triggered a global recession that has “exposed deep-seated inequalities and vulnerabilities”, according to the UN chief – endangering hard-won development gains throughout Africa and beyond.   

The pandemic has also heightened the drivers of conflict by increasing inequalities and revealing the fragility of governance in many nations – particularly in delivering basic services, such as healthcare, education, electricity, water and sanitation.   

The impact of the pandemic has also been exacerbated by the climate crisis, which disproportionately affects developing nations.  

Currently, there is a “profound imbalance” in vaccine distribution among countries, with the latest figures revealing that African countries have received just two per cent of vaccines, said the top UN official.  

To end the pandemic, support economic recovery and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), he stressed the need for “equitable and universal access to COVID-19 vaccines”.   

The UN chief upheld that Africa Day can “can provide a strong foundation for inclusive economic progress as the continent strives to meet the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic”. 

“On this Africa Day, I renew my call to developed nations to stand in solidarity with Africa”, concluded the Secretary-General. 

Support the continent 

Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, a former senior government minister in Nigeria, observed that Africa Day “comes at a difficult time as we are countering the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences with its acute impacts on Africa”. 

She also noted that Africa has experienced a slow-down in economic growth, which is expected to increase only three per cent this year, “about half the world’s average”. 

“While world leaders must continue to support our AU partners, we also call upon African leaders to further their efforts in establishing good governance, fighting corruption and supporting Africa’s youth”, she said. 

Social media tributes 

Other senior UN voices marked the day on Twitter. 

“We celebrate the generous hospitality given in many African communities to refugees and displaced people, and we pledge to support them as they share limited shelter, food, services and resources with those fleeing war and violence” tweeted UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. 

The UN health agency chief, Tedros Ghebreyesus wished a happy Africa Day to his “brothers and sisters across the continent”, with the hope of working “even harder together to make Africa a more prosperous, peaceful, healthier, safer and fairer place for our children!”. 

And the UN refugee agency in the Horn of Africa and Great Lakes region offered “a huge thank you” to citizens there for generously opening their doors to refugees. 

Share gains from extracting precious raw materials more equitably, guard against pitfalls, cautions Guterres
Share gains from extracting precious raw materials more equitably, guard against pitfalls, cautions Guterres
Extracting minerals, metals and other valuable raw materials from the earth, represents a “crucial juncture” between resources, ecosystems and people, all of which have an essential role to play in advancing sustainability and equity, the UN chief said on Tuesday. 
Speaking at the Global Roundtable on Transforming Extractive Industries for Sustainable Development, Secretary-General António Guterres said: “Our shared responsibility is to ensure that the benefits of mineral resources reach all people in society, not just elites, while safeguarding the natural environment today and for future generations”.  

Extractive industries refers to businesses that take raw materials from the earth, including oil, coal, precious metals, and other minerals, by drilling, pumping, quarrying and mining. 

Mineral potential 

As one of Earth’s “great endowments”, he said that their extractions play a “dominant role” in the economies of 81 countries, generating large foreign exchange earnings, foreign direct investment and government revenues. 

“They have the potential to drive economic growth and poverty reduction”, said the UN chief. 

While mineral-rich countries account for a quarter of global Gross Domestic Product, half the world’s population – nearly 70 per cent of their people – live in extreme poverty. And of the world’s 72 low or middle-income countries, 63 have increased their dependence on extractive industries over the past two decades.  

They have the potential to drive economic growth and poverty reduction — UN chief

Mr. Guterres noted that some call mineral extractions “the resource curse” because of their association with “a litany of ills” – from corruption, exploitation and racism to environmental degradation, worsening climate change and biodiversity loss, along with armed conflict, gender-based violence and human rights violations. 

Common thread 

Common to all regions has been the need for the extractives sector and resources generated to be managed “sustainably, inclusively and equitably”, according to the UN chief. 

“This means taking into account the needs and rights of women, indigenous peoples, local communities and other stakeholders who are affected by the industry yet excluded from the design and benefits of extractive operations”, he spelled out. 

Improve governance, reduce dependency 

The Secretary-General highlighted four imperatives that must be enacted, beginning with the improved governance of extractive resources, including for independent monitoring and addressing corruption, revenue mismanagement and illicit financial flows. 

“This is especially important regarding new minerals and metals on which the technological revolution depends”, he said. 

Secondly, the UN chief upheld that countries must reduce their dependency revenues from these industries by diversifying their economies, adapting tax systems to new needs and accelerating work on a just transition for employees and communities dependent on extractive resources.  

“Overall, the sector should be supporting investment in public services, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and human rights”, he said.  

 A low-carbon future 

In his third point, Mr. Guterres advocated for more investment in a low-carbon future by aligning all public and private finance in the extractives sector with the SDGs and Paris Agreement

Recalling that countries representing 73 per cent of carbon emissions have committed by mid-century to net zero, he said: “Decarbonization of the global economy is inevitable”. 

Rapidly deploying renewable energy technologies and phasing-out fossil fuel must be supported by ending the use of coal, shifting subsidies from fossil fuel to renewable energy and promoting technology transfer, according to the UN chief. 

“I urge multilateral development banks, development finance institutions, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other institutions to support this process decisively”, he said.  

Strengthen cooperation 

Greater regional and global coordination to “manage shocks and ensure a smooth, just and sustainable transition process”, was the UN official’s final point. 

He said that the UN Regional Economic Commissions will continue to play an important role this regard and also invited Member States and others to create a UN-hosted Working Group on Extractive Industries to help transform the sector. 

‘All hands-on deck’ 

The Secretary-General closed by calling for “all hands-on deck” to address the triple threat of climate disruption, biodiversity loss and pollution and to promote equitable, inclusive development where no one is left behind. 

“I…look forward to working together to reap the benefits of extractive industries for all while guarding against the pitfalls”.  

UN development system responds with ‘solid score’ in face of COVID-19 test 
UN development system responds with ‘solid score’ in face of COVID-19 test 

“In many ways, the COVID-19 crisis has shone a spotlight on international cooperation”, Secretary-General António Guterres told a meeting of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) on Operational Activities for Development. 

Among other things the pandemic has exposed shortcomings in international financing and vaccine equity, but it has also highlighted the value and enormous potential of international cooperation for development. 

‘Solid’ success 

The UN chief described the pandemic as a ‘litmus test’ for the new Resident Coordinator (RC) network, and repositioned UN development system that has passed “with a solid score”. 

More than 90 per cent of colleagues in capitals agreed that RCs have helped ensure a coherent UN response to the pandemic with national ownership, and more than 80 per cent confirmed success in targeting at-risk groups most hurt by the COVID crisis. 

The data suggest that governments agree that UN Country Teams are more relevant to their development needs; that RCs are more effective in leading Country Teams; and that they serve as a genuine entry point to access the UN system at the country level around the world, the top UN official said. 

UN ‘revolution’ of progress 

Over the past year, the UN has made progress on five key areas of reform, beginning with its Resident Coordinators and Country Teams, which Mr. Guterres said has sparked “a true revolution in the UN System” and supported the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Secondly, he noted that the UN is now better positioned for “more tailored responses to specific country contexts and to countries in special situations”. 

He said there had been progress in advancing a regional review and headway made on the Organization’s commitments to transparency and results. 

“We are making progress in securing more efficient business operations”, the UN chief said as his final point, giving the example of efficiency gains that should shift some $100 million to development activities. 

Crucial areas of work ahead  

Despite encouraging progress, the top UN official warned that the unprecedented scale of today’s COVID-19 recovery and sustainable development challenges have exposed three crucial areas where more must be done. 

Noting that 65 per cent of UN entities have no formal requirement linking them to the Cooperation Framework, he said “first, we must rapidly consolidate more robust accountabilities and the appropriate presence and configuration at the country level”. 

The second area is to even the playing field, by delivering “integrated policy advice” and strengthening the international debt architecture. 

The third area of action is boosting funding for the overall UN development system, particularly the RC system, according to the UN chief. 

“Now is the time to see governments invest fully in the reforms…to help a strong and different recovery to achieve the SDGs”, he said. 

Strengthening coordination 

A well-resourced coordination system is “essential” to bridge the gap between UN resolutions to advance sustainable development and poverty eradication, which are the actual resources on the ground to help make those resolutions a reality, Mr. Guterres explained. 

Crediting the UN’s progress with “a strengthened coordination function”, he said, “if we cannot sustain this drive, we may undermine our ability to maximize the results of these reforms, thereby further derailing our support to the 2030 Agenda”. 

In early June, the UN chief will launch his report on the reinvigorated Resident Coordinator System, with proposals to strengthen the sustainability and predictability of funding. 

“The RC system needs to be owned by all Member States…as the Organization steps up to meet the SDGs over the decade up to 2030”, the Secretary-General said.“Development coordination is at the core”.