A- A A+

Young Champions of the Earth competition - now open

  • 15 February 2019 |
  • Published in Notices

UN Environment and Covestro are calling on 18-30-year-old innovators to submit their creative solutions to the world’s most pressing environmental challenges.

Representing every global region, seven applicants with the most promising solutions will be recognized as Young Champions of the Earth – the world’s preeminent environmental honour for young people. Each winner will receive USD 15,000 in seed funding, customized training, participation in a high-level UN meeting and global publicity.

Global warming is forcing our societies, our economies and our world to change. Our ways of doing business; careers and job opportunities need to change too. 

With this change comes unprecedented opportunity to take action. For brave entrepreneurs and trend-setting role-models to carve their place in a new and greener economy; to pioneer revolutionary technology and radical innovations - to lead a new wave of green careers.

video: 2019 launch

 

[ learn more  and to apply ]

youngchamps 3

 

youngchamps Infographic EN4

 

youngchamps 2

‘New tech’ business model threatens decent work conditions, warns UN

13 February - Unemployment is down globally but workers’ conditions have not improved, the UN said on Wednesday, warning that some businesses driven by new technology “threaten to undermine” hard-won social gains of recent decades.

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), most of the 3.3 billion people employed worldwide in 2018 did not enjoy adequate levels of economic security, and lacked sufficient material well-being as well as too few opportunities for advancement.

In total, 172 million people were jobless last year – one in 20 individuals of working age - ILO’s Trends in Global Employment 2019 report shows.

This unemployment rate, which has only just returned to levels last seen before the 2008-9 financial crisis, is not expected to change this year or next, assuming stable global economic conditions; although current uncertainty is “already having a negative effect on the labour market” in upper middle-income countries, it says.

Nonetheless, “being in employment does not always guarantee a decent living,” said Damian Grimshaw, ILO Director of Research. “A full 700 million people are living in extreme or moderate poverty despite having employment.”

Fewer working-poor…in middle-income countries

On a positive note, the ILO report highlights that working poverty has decreased in middle-income countries over the past three decades, although poorer nations are likely to see a rise in the number of working poor.

This is because the pace of poverty reduction is not expected to keep up with employment growth in these emerging economies, despite China’s major contribution in reducing the working poor levels as a result of strong economic growth since 1993.

The ILO data also shows that 360 million people in 2018 worked in a family business and 1.1 billion worked for themselves - often in subsistence activities because of an absence of job opportunities in the formal sector and/or the lack of a social protection system.

Workers ‘unable to find more work or too discouraged to look’

Linked to the challenge of bringing down unemployment, the UN report identifies a lack of opportunity for those who want to work.

This includes those who would like to make the jump from part-time to full-time work and the long-term jobless, who become so discouraged that they stop looking.

Taken together, poor workplace conditions, unemployment and gender inequality have contributed to slower-than-anticipated progress in achieving the key development goal of sustainable work for all, as set out in the 2030 Agenda.

Under 48 per cent of women work, versus 75 per cent of men

Among the most striking labour issues in the report is the continued lack of progress made in closing the gender gap at work, with less than 50 per cent of women in the labour force in 2018, compared with three quarters of men.

This problem is universal, ILO maintains, although the gender gap is widest in the Arab States, Northern Africa and Southern Asia.

Another challenge is the size of the informal sector - a “staggering” two billion workers, or 61 per cent of the world’s workforce. “Informal employment is the reality for the majority of workers worldwide,” ILO notes.

Also of concern is the fact that more than one in five people under 25 years old are not in employment, education or training; part of 15 per cent decline between 1993 and 2018 that is set to continue.

[ full story on UN News ]

UN announces roadmap to Climate Summit in 2019, a ‘critical year’ for climate action

2019 is a critical year, the “last chance” for the international community to take effective action on climate change, General Assembly President Maria Espinosa said on Thursday, during a briefing to announce the UN’s roadmap to the Climate Summit in September.

Ms. Espinosa was speaking alongside the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on the Climate Summit, Ambassador Luis Alfonso de Alba of Mexico, at UN Headquarters in New York.

Ms. Espinosa said that, with the deadline for achieving the first targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development fast approaching, described by Secretary-General António Guterres as “the UN’s blueprint for peace, justice and prosperity on a healthy planet”, the world stood at a crossroads.

Two-thirds of these targets, she said, depend on climate and environment goals, and a five-fold increase in commitments from their current levels is needed in order to meet the targets set at the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement on dealing with greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance, due to come into force in 2020.

The General Assembly President walked the representatives of Member States through some of the key events of 2019, leading up to, and following, the Climate Summit. All of the events, she said, share two goals: a doubling of commitments and ambition at a national level, and ensuring the inclusion of diverse groups in the process of climate action. 

March will see the General Assembly High-Level Meeting on Climate and Sustainable Development for All, which is intended to build on the success of COP24, the 2018 climate conference in Katowice, Poland, which led to the establishment of a “rulebook” for the reporting of emissions and the progress made in cutting them, every year from 2024.

The March meeting will welcome representatives of the private sector, civil society and young people, and look to harness the enthusiasm of the latter group, who, said Ms. Espinosa, will be most affected by a warming world.

On the 30th of June, in the build up to the Climate Summit, a “stocktaking” event will take place in Abu Dhabi, followed by a High Level Political Forum under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council in July, which will see a review of the progress made in achieving Sustainable Development Goal 13 (“urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts”).

The Climate Summit will be followed by the first-ever High Level Political Forum on Climate Action, sponsored by the General Assembly on September 24. The year will be rounded off by the 2019 Climate Conference COP25, which will take place in Chile.

[ full story on UN News ]

 

Service and Sacrifice - Peacekeepers serving under the UN flag

Peacekeepers serving under the UN flag work in difficult and dangerous environments, risking their lives to protect some of the world’s most vulnerable people.

Since 1948, more than a million women and men have served as UN peacekeepers. Every day, they make a tangible difference in the lives of millions of the world’s most vulnerable people, and every day they save lives. In places like the Central African Republic and South Sudan, our peacekeepers protect civilians against violent attacks and support the delivery of crucial humanitarian assistance.

Peacekeeping is a unique force for good, with military and police personnel from over 120 countries serving together, alongside civilian colleagues. Our peacekeepers come from diverse cultures and speak different languages, but share a common purpose: the protection of vulnerable communities and the provision of support to countries struggling to move from conflict to peace. 

We ask peacekeepers and their families to make great sacrifices. They serve at great personal risk and in harsh conditions.

Tragically some make the ultimate sacrifice - over 3,500 peacekeepers have lost their lives in the cause of peace.

[ Learn more ]


 

Video: Service and Sacrifice: United Nations Peacekeeping

 

On Kristallnacht anniversary, UN chief urges renewed fight against 'crime' of anti-Semitism

Political leaders have not yet taken up their responsibility to speak out loudly against neo-Nazism, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said on Friday, warning that anti-Semitism is on the rise.

Meeting Norbert Strauss on the 80th anniversary of the Nazi Kristallnacht attack on Germany's Jews, the Secretary-General said that testimony from Holocaust survivors needed to be heard anew, and fully understood as an ever-present reminder of what can happen if societies let down their guard. 

“Anti-Semitism is back and it needs to be fought as the crime it is,” Mr. Guterres said. He called on leaders and Governments to “clearly denounce and make evident the real risk of anti-Semitism in our societies today.”

In an intimate meeting in his office at UN Headquarters in New York, Mr. Guterres listened as Mr. Strauss recounted what it was like as an 11-year-old, to witness attacks and desecration of Jewish sites and monuments in Germany, and ultimately to flee the country.

Today’s meeting took place on the anniversary of Kristallnacht or “Night of Broken Glass".

The name Kristallnacht comes from the shards of broken glass found on streets after windows of Jewish-owned buildings and synagogues were smashed during that night of violence in 1938.

Mr. Guterres said that he was particularly touched by the imagery, since crystals had  been symbols of beauty,  horribly transformed since then, now coming to symbolize “the end of the age of denial about the Holocaust.”

Mr. Strauss was among a group meeting the UN chief, including members of non-profit organizations advocating for the Jewish community. They gifted Mr. Guterres books related to the Holocaust.  “Only the truth can allow humanity to progress,” Mr. Guterres said, encouraging young people to continue to learn about history. “If we hide the past, we will never be able to overcome it.”

The visit comes just days after an anti-Semitic gunman went on the rampage in the US city of Pittsburgh, killing 11 Jewish worshippers in a mostly-Jewish suburb, while they attended Shabat services at the Tree of Life Synagogue. The UN chief condemned the "horrendous act" noting that anti-Semitism is the "oldest and more permanent kind of hatred" to have endured "in the history of humankind". 

Also on Friday, the UN Department of Public Information (DPI) held an educators’ workshop titledPractical Tools for Celebrating Diversity and Antidiscrimination, in observance of  the Kristallnacht Pogrom and the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The event featured Facing History & Ourselves and a new online resource for teachers called Stories That Move – a  toolbox for antidiscrimination.

 

Subscribe to this RSS feed

Contact

Email: unic.portofspain@unic.org 

Telephone: 1(868) 623 8438 or 623 4813

Fax: 1 (868) 623 4332 

Address: 

2nd Floor Bretton Hall, 16 Victoria Avenue, 

Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago