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At global call to action, Antigua and Barbuda PM : "Join us in banning the use of single use plastics"

The President of the UN General Assembly launched a new global call to action on Tuesday, to help end the scourge of plastic pollution in the ocean.

Maria Fernanda Espinosa told journalists at UN Headquarters in New York, that her Campaign Against Plastic Pollution – a priority during her year in office -  will hold both consumers and decision-makers accountable, urging the phasing out of single-use plastics such as water bottles, and raising awareness of the impact plastic pollution has on human and environmental health.

“It is estimated that by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the sea. Microplastics are now confirmed in table salt, in fresh water, each person on the planet is believed to have plastic in their bodies,” she cited in her statement

“I intend to leverage the capacity of the office of the President of the General Assembly, to support ongoing global campaigns to beat plastic pollution. This will include complementary efforts by UN Environment, Global Citizen and National Geographic, amongst others.”

She announced that in Spring 2019, the initiative to stamp out plastic will be highlighted by events across the globe; including one celebrating innovative progress in New York City, a concert in the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda, and a photo exhibit at the UN General Assembly to coincide with World Environment Day.

Join us in groundbreaking plastics ban, urges PM

The Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Mr. Gaston Browne, announced that the concert was set for April 27th to coincide with Antigua ‘Sailing Week’.  It will include regional and internationally renowned musicians and artists and will highlight efforts to tackle the problem globally.

He noted that Antigua and Barbuda had been successful in the elimination of single use plastics. "During the past two years, we have introduced a ban, which has worked very well...Antigua and Barbuda is the first country in the Caribbean to do so. We need to protect our oceans and we are calling on all nations to join us in banning the use of single use plastics

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Message on World AIDS Day

1 December 2018

Thirty years after the first World AIDS Day, the response to HIV stands at a crossroads. Which way we turn may define the course of the epidemic—whether we will end AIDS by 2030, or whether future generations will carry on bearing the burden of this devastating disease.

More than 77 million people have become infected with HIV, and more than 35 million have died of an AIDS-related illness. Huge progress has been made in diagnosis and treatment, and prevention efforts have avoided millions of new contaminations.

Yet the pace of progress is not matching global ambition. New HIV infections are not falling rapidly enough. Some regions are lagging behind, and financial resources are insufficient. Stigma and discrimination are still holding people back, especially key populations— including gay men and other men who have sex with men, sex workers, transgenders, people who inject drugs, prisoners and migrants—and young women and adolescent girls. Moreover, one in four people living with HIV do not know that they have the virus, impeding them from making informed decisions on prevention, treatment and other care and support services.

There is still time -- to scale-up testing for HIV; to enable more people to access treatment; to increase resources needed to prevent new infections; and to end the stigma. At this critical juncture, we need to take the right turn now.

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Caribbean to strengthen early warning systems and resilience to climate change

27 November - An initiative to strengthen multi-hazard early warning systems in the Caribbean was launched on November 20 during the dry season Caribbean Climate Forum (CariCOF) meeting in Barbados.

The Caribbean region is highly exposed to high-impact hydrometeorological hazards such as hurricanes and tropical storms, causing floods, landslides and storm surge. In 2017, Hurricane Irma caused massive destruction in Barbuda resulting in the subsequent full evacuation of the island while Hurricane Maria caused devastation Dominica. Barbados suffered from flooding as a result of Tropical Storm Kirk in September 2018.

“It is undeniable that Early Warning Systems are well-recognized as critical life-saving disaster risk reduction tools,” Honorable Edmund Hinkson, Barbados Minister of Home Affairs, told the launch.

The project titled “Strengthening Hydro-Meteorological and Early Warning Services in the Caribbean” will be led by the World Bank together with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR). At the regional level the led implementers will be the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and the Caribbean Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH).

Hinkson lauded the multifaceted approach being used by this initiative which brings global partners together with regional partners for the first time.  “The Climate Risk and Early Warning Systems Initiative (CREWS) brings comparative advantage of all agencies together,” Hinkson added. This approach intends to build community resilience through a functioning, gender-inclusive, cascading early warning systems for the region.  

[ read the full story on WMO site ]

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Coral reefs can’t wait for world to take action, urges UN, as Biodiversity Conference gets underway

Sounding the alarm about the urgent need to protect coral reefs from extinction within decades, a new coalition of organizations, including the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), was launched on Wednesday in Egypt during the UN Biodiversity Conference, to galvanize global leadership before it is too late.

 “It’s clear to anyone who puts their head below the waves that the fate of the world’s coral reefs is hanging in the balance,”. At the moment these undersea explosions of colour and life face an extremely bleak future.” 

 Erik Solheim, UNEP Chief

Coral reefs provide food and livelihoods for hundreds of millions of people around the world, support more than a quarter of all marine life, and protect communities and coastlines from natural disasters — and if urgent action is not taken, they could be lost forever.  

Eight international organisations have joined forces to advocate for decisive action to protect these natural wonders: UNEP, the International Coral Reef Initiative, the World Wildlife Fund, the Nature Conservancy, the Wildlife Conservation Society, Vulcan Inc., the Ocean Agency, and the Secretariat of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

“The expectations for this coalition could not be higher. Coral reef protection must become a global priority. Coral reefs need a better deal,” said Mr. Solheim, who unveiled the new partnership in the Egyptian coastal resort of Sharm El Sheikh. Dozens of ministers whose countries are party to the CBD are gathering there, together with experts and representatives of civil society organisations, to start a two-year process to adopt a global framework for protecting biodiversity, including coral reefs, around the world.

 [ full story on UN News ]

 

 

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IOM launches migration governance in the Caribbean 2018 report

IOM, under the PACTA project and funded by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration; launched the Regional Report on Migration Governance in the Island States of the Commonwealth Caribbean. The report aims to help policymakers improve migration management practices in the Caribbean region and is to be used as a starting point for identifying opportunities to develop regional interventions tailored to the realities of each country and to build government capacities. 

Learn more about the methodology of this report, the highlights and main actionable recommendations for the region, which consists of: Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago; 

Background

In January of 2016 eight countries, in coordination with the IOM and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) met to discuss establishing a regional consultative process. The countries and territories of Aruba, Bahamas, Belize, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Turks and Caicos Islands identified priority themes to pursue, including:

  • Collection of data, information sharing, and analysis of migration related issues;
  • Systematic consultations on migration issues; and
  • Sharing of good practices in regards to refugees and vulnerable migrants.

In December of 2016, 15 countries and territories met for the first meeting on thematic issues: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, Haiti, Netherlands, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Turks and Caicos, and Tinidad and Tobago.

Learn more about the  report and the Caribbean Platform For Migration Governance

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UN Report: Hunger and obesity in Latin America and the Caribbean compounded by inequality

For the third consecutive year, the number of those chronically hungry has increased in Latin America and the Caribbean, while 250 million – 60 percent of the regional population - are obese or overweight, representing the biggest  threat to nutritional health, said the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on Wednesday.

Speaking at the launch of the 2018  Panorama of Food and Nutrition Security report in Santiago, Chile, FAO’s Regional Representative, Julio Berdegue said it was an “appalling” threat to health overall, affecting women and indigenous groups the most.

The Panorama, published annually by FAO, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the World Food Programme (WFP), explores strategies to halt the health threats posed by hunger and malnutrition in Latin America and the Caribbean.

According to the report, hunger, malnutrition, lack of micronutrients, and obesity largely affect lower income families, women, indigenous communities, Afro-descendants and rural families.

Principle causes of malnutrition amongst the most vulnerable, can be traced back to changes the food systems have experienced in the region, from production to consumption. With a greater strain on the demand for nutrient-rich food like milk and meats, many resort to less costly options which are often higher in fat, sugar and salt.

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Infographics from the 2018 FAO report:

 

hungerlac18 

obesity facts

 

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UN stands ready to support Haiti after quake on 6 October

In the wake of the 5.9 magnitude earthquake that struck north-west Haiti overnight, Secretary-General António Guterres on Sunday extended condolence to the island nations’ people and Government, and said the United Nations stands ready to help with the response.

“The Secretary-General is saddened to learn of the tragic loss of life and injuries caused by the earthquake in north-west Haiti on 6 October,” said a statement issued by Mr. Guterres’ spokesperson.

The quake, which, according to press reports, struck overnight Saturday near Port-de-Paix, off Haiti's northern coast, has left at least 11 people dead and more than 100 wounded.

Tremors were reportedly felt in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, as well as in neighboring Dominican Republic and in eastern Cuba.

In today’s statement, the UN chief extended his condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government of Haiti.

“The United Nations stands ready to support the Government of Haiti in the response efforts,” the statement concluded.

This is the strongest earthquake to hit Haiti since 2010, when the tiny island nation was devastated by a 7.3 magnitude temblor, which affected some three million people overall.


 pie chart Addiitional informaton from Relief Web

- a service of UN Office for the Coordiantion of Humanitarian Assistance (OCHA)

image credit: Relief Web

  • A 5.9 magnitude (11 km depth) earthquake struck off the Northwestern coast of Haiti on 7 October at 00:11 UTC. The epicentre of the earthquake was located about 19 km Northwest of the city of Port-de-Paix. The earthquake was felt across the country. There was no tsunami warning in effect.
  • According to the Haitian Civil Protection Agency, 10 people have been killed and at least 135 people injured. The Agency also reports that some houses and buildings have been destroyed in Port-de-Paix, Gros Morne, Chansolme and Turtle Island.
  • Haiti’s Prime Minister informed that a crisis cabinet has been created to coordinate the emergency response to the earthquake.
  • DG ECHO’s Emergency Response Coordination Centre is closely monitoring the situation and liaising with DG ECHO offices in the region. A DG ECHO technical expert from the Haiti office is being deployed to the affected areas and a second technical expert form DG ECHO Bogota is ready to be deployed for further support.
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Haiti: UN agricultural development fund supports hurricane-affected farmers with $11 million

With many rural areas in Haiti still recovering from the devastation caused by Hurricane Matthew in 2016, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) announced on Thursday that it is investing $10.8 million help restore agricultural productivity in some the worst affected areas of the island nation.

The funds will be distributed through the Agricultural and Agroforestry Technological Innovation Programme, known by its French acronym PITAG, extending its reach to eight additional municipalities in Haiti’s South Department, and spreading sustainable agricultural practices and technologies.

"Haiti's rural population suffers from a vicious circle of low agricultural productivity, high environmental degradation and poor nutrition,” said Lars Anwandter, who leads IFAD's programme in Haiti.

Weak agricultural practices in Haiti have been compounded by a series of natural disasters. The most recent, Hurricane Matthew, which struck the south-western part of the tiny island nation on 4 October 2016, left 2.1 million people severely affected, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

As of February 2018, some 622,100 are reportedly still in need of food security assistance.

While the situation in Haiti has improved since the hurricane hit, deep-seated vulnerabilities persist. Over the past few decades, Haiti has seen its soils, water reservoirs and woods severely degraded. World Bank data shows that 59 per cent of the total population lives below the poverty line and the figure rises to 75 per cent in rural areas.

Today, Haiti produces only 45 per cent of the food that Haitians need.

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 Learn more about the UN in Haiti |  More stories on Haiti

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UN chief hopes Latin America and the Caribbean region will play a central role in ensuring “fair globalization”

Addressing a session of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), which opened in Cuba on Monday, Secretary-General António Guterres said the forum “is central to supporting the countries of the region in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

The meeting brings together representatives from ECLAC’s 46 member States and 13 associate members to debate the main challenges for implementing the 2030 Agenda in the region.

Mr. Guterres noted that globalization has brought many benefits, but it has left too many behind. 

Women are still far less likely to participate in the labour market – and the gender pay gap remains a global concern. Youth unemployment is alarmingly high in many countries across the world, he said.

The UN chief commended ECLAC for having been “a progressive and authoritative champion” for social justice in the global economy and “a pioneer” in integrating the economic, social and environmental development.

ECLAC has also “consistently and courageously put forward a development vision with equality as a driver of growth” he said, and focused on what he called the  “deeper meaning” of equality: looking beyond income as a measure of well-being and the main litmus test for development cooperation. 

 [ read the full story on UN News ]

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UN migration agency rolls out regional response to ongoing Venezuelans exodus

As the exodus has considerably increased over the last two years, an estimated 1.6 million Venezuelans were abroad in 2017, up from 700,000 in 2015, with 1.3 million in the Americas, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

“The plan is tailored to specific national contexts across 17 countries including eight South American countries, six Caribbean countries, two Central American countries and Mexico,” explained Marcelo Pisani, IOM Regional Director for Central America, North America and the Caribbean.

The exodus is not letting up. For instance, more than 800 Venezuelans are estimated to be entering Brazil each day, bringing the total arrivals to more than 52,000 since the beginning of 2017, according to the host Government.

IOM’s regional plan seeks to strengthen the response to the needs and priorities expressed by concerned governments and focuses on such activities as data collection and dissemination, capacity building and coordination, direct support and socio-economic integration.

Diego Beltrand, IOM Regional Director for South America, encourages host countries to consider adopting measures, such as regularizing the stay of Venezuelans, and called for the international community to contribute to the regional plan, which requires $32.3 million to implement.

[ this story was originally posted on UN News ]

Infographics

venezuela infographic1      venezuelainfographic2

student read iconNearly 800 Venezuelans arriving in Brazil each day, many seeking asylum, UN refugee agency says

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Feature photos

  • 20180920 161147
  • ccacademy
  • muntraining011
  • ellaunfpa18
  • parent an students who attended in 2nd Climate Change workshop, with UNIC Director, Costa Rican Abassador, ASPnet Coordinator and guest presenter
  • Climate Change Academy students and organisers
  • MUN 2019 youth leaders and Lara Quantrall Thomas from Rotary
  • UNFPA staff Ella presents a gift to a visitor at the UN booth on International Women's Day 2018