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 December 30, 2009 10:41 PM

MALDIVES: UN HELPS PROTECT CHILDREN AGAINST NEGLECT AND ABUSE

New York, Dec 30 2009 2:10PM
Child neglect and abuse, subjects that were long hidden behind closed doors in the traditional society of the Indian Ocean archipelago of the Maldives, are now being dealt with thanks to a United Nations-backed social services programme.

For the first time, social services are being delivered throughout the atolls by Family and Child Service Centres staffed by personnel trained by the UN Children’s Fund (<"http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/maldives_52278.html">UNICEF).

“People are more open about these issues now, and then they tend to report these cases,” UNICEF Child Protection Officer Hawwa Zahira said. “In doing so, the young recruits to this new service have helped to bring about real societal change in their communities. They were resented initially, but now they are feeling accepted.”

Ahmed Hussain, a regular sight on his motorbike through the streets of his island home in Raa Atoll, is part of a transformation in child protection services which are helping families in even the remotest parts of the Maldives. “Before we would only hear about cases indirectly from others,” he recalled. “But now we hear from the families and even the victims themselves.”

Five years since the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami washed over some of the atolls, change can be seen everywhere in the Maldives. Not only has UNICEF been working to create a safe environment for children, it is also working towards creating a cleaner and healthier place for children to live.

A new state-of-the-art sanitation project on Ungoofaaru Island linking all homes to a centralized sewage treatment system is an example of this effort, and is making a huge difference in the level of cleanliness.

UNICEF-supported water and sanitation systems and now social services for children have all helped this tsunami-affected island to “build back better.”

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 December 30, 2009 10:23 PM

FACING CLIMATE CHANGE, DEVELOPING WORLD BENEFITS FROM UN ONLINE SCIENTIFIC SCHEME

New York, Dec 30 2009 12:10PM
As part of a project to promote scientific knowledge in the developing world in the face of climate change, the United National environmental agency this month extended its online programme to Yemen, offering it a chance to gain greater access to leading scientific journals.

Yemen is now one of 108 developing countries which have free access to the latest in scientific literature through the Online Access to Research in the Environment (OARE) project of the UN Environment Programme (<"http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?DocumentID=606&ArticleID=6432&l=en&t=long">UNEP).

UNEP, Yemen’s Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and the Ministry of Water and Environment worked together with the UN World Health Organization (<"http://www.who.int/">WHO) to train 30 Yemeni researchers, scientists, planers, and lecturers about the use of OARE to support the country as it faces increasing environmental challenges due to climate change, food crisis and water scarcity.

Yemen’s economy depends largely on the oil and fishing industries. Even though recent reports show a 25 per cent increase in fish product exports and a 30 per cent increase in fish volume, according to a recent World Bank report, the country is facing an alarming decline in fish stock and production in some areas.

“We need to do much more to get to a climate-smart world,” Katherine Sierra, Vice-President for Sustainable Development at the World Bank, said. “On the energy front, we must tackle difficult issues like technology transfer, investment, and climate finance. But when it comes to adaptation and building climate resilience, the challenge is more complex and the role of knowledge will be key.”

So far, more than 1,600 institutions are registered with OARE to use the wide collection of scientific research and the increasing number of scientific databases and portals. OARE's expanding role in developing countries comes at a time when the world is focusing on knowledge and technology transfer to promote more sustainable development. Access to the latest findings in environmental science will help those countries adapt to an increasingly changing environment.

In November, a similar workshop was organized in Amman, Jordan, where 35 Jordanian and Iraqi participants were trained. Other trainings are scheduled for Tunisia, Morocco and Afghanistan in early 2010.

The crucial transfer of scientific information to the developing world began two years ago when UNEP negotiated a deal with leading publishers to build one of the largest electronic collections of scientific knowledge in environmental and related areas, in partnership with WHO, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (<"http://www.fao.org/">FAO), Yale and Cornell universities in the United States, international publishers, and private sector groups like Microsoft.

The result is a collection that is available online and contains more than 2,900 scientific and peer-reviewed journals with a value of around $1.5 million a year.

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 December 30, 2009 10:13 PM

SECRETARY-GENERAL CONFERS WITH WORLD LEADERS ON CLIMATE CHANGE
New York, Dec 30 2009 4:10PM
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has been speaking to numerous world leaders on the heels of the historic United Nations conference in Copenhagen which recently wrapped up with nations reaching a political agreement on climate change.

Following the summit’s end less than two weeks ago, Mr. Ban has made calls to leaders from countries such as China, the United States, Ethiopia, the Maldives, Grenada, France, Brazil and Australia.

The Copenhagen Accord was struck in the Danish capital on 19 December after the Secretary-General intervened at the last minute to assuage nations that felt they had been excluded from parts of the negotiations.

It aims to jump-start immediate action on climate change and guide negotiations on long-term action. It also includes an agreement to working towards curbing global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius, efforts to reduce or limit emissions, and pledges to mobilize $100 billion a year for developing countries to combat climate change.

“While I am satisfied that we sealed a deal, I am aware that the outcome of the Copenhagen conference, including the Copenhagen Accord, did not go as far as many have hoped,” Mr. Ban told reporters after returning to New York from Denmark.

The two-week-long UN conference in Copenhagen, attended by more than 100 heads of State and government, was marked by interruptions in negotiations due to divisions between States over transparency and other issues.

“The leaders were united in purpose, but they were not united in action,” Mr. Ban pointed out, exhorting world leaders to act in concert to ensure that a legally binding treaty is reached next year.

Nonetheless, he said that the talks “represent a beginning – an essential beginning,” because without nations hammering out a deal in Copenhagen, the financial and technical support for poorer nations agreed upon would not take immediate effect.

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Todays World News from the U.N. December 30/ 2009. December 30, 2009 10:01 PM

Here is the World's United Nations News Alerts for Today, hope you find them Informative, best way to read these is to Print them off, and read at your Leisure, like a Newspaper  [ send green star]
 
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