#UN; #InternationalDaytoProtectEducationfromAttack; #Covid19
UN, Sep 9 (Canadian-Media): On the observance of the first 'International Day to protect education from Attack' attention is being drawn to the plight of more than 75 million 3-to-18-year-olds living in 35 crisis-affected countries and to their urgent need of educational support and over the effects of continued violence on these children and their ability to access education, UN reports said.
Ehsanullah at his school in Zheray, a district in the southern province of Kandahar, Afghanistan. The school, which once served around 1,300 students now has less than 400 pupils, and some classrooms remain unusable. Image credit: UNICEF/UN0309055/Kocic
These consequences require special attention beyond the needs of learners whose establishments were temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In proclaiming the International Day to Protect Education from Attack to be observed for the first time in 2020, the UN is sending a clear message regarding the importance of safeguarding schools as places of protection and safety for students and educators and the need to keep education at the top of the public agenda. This remains a priority while governments continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic that has led to school closures for more than 90% of the world’s student population.
"As the world fights to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, children and youth in conflict zones remain among the most vulnerable to its devastating impact. We must ensure our children have a safe and secure environment in which to learn the knowledge and skills they need for the future,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
Education is a fundamental human right and an essential driver for peace and development, yet armed attacks targeting teachers, students and education facilities are on the rise, with some 11,000 incidents reported between 2015 and 2019, the UN Secretary-General said on Wednesday.
António Guterres shared the startling figure in an address to mark the first observance of the International Day to Protect Education from Attack.
“In addition to depriving millions of vulnerable learners from accessing education, this violence has serious adverse effects, including increased drop-out rates, prolonged educational disruption, child recruitment into armed groups, early pregnancy and sexual violence”, he stated, adding “These attacks simply must not continue.”
‘Military occupation’ of the playground The President of the UN General Assembly outlined the magnitude of the problem, noting that most incidents involve direct attacks on schools, including arson, ground and airstrikes, raids, looting and use of explosive devices.
“We are witnessing the military occupation of schools which causes the campus to lose civilian status, thus facing threats of attack as a lawful military target”, said Tijjani Muhammad-Bande.
“Furthermore, proximity to weapon-bearers places students at risk of forced recruitment, sexual violence, and abduction.”
Though he was able to complete his studies, Faisal Nor Ali, a social worker in Somalia, experienced first-hand the devastation caused by an attack on a school facility.
“I have witnessed fellow students jump out of school buildings in fear of attacks and violence”, he said. “We must commit to making classrooms a safe space where learners can flourish and look to a bright future.”
Education for all The UN Secretary-General underlined that governments must ensure that everyone can continue to learn, even during times of conflict.
While more than 100 countries have endorsed a Safe Schools Declaration, Mr. Guterres insisted that more action is needed.
“I urge all United Nations Member States to ensure the provision of education for all, even in times of conflict, and particularly for the most vulnerable, such as refugees and displaced persons”, he stated.
Furthermore, he said education must also be a force to prevent attacks. To that end, the UN has been using education as a tool to counter violent extremism.
“We are helping young people rise above radical messages to build more peaceful societies,” Mr. Guterres continued. “By giving them more autonomy and raising awareness of human rights, we are building the foundations of durable peace.”
Additionally, governments must also work to improve knowledge about attacks on education through enhanced monitoring, reporting and investigation so that perpetrators can be brought to justice.
Learning from the pandemic With the COVID-19 pandemic exposing inequalities and injustices, the UN chief emphasized that recovery must prove to be an opportunity to build a better world.
“The pandemic has shed an important light on the fault lines running through our societies. One of these is unequal access to education”, he said.
“As we work to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) over the coming decade, we must ensure no one is left behind. For that, we need quality education for all, and safe places for students to learn.”
UNEP, Sep 3 (Canadian-Media): What if we could see the invisible air pollution that kills more than 7 million people each year? Would it make us act?
On 7 September 2020, for the first time ever, the world will join together to mark the UN's International Day of Clean Air for blue skies. The theme for 2020 is "Clean Air for All".
Air pollution is now the greatest environmental threat to health, but it is preventable. We have solutions and technology. To improve our air quality we need everyone on board –from individuals to private companies to governments.
Air pollution doesn’t have to be a part of our collective future. Cleaner air will make us healthier, protect nature and help achieve global climate change goals.
What are you doing to clear the air?
Tell us: #CleanAirForAll
#Ottawa, #IOAD2020; #OverdoseAwareness
Ottawa, Aug 31 (Canadian-Media): International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD), a global event that aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of drug-related death is being observed Aug 31 across the globe.
Image credit: Twitter handle.
"The ongoing opioid-related overdose crisis in Canada has claimed the lives of over 15,000 Canadians from all backgrounds since 2016 leaving too many members of communities across the country mourning the loss of loved ones, each with their own unique story...the majority of overdose deaths in Canada occur at home alone... Stigma plays a significant role...People who use drugs need our compassion and support..," said Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's Chief Public Health Officer in a statement and added that all Canadians have a role to play in helping address the drug overdose crisis.
IOAD was initiated by Sally J Finn at The Salvation Army in St Kilda, Melbourne in 2001.
Since 2001, events to raise awareness and commemorate those who have been lost to drug overdose have been held by many community members as well as government and non-government organisations.
Since 2012, IOAD has been coordinated by the not-for-profit Australian public health organisation Penington Institute.
"To those living in recovery from addiction, we encourage you to share your experience, strength and hope to help others. Talk to your friends and family; share the message on social media using #endoverdose or #recoveryispossible. Everyone deserves to have the opportunity to recover from addiction and achieve overall physical, mental and emotional wellness," Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Jason Luan said in a statement.
“To commemorate International Overdose Awareness Day, purple lights will glow at BC Place in Vancouver in memory of those we have lost. Other parts of B.C. will recognize the day with lighted walkways and buildings, memorial gardens, virtual candlelight vigils, awareness campaigns, social media promotions and the annual Moms Stop the Harm purple ribbon campaign,"Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions said in a statement.
#Ottawa; #JustinTrudeau; #BlackRibbonDay; #Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact; #Atrocities
Ottawa, Aug 23 (Canadian-Media): Black Ribbon Day, the National Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Communism and Nazism in Europe is observed annually on Aug 23 to mark the anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact signed between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany in 1939 to divide Central and Eastern Europe setting the stage for the appalling atrocities these regimes would commit, media reports said.
Black Ribbon Day 2020. Image credit: Facebook page
Many countries were stripped of their autonomy, forcing families to flee their homes, tore communities apart, including Jewish and Romani communities, and others.
Untold suffering were imposed upon people across Europe by The Soviet and Nazi regimes resulting in senseless murder of millions and denied their rights, freedoms, and dignity.
Paying tribute to the to the survivors and victims of Communism and Nazism in Europe in the wake of this pact, Canada's Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, said Aug 23,
“We also stand in solidarity with all those around the world who continue to fight against the brutality, viole, and repression of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes.
“Many people who escaped found refuge in Canada, bringing with them the hope of a better future for themselves and their families. Despite all they had endured, many shared an unshakeable belief in the power of individuals to make positive change and influence society for the better. They, along with their children and grandchildren, have helped build the strong, diverse, and prosperous country we all call home.
On behalf of the Government of Canada, Trudeau urged everyone to safeguard human rights, protect freedom and democracy to make sure such crimes never recur and encouraged all Canadians to honour the victims and survivors of Communism and Nazism and added,
"It is in their name that we will continue to defend human rights, and uphold the inherent dignity of every human being.”
Alberta, Aug 15 (Canadian-Media): Alberta Premier Jason Kenney issued the following statement in recognition of India’s Independence Day.
Jason Kenney. Image credit: Facebook page
“The largest democracy in the world was born on this date 73 years ago. In a world of turmoil, that democracy has endured just as Mahatma Gandhi’s belief in non-violent protest has inspired people everywhere.
“Today, India combines ancient traditions with 21st century innovation to stand as one of the pre-eminent developing economies. Its growing businesses reach global markets as more of its citizens attain ever-higher levels of education.
“I look forward to once again visiting India to strengthen our commercial and cultural ties. More than 175,000 Albertans of Indian heritage contribute immensely to our province, and I am proud to join with them in celebrating India’s Independence Day.
“Bharat ke chauhatarvey swatantrata diwas ki bahut shubhkamnayen.
“Best wishes on India’s 74th Independence Day.”
India's Independence Day. Image credit: Pinterest
United States of America, Aug 14 (Canadian-Media): On behalf of the Government of the United States of America and the American people, Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of US Department States extends greetings and best wishes to the people of India on 74th India's Independence Day, US Department of State reported.
Image credit: Pinterest
On behalf of the Government of the United States of America and the American people, I extend greetings and best wishes to the people of India on your Independence Day.
The United States and India have shared close bonds of friendship and democratic traditions since India gained its independence seventy-three years ago. Over the years, our relationship has grown into a Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership, involving ever closer cooperation on issues vital to global security and prosperity in the 21st century.
Image credit: Twitter handle
The United States and India work together on defense, counterterrorism, trade, investment, energy, the environment, healthcare, agriculture, science and technology, education, space, the oceans, and much more.
As I remarked earlier this year, the United States and India see each other as great pluralist democracies, global powers, and good friends. I wish the people of India a happy Independence Day.
UN/Geneva, Aug 12 (Canadian-Media): Commemorating the International Youth Day, top UN officials have called on leaders around the world to “do everything possible” to enable young people contribute to the fullest of their great potential.
High school girls from Long Island, New York, join other youth climate activists in a demonstration calling for global action to combat climate change. (20 September 2019). Image credit: © UNICEF David Berkwitz
Against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, which has upended young peoples’ lives and aspirations and exasperated their vulnerabilities, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres praised the young generation’s resilience, resourcefulness and engagement.
“They are the young people who have risen up to demand climate action. They are mobilizing for racial justice and gender equality and are the champions of a more sustainable world,” he said in a message marking International Youth Day.
“Many are young women who have been on the frontlines in mobilizing for justice and climate action — while also serving on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response.”
The Secretary-General also underscored that realizing the promise of the young generation requires investing far more in their inclusion, participation, organizations and initiatives.
“I call on leaders and adults everywhere to do everything possible to enable the world’s youth to enjoy lives of safety, dignity and opportunity and contribute to the fullest of their great potential,” he added.
The theme of this year’s International Youth Day, “Youth Engagement for Global Action”, highlights the ways in which the engagement of young people at the local, national and global levels is strengthening national and multilateral institutions and processes, as well as draw lessons on how their representation and engagement in formal institutional politics can be enhanced.
Also this year, through the #31DaysOfYOUth social media campaign, UN celebrates young people throughout the month of August, leading up and following International Day, to help spread the word and strike up a conversation surrounding youth engagement for global action.
‘Young people are the trail-blazers of progress’ – UN General Assembly President Echoing the Secretary-General’s call, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, the President of the UN General Assembly, also underlined a “global responsibility” to ensure that young people everywhere have access to just and equitable opportunities to fulfil their rights and aspirations.
“The potential for humanity to create a peaceful, prosperous future will not be reached as long as inequities and discrimination against youth remain commonplace, and young people lack opportunities to have their voices heard,” he said in a separate message on the International Day.
The Assembly President applauded young people for their “amazing contributions” towards a better future. Their movements in their communities and countries, he said, are already improving societies and raising global ambitions, every day.
“In the era of COVID-19 and the long-lasting social and economic negative effects it has on youth – and with only 10 years left to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – [their] vision and commitment are paramount to creating a more sustainable and inclusive world,” he added.
“With your innovation and ambition, and guided by the Sustainable Development Goals, I am sure that your generation will effectively transform the world into a more sustainable, inclusive and just place for all,” Mr. Muhammad-Bande urged all young people, inviting them to take part in the virtual UN75 Youth Plenary, to be held in September to add their voice to shaping the United Nations for decades ahead.
#UN; #IndigenousPeople; #InternationalDay; #Covid19Pandemic
Geneva (United Nations), Aug 9 (Canadian-Media): Inclusion and participation of the world’s 476 million indigenous peoples must be ensured in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and on the road ahead towards recovery, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has underscored.
Indigenous communities in Malaysia have long been the guardians of the natural environment in the southeast Asian country. Image credit: Sarawak Biodiversity Centre
Marking the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, Mr. Guterres drew attention to the “devastating” impact of the pandemic on indigenous peoples around the world.
“Throughout history, indigenous peoples have been decimated by diseases brought from elsewhere, to which they had no immunity,” said the Secretary-General.
While indigenous peoples already faced deep-rooted inequalities, stigmatization and discrimination prior to the current pandemic, inadequate access to healthcare, clean water and sanitation increases their vulnerability, he added.
That said, indigenous peoples’ traditional practices and knowledge also offer solutions that can be replicated elsewhere.
For instance, the Karen people of Thailand revived their ancient ritual of “Kroh Yee” – or village closure – to fight the pandemic. Other Asian countries and in Latin America applied similar strategies, with communities closing off entry to their areas.
‘Indigenous peoples have demonstrated extraordinary resilience’
In his message the UN chief also highlighted the extraordinary resilience shown by indigenous peoples in the face of overwhelming challenges.
Many have lost their jobs in traditional occupations, the informal sector or subsistence economies. Indigenous women – often the main providers of food and nutritious for their families – have been particularly impacted with closure of markets for handicrafts, produce and other goods, as have indigenous children, who have lost out on education due to lack of access to virtual learning opportunities.
In addition, indigenous people have been victims of threats and violence, and many have lost their lives, amid increasing encroachment on indigenous peoples’ territories by illegal miners and loggers due to lapsed enforcement of environmental protections during the crisis.
“In the face of such threats, indigenous peoples have demonstrated extraordinary resilience,” declared Mr. Guterres in the message, urging countries to marshal the resources to respond to their needs, honour their contributions and respect their inalienable rights.
Indigenous peoples must be consulted in all efforts to build back stronger and recover better, he added, noting that from the outset of the global pandemic, UN agencies have been working to uphold indigenous peoples’ rights.
“The UN system remains committed to realizing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and to bolstering their resilience,” he concluded.
The International Day
The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is commemorated annually on 9 August in recognition of the first meeting of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations, held in Geneva in 1982.
This year, the Day’s theme focuses the spotlight on COVID-19 and indigenous peoples’ resilience, and several events – mostly virtual – will be
U.S. Dept of State, Aug 6 (Canadian-Media): Michael R. Pompeo, U.S.Dept of State Secretary issued the following statement on the observance of Singapore National Day, U.S. Dept of State reported.
Image credit: Twitter handle
"On behalf of the Government of the United States and the American people, I congratulate and extend our warm regards to the people of Singapore as you celebrate your National Day.
Singapore is a longstanding partner and friend of the United States in the Indo-Pacific region, and since the establishment of diplomatic relations between us, we have nurtured and enjoyed a close economic and security relationship. Our shared values of stability, prosperity, and the rule of law continue to anchor our dynamic and growing cooperation. We look forward to strengthening our partnership in support of advancing our mutual interests and addressing the shared challenges we will face in the years to come.
Congratulations on your 55th anniversary. I send you best wishes for a year filled with peace, prosperity, and success."
#UN; #WorldBreastfeedingWeek; #HealthyPlanet; #Covid19
Geneva/UN, Aug 1 (Canadian-Media): World Breastfeeding Week got underway on Saturday, with the UN urging communities everywhere to “support breastfeeding for a healthier planet”. Health agency (WHO) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) issued a joint call for governments to protect and promote women’s access to skilled breastfeeding counselling - a critical component of breastfeeding support.
The UN has long advocated the benefits of breastfeeding, which delivers health, nutritional and emotional benefits to both children and mothers. It also helps foster a sustainable food system.
“While breastfeeding is a natural process, it is not always easy”, said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore, and WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in their joint statement. “Mothers need support – both to get started and to sustain breastfeeding.”
The two top officials noted that skilled counselling services can ensure mothers and families receive this support, along with the information, advice, and reassurance they need to nourish their babies in the best way.
“Breastfeeding counselling can help mothers to build confidence while respecting their individual circumstances and choices”, they added. “Counselling can empower women to overcome challenges and prevent feeding and care practices that may interfere with optimal breastfeeding, such as the provision of unnecessary liquids, foods, and breastmilk substitutes to infants and young children.”
Improving access to skilled counselling can also extend the duration of breastfeeding and promote exclusive breastfeeding, with benefits for babies, families and economies, they said.
820,000 lives potentially saved
“Indeed, analysis indicates that increasing rates of exclusive breastfeeding could save the lives of 820,000 children every year, generating $302 billion in additional income.”
A variety of different healthcare professionals can provide the expert help needed, such as lactation counsellors and peer support providers - in a variety of clinical settings, or through home visits or community programmes, in person or remotely.
Innovate during COVID crisis
During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is even more important to find innovative solutions to ensure that access to these essential services is not disrupted and that families continue to receive the breastfeeding counselling they need.
During the pandemic, UNICEF and WHO, in line with the policy actions advocated by the UNICEF-WHO-led Global Breastfeeding Collective, are calling on governments to:
· INVEST to make skilled breastfeeding counselling available to every woman. Ensuring availability of skilled breastfeeding counselling to every woman will require increased financing for breastfeeding programmes and improved monitoring and implementation of policies, programmes and services.
· TRAIN health care workers, including midwives and nurses, to deliver skilled breastfeeding counselling to mothers and families.
· ENSURE that counselling is made available as part of routine health and nutrition services that are easily accessible.
· PARTNER and collaborate with civil society and health professional associations, building strong collaborative systems for provision of appropriate counselling.
· PROTECT health care workers from the influence of the baby food industry.
Ms. Fore and Tedros, concluded their message with a clear call for united action, on behalf of mothers and babies: “Together, through commitment, concerted action and collaboration, we can ensure that every mother has access to skilled breastfeeding counselling, empowering her to give her baby the best possible start in life.”