By Ronald Joshua
GENEVA | ROME (IDN) - Climate change, hunger and poverty must be addressed together in order to achieve the sustainable development goals set by the international community: this is the clarion call emerging from this year's World Food Day celebrations in Rome and in many countries.
At the global World Food Day ceremony on October 14, FAO Director-General José Graziano declared: "Higher temperatures and erratic weather patterns are already undermining the health of soils, forests and oceans on which agricultural sectors and food security depend."
By J Nastranis
NEW YORK (IDN) - A Fellowship Program will fund 69 new projects at African universities in the coming months, bringing 52 professors and scholars from universities in the U.S. and Canada to universities in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda as visiting Fellows.
Together, the teams will develop curricula, conduct research, teach graduate students, and train and mentor students and professors in priority areas that were proposed by the African universities. The program is also accepting new applications from host universities and diaspora scholars for projects to be conducted in 2017. Deadline is December 8.
By Kalinga Seneviratne
VIENTIANE (IDN) – U.S. President Barack Obama's early September visit to Laos helped to focus attention on one of the most horrendous war crimes in history, the bombing of the small landlocked Southeast Asian country during the Indochina War in the 1960s and 1970s, and its massive human and development costs.
The Laotians made use of the visit of both Obama and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon for the ASEAN and East Asia Summits to launch their own Sustainable Development Goal 18 to reduce the impact of unexploded ordnance (UXO) on development and economic activities. (P29) CHINESE TEXT VERSION PDF | HINDI | INDONESIAN | JAPANESE TEXT VERSION PDF | SPANISH | TAGALOG | THAI
BANGKOK (IDN) - The United Nations is implementing a new project to help close the online gender gap in Asia and the Pacific. The project entitled ‘E-Government for Women’s Empowerment’ is the first of its kind in the region to address the gender dimension of e-government.
The UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), in partnership with the UN Project Office on Governance (UNPOG) of the Division for Public Administration and Development Management, and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), have joined hands to provide new tools to assist governments to design, develop and implement e-services that can respond to the needs of women.
By Jaya Ramachandran
ROME (IDN) - The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned that declining prices could obstruct international efforts to eradicate hunger and extreme poverty, and called for necessary steps to guarantee decent incomes and livelihoods for small-scale producers.
“Low food prices reduce the incomes of farmers, especially poor family farmers who produce staple food in the developing countries. This cut in the flow of cash into rural communities also reduces the incentives for new investments in production, infrastructure and services,” said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva at a high-level meeting on agricultural commodity prices in Rome.
By Kalinga Seneviratne
BANGKOK (IDN | Lotus News Features) - The first ASEAN Buddhist Conference held on September 22-23 at Nakhonpathom Rajabhat University, about 100 km from Bangkok, brought together Buddhist Bhikkunis (nuns), Bhikkus (monks) and lay Buddhists from across Asia in a bid to form alliances to empower the increasing community of Bhikkunis in Asia.
Buddhism is unique, in comparison to many other religious traditions, because Gautama Buddha himself said (according to canonical literature) that like men, women could also attain all four stages of enlightenment (nirvana). Thus, on the request of his aunt and stepmother Mahaprajapati Gotami, he set up the order of Bhikkunis during his lifetime.
This is the first in a series of features on the South Pacific produced in collaboration with Wansolwara, an independent student newspaper of the University of the South Pacific.
SUVA, Fiji (IDN) - Two women’s rights activists have raised alarm bells about the need to protect Solomon Island children, especially girls, from being exploited by foreigners, who are involved in the South Pacific island nation’s logging industry.
The activists, Sister Doreen Awaiasi and Lynffer Maltungtung, say there are countless incidents in which under-age girls and young women are given to foreigners by their parents, or are lured by riches, but not much is being done to stop these or to educate the locals against engaging in such illegal acts.
By Jaya Ramachandran
NEW YORK (IDN) - Refugee education is in crisis, the UN refugee agency has warned, stressing that more than some six million school-age children under mandate of the United Nations refugee agency have no school to go, and refugees are five times more likely to be out of school than the world average.
“Refugee education is sorely neglected, when it is one of the few opportunities we have to transform and build the next generation so they can change the fortunes of the tens of millions of forcibly displaced people globally,” he added.
By Jamshed Baruah
GENEVA (IDN) - India has surpassed the United States to become the world's second largest Internet market, with 333 million users, trailing China's 721 million. But a new United Nations report says that six nations – including China and India – together account for 55% of the total global population still offline, because of the sheer size of their populations.
While Internet access is approaching saturation in richer nations, connectivity is still not advancing fast enough to help bridge development gaps in areas like education and health care for those in poorer parts of the world, according to the 2016 edition of The State of Broadband report.
Viewpoint by Nelsy Lizarazo*
QUITO (IDN) - I visited to San Pablo 15 years ago and it was clearly the poorest neighbourhood of Portoviejo, the regional capital of Manabí Province.
Then, there was no drinking water. Families could not even imagine the possibility of free basic education for all, and secondary education even less. You could not walk on the streets after 5 in the evening and the health centre had neither sufficient medical staff nor medicine to cover the neighbourhood’s needs.