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Toshiaki Kitazato

Building an Efficient Asian Network for Disaster Risk Reduction

Viewpoint by Toshiaki Kitazato* TOKYO (IDN) – In the January 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake, Kobe City – with its population of 1.5 million – was hit hardest by strong tremors. Nearly 6,500 people lost their lives Eighteen years later, Japan suffered a great disaster yet again, followed by the massive tsunami caused by the earthquake in deep sea crusts in the Pacific Ocean on March 11, 2013. The East Japan Great Earthquake Disaster not only caused more than 20,000 death casualties but also destroyed the nuclear power plant buildings in Fukushima. In Indonesia, great tsunamis were generated by the Sumatra earthquake in 2004 that recorded more than 220,000 death casualties in total in Thailand, Sri Lanka, India etc. Four years later, more than 87,000 people were killed by a devastating earthquake in Sichuan province of China. SPANISH | GERMAN | HINDI | JAPANESE

Photo: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (left) addresses a meeting to brief Member States on April 4, 2016 on the preparations for the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS), set for 23-24 May in Istanbul, Turkey. At his side is Stephen O'Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. Credit: UN Photo/Evan Schneider

Istanbul Summit to Find Ways Out of Humanitarian Crises

Analysis by Ramesh Jaura BERLIN | NEW YORK (IDN) – It is an open secret that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has put his heart into the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit set for May 23 and 24 in Istanbul, the most populous city in Turkey and the country’s economic, cultural, and historic hub. If successful, the Summit would go down in history as his lasting legacy. Because it symbolizes a cupola supported by four columns: the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA), 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Climate Agreement. The crux of Ban’s message since September 2015, when world leaders endorsed 17 Sustainable Development Goals with 169 targets: “I call upon global leaders to place humanity – the concern for the dignity, safety and well-being of our citizens – at the forefront of all policies, strategies and decision-making. The World Humanitarian Summit must be for the people living on the frontline of humanity.

Photo: Achieving Sustainable Development | Credit: UN ECOSOC

G77 and China Disappointed at Outcome Document of Addis Ababa Follow-up

Analysis by J Nastranis NEW YORK (IDN) – The Group of 77 and China, representing 134 members from developing countries, has expressed “disappointment” at the outcome document emerging from the three-day United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Forum on Financing for Development Follow-up – FfD Forum – at UN Headquarters in New York. Underlining the importance of the Forum, G77 and China Chair Virachai Plasai, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Thailand, explained that the developing countries’ fates “still heavily depend on how to meet the financing gap in order to achieve the goal to end poverty and hunger, as well as Sustainable Development Goals in its three dimensions”. However, the FfD Forum is not only essential to developing countries but also to the overall global community since it takes stock of the implementation of Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA), which is an integral part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and supports as well as complements the latter

Photo: ESCAP Executive Secretary Shamshad Akhtar addressing World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa Marrakech, Morocco, 28 October 2010 as Regional Vice-President, Middle East and North Africa, World Bank. Copyright World Economic Forum | John Cole/still-images.net

ESCAP Supports Plan to Finance 2030 Development Agenda

By International Press Syndicate NEW YORK (IDN) – Asia-Pacific countries have reaffirmed the importance of a regional action-oriented follow-up plan for financing the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development at a high-level event organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). The event was co-organised with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of the Republic of Korea on the sidelines of the ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development from April 18 to 20 in New York. It provided a platform for discussion on innovative financing source modalities and priorities in Asia and the Pacific for implementation of the 2030 Agenda. It also considered key regional issues with special reference to the least developed countries, landlocked developed countries, and Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

Photo: ‘Think Forest’ Panel during IMF/World Bank Spring Meeting. Credit: Fabiola Oritz.

Investing in Forests the Next Big Thing for Development Agenda

Analysis by Fabíola Ortiz WASHINGTON, D.C. (IDN) – Investing in forests has become the next big thing as an essential segment of the development solution, whether for meeting climate goals, coping with extreme weather, boosting livelihoods, greening supply chains or carbon sinking. However, the world has lost 50 soccer fields of forests every minute, every day, over the last twenty years. “This is a great tragedy,” says Andrew Steer, President and CEO of the World Resources Institute (WRI), a global research organization that works in more than 50 countries. Managing forests has been difficult, he adds. Around one fifth of the global population (1.3 billion people) relies on forests for livelihoods. According to the World Bank, about 350 million people live within or close to dense forests depending directly on them for their subsistence. And of those, nearly 60 million people – especially indigenous communities – are completely dependent on forests. (P03) CHINESE TEXT VERSION PDF | JAPANESE TEXT VERSION

Photo: UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov, and Viet Nam Deputy Minister Le Quy Vuong co-chair UNGASS side event on the Mekong MOU. Credit: UNODC.

Six Mekong Countries Reinforce Regional Drug Strategy

Analysis by J Nastranis NEW YORK (IDN) – The Mekong Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Drug Control, a framework that incorporates law enforcement, criminal justice, alternative development, and health responses in six countries in East and Southeast Asia continues to be of critical importance more than twenty-five years after it was signed. Despite significant efforts, the six MOU countries – Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam – that constitute the Greater Mekong Sub-region continue to face challenges in stemming the flow of illicit drugs and precursor chemicals in, to and from the area. After a decade of steady declines, the illicit cultivation of opium poppy has increased each year since 2006. Today, cultivation is concentrated in Myanmar and Lao PDR. Synthetic drugs, particularly methamphetamine in pill and crystal forms, have emerged as the primary drug threat in the Sub-region. The diversion and subsequent trafficking of precursors chemicals, and the emergence of new psychoactive substances, also continue to

Photo: “This is where our house used to be,” says Bishnu Maya. Credit: UN Women/N. Shrestha

Nepal Earthquakes One Year On

A UN Women News Feature NEW YORK (IDN | UN Women) – On April 25, 2015, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, followed by another powerful 7.3-magnitude quake on May 12. In the ongoing response to the earthquakes in Nepal, UN Women has worked side-by-side with government, UN OCHA and other UN agencies, and women’s group to highlight the distinct needs of women and girls, including protection and resilience, and to promote their role as meaningful participants in eventual recovery, reconstruction and development. As we approach the one-year mark since the earthquakes, UN Women spotlight on Nepali women and girls, their stories and their solutions. In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, UN Women through its established partnerships with women’s groups, established five multi-purpose women’s centres, by women’s groups in collaboration with local government, and three information centres. UN Women targeted recognized groups of vulnerable women, including widows, disabled women, female household heads, Dalit women, and women with other vulnerabilities, reaching

Photo: 2016 Goldman Prize Winners (left to right) Luis Jorge Rivera Herrera, Puerto Rico: Destiny Watford, United States; Edward Loure, Tanzania; Leng Ouch, Cambodia; Máxima Acuña, Peru; and Zuzana Čaputová, Slovakia. Credit: Goldmanprize.org

Environmental Fund Taps Six for Major ‘Green Prize’

NEW YORK (IDN | GIN) – Once the ancestral land of pastoralists and hunter-gatherers, the Tarangire national park in Tanzania found itself in the crosshairs of tourist developers carving up the wilderness for fancy lodges, luxury tents and other rich tourist amenities. Lands once shared with the wildebeest, the zebra, and majestic old baobab trees were being “grabbed” by government or companies, without compensation to the Masaai and Hadzaba who resided there. As countries around the world prepared to mark Earth Day on April 22, the Goldman Environmental Foundation honoured six grassroots leaders including Edward Loure of Tanzania for defending lands at risk from profit-seeking developers.

Photo: Downtown Kigali, Rwanda in October 2012. | Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Rwandan Government Implements an Ambitious Development Master Plan

By Busani Bafana KIGALI (IDN | Africa Renewal) – Rwanda’s moniker, “land of a thousand hills,” not only attests to the country’s unique geography but also suggests the trajectory of Kigali through its many crises to become a model sustainable city. Kigali is one of Africa’s rising cities: it is clean and organised and, thanks to an ambitious national development plan, the city has become an ultramodern metropolis that boasts recognizable social, economic and environmental successes. It is a city under construction, in which new buildings are fast replacing outdated ones. Tarred, dual-carriage roads crisscross Kigali, providing a seamless connection between urban settlements and the fog-covered countryside uplands. The city is now a preferred destination for many organizers of international conferences. It is easy to understand why Kigali sparkles. Among other impressive environmental measures, city government banned the importation of non-biodegradable plastics and designated a day each month for the residents to clean the city and spruce up the surroundings.

Photo: UN Women’s support to Liberia’s security sector programme is helping women officers like Sadatu Reeves acquire new skills and to gain the competences needed to take up leadership positions. Photo: UN Women/Winston Daryoue

Women Police Climb the Ranks Across Africa

A UN Women News Feature NEW YORK (IDN | UN Women) – At 8 years of age, Sadatu Reeves came across photographs of women police officers in a magazine her father brought home from abroad. The empowered images sparked a deep-seated desire to don her own uniform. She pursued a university degree in criminal justice, graduating in 2004, just after Liberia’s 1989-2003 Civil War. Her family opposed her idea of becoming a police officer, citing low salaries and public mistrust, bred by the violence and rape carried out by some police during the Civil War. “Even though the reputation of the police was badly tarnished and its morale was very low, I wanted to be part of the new breed of Liberian National Police Force (LNP) officers to help restore the image and pride of the force,” Officer Reeves explained. She was 27 when she joined the LNP in 2004. Today, the newly appointed Assistant Police Director for Administration is






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