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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

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

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

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

Photo credit: UN

Achieving UN Goal of Development Aid Remains an Uphill Task

Analysis by Jaya Ramachandran

PARIS | NEW YORK (IDN) – Revitalizing the global partnership is Goal 17 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – adopted by world leaders in September 2015 at an historic Summit at the UN headquarters in New York.

It urges developed countries to implement fully their official development assistance (ODA) commitments, including the commitment to achieve the target of 0.7 per cent of the Gross National Income (GNI) given as ODA to developing countries and 0.15 to 0.20 per cent to least developed countries.

“ODA providers are encouraged to consider setting a target to provide at least 0.20 per cent of ODA/GNI to least developed countries,” says one of the Goal 17 targets endorsed by the world leaders. (P02) JAPANESE TEXT PDF | PORTUGUESE | SPANISH

Photo: Newly planted wind breaks prevent wind erosion of dunes in Badoulerey, near Niamey, Niger. ©IFAD/David Rose

Fate of Climate Change Victims Does Not Make Headlines

Analysis by Ronald Joshua

ROME (IDN) – A new report funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has taken up cudgels on behalf of some 60 million people around the world, who are facing severe hunger because of El Niño and millions more because of climate change.

Just days before world leaders gather at the United Nations in New York to sign the concluding document of the twenty-first session of the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP21), held in December 2015 in Paris, the report reveals that coverage on climate change has significantly fell off the radar of major media outlets across Europe and the United States.

IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze finds it “incredible” that in a year when we have had record temperatures, 32 major droughts, and historic crop losses that media are not positioning climate change on their front pages. “Climate change is the biggest threat facing our world today and how the media shape

Credit: UN

Sustainable Development Crucial to Countering Terrorism

Analysis by Jaya Ramachandran

GENEVA (IDN) – Within days of the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington that considered modes of averting nuclear materials falling into the hands of terrorists, possible ways of Preventing Violent Extremism drew the focus of a UN conference in Geneva.

The conference on April 7-8 was held against the backdrop that terrorist groups such as ISIL, Al-Qaida and Boko Haram have come to embody the image of violent extremism and the debate about how to address this threat.

An important element of a plan to counter all kinds of terrorism, according to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, has to be full implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), because fulfilment of these goals will address many of the socioeconomic drivers of violent extremism. The SDGs highlight women’s empowerment and youth engagement, because societies with higher equality and inclusion are less vulnerable to violent extremism. (P01) HINDI | JAPANESE TEXT PDF | PORTUGUESE | SPANISH

Photo: (from left to right) Ambassador Antonio Marcondes, Under Secretary-General for the Environment, Energy, Science and Technology, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brazil; Maesela Kekana, Chief Director, International Climate Change Relations and Negotiations of South Africa; Prakash Javadekar, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Environment, Forest and Climate Change of India; and Xie Zhenhua, Special Representative for Climate Change of China. Credit: INVC

Rich Countries Asked to Honour Paris Climate Accord Pledges

Analysis by Devinder Kumar

NEW DELHI (IDN) – The world’s four major newly industrialized countries – Brazil, South Africa, India and China (BASIC) – have in effect warned that signing the Paris Climate Agreement at the High-Level Ceremony on April 22 in New York will lead nowhere unless all elements of an ambitious accord are implemented in letter and spirit.

The High Level Signature Ceremony has been convened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the world body’s headquarters. Ban’s second term as UN Chief expires end of the year.

The four BASIC countries have welcomed the adoption of the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and acknowledged that the 21st Conference of Parties (COP-21) held in Paris in December 2015 marked “a milestone in global climate cooperation”.

Image by courtesy of the UN

Reflecting on the Genocide in Rwanda

NEW YORK (IDN | GIN) – Candle lighting, a minute of silence, the laying of wreaths and other memorial ceremonies will be held on April 11 when Rwanda recalls the genocide in 1994 that took 800,000 lives.

It is also a time for diplomats and local leaders to talk with communities about the atrocities of genocide and the importance of working towards a peaceful way of life. Student conferences, exhibitions, and other commemorative activities are also held.

The activities officially last a week, but the commemoration continues up to July 4, marking 100 days of genocide.

This year, a cadre of hundreds of social workers trained to help trauma victims are expected to be available to help survivors still struggling with memories from that time.






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