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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.

Photo of Kenyan children provided by Bridge International Academies

Liberia Outsourcing Public Education to a U.S. Company

NEW YORK | MONROVIA (IDN | GIN) – In what might be a first in Africa, Liberia will put its entire pre-primary and primary education system in the hands of a U.S. start-up that would bring a charter school model to struggling schools on the continent.

Bridge International Academies already has a presence in Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda. Despite a headquarters in Nairobi, a listing for the company shows a San Francisco address.

When Liberian Education Minister George K. Werner announced in January that all pre-primary and primary schools would be outsourced to Bridge to manage, he set off a furor among local and international education experts. The arrangement, they said in an interview with the New Dawn newspaper, would be a “blatant violation of Liberia’s international obligations under the right to education and have no justification under Liberia’s constitution.


China’s Release of Mekong Waters Reflects an Environmental Crisis

By Kalinga Seneviratne

This article is the fifth in a series of joint productions of Lotus News Features and IDN-InDepthNews, flagship of the International Press Syndicate.

SINGAPORE (IDN | Lotus News Features) – China would like to project the release of Mekong River waters from its dams in March to “assist” drought-stricken farmers and fisheries further downstream, especially in Vietnam, as a magnanimous gesture from a friendly neighbour. But that action is in fact the reflection of a greater environmental and political crisis that is brewing in the region.

China announced middle of March that in response to a Vietnamese request, it will discharge from March 15 to April 10 water from the Jinghong hydropower station on the Mekong River in Yunnan province to the lower reaches of the Mekong River to alleviate drought in Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.


Thai Youth Learn to Develop a ‘Mindful’ Economic Behaviour

By Kalinga Seneviratne

This article is the fourth in a series of joint productions of Lotus News Features and IDN-InDepthNews, flagship of the International Press Syndicate.

CHIANG MAI (IDN | Lotus News Features*) – The Mindfulness fad sweeping across the West today may be the new money-spinner for those “gurus” who charge hundreds of dollars for each session to teach its applications, often to improve one’s ability to navigate the global capitalist system to make more money for yourself. But, for the Thais it’s a 2500-year old philosophy taught by Gautama the Buddha to encourage moderation, self-reliance and contentment in your daily life.


Bold Steps Agreed to Make Land Resilient to Degradation

By IDN-INPS Africa Bureau

NAIROBI (IDN) – A landmark meting of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) has decided to ramp up global efforts to curb desertification and drought that are projected to force 135 million to migrate in the next 30 years.

The fifteenth session of the Committee of the Review of Implementation of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (CRIC 15) concluded its three-day meeting on October 20 in Nairobi, Kenya, with the adoption of an outcome aimed at intensifying efforts to combat desertification.






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