Tuesday, 29 July 2014

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At Barcelona meeting a senior UN official urges rich countries to commit to deeper cuts in emissions

2 November 2009 – The final round of talks ahead of next month’s landmark climate change summit in Copenhagen kicked off today with a warning from the chief United Nations negotiator that time is running out to produce a comprehensive, fair and effective new deal to fight global warming.

This last negotiating session in Barcelona is designed to close the gap between industrialized and developing nations on issues, such as funding to aid adaptation to global warming, technology cooperation, and action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation in developing countries.

Speaking to over 4,000 participants from 181 countries at the five-day gathering, aimed at hammering out a negotiating text for the 7 to 18 December conference in Copenhagen, the UN official said that progress at these talks are critical to the success of any treaty.

“After almost two years of negotiations… the clock has almost ticked down to zero,” stressed Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), an international treaty encouraging nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In Copenhagen, governments are expected to agree to a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, the 1997 treaty – part of the overall UNFCCC – which has strong, legally binding measures committing 37 industrialized States to cutting emissions by an average of 5 per cent against 1990 levels over the period from 2008 to 2012.

“The targets of industrialized countries that are presently on the table are clearly not ambitious enough,” said Mr. de Boer in light of an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) study which found that to stave off the worst effects of climate change, industrialized countries must slash emissions by 25 to 40 per cent from 1990 levels by 2020, and that global emissions must be halved by 2050.

Agreement on precise financial contributions from industrialized countries is needed ahead of Copenhagen, Mr. de Boer said in Barcelona, stressing that above all “clarity on what the prompt start-up finance will be to unleash urgent action in developing countries.”

“World leaders from the North and South are calling for an ambitious and comprehensive outcome at Copenhagen, and concerned citizens around the world are demanding strengthened action on climate change,” said Mr. de Boer.

“There are only five days to further narrow down options and come up with working texts for Copenhagen, but I am convinced that this can be done.”

UN health agency updates H1N1 flu vaccine recommendations

30 October 2009 – Single doses of H1N1 flu vaccine for adults, adolescents starting at age 10, and pregnant women are among the latest recommendations issued today by the United Nations health agency to combat the pandemic.

The UN World Health Organization (WHO) said the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization that advises it on vaccine policy and strategy, recommended further studies in children older than six months and younger than 10 years, since the data are limited.

For pregnant women, SAGE noted that studies in experimental animals using live attenuated or inactivated vaccines found no evidence of direct or indirect harmful effects on fertility, pregnancy, foetal development, birthing or post-natal development.

“Based on these data and the substantially elevated risk for a severe outcome in pregnant women infected with the pandemic virus, SAGE recommended that any licensed vaccine can be used in pregnant women, provided no specific contraindication has been identified by the [national] regulatory authority,” WHO said in its update.

Globally, teenagers and young adults continue to account for the majority of cases, with rates of hospitalization highest in very young children. Between 1 and 10 per cent of patients with clinical illness require hospitalization, and of these from 10 to 25 per cent require admission to an intensive care unit, with from 2 to 9 per cent dying.

Overall, from 7 to 10 per cent of all hospitalized patients are pregnant women in their second or third trimester and they are 10 times more likely to need care in intensive care units than the general population.

Taking note of findings by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that live attenuated seasonal and live attenuated pandemic vaccines should not be administered simultaneously, the experts said the vaccines could be co-administered provided one or both are inactivated. They found no evidence that such co-administration would increase the risk of adverse events.

The experts found no indication of unusual adverse reactions results from early monitoring of the various pandemic vaccines so far, since those that have occurred are well within the range of seasonal vaccines, which have an excellent safety profile. Although early results are reassuring, monitoring for adverse events should continue.

With regard to the southern hemisphere 2010 winter season, SAGE recommended two options: a trivalent vaccine effective against H1N1, seasonal H3N2 and influenza B, and a bivalent vaccine against H3N2 and influenza B, which might need to be supplemented with a separate monovalent H1N1vaccine.

1st Migration for Development Virtual Fair, 2-3 Nov 2009

Migration for Development banner

The EC-UN Joint Migration and Development Initiative (JMDI) cordially invites you to take part in the Migration and Development Virtual Fair 2009. The M&D Virtual Fair will be held in parallel with the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) Civil Society Days on Monday 2nd and Tuesday 3rd November 2009 and will be the first M&D event of its kind, bringing together thousands of ‘virtual’ visitors from around the world.

The 2009 Virtual Fair builds on the first M&D Knowledge Fair in Brussels in December 2008, where hundreds of members of diaspora groups and representatives of NGOs, local authorities from developing and European countries, the EU institutions and UN agencies gathered to share information and ideas based on their experiences in the field of migration and development. The Virtual Fair on 2nd and 3rd November 2009 will feature an Exhibition of M&D projects from around the world, video interviews with key actors from international organizations and civil society, and a daily blog from the GFMD. Participants will be able to post questions and comments online to key participants at the GFMD.

Who can take part in the M&D Virtual Fair?

Anyone with an interest in Migration and Development can register to take part in the Virtual Fair at www.migration4development.org.  

Background:

The JMDI is a three-year programme funded by the European Union and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the International Labour Organization (ILO), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The overall objective of the EC-UN Joint Migration and Development Initiative is to support civil society organizations and local authorities seeking to contribute to linking migration and development.

The Joint Initiative aims to 1) set up and reinforce networks of actors working on migration and development and 2) identify good practices and share information on what actually works at the local and international level among those who are active in this field with a view to 3) feeding into policy-making on migration and development.

The JMDI sets out to do this through a Call for Proposals providing approximately 10 million Euro in funding to support 55 concrete projects in four priority areas: 1) Migrant remittances; 2) Migrant communities; 3) Migrant capacities; 4) Migrant rights. The projects are implemented through partnerships linking civil society groups and local authorities from the European Union member states and their counterparts in sixteen target countries (Jamaica, Ecuador; Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia; Georgia, Moldova; the Philippines, Sri Lanka; Mali, Cape Verde, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria).

The JMDI has also launched an online global Community of Practice, M4D-Net (www.migration4development.org), which brings individuals and groups from around the world together to exchange information and ideas on migration and development, develop skills and provide each other with mutual support. Over 1,000 practitioners are already members of this Community of Practice and we warmly encourage you to join!

Contact:

The JMDI Team
EC-UN Joint Migration and Development Initiative
United Nations Development Programme
UN House, 14 Rue Montoyer, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
Tel: + 32 2 235 0550
Fax: + 32 2 503 47 29
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
www.undp.org/eu
www.migration4development.org  

 

UN honours British professor with human development accolade

Prof. Frances Stewart (right) receives the Mahbub ul Haq Award from Jeni Klugman of UNDP26 October 2009 – A British professor today received a prestigious lifetime achievement award from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for her contributions to advancing the social and economic well-being worldwide.
Frances Stewart, a development economist at Oxford University in the United Kingdom, was presented with the Mahbub ul Haq Award for Excellence in Human Development at a ceremony in the Republic of Korea.

The award, which was named and created in honour of the pioneering Pakistani who founded the global Human Development Report (HDR), recognizes an individual who has demonstrated outstanding commitment to furthering the understanding and progress of human development.

Ms. Stewart has been a key figure associated with the field since the Human Development Report – an independent annual research project commissioned by UNDP to analyze major issues confronting humanity and recommend policy changes – was first published in 1990.

“Frances Stewart’s continuous encouragement and support to Human Development Reports since their inception is greatly admired and appreciated,” said Jeni Klugman, UNDP Human Development Report Office Director, who presented the award.

“Her contributions to developing, teaching and promoting the conceptual, empirical and policy foundations of human development have been truly remarkable, and very influential around the world,” she added.

Ms. Stewart joined previous award winners, who include Fernando Cardoso, former president of Brazil; Fazle Hasan Abed, founder of the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee; and Sheila Watt-Cloutier, an Inuit leader and arctic community activist.

In addition, Human Development Awards are presented only every two to three years. This year, reports from Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia and Turkey received awards in recognition of their excellence at today’s ceremony in Busan, the Republic of Korea (ROK).

Swaziland’s report “HIV/AIDS and Culture” also received a special recognition for its inclusive process, which drew on experiences from the Government, civil society organizations and traditional Swazi groups to capture the role of culture in containing the spread of HIV and AIDS and mitigating its impacts.

General Assembly elects 22 new members of UN Economic and Social Council

ECOSOC in session26 October 2009 – The General Assembly today elected 22 countries to serve on the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), one of the principal organs of the United Nations and the body responsible for coordinating the economic, social and related work of various UN specialized agencies, regional commissions and functional commissions.

During a secret ballot this morning at UN Headquarters in New York, Member States elected 18 countries to serve three-year terms starting on 1 January next year and four nations to replace New Zealand, Sweden, Greece and Portugal, which asked to relinquish their seats before the end of their current terms.

The four countries proposed as replacements were Australia, Finland, Malta and Turkey, and they were duly elected today after obtaining the necessary two-thirds majority of countries present and voting.

Australia and Finland will serve on ECOSOC from the start of next year until the end of 2010, while Malta and Turkey will serve through the end of 2011.

ECOSOC’s 54-strong membership is chosen according to a formula to ensure geographical distribution, and the remaining 18 countries elected today were allocated thus: five seats for African States, four to Asian States, two for the Eastern European category, three for Latin America and the Caribbean, and four seats for the category of Western European and other States.

In each of the five geographical categories, the number of endorsed candidates did not exceed the number of available seats.

Ghana, Comoros, Zambia, Rwanda and Egypt were chosen for the African category, while Bangladesh, Mongolia, the Philippines and Iraq were selected in Asia. Ukraine and Slovakia won the two seats allocated to Eastern Europe.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, Chile, the Bahamas and Argentina were each elected, while in the Western European and other States grouping, the countries selected were Italy, Belgium, Canada and the United States.

ECOSOC’s membership includes 16 other countries whose terms expire at the end of next year: Brazil, Cameroon, China, the Republic of Congo, Malaysia, Moldova, Mozambique, Niger, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, the Republic of Korea (ROK), Russia, Saint Lucia, the United Kingdom and Uruguay.

Another 16 countries will end their terms on 31 December 2011: Côte d’Ivoire, Estonia, France, Germany, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, India, Japan, Liechtenstein, Mauritius, Morocco, Namibia, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

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