Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Media Contact:
Gaelle Gourmelon
Phone: +1 (202) 745-8092 x 510
Cities Hold the Key to a Livable Future
Washington, D.C.-----Today, nearly 3.9 billion people-----half of the world's population-----live in urban areas. By 2050 that number is expected to nearly double. According to Can a City Be Sustainable? (State of the World), the latest edition of the annual series from the Worldwatch Institute, there is no question cities will continue to grow; the only debate is over how ( 

"Cities are at a crossroads, confronting historic challenges posed by rising populations, accelerating climate change, increasing inequity, and-----all too often-----faltering livability," writes Eduardo da Costa Paes, Mayor of Rio de Janeiro.

Cities have voracious appetites for energy, accounting for about three-quarters of the world's direct final energy use in 2005-----far more than their 49 percent share of global population that year. Cities today must also deal with growing stress on raw material supplies. Extraction of metals, minerals, and fuels is increasingly complex now that the easiest sources have been tapped. A city's food system-----the production, processing, distribution, consumption, and waste of its food-----has impacts that extend to a city's host region and country, and often to other countries as well.

"As rural migrants to cities adopt city-based lifestyles, they tend to use more resources as their incomes rise and as their diets shift from starchy staples to a greater share of animal products and processed foods," writes Tom Prugh, author and co-director of the report. This, in turn, puts natural systems-----either in the migrants' own countries or in other countries that export products or their inputs-----under strain.

However, cities today are also in an exciting position to take leadership on the effort to build sustainable economies. 

"People care about their cities and often are motivated to protect and improve their urban homes," says Gary Gardner, author and co-director of State of the World. "Cities can harness that passion to help advance a sustainability agenda, perhaps more easily than national governments or corporations can."

Perhaps the biggest single step that cities can take toward a sustainable future is to create economies that greatly reduce materials use, (re)circulate most materials, and rely largely on renewable energy. "Green infrastructure"-----the use of natural areas to provide economic services-----can also help cities avoid building costly new water management facilities, can recharge aquifers, and can provide flood protection. Ensuring that decision-making is transparent and participatory ensures that no community is left behind. 

"Building on the new hope created by the breakthrough agreement on climate action achieved in Paris last December, cities stand ready to engage their citizens in building a sustainable future," writes Mayor Paes. 

Disaster mitigation fund should be created by Centre to tackle drought: SC

May 11,
Water supply certificate Crash course must be started so that more people are aware of the subject and more skill people of this nature must bring immediate relief to the people in the country.
More water bodies need to be created the importance of water bodies need to be told.
Central and state departments like CWC,GSI, CGWB, must advise the state and central government.
Water Grid needs to be planned and laid in places where water rainfall is scanty in nature.
Technical water efficient ways need to be told and must be encouraged.Drip irrigation, Agriculture knowledge of High value and less water consumed crops.
Water harvesting at individual, village, city, metro levels is much need to be planned.

However the the Supreme Court today said that a disaster mitigation fund should be created by the Centre to tackle the  drought-like situation. It said Centre should revise the drought management manual to provide effective relief to calamity-hit farmers.
The apex court said that Centre should define time limit for declaration of drought. The court further said Agriculture Ministry should hold a meeting in a week with Chief Secretaries of Bihar, Gujarat and Haryana to assess drought situation.


Bangladesh hangs Jamaat-e-Islami chief Nizami for war crimes

May 11
Bangladesh authorities have hanged fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami chief Motiur Rahman Nizami for war crimes committed during the country’s 1971 Liberation War. Police said, 73-year old Nizami was hanged at Dhaka Central Jail midnight last night. He is the senior most Islamist to be executed in Bangladesh for war crimes during the liberation war against Pakistan.
Nizami’s final appeal against his death sentence was rejected by the apex court on May 5. A former minister in previous BNP-led Khaleda Zia government, Nizami was in jail since 2010, when he was arrested for war crimes.
He was given capital punishment in October 2014 by the international crimes tribunal. He was particularly found guilty of systematic killings of over 450 people alone in his own village. With his execution, Nizami becomes the fifth top perpetrator to be hanged for the war crimes against humanity since the trial process began six years ago.


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ASEAN higher education cooperation sparks discussion in international event

ASEAN higher education cooperation sparks discussion in international event

CAPE TOWN, 9 May 2016 – The ongoing efforts of ASEAN on higher education harmonisation and the introduction of an ASEAN scholarship inspired by the EU’s Erasmus Mundus through the European Union Support for Higher Education in ASEAN Region (EU SHARE) stimulated discussion at the Going Global Conference for Leaders of International Education held in Cape Town, South Africaon 3-5 May.
Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC)H.E. Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee presented the ASCC Blueprint 2025 and the state of higher education in ASEAN including its mandates in higher education as stipulated in the Kuala Lumpur Declaration on Higher Education and the ASEAN Work Plan on Education 2016-2020. He also discussed how these mandates are aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals particularly in ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and the promotion of lifelong learning opportunities for all.
Reflecting on ASEAN’s perspective and experience, a panel of educators composed of representatives from the European Union, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), BinusUniversity Indonesia and the Association of Quality Assurance Agencies of the Islamic Worldas well as the conference participants discussed the impact of regional blocs such as ASEAN in higher education. They reflected on the relationship between the need to achieve national education agenda and the resolve for regional collaboration to fulfill international and global commitments for the greater good of all, particularly in the case of Africa.
Moreover, the ASEAN Secretariat, the delegations from some ASEAN Member States and the British Councildiscussed the prospect of expanding ASEAN’s participation in future Going Global events through a regular ASEAN panel to discuss various aspects of education cooperation in ASEAN, as well as co-hosting future Going Global conferences.
Going Global is an annual conference offering an open forum for global leaders of tertiary education to discuss issues facing the international education community. Since its inception in 2004, Going Global has grown from a bi-annual event in the UK to an annual event alternating between the UK and a major international city.
The conference was organised by the British Council in cooperation with the Ministry of Higher Education and Training of South Africa and other international partners.

ASEAN, UNESCO renew commitments to cooperation

ASEAN, UNESCO renew commitments to cooperation

PARIS, 10 May 2016 – H.E. Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for Socio-Cultural Community, paid a courtesy call on H.E. Irena Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris yesterday. DSG Vongthep introduced the latest developments in ASEAN including the establishment of the ASEAN Community in 2015 and new directions that ASEAN will take in accordance with ASEAN Vision 2025.
Ms. Bokova expressed her pleasure on the progress of the Framework Agreement for Cooperation between ASEAN and UNESCO, particularly in areas that contribute to improving the quality of life, strengthening people-to-people contact, and promoting human and social development. In this regard, she welcomed the results of ASEAN-UNESCO cooperative activities in education, environment, climate change, the sciences, information, cultural heritage and intercultural dialogue.
Ms. Bokova also appreciated ASEAN’s active role in supporting other United Nations’ agenda. She was informed of the inputs that ASEAN has put forward to synergise efforts in the implementation of the ASEAN Vision 2025 and the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Both sides expressed keen interest and commitments to expand the cooperation and dialogue between ASEAN and UNESCO. They agreed to jointly conduct the review of the Framework Agreement, and identify areas where ASEAN and UNESCO can further advance its dialogue and cooperation in the future.
Mrs Bokova noted that ASEAN will celebrate its 50 Anniversary in 2017 and agreed that both sides shall explore a joint activity to mark this significant milestone.

ASEAN and the Pacific Alliance to forge closer cooperation

BANGKOK, 11 May 2016 – Recognising the potential benefit of forging closer inter-regional ties, the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN (CPR) and the Group of External Relations (GER) of the Pacific Alliance – a Latin America regional grouping comprising Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru –  agreed to explore cooperation in areas of mutual interest in their meeting in Bangkok, Thailand yesterday.
These areas include financial regulations, trade facilitation, SMEs, connectivity, logistics, science, technology and innovation as well as people-to-people exchanges through education, tourism, culture, and sports.
The two sides reaffirmed their commitments to working together towards the finalisation of the ASEAN-Pacific Alliance Framework for Cooperation, which will serve as a basis for the cooperation, in time for adoption at the 3rd ASEAN-Pacific Alliance Ministerial Meeting in September 2016.
The Meeting was followed by a Roundtable Discussion on “ASEAN-Pacific Alliance Relations: Opportunities and Challenges.” The Roundtable, attended by experts, academia and member of the media, provided a platform for discussion on ways and means to further forging beneficial cooperation between ASEAN and the Pacific Alliance.
The CPR and the GER of the Pacific Alliance Meeting was co-chaired by H.E. Busadee Santipitaks, Permanent Representative of Thailand to ASEAN and H.E. Ignacio Higueras, Director of Integration of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Peru.
While in Bangkok, the Members of the CPR will also have a series of meetings , including a courtesy call on the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand, and with the Asian Peace and Reconciliation Council, and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.

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