Connect with us

Newsdesk

UN envoy warns Security Council: Gaza is about to explode

Newsroom

Published

on

The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is continuing with no prospects for a political resolution and “Gaza is about to explode,” a senior United Nations official said Thursday, urging both sides to avoid further clashes along the enclave’s border.

“Old wounds continue to bleed and deepen as we speak, risking the outbreak of another war,” Nikolay Mladenov, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, told the Security Council during an open debate on the crises affecting the region.

While his briefing covered the situations in Syria, Yemen and Lebanon, it was largely focused on the unfolding crisis along the Gaza fence, which is at the tiny enclave’s border with Israel.

For the last four weeks, tens of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza have converged on the fence to protest the long-standing blockade of the enclave.

The so-called ‘Great March of Return’ demonstrations are expected to continue and culminate around 15 May, and could spread to the West Bank and beyond, Mr. Mladenov said.

Since 30 March, during these demonstrations, 35 Palestinians have been killed and large numbers have been injured by Israeli security forces. No Israeli casualties have been reported, he added.

Israel has accused Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other militants of using the protests, women, children and the elderly, as a cover to infiltrate Israel and commit terrorist attacks.

The UN envoy urged Israel to calibrate its use of force and minimize the use of live fire, and called on Hamas – a Palestinian faction governing the enclave – and the leaders of the demonstrations to keep protestors away from the Gaza fence.

The combination of the security, development and humanitarian deterioration, coupled with the political impasse, makes Gaza “a powder keg,” Mr. Mladenov said, calling for action to prevent another war in the enclave, which was shaken by seven weeks of clashes in the summer of 2014 between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants.

“People should not be destined to spend their lives surrounded by borders they are forbidden to cross, or waters they are forbidden to navigate,” he said. “They should not be destined to live under the control of Hamas, which invests in militant activities at the expense of the population.”

He urged stepped-up efforts to support the parties in advancing a sustainable Israeli-Palestinian peace on the basis of the two-State solution, with Israel and Palestine co-existing peacefully as independent countries.

Continue Reading
Comments

Newsdesk

EU and China step up cooperation on climate change and clean energy

Newsroom

Published

on

At the China-EU Summit on 16 July in Beijing, the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the Council, Donald Tusk, and the Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang adopted a “Leaders’ Statement on Climate Change and Clean Energy”. Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen and the Chinese Minister of Ecology and Environment Li Ganjie signed a Memorandum of Understanding to enhance cooperation on emissions trading between China and the EU.

In the Leaders’ Statement, China and the EU underline the need to advance the implementation of the Paris Agreement under the UNFCCC process, and to get the Paris Agreement Work Programme – the rulebook for the implementation of the Paris Agreement – adopted at the next global climate conference in December 2018 in Katowice, Poland.

The Statement shows how the EU and China will intensify their political, technical, economic and scientific cooperation on climate change and clean energy to drive forward a world-wide transformation to a thriving low carbon and climate-resilient economy and society and clean energy system. It clearly shows their commitment to climate action and achieving a clean energy transition are urgent imperatives.

In the Memorandum of Understanding China and the EU acknowledge emissions trading as a cost-effective policy tool with significant potential to contribute to a low-carbon economy and the necessary innovation and deployment of low carbon technologies.

Welcoming this commitment, President Juncker said: We have underlined our joint, strong determination to fight climate change and demonstrate global leadership. It shows our commitment to multilateralism and recognises that climate change is a global challenge affecting all countries on earth. There is no time for us to sit back and watch passively. Now is the time for decisive action.

Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said: Further developing cooperation between the two largest emission trading systems of the world is not only in our mutual interest but also necessary to tackle common challenges in the mid- and longer term. The newly established policy dialogue will be instrumental in this context.

The Memorandum of Understanding on EU-China cooperation on emissions trading establishes a policy dialogue, foresees the joint organisation of seminars and workshops, as well as joint research activities.

Continue Reading

Newsdesk

Philippines Growth to Remain Strong Despite Global Uncertainty

Newsroom

Published

on

The World Bank maintains its 6.7 percent growth forecast for 2018 and 2019 despite rising global uncertainty. Considering recent economic data, the composition of expected growth was revised as compared to the April edition of the World Bank Philippines Economic Update.

Given recent fiscal trends, government consumption growth was revised upwards, while private consumption growth is expected to expand at 5.9 percent in 2018 and 6.2 percent in 2019.

Investment growth was slightly upgraded due to higher public capital outlays, including increased infrastructure spending. Overall, it is anticipated that real GDP growth will increase towards the end of 2018 and into the first half of 2019 with higher election-related public spending.

The government’s ability to carry out its investment spending agenda will determine if the Philippines can achieve its growth target of 6.5-7.5 percent over the medium term,” said Birgit Hansl, World Bank Lead Economist for the Philippines. “In addition, higher private investment levels will be critical to sustain the economy’s growth momentum as capacity constraints become more binding.”

Exports, a key driver of growth for the Philippines economy, are projected to moderate in the coming years as global growth is expected to decelerate.

The World Bank’s June 2018 Global Economic Prospects projected a gradual global slowdown over the next two years, predicated on moderately higher commodity prices, strong but gradually moderating global demand, and incremental tightening of global financing conditions. Uncertainty around global growth conditions has risen, with the possibility of trade and other policy shocks emerging from major economies.

Continue Reading

Newsdesk

New Programme Aims to Improve Infrastructure Procurement Capacity in Africa

Newsroom

Published

on

The Africa Infrastructure Fellowship Programme (AIFP) was today announced by Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Minister of State attached to France’s Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs.

The World Economic Forum, the Global Infrastructure Hub and the private investment firm Meridiam have partnered to create the Africa Infrastructure Fellowship Programme (AIFP), an initiative to help African governments strengthen internal procurement capability by training and retaining key officials in procurement agencies, with the aim of attracting greater private-sector investment to Africa.

The components of the programme will be tailored to the needs of each country but, at its core, the AIFP will be made up of the following elements:

  • Three-day introduction to infrastructure procurement and networking with peers (provided by GI Hub)
  • Tutoring and examination through the Multilateral Development Banks’ Private Public Partnerships certification course
  • Two-week intensive course in infrastructure procurement (provided by selected universities)
  • Two-month placement in a private-sector company’s infrastructure team
  • Ongoing support for 12 months following the programme, including twice-yearly AIFP-related events hosted by the GI Hub

“It is important to emphasize that this project is in line with the mission of the Forum, to improve the state of the world. It is necessary to highlight the importance of jointly solving the challenges that surround the development of infrastructure at the global level,” said Denise Burnet, Head of Event Management and Member of the Executive Committee at the World Economic Forum.

Chris Heathcote, Chief Executive Officer of the Global Infrastructure Hub, said that, despite ongoing efforts, attracting private-sector investment into Africa remains a major challenge, and is a barrier to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

“In order to meet the UN SDGs and the demands of accelerating economic and population growth in the African continent, we forecast that these countries will need to spend $7.6 trillion to 2040. Our analysis forecasts that the continent will invest $4.3 trillion based on current trends, exposing an investment gap of $3.3 trillion, or 43%. Investors will only invest in countries where market conditions are favourable, and it’s our goal through this initiative to assist in creating an environment that is conducive to private-sector investment in infrastructure,” said Heathcote.

Thierry Déau, Chief Executive Officer of Meridiam, added: “As long-term investors, we are convinced that key success factors to projects rely on excellent synergies between the private and public sector. We chose to accompany the AIFP initiative, convinced that this agile organization based on strong commitments of stakeholders is the perfect tool to accelerate the deployment of sustainable infrastructure in Africa.”

Africa has the highest population growth globally, and a number of its countries rank highly in terms of economic growth; and yet these countries also have the lowest growth in infrastructure stock.

The AIFP will be a six-month capability-building programme that will give participants a robust understanding of procurement, governance and the role of the private sector in infrastructure projects. The programme will provide participants with a mix of theoretical and practical training, opportunities to work within major private-sector companies, and lead to the establishment of a strong network of infrastructure practitioners across Africa.

Continue Reading

Latest

Newsdesk7 hours ago

EU and China step up cooperation on climate change and clean energy

At the China-EU Summit on 16 July in Beijing, the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of...

Southeast Asia8 hours ago

Explaining Gendered Wartime Violence: Rohingya Ethnic Cleansing

The United Nations described Rohingyas as ‘amongst the most persecuted minority groups in the world.’ News reports and refugee testimonies...

Russia9 hours ago

Russia’s key to Africa

On July 14, Russian President Vladimir Putin warmly received two African leaders, Gabonese Ali Bongo Ondimba and Sudanese Omar al-Bashir,...

South Asia10 hours ago

Pakistan: A New Space Era

Pakistan’s fragile economy and resource restraints are the main hurdles in the way of technological development, especially in space affairs....

Americas10 hours ago

Trump’s and Putin’s Responses to Mueller’s Russiagate Indictments

In the July 16th joint press conference between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the question arose...

Green Planet1 day ago

UN Environment and Google announce ground-breaking partnership to protect our planet

UN Environment and Google announced today a global partnership that promises to change the way we see our planet. Combining...

Newsdesk1 day ago

Philippines Growth to Remain Strong Despite Global Uncertainty

The World Bank maintains its 6.7 percent growth forecast for 2018 and 2019 despite rising global uncertainty. Considering recent economic...

Trending

Copyright © 2018 Modern Diplomacy