Connect with us

Newsdesk

UN: Israeli settlements remain ‘flagrant violation’ of international law

Newsroom

Published

on

Regardless of any national policy declarations, Israeli settlement activities are “a flagrant violation under international law”, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process spelled out to the Security Council on Wednesday.

Regretting the United States’ announcement on Monday that it “no longer views settlements as inconsistent with international law”, Nickolay Mladenov told the 15-member Council that “the UN position remains unchanged”.

And he called the settlements “a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace”.

“Unilateral moves fuel anger and disillusionment and significantly undermine the prospects for establishing a contiguous and viable Palestinian State with Jerusalem as the future capital of both States”, he stressed.

Gaza ‘highly volatile’

Briefing ambassadors inside the chamber, the Special Coordinator noted that the Council was meeting just a few days after “the most serious recent escalation between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza”. 

He acknowledged that the immediate crisis was diffused but maintained that “the situation remains highly volatile”.

Mr. Mladenov painted a picture of militant activity, rocket fire and retaliatory air-strikes that had claimed civilian lives on both sides. 

Recognizing Egypt’s close collaboration with the UN in brokering a ceasefire, he reported that calm in Gaza was restored after 48 hours of hostilities, but added that “had our efforts failed, we would certainly be in the midst of another war that would be far worse than the terrible conflict in 2014”.

Flagging that “the dangers have not passed”, he reminded that indiscriminate rocket and mortar attacks against civilians are “unacceptable and must stop immediately”.

‘Desperate reality’

Turning to other risks, Mr. Mladenov cited Israeli border closures and intra-Palestinian division between various factions in Gaza, as feeding “a desperate reality”. 

While over the past year and a half, the UN has taken steps to ease tensions and prevent escalation, he asserted, “they fall short in terms of financial resources, political commitment by Palestinian leaders, and measures by Israel”.

A lasting solution, must be political: “Israel cannot continue with its policy of closures that stifles development” he argued, and “Palestinian leaders cannot continue to avoid the devastating consequences of their internal political division”.

The Special Coordinator reminded the Council of its ultimate goal to help “Palestinians to develop freely, without relentless occupation, and Israelis to live in security, free from the fear of terror and rockets”. 

Women ‘disproportionately affected’

Tanya Hary, Director of the Israeli human rights organization Gisha, Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, presented a sober analysis of the situation for Council members, sharing stories that illustrated the difficulties of living under Gaza restrictions.

She highlighted that “women are disproportionately affected” and maintained that it was incumbent upon the international community to allow “maximum access”, lift restrictions on goods and “catalyze peace” by reversing current trends. 

Continue Reading
Comments

Newsdesk

Empower Women to Fight Corruption: Dr Wan Azizah

Newsroom

Published

on

photo: APEC

Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail called for more engagement and collaboration “to ensure women from all walks of lives have the ability to be at the forefront and centre in our societies to fight corruption” when addressing delegates at an APEC symposium this week in Putrajaya, Malaysia.

The symposium, organized by the APEC Anti-Corruption and Transparency Working Group and Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy, focused on advancing thegender perspective and women empowerment in the fight against corruption.

“Having been in active politics, not by design but by default for the last two decades, I have witnessed and experienced a whole discourse of women and the need for our empowerment to fight corrupt regimes and practices,” said Dr Wan Azizah.

The impact of corruption is far-reaching and devastating. According to the United Nations Development Programme, the impact of corruption on women can be greater, especially when the currency of bribes comes in the form of sexual extortion. Corruption in business regulatory sector also distorts access to credit for women entrepreneurs.

Dr Wan Azizah highlighted the role of education, advocacy and awareness programs to improve women’s participation at the community level. In addition, she said that a good understanding of the rights and existing laws play a central role in building an ecosystem that does not tolerate corruption.

“For us to have an effective plan to fight corruption faced by women, we need an intensive bottom-up approach of engaging women from various stratum of societies,” she added. “Establishment of clear lines of whistleblowing and safe spaces for women to report corruption with clear channels for redressing incidents is central to this effort and initiative.”

She went on to explain Malaysia’s commitment to fighting corruption and empowering women to lead this effort, including the launch of 115 initiatives under Malaysia’s anti-corruption plan in 2019 and having a woman to lead the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, Latheefa Koya, who is also the Chair of the APEC Anti-Corruption and Transparency Experts Working Group.

“At the APEC level, we need to advocate inclusivity by having more grassroots women in domestic anti-corruption programmes and policy development,” Dr Wan Azizah urged.

On top of that, she called for more cross-border engagement and sharing of best practices between women’s groups and agencies to facilitate capacity building.

Anti-corruption and law enforcement officials begin their meeting in Putrajaya, Malaysia on Wednesday to promote cross-border cooperation in the fight against corruption, bribery, money laundering and advance measures in combatting illicit trade.

Continue Reading

EU Politics

EU Interreg programme celebrates 30 years of bringing citizens closer together

Newsroom

Published

on

The year 2020 marks 30 years since the start of Interreg, the EU’s emblematic programme that aims at encouraging territorial cooperation between border regions. In light of this celebratory year, Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira,issued the following statement:

Interreg is a programme that is very dear to my heart. As a unique instrument of cooperation, supported by cohesion funding, Interreg allows regions and countries to work together to solve common challenges. Interreg projects are concrete examples that borders do not have to be barriers, but can be an opportunity for growth and successful cooperation. Over the past 30 years, and thanks to numerous projects supported by the EU, Interreg has brought the more than 170 million Europeans living in border regions closer together, improved their lives, and created new opportunities for cooperation.

The 30 year celebration of Interreg happens in a crucial time of the EU’s history. As we face serious global and local challenges, we need to regain citizens’ trust and ensure we deliver. Interreg has been acting now for 30 years to leave no one behind and to build Europe brick-by-brick. The intention is to continue this mission but also to use this celebrative occasion to question, to re-think, and to give a new breath to what we consider as a fundamental value in the European Union: the spirit of cooperation, driven by the firm belief that we are stronger together.”

Background

Launched in 1990, the European Territorial Cooperation (ETC), better known as Interreg, is an emblematic Cohesion Policy programme that provides a framework for the implementation of joint actions and policy exchanges between national, regional and local actors from different Member States. The overarching objective of European Territorial Cooperation (ETC) is to promote a harmonious economic, social and territorial development of the Union as a whole. Interreg is built around three strands of cooperation: cross-border (Interreg A), transnational (Interreg B) and interregional (Interreg C).

Five programming periods of Interreg have succeeded each other: INTERREG I (1990-1993) – INTERREG II (1994-1999) – INTERREG III (2000-2006) – INTERREG IV (2007-2013) – INTERREG V (2014-2020).

The Interreg cooperation programmes cover the entire European continent with a total budget of over €12 billion, including EU and Member States’ contribution, during the 2014 – 2020 programming period.

The Interreg 30 year campaign will roll out throughout 2020 under the themes: neighbours, green and youth. The campaign will take stock of the past achievements and look forward to what can be done more and better in the future.

Continue Reading

Environment

WWF: US Will Suffer World’s Biggest Economic Impact Due to Nature Loss

Newsroom

Published

on

A new World Wildlife Fund report reveals for the first time the countries whose economies would be worst affected over the next 30 years if the world doesn’t act urgently to address the global environmental crisis.

The study, Global Futures, which calculated the economic cost of nature’s decline across 140 countries ranging from India to Brazil, shows that if the world carries on with “business as usual,” the United States would see the largest losses of annual GDP in absolute terms, with $83 billion wiped off its economy each year by 2050 – an amount equivalent to the entire annual GDP of Guatemala.

“This groundbreaking report shows that the U.S. will suffer the world’s biggest economic impact due to nature loss,” said Rebecca Shaw, chief scientist, World Wildlife Fund. “We cannot envision a just and stable country, and a prosperous economy, if forests disappear, pollinators vanish, biodiversity collapses and rivers and the ocean are depleted. Continuing with business as usual could lead to disastrous outcomes. We need governments and corporations to halt nature loss and tackle this planetary emergency.”

The Global Futures study used new economic and environmental modeling to assess what the macroeconomic impact would be if the world pursued “business as usual,” including widespread and land-use change, continued increase in emissions of greenhouse gases, and further loss of natural habitats. It found this status quo approach would cost the world at least $479 billion a year, adding up to $9.87 trillion by 2050 – roughly equivalent to the combined economies of the UK, France, India and Brazil.

In contrast, under a scenario in which land-use is carefully managed to avoid further loss of areas important for biodiversity and ecosystem services, which the study terms the ‘Global Conservation’ scenario, economic outcomes would be dramatically better, with global GDP rising by $490 billion per year above the business as usual calculation.

Japan and the UK also stand to lose staggering amounts – $80 billion and $21 billion every year respectively. The projected economic losses in the United States, Japan and UK are due largely to expected damage to their coastal infrastructure and agricultural land through increased flooding and erosion as a result of losses of natural coastal defenses such as coral reefs and mangroves.

Developing countries will also be badly affected, with Eastern and Western Africa, central Asia and parts of South America hit particularly hard, as nature loss impacts on production levels, trade and food prices. According to the report, the top three countries predicted to lose the most as a percentage of their GDP are Madagascar , Togo and Vietnam , which by 2050 are expected to respectively see declines of 4.2 percent, 3.4 percent and 2.8 percent per year.

“It’s difficult for many people to conceptualize the true value of nature and the many benefits it provides to humanity,” says Shaw. “This report translates nature loss into country-specific economic terms – a tangible and powerful way to galvanize action from private sector leaders and government officials.”

This pioneering method of analysis was created through a partnership between WWF , the Global Trade Analysis Project at Purdue University, and the Natural Capital Project, co-founded by the University of Minnesota.

Steve Polasky, Co-Founder of the Natural Capital Project, said: “The world’s economies, businesses and our own well-being all depend on nature. But from climate change, extreme weather and flooding to water shortages, soil erosion and species extinctions, evidence shows that our planet is changing faster than at any other time in history. The way we feed, fuel and finance ourselves is destroying the life-support systems on which we depend, risking global economic devastation.”

Thomas Hertel, Executive Director of the Global Trade and Analysis Project, said: “The science and economics are clear. We can no longer ignore the strong economic case for restoring nature. Inaction will cost us far more than actions aimed at protecting nature’s contributions to the economy. To ensure positive global futures, we need to achieve more sustainable patterns of production and land use, and reform economic and financial systems to incentivize nature-based decision making.”

Continue Reading

Publications

Latest

Defense1 hour ago

Assessing India’s Enhanced Air Defence Shield with reference to Pakistan’s MIRV Capabilities

Since the last few years, India has been continuously carrying out an extensive military modernization program aimed at enhancing its...

Newsdesk5 hours ago

Empower Women to Fight Corruption: Dr Wan Azizah

Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail called for more engagement and collaboration “to ensure women from all...

EU Politics7 hours ago

EU Interreg programme celebrates 30 years of bringing citizens closer together

The year 2020 marks 30 years since the start of Interreg, the EU’s emblematic programme that aims at encouraging territorial...

Americas9 hours ago

Impeachment & Intervention: Where American Foreign Policy Goes Wrong

To any ordinary American citizen, it’s well known that government spending is spiraling out of control. The U.S. budget deficit...

Eastern Europe11 hours ago

President Zelensky at the MSC 2020: An Epistemological Shift toward Reconciliation

On Saturday February 15, Ukrainian President Zelensky reiterated his pledge to end the conflict in the Donbas during his tenure,...

Americas13 hours ago

Former Senator Moise Jean-Charles to Win the Next Haitian Presidential Election

The former Senator, Moise Jean-Charles is the founder and leader of the powerful political party called Platfòm Pitit Desalin or...

Environment15 hours ago

WWF: US Will Suffer World’s Biggest Economic Impact Due to Nature Loss

A new World Wildlife Fund report reveals for the first time the countries whose economies would be worst affected over...

Trending