King Mohammed VI Inaugurates First Solidarity-Based Market in Morocco

Casablanca – King Mohammed VI launched, on Wednesday in Casablanca, the 19th Annual national solidarity campaign 2017, organized on March 15-25 by the Mohammed V Foundation for Solidarity under the theme “Supporting Women Cooperatives, for a sustainable and solidarity-based social production.”Women Cooperatives at the Heart of this Solidarity EditionHeld under the presidency of King Mohammed VI, the campaign is aimed at raising funds to finance social projects and carry out action plans to meet the needs of the targeted populations.The Mohammed V Foundation for Solidarity earmarked these resources, depending on their importance, to projects managed by associations or directly by people, including poor segments of society. These resources are meant to fund projects of training, socio-vocational integration of youth, women and special needs people, operations of receiving Moroccans living abroad “Marhaba” and food assistance for the underprivileged during the holy month of Ramadan.Funding will also be allocated to sustainable development projects and nationwide and international humanitarian actions (medical campaigns, Cold Wave operations.)The national solidarity campaign 2017 will target activities of production initiated by women in situation of precariousness in the sectors of handicraft and local products.The First Solidarity Market in MoroccoKing Mohammed VI also inaugurated in the Oasis neighbourhood in Casablanca a solidarity-based market for equitable marketing and meant to sell products by Moroccan female cooperatives.This market, which boasts the local know-how, will bring these products closer to the final consumer. This project will impact key economic decision-makers and stakeholders with the aim of creating new opportunities and opening broader prospects for development.The market, carried out by the Mohammed V Foundation for Solidarity for 16.5 million dirhams, will highlight the wealth and diversity of Moroccan local products and handicraft through a direct sales offer of over 2,200 references proposed to the public.They are over 150 entities from across Morocco, mainly cooperatives, economic groupings, income-generating activities and economic activities supported by the Mohammed VI Foundation for Inmate Reintegration, which are exhibited for this launch.The exhibitors will benefit from technical support relating to equipment and the production process, as well as capacity-building training.Beneficiaries Received Donations and Merits CertificatesKing Mohammed VI visited the facility and handed, as donation, equipment to some twenty individuals holding projects out of the 167 projects which benefited from the Foundation’s support as part of the 2016 program for integration via income generating activities in the cities of Tifnet, Jerada, Beni Drar, Midelt, Oujda, Meknes, Fez, Tetouan, Kenitra, Agadir and Casablanca.The sovereign also gave cheques to representatives of ten associations as part of the same program in terms of training and assistance for young holders of projects, as well as to five micro-entrepreneurs who benefited from micro-credits to develop their economic activities.King Mohammed VI handed afterwards merit certificates to five young entrepreneurs, including two young women from the first 2015-2016 group of the Casablanca centre for very small enterprises. read more

Global leaders call for action on climate change

DAVOS, Switzerland — World Bank chief Kristalina Georgieva urged the global elites to take a simple step to understand the urgency of combating climate change: “Get the picture of your children, your grandchildren in front of you.”Speaking on the last day of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Georgieva warned that the potential “cost in terms of suffering is immeasurable” if the world can’t control a rise in temperatures.She dismissed the idea that cutting emissions would hurt the economy, citing a study that found a rapid rise in temperatures could slash global economic output by 25 per cent.Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, said: “Rising temperatures will wipe out whole segments of economies.”The “new climate economy,” by contrast, would create 65 million jobs, Georgieva said.The Associated Press read more

Two Canadian engineering giants are headed in starkly different directions

MONTREAL — Quebec’s two largest engineering firms find themselves in very different places in early 2019, as one fights to retain a toehold in a crucial Middle Eastern market while the other grows by leaps and bounds.SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. saw its stock tumble more than 27 per cent on Monday after it said that ongoing diplomatic tensions between Canada and Saudi Arabia were hurting its business, on top of problems with a mining project and an arbitration loss in Australia.WSP Global Inc., on the other hand, unveiled a sunny strategic plan Wednesday that forecasts double-digit revenue growth through 2021, when it expects to rake in up to $9 billion. The forecast boosted WSP’s share price six per cent to $68.04 in midday trading.The Montreal-based company has swelled to 48,000 employees from 17,000 in 2014, and aims to exceed SNC with 65,000 workers in the next three years. Beefed up by acquisitions of companies such as New York-based infrastructure firm Parsons Brinckerhoff, WSP’s expansion plans do not mean overextending their leverage levels, RBC Dominion Securities analyst Derek Spronck says.While both companies have seen their reputations tainted by corruption, particularly in Quebec, SNC has a bigger cloud over its head. Its shares fell in October after the company revealed the federal government won’t grant SNC an out-of-court settlement over foreign bribery allegations linked to the regime of former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi. Companies in this story: (TSX:SNC, TSX:WSP)The Canadian Press read more

Moroccan Navy Upgrades Equipment, Claims Continental Supremacy

Rabat – Morocco’s Royal Armed Forces (FAR) have ordered a strategic redeployment of Moroccan warships in response to Algerian threats, bringing Morocco-Algeria hostilities to new heights and raising concerns of direct confrontation.According to Assabah, in its July 7-8 issue, Morocco’s move is a response to Algerian military maneuverings and a show of force on the Mediterranean in recent months. Morocco, which has acquired US-made state-of-the-art military equipment, has deployed frigates and a newly acquired warship off its northern coast to both respond to the alarming presence of Algerian ships and to thwart criminal activities at sea, according to Assabah. The outlet reported that Morocco aims to showcase its navy offensive capabilities should there be indirect provocations from Algeria. “Morocco’s FAR are ready for confrontation at sea,” the report said.In addition to responding to Algerian frigate movements off Moroccan coasts, the Moroccan navy is also taking preemptive measures against terrorist infiltrations and piracy. However, the report added, Morocco’s move is solely aimed to deter, not to provoke.Assabah also noted rumored deals between the US navy and its Moroccan counterpart to provide the North African country with new American frigates. Morocco’s navy is allegedly interested in acquiring American frigates similar to the Spanish navy’s Descubierta-class corvettes. These ships can strike a target with their harpoon anti-ship missile system.Equally important is the FAR’s plan to purchase the German Type 212 submarine. The submarine’s many properties, including high speeds and secrecy in waters, will position Morocco as a regional and continental leader in terms of naval capabilities, Assabah added.In the coming months, the Mohammed VI warship will also be inaugurated. According to military sources quoted by Assabah, the warship’s shooting accuracy and its highly advanced missile system are set to give the Moroccan Navy the technical means to assert itself as one of the African continent’s strongest and most equipped navies. read more

Newmont says ISS recommends shareholders vote in favour of Goldcorp deal

Companies in this story: (TSX:G) DENVER — Newmont Mining Corp. says proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. has recommended shareholders vote in favour of the gold miner’s acquisition of Goldcorp Inc.The company says the report found a vote in favour of the deal was warranted given what it called a solid strategic rationale and expected financial benefits, which are bolstered by the recent addition of a special dividend.Newmont announced Monday it would pay a special dividend of 88 cents per share if its friendly takeover of Goldcorp is approved in an effort to address concerns raised by some shareholders.The ISS report followed the firm’s recommendation that Goldcorp shareholders vote in favour of the deal.Under the proposed agreement, Newmont will exchange 0.328 of a share plus two cents in cash for each Goldcorp share.Newmont shareholders vote on April 11, while Goldcorp shareholders vote on April 4. The Canadian Press read more

Grains, livestock mixed

Wheat for May lost 2.5 cents at 4.6525 a bushel; May corn was down 2.5 cents at 3.6000 a bushel; May oats were unchanged at $2.8750 a bushel; while May soybeans dropped .25 cents at $8.9875 a bushel.Beef mixed, pork lower on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Apr. live cattle was down .25 cents at $1.2580 a pound; Apr. feeder cattle rose .57 cent at $1.4672 a pound; while Apr. lean hogs lost .42 cent at $.7860 a pound.The Associated Press

Walmart, Amazon kick off government online pilot program

NEW YORK — Amazon and Walmart are kicking off a two-year pilot launch on Thursday established by the government to allow low-income shoppers on government food assistance to select and pay for their groceries online in New York.ShopRite will be joining the retailers early next week, says the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.The USDA has long required that customers using electronic benefits transfer, or EBT, pay for their purchases at the actual time and place of sale. So the move marks the first time SNAP customers can pay for their groceries online. It says the pilot will eventually expand to other retailers and to several other states.It will test both online ordering and payment.Anne D’Innocenzio, The Associated Press read more

Moroccan Police Arrest Prisoner 26 Days After Escape

Rabat – After 26 days on the run, Police arrested the prisoner who escaped Tangier’s local prison. The 27-year-old prisoner managed to escape on August 10 at 6 am. Tangier’s judicial police arrested the fugitive on September 4.In a statement issued this morning, September 5, the General direction of National Security (DGSN) stated that the prisoner was serving a sentence of 12 years imprisonment for rape and robbery.Originally from the region of Tangier, the young man had fled through the roof of the penitentiary, after breaking the bars of his cell, said the local press at the time of his escape. The prisoner was placed in custody at the disposal of the investigation conducted under the supervision of the prosecutor’s office to determine the circumstances of his escape, concluded the DGSN statement. read more

Kellogg cutting 150 jobs as part of Keebler sale

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — Kellogg Co. is cutting 150 salaried jobs across North America as part of the previously announced sale of its cookie and fruit snack businesses.The Battle Creek-based company said Tuesday the action will result in pretax charges of approximately $35 million, including $20 million in severance and termination benefits.Kellogg announced in April that it was selling its Keebler and Famous Amos cookie brands — as well as its fruit snack, pie crust and ice cream cone businesses — to Italy’s Ferraro International for $1.3 billion.That sale is expected to close at the end of July. Kellogg said its job cuts and staff reorganization will be complete by the end of 2020.Kellogg’s shares fell 1.5% to $55.69 in late morning trading.The Associated Press read more

Darfur UN envoy says formal political negotiations could start soon

Jan Eliasson, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Darfur, told reporters that the pre-negotiations phase has almost concluded, with the convergence of several parallel efforts by Sudan’s neighbours and the UN to end the fighting. “We have the beginning now of a credible political process,” he said during a press briefing following his most recent trip to the region with his African Union (AU) counterpart, Salim Ahmed Salim. “We are now at the stage where we will practically prepare for the negotiations.” One of the biggest obstacles is the number of rebel movements in Darfur, which have grown because the movements have splintered into factions since the beginning of the fighting in the remote and impoverished region. At least nine distinct groups are now fighting the Government. Mr. Eliasson said the number of rebel groups would present a major logistical challenge to organizing formal negotiations, but he was still confident that the process was on track as many of the groups have pledged that they are ready to talk. “We expect all parties to cooperate; if they don’t, we will face a new stage, new era of conflict in Darfur,” he said. More than 200,000 people have been killed across Darfur and at least 2 million others have been displaced since rebel groups took up arms in 2003 against Government forces, which have since been backed by the notorious Janjaweed militias. The killings, destruction of villages, widespread displacement and human rights abuses have continued, despite the efforts of the under-resourced AU peacekeeping mission known as AMIS. Under a deal struck by the UN, the AU and the Sudanese Government late last year, AMIS will be replaced in a three-step process by an eventual hybrid AU-UN peacekeeping force comprising about 17,000 troops and 3,000 police officers. But Mr. Eliasson warned today that any peacekeeping operations would be in jeopardy so long as the political divisions driving the conflict are not resolved. “It’s time for us now to put much more emphasis on the political process,” he said. “If we don’t deal with the solutions, we will have major problems with peacekeeping in the years to come.” He added that the swelling populations inside Darfur’s many camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) – and those over the border in neighbouring Chad – were being steadily radicalized by the conflict, further endangering the sustainability of any solution. The envoy also noted that more people in Darfur are being killed today in tribal clashes, often over productive land made scarce by desertification, than in fighting between the rebels and the Government and allied militias. This aspect, combined with the splintering of the rebel groups, has made the conflict increasingly internecine and ever more complex to solve. It has also sundered community relations across the region. “The cultural, social and economic fabric of Darfur is gone,” he said. 18 May 2007Formal political negotiations to resolve the deadly conflict engulfing Sudan’s Darfur region could begin soon, with many of the warring parties indicating they are ready to sit down and talk, the senior United Nations envoy to the crisis said today. read more

Developing States need help combating climate change Mozambican leader tells UN

Developing countries bear the brunt of climate change and need international assistance to help them mitigate its effects, the President of Mozambique told the United Nations General Assembly today.Addressing the Assembly’s annual high-level debate, Armando Emí Guebuza said increases in extreme weather patterns, rising sea levels and other effects of climate change are “felt more harshly in developing countries” which lack the capacity to properly respond.“More than ever, and in the face of recurrent and more and more devastating tragedies, there is a need for involvement of all members of the international community in the implementation of global actions enshrined in [international] commitments,” he said.The Mozambican President praised Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for having convened an unprecedented global gathering on the issue earlier this week, which he said “opens up new prospects for the renewed momentum required so that substantial progress can be made during the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to be held this December in Bali, Indonesia.”That meeting will be tasked with hammering out a successor to the Convention’s Kyoto Protocol, which contains legally binding targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions but is set to expire in 2012. The President of Zambia, Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, said his country needs assistance in such areas as scientific research, early warning and rapid response to address the effects of climate change.“Zambia calls for speedy development and transfer of appropriate technologies to help us cope with the negative impacts of climate change as well as put us on a low-carbon economic growth path,” he said.For its part, Zambia pledged to reduce emissions from industry and other sources, he said. “We call upon industrialized countries, who have a history of producing these emissions, to take serious steps to reduce them,” he said.“We believe the situation is now serious and narrow national interests in this matter must be discarded.”King Mswati III of Swaziland said that while countries like his own had developed “pro-green” policies, there was still a need for access to and transfer of environmentally-friendly technologies, particularly from developed to developing countries. He called for measures to promote technology cooperation which would not only enable the transfer of crucial technological know-how but also help build up local capacity for the efficient use and further development of the transferred technology.The Swazi leader also encouraged the private sector, particularly multinational corporations, “to be responsible enough to practice in the developing world the same environmental and waste management principles that they practice in the developed world,” including by not dumping harmful waste materials in developing countries.Micheline Calmy-Rey, President of Switzerland, said her country has also felt the effects of climate change. “Glaciers are receding and floods are on the increase,” she said. “As far as my country is concerned, the cost of efforts to save the planet affordable, considering the technology that already exists.”She pointed out that the international community has come together to address poverty and to promote peace and respect for human rights, but added, “our efforts in relation to environmental challenges have not gone far enough.” Treaties and other mechanisms to deal with the question are fragmented, she said. “We need therefore to unite in order to identify and implement these objectives so that we may make more economical use of the available resources and energy, and protect the biosphere.”Toward that end, she called for a significant reduction in the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for climate change. “We also need to help the countries most affected by these changes, the least developed among them in particular, to develop and implement strategies that will enable them to adapt to the changes, and alleviate the adverse effects on them as much as possible.” 26 September 2007Developing countries bear the brunt of climate change and need international assistance to help them mitigate its effects, the President of Mozambique told the United Nations General Assembly today. read more

Colombia hails UN help in assisting displaced persons fighting drug trade

27 September 2007The President of Colombia today lauded help the country has received from the United Nations in combating drug trafficking, promoting labour rights and assisting displaced persons. The President of Colombia today lauded help the country has received from the United Nations in combating drug trafficking, promoting labour rights and assisting displaced persons. Addressing the annual high-level debate of the General Assembly, Alvaro Uribe said the fight against impunity for killings of union workers is being carried out under guidelines from the UN International Labour Organization (ILO) in agreement between the Government, workers and employers. “The reports on the progress made, submitted by the ILO office in Colombia, have been positive,” he said. President Uribe said the UN Office against Drugs and Crime has helped to protect the rainforest from the threat of drug trafficking, while the ILO carries out “excellent work” in its workers’ protection programme. “We have extended the mandate of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to maintain its presence in Colombia for the remainder of my Government’s term in office,” said the President. “Also different UN entities provide valuable support in the task of assisting displaced people.” Describing the country’s security policy, he said it had succeeded in eradicating paramilitarism. “The term ‘paramilitary’ was coined to refer to private criminal organizations whose objective was to combat guerrillas,” he said. “Today the only one that combats the guerrillas is the State, which has recovered the monopoly it never should have lost.” read more

Iraqis returning from Syria UN agency confirms

A convoy of buses carrying an estimated 800 Iraqis has left the Syrian capital of Damascus and crossed the border on its way to Baghdad, according to the United Nations refugee agency, which said most are returning because their resources are exhausted.Staff of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) at the Al Tanf border point saw at least 15 buses, each carrying 30 to 35 people, pass through Iraq immigration later Tuesday and said they had heard that others had arrived earlier. The agency planned to give the refugees a return package, but has not been assisting in the operation and continues to raise concern about the situation in Iraq.UNHCR protection officers interviewed many of the returnee families boarding buses in Damascus and most said they were going back to Iraq because they had run out of money and could no longer afford to stay in Syria, which is hosting more than 1.4 million Iraqi refugees, the agency said in a news release. Some said they wanted to check out the situation in Iraq amid reports of improved security across the border.The agency said its figures suggest that only 14 per cent of Iraqi refugees are returning because of improved security conditions, while some 70 per cent say they are leaving because of tougher visa regulations and because they are not allowed to work and can no longer afford to stay in Syria.“For the first time some Iraqi refugees are considering returning to Iraq,” said Laurens Jolles, UNHCR representative in Syria, before adding: “UNHCR is not in a position to recommend return at this time but recognizes the Iraq Government’s effort to support people who are returning.”During the past week, the UNHCR estimates that around 600 Iraqis have left Syria each day this week, although not all are refugees. The Iraqi Government, meanwhile, says that 45,000 Iraqis have returned from Syria in October.The agency is continuing to help many of those remaining in Syria. It plans next month to provide around 7,000 families with financial support and distribute food for some 51,000 people others, while providing subsidized health care to Iraq refugees who seek it. 29 November 2007A convoy of buses carrying an estimated 800 Iraqis has left the Syrian capital of Damascus and crossed the border on its way to Baghdad, according to the United Nations refugee agency, which said most are returning because their resources are exhausted. read more

Memorial for US politician Model UN on Ban Kimoons Washington itinerary

Earlier this week in a statement, Mr. Ban mourned the passing of “his friend Tom Lantos, the veteran United States legislator, Holocaust survivor, human rights advocate and long-time supporter of the United Nations.”The Secretary-General will be present at the service for the Californian, with whom he shared a friendship dating back to Mr. Ban’s days as foreign minister of the Republic of Korea.Afterwards, he will meet with representatives of UN agencies in the capital city as well as speak to students attending the North American International Model UN organized by Georgetown University.Tomorrow, the Secretary-General will hold talks with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice tomorrow before his meeting on Friday with President George W. Bush, with whom he will discuss climate change, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), human rights, counterterrorism and issues in regions such as Darfur, Kenya, the Middle East, Iraq, Kosovo and Afghanistan. 13 February 2008During his two-day visit to Washington D.C. beginning tomorrow, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will attend a memorial service for United States Congressman Tom Lantos and address high school students at a Model United Nations gathering, a spokesperson announced today, adding to an agenda that already includes meetings with top officials. read more

World cities at UN forum unite to reduce poverty and boost democracy

27 March 2008Representatives of cities from 100 countries around the world are meeting in Athens, Greece, to create local plans to achieve international development goals through the promotion of democracy, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said today. Representatives of cities from 100 countries around the world are meeting in Athens, Greece, to create local plans to achieve international development goals through the promotion of democracy, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said today.More than 1,000 delegates are taking part in the sixth global forum of the World Alliance of Cities against Poverty, meeting from 26 to 28 March, in an effort to work together on achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), targets to slash extreme poverty and other global ills by 2015.At the forum, municipalities are sharing their experiences in the areas of hunger, access to primary education, water and sanitation, child mortality, maternal mortality, HIV/AIDS and gender gaps. Richer cities will commit to cooperation with cities in the developing world, UNDP said.One of the innovative outcomes expected from the meeting is the adoption of time-bound and quantified local “road maps” that will determine targets to be reached on various facets of poverty in each city.The meeting, according to UNDP, is a response to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s call to intensify efforts to meet the 2015 deadline for achieving the MDGs, now that the midpoint between that year and 2000 has been passed. Greece, which is marking the 2500th anniversary of the birth of democracy in Athens, was chosen for this event because of the meeting’s focus on the role of local participatory processes as a lever for better progress towards poverty eradication. read more

Colombia making headway in bolstering security UN hears

24 September 2008Colombia’s citizens have shed their fear and have more confidence in the State, thanks to the consolidation of democracy and security in following years of fear imposed by terrorists, the South American nation’s President said today at the General Assembly’s annual high-level segment. Colombia’s citizens have shed their fear and have more confidence in the State, thanks to the consolidation of democracy and security in following years of fear imposed by terrorists, the South American nation’s President said today at the General Assembly’s annual high-level segment.Over two-thirds of the 60,000 terrorists who had “ravaged the country at the start of the Government” have turned their back on criminal activity and are taking part in a reintegration programme, Álvaro Uribe Vélez said.But he noted that terrorists continue to be active, pointing to recent incidents such as the murder of a group of teachers and a deadly car bomb attack on the Justice building in the city of Cali, both perpetrated by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).Mr. Uribe stressed the importance his country places on the role of human rights in sustaining “democratic security.”He emphasized Colombia’s “respect for liberties in the midst of the fight against terrorism; the openness for vigilance” and “criticism and debate at the national and international level,” among others.Now, “citizens have greater faith in the State, and they seek their protection, overcoming the past indifference of some and the inclination of many to address their risks by their own means… citizens have lost their fear to denounce, give testimony and cooperate with the Armed Forces and with Justice.”The President recalled his address to last year’s general debate, in which he voiced his frustration at not having been able to rescue former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt and those held in captivity by FARC with her.“Today, thanks to the heroism, planning and bloodless effectiveness of our soldiers, she is a symbol of freedom, a freedom that we claim to liberate those that are still kidnapped and to put an end to this shameful crime in our homeland,” he said. read more

Cameroon UN funds multimillion dollar scheme to boost rural employment

11 May 2009The rural poor across Cameroon are set to receive a cash injection of close to $14 million from the United Nations in an effort to reduce poverty, increase income and improve livelihoods. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will support the Rural Microfinance Development project in the West African country with a $13.5 million loan and $200,000 grant. The microfinance scheme will help the growing numbers of young people leaving cities, which have high rates of unemployment, for rural areas looking for work in agriculture and its related sectors but have difficulty in accessing credit. Women, who despite their heavy workload and financial constraints start up small businesses involved in processing, storage, transport and handicraft activities, will particularly benefit from the projects.IFAD expects the initiatives to increase rural employment, boost the income of the rural poor, improve their food security and nutrition, as well as enhance the status of women, who will take part in managing the microfinance institutions.The funding will target smallholder farmers experiencing difficulty in buying inputs and technology the rural populations in the Centre, Extreme-North, North-West and Western Regions of Cameroon.To date, IFAD has funded seven rural development projects in Cameroon for a total of $85 million. read more

UN rushes aid to tsunami victims in Solomon Islands

5 January 2010The United Nations is rushing aid, including sanitation facilities, safe water and basic health care, to victims of a tsunami that hit the Solomon Islands yesterday, the second such massive wave to strike the region in three years. Following reports that hundreds of houses were damaged and large areas completely inundated on Rendova Island (population 3,600) in Western Province of the South Pacific island nation, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) dispatched a rapid response team by boat from nearby Gizo Island, where it was already working on reconstruction of schools affected by the deadly 2007 tsunami.The agency will now use emergency supplies pre-positioned after that disaster, and is also preparing materials and staff to protect children, who are tremendously vulnerable during natural catastrophes, so that they can continue learning and studying and have safe recreation areas while their caretakers turn to rebuilding their lives.In addition to the rapid response team already sent to Rendova and neighbouring Tetepare Island, two UNICEF emergency specialists are travelling today from Fiji to the Solomon Islands to provide additional support to relief efforts.“Although it is still unclear how great the devastation has been this time, it is clear that the psychological trauma for children and adults experiencing two tsunamis in such a short period will be significant,” UNICEF Pacific Representative Isiye Ndombi said.“Fortunately, UNICEF Pacific is already on the ground in the area and able to provide immediate support to the people of Rendova and Tetepare and other islands possibly affected. It will take several days however until we know the full extent and consequences of this tsunami because these islands are very remote and difficult to access.”On Rendova the agency was already reconstructing 19 schools affected by the 2007 tsunami, which killed 54 people in Western Province, affected more than 37,000 others including 18,000 children, and heavily damaged thousands of homes, more than 200 schools, two hospitals and several health facilities.UNICEF had already pre-positioned emergency supplies in the national capital, Honiara, to address water, hygiene, health, education, child protection and psycho-social recovery issues in emergencies. The agency is on track to complete reconstruction of 110 schools in the province by the end of 2010. read more

One year on huge challenges remain for Haitian quake recovery – UN

11 January 2011On the eve of the first anniversary of the devastating earthquake that killed 220,000 Haitians and made 1.5 million others homeless, the United Nations today looked back at a year of achievements, albeit at times spotty, and forward to the enormous challenges still ahead. In a statement issued by his spokesman, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that the UN and international response to “a disaster of unparalleled magnitude” was one of the largest ever mounted. “These efforts must be redoubled and renewed. The Secretary-General calls on the international community to continue its support for the people of Haiti,” the statement added. The heads of UN humanitarian agencies cited the difficult path already traversed and the long road ahead to recovery and reconstruction.“The task has been Herculean – a humanitarian worst case scenario in one of the world’s poorest countries, with massive casualties, multiple catastrophes, the decimation of the nation’s civil service, reams of critical records destroyed and staggering damage to the country’s critical infrastructure,” UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director Anthony Lake wrote in an opinion piece in the Miami Herald newspaper.“Delays in pledged aid have further complicated the recovery effort,” he said, noting the added complication of the cholera epidemic that has claimed some 3,600 lives and infected almost 150,000 people so far even before cresting. “These are enormous, unprecedented obstacles. But as we look back, we should remind ourselves not only that it might have been far worse, but that real progress has been possible, even in such dire circumstances.”Mr. Lake cited the thousands of children who have been reunited with their families and the nearly 100,000 youngsters benefiting from a network providing psychosocial care.“This is only a start. In Haiti, as in every emergency, we can and must do a better job channelling pledged aid to people and communities in greatest need,” he wrote. “We need to ensure better coordination among government, the international aid community and local NGOs [non-governmental organizations]. And we need to do more to support communities’ efforts to drive their own recovery.“When so much remains to be done, and when so many continue to suffer, it is no time for self-congratulation. But neither should it become an occasion for self-flagellation. To do so risks discouraging those who can still provide help – to the absolute detriment of the people who so desperately need it. And it is both a denial of the small victories achieved and a disavowal of the heroes who are still out there, every day, helping to rebuild lives and restore hope.”UN World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director Josette Sheeran stressed the daunting nature of the catastrophe, noting that in the six weeks immediately after the quake, the agency delivered food to 4 million Haitians and continues to provide food aid to some 2 million through school meal and cash-for-work programmes and nutritional support to pregnant and nursing mothers and their children.“While much has been achieved in the year since the earthquake, much still remains to be done,” she said in a statement. “Our ongoing food assistance programmes that nourish the very young, provide cash for work, and include the local purchase of food from Haitian farmers, are part of a massive recovery effort that will continue to need international support in the months ahead. “Access to nutritious food is essential if Haiti is to build back better, and WFP will continue its work providing the right food at the right time to those – like the very young – who still remain vulnerable.”The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned that greater support to agriculture is crucial to meet the country’s development objectives and help it prepare for future emergencies, noting that it is shifting from direct input distribution to seed multiplication and other more sustainable activities as it moves from emergency aid to longer-term rehabilitation support.It also stressed the need to reduce risks related to natural disasters such as flooding from hurricanes. “Natural resource and watershed management activities need to go hand in hand with measures to improve agricultural productivity by enhancing access to land, inputs, water and markets,” the FAO Representative in Haiti, Ari Toubo Ibrahim, said.UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director-General Irina Bokova called on the international community to live up to its moral obligations and do more. “The situation in Haiti continues to be catastrophic,” she said. “Reconstruction has scarcely begun. Of the total amount of aid pledged, only a small fraction has been received.”UNESCO Special Envoy for Haiti Michaëlle Jean, the Haitian-born former Governor General of Canada, stressed that Haiti needs support, not charity. “What the Haitian people require to surmount the disaster is long-term investment in their social institutions and particularly in education and culture, the most vital building blocks for their future,” she said.In Port-au-Prince, the capital, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Haiti Nigel Fisher released a report reviewing in detail the humanitarian achievements of the past year and the challenges ahead, noting that the signs of recovery are still barely visible for Haitians on the ground.In the report, the UN’s top envoy in Haiti, Edmond Mulet, stressed the need for the international community to provide a more systematic approach to help Haitians reinforce a State of rule of law and social and economic progress in a country where political uncertainties arising from November’s disputed first round of elections could lead to more turmoil.“In the absence of significant progress in the field of a State of law in Haiti, all current and future efforts for Haiti’s recovery, notably in reconstruction, economic and social development, humanitarian aid, security and political stability, risk going up in smoke,” he warned.As Mr. Lake concluded in his opinion piece, which began with the tent cities still filled to overflowing, and the tens of thousands of children still in need of protection: “There is no denying that today in Haiti, rubble still remains, cholera still kills, and political turmoil still imperils progress. “But the time has come to look beyond the rubble and the ruin, and to look ahead to a stronger Haiti. One year later, we have a choice – to wring our hands or to join them together in renewed commitment to help Haitians rebuild their wounded country. For how we can despair, when so many Haitians have not?” read more