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The United Nations has proclaimed 22 May The International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. The 2013 theme Water and Biodiversity was chosen to coincide with the United Nations designation of 2013 as the International Year of Water Cooperation. Water is essential for life. No living being on planet Earth can survive without it. It is a prerequisite for human health and well-being as well as for the preservation of the environment.
The 21st century is witnessing a profound shift in global dynamics, driven by the fast-rising new powers of the developing world – China, India and Brazil. But the “Rise of the South” is a much larger phenomenon. Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey and other developing countries are becoming leading actors on the world stage. The 2013 Human Development Report identifies more than 40 developing countries that have done better than expected in human development in recent decades, with their progress accelerating markedly over the past 10 years.
World Water Day is held annually on 22 March as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. 2013 has been declared as the United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation, and in reflection of this declaration World Water Day 2013 will also be dedicated to water cooperation.
The Doha United Nations Conference on Climate Change is underway and has the aim of establishing a new international agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions that extends the Kyoto Protocol. What will the conference decide for our climate future? Follow the deliberations at Doha Climate Change Conference – November 2012. The Kyoto Protocol legally binds developed countries to emission reduction targets. The Protocol’s first commitment period started in 2008 and ends in 2012. Governments of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol have decided that a second commitment period, from 2013 onwards, will seamlessly follow the end of the first commitment period.
International Volunteer Day (IVD) was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1985. IVD is now celebrated worldwide with thousands of volunteers involved in celebrations, conferences, exhibitions, morning teas and ceremonies aimed at highlighting the role of volunteers in their communities.
We are now in the United Nations Decade of Biodiversity 2011-2020. Under the Convention on Biological Diversity there is a Strategic Plan with the number one target “By 2020, at the latest, people are aware of the values of biodiversity and the steps they can take to conserve and use it sustainably”. To support this the IUCN Commission on Education and Communication has launched the “Love, Not Loss” campaign, saying that the best way to rekindle a lost love is not to talk about what went wrong — extinction, habitat loss or resource scarcity – it’s to remember what we loved in the first place. Campaign resources include the “How to Tell a Love Story” video.
The United Nations has designated the first Monday of October every year as World Habitat Day. The idea is to reflect on the state of our towns and cities and the basic right of all, to adequate shelter. It is also intended to remind the world of its collective responsibility for the future of the human habitat.
The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 16 September the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, commemorating the date, in 1987, on which the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer was signed. States are invited to devote the Day each year to promote, at the national level, activities in accordance with the objectives of the Montreal Protocol and its amendments.
Supply chain sustainability is a topic of growing importance to businesses, governments and civil society. How exactly to do this is not always obvious for companies, so the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) Quick Self-Assessment and Learning Tool is designed to help determine the appropriate scope of supply chain sustainability programs.
World Water Development Report 4 is a comprehensive review that gives an overall picture of the world’s freshwater resources. It analyses pressures from decisions that drive demand for water and affect its availability and offers tools and response options to help leaders in government, the private sector and civil society address current and future challenges. It suggests ways in which institutions can be reformed and their behaviour modified, and explores possible sources of financing for the urgently needed investment in water.
© Bruce Boyes 2008-2013
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