What Textiles, Wars and Earthquakes Have in Common

labores-patchworkOver 30.000 people displaced between August and October in the Centre of Italy due to several earthquakes, whose tremors are still threatening the life of its inhabitants. Experts asserted October 30th quake has been the strongest in 35 years, registering a 6.6 on the Richter scale.

One is man-made, the other is an uncontrollable – although predictable – phenomenon; both wars and earthquakes provoke victims and/or people’s displacements and do urge a quick and effective response. Not only at emergency level though. Continue reading

Goal 13: Combating climate change and its impacts

By Sakshi Jain

Goal 13 of the Sustainable Development Goals was to ‘take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts’. Climate change encompassesGoal-13 within it global warming, which is mainly a surface temperature increase phenomenon, as well as the other changes that are caused by increasing greenhouse gases. The causes of climate change vary from solar irradiation to human activities.

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Goal 12: Sustainable consumption and production – UN calling and our answer

Goal-12By Rima-Maria Rahal

Statements which describe the importance of achieving sustainable consumption and production begin by highlighting that there is a necessity backed by hard facts to embrace this goal: the human population is growing rapidly, being projected to reach 9.5 billion by 2050 – and it needs to be fed. This goal of eradicating hunger has not been achieved even with the comparatively few 7 billion heads we number currently. At the same time we are overexploiting and destroying the majority of ecosystems that we rely today already, painting an even dimmer picture of our prospects of feeding the planet’s growing number of inhabitants. Usually, this is where the executive summaries, issues briefs and extended abstracts stop illuminating the relevance of coming up with sustainable consumption and production patterns. Continue reading

Ensuring Environmental Sustainability in this Current Age

Source: UN.org

Source: UN.org

Before discussing about environmental sustainability, we should know the meaning of it. Environmental sustainability involves making decisions and taking actions that are in the interests of protecting the natural world, with particular emphasis on preserving the capability of the environment to support human life. Among 8 MDG goals, ensuring environmental sustainability is one of them.

The objectives of ensuring environmental sustainability are improving the sustainable management of natural resources, ensuring low emission project, transport systems, saving energy, promoting agriculture, reducing climate related threats towards the countries, sustainable access to safe drinking water including basic sanitation and by 2020, improving the living standards of around 100 million slum dwellers. Continue reading

The United Nations and the New Post-2015 Development Agenda

development agenda

Source: United Nations

In 2000, the leaders of 189 countries met at the United Nations to share a common vision and responsibility to ensure the achievement of an international agreement. They focused on the 8 goals with the purpose of eradicating extreme poverty and encourage world development. These targets are set out in the Millennium Declaration, which has a deadline achievement of 2015. However, after the deadline date, efforts to reach this aim will continue unabated with the new Post-2015 Agenda. This agenda will work on the new challenges that have emerged since the year 2000, for example in terms of security (after the 9/11 terrorist attacks) and in environmental issues (global warming), and on the ones that have not been accomplished yet. Continue reading

The Balkan Floods Aftermath: Have the Institutions Done Their Job? No, They Should Learn From This for the Future

Floods in Brcko, Bosnia

Photo: Floods in Brcko, Bosnia; theguardian.com

It has been over a month since the catastrophic floods that hit Bosnia, Serbia, and Croatia.

The water has receded but it left behind many problems, some of them classic for big floods – such as destroyed houses and farms, risks of sewer contamination, lack of drinking water; and some of them specific to the region – such as fields full of landmines still left from the Yugoslav civil war where the water has potentially moved the mines or removed warning signs thereby putting people at mine danger[1]. Some of the problems, however, seem to be purely institutional.

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The Role of Renewable Energies in Achieving Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Ghana. (Solar Energy)

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are eight goals with measurable targets and clear deadlines for improving the lives of the world’s deprived people. To meet these goals and eradicate poverty, leaders of 189 countries signed the historic millennium declaration at the United Nations Millennium Summit in the year 2000. However, renewable energy is reliable, abundant and will potentially be very cheap once technology and infrastructure are improved. It includes solar, wind, geothermal, hydropower and tidal energy, plus biofuels that are grown and harvested without fossil fuels. Non-renewable energy, such as coal and petroleum, require costly explorations and potentially dangerous mining and drilling, and they will become more expensive as supplies decrease and demand increases.

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Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia, and Croatia hit by the worst floods in 120 years – millions displaced, billions in damages

Floods in Orasje, Bosnia

Photo: The Guardian

Zagreb, Croatia – Tuesday, May 20, 2014: Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Serbia, as well as parts of Croatia, have been hit by the worst floods in 120 years after more than 3 months’ worth of rain fell on the region in just a few days last week. This is the worst weather catastrophe to hit the region in over a century. The numbers are still changing hourly, but as of now, over a million people have been displaced, forced to flee their homes with little or no belongings, grasping to save their bare lives, and their children. On top of that, many of these people are farmers who live off of the land and have just lost their entire livelihoods in just a few days.

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Solid Waste Management

solid waste management

Photo: World Bank

Increasing population levels, booming economy, rapid urbanization and the rise in community living standards have greatly accelerated the municipal solid waste generation rate (Minghua et al., 2009). Managing solid waste has been one of the biggest challenges in urban areas; from big cities to small towns to villages, management of solid waste poses a difficult problem. It is however strange that it receives little attention when compared to other major urban challenges. With the significant increase in solid waste management in urban cities, solid waste management is one of the main issues that need to be tackled immediately.

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Greening the Blue

Green Conference

“Sustainability” is probably one of the most frequently used terms during the last few years. At every UN Conference, every High Level meeting, every panel discussion, at some point someone talks about sustainability. When people hear that word, they tend to think “Oh no, not again”, thereby implying “There has already been so much talk about it that I don’t need to deal with it any more.“  But instead of thinking “oh no, come on“, we should say “NOW, come on!”

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