Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Report highlights damaging effects of climate change on Caribbean

KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS): The Human Development Report of 2007/08 has revealed that climate change will have devastating effects on the Caribbean that will, in the long run, lead to "low human development traps."

The report, done by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and entitled `Fighting Climate Change: Human solidarity in a divided world', which was launched on December 11 in Kingston, warns that the world should focus on the developmental impact of climate change that could lead to unprecedented reversals in poverty reduction, nutrition, health and education.

Resident Representative of the UNDP, Minh Pham said that the report has shown that the tourism industries of Jamaica and the Caribbean at large, would be severely affected as climate change would also lead to serious beach erosion and a disruption and possible extinction of marine life.

"Temperature rising will affect also marine life leading to coral reef bleaching, leading to extinction of marine animals and the combined consequence of that will affect the tourism sector, loss of employment and revenues, loss of livelihoods and employment within the fisheries sector as well," he outlined.

"In fact, the report pointed out that an increase in 50 centimetres in sea level will wipe out roughly one third of the Caribbean beaches," he added.

Pham noted that a rise in temperature would also lead to a rise in sea level, thereby creating more intensive and frequent hurricanes. "As temperature rises the sea level will rise as well, creating an increased energy of the ocean and the water mass which will lead to tremendous tropical cyclones, more intensive, more
frequent hurricanes," he explained.

He said that since water is a fundamental source of life and livelihood, water scarcity would impact food production, agriculture, nutrition and Jamaica's export earnings from agricultural products, coffee, coffee beans and bananas. He is therefore urging Jamaicans to see climate change as a "real, manmade" issue and also as a matter of national and regional importance.

He pointed out that the health issues that we are currently experiencing with dengue and malaria result from the change in climate.

Highlighting the link between climate change and human development, Pham said that a rise in temperature would severely affect the climate of the island. "As temperature rises and we see increased evaporation, we will see more droughts, but also we will see severe flooding and we will see a higher concentration of natural disasters in developing countries because of the global pattern," he reasoned.

Looking towards the future, Pham issued a word of caution, arguing that future generations would "judge us harshly, if we look at the evidence today and do nothing about it."

"In essence, we could condemn future generations to severe poverty, to diminishing opportunities for education, health, employment, for a meaningful and productive life, and we are condemning future societies as well to an ecological disaster," he said.


Friday, December 7, 2007

International Expert Group Meeting on Indigenous Languages

International Expert Group Meeting on Indigenous Languages
8-10 January 2008

This Expert Group Meeting is being organized in accordance with ECOSOC decision 2007/244, which authorized a three-day international expert group meeting on indigenous languages and requested that the results of the meeting be reported to the Permanent Forum at its seventh session.

In addition, the Permanent Forum stated the following in its report:

"Considering that 2008 is the International Year of Languages, the Permanent Forum recommends holding an expert group meeting on indigenous languages that will call upon States, the United Nations system and indigenous peoples and their organizations to consider the following elements:

(a) Working towards concrete actions and legislative development aimed at eliminating discrimination against the current use of indigenous languages;

(b) Developing programmes aimed at promoting the empowerment of indigenous languages through all mediums, including radio and television;

(c) Supporting and increasing the number of centres for the study of indigenous languages;

(d) Financing and supporting schemes for special projects that are formulated by indigenous peoples and are focused on revitalization and rescue of threatened languages;

(e) Designing, in consultation with indigenous peoples and the Permanent Forum, the organization of a world conference on linguistic diversity, indigenous languages, identity and education, as a contribution to the programme of the Second International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People."The Agenda of the Meeting will be based on the above mentioned recommendation of the forum.

The EGM will be attended by indigenous experts, UNPFII members as well as interested Member States, UN Agencies, Indigenous Peoples' Organizatinos, AND Non-Governmental Organizations. Interested parties should contact the Secretariat about participating in the EGM as observers. Please note that space in the conference room is limited and the Secretariat may not be able to accommodate all requests for participation.

Background Paper
Draft Agenda

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: FAQ


“There is no greater service that the United Nations could do today for its friends and partners in the indigenous community than to adopt the Declaration during the current Assembly session. The Declaration is, fundamentally, about respect for the rights of indigenous peoples. Let us make this respect manifest.”

UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Sha Zukang,
on the occasion of International Day of the World’s Indigenous People, August 2007