Making the Case for Marine Protected Areas

The meeting was in preparation for the first major conference on the ocean that will be held 5-9 June 2017. The panel was comprised of ambassadors from three Small Island Developing Countries (SIDs) including Nauru, Seychelles, and Palau, a science researcher, and an artist.

Marlene Moses from Nauru first started the panel discussion by reviewing the development history of international cooperation on the ocean. She emphasized that the ocean, as it accounts for 97% of the Earth’s surface, was “at the very heart of our identity”. Protection of the ocean, therefore, becomes a critical issue, as can be seen in the SDG 14: conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. Following that, participants offered important insights into the three aspects of marine protection: financial, scientific, and artistic.

Addressing the financial aspect, Ronny Jumeau from the Seychelles explained that marine protection was as much a practical problem as a moral one. The central issue was, how these SIDs can pay for marine protection. Despite the fact that only 30% of SIDs belong to low-income countries, most of them still need to take domestic welfare provision and existing debt into consideration. Jumeau, therefore, shared his country’s innovative fundraising methods such as blue bonds and debt swap. Similarly, Palau is facing this financial challenge as it has committed to protecting 500,000 square kilometers of its Exclusive Economic Zone. Ngedikes Olai Uludong introduced the new policy of the Palau government: Pristine Paradise Environment Fee (PPEF).

Addressing the scientific aspect, Narrissa P. Spies explained why setting up bigger, more isolated marine protection areas is important to safeguarding marine resources. Finally, addressing the artistic aspect, Asher Jay illustrated her artwork and the importance of communicating the message of marine protection to the public at large.

Meeting: Event on “Making the Case for Marine Protected Areas”
Date/Location: Thursday, April 27, 2017; 13:15-14:30; Conference Room 11, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY
Speakers:
Marlene Moses, Permanent Representative of Nauru to the United Nations;
Ngedikes Olai Uludong, Permanent Representative of Palau to the United Nations;
Ronny Jumeau, Roving Ambassador for Climate Change and Small Island Developing State Issues for Seychelles;
Narrissa P. Spies, Native Hawaiian Scientist (Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Biology, University of Hawaii);
Asher Jay, National Geographic Explorer;
Kate Brown, Global Island Partnership
Written By: WIT Representative Jadice Lau

Edited By: Fred Yonghabi.

Starvation: Assad’s battering ram against the Syrians

“Kneel or Starve”

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The Danish Ambassador to the UN hosted a panel to reiterate Denmark’s determination to end starvation as a weapon of war in Syria.

Mr. Zakarya started with a personal account of the life in the besieged and chemically attacked city of Moadamiya. Victims of the regime’s “Kneel or Starve” strategy, the people of Moadamiya survived on a diet of sugar and rice before resorting to foraging edible plants. He added that the Assad regime actively blocked delivery of aid, and individuals who sought medical treatment are shot when returned to the city. Speaking of the disheartening story of a grocer’s daughter starved to death, he said that the strategy deprives Syrians not only of food, but also hope.

Mr. Sammond illustrated the severity of starvation in Syria by pointing to the fact that more Syrians died of starvation than that of illness and attack. Referring to Amnesty International’s report on the Yarmouk refugee camp, he pointed out that there is only half an hour of water supply per day. The lack of supplies is also illustrated by the fact that hospitals are lit by candles and even cigarette lighter, and caesarian sections are performed with little or no anesthetia.

Mr. Al-Dimashqy illustrated the shortage of food by stating that price of food increased by tenfold. Mr. Bitari provided a voice of Palestinians in Syria, and urged the international community to intervene the situation in Yarmouk camp.

Echoing the call for intervention, Dr. Ghadbian joined from the floor by stating that the problem with the starvation strategy is the lack of enforcement of Security Council Resolution 2139, which demanded parties to allow delivery of humanitarian assistance. Saudi Ambassador Al-Mouallimi passionately expressed his regret that some countries prevented the passing of a resolution for bringing those who caused this atrocity to justice.

 

Meeting Title: Panel discussion on “Life under siege: Starvation as a weapon of war”
Speakers: H.E. Ambassador Ib Petersen, Permanent Representative of Denmark to the United Nations; Alexandra Hiniker, Pax Christi International (Moderator); Qusai Zakarya, Social Activist and Survivor of chemical attack in Moadamiya, Syria; Neil Sammonds, Researcher for Syria at Amnesty International; Ammar Al–Dimashqy, Social Activist in Besieged Areas; Nidal Bitari, Palestinian Lead for Human Rights in Syria; Dr. Najib Ghadbian, Special Representative to the United Nations of National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Force; H.E Ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, Permanent Representative of Saudi Arabia to the United Nations.
Location: United Nations HQ, Economic and Social Council Chamber, New York
Date: 5 June 2014
Summary Written By WIT Representative: Harrison Chung

 

Water-Energy-Food Nexus

At the ‘Sustainable Energy for All Forums’ there was a panel discussion on the Water-Energy-Food Nexus, which highlighted interlinkages in the energy and water sector. Tania Rodiger-Vorwerk (Deputy Director General-Directorate 31, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development) began the discussion, by stating that this was the very first public discussion on the HIO nexus. The demand for natural resources is consistently increasing and it is anticipated that the there will be severe shortages of natural resources if we don’t control and manage our resources effectively. Thus the aim of the nexus is to find intersectoral solutions designed to increase efficiency.
NEXUS News image 1.0.ashxRodiger also highlighted that Germany has been involved in the nexus through supporting regional dialogues through the high level African dialogue on Water-Food-Energy nexus in Nairobi in 2012 and supporting educational management. The main objectives of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development for the nexus are: collect and develop resources for nexus challenges; exchange information concerning practical experiences; integrate nexus perspective on policy level; promote nexus in other related sectors such as agriculture, irrigation etc.; and ensure HIO policy coherence.

Olivier Dubois (the Senior Natural Resources Officer and Coordinator, Energy Programme, FAO) added that nexus contributes phenomenally to sustainability, through three dimensions: resource efficiency; tradeoffs; and linking tradeoffs to opportunities. He highlighted that we are at the initial stages of building the nexus and thus need to develop nexus assessment and cost effective tools approach.Martin Hiller (Director General, REEEP) shared REEP’s contribution and initiatives, for instance a very simple technology of solar water pumps was converted into a private business in Kenya.

Anna Delgado (Water Unit, World Bank) noted that it is important to integrate energy-water planning at local and international level. The Thirsty Energy Initiative works to ensure governments integrate across the food, water and energy sectors. REEEP is in dialogue with China, as their water resources required energy expansion plans. She concluded by saying that the nexus requires a methodological approach, driven by demand and we should quantify tradeoffs.

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Meeting Title: Water-Energy-Food Nexus HIO, Sustainable Energy for All Forums
Speakers: Tania Rodiger-Vorwerk, Deputy Director General-Directorate 31, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development; Olivier Dubois, Senior Natural Resources Officer and Coordinator, Energy Programme, FAO; Anna Delgado, Water Unit, World Bank; Martin Hiller, Director General, REEEP; Klaus Rudischhauser, Deputy Director General, EuropeAid, European Commission.
Location: United Nations HQ; Conference Room B, New York
Written By WIT representative: Aslesha Kaur Dhillon