Safeguarding space for nature and securing our future: developing a post-2020 strategy

Source: Institute of Zoology / ZSL.org / Scientific Events

The challenge

We are rapidly losing Earth’s wild species and wild spaces, with global vertebrate populations having declined by two-thirds by in the last 40 years. Under the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) have pledged to protect at least 17% of land and freshwater and 10% of our oceans by 2020. The plan focuses on areas of importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services in systems of effective, equitable and ecologically connected protected and conserved areas.

(Read more at Institute of Zoology)

 

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Should we give up half of the Earth to wildlife?

Source: The Guardian / Environment / Wildlife

Populations of all kinds of wildlife are declining at alarming speed. One radical solution is to make 50% of the planet a nature reserve

The orangutan is one of our planet’s most distinctive and intelligent creatures. It has been observed using primitive tools, such as the branch of a tree, to hunt food, and is capable of complex social behaviour. Orangutans also played a special role in humanity’s own intellectual history when, in the 19th century, Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace, co-developers of the theory of natural selection, used observations of them to hone their ideas about evolution.

But humanity has not repaid orangutans with kindness. The numbers of these distinctive, red-maned primates are now plummeting thanks to our destruction of their habitats and illegal hunting of the species. Last week, an international study revealed that its population in Borneo, the animal’s last main stronghold, now stands at between 70,000 and 100,000, less than half of what it was in 1995. “I expected to see a fairly steep decline, but I did not anticipate it would be this large,” said one of the study’s co-authors, Serge Wich of Liverpool John Moores University.

(Read more at TheGuardian.com)

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MEPs set ambitious targets for cleaner, more efficient energy use

Source: European Parliament / News / EuroParl.Europa.eu

  • By 2030, EU should boost energy efficiency by 35%
  • Renewable energy sources should account for 35% of total consumption
  • MEPs vote to ban palm oil in biofuels from 2021

MEPs are ready to negotiate binding targets with EU ministers to boost energy efficiency by 35% and the share of renewables in the total energy mix by 35%, by 2030.

Parliament endorsed committee proposals for binding EU-level targets of an 35% improvement in energy efficiency, a minimum 35% share of energy from renewable sources in gross final consumption of energy, and a 12% share of energy from renewable sources in transport, by 2030.

(Read more at EuroParl.Europa.eu)

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In response to Trump’s fake news awards, CPJ announces Press Oppressors awards

Source: Committee to Protect Journalists / CPJ.org

Amid the public discourse of fake news and President Trump’s announcement via Twitter about his planned “fake news” awards ceremony, CPJ is recognizing world leaders who have gone out of their way to attack the press and undermine the norms that support freedom of the media. From an unparalleled fear of their critics and the truth, to a relentless commitment to censorship, these five leaders and the runner-ups in their categories have gone above and beyond to silence critical voices and weaken democracy.

(Read more at CPJ.org)

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Yle’s guide to Finland’s 2018 presidential election

Source: Yle News / Egan Richardson

Finland goes to the polls in January to elect a president for a new six-year term. Yle News has profiles of all the candidates and—for the first time ever—an English language ‘election compass’ to help voters explore their views.

On 28 January Finland holds a presidential election that will help shape the country’s foreign and security policy for the next six years. The role focuses on diplomacy and defence, with presidential powers much-diminished since the heyday of Urho Kekkonen.

(Read more at Yle.fi)

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One more round in Germany, as Europe awaits

Source: DiEM25.org

The political drama in Germany is not over. CSU/CDU and SPD have just officially started the negotiations to form another grand coalition. However, this long period of uncertainty has resulted in a fall in nationwide support for a coalition and also for Angela Merkel herself. There are voices arguing for the end of the Merkel era. Merkel is, indeed, on the defensive. On the other hand, we are skeptical about Schulz’s argument for a “United States of Europe” by 2025.

We believe that the way forward is not through closed borders and establishment-centric policies; that’s why DiEM25 has developed a European New Deal

(Read more atDiEM25.org)

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6,700 Rohingya killed in first month of Myanmar violence

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)
Please read more at www.France24.com

At least 6,700 Rohingya Muslims were killed in the first month of a Myanmar army crackdown on rebels in Rakhine state that began in late August, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said on Thursday.

The figure is the highest estimated death toll yet of violence that erupted on August 25 and triggered a massive refugee crisis, with more than 620,000 Rohingya fleeing Myanmar for Bangladesh in three months.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)
Please read more at www.France24.com

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AEJ Annual Congress in Vilnius prompts pledge of ‘smart’ response to Russian disinformation

by William Horsley,
AEJ Vice-President and representative for Media Freedom Vice-President

Lithuania’s Vice Foreign Minister, Darius Skusevičius, spoke at the AEJ’s Congress in Vilnius, Lithuania, on Friday 17 November, and he outlined to the association’s member journalists from 20 countries   the ‘smart’ policies his government as a NATO member is pursuing to combat what he called Russia’s ‘information war’ hostile disinformation and false news campaigns. Mr Skusevičius claimed that ‘purposefully misleading information’ put out by ‘dishonest media’ should   be seen as an extension of Russia’s military aggression in Ukraine. He said the propagation of Russian disinformation to the Baltic states and other countries in Europe was aimed at extending Russia’s political influence and undermining trust in the media in the West. It ‘must be combatted’, he declared.

Lithuania’s Vice Foreign Minister, Darius Skusevičius

 

Speaking on the theme of ‘reliable media and democratic politics’, the Vice Foreign Minister set out Lithuania’s 4-point approach to exposing and containing Russia’s ‘state-sponsored news and actions’ . The response would consist, he said, of 1) exposing the nature of ‘hostile information’ broadcast by Russian state-owned stations like Sputnik TV and RT (which he described in an aside as ‘Russia Yesterday’); 2) tackling the funding sources for those media; 3) maintaining western cohesion to disrupt the flow of falsehoods and hostile material; and 4) adopting an ‘adequate’ and comprehensive response – which should include promoting independent, high-quality media and equipping citizens in democratic states with the knowledge to distinguish between reliable and false information sources.

 

Lithuania has been a consistent supporter of international policies and campaigns related to bolstering media freedom and journalists’ safety. In 2015 Lithuania helped to sponsor a UN Security Council Resolution (2222) which called on all states to create a safe environment ‘in law and practice’ for media professionals to do their work, including in conflict situations. Lithuania is also a member of the international ‘Group of Friends on the Protection of Journalists’ at the UN. It is made up of at least 17 countries from all regions of the world committed to strengthening the protection of media workers and enhancing the accountability for crimes – including crimes of violence – committed against them.

 

Mr Skusevičius was speaking in advance of an EU summit meeting with leaders of the six ‘Eastern Partnership’ states – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine – where European leaders are due to pledge further support for those countries in strengthening rule of law, fighting corruption, engaging with civil society groups and strengthening independent media. On 14 November British prime minister Theresa May made a forceful speech accusing President Putin’s government of trying to undermine free societies and sow discord in the West by planting fake news stories and carrying out cyber espionage as well as threatening the security of countries like Ukraine.

 

The AEJ Congress, attended by over 60 journalists, held intensive debates with leading experts and practitioners on a range of related issues, including disinformation campaigns by Russian-controlled media and GONGOs (government-owned NGOs), fact-checking and editorial integrity, the rapid spread of manufactured ‘fake news’ from multiple sources, and the uses and misuses of data journalism.

 

The AEJ is an independent network of journalists active across Europe, whose major activities include protecting media freedom and promoting independent journalism. The AEJ is a founder member of the Council of Europe’s online Platform to promote the protection of journalism and the safety of journalists,www.coe.int/fom.

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With our nation states on the ropes, it’s time for cities to take the lead

Robert Muggah Research Director, Igarapé Institute
Richard Florida Professor of Business and Creativity, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

The world is reeling from cascading threats. Climate change, pandemics, inequality, conflicts, terrorism and even the terrifying prospect of nuclear war are all on the rise. Yet exactly when international cooperation is most urgently required, collective action is found wanting. Part of the reason is that the four-century-long experiment with nation states is unraveling. And with our nation states on the ropes, 20th-century institutions like the United Nations and World Bank are paralyzed.

Countries are struggling to keep up with the pace and scale of change. They are rapidly ceding sovereignty to alternative configurations of governance, power and influence. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is hastening this shift. While nation states aren’t going to disappear overnight, power is increasingly distributed across non-state networks, including regressive ones. It is not just multinational companies and philanthropic organizations that are exerting ever greater influence, but vast conurbations of mega-cities and their peripheries as well.

Read More at World Economic Forum

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The Finnish Red Cross Is Sending A Hospital To Bangladesh To Help The Refugees

The first Finnish Red Cross aid workers will be flying to Bangladesh tomorrow at the earliest. The Disaster Relief Fund has granted 500,000 euros to managing the refugee crisis.

The refugees’ situation in the Cox’s Bazar area in Bangladesh is very serious. Since the end of August, more than 420,000 refugees have fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh, mostly women and children.

They are in desperate need of food, clean water, shelter, basic supplies and health services.

– We must hurry. Together with the Norwegian Red Cross, we are sending a hospital and roughly 20–25 aid workers to the area. The first Finnish Red Cross workers will be travelling on Saturday and the Finnish portion of the hospital early this week, say Kalle Löövi, the Director of International Operations.

Please read more and donate on The Finnish Red Cross Website

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