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Archive for March 26th, 2013

Participants at the Conference on sexual violence against women” held in Oslo Norway

Posted by African Press International on March 26, 2013

The Foundation – Amatheas and Organization Women Vision in Norway organised a conference in Oslo on the 2nd of March this year 2013 to discus Sexual Violence Against Women.

In focus was the female genital mutilation that is still practiced in a number of countries against the will of the girl-child. The participants were in agreement that female genital mutilation must stop and urged the authorities to push for laws that criminalises the act so that those who continue with the act – mutilating the girl’s genital organs – face prosecution.

They also agreed on the importance to educate parents so that they may take the lead in stopping the act, instead of encouraging their daughters to be circumcised, an act that has even caused many deaths due to deplorable hygenic conditions.


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Died in hospital: Norwegian police drops Kenyan baby Evans Kiiru’s case – says no crime was committed by the hospital

Posted by African Press International on March 26, 2013 The late baby Evans Kiiru, in Oslo-Norway


The late baby Evans Kiiru (photo) Was born in Norway in 2010.

Today Tuesday the 26th March 2013, Baby Evans Kiiru’s case has been dropped by the police who say they have found no negligence by the hospital. The baby who was barely one year died while undergoing treatment in Ahus hospital, just outside Oslo city in Norway.

The baby was in hospital for two weeks with abdominal pain and diarrhea later to die of dehydrated on 20th February 2011.

The Police said that the reason for dismissal is the high threshold for punishment by improper patient care. Police find no reason to start criminal proceedings either against Ahus hospital or individuals within the hospital

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Scientists call for development goals

Posted by African Press International on March 26, 2013

JOHANNESBURG,  – Development can no longer focus exclusively on improving people’s lives. Countries must now link poverty eradication to pr otection of the atmosphere, oceans and land, said a group of international scientists in a comment piece published today in the journal Nature. They propose six Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that do just that. 

The UN has committed to developing a set of SDGs to build upon the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which come to an end in 2015. But the UN’s first meeting on defining the SDGs has just ended in New York, with countries still undecided on the way forward.“It is not enough simply to extend MDGs, as some are suggesting, because humans are transforming the planet in ways that could undermine development gains,” write the 10 scientists in their article, Policy: Sustainable development goals for people and planet. The group is led by David Griggs, the director of the Monash Sustainability Institute in Australia and the former head of the scientific assessment unit of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Co-author Johan Rockström, director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, said in a statement, “Mounting research shows we are now at the point that the stable functioning of Earth systems is a prerequisite for a thriving global society and future development.”

“It is not enough simply to extend MDGs, as some are suggesting, because humans are transforming the planet in ways that could undermine development gains”

Their proposed SDGs aim to ensure: thriving lives and livelihoods; sustainable food security; sustainable water security; universal clean energy; healthy and productive ecosystems; and governance for sustainable societies.

A new model

The authors assert that the classic model of sustainable development, which has served the world since 1987- three integrated pillars: economic, social and environmental – is flawed because it does not reflect reality.

“As the global population increases towards nine billion people, sustainable development should be seen as an economy serving society within Earth’s life support system, not as three pillars,” said co-author Priya Shyamsundar, of the South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics in Nepal.

The scientists have proposed redefining sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present while safeguarding Earth’s life-support system, on which the welfare of current and future generations depends”.

But many of the MDGs have not yet been achieved, and some developing countries are concerned that a new focus on the SDGs could divert aid and add additional responsibilities that they are unable to handle.

In discussions in New York last week, a Botswana representative said all possible goals should be treated with equal value, according to the International Institute for Sustainable Development’s reporting services. Botswana’s representative added that if a scheduled stocktaking of the MDGs in September 2013 “shows unfinished business, then completing pending issues should be the first priority”.

But the authors say that the MDGs are the driving force of their proposed SDGs. For instance, the goal on thriving lives and livelihoods seeks to “end poverty and improve well-being through access to education, employment and information, better health and housing, and reduced inequality while moving towards sustainable consumption and production.”

“This extends many targets” of the MDGs, they say, while working towards the longer-term goals of reducing the vulnerabilities of coming generations.

“Goals on food, water and energy security would be designed to deliver long-term – sustainable – provision of these basic needs,” co-author Owen Gaffney, of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, told IRIN. “They must reduce vulnerability and improve resilience.”

Sustainability efforts growing

There is greater awareness of the need for sustainable development than a decade ago, prompted partly by climatic shocks that have become intense and frequent. Increasingly, global forums – such as a recent international meeting on drought – have begun to focus on sustainable development as a way of dealing with these shocks.

“There is a growing realization that adaptation will increasingly become part of development,” said Gaffney.” There could be more joined-up thinking here. We will see more and more impacts from climate change, and this will hit developed nations and developing countries alike.”

A variety of scientific initiatives have emerged to help develop the SDGs, including projects by the UN Environment Programme and the International Human Dimension Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP). The authors of the Nature comment, for example, are part of Future Earth, a 10-year international research programme that works with scientists and policymakers to generate sustainable development solutions.

And last week, a new international alliance of research institutes, the Independent Research Forum, identified eight major shifts that must take place for sustainable development to be achieved. They are shifts:

– From donor/beneficiary country relationships to meaningful international partnerships
– From top-down decision-making to processes that involve everyone
– From economic models that do little to reduce inequalities to those that do
– From business models based on enriching shareholders to models that also benefit society and the environment
– From meeting relatively easy development targets – such as improving access to financial services – to actually reducing poverty
– From conducting emergency response in the aftermath of crises to making countries and people resilient before crises occur
– From conducting pilot programmes to scaling-up the programmes that work
– From a single-sectoral approach, such as tackling a water shortage through the water ministry, to involving various sectors, like the agriculture and energy sectors, which also depend on water

The abundance of initiatives has sparked concern that the processes are uncoordinated and could lead to a duplication of efforts. To better synchronize the parallel processes, Gaffney said the International Council for Science and other organizations are holding meetings in New York this week.

“More coordination is essential,” he said, “but the process is happening very rapidly.”

jk/rz source

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Somalia: New plan to ensure universal healthcare

Posted by African Press International on March 26, 2013

Better access to healthcare (file photo)

NAIROBI,  – Every Somali citizen will have access to basic healthcare by 2016 if a new, government-led strategic plan achieves its aims.

The launch on 21 March of new Health Sector Strategic Plans (HSSPs) for Somalia’s three zones – south-central Somalia, Puntland and Somaliland – indicates a move away from the emergency-level health provision that has been the norm in the country for over 20 years and towards more mainstream, national health systems.

“The strategic planning process leading to this result is a clear indication of the beginning of a new time, a time of good governance and re-building of systems,” Mariam Qasim, Somalia’s Minister for of Human Development and Public Services, said at the launch, adding that the implementation of the plan would be a “litmus test” of the government’s ability to provide services to its population.

Somalia has some of the highest rates of maternal mortality in the world, and thousands of infants and children succumb annually to easily preventable and treatable conditions such as pneumonia, diarrhoea, malnutrition and measles.

Starting anew

The country’s health system was virtually destroyed by more than 20 years of conflict, during which time there was no legitimate government; during the war, NGOs, the UN and private sector practitioners managed healthcare.

“The major change is government ownership of the HSSP,” said Marina Madeo, the coordinator of the Somali health sector. “By 2016, we hope that in every part of the country, health centres will be equipped with drugs, equipment and health workers.”

She noted that for now, as the government continued to build its ability to handle healthcare, large parallel health programmes such as immunization would continue to be handled by UN agencies. The government and its partners will also seek public-private partnerships with the country’s vibrant private health sector.

The HSSPs are expected to make improvements to health financing, human resources for health, drugs and the country’s health infrastructure, among other things. The four-year strategies are expected to cost US$350 million, 70 to 75 percent of which will be spent on actual health services. Some $50 million has already been raised; key donors include the Australian, Swedish, UK and US governments.

Marthe Everard, UN World Health Organization representative for Somalia, stressed that “all national and international investments in the health sector should be guided by these plans, which provide the basis for cooperation, harmonization and alignment of all support to the Somali health sector”.


Although much of Somalia is now secure, Islamist insurgents still control parts of south-central Somalia. Qasim said she hoped security would continue to improve, and that in the interim “there are always ways” to work in Al-Shabab-controlled areas.

“We can’t wait for everything to be in place [to] secure to start working,” said Madeo.

kr/rz source


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