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World leaders call for global action to restore degraded land

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India Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called on the international community to set up a global water action agenda as the central theme toward  achieving land degradation neutrality.

 

Modi made the call at the opening of the ministerial segment of the 14th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification on Monday in New Delhi, India.

 

According to him, augmenting water supply, enhancing water recharge, slowing down water run off and retaining moisture in the soil are all parts of a holistic land and water strategy

 

The Prime Minister said that India would restore an additional five million hectares of degraded land in the next 11 years, raising the land to be restored in India to 26 million hectares by 2030.

 

The Indian leader said that between 2015 and 2017, India’s tree and forest cover had been increased by 0.8 million hectares.

 

The restoration is part of India’s commitment to achieve land degradation neutrality, a flagship initiative under the UNCCD, he said.

 

The Nigeria News Agency reports that to date, 122  of the 170 countries affected by land degradation, including Nigeria, have committed themselves  to achieve land degradation neutrality.

 

Modi said that any diversion of forest land for development purposes in India had to be compensated by making an equivalent land mass available for afforestation.

 

“It is also required that a monetary payment of the value of timber which such forest land would have yielded must be made.

 

“Only last week, funds amounting to nearly six billion US dollars were  released to the provincial governments in lieu of such diversion for development of forest lands,” Modi said.

 

He said that India had enforced zero liquid discharge in many industrial processes which provided for treatment of waste water to a degree that it could be put back into the river system without harming life in water.

 

Modi  also said that India would put an end to single-use plastics in the coming years by developing environment-friendly substitutes and an efficient-plastic collection and disposal method.

 

“I believe the time has come for even the world to say goodbye to single-use plastic,” the Indian Prime Minister said.

 

He described plastic waste as another form of land degradation which, if not prevented, could be impossible to reverse.

 

“This is the menace of plastic waste.

 

“Apart from having adverse health implications, this is going to render lands unproductive and unfit for agriculture,” Modi said.

 

He said that India was using remote sensing and space technology for multiple applications including land restoration.

 

The Prime Minister  expressed India’s readiness to help other friendly countries develop land restoration strategies, through cost effective satellite and space technology.

 

Also speaking, the Prime Minister of Saint-Vincent The Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves, said that collective responses of nations globally had not measured up adequately or sufficiently to the enormous task at hand, so as to obviate disaster.

 

He said that the country would use its upcoming membership of the United Nations Security Council in 2020 to address the consequences of land degradation.

 

NAN reports that over 8,000 delegates, including UN Deputy Secretary General, Ms Amina Muhhammed, UNCCD Executive Secretary, Ibrahim Thiaw, ministers and heads of UN agencies were attending the Conference, whose theme is “Investing in Restoration to Unlock Opportunities.”

 

COP14, which ends Friday, is expected to adopt over 30 decisions and a few country-led initiatives on the actions governments will take to reverse land degradation especially over the next two years, and also beyond. (NAN)

WOJ/PAD

Edited by Peter Dada

Foreign

China shares anti-epidemic experience with world | COVID-19 timeline

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China has timely shared anti-epidemic efforts and measures with countries and international and regional organizations around the world. #COVID19timeline

(XINHUA)

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Metro

ICAO adopts new COVID-19 aviation recovery ‘Take Off’ guidelines to reconnect the world

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The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has adopted a new report and recommendations aimed at restarting international air transport system and aligning its global recovery.

ICAO Council President, Mr Salvatore Sciacchitano, revealed this on the official tweeter handle of the organisation @icao.

According to the president, the COVID-19 report and guidelines were produced by the Council Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART).

He said the report and guidelines were developed through broad-based consultations with countries and regional organisations, and with important advice from the World Health Organisation.

He noted that the key aviation industry groups including; International Air Transport Association (IATA), Airports Council International (ACI World), Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO), and the International Coordinating Council of Aerospace Industries Associations (ICCAIA).

“The world looked to the ICAO Council to provide the high-level guidance which governments and industry needed to begin restarting international air transport and recovering from COVID-19.

“We have answered this call today with the delivery of this report, and with its recommendations and Take-Off guidelines which will now align public and private sector actions and mitigations as we get the world flying again.

“Also, in full accordance with the latest and most prudent medical and traveller health advice available to us. The world needs aviation and aviation today is in great need of ICAO,” Sciacchitano said.

He said global cooperation through the organisation had helped countries to connect the world to their mutual benefit for over 75 years which as well now helping to reconnect the world.

He noted that solidarity among all countries and regions and industry sectors would be critical going forward, pointing out that ICAO was where to achieve the goal for global aviation.

CART Chairperson, Amb. Philippe Bertoux, noted that the CART guidelines were intended to inform, align and progress the national, regional, and industry-specific COVID-19 recovery roadmaps now being implemented, but not to replace them.

“These guidelines will facilitate convergence, mutual recognition and harmonisation of aviation COVID-19 related measures across the globe. They are intended to support the restart and recovery of global air travel in a safe, secure and sustainable way.

“In order to be effective, we need to take a layered and especially a risk-based approach. Measures will be implemented or removed as needed based on the wide ranging medical and other factors which will be at play,” Bertoux said.

Bertoux, who was also representative of France to the ICAO Council, said countries and operators needed autonomy and certainty as they took action to get the world flying again.

According to him, the CART guidelines are therefore designed to serve in both these capacities as a common reference, while remaining adaptable.

He said CART guidelines was a type of ‘living guidance’ which would be continuously updated based on latest risk assessments of the progress monitored to reconnect the world.

He said CART’s report contained a detailed situational analysis and key principles supported by a series of recommendations focused around objectives for public health, aviation safety and security, and aviation economic recovery.

He reinstated that the content was supplemented by the report’s special ‘Take Off’ document which contained guidelines for public health risk mitigation measures and four separate modules relating to airports, aircraft, crew, and air cargo.

ICAO Secretary-General, Dr Fang Liu, welcomed the CART’s accomplishment and highlighted that ICAO would continue to develop implementation packages to assist member states to restart the operations and recovery.

“Restoring public confidence in air travel has very broad benefits. This isn’t only about operational and economic viability of air transport sector, but of entire societies and regions having their economic livelihoods and stability restored.

The full CART Report is available as part of ICAO’s COVID-19 platform, and will be regularly reviewed and updated based on the latest data and information received from all stakeholders,’’ she said.


Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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Foreign

Fiji launches environment week to celebrate World Environment Day

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Fiji launched on Monday the Environment Week to celebrate the World Environment Day which will fall on Friday.

According to a Fijian government statement, speaking at the launch of the Environment Week in the Fijian capital Suva on Monday, Fiji’s Minister for Agriculture, Waterways and Environment Mahendra Reddy said while national movement and individual responsibility are vital to address environmental threats, global involvement and collaboration is also vital especially for developing countries.

The World Environment Day has become a powerful platform for environmental advocacy to help accelerate, amplify, and engage communities, he said, adding that protecting a safer and healthier environment for a future generation can be attained through a collaborative partnership and individual responsibility and involvement to deliver the common environmental vision.

“We have been working with nations around the globe and will continue to take leadership to ensure that global action is meaningful and nations take action to address environmental challenges that affect the globe,” Reddy said.

“We are looking at ways to address the impact of climate change, including taking immediate actions to save the planet we call home.”

The minister hoped through various organized events this week, the Fijians will gain insight into the significance of taking urgent actions to protect the environment.

The Department of Environment continues to work on Fiji’s position on a number of issues and will be calling for stronger action at a global level to protect marine and terrestrial biodiversity.”

With the theme “Biodiversity”, this year’s World Environment Day will be a week long commemoration for Fiji’s Department of Environment.

The purpose of the week-long program is to provide a platform for environmental advocacy to help accelerate, amplify, and engage scientists, communities, governments and the private sector to take actions on the dangerous and unprecedented environmental challenges that the world is facing.

The World Environment Day is held each year on June 5. It is one of the principal vehicles through which the United Nations stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and enhances political attention and action.

(XINHUA)

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Economy

Dangote wins World Travel Market Award with CNN commercial 

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Barely a week after emerging the most admired brand in Africa, Dangote Industries Limited (DIL) has won another award through its television commercial on the Cable Network News (CNN) detailing its business processes.

The company said in a statement on Sunday in Lagos that Dangote Industries won “Most Compelling Agency Story” award by the World Travel Market (WTM) with its ‘Farm to Table’ commercial.

The commercial, which is part of the ‘Touching Lives’ documentary aired weekly on CNN, detailed the process of food metamorphosis from the farm as raw material to final process as food on the tables at home.

According to CNN International Commercial Account Executive, Varshmi Arasalingam, the award recognises powerful storytelling capabilities.

He affirmed that the Touching Lives Farm To Table campaign holds a prominent socio-economic impact for which Dangote Industries continues to empower and improve the lives of people in Africa.

“We are extremely pleased to announce that Dangote Industries and CNN International Commercial are the winners of the WTM Africa Awards for the ‘Most Compelling Agency Story.

Dangote Industries is one the most diversified business conglomerates in Africa, with multiple entities impacting the daily lives of most of the continent’s population.

“The company provides the population with employment opportunities that are also self-sustaining through basic needs, such as food, cement, construction, agriculture, and technology.

“Through a branded content production, CNN International Commercial (CNNIC) wanted to showcase Dangote Industries empowering Africans through employment and self-sufficient opportunities.

“Filmed and produced by CNNIC’s award-winning branded content studio Create, the campaign promotes Nigeria and the wider continent through the stories of real people, and focuses on the connections people have with each other, be it in their work and daily lives.

“The character-driven story helps to change perceptions and encourage global audiences to visit Nigeria (and the African continent more generally) so they can experience and understand its culture and hospitality.

“It also shows that we should not look at the travel and tourism as a narrow sector, but instead view it as part of a larger socio-economic project.

“In this way, travel and tourism can empower and improve the lives of people in Africa – and all over the world – a goal Dangote is dedicated to realizing,” he said.

In his comment on the award, DIL Group Chief Branding and Corporate Communications Officer, Anthony Chiejina, said the management was delighted at the award and it only showed that the company was living up to its billing as the most diversified conglomerate in Africa.

He said the Commercial shot by the CNN which has won the award depicted the businesses of the company and gave vent to how we arrive at our mission statement of meeting the expectation of the people by providing for their basic needs.

“It simply demonstrates how it starts from the farm through which our people are engaged in every process before it gets to table at home.” he said.

Editing Wale Ojetimi

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Sport

Tennis’ world number 11 undergoes surgery on both ankles

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World number 11 Fabio Fognini underwent surgery on both ankles on Saturday to cure a long-standing problem.

In a statement posted on Twitter, the 33-year-old Italian tennis player said he had hoped the two-month break due to the coronavirus pandemic would have improved his situation.

“I’ve been having a problem with my left ankle for three and a half years now and it’s an issue I’ve learnt to cope with,” Fognini said. “Then my right ankle started playing up in the last two years as well.

“After a medical examination and a long discussion with my team, I decided to have arthroscopic surgery on both ankles.

“I believe it’s the right thing to do while the Tour is on an enforced break. I will have surgery today`(Saturday).”

No professional tournaments have been played since the start of March because of the pandemic, and the ATP Tour has been suspended until at least the start of August.
OLAL

(
Edited By: Olawale Alabi) (NAN)

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Entertainment

Florida officials approve Walt Disney World reopening plans

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Florida officials have approved plans for a phased reopening of Walt Disney World (DIS.N”>DIS.N) in Orlando, starting on July 11, according to a memo from a state agency released on Friday.

The successful reopening of its parks is a signal event for Disney and the rest of the world as governments and companies strategise how to move out of lockdown while the novel coranavirus is still a threat.

The state also cleared Sea World Entertainment Inc (SEAS.N”>SEAS.N) to reopen on June 10, said Halsey Beshears, secretary of Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation, in a memo sent to officials in Orange County, Florida.

When the Disney parks reopen, guests and employees will be required to wear masks and undergo temperature checks.

The resort will suspend parades, fireworks displays and other activities that create crowds.

Disney will encourage contactless payment systems and expand its existing mobile order systems in restaurants, it said on Wednesday.

It plans to restrict the number of guests who will be required to reserve their park passes ahead of time.

Starting in January, the media and entertainment giant closed theme parks around the world to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The company had estimated it lost $1 billion at its theme parks division, from January through March.

On Wednesday, Disney Chief Executive Officer Robert Chapek told CNBC the company currently has about 20,000 people per day visiting Shanghai Disneyland, which reopened on May 11, with mandatory masks, temperature screenings and social distancing for visitors and employees.

Disney is soon expected to reveal plans for reopening its Anaheim, California, Disneyland amusement park, the company’s original themed attraction.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/ (NAN)

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Foreign

World Bank approves 15 mln USD for Cambodia’s pre-service education system for health professionals

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The World Bank has approved a credit of 15 million U.S. dollars for Cambodia to strengthen pre-service education system for health professionals, said its press statement on Saturday.

The Southeast Asian country faces a shortage of qualified health professionals, especially in the public sector, the statement said.

The kingdom has only 1.4 doctors and 9.5 nurses and midwives per 10,000 people, it said, adding that these ratios are significantly below the average of 9 doctors and 19 nurses per 10,000 people among low-and lower-middle income countries in the East Asia and Pacific region.

In Cambodia, doctors typically work at secondary-and tertiary-level facilities, while primary care facilities are almost entirely staffed by nurses and midwives, the statement said.

While a majority of general practitioner doctors work at the provincial level (63 percent) and most specialists are deployed to hospitals at the central level (79 percent), it added.

To help Cambodia address these challenges, this project will support the Ministry of Health to strengthen the governance of health professional education, including regulations and standardization for health professionals’ education, national competency-based exit examination, and technical assistance and knowledge exchanges on health professional education, the statement said.

It added that the project will also support the development and delivery of competency-based training programs by the University of Health Science and Regional Training Centers in six health professional programs, namely general medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, nursing, midwifery, and laboratory.

“Investing in capacity building for health professionals by equipping them with better knowledge and skills to deal with emergencies such as the COVID-19 outbreak and strengthening health sector governance are crucial for Cambodia’s health service delivery system,” said Inguna Dobraja, World Bank country manager for Cambodia.

The World Bank is committed to help Cambodia improve healthcare for the Cambodian people, particularly the poor and the most vulnerable,” she added.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

World Bank says COVID-19 epidemic poses greatest threat to Cambodia’s development

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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cambodia’s economy in 2020 is expected to register its slowest growth since 1994, contracting by between -1 percent and –2.9 percent, according to the World Bank‘s latest Economic Update for Cambodia released on Friday.

Titled Cambodia in the Time of COVID-19, the biannual report said the COVID-19 pandemic is hitting Cambodia’s main drivers of economic growth — tourism, manufacturing exports, and construction — which together account for more than 70 percent of the country’s growth and almost 40 percent of paid employment.

Poverty in 2020 could increase among households involved in key sectors like tourism, construction, trade, manufacturing and the garment industry by between 3 to 11 percentage points higher than at baseline, or in the absence of COVID-19, the report said, adding that the fiscal deficit could reach its highest level in 22 years.

It said the collapse of growth drivers has hurt economic growth and put at least 1.76 million jobs at risks.

The report also warns that capital inflows are tapering off, which in turn is triggering the easing of real estate market prices, likely ending the construction boom.

It added that with the current large outstanding credit to the construction, real estate, and mortgage sector, nonperforming loans could rise.

In response to the COVID-19 shock, the report recommends policy options that aim at providing urgent economic relief and public health protection in the immediate term, underpinning an economic recovery in the short term, and fostering macro-fiscal and social resilience in the medium term.

“The global shock triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted Cambodia’s economy,” Inguna Dobraja, World Bank country manager for Cambodia, said in a press release.

The World Bank is committed to helping Cambodia deal effectively with the COVID-19 crisis and strengthen the economy for recovery and future resilience,” she added.

The report also includes a special focus section on the importance of quality of education as a key to human development and sustainable growth in Cambodia.

The special focus also highlighted key policy recommendations to improve the quality of education in Cambodia such as strengthening accountability in public schools, linking salary increase and promotion to performance, and further upgrading the capacity and quality of teachers.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Brazil registers world’s fifth highest death toll from COVID-19

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Brazil has the fifth highest death toll from COVID-19 in the world, after registering over 1,000 deaths in 24 hours and raising the total to 27,878, the government said on Friday.

According to the country’s Ministry of Health, in the last 24 hours, 1,124 deaths were reported, leading Brazil to surpass Spain as the country with the fifth highest number of fatalities, behind the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, and France.

In the last 24 hours, Brazil reached a record milestone for 26,928 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, bringing the nationwide total to 465,166.

The state of Sao Paulo, the most populous in the country, has been the most heavily affected region, with 7,275 deaths and 101,556 cases, followed by Rio de Janeiro, and Ceara.

(XINHUA)

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