"Despite the importance of a healthy Pacific Ocean, evidence is mounting that this unique ecosystem is in real danger from anthropogenic threats such as overfishing, habitat destruction, and pollution and probably the most severe threat of all, climate change and resulting sea level rise" argued Maureen Penjueli, from the Pacific Network on Globalization, on occasion of the Ocean Conference that took place from June 5 to 9 at the United Nations in New York.

The rush to mine the deep seas is representing the newest frontier of extractive industry and perhaps the biggest threat to the world’s oceans in the 21st century. There is a significant concern that seabed mining has the potential to cause major environmental destruction to the entire Pacific Ocean and would seriously undermine the implementation of SDG 14, to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources.

The United Nations Working Group on business and human rights has urged the Canadian government as well as the business sector to step up their efforts in addressing the adverse human rights impacts of their business activities, both at home and abroad, in particular in the extractives sector and other industries.

At the end of its official ten-day visit to the country on 1 June, the UN Working Group on human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises also called for meaningful consultation with indigenous peoples in the context of business activities on their lands.

Photo: Maailma kylässä

The follow-up report of Government´s achievements in implementing the Agenda 2030 was published last weekend at World Village Festival in Helsinki. The report was prepared by ten Finnish organisations (The Finnish League for Human Rights, Kepa, Save the Children Finland, Plan International Finland, The Finnish Blue Ribbon, SOSTE Finnish Federation for Social Affairs and Health, The Finnish Association for Nature Conservation, Finnish Olympic Committee, Finnish Red Cross and WWF Finland), with each being responsible for its respective area of expertise. Oth­er organisations have also contributed to the report.

Representatives of the CSOs handed over the reports to the Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Kai Mykkänen and Minister for Housing, Energy and Environment Kimmo Tiilikainen. After the ceremony a lively panel discussion together with representatives of different parliamentary parties was held. The amount of ODA -funding started a vivid debate.  The cuts made from CSO funding were seen especially problematic.  Minister Mykkänen made a promise to increase the ODA-funding after the huge cuts the current Government made at the beginning of its term of office.

The Social Degradation Report explores the impact of the armed conflict in Syria on social relations. It uses the concept of social capital as an approach to analyse trust, cooperation, and shared values.

Direct violence –including displacement, involvement in violent acts, and discriminatory institutional practices– affects both bridging and linking social capitals. Development indicators such as health, education, and employment are strongly correlated with the shared values and attitudes component. While these indicators are not directly related to violence, they affect the cognitive aspect of a shared vision for the community and the country, and are important factors in building the future social contract. Moreover, the research shows that conflict economy and conflict-related deaths are the main determinants of feeling secured, while the trust between individuals is affected by conflict economy, discriminatory institutions, forced displacement, and loss of job opportunities.

The Syrian Centre for Policy Research (SCPR) launched its report “Social Degradation in Syria” in cooperation with the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs (IFI) at the American University of Beirut (AUB) on June 1st.

As climate change and neo-liberal economic policies wreak havoc by increasing the disease-burden in the poorest and developing countries, the newly-elected director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus from Ethiopia, faces a herculean task in advancing his goal that "health is a rights issue" and "an end in itself."

On Tuesday (23 May), Dr Tedros, a malaria expert, secured the distinction of being the first African candidate to be elected to the WHO's top job.  He is also the first democratically-elected director-general through a secret ballot.

Effectively, his election brought a paradigm shift by discarding the non-democratic approach of the WHO's Executive Board of 34 countries choosing the director-general (as hitherto).

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