FAO at the UN 2023 Water Conference

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

The UN 2023 Water Conference and the World Water Day 2023 on 22 March will be a call to action to every single person on the planet to accelerate change to solve the water and sanitation crisis around the world.

Currently 2.3 billion people live in water-stressed countries, of which more than 733 million people – approximately 10 percent of the global population – live in countries with high and critical water stress. Water scarcity, drought, floods, pollution and other climate change impacts are key challenges to sustainable agriculture and rural development.

The world will come together in New York during the UN 2023 Water Conference, convened by the UN General Assembly and co-hosted by the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Republic of Tajikistan. It marks a watershed moment that will call governments, companies and individuals to take concerted actions and commitments to achieve the internationally agreed water-related goals and targets. It is the most important water event in a generation, the first event of its kind for nearly 50 years.

To complement this, World Water Day, celebrated on 22 March 2023, will call every individual to make a difference by changing the way we use, consume and manage water in our lives. This year’s World Water Day theme is “Accelerating change” with the slogan “Be the change you want to see in the world”. Because water affects us all, we need everyone to take action, no matter how small the action is.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has already initiated several important actions in the lead-up to the UN 2023 Water Conference and will play a key role in the event.

FAO Director-General QU Dongyu will moderate the Interactive Dialogue 5 on “Water Action Decade: Accelerating the implementation of the objectives of the Decade, including through the UN Secretary-General’s Action Plan”.

FAO, as the UN co-lead agency, together with the UN Development Programme and the World Bank, will also provide technical support to co-convene the Interactive Dialogue 2 on “Water for Sustainable Development: Valuing Water, Water-Energy-Food Nexus and Sustainable Economic and Urban Development”. FAO will also organize the side event “National Water Roadmaps towards the 2030 Agenda,” and will co-partner and support three special events, in addition to over 20 other side events.

Donate At Caribbean News Service, we do not charge for our content and we want to keep it that way. We are seeking support from individuals and organisations so we can continue our work & develop CNS further.



Senior officers and future leaders of the region’s NDOs to benefit from strategic leadership programme, Sandals Foundation pledges support.

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

The Regional Training Centre (RTC) of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) is currently facilitating its Strategic Leadership Programme for Senior Officers of National Disaster Organizations (NDO).

First offered in 2021, the second cohort commenced training on February 3 and is set to finish on May 17, 2023. The intense 15-week course targets senior officers of National Disaster Organizations (NDOs). This mainly includes National Disaster Coordinators and Directors of Emergency/Disaster Management, and their deputies, as well as persons with equivalent posts in agencies that make up the wider national emergency management system.

Officers on a leadership track, in managerial roles or with portfolios with significant responsibility, were also encouraged to take part. This year’s current student cohort includes fifteen (15) participants in total, from National Disaster Management Offices (NDMOs) across thirteen (13) CDEMA participating states.

The Sandals Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Sandals Resorts International, has pledged its support to the programme, generously agreeing to provide three years of funding valuing approximately US$50,000.00 annually.

President of the Foundation and Executive Chairman of Sandals Resorts International, Adam Stewart says the pledge is reflective of its commitment to taking a structured approach to effecting positive, transformational change within the areas of education, community and environment.

“Building the Caribbean’s capacity to respond in times of emergency is a critical part of our region’s sustainable growth and disaster resilient plan. As an organisation that has been instrumental in providing relief and support in times of need, we have witnessed first-hand the life-changing difference that can be made when local organizations are equipped with the knowledge and resources to act in a timely manner.”

For the second consecutive year, training will be delivered by the UWI-Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus. An internationally accredited business school, UWI-Arthur Lok Jack GSB has been a leading provider of business education, executive training, management consulting and research in the Caribbean. The programme is designed to help participants understand themselves and their role as leaders by improving both their individual and organizational competence in disaster risk management (DRM).

It hopes to enhance their relationship management capabilities and foster a mindset of constantly exploring ways to enhance their strategic management and leadership skills. Specific course objectives include learning appropriate financial decision-making techniques, understanding the strategic and critical role of Project Cycle Management (PCM), Results Based Management (RBM) and Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E), employing efficient planning and organization of proposals, and understanding the crisis management process.

Director of Executive Education, Jo-Anne Boodoosingh commended Sandals Foundation and CDEMA for their continued investment in the development of Senior Officers of National Disaster Organizations across the region. She notes the increasing number of disasters, the devasting effects and our ability to prepare and respond, continues to be a challenge across the region. As such commitment to people through education and training is one way to sharpen the leadership skills of those charged with the responsibility of balancing prevention, preparedness, mitigation, and response.

Donate At Caribbean News Service, we do not charge for our content and we want to keep it that way. We are seeking support from individuals and organisations so we can continue our work & develop CNS further.



FIFA appeals to Swiss supreme court in Haiti abuse case

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

FIFA has appealed to Swiss federal judges after the Court of Arbitration for Sport overturned a life ban for the former Haiti soccer federation president who was accused of multiple sexual offenses against players in women’s and girls’ national teams.

FIFA said Monday it filed a case at Switzerland’s supreme court to challenge the CAS ruling announced last month that upheld an appeal by 75-year-old Yves Jean-Bart.

“FIFA is concerned that this (CAS) award contains a number of very serious procedural and substantive flaws, including the CAS Panel’s failure to evaluate key pieces of evidence that were offered by FIFA,” soccer’s world body said in a statement.

FIFA said it asked the Swiss Federal Tribunal to annul the sports court verdict and refer the case back for a second hearing.

The federal court can review CAS decisions on limited grounds such as abuse of legal process. It rarely overturns verdicts.

FIFA’s ethics committee banned Jean-Bart from soccer in November 2020 and fined him 1 million Swiss francs ($1.08 million).

The published verdict detailed how FIFA ethics judges believed allegations that during 20 years as Haiti federation president Jean-Bart raped underage girls and habitually had sexual relationships with players.

When Jean-Bart’s appeal came to CAS one year ago, his legal team provided 21 witnesses who gave evidence on his behalf. FIFA produced one witness “as a victim of Yves Jean-Bart’s actions,” the sports court said about its verdict.

Witnesses in Haiti were alleged to have been threatened not to give evidence against Jean-Bart.

CAS said its panel of three judges was “fully aware of the seriousness of the alleged facts and the possibility that some witnesses might feel threatened.”

“It took all possible steps to facilitate the search for evidence and the establishment of the facts,” the court said, including the ability to testify accompanied by a CAS chaperone froma secret location on encrypted calls with voices distorted to protect identity.

While Jean-Bart was expelled from soccer, the Haiti national team progressed through qualifying for the Women’s World Cup. Last month Haiti sealed its first ever place at the women’s finals tournament, being co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand in July and August.

Donate At Caribbean News Service, we do not charge for our content and we want to keep it that way. We are seeking support from individuals and organisations so we can continue our work & develop CNS further.



Urgent climate action can secure a liveable future for all

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

There are multiple, feasible and effective options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to human-caused climate change, and they are available now, said scientists in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released today.

“Mainstreaming effective and equitable climate action will not only reduce losses and damages for nature and people, it will also provide wider benefits,” said IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee. “This Synthesis Report underscores the urgency of taking more ambitious action and shows that, if we act now, we can still secure a liveable sustainable future for all.”

In 2018, IPCC highlighted the unprecedented scale of the challenge required to keep warming to 1.5?C. Five years later, that challenge has become even greater due to a continued increase in greenhouse gas emissions. The pace and scale of what has been done so far, and current plans, are insufficient to tackle climate change.

More than a century of burning fossil fuels as well as unequal and unsustainable energy and land use has led to global warming of 1.1?C above pre-industrial levels. This has resulted in more frequent and more intense extreme weather events that have caused increasingly dangerous impacts on nature and people in every region of the world.

Every increment of warming results in rapidly escalating hazards. More intense heatwaves, heavier rainfall and other weather extremes further increase risks for human health and ecosystems. In every region, people are dying from extreme heat. Climate-driven food and water insecurity is expected to increase with increased warming. When the risks combine with other adverse events, such as pandemics or conflicts, they become even more difficult to manage.

Losses and damages in sharp focus

The report, approved during a week-long session in Interlaken, brings in to sharp focus the losses and damages we are already experiencing and will continue into the future, hitting the most vulnerable people and ecosystems especially hard. Taking the right action now could result in the transformational change essential for a sustainable, equitable world.

“Climate justice is crucial because those who have contributed least to climate change are being disproportionately affected,” said Aditi Mukherji, one of the 93 authors of this Synthesis Report, the closing chapter of the Panel’s sixth assessment.”Almost half of the world’s population lives in regions that are highly vulnerable to climate change. In the last decade, deaths from floods, droughts and storms were 15 times higher in highly vulnerable regions,” she added.

In this decade, accelerated action to adapt to climate change is essential to close the gap between existing adaptation and what is needed. Meanwhile, keeping warming to 1.5?C above pre-industrial levels requires deep, rapid and sustained greenhouse gas emissions reductions in all sectors. Emissions should be decreasing by now and will need to be cut by almost half by 2030, if warming is to be limited to 1.5?C.

Clear way ahead

The solution lies in climate resilient development. This involves integrating measures to adapt to climate change with actions to reduce or avoid greenhouse gas emissions in ways that provide wider benefits.

For example: access to clean energy and technologies improves health, especially for women and children; low-carbon electrification, walking, cycling and public transport enhance air quality, improve health, employment opportunities and deliver equity. The economic benefits for people’s health from air quality improvements alone would be roughly the same, or possibly even larger than the costs of reducing or avoiding emissions.

Climate resilient development becomes progressively more challenging with every increment of warming. This is why the choices made in the next few years will play a critical role in deciding our future and that of generations to come.

To be effective, these choices need to be rooted in our diverse values, worldviews and knowledges, including scientific knowledge, Indigenous Knowledge and local knowledge. This approach will facilitate climate resilient development and allow locally appropriate, socially acceptable solutions.

“The greatest gains in wellbeing could come from prioritizing climate risk reduction for low-income and marginalised communities, including people living in informal settlements,” said Christopher Trisos, one of the report’s authors. “Accelerated climate action will only come about if there is a many-fold increase in finance. Insufficient and misaligned finance is holding back progress.”

Enabling sustainable development

There is sufficient global capital to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions if existing barriers are reduced. Increasing finance to climate investments is important to achieve global climate goals. Governments, through public funding and clear signals to investors, are key in reducing these barriers. Investors, central banks and financial regulators can also play their part.

There are tried and tested policy measures that can work to achieve deep emissions reductions and climate resilience if they are scaled up and applied more widely. Political commitment, coordinated policies, international cooperation, ecosystem stewardship and inclusive governance are all important for effective and equitable climate action.

If technology, know-how and suitable policy measures are shared, and adequate finance is made available now, every community can reduce or avoid carbon-intensive consumption. At the same time, with significant investment in adaptation, we can avert rising risks, especially for vulnerable groups and regions.

Climate, ecosystems and society are interconnected. Effective and equitable conservation of approximately 30-50% of the Earth’s land, freshwater and ocean will help ensure a healthy planet. Urban areas offer a global scale opportunity for ambitious climate action that contributes to sustainable development.

Changes in the food sector, electricity, transport, industry, buildings and land-use can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, they can make it easier for people to lead low-carbon lifestyles, which will also improve health and wellbeing. A better understanding of the consequences of overconsumption can help people make more informed choices.

“Transformational changes are more likely to succeed where there is trust, where everyone works together to prioritise risk reduction, and where benefits and burdens are shared equitably,” Lee said. “We live in a diverse world in which everyone has different responsibilities and different opportunities to bring about change. Some can do a lot while others will need support to help them manage the change.”

Donate At Caribbean News Service, we do not charge for our content and we want to keep it that way. We are seeking support from individuals and organisations so we can continue our work & develop CNS further.



AOSIS: Global Inertia on Climate Change Is Creating Severe Gap for SIDS Development

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world’s foremost climate science body convened by the United Nations, has released the Synthesis Report of its 6th Assessment Cycle in which it reveals a rapidly closing window for a sustainable future particularly for vulnerable small island developing States (SIDS). Assessments found that beyond a global warming threshold of 1.5?C, islands will have significantly increased difficulty adapting to climate change impacts.

With limits to adaptation, vulnerable populations will be at risk of more acute “losses and damages” due to more severe and frequent extreme climate-driven events, and slow onset events such as sea level rise, water availability, fisheries yield, agricultural production, disease spread, and economic damages. For SIDS, the strain of coping with the impacts of climate change reduces the availability of financial resources and impedes national economic growth.

“These findings reaffirm, as AOSIS has continuously stated, that keeping 1.5 alive is imperative to the sustainable development of small islands – our citizens who suffer the most from a crisis we did not cause,” stated AOSIS Chair, Ambassador Fatumanava-o-Upolu III Dr. Pa’olelei Luteru. “The women, men, and children of the Pacific and Caribbean islands are disproportionately affected by climate change. SIDS have much lower per capita emissions at 4.6 tCO2e than the global average (6.9 tCO2e). Between 2010 and 2020, deaths from floods, droughts and storms were 15 times higher in highly vulnerable regions. Our people, our economies, our hopes for a better future are being constantly assailed by the actions of the big emitters.”

“While our people are being displaced from their homes and climate commitments go unmet, the fossil fuel industry is enjoying billions in profits. There can be no excuses for this continued lack of action. It was an arduous road to finally achieve an international agreement on establishment of a loss and damage fund – the operationalization of which is still being negotiated – yet this finance is necessitated due to inertia on mitigation. AOSIS is calling on the international community to close the gap and make concerted progress on the work programme for urgently scaling up mitigation ambition and implementation.

The scientific evidence must be an exigent wake-up call for the international community. The forecasted challenges can certainly be avoided. Failure to act is an agreement to consign the people of small island developing states to a dismal future that we do not deserve, one that will have dire ramifications for us all.”

Donate At Caribbean News Service, we do not charge for our content and we want to keep it that way. We are seeking support from individuals and organisations so we can continue our work & develop CNS further.



World on ‘thin ice’ as UN climate report gives stark warning

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service
Damage caused by Hurricane Irma in Road Town, on the British Virgin Island of Tortola. Caribbean leaders want larger countries to pick up the pace at which they are working to meet the climate change challenge and keep global warming from devastating whole countries. Courtesy: Russell Watkins/DFID

Humanity still has a chance, close to the last, to prevent the worst of climate change ‘s future harms, a top United Nations panel of scientists said Monday.

But doing so requires quickly slashing nearly two-thirds of carbon pollution by 2035, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said. The United Nations chief said it more bluntly, callingfor an end to new fossil fuel exploration and for rich countries to quit coal, oil and gas by 2040.

“Humanity is on thin ice — and that ice is melting fast,” United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said. “Our world needs climate action on all fronts — everything, everywhere, all atonce.”

Stepping up his pleas for action on fossil fuels, Guterres called for rich countries to accelerate their target for achieving net zero emissions to as early as 2040, and developing nations to aim for 2050 — about a decade earlier than most current targets. He also called for them to stop using coal by 2030 and 2040, respectively, and ensure carbon-free electricity generation in the developed world by 2035, meaning no gas-fired power plants either.

That date is key because nations soon have to come up with goals for pollution reduction by 2035, according to the Paris climate agreement. After contentious debate, the U.N. science report approved Sunday concluded that to stay under the warming limit set in Paris the world needs to cut 60% of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2035, compared with 2019, adding a new target not previously mentioned in six previous reports issued since 2018.

“The choices and actions implemented in this decade will have impacts for thousands of years,” the report, said calling climate change “a threat to human well-being and planetary health.”

“We are not on the right track but it’s not too late,” said report co-author and water scientist Aditi Mukherji. “Our intention is really a message of hope, and not that of doomsday.”

With the world only a few tenths of a degree away from the globally accepted goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times, scientists stressed a sense of urgency. The goal was adopted as part of the 2015 Paris climate agreement and the world has already warmed 1.1 degrees Celsius (2 degrees Fahrenheit).

This is likely the last warning the Nobel Peace Prize-winning collection of scientists will be able to make about the 1.5 mark because their next set of reports may well come after Earth has either breached the mark or is locked into exceeding it soon, several scientists, including report authors, told The AssociatedPress.

After 1.5 degrees “the risks are starting to pile on,” said report co-author Francis X. Johnson, a climate, land and policy scientist at the Stockholm Environment Institute. The report mentions “tipping points” around that temperature of species extinction, including coral reefs, irreversible melting of ice sheets and sea level rise on the order of several meters (several yards).

“1.5 is a critical critical limit, particularly for small islands and mountain (communities) which depend on glaciers,” said Mukherji, who’s also the climate change impact platform director at the research institute CGIAR.

“The window is closing if emissions are not reduced as quickly as possible,” Johnson said in an interview. “Scientists are rather alarmed.”

Many scientists, including at least three co-authors, said hitting 1.5 degrees is inevitable.

“We are pretty much locked into 1.5,” said report co-author Malte Meinshausen, a climate scientist at the University of Melbourne in Australia. “There’s very little way we will be able to avoid crossing 1.5 C sometime in the 2030s ” but the big issue is whether the temperature keeps rising from there or stabilizes.

Guterres insisted “the 1.5-degree limit is achievable.” Science panel chief Hoesung Lee said so far the world is far off course.

“This report confirms that if the current trends, current patterns of consumption and production continues, then … the global average 1.5 degrees temperature increase will be seen sometime in this decade,” Lee said.

Scientists emphasize that the world, civilization or humanity won’t end suddenly if and when Earth passes the 1.5 degree mark. Mukherji said “it’s not as if it’s a cliff that we all fall off.” But an earlier IPCC report detailed how the harms — from Arctic sea ice absent summers to even nastier extreme weather — are much worse beyond 1.5 degrees of warming.

“It is certainly prudent to be planning for a future that’s warmer than 1.5 degrees,” said IPCC report review editor Steven Rose, an economist at the Electric Power Research Institute in the United States.

If the world continues to use all the fossil fuel-powered infrastructure either existing now or proposed Earth will warm at least 2 degrees Celsius since pre-industrial times, the report said.

Because the report is based on data from a few years ago, the calculations about fossil fuel projects already in the pipeline do not include the increase in coal and natural gas use after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It comes a week after the Biden Administration in the United States approved the huge Willow oil-drilling project in Alaska, which could produce up to 180,000 barrels of oil a day.

The report and the underlying discussions also touch on the disparity between rich nations, which caused much of the problem because carbon dioxide emissions from industrialization stay in theair for more than a century, and poorer countries that get hit harder by extreme weather. Residents of poorer climate vulnerable nations are “up to 15 times more likely to die in floods, droughtsand storms,” Lee said.

If the world is to achieve its climate goals, poorer countries need a three-to-six times increase in financial help to adapt to a warmer world and switch to non-polluting energy, Lee said. Countrieshave made financial pledges and promises of a damage compensation fund.

The report offers hope if action is taken, using the word “opportunity” nine times in a 27-page summary. Though opportunity is overshadowed by 94 uses of the word “risk.”

“The pace and scale of what has been done so far and current plans are insufficient to tackle climate change,” IPCC chief Lee said. “We are walking when we should be sprinting.”

Lee said the panel doesn’t tell countries what to do to limit worse warming, adding “it’s up to each government to find the best solution.”

Activists also found grains of hope in the reports.

“The findings of these reports can make us feel disheartened about the slow pace of emissions reductions, the limited transition to renewable energy and the growing, daily impact of the climatecrisis on children,” said youth climate activist Vanessa Nakate, a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF. “But those children need us to read this report and take action, not lose hope.”

Peter Thorne, a researcher at the National University of Ireland in Maynooth and one of the report’s authors, said the responsibility for action rests with everyone.

“The reality is we at all levels — governments, communities, individuals — have made climate change somebody else’s problem,” he said. “We have to stop that.”

Donate At Caribbean News Service, we do not charge for our content and we want to keep it that way. We are seeking support from individuals and organisations so we can continue our work & develop CNS further.



New Trinidad and Tobago President sworn in

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

A Guard of Honour comprising sharply dressed members of the Defence Force signalled the start of the process to install a new President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

Scores of onlookers, including school children in uniform, looked on from the GrandStand at the Queens Park Savannah as President-Elect Christine Kangaloo and her husband Kerwyn Garcia arrived at the venue.

Their arrival was followed by Chief Justice Ivor Archie and Mrs Archie, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and his wife Mrs Sharon Rowley.

The final major dignitary to arrive was President Paula-Mae Weekes to participate in the ceremonial handing over of the reigns of Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.

The breaking of the Presidential Standard was next, followed by the Presidential Salute, while the National Anthem was played simultaneously.

Chief Ricardo Bharath Hernandez of the Santa Rosa First People and president of the Inter-Religious Organisation Pundit Mookram Sirjoo did the invocation.

A musical interlude by the Southernaires Choir performing Melanie Hudson’s ‘I will always be there for you’ entertained the attendees before the Swearing-In Ceremony took place, administered by the Chief Justice.

In her first act as the 7th President of Trinidad and Tobago, Mrs Christine Kangaloo received a Presidential Salute accompanied by the National Anthem and a Twenty-One Gun Salute.

She then proceeded to inspect the Guard of Honour.

Another performance from the Southernaires Choir followed, with a rendition of Merchant’s ‘Let us build a nation together’.

In her Inaugural Address, Christine Kangaloo thanked former President Paula-Mae Weekes and paid tribute to this country’s past presidents.

She then assured that” As your President, I will fight to the end to make the Office work better for all of us.”

The President outlined plans to demystify the role of the President, year-round youth delinquency programmes, and the modernising of protocols of the Office of President, to become more accessible to the and “less isolated from the public.”

She also acknowledged that there are some who were and still are against her appointment.

However, she said, “we are still this country’s daughters and sons. And so I pledge to work with and to respect all citizens even and especially those who might not yet wish to work with me.”

Kangaloo ended by thanking her husband of 24 years and her other family and friends who have supported her throughout her life and career.

Donate At Caribbean News Service, we do not charge for our content and we want to keep it that way. We are seeking support from individuals and organisations so we can continue our work & develop CNS further.



WTO Director-General receives the 2022 Award of the Group of Francophone Ambassadors

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

The Group of Francophone Ambassadors (GAF) Award for 2022 was presented to WTO Director-General Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on 20 March.

Ambassador Makaila Ahmad of Chad, President of the Group of Francophone Ambassadors in Geneva, said that the Group is honoured to present this award to the Director-General on the International Day of La Francophonie.

He said the award honours “the Director-General’s commitment both to strengthening the capacities of French-speaking countries for inclusive and sustainable international trade and to her efforts in favour of multilingualism”.

In her acceptance speech for the award, the Director-General expressed her deep appreciation and sincere gratitude to the GAF. She stressed that “la Francophonie can be a strong ally in the search for consensus within the WTO. The diversity of economic profiles within the OIF makes the organization a kind of laboratory for multilateralism. If la Francophonie reaches a common position on one of the topics discussed at the WTO, it can help forge consensus on this or other issues among all our 164 members.”

On 27 February, the WTO and the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at strengthening cooperation with a view to increasing the participation of French-speaking countries in the multilateral trading system.

The Group of Francophone Ambassadors (GAF) prize for 2022 was also awarded to the Swiss Press Club.

Donate At Caribbean News Service, we do not charge for our content and we want to keep it that way. We are seeking support from individuals and organisations so we can continue our work & develop CNS further.



Op-Ed: Water crisis, everyone’s problem

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service
Mario Lubetkin, FAO Assistant Director-General and FAO Regional Representative for Latin America and the Caribbean.

By Mario Lubetkin

There is no doubt that water is a fundamental resource for everyone. It is essential for health, energy, food production, the development of healthy ecosystems, climate adaptation, and the reduction of poverty and inequalities. Water is central to sustainable development.

Despite its obvious relevance, we are facing a global water crisis and an evident challenge in fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals related to water.

Latin America and the Caribbean is no exception. The region has 36% of the water available worldwide for consumption. However, its distribution is heterogeneous and has a high seasonality, presenting areas with extreme water scarcity. Access to safely managed water supply services is still unavailable to 166 million people, and 24 million still do not have access to basic services.

With the impacts of climate change, several countries have been accumulating high rates of water stress and are suffering more frequent and intense prolonged droughts, as is the case of Mexico, Chile, and Peru, or the countries of the Central American dry corridor. In the Amazon, which has traditionally been very humid (receiving up to 5,000 mm of rainfall per year), some areas have become more arid, with dry periods having increasingly more significant impact. In the Caribbean, seven countries recorded severe droughts in 2020.

Another issue of concern is agricultural losses due to flooding. Its negative effects can mean loss of production and income for farmers; loss of arable land due to erosion and topsoil washout; loss of seeds and fertilizers, and loss of agricultural infrastructure and irrigation systems. All of these can significantly impact food security and farmers’ livelihoods.

What are we doing at FAO to address the water crisis? To make progress in water resources management, we know that joint work between governments, civil society, and local communities is fundamental.

We are working on improving and efficiently using water, implementing efficient irrigation technologies, sustainable agriculture, and ecosystem-based water use. In addition, we promote the protection of water resources through good agricultural practices and land and soil management.

We know that this is not enough. From the FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, we support the agreements of the Regional Action Agenda for Water, coordinated by ECLAC, in which the management of water resources is fundamental for food security.

We welcome the realization of the United Nations Conference on Water 2023. We will continue to work to achieve commitments from all sectors to develop innovative and transformative solutions that will enable us to respond comprehensively to efficient water management.

Donate At Caribbean News Service, we do not charge for our content and we want to keep it that way. We are seeking support from individuals and organisations so we can continue our work & develop CNS further.



Dominican police arrest 19 in high-profile corruption case

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

Authorities in the Dominican Republic have arrested 19 people in a sweeping corruptioncase that accuses a well-known former presidential candidate and three former officials of embezzling nearly $350 million and illegal campaign financing.

The arrests are the latest in a string of investigations that officials have launched in the past two years as part of a crackdown on rampant government corruption in the Caribbean country.

Among those detained Saturday night is Gonzalo Castillo, a former public works minister who won 37% of the vote when he ran as presidential candidate for the Dominican Liberation Party in the 2020 general elections won by current President Luis Abinader.

Also arrested is a former treasury minister, Donald Guerrero; former comptroller general, Daniel Omar Caamano; and former administrative minister to the presidency, Jose Ramon Peralta.

Prosecutors said they are accused of paying bribes, laundering assets and illegally financing the previous electoral campaign on an “unprecedented” scale after embezzling $347 million of government funds.

The suspects were charged after authorities launched 40 raids targeting their properties and businesses in the capital of Santo Domingo and beyond.

Hundreds of Castillo supporters gathered Monday outside the Justice Palace to protest his arrest as they waved the party’s purple-and-yellow flag and tried to damage the building before police scattered the crowd with tear gas. Meanwhile, officials with the Dominican Liberation Party questioned the impartiality of prosecutors and accused them of only investigating and arresting former government officials and not looking into corruptionallegations against Abinader’s current administratoin.

“It is clear that behind these actions, there are markedly political and re-election interests,” said Charlie Mariotti, the party’s secretary general.

Police on Saturday also arrested the former director of the State Sugar Council, Luis Miguel Piccirilo; former director of the National Cadastre, Claudio Silva Pena; and the former directors of Casinos and Gambling, Oscar Chalas Guerrero and Julian Omar Fernandez.

Defense attorneys for the accused could not be immediately reached for comment. The suspects were expected to appear in court Monday.

Last year, authorities arrested Jean Alain Rodriguez, the country’s former attorney general, and other suspects accused of diverting government funds in an unrelated case.

One of Abinader’s promises in the 2020 campaign was to appoint an independent attorney general to fight corruption and impunity. He selected Miriam German Brito, a former judge held in high regard.

Since then, various high-ranking government officials tied to ormer President Danilo Medina have been arrested, along with two of his siblings.

Donate At Caribbean News Service, we do not charge for our content and we want to keep it that way. We are seeking support from individuals and organisations so we can continue our work & develop CNS further.