bionoia

Tuvalu regains full sovereignty over security relations

Australia and Tuvalu released a joint statement May 9 announcing new commitments to improve security relations, and remove the veto power Australia previously had over the small island nation's security relations with other countries. The announcement concerned implementation and interpretation of the Falepili Union, a bilateral treaty entered into on Nov. 9, 2023, which expands upon the Australia-Tuvalu Security Partnership Memorandum of Understanding of 2017. "Falepili" is a Tuvaluan term for neighbors, which the treaty says "embodies the values underpinning the deeper partnership, including care and mutual respect."

How to break cycle of rising global hunger?

More countries facing crises; more people going hungry. Some 281 million people were locked in high levels of acute hunger last year, according to the latest Global Report on Food Crises—a benchmark analysis of food insecurity by a network that includes UN agencies, donors, and famine analysts. The figure is 24 million higher than the previous year—a rise driven in part by Sudan's civil war and Israel's destruction of Gaza. Global hunger numbers have spiked since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to rise. A mix of conflict, extreme weather, El Niño, inflation, and volatile food prices suggest there won't be a reprieve by the time 2024's numbers are tallied. How do we break the cycle in the face of such dire numbers? Doubling down on reforming food systems, and building "peace and prevention" into the mix is crucial, aid groups say.

Lower emissions from US power grid (at least)

The US Department of Energy on April 25 released its preliminary estimate for the nation's carbon emissions in the previous year. While falling far short of the kind of drop needed to meet the Paris Agreement goals, a dip in emissions was recorded—almost entirely due to changes in the electric power sector. US carbon emissions have been trending downward since 2007, when they peaked at about six gigatonnes. The COVID-19 pandemic produced a dramatic drop in emissions in 2020, bringing the yearly total to below five gigatonnes for the first time since before 1990, when DoE monitoring began. Carbon dioxide releases rose after the return to "normalcy"; 2023 marked the first post-pandemic decline, with emissions again below five gigatonnes.

China: activist filmmaker faces prison

Police in China have charged Chen Pin Lin, director of documentary Not the Foreign Force, with "picking quarrels and provoking trouble," according to Chinese human rights monitors Weiquanwang and Civil Rights & Livelihood Watch. The charge, an offense under Article 293 of China's Criminal Act, has been widely criticized for its elusive definition and use against dissidents and human rights defenders.

Gaza humanitarian response: 'convenient illusion'

In a message delivered Feb. 22 to the UN Security Council, the head of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Christopher Lockyear, said that the "illusion" of a humanitarian response in Gaza "perpetuates a narrative that this war is being waged in line with international laws." The already low volume of aid being delivered to Gaza has collapsed in recent weeks, despite Israel having been ordered by the International Court of Justice to enable the provision of humanitarian assistance. The World Food Program announced Feb. 20 that it had suspended aid deliveries to northern Gaza—where the suffering is most extreme—because of the dissolution of public order and the absense of conditions that allow for safe distributions. A new report from the Gaza Health Impact Projections Working Group estimates that, even in the best-case scenario of an immediate permanent ceasefire, there will be more than 6,500 excess deaths in Gaza over the next six months due to the catastrophic food, shelter, sanitation, and healthcare situation in the enclave. If the status quo of ongoing bombardment continues, the projections rise to between 58,200 and more than 74,000 deaths. Reports are beginning to emerge of children dying of hunger.

Thailand: southern insurgency accepts peace plan

Muslim separatists in Thailand's Deep South agreed in principle to an "improved" peace plan with the government on Feb. 7. The agreement, facilitated by Malaysia, follows years of abortive talks. The Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN), the main separatist organization, announced a unilateral ceasefire in 2020 in response to the COVID 19 pandemic, facilitating a new round of negotiations on greater autonomy for the region. More than 7,000 people have been killed in 20 years of intermittent fighting between government forces and separatists in the country's three southernmost provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat, whose populations are overwhelmingly Malay Muslim. (TNH)

What UNRWA funding suspensions mean for Gaza

UNRWA, the UN's agency for Palestine refugees, was plunged into crisis on Jan. 26 when Israel accused 12 of its Gaza employees of involvement in Hamas' deadly Oct. 7 attack into Israel, which touched off a devastating, now nearly four-month-long war.

2023 hottest year on record —by 'alarming' margin

The year 2023 is officially the warmest on record—overtaking 2016, the previous warmest year, by an alarming margin. According to the latest data from the European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service, released Jan. 9, Earth was 1.48 degrees Celsius (2.66 Fahrenheit) hotter last year compared with pre-industrial levels—dangerously close to the 1.5-degree threshold set by the Paris climate deal. 2023 also marked the first year in which each day was over one degree warmer than the pre-industrial average. Temperatures over 2023 likely exceeded those of any year over the past 100,000 years, the report found. This was partially due to the year's El Niño climate phenomenon, but those impacts only began in June—and every subsequent month last year was the warmest on record for that particular month. September represented the largest climatological departure since record-keeping began over 170 years ago.

Syndicate content