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Items filtered by date: Monday, 03 September 2018

04/09/2018 - IRNA News Agency cited UNHCR's activities in Iran

Source: IRNA

Tehran, Sept 2, IRNA – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Chief Filippo Grandi conferred on bilateral ties and regional developments.

Zarif and Grandi discussed the current status of the Syrian and Afghan refugees in their host countries.

In a relevant development earlier in the morning, Grandi met Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli and is expected to meet Iranian Deputy Interior Minister Hossein Zolfaqari.

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4 Sep 2018 - Cherishing the ground we walk on

Soil is where it all begins. Few people know that soils are a non-renewable resource. It takes over 1000 years to make 1 cm of soil. This means that in our lifetime, all the soil we see is all there is.

Soils do amazing things for us that we sometimes take for granted. They sustain food production, filter our water, are the source for our medicines and help us to combat and adapt to climate change.

Here are 6reasons we should appreciate the ground beneath our feet: 

1. Caring for soils = Increased Food security

95% of food is produced in our soils. We can’t hope to feed the growing population and produce the 50% more food we need by 2050 without considering and preserving the quality of our soils. The nutrient content of soils directly influences that of the plants grown within them. Soils exchange nutrients and water with the plant’s roots. The healthier the soil is, the better the crop will be. Soil is a non-renewable resource and its preservation is essential for food security.

2. Caring for soils = Greater biodiversity

Soils host a quarter of our planet’s biodiversity. There are more living organisms in a tablespoon of soil than there are people on Earth. Nowhere in nature are species so densely packed as in soils. Biodiversity is important to the well-being of our planet. It helps species survive and adapt to the changes in nature. Preserving biodiversity means that we are helping keep our planet resilient, adaptive and healthy. Organic farming, rotation grazing, crop rotations and conservation agriculture can preserve the biodiversity found in soils. These methods sustainably increase farm productivity without degrading soil and water resources.

3. Caring for soils = Fewer greenhouse gases

Soils help to combat and adapt to climate change. When managed sustainably, soils can play an important role in mitigating climate change by storing carbon (sequestering carbon) and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere. Healthy soils with a high organic matter content can also store large amounts of water which help crops cope with drought and adapt to extreme precipitation.

4. Caring for soils = Better livelihoods

Healthy soils can ensure food security, provide better livelihoods and reduce forced migration. Degraded soils means loss of food sources and livelihoods. More than 10 million people have abandoned their homes due to environmental issues including soil erosion, desertification, deforestation and drought. Implementing sustainable soil managementstrategies that help farmers cope with long-term droughts and soil degradation can help to give people a choice of whether to migrate or stay home.

5. Caring for soils = Cleaner water

Soils are key to a supply of clean water. Soils capture, store and filter water, making it safe to drink. Forests in highland areas not only prevent soil erosion but also ensure good quality drinking water for downstream users. Soils also store water, making it available for crops.

6. Caring for soils = More medicines

Soils are important to human health. Most well-known antibiotics, including penicillin, originated from soil microorganisms.  Did you know that over 500 antibiotics derived from soil microbes! 

Soils are being neglected, but we can reverse the trend!

33 percent of soil is moderately to highly degraded due to erosion, loss of soil organic matter, nutrient depletion, acidification, salinization, compaction and chemical pollution. However, sustainable management and careful farming techniques can reverse the trend of soil degradation and ensure current and future global food security.

Share this article to raise awareness about this little-appreciated, but much-needed resource.


3 Sep 2018 - UNESCO partners with the European Union to invest in creativity for development

Within the framework of its “Investing in Culture and Creativity” Programme, the European Union will partner with UNESCO to support new activities in the areas of cultural heritage and creative industries. The partnership starts with two programme activities: the promotion of Silk Roads Cultural Heritage Corridors in Afghanistan, Central Asia and Iran; and the creation of new regulatory environments for the cultural and creative industries in developing countries.

The new agreements (5 million euros) signed with the European Union will be implemented as of October 2018 over a three-year period.

The first project is designed within the framework of the European Year of Cultural Heritage and will integrate the safeguarding of tangible and intangible cultural heritage into development plans, policies and capacity-building programmes along the Silk Roads heritage corridors in Afghanistan, Central Asia and Iran (3.4 million euros). It will also support sustainable local economic development through tourism-related initiatives by improving communication strategies and promoting the conservation of the routes’ natural and cultural heritage such as the caravanserais, the traditional roadside inns for travellers along the Silk Roads. One of the outcomes of the project will be a joint exhibit to promote the common heritage of the Silk Roads.

The second project will support the design and implementation of regulatory frameworks for cultural and creative industries in developing countries (1.5 million euros). Areas of intervention will be determined by countries themselves, through an “on‐demand” open‐ended call for technical assistance. Up to ten developing countries that have ratified the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions will benefit from the programme.

Technical assistance will be provided through the renewed EU-UNESCO Expert Facility and local experts, supporting long-term cultural policy formulation, development and implementation in the creative sectors (film, television and radio, music, publishing, visual arts, digital arts, etc..). . Partnerships and peer-to-peer learning opportunities between Global South countries facing similar policy challenges will be developed to enhance policy advice and exchange of best practices at bilateral or regional level.

Ahead of UNESCO’s first Partners Forum (11 and 12 September 2018), Stefano Manservisi, Director-General for International Cooperation and Development at the European Commission, said:  “Our partnership with UNESCO and the new agreements reflect the EU’s strategic focus on culture and heritage. We have outlined principles for cultural cooperation in the European Consensus on Development. Our aim is to highlight the importance of culture and heritage, for the world, for life, for people, also to create conditions for sustainable jobs and growth. #noculturenofuture! #pasdefutursansculture!”.

Ernesto Ottone, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Culture, echoed these sentiments, declaring “UNESCO is extremely pleased with its longstanding strategic partnership with the European Union, an active Party to the 2005 Convention. With these new initiatives, we will continue our efforts to build on the power of culture for sustainable development. We have seen that culture is not only a driver of economic growth, but also of social transformation, empowering women and youth in particular. Realizing the full potential of sustainable tourism and creative industries will require stronger cultural governance and better policies. That is what UNESCO and the EU are striving for with this partnership.”

Stefano Manservisi will be at UNESCO Headquarters on 11 September to discuss new avenues for UNESCO and EU cooperation on the occasion of UNESCO’s Partners Forum.

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