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Items filtered by date: Saturday, 11 May 2019

6 May 2019 - World is ‘on notice’ as major UN report shows one million species face extinction

A hard-hitting report into the impact of humans on nature shows that nearly one million species risk becoming extinct within decades, while current efforts to conserve the earth’s resources will likely fail without radical action, UN biodiversity experts said on Monday.

Speaking in Paris at the launch of the Global Assessment study – the first such report since 2005 – UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said that its findings put the world “on notice”.

“Following the adoption of this historic report, no one will be able to claim that they did not know,” the head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization said. “We can no longer continue to destroy the diversity of life. This is our responsibility towards future generations.”

Highlighting the universal importance of biodiversity – the diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems – Ms. Azoulay said that protecting it “is as vital as fighting climate change”.

Presented to more than 130 government delegations for their approval at UNESCO headquarters, the report features the work of 400 experts from at least 50 countries, coordinated by the Bonn-based Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

In addition to providing exhaustive insights on the state of nature, ecosystems and how nature underpins all human activity, the study also discusses progress on key international goals, such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The report also examines five main drivers of “unprecedented” biodiversity and ecosystem change over the past 50 years, identifying them as: changes in land and sea use; direct exploitation of organisms; climate change, pollution, and invasion of alien species.

One in four species at risk of extinction

On at-risk fauna and flora, the study asserts that human activities “threaten more species now than ever before” – a finding based on the fact that around 25 per cent of species in plant and animal groups are vulnerable.

This suggests that around one million species “already face extinction, many within decades, unless action is taken to reduce the intensity of drivers of biodiversity loss”.

Without such measures there will be a “further acceleration” in the global rate of species extinction, which is already “at least tens to hundreds of times higher, than it has averaged over the past 10 million years”, the report states.

It notes that despite many local efforts, including by indigenous peoples and local communities, by 2016, 559 of the 6,190 domesticated breeds of mammals used for food and agriculture were extinct – around nine per cent of the total - and at least 1,000 more are threatened.

Crop security threatened long-term

In addition, many crop wild relatives that are needed for long-term food security “lack effective protection”, the report insists, while the status of wild relatives of domesticated mammals and birds “is worsening”.

At the same time, reductions in the diversity of cultivated crops, crop wild relatives and domesticated breeds mean that farming will likely be less resilient against future climate change, pests and pathogens.

“While more food, energy and materials than ever before are now being supplied to people in most places, this is increasingly at the expense of nature’s ability to provide such contributions in the future,” the report states, before adding that “the biosphere, upon which humanity as a whole depends…is declining faster than at any time in human history”.

Marine pollution ‘has increased tenfold since 1980’

On the issue of pollution, although global trends are mixed, air, water and soil pollution have continued to increase in some areas, the report insists. “Marine plastic pollution in particular has increased tenfold since 1980, affecting at least 267 species”, it says, including 86 per cent of marine turtles, 44 per cent of seabirds and 43 per cent of marine mammals.

The 2019 Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services is also the first of its kind to examine and include indigenous and local knowledge, issues and priorities, IPBES said in a statement, noting that its mission is to strengthen policy-making for the sustainable use of biodiversity, long-term human well-being and sustainable development.

“The loss of species, ecosystems and genetic diversity is already a global and generational threat to human well-being,” insisted Sir Robert Watson, IPBES Chair. “Protecting the invaluable contributions of nature to people will be the defining challenge of decades to come. Policies, efforts and actions - at every level - will only succeed, however, when based on the best knowledge and evidence.”





5 May 2019 - Tarbiat Modares U. holds seminar on UN’s role to prevent genocide and establish peace, UN-Iran historical photo exhibition

TEHRAN – Tabrbiat Modares (Professor Training) University in partnership with UNIC Tehran held a seminar as well as panel discussion on the Role of the United Nations in Preventing the Crime of Genocide and Establishing Peace in the World at its Faculty of Social Science on Sunday 5 May 2019.

Before the opening of the seminar, the exhibition of some 60 historical photos and documents highlighting special moments in the UN-Iran partnership was inaugurated by UNIC Director Dr. Maria Dotsenko and senior university officials and professors.

The seminar which focused on three main UN events namely the 25th anniversary of the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda (7 April) , International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace (24 April) and International Day of Living Together in Peace (16 May), opened by speech of Dean of Faculty of Law of Tarbiat Modaress University, Dr Morteza Shahbazinia.

20190514 UNIC2UNIC Director Dr. Dotsenko and to her left UNIC’s Moghadam

Then UNIC Director Dr. Maria Dotsenko in her remarks spoke about UN conventions against genocide and the need to prevent genocide and punish those responsible has been of concern to the international community since the end of the Second World War.

“Genocide is not something that happens overnight or without warning,” she said adding that it is, in fact, a deliberate strategy.

UNIC Director said the effects of genocide are felt beyond the borders of the affected country as it negatively impacts the safety and security of people in neighboring areas.

20190514 UNIC3From left to right: Arash Rahimimehr(moderator at the podium), Dr Hourieh Hosseini, Dr. Sattar Azizi, Dr. Mohammad Reza Ziaeibigdeli, Mohammad Rajai-Moghadam and Dr. Hassan Savari.

Referring to multilateralism, Dr. Dotsenko said preserving the values of multilateralism and international cooperation, which underpin the UN Charter and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, is fundamental to promote and support the three pillars of the UN namely peace and security, development and human rights.

Elsewhere in her speech UNIC Director said living together in peace is all about accepting differences and having the ability to listen to, recognize, respect and appreciate others, as well as living in a peaceful and united way.

20190514 UNIC4Tarbiat Modares students watching UN-Iran historical photos and documents exhibition

The seminar continued with speeches and panel discussions by law faculty member of Tarbiat Modares U., Dr. Hassan Savari; Associate Professor from Department of Law at Buali Sina University, Dr. Sattar Azizi; Tabiat Modares University Associate Professor, Dr Hourieh Hosseini and UNIC National Information Officer Mohammad Rajai-Moghadam.

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