SENDAI, Japan/SYDNEY (Reuters) – When Vanuatu President Baldwin Lonsdale and top disaster officials left their South Pacific island home on March 10, heading to a U.N. summit in Japan, Cyclone Pam was gathering strength and dumping heavy rain to the north.
By the time he addressed the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai on Saturday, asking for assistance in a quavering voice, Pam had strengthened into one of the most powerful Pacific storms on record.
LIMA (Reuters) – A new Green Climate Fund that aims to help poor nations cope with global warming reached a U.N. goal of $10 billion on Tuesday at global climate talks in Lima, helped by a surprise donation from Australia.
Several of the 190 nations at the meeting welcomed the cash from both Australia and Belgium, but China said rich countries were not working fast enough to meet a broader goal of providing $100 billion a year by 2020 from public and private sources to help the poor cope.
WARSAW, Nov 22 (Reuters) – Disputes over when rich and poor
nations will set greenhouse gas targets and over climate aid to
the developing world threatened to sink U.N. climate talks on
the final day on Friday.
Negotiators from around 195 countries are working to lay the
foundations for a new global climate accord that is due to be
agreed in 2015 in Paris, and come into force after 2020, but few
concrete steps have emerged from two weeks of talks in Warsaw.
PERPIGNAN, France (AlertNet) – When the uprising in Syria spiralled into bloody conflict last year, French photojournalist Mani felt the urge to document what was happening, even though wars weren’t his usual subject.
Mani became a professional freelance photographer three years ago, having ditched a career as a primary school teacher. He spent time covering Sufism and transgender communities in South Asia, but always had a soft spot for Syria where he studied Arabic during his university years.
Suhair Atassi was beaten and detained for her involvement in protests at the start of Syria’s uprising, before going into hiding and being smuggled out of the country late last year.
Now an exile living in Paris, the prominent opposition activist is trying to drum up support for humanitarian aid in Syria where the conflict has escalated. News from Syria seems to get bloodier by the day with civilians killed, wounded and uprooted by clashes between forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and rebel groups.
Tunisian human rights activist Amira Yahyaoui recalls how, at the age of 17, she narrowly missed being shoved under a subway train. This is just one example of the threats and pressures her family faced for their opposition to the country’s then president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, who was ousted last year in a popular uprising.
During Ben Ali’s 23-year rule, Yahyaoui’s father, one of the North African country’s most distinguished judges, lost his job after sending an open letter to the president decrying corruption and the state of the justice system. Her cousin was arrested for publishing satirical articles about the former leader, and died from the torture he underwent.
LONDON (Reuters) – A lack of transparency over rich countries’ pledges to help poor nations deal with climate change means much of the cash promised is being diverted from development aid commitments, campaigners say.
In the Copenhagen Accord, struck at December’s U.N. climate summit, developed countries agreed to provide poorer nations with “new and additional resources” of about $30 billion by 2012 to help them limit their emissions and adapt to a warmer world.