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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Biological Diversity: UN says tourists must protect nature

The United Nations has said that tourism must not undermine the nature that attracts tourists in the first place, reports NaijaAgroNet.
The Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), a United Nations-backed treaty on biological diversity, Cristiana Pasca Palmer, made this call at marking International Day for Biological Diversity.
“Tourism grows, so does the risk of harming the environment […] It will be important therefore such developments do not undermine the very natural beauty that draws tourists in the first place,” said Cristiana Pasca Palmer, in her message for the Day, which this year is celebrated under the theme Biodiversity and Sustainable Tourism.
Many natural areas with rich biodiversity, such as beaches, coasts and islands, mountains, rivers and lakes, are popular tourism destinations. Roughly half of the leisure trips taken globally are to natural areas, she noted.
It is therefore important to understand that the way tourism is managed will impact biodiversity and conversely, the way ecosystems are managed will impact the sustainability of tourism, as tourists will not come to polluted or degraded destinations.
The Convention was adopted on 22 May 1992 as the international legal instrument for “the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources” that has since been ratified by 196 nations.
In 2010, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 22 May as the International Day for Biological Diversity.
In his message for the Day, UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Secretary General Taleb Rifai said: “Together we can make tourism an ally in fighting loss of biodiversity and achieving the Global Goals for a better world.”
In that regard, UNWTO is encouraging more destinations to set up sustainable tourism observatories, he said.
The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has also been working with all its partners to explore pathways for ensuring the long-term sustainability of tourism while also ensuring that it contributes positively to biodiversity.

“Biodiversity is as necessary for nature and humankind as cultural diversity, to build stronger, more resilient societies, equipped with the tools they need to respond to the challenges of today and tomorrow,” said UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova in her message for the Day.

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Ethiopian Tedros Ghebreyesus elected first African WHO Director-General

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) has elected Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as its new Director-General, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, NaijaAgroNet gathered, was nominated by the Government of Ethiopia, and will begin his five-year term on 1 July 2017.

Remarkably, this is the first time, since 1941 that an African is elected to this post and the first time ever that the whole African continent had one candidate.

NaijaAgroNet also gathered that prior to his election as WHO’s next Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus served as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ethiopia from 2012–2016 and as Minister of Health, Ethiopia from 2005–2012. He has also served as chair of the Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; as chair of the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership Board; and as co-chair of the Board of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health.

As Minister of Health, Ethiopia, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus led a comprehensive reform effort of the country's health system, including the expansion of the country’s health infrastructure, creating 3500 health centres and 16 000 health posts; expanded the health workforce by 38 000 health extension workers; and initiated financing mechanisms to expand health insurance coverage. 

As Minister of Foreign Affairs, NaijaAgroNet reports he led the effort to negotiate the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, in which 193 countries committed to the financing necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

As Chair of the Global Fund and of RBM, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus secured record funding for the two organizations and created the Global Malaria Action Plan, which expanded RBM’s reach beyond Africa to Asia and Latin America.


Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus will succeed Dr Margaret Chan, who has been WHO’s Director-General since 1 January 2007.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

UNICEF sends 6-point agenda to G7 Summit

As the 43rd G7 Summit gets underway in Italy, the United Nations Child Fund (UNICEF) has sent a six-point agenda to the governments across the world for action to protect refugee and migrant children and ensure their wellbeing, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The 43rd G7 summit, NaijaAgroNet gathered would hold between May 26 and 27, 2017 in Taormina (ME), Sicily, Italy.

Disclosing this, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Justin Forsyth, said the call has become imperative for the governments to adopt its six-point agenda due to global rise in refugee and migrant children since 2010.

 “These children need a real commitment from governments around the world to ensure their safety throughout their journeys. Leaders gathering next week at the G7 should lead this effort by being the first to commit to our six-point agenda for action,” Forsyth said.

The UNICEF agenda, Forsyth said, include protection of child refugees and migrants, particularly unaccompanied children, from exploitation and violence;  End the detention of children seeking refugee status or migrating, by introducing a range of practical alternatives; and keep families together as the best way to protect children and give children legal status.

In addition, UNICEF agenda comprised keeping all refugee and migrant children learning and give them access to health and other quality services; Press for action on the underlying causes of large scale movements of refugees and migrants; and Promote measures to combat xenophobia, discrimination and marginalization in countries of transit and destination. 

Further, UNICEF also urged the public to stand in solidarity with children uprooted by war, violence and poverty, by supporting the six-point agenda for action.

NaijaAgroNet recalls that UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, and works in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.


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FRSC uncovers Indian hemp in apprehended vehicle

FRSC uncovers Indian hemp in apprehended vehicle: ITRealms : The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has uncovered some packs of Indian hemp in apprehended vehicle, reports ITRealms . ...

ITREALMS ... everything news digitally!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Sub-Saharan Africa, Central America, Caribbean top continents trafficking children globally

Countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa, Central America and the Caribbean have the highest share of children among detected trafficking victims at 64 and 62 per cent respectively, reports NaijaAgroNet.

According to the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) in its latest study tagged A Child is a Child, showed that 200,000 unaccompanied children applied for asylum across around 80 countries in 2015-2016.

Also, NaijaAgroNet reports that some 100,000 unaccompanied children were apprehended at the United States (US)-Mexico border between 2015 and 2016.

While some 170,000 unaccompanied children applied for asylum in Europe in 2015-2016, there were unaccompanied and separated children which accounted for 92 per cent of all children arriving Italy by sea in 2016 and the first months of 2017.

Children, UNICEF said, accounted for approximately 28 per cent of trafficking victims globally.
“As much as 20 per cent of smugglers have links to human trafficking networks,” the study stated.


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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Refugee, migrant children traveling alone rose to five-fold – UNICEF

The global number of refugee and migrant children moving alone has reached a record high, increasing nearly five-fold since 2010, UNICEF said in a new report made available to NaijaAgroNet.
At least some 300,000 unaccompanied and separated children were recorded in some 80 countries in the combined years of 2015 and 2016, up from 66,000 in 2010 and 2011, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The report entitled ‘A Child is a Child: Protecting children on the move from violence, abuse and exploitation’ was recently presented at a global snapshot of refugee and migrant children, the motivations behind their journeys and the risks they face along the way.

The report also showed that an increasing number of these children are taking highly dangerous routes, often at the mercy of smugglers and traffickers, to reach their destinations, clearly justifying the need for a global protection system to keep them safe from exploitation, abuse and death.   

UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Justin Forsyth said that one child moving alone is one too many, and yet today, there are a staggering number of children doing just that, stressing that as adults are failing to protect them.

“Ruthless smugglers and traffickers are exploiting their vulnerability for personal gain, helping children to cross borders, only to sell them into slavery and forced prostitution. It is unconscionable that we are not adequately defending children from these predators,” Forsyth said.


The report includes the story of Mary, a 17-year-old unaccompanied minor from Nigeria, who experienced the trauma of being trafficked firsthand during her horrific journey through Libya to Italy. 

When describing the smuggler turned trafficker who offered to help her, she said, “Everything (he) said, that we would be treated well, and that we would be safe, it was all wrong. It was a lie.” Mary was trapped in Libya for more than three months where she was abused. “He said to me if I didn’t sleep with him he would not bring me to Europe. He raped me.”

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Over 1m African children’s lives improved by local social entrepreneurs

Over one million African children have benefited from social enterprise development on the continent in the last five years, reports NaijaAgroNet.

According to a new report released by Reach for Change Africa, a non-profit organization, also reported that over 300 early-stage social entrepreneurs were supported to develop organizations that are improving the lives of children, youth and women in 7 African countries.

NaijaAgroNet gathered, Reach for Change Africa is marking its 5th anniversary themed “Accelerating Impact. Driving Change”, 

Since it was first launched in Accra, Ghana in 2012, Reach for Change Africa has provided crucial business development support for social entrepreneurs who, in turn, used their social businesses to impact over one million children. As a result, over 435,000 African children were protected from mental abuse and threats, over 308,000 children were provided with high quality education, and over 156,000 children were supported to develop and live healthy lives.

“The social enterprise movement is really starting to take off in Africa, and we are honoured to be a part of this movement for change,” said Amma Lartey, Reach for Change Africa’s Regional Director. “With the right supports, social entrepreneurs have the potential to lead Africa’s development and impact millions along the way.”

Reach for Change Africa is a non-profit organization that runs incubators, accelerators and other customized programs to help local social entrepreneurs develop sustainable organizations that impact the lives of children, youth and women.

Additionally, the report showed a number of social entrepreneurs from the 7 countries where Reach for Change Africa operates, explaining how the organization’s programs helped them to develop their social ventures.

“Being in the Incubator has helped me develop a scalable model,” said Carolyne Ekyarisiima, the founder of Apps & Girls in Tanzania. Apps & Girls is a social enterprise that is bridging the gender gap in ICT through coding clubs, workshops, exhibitions, hackathons, bootcamps and competitions for girls and young women. Since joining the Reach for Change Incubator, Ms. Ekyarisiima has scaled her organization from just one location to 21 clubs in Dar es Salaam.

“This year, I spoke with my mentor at Reach for Change about the possibility of franchising my social enterprise and got great feedback. This led me to apply for the NEXTGEN franchising competition and because of the great influence and impact of the Reach for Change Incubator, I was among the winners! Now I am looking into scaling Apps & Girls across all of Tanzania and other African countries,” she added.

The Reach for Change Incubator also helped James Kofi Annan build a social enterprise that’s fighting child-trafficking in Ghana.


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She Leads Africa launches 2017 accelerators for women

A social enterprise dedicated to supporting young African women towards professionalism, the She Leads Africa (SLA) has launched its 2017 accelerators programme to last for some 90 days, reports NaijaAgroNet.

SLA, NaijaAgroNet gathered focuses on guiding young African women to success through online content and offline programmes, leveraging on its alliances.

NaijaAgroNet  also reports that the 2017 Accelerator consists of one week residencies in the four locations where entrepreneurs would receive training from the SLA team and business leaders and experts.

The four locations across Nigeria, NaijaAgroNet reports include the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland, and Kaduna.

NaijaAgroNet  further reports that the 3-month programme has been designed to identify, support and fund the next generation of Nigeria’s brightest entrepreneurs.

According to the organisers, during these residencies, entrepreneurs will be focused on business strategy, growth, marketing, finance and distribution.

“They will also receive a host of on and offline training as well as an opportunity to pitch their business to national and international investors,” NaijaAgroNet  was told in a press statement.

This 2017 SLA Accelerator is run in partnership with the Work in Progress! Alliance - a consortium of Oxfam, Butterfly Works and VC4A focused on driving job creation and youth employment in Nigeria. The Kaduna Agribusiness cohort is sponsored by OCP.

Entrepreneurs interested in applying should visit www.SheLeadsAfrica.org/accelerator for more information on or before June 25, 2017.


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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Latest test shows childhood genetic disorders ‘transformational’

The near exhausting way doctors are often forced to diagnose a group of rare genetic disorders in children could be transformed by a new test developed by The University of Manchester and Saint Mary’s Hospital, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Inborn errors of metabolism (IEMs), NaijaAgroNet reports, are rare inherited conditions where enzymes that break down toxins or serve other essential functions in the body are missing. 

There are more than 500 IEMs – some as rare as only one in several thousand individuals. But collectively they are common, affecting the lives of thousands; many children die before they reach adulthood. 

According to the team, the test could help around half of all children affected by IEMs. It can also be used for prenatal testing, helping parents to plan for future pregnancies. 

The researchers combined a test for more than 200 IEMs by using technology known as ‘Next generation sequencing’ of DNA. 

The single blood or saliva test could replace the battery of stressful tests children - and parents-  must endure-  including invasive procedures such as biopsies or spinal taps. 

The findings, published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, may also enable diagnosis of some rare disorders, that were previously not possible using traditional approaches. 

Many IEMs are associated with a shortened life span; others may be less severe but cause serious problems, affecting the brain, bones, gut and liver. 

Dr Siddharth Banka, Dr Arunabha Ghosh, Dr Simon Ramsden and Dr Simon Jones at The University of Manchester and Saint Mary’s Hospital led the project. 

Dr Banka, Consultant Clinical Geneticist and Clinical Senior Lecturer said: “Using cutting edge technology at the Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine, we have demonstrated that Next Generation Sequencing could transform the diagnosis of patients with these rare genetic conditions. 
“We hope this will mean a child can be diagnosed accurately without having to undergo difficult and invasive tests, improving access to treatment.” 

The researchers analysed the new test in 102 individuals with suspected childhood-onset IEMs. 
In 50% of the individuals, the new test fully or partially established the molecular cause to facilitate diagnosis. 

The researchers also found that using NGS after biochemical testing, such as blood and urine, helped to avoid further invasive, lengthy or expensive investigations in 69% of the individuals. 

Dr Jones said: “After the initial study period, we are now using this test regularly in Manchester and over 350 patients have already benefitted."

Dr Ghosh said: “We have shown it is highly reliable and can be easily done when a doctor suspects that a patient may have an inborn error of metabolism.

"In the long run we believe this test will save money for the NHS.” 

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Monday, May 8, 2017

UNICEF welcomes release of abducted 82 Chibok school girls

The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has welcomed the last Saturday release of some 82 Chibok school girls abducted by the Boko Haram terrorist group, reports NaijaAgroNet.
As gathered by NaijaAgroNet the girls were released in exchange of Boko Haram members arrested by the Federal Government.

Emergency Communications Specialist at UNICEF Nigeria, Harriet Dwyer said that it is heartening to know that the girls will be returning to their families who have been waiting for this day.

“They will face a long and difficult process to rebuild their lives after the indescribable horror and trauma they have suffered at the hands of Boko Haram.

“UNICEF is on standby to support the Nigerian authorities to provide the comprehensive psychosocial support and other specialized services needed. We will help reunite the girls with their families and make sure they can continue their education in a safe environment. Already staff at a UNICEF supported health clinic have been supporting immediate efforts to identify the girls and conduct medical check-ups before their onward transport.

“UNICEF calls on Boko Haram to end all grave violations against children, especially the abduction of children and the sexual abuse and forced marriage of girls.

“We commend the government for this important achievement in helping to protect children impacted by the conflict in northeast Nigeria but remain deeply concerned for the thousands of women and children still held in captivity by Boko Haram. Greater efforts must be made to bring them all to safety and home to their families.

“UNICEF has a comprehensive response to help children who have been affected by the conflict in the Lake Chad Basin and works with national authorities to support hundreds of children and women who have escaped or been released from Boko Haram. Every child is unique and requires different levels of support, so there is no standard formula or defined timeframe for these children to recover. 
UNICEF is committed to doing whatever it takes, as long as it takes to help these children recover a sense of normalcy with our available resources,” Dwyer said.


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