What we are experiencing in Paris amounts to a corporate coup aimed at preventing progress and effective solutions to our climate crisis. Now more than ever we need to advocate for system change rather than climate change, with climate activists planning creative ways to inform the public not only of the false solutions on offer, but the real solutions that will lead to positive change in our world.
In a world of increased polarisation between cultures, anything that lowers barriers is important. I joined VSO as chief executive in March of this year and in that time I have seen enough to convince me that there has never been a more important time to encourage people to volunteer internationally.
We are only a few weeks away from the COP21 climate summit in Paris. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 11 per cent of global carbon emissions come from deforestation. That is about the same amount as the emissions from all the world's cars. Efforts to stop deforestation are more important than ever.
On Friday 25 September, world leaders will meet for the UN General Assembly in New York to launch the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). One major achievement that should not go unnoticed is that the promotion of human rights is infused throughout the 17 new goals and 169 targets. This marks a major shift in our approach to the role of human rights in driving sustainable development. Development must be about more than just measures of poverty and increasing financial resources - it must be about advancing human dignity.
This week sees one of the most important events in Earth's recent history, so please pay attention... On Friday, world leaders will gather at the UN to ratify the 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development, and set a path for 2030 to eradicate poverty, tackle inequality and fix climate change. Yep, it's pretty significant.
If Europe is unwilling to accept more refugees or to treat them with the humanity they deserve, they must at least apply pressure on the Eritrean government to cease its abuse of conscripts and civilians. The international community owes a duty to its most vulnerable- it must not fail to protect them again.
All eyes have been on South Sudan the last couple of months- and with good reason. Two years on and still no cutting edge solution yet to end the conflict besieging the newest country, but talks will resume this month. However, the situation in Sudan is still very much unfinished business in the Horn of Africa.
The UN is predicting that by the end of this year almost 10million people in Iraq will be in urgent need of help... Already, 1.3million children have been torn from their homes and more than three million do not have access to quality education. Children face danger on a daily basis and have witnessed unspeakable cruelties. Girls have fallen victim to enslavement and sexual violence. Children have been used as suicide bombers and as human shields. Most are living without physical protection, psychosocial support, and basic services.
Crossing the road to my office from lunch recently, a tiny girl ran after me and held my hand to ask for money. I told her that it is not right for children to beg. She looked at me sternly as if daring me to do anything about it. Looking over my shoulder I saw her young mother sitting by the roadside keenly watching, encouraging her.
"Amidst all the goodwill, inflow of material help, personnel, and pledges for the future, it struck me that the only country to have given *cash* to the Nepal Government so far is Bhutan. Its PM personally brought a check of $1 million. Then the ADB gave $3 million yesterday. From the noise in the social media, you might believe otherwise."
Between now and April 7th, is an opportunity to further understanding of the events and the circumstances of this extreme violation of human rights. And on April 7th we can join with Planet Syria and innumerable groups and organizations in worldwide peaceful demonstrations of every kind to show international solidarity.