Friday, 31 May 2013

31 May 2013 - World No Tobacco Day

Globally 12% of all deaths among adults aged 30 years and over were attributed to tobacco. In 2004, about 5 million adults aged 30 years and over died from direct tobacco use (smoking and smokeless) around the globe, that is one death approximately every six seconds.The regions with the highest proportion of deaths attributable to tobacco are the Americas and the European regions where tobacco has been used for a longer period of time.The proportion of mortality attributable to tobacco is higher among men than among women. Globally, 5% of all deaths from communicable diseases, and 14% of all deaths non-communicable diseases among adults aged 30 years and over are attributable to tobacco (information excerpt from the WHO Global Report 2012 Mortality Attributable to Tobacco - 2012) .

Poster for the 2013 edition of the World No Tobacco Day

The World Health Organization celebrates each year on 31st May the World No Tobacco Day.
The theme for the 2013 edition focuses on the ban of Tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship (TAPS).
 The tobacco industry uses massive commercial campaigns worldwide to attract new customers, in particular teenagers and maintain and increase tobacco sales and profits. Therefore, the UN Agency:

Call to policy-makers • to implement a comprehensive ban on all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, as called for in the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), and make full implementation of the WHO FCTC, by using the guidelines on Article 13 of the WHO FCTC when implementing a comprehensive ban on all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. • to request assistance from WHO in implementing a comprehensive ban on all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, if needed. • to counter any interference from the tobacco industry when implementing a comprehensive ban on all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.

Call to civil society and nongovernmental organizations to urge governments to implement a comprehensive ban on all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. • to Denounce all types of interference from the tobacco industry. • to Help to educate the public about manipulation through the tobacco industry’s marketing strategies and its attempts to interfere with the implementation of a comprehensive ban on all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.

 Call to the public to Demand governments ban all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. • to free people from tobacco industry manipulation by learning about the cunning and unscrupulous marketing techniques used by the industry to trap you into using tobacco.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

History of Chinese development aid in Africa (1)

Zhou Enlai announces the 8 principles of Foreign Aid (1964)
Chinese involvement in Africa started with the visit made by former Premier Zhou Enlai in late 1963 in a number of countries, namely: Ghana, Mali and Somalia. In that occasion, he introduced the 8 principles constituting the framework of China intervention in the region:

A. The Chinese Government always bases itself on the principle of equality and mutual benefit in providing aid to other countries. It never regards such aid as a kind of unilateral alms but as something mutual.
B. In providing aid to other countries, the Chinese Government strictly respects the sovereignty of the recipient countries, and never attaches any conditions or asks for any privileges.
C. China provides economic aid in the form of interest-free or low-interest loans and extends the time limit for repayment when necessary so as to lighten the burden of the recipient countries as far as possible.
D. In providing aid to other countries, the purpose of the Chinese Government is not to make the recipient countries dependent on China but to help them embark step by step on the road of self-reliance and independent economic development.
E. The Chinese Government tries its best to help the recipient countries build projects which require less investment while yielding quicker results, so that the recipient governments may increase their income and accumulate capital.
F. The Chinese Government provides the best-quality equipment and material of its own manufacture at international market prices. If the equipment and material provided by the Chinese Government are not up to the agreed specifications and quality, the Chinese Government undertakes to replace them.
G. In providing any technical assistance, the Chinese Government will see to it that the personnel of the recipient country fully master such technique.
H. The experts dispatched by China to help in construction in the recipient countries will have the same standard of living as the experts of the recipient country. The Chinese experts are not allowed to make any special demands or enjoy any special amenities.(link

Despite being a developing country, China participated with massive projects, like the Tazara railway,  in the infrastructural modernization of the continent. Nowadays, the country is using with the beneficiary countries the same successful win-win model used by Japan 30 years earlier in China. According to this mechanism, the former invader was trading vital natural resources, like coal and oil, necessary for its boosting economy with the construction and development of infrastructure like ports and railways strongly needed by the Communist country. Between the end of the 1970s and the beginning of of the 1980s, Western countries started to follow the same system.In 1994, China, confident of its economic expansion, established the Export-Import Bank to provide resource-backed loans to pilot seven African countries.

Since the late 1990s, resource-backed loans became a common and successful instrument for the Country to reinforce its economic relations with African states.
The system ensures that natural resources wealth is spent on development investments as outlined in Deborah Brautigam's article on a Foreign Affairs article in 2010.

Chinese loans are successful for the following issues:
- Competitive interest rates
- Political factors
- lack of conditional measures usually imposed by Western partners
- Establishment of Special Economic Zones

Monday, 6 May 2013

3rd May 2013 - World Press Freedom Day

UNESCO celebrated on 3 May the World Press Freedom Day (WPFD). The event, at its  20th anniversary in 2013, outlines the importance of the "free flow of ideas and knowledge" & the "free flow of ideas by word and image" as also stated in the UNESCO Constitution. The celebration  became an effective way to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of expression and press freedom since 1993. In this occasion it worth commemorate all those journalists sacrificing their life to do their profession.
Reporters without Borders publishes every year the Press Freedom Index 2013
 Below is the map with the freedom of press in 2013.

Friday, 3 May 2013

United Nations - What is the difference between international days and world days?

UN organizes events and initiatives to celebrate important dates and anniversaries. These events are aimed at promoting the objectives of the Charter of the United Nations and aim at supporting awareness campaigns and people's action on political, social, cultural, humanitarian or human rights.

These events are usually selected by the delegates of the Member States of the United Nations participating in the annual sessions of the General Assembly.

The United Nations has established International Days, Weeks, Years and Decades to inform the world public about specific issues such as human trafficking, non-communicable diseases, discrimination of HIV / AIDS, racism, gender equality or the access to justice and fair trial.

Information on the celebrations organized by the United Nations
are available on the UN international observances site:

International Days

International Weeks

International Years

International Decades

World Days, on the contrary, are events organized by the Specialized Agencies of the UN system, like for example:

22 March - World Water day (UNESCO)

3 May - World Press Freedom Day (UNESCO)

17 May  - World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (ITU)

16 October - World Food Day (FAO)

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Journées Internationales et journées mondiales......quelle différence?

Les Nations Unies suivant organisent des événements et d'initiatives pour célébrer, en jours spécifiques, dates importantes et anniversaries. Ces manifestations visent à promouvoir la réalisation des objectifs de la Charte des Nations Unies et d'appuyer la sensibilisation et l'action du public sur d'importantes questions relatives aux droits politiques, sociaux, culturels, humanitaires ou humaine. Ces evenements sont établi conformément aux votes exprimés par les États membres des Nations Unies au cours des sessions annuelles de l'Assemblée Générale. L'ONU dédie Journées, Semaines, Années ou Décennies Internationales pour informer la population mondial sur des questions spécifiques telles que le trafic humain, les maladies non transmissibles, la discrimination du VIH / sida, le racisme, l'égalité des sexes, l'accès à la justice et au procès équitable. 

Informations sur les events célébrées par les Nations Unies:

Journées Internationales

Années Internationales

Decennies Internationales

Les Journées Mondiales, au contraire, sont organiseés par les institutions spécialisées des Nations Unies, comment par example:

Journée mondiale de la liberté de la presse 2013
Journée mondiale de la liberté de la presse 2013
Journée mondiale de la liberté de la presse 2013Jou

Journée mondiale de la liberté de la presse 2013
Journée mondiale de la liberté de la presse 2013

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

5th May, 2013 - International Day of the Midwife

In occasion of the International Day of the Midwife, the United Nations Population Fund and the International Confederation of Midwives emphasized the importance of the role of midwives in a joint statement.

  •  Midwifes contribute with their work towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5, targets A and B, by 2015 and beyond.
  •  In addition to their work, caring for women during and after childbirth, to ensure safe deliveries and providing essential newborn care, midwives provide a wide range of assistance in humanitarian emergencies.
  • Midwives are also key to ensuring universal access to voluntary family planning. This alone could help prevent 87 million unintended pregnancies—so many of which result in unsafe abortions in developing countries—and close to a third of all maternal deaths. About 222 million women want to delay or avoid pregnancies but lack the modern means to do so. 
Midwifes play an important role for the health of local communities by training and supervising health workers to provide health information and promote safer practices to young couples and women to make the decisions that are right for their particular situations.Unfortunately, economic differences, inequalities in countries and inaccessibility of services in some areas contribute to a shortage of some 350,000 midwives at a time when the world needs midwives more than ever!!! 
We urge all nations to work together to address the inequalities and inaccessibility of midwifery services. We encourage them to support quality training, innovative technologies and an enabling environment for midwives to match the vital role they play in communities and societies, especially in developing countries.
On this International Day of the Midwife, UNFPA and ICM reiterate their commitment to investments to strengthen quality midwifery, which will, in turn, promote healthier families, communities and nations.

WHO - Maternal Mortality Statistics