Nyxoah appoints new CFO

Nyxoah appoints new CFO

Mont–Saint–Guibert, Belgium "" November 8, 2021, 10:30pm CET / 4:30pm ET "" Nyxoah SA (Euronext Brussels/Nasdaq: NYXH)("Nyxoah" or the "Company"), a medical technology company focused on the development and commercialization of innovative solutions to treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), today announced that Loc Moreau will join Nyxoah as CFO as of January 1, 2022.

Loc will join Nyxoah from GSK, where he held leadership roles in Finance across various geographies. Prior to GSK, Loc built his career at EY and PwC. Loc holds an executive master in Finance. He will replace current CFO, Fabian Suarez, who will leave Nyxoah at the end of 2021 to pursue a new opportunity as CEO of a startup MedTech company.

Olivier Taelman, CEO, commented: "We are very grateful to Fabian for his hard work, dedication and leadership over the last seven years. During his time at Nyxoah, Fabian led the Finance department and served as a valued and trusted member of the management team. He was instrumental in securing the successful Euronext Brussels and Nasdaq IPOs during the last year, and we wish him all the best in his new endeavor. We look forward to a smooth transition."

Fabian Suarez added: "After seven years at Nyxoah, which I profoundly enjoyed, it is time for the next step in my career development. I am proud to have been part of Nyxoah and its exciting journey, and I look forward to Nyxoah's many future successes."

About Nyxoah
Nyxoah is a medical technology company focused on the development and commercialization of innovative solutions to treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Nyxoah's lead solution is the Genio system, a patient–centered, leadless and battery–free hypoglossal neurostimulation therapy for OSA, the world's most common sleep disordered breathing condition that is associated with increased mortality risk and cardiovascular comorbidities. Nyxoah is driven by the vision that OSA patients should enjoy restful nights and feel enabled to live their life to its fullest.

Following the successful completion of the BLAST OSA study, the Genio system received its European CE Mark in 2019. Nyxoah completed two successful IPOs: on Euronext in September 2020 and NASDAQ in July 2021. Following the positive outcomes of the BETTER SLEEP study, Nyxoah received CE–Mark indication approval to treat Complete Concentric Collapse (CCC) patients, currently contraindicated in competitors' therapy. Additionally, the Company is currently conducting the DREAM IDE pivotal study for FDA and US commercialization approval.

For more information, please visit http://www.nyxoah.com/.

Caution "" CE marked since 2019. Investigational device in the United States. Limited by U.S. federal law to investigational use in the United States.

Contacts:

Nyxoah
Jeremy Feffer, VP IR and Corporate Communications
jeremy.feffer@nyxoah.com
+1 917 749 1494

Gilmartin Group
Vivian Cervantes
IR@nyxoah.com

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MADISON REALTY CAPITAL AND NEWBOND HOLDINGS LAUNCH HOSPITALITY LENDING PLATFORM WITH INVESTING CAPACITY OF $500M

NEW YORK, Nov. 08, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Madison Realty Capital, a vertically integrated real estate private equity firm focused on debt and equity investment strategies, and Newbond Holdings (Newbond), a vertically integrated real estate investment and operating platform founded by Neil Luthra and Vann Avedisian, today announced the launch of Madison Newbond, an institutional lending platform that will provide first mortgages, mezzanine loans and preferred equity to hotel owners and developers nationwide. The partnership launched with approximately $500 million of initial lending capacity and will add scale in line with the opportunity.

Madison Newbond will build on Madison Realty Capital's institutional lending platform and deep relationships as well as Newbond's hospitality industry expertise and strong operational knowledge. The partnership will offer unique financing programs to new and existing borrowers across the hospitality spectrum from limited–service hotels to ultra–luxury resorts and will target opportunities including transitional lending and ground up developments across major metropolitan markets.

"The hospitality industry has experienced significant disruption throughout the pandemic and there is a clear need for creative and flexible lending solutions for hotel owners as they continue to recover from the changes to their business plans," said Josh Zegen, Managing Principal and Co–Founder of Madison Realty Capital. "We are enthusiastic about joining forces with Newbond to expand our product offering tailored to meet the evolving needs of hospitality real estate owners and operators."

"We are excited to launch this partnership with Madison Realty Capital, a firm with a world–class lending platform, and a team that we are deeply familiar with, to provide a wide range of lending options to the hospitality market," said Neil Luthra, Founding Partner at Newbond. "Madison's substantial resources coupled with Newbond's extensive hotel underwriting capabilities will best position the platform to identify and capitalize on exciting opportunities in the hospitality space."

Madison Realty Capital and the principals of Newbond have significant experience lending and investing in the hospitality sector. The principals of Newbond have completed over $15 billion of debt and equity investments. Notable recent Madison Realty Capital transactions include a $105 million loan to Fort Partners for the acquisition and modernization of the Four Seasons Hotel Miami and a $210 million loan to Fort Partners for the construction of the Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences Fort Lauderdale.

For any financing inquiries or to request additional information about the Madison Newbond platform, please contact Andrew Fichte, a partner at Newbond, at afichte@newbond.com and Josh Zegen, at josh@madisonrealtycapital.com.

About Madison Realty Capital

Madison Realty Capital is a vertically integrated real estate private equity firm that manages approximately $6.7 billion in total assets on behalf of an institutional global investor base. Since 2004, Madison Realty Capital has completed more than $16 billion in transactions in the U.S. providing reputable borrowers with flexible and highly customized financing solutions, strong underwriting capabilities, and certainty of execution. Headquartered in New York City, with an office in Los Angeles, the firm has over 60 employees across all real estate investment, development, and property management disciplines. Madison Realty Capital has been frequently named to the Commercial Observer's prestigious "Power 100" list of New York City real estate players and is consistently cited as a top construction lender, among other industry recognitions. To learn more, follow us on LinkedIn and visit www.madisonrealtycapital.com.

About Newbond Holdings

Newbond Holdings, founded by Neil Luthra and Vann Avedisian in 2021, is a real estate investment and operating platform focused on debt and equity investments across multiple real estate product types with a hospitality focus as well as investments in related operating businesses and technology platforms. The partners at Newbond have completed over $15 billion of debt and equity transactions. As a vertically integrated operating and investment platform, Newbond is uniquely positioned to create significant value beyond the typical investment process through creative structuring, operations and the development of single and multiple asset brands.

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Boyden Sees Strong Growth in East Africa, focused on social impact, healthcare, education, private equity and high growth start-ups

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov. 08, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Boyden, a premier leadership and talent advisory firm with more than 75 offices in over 45 countries, welcomes new partner Farah Esmail as Boyden East Africa continues to provide exceptional leadership solutions and client service to social impact enterprises, family firms and hyper–growth, private equity–backed businesses.

"Boyden East Africa is culturally astute and demonstrates a deeply held commitment to the region's social and economic progress," commented Trina D. Gordon, President & CEO of Boyden. "We are delighted that Farah Esmail is joining the team as Boyden thrives on its work with trailblazing organisations in the region. She has magnetic energy in collaborative success, an impressive track record aligned with client needs and valuable experience in corporate governance".

Boyden East Africa provides leadership solutions to multinationals, family businesses, social impact organisations and start–ups building innovative new models leveraging digital payment capabilities distinctive to the region. The team is uniquely connected to the Kenyan diaspora through its deep roots in East Africa and international engagement across Boyden's global footprint.

Clients recognise the gold standard of Boyden East Africa. The team have a significant record of delivering results, for example for CDC Group, the UK's development finance institution, enabling it to acquire a global expert in investment, deal execution and portfolio management. "I am delighted to see Boyden welcome Farah Esmail to its team. Farah Samanani's keen sense for identifying excellent talent has supported CDC in shaping our dynamic East Africa team. Farah Esmail's insight will enhance Boyden's ability to match skilled and passionate leaders with businesses that play a key role in driving growth and impact throughout the region," said Tenbite Ermias, Managing Director, Africa, CDC Group.

Boyden's CEO track record includes a search for Copia Global, a leading retail goods and services m–commerce platform, built to serve 750 million middle– to low–income African consumers, even those who are remote, unbanked and unconnected. Through a network of 25,000 Copia Agents (local shops where orders can be made and delivered), Copia is able to serve over 1 million customers in Kenya and Uganda today and meet them where they are, online via a smartphone app or offline in person, whichever interface they prefer. "Boyden understood our leadership needs both as a start–up and as an organisation with a compelling future in m–commerce," commented Tracey Turner, Founder & Chairman, Copia Global. "Farah Samanani enabled us to attract and acquire a global CEO with exceptional customer, retail and logistics experience. Tim Steel is focused on the low– to middle income customer and providing them with their everyday shopping needs. He has built a brand synonymous with quality and best in class customer service. He has also championed a life changing ecosystem between agents, customers and transport suppliers. We are delighted to have expanded into Uganda during the pandemic and look forward to further, customer–led growth."

Farah Samanani, Managing Partner of Boyden East Africa said, "Boyden East Africa is in a sweet spot, with our skills and capabilities perfectly matched to the needs of clients in a fascinating business environment. Farah Esmail is an exceptional addition to our team, with strong consulting, corporate and board experience. Her personal drive and ethos have enabled her to achieve impressive social impact goals, including an innovative educational model in Kenya. Boyden East Africa will continue to support clients transforming people's lives, as well as global investors seeking talent experts who understand these dynamic, complex markets."

Farah Esmail will leverage her extensive experience with multinationals, most recently as Head of Kenya at Sirdar Group, as well as her affiliation with the Ibuka1 Program, a premier incubation and acceleration program run by the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE). Affiliation involved helping organisations in the Program to structure their businesses, enhance visibility and gain exposure to local and international investors.

During the very challenging business environment brought about by COVID–19, Boyden East Africa has continued to deliver the right leadership for clients, sourcing exceptional talent globally and recruiting them to the region. In the last two years, Boyden has placed exceptional professionals from Spain, Germany, USA and the Middle East, helping them relocate their families and take C–Suite leadership positions in highly innovative companies, focused on implementing uniquely African solutions using global best practice.

About Boyden

Boyden is a premier leadership and talent advisory firm with more than 75 offices in over 45 countries. Our global reach enables us to serve client needs anywhere they conduct business. We connect great companies with great leaders through executive search, interim management and leadership consulting solutions. Boyden is ranked amongst the top companies on Forbes' Americas Best Executive Recruiting Firms for 2021. For further information, visit www.boyden.com.
______________________
1 "Ibuka' is Swahili for "emerge'.

Contacts:

Chris Swee, Boyden
Global Head of Marketing
T: +1 914 747 0172
E: cswee@boyden.com
Farah Samanani, Boyden
Managing Partner, East Africa
T: +254 791 242 192
E: fsamanani@boyden.com

Photos accompanying this announcement are available at:
https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/67d9a8f5–ecb6–44e8–8147–b6eb8b7a2718
https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/4e7f1f88–30e2–438e–bab1–318ba10bad17


Boyden Sees Strong Growth in East Africa, focused on social impact, healthcare, education, private equity and high growth start-ups

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov. 08, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Boyden, a premier leadership and talent advisory firm with more than 75 offices in over 45 countries, welcomes new partner Farah Esmail as Boyden East Africa continues to provide exceptional leadership solutions and client service to social impact enterprises, family firms and hyper–growth, private equity–backed businesses.

"Boyden East Africa is culturally astute and demonstrates a deeply held commitment to the region's social and economic progress," commented Trina D. Gordon, President & CEO of Boyden. "We are delighted that Farah Esmail is joining the team as Boyden thrives on its work with trailblazing organisations in the region. She has magnetic energy in collaborative success, an impressive track record aligned with client needs and valuable experience in corporate governance".

Boyden East Africa provides leadership solutions to multinationals, family businesses, social impact organisations and start–ups building innovative new models leveraging digital payment capabilities distinctive to the region. The team is uniquely connected to the Kenyan diaspora through its deep roots in East Africa and international engagement across Boyden's global footprint.

Clients recognise the gold standard of Boyden East Africa. The team have a significant record of delivering results, for example for CDC Group, the UK's development finance institution, enabling it to acquire a global expert in investment, deal execution and portfolio management. "I am delighted to see Boyden welcome Farah Esmail to its team. Farah Samanani's keen sense for identifying excellent talent has supported CDC in shaping our dynamic East Africa team. Farah Esmail's insight will enhance Boyden's ability to match skilled and passionate leaders with businesses that play a key role in driving growth and impact throughout the region," said Tenbite Ermias, Managing Director, Africa, CDC Group.

Boyden's CEO track record includes a search for Copia Global, a leading retail goods and services m–commerce platform, built to serve 750 million middle– to low–income African consumers, even those who are remote, unbanked and unconnected. Through a network of 25,000 Copia Agents (local shops where orders can be made and delivered), Copia is able to serve over 1 million customers in Kenya and Uganda today and meet them where they are, online via a smartphone app or offline in person, whichever interface they prefer. "Boyden understood our leadership needs both as a start–up and as an organisation with a compelling future in m–commerce," commented Tracey Turner, Founder & Chairman, Copia Global. "Farah Samanani enabled us to attract and acquire a global CEO with exceptional customer, retail and logistics experience. Tim Steel is focused on the low– to middle income customer and providing them with their everyday shopping needs. He has built a brand synonymous with quality and best in class customer service. He has also championed a life changing ecosystem between agents, customers and transport suppliers. We are delighted to have expanded into Uganda during the pandemic and look forward to further, customer–led growth."

Farah Samanani, Managing Partner of Boyden East Africa said, "Boyden East Africa is in a sweet spot, with our skills and capabilities perfectly matched to the needs of clients in a fascinating business environment. Farah Esmail is an exceptional addition to our team, with strong consulting, corporate and board experience. Her personal drive and ethos have enabled her to achieve impressive social impact goals, including an innovative educational model in Kenya. Boyden East Africa will continue to support clients transforming people's lives, as well as global investors seeking talent experts who understand these dynamic, complex markets."

Farah Esmail will leverage her extensive experience with multinationals, most recently as Head of Kenya at Sirdar Group, as well as her affiliation with the Ibuka1 Program, a premier incubation and acceleration program run by the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE). Affiliation involved helping organisations in the Program to structure their businesses, enhance visibility and gain exposure to local and international investors.

During the very challenging business environment brought about by COVID–19, Boyden East Africa has continued to deliver the right leadership for clients, sourcing exceptional talent globally and recruiting them to the region. In the last two years, Boyden has placed exceptional professionals from Spain, Germany, USA and the Middle East, helping them relocate their families and take C–Suite leadership positions in highly innovative companies, focused on implementing uniquely African solutions using global best practice.

About Boyden

Boyden is a premier leadership and talent advisory firm with more than 75 offices in over 45 countries. Our global reach enables us to serve client needs anywhere they conduct business. We connect great companies with great leaders through executive search, interim management and leadership consulting solutions. Boyden is ranked amongst the top companies on Forbes' Americas Best Executive Recruiting Firms for 2021. For further information, visit www.boyden.com.
______________________
1 "Ibuka' is Swahili for "emerge'.

Contacts:

Chris Swee, Boyden
Global Head of Marketing
T: +1 914 747 0172
E: cswee@boyden.com
Farah Samanani, Boyden
Managing Partner, East Africa
T: +254 791 242 192
E: fsamanani@boyden.com

Photos accompanying this announcement are available at:
https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/67d9a8f5–ecb6–44e8–8147–b6eb8b7a2718
https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/4e7f1f88–30e2–438e–bab1–318ba10bad17


A Possible Childcare Solution

Worldwide it is estimated that more than 40 percent of all children below primary-school age – or nearly 350 million – need childcare services but do not have access. Too often, many of those young children spend much of their time in vulnerable and unstimulating environments. Notable exceptions are among wealthy developed countries.

Two grandmothers sit with their granddaughters, whom they take care of while their mothers work, on a street in the historic centre of Old Havana, Cuba. Credit: Jorge Luis Baños/IPS

By Joseph Chamie
PORTLAND, USA, Nov 8 2021 – A possible solution to childcare needs is polygamy. Polygamy, the practice of having more than one spouse at the same time, was not against the laws in many countries in the past. For example, polygamy was made illegal in China in 1950, in France at the end of the 20th century, in the United States near end of the 19th century and became a felony in the United Kingdom at the start of the 17th century.

Today nearly four dozen countries worldwide, representing about one-fifth of the world’s population, permit polygamy, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Tanzania. In addition, some countries, such as France, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, recognize polygamous marriages that were done in a country that permits polygamy.

Religions have differing views about marriage and polygamy. For instance, Islam permits a man to have up to four wives, and Hinduism and the Anglican Communion allows polygamy in certain circumstances and the Lutheran Church accepts some polygamists.

Worldwide it is estimated that more than 40 percent of all children below primary-school age – or nearly 350 million – need childcare services but do not have access. Too often, many of those young children spend much of their time in vulnerable and unstimulating environments. Notable exceptions are among wealthy developed countries

Giving people the right to decide on having additional spouses at the same time, rather than sequentially or serial monogamy as is current practice in most countries, has numerous advantages for individuals, families and countries.

Polygamy will not require additional government spending nor create a new entitlement, such as national pension programs, which largely benefit the elderly and retired persons, but not families with young children. Also, it will make childcare needs, such as daycare services, universal pre-primary school education, child tax credits and after school care, unnecessary.

Fiscal conservatives will be pleased to establish polygamy as it avoids establishing new entitlements and additional government expenditures for childcare benefits. Also, it would not contribute to national deficits nor negatively impact a country’s economy.

Also importantly, permitting men and women to have additional spouses, perhaps with a limit of no more than seven spouses, can be expected to substantially increase overall household income. That additional income from several employed spouses will likely move many households above the poverty threshold.

In addition, polygamy would permit one spouse to stay at home to care for children and carry out household responsibilities, with this role possibly rotating among the spouses. The other spouses would then be able to participate in the labor force and pursue their careers and professions. Many married working couples, especially those with demanding schedules, often say, “What we really need is an additional spouse in the house”.

A further potential benefit of polygamy is reducing the need for divorce. Instead of a married couple resorting to a costly and disruptive divorce, they could choose to remain married and simply add additional spouses to their household.

Also, polygamy can be expected to reduce the incidence of marital infidelity. With several spouses in the household, one has an increased number of available sexual partners.

Despite polygamy’s advantages, it’s unlikely that countries will choose to establish the right to polygamy any time soon. The practice is increasingly uncommon, with 2 percent of the global population live in polygamous households and in most countries that proportion is less than 0.5 percent.

In addition, studies report a more significant prevalence of mental-health issues, especially among women, in polygamous relationships compared to monogamous relationships. Polygamy also creates harmful competition among males that contributes to societal instability and insecurity.

Moreover, the United Nations Human Rights Committee has called for polygamy to be abolished as it violates the dignity of women. Some countries that recognize polygamous marriages conducted in another country are taking steps to stop the recognition altogether. Also, several Muslim countries have prohibited polygamy, such as Turkey in 1926 and Tunisia in 1956, largely because it was concluded that a husband could not treat his spouses with equal fairness.

Consequently, it’s evident that other options are needed to address childcare needs. In particular, those needs are seriously limiting the employment of parents, especially single-parent families and low-income mothers, influencing fertility decisions, and negatively impacting household income and national economies.

Of the world’s 2.4 billion children 14 percent – or about 330 million – are living in single-parent households, most often headed by single mothers. Those children and their single parents face social and economic challenges.

The United States has one of the highest levels of single-parent families with children. Approximately 30 percent of America’s families with children less than 18 years old, some 10 million households, are single-parent households. The percentage of U.S. families with children living with a single parent, typically a mother, has tripled since 1965.

Furthermore, childcare needs are adversely impacting the cognitive, educational and health development of children, particularly those in low-income households. Again in the United States, the proposed expanded child tax credits are expected to cut child poverty by about 40 percent, from about 14 to 8 percent.

Worldwide it is estimated that more than 40 percent of all children below primary-school age – or nearly 350 million – need childcare services but do not have access. Too often, many of those young children spend much of their time in vulnerable and unstimulating environments. Notable exceptions are among wealthy developed countries.

OECD countries spend on average 0.7 percent of GDP annually for childcare and pre-primary education, ranging from highs of 1.8 percent in Iceland and 1.6 percent in Sweden to lows of 0.3 percent in the United States and 0.2 percent in Turkey. Among the 33 member nations of OECD, the U.S. ranks 30th in public spending on families and children, which includes childcare support (Figure 1).

 

Public spending on childcare and pre-primary education for selected OECD countries

Source: OECD.

 

In many countries the lack of affordable, available and reliable childcare is keeping many parents, especially mothers, from actively participating in the labor force and reducing household earnings. Parents too often face employment decisions based on childcare needs rather than financial or career considerations. When childcare consumes much of a parent’s time and income, some, typically mothers, decide to leave the labor force.

The lack of childcare is also affecting fertility levels. In China, for example, the lack of access to affordable and convenient childcare options is an important reason why couples aren’t having more children. Of the nearly 50 million Chinese children under 3 years old, approximately 5 percent of them use day care services.

Among most wealthy developed countries, however, the enrolment of 3- to 5-year-old children in early childhood education and childcare services is relatively high, well above 80 percent. Again, a notable exception is the United States where the enrolment in early childhood education and childcare services is 66 percent, well below the OECD average of 87 percent (Figure 2).

 

Percent of 3 to 5 years olds in early childhood education and childcare services in selected couuntries

Source: OECD.

 

It is becoming increasingly evident that meeting childcare needs and the labor force participation of parents, especially mothers, are closely linked to a nation’s overall economic growth. Some maintain that a country cannot be prosperous with half of its workforce sitting on the sidelines due to the lack of affordable childcare and pre-primary education.

The establishment of programs and policies to meet childcare needs and pre-primary education not only contributes to the development and wellbeing of children, their families and communities, it is also a prudent investment contributing to the economic, social and human development of a nation.

 

Joseph Chamie is a consulting demographer, a former director of the United Nations Population Division and author of numerous publications on population issues, including his recent book, “Births, Deaths, Migrations and Other Important Population Matters.”

 

Half World’s Population, Exposed to Floods, Storms, Tsunamis, by 2030

The word "tsunami" comprises the Japanese words "tsu" (meaning harbour) and "nami" (meaning wave). A tsunami is a series of enormous waves created by an underwater disturbance usually associated with earthquakes occurring below or near the ocean

The pulverised beach in Kalmunai, located in eastern Sri Lanka, was stripped of most of its standing structures by the ferocity of the waves. Credit: Amantha Perera/IPS

By Baher Kamal
MADRID, Nov 8 2021 – While negotiators from all over the world have been discussing, since 31 October 2021 in Glasgow, every single word, coma and dot in order to reach a final text that is expected to apparently keep everyone happy but really not everybody satisfied, 50% of world’s population will live in coastal areas, exposed to floods, storms and tsunamis by the year 2030.

The alarm bell rang during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), hosted in Glasgow by the United Kingdom, which is scheduled to end on 12 November with a final accord including a set of promises that, hopefully, will be met… unlike the previous unfulfilled ones.

The alert was sounded on 4 November on the occasion of this year’s World Tsunami Awareness Day.

 

What are tsunamis?

Tsunamis are rare events but can be extremely deadly. In the past 100 years, 58 of them have claimed more than 260,000 lives, or an average of 4,600 per disaster – more than any other natural hazard

The word “tsunami” comprises the Japanese words “tsu” (meaning harbour) and “nami” (meaning wave). A tsunami is a series of enormous waves created by an underwater disturbance usually associated with earthquakes occurring below or near the ocean, according to the World Tsunami Day, which adds the following:

Volcanic eruptions, submarine landslides, and coastal rock falls can also generate a tsunami, as can a large asteroid impacting the ocean. They originate from a vertical movement of the sea floor with the consequent displacement of water mass.

Tsunami waves often look like walls of water and can attack the shoreline and be dangerous for hours, with waves coming every 5 to 60 minutes.

The first wave may not be the largest, and often it is the 2nd, 3rd, 4th or even later waves that are the biggest. After one wave inundates, or floods inland, it recedes seaward often as far as a person can see, so the seafloor is exposed.

The next wave then rushes ashore within minutes and carries with it many floating debris that were destroyed by previous waves.

 

What are the causes of tsunamis?

Earthquakes – They can be generated by movements along fault zones associated with plate boundaries.

Most strong earthquakes occur in subduction zones where an ocean plate slides under a continental plate or another younger ocean plate.

All earthquakes do not cause tsunamis. There are four conditions necessary for an earthquake to cause a tsunami:

  • The earthquake must occur beneath the ocean or cause material to slide into the ocean.
  • The earthquake must be strong, at least magnitude 6.5 on the Richter Scale
  • The earthquake must rupture the Earth’s surface and it must occur at shallow depth – less than 70km below the surface of the Earth.
  • The earthquake must cause vertical movement of the sea floor (up to several metres).

Landslides – A landslide which occurs along the coast can force large amounts of water into the sea, disturbing the water and generate a tsunami. Underwater landslides can also result in tsunamis when the material loosened by the landslide moves violently, pushing the water in front of it.

Volcanic eruptions – Although relatively infrequent, violent volcanic eruptions also represent impulsive disturbances, which can displace a great volume of water and generate extremely destructive tsunami waves in the immediate source area.

One of the largest and most destructive tsunamis ever recorded was generated in August 26, 1883 after the explosion and collapse of the volcano of Krakatoa, in Indonesia. This explosion generated waves that reached 135 feet (41,15 metres), destroyed coastal towns and villages along the Sunda Strait in both the islands of Java and Sumatra, killing 36,417 people.

Extraterrestrial collisions – Tsunamis caused by extraterrestrial collisions (i.e. asteroids, meteors) are an extremely rare occurrence. Although no meteor/asteroid-induced tsunamis have been recorded in recent history, scientists realize that if these celestial bodies should strike the ocean, a large volume of water would undoubtedly be displaced to cause a tsunami.

Rapid urbanisation and growing tourism in regions prone to tsunamis, are also putting even more people in harm’s way.

 

Rare but deadly

Tsunamis are rare events but can be extremely deadly.

In the past 100 years, 58 of them have claimed more than 260,000 lives, or an average of 4,600 per disaster – more than any other natural hazard.

The highest number of deaths occurred in the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004, which caused an estimated 227,000 fatalities across 14 countries. Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Thailand were the hardest hit.

Just three weeks after the disaster, the international community came together in Kobe, Japan, and adopted the 10-year Hyogo Framework for Action, the first comprehensive global agreement on disaster risk reduction.

They also created the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System, which uses seismographic and sea-level monitoring stations to send alerts to national tsunami information centres.

In his message marking this year’s World Tsunami Day, the UN Secretary-General called on all countries, international bodies, and civil society, to increase understanding of the deadly threat, and share innovative approaches to reduce risks.

“We can build on progress achieved – ranging from better outreach to tsunami-exposed communities around the world, to the inclusion of a Tsunami Programme in the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development”, António Guterres said. However, he cautioned that the risks “remain immense.”

“Rising sea levels caused by the climate emergency will further exacerbate the destructive power of tsunamis.”

The 2021 World Tsunami Awareness Day was meant to promote the “Sendai Seven Campaign,” specifically the target that looks to enhance international cooperation to developing countries, those who are most at risk.

All this sounds fine. But: are all half of the world population who will be exposed to such deadly threats in just eight years from now, are they aware of the arduous wording exercise among negotiators in Glasgow to formulate a ‘politically correct’ declaration?

The ALDO Group pursues its commitment towards climate action

MONTREAL, Nov. 08, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Climate issues are more crucial than ever, and the ALDO Group is dedicated to maintaining its commitment to building a low–carbon future. In addition to announcing the renewal of its climate neutral certification for a fourth consecutive year, the company is currently participating in the 11th World Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland. A few weeks ago, the Canadian fashion footwear company also joined We Mean Business, an international coalition of more than 600 companies calling upon the leaders of the world's largest economies to reinforce their climate action objectives during the G20 and COP26 discussions.

"Inspired by the COP21 in Paris 6 years ago, we made a decision in 2018 to become the first climate neutral fashion footwear company. This year's COP will be a critical meeting – there is massive worldwide support for bold action on climate change. We hope that our participation will contribute in a small way to a very big global challenge," said David Bensadoun, CEO of the ALDO Group.

World Climate Summit: Rallying the Fashion Industry's Stakeholders

On November 8 at 10 a.m. (GMT), Jonathan Frankel, Senior Vice–President of APS at the ALDO Group, will join the panel Lead by Example – Harnessing Innovation Towards a Carbon Neutral Fashion & Textile Industry to discuss how the fashion industry can work towards reducing its environmental footprint and how collaboration between manufacturers, designers and consumers is key to reach carbon neutrality.

"The long–term sustainability of the global fashion industry requires systemic change that goes beyond the capabilities of any one company. We cannot fight this problem alone. We strongly believe in collaboration, and that is why we wanted to take part in this unifying event," said Jonathan Frankel.

Well aware that the fashion industry has an impact on global warming, the ALDO Group intensified its climate actions in recent years. The organization is also a member of multi–stakeholder associations that promote partnerships for concerted industry–wide actions, such as the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), the Fashion Pact and the United Nations Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action (UNFCCC).

The ALDO Group's Journey Towards Reducing Its Carbon Footprint

In 2018, the ALDO Group became the first fashion footwear and accessories company in the world to be certified climate neutral for its corporate stores, offices and distribution centres. The organization then reinforced its environmental commitment by also having eCommerce shipments and product transportation certified climate neutral.

In 2020, the company reduced carbon emissions from its operations by 74% compared to 2013. This year, it carried forward its sustainability journey by continuing to reduce its net emissions and compensating the unavoidable ones through a combination of nature–based forest conservation and clean energy projects. And for the fourth consecutive year, the ALDO Group has received its climate neutral company certification from the South Pole Group – a leading provider of global sustainability solutions and services with a transparent and rigorous certification process.

"It's very exciting to see the ALDO Group continuing to make progress on climate action. The company has demonstrated industry leadership and we congratulate them on their commitments and ever–increasing ambition," said Renat Heuberger, CEO and co–founder of South Pole.

Having achieved significant reductions for its operations' emissions, the ALDO Group has been addressing other important issues: from waste management to its positive impact on local communities, from teaming up with partners to improve their social and environmental footprint to promoting diversity and inclusion. In terms of products, the company aims to continue introducing more innovative low impact materials in its collections and to increase its use of recycled materials, such as polyester. The company is also working to decarbonize it supply chain by working closely with its suppliers.

It is also important to remember that in 2019, the ALDO Group joined the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi). Its GHG reduction targets are therefore in line with climate science.

Member of the We Mean Business Coalition

Recognizing the need for collective climate action, the ALDO Group signed the We Mean Business coalition's open letter earlier this month. Ahead of the crucial G20 and COP 26 summits, more than 600 companies from around the world called on the leaders of the world's largest economies to do their utmost to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 C and to reinforce their objectives. The signatories represent sectors ranging from energy and transportation to fashion and construction.

To read the letter and consult the list of companies who signed it, please visit https://www.wemeanbusinesscoalition.org/g20–2021/#letter–block.

For more information about the ALDO Group's commitment to sustainability, please visit https://responsibility.aldogroup.com/.

About the ALDO Group
The ALDO Group is a world–leading creator and operator of desirable footwear and accessory brands. With a presence in over 100 countries around the world, the organization operates under two signature brands, ALDO and Call It Spring, and a multi–brand retail concept, GLOBO. The ALDO Group is also an industry–recognized wholesale distributor and third party sourcing provider of fashion footwear, handbags and accessories. In addition to its head office in Montreal, the ALDO Group has international offices in Europe and in Asia. Guided on a daily basis by its purpose A journey to create a world of love, confidence, and belonging, the ALDO Group is simply unique. For more information, visit www.aldogroup.com.

Media Contact:
press@aldogroup.com


China’s Risky Strategic Game in Myanmar

A demonstration, against Myanmar’s military coup, outside the White House in Washington, DC. Credit: Unsplash/Gayatri Malhotra

By Jan Servaes
BRUSSELS, Nov 8 2021 – Before the February 1 coup, China was among the top international partners of the now-in-opposition National League for Democracy (NLD). From 2015 to early 2020, when China closed its borders due to COVID-19, NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi made five trips to China and met the Chinese President Xi Jinping five times.

During one such visit, Xi announced that he would work with the NLD leadership to “jointly create a China-Myanmar community with a shared destiny”. President Xi Jinping himself visited Myanmar in January 2020.

This visit was the first state visit to Myanmar by a Chinese president after a 20-year hiatus, demonstrating the high level of bilateral ties. Xi stated that China “fully supports Myanmar in a development model that meets national conditions”.

Just days after the November 2020 elections, Xi sent a congratulatory message to Aung San Suu Kyi. In the statement, Xi, in his capacity as general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), pledged that China would work with San Suu Kyi, particularly in promoting inter-party and inter-government relations.

When tensions between the NLD and Myanmar’s military, the Tatmadaw, escalated in late 2020 and rumors of a coup d’état rose, diplomatic discussions took place behind the scenes. For example, on 12 January 2021, the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with army chief Min Aung Hlaing in Nay Pyi Taw.

Wang Yi said: “China will continue to support Myanmar in protecting its sovereignty, national dignity and legitimate rights and interests, support the country in pursuing a development path appropriate to its own national circumstances and Myanmar’s military in playing an appropriate role in and making a positive contribution to the process of transformation and development of the country.”

Min Aung Hlaing replied: “Myanmar is very pleased to witness the increasing international status and influence of China, will remain committed to deepening Myanmar-China friendship and strengthening of all-round cooperation with China, and will continue to support China’s position on issues related to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Xinjiang.”

After the coup, China declined to condemn the coup, while also rejecting any involvement in the coup. It urged all parties in Myanmar to “resolve their differences”.

The UN Country Team in Myanmar remains “deeply concerned over the humanitarian impact” of the country’s ongoing crises stemming largely from the military coup in February, the UN Spokesperson said on October 21. Credit: World Bank/Markus Kostner

However, China immediately reversed contacts with the NLD. A series of letters from the NLD party and the parallel opposition National Unity Government (NUG) went unanswered for months. Only in July, after a congratulatory letter from the NLD to the CPC on the occasion of its 100th anniversary, Beijing finally broke the silence.

However, this did little to change China’s stance with the junta. On the contrary, in the weeks that followed, China expanded working-level ties with the junta’s State Administrative Council (SAC) and invited them to participate in important bilateral and multilateral meetings.

China’s Janus Face

The Chinese government states that “the friendship between China and Myanmar is open to all people in Myanmar”, and claims to maintain strong relations with the NLD. But looking closely at the actions of Chinese stakeholders over the past few months it reveals a rather ambiguous image: a Janus face.

As Chatham House’s Gareth Price puts it, “China may feel that regardless of the outcome, it will remain Myanmar’s most important partner. But that sentiment may be a misjudgment because if the military is forced to withdraw, it could result in a more pronounced anti-China tilt, threatening its strategic interests.”

This begs the fundamental question: What are China’s true intentions regarding the NLD? Jason Tower, Burma country director at the US Institute of Peace (USIP), tries to answer this question in a well-documented article.

Also, the policy letter from Chatham House, — “Who decides China’s foreign policy?” –, challenges conventional wisdom that China functions as a unitary player in its foreign policy-making process. In reality, Beijing’s approach to external issues is the result of intense negotiations between sub-national authorities with a wide range of objectives.

The number of central government agencies, provincial authorities and large state-owned enterprises with influence over the country’s foreign policy has increased as China’s international relations have become more complex.

Economic cooperation

Following China’s decision in early August to work more closely with the junta’s SAC, local and national Chinese officials quickly pushed ahead with initiatives that deepened economic ties. Everything is part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in Myanmar.

The center of this activity was Lincang City, in China’s Yunnan province, across the border of Myanmar’s Kokang Special Autonomous Zone (SAZ) and home to a huge cross-border industrial zone.

Chinese government documents show that the zone had generated more than $31 billion in investments by the end of 2020. The main selling point for the mainly Chinese investors is the access it provides to the Indian Ocean through the port of Yangon and the planned Kyauk Phyu Deep Sea Port Project in southern Rakhine state.

In late August, Lincang signed an agreement with the junta’s commercial authorities to open the trade route to Yangon, the China-Myanmar New Corridor. It links a new 201-kilometer rail line that starts at Lincang and connects to China’s national rail system with a highway that goes to Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon, and its port.

In September, neighboring Guangxi province followed Lincang’s lead and struck new business deals with the junta through a separate China-ASEAN Expo. The Expo hosted an exhibition of a major China-backed industrial zone in Mandalay and saw the signing of key deals on e-commerce between Chinese companies and junta-affiliated Myanmar companies.

Mutual political support

According to some international observers, China was initially reluctant to fully embrace the junta. Therefore, China made a deal with the United States not to offer Myanmar’s seat at the United Nations (for the time being) to the delegate elected by the generals. Should this be understood as a Chinese concession to the NLD? Not when the representation agreement is read in full; because, after all, it leaves the current representative, an outspoken pro-NLD supporter, effectively muzzled, notes the South China Morning Post.

Other key political developments reinforce the perception that the emerging alliance between China and the SAC goes beyond the economy.

First, just two days after announcing the UN deal between China and the US, China’s foreign ministry stressed the role Myanmar had accepted in August as coordinator for the China-ASEAN relationship.

The statement, which made no mention of the political crisis, also emphasized China’s desire to proceed with the implementation of the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor, clearly reassuring its southern neighbor following the deal with the US at the United Nations.

Second, in early September, the SAC Ministry of Health expressed its support for China in the controversy over the origin of COVID-19. Beijing gave the announcement prominent coverage on state CCTV.

Third, when the UN Human Rights Council met in Geneva in mid-September, Myanmar was one of 40 countries to sign a declaration submitted by China condemning foreign interference justified by “human rights or democracy.” This is especially significant as China has argued since the coup that “Western forces” are behind much of the violence, and has repeatedly expressed the need to “prevent foreign interference in Myanmar.”

As a side note on this last point, it should be said that ‘human rights and democracy’ are under pressure as universal values in many Asian countries. Leaving aside the question of how many ASEAN countries are ‘democratic’, the West, and especially the US, often gets a lot of bang for the buck with references to its own ‘past’.

The reality of party-to-party engagement

The resumption of ties between the CPC and the NLD followed a letter sent by the NLD commemorating the 100th anniversary of the CPC. Subsequently, the CPC invited the NLD’s liaison officer for relations with China, to participate via video link in a seminar for South and Southeast Asian political parties ahead of the China-ASEAN Expo.

While the military’s Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) was also invited, only the NLD was featured in the video of the event broadcast by Chinese state media. While China is once again more lenient on the NLD, there is no indication of Chinese warmth to the parallel NLD-dominated NUG.

On the contrary, Chinese commentators have argued since the founding of the NUG that Aung San Suu Kyi and the other detained NLD leaders may disagree with the path taken, and question the legitimacy of the NUG on this basis.

The CPC has also warned NLD leaders to avoid revolutionary or destabilizing activities. Instead, it has encouraged the NLD to distance itself from the NUG, especially its September 7 Declaration.

Meanwhile, Chinese state media are repeating the junta’s propaganda about the coup, rejecting all of the NUG’s proposals. For example, a crucial step of the NUG was the annulment of the 2008 constitution, which allowed the military to retain significant powers. Many ethnic armed organizations and civil society figures fully support this NUG position.

However, China’s official position calls for an end to the post-coup violence through a political solution based on that constitution.

Is China playing with fire?

A closer look at China’s position that “the friendship between China and Myanmar is open to all the people of Myanmar” provides additional clues to Beijing’s calculations against the NLD.
Beijing remains concerned about the risks to its strategic investments in Myanmar from growing anti-China sentiment.

Since March, Chinese projects have been targeted by protesters and have caused tens of millions of dollars in damage.

Keeping lines open with the NLD could facilitate China’s relationship with the people of Myanmar, who largely continue to support the party. China is therefore warning the Tatmadaw to refrain from banning the NLD, which would cause a popular reaction and further destabilization.

But China is playing a complicated game. Maneuvering in such a way as to provide the NLD with a layer of legitimacy while ignoring the wider NUG movement by China carries risks. Ethnic armed groups, civil society and political parties collaborating with the NUG were already suspicious of the previous NLD government’s compromises with the military. A shattering of their unity could blow up any successful political settlement.

In sum

Interpreting China’s delicate dance with Myanmar’s dictators is complicated at best. China continues to maintain contacts with both the NLD and the junta. But where the NLD connection does not provide material support, Beijing has since August engaged in economic, diplomatic and humanitarian activities that strengthen and directly benefit ties with the military junta.

The Chatham House policy document and Richard McGregor’s “The Party” seem to confirm this. Far from being a well-orchestrated unit, the formulation and implementation of Chinese foreign policy in Beijing’s power corridors is prone to clashes between central government agencies, provincial-level governments, and large state-owned enterprises, each working for their own greater authority and budgetary power.

“Consensus-seeking remains one of the most common forms of decision-making in the Chinese political system. As China has become a major player on the global stage, foreign policy decision-making now requires more time and expertise than has been necessary in the past… Despite President Xi’s rock-solid approach to party control, the foreign policy decision-making process of China continues to be fluid in nature, opaque in execution and erratic in coordination.”

If China is seriously concerned about its long-term interests in Myanmar, it must radically rethink its approach. The declared policy of friendship between China and Myanmar could be a starting point, but it must recognize that the military is effectively waging a war with its people.

There is no way for China to maintain this friendship with the general public while showering the junta with recognition, aid and new business deals. China must also realize that these deals could ultimately fail if the junta proves incapable of governing the country.

Jan Servaes is editor of the 2020 Handbook on Communication for Development and Social Change https://link.springer.com/referencework/10.1007/978-981-10-7035-8

 


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UN’s “Indispensable Partners” Barred from Entering Secretariat Building

The high-level segment of the UN General Assembly in late September 2021 was attended by more than 100 world leaders and over a thousand delegates from 193 countries —despite the UN’s pandemic lockdown. But NGOs were banned from the Secretariat building—a 20-month- old ban which still continues. Credit: UN Photo / Mark Garten

By Thalif Deen
UNITED NATIONS, Nov 8 2021 – The United Nations has come under heavy fire for continuing a 20-month-long ban on non-governmental organizations (NGOs)– even though the Secretariat is expected to return to near-normal by November 15 after a pandemic lockdown going back to March 2020.

Louis Charbonneau, UN Director of Human Rights Watch, told IPS: “The Secretary-General has repeatedly spoken of the vital importance of civil society to the proper functioning of the UN. Now he needs to prove he means it by re-admitting accredited NGOs – the only category of UN passholders still barred from entering UN headquarters.”

“We know certain countries are overjoyed that critical civil society voices on human rights and humanitarian issues are currently locked out of UN HQ. They probably want the ban to go on forever,” he said.

If the Secretary-General truly considers civil society essential in ensuring the UN is accountable to the people of the world, he should end the ban on NGOs immediately as more than 60 UN member states have called for (at a meeting last week), said Charbonneau.

The staffers who were mostly tele-working from their homes are expected to back in the building next week. While diplomats were never barred from the UN during the lockdown– and while some “essential” staffers were permitted access to the building– all NGOs were banned from the premises. The UN has also refused to renew their passes to enter the headquarters building.

The mounting protests against the continued ban have come from several NGOs, most of whom have been partnering with the UN providing humanitarian assistance in conflict-ridden countries, including Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, Libya, Sudan and Ethiopia.

Sherine Tadros, Deputy Director of Advocacy, Amnesty International, told IPS: “It’s wonderful that Secretary-General Guterres often speaks of how much he values civil society, it’s great that he re-iterated recently that we are an integral part of the UN ecosystem”.

“But that only makes it more difficult to understand why he continues to allow a situation where we are banned from entering the UN building in New York. We urge him to address this as a matter of urgency, so that we can do our work protecting human rights,” said Tadros.

During an event marking the 75th anniversary of the UN Charter last year, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said civil society groups were a vital voice at the San Francisco Conference (where the UN was inaugurated). “You have been with us across the decades, in refugee camps, in conference rooms, and in mobilizing communities in streets and town squares across the world.”

“You are with us today as we face the COVID-19 pandemic. You are our allies in upholding human rights and battling racism. You are indispensable partners in forging peace, pushing for climate action, advancing gender equality, delivering life-saving humanitarian aid and controlling the spread of deadly weapons. And the world’s framework for shared progress, the Sustainable Development Goals, is unthinkable without you’, he declared.

In an interview with IPS, James Paul, former Executive Director at the New York-based Global Policy Forum (GPF) said for many years, the UN has placed increasingly onerous restrictions on NGOs, especially with respect to NGO access to the UN headquarters in New York.

Hinting at the UN’s political hypocrisy, he said that in spite of regular statements by the Secretary General that NGOs are “indispensable partners” of the organization, the UN has tightened the rules and steadily restricted the possibility for effective NGO action.

So, it comes as no surprise that the recent relaxation of Covid restrictions on delegations, staff journalists and other favored interlocutors has not been extended to NGOs, said Paul, author of “Of Foxes and Chickens”, a critical analysis of Oligarchy and Global Power in the UN Security Council.

He said the opening of the General Assembly in late September 2021 saw many journalists, large national delegations and a growing staff presence, but the UN kept the door firmly shut to NGOs.

Now, more than a month later, the portcullis is still down and there have been no encouraging statements from UN leaders that might suggest a lifting of the ban any time soon – or any plausible reasons given for this situation, he noted.

“Protests from the leaders of major human rights organizations have been to no avail. Is this, then, the beginning of the end of NGO active presence at the UN?” he asked.

Currently, there are thousands of NGOs worldwide who are either affiliated with the UN’s Department of Global Communications or provided consultative status by the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

The UN says NGOs have been partners of the Department of Global Communications (DGC) since its establishment in 1947. Official relationships between DGC and NGOs date back to 1968.

The Economic and Social Council in its resolution 1297 called on DGC to associate NGOs with effective information programs in place and thus disseminate information about issues on the UN’s agenda and the work of the Organization. Through associated NGOs, DGC seeks to reach people around the world and help them better understand the work and aims of the United Nations.

https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/conference-of-states-parties-to-the-convention-on-the-rights-of-persons-with-disabilities-2/list-of-non-governmental-organization-accredited-to-the-conference-of-states-parties.html

Andreas Bummel, Executive Director, Democracy Without Borders told IPS civil society representatives need to be given access to the UN building and meetings on an equal basis compared to other stakeholders.

“I cannot remember any time when they were barred for so long while others had access. There is a growing suspicion that concerns related to Covid-19 safety are used as a pretext for restricting civic space. For too long, the UN Secretary-General has let this happen. It is overdue for him to intervene,” said Bummel.

Michael Bröning, Executive Director of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) New York, told IPS: “Keeping the UN in New York Covid-free by making it a civil-society-free environment puts a whole new meaning to the notion of diplomatic immunity – and begs the question of protection at what price.”

Paul said some Western media outlets have sought to give the restrictions a false political spin, by claiming that the restrictions are due to the fact that the head of the UN department responsible for NGO accreditation is a Chinese national! This is pure propaganda.

The Western powers – in particular the United States and the United Kingdom – have been quietly pushing for more NGO restrictions and less funding for NGO-supportive UN “focal points” for more than two decades, even while they have been giving lip service to the cause of NGO access, he pointed out.

“This policy has come from dislike of NGO disarmament initiatives, disapproval of NGO social, economic and environmental campaigns, fury at NGO opposition to the Iraq conflict, and much more.”

As early as 1999, he said, the Chef de Cabinet of the Secretary General issued draconian guidelines excluding NGOs from open access to the all-important second floor of the headquarters complex. More restrictions were to follow, often pushed by US police and security services as a response to “terrorist threats.”

UN leaders started to talk about the “dangerous wave of NGOs,” even though there was no measurable increase in NGO numbers, said Paul.

“The UN membership more generally has not stood up for NGOs against the pressure of the big powers. These smaller states are today less supportive or even less tolerant of NGOs than they used to be, seeing NGOs as a source of embarrassment or annoying opposition on one topic or another.”

At a time of increasingly right-wing governments, getting rid of opponents is a natural step for the new breed of diplomats. Even among friendlier governments, few are ready to use political capital to defend the creative and essential democratic role of these organizations, Paul added.

Meanwhile, he argued, they have applauded the UN’s open door for business representatives, foundation bigwigs and other smooth-talking proponents of the international status quo, especially those with cash to spread around.

“An argument can be made that the exclusion of NGOs has gone so far and become so blatant that it has become a violation by the UN of its own Charter, which in Article 71 calls for the Economic and Social Council to establish “suitable arrangements for consultation” with NGOs.”

The UN leadership now says its “electronic platforms” are suitable, at least for the foreseeable future. But if this is so, why are others able to come and go while even the most respected NGO representatives are turned away?

“This may be the time to bring the UN to legal accountability. Could a case be brought in an appropriate legal body (perhaps the World Court) to test the matter?” asked Paul.

Meanwhile, Dr Agnes Callamard, Secretary-General of Amnesty International and Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, wrote a strong letter of protest to Guterres last week.

Responding to the letter, Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, UN’s Chef de Cabinet, said: “I wish to assure you of the utmost importance we attach to civil society engagement in the work of the United Nations at all levels and its active participation throughout the year, including during high-level events”.

“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been balancing the safety and security of personnel, representatives of Member States and other stakeholders with the need to ensure that the work of the Organization continues. In March 2020, the premises in New York were closed and the majority of our personnel worked remotely to ensure continuity of critical functions, including inter-governmental meetings, which had to be conducted virtually.”

The letter also says: “As the situation in New York has gradually improved, the United Nations has been able to follow a gradual and phased approach to its reopening in order to protect the health and safety of all individuals concerned. Based on medical guidance, we are currently in Phase 2 of our reopening plan with most personnel working remotely for up to four days a week.

This phased approach continues to require limiting the number of persons that can be physically present on the premises and in meetings to ensure compliance with the physical distancing recommendations of our health experts and the guidance issued by the host country authorities.

Preparations are under way to move towards Phase 3, known as our Next Normal phase, which would allow us to increase our overall footprint in the building and to reopen more fully, she said.

 


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Optimizing Sustainable Groundwater Management Calls for a System Thinking Approach

Systems thinking provides an opportunity to understand how groundwater systems function and react to anthropogenic influences, thereby enhancing its contribution to water security, according to the authors. Credit: Bigstock.

Systems thinking provides an opportunity to understand how groundwater systems function and react to anthropogenic influences, thereby enhancing its contribution to water security, according to the authors. Credit: Bigstock.

By External Source
JOHANNESBURG, Nov 8 2021 – “The Systems thinking approach could innovatively contribute to a water-secure Southern African Development Community (SADC) region to mitigate the acerbating impacts of climate change”. This view is shared by Engineer James Sauramba, SADC-GMI Executive Director.

Diplomacy & Science News 2019 also indicates that if sustainable water resources management is the ultimate, a transdisciplinary approach which advocates for the conjunctive use of both groundwater and surface water is required.

It is a well-known fact that water is a finite resource. To meet water demands of the ever-growing SADC population, the water community needs to constantly look for innovative approaches to ensure that the region is water and food secure considering the worsening climate change scenarios that are currently immersing the region and the globe at large.

One of the key objectives of the upcoming conference is to enhance the community of practice amongst the groundwater practitioners and allow them to talk about this water resource, that is underground, invisible, and yet indispensable

As the surface water resources dwindle, millions of people turn to groundwater as their primary source of water for agricultural, industrial and domestic use. This alone adds pressure to an already scarce resource.

Eng Sauramba says research indicates that over 70% of the 280 million people living in the SADC region rely on groundwater as their primary source of water. In most cases, especially in the rural areas,

Groundwater is the only resource that saves the population to sustain their livelihoods and from a total halt of their social and economic development. With so much demand placed upon groundwater resources, the holistically management of the resource becomes key.

Eng Sauramba continues to say that to achieve a water resilient SADC region, there is an urgent need to embrace and apply holistic approaches to water resources management, starting from the planning to implementation of the interventions.

One of the key objectives of the upcoming conference is to enhance the community of practice amongst the groundwater practitioners and allow them to talk about this water resource, that is underground, invisible, and yet indispensable. The conference will also allow participants to share the emerging issues and innovations currently used in the conjunctive use of both groundwater and surface water to combat the growing impacts of climate change.

The 4th SADC Groundwater Conference brings to prominence groundwater Systems thinking as one of the key approaches in achieving a water resilient SADC, hence the focus of this year’s theme. The conference is further divided into three sub-themes: (i) Groundwater, an Integral part of the hydrological system, (ii) Communities, institutions, capacity, and local-level governance, and (iii) Deriving benefits from the groundwater system, Innovative groundwater infrastructure interventions.

Topics under these three sub-themes will demonstrate how various components in groundwater management work together holistically to achieve the sustainable development of water resources.

Systems thinking provides an opportunity to understand how groundwater systems function and react to anthropogenic influences, thereby enhancing its contribution to water security.

Applying the systems approach to water management can assist us manage the complexity of the resource and provide a structured way of thinking about the whole system rather than its parts, and about connections rather than just content.

Systems thinking to groundwater resources management comes with a large set of mathematical formalities for addressing systems in a rigorous way and it offers us an innovative toolkit of techniques relevant for studying nexus problems, including systems dynamics, integrated assessment, simulation, and modelling, and many more.

The impact of climate change-induced severe weather events such as droughts and floods, and changes in rainfall patterns are starting to have visible and devastating effects on water and food security. A 2011 study, for instance, revealed that 12 of the 16 SADC Member States are directly and periodically affected by drought events, increasing the pressure on Southern Africa’s already dwindling lakes and rivers.

Such occurrences justify the important need to sustainably manage both groundwater and surface water conjunctively. In most cases we turn to groundwater when we are already in crises. As water custodians in the region, we need to be proactive in our planning, and collaboration from all stakeholders is of paramount importance.

The water resources systems approach today offers a scientific interdisciplinary context for dealing with the complex practical issues of water management and prediction of the water resources future.

Agriculture, the most important economic activity in the SADC region, draws an estimated 20 percent of its water from groundwater – a precious resource that often helps farmers to survive dry seasons, particularly in more arid south-western areas.

Today, more than ever, we need appropriate tools that can assist in dealing with the challenges introduced by the increase in the complexity of water resource problems, consideration of environmental impacts, and the introduction of principles of sustainability.

In the complex environment we find ourselves in, the system thinking approach promises to offer a scientific interdisciplinary context for dealing with complex practical issues of water management and prediction for the future. It also assists decision makers to make better decisions for sustainable water management to sustain livelihoods and socio – economic development.

 

This Opinion piece has been put together by Engineer James Sauramba, SADC-GMI Executive Director and Thokozani Dlamini, SADC-GMI Communications and Knowledge Management Specialist