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It feels like a rogue forecast of a cyclone headed for New Zealand. The global financial storm was headed our way, but now it seems there’s optimism, or perhaps complacency, in the air. As usual the damage has been more severe for those on low incomes and the vulnerable, particularly children. But what about our region – the Pacific? A new report by Oxfam reveals that the storm hit our Pacific neighbours harder and for longer. But there is little hard data on how the crisis is affecting people who are vulnerable. The stories we are hearing give real cause for concern.
Generally negotiators at international events are well behaved – polite, diplomatic, unemotional. But some of them have been getting angry and upset in climate change negotiations in Copenhagen. Most of the frustration has been directed towards the rich countries that caused the problem; fifteen years after the signing of the climate change convention they have still not stabilised their emissions.
National should abandon plans to return our aid programme to the foreign affairs ministry, writes Barry Coates. This is not the time to make aid a political tool or to abandon the aim of poverty reduction. Aid should be for the benefit of the poor.
Here at the United Nations climate change conference in Poznan, Poland, negotiations are hectic. I’m not surprised; there is much at stake. Still, some of the delegates have found time to play a game in between their meetings. You might have heard of it before, it’s called “Planet Roulette”.
Human Rights and Climate Wrongs, by Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland, former High Commissioner for Human Rights and honorary president of Oxfam International.
Sixty years ago today, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the cornerstone document that was created in the aftermath of unimaginable atrocities. This Declaration, and the legal documents that stemmed from it, have helped us combat torture, discrimination and hunger. And now, this venerable document should guide us in the fight against one of the greatest challenges ever to face humankind: climate change.
In these days of giant bank bail-outs and financial calamity, involving sums in the billions, a thousand seems like a small number. Except it is the average number of people killed by small arms every day – and to me that thousand is devastating. Many of those deaths are avoidable. They happen because weapons are too easy to buy and sell.
Big news this week – World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks collapsed. Sounds familiar? Unfortunately, such collapses in WTO Ministerial meetings have become all too common. Virtually every deadline set for negotiations in the current trade round has been missed.
By Jody Williams, 1997 Nobel Peace Laureate, Chair of the Nobel Women’s Initiative. Published in the Dominion Post, Friday 15 February 2008.
Actor Colin Firth writes on why Starbucks must honour Ethiopian farmers, and about his travels in Ethiopia last year when he met with Ethiopian coffee producing co-operatives.