02 AUG 2020

10 Key Facts around World Youth Skills Day

World Youth Skills Day was celebrated July 15 under the theme of “Skills for a Resilient Youth.”

Designated by the UN General Assembly in 2014, World Youth Skills Day aims to highlight the importance of equipping young people with skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship.
Rising youth unemployment is a growing global problem, with a report showing a worldwide rise since 2017 in the number of youth not in employment, education or training (NEET).

In 2016, there were 259 million young people classified as NEET – rising to an estimated 267 million in 2019, with 273 million projected by 2021. 
Globally, one in five young people are NEET – three out of four young NEETs are women.

While the youth population grew by 139 million between 1997 and 2017, the youth labour force shrank by 58.7 million.

Almost two out of five young workers in emerging and developing economies live on less than US$3.10 a day.

Prior to the current crisis, youth were three times as likely as people age 25 or older to be unemployed. Currently, more than one in six young people are out of work due to COVID-19. 

School closures due to COVID-19 may have impacted 70 percent of the world’s learners across education levels. 

Distance training has become the most common way of imparting skills, according to research collected by UNESCO, the International Labour Organization and the World Bank.  By Source: United Nations

26 OCT 2020

Returning to pre-COVID world “not an option” former Unilever chief tells first ADSW Web Series

Failure to build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic would be a “tragedy” and have catastrophic consequences for humanity, Paul Polman, former chief executive of Unilever, and a long-term campaigner for sustainable business practices, said during the first-ever ADSW Web Series this month. 

“COVID has shown that we cannot have healthy people on an unhealthy planet,” Polman said on the online seminar. COVID-19 has demonstrated the dangers of encroaching on the environment and threatening biodiversity through “the mixing of our wild life increasingly with our human life,” which has caused a series of health incidents, culminating in the pandemic, he said.

Polman, co-founder and Chair of IMAGINE, a for-benefit company and foundation that mobilizes business leaders around the UN Global Goals, was speaking on the inaugural ADSW Web Series, a year-round platform dedicated to continuing the dialogue around sustainability.. Hosted by Masdar, the ADSW Web Series discusses critical, relevant topics key to accelerating the world’s sustainable development and delivering a green recovery. 

The global response to the 2008-2009 financial crisis had failed to adequately address climate change issues, with less than 3 percent of total investment going on greening economies, Polman argued.

“We missed a huge opportunity: a lot of money was spent to keep the banks afloat but people felt that banks were too big to fail and that people were too small to matter,” he said. 

In the wake of COVID-19, “to simply go back to where we came from is not an option” as life pre-pandemic “wasn’t working,” Polman told the online audience. “Mother Nature is sending us the invoices,” he stated. 

“The biggest risk I see right now” is for governments to declare they have already spent too much money on tackling COVID-19 issues, and can’t afford to address climate change, he said. Failure to raise capital flows into green markets would be a tragedy, Polman declared, adding that “the cost of acting is significantly lower than the cost of not acting.” 

In his decade as CEO at Unilever, Polman oversaw the company’s Sustainable Living Plan, with the company championing brands that support positive change for people and the planet. In 2018, Unilever said its 28 Sustainable Living brands grew 69 percent faster than the rest of its brands, while delivering 75 percent of the company’s overall growth. 

Total shareholder returns over his tenure was almost 300 percent, Polman said, “well above the market” but the company hadn’t prioritized this, he added, but had focused on other measures. 

Businesses need to be aware that there are enormous costs of not being in balance with the planet, Polman said. “Business depends on nature for many of its activities – in fact nature provides around US$125 trillion of services, but we don’t pay for it, we don’t value it, we destroy nature, these costs are coming back in the business,” he declared. 

29 SEP 2020

10 key facts about World Food Day

By United Nations & the Food and Agriculture Organization

  • World Food Day 2020 takes place on October 16 – this year’s event marks the 75th anniversary of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 
  • World Food Day is one of the most celebrated days of the UN calendar, with hundreds of events and outreach activities taking place across 150 countries. 
  • This year, almost 690 million people are hungry, up 10 million since 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic could add as many as 132 million people to this number, depending on the economic growth scenario.
  • Over 2 billion people do not have regular access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food. The global population is expected to reach almost 10 billion by 2050.
  • The impact of malnutrition in all its forms - undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies, as well as overweight and obesity - on the global economy is estimated at US$3.5 trillion per year.
  • A steady increase in hunger since 2014 together with rising obesity, clearly indicates the need to accelerate and scale up actions to strengthen food systems and protect people's livelihoods.
  • Today, just nine plant species account for 66 percent of total crop production, despite the fact that there are at least 30, 000 edible plants. 
  • Our future food systems need to provide affordable and healthy diets for all and decent livelihoods for food system workers, while preserving natural resources and tackling challenges such as climate change.
  • Approximately 14 percent of food produced for human consumption is lost each year before it reaches the wholesale market. More food is wasted at the retail food and consumer stages.
  • 10. Over 3 billion people in the world lack internet access, most of them living in rural and remote areas. Smallholder farmers need greater access to finance, training, innovation and technology. 

01 SEP 2020

10 Key Facts around International Day of clean air for blue skies

The UN has designated September 7 as the International Day of clean air for blue skies, with short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) among those pollutants most linked with both adverse health effects and near-term warming of the planet. 

SLCPs can persist in the atmosphere for a few days or a few decades, so reducing them can have an almost immediate health and climate benefits for those living in places where levels fall. 

These pollutants are responsible for about one-third of deaths from stroke, chronic respiratory disease, and lung cancer, as well as one quarter of heart attack deaths. Ground-level ozone, produced from the interaction of many different pollutants in sunlight, can also cause asthma and chronic respiratory illnesses.

Аir pollution is the single greatest environmental risk to human health and one of the main avoidable causes of death and disease globally, with an estimated 6.5 million premature deaths across the world in 2016 attributed to indoor and outdoor air pollution. 

Air pollution disproportionately affects women, children and the elderly, especially in low-income populations as they are often exposed to high levels of ambient air pollution and indoor air pollution from cooking and heating with wood fuel and kerosene.

Society bears a high cost of air pollution due to the negative impacts on the economy, work productivity, healthcare costs and tourism, among others. 

In the absence of aggressive intervention, the number of premature deaths resulting from ambient air pollution is estimated to increase by more than 50 percent by 2050.

UN Member States recognize the need to substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination by 2030, as well as to reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management by 2030.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which outlines a road map to achieving sustainable development, environmental protection and prosperity for all, recognizes that air pollution abatement is important to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Countries have committed to promoting sustainable development policies that support healthy air quality in the context of sustainable cities and human settlements