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Globally, one in eight is migrant: WHO

According to WHO report, Climate change, rising inequality, conflicts, trade, and population growth are accelerating these trends…reports Asian Lite News

Globally one in eight or over one billion people today are migrants with 281 million international migrants and many million individuals who are stateless, according to World Health Organization (WHO).

Climate change, rising inequality, conflicts, trade, and population growth are accelerating these trends, WHO said in a statement. The health workforce has a vital role in providing for the health rights and needs of refugees and migrants.
With an aim to support countries and territories to build professional competence and capacity to adequately address refugee and migrant health issues, WHO is organizing the third edition of its annual Global School on Refugee and Migrant Health in Dhaka, Bangladesh with a focus on capacity-building.

“Migration and displacement can have deep and long-lasting impacts on physical and mental health and well-being, and cultural and linguistic differences, financial barriers, stigma and discrimination can all hamper access to health services for refugees and migrants,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “Health workers have a crucial role in helping to overcome these barriers. The WHO Global School on Refugee and Migrant Health is a valuable resource for building the capacity of health workers to better serve refugees and migrants.”

While not all refugees and migrants are vulnerable, they are often due to an array of determinants, from xenophobia and discrimination to poor living, housing, and working conditions, and inadequate access to health services that are people-centred and sensitive to refugee and migrant health needs.

“Human right to health is a right that extends to all people everywhere, especially refugees and migrants. Because to be truly respected, protected and fulfilled, a right must be fully enjoyed by the most marginalized and vulnerable – those at risk of or who are already being left behind, which often includes people on the move,” said Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia addressing the participants.

Held in a different location each year, the Global School aims to leverage the learnings and experiences of countries in close collaboration with WHO and governments.

This year over 7.1 million Bangladeshis were displaced by climate change a number that could reach 13.3 million by 2050. Since 1978 the country has also witnessed three major influxes of forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals totalling more than one million people each with unique medical needs and housed in one of the world’s largest and most densely populated camps in Cox’s Bazar.

“Not only has Bangladesh provided them access to free health care – including, most recently, COVID-19 vaccines – but it has also made concerted efforts to address key social, economic, environmental, and legal vulnerabilities,” said the Regional Director.

Over five days 28 November – 2 December, policymakers, UN partner agencies, academia, members of civil society, and stakeholders at the Global School will exchange knowledge and experiences to address key elements of capacity-building. The e-learning hybrid event hosted by the Ministry of Health Bangladesh will be web-streamed globally.

Tunisia arrests 72 Italy-bound illegal immigrants off coast

“The yearly Global School on Refugee and Migrant Health is a flagship of the WHO Health and Migration Programme and an opportunity to strengthen the strategic and operational collaboration with Regional and country offices on refugee and migrant health towards the implementation of the Global Action Plan on promoting the health of refugees and migrants 2019-2023 (GAP),” said Dr Santino Severoni, Director of the Health and Migration Programme.

Open to all audiences, the Global School aims to reach a diverse audience of policy makers, health sector managers, and officers working at different levels within Ministries of Health. Researchers, University students, nongovernmental agencies, youth representatives and journalists also participate.

“From each context to the next, no challenge is the same, nor will be the solution. But of critical need to all countries and health systems is a health workforce that is well-trained, culturally sensitive and competent, and which is sensitive to the needs of refugees and migrants, their languages and unique health problems,” said Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh. (ANI)

ALSO READ: US  $1 mn to the first entrant who develops a vegan wool material

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LEGACY OF A GENERAL: Bajwa leaves country and army divided

General Bajwa should take the responsibility for much of the political mess the country had witnessed of late. In fact, Bajwa is leaving the country deeply divided with Imran Khan stoking up political ire over the army at every given opportunity–rarely has been the most powerful institution in the country riddled with criticism and humiliation since the 1971 war … a special comment by Dr Sakariya Kareem

General Qamar Javed Bajwa is leaving a nation and its army divided, a division which he is equally responsible since he took over as the Chief of Army Staff in 2016. In his last address, Bajwa struck a confessional note by admitting that much of the public ire against the army was due to its political role. It could perhaps be a rare statement from a serving COAS of Pakistan, but it does not offer any confidence that the army has learnt any lessons from the recent months of turmoil and public humiliation. Bajwa’s own record is highly disappointing in this matter.

It was Bajwa, and his predecessor, Raheel Sharif, who conspired to bring Imran Khan to replace Nawaz Sharif. Sharif was literally hounded out of the country by Bajwa and his men. Bajwa was also instrumental in keeping afloat a hybrid regime run by Imran Khan till both of them fell out over many things, perhaps the most critical being the replacement of the ISI chief, Lt. General Syed Asim Munir. Munir is now the new COAS-select.

Imran Khan, in many ways, was the bogeyman created by Bajwa and his men and should therefore accept his responsibility in the muck which the army had to face in the past few months. Bajwa dodges the issue by putting the blame for `false narratives` on political parties, more so on Imran Khan and his party, PTI.

Bajwa’s singular failure has been to keep the army together on the most challenging task of safeguarding the force from public anger. Imran Khan’s twitter war had ransacked the military fortress to such an extent that a division among the Generals and other officers became public.  Imran Khan had managed to elicit support from the military families in Punjab of all places. Bajwa had to employ all his experience and men to stem the tide of dissent among the rank and file.

Bajwa’s promise to let go of the army’s political obsession is hard to believe given its long history dating back to the Ayub Khan era. The history of Pakistan is littered with coups and failed coups. Of the 75 years of independence, almost 33 years Pakistan has been under the direct rule of Generals. For several more years, the army has been running the government from behind the scenes. Politics has been an integral part of the Pakistan Army. Bajwa has only promoted this aberration as much as other Generals. To turn around at the fag end of his career in the army is at best disingenuous.

Bajwa should take the responsibility for much of the political mess the country had witnessed of late. In fact, Bajwa is leaving the country deeply divided with Imran Khan stoking up political ire over the army at every given opportunity–rarely has been the most powerful institution in the country riddled with criticism and humiliation since the 1971 war.

It is not surprising that Bajwa mentioned the 71 war and called it a `political failure` and not a military failing, another claim which can easily be countered. There are countless narratives, most of them backed up by hard evidence, it was the greed, lust and inefficiency of Generals which led to the Pakistan Army’s ignominious defeat. There will be few takers for Bajwa’s claim of bravery even in Pakistan.

Bajwa’s exit, coming as it did with the news of ill gotten wealth his family members managed to create during his extended tenure, does not offer any hope but only a short pause to the Pakistan Army’s stranglehold over the country.

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Outgoing Brazilian President Bolsonaro challenges election

The election authorities stressed that Bolsonaro and his party must modify their complaint and include the results of the first round of elections to initiate the legal procedure…reports Asian Lite News

After Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva narrowly won in Brazil’s presidential elections last month, outgoing Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has filed a petition to formally challenge the poll results, CNN reported.

In the petition filed on November 22, Bolsonaro and the leaders of his Liberal Party claimed that some voting machines had malfunctioned and demanded the annulment of votes cast through them. Following the election results, Bolsonaro has not accepted his defeat in the presidential elections. However, he had said previously that he will continue to “fulfil all commandments of the constitution.”

The complaint revealed that removing those votes will make Bolsonaro win the elections, Labour Party claimed citing analysis conducted by a company hired by them, as per the CNN report. In response to Bolsonaro’s petition, Brazilian election authorities have said that the same voting machines were utilised during the first round of elections.

The election authorities stressed that Bolsonaro and his party must modify their complaint and include the results of the first round of elections to initiate the legal procedure, CNN cited CNN Brasil’s report. Chief Justice of Brazil’s Supreme Electoral Court, Alexandre Moraes has given 24 hours’ deadline to Bolsonaro and his petitioners to modify their complaint.

In the elections, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva received over 60 million votes, which is the most in Brazilian history. According to Brazil’s electoral authority, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva secured 50.90 per cent of the vote while Bolsonaro received 49.10 per cent votes. Addressing supporters on October 30, he said, “they tried to bury me alive and I am here,” as per the CNN report. Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva announced that he will govern the nation from January 1, 2023. It will be his third term as he has been Brazil’s President for two consecutive terms between 2003 and 2010. He made a comeback in presidential elections after a series of corruption allegations leading to his imprisonment for 580 days.

However, the Supreme Court annulled the sentences announced against Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. World leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, congratulated Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva for winning Brazil’s presidential elections.

“Starting on January 1, 2023, I will govern for the 215 million Brazilians, not just the ones who voted for me. There are not two Brazils. We are one country, one people, one great nation,” CNN quoted Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva as saying. (ANI)

ALSO READ: Rail strike in US may hit economy  

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Imran Struggles To Mend Fences With Pak Army

Imran Khan’s open blame-game against the military institutions and name calling Gen Bajwa for “illegitimately” ousting his government in April this year has crossed all “red-lines” and rendered him an ‘enemy’ of Rawalpindi … writes Dr Sakariya Kareem

It appears that former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s campaign against the ruling Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) coalition government and the powerful military establishment is losing heat. Many analysts are suggesting that Khan has finally understood that he will not have any role in electing the country’s new army chief. The only choice left for him is to mend ties with the security establishment as the new Chief of Army Staff takes the charge later this month. However, it seems unlikely because Khan has crossed all “redlines” by openly attacking the Pakistan Army and Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leaders are claiming that neither Imran Khan nor PTI-backed President of Pakistan Arif Alvi will show any “resistance or create any hurdle” in the appointment of the new army chief by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. Khan has himself said that he had no doubts about the intentions of candidates for the slot of army chief. These efforts seem desperate and may not bring any relief for Imran Khan in the coming months. On the other hand, in an apparent sycophantic attempt, the ruling PDM coalition is considering amending the Pakistan Army Act, 1952 in a way that would empower the appointing authority — i.e. the prime minister — to retain any candidate through a “simple notification, rather than having to go through a complex, constitutional process.

Imran Khan.(Photo:Imran Khan/Instagram)

The PDM government is seeing an opening to improve ties with the military establishment under the new chief. Moreover, Imran Khan’s open blame game against the military institutions and name-calling Gen Bajwa for “illegitimately” ousting his government in April this year has crossed all “red-lines” and rendered him an ‘enemy’ of Rawalpindi. There are reports that some top PTI leaders are considering leaving the party after the assassination attempt on Imran Khan, which was seen as a ‘consequence’ of not following the “orders”. Therefore, it is not surprising that a ‘dissident’ PTI member Ahmad Hassan Dehar presented a resolution in the National Assembly to pay tribute to the services of the Pakistan Army. Whereas the ruling coalition leaders used the occasion to blame Imran Khan for “criticising the state institutions”.

In a recent interview to local journalists, Khan claimed that the establishment exercises “absolute authority” in Pakistan compared to civilian setups. For instance, Gen Bajwa wanted PTI leader Aleem Khan to become Punjab’s Chief Minister and not Usman Buzdar, which created rifts between Khan and the military establishment. He further claimed that Gen Bajwa wanted Pakistan to “vote against the Russian invasion of Ukraine” at the United Nations while Khan’s PTI government was of the view that abstaining would be a “better option”.

 It is noteworthy that Khan is sharing all these ‘confidential’ details after the assassination attempt on him and a few weeks before Gen Bajwa’s retirement on November 29.

Many analysts are suggesting that Imran Khan has nothing more to lose now. There will not be general elections in Pakistan before July 2023 and the new army chief will be extremely wary of Khan and his party. Furthermore, the whole Khan-Bajwa episode has put a serious question mark on the army establishment’s strategy of raising a ‘third’ political front in Pakistan. The ‘hybrid’ regime experiment went terribly wrong and has proven very costly to the establishment’s image. Going forward, the future army chiefs in Pakistan will be extremely cautious in picking the country’s civilian leadership, likely relying on the known political stooges, fearing a repeat of the Imran Khan episode.

Therefore, the task at hand for the establishment is to weaken Imran Khan and stop him from participating in future elections. In a recent development, Dubai-based Pakistani businessman Umar Zahoor claimed that he purchased gifts from Pakistan’s state depository or Toshakhana, including a USD 2 million worth Graff wristwatch gifted to Imran Khan by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman. 

According to Pakistan’s law, any gift received from dignitaries of a foreign state must be put in the Toshakhana. Last month, the Election Commission of Pakistan barred Imran Khan from running for political office for five years, after the government agency ruled that he misled officials about gifts he received from foreign leaders while in power.

Khan has claimed that these allegations are part of a “campaign to malign him”. He has decided to sue Geo News and businessman Zahoor in courts in London and the UAE for their “character assassination”, saying he had “no hope in Pakistan’s justice system”.

These allegations will create more legal hurdles for Imran Khan and stop him from participating in elections, rendering him politically useless. In the media interview, Khan conceded that he had differences with the military establishment on the issue of the “anti-corruption drive” against his political opponents. Ironically, Khan is now getting implicated in a corruption case himself, which can be seen as a ‘well-planned’ strategy to hit him where it hurts the most. Consequently, the road ahead for Khan seems rough and full of potholes. He is fully aware that the establishment is unhappy with him, and the recent assassination bid could be a signal of what more is coming his way.

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Will India leave a mark as G20 chair?

India has already said that it will invite Bangladesh, Egypt, Mauritius, Nigeria and Oman among others as guest countries for the meetings and other events of the G20 under its presidency…reports Asian Lite News

India, which will assume the one year presidency of the G20 nations from next week, is determined to leave a permanent mark as its chair. Importantly, India will also aim to showcase how multilateralism can be successfully upheld despite the rising global uncertainties.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Bali said that India’s presidency is coming at a time of crisis and chaos in the world. “The world is going through the aftereffects of a disruptive once-in-a-century pandemic, conflicts, and a lot of economic uncertainty,” he said.

“India would want to be the lead voice for the developing world while showcasing its own strength as a democratic economy driving global order and recovery,” a person working with a team of dedicated civil service officers assigned to chalk out strategies and global issues that will be key for the G20 presidency phase, said.

India has already said that it will invite Bangladesh, Egypt, Mauritius, Nigeria and Oman among others as guest countries for the meetings and other events of the G20 under its presidency.

A batch of more than 120 newly recruited Indian Economic Service officers has been meticulously working on various researches and reports for better understanding of each issue. The new batch of trained young officers, instead of being placed in different departments, have been given the collective assignment for two years to prepare for the G20 meetings and presidency.

The developing world and especially countries in the South Asian region will hope that India can successfully be its voice at a time when the impact of geopolitical tension driven by the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and the rising tension between the US and China has dealt a blow to them.

Washington based Foreign Policy magazine in a report said that India’s G-20 presidency will make it a bridge between the developed and developing worlds. It will lead the world’s wealthiest economies—but with an opportunity to take on challenges that disproportionately affect the developing world, such as poverty, climate change, and pandemics. “New Delhi excels at managing rival relationships, as recently shown by its tricky—but so far successful—balancing of relations with the United States and Russia during the latter’s war in Ukraine,” it added.

The International Solar Alliance (ISA), Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) will also be invited for the G20 events in India. Other global fora such as the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, World Health Organisation, World Trade Organisation, and the International Labour Organisation are already part of the G20 network.

As International Monetary Fund’s First Deputy Managing Director Gita Gopinath said, all eyes will now be on India’s G20 Presidency.

Traditional gifts for G20 delegates

Delegates coming to Udaipur to attend the G20 Sherpa meet next month will be presented with gift items native to Rajasthan including Thewa artwork, leather mojaris, terracotta statues, marble vases and honey.

Officials confirmed that a special exhibition will be organised in Udaipur during the meeting to be held from December 4-7 which will display items under the ‘one district one product (ODOP)’ programme.

The delegates liking any of these products can order for it which can be sent to them at the later stage, they added.

Some of the items on display will include marble vases from Udaipur; Thewa tie pin and pendent from Prapatgarh; leather mojaris from Jalore; wood and iron mirror from Jodhpur; honey from Bharatpur; wooden almirah and Swiss Blue Topaz from Churu; cotton cushion covers from Dausa; blue pottery plate and pot matki from Jaipur, among others.

The Rajasthan Small Industries Corporation Ltd officials confirmed that a comprehensive list of ODOP products from Rajasthan has been sent to Delhi which can be gifted to G20 delegates.

The list includes blue pottery tiles, bowls, pen stands, marble plates, silver-gold polished coin (100gm), Rose Quartz elephant, silver necklace, gemstone painting, etc.

Delegates to visit Ajanta-Ellora

Around 500 delegates of the G20 countries will visit the world-famed Ajanta-Ellora caves, an industrial hub and other famous destinations here in February next year, an official said here on Wednesday.

The tour will come two months after India assumes the G20 Presidency for one year from December 1.

The G20 countries comprise India, Russia, the US, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, China, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Australia and the European Union.

After reaching here for two days on February 13, the delegates are also scheduled to visit major industrial hubs around Aurangabad, besides the Daulatabad Fort, as per a statement.

Divisional Commissioner Sunil Kendrekar discussed the preparations for the upcoming trip of the huge delegation. He has also issued instructions to ensure proper arrangements for the delegates as it will boost the image of Aurangabad and the country on the global arena.

ALSO READ-US Deputy NSA lauds Modi’s role in G20 consensus

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PERILS OF PAKISTAN: With new COAS, the army will rule Pak politics

With just over 10 days left before the new Chief of Army Staff (COAS) takes charge, there is intense jockeying among the parties involved. The army, cowed down by intense public scrutiny and derision in the past few months, is not given to letting its power wane. The political parties remain divided and suspicious of each other, even in a coalition, and that offers a leverage for the army leadership … writes Dr Sakariya Kareem

Rarely has a democratic country’s fate been so inextricably tied to the appointment of its new Army chief as in Pakistan. The political turbulence that has kept Pakistan and its people on tenterhooks for the best part of this year might not end with the new Army Chief taking charge by November 30 but it will certainly take a seemingly more logical turn, scramble among political parties to win the elections, overseen by the powerful military. But first, there must be a decision on the date of the general election and this decision will rest on who the new Army chief would be.

With over 10 days left before the new COAS takes charge, there is intense jockeying among the parties involved. The army, cowed down by intense public scrutiny and derision in the past few months, is not given to letting its power wane. The political parties remain divided and suspicious of each other, even in a coalition, and that offers leverage for the army leadership.

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Pic credits Instagram

The fact that there are hectic parleys among different actors in this theatre is not a secret. The recent meeting between Prime Minister Sharif and his elder brother, Nawaz Sharif, has put the game into the open. The Sharif brothers, extremely wary of the army, want to exert what little influence they can in deciding who will rule from Rawalpindi. Hence the first statement from the Sharif government was about a proposed amendment to the Pakistan Army Act to give extraordinary power to the Prime Minister in the appointment and extension of the Chief of Army Staff. It was intended as a challenge to the army.

The army is not going to let go of the most important move in the game–to select its own chief for political parties, least of all to the Sharif brothers with whom the Generals had a prolonged love-hate relationship. The Sharif family’s one of two biggest challenges come from within the coalition party it leads–Asif Ali Zardari and Maulana Fazlur Rahman have different equations with the army, ever willing to negotiate with the Generals for a better future arrangement. So first the brothers talk among themselves in secret and then they confabulate with their political partners, a sign of distrust among them. In essence, they are parties in opposition, each with different equations with the other and the Generals. Each has a different axe to grind. What has driven them together is the new actor in the game, Imran Khan.

Imran Khan has never been on friendly terms with any of the main political parties. The former cricketing legend has had a better equation with the Generals. Although Khan fell out with his foster guardian, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, early this year, he had more support among the top and middle-rung officers than the Sharif-led PDM government. Khan’s political victories in Punjab since his removal show his newfound support among voters in the traditional base of the army rank and file. These victories have been, ostensibly, without the army’s support, and it has been a dent in the Sharif stronghold. His recent moves to wriggle out of hard positions, on the US and the COAS appointment, are a clever move to find possible support from the army in the election year.

The Sharifs are using the media to play their one-upmanship vis-a-vis the army. Besides the proposal to amend the Army Act, different stories have been floated about the probable new COAS and claims about seniority being the deciding factor. The Sharifs know their hands are tight on this issue but do not want to show themselves in a weaker light. Strangely, all of a sudden, neither the Sharifs nor Imran Khan are hitting at Bajwa, the cruel campaign against Generals seems to have lost its steam. What do these straws predict–whoever takes over from General Bajwa would remain loyal to the army first and foremost, and will play politics with greater vigour and craft than in the past few months.

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More funds to fix climate issue

UN experts say Arab region needs over $570 billion by 2030 for climate change adaptation…reports Asian Lite News

The Arab region needs more than $ 570 billion by 2030 to reinforce its adaptation to climate change.

“The Arab region is highly vulnerable to climate change, which is affecting rural and urban communities alike, and having socioeconomic and environmental impacts,” said the Beirut-based UN Economic and Social Commission for West Asia (ESCWA).

As a summary of its new policy brief titled “Climate finance needs and flows in the Arab region,” the ESCWA said the Arab countries’ ability to allocate additional funds for climate action is limited by their fiscal space as the region’s public debt reached a historic high of 1.4 trillion dollars in 2020.

“This trend has been exacerbated by national efforts to fight the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic” in addition to the interest rate hikes, inflationary pressures and the conflict in Ukraine, it said.

Rola Dashti, executive secretary of ESCWA, said only 11 Arab countries have provided cost estimates of their financial needs for climate projects in accordance with their Paris Agreement commitments, calling for more to do so to receive financing. 

Water security

Egypt’s COP27 Presidency, in partnership with World Meteorological Organization (WMO), launched AWARe (Action on Water Adaptation or Resilience), an initiative that will champion inclusive cooperation to address water related challenges and solutions across climate change adaptation.

 AWARe aims at contributing to a successful outcome at the 2023 UN Conference on Water and it brings together the Water and Climate Coalition, the Adaptation Action Coalition as well as the Marrakesh Partnership Climate Action Pathway Water towards scaling up adaptation action.

Speaking on the initiative, COP27 President Sameh Shoukry said: “Increasing water demand from a growing population and variable supply does not make for sound economics. As we work to design and implement solutions across adaptation, water management must feature prominently in the discussions and actions.

  “Water is life and is vital to sustaining lives and livelihoods. Through the AWARe initiative we are bringing together stakeholders to alleviate the challenges faced by the world’s vulnerable communities and ecosystems.”

 In close cooperation with African Union (AU) and African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) among other stakeholders, the initiative aims at offering transitional adaptation solutions for the planet and people.

 AWARe will focus on three priorities for action: decrease water losses worldwide and improve water supply; propose and support implementing mutually agreed policy and methods for cooperative water-related adaptation action and its co-benefits; and promote cooperation and interlinkages between water and climate action in order to achieve Agenda 2030, in particular SDG 6.

 AWARe was launched during the opening session of COP27’s Thematic Day for Water with addresses by Hani Sewilam, Egypt Minister of Water Systems, and Irrigation; Ambassador Ayman Amin Tharwat, Deputy Director for the Department of Climate, Environment and Sustainable Development for the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and Elena Manaenkova, Deputy Secretary General of WMO.

People take photos of an artwork at the Green Zone of the 27th session of the Conference of Parties (COP27) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, Nov. 10, 2022. (Xinhua/Ahmed Gomaa/IANS)

Minister Hani Sewilam said: “The Global Water Crisis is affecting billions of people worldwide. The AWARe initiative will catalyze inclusive cooperation to address water as a key to climate change adaptation and its co-benefits, as well as enhanced resilience.”

Elena Manaenkova, Deputy Secretary General of World Meteorological Institute, said: “Seventy-four per cent of all natural disasters are water related, we still need to do a lot more to help societies, we must have effective disaster management strategies that protect communities and limit climate-related hazards.”

The AWARe initiative promotes measures to decouple economic growth from freshwater use and degradation; develop national utilization plans, adaptation and mitigation strategies and protect and restore freshwater ecosystems; seek cooperative analysis of river basin scale adaptation and mitigation options and risk of mal-adaptation and support mutually agreed policy solutions to advance a ‘do-no-harm’ approach.

It seeks to support promotion of sustainable waste-water management, sanitation policies and strategies, and water-wise energy pathways besides working on improving early warning systems for extreme weather events.

It will also work towards linking water resources policies with national climate action to reflect climate change long-term impacts on water resources and demand, and to support preparedness and adaptation measures.

The Pan-African Center for Water Climate Adaptation, hosted by Egypt, will ensure the principal delivery mechanism and will focus on main activities and actions including finance, technology and capacity building.

ALSO READ-Climate action can stop 8.5L deaths in Africa 

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The greatest show on earth begins

A top-of-the-table finish in Group G would likely see them face Uruguay in the Round of 16 with probably Germany in the quarterfinal…reports Asian Lite News

The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar kicks-off today with the host nation kicking off the campaign against Ecuador at the Al Bayt Stadium on Sunday.

Brazil are currently ranked No. 1 in FIFA Rankings and is the favourite to lift the trophy. It’s been two decades since they got their hands on the most prestigious prize in world football. Brazil had last won the World Cup in 2002 when it was hosted by Japan and Korea, beating Germany 2-0 in the final.

The Selecao are on a 15-match unbeaten run entering the World Cup, dating to their last loss at the Copa America final against Argentina. Neymar continues to show his dominant performance for Paris Saint-Germain with 11 goals and nine assists in Ligue 1.

After a disappointing end to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil due to injury, Neymar had a point to prove in Russia in 2018. However, things didn’t go down well for the forward as they crashed out in the quarterfinal against Belgium. The 2022 World Cup is some sort of redemption for the PSG player as some call it ‘Neymar’s year’.

The odds favour Brazil to clear the group on top with Switzerland and Serbia following suit. It wouldn’t be a shocker if they come out with three perfect wins in the group stage. The odds suggest that Cameroon would finish last in Group G.

As they are clear favourites to win the group, they are also in contention to glide through the knockout stage. They haven’t failed to qualify for the knockout stages since 1982, played in three finals and won two titles since then (1994 and 2002).

A top-of-the-table finish in Group G would likely see them face Uruguay in the Round of 16 with probably Germany in the quarterfinal. However, the World Cup is always full of surprises and anything can happen on the big stage.

Coach Tite has selected a strong side for the World Cup with the veteran Thiago Silva leading the line. They have two exceptional goalkeepers in Liverpool’s Alisson Becker and Manchester City’s Ederson. Casemiro and Fred provide a strong pivot in the middle of the park as Casemiro works as a sweeper and a touch to perfection in retaining possession.

In the front line, Gabriel Jesus and Gabriel Martinelli are in impressive form under Mikel Arteta in Arsenal. Vinicius Junior will be coming off the bench but the 22-year-old has been a force for European Champions Real Madrid in their run to the La Liga and UEFA Champions League titles last season.

WIth such depth and young players in form for the yellow army, Brazil have a shot at the World Cup and for Neymar to lift the trophy for the first time, and also his last as he suggests it to be the final World Cup before he hangs his boots.

‘Brazil win not guaranteed’

Dr Joshua Bull, an Oxford mathematician at the University’s Mathematical Institute, has done a modelling, which forecasts the likelihood of a Brazil victory in the FIFA World Cup finals stating today in Qatar.

Sharing his modelling, Dr Bull said: “So this is, you know, my prediction, my future in sports modelling on the line. And my model is basically saying that Brazil are definitely looking most likely to win, but by no means guaranteed.”

Describing himself as a ‘non-football expert’, Dr Bull uses what is called an xG tool, which is popular in football modelling circles. He has simulated every game in the tournament — the first ever winter World Cup in football — to arrive at a conclusion.

He calculates from predicted xGs for teams in a match to a likely score of the match by using what he described as ‘a Poisson distribution’. He also falls back on current ratings of teams as listed in eloratings.net.

Having gone through the modelling process match by match, he projects a Brazil versus Argentina final, with the former beating the Netherlands and the latter defeating France in the semifinals.

Dr Bull’s four other quarterfinalists are Portugal, Spain, Belgium and Denmark in the beautiful game’s greatest show on earth.

Four things to look out for in opener

The long wait for the first FIFA World Cup in the Middle East is over as hosts Qatar and Ecuador prepare to raise the curtain on the 2022 edition of football’s biggest international tournament. Here are four things to look out for in Sunday’s match at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor.

ALMOEZ ALI THREAT

Almoez Ali has shown a penchant for performing well when it matters most. The 26-year-old striker was the top scorer at the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup, in which Qatar participated as tournament guests, with four goals in five games.

ALFARO IMPACT

Since replacing Jordi Cruyff as Ecuador’s boss in August 2020, Gustavo Alfaro has transformed a promising but erratic squad into one of South America’s most feared national teams.

An impressive World Cup qualifying campaign saw them finish fourth in the South American group, behind only Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, and above teams of the caliber of Chile, Peru and Paraguay.

ECUADOR’S DEFENCE

Led by Bayer Leverkusen center-back Piero Hincapie and Brighton left-back Pervis Estupinan, Ecuador boasts one of the tournament’s most solid defences.

Ecuador conceded just 19 goals in 18 qualifiers and have kept clean sheets in each of their past five games.

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Historic compensation deal approved at COP27

The plenary session approved the document’s provision to establish a “loss and damage” fund to help developing countries bear the immediate costs of climate-fuelled events such as storms and floods…reports Asian Lite News

Countries at the United Nations COP27 climate summit in Egypt have adopted a final agreement that establishes a fund to help poor nations cope with the extreme weather events caused by global warming.

Following tense negotiations that ran through the night, the summit’s Egyptian presidency released a draft text of the overall agreement early on Sunday and also called a plenary session to push the document through as the final, overarching agreement for the UN summit.

The plenary session approved the document’s provision to establish a “loss and damage” fund to help developing countries bear the immediate costs of climate-fuelled events such as storms and floods.

However, many of the more contentious issues regarding the fund were pushed into talks to be held next year, when a “transitional committee” will make recommendations for countries to then adopt at the COP28 climate summit in November 2023.

The recommendations will cover “identifying and expanding sources of funding”, which refers to the vexed question of which countries should pay into the new “loss and damage” fund.

Still, the adoption of the fund is a big win for poorer nations which have long called for financial compensation because they are often the victims of climate change – such as worsened floods, droughts, heat waves, famines and storms – despite having contributed little to the pollution that is heating up the planet.

“This loss and damage fund will be a lifeline for poor families whose houses are destroyed, farmers whose fields are ruined, and islanders forced from their ancestral homes,” said Ani Dasgupta, president of the environmental think-tank World Resources Institute, minutes after the early morning approval was announced.

Calls by developing countries for such a fund have dominated the two-week summit, pushing the talks past their scheduled finish on Friday.

“This is how a 30-year-old journey of ours has finally, we hope, found fruition today,” Pakistan Climate Minister Sherry Rehman said.

One-third of her nation was submerged this summer by a devastating flood and she and other officials used the motto: “What went on in Pakistan will not stay in Pakistan.”

Collins Nzovu, Zambia’s minister of green economy and environment, said he was “excited, very, very excited”.

“Very exciting because for us, success in Egypt was going to be based on what we get from loss and damage,” he said.

“This positive outcome from COP27 is an important step toward rebuilding trust with vulnerable countries.”

According to the agreement, the fund would initially draw on contributions from developed countries and other private and public sources such as international financial institutions.

While major emerging economies such as China would not initially be required to contribute, that option remains on the table and will be negotiated over the coming years.

This is a key demand by the European Union and the United States, who argue that China and other large polluters currently classified as developing countries have the financial clout and responsibility to pay their share.

The fund would be largely aimed at the most vulnerable nations, though there would be room for middle-income countries that are severely battered by climate disasters to get aid.

Experts said the adoption of the fund was a reflection of what can be done when the poorest nations remain unified.

“I think this is huge to have governments coming together to actually work out at least the first step of … how to deal with the issue of loss and damage,” said Alex Scott, a climate diplomacy expert at the think-tank E3G.

But, like all climate financials, it is one thing to create a fund and another to get money flowing in and out, she said.

The developed world still has not kept its 2009 pledge to spend $100bn a year in other climate aid – designed to help poor nations develop green energy and adapt to future warming.

“In many ways, we’re talking about reparations,” said University of Maryland environmental health and justice professor Sacoby Wilson.

“It’s an appropriate term to use,” he said, because rich northern countries had received the benefits of fossil fuels, while the poorer global south nations were suffering the effects of climate change.

Some delegates meanwhile said the approved deal does not do enough to boost efforts to tackle the emissions that cause global warming.

It did not contain a reference requested by India and some other delegations to the phasing down use of “all fossil fuels”.

It instead called on countries to take steps toward “the phasedown of unabated coal power and phase-out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies,” as agreed at the COP26 Glasgow summit.

The draft also included a reference to “low-emissions energy”, raising concern among some that it opened the door to the growing use of natural gas – a fossil fuel that leads to both carbon dioxide and methane emissions.

Norway’s Climate Minister Espen Barth Eide told reporters his team had hoped for a stronger agreement. “It does not break with Glasgow completely, but it doesn’t raise ambition at all,” he said.

ALSO READ-COP27: UN climate talks head into overtime

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Over 200 stakeholders to accelerate zero-emission transportation

Automakers with 2035 ICE phase-out targets account for 23 per cent of the market, up slightly from 19 per cent a year ago…reports Asian Lite News

The Accelerating to Zero (A2Z) Coalition was launched on Thursday, the next step in securing more ambitious commitments to a zero-emission vehicles transition aligned with the Paris Agreement.

Announced on Solutions Day at COP27, more than 200 stakeholders are signalling their commitment to a rapid transition to zero-emission transportation.

The A2Z Coalition connects the world’s leading organisations on zero-emission transportation, creating a platform to support in understanding, developing, and implementing ambitious zero-emission transportation policies and plans, and showcase leadership.

With transportation accounting for approximately 20 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, shifting the sector is crucial to meet the goals set by the Paris Agreement.

Over 200 organisations from governments, industry and civil society are joining together with support from the A2Z Coalition to accelerate the transition to zero emission transport.

The A2Z Coalition is a partnership of the UK government’s COP26 Presidency, The Climate Change High-Level Champions, the International Council on Clean Transportation, Climate Group, and the Drive Electric Campaign working towards all sales of new cars and vans being zero emission no later than 2035 in leading markets and 2040 globally.

A2Z Coalition’s partners also work on the acceleration of zero-emission medium and heavy duty vehicles.

The A2Z Coalition builds off the momentous foundation of the “Zero Emission Vehicles Declaration” (ZEV Declaration) generated at COP26 and hosted by the UK COP Presidency in collaboration with the High Level UN Climate Champions and the Climate Group.

Originally launched at COP26, at COP27, it brings together over 200 signatories from national and sub-national governments, vehicle manufacturers, NGOs, businesses, fleet owners, and others all committed to all new car and van sales being zero emission by 2035 in leading markets, and by 2040 globally.

Since COP26 there has been a global growth of 95 per cent across the electric vehicles market, yet climate experts say the world must accelerate the transition and the share of sales of electric vehicles will need to accelerate five times faster for passenger vehicles, 10 times faster for electric buses, and even more rapidly for freight.

BloombergNEF’s ZEV Factbook, published on Thursday, sounds a note of caution as progress on new commitments to zero-emission vehicles from both automakers and governments has slowed over the last year.

National ZEV targets and internal combustion engine (ICE) phase-out targets now cover nearly 41 per cent of the global passenger vehicle market by 2035, similar to a year ago.

Automakers with 2035 ICE phase-out targets account for 23 per cent of the market, up slightly from 19 per cent a year ago.

Nigel Topping, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for the UK, COP26, said: “Accelerating the transition to a sustainable and clean transport sector should be a top priority for governments and businesses. We’re glad to launch the A2Z Coalition as a platform that builds on the positive momentum achieved by the ZEV Declaration to increase commitments and support the declaration signatories.

“We call on more non-state actors to come forward next year and make and implement ambitious commitments to transition to zero-emission vehicles and reap the benefits of cleaner air, jobs, economic growth, and keeping our Paris Agreement goals within reach.”

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