Bangladesh struggles as sea levels rise

Bangladesh is already one of the most climate vulnerable nations in the world, and global warming will bring more floods, stronger cyclones. At the dry fish yards, close to the airport at the coastal town of Cox’s Bazar, women are busy sorting fish to dry in the sun. They say the process, which begins in October, can continue through to February or March if the weather is good.

But Aman Ullah Shawdagor, a dry fish businessman who employs 70 people, says high tides and seasonal changes have hit his business hard. Last year there were four cyclones, more than ever before. In 2015, there was only one.

“My business is not doing so well because of the changing weather conditions,” says Shawdagor. “This is a dry season business. But for the last couple of years, the rain has become more frequent. It rains not only in the rainy season but also in the winter. There have also been more signals [storm warnings] with the rise in high tides. When the high tide comes, it frequently covers the whole of the land here. It is very bad for the dry fish.”

Nurul Hashem, a schoolteacher from Kutubdia Para, a nearby shanty town where many of the dry fish workers live, has also noted the trend. “We believe the water level is getting higher here,” he says. “Last year, my home was under water three or four times.”

Scientists predict that, by 2050, as many as 25 million people in Bangladesh will be affected by the rising sea level. Hashem and Shawdagor believe that they are already seeing the effects of a changing climate, however.

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EU 2030 Renewables Target

A new target for 2030

Renewables will continue to play a key role in helping the EU meet its energy needs beyond 2020. EU countries have already agreed on a new renewable energy target of at least 27% of final energy consumption in the EU as a whole by 2030 as part of the EU’s energy and climate goals for 2030.

On 30 November 2016, the Commission published a proposal for a revised Renewable Energy Directive to make the EU a global leader in renewable energy and ensure that the 2030 target is met.

International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017

Nearly 600 participants attended yesterday the Official Launch of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017. The event took place in the International Tourism Fair of Spain, FITUR, and will be followed by 12 months of global actions aimed at advancing sustainable tourism contribution to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Co-presented by Max Forster, CNN, and Raquel Martínez, RTVE, the event underlined the immense socio-economic opportunities brought by the sector to all societies as well as its power to advocate for mutual understanding, peace and sustainable development worldwide.

“Every day, more than three million tourists cross international borders. Every year, almost 1.2 billion people travel abroad. Tourism has become a pillar of economies, a passport to prosperity, and a transformative force for improving millions of lives. The world can and must harness the power of tourism as we strive to carry out the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development“ said United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, in his message on the occasion of the International Year.

“2017 is a unique opportunity for us to promote the contribution of tourism to achieving the future we want – and also to determine, together, the exact role we will have tourism play in the sustainable development agenda, to and beyond 2030. A unique opportunity to ensure that tourism is a pillar in achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”, said UNWTO Secretary General, Taleb Rifai, opening of the event.

“With the launch of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development we once again emphasize that our nations all face common global challenges, which can only be resolved through advancing relations and furthering partnerships. By introducing this initiative, we have highlighted that Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the focal point for future development, and will guide us to create long-term assets, and prevent relevant liabilities.”, said the Prime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Kvirikashvili.

“The International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017 is an incentive to a foster social and political dialogue which can promote initiatives, investments and government actions leading to development and the fight against poverty” said the Vice-President of Honduras, Ricardo Alvarez Arias.

“The 2030 Agenda considers sustainable tourism as a vector of development, job creation and the promotion of local culture and products. Tourism is part of the Sustainable Development Goals and contributes decisively to almost all 17 Goals through its impacts on fighting poverty, promoting decent jobs, improving gender equality and the livelihoods of young people or the fight against climate change” said the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spain, Alfonso María Dastis.

Addressing the Ceremony were also Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, Francesco Bandarin, Assistant Director-General for Culture at UNESCO and Elzbieta Bienkowska, European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs.

On the occasion, UNWTO announced the nomination of the Ambassadors of the International Year: HE Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia; HM King Simeon II; Huayong Ge, President, UnionPay; Dr Talal Abu Ghazaleh, Chairman, Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Organization and Dr Michael Frenzel, President, Federal Association of the German Tourism Industry

The event also marked the launch of the International Year campaign ‘Travel.Enjoy.Respect’, aimed at promoting sustainable tourism among travelers in partnership with CNN and RTVE.

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2017 International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development