News in Brief 22 May 2017 – (PM)

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Mammoth Hot Springs, in Yellowstone National Park, host thermophilic bacteria which colour the travertine terraces (Wyoming, USA – 2007). UN Photo/EFP

Tourism must not cause harm to the environment: UN official

Tourism must not undermine the nature that attracts travellers in the first place, the head of the UN-backed treaty on biological diversity said in her message to mark the International Day for Biological Diversity.

Cristiana Pasca Palmer, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) said that as tourism grows, so does the risk of harming the environment.

Many natural areas with rich biodiversity, such as beaches, coasts and islands, mountains, rivers and lakes, are popular tourism destinations.

That's why it's important to understand that the way tourism is managed will impact biodiversity, she said.

On the other hand, Ms Palmer added, the way ecosystems are managed will impact the sustainability of tourism, stressing that tourists will not go to polluted or degraded destinations.

The Convention on Biological Diversity or CBD, adopted on 22 May 1992, is aimed at preserving various biological resources and ensuring that benefits linked to the exploitation of genetic resources are equally shared around the world.

This year's Day is celebrated under the theme Biodiversity and Sustainable Tourism.

Hurricanes, cyclones, tsunamis "increasingly common threats" to islands 

Hurricanes, cyclones and tsunamis are increasingly common threats to the world's most climate-vulnerable island nations, participants at a meeting in Cancún, Mexico, heard on Monday.

These representatives from small island developing states (SIDS) are holding talks on how to curb threats posed by hazards ahead of a major conference organised by the UN office for disaster risk reduction, UNISDR.

The Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, which opens on Wednesday, has been held every two years following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

This year, the UN forum is expected to bring together more than 5,000 Heads of State, policy makers, disaster risk managers, civil society and other participants.

The SIDS should be applauded for rising to the challenge in an era when extreme weather events have increased dramatically, Robert Glasser, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, said in Monday's address.

Just over a year ago, 13 SIDS or small island developing states from the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific were among the first countries in the world to sign the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Together they account for 0.02 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions but are among those who stand to lose the most from climate change.

Sudan must ensure protection and promotion of human rights: UN expert

Authorities in Sudan must undertake democratic reforms as a means for ensuring the protection and promotion of human rights in the country, a UN independent expert has urged.

Aristide Nononsi expressed concern on Monday over the number of human rights issues in Sudan which are still largely unaddressed since his last visit in February 2017.

He made the remarks on Sunday at the end of an 11- day follow-up mission to the country.

Citing incidents of alleged harassment and arrests of representatives of civil society organizations, Mr Nonosi urged authorities to release Dr Mudawi Ibrahim Adam and Hafiz Idris who he believed were being detained "solely for their legitimate work with the staff of UNAMID on protecting and promoting the human rights in Sudan."

UNAMID, is the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur.

The Special Rapporteur also stressed the need to ensure the protection of the freedom of religion in Sudan, with particular reference to the demolition of churches and places of worship by the national security services.

The Independent Expert on Sudan will present his findings and recommendations to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2017.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 3’55″

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