- Mauritius is an example of "small island developing countries" facing a particular set of problems; an issue which is to be debated during a major UN conference early next year. The UN today decided that Mauritius, with its excellent tourism facilities, is to host that conference.
Climate change, fragile ecosystems, economic vulnerability, geographic isolation and other concerns of small island developing countries will be taken up at this conference, set for early 2005 to examine a decade's worth of efforts to address these issues, the UN's General Assembly decided today.
Adopting a resolution unanimously, the Assembly fixed 10 to 14 January as the dates for the "International Meeting to Review Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States," to be held in Mauritius.
If necessary, delegates will arrive two days earlier to the Indian Ocean holiday resort "for informal consultations," according to the same UN resolution.
The Programme of Action, adopted at a 1994 meeting in Barbados, focused on climate change, tourism, natural disasters, waste, energy and transport. The Mauritius meeting is expected to also examine trade, HIV/AIDS, information technology and security concerns, the UN reports today.
The Secretary-General of the Mauritius Conference, Anwarul Chowdhury, has stated that the event should "galvanise international cooperation on these issues."
Mr Chowdhury - who is also the UN High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States - has pledged to facilitate negotiations on a strong political declaration by the participants.
In another action today, the UN's General Assembly declared 2005 to be the International Year of Physics and invited the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to organise commemorative events.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.