News Digest | 1-15 March

First-ever World Seagrass Day focuses on conservation

Seagrasses are marine flowering plants that provide a wealth of benefits to marine and human life by covering more than 300,000 square kilometers of the ocean floor. Seagrass meadows provide food and shelter to thousands of fish species, turtles, seahorses, and other marine animals and help maintain some of the world’s largest fisheries. They can improve water quality by cycling, filtering, and storing pollutants and nutrients. They keep up to 18% of the world’s oceanic carbon as part of the marine ecosystem. They also serve as the first line of defense along coasts to reduce wave energy by protecting communities from the high risk of storms and floods. Although they are so important for climate mitigation, seagrass meadows are in danger. Every 30 minutes, a football field worth of seagrass is disappearing. According to UNEP, it is estimated that 7% of meadows are lost globally every year. The main causes are ocean acidification and rising ocean temperatures because of climate change. World Seagrass Day is intended to promote conservation and raise awareness about the threats to the ecosystems which are crucial for achieving the Paris Agreement on climate change and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

To save a million species, World Wildlife Day underscores the crucial role of partnerships

This year, World Wildlife Day marked the 50th anniversary of the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The treaty was signed on March 3, 1973, to protect thousands of species of animals and plants. Moreover, governments adopted the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework in December to achieve a tenfold reduction for all extinction species by mid-century. UN Secretary-General pointed out that governments, the private sector, and civil society have to work together to turn commitment into action for the theme ‘Partnerships for Wildlife Conservation’. Moreover, many concrete actors are required to cut emissions, build climate resilience and accelerate renewables. A strong partnership is a critical action to restore healthy environments and rebuild degraded areas. In addition, indigenous communities cannot be left behind in curbing wildlife-related crimes to protect biodiversity successfully.

Tropical Cyclone Freddy is on track to become a record-breaking storm

WMO keeps monitoring the ‘remarkable’ tropical storm which killed at least 21 people and displaced more than thousands of people in Madagascar. According to the UN’s humanitarian affairs office, over 3,100 people have been displaced and more than 3,300 houses were destroyed or flooded. Cyclone Freddy had a major humanitarian and socio-economic impact on affected communities although the death toll was limited due to early warnings and disaster risk reduction actions on the ground. Currently, a humanitarian operation is underway in the region with additional expected challenges when Freddy makes landfall again. It has been recorded as the highest accumulated cyclone energy in the history of any southern hemisphere storm. Thus, WMO continues to monitor whether the storm will become the world’s longest tropical cyclone.

Horn of Africa hunger emergency: ‘129,000 looking death in the eyes’

In the Greater Horn region, as many as 129,000 are facing starvation and most at risk are living in both Somalia and South Sudan. It is in the grip of concurrent outbreaks of dengue, hepatitis, and meningitis. The frequency of the outbreak of the diseases is connected to extreme weather conditions and climate change. As an emergency response, the UN health agency aims to use the $ 178 million appeal to upgrade the treatment of people suffering from medical conditions linked to serious malnutrition. The appeal of the WHO will help to make sure not to collapse the health system by providing mobile health clinics. Larger scales of resources are needed to control disease outbreaks as much as possible.

5 thoughts on “News Digest | 1-15 March

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