Wednesday’s Daily Brief: #NoTobacco Day, China’s economy, family farming, #ClimateAction

29 May 2019

This Wednesday, we cover: the dangers of smoking for World No Tobacco Day; China’s creative economy; sustainability through family farming, floating cities and #ClimateAction.

Don’t let smoking steal life’s breathtaking moments, urges UN health agency

Tobacco use continues to claim around eight million lives a year, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday, in a call for faster action from governments to tackle smoking and the “enormous” health, social, environmental and economic costs it entails.

Ahead of World No Tobacco Day, marked on Friday, 31 May, WHO’s Dr Vinayak Prasad, acting Director, Department for the Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases, highlighted the damage that tobacco causes to the lungs of smokers and non-smokers alike.

Find our full coverage here.

China’s ‘remarkable’ creative economy marches ahead 

China’s creative economy – which includes books, film, music and video games – is growing faster than other countries, making it the world’s driving force in the field over the past 15 years, says a new UN trade report. 

The study from the UN Conference on Trade and Development, UNCTAD, tracks national performance in the trade of creative goods and services between 2002 and 2015, and shows that China is the biggest single exporter and importer, with trade growing “exponentially” over the period. 

China’s performance is described in the report as “remarkable”, because of its sustained growth over three decades, its dominance of the world market for creative goods and services, and its role in sustaining the regional and global creative economy. 

Speaking to UN News, Amy-Louise Shelver from UNCTAD said the report shows that the view of China as simply “the factory of the world” is now outdated: “I think that’s a one-dimensional view of what’s actually happening in China. Obviously China’s growth over the past 20 to 30 years has certainly been based on its performance as a factory of the world: that’s what it’s used to kickstart its economy. Subsequent to that, there’s been a massive broadening of China’s goods and services offering, and it’s important to see it as a multi-dimensional economy, not simply a manufacturing hub.”

Family farms are ‘drivers of sustainable development’ 

Launching the United Nations Decade of Family Farming in Rome on Wednesday, two UN agencies have lauded family-run farms, which account for over 90 per cent of the sector, as “key drivers of sustainable development,” that play a major role in ending hunger and malnutrition.  

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) also announced a Global Action Plan to upgrade support for family farmers, particularly those in developing countries, with detailed guidance for the international community.  

Although farmers produce most of our food, they are vulnerable to poverty, especially in developing countries, and the plan highlights the need to increase access to social protection for farmers, as well as finance, training and opportunities to generate income. 

Mozambique cyclones a ‘wake-up call’ to boost resistance: UN weather agency

The havoc caused by cyclones Idai and Kenneth across Mozambique is “a wake-up call” for vulnerable countries “to build resistance" against further high-impact tropical storms, coastal flooding and intense rainfall linked to climate change, according to the United Nations weather agency chief.

A World Meteorological Organization (WMO) fact-finding mission to Mozambique recommended on Wednesday a package of disaster-risk-reduction priorities to strengthen the country’s early warning systems and reduce damage due to weather, climate and water-related hazards.

Read our story here.

Floating Cities: the new urban frontier

Climate change and urbanization are combining to create an urgent global need for sustainable cities. In response, the United Nations is exploring how the creation of floating cities can help solve the urban crisis while.

 

Listen to or download our audio News In Brief for 29 May on SoundCloud:

 

 

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News Tracker: Past Stories on This Issue

‘Save Tuvalu; save the world’; UN chief echoes rallying cry from front lines of global climate emergency

Further inaction on climate change is “simply not an option”, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said on Wednesday in an opinion piece where he called for “rapid and deep change in how we do business, generate power, build cities and feed the world.” 
 

Asia-Pacific ‘regional parliament’ underway to advance equality, empowerment, for more than four billion citizens

The top United Nations body in the Asia-Pacific region opened its annual session this week, calling for greater empowerment of disadvantaged and marginalized groups if the region is to achieve the ambitious 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and fulfill its promise to leave no one behind.