UN Statistical Commission encourages Statistical Framework for Measuring Sustainable Tourism

The 48th Session of United Nations Statistical Commission has supported the UNWTO-led initiative of developing an international framework for Measuring Sustainable Tourism (MST). The initiative, being implemented in cooperation with the United Nations Statistics Division, aims to develop a new statistical framework for tourism — one that integrates the various dimensions of sustainable tourism (economic, environmental and social) and across relevant levels (global, national and subnational).

Overwhelming appreciation was expressed to the work of the UNWTO Committee on Statistics and TSA and the Working Group of Experts on Measuring Sustainable Tourism, which is leading the development of the new framework. The Commission encouraged the development of a Statistical Framework for Measuring Sustainable Tourism as a priority to support more integrated policy in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and in response to requests from Member States and various stakeholders.

It also highlighted the importance of linking the TSA to the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA), the elaboration of a TSA Compilation Guide, and the need to enhance capacity building for measuring sustainable tourism, notably in compiling TSA.

Established in 1947, the Commission gathers Chief Statisticians from Member States and is the highest decision making body for international statistical activities. The last time that the Statistical Commission discussed a UNWTO report was in 2008, when the Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) framework was approved.

Measuring Sustainable Tourism (MST) will be the central focus of the 6th International Conference on Tourism Statistics: Measuring Sustainable Tourism, to be held in Manila, the Philippines, 21-24 June 2017.

The Manila Conference is an Official Event of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, 2017 and will be a landmark opportunity to discuss methodological advances, explore emerging issues and learn from pioneering country experiences. A Ministerial Roundtable will kick-start the Conference to underline the importance of measurement in better understanding the role that sustainable tourism plays in fostering economic growth, social inclusiveness, and the protection of cultural and natural assets.


Source: modernghana.com

Fifth of world’s food lost to over-eating and waste, study finds

Encouraging people to eat fewer animal products, reduce waste and not exceed their nutritional needs could help to reverse troubling global trends, researchers say.
Credit: © BillionPhotos.com / Fotolia

Almost 20 per cent of the food made available to consumers is lost through over-eating or waste, a study suggests.

The world population consumes around 10 per cent more food than it needs, while almost nine per cent is thrown away or left to spoil, researchers say.

Efforts to reduce the billions of tonnes lost could improve global food security — ensuring everyone has access to a safe, affordable, nutritious diet — and help prevent damage to the environment, the team says.

Scientists at the University of Edinburgh examined ten key stages in the global food system — including food consumption and the growing and harvesting of crops — to quantify the extent of losses.

Using data collected primarily by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, the team found that more food is lost from the system than was previously thought.

Almost half of harvested crops — or 2.1 billion tonnes — are lost through over-consumption, consumer waste and inefficiencies in production processes, researchers say.

Livestock production is the least efficient process, with losses of 78 per cent or 840 million tonnes, the team found. Some 1.08 billion tonnes of harvested crops are used to produce 240 million tonnes of edible animal products including meat, milk and eggs.

This stage alone accounts for 40 per cent of all losses of harvested crops, researchers say.

Increased demand for some foods, particularly meat and dairy products, would decrease the efficiency of the food system and could make it difficult to feed the world’s expanding population in sustainable ways, researchers say.

Meeting this demand could cause environmental harm by increasing greenhouse gas emissions, depleting water supplies and causing loss of biodiversity.

Encouraging people to eat fewer animal products, reduce waste and not exceed their nutritional needs could help to reverse these trends, the team says.

The study is published in the journal Agricultural Systems. It was carried out in collaboration with Scotland’s Rural College, University of York, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research.

The research was funded through a Global Food Security Programme supported by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, Economic and Social Research Council, Natural Environment Research Council and the Scottish Government.

Dr. Peter Alexander, of the University of Edinburgh’s School of GeoSciences and Scotland’s Rural College, who led the study, said: “Reducing losses from the global food system would improve food security and help prevent environmental harm. Until now, it was not known how over-eating impacts on the system. Not only is it harmful to health, we found that over-eating is bad for the environment and impairs food security.”

Professor Dominic Moran, of the University of York, who was involved in the study, said: “This study highlights that food security has production and consumption dimensions that need to be considered when designing sustainable food systems. It also highlights that the definition of waste can mean different things to different people.”


Source: sciencedaily.com


UK Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson Commends Ghanaian Bamboo Bike Maker


On his recent visit to Ghana to deepen bilateral relations between Ghana and the United Kingdom, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson took a ride on one of the bamboo bikes produced by the internationally recognized Ghanaian manufacturing company Booomers International Ltd. This happened during an interaction section with a few small and medium enterprises in Ghana supported by the UKAID. As a great biker himself, he became fascinated with the make and the design of the bikes and decided to take a ride on the bike which he later described as very light and comfortable.

Mr. Boris Johnson was very optimistic a product like that of Booomers will do very well on the UK market and therefore encouraged the Chief Executive Officer of Boomers International, Mr. Kwabena Danso to tap into the opportunities that exist in the UK to expand the company’s market base. Among the dignitaries who were with Mr. Boris included the UK Trade Envoy to Africa, Mr. Adam Afiriyie and the British High Commissioner to Ghana, Mr. Jon Benjamin who is has been a great admirer and supporter of the company. The Ghanaian Minister for Trade and Industry, Mr. Alan Kyerematen was very enthused about the bikes and the fact that they were made from Bamboo in Ghana.

On his part, the CEO of Booomers International mentioned that the UK market is the company’s prime focus this year and that they are seeking to build partnership with potential distributors across the UK. “We are very passionate about using whatever opportunities are available in solving problems in rural Ghana since that is the genesis of a lot of the country’s problems. Due to lack of economic opportunities, a huge number of the young people in rural communities migrate to the urban areas in search of livelihood and it is against this background that the company is using the opportunity to train and employ youth in rural areas. We are looking at creating the Bamboo village which will become a catalyst for job creation and also create the value chain for bamboo just as China has done”,he said.

Booomers International is introducing three new products in addition to their current bike frames. These are the tricycle and balance bikes for children and the bamboo speakers. These products will be on the market at the beginning of March, 2017.

Booomers International is a social enterprise which was established in 2014 as the commercial arm of the Yonso Project to undertake the commercial production of bamboo bicycles and accessories. Currently, the company has gone beyond just bikes and is developing new products from bamboo. The company’s products are in high demand in Germany, Netherlands, Australia, Canada, USA and will this year go into the UK market. The story of Booomers is one unique story that shows how determination and discipline make a local company become a force to reckon with on the international market.


Source: modernghana.com

Forestry advocacy group charges Lands minister to sanitise forest sector


Civil society organisations, working in the forest sector have charged the new Minister for Lands and Natural Resources for to go beyond issuing a directive to restore sanity in the forestry sub-sector.

The directive they say calls for an action plan to deal with illegal logging, illegal mining and illegal encroachment in forest reserves.

They say it further halts all special permits issued after December 10, 2016, all operations of loggers with expired permits including logging of rosewood and finally bans all rosewood exports.

According to them, it is a good approach to sanitizing a sector which is bedevilled with immense challenges, including endemic corruption, breakdown in professionalism and overbearing negative influence of politicians.

In a press conference Wednesday, they said the rosewood situation can best be described as “complete insanity.”

Ghana illegally exported rosewood amounting to 10 percent of the global trade in 2016 and the problem keeps escalating as exports in the banned wood continue in flagrant defiance of the previous directives banning rosewood exports.

“Exports for June 2016 were 467 percent higher than that of the corresponding period in 2015. A total of more than 9,000 40ft containers bearing 292,000 m3 of rosewood were exported from Ghana to China between January 2014 and June 2016,” it said.

“What is appalling about this development is that majority of rosewood timber harvested in Ghana originates from the highly sensitive savannah ecosystem, which is prone to desertification,” they quizzed.

According to them, while Ghana has been making noticeable progress in efforts to reduce illegal logging with the implementation of the FLEGT-VPA and the contribution of many NGOs, the abuse of political power has caused an upsurge in the illegal practice in some parts of Ghana; some forest encroachments have been masterminded by politicians, particularly in parts of the Western Region.

They said “galamsey activities also continue to threaten the integrity of our forest and land resources everywhere and sadly, it seems resource managers have accepted it.

“We have looked on with concern the wanton disregard for the forestry laws of Ghana and the ineptitude of the Forestry Commission and law enforcement agencies to bring these illegal activities to a halt.”

They noted that the situation portrays negligence and a lack of commitment to the Service Charter of the Forestry Commission, as well as its own Vision and Mission.

“We strongly believe that the abuse of permit allocation in the sector did not begin from December 2016 and therefore if you really want to sanitize the sub-sector you would need to dig deeper into logging and mining contracts which date some years back,” they emphasised.

These are some issues which we wish to bring to your attention:

1. We have reason to believe some Timber Utilization Contracts (TUC) and Special Permits issued between 2014 and now (2017) were questionably awarded. We have heard that about 15 new TUCs have been issued since 2014. There is, however, very little information available to allow civil society to effectively play its watchdog role of interrogating and investigating the contract awarding process.

2. Some companies have also been granted questionable mining permits to destroy Globally Significant Biodiversity Areas including Tano Offin, Subri, Upper Wassa, and Fure River forest reserves. In the last two forest reserves, we have observed that these operators have hired muscle-bound armed men to protect their operations. Local communities like Juabo, Sraha in the Upper Denkyria West continue to protest against this. These operations need to be shut down immediately.

3. Again we are aware of the high illegal timber racketeering in Goaso Forest District in the Brong Ahafo Region. The scale of this illegal logging is huge. The illegal loggers operate in broad-day light and with total impunity. Forest managers and their military task forces have been incapacitated as some politicians give backing to this illegal logging. We believe this is one of the biggest illegal logging syndicates in Ghana currently, which must be stopped.

4. We also know that presently, about 30-50 40ft containers of rosewood and other species are harvested from the savannah regions each week. Honorable Minister, this is not an area to encourage logging of any species because it is prone to desertification. We need a directive barring logging and trade of all forms of timber species including rosewood, ebony, and papao.

As activists in the sector, we believe that to truly sanitize the sub-sector it requires a few more steps to be a game-changer. We, therefore, recommend the following:

a. That you request the Inspector General of Police to investigate the sub-sector.

Alternatively, you may set-up a multi-stakeholder investigation panel, including members of Civil Society. The task would be to investigate the procedure and award of all logging and mining contracts in Ghana since 2013, as well as the rosewood mess; to identify illegalities and accomplices; and recommend actions against such individuals and companies.

b. That the findings of the Committee should be implemented without prejudice.

We would like to congratulate you on your appointment as Minster for Lands and Natural Resources and once again laud you for your bold directive. You will find in us, (the NGOs listed below), your strongest ally in working to ensure sustainable use and preservation of our resources for development.


Source: modernghana.com

The Environmental Consequences Of A Wall On The U.S.-Mexico Border

A visitor stands next to the U.S.-Mexico border fence at Friends of Friendship Park on Feb. 4 in San Ysidro, Calif.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images



On Jan. 25, President Trump signed an executive order instructing construction to begin on a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Environmentalists and civil rights activists say the proposed wall on the southern border with Mexico is a threat to the environmental rights of the people who live on both sides of the border.

“When you have such beautiful wilderness areas as we have here in Arizona, the idea of putting this large wall that prevents the migration of animals, that scars the earth itself, and especially knowing how ineffectual it is, is something that is just sad,” said Juanita Molina, the executive director of Border Action Network, an organization that advocates for the health and wellness of people who live along the border. “The reality is that border communities are porous by nature.”

Molina, who lives in Benson, Ariz., said the wall could cause flooding and debris build-up on both sides of the border. (Chris Clarke of KCET has reported that a concrete wall “would cause catastrophic flooding in the desert.”) Molina also said there could be legal and ethical consequences if people try to build on the land of the Tohono O’odham Nation, whose reservation straddles the border, and whose leaders have spoken out for years against a border wall. But even if no part of the wall materializes, she said, the rhetoric around it has already caused rifts in her community.

“I think that there’s a polarization that’s happening in our communities now that hasn’t happened in many years,” Molina said. “The mistrust and the racial divides are very present…This isn’t the first time that the establishment hasn’t supported our views as a community or supported our views as people of color…Our laws, our freedoms, our cultural evolution is something that is part of our everyday lives and struggle.”

As of 2010, there were about 15 million people living in border counties on both sides of the Mexico-U.S. border, according to the Wilson Center’s State of the Border Report. If growth rates stay the same, the report says, that number is likely to reach 29 million in 30 years.

In the four border states on the U.S. side, Texas, California, New Mexico and Arizona, people of Mexican origin make up at least a quarter of the total population, with higher concentrations in counties within 100 kilometers of the divide. In El Paso, Texas, for example, Latinos, primarily of Mexican descent, make up more than 80 percent of the population.

According to Raul Garcia, who works at the environmental justice law firm Earthjustice, it’s no accident that the border wall would primarily affect people of color. “With Trump’s militarization of the border, he’s specifically targeting immigrants and Latinos trying to make a life for themselves and their families,” Garcia said. He said that communities of color all over the U.S. face similar challenges.

Garcia pointed to issues like the water crisis in Flint, Mich., and construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline in South Dakota, where other communities of color have been singularly affected by environmental issues. “We also see it throughout our country when highways are built and minority communities, like Latinos and blacks, are divided and displaced to make way for the privileged upper class folks on the other side of the city,” he said.

Ira Mehlman, of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, supports the construction of the wall and said that it is an important tool for impeding illegal immigration. He said that FAIR supported the Secure Fence Act in 2006, which authorized construction of a border barrier — legislation, he pointed out, that had support from people like Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer and Barack Obama.

In terms of environmental risks, Mehlman said that while a wall could have some environmental impact, “so [do] tens, hundreds of thousands trampling across the flora, leaving tons of garbage and debris along the way. So having that traffic is also damaging to the local ecology.”

But scientists and environmentalists have been warning about the potential negative environmental effects, like restricted animal movement and plant pollination, of a border wall for over a decade, since President George W. Bush signed the Secure Fence Act of 2006. When Donald Trump started discussing the construction of a full-scale border wall during his presidential campaign, those concerns resurfaced.

In September 2016, Sergio Avila-Villegas, a conservation scientist at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, told BBC’s Science in Action team that “Border infrastructure not only blocks the movement of wildlife, but… destroys the habitats, fragments the habitats and the connectivity that these animals use to move from one place to another.”

George Frisvold, a professor at the University of Arizona who specializes in environmental policy, said that politically speaking, a border wall “gives this false impression that you’re actually doing something, but it has this political attraction because it’s completely ineffective” in preventing problems associated with immigration. Environmentally, he said, “Any time you’re going to put big structures along the border, and usually it isn’t just the structure out there by itself — you have to have some sort of access road for people to go get to it, so you’re going to be tearing up natural habitat with structures and roads, and that’s going to be disruptive.”

Mark Magana, the president of GreenLatinos, said he sees Latinos, especially millennials, becoming more involved in the environmental rights movement. He said many Latinos were raised to be cultural conservationists. “[We] grew up respecting, conserving, reusing, re-purposing, being very respectful for what we have,” he said. “And that is not because I read about it or…I claim to be an environmentalist. It’s because that’s what our grandmother taught us…You know, ‘Don’t turn on the air conditioning. Reuse that piece of aluminum foil…Eat every part of the animal…Find a way to fix that.’

“And we have, whether it’s because of an agrarian ancestry or because of poverty, many cultures like Latinos have developed this natural culture of conservation. And it’s just a respect we have for the little that we have.”

Earlier this month, Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham introduced the “Build Bridges Not Walls Act,” which would prohibit Trump’s executive order. So far, it’s been endorsed by 59 members of Congress and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.


Source: npr.org

Tomra introduces smart reverse vending machines


Tomra, a global provider of reverse vending machines (RVMs) and sensor-based sorting equipment with U.S. headquarters in Shelton, Connecticut, has introduced smart RVMs through its Tomra Connect digital product platform.

The Tomra Connect RVMs offer customer rewards, community involvement and analytics that previously were not available to users.

The company says the portfolio of digital products by Tomra Collection Solutions Digital brings new insights and engagement opportunities, both for the locations providing the RVMs and for the people who recycle with them. Tomra Collection Solutions Digital, which began as an intrapreneurship project in 2014 and is a part of Tomra, develops, innovates and monetizes digital products and solutions to complement and extend the value of RVM usage and ownership, the company says on its website.

Tomra says its approach also is personalizing the recycling experience for millions of people around the world, in turn increasing recycling involvement, ramping up profits for stores and helping the environment.

“Tomra Connect opens up new possibilities for extending the recycling experience and getting to know recyclers,” says Aleksander Mortensen, head of Tomra Collection Solutions Digital. “It’s not just cars and fitness devices connecting to the Internet of Things. Just as smartphones made us expect more from our handsets than simply making calls, with smart reverse vending you get much more from the recycling experience.”

Tomra has more than 75,000 installations in more than 40 markets, often where a deposit is refunded when consumers return their used beverage containers (UBCs). The RVMs identify the can or bottle, give the appropriate refund and can compact the containers for easier transportation.

RVMs with Tomra Connect offer:

  • Points programs: With engagement program Tomra Makes Change, also known as ReAct, consumers can earn points and redeem them for rewards or charitable donations, and share their recycling activity to social media. ReAct has tens of thousands of users in the U.S., who have earned millions of points. This engagement program can complement deposit refunds or act as an incentive in markets without deposit legislation.
    Marketing and donation: The machine’s touch screen turns the system into a marketing touchpoint. Consumers can donate their deposit refund to a local charity, and retailers can promote daily specials or show seasonal campaigns – all administered remotely. Retailers also can print coupons on refund receipts.
    Notifications: Smartphone app Notify + Assist pushes real-time notifications to personnel when machines require attention (such as for full bins, stops or low printer paper) and gives step-by-step guidance on how to remedy the issue.
    Insights: Analytics pulls business intelligence from big data. It shows queueing time, how well the machine was cleaned, recycling volumes for different times of day (for the purpose of helping sites providing the machines, typically retailers, to plan ahead for busy periods) and other data.
    Anti-fraud: Tomra Connect combats fraud attempts (like someone trying to redeem the same deposit amount twice) through real-time validation and devaluation of refund receipts.

Tomra Connect is not Tomra’s first foray into remote communication for its recycling returns machines. In the 1980s, Tomra used dial-up connectivity to transmit software and databases, as well as download log files and statistics. The 1990s saw the implementation of networking and IP. Tomra Connect represents third-generation connectivity, which moves that infrastructure to the cloud and unites previous local offerings under one umbrella.

Consumers deliver 35 billion UBCs every year to Tomra machines. The company says this reduces reliance on raw materials to produce new containers and ensures that fewer end up in landfills, oceans and streets. All containers redeemed through Tomra RVMs are recycled.

Visit www.tomraconnect.com for more information.

Tomra is part of the Tomra Group, Tomra Systems ASA, which is based in Norway. Founded in 1972, the company designs, manufactures and sells RVMs for automated collection of UBCs. Tomra has two main business areas: Collection Solutions (reverse vending, material recovery and compaction) and Sorting Solutions (recycling, mining and food sorting).

Women Oyster Harvesters Ready For Community Co-mamgement Plan

Women demonstrate harvesting oysters during the PRA.  Normally they would have individual basins. Brush parks (ed Acadjas in Ga or Atidza in Ewe)

Women demonstrate harvesting oysters during the PRA. Normally they would have individual basins. Brush parks (ed Acadjas in Ga or Atidza in Ewe)

By Samuel Hinneh

More than 100 fisher folks, mostly women and traditional leaders from Tsokomey, Bortianor, Oshie, Faana, Kobrobite communities in the Ga South Municipal Assembly in the Greater Accra Region have expressed the readiness to adopt community co-management plan to boost oyster harvesting to alleviate poverty.

They participated in a two-day Oyster Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) from January 30th to 31st, 2017 to institute a community co-management plan for the harvesting of oyster resources in the Densu Estuary. The appraisal assessed the ecological and socioeconomic status and prospects for development of a community based management plan for oyster harvesting as a sustainable livelihood and food security venture in the Densu River estuary. The Densu Delta was designated as a Ramsar site in 1992, recognizing it as a protected wetland of international importance under the International Convention on Wetlands.

They shared local knowledge of the history of oyster fishery in the Densu Estuary, identified significant harvesting sites, shared their experiences with using the river resources, and identified the opportunities and challenges in sustainable oyster harvesting and conservation management.

The PRA was facilitated by Development Action Association (DAA), Hen Mpoano, and the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Science of University of Cape Coast (UCC), all implementing partners of USAID Sustainable Fisheries Management Project (SFMP) and Consultants from Try Oyster Women from the Gambia.

USAID Sustainable Fisheries Management Project is 5-years food security program which aims at rebuilding targeted marine fish stock in Ghana.

The Try Oyster Women’s Association in The Gambia brings together over 500 female oyster harvesters with primary aim to raise the standard of living and improve livelihood opportunities for women.

Harvested fresh oysters from the Densu estuary

Oysters have very high essential vitamins and minerals such as protein, iron, omega three fatty acids, calcium, zinc, and vitamins C. Another important benefit in eating oysters is, it poses no danger to the cholesterol levels in the human body. A research done by University of Washington shows, oysters raise good cholesterol levels and lowers bad cholesterol levels. Madam Fatou Janha Mboob, TRY Oyster Women’s Association Coordinator, reiterated their support for the management plan. “If we are doing it accordingly, we can process it and export some to upgrade income. Comparing the oyster sizes in The Gambia and Ghana the sizes in Ghana are bigger than The Gambia and lots of profits can be made if done properly to increase earnings. The hardship in the communities is too much, we will help to address economic hardships,” she stated.

The women who represent the target group for the DAA/SFMP sustainable livelihoods initiative mostly engage in low value-added activities such as fish cleaning and carrying loads of fish on their heads from the landing site (fish porter). These women mostly young women in their 20s and 30s are at times the poorest in the community. Although oyster harvesting is common among this group, it is not considered a significant source of income. One of the participants summed it up this way “I came to Tsokomey from Volta region specially to carry fish load because I heard that it is a lucrative activity. Here in our community, oyster harvesting is not seen as an occupation.”

Peter Oblitey Amui, secretary to the Sukumortsoshishi family in charge of the River says he was happy of the proposed co-management plan and will solicit support from the traditional heads to ensure that the programme is a success. “Though I had heard many misconceptions about the whole programme, what I have seen clearly shows greater commitment from the women oyster harvesters and we as traditional authority in this area and in charge of the river will give them our full support.”

Women Oyster harvesters face many challenges, among them are: inadequate protective working gear, lack of personal boat for harvesting (this mostly applies to women oyster pickers), inadequate diving skills, inadequate sustainable fire wood for broiling oysters, extended shucking time (scooping of oyster “meat” from shells can be time consuming for a large volume of oysters), low price of fresh oyster “meat”, lack of access to external markets, and lack of value addition of the fresh oysters (processing into other finished products)

Lydia Sasu, the Executive Director, Development Action Association (DAA), says it is the hope that the women would take up oyster harvesting as a business to alleviate poverty and subsequently achieve food security.

She stated that, this appraisal is only the beginning and with the support of the Sustainable Fisheries Management Project (SFMP) and the USAID, various trainings, oyster value additions in their processes, mangrove planting and many other activities would be embarked on to strengthened the women harvesters for them manage their resources themselves in a more sustainable way.

“Our overall goal is to assist these women and the community at large to use their own resources in a sustainable way and to improve their living and family standards, we are at DAA care about rural women and we want to see them happy,” Mrs Sasu said.


Source: modernghana.com

Prioritizing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) : Ghana’s Possible Options


Caritas Ghana, the Non-Governmental Organisation wing of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference, on November 14, 2016 outdoored an Assessment Report of Ghana’s readiness to implement the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The 52-page Report dubbed: Bringing the Sustainable Development Goals to Life in Ghana, assesses Government’s commitment and efforts towards successful implementation of the SDGs by highlighting national level structures and initiatives that were useful for sustaining national momentum.

The Report further assesses the level of consultation and involvement of relevant stakeholders like civil society and the Corporate Sector; and identifying the opportunities and gaps in Ghana’s efforts towards effective implementation.

The joy of the Catholic Church in this feat is that the Report will contribute towards increasing public awareness about the SDGs and promote civic engagement for their implementation in Ghana. There is no doubt that the citizens’ awareness about the SDGs is essential for their participation and for expressing a view on the implantation Status.

At the Sustainable Development Goals Summit on September 25, 2015, UN Member States adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030.

The SDGs, otherwise known as the Global Goals , build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), eight anti-poverty targets that the world was committed to achieving by 2015.

The SDGs is an attempt to finish the unfinished agenda of the MDGs which were not fully met. The SGDs are also aimed at setting higher goals to eradicate, rather than reduce poverty, and having higher aspirations in terms of meeting obligations for future generations.

The MDGs, adopted in 2000, aimed at an array of issues that included slashing poverty, hunger, disease, gender inequality, and access to water and sanitation. Enormous progress has been made on the MDGs, showing the value of a unifying agenda underpinned by goals and targets. Despite this success, the indignity of poverty has not been ended for all.

The new Global Goals, and the broader sustainability agenda, go much further than the MDGs by addressing the root causes of poverty and the universal need for development that works for all people.

UNDP Administrator, Helen Clark noted: “This agreement marks an important milestone in putting our world on an inclusive and sustainable course. If we all work together, we have a chance of meeting citizens’ aspirations for peace, prosperity, and wellbeing, and to preserve our planet.”

Voices around the world are demanding leadership on poverty, inequality and climate change. To turn these demands into actions, world leaders gathered in September 2015 to adopt the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development .

Paul Ladd, Director of the UNDP Team on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, spoke about 2015, a year in which countries were to shape a new development agenda and reach a global agreement on climate change.

The 2030 Agenda comprises 17 new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), or Global Goals , which will guide policy and funding for the next 15 years, beginning with a historic pledge to end poverty.

The concept of the SDGs was born at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20, in 2012. The objective was to produce a set of universally applicable goals that balances the three dimensions of sustainable development: environmental, social, and economic.

The Global Goals replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) , which in September 2000 rallied the world around a common 15-year agenda to tackle the indignity of poverty.

The MDGs established measurable, universally-agreed objectives for eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, preventing deadly but treatable disease, and expanding educational opportunities to all children, among other development imperatives.

At its Millennium Development Goals Summit held in September 2010, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) considered it necessary to begin to think of a new global development framework to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which expired in 2015.

Since then, a series of processes have been launched aimed at creating a new global development framework. The two most important processes were those led by the Open Working Group (OWG) on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and those led by the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Financing for Sustainable Development (ICEFSD).

While the OWG’s focus was to propose a set of development goals for consideration by the UNGA, the ICEFSD was required to propose a set of approaches to raise the needed financial resources for implementation of the MDGs’ successor-the SDGs.

The OWG released a set of 17 goals and 169 targets in July 2014. In September 2014, the UNGA accepted to integrate the SDGs as proposed by the OWG into the post-2015 development Agenda. These goals were finalized and adopted by the UNGA in September 2015.

Ghana and SDGs
As a member of the OWG and having participated in two UN-led national level consultations, Ghana has played a significant role in defining the post-2015 Global Development Agenda. In Ghana, prior to the agreement, statements have been made by senior government officials on Ghana’s positions and/or priorities in relation to the SDGs.

Ms. Christine Asare, SDGs Focal Person in Ghana and member of the National Technical Steering Committee said in assessing the SDGs, there was the need to look at and make sure that all the three pillars that ensure sustainability were at the same level.

She advised that Ghana focuses on the socio-cultural, economic and natural resource issues as well as the Institutional issues, and that, the Environmental Protection Agency had been working with the National Development Planning Commission over the years to streamline these issues.

Speaking on the SDGs and the Post 2015 development agenda processes in Ghana, she stated that, Ghana had conducted broad consultations in three tracks: one focusing on the SDGs themselves, another on how to finance the SDGs and the other to come up with indicators for monitoring the implementation.

It must be emphasised that at the outset, however, that there is currently no official declaration or articulation by the Ghanaian government of what the country’s priorities really are as far as the SDGs are concerned. Nevertheless, to the extent, that the positions or priorities in this write-up are based on official statements by Government officials and/or representatives at the UN, they can be reasonably deemed to effectively reflect Ghana’s positions or priorities on the SDGs.

The new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) started in January 2016. For us in Africa, the new development imperative was signaled earlier by AFRICA AGENDA 2063 which establishes the Africa Development Goals (ADGs).

In Ghana, the discourse began on the Long-Term National Development Plan (40 YEARS) to climax the centenary celebration of independence in 2057! Though high ambitions, they can surely be attainable with commitment, zeal and honesty of Ghanaians.

Post-2015 Development Agenda Process in Ghana

The post-2015 development process in Ghana consists of two sets of consultations: two UN-initiated consultations, three Government-initiated consultations and civilized society-led consultations.

As one of the first 50 countries selected by the UN for national consultations on the post-2015 development agenda, two round of national consultations were organised in Ghana. Led by the UN Country team in partnership with the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), the first round of consultations were launched in November 2012 at Tamale.

Due to the general character of the SDGs and the vast number of development issues they cover, there is a crucial need for countries to prioritise which areas are important in the national context.

Mr. Samuel Zan Akologo, Executive Secretary of Caritas Ghana (the Department of Human Development) of the National Catholic Secretariat in Accra speaking at the United Nations Post-2015 Stakeholder Steering Committee meeting in New York, on behalf of Caritas Internationlis, commended the co-chairs of the post 2015 Development Agenda for facilitating a broadly and open process negotiations of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Session dilated on the inter-governmental negotiations (IGN), which is the next phase of monthly political dialogue meetings on the Sustainable Development Goals by Government Representatives ahead of the UN General Assembly held in September 2015. He lauded the leadership of the Secretary General on his Synthesis Report on the post-2015 Development Agenda.

These initiatives, he said, had created enthusiasm for Developing Countries and Civil Society to continue to engage with the process, noting in particular the Common African Position that has built consensus and provided a framework for engagement by Governments in Africa.

The participation of people living in poverty should continue to be the lynchpin in the implementation, monitoring and accountability of this ambitious sustainable development agenda, he added. Mr. Akologo said linkages need to be drawn between proposed goals and existing processes at national, regional and global levels, including predictable financing mechanisms to deliver our shared ambition.

A delegation from the African Union (AU), who visited Ghana in late 2015 applauded the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) for its inclusive approach to preparing a long-term national development for Ghana. The delegation is in the country to discuss strategies for domesticating the first 10 years of the AU’s 50-year transformation agenda, known as Agenda 2063, into Ghana’s long-term national development plan.

Priorities: Employment and Youth Development

The issue of employment in Ghana remains a critical development issue. Unemployment in Ghana especially among the educated youth appears to have deepened despite consistent growth in the Ghanaian economy. For example, although Ghana has experienced an average economic growth of about 5% in the last twenty years, unemployment continued to soar within the same period.

According to the Media Foundation for West Africa, a non-Governmental organisation, Ghana’s representatives in the SDGs negotiations at the UN identify a number of factors that may be responsible for this challenge. According to the statement made by the Ghana at the fourth Session of the OWG, youth development is one issue that countries cannot afford to do away with. In the specific Ghanaian context, a number of critical interventions were highlighted

With the job unfinished for millions of people—we need to go the last mile on ending hunger, achieving full gender equality, improving health services and getting every child into school. Now we must shift the world onto a sustainable path. The Global Goals aim to do just that, with 2030 as the target date. Ghana needs to be in a good position (Human Resource Capacity, Policy, and Infrastructure) to aid the implementation and achievement these Goals.

In Ghana today, unemployment constitutes perhaps the biggest social issue confronting our country, a situation which has been worsened by the turning out of many unskilled graduates from our Schools.

The secondary and tertiary education has not been able to turn out the relevant middle level skilled human resources needed for the industrialization of the country even as large numbers of people, including school drop-outs, continue to throng our cities for non-existing jobs, ending up as head porters or “Kayaye” and “shoe-shine boys and girls”.

This army of unemployed youth often engages in undesirable immoral behaviours like prostitution and armed robbery. To stem this tide of affairs, we recommend that the State turn some of the community secondary schools currently under construction into Community Vocational and Technical schools and continue to equip and resource the existing Vocational and Technical Institutes in the country. Parents Guardians should also encourage their wards to enroll in these schools.

While the idea of Technical Universities is good, care must be taken not to rush the proposal through without doing the necessary due diligence to ensure that the aim of the exercise will be achieved.

Perhaps, the proposed Long-Term Development plan is a great opportunity to get this policy and programme articulation right. The Laity who are policy makers on education delivery are called upon to work with their co-workers to make Christ’s love felt here.

The hunger/poverty cycle is a difficult one to break, but that is necessary if we want to live in a world where everyone has the ability to fulfill their potential. Did you know there are over 870 million people who are hungry in the world at this exact moment?

The kind of hunger that stops a body being able to work the hours that it needs to, that stops a brain being able to concentrate in class, that stops a person living in poverty being able to lift themselves out of it. This goal will not only make sure everyone has enough food, but that we can make sure it is nutritious and sustainable to grow.

Poverty is a direct consequence of unemployment. Every Ghanaian must be alarmed at the abject poverty that stares at us everywhere in the cities, towns and villages. We regret to say that various poverty-reduction interventions such as the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP), Youth Enterprise Support (YES) and the like, though commendable, have not yielded the desired results.

It is the strong conviction that policies and strategies aimed at reducing poverty must be pragmatic, realistic and home-grown. Over-reliance on donor-driven or directed programmes must be cut to the barest minimum. The resolve of the global community to bring extreme poverty to an end must challenge Ghana to work hard to achieve the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at an earlier timeline before 2030.

Education is repeatedly highlighted by senior government officials on various platforms related to the post-2015 development agenda and was furthermore identified as a core priority issue in the UN report of the national consultations on SDGs. While Ghana has made substantial improvements in its educational sector particularly in the area of access to basic education, serious challenges remain at the tertiary level that require urgent action.

There is an unchanging position that it is the inalienable right of parents and guardians to choose schools for their wards. The Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference (GCBC) has over the years reaffirmed their conviction that it is not the right of a computer, programmed by a prone-to-corruption human being, to choose schools for our students. This is why the Bishops continue to appeal to Government to abolish the Computerised School Selection and Placement System (CSSPS) and replace it with a more workable and transparent version.

Unit Schools have been pivotal in quality education delivery in Ghana. However, successive policies in educational reforms in recent times have systematically sidelined the Educational Units making them ineffective. Because of this, the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference and other Religious Bodies have for many years engaged the State to come out with clear policies with regard to the Partnership Agreement which has always existed between the Religious Bodies and the State in Education delivery.

The Catholic Bishops and the Christian Council made call on Government to be transparent in the on-going policy considerations on education reforms. The also urged that action be expedited on the formalization of the Partnership Agreement on Education, submitted by the Religious and other Bodies whose Schools are in the public system. “We call on the Laity to see the benefits of the Unit Schools and to commit themselves to their effective management as the contribution of Religious Bodies towards quality education delivery in Ghana,” the two Bodies added in a joint Statement last year.

Urbanization remains a growing challenge in developing nations around the world. In Ghana, the challenge appears to be reaching alarming proportions resulting in the near exponential growth in slum areas particularly Accra.

In her address at the national dialogue held on SDGs in April 2015, Ghana’s former Minister for Fisheries, Ms. Shirley Ayittey, expressed the view that urbanization is a key challenge that must receive priority attention in both the SDGs and in Ghana’s development framework.

She argued that not only does urbanization exert extreme pressures on the State to provide and improve the quality of social amenities in cities; but that meeting that challenge itself means that invariably very little of available national resources are committed to developmental needs in rural areas, a situation that propels the phenomenon of rural-urban migration in Ghana. In this sense, addressing the challenges associated with the growth in urban populations must be seen as a necessary aspect of promoting equitable development in the country.

In their Communique issued on November 13, 2015, members of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference stated that “The increasing urbanization of Ghana has brought in its wake the problem of “streetism”. In effect, children who should be in the classrooms are found loitering and/or hawking on the streets of our towns and cities. According to the Ghanaian Bishops with increased urbanisation, the practice of prostitution is on the ascendancy while the HIV/AIDS pandemic is still rampant in some parts of the country, particularly, in cities. There are cases of armed robbery attacks in our cities. Even though statistics show that such cases have gone down, we think that there is still more room for improvement in this area.

The problems relating to urbanisation also include the fact that urban poverty has increased over the last few years compared with rural poverty. These problems relating to urbanisation may seem daunting but the Bishops feel they are guided by faith and hope that united as one people we can surely surmount these formidable challenges.

The environment and Climate Change
According to the Statement presented by Ghana in the first OWG session in March 2013, climate change is one of the issues that hinder the development of developing countries and thus deserving of adequate attention in the post-2015 framework. In Ghana, increasing drought and perennial flooding has severe consequences especially in food-producing centres of the three Northern Regions of the country

Closely linked to the health of the nation is the issue of the care of the environment. Time and again, it is regrettable to note the persistent pollution of our water bodies, the littering of plastic waste everywhere, the careless felling of trees in the forests and savannah area and the rampant illegal mining (galamsey) operations in towns and villages. The GCBC called on the Laity and indeed all Ghanaians to rise up against this indiscriminate destruction of our environment and water bodies. The authorities charged with protecting our natural resources should be up and doing.

The idea of the National Sanitation Day on every first Saturday of the month, according to the Bishops, is laudable and commendable and appeals had to all Catholics and all Ghanaians to actively participate in this exercise as a Christian duty and a civic responsibility.

“We urge all Ghanaians to acquire the habit, not only to clean up our surroundings but most importantly let us all learn how not to make our environment dirty in the first place. We also strongly recommend the recent encyclical of Pope Francis on the care of creation called “Laudato Si’ ” to our Catholic faithful and all Ghanaians because it provides a good resource for all, but most especially, policy makers on the care of our environment. We can certainly do with more education on the care of the environment. All the Laity who are charged with the protection of the environment should know that the environment is God’s handiwork. To protect it is being faithful to God,” says the Ghanaian Bishops in their Communique.

In both the report of the UN-led national consultations on the SDGs and the recently concluded stakeholders’ discussion on the SDGs, health was identified as priority development concern for Ghana. Despite some progress in improving access to health services, principally through the introduction of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), substantial challenges remain in delivery of quality health care in Ghana. Consequently, infant, child and maternal mortality rates remain very high in Ghana, while preventable diseases like malaria continue to contribute significantly to child mortality.

Another priority issue relates to localizing the SDGs. According to several key stakeholders, government officials and the UN representative, localization of the SDGs must be prioritized in order to promote citizens ownership and facilitate successful implementation. It is considered important that the SDG indicators being developed are adjusted to the national context to make the goals and targets relevant to Ghana. To ensure successful localization, sufficient public education is deemed highly important in order to generate mass support for the SDGs and for particular policy actions arising.

Role of Media
Speakers at a media forum on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Accra stressed the need for the media to actively advocate for local ownership of the goals and hold implementing actors accountable.

Ms. Christine Evans-Klock, the United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator for Ghana, who chaired the forum, said once the SDGs are adopted; the media’s active participation in this regard would ensure that the universal goals contained in the document result in actions and policies to make a difference in the lives of citizens, rather than stay on paper.

She commended the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) for the initiative to inform the general public about the SDGs, how they came about and their importance in Ghana.

“The SDGs were developed after many years of hard work, through consultations that stretched across 190 countries and which gave voice to civil society, private sector and sought the views of millions of young people,” she noted.

Ghana was one of the countries tasked to host a national consultancy on the post 2015 agenda. The consultations were organized by the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), with the UN and other relevant agencies, including civil society organizations, development partners, private sector, religious bodies and others at regional and national levels.

In Ghana, discussions were mainly focused on a better future for young people, including the quality of education and access to decent work, whiles some focused on localizing universal development goals, owning them and mobilizing support to make a difference in Ghana.

The process of developing Ghana’s 40-year development plan, of which the first 15 years of it will be informed by the SDGs and pledged the United Nations readiness to assist Ghana in implementation strategies to achieve the goals.

Professor Kwame Karikari, SDG Ambassador in Ghana and Board Member of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), said the MDGs did not receive the kind of sustained media advocacy; monitoring and coverage that would have added to the gains that were made and commended the MFWA for involving the media in the SDGs from the beginning.

Compared to the MDGs, the SDGs were broader, going beyond socio-economic issues and thus required all parties to support. The SDG provided the elements for national consensus on a development agenda that was devoid of any political tinkering and urged political parties to fashion their manifestos based on it.

The Media must be focused on challenges that appear in the implementation of the goals and also how Ghanaian citizens, like civil society groups are involved in the implementation of the SDGs.


Source: modernghana.com

A Play-By-Play of Super Bowl LI’s Waste Diversion Efforts

super bowl

By:Mallory Szczepanski

Approximately 150 new recycling bins were placed throughout NRG Stadium, and about a dozen local agencies helped capture unserved, surplus food from the stadium.


Millions of sports fans (and entertainment fans) tuned in to watch Super Bowl LI yesterday, which concluded with the New England Patriots victory over the Atlanta Falcons in a first-ever Super Bowl overtime. And while those fans were busy munching on tasty snacks, drinking refreshing beverages, cheering on their team and catching up with friends and family, the NFL and the staff at NRG Stadium in Houston were working to divert as much waste from landfill as possible. 

In preparation for the big game, approximately 150 new recycling bins were placed throughout NRG Stadium, and about a dozen local agencies were recruited by the Houston Food Bank to help capture unserved, surplus food from the stadium.

Additionally, NRG Energy Inc. and its subsidiary Reliant partnered with the NFL to provide 100 percent Green-e certified renewable energy to NRG Stadium for a certain time period before, during and after the big game.

“As the official electricity company of NRG Stadium, we are proud to support the NFL and Houston by powering the largest U.S. sporting event with renewable energy certificates together with the onsite efficiency and renewable energy solutions,” said NRG Vice President of Sustainability Bruno Sarda in a statement. “At NRG, we want fans to benefit from sustainable solutions and together with the NFL, we can demonstrate that even a huge event like the Super Bowl can significantly reduce its energy usage.”

These sustainable efforts by NRG and its partners go hand-in-hand with its everyday goals to divert more material from landfill and to make its venues more sustainable.

In 2013, NRG reviewed the amount of materials it was currently recycling and developed new initiatives to help boost its recycling rate. NRG set a goal to recycle 15 percent of its waste in 2014, and it exceeded its expectations by achieving a recycling rate of 17 percent. NRG then set a goal to recycle 20 percent of its waste in 2015, but its recycling rate held steady at 17 percent that year.

NRG has a recycling and waste team and waste subject-matter experts who work with local and state governments and other industrial waste generators to ensure that waste generation and disposal concerns at all of its locations are understood and properly addressed. NRG also has a sourcing team that creates partnerships with waste management and recycling companies to ensure that waste and recycling materials end up in their proper destinations. 

Leading up to the big game, the NFL and the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee hosted a variety of environmental-themed events, including a public E-Waste Recycling Rally and the Super Kids – Super Sharing Sports Equipment and Book Donation Event.

At the e-waste recycling rally on January 21, local residents dropped off e-waste items like computers, printers, monitors, cell phones and televisions for safe and proper disposal. And at the Super Kids event on January 19, tens of thousands of books, school supplies, games and sports equipment were collected and donated to low-income schools and youth programs, and unused cell phones and accessories were collected and donated to U.S.-based domestic violence organizations.

Immediately after the Super Bowl, recovery of event materials began and will continue throughout the next week with a drive to collect and donate items left over from the Super Bowl, including building materials, decor, fabric, carpeting and signage. 

Source: waste360.com


First German supermarket sells waste food only

The first supermarket to sell only salvaged food waste has opened in Germany. It marks a small step towards a zero-waste society – but a major shift in social awareness, says DW reporter Irene Banos Ruiz.

From curious grannies to committed “food-savers”, everyone who came to “The Good Food” when it opened on February 4 was excited by a shop unlike anything they had ever encountered before.

The store in the German city of Cologne is the first of its kind in the country and the third one in the European Union. It sells products of all kinds, from vegetables to beer. And the unusual thing is that all these products would otherwise have been destroyed as waste.

The other peculiar thing about “The Good Food” is that there are no fixed prices. Consumers decide how much they think a product is worth.

You only need to take one look at the figures to understand why Nicole Klaski decided to start “The Good Food”.  Every year, one third of the food produced in the world gets wasted.  If we saved just a quarter of that wasted food, we could feed almost 900 million hungry people, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Köln The Good Food Lebensmittel Nicole Klaski Valentin Thurn (DW/I. Barrios) Klaski and Thurn want to stop food waste.

Valentin Thurn is an author and the award-winning director of the “Taste the Waste” documentary. He came along to the opening to celebrate what he sees as a positive move to combat food waste. But he also told DW there were still major challenges to be overcome.

“This idea is simply great,” Thurn said. “I still cannot understand why we throw so much food away!”

The starting point

Well, actually, he says, he does have some idea. “The trade knows we prefer to buy something that looks perfect,” he said.

Indeed, the FAO’s information shows that at retail level, food is mostly wasted because it does not look attractive.

Klaski told DW it was time to take action to change this. She goes into fields after they have been harvested and collects the vegetables left behind. Some of them are deemed too big, some too small, some just too ugly to sell.

In her shop, the organic food then becomes accessible to everyone using a “pay what you think” system. Buyers can also find non-perishable products from big manufacturers which have passed their sell-by dates.

Köln The Good Food Lebensmittel (DW/I. Barrios) A customer checks the label on a bottle from the “past the date but delicious” shelf.

“No one wants to throw the food away,” Klaski said. “We save the vegetables and expired products, and the producers are happy that their food is still eaten.” For her, the system is a “win-win cooperation.”

What about health risks?

Some of the curious visitors having a look around “The Good Food” admitted they would not buy certain products if they were past the date. Others, however, said it was easy to tell by the color or smell if a product was still in good condition or not.

Klaski herself is not worried that there could be health risks involved. “The expiry dates on products are only a suggestion for the consumer,” she told DW. “Most of the products last much longer.”

But in the unfortunate event that someone really did get sick, someone has to carry the responsibility. That is why Klaski says the team takes their duty very seriously to inform consumers when a product is out of date.

“And, of course, if something happens we will have to take the responsibility,” she added. “But we are even willing to do that; it is worth trying.”

Part of a broader movement

Contrary to traditional supermarkets’ aim of making a profit, “The Good Food” aims at having a social impact.

Köln The Good Food Lebensmittel (DW/I. Barrios) “Pay what you like”, says the sign on these products.

“Our highest expectation is to raise awareness on the problem food waste represents,” said Anja Rickert, a member of the team at “The Good Food”.

She believes initiatives like this can motivate people who were not previously aware of issues relating to a sustainable lifestyle.

Klaski is convinced that once the first step is taken, the rest follows on. The food waste shop is part of a broader movement to reduce consumption and be aware of how we consume, she said. The furniture used, for instance, is all second hand or recycled.

And most of the consumers seem to share the same philosophy. “Coming here represents more than just buying food, it is a way of life,” one of the clients told DW.

Beyond the social movement

Author and film-maker Valentin Thurn has observed a huge change in attitudes since he produced “Taste the Waste” in 2010:

“At that time nobody spoke about food waste, literally nobody,” Thurn said. “Now many people are involved, even politicians.”

However, despite strong social movements such as food-sharing, food waste remains one of the major challenges of our time. Merchandising the leftovers is not enough to combat it, Thurn is convinced.  He believes imposing economic penalties could be the only effective way to really reduce waste.

“We have to find real solutions to reduce over-production,” he said. And this can only be done through legislation to influence the economy and businesses models.

“It’s not enough to rely on action from a few big business leaders who are aware of environmental issues,”  he concluded.

Source: dw.com