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Sustainable development for all

Launching The Road to Dignity by 2030: Ending Poverty, Transforming All Lives and Protecting the Planet on 4 December, Ban Ki-moon declared that states have an unprecedented opportunity and  "duty to act, boldly, vigorously and expeditiously, to turn reality into a life of dignity for all, leaving no one behind." With the target for the Millennium Development Goals (MDG's) expiring in September, the UN Member States are now negotiating the agenda for its successor.  Ban Ki-moon has urged them to " finish the job" that the MDG's started, aimed at eliminating extreme poverty and hunger, promoting education, especially for girls, fighting disease and protecting the environment.

The Welsh Government is introducing its own sustainable development legislation in the form of  the Well-Being of Future Generations Bill which has passed through the initial stages of the legislative process and aims to promote 'economic, social and environmental wellbeing and enhance people’s quality of life in Wales'. Let the Welsh Government know your views on sustainable development and climate change at http://thewaleswewant.co.uk/get-involved.
 
At the Climate Change Commission for Wales' (CCCW) meeting in Cardiff  last week, Carl Sargeant. the Welsh Minister for Natural Resources stressed the importance of engaging with the public on such matters. The CCCW's annual report can be viewed here

Ebola vaccine hopeful

The recent Ebola outbreak is the worst in recorded history. With over 16,000 reported cases, a fatality rate of 61% and the threat of the disease becoming pandemic, nations scrambled to develop either a vaccine, a viable cure or both. In recent days, the NIH (National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases) and British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline released a vaccine which has been tested in Maryland with a successful outcome. Twenty volunteers between the ages of 18 and 50 were administered the vaccine and have since produced anti-Ebola antibodies. Two of the volunteers did develop a fever, so far that appears to be the limit of the side effects. This is a positive step toward halting the spread of the disease and a beacon of hope for those living in constant fear in the affected areas of Africa. 

There are some questions which remain unanswered; one such question is whether this will provide long term protection. However, scientists are hoping to resolve these questions in the coming months following these trials. Read the preliminary report here.

Meanwhile Liberia has begun treating Ebola patients with serum made from the blood of recovered survivors containing antibodies that will combat Ebola. 

A busy Autumn

Autumn was a busy time for the WCIA. We have had the privilege of meeting and hearing from some wonderful people, including: Professor David Nutt, Baroness Valerie Amos and Peter Tatchell. Each event was as inspiring as the next, tackling crucial topics and encouraging us to take action not only as individuals but as a country.

In October, the WCIA welcomed Professor David Nutt and Ms Pippa Bartolotti to the debate; “Should drugs be legalised?” Both made interesting and important arguments for the legalisation of narcotic substances. More details here.
 
On November 12th, the WCIA hosted its 41st Annual Lecture, with guest speaker Valerie Amos. She discussed the issue of humanitarian aid during times of conflict and examined the challenges faced by not only the civilians in conflict zones but also the humanitarian aid workers. The full transcript of the lecture is available here.

Our most recent event presented the question “Are we there yet? LGBT+ rights in Wales and around the World”. Guest speakers included Peter Tatchell, Bishop Terry Flynn, Laura McAllister and Samuel Cook; Lee Waters chaired the discussion. It was an informative and at times heart rendering debate, which provided personal experiences  from both  the panel and audience.

November also saw the launch of our thought-provoking new project “Wales for Peace”. The project, which has been awarded £920,000 from the Lottery Heritage Fund, will look at the ways in which Wales has contributed to and strived to maintain peace. Visit our website for more information and to sign up for up dates.

Monmouth School win 2014 Wales Schools' Debating Champions

Congratulations to Jamie Brown and Chris Wright of Monmouth School on winning the 2014 Wales Schools Debating Championships. The runners up were Esther Jones and Laura Michael of Ysgol Dyffryn Aman.

The finalists debated the motion " This House would put ‘British boots on the ground’ to defeat the Islamic State in Iraq" and a lively engaging debate resulted.

Our thanks to the judges Julian Rosser, International Development Consultant, Pete Doughton of the English Speaking Union, Josie Maidment and Sarah Roberts, both former Worlds School debaters and Manon Defis the WCIA's Education and Events Co-ordinator.


CEWC's Model United Nations Conferences 

Registrations for CEWC's 2015 Model United Nations Conferences are now open. CEWC is delivering six conferences  on the theme of Human Rights for 14 to 18 year old students in March at venues throughout Wales, together with four briefing sessions in February.

For more information and to register >>>>

Registrations close on 2 February 2015.


The Phillippines - a year after Typhoon Haiyan 

The Philippines have experienced a relentless onslaught of natural disasters in recent years. Typhoon Haiyan (known as Yolanda by locals) hit on the 8th of November last year. It was the strongest storm to make land fall in recorded history affecting 14 million people. Despite receiving an average of 20 tropical storms a year and being prone to tectonic activity, Typhoon Haiyan was the deadliest in the history of the Philippines. The disaster displaced 4 million people and destroyed as much as 90% of the housing according to UN statistics. The storm left people in dreadful conditions without safe drinking water and shelter and at risk of disease through the lack of sanitation.
One year on many Filipinos are still in temporary shelters and continue to be affected by the carnage that the storm left behind. People commonly relied on farming and fishing to provide for themselves and their families but after a third of the rice growing areas, 33 million coconut trees and 30,000 boats were destroyed by the Typhoon. Many have been left with no livelihood. Charities, such as Oxfam, remain in some of the worst affected areas repairing boats and fishing nets and providing 400 tonnes of rice seed. However, if another major typhoon were to hit the area again it would greatly affect the redevelopment work. 


A seasonal message of Peace from the WCIA

2015 marks the beginning of a new project that will bring people from all walks of life and from all over Wales, to discover, to record and to write the story of Wales’ place in peace in the past, present and future. Every person in Wales, regardless of age, gender, race or sexual orientation is part of this story and we look forward to connecting with as many of you as we are able.
 
As we reflect over a year where we have witnessed extremes of callousness and suffering and of compassion and solidarity, we are reminded of the role we all have to play in the creation of peace. Thank you for your interest and support of the WCIA, and on behalf of the staff and volunteers I extend warm wishes for a happy and peaceful holiday season to you and those dear to you.
 
Martin Pollard
Chief Executive



 

 New in January - Hub/WCIA  bookcub

Join Manon Defis of the WCIA and Dan James Jones of the Hub at Chapter Arts Centre Cardiff on 28 January at 6pm to discuss Dambisa Moyo's Dead Aid.
If you can't make it in person, join the conversation on the WCIA Voices website.

Comments on Dead Aid:

'Dambisa Moyo makes a compelling case for a new approach' - Kofi Annan

'Books like that are promoting evil.' - Bill Gates


Our events

WCIA/Hub Bookclub

Discuss Dambisa Moyo's 
Dead Aid 
Chapter Arts Centre
28 January 2015 at 6pm

Model United Nations Conferences 2015

Briefing Sessions:

5 February 2015 in Cardiff
9 February 2015 in Carmarthen
11 February in Wrexham
12 February in Bangor

Conferences:

2 March in Carmarthen
12 March in Barry
17 March in Caernarfon
18 March in Mold
20 March in Cardiff
25 March in Swansea

More information and to register

Registrations close on 2 February 2015


 

Other dates for your diary
 

14 January 2015
African Children's Choir
30th Anniversary Concert
St David's Hall Cardiff
19.30 -21.00

21 January 2015
Sustain Wales Event
City Hall, Cardiff
10.00 -15.00
 

Support the WCIA 

Find out more.

Join UNA Wales and UNA-UK.
 


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Hong Kong and Democracy Calling: Letters for London
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