Human rights must not be sacrificed in fight against terror Annan tells

Speaking before the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, the Secretary-General reiterated the notion that countries not only had the right, but also the duty, to shield their citizens from the threats posed by terrorism. “But States must also take the greatest care to ensure that counter-terrorism does not, any more than sovereignty, become an all-embracing concept that is used to cloak, or justify, violations of human rights,” Mr. Annan stressed. Justice must be both “the means and the end” in the struggle against terrorism, the Secretary-General told the Commission, which he said was meeting in one of the most important sessions it has ever held, given the events since the 11 September attacks and the current “desperate situation” in the Middle East. “Mass murderers must no longer go unpunished, whether they are terrorists, warlords or dictators,” he said, welcoming yesterday’s historic milestone of the 60th ratification of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). That event will enable the treaty to enter into force on 1 July and the Court to become operational by next year. Rather than detract from or undermine the responsibility of States to prosecute and punish war crimes committed by their citizens or within their jurisdiction, the Court will give countries a strong incentive to improve their standards, the Secretary-General said, since it will only have jurisdiction where the State is either unable or unwilling to proceed. “It is a well-known principle that justice must not only be done, but also be clearly seen to be done,” Mr. Annan said. “When criminals are punished, no fair-minded person should be in doubt of the justice of either conviction or sentence.” The Secretary-General also paid tribute to Mary Robinson, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights who is leaving the post in September, saying that she brought to the office “an unflagging and fearless determination” to uphold the cause of human rights throughout the world. “The poor, the oppressed and the victims of injustice in every country and everywhere in the world have reason to be grateful to her,” Mr. Annan said. read more

Banks UN set standards on channelling investments for sustainable development

The Principles for Positive Impact Finance – a first of its kind set of criteria for investments to be considered sustainable – provide financiers and investors with a global framework applicable across their different business lines, including retail and wholesale lending, corporate and investment lending and asset management.“Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – the global action plan to end poverty, combat climate change and protect the environment – is expected to cost $5 to $7 trillion every year through 2030,” said the head of the UN Environment Finance Initiative, Eric Usher, in a press release.The UN Environment Finance Initiative is a partnership between the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the global financial sector created in the wake of the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development, widely known as the Earth Summit, with a mission to promote sustainable finance. Over 200 financial institutions, including banks, insurers and fund managers, work with UN Environment to understand today’s environmental challenges, why they matter to finance, and how to actively participate in addressing them. “The Positive Impact Principles are a game changer, which will help to channel the hundreds of trillions of dollars managed by banks and investors towards clean, low carbon and inclusive projects,” Mr. Usher said.The Principles provide guidance for financiers and investors to analyse, monitor and disclose the social, environmental and economic impacts of the financial products and services they deliver.“With global challenges such as climate change, population growth and resource scarcity accelerating, there is an increased urgency for the finance sector both to adapt and to help bring about the necessary changes in our economic and business models,” said Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Société Générale, Séverin Cabannes. “The Principles for Positive Impact Finance provide an ambitious yet practical framework by which we can take the broader angle view we need to meet the deeply complex and interconnected challenges of our time,” he added. The Principles were developed by the Positive Impact Working Group, a group of UN Environment Finance Initiative banking and investment members, as part of the implementation of the roadmap outlined in the Positive Impact Manifesto released in October 2015. Currently, the Positive Impact Working Group includes: Australian Ethical, Banco Itaú, BNP Paribas, BMCE Bank of Africa, Caisse des Dépôts Group, Desjardins Group, First Rand, Hermes Investment Management, ING, Mirova, NedBank, Pax World, Piraeus Bank, SEB, Société Générale, Standard Bank, Triodos Bank, Westpac and YES Bank. read more

OMA helps set protocols to capture fugitive dust emissions

first_imgThe Ontario Mining Association’s (OMA) Environment Committee helped set in motion the development of a series of guidance documents on fugitive dust best management practices that are now broadly available. In 2009, the OMA Environmental Committee started looking into this concern and set up a working group to do a study.“This issue was that the management and control of fugitive dust emissions was creeping into conditions for getting Certificates of Approval,” said Nancy Duquet-Harvey, Environmental Coordinator for Northgate Minerals Young-Davidson mine near Kirkland Lake. She is also a member of the OMA Environment Committee and was chairperson of that group in 2009. “We thought why not develop materials to co-ordinate fugitive dust management to meet C of A requirements.”The Sudbury-based Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI) also identified the need to better understand fugitive dust emissions. A link between an OMA member-specific tackling of this issue and broader industry-wide approach was Natalie Hamilton of Golder Associates. She is an OMA Environment Committee member and was on the initial working group on fugitive emissions. CEMI retained Golder Associates to develop these best management practice guidance documents. Hamilton and her colleague Sean Capstick did much of the work on the project.At a mine site, fugitive dust could be generated from activities such as rock crushing, material handling, tailings storage and vehicle movements. Fugitive dust is a concern because of potential health impacts of fine particulate matter. The fugitive dust best practices manual guidance documents have been completed and tested and they are now available on the CEMI website  The five publications are the Fugitive Dust BMPP Guidance Document, Fugitive Dust Risk Management Tool, Fugitive Dust BMPP Template, ACME Mining Example Fugitive Dust BMPP and the Literature Review of Current Fugitive Dust Control Practices in the Mining Industry. The OMA recognizes the funding and the work of CEMI in seeing this project through to such a comprehensive conclusion. “Idea sharing and resource sharing and people working for a common goal is what it is all about,” added Duquet-Harvey.last_img read more