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World Humanitarian Day. What it is, why it was created and its purpose

Culture / -

World Humanitarian Day, 19 agosto 2015

"Why do we need humanitarian aid?" is a question that seems obvious, with a predictable answer. The other question is not so obvious: what are the risks faced by those operating in countries at risk? The United Nations, with World Humanitarian Day on August 19, reminds us that helping populations that are suffering and the nations in difficulty is anything but a foregone conclusion. And one that can cost human lives. A day for helping people to understand who does what, and which are the smartest moves.

On August 19 in 2003, an attack on the general headquarters of the United Nations in Baghdad caused the death of 22 people, including the special representative of the United Nations in Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello. In memory of the victims of this attack and to honor all the other humanitarian operators who work on the front line, in 2008, August 19 was declared World Humanitarian Day by the General Assembly of the United Nations.
Humanitarian aid: a dangerous job
Direct attacks against humanitarian aid workers have increased over the last ten years, in terms of frequency and seriousness. Since 2003, almost 1,000 operators have been killed while working and many more injured or kidnapped. In the same period, incidents related to the security of the humanitarian operators have tripled. Most of the victims were operating in their own country.
Humanitarian operators do not take sides but aid whoever needs help, regardless of their nationality, religion, sex, ethnic origins or political views. Danger arises if they are associated, in the mind of the factions in conflict, with rival military, political, religious or ideological authorities.
This is what is happening to those aiding Syrian refugees, Congolese rape victims, the survivors of earthquakes and hurricanes, and millions of victims of other crises. Afghanistan, Syria, Darfur, South Sudan, Somalia and Kenya are some of the most dangerous areas for humanitarian operators. The fact that the assaults are directed at those attempting to save the lives of others makes the crimes against these humanitarian operators even more unjust.
These attacks have enormous implications for the people they are trying to help. The suspension of the operations carried out by humanitarian organizations or their withdrawal from a dangerous region for security reasons deprives thousands of vulnerable people of essential support.
This year's theme is "Inspiring World's Humanity"
On August 19, an international celebration of the World Humanitarian Day is taking place in Expo Milano 2015. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the World Food Programme of the United Nations (WFP) and the governments of Italy and Switzerland – in collaboration with the organizations of the civil society and Expo Milano 2015 have organized various activities designed to increase the visibility of the humanitarian crisis in the world – markedly in the field of food security – in line with the theme of Expo Milano 2015 “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”. This year, the objective of creating a more profound sense of global citizenship will be sustained by an innovative digital campaign called #ShareHumanity.
The celebrations at Expo Milano 2015 on August 19 will include an official ceremony at the Expo Center at 14:30, a parade along the Decumano to the Switzerland Pavilion to call for global humanitarian solidarity and a high-level conference on how to end world hunger, including speakers such as, among others, Vice Executive Director of WFP, Barbara Noseworthy, Director of OCHA Geneva, Rashid Khaikov, Head of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit, Ambassador Manuel Bessler, and the General Director of the Unit for Eastern, Western and Southern Africa of ECHO. Multimedia exhibitions on humanitarian actions will be present throughout the Expo Milano 2015 site.

Giorgio Alleva. A new GDP with fruit and vegetables

Economy / -

Giorgio Alleva, presidente dell'istituto nazionale di statistica

Eating fruit and vegetables and healthy lifestyles, but also rural space, the environment, cultural heritage and landscapes. All these factors taken into consideration by BES, are the set of progress indicators identified by Istat and Cnel.

What picture of Italy comes from the last edition of BES?
The analysis of well-being in Italy during the last decade, particularly through tough years of economic crisis, shows a picture of light and shade, of positive trends in the long-run less affected by the economy, such as health issues, education and social networks, and others deeply marked by this cycle, such as labor and the economic condition of families. The economic weight of the high-tech sectors in our country is still among the lowest in Europe and the share of GDP that we devote to research and development in this sector is decreasing, prompting concern about the future prospects of our economy. Overall, after the sharp decline that occurred in 2012, personal satisfaction with life was stable in 2013.
What aspects that have to do with food are taken into account by Bes? 
The indicator used is the "standardized proportion of people aged three and over who declare to consume at least four daily servings of fruits and vegetables." The daily consumption of fruit and vegetables allows us to take in the basic elements of a diet, which have a protective effect, counteracting the process of premature aging of cells, often the origin of tumor processes. It is what it is stressed in the INRAN (now CRA-NUT) Guidelines for a healthy diet, which recommends the daily consumption of at least five servings of fruits, vegetables and fresh vegetables.
What weight do they have in the index as a whole?
Certainly the consumption of fruits and vegetables, along with other risk factors such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, physical inactivity and excess weight are useful indicators for assessing the health of the population, but at the moment we do not have of an official version of a summarized index.
Does the beauty of our landscape heritage also come into it the computation of the wealth of our country? 
The cultural heritage of our country, the result of an extraordinary stratification of civilizations, and of the richness and diversity of its environmental frameworks, is invaluable to the community. 
It is a public good, however, that it is hard to recognize and protect as such. This difficulty reflects a form of impoverishment, which limits the right of citizens of today’s and future generations to history and beauty, a right guaranteed by the Italian Constitution that establishes among its "basic principles" the mission of the Italian Republic to protect "the landscape and the historical and artistic heritage of the nation." 
For these reasons the framework of Bes includes a specific domain on the landscape and cultural heritage.
How is the agricultural landscape valued?
Within the domain of the landscape and cultural heritage, there are three specific indicators on the rural landscape.
The erosion of the countryside from urban sprawl provides a measure of the impact of the built-up areas in non-urban areas. The transformation of rural areas in large suburban areas, in addition to obvious aesthetic and functional effects on the rural environment, also involves the proliferation of a settlement model that is not sustainable, characterized by high consumption of soil and intensification of daily mobility.
The erosion of the countryside through abandonment is a measure of the dynamics of rural depopulation, especially active in mountain areas and normally associated with an increased hydrogeological risk, following the sale of the maintenance work related to agricultural practice. Finally, the indicator on the presence of historic rural landscapes allows a measure of the envelope in terms of cultural heritage, but also the economic potential of the landscape.
In particular, what environmental parameters have turned out to be particularly critical?
The environment and its possible alterations exert an impact that is immediate, as well as a medium- to long-term, on the existence of individuals. 
Under the impetus of EU regulations, Italy has made much progress in the area of environmental protection. However the indicators used as benchmarks show that Italy still suffers obvious difficulties, due largely to the lack of harmonization of systems of local governance and a lack of continuity in the management of policies. 
In the course of 2013 there were contradictory signs. There was improvements, even if slight, in air quality. Urban green areas in provincial capitals are available, even if only slightly, while the increasing extent of protected green areas is stable. The production of electricity from renewable sources continues to increase while the consumption of internal material resources and emission of greenhouse gases is down, also related to decreased production caused by the economic crisis and a slowdown in operations. 
Besides that there were several critical points, notably in the difficult remediation of contaminated sites and the dispersion of drinking water from municipal distribution networks. 

With Human Foundation at the Expo Milano 2015 Women's Weeks: social impact investments, women and agriculture today and towards Dubai 2020

Culture / -

Giovanna Melandri

Human Foundation participates in the Expo Milano 2015 Women's Weeks: a chance to think about social impact investments, women’s empowerment and rural communities. A reflection that starts from here and looks onto the future and the upcoming Universal Exhibitions.

There is no doubt that the West is going through one of the worst crisis of the century. However, these are the right moments to take the opportunity for a deep paradigm shift that experiments other economic models. There is a space beyond market failures and welfare difficulties . It can be found by abandoning the two-dimensionality of finance in the twentieth century (based on risk/return dualism) to add a third dimension: social impact investment.
There is already a global movement based on a widespread feeling: the idea that, in some cases, investments can be more effective than donations when helping the weaker categories of society; that the challenges companies face today are too complex for the governments and social forces to solve alone without networking. The great strength of Impact Investment lies in its ability to support development, innovation and social inclusion processes at the same time. We do this with Human Foundation: we prepare the way to facilitate, even in Italy, the construction of an ecosystem favorable to social impact investments. Contribution from women  is fundamental in this field. I am not just speaking of the outstanding figures that have contributed to the generative phase of impact investing like Judith Rodin, the Rockefeller Foundation, Jacqueline Novogratz, the Acumen Fund, Pamela Hartigan, the Skoll World Forum or Michelle Giddens, the Bridge Ventures. I am referring to less famous women who have played a key role in creating social enterprises in the developing countries that can be replicable models everywhere today. We will be presenting some of these experiences at Expo Milano 2015 on July 6 during the "Social Impact Investments for Food Security" day: women from the south of the globe who have created jobs and contributed to the welfare of the communities starting with agriculture. The conference will include case studies of impact funds that have placed trust in women as a social integration driving force favoring social integration processes of food sustainability of rural communities.

The virtuous link between women's empowerment, rural communities and impact investments will be the focus of the event attended by, in addition to the Nobel Peace Prize, Muhammad Yunus, inventor of micro-credit, Sir Ronald Cohen (father of Big Society and chairman of the Social Impact Investment Taskforce established within the G8 to promote social impact investments) and representatives of Italian institutions, like the Minister for Agricultural Policies Maurizio Martina.
In this perspective, what is undersigned in the "Women For Expo Alliance" seems even more necessary, the manifesto of concrete actions against food waste. Not just because the female dimension is considered as biologically innate to the nutrition topic but to give women the opportunity to own and manage the land they cultivate, innovating agricultural production to improve the nutritional status of their communities. This movement is just the beginning and cannot end with Milan. It is, indeed, necessary to structure it and  feed it so the best practices collected so far can be strengthened in light of the Dubai event.

Over a million people are already #FoodConscious. What about you?

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