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Celebrating World Habitat Day 2006

World Habitat Day.jpg "Cities around the world on Monday marked the 2006 celebration of World Habitat Day, which was launched from the Italian city of Naples. The United Nations has designated the first Monday in October every year to reflect on how we manage our cities in the new millennium as humanity now moves from being predominantly rural to overwhelmingly urban. Today, half of us live in cities, and the world is witnessing the fastest urban growth ever experienced." More
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How to Save Doha with Soybeans

From Salon: "I want to vote for Ted Turner for president ... of the world. Turner gave a speech at the World Trade Organization's Public Forum this morning in Geneva that is equal parts inspiring and enlightening, and cuts right to the core of what this blog cares about. It is, in short, a program for making the world work."
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UNHCR Field Teams in Lebanon

Lebanon town.jpg UNHCR spokesperson Ron Redmond: "With UNHCR's distribution of emergency aid proceeding smoothly, our field teams are now looking at some of the wider problems facing the victims of the war in Lebanon. There are thousands of Lebanese who have not been able to return to their homes - in areas around Beirut there are an estimated 12,000 displaced who have not returned after the war. In Beirut itself, the charity Caritas estimates there are 35,000. These people have lost their source of income. Older people and those with disabilities have chronic medical needs. And our partners note that the children need help to resume their education and counselling because of their war experiences. As part of that problem, UNHCR has helped a Lebanese NGO, the Development for People and Nature Association, to set up a summer camp they're running for children in the town of Jezzine." More
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Jay-Z to Dramatize World Water Crisis in MTV Video Diary

"Most young people are unaware" of the world's water crisis, but if they knew about the "staggering numbers" of people affected by lack of clean water, they would be moved to act, Def Jam President and CEO Jay-Z said at United Nations Headquarters in New York on Wednesday. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan welcomed the help of the internationally known recording star and MTV President Christina Norman in raising public awareness of water scarcity through a new global initiative. LINK
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Progress and Recognition for a Tsunami Reconstruction Partnership

From the UN Foundation: Our post-tsunami water and sanitation reconstruction partnership with The Coca-Cola Company has been selected as a finalist for the US Chamber of Commerce's "Partnership Award." After the tsunami, the UN Foundation partnered with The Coca-Cola Company to find ways to contribute to longer-term recovery efforts, with a focus on community-based water and sanitation needs. Working in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme UNDP), the partnership is responding to long-term water and sanitation needs in remote, tsunami-hit areas of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Thailand. To learn more about the partnership and to vote click here: http://www.unfoundation.org/features/tsunami_partnership.asp
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World Food Programme in Lebanon

WFP Lebanon Aid.jpg "With almost one in four of Lebanon's 3.8 million population homeless and hostilities continuing, WFP has launched a three-month US$8.9 million emergency operation to feed over 300,000 people, including 50,000 in Syria. The Agency is also the lead UN agency for the logistics of transporting humanitarian aid to and within Lebanon. The value of the special logistics operation alone is US$38 million."
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In Perspective

Warren Buffett is a generous man. His gift of over $30 billion in stock to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will nearly double the size of the country's largest charitable organization. As media coverage of the gift has noted, $60 billion is roughly five times the annual budget of the United Nations and its agencies. And as Slate points out, the Foundation's future $1.7 billion annual disbursement requirement is roughly equivalent to UNICEF's annual budget.
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UN Volunteer Fundraises for Girls’ Education in Afghanistan

"When Toshiko Kitahara arrived in Ragh district in Badakhshan province, north-east Afghanistan, two things struck her: its natural beauty and the fact that girls did not attend school. As a UN Volunteer with the World Food Programme (WFP), Toshiko decided to make girls' education a priority. [She first arrived in Afghanistan in 2002 and started as a UN Volunteer in 2003.] A programme officer with WFP's Food for Education unit in the province, the Japanese national took up her concern directly with department of education officials - and just about anyone else who would listen.
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The Tsunami: One Year After the Disaster

tsunami2005_home4.jpg "Nearly one year has passed since the devastating waves of the Indian Ocean Tsunami destroyed the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people. However, through the combined of public and private sectors around the world, the United Nations in cooperation with national governments, NGOs and local communities was able to respond immediately and effectively to the disaster - assessing damages, rebuilding schools so children can resume their studies, preventing major outbreaks of diseases through sanitation projects and vaccination campaigns, and reconstructing shelters and permanent housing for the hundreds of thousands of homeless. The UN has effectively coordinated the immediate relief and rehabilitation efforts over the last 12 months, and will continue its work to work with to sustain and strengthen recovery efforts to "build back better" for many years to come." [Link] Also see: UNDP & Tsunami Recovery