Small islands, champions of sustainability

first_imgIn Zlarin, from this Friday 01.07.2016. in the Vesna Parun Homeland Museum, starting at 20:30 pm, an international traveling exhibition of photographs of small sustainable islands around the world is being held.Since 2014, the Small Sustainable Islands initiative, with the support of the Conservatoire du Littoral, has been developed with the aim of encouraging dialogue between participants working on a daily basis to protect the islands and valorise their actions: local associations, authorities, protected area managers, businesses… In this context, the annual CELEBRATE ISLANDS celebration offers an opportunity to express the uniqueness for which they unite people in their environment. This is the first major step towards creating an international solidarity community of small islands oriented towards sustainable development.Ultimately, the Small Sustainable Islands Initiative will help create a broad network of exchange of experiences and good practices, encourage and reward local efforts by its members, including through the Small Sustainable Island label.The small islands are fragile and unique. They are at the forefront of global change, these are the first areas and places of innovation, which are constantly renewed due to their own sustainable development. Recycling waste, conserving water resources, promoting renewable energy, protecting biodiversity, valorizing cultural heritage… more than just a call to travel, this exhibition highlights the concrete actions of more than 30 small islands around the world for the challenges of tomorrow. The traveling exhibition, organized by the Conservatoire du littoral and their partners as part of the third edition of CELEBRATE ISLANDS, has already been presented in France, Spain, Tunisia and Mozambique, and now in Croatia.By organizing this photo exhibition, cooperation was established Zlarin Tourist Board and Kud Koralj and MIC-Vis (international multidisciplinary scientific conference organized jointly by VERN ‘Polytechnic and Ivo Pilar Institute of Social Sciences under the auspices of the City of Vis) with Conservatoire du littoral and laid the foundations for future cooperation which can emphasize the importance of natural and cultural sights , and the need for sustainable management of island areas in order to preserve their heritage.The Conservatory of Littoral Founded 41 years ago, the Conservatoire du littoral (Coastal Protection Agency) is a public institution for the protection of the coastal area through the purchase of land in mainland France and French overseas estates and through technical and institutional cooperation abroad. For more than 10 years, she has led projects specifically dedicated to small islands, monitored and supported local associations, protected areas and governments in their small island planning and management policies and operations. The Conservatoire du littoral provides international support to civil society organizations in the protection of the island’s heritage.last_img read more

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NAS report urges school districts to prioritize reopening

first_imgWeighing the public health risks posed by the coronavirus against the educational risks of not having in-person instruction, and the impact that closed schools could have on existing racial and social inequities, a new report from the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) is urging school districts to prioritize reopening, with an emphasis on providing full-time, in-person instruction of children in grades K-5 and special needs students.But the report, published yesterday, acknowledges that reopening schools in the midst of COVID-19 will be a difficult task requiring resources and input from a variety of stakeholders. Schools will have to implement costly mitigation strategies to limit transmission of the virus, staffing will be a challenge, closures could occur based on the progress of the pandemic, and federal and state governments will need to provide significant financial help to districts and schools to enable them to reopen.The report also notes that reopening schools cannot be 100% safe as long as the pandemic persists.”Whether to reopen school buildings for the 2020–2021 school year is one of the most consequential and complex decisions many education leaders will ever have to make,” the report said. “While the benefits of reopening for students, families, and communities are clear, leaders must also take into account the health risks to school personnel and students’ families, as well as the practicality and cost of the mitigation strategies that will be needed to operate safely.”Districts face difficult decisionsThe report comes as the school year approaches and school districts around the nation grapple with the decision on whether to fully reopen, return to the distance-learning mode that they adopted in the spring, or create a hybrid model.Some school districts in states where the pandemic is raging, including the Los Angeles Unified school district, have already announced that they will not reopen and will continue with online learning. Schools in New York City, which has seen a significant reduction in coronavirus cases since peaking in April, will partially reopen, with children receiving in-person instruction from 1 to 3 days a week.”We all know the best place for students to learn is in a school setting,” LA Unified Superintendent Austin Beutner told the Los Angeles Times. “And as much as we want to be back at schools and have students back at schools—we can’t do it until it’s safe and appropriate.”Michael Osterholm, PhD, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (publisher of CIDRAP News), said in today’s episode of the Osterholm Update podcast that the question of reopening schools is one of the most difficult he’s dealt with during the pandemic.”How we deal with the school issue is probably going to be one of the defining moments of how we learn to live with COVID-19,” Osterholm said. “I don’t think there is a single answer; I think there are going to be multiple answers to this, and it’s going to be up to our creativity to deal with this.”The NAS report acknowledges that, given the current state of the pandemic, many districts are likely to use a blend of in-person and distance learning. And while the evidence to date suggests that children and youth are at low risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19, many significant safety issues will make reopening school buildings a challenge.For one, there is insufficient evidence to determine how contagious children are, or how likely they are to contract the virus. In addition, black, LatinX, and indigenous children, along with low-income children and those with underlying conditions, have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. And many teachers and staff members are at greater risk of serious consequences from infection.But the authors of the report—a committee made up of experts in education, medicine, and epidemiology—concluded that because of the potential risks for students of keeping schools closed, districts should prioritize reopening with an emphasis on in-person learning. Distance learning cannot take the place of in-person interaction, they said, especially for younger children and special needs students who would be best served by in-person instruction, and disparities in access to reliable internet and electronic devices could compound already existing inequities.”The risks of not having face-to-face learning are especially high for young children, who may suffer long-term consequences academically if they fall behind in the early grades,” the committee wrote.In addition, they cited the benefits that schools provide for families beyond education, including reliable childcare, meals, and mental health services.”Reopening school buildings will allow schools to provide these supports and services more easily and in a more complete way,” they wrote.Mitigation strategiesThe report provides several mitigation strategies to help school districts reopen schools and protect students and teachers, many of which are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It calls for school districts to provide surgical masks to all teachers and staff and hand sanitizer for everyone who enters a school building, encourage mask wearing and hand hygiene among students and staff, reorganize classrooms to promote physical distancing, limit large gatherings, prioritize cleaning, ventilation, and air filtration, and create a culture of health and safety.Implementing all these measures will not come cheap. Using a recent estimate reported by EdWeek, the committee suggests that a school district with 3,269 students, 8 buildings, and 329 staff members could spend as much as $1,780,000 for the 2020-21 school year. That’s why the committee urges state and federal governments to provide school districts with significant resources.”Many districts will be unable to afford implementing the entire suite of mitigation measures, potentially leaving students and staff in those districts at greater risk of infection,” the committee wrote. “In the absence of substantial financial support from the federal government and state governments, it is likely that the communities most impacted by COVID-19 will see even worse health outcomes in the wake of reopening schools.”The report also calls for state public health departments to assess school facilities to ensure they meet minimum health and safety standards and consult with schools on their mitigation plans, and for states to provide schools with access to public health expertise if they are in areas where public health departments are short-staffed. State, local, and education leaders are encouraged to create decision-making task forces that can gather input from various stakeholders. And school districts should take into account existing disparities within and across schools.”There are no easy answers, no quick and affordable policy decisions that will enable children to reenter schools safely while simultaneously addressing the profound systemic inequities this moment in time has laid bare,” the committee wrote. “Addressing these challenges will require the coordinated and concerted efforts of all sectors in the United States. It will require commitments to equitable school financing, to engaging communities in the complicated and emotional decision-making related to reopening schools, and to centering equity in the discussions that surround those decisions.”In its final recommendation, the committee called for more research into children and transmission of COVID-19, the role of airborne transmission, how schools could contribute to community spread, and the effectiveness of mitigation strategies.last_img read more

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MPs urge government to preserve access to European legal services market

first_imgPreserving access to the single market in legal services is among the reasons why the government urgently needs to set out a vision for trade with the EU following Brexit, MPs say today. In its first report, the International Trade Committee of the House of Commons backs re-joining the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) to preserve continuity in trading relationships. The report cites evidence from the Law Society on the legal services sector. The Society told the committee that while the EU single market in services is still ‘a work in progress’, in legal services a single market is already a reality.Mickael Laurans, the Society’s head of international policy and engagement, told the committee that the continuation of the participation of the UK legal services sector in the two EU lawyers’ directives and the mutual recognition of qualifications directive was a ‘key ask’.Leaving the single market would render the UK vulnerable to restrictions on legal practice that vary among member states. Some EU jurisdictions operate nationality requirements, Laurans noted, while right of audience before EU courts could be lost by UK lawyers. There might also be problems regarding clients’ ability to benefit from legal professional privilege.The committee says the government must act quickly to bolster confidence and put the UK in the best position to forge new trading relationships after 2019.Among its recommendations is for the government to publish a white paper about the possibility of the UK re-joining the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).EFTA, whose current members are Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, has free trade agreements covering 38 countries, which the UK might stand to benefit from if it were to re-join. According to the report, the committee ‘was impressed by the potential benefits of EFTA membership, given the close alignment between the UK’s economy and those of EFTA members, although the government has not proposed this as an option’.last_img read more

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