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To address the many challenges related to water, we must work in a spirit of urgent cooperation, open to new ideas and innovation, and prepared to share the solutions that we all need for a sustainable future.”

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Message for World Water Day 2015

A drop of water is flexible. A drop of water is powerful. A drop of water is in demand…

Water is at the core of sustainable development. Water resources, and the range of services they provide, underpin poverty reduction, economic growth and environmental sustainability. From food and energy security to human and environmental health, water contributes to improvements in social well-being and inclusive growth, affecting the livelihoods of billions.

The theme of World Water Day 2015 is about how water links to all areas we need to consider to create the future we want. Learn more about the theme and join the global celebrations by organizing your own event.

Join the 2015 campaign to raise awareness of water and sanitation. You can also contribute on social media though the hashtags #WaterIs and #WorldWaterDay.

World Water Day is marked on 22 March every year. It’s a day to celebrate water. It’s a day to make a difference for the members of the global population who suffer from water related issues. It’s a day to prepare for how we manage water in the future. In 1993, the United Nations General Assembly designated 22 March as the first World Water Day. 22 years later, World Water Day is celebrated around the world every year, shining the spotlight on a different issue.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2014 is to be awarded to Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzay for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.  Children must go to school and not be financially exploited.  In the poor countries of the world, 60% of the present population is under 25 years of age.  It is a prerequisite for peaceful global development that the rights of children and young people be respected.  In conflict-ridden areas in particular, the violation of children leads to the continuation of violence from generation to generation.

Showing great personal courage, Kailash Satyarthi, maintaining Gandhi’s tradition, has headed various forms of protests and demonstrations, all peaceful, focusing on the grave exploitation of children for financial gain.  He has also contributed to the development of important international conventions on children’s rights.

Despite her youth, Malala Yousafzay has already fought for several years for the right of girls to education, and has shown by example that children and young people, too, can contribute to improving their own situations.  This she has done under the most dangerous circumstances.  Through her heroic struggle she has become a leading spokesperson for girls’ rights to education.

The Nobel Committee regards it as an important point for a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani, to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism.  Many other individuals and institutions in the international community have also contributed.  It has been calculated that there are 168 million child labourers around the world today.  In 2000 the figure was 78 million higher.  The world has come closer to the goal of eliminating child labour.

The struggle against suppression and for the rights of children and adolescents contributes to the realization of the “fraternity between nations” that Alfred Nobel mentions in his will as one of the criteria for the Nobel Peace Prize.

U.S Ranks 99th in the GPI; Iceland Ranks #1

Recently, the Institute of Economics and Peace (IEP) released the 2013 edition of its annual Global Peace Index (GPI), and its second annual report on the Positive Peace Index (PPI), which attempts to monitor positive measures of what makes a society peaceful.

The GPI measures the “absence of violence and absence of the fear of violence” using socio-economic and statistical indicators of interior and exterior conflict as well as the degree of social security and militarization. The PPI compliments it by attempting to broaden our understanding of international peace by monitoring “formal and informal institutions that move a society away from violence and towards peace,” such as the quality of  business environment, the corruption level of the government, the availability of education, and the flow of information and resources.

Together, these reports provide us with a comprehensive picture of global peace.

Key Findings of the Global Peace Index:                                 

The United States ranked 99th in the GPI, largely due to our high level of internment and the availability of guns.

Iceland, Denmark and New Zealand claimed the top three spots, while Syria, Somalia, and Afghanistan, 160-162 respectively, ranked last.

Overall, the world grew somewhat more violent, driven by a rises in homicides, many attributable to drug conflicts in Central America and violent crime and political turmoil in Sub-Saharan Africa, and an increase internal political conflicts globally. 48 countries became more peaceful and 110 less peaceful, and regionally, only North America, which stayed static, did not see a drop in its level of peacefulness. The Middle East and North Africa have seen the largest drop in peacefulness since 2008, though South Asia still ranks as the least peaceful region.

With the recent Civil War, Syria demonstrated the largest drop in the history of the GPI, with its score increasing (meaning a decrease in peacefulness) by 70% since 2008, and 18% since last year. The largest improvement from last year came in Libya, as it recovers from the revolution that overthrew Muammer Qadafi in late 2011. It is followed by Sudan, where there was a de-escalation from high levels of internal conflict, and Chad, recovering from a civil war of its own.

Key Findings of the Positive Peace Index:

The Positive Peace Index ranks countries based on the strength of the structures and social institutions that contribute to a peaceful society. The PPI is measured by 8 categories: a well-functioning government, a sound business environment, an equitable distribution of resources, acceptance of the rights of others, good relations with neighbors, the free flow of information, high levels of human capital, and low levels of corruption.

Using this metric, Denmark ranks first, followed by Norway and Finland. The United States performed much better on the PPI than on the GPI, ranking 19th. Data is available for fewer countries in the PPI, but of the countries ranked, the Democratic Republic of the Congo ranked last, followed by Chad and Yemen.  Over a selection of 121 countries where data could be obtained, positive peace increased slightly by 1.7% in the period between 2005 and 2010.

The PPI data shows that change in these positive institutions of peace is slow, and that institution building is a long term process, while measures of negative peace, such as those used in the GPI, are much more volatile. This also suggests that the PPI indicators are much more durable, and that work to build capacity in those areas will create lasting results.

Courtesy of The Peace Alliance Via:

What can I do to better manage stress?

In general, stress is related to both external and internal factors. External factors include your physical environment, your job, relationships with others, your home, and all the situations, challenges, difficulties, and expectations you’re confronted with on a daily basis. Internal factors determine your body’s ability to respond to, and deal with, the external stress-inducing factors. Internal factors which influence your ability to handle stress include your nutritional status, overall health and fitness levels, emotional well-being, your ability to control stress through relaxation techniques or other strategies, and the amount of sleep and rest you get.

via Stress Management Techniques Symptoms, Causes, Treatment – What can I do to better manage stress? on MedicineNet.